By Eric Armit
The next four weeks will see the three best heavyweights in the world in action. Obviously it is too much to hope for in this day and age for any of them to be fighting each other The good news is that none of them face an opponent who should really threaten their unbeaten record or in the casers of Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder their titles. I can’t see any of the top three going from these fight to a match with one of the others they will all want one more fight with the plan being for a meeting either Joshua vs. Wilder, or Joshua vs. Fury or Wilder vs. Fury. A return between Wilder and Fury would be big but Joshua vs. Wilder or Fury would be the biggest money-wise. Those plans rely on the sanction bodies keeping their heads down as they have done so far. They all want to be part of one of those big fights. Dillian White has been No 1 with the WBC for 18 months without any effort being made to force Wilder to defend against him. Both WBA interim champion Trevor Bryan and IBF No 1 Kubrat Pulev have been on top for shorter times and if Joshua was looking to make another defence this year neither would pose a big risk. In the end it will came down to money, egos and promoters agreeing money and swallowing egos. I was feeling quite upbeat until I got to that last bit.
On heavyweights Kubrat Pulev is still trying to extricate himself from the troubles he brought upon himself with the forced kiss on a lady journalist. He is being sued by the lady in question but equally as problematical is that before California will re-licence him he will have to go on a training course dealing with sexual harassment. If he does not do so then California will not re-licence him and that could mean he would not be able to fight in the USA.
There is another hat in the heavyweight ring now. Still waiting for his first pro fight Cuban Lienier Pero (t) comes with some strong amateur credentials. He was World Youth, World Youth Olympics and Pan American Youth champion. He took a gold medal at both the 2011and 2015 Pan American Games but lost in the quarter-final of the Rio Olympics to Filip Hrgovic. At 26 and 6’2” he has time to adjust to the pro ranks. In other heavyweight moves in his first fight since beating Alex Ustinov in November Mike Hunter meets Brazilian Fabio Maldonado on 25 May. Maldonado is coming off points losses to Oscar Rivas and Olek Teslenko. In addition former IBF and WBA cruiser champion Marat Gassiev will have his first fight at heavyweight on 27 July but no venue or opponent named yet.
Interesting show set for Schwern, Germany 15 June with three former champions scheduled to fight. Tyron Zeuge, the ex-holder of the WBA secondary super middleweight belt will reportedly face Spanish champion Adam Silvera for the vacant European Union title which seems a very sub-standard EU title fight, Jack Culcay the former secondary WBA super welter champion tackles experienced Italian Stefano Castellucci and Juergen Brahmer the former WBO and secondary WBA champion at light heavyweight meets unbeaten fellow German Nils Schmidt. Three not very competitive matches. Schmidt is 17-0 but of his last nine opponents eight of them only had 19 wins between them and the other victim had lost 6 of his last 7 fights. With the current state of German boxing they are taking no chances of their guys losing. Only two German fighters hold EBU titles, Agit Kabayel the heavyweight and Dominic Boesel the light-heavyweight and they have no world champions. Sorry I am wrong there Manuel Charr holds the secondary version of the WBA heavyweight title. That really is a case of chickens coming home to roost. As a result of their machinations the WBA are left with a champion who has not defended the tile he won eighteen months ago and he is supposed to fight at some time Fres Oquendo who has not fight since July 2014. It’s more like a fifth division title than a secondary. No one wants it and if the WBA ordered Anthony Joshua to defend against Charr they would be a laughing stock.
One German former world champion is busy and that is Marco Huck. He has a fight against Nick Guivas at the Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut on Friday night 17th then he has to fly back to Germany to oversee his promotion on 25 May in Salzgitter. I guess one more world title fight is Huck’s aim.
I was saddened to read of the death of Harold Lederman. He was one of the good guys a real gentleman who lived for and was passionate about boxing. He earned his living as a pharmacist but earned people’s love and respect as a boxing judge and as the man who scored fights for HBO. I first met Harold in the early 1970’s at a WBC Convention in Mexico City. His first words to me “what’s a stone?” That threw me until I realised he was talking about the term used in Britain for body weight. A couple of nights later he, Mickey Duff and I went to the world famous Arena Coliseo to watch the fights and Harold and I forged a friendship that lasted right up until his death. My life is less rich with the passing with Harold RIP.
It was sad to hear of the death of Bert “Smokin” Cooper from Pancreatic cancer at the age of 53. For most of his career Bert was a name on an index card that I updated by pencil after his fights. When you physically write those details about a fighter you are almost living his career as it starts, progresses and ends. Bert kept me busy .He dodged no one and fought eight world champions. His only chance at a world title came in November 1991. When both Mike Tyson and his replacement both injured themselves Bert stepped in at one week’s notice to challenge Evander Holyfield for the IBF and WBA titles. In the third round Bert nearly sprang what would have been the biggest upset in heavyweight boxing. A heavy puncher, 31 of Bert’s 38 wins came by KO/TKO; he nailed Holyfield with a right that had Holyfield sagging into the ropes badly hurt. The ropes stopped Holyfield from going down so he was given a count. Copper rocked Holyfield a few more times but with such short notice he was not in condition and Holyfield stopped him in the seventh round. He fought them all but loss his battle with cancer RIP Bert.
Female boxers are showing up their male counterparts. Where sometime it seems too many egos/promotion rivalry gets in the way of big male unification fights there seem to be no such problems in the female ranks. Last month Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer met with the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO middleweight titles on the line and now Katie Taylor and Belgian Delfine Persoon fight at Madison Square Garden on 1 June with the same four lightweight titles on the line. That will mean two divisions totally unified. Male score on that=Zero.
What do Olek Usyk, Manny Pacquiao, Terrence Crawford, Errol Spence and Vasyl Lomachenko have in common? Yes they all hold versions of a world title and they are all on most people’s list of the best pound for pound fighters around today. Let me also add Denis Lebedev, Adonis Stevenson, Gilberto Ramirez, Demetrius Andrade, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Tevin Farmer, Gary Russell Jr, Gervonta Davis, Regis Prograis, Billy Joe Saunders, Josh Taylor, Marcus Browne, Erislandy Lara, Luis Ortiz, Zolani Tete, Srisaket, Jerwin Ancajas, TJ Doheny and Terry Flanagan not all of whom are champions or on typical pound for pound lists. The answer is that they are all southpaws. Oh how things have changed back in the 1950’s southpaws were treated as pariah. One famous boxer-it may have been the great Sugar Ray Robinson- said that all southpaw should be strangled at birth! In the 1950’s southpaws were a very rare breed. You had Jimmy Carruthers, Gustav Schulz, Flash Elorde, Kenny Lane , Dave Charnley Horacio Accavallo and a few others but you could count on two hands without including your thumbs the number of southpaw boxers active throughout the 1950’s who were world champions or leading fighters. Yet here we are today where it is almost a case that the best fighters are southpaws and there are plenty of them so somehow the southpaw have crept up on us and taken over boxing-how? The heavyweight seems to be one division that has withstood the plague of southpaws. Right now of what I would call the “A” list only Luis Ortiz, Charles Martin and Artur Szpilka are southpaws and as an example there are only 74 active southpaws in the heavyweight division whereas there are 182 super lightweights and 165 lightweights. I am right-handed so I am watching this spreading curse of the left-handers with trepidation.
It is not unusual for a boxer to retire after a heavy defeat but in the case of the Dogboe family it is the trainer who is retiring. After his loss to Emanuel Navarrete Isaac has said the he will continue to box but move up to featherweight father Paul has said he will stop his work as a trainer. It must have been painful for him to see his son losing so heavily. The father/son bond adds another dimension to watching your fighter lose so I can understand his pain and it has to be said he has done a magnificent job by taking Isaac to a world title. I am not too sure how wise Isaac’s decision to move up to feather is. He is 5’2” and the 5’7” Navarette was just too big for him if he could get down to bantam that would seem a more sensible option.
Forthcoming fights: The big one of course is Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman on 20 July in Las Vegas with Thurman’s WBA welter title up for grabs. Many is 40 and Thurman is unbeaten and strong so a very risky fight for Pacquiao. The “championship of the Garcia’s” looks set for 13 August with Danny fighting Mikey. Obvious Mikey is sure he can do better at welter against Danny than he did against Errol Spence. Anthony Yarde gets his world title chance against WBO light heavy champion Sergey Kovalev in Russia on 29 June. Kovalev will constitute a huge step up in the quality of opposition for Yarde. Kovalev is a few levels above Yarde victims Dariusz Sek, Walter Sequeira and Travis Reeves. Yarde’s power has been enough to compensate for his defensive deficiencies but that’s unlikely to be the case against Kovalev. On 12 July in Osaka Ken Shiro defends the WBC light fly title against Filipino Jonathan Taconing. On 13 July in Carson, California Rey Vargas will make the fifth defence of his WBC super bantam title up against former WBO bantam champion Tomoki Kameda. On 20 July Caleb Plant will make the first defence of his IBF super middle title against 21-0 Mike Lee and 27 July in Baltimore Gervonta Davis will defend his WBA super feather title. Yuriorkis Gamboa was originally to be the guy in the other corner but there is now a question over that. It is a long way down the line but it is reported that Ryad Merhy will take on Imre Szello for the WBA cruiserweight gold belt in Charleroi on 19 October. Merhy is 28-1 with his only loss coming against Arsen Goulamirian for the WBA interim title and Hungarian “Imo” Szello is 23-0.
Boy they are tough with their titles in France. From now on every French national champion must defend his title against his No 1 challenger every four months. No Exceptions or exemptions and if the challenger refuses then he can’t fight for the title for a year-and Dillian Whyte has been wait 18 months for a shot at the WBC title and Fres Oquendo has been waiting almost five years for a court decreed shot at the WBA title. Vive la France I say!
By Eric Armit
Last week’s big fights were a mixed bag. We had two very good fights in California with Daniel Ramon vs. JT Doheny an exciting scrap all the way which unified two titles and also a brilliant exhibition of quality boxing from Juan Francisco Estrada against Srisaket. In addition when we thought it was dead in the water the WBSS Tournament came back to life with semi-finals in the super lightweight and bantamweight categories. It was predictable that Regis Prograis and Nonito Donaire would win but it was important how they did it and they both showed power and class. Let’s just pass over Robert Easter vs. Rances Barthelemy as it showed that two good fighters could put up a bad fight. I seem to have a talent for being in the wrong time at the wrong place. The WBSS card was held in Lafayette. I worked in the oil industry and Lafayette was the first town I visited in the USA. I returned there just a few years back to visit with my long time and close friend Beau Williford who has his Ragin’ Cajun gym there and met up with Kerry Daigle who subsequently did all of the media and publicity work for the WBSS show. So how come I was slogging away at a computer on the East Coast of Scotland instead of sitting at ringside in Lafayette-wrong time wrong place.
Of course tomorrow night in Las Vegas we have Saul Alvarez vs. Daniel Jacobs with a good supporting cast including John Ryder vs. unbeaten Bilal Akkawy and in Stockton Jerwin Ancajas and Artur Beterbiev defend their titles. I think Jacobs is going to be a much tougher test for Alvarez than many anticipate and I would not be surprised to see Jacobs pull off an upset victory.
Congratulations to Andy Ruiz he is going to get the fight that will pay him more than he has ever been paid for a fight by a factor of ten or fifteen more than he has ever received or probably ever will receive. Life and boxing are unpredictable so those that turned down the chance to fight Anthony Joshua may well live to regret it. There are only three fighters in the heavyweight division against whom seriously big money can be made-Joshua, Deontay Wilder and to a lesser extent Tyson Fury. In the Wilder vs. Fury fight Wilder reported got $14 million and Fury $10 million and neither Wilder nor Fury will earn nearly as much against their next opponents. Ruiz will reportedly get $7 million but that was an exceptional case due to the need to offer a big enough incentive to get someone to take the fight at such short notice.
Of course Ruiz is not an opponent to get the juices flowing but he will be close to fighting condition having won recently. He has lost only once and for my money was very unlucky not to get at least a draw against Joseph Parker. No it is not a great fight but let’s not get hysterical it is no worse than Wilder vs. Dominic Breazeale and better than Fury against untested Tom Schwarz.
I find it incredible that the WBA should have given Miller a derisory six month ban. He failed three test, lied about it until it was obvious that the evidence that he had cheated was confirmed and some even praised him for confessing. What else could he do? Lie again!
The WBA ban is just posturing. They have no jurisdiction over Miller. All they can do is ban him from fighting for the WBA title. The New York Board withdrew his licence but cannot ban him and since there is no central authority governing boxing the USA in theory he could box next week if he could find a State to give him a licence. We could learn something from the German approach which has Felix Sturm in its sights.
Even in Germany the wheels of justice sometimes grind slowly but it can be satisfying when they do get there in the end. Last month former middleweight and super middleweight champion Felix Sturm decided that it was safe for him to return to Germany having moved out of the country a few years back to avoid some growing legal problems. He was wrong. The authorities in Cologne quickly arrested Sturm to face tax evasion charges. Sturm appealed to a local court to be allowed bail and the court agreed. However a higher court overturned that ruling deciding that due to the amount of money involved in the charges Sturm was a flight risk and the bail application was denied. Then came the action that will interest boxing as new indictments have been raised under the German Anti-Doping in Sports Act relating to Sturm’s fight with Fedor Chudinov in 2016. The irony of that will strike Sam Soliman who beat Sturm for the IBF and WBA super middleweight titles in 2012 only to be denied the titles due to a positive test which after years of going through the courts finally proved Soliman was innocent. It is interesting that through this law in Germany it is a crime to use performance enhancing drugs in sport. In most countries it is a breach of the rules dealt with by the sporting organisation involved and is not a criminal offence. Under the German law brought into force in 2017 athletes who test positive for performance enhancing drugs (PEDs)or are found in possession of PEDs can face a prison term of up to three years. Those who provide them with the substances can face sentences of up to ten years. Whilst criminalising the use of performance enhancing drugs would be very strong deterrent I can’t see many countries following the lead of Germany and boxing’s approach will continue to be flawed, fractured and weak. It is hard to think of a single boxer who has been given a suspension of more than a year and there are plenty such as Luis Ortiz, Tony Yoka, Alex Povetkin and yes even Saul Alvarez of the tainted Mexican meat who have been allowed to slip though the net.
Plenty to look forward to on May 11 with two return matches. In Tucson Miguel Berchelt defends his WBO super feather title in a return match against Francisco Vargas the man he won the title from in 2017 and Emanuel Navarette is offering Isaac Dogboe the chance to win back the WBO super bantamweight title he took from the Ghanaian in December.
On the same night in Fairfax Jarrett Hurd puts the IBF and WBA titles on the line against Julian Williams
It seems a case of one out-one in as far as Argentinian former world champions are concerned. Marcos Maidana has abandoned his plans for a return blaming parts of the contract for his return as opposed to any boxing reason for changing his mind. On the other hand Sergio Martinez is training with a view to a fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in September or October. Now 44 “Maravilla” has not fought since losing to Miguel Cotta in June 2014. It is a pity he has taken that decision as in June this year he will have been inactive for five years which would have made him eligible to go on the list of candidates for the Boxing Hall of Fame
Zab Judah continues his stuttering return with a contest against Cletus Seldin at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona on 7 June. Seldin is 23-1 so there is some risk in the venture for the 41-year-old former light welterweight and welterweight champion.
So now the WBO have a Global title. When it comes to inventing another sanctioning fee it is a basic rule not to let commonsense get in the way. According to my dictionary global means “world-wide” so we have a world-wide title that is not a world title and to think they actually debated about what to name this new title!
It angers me they way that the sanctioning bodies hand out a place in the rating to fighters who win their minor titles irrespective of the quality of the fighter they are or the stature of the opponent they beat for the title. Apart from skewing the whole principle behind ratings they then put themselves in the position of what to do if the fighter then relinquishes that minor title. The only reason he was rated has disappeared so does he do the same?
Badou jack has scotched any rumours of retiring. The former holder of the WBC super middleweight and secondary WBA light heavyweight titles has said he intends to fight again once the horrific cut he suffered in his loss to Marcus Browne in January heals. A return with Browne is one aim but he has also hinted he might try fighting at cruiserweight to become a three-division.
Any thief who is dumb enough to steal a motor bike from Roberto Duran’s son must be really dumb. Duran quickly went on social media asking for help and in response units of the National Police Force and the Public Ministry were quickly mobilised and the thief abandoned his prize realising he has kicked over a hornets’ nest and the bike was very quickly back with the Duran family. Never steal from a local hero.
By Eric Armit
The news that Jarrell Miller failed a routine tests administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency on March 20 is a blow for all concerned. Miller is adamant that he is clean and referenced a test he had been given a week before that was clean but that really is irrelevant. For Anthony Joshua it puts a black cloud over his US debut. Miller was a viable opponent. Let’s face it once you cross out Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury, Dillian Whyte and perhaps Luis Ortiz (who has twice failed tests) who is there? Although criticised as a choice at least Miller was big, unbeaten and known to the American market and is a far more threatening than Dominic Breazeale (Wilder) and Tom Schwarz (Fury). I don’t envy Eddie Hearn his task because the heavyweight division is not exactly teeming with talent right now. After the series of problem tests you could excuse someone from wondering why the heavyweight division continues to shoot itself in the foot.
The aftermath of problem tests were a feature of the past week. Tied into the Joshua fight undercard was the outcome of a recent investigation in Belgium. The WBC female lightweight champion Delfine Persoon is the premier boxer in Belgium. Back in October a doctor attended Persoon’s home to test her but she had just peed and could not give a sample. Persoon is in the police force so he then went to a course he though she was going to be on but she was not there and when he then went to the police station she was out on an assignment so the test never took place. Persoon’s case was heard last week by the Flemish Anti-Doping court and they exonerated her completely so if the Madison Square Garden show comes off she will be facing Katie Taylor in another battle of top strata females.
It was a totally different outcome for French heavyweight Tony Yoka. As I previously reported he had been slapped with a one year ban by the French Anti-Doping Agency for missing three tests. He appealed his case to the State Council last week but they upheld the ban so he cannot fight until June. His home Federation gave him a suspended sentence so they obviously did not accept his excuses for missing three tests, the French Anti-Doping Agency gave him a one year ban and the State Council upheld it. Yota is signed up to the VADA testing and even for missing just two tests a boxer can be removed from the VAD registration but the WBC have taken no action in Yoka’s case.
When I prefaced my piece in my last Snips and Snipes on the mirage of one universally recognised heavyweight champion I mentioned that Mike Tyson was the last to be able to have that distinction when he won the IBF, WBA and WBC titles. With that I brought down upon myself the scorn of fans of Lennox Lewis. The argument went that when Lewis beat Evander Holyfield he unified the same three titles and therefore he and not Tyson had that distinction. The reason I had named Tyson was that by the time Lewis beat Holyfield in November 1999 the WBO was in existence and therefore Lewis only held three of the four belts. The counter argument was that the WBO was not generally recognised at that time. The problem I had with that was that the WBO title was then held by Vitali Klitschko which is a fact and that the statement that the WBO was not generally recognised is opinion. If you feel I am wrong then please provide me the date by which you consider the WBO was “generally” recognised? Before Lewis beat Holyfield Vitali Klitschko, Thomas Hearns, Chris Eubank, Joe Calzaghe, Nigel Benn, Gerald McClellan, Winky Wright, Hector Camacho, Oscar De La Hoya, Acelino Frietas, Naseem Hamed, Marco Antonio Barrera, Johnny Tapia, Michael Carbajal, Jorge Arce and Ricardo Lopez had already been WBO champions. You might get an argument from the supporters of those fighters if you suggest they were not really world champions then.
I am an admirer of Gennady Golovkin. He is a great, talented and entertaining fighter who never bad-mouths or denigrates an opponent so a credit to the sport. You get what you see but there are things you don’t see because Golovkin tends to be a very private person and the Golovkin story has not always been a happy one. Gennady and his twin brother Max were both encouraged to take up boxing by their elder brothers Sergey and Vadim. Both of the elder brothers joined the Russian Army and both died in combat, Vadim in 1990 and Sergey in 1994 so the Gennady family has known deep sadness. Gennady and Max continued with their boxing. When it came time for boxers to qualify for the 2004 Olympics there was only one spot available in Athens and the Golovkin twins were both in line for the available slot. The Golovkin family decided that as Gennady was oldest-by 15 minutes- he should go to Athens. Gennady went on to win the silver medal and Max-who according to Gennady was the better boxer never boxed again but remains very much a part of the Golovkin team. There is a song “What a Difference a Day Makes” but for the Golovkin brothers and boxing what a difference 15 minutes made.
Figures released say that Vasyl Lomachenko’s purse for the Anthony Crolla title defence was $1.3 million and Crolla’s $300,000. It was amusing to hear Lomachenko saying he would fight Gervonta Davis for free. I couldn’t help but envisage Loma’s manager, trainer, sparring partner’s etc. getting out their calculators to figure out what their percentage of nothing might add up to!
I thought the absconding by top Cuban boxers had ceased but it is not so. Former World Amateur Champion Joahnys Argilagos is preparing to have his first pro fight. It took a long while to get him a visa but he is now being mentored by Erislandy Lara. Apart for the World Championships gold competing at 49kgs he was Cuban champion, World Youth gold medallist, took silver at the Pan American games and won a bronze medal in Rio.
There is another Pacquiao in the ring. Last week Jimuel Pacquiao, Manny’s son, had his first amateur fight and won on a second round kayo. It is not going to be easy for Jimuel to live with the Pacquiao name.
Sometimes I really do wonder about the people who are supposed to administer our sport. On 12 April the New Hampshire Boxing and Wrestling Commission approved a fight between Vincenzo Carita and Claudio Morroni Porto which local fighter Carita won on a first round kayo. Carita 34 had a 19-1-1 record before the fight with 18 of his 19 wins by KO/TKO nine in the first round. Brazilian Porto had an 8-4-1 record he is 47 years old and the first round knockout he suffered against Carita was his fifth first round kayo loss in a row. Disgraceful!
Two boxers who you might thought had or were going to retire made it clear it was not over for them. Despite a shock points loss to 11-5-1 Oscar Mojica and a broken nose Paddy Barnes is adamant that he will be back in action soon. The move to bantamweight did not work but there is still plenty of fight in “The Leprechaun”. Former WBO light welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov says that although he has not fought since losing to John Molina in November 2016 he is only taking a break having been sickened by boxing politics and will return
How things change. I am old enough to remember the days when the Eastern Bloc countries used to hog the medals at the Olympics and the European Championships. We consoled ourselves by saying they would never survive in the professional ranks now three Russian an a Ukrainian hold the four belts in the light heavyweight division and nine other former “amateur only” countries have nine other belts.
Two statues, two boxers, two very different outcomes. In Argentina yet another statue was raised to honour the memory of Oscar Bonavena. Heavyweight “Ringo” was idolised in Argentina but never quite made it to the pinnacle. With a 58-9-1 record including 44 wins by KO/TKO the nearest he came was a fifteen round points loss to Joe Frazier in 1968 with Frazier’s New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) version of the title on the line. Back in 1967 Oscar had entered the WBA heavyweight Elimination Tournament to find a new WBA champion when Muhammad Ali was stripped off the title by WBA and the NYSAC after he was convicted of draft evasion. In the Tournament Oscar beat Karl Mildenberger but lost to Jimmy Ellis. He fought just about every top heavyweight around before being shot and killed in May 1976 and three statues shows how revered he was in Argentina.
Carlos Monzon for me was the greatest Argentinian fighter ever. When he retired in 1977 he had an 87-3-9,1ND record, had ruled the middleweights for seven years, made 14 title defences and was unbeaten in his last 80 fights. Naturally he was elected to the Hall of Fame, naturally there was a statue dedicated to him after he died in a car accident in 1995. The statue was removed for refurbishment and when the task was finished it was ready to be re-erected. That’s when the darker side of Monzon caused problems. When Monzon died he was out on furlough from prison. He had been convicted in 1988 for killing his common-law wife and sentenced to eleven years. Members of a feminist group protested strongly over the statue being re-erected so it has not been replaced. Unfortunately great fighters are not necessarily great men and times have changed since 1995.
Still on Argentina Marcos Maidana having signed a contract for three fights this year says the first will be in June but no opponent named. Maidana at the time of talking said he had come down from 215lbs to 170lbs so he is obviously serious. Less pleasant news had former WBO welter and super welter title challenger Sebastien Lujan arrested on robbery charges. If convict he won’t want for company as his former manager is doing time for drug trafficking.
By Eric Armit
I felt instinctively that the four major sanctioning bodies were very successful companies when it came to growth. They are “companies”. Income and expenditure has to be controlled, employees have to be paid, business is conducted on an international basis and there is competition from the other sanctioning bodies. They are companies with just one major source of income and that is sanctioning fees for their title fights. When I was a lad there were only eight divisions (no I don’t remember bare knuckles and knee britches so don’t ask) and generally one universally recognised champion in each division with Ring Magazine the accepted gospel on who those champions were. The first big change came when a world-wide coalition of boxing movers and shakers became so angered at the machinations of the WBA that they met and supported the set up the WBC. After that with no improvement in the way the WBA conducted its affairs a break-away group set up the IBF and later another group of people and organisations dissatisfied with the WBA set up the WBO. Now we had four bodies who in order to survive had to take money out of the pockets of promoters and boxers so effectively out of boxing. These bodies quickly realised that sanctioning fees from world title fights alone was not enough for them to sustain or grow their organisations. Even increasing the number of weight divisions from eight eventually to seventeen was not enough so like any business that sees its single product (world titles) is not bringing in enough money you have to diversify (create more title). At one time you might have described the proliferation of titles as a cottage industry but it seemed to me it has developed from there into a production line with new titles manufactured with a frequency that Ford Motors might envy. But was my instinct right or my perception false? I decided to do a check as to whether the proliferation activities were as rampant as I thought they were.
At the high end of the market there are still world titles but they have not been spared proliferation. We now have Super titles, plain old World titles, Regular titles (and that is a misnomer if ever there was one) and Interim titles and some champions have been labelled Champion in Recess, Champion Emeritus. Whilst I can make some kind of weird sense about those Super etc. I have no idea what the WBC Diamond title is and the WBA have switched Arsen Goulamirian from interim champion to Gold champion whatever that means.
The IBF so far have stuck with one world champion and are to be congratulated for that so they have 17 titles, The WBA list Super, regular and Interim so if we ignore their Gold then they have 51 tiles, the WBC have World and Interim and if we ignore their Diamond they have 34 and the WBO also has World and Interim so another 34. We have gone from 8 world titles to 136 world titles. That’s proliferation.
Since their first title fight in 1983 there have been 1,312 fights with the IBF title involved. For the WBA, since the split off by the WBC in 1962 there have been 2049 fights involving a WBA world title. Since 1962 there have been 2003 fights involving the WBC title and since their birth in 1988 1,134 fights involving the WBO title although many of the fights above involved unification of the titles.
The real growth industry has been in the area of the various Regional titles such as Inter-Continental, Latino, Asia Pacific, WBO European (I differentiate from the EBU as their titles are nothing to do with the WBC), International, North American etc. The IBF has 14 titles of this nature, The WBA has 11, the WBC has 26 and the WBO has 15. With 17 divisions involved that means there are now 1,132 titles which did not exist until the sanctioning bodies set the production line going at full throttle and don’t even let me get started on the IBO, WBFederation, WBFoundation, Global Boxing Council, Global Boxing Union, Universal Boxing Federation etc. and for all of the above in theory you also have female titles!
If the above has done nothing for you then for me it tells me that my perception and reality are in agreement and if I am dumb enough to write another piece like this in a year’s time there will even more titles and title fights-it’s what growth industries do.
It’s a relief to see that the WBSS is still alive. The 27 April show featuring Regis Prograis vs. Kiryl Relikh in the super light semi-final and Nonito Donaire vs. Zolani Tete bantam semi-final has no venue yet but having a date is good news after all of the uncertainty. In the other semi-finals in Glasgow on 18 May both the Josh Taylor vs. Ivan Baranchyk IBF title fight and the Emmanuel Rodriguez vs. Naoya Inoue bantam match (it can’t be a unification fight as Inoue only holds the secondary WBA title) are the sort of clashes that made the first WBSS such a success.
French heavyweight Tony Yoka is coming to the end of a one year suspension for dodging four tests. There are already names being put forward for him with former WBC title challenger Johann Duhaupas on the list but it looks as though that will not happen until later in the year.
Artur Beterbiev will defend his IBF light heavy title against Swede Sven Fornling in Stockton on 4 May. There had been talk of Beterbiev fighting on a show in Moscow in April sharing the top billing with Murat Gassiev who will by then have fully recovered from the shoulder injury that has kept him out of the ring since losing to Oleg Usyk in July.
Great show being put together for Inglewood on 26 April. WBC super fly champion Srisaket and Juan Francisco Estrada will clash again as Estrada seeks to get revenge for his loss to Srisaket in February 2018 and WBA super bantam champion Daniel Roman and IBF champion JT Doheny face each other in a unification match with Scott Quigg and Jesse Vargas also on the show.
According to some sources by beating Bermane Stiverne Joy Joyce won a WBA eliminator and could fight Manuel Charr for the secondary WBA title later this year. As Stiverne is a former world champion there was some interest in how Joyce would handle him but that the WBA saw a 40-year-old fat and out of condition Stiverne who had not fought for 15 months and seen less than three minute ring time in over three years as a suitable guy to fight in a world title eliminator is up to their usual standards. It seems that the mandated fight for Charr to defend against Fres Oquendo- who has not fought since July 2014-is no longer mandated. That’s good news for Joyce as he would start as favourite against Charr who last fought in November 2017. Charr was given a derisory six month ban after testing positive for two banned substances. Compare that to Tony Yoka who was banned for a year for avoiding tests so never tested positive with Charr who tested positive for two banned substances only banned for six months.
Filipino Donnie Nietes has his sights set on some attractive matches and obviously feels that he does not want anything to stand in the way of those hopes so has withdrawn from the purse bidding for a defence of his WBO flyweight title against Aston Palicte and has relinquished the title. It would be interesting to see Nietes fight IBF champion and fellow Filipino Jerwin Ancajas but Ancajas has agreed to defend his title against his mandatory challenger Ryuichi Funai.
Badou jack is staying in the boxing business. The former WBC super middle champion and holder of the secondary WBA light heavy title is setting up his own promoting company out in Dubai with 3 May the projected date for his first show.
Recent purses saw Leo Santa Cruz reportedly getting $1 million for fighting Rafael Rivera, Gervonta Davis collecting $1 million for his defence against Hugo Ruiz with Ruiz picking up $100,000. On the Santa Cruz undercard Omar Figueroa was paid $225, 000 and John Molina $200,000 for their fight and on the undercard to Davis vs. Ruiz Mario Barrios , Sharif Bogere and Ishe Smith received $75,000 each with Erickson Lubin paid $41,400 and Javier Fortuna $40,000. Good money but if it was doable Santa Cruz and Davis would be looking to more than double their payments.
By Eric Armit
It looks as though Anthony Joshua’s first fight in the USA will be against Jarrell Miller in New York on 1 June and confirmation of that is imminent. Reportedly Joshua’s purse will be his highest yet at $32 million. The WBC pushed the date for the purse bids for Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury back to 12 February with the parties said to be near to reaching an agreement. If the purse bidding does go ahead it will be interesting to see whether, as has been claimed, Wilder vs. Fury is a bigger fight. It is to the credit of the fighters and the Wilder/Fury people if they can come to an agreement in such a relatively short time.
With the possibility of Derek Chisora vs. Joseph Parker, Dillian Whyte vs. Dominic Breazeale on the cards, Joe Joyce vs. Bermane Stiverne on 23 February and Daniel Dubois and Nathan Gorman all scheduled to fight in the next two months I can’t remember the last time there was so much happening for British heavyweights. Definitely not the “horizontal heavyweights” of the past.
It is not just British heavyweights keeping busy with Agit Kabayel 18-0 defending the European title against Andriy Rudenko 32-3 on 2 March in Magdeburg and fellow SES heavyweight unbeaten Tom Schwarz 23-0 facing 17-1 Croatian Kristijan Krstacic on the same show. With Alex Povetkin likely to return to action in April and Kubrat Pulev facing Robert Helenius in the USA on 23 March (but that may fall through as the main event was to be Miguel Berchelt defending the WBC super feather title against Francisco Vargas and that fight has had to be put back to May due to Berchelt injuring his left hand) Romanian heavyweight Christian Hammer going where others fear to tread by taking on Luis Ortiz on 2 March it is a busy time for the heavyweights.
The WBSS is still limping along. It is a bit like a wounded animal-is it going to be able to limp safely to the end of the current rounds involving the cruiserweights, super lightweights and bantamweights or is it fatally wounded and destined to die out? It has been announced that the cruiserweight semi-final between Krzys Glowacki and Mairis Breidis will take place in Riga, Latvia, on 15 June but no date or venue yet for Yunier Dorticos vs. Andrew Tabiti. At super light Josh Taylor vs. Ivan Baranchyk has an 18 May date in Glasgow but no information yet available for Regis Prograis vs. Kiryl Relikh. At bantamweight nothing advised for Zolani Tete vs. Nonito Donaire or Naoya Inoue vs. Emmanuel Rodriguez. The quarter finals were held in October so you are looking at a gap of seven and eight months between even those fights already scheduled. It is encouraging that a couple of the six semi-finals have a date but the longer it is before the other four are schedules the more it looks like the wound is fatal.
Gilbert Ramirez has thrown his hat into the light-heavyweight mix indicating he is targeting Sergey Kovalev and it is a sensible move as there is very little for him in staying at super middle as the WBO ratings offer very little for Ramirez in the way of a challenge. In another move he is reported to have changed his manager and his trainer.
Rob Brant is set to make the first defence of the secondary WBA middleweight title on 15 February in Hinckley against unbeaten 17-0 Russian Khasan Baysangurov. Brant will be back in his home State of Minnesota where he turned pro and had most of his early fights.
Originally set for 6 February the WBA have reset the date for purse offers for three of their titles. Bids were due for Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Anthony Crolla at lightweight, Beibut Shumenov vs. Arsen Goulamirian at cruiser and Daniel Roman vs. Murodjon Akhmadaliev at bantam but they have delayed the purse opening to 13 February. You can be sure Top Rank will decide who Lomachenko fights in April and not the WBA. Shumenov vs. Goulamirian will be between their secondary champion and their gold champion as they continue to try to sort out the mess they made by having more champions than titles. They solved the Denis Lebedev problem by just making him disappear. As he is not in their ratings he is probably back in the recess they put him in before. You can be sure that the gold title they invented for Goulamirian will not disappear because there are sanctioning fees to be made from it. There was a faint hope that Roman might be allowed to fight IBF champion TJ Doheny in a unification fight but that looks unlikely.
Roman vs. Murodjon Akhmadaliev? If you have never heard of Murodjon Akhmadaliev let me say that he was a top level amateur but has only been a professional for less than a year. How did he become the WBA No 1 super bantamweight? Well this is another case where paying the sanctioning fee for one of their obscure minor titles can reap such rich rewards. After three six round fights in August last year Akhmadaliev beat world No 266 Ramon Contreras from Chile for the WBA Inter-Continental title and was parachuted into the WBA ratings at No 6. In November be beat Isaac Zarate rated No 66 or 70, depending on which independent ratings you go by, and beating the No 66/70 was enough for Akhmadaliev to rise to the No 1 spot in the WBA ratings. That abomination makes a complete mockery of the very principles that should underpin ratings. In the WBA ratings a sanctioning fee trumps a win over a rated opponent every time.
Olek Gvozdyk will put his WBC light heavyweight title on the line against Doudou Ngumbu in Philadelphia on March 30. It seems that Adonis Stevenson who had to be put in an induced come after losing the WBC title to Gvozdyk is making slow progress but it is progress. At the start of the year he was able to speak for the first time since being hospitalised and at the end of last month he took his first unaided steps. He has a long journey and I am sure he will tackle it with the same dedication and courage he showed as a fighter. That is one journey he won’t have to make unaided as his family his team at Group Yvon Michel and his fans will all be supporting him. If Gvozdyk gets past Ngumbu there will be pressure for him to fight Marcus Browne who beat Badou Jack in a final eliminator.
Miguel Cotto is going to be busy this year. On March his fighter Alberto Machado defends his WBA super featherweight title against Andrew Cancio and he has said that he plans to have ten shows in Puerto Rico to develop more talent.
With Saul Alvarez set to fight Daniel Jacobs in a unification match on 4 May in Las Vegas it is obvious that the secondary WBA super middle title will fall vacant. British fighter John Ryder is rated No 1 by the WBA with Fedor Chudinov No 2 and Chris Eubank Jr No 3 Chudinov would seem the most likely opponent although there has been a suggestion that David Lemieux could be in the other corner against Ryder.
The AIBA are fighting it but it seems that the IOC’s decision to cut the number of divisions to be competed for at the Olympics is going to stand. It is a blow to the lower divisions. The weight divisions will be: 52kg, 57kg, 63kg, 69kg, 75kg, 81kg, 91kg and +91kg. That means that instead of the four lighter divisions 49kg, 52kg, 56kg and 60kg there will now only be two divisions in that range. That will be blow to the little guys as they will all have to compete at a higher weight than in the past. That will mean a natural 49kg fighter having to compete in his national qualifiers at 52kg. It also means that there will be fewer medals available and often national funding is based on medals won previously or potential returns. It is yet another blow to boxing at the Olympics.
The Oubaali’s are another of boxing’s fighting families. Not surprising in their case. Nordine who won the WBC bantamweight title last month is the 13th of the 18 children in the family. Elder brother Ali lost only three of his 29 fights but unfortunately they were all in title fights. Now younger brother Messaoud is turning pro with his first bout scheduled for April. Ali and Nordine founded and run a gym in Deauviller with Olympic champion Estelle Mossely being one of their discoveries.
There are still rumours of a return to action by Marcos Maidana. A few weeks back he seemed to indicate he was about to return but then he indicated he was only joking. Now he says there have been people talking about fights for him and he is training. What is certain is that Omar Narvaez will return to the ring. Now 43 he is targeting March for his first fight.
By Eric Armit-
Manny Pacquiao once again illustrated his drawing power with his fight against Adrien Broner reportedly drawing 400,000 + PPV hits. Not the sort of figures he was drawing at his peak but still a very high return. He was guaranteed $10 million for this fight but will obviously earn a great deal more when the final figures for the gate etc. are taken into account. It is incredible to think that the wonder fighter from the Philippines won his first world title more than 20 years ago. He is 18-4-2 in world title fights and at 40 is still performing at the highest level. Surely one of the most remarkable fighters in the history of boxing. It’s a pity that this was for the secondary WBA title not the real title. The real champion Keith Thurman returns with a title defence this weekend. As for Broner he showed just how delusional he is as he was convinced he had won a fight where he threw less punches, landed less punches and rarely took a step forward. He has entertained in the past but it may be that his days as deserving of PPV status are over.
Of course the talk immediately turned to another fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr but it was stated that Mayweather was retired and was not interested in another fight with Pacquiao-but don’t rule it out.
Why should Mayweather take on Pacquiao when he can earn $10 million for blowing away a 20-year-old Japanese kick boxer/MMA fighter Tenshin Nasukawa in less than three minutes. The most amazing thing is that people actually paid to see this farce. It brought to mind something that happened a good few years ago. I went with my wife to see the irreverent and slightly mad comic genius Spike Milligan in a play. It was still the tradition then that the national anthem was played after every cinema and stage performance and you stood throughout the anthem. As the play finished there seemed to be no sign of the national anthem being played so we hesitantly got to our feet ready to leave. At that point Milligan emerged from behind the curtain in a scruffy overcoat and flat cap carrying a tin whistle. He proceeded to give a reedy wavering version of the anthem on the tin whistle. We were undecided. Ok it was the national anthem but being played on a tin whistle. However tradition ruled and we stood until Milligan finished. He looked at us, shook his head and said “If you’ll stand for that you’ll stand for anything”! That’s how I feel about those who paid for Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor and Tenshin Nasukawa.
Whilst the heavyweight division is currently focused on who Anthony Joshua will fight in April and the return match between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury the shadow of Oleg Usyk hangs over the division. The unbeaten Ukrainian will have his next outing in the USA on either the 18th or 25th of May but no opponent nominated yet. Surely Usyk will fight for the heavyweight title later this year.
From the sublime to the ridiculous. The WBA have ordered Manuel Charr to defend their secondary heavyweight title against Fres Oquendo. They were to have fought in September last year but Charr tested positive for a banned substance and the fright was cancelled. Initially Charr was suspended but not stripped off his title. There was no indication Charr intended to have a representative present for the testing of his B sample but he challenged that fact that he did not have someone there for the B test. The WBA backed off and as Charr was clean in subsequent tests-and he would have to have been stupid not to be-the WBA decided that his suspension had expired and he could return provided he defended against Oquendo within 60 days and the winner of that fight must fight the winner of a fight between their interim champion Trevor Bryan and Jarrell Miller even though there is no indication that a fight between Bryan and Miller will take place. Oquendo of course has not fought since July 2014. The Charr vs. Oquendo fight is now set for 23 March in Cologne. Thought I would give you date and place so that you could ensure you were somewhere else doing something else that night.
German heavyweight Michael Wallisch also gave a positive test after his losing effort against Christian Hammer in December and no news yet over his B sample. That fight was a farce. In the fourth round their heads collided and Wallisch went down and the referee counted him out. A 30 or 45 days suspension from fighting for the knockout? No instead they decided Wallisch should not have been counted out so they pretended the original fourth round never happened and restarted the fight with another fourth round and Wallisch was counted out again in the fifth! Hammer’s reward is a date with Luis Ortiz in New York on 2 March.
The Saul Alvarez vs. Daniel Jacobs fights looks a really attractive one. Jacobs is a totally different fighter style-wise to Gennady Golovkin and it is a fight Jacobs could win. It looks as though David Lemieux may also appear on the 4 May show. The Canadian will be fighting for the first time since he fainted from dehydration which led to his fight with Tureano Johnson being cancelled
Jose Ramirez’s defence of his WBC super lightweight title against Jose Zepeda also looks a good one. Ramirez is 23-0 and making the second defence of his title. Zepeda is 30-1 with the loss coming when he dislocated his shoulder in a fight against Terry Flanagan for the vacant WBO lightweight title in 2015. On the same show Ray Beltran will be having his first fight since losing his WBO lightweight title to Jose Pedraza in August. He meets the 19-0 Hiroki Okada and in a featherweight ten Genisis Servania 32-1 faces 21-0 Carlos Castro. Ramirez will be auctioning some items of his boxing equipment to raise funds for a Community Cancer Institute which is a great gesture.
I said that Broner was delusional but Don King seems to be going the same way. He is warning what Bermane Stiverne will do to English heavyweight hope Joe Joyce when they meet in London on the undercard to the exciting James DeGale vs. Chris Eubank Jr fight on 23 February. Let’s be clear this is a 40-year-old vastly overweight fighter who is having his first fight since being floored three times and stopped inside a round by Deontay Wilder in November 2017. King can talk a fight up but can Stiverne still walk the talk?
Interested in money? Of course. Lou DiBella won the bidding for the Jack Culcay vs. Sergiy Derevyanchenko final eliminator for the IBF title. DiBella ‘s bid was $425,515 and as Culcay is the higher of the two in the IBF ratings he gets 65% $276,000 and Derevyanchenko 35% $148,930. I can’t see Culcay winning this one.
Two fights had to be scrubbed from the undercard of the Pacquiao vs. Broner show when Filipino Jhack Tepora and Nicaraguan Carlos Buitrago came in ridiculously over the contract weights. Tepora was 5.5lbs over and Buitrago 6lbs over. It must have been obvious well in advance of the day of the weigh in that they would never make the weight but somehow no one spotted this so one fight was cancelled and the other saw a last minute substitute step in. Surely some check weights would have revealed this earlier. The WBC recently announced a number of initiatives to combat this very thing by laying out a complete weight check schedule to be followed. As it stated that for this to work they needed the collaboration of the promoters, manager, trainers etc. and without that it is just a very good idea with little hope of it being taken on board which is a great pity but at least the WBC are trying to tackle the problem which no one else appears to be doing.
With his victory over Badou Jack Marcus Browne became the fourth member of the US Team at the 2012 Olympics to win a version of a world title alongside Errol Spence, Jose Ramirez and Rau’shee Warren. Not bad for a team that failed to win a single medal and with Spence being the only one to get as far as the quarter-finals. In addition from the team Dominic Breazeale, Mike Hunter, Terrell Gausha and Joseph Diaz have challenged for world titles leaving Jamal Herring as the sole member not to win or challenge for a title and he is 19-2 with three good wins in 2018 so it is still possible that he will join the others in fight for or winning a title. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Class of 2016 where Shakur Stevenson’s silver was the only medal in male boxing the USA won in Rio. From the above it appears that the USA does not know how to produce medal winners in Olympic boxing but can turn under-achieving amateurs into professional champions.
Somehow it just doesn’t seem fair. A few years back in the AIBA World Series of Boxing the British Lionhearts found themselves facing the Ukrainian Otamans. The Ukrainian team won 4-1 but then it was fairly strong it contained Vasyl Lomachenko, Oleg Usyk and Olek Gvozdyk!
By Eric Armit
Difficult decision this week on who to vote for as my favourite man/people. The candidates are UFC President Dana White and the Board of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Difficult choice. White has to be a strong candidate for saying that if the Floyd Mayweather Jr vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov fight does come off it should be a UFC fight and not a boxing match. He is a candidate for making that statement and will do boxing a big favour if he sticks to that. Of course he can’t force it to be a UFC fight but hopefully his resistance to another boxing match will prove enough to end the speculation that this fight could take place. Mayweather is a genius inside the ring but hopefully, whilst no genius out of the ring still mart enough to realise he could be seriously injured in the cage and we will have dodged another farce. Go for it Dana.
The CAS has given Olympic boxing a lifeline by ordering the AIBA to allow Serik Konakbayev to be a candidate in this week’s presidential election. If interim president Gafur Rahimov had been the sole candidate there is every chance that the Olympic Committee would banish boxing from the Olympics. It is ridiculous that without this court action Rahimov, who is on the US Department of the Treasury’s sanctions list “for providing material support “ to a criminal organisation would have lead such a high profile sports body. You only have to look at the list of current world champions to see the important part Olympic competition has played. Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua, Oleg Usyk, Artur Beterbiev, Demetrius Andrade, Gary Russell, Errol Spence, Vasyl Lomachenko, Isaac Dogboe, Khalid Yafai and Jose Pedraza were all Olympians. Of course there will still be amateur boxing even if the sport is not an Olympic sport but there must be a huge question over government support to boxing where the return in Olympic medals is a big factor in the support and sponsorship money given to the sport. My fear is that having been pig-headed enough to try to push Rahimov through as a sole candidate many AIBA delegates will react badly to having their plan foiled and vote Rahimov in just to thumb their noses at the CAS and the US Department of Treasury.
It is the next round of the WBSS super lights and bantams this weekend. The competition is already producing some great action and the Josh Taylor vs. Ryan Martin and Ryan Burnett vs. Nonito Donaire fights have the potential to be every bit as entertaining. The WBSS really is making a big impact and they are proving that the fights are more important than any title. With the WBSS in control of the various matches it is taking much of the decision making on who fights for what title and against whom out of the control of the sanctioning bodies but they all want to be associated with it so are playing along and basking in whatever glory comes out. All our own work? No none of your work Mr Sanctioning Body.
The next round of the WBSS cruiser tournament takes place in Chicago on 10 November. It will see the tournament favourite Mairis Breidis face Noel Gevor, or Noel Mikaeljin as he now seems to prefer to be known, and Krzys Glowacki against Maksim Vlasov. They are both very good fights between highly rated fighters. Breidis is No 1 with the WBC, and Vlasov No 2, the WBO have Glowacki No 2 and Vlasov No 5 the WBA have Vlasov No 2 and Glowacki No 3. The No 1 spot with the IBF is vacant with Andrew Tabiti who is already through to the semi-finals at No 3 and Glowacki No 7. Gevor’s only rating is No 14 with the WBC but then he is promoted by Sauerland promotions which explains his inclusion. Of course Yuniel Dorticos is also through to the semi-finals.
The elephant in the room is that on the same night in Manchester Oleg Usyk defends all four titles against Tony Bellew. Whoever wins that fight it is likely that all four titles will become vacant during the life of this WBSS tournament but until after the Usyk vs. Bellew and thee 10 November quarter-finals are over it won’t be clear who will be fighting for three of the four titles. It is impossible to know what is happening with the WBA. In their September ratings they showed Usyk as super champion, Beibut Shumenov as their secondary champion, and Arsen Goulamirian as their interim champion and Denis Lebedev as “champion in recess”. Their October ratings do not show Goulamirian at all and show Dorticos at No 1. I am not sure why Goulamirian has disappeared totally and I am also not sure how Lebedev can be “in recess” as he had a fight in September. It seems likely he will be reinstated and his fight with Mike Wilson on 24 November on a show in Monaco will be a title defence-of some title. Leave it to the WBA to screw things up at least in that they are reliable.
Apart from their headaches in the cruisers the WBA are still struggling to sort out the position on their secondary heavyweight title. Manuel Charr was to have defended the title against Fres Oquendo on 29 September but of course Charr tested positive for a banned substance. That ruled out Charr and as Oquendo rightly turned down a $500,000 offer to fight Jarrell Miller the WBA are still on the hook from the court case where they were ordered to give Oquendo a title fight. Oquendo has not fought for four years and the way it is going I can see him fighting for the title against Anthony Joshua’s grandson. That would be more like Super 88 than Super 8. No WBA title fight for Miller Instead he will fight Romanian Bogdan Dinu in Mulvane, Kansas on 17 November.
It is only natural that Daniel Jacobs should be calling out Saul Alvarez but the IBF may put a spoke in that wheel. Before the Serhiy Derevyanchenko fight Jacobs was rated behind Jack Culcay at No 3 so they may insist he fight Culcay before anyone else.
The Jeff Horn vs. Anthony Mundine fight in Brisbane on 30 November will be a huge fight for Australia. I am amazed by Mundine. At 43 he is still a force but what amazes me is that he started out as a super middle, moved up to middle, went down to super welter, fought Danny Green at cruiser and is now going to fight welterweight Jeff Horn at catchweight. He is a very controversial figure in Australia due to his strong stance on racial matters and he has said that he will not stand during the national anthem in Brisbane.
Juan Francisco will have a keep busy fight as he waits for a return shot at Srisaket. Estrada will face former WBC flyweight champion Sonny Boy Jaro. The Filipino scored a major upset when he beat Pongsaklek for the WBC title in 2012 but then lost three fights in a row including dropping the WBC title. He has won 10 of his 11 fights since then but at 36 and past his best he should pose no threat to Estrada.
The planned fight for the secondary WBA super welter title between the champion Brian Castano and former champion Erislandy Lara has been postponed until sometime early next year.
Two of Poland’s leading heavyweights, Artur Szpilka and Mariusz Wach will battle it out in Gliwice on 10 November. I don’t like the term “Crossroads” but the loser will find it hard to stay relevant if he loses here. At 29 it is not quite so critical for Szpilka but at 38 time is running out for Wach.
There will an IBF eliminator in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 5 January to find a challenger for Errol Spence. The IBF No 1 spot vacant, No 2 Yordenis Ugas is lined up to challenge Shawn Porter for the WBC title in February and No 3 Jesse Vargas declined to fight an eliminator. The outcome is that Kuala Lumpur-based Uzbek Kudratillo Abdukakhorov the No 4 and Japan’s Keita Obara No 6 will fight each other to fill the No 1 spot. It seems that the Porter vs. Ugas fight will be on the same show as Spence vs. Mikey Garcia.
With Zolani Tete tied up in the WBSS bantam tournament the WBO are already looking to crown an interim champion. Ghanaian Duke Micah is rated No 1 by the WBO with Mexican Ricardo Espinoza No 2. Micah is a certainty but as yet it is not clear if Espinoza will accept the opportunity. If Isaac Dogboe retains his WBO super bantam title against Emanuel Navarrete in New York on 8 December, then with Micha’s title fight and Richard Commey now to meet Russian Isa Chaniev for the IBF light title relinquished by Mikey Garcia Ghana could have three world champion in the first half of 2019.
Plenty of good fights to come for the EBU tiles. From the lighter to the heavier a date is awaited for Andrew Selby’s challenge to Vicente Legrand for the flyweight title. Jeremy Parodi and Luca Rigoldi contest the vacant super bantam title on 17 November, on 14 November Samir Ziani and Juli Giner fight for the vacant super feather title, Francesco Patera, fresh from his upset victory over Lewis Ritson, will defend the lightweight title against Marvin Petit with purse bids due 19 November The super light title is vacant and Joe Hughes and Andrea Scarpa will fight for that on 30 November in Italy, Kerman Lejarraga defends the welterweight title against Frankie Gavin in Bilbao on 17 November, at super welter Sergio Garcia will be allowed a voluntary defence and then has to fight Zakaria Attou, negotiations are ongoing for Kamil Szeremeta to defend his title against Martin Murray, Robin Krasniqi has a voluntary defence of his light heavyweight title against Stefan Haertel on 17 November and if he wins he then has to defend against Juergen Brahmer. Cruiserweight champion Yves Ngabu is defending against Micki Nielsen no date yet for that one and finally if no agreement is reached purse bids are due 13 November for Agit Kabayel’s defence of the heavyweight title against Otto Wallin. Quite a schedule and some high quality fights.
Marcos Maidana is still scoring victories but in the courts not in the ring. The former WBA super light and welter champion sued his former manager claiming that he had defrauded Maidana of over $600,000. The court ruled that his manager had adulterated contracts, forged Maidana’s signature and collected money in the name of Maidana including a $175,000 signing on fee that Maidana should have received as signing on bonus from Universum Media. Whether Maidana will be able to recover the money is a different matter.
On the South African scene it was good to learn that Gideon Buthelezi was finally paid in full for his IBO title defence against Lucas Fernandez. However there is a lesson there that when you bend the rules even with the best of intentions it can rebound on you. This time not insisting on the promoter having the money instead of a promise from a sponsor for the money has ended happily but that has not always been the case in the past.
There was some controversy over Tommy Oosthuizen’s win over Thabiso Mchunu in September so they will fight each other again on a Rodney Berman show on 6 December. On the same show unbeaten Thulani Mbenge will be defending his IBO welterweight title against experienced former IBF lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez.
The Italian Boxing Hall of Fame was formally opened late last month. Nino Benvenuti, Patricio Oliva, Mauricio Stecca and the late Giovanni Parisi were the first inductees. They are unique in that they are the only Italian boxers to win both an Olympic gold medal and a world title. Parisi tragically died in an automobile accident in 2009 at the age of just 41. There have been so many great Italian boxers and boxers of Italian heritage it will interesting to see who else joins this famous four in the Hall.
Not such good news for Italians was the death last month of Piero Del Papa at the age of 80. Del Papa was Italian light heavyweight champion and twice held the European title. In his twelve year 62 fight career he fought Eddie Cotton, Mauro Mina, Carl Bobo Olsen, Giulio Rinaldi, Chic Calderwood, Tom Bogs, Gregorio Peralta, Rudi Lubbers and so many more. His only shot at a world title came in his 55th fight when he was knocked out in one round by Vicente Rondon for the WBA light heavy title. RIP Piero.
Last month also saw the death of one of Kenya’s outstanding boxers in Richard Murunga. He put Kenya on the map when he came out of nowhere to win a bronze medal at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich where Kenya also won a silver and another bronze. He turned pro in 1974 and had a few fights in Europe for Mogen Palle. After he retired despite a spinal injury making him a paraplegic he played a big part in boxing in Kenyan as a trainer and later as a manager and founded the Kenyan Boxing Federation. RIP Richard.
Former world light heavy and cruiser champion Dariusz Michalczewski is entering the ranks of promoters. His first show will be a co-promotion with Erol Celan in Gdansk on 8 December. Michalczewski was 48-2 in his pro career winning his first 48 fights including 25 consecutive victories in WBO WBA and IBF title fights over two divisions.
Always expect the unexpected in boxing. After suffering his seventh loss in his last eight fights Georgian boxer Levan Shonia went back to his corner leaned over the ropes and punched his trainer. That was more than he had managed in six rounds against Spas Genov.
By Eric Armit
With boxing it can be difficult at times to decide whether to cheer, laugh or cry and that’s how it appears right now. We have just enjoyed a master class from Terrence Crawford when beating Jose Benavidez. The show reportedly drew the highest US viewing figures this year for any boxing show either broadcast or cable this. We have Tony Bellew lining up to fight Olek Usyk on November 10 with all four cruiserweight belts on the lined. Saul Alvarez is moving up to fight Rocky Fielding for the secondary WBA super middleweight title on 16 December, we have a very competitive WBSS super light tournament on the go and a bantamweight tournament that holds out the possibility of some very tasty fights, Vasyl Lomachenko will try to unify the WBA and WBO lightweight titles when he faces Jose Pedraza on 8 December and Mikey Garcia looks set to defend his IBF lightweight title against Richard Commey. If Garcia wins then a Lomachenko vs. Garcia fight will be an immediate topic of conversation. On 22 December Josh Warrington will put his IBF featherweight title on the line against Carl Frampton and of course there will be a huge WBC heavyweight title fight between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury on 1 December with combined records of 67-0 and two very different styles and very different people. Plenty there for our pleasure.
The laugh or cry comes in with Floyd Mayweather Jr having trouble not being the big super star so announcing he is going to fight some UFC guy named Khabib Nurmagomedov on 31 December. After that somehow he will fit in another fight with Conor McGregor-once was more than enough-and then Manny Pacquiao-once was more than enough-with Mayweather claiming that he estimates his purse for Nurmagomedov could be $110 to $200 million. Hell I didn’t realise there were that many idiots in the world. This isn’t about boxing it’s about an ego that can’t stand not being the main man in the headlines. I am tempted to shout for Nurmagomedov.
Manny Pacquiao did not help my mood by saying he expected to fight Mayweather on 5 May
Looking at some of the above obviously the call now is for a Crawford vs. Errol Spence fight which would be a great event. The snag as it often is is the respective contracts Crawford and Spence are under. It would mean Top Rank and ESPN for Crawford doing business with Showtime for Spence but for a fight this big there will be plenty of incentive for the parties to find a way to make it happen.
For those interested in money-as I am-Crawford’s purse for the Benavidez fight was $3.625 million and Benavidez took $500,000. Crawford vs. Spence would be much bigger then that but let’s hope the Crawford keeps his hands to himself at any face-to-face stuff.
For Alvarez vs. Fielding the obvious size difference is a factor with Fielding having been over the light heavyweight limit in some of his early fights and Alvarez having weighed as low as 140lbs in his early days. Alvarez has never weighed more than 164lbs. The fight contract has a stipulation that at the second weigh-in to be held on the day of the fight neither fighter must be more than 10lbs over what he was in the original weigh in. It is also amazing how quickly the water flows under the bridge in boxing. A year ago Alvarez was going to throw the WBC belt in to the bin if he beat Golovkin this week he was feted by the WBC as a great champion and pictured proudly wearing the green belt.
Obviously the huge agreement signed by Alvarez and DAZN guaranteeing Alvarez $365 million for 5-year, 11 fights deal has cause quite a stir. It seems a bit ambitious to me. No one knows what will happen next week in boxing let alone five years. At the beginning of 2017 Roman Gonzalez was recognised by some as the No 1 pound-for-pound fighter yet by September after his second loss to Srisaket he was being written off. A win for Rocky Fielding would make that deal look pretty silly.
Of course Manny Pacquiao is still on the scene and he has confirmed he will fight Adrien Broner on 12 January. Manny has stayed around too long. His legacy is huge enough for us to forgive him for this but he needs to walk away soon.
The last of the HBO boxing shows will be held on 8 December. No venue yet but it will feature Roman Gonzalez and Norwegian “First Lady” Cecilia Braekhus. The 37-year-old Colombian-born Braekhus will be defending her IBF, WBA, WBC, WBO and IBO welterweight titles. An amazing fighter. There is plenty of talk of Gonzalez challenging WBA super fly champion Khalid Yafai down the line. In the meantime Yafai is set to defend his title on the big Monaco show against No 13 Mexican Israel Gonzalez who lost to Jerwin Ancajas for the IBF title in February.
Jaime Munguia is determined to be a busy champion. He will fight on either 7 or 15 December and if it is the 15th then it will be a main support to Alvarez vs. Fielding. The name being bandied about as his opponent is 13-0-1 Takeshi Inoue. Don’t worry Jamie I don’t think he is any relation to Naoya Inoue.
The WBA’s stupidity is showing again. On November 24 on a big show in Monaco Denis Lebedev will defend his ???? WBA title against American Mike Wilson. Putting aside the fact that Wilson has never fought any opponent remotely near to world rated (he is No 57 in the BoxRec ratings) the ???? is there because according to Matchroom Boxing Lebedev is defending his WBA cruiserweight title. The WBA super champion is Oleg Usyk, the secondary champion is Beibut Shumenov and the interim champion is Arsen Goulamirian and poor Denis is “champion in recess” so no matter who wins the WBA do not have a title for him. Lebedev has come out of “recess” so will want to know where his title is and they can hardly put Wilson in recess if he wins.
The WBO had their well-oiled ratings elevator working. Last weekend Angel Acosta defended his WBO light flyweight title with a second round kayo of Mexican Abraham Rodriguez. The challenger had a very impressive looking 23-1 record. So it’s okay as long as you ignore that in his last two fights he lost in March on a fifth round retirement against a guy with a 6-2 record so naturally he was not in the ratings. In July he won a six round fight against a fighter with a 4-9 record and that was good enough to get him a No 11 rating and a second round crushing kayo from Acosta.
Oscar Valdez will return to action on 12 January. No opponent named yet but it will be a defence of his WBO featherweight title with the plan then being to go for a unification match with the winner of Warrington and Frampton.
British heavyweight action will see Hughie Fury attempt to make himself the mandatory challenger for Anthony Joshua’s IBF title by beating Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev in Sofia on 27 October. A very winnable fight for Fury. In December it looks likely that Dillian White will face Dereck Chisora in what White must be hoping is the last fight he has to take before getting a return against Joshua
The Philippines has only one world champion right now in WBO minimumweight title holder Vic Saludar (Pacquiao holds the secondary WBA welterweight title so not a world title in my reckoning) but that could change on 29 October when Randy Petalcorin (29-2-1) takes on Nicaraguan Felix Alvarado (33-2) for the vacant IBF light fly title. It will be Alvarado’s third shot at a title having lost to Kazuto Ioka for the secondary WBA light flyweight title in 2013 and to Juan Carlos Reveco for the secondary WBA flyweight title in 2014.
Joseph Parker will return to the ring on 15 December in Christchurch. His opponent will be Alex Flores. Flores has a 17-1-1 record with 15 wins by KO/TKO but again don’t look too closely. In 2014 he lost inside the distance to Charles Martin and boxed a six round draw with an opponent who was 4-4-2. He had one fight in 2015, did not fight in 2016 and had one fight in 2017 and one fight in June this year all against low level opposition. Should not be a hard task for Parker.
A little while back there was a problem in South Africa with visiting-and home- fighters not getting paid. It was a disgrace mainly because the rule on purses being lodged before the fights was not enforced. I thought things had improved but the influential South African web site “Sowetan Live” carried a story that seems to indicate there is still a problem. The paper alleges that the promoter did not have the money to put up before Gideon Buthelezi defended his IBO title against Lucas Emanuel Fernandez East London on 27 July. With the promoter unable to pay Buthelezi the amount he was due the fight was going to be cancelled. However an official in the Boxing South Africa Board (BSA)convinced Buthelezi to agree to sign a contract for a sum of about approx $1,400 and BSA reportedly paid him that amount with the promise that the balance would be paid later by the promoter. Nearly three months later Buthelezi is still waiting for his money. The promoter did not have the money at fight time but had partnered with the local municipality for the $30,000 needed and has assured Buthelezi he will get paid. The municipality said that it had approved the request from the promoter and that it was with their legal services and if there were no legal challenges the sum would be paid to the promoter and Buthelezi can only hope the promoter will then pays him. If the Sowetan’s allegations are true then as both the BSA and the IBO experienced this before they don’t seem to have learnt anything from it. The IBO can say that it is a domestic problem but the name of the IBO was on the title fight and it does not reflect well on them that the same thing has happened again. It would seem the BSA took this action to ensure the fight went on and in view of their promise to Buthelezi and as he is licensed by them they have an obligation to make sure Buthelezi gets paid and that this does not happen again.
Danish Hall of Fame promoter Mogens Palle has a show coming up on 24 November. He is bringing in former interim WBA Middleweight champion Dmitri Chudinov as a very tough test for his Danish light heavyweight prospect Jeppe Morell. Next year Palle will celebrate 60 years of promoting fights. Some achievement.
Former WBC light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal will get one more shot at the big time. After a number of outside the ring problems it seemed that he was going to retire but he has landed a shot at WBA champion Dmitry Bivol in Atlantic City on 24 November. Unbeaten Russian heavyweight Evgeny Tischenko is schedule to fight on the undercard.
Something that could bring tears to your eyes is the disappearance of two building in Detroit. The Kronk gym was demolished and the Joe Louis Area is closed and going the same way, It appears that the closure and sale of the land where the arena stands has had to be undertaken as part of the restructuring deal to get the City out of bankruptcy. It is ironic that they have been selling off the seats from the arena for a few months and have raised over a $1 million, It took Joe Louis 17 years to earn $4 million.
The more that the Erkan Teper reported positive test is investigated the worse the situation seems. It is alleged that this is not the first time Teper has tested positive. He tested positive after his EBU title winning contests against Newfel Ouatah in June 2014. In that case he waived the opening of his B sample, a tacit admission of guilt. The Bund Deutscher Berufsboxer (BDB), the German body affiliated to the EBU, initially banned Teper for nine months and then reduced his ban to six months but did not make the failed tests public and it is not clear whether they advised the EBU of this positive test. That ban ran from the date of the offence and its reduction coincidentally made it possible for Teper to win the vacant IBF Inter-Continental title by beating Johann Duhaupas in March last year. Also ignored was an April 2015 raid on Teper where allegedly substances such as Clenbuterol, testosterone and growth hormones were found. That is an on-going investigation being carried out by the Munich public prosecutor involving the premises where the drugs were uncovered. I find the attitude of the EBU to the reported positive test after the David Price fight puzzling. Even though their affiliate the BDB, Teper’s home Board, have declared the fight a No Contest the EBU has so far refused to change the result of the fight. The title was declared vacant reportedly due to Teper being injured and unable to go through with his defence against Robert Helenius personally I find the timing of that suspicious in view of the reported positive test being revealed such a short while after Teper pulled out of the fight, but that could be a coincidence and I could just have a suspicious nature. In the event that the allegations are proven beyond doubt that Teper did take a banned substance then justice dictates the both the Ouatah and the Price results should be changed to No Contest. In fact Ouatah has a stronger case than Price as Teper made a tacit confession and was given a ban by the BDB so there are no grounds for not changing that result unless there is a statute of limitations for cheats with Lance Armstrong and other cheats being stripped of their titles it does not seem so.
The WBA have been shuffling again. With Andre Ward having relinquished their Super super middle title they have promoted the holder of their secondary title Fedor Chudinov to Super Champion. As far as I can see he does not meet any of the criteria for that promotion but hey presto! It leaves the secondary title vacant and on 19 January interim champion Vincent Feigenbutz fights Giovanni De Carolis for the now vacant secondary title and that will leave the interim title vacant with another sanctioning fee raked in eventually. Just so cynical the way it is manipulated. Chudinov’s fight with Felix Sturm on 20 February will now be for the WBA Super super middle title. Not a bad reward to Sturm for not having won a fight since December 2013.
Strange about Ward. He relinquished the WBA super middle title on 12 November but in the WBA ratings published 10 December he had disappeared completely-fallen down a hole? However he has a date with Sullivan Barrera the current WBA No 6. Ward at light heavy would open another avenue so that some of the focus could come off the Sergey Kovalev-Adonis Stevenson will they/won’t they game as a Ward fight against either would be a big fight. With Ward working closely with the WBA Kovalev would seem to have the inside track.
So sad to hear of the death of Howard Davis Jr. Such a hugely talented boxer outstanding as an amateur with his gold medal at the 1976 Olympics where he took the Best Boxer award ahead of such other talented team mates such as Sugar Ray Leonard. He won 25 of his first 26 pro fights but the loss was the all important decision against Jim Watts for the WBC lightweight title. He came real close in 1984 losing on split decision against Edwin Rosario in Puerto Rico in a second shot at the WBC title. He kept fighting drawing with Meldrick Taylor in a fight between two classy stylist but lost to Joe Manley and Hector Camacho in non-title fights before having his final chance at a title being knocked out by James McGirt in 1988 for the IBF super light title. He lost his last fight to unbeaten Dana Rosenblatt who was the only non-world/future world or past world champion to beat him. I always felt that the loss to Jim Watt was a turning point for him. It was a fight he could have won and was expected to win but the impact of losing affected him beyond that fight. He went on to train and promote in mixed martial arts and died tragically early at 59. RIP Howard.
The bouts in Japan at the end of the year featured fighters who had benefited from the ratings magic carpet. That’s the one that sends a fighter flying high with no visible means of support (or justification). The WBA excelled themselves as usual. Luis de la Rosa who fought Ryoichi Taguchi for the vacant WBA light flyweight title was unrated by the WBA in their ratings issued on 8 October but by the 10 November he had suddenly appeared at No 7 not having fought since March! In the case of the WBO I thought that their stupid approach of giving a rating to someone who wins one of their regional titles was the reason for Filipino Vic Saludar’s suddenly appearance at No 8 in their July ratings. But the dates did not match as he did not beat Rizky Pratama (record 6-3) to win the vacant WBO Asia Pacific title until September and his July rating did not have the designation “ Asia Pacific” at that time. He had fought in February but rating a guy who has not fought for 5 months would be a stretch even for the WBO so it could only be his win in July over Michael Kaibigan. The Kaibigan fight was over eight rounds and Mr Kaibigan’s record was 3-2-2. I deny anyone to come up with an honest reason for Saludar’s No 8 rating in July. Incidentally the win over Pratama (6-3) saw Saludar climb to No 4.
On paper Venezuelan Jose Uzcategui looks a reasonable opponent for James De Gale based on his destruction of previously unbeaten Julius Jackson in two rounds. However that result was not part of the IBF plan. In order to become the mandatory challenger Jackson, rated No 5 but with slots 1 and 2 vacant, had to beat a rated fighter but he had not done so and could not climb to No 1. Ah the plot begins with Uzcategui suddenly getting the magic carpet treatment appearing from nowhere in the IBF ratings to No 7 in their ratings published on 5 August even though he had not fought since February. Perfect Jackson beats Uzcategui qualifies for No 1 all sorted, but no one explained to Uzcategui. Nowhere to No 7 when he has not fought for almost 5 months. Brings back memories of Robert W, Lee Snr. Why is the FBI never around when you need them?
Thai Amnat Ruenroeng is an example of how boxing can change a man’s life. Ruenroeng took up boxing whilst serving his third term in jail. He was allowed to fight in amateur tournaments whilst still in jail and was released one day after winning the national title. From there he never really looked back winning many titles as an amateur then turning pro and winning the IBF flyweight title. He defended the title three times last year with wins over Zou Shiming, Johnriel Casimero and Myung Ho Lee and the Sports Authority of Thailand elected him as Athlete of the Year. Without boxing he would probably still be in jail or dead in an alley somewhere. Give the sport its due and Ruenroeng the credit for literally fighting his way out poverty and crime.
Ike Ibeabuchi is another former prisoner looking for salvation through boxing. The Nigerian-born heavyweight fought in the USA as an amateur before turning professional and scoring 20 wins, 15 by KO/TKO. After a spate of unsavoury incidents he spent time in a state facility being treated for a bipolar disorder until he was considered fit to stand trial. He entered what is known in the USA as an Alford plea whereby the defendant does not admit the charges but accepts that the evidence presented by the prosecutor had would be likely to persuade a judge and jury to find the defendant guilty beyond reasonable doubt. The sentences he received ran concurrently but whilst in prison he studied and obtained two degrees . On release had to spend some time detained by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement department. Now free he wants to continue his career. He is 42 ,will be 43 next month, and has not fought for almost 17 years. Manny Pacquiao’s team are looking to help him get a fight on the Bradley show but there are a whole serious of test he will have to take before he gets a licence
Plenty happening with Nonito Donaire. Evgeny Gradovich pulled out of his 23 April fight for Donaire’s WBO super bantam title preferring to take a fight in Spain to be sure he could make 122lbs comfortably enough. He is replaced by Hungarian Zsolt Bedak who has a 25-1 record. Don’t get too excited “Mr Left Hook” was stopped in ten rounds by Wilfredo Vasquez Jr for this same title in 2010. He was out almost three years and since then has fed on a diet of second rate opposition but importantly won the WBO European title that saw him shoot up the ratings. I guess it keeps the sanctioning fees rolling in. Jesse Magdaleno is another one with his eyes on Donaire and he is going to fight Filipino Edward Mansito on 13 february. Magdaleno has made 122lbs in the past but was 127lbs in his last fight so he too will be making sure he is comfortable at the weight before his inevitable challenge to Donaire.
Plenty of purse offer outstanding and negotiations on-going effecting British boxers. The EBU indicates that negotiations are ongoing for Ryan Farrag’s defence of his EBU bantam title against Karim Guerfi, purse offers are due 18 January for James Dickens defence of his EBU super bantam title against Kiko Martinez, 18 January is also the deadline for purse offers for the return fight between champion Ruben Nieto and Lenny Daws for the EBU super light title, purse offers are due Friday (8 January) for Hadillah Mohoumadi defence of his EBU super middle defence against Callum Smith and by 21 January for Robert Helenius vs. Derek Chisora. The only current interest in the EU titles is Enzo Maccarinelli nominated as official challenger for the light heavy title but with no co-challenger nominated. Of course all of or any of the above could be cancelled if negotiations are agreed before the purse submission dates. In addition Brit Kevin Satchell challenges Frenchman Thomas Masson for the flyweight title in Arras on 5 March. My old dad ran around there in a tank in 1940 giving the Panzers a nasty shock at Arras before getting his feet wet at Dunkirk.
At a higher level than the EBU the management of Kell Brook and Kevin Bizier have until 12 January to conclude negotiations for Brook’s title defence or it will go to purse offers.
It will be an interesting time for the Smith clan from Liverpool with Stephen challenging Jose Pedraza for the IBF super feather title on 26 March in New York. With brother Liam holding the WBO super welter title I am struggling to remember if any two British boxing brothers have held world titles at the same time?
Top rank and few hundred million Chinese will be hoping that Zou Shiming can win a world title in 2016. He kicks off his campaign with a fight against Brazilian Natan Santana Coutinho on 30 January in Shanghai.
Last year was a banner year for Filipino outfit ALA Promotions as they spread their wings with shows in the USA and Dubai. They kick this season off with a show in their home base of Cebu City on February 27 with hot prospect Albert Pagara facing former IBF super fly champion Juan Carlos Sanchez . They also have a joint promotion with Top Rank in Manila featuring the previously mentioned Donaire vs. Bedak fight and also in planning is a defence of his WBO light fly title for Donnie Nietes in May. I am old enough to remember way back when Filipino fighters were really just used as fodder for the records of other Orient fighters. There are still plenty of journeymen/travelling losers but also some of the greatest fighters in the world today and there is enough money available to pay fighters to come to the Philippines to help build their fighters instead of the other way around.
Snips and Snipes 5 January 2016
I don’t like looking back so I will look forward to the fights I would like to see in 2016 of course only with the help and permission of TV, Promoters and sanctioning bodies! At heavyweight Tyson Fury vs. Wlad Klitschko II-I didn’t believe the first time so I want to see it again. Deontay Wilder vs. Alex Povetkin, at light heavy Sergey Kovalev-Adonis Stevenson and Andre Ward any combination out of those three. At super middle it looks like Arthur Abraham vs. Gilberto Ramirez is set and I would like to see James De Gale get a unification fight with anyone and Callum Smith vs. Badou Jack. At middle Gennady Golovkin-Saul Alvarez-Daniel Jacobs and Billy Joe Saunders obviously Golovkin vs. Alvarez first pick and Jacobs vs., Saunders might be a good fight. There is nothing at super welter that sets me on fire and too much at welterweight with Pacquiao vs. Bradley signed next would be Kell Brook vs. Amir Khan a huge fight for Britain, and Keith Thurman against any of them. At super light Terrence Crawford vs. Adrian Broner or Crawford vs. either Lucas Matthysse or Ruslan Provodnikov. Postol may be a better fighter than those two but not as exciting. Lightweight Jorge Linares against either Terry Flanagan or Anthony Crolla and perhaps Denis Shafikov vs. Richard Commey. Super feather Takashi Uchiyama vs. Nicholas Walters, Francisco Vargas vs. Jose Pedraza. Feather Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Leo Santa Cruz and Lee Selby vs. Gary Russell. We already have Carl Frampton vs. Scott Quigg for February with the winner against Nonito Donaire would be good. At bantam Jamie McDonnell vs. Lee Haskins would be a good British fight and Shinsuke Yamanaka might have an interesting time against Marlon Tapales. Super fly any contests between Naoya Inoue-Zolani Tete and Carlos Cuadras would be great and even better if Roman Gonzalez decided to move up. At flyweight Gonzalez against Juan Francisco Estrada to see if Estrada could do better the second time. Light fly I’d like to see Donnie Nietes get some recognition with Akira Yaegashi my preferred opponent and at minimumweight Hekkie Budler and Wanheng. Not too much to ask for. I will keep this list and see how many of my dreams come true,
“Apres moi le deluge”. After me the flood- is supposed to have been said by Madame de Pompadour but it just as easily could be said by Wlad Klitschko ( it takes a stretch to go from Madame de Pompadour to Dr Steelhammer but any idiot with two typing fingers and a keyboard can do a time/gender warp that even Dr Who could envy) . We are already on our way to having four heavyweight champions again. The last time we were in that position was in 2011 before Klitschko beat David Haye to add the WBA title to the IBF and WBO titles he already held. From then until his loss to Tyson Fury he kept the titles ticking over with all three sanctioning bodies providing a supervisor for each fight and, with the exception of his fight with Kubrat Pulev which was only for the IBF title, all three bodies recognising the fights as being unified title fights. Tyson now only holds the WBA and WBO titles, Deontay Wilder is WBC champion and on 16 January Charles Martin and Vyacheslav Glazkov fight for the vacant IBF title so we are up to three now. With Charles Martin at No 1 in the latest published WBO ratings and Anthony Joseph at No 2 the ridiculous rating of Anthony Joshua at No 2 should mean that without fighting a rated fighter Joshua will become the mandatory challenger to Fury for his WBO title this month. Joshua is also the No 2 rated fighter with the WBC so if Deontay Wilder ever agrees to stop dodging Alex Povetkin then after that fight Joshua will also be the WBC mandatory challenger. The problem for Fury is that the return with Klitschko will not be a mandatory fight. He will have Joshua his WBO mandatory challenger. However Joshua is currently down No 13 with the WBA and with interim champion Luis Ortiz and the winner of the fight between WBA secondary title holder Ruslan Chagaev and No 2 Lucas Browne queuing up to face Fury there is a danger he will be stripped of his WBO title if he does not fight Joshua or be stripped of his WBA title if he does! I think Madame de Pompadour had it right the deluge will soon be upon us.
I can’t see Manny Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley selling well. Yes they are 1-1 in their series and yes it is a good enough fight on paper but neither of their earlier fights set the place on fire. I feel that if this is Pacquiao’s last fight he should have looked for a new challenge rather than going over old ground. It is being said he would delay his retirement if there was the chance of another Mayweather fight but there is not much chance of that and it would not be any better as a fight than it was in May and certainly would not sell as well. However, Pacquiao is still adamant that the Bradley fight will be his last. He is going to have to wear two hats in his preparation for the fight with Bradley as he is also running for the Senate and is by no means a certainty so he will have to find time to do some electioneering whilst keeping his focus for the Bradley fight.
There are on-going negotiations for the Arthur Abraham vs. Gilberto Ramirez fight to go on as part of the undercard to the Pacquiao vs. Bradley fight but at the moment that fight is going to purse bids which are due to be opened on Friday in Puerto Rico. You can be sure that if Sauerland wins the bidding it will go on in Germany, probably in March, so Top Rank have only a couple of days to do a deal or else they will need to find deep pockets to win the purse bids and get it on the Pacquiao vs. Bradley show.
Am I the only to think that talking about Gennady Golovkin vs. Saul Alvarez for 26 September is getting way ahead of things. A week is a long time in boxing let alone nine months and a lot can happen before then. I guess that will be another catchweight fight but if it does come off I am going for Golovkin. If Alvarez wins then hopefully you will all forget that nine months ago I said Golovkin would win.
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features