The focus on the rights or wrongs of Golovkin vs. Brook have overshadowed an even more questionable match with Charlie Edwards being allowed to challenge John Riel Casimero for the IBF flyweight title. Edwards was an outstanding amateur and is a great prospect but there is nothing in his seven wins to merit a rating let alone a shot at the title. Let’s face it Louis Norman, Phil Smith and Luke Wilton, his last three opponents, are good learning fights for a young prospect just starting out in the pro ranks but that is all. In his last fight in February he won the WBC International Silver title and the WBC have awarded him the No 36 spot in their ratings. The IBF were not impressed with that win until they got the sniff of a sanctioning fee. They did not put Edwards in their March, April or May ratings but in their June ratings, published 5 July, Edwards suddenly appears at No 14 not having fought for five months. Blatant manipulation and whether it benefits a British fighter or not it is just basically dishonest. As for Casimero he is not a Golovkin, but then who is. He is a small flyweight but is a very tough fighter and he won’t be intimidated by a hostile crowd. When he beat Luis Lazarte for the interim IBF light fly title in 2012 the atmosphere was so hostile Lazarte actually mentioned to Casimero during the fight that he might not get out alive if he won and indeed there was a serious riot when he was declared the winner.
Another case of focusing on the wrong ball is the fuss over the AIBA allowing professionals to fight at the Olympics. Yes it is a significant indication of their intent but at this stage small scale and largely ignored by professional fighters. The real uncovering of the AIBA’s intent to become yet another sanctioning body will come when they stage the World Championships. They will have plenty of time to plan out what they want to do and also have total control of the Championships. They don’t have to pay lip service to the Olympic Committee they can make the World Championships a fully profession tournament and no one can stop them from doing so-except the affiliated national associations-and they have already approved professionals in the Olympics so are on the slippery slope of putting themselves out of business. What government is going to grant money to maintain an elite squad to compete against professionals? There are already signs of the impact of the policy of allowing professionals in the Olympics. Kenya failed to get any fighters through the earlier qualifiers but wanted financing to send fighters to the last chance qualifiers in Venezuelan. In simple terms they were told that if their boxers could not get through the earlier qualifiers there was no chance they would do so with professionals added to the mix so no money was forthcoming. Any government which funds sports is investing in the hope of some good results which would reflect favourably on their country but they are not going to want to throw money away if there is no hope of a return.
I was not surprised to see the AIBA and the WBA putting their heads together. Good luck to them, they deserve each other. Any cooperation will only go so far as both Dr Wu and Gilberto Mendoza are much too attached to their powerful positions to share any of that power. The final communiqué talked about “Both AIBA and WBA have agreed to envisage future partnerships covering all aspects of boxing from event organisation, boxer management and new championships, to training courses.” And I picked up on the words “new championships” and I saw more titles, more sanction fees, more confusion etc. Our sport is changing constantly but not always for the better.
I am not sure I am happy to see Manny Pacquiao coming back. I feel he had done everything he needed to do and beating Danny Garcia or Jessie Vargas will neither hurt nor enhance his reputation and the thought of a possible return match with Mayweather turns me off. He is still big money so why not return and make even more money. I did find his dismissal of there being any impact on his Senate work amusing. If he can fit-in an exhausting and intensive training schedule-and it takes more time the older you get- and everything else involved in a return to the ring without it impacting on his senate work it might just make some Filipino’s question just how work politicians do for there money. Pacquiao vs. Brook now that would have been a much better fight. Pity it was not on the table.
It appears Sergey Kovalev was suffering from laryngitis when he went into training for his fight with Isaac Chilemba which might explain his uninspiring performance. Credit to Chilemba-he never made it easy for Kovalev, but the “Krusher” seemed to be lacking a degree of aggression and will have to have a better night when he fights Andre Ward. A very generous Kovalev said he was going to donate his purse from the Chilemba fight to the family of Roman Simakov. Kovalev halted Simakov in seven rounds in December 2011 in a fight for the WBC Asian Boxing Council title. Simakov was hospitalised after the fight and in a coma and died a few days later without coming out of the coma.
The EBU may be nearing break point with the German DBD over Erkan Teper. When Teper won the European title he, his management and the DBD signed an agreement to abide by the EBU rules which called for testing by WADA and a two year suspension for a positive test. Teper reportedly gave a positive test when beating David Price and was put on the EBU suspensions list showing him suspended until 17 July 2017. He is contesting his positive test with the DBD and had a fight this month claiming that his suspension only affects him if he wants to fight for the EBU title. The EBU has downgraded the DBD to a “provisional member” and the DBD no longer has anyone on the Board of the EBU. If a full break does happen it will be a huge blow to the DBD. There will be other organisations in Germany looking to take their place but there is a question as to whether they are any better than the DBD so it is an unclear picture and again shows how difficult it is for our sport to police drug cheats.
The WBC has been doing some good work in Ghana. They recently adopted a farming community in the Volta Region of Ghana and will work with a non-government organisation focusing on health, education, sports and sanitation putting the WBC’s world reach to good use. In addition they also made a grant of $4,800 to former champion David “Poison” Kotey who has fallen on hard times. It took me a long time to forgive Kotey for beating my hero Ruben Olivares for the WBC feather title in 1975. He lost his title to Danny Lopez in 1976 in his third defence and was also an undefeated Commonwealth champion. The WBC simultaneously made a grant of $3,600 to former WBC International and Commonwealth champion Ebo Danquah. The presentation of the grants was made by the head of the Ghana Board Peter Zwennes who had worked hard to get the grants made. Two excellent gestures by the WBC.
Less happy for boxing in Ghana was the arrest of Braimah Kamoko. He allegedly attacked a man with the flat plane of a machete but at the time of writing no charge sheet had formally been drawn up. Just a few years back it looked as though the WBO was going to make Kamoko the mandatory challenger to Nathan Cleverly but that faded away as there are serious questions over Kamoko’s eyesight. The 36-year-old “Bukom Bantu” is unbeaten in 29 fights but has never fought outside Ghana.
Still on Africa Malcolm Klassen, who has had two reigns as IBF super feather champion, is looking to add another world title as he challenges Australian/Filipino Jack Asis for the IBO title in Johannesburg on 29 July. The 34-year-old Klassen has scored recent victories over Justin Savi, Paulus Moses and Leonilo Miranda but the 33-year-old Asis, making the first defence of his IBO title is 14-0-1in his last 15 fights so a real 50/50 one here.
Also a nice show taking place in Kempton Park, South Africa on 24 July which will see Shaun Ness defending his national title against his BSA No 3 rated challenger Ntuthuko Memela with light flyweight prospect Deejay Kriel facing Ayanda Dulani to try to cancel out the draw when they fought each other in April.
It was a very mixed week for former IBF super middle champion Graciano Rocchigiani. He put on a small hall show in Mitte, Germany that was well received but was also charged with allegedly extorting Euro 5,000 from a promoter. Trouble is nothing new for either of the Rocchigiani brothers.
Manuel Charr will continue his comeback with a fight in Toronto on 10 September. The former WBC heavyweight title challenger was wounded in shooting in September last year but recovered and returned with a win in June. His opponent will be Toronto-based Ukrainian Olek Teslenko. The 23-year-old, 6’4” Teslenko, a runner-up in the Ukrainian amateur championships, has five wins but they have all been over quickly so he has had less than ten rounds of boxing and he will be giving away weight to Charr.
Fights coming up. This Sunday in yet another bit of madness Pakistani boxer Muhammad Waseem faces Filipino Jeter Olivo for the vacant WBC Silver flyweight title. Waseem has had only three fights and neither fighter is in the WBC top 40 but the winner could find himself rated in their top 10 due to the importance the WBC place on their Silver titles. That’s makes no sense except nonsense.
Under the Terrence Crawford vs. Viktor Postol unification match on 23 July Oscar Valdez and Matias Rueda clash for the vacant WBO feather title with Jose Benavidez facing Francisco Santana and Olek Gvozdyk meeting Tommy Karpency. On 13 August Edis Tatli defends his EBU title against Spanish champion Cristian Morales. September 9 in Moscow Eduard Troyanovsky defends his IBF super light title against Keita Obara. September 10 Los Angeles Roman Gonzalez goes for a fourth division title as he challenges Carlos Cuadras for the WBC super fly title in a real clash of styles and perhaps the biggest test so far for the Nicaraguan wonder. September 16 in Osaka Shinsuke Yamanaka makes the tenth defence of his WBC bantam title against Anselmo Moreno who he beat on a split verdict last September and Hozumi Hasegawa challenges Hugo Ruiz for the WBC super bantam title. If 35-year-old Hasegawa wins he will be the eldest Japanese fighter to win a world title. September 24 will see WBO light fly champion Donnie Nietes in his biggest fight as he challenges Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada for the WBA and WBO flyweight titles. Nietes is unbeaten in his last 30 fights and has yet to taste defeat in 15 title fights over two divisions but the big career defining fights have passed him by so he needs this win.