So great to see how boxing is flourishing again in Belfast. Saturday’s show with Carl Frampton defending his WBO interim title against Tasmanian Luke Jackson and Paddy Barnes challenging Cristofer Rosales for the WBC flyweight title in only his sixth pro fight. Frampton is germane to the popularity of boxing in Belfast and this will be a huge step up in standard for Jackson which I am sure will prove too much for him. The real WBO champion Oscar Valdez is still recovering from injury and has said it will be early 2019 before he is ready to return. IBF champion Josh Warrington will be in Belfast issuing a challenge to Frampton and that would be another huge British fight. The ranks of the WBO featherweights are a bit threadbare with Filipino Mark Magsayo, Namibian Sakaria Lukas, another Filipino Genesis Servania and Ukrainian Oleg Malynovskyi filling positions 1 to 4. Good fighters but not exactly star names but you can be sure there is a plan in place for Frampton. Barnes has a tremendous list of achievement as an amateur but he missed out on the biggest ones coming up short at the Olympics and the World Championships. And this is his chance to win the big one as a pro. Rosales lost to Andrew Selby but went to Japan and won the title there by beating an undefeated local which is no mean feat. He has experience over Barnes but is beatable.
And then there is Tyson Fury. I can’t see Francesco Pianeta as any threat to Fury on his way to a world title fight. A Fury vs. Deontay Wilder fight would be big wherever it is held and I hope it happens with the winner and Anthony Joshua meeting in 2019 in the richest heavyweight title fight in the history of boxing with each boxer probably getting around $50 million and to think Joe Louis biggest purse was $626,000. It’s great to see the heavyweight division right up there for interest.
I thought I might have a look at some of the things going on in the heavyweights right now.
How ridiculous can you get? Anthony Joshua is fighting Alex Povetkin on 22 September for the IBF, WBA and WBO titles. The WBA ordered Joshua to fight their No 1 Povetkin. Since Povetkin is also the No 1 with the WBO and there is no mandatory IBF challenger if Joshua beats Povetkin he has fulfilled his mandatory requirements-you think? No, the WBO have said that if Joshua beats Povetkin they may then want him to fight against another one of their fighters effectively ordering another mandatory defence. He may not want to but I can see Joshua being forced to relinquish one of his three titles as the sanctioning bodies are never happy sharing titles.
The IBF eliminator to fill the mandatory spot in their heavyweight ratings between Kubrat Pulev and Hughie Fury looks like landing in Sofia, Bulgaria on 27 October.
The one year suspension handed out to French heavyweight Tony Yoka for missing three test appointments stands. It had been appealed but the appeal was rejected.
Charles Martin has his eyes on another shot at the heavy weight title. He lost the IBF belt when he was knocked out in two rounds by Anthony Joshua in 2016. He had a couple of low level wins last year with the latest in July. He returns from a 13 month lay-off against the 17-0 Adam Kownacki on 8 September on the undercard to Danny Garcia vs. Shawn Porter in New York.
Naturally it will be billed as a crossroads fight when Bryant Jennings and Alex Dimitrenko meet in Atlantic City on 18 August, Jennings took eighteen months out after back-to-back losses to Wlad Klitschko and Luis Ortiz and has won four fights since returning. Dimitrenko, now 36, wins the small ones and loses the big ones and is running out of time.
They old saying that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time was proved true with regard to the fight between Trevor Bryan and BJ Flores for the vacant interim WBA heavyweight title. Not one single TV Company showed interest which must be a first for any version of the heavyweight title. Next up Manuel Charr vs. Fres Oquendo. I did hear that some 14-year-old kid was offered the exclusive rights to show it on his smart phone but he declined as they WBA did not offer him enough-smart kid.
Yet another former amateur heavyweight star will be throwing his hat in the ring. Russian Evgeny Tischenko is scheduled to fight on Sunday in Ekaterinburg against 19-6 Venezuelan Williams Ocando; the 27-year-old Tischenko won a very controversial gold medal at 91kg in Rio looking lucky to beat Italian Clement Russo and in the final Kazak Vasily Levit. He won a silver medal at the 2013 World Championships and gold in 2015 and was also European gold medallist in 2015 so very strong credentials. The main bout in Ekaterinburg. The main bout on the show will see Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov and Robinson Castellanos fighting for the vacant IBO super feather title.
Two of Canada’s top heavyweights will clash in Quebec City on 6 October when Simon Kean 15-0 14 by KO/TKO faces Dillon Carman 13-3. Kean will be defending the WBC Francophone title.
The WBO heavyweight ratings are a joke. The principle behind ratings is supposed to be to rank the best fighters based on the quality of their performances and the opposition they have beaten. If it figures at all that reasoning is foreign to the WBO. They rate you much higher for winning one of their myriad of joke regional titles than for beating quality opposition. Their No 4 is Tom Schwarz a good German prospect who has never faced a rated opponent but has won their Inter-Continental title. In the BoxRec and IBO computerised ratings he is No 19 and 22 respectively. Their No 7 is Kyotaro Fujimoto who is their Asia Pacific champion No 43 with BoxRec and 37 with IBO, No 10 Tyron Spong Latino champion No 75 with BoxRec and No 72 with the IBO, Junior Fa Oriental No 55 BoxRec, No 52 IBO, No 13 Zhilei Zhang former Oriental No 44 BoxRec and 40 IBO, No 14 Ebenezer Tetteh No 203 with BoxRec and not on the IBO list as it only lists the first 100, No 15 tied Jean Pierre Augustin No 85 BoxRec and 82 IBO and Ali Eren Demirezen European champion No 71 BoxRec and No 67 IBO. It is interesting that the two Independent ratings are very close on their idea of where these fighters are rated. The scary things is that anyone in the WBO top 15 is automatically eligible to be a challenger to Anthony Joshua but if Eddie Hearn even thought of matching any of these guys with Anthony Joshua they would cart him to the funny farm. To be fair-occasionally-all sanctioning bodies play this game to some extent.
Enough of the heavyweights for now. Oleg Usyk vs. Tony Bellew is one to savour. There are talks going on but as he showed when winning the WBSS Tournament he has no problem fighting in the other guys back yard so it seem a doable fight to me-let’s hope.
On the cruisers Denis Lebedev will be climbing out of whatever recess the WBA put him-another stupid title-and facing Hinzi Altunkaya in Chelyabinsk on 7 September. Even the heavyweights are in less of a mess. The WBA have a super champion in Usyk. A secondary champion is Beibut Shumenov and an interim champion in Arsen Goulamirian. Now their “champion in recess” has climbed out of the cupboard there is no title left for him. Perhaps they could make him the secondary super champion or the secondary secondary champion or the interim interim champion!!
The fight for the vacant IBF middleweight title between Daniel Jacobs and Sergey Derevyanchenko is finally set for 27 October. It had been put back to 10 November to allow further negotiations between Eddie Hearn and Lou DiBella but they came to a private deal and it was changed to the original date.
Boxing News magazine recently did a piece on an unlicensed show in Aberdeen featuring former WBC heavyweight title challenger Danny Williams, famous for knocking out Mike Tyson14 years ago, and local fighter Lee McAllister a former double Commonwealth champion at lightweight and super lightweight. The “unlicensed” tag within the British boxing terminology means that it was not under the control of the BBB of C who would never have countenanced this. Williams was licenced by the Czech Republic, the fight was for the WBO (German version) heavyweight title and “commissioned”. by the British and Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA), again nothing to do with the BBBof C. I won’t even bother mentioning the result of this “fight” suffice to say that the 53-year-old Williams weighed 260lbs and McAllister was said to be four stones (56lbs) lighter i.e. 204lbs. The last registered weight for McAllister when fighting with a BBB of C licence was a career heavy 146lbs which meant he was carrying an additional 56lbs into this fight and since he had not grown another leg it was mainly around his waist. Naturally the fight drew a storm of scorn and criticism but as if that was not enough realising just how bad this whole thing was the Executive President and CEO of the BIBA Gianluca Di Caro tried to deflect the blame by saying “I did not want Danny to box on a BIBA licence because I felt we would be criticised”. Really WOW !! The BIBA is not a member or affiliated to the EBU but Di Caro reportedly said that the EBU gave permission for the fight and that he went along with it expecting the EBIU to veto it. What a load of BS. Di Caro knows full well that the EBU has no jurisdiction over any fights except those featuring the EBU, EU and EE-EU titles. They are not a licensing body and have no power to give or deny permission for any fight other than that relating to their own titles and certainly not for a WBU German or BIBA fight. This “fight” was a disgrace and the disgrace is the WBU and the BIBA’s alone.
Jamie Munguia is a busy man. His next fight is reported to be a title defence against Canadian Brandon Cook on the undercard to the Gennady Golovkin vs. Saul Alvarez fight. The card will also feature Roman Gonzalez against Moises Fuentes. Gary O’Sullivan is also show as fighting a TBA. One suggestion was that it might be against David Lemieux which would be a great fight but that is just a rumour right now.
Jose Ramirez’s defence of his WBC super light title in Fresno on 14 September has an interesting undercard building with Maxim Dadashev vs. Antonio DeMarco for the NABF super light title. With so many super lights tied into the WBSS it might be a chance for the winner to land a title fight. Also on the card are Alex Besputin, the WBC No 8 super light from Japan Hiroki Okada 18-0 also hoping to impress and get into the title mix, Bryan Vazquez a former holder of the secondary WBA super feather title and Jamal Herring who faces 20-1 Vincent Moralde.
You win some, you lose some. That could almost describe recent purse bids and Top Rank. They won the bidding for the Maurice Hooker defence his WBO super light title against their fighter Alex Saucedo. Top Rank’s bid of $1,625,000 beat Matchroom’s $1, 5550,000 and it looks like it will go on in Oklahoma City, Saucedo’s home base. on November 16 or 17.
The second case was much more complicated over the bidding for Ryota Murata’s defence of the secondary WBA middleweight title against Rob Brant. I guess my lead in is not quite correct as you can’t lose if you never entered the race. There was only one bid for the fight from Greg Cohen of $202,114 as neither Top Rank nor Japan’s Akihiro Honda offer a bid. For some reason of their own the WBA had decided that the purse would be split 50/50 which did not help the situation. They Top Rank and Akihiro Honda both saw it as a stupid move by the WBA in calling for bids for a fight against Brant which was of no interest and dubious validity and Top Rank and Honda had already agreed between themselves to put Murata on a show in Las Vegas on 20 October in a big fight against unbeaten Top Rank fighter Jason Quigley which would be a much better fight that could lead to a fight with the winner of Golovkin and Alvarez. The WBA are in a mess. If they don’t honour the bid process you can be sure Cohen will sue and if they strip Murata they lose a sanctioning fee and incur the wrath of two of the most powerful promoters in the business. Cohen has already said he is aiming to put on the Murata vs. Brant fight on 27 October. We await further developments,
Marcos Maidana has launched a new promoting outfit down in Argentina. It s name is “31KO Sudamerican Boxing” and 31 just happens to be the number of fights Maidana won by KO/TKO.
Yet another new promoter has appeared as 19-year-old lightweight Devin Haney has formed his own promotion company making him probably the youngest promoter in boxing history. He will face Juan Carlos Burgos in Temecula on 28 September.
Gavin McDonnell will get another title shot as he challenges Danny Roman in Chicago on 6 October for the WBA super bantam title. McDonnell lost a majority decision to Rey Vargas for the vacant WBC title in February last year but has rebounded well with impressive wins over Gamal Yafai and Stuart Hall.