By - Eric Armit
Finally it is here Golovkin vs. Alvarez II. All of the trash talking is over and the most anticipated return fight of the year, perhaps for many years, will be over by Sunday morning. The bad feeling between the two fighters is genuine and so is the difficulty in predicting who will win. I slightly favour Golovkin so Gennady is my pick, but my dearest wish is a fight worthy of the occasion and a clear undisputed winner. Under this great fight David Lemieux vs. Gary O’Sullivan promises mayhem with Lemieux looking down the slope if he loses and O’Sullivan hoping to get a fight against the winner of Golovkin vs. Alvarez.
There is also Jamie Munguia and Roman Gonzalez fighting good level opposition. Munguia an exciting talent and he will be looking to blow away 20-1 Canadian Brandon Cook to build on his impressive power shows in wins over Sadam Ali and Liam Smith. Roman Gonzalez will be having his first fight for a year and be trying to salvage his career with a win over experienced Moises Fuentes. Two losses in the space of six months against Thai Srisaket saw Gonzalez fall from high in the Pound-for-Pound rankings to being dismissed as over the hill.
It has been good to see some big fights announced and confirmed or in the case of Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury seemingly all systems go with only the final details regarding date and venue to be announced-hopefully. December 1 or 8th have been mentioned as possible dates. Both fighters seem to have made concessions Tyson by agreeing to the fight being held in the USA and Wilder to a 50/50 purse split. There is some scepticism over whether it really will take place so let’s hope we see very soon a date and venue set and tickets on sale. Of course Wilder vs. Tyson is bigger than Anthony Joshua vs. Alex Povetkin. The winner will have a strong hand when it comes to bargaining for the Joshua fight next year but both Wilder and Fury know that what they are engaged in is basically an eliminator with the winner going on to face Joshua next year for a “Money Mayweather” level purse.
If Wilder vs. Fury does not come off then both fighters will have to scrape around trying to find another significant fight this year. Who knows perhaps the WBC might even insist Wilder fights the winner of the 22 December fight between Dillian White and Dereck Chisora. Of course if Povetkin beats Joshua then it’s a different ball game as the winner of Wilder vs. Fury vs. Povetkin instead of Joshua won’t have the same significance or the same money.
The other fights announced are Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Jose Pedraza and Terrence Crawford vs. Jose Benavidez. The Lomachenko vs. Pedraza fight on 8 December will be a unification contest with Lomachenko’s WBA lightweight title and Pedraza’s WBA title on the line. Pedraza boxed well to win the title from Ray Beltran but I can’t see him stopping Lomachenko from adding another title to his collection.
Crawford vs. Benavidez will be held 13 October in Omaha. Crawford, who has just signed a long term extension to his contract with Top Rank, unified all four major titles at super light and it will lead to some great fights if his aim is to do the same at welterweight. Crawford vs. Errol Spence, Crawford vs. Manny Pacquiao, Crawford vs. Keith Thurman, Crawford vs. Shawn Porter all fights to savour.
As with Povetkin we have to hope Benavidez does not turn out to be a banana skin for Crawford. Not likely but in boxing anything can happen. Benavidez is not actually in the WBO ratings right now. That is because he is No 1 with the WBA and sanctioning bodies tend to omit a fighter if he is in the mandatory spot in another sanctioning body’s ratings but the next set of WBO ratings will soon solve that little detail. Both Crawford and the 6’2” Benavidez were top class amateur but their time at the top did not coincide. In 2006 Crawford won a silver medal at the National Golden Gloves and a gold medal at the National Police Athletic League Championships. He turned pro after failing to make the US Team for the 2008 Olympics. In 2009 Benavidez won a gold medal at the National Golden Gloves and a silver medal at the US national Championships. Interestingly in winning a bronze medal at the 2006 US National Championships Crawford beat Mikey Garcia 18-7 but lost to Danny Garcia 20-21. He did beat Danny Garcia in another tournament that year but lost to Cuban Yordenis Ugas which ended his hopes of a place at the 2007 Pan American Games. At the 2006 US National Championships you could have seen Crawford vs. Mikey Garcia and Crawford vs. Danny Garcia in the space of a couple of days for a few dollars entrance fee. Now they would be million dollar fights. In those 2006 Championships you could have watched Rau’shee Warren, Gary Russell, Danny Garcia, Demetrius Andrade and Daniel Jacobs who took gold medals and went on to win world titles and Crawford, Keith Thurman Edwin Rodriguez and Shawn Estrada who won bronze and Mikey Garcia, Casey Ramos, Mason Menard, Sadam Ali, Charles Hatley, Hank Lundy, Brad Solomon, Abraham Han. Jorge Diaz, Jessie Belmontes and Ray Robinson who went home empty handed. All for just a few dollars. A real bargain.
After the results at the weekend the situation in the welterweight division became even more interesting but no easier to predict. IBF champion Errol Spence is in a situation where he can make a voulantary defence. The No 1 spot in the IBF ratings was vacant until Yordenis Ugas beat Cesar Barrionuevo on Saturday. Previously Ugas could not go to No 1 as he had not beaten a rated fighter but in the crazy sanctioning body world he can now be No 1for beating No11. Shawn Porter, the new WBC champion, has been challenged by Spence but is not taking the bait with Porter’s father throwing Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia again, Terrence Crawford and Spence in the mix and saying that they will decide what Porter does next. There has been a suggestion that the WBC might make Ugas Porter’s mandatory but how can they jump a guy who was No 9 to No 1 for beating a guy who was No 8 escapes me-oh just a minute that’s exactly what the IBF will now do with Ugas!
Notable absentees from the discussions are Crawford’s mandatory contender Custio Clayton and also Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan. In an Instagram post Pacquiao threatened Top Rank with legal action over alleged non-payment of monies due to him from the US rights to his fight with Lucas Matthysse. That situation has been resolved. Pacquiao is seeing his options shrink for with fights very recently completed or scheduled for Porter, Garcia, Thurman, Spence and Crawford they are all “unavailable” right now. Obviously that could work in Khan’s favour. Any fight with Pacquiao in it is a big fight for big money and Pacquiao is said to be talking to Eddie Hearn about the possibility of a DAZN show. Since Khan’s fight on Saturday was on a Matchroom show it raises the possibility of a Pacquiao vs. Khan fight. However, Khan has said that Pacquiao has ruled himself out by asking for too much money and Khan will look to fight Kell Brook-which strengthens Brook’s hand. The stumbling block to a Khan vs. Brook fight would be the weight with Khan preferring welterweight but Brook knowing he would struggle to make 147lbs. A catchweight compromise might provide a solution but then they have to talk money and that could be another difficult hurdle. A pity both Pacquiao and Khan are past their best but perhaps that is fortunate for Khan.
With Oleg Usyk having signed with Eddie Hearn the drums are beating for Usyk vs. Tony Bellew. Not much drum rolling needed for what will be a big attraction which sells itself. However the WBA are insisting that Usyk faces Denis Lebedev. Whether Usyk does fight Lebedev or not the WBA will still be off a very embarassing hook that their multi-title greed has speared them. Right now they have a super champion in Usyk, a secondary champion in Beibut Shumenov and an interim champion in Arsen Goulamirian. At the start of this year Lebedev was their super champion. To tidy things up they tucked Lebedev out of sight as “champion in recess”. However Lebedev has come out of the little corner they tucked him into and now they have no title for him. It will be interesting to see how they deal with that on their next ratings. They will have to invent a title for Lebedev. How about “super secondary interim no longer in recess champion”. Ah what a tangled web we weave…………………
There are two possible solutions. Usyk could relinquish the WBA title or they can recant their mandatory order and agree to the Usyk vs. Bellew fight on the understanding that the winner of Usyk vs. Bellew agrees to fight Lebedev. Bellew’s last fight was his win over David Haye in a heavyweight bout in May. He has not fought at cruiserweight since beating B J Flores in October 2016. Although right up to and including their 31 July issued ratings the WBA had not rated Bellew at any position in any division he suddenly appeared at No 8 cruiser in their latest ratings. So is that a sign that they are going to approve Usyk vs. Bellew?
Excellent show building for New Orleans on 27 October. Two quarter finals of the WBSS super light series will see Regis Prograis take on Terry Flanagan and Swede Anthony Yigit against Ukrainian Ivan Baranchyk.
I would really have liked to see Donnie Nietes become a four division champion putting him level with Nonito Donaire. I saw the contests last weekend as a close fight but thought he beat Aston Palicte. The 36-year-old Filipino is now 16-0-2 in 18 world title fights and 8-0-1 against former, current and future world champions. His only career loss came on a split decision in 2004 in Indonesian against local fighter Angky Angkotta when Angkotta came in 6lbs over the weight but Nietes still went ahead with the fight. Since then he is 30-0-4 in 34 fights. Hopefully he will get another shot at a version of the super fly title but some sources say that he could face Kazuto Ioka next. A very tough ask.
Good to see British super bantam Thomas Ward may get a chance to fight in a final eliminator for the IBF super bantam title against Cesar Juarez. The 24-0 former undefeated British champion is currently No 8 with the IBF and Juarez No 6. With positions 1 and 2 vacant a win over Juarez could allow Ward to jump to No1. Juarez was stopped in five rounds by Isaac Dogboe for the interim WBO title in January but has scored three wins since then two against decent level opposition.
Still on the super bantams WBO champion Isaac Dogboe has said he would love to fight WBA champion Daniel Roman in London. The young Ghanaian fought in the Junior and Senior Novice championship and won the English National title when campaigning as an amateur in Britain and boxed for Ghana at the 2012 Olympics in London. He was born in Ghana and the Ghanaians naturally reacted with anger to an attempt by a UK paper to try to claim him for England.
Richard Commey is another Ghanaian fighter looking for a title fight but Commey will be in the challenger’s role. The IBF had extended the closing date for bids for the mandated title defence for Mikey Garcia against Commey until 13 September but I have not seen the outcome of that yet. The Ghanaian lost a very controversial split decision to Robert Easter for the IBF title in 2016 and deserves a return but Garcia may be looking for a higher profile opponent so it will be interesting to see whether he takes the fight or relinquishes the title.
Going back to the cruisers interim WBA champion Arsen Goulamirian will defend his title against Australian Mark Flanagan in Marseilles on 20 October. This will be the first defence for Goulamirian since winning the title with a victory over Ryad Merhy in March, Flanagan lost on points to Lebedev for the super title in July last year but has registered two wins since then.
Another interesting cruiser fight will see Jai Opetaia (16-0) vs. Bilal Laggoune (23-1-2) in Liege, Belgium on 6 October. Laggoune’s IBF Inter-Continental title will be on the line. This figures to be a really tough test for Opetaia. Laggoune lost a split decision to Doudou Ngumbu in February last year but has won his last three fights. Opetaia is No 10 with the WBO and Laggoune No 11 with the IBF.
The fight for the secondary heavyweight title between the holder Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo is scheduled for 29 September Cologne-don’t forget to miss it. Seriously the machinations of the WBA are not the fault of either boxer and even though neither of them is remotely near world class the y could still put on an entertaining fight. Charr has been angered by some of the press focusing on his not having a German passport. Charr is adamant that he feels himself to be German and will go into the ring under both the German and Syrian flags. His citizenship papers have been under review for a very long time with the suggestion that some outstanding tax issues are delaying it.
There is a height vs. weight formula to work out whether a person is obese. With so many heavyweights getting caught in drug testing I wonder if there is a way of coming up with a brain to weight formula to work out whether a fighter is dumb enough to think he can cheat and get away with it?
As a sport we have a bad habit of shooting our self in the foot. As if we did not have enough manufactured titles yet another one has popped up. Last week Umar Salamov won the vacant Eurasian Parliament title. Aghhhhhhhhh. To paraphrase the words of Sir Winston “never in the field of human conflict has a sport made itself look so ridiculous”.
By- Eric Armit
It was sad to read of the death of Senator John McClain He was a genuine war hero and twice a Presidential candidate but for myself his most relevant influence was through his work to clean up boxing through the development of what came into law in America as the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act which had a huge impact on boxing in the USA. The stated purpose of the Act was “ protecting boxers from exploitation, sanctioning organization integrity reforms, and requiring public interest disclosures to state boxing commissions……. to remedy many of the anti-competitive, oppressive, and unethical business practices which have cheated professional boxers and denied the public the benefits of a truly honest and legitimate sport," The impetus for the whole process that resulted in the Ali Act can be said to have been an IBF title fight back in 1992. The then IBF middleweight champion James Toney won a split decision over Dave Tiberi in Atlantic City. It was seen by many as a disgraceful robbery of Tiberi. His local Senator instituted an investigation and the testaments given sparked John McCain’s decision to push for changes in how boxing was run in the USA and particularly the promoter/boxer relationship and the influence of sanctioning bodies.
I had a minor role in that I had a number of phone calls from a researcher working for the Senator asking me how the “slave” contracts between Don King and his fighters worked and on how the “options” system worked. I explained that under the contracts King put in place there was a clause that said that as long as the boxer was in the world ratings then his contract with King would be automatically renewed. That effectively meant that for the whole of a fighters peak years he could not fight for any other promoter than Don King without King’s permission. I remember an instance in my time with the WBC ratings committee when we took out a prominent King promoted African boxer on the basis of his inactivity which would have made him a free agent. However when I presented the ratings to the Convention King’s influence was sufficient for the rating to be overturned and the fighter returned to the ratings and back under King’s control.
I explained that with options it was customary for the promoter of the world champion to insist on options on the services of the challenger so that if the challenger won then he was under contract to fight only for that promoter unless the promoter decided to sell some or all of the options to another promoter. The usual number of options was three-sometimes less-sometimes more. In addition the purse for each option was an integral part of the option and those purses were inevitably below market value. As an example a champion might get $100,000 for the title defence and the challenger $50,000. If the challenger won the price included in his option and instead of $100,000 that could tie him to receiving $50,000 for each of his three title defences. If the promoter had no market for the new champion then he could sell the options to promoters who could. A typical example was when Charlie Magri unexpectedly lost his WBC flyweight title to Frank Cedeno in his first defence. The British promoter had no way of making money out of his options on the Filipino but a Japanese promoter was anxious to get his fighter Koji Kobayashi a shot at the WBC title so he bought Cedeno’s options from the British promoter.
Naturally there was some watering down of the proposed Act before it was passed but it remains an important milestone in the way boxing is administered in the USA and had a ripple effect that led to other countries reviewing their own processes and procedures.
The Ali Act was only a small part of the work Senator McCain did in his time in government but boxing owes him a great debt of gratitude RIP Senator John McCain.
This has been a memorable week for boxing in Thailand as Wanheng (Chayaphon Moonsri) won his 51st fight. He can’t yet be said to have beaten Floyd Mayweather’s record as what makes Mayweather’s total of 50 significant is that his record is for winning every one of his 50 fights in his career. In order to surpass Mayweather’s record Wanheng has either to retire now with 51 wins or have some more fights and win them also before retiring. if Wanheng continues to box and loses then he still has a great record but there are plenty better records with just one or two losses on them.
The other milestone for a Thai fighter will probably be achieved by the time you read this. The 41-year-old former WBC bantam and super featherweight champion Sirimongkol Singwancha (Sirimongkhon Iamthuam ) has a 95-4 record and on Saturday 1 September will have fight No 100 in a twenty-four-year career. I am not sure if any other Thai fighter has reached that total. He started out as a super flyweight and in fight No 100 will be trying to win the Thai light heavyweight title. Between losing his WBC super feather title to Jesus Chavez in 2003 and losing a fight to Uzbek Azizbek Abdugofurov for the WBC Asian Boxing Council middle weight title in February he coincidentally won 51 fights in a row. He is taking no chances in fight No 100 as his opponent is Ugandan Muhammad Nsubuga with a 0-6 record!
That Sirimongkol vs. Nsubuga contest is typical of many abysmal matches in Thailand. Last weekend Tajik boxer Abdul Buranov lost to WBC No 3 flyweight Noknoi. Their respective records before the fight were Noknoi 66-5 and Buranov 0-3. In his four fights Buranov’s opponents records have been 64-5(Noknoi), 21-1. 15-2 and Noknoi again with 66-5.
Can’t help but be disappointed that the WBSS are going to do another cruiserweight series. Let’s face it this is a competition for the also-ran or never ran. Mairis Breidis, Yunier Dorticos, Krzys Glowacki, Marius Masternak, Maksim Vlasov, Andrew Tabiti and Noel Gevor are all good fighters and Russian Ruslan Fayfer in unbeaten but it was the knowledge that it could end up with Olek Usyk fighting Murat Gassiev that made the original so interesting and this tournament has no such star attraction.
It always seemed likely that the WBA would have to stand by the results of the purse bids-or should I say bid as there was only one-for the Ryota Murata vs. Rob Brant fight for their secondary middleweight title. If they had not done so but instead allowed Murata to fight Jason Quigley then the lawyers would have had a field day. Murata fights Brant in Las Vegas on 20 October and you can be sure that Bob Arum will be looking to get Quigley a fight with the winner or look for some other way to get the unbeaten Irishman a title shot.
African news has Joseph Agbeko returning to action on 8 September in Ho in the Volta Region of Ghana. He will fight fellow Ghanaian Ekow Wilson in defence of his WBO African title.
A couple of heavyweights will be in action on 8 September in Germany as Alex Dimitrenko makes a quick return after his loss to Bryant Jennings but no opponent named. In fact the New Jersey Commission gave Dimitrenko a suspension after the loss to Jennings which does not expire until 17 October!! The other bout features Croatian hope Filip Hrgovic against veteran Amir Mansour. Big test for Hrgovic even though Mansour is 46. This fight is for the vacant WBC International title. In Mansour’s last fight in November, a technical draw against Sergey Kuzmin, the result was changed to No Decision as Mansour tested positive for a banned substance.
Japan has only one fighter in the heavyweight world ratings and that is Kyotaro Fujimoto. The WBO have him at No 7 on the basis of his winning their Asia Pacific title. His opposition has been very modest at best, certainly not enough to be rated above Bryant Jennings or Dereck Chisora-but he is. They are not taking any chances with him. He is due to fight on 25 September with the name being bandied about of Thai Suthat Kalakek a former OPBF super middleweight title challenger who lost his last fight to a 6-0 novice. Hope they come up with something better than this for a world rated fighter.
Former WBO super featherweight champion Jorge Barrios has applied to the Argentinian Boxing Federation for a licence to fight again. Now 42 Barrios was recently released from prison after serving three years and seven months for homicide and culpable injuries. When driving his car he ran down and killed a twenty-year-old pregnant woman and left the scene of the accident. He has served the sentence that they gave him but four years for what he did seems wholly inadequate.
Boxing lost two former fighters from different country with the deaths this month of August of Charley “White Lightning” Brown and Argentinian Farid Salim. Brown won his first 23 fights before losing to Harry Arroyo for the IBF lightweight title in 1984. His career really faded downhill from there but he scored wins over Alfredo Escalera, the 25-0-1 Frank Newton and the 18-0 Louis Burke on his way to the title shot. He also fought Harold Brazier, Saoul Mamby, Greg Haugen, Johnny Bizzarro and Ralph “Tiger” Jones. After more than 60 amateur fights in Salim’s first pro fight in June 1958 his opponent Santos Galvan suffered an injury and died after the contest. Despite that Salim continued his career and went 27-0-2 including winning the Argentinian middleweight title. In his first fight in the USA he outpointed Ted Wright and also scored a win over Joey Giambra but lost to the wonderfully named Yama Bahama, Wilbert McClure, Joey Archer and Ruben Carter. RIP Charley and Farid.
By- Eric Armit
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.
By Eric Armit
Manny’s back and all’s well in the world-well not quite. However Pacquiao’s win over Lucas Matthysse was the best result for boxing. The Filipino great is still a major player. Hopefully we can forget talk of a return with Floyd Mayweather Jr and although I would not rule it out I just can’t see Pacquiao wanting to go over old ground against Jeff Horn. Errol Spence, Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia would jump at the chance and fight Pacquiao anywhere, anytime. If it could be made Terrence Crawford would be a big fight but not a good choice for Pacquiao. Just too tough an ask for Pacquiao at 39. Pacquiao is talking about two maybe three more fights including one at the end of this year. If you look past Spence, Thurman, Garcia and Crawford then you are looking at lesser names such as Shawn Porter, Adrien Broner and Jesse Vargas with Amir Khan hoping to get into the mix but the WBSS super light tournament cuts down his options from that division. He is being urged to retire whilst still a champion-OK it’s a secondary title-but there is no talk of that from Pacquiao.
The only caveat about the fight at the weekend is the difficulty over judging how much was down to a refreshed Pacquiao and how much was down to a insipid Matthysse. The Argentinian put up only marginal resistance. What we got was not the Matthysse who beat Lamont Peterson, John Molina and Roberto Ortiz inside the distance and fought a war in outpointing Ruslan Provodnikov but the one who was knocked out in ten rounds by Viktor Postol. None of the three knockdowns was really convincing before Matthysse did his own no mas.
What a great weekend for boxing in the Philippines. Obviously Pacquiao’s victorious return hogged the headlines and to a degree it was a pity that it overshadowed two other outstanding performances by Filipino boxers. On Friday Vic Saludar challenged WBO minimumweight champion Ryuya Yamanaka in Kobe, Yamanaka’s home city, and won a clear unanimous decision. Vic probable looked a safe opponent. Over the previous thirteen months he had lost on points to 8-1-2 Toto Landero, beaten 6-2-2 Mike Kinaadman, 14-8-4 Lito Dante and then Kindaaman again. Nothing to scare Yamanaka there but a “low risk” fight exploded in their faces. On Sunday under Pacquiao vs. Matthysse Jhack Tepora floored and stopped Mexican Edivaldo Ortega to win the interim WBA feather title. Going into the weekend their only world champion was IBF super flyweight king Jerwin Ancajas so a huge boost for boxing in the archipelago of over 7,000 islands.
Things could get even better with Toto Landero challenging Simphiwe Khonco for the IBO minimum title in South Africa on Sunday and Froilan Saludar, the elder brother of Vic, challenging Sho Kimura for the WBO flyweight title in China on 27 July. Additionally minimumweight Mark Barriga could soon be fighting Mexican Carlos Licona for the IBF title as it is expected that Hiroto Kyoguchi will vacate the title. They will have another champion for sure because Donnie Nietes and fellow-Filipino Aston Palicte meet in Cebu City on 18 August for the vacant WBO super fly title. When Jerwin Ancajas outclassed Jonas Sultan in defence of his IBF super flyweight title in May it was the first world title fight between two Filipino boxers for 93 years-now it is two in three months.
Nietes will be aiming to become a four-division champion and if he wins he will be 17-0-1 in 18 world title fights and is currently 30-0-3 in his last 33 fights. Donnie comes from a fighting family. His uncle Dan is a former Philippines champion and now a judge, Uncle Junie had a brief pro career, Uncle Gerson Snr was a good level amateur and cousin Gerson Jr is a former amateur boxer and now trains Donnie alongside ex-Philippines champion Ala Villamor.
The WSBB have managed to pull together interesting lists for their next two divisions. The bantamweight contestants will be Mikhail Aloyan, Ryan Burnett, Nonito Donaire, Naoya Inoue, Jason Moloney, Juan Carlos Payano, Emmanuel Rodriguez and Zolani Tete. At super light we have Ivan Baranchyk, Terry Flanagan, Ryan Martin, Regis Prograis, Kiryl Relikh, Josh Taylor, Eduard Troyanovsky and Anthony Yigit. Both good lists but for me it is the bantams that really excite with four title holders in the competition whereas only Relikh is a champion at super light. I was informed that Prograis had relinquished the WBC interim title before he fought Juan Jose Velasco at the weekend and that their fight was for the WBC Diamond title.
It would have been interesting to see WBA No 4 Mario Barrios in the mix at super light. The 23-year-old from San Antonio, who turned pro at 18, is 21-0 with 13 wins by KO/TKO He faces a good test on 28 July when he meets Jose Roman who is 24-2-1
Floyd Mayweather’s record of 50 wins in 50 fights being the highest unbeaten total for any retired world champion is under threat. On August 28 in Thailand Wanheng (Chayaphon Moonsri) will face an as yet unnamed challenger in defence of his WBC minimumweight title. Wanheng is 50-0 and will be making the tenth defence of his title. Of course for his achievement to get him in the record books he will have to retire with a 100% record so you can be sure the challenger will be very carefully chosen.
Since the parties representing Kid Galahad and Toka Kahn Clary have been unable to come to an agreement over their IBF title eliminator the IBF have called for purse bids by 31 July. Galahad is No 3 with the IBF (positions 1 and 2 are vacant) and Clary is No 9.
Boxing has never been a major factor in Singapore sport but the emergence of Muhamad Ridhwan is sparking some interest. The 30-year-old “The Chosen Wan” has already won WBA Asian, UBO World and IBO International titles and now he is looking to add a more prestigious one. On 29 September in Singapore he faces Namibian Paulus Ambunda for the vacant IBO super bantam title. Ambunda, 37, a former WBO bantam champion, held this IBO title until losing it to Moises Flores in 2016.
It was nice to see veteran Moruti Mthalane regain the IBF flyweight title at the weekend. He vacated the title a few years back after a farcical purse bidding process left him with the prospect of defending his title in Thailand for a derisory amount of money. South Africa will be hoping for another title win on Sunday when Simphiwe Khonco defends the IBO minimum title against Toto Landero (holds a win over Vic Saludar). The fight is part of a show to honour the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth and Khonco’s promoter Rodney Berman has released Khonco so that he could top the bill for the promoter of that show.
It must have been depressing for the Boxing South Africa team to have gone to the trouble of arranging for the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport to give a clinic on this very important subject of doping when only eleven licensees turned up. You can’t help people who won’t help themselves.
Thursday 19 July marked the sixtieth birthday for Azumah Nelson, arguably the greatest African fighter of all time. The “Professor” a former All-Africa, World Military and Commonwealth gold medal winner was WBC champion at feather and super feather. He beat Wilfredo Gomez, Marcos Villasana (twice), Juan Laporte, Mario Martinez (twice0, Calvin Grove, Gabe Ruelas and Jesse James Leija. British fans are unlikely to forget his one round demolition of Pat Cowdell and his dramatic last round stoppage of Jim McDonnell. He drew and then stopped Jeff Fenech in two great fights with the win in 1992 being rated by Ring Magazine as Upset of the Year and his 1995 stoppage of Ruelas was Ring Magazine Comeback of the Year. Azumah only lost two fights over his peak years. After only thirteen fights he came in as a very late substitute against the great Salvador Sanchez in 1982. He was up on one of the three cards before being stopped in the fifteenth round in what was tragically Sanchez’s last fight. His other loss was when he moved up to lightweight in 1992 to challenge Parnell Whittaker and lost a close unanimous decision. Azumah was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 2004. Equally important is the donations he has made to many orphanages in Ghana and the Azumah Nelson Foundation to help the youth of his country. He has been a great ambassador for boxing and for Ghana and the WBC have made arrangements to honour Azumah.
Still on Africa I was advised this week of the death of Langton Tinago. The Zimbabwean “Schoolboy” died on 17 July. For many years Langton was the man in boxing in Zimbabwe. Over a 20 year career from 1967 to 1987 he had 110 fights ending with a 86-20-3,1ND record. He was national champion at lightweight and welterweight and had three spells as Commonwealth champion at super featherweight and lightweight and scored wins over Ken Buchanan, Willie Booth, Chris Sanigar and Australia Graeme Brooke. He fell on hard times after he retired but was a much revered figure in Zimbabwe boxing.
By Eric Armint-
When I was a kid we had a saying “cheat’s never prosper” boy were we naïve. In September two fighters who have served derisory suspensions for positive tests will make a whole load of money as Saul Alvarez fights Gennady Golovkin and Alex Povetkin challenges Anthony Joshua.
If you put aside the disgust over this cheating then Alvarez vs. Golovkin is a fight we all want to see. With the bad blood that has grown out of the positive tests and extended wait for their return contest hopefully it will be a better fight than their first one. Let’s hope this time Alvarez comes to fight.
Joshua vs. Povetkin is not the fight we wanted but where the heavyweights are concerned, both inside and out of the ring, there seems to be more prima donnas than at La Scala. The WBA were always going to run out of patience over the unification fight between Joshua and the WBC champion Deontay Wilder. It was dumb of Wilder not to take any offer to fight Joshua anywhere. He can make five times more than he can against any other fighter. He is now left in limbo. His No 1 challenger Dillian Whyte -who he does not appear to want to fight- faces Joseph Parker on 28 July so whoever wins that at best it will the end of the year before Wilder can face them. His No 2 is Dominic Breazeale and that is not going to be a big pay day and below Breazeale sit Povetkin, Luis Ortiz, Tony Bellew, Parker and Charles Martin so slim pickings. Joshua vs. Povetkin is not a great fight. Povetkin looked vulnerable against David Price but he is a puncher and Joshua will make big money whoever he fights. The Povetkin fight will be staged on 22 September at Wembley Stadium where Joshua drew 90,000 for his fight with Wlad Klitschko. Povetkin will not be as big a draw but the crowds come to see Joshua so will still be big by anyone’s standard. What must be worrying for Wilder is that Joshua has said that if he gets past Povetkin-and the “if” word is mine not Joshua’s-then his next fight will also be at Wembley. Make sure your passport is up to date Deontay.
With Povetkin being both WBA and WBO No 1and with the IBF No 1 spot vacant a win over Povetkin would take the pressure off Joshua for those other versions of the title he holds.
Looks like no one wants to fill the IBF No 1 position. Pulev was to fight Dillian Whyte in a final eliminator but Whyte has opted for a much more attractive fight against Joseph Parker. Next up was Jarrell Miller but when Pulev’s promoter won the purse bidding and was looking at Sofia as a venue Miller indicated he did not want to fight in Bulgaria and so Hughie Fury’s name suddenly came into the equation. Quite a transformation for Fury from unrated to No 5 for beating Sam Sexton particularly when you realise that even before he lost to Joseph Parker last September the IBF did not even rank him in the top 15. It stinks but then the IBF are desperate and running out of options and you can’t be seen to approve an unrated fighter in a final eliminator.
The question over the money for the Manny Pacquiao vs. Lucas Matthysse fight appears to be resolved with confirmation that the cash is in the bank. That uncertainty is a risk when a big fight goes to country or organisation who are buying the fight for publicity and don’t have a track record for staging big fights. The result of the fight won’t tell us anything new about Matthysse but it will answer a lot of questions about how much Pacquiao has left. It is his first fight since losing to Jeff Horn over a year ago so we, and a lot of boxers around Manny’s weight, want to find out if he still has a future.
The current WBSS series is not yet finished and already plans are well advanced for the next. In the super lights WBA champion Kiryl Relikh vs. Eduardo Troyanovsky will double as a quarter final in the tournament and a mandatory defence by Relikh. In another quarter-final European champion Anthony Yigit will face Ivan Baranchyk. Since the IBF title is vacant and the No 1 spot in the IBF ratings is also vacant then it would make sense that the fight between Baranchyk No 2 and Yigit No 3, be for the vacant IBF title. According to the EBU Yigit is scheduled to defend the European title against Franck Petitjean on 17 November so that European title fight has to be in jeopardy. Josh Taylor and the winner of the fight on 14 July for the WBC interim title between champion Regis Prograis and Juan Jose Velasco are the others named so far. Velasco certainly profited from the ratings elevator going from No 34 to No 18 in the WBC ratings last month and with the next WBC ratings imminent he will probably find his way into the top 15. Missing at this time is WBC champion Jose Carlos Ramirez who defends against Danny O’Connor on Saturday and WBO champion Maurice Hooker. I expect Ramirez to win but I am not sure about Bob Arum letting him fight in the tournament as promoters prefer to pick the opponent for the champions and not leave it to another promoter to do so. It will be interesting to see what other names are added.
There is some question over the participants in the bantamweight WBSS tournament. Originally the names of Ryan Burnett, Zolani Tete, and Emmanuel Rodriguez were announced. Jason Moloney was added later with Nonito Donaire the very latest to sign up. Naoya Inoue and Russian Misha Aloyan are awaiting formal confirmation but there is now some question as to whether Burnett will participate. (Ed's note - Inoue has now been confirmed)
The world is changing too quickly for me with the unique WBSS tournament and professionals boxing at the Olympics. Now Golden Boy is going into partnership with Facebook to show live cards free of charge on the media site. Too much change at my age but let me add one wish of my own and that is the revival of professional boxing in Cuba. That I would welcome. Too often by the time the great Cuban amateurs turn pro they are already past their peak or too set in their styles to make a successful transition to the pros. There are high class fighters such as Lazaro Alvarez, Carlos Banteur, Rosniel Iglesias, Julio De La Cruz, Robeisy Ramirez, Erislandy Savon and Yosvany Veitia who would be great additions to the pro ranks.
Purse bids have been in the news with the postponement of submission of bids for Daniel Jacobs vs. Sergiy Derevyanchenko fight. Originally this was to be an IBF final eliminator but since the IBF stripped Gennady Golovkin of their title that changes the picture with the Jacobs vs. Derevyanchenko fight probably being for the vacant title. As No 1 Derevyanchenko is in the driver’s seat with the No 2 position vacant and Jacobs No 3. Golovkin was stripped for not complying with the IBF instructions to defend against Derevyanchenko. What will happen next is not clear. Lou DiBella insisted that the fight go to purse offers so right now no one knows who will promote the fight or which channels it goes to but as Jacobs is tied to HBO if the purse winner wanted to deal with another channel then Jacobs would be unable to fight. If Jacobs can’t take part then the IBF would have to look further down their ratings which currently read 4) Jermall Charlo, 5) Demetrius Andrade, 6) Tommy Langford and 8) Martin Murray.
There was something very strange about the outcome of the bidding for Adonis Stevenson vs. Oleg Gvozdyk fight. The winning bid was $3,102,000 from Tom Brown who often works with Al Haymon, next highest was $2,100,100 from Yvon Michel and then Top Rank with a bid of $1,670,000. Just 30 minutes after winning the bidding Brown rescinded his bid and since Michel’s bid was next highest he was awarded the fight and he proposes to stage it on 3 November in Montreal. Top Rank have protested and say that a new purse offer process should be undertaken. However if a promoter who won the purse offer relinquishes the right to promote the bout then clause 2.20 of the WBC rules gives the WBC the right to grant the fight to the second highest bidder. The only explanation I can see is the when Brown/Haymon saw they had bid £1 million more than the next highest bidder they realised they had seriously overpriced the fight and ducked out.
TMZ Sports, a Nigerian company, are seeking at least $2 million in damages from Floyd Mayweather Jr over alleged failure to make a number of appearances in Africa. The allegation is that Mayweather took an advance payment of $210,000 but after backing out of the appearances did not refund the $210,000. Of course Floyd could solve the case by buying Africa. If that does not work then anyone who can afford and is stupid enough to pay $18 million for a watch and offer Adrien Broner a $50 million deal can afford to hire some very high class lawyers so best of luck with your action TMZ. No wonder Mayweather was such an accomplished fighter. He put all the class he had into his fights and left none over for real life.
Saturday will see the return to the ring of Beibut Shumenov in Astana, Kazakhstan against German Hinzi Altunkaya. This will be for the vacant secondary WBA cruiser title even though Shumenov has not fought for over two years. The former WBA light heavyweight and one time holder of the same WBA secondary cruiser title announced his retirement in June last year citing an eye injury. He also complained of a lack of activity. With proposed fight falling through he had only one fight in 2015 and one in 2016, but says he is now looking to be more active. The WBA rating of Altunkaya is obscene. In the ratings published 31 March he was unrated and in April he suddenly appeared at No 3 even though he had not had a fight since January when he beat a guy with a 3-7-1 record. There is no honest explanation for blatant manipulation such as this-disgraceful and so typical of the WBA.
Namibian Sakaria Lukas, the WBO No 2 feather, is saying that he is now a free agent. Lawyers for Lukas are claiming that an essential part of the contract between the boxer and MTC Sunshine Academy was access to IBO title fights. However IBO President Ed Levine was reported as saying that MTC was suspended for non-payment of sanctioning fees. MTC say Sakaria is still under contract and with Lukas positioned for an eventual challenge to Oscar Valdez or interim champion Carl Frampton there is serious money at stake here.
Some good European Boxing Union title fights are lined up. On 11 August in Finland lightweight champion Edis Tatli (30-2) defends against Frenchman Marvin Petit (23-1-1). Brit Frankie Gavin will challenge welterweight champion 25-0 Kevin Lejarraga in Bilbao on 17 November. No date yet for Dominic Boesel vs. Enrico Koelling at light heavy. Purse offers have been called for or negotiations are underway for Vicente Legrand vs. Andrew Selby at flyweight, Lee Haskins vs. Georges Ory at bantam, Abigail Medina vs. Jeremy Parodi at super bantam, Marc Vidal vs. Kiko Martinez at feather. For those interested in money the winning bid for Vidal vs. Martinez was Euro 26,113 ($30,437 or £23,000).
Still on the EBU they made the right decision in refusing the German Bund Deutscher Berufsboxer (BDB) application to be reinstated as an affiliated member. This is the body that hid from the EBU a positive test in an EBU title fight by Erkan Teper. Have they improved? When administrative body accepts a fight between Robert Maess (21-1 19 wins by KO/TKO) and Mihaita Cosma (0-18 18 losses by KO/TKO) as an acceptable match you have to wonder what they find unacceptable.
It has been a good few weeks for Erik Morales. Last month he was inaugurated into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and now he has won another honour. In the recent Mexican elections he was voted in as Diputado for District 07 in Tijuana. The Camara de Diputados is the Mexican equivalent of the US House of Representatives.
Isaac Dogboe will make the first defence of his WBO super bantam title against Hidenori Otake in Phoenix on 25 August. Otake the WBO No 5 has a 31-2-3 record with his only loss in his last 24 fights being a wide unanimous decision against Scott Quigg in 2014 for the secondary WBA title. Whilst Isaac Dogboe brought a world title to Ghana the IBO took one away. They have stripped Emmanuel Tagoe of their lightweight title for not entering into negotiations to defend against Fedor Papazov. Since the 28-1 Tagoe is not rated by any of the four major bodies he is going to have to a problem getting a shot at another title.
With Abner Mares having failed in his bid to win the real WBA feather title from Leo Santa Cruz the WBA secondary title is now vacant. The WBA No 2 Jack Tepora 21-0 will fight No 3 Edivaldo Ortega (26-1-1) on the undercard to Pacquiao vs. Matthysse. Just to be consistent in their stupidity on 11 August the WBA No 1 featherweight Jesus M Rojas defends the WBA feather interim title against Joseph Diaz. So the WBA aim is to still have a super champion, a secondary champion and an interim champion so what happened to their vow to reduce the number of champions? Also on the undercard to Pacquiao vs. Matthysse Carlos Canizales will defend the WBA light fly title against Bin Lu of China. Never heard of Bin Lu? Not surprising as although he was an elite level amateur he has had only one pro fight. In September last year he stopped Thai Wanchai Nianghansa who had an 8-9 record. The WBA were so impressed that five months later, without Lu having had another fight, he suddenly appeared in the WBA ratings at No 12. It’s a pity they are not a US based outfit as the FBI might show the same interest as they did when the IBF was selling places in their ratings.
Thai fighters like to keep busy so WBC super fly champion Srisaket has a non-title fight in Thailand on 21 July against Korean Young Gil Bae. Interesting heavyweight fight coming up as Bryant Jennings goes for his fifth win in a row as continues his effort get another title shot. He takes on IBF No 8(7) Alex Dimitrenko on 18 August in Atlantic City. Dimitrenko was to have challenged Agit Kabayel for the European title but has gone for the Jennings fight instead. Jennings, the WBO No 8 lost on points to Wlad Klitschko for the IBF/WBA/WBO titles in 2015.
Tony Yoka has some competition-at home. His wife Estelle Mosseley was World and Olympic Champion and now she too will turn pro later this month. She has been signed up by a TV Channel for a programme of ten fights through to 2020.
Some other of the former stars of French amateur boxing will be in action on 27 July in Le Cannet with Olympians middleweight Christian Mbilli 10-0 and Rio bronze medallist Mathieu Bauderlique 14-1scheduled to appear. Main event will see 17-0-1 Yannick Dehez defend the French welter title against 15-0 Jose Gomez. The show is being promoted by Brahim Asloum, himself an Olympic gold medal winner back in 2000 when he beat Brian Viloria on the way to the final giving France its first Olympic boxing gold medal for 64years. Asloum twice held the WBA light flyweight title and retired when still champion. He is now one of the leading promoters in France
A curious one from way back. In 2006 the USA and Ukraine teams met and at 75kgs Shawn Porter beat Oleg Usyk. It is difficult to imagine a 165lbs Usyk.
In a similar vein US amateur Khalil Coe has to be worth keeping an eye on. Last month in the Chemistry Cup in Germany he won the gold medal knocking out four-time World Champion and Olympic gold medallist Cuban Julio Cesar De La Cruz inside a round.
By Eric Armit
Finally we have some clarity and some hope. The clarity is over the return between Gennady Golovkin and Saul Alvarez who will get it on again in Las Vegas on 15 September and the hope is that the negotiations between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder, or more correctly between their promoters, looks to be getting close to an agreement. Both fights will be huge and a Joshua vs. “Wilder fight in the UK could match or even surpass the figures for Joshua vs. Wlad Klitschko.
Since Tyson Fury broke the log jam with his win over Klitschko the heavyweight division has returned to being the attraction it once was. I can remember the days when the heavyweights and the middleweight were the glamour divisions so it’s “Happy Days Are Here again……”
Still on heavyweights it remains to be seen how kind boxing history will be to David Haye now that he has retired. Injuries have blighted the late years of his career with only six fights in the last eight years of activity-or inactivity as you might say. He certainly ruled the roost for a while at cruiser being undefeated European and WBA/WBC champion and won the WBA heavyweight title but it is a moot point whether wins over Monte Barrett, Nikolay Valuev, John Ruiz, Audley Harrison and Derek Chisora, the only “name” heavyweights he beat, are enough to offset the toe injury loss to Wlad Klitschko. Good yes, great no.
The Dillian Whyte vs. Joseph Parker fight is a good match for both fighters. Perhaps a win would mean no more hoops to jump through for Whyte. He is the WBC No 1 but the possibility of a Wilder vs. Joshua fight is drowning out his claims for a fight with Wilder. For Parker a win would put him back into the picture after his loss to Joshua which has seen him drop out of the top 5 in all of the ratings. Since Alex Povetkin is No 1 with both the WBA and WBO he must he hoping a fairy godmother appears so that “Cinderella” Povetkin can go to the ball.
There must be quite a few top level welterweights waiting to see whether Manny Pacquiao can beat Lucas Matthysse on 15 July in Kuala Lumpur. It remains to be seen whether at 39 Pacquiao is still a force or whether the way he struggled against Jeff Horn marked the first signs of footsteps sliding down the hill. Most top fighters in the welterweight division will to be hoping for a Pacquiao win as Manny is still a big money fight for anyone. A win for Matthysse would lift the Argentinian’s profile but not to the level of Pacquiao and in my opinion Terence Crawford and Errol Spence would beat Pacquiao and Matthysse but we will know more after 15 July.
We also have clarity on where and when the cruiser section of the WBSS tournament will finally conclude with Olek Usyk and Murat Gassiev meeting in Moscow on 27 July. For the first time since I didn’t know when we will have one champion in the cruiser division with the IBF/WBA/WBC/WBO titles on the line. The matter should have been resolved six months ago and there was always a risk that injury or some other factor could derail the tournament but it has been worth the wait to get the right two contestants together. With all the signs saying that George Groves vs. Callum Smith will contest the super middle final once Groves is fit that will also be a much delayed but best outcome final it is just a pity that the impetus has been lost by the delays.
The good fights keep coming with Jermell Charlo and Jarrett Hurd being lined-up for a unifications match. Charlo will be putting up his WBC super welter title and Hurd his WBA and IBF titles. It will be an explosive encounter with bad feeling between the two fighters. Hurd is 22-0 with 15 wins by KO/TKO and Charlo is 31-0 with 15 wins by KO/TKO.
What a contrast in the performance of two relatively unknown Mexicans in title fights. Jaime Munguia 28-0 comes in as a late substitute and proves to be an animal blowing away Sadam Ali in four rounds when Ali had beaten Miguel Cotto in his last fight. At the weekend Carlos Ocampo 22-0 is blown away inside a round by Errol Spence and it is ridiculed as a mismatch and yet both Munguia and Diaz had met very similar opposition and neither was expected to win. Both of the sanctioning bodies involved played their little games. Munguia went from unrated by the WBO to No 6 when he had not had a fight and Ocampo went from 6 to 3 with the IBF for beating someone with a 14-3 record. It was impossible to predict that Munguia would destroy Ali and also that Ocampo would collapse but it is easy to be smart after the event. Munguia will defend his WBO super welter title against Liam Smith in Las Vegas on 21 July and it is justice for Smith as he lost the chance to fight Ali through injury. It will also give some clarity on whether Munguia is really as good as he looked against Ali or Ali just had a very bad night.
Puerto Rican “El Explosivo” Machado defends his secondary WBA super feather title against Ghanaian Rafael Mensah on the undercard to this Munguia vs. Smith fight. Machado is 19-0 with 16 wins by KO/TKO. Mensah is 31-0 with 23 wins by KO/TKO but his No 1 rating by the WBA is farcical. He has never fought outside Ghana, has never fought anyone remotely near being rated and it is 2014 since he last fought in a fight scheduled for more than eight rounds. Mensah may be a very good fighter but there is nothing in his record to justify being rated No 1 but then this is the WBA we are talking about. Also on the card is Demetrius Andrade vs. Yamaguchi Falcao.
The undercard to Golovkin vs. Alvarez will include Diego De La Hoya vs. Franklin Manzanilla with Gary O’Sullivan and Joseph Diaz also scheduled to feature. Manzanilla gets the match after his upset win over 32-2 Julio Ceja in May.
Regis Prograis will defend his WBC interim super light title on 14 July in New Orleans when he faces unbeaten Argentinian Juan Jose Velasco. The 29-year-old Prograis is based in Houston but was born in New Orleans. Velasco has benefited from the WBC ratings elevator going from No 34 in their ratings to 18 without fighting. Top 15 in the next ratings?
Rocky Fielding faces a tough task when he challenges Tyron Zeuge for the secondary WBA super middle title in Offenburg on 14 July. Zeuge has been improving steadily and being British Fielding will know how hard it can be to get a win in Germany.
Brit Dave Allen also has an overseas assignment as he will be in Paris Saturday night to provide the next test for French heavyweight idol Tony Yoka. The Rio gold medallist is already living the super star life with big names from French show business attending his fights and with lucrative out of the ring contracts. Yoka cannot afford to lose as he has an 8 million Euro deal with French TV for exclusive rights to his fights over the next four years. However there is still the possibility of his parade getting rained on. He has currently been given a suspended ban for missing three scheduled drugs tests. The final decision on what his sentence will be is expected around 4 July. He could get anything from a two year ban to a light slap on the wrist so to some extent not only Yoka but also the Anti-Drug Agency are both under close scrutiny.
Interesting match in Villa Carlos Paz, Argentina will see former world title challenger Matias Rueda 30-1 against 25-year-old 17-0 Cesar Antin. Rueda was stopped in two rounds by Oscar Valdez in a challenge for the WBO feather title in 2016.
Argentinian boxing could be in for a boost as it is expected that before the end of August all five of the boxers from their team at the 2016 Olympics will have turned pro. Alberto Melian, Fernando Martinez, Alberto Palmetta and Ignacio Perrin have already gone pro and Yamil Peralta is said to be crossing over in August. Peralta, who fought at 91kgs as an amateur, represented Argentina at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and at the World Championships in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Peralta, Martinez and Melian are the best hopes as both Palmetta and Perrin have already stumbled in early paid fights.
Still on Argentina how dumb can you be? Marcos Maidana was photographed with two pistols which was bad enough but then he posted a picture of himself sitting in a car with an Uzi on his lap and one on the seat next to him. That stupidity brought a downpour of media criticism. Not exactly a good role model.
I really do wonder about the quality of some bodies overseeing boxing. Take the Bund Deutscher Berufsboxer (BDB) which is one of the bodies supposedly overseeing boxing in Germany. On 16 June in Berlin on a show under their banner Robert Maess halted Mihaita Cosma in two rounds. Obviously for the fight to have gone ahead the BDB must have approved it this despite Maess being 21-1 and Cosma 0-18. Maess had won 19 of his fights by KO/TKO and Cosma had lost every one of his 18 fights by KO/TKO and in those 18 losses he had only twice managed to get past the second round. If the BDB consider this an acceptable match it begs the question of what they consider unacceptable but then these are the same people who concealed from the EBU a positive test for Erkan Teper. When I see disgraceful matches like this I wonder just what justification could be offered if the fighter with the abysmal record suffered serious injury.
By Eric Armit-
The popular board game Monopoly has a “Get out of Jail Free” card which of course can come in very handy. It now seems that there is a boxing board game with a Get Out of Jail Free card and the card is one very useful for getting Mexican fighters caught doping out of any significant punishment. There is no mention of “Jail” on the card but in big letters is the word “Clenbuterol the Mexican Wonder excuse”. Erik Morales and Francisco Vargas played it when they tested positive for the banned substance and now Saul Alvarez has used it as his get out of punishment card. Alvarez twice tested positive for Clenbuterol but hey there were only small amounts in his sample and in two subsequent tests he was clean. That proves nothing at all except that he had ingested a banned substance. He may well have had a substantial amount of Clenbuterol in his system a couple of weeks before the test more than could have been explained away by contaminated meat but it had worked his way through system by the time he was tested. His two subsequent clean tests are meaningless. Having tested positive for Clenbuterol all he had to do is take no more and the banned substance would have worked his way through his system and surprise, surprise he was clean.
I badly wanted to see the Gennady Golovkin vs. Saul Alvarez return fight but not if one of the fighters has tested positive for a banned substance. The WBC took a huge step when they introduced their Clean Boxing Programme but almost every step they have taken since has been a backward one. Alvarez is a millionaire with nutritional experts at his beck and call. He must know of the past instances where Mexican meat has been blamed for positive tests and yet he put this huge fight in jeopardy. So the WBC says he was not intending to cheat-an impossible thing for them to know-so he is not guilty. Less than six months ago the WBC decided that Luis Nery gave a positive test due to contaminated Mexican meat but he was not suspended. Luis Ortiz gave a positive test for two banned substance in his sample in September 2017 but claimed it was due to medicine he was taking to counter high blood pressure and he was let off with a $25.00 fine. In March he gets $500,000 for fighting Wilder for the WBC title which puts that slap on the wrist into context.
The WBC took strong action when Alex Povetkin tested positive withdrawing their sanction of the eliminator with Berman Stiverne but other than that it is difficult to think of one high profile case that has seen similar strong action. I have said before that if you introduce a testing routine which states in big letters THE ATHLETE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING THAT GOES IN HIS BODY!! You need to have the moral courage to apply that rule to every fighter whether he claims it came from contaminated Mexican meat or free roaming Scottish haggis.
France has also failed to support the testing. Their rising young heavyweight star Tony Yoka missed three scheduled test but has only been given a suspended suspension so fights this weekend in Paris. Can’t give a positive test if you avoid getting tested-clever eh!
Still no positive information on who Gennady Golovkin will fight on 5 May. It won’t be Billy Joe Saunders as he will fight Martin Murray on 23 June and it won’t be Ryota Murata as he defends his secondary WBA title against Emanuele Blandamura this month, Daniel Jacobs would be a good fill-in but he fights Maciej Sulecki this month in an IBF eliminator and both Golovkin and Jacobs would want more time to prepare for their return fight. Demetrius Andrade has pressed his case and looks as good as any and unbeaten Mexican Jaime Munguia has been mentioned but it has to be a fighter with a high profile as every Golovkin fight is a big event.
Anthony Joshua continues to be a phenomenon in British boxing. His last three fights have drawn a total of over 250,000. The fight with Joseph Parker was by no means a classic. Parker’s only chance of winning was though his strong fast jab, slick movement and hoping that Joshua would tire over the twelve round distance. When Joshua showed a stronger, faster jab good movement of his own and was still full of energy over the later rounds Parker seemed to settle for second place and did not even try for the knockout he needed in the last round. Parker’s reluctance to take any chances prevented the fight from being entertaining or exciting but it was job done for Joshua.
Talk of a fight with Deontay Wilder raises hopes but there is a long way to go towards that being signed and sealed. One of the biggest stumbling blocks will be that as a champion Wilder will be looking for parity and I can’t see Eddie Hearn agreeing to that. Wilder received $2.1 million for the Ortiz fight. Don’t know what Joshua got for the Parker fight but the New Zealander’s purse was reported to have been £8 million ( approx. $11 million)so Joshua must have taken down around £20 million (approx $28 million) which makes Wilder’s purse look paltry. Even if that could be ironed out the other stumbling block could come in the shape of mandatory defences which the IBF, WBA or WBO may insist on. Tyson Fury won these three titles when he beat Wlad Klitschko in November 2015 and by December the IBF had already stripped him, Alex Povetkin is No 1 with both the WBA and WBO so there could be pressure there but the IBF do not have a No 1 as neither their No 2 Kubrat Pulev or No 3 Jarrell Miller has a win over a rated opponent (so how did they become No 2 and 3-don’t ask-this is boxing and this is sanctioning body behaviour) and curiously IBF have actually called for purse offers for Pulev vs. No 6 Dominic Breazeale and the winner would be able to fill the No 1 spot.. As for Wilder, Ortiz was not No 1 so the WBC No 1Dillian Whyte has a strong claim for a shot at Wilder. Joshua vs. Wilder will be huge. Bigger the Joshua vs. Wlad Klitschko and it could turn out to be the highest grossing heavyweight title fight in the history of boxing so let’s hope the will is there to make it happen.
Wilder did boxing no good by declaring that he felt incomplete as he had never killed a man in the ring. He was sad that he did not have a fatality on his record and how he thought he might have got one when he knocked out Artur Szpilka. What a disgraceful comment. There is a punishment in some sports for bringing the sport into disrepute but Wilder’s remarks must be way up there with the worst unfeeling and stupid remarks ever made by a boxer.
Former Saul Alvarez victim Amir Khan returns to action on 21 April against Canadian/Italian Phil Lo Greco. Actually that is unfair Khan is much more than an Alvarez victim he is also a two-time WBA champion and an IBF champion and he deserves great credit for those achievements. The fight will be carried by ESPN + in what is planned to be an extensive programme of fights on ESPN + and Lo Greco is a reasonable level opponent for Khan’s first fight in almost two years.
Still on British fighters Liam Smith gets a chance to regain the WBO super welter title when he faces Sadam Ali in Verona on 12 May. He is in with a chance and it remains to be seen how much of Ali’s upset win over Miguel Cotto was down to Ali’s talent and how much to Cotto being at the end of a long career. Rey Vargas defends the WBC super bantamweight title against Armenian Azat Hovhannisyan in the main support. This show will be at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona NY. My poor timing again as I shall be at the Turning Stone on 8 June to see a card as part of the International Boxing Hall of Fame Induction Weekend activities. Boxers Vitali Klitschko, Erik Morales and Winky Wright are being inducted and there are some other top names scheduled to attend such as Mike Tyson, Miguel Cotto, Gerry Cooney, Micky Ward, Sergio Martinez, James Toney, Marco Antonio Barrera and Leon and Mike Spinks and these guys will walk amongst us in the grounds. Every boxing fan should try to get to the Hall at least once.
There are rumours that the WSBB has been tapping up some boxers down in the super flyweight’s to see whether they can put together a series in that division for their next adventure. That is a talent heavy division but it is by no means sure that the promoters of the top fighters will want their guys in WBSS promoted by someone else.
Thai Wanheng will be aiming to equal the record held by Floyd Mayweather Jr for the longest winning run for a world champion when he defends his WBC minimumweight title against his No 1 challenger Leroy Estrada. A win will put him on 50 wins and as he is only 32 and should be too good for the Panamanian he will be able to shoot for 51 to pass Mayweather’s total. An added bonus for Wanheng could be the special belt that the WBC had made for presentation to the winner of Golovkin vs. Alvarez as the plan is to present it to him if he beats Estrada.
South East Asia looks to be throwing its hat into the ring metaphorically. On 20 April there is another in a series of shows that have been held in Singapore where Frenchman Karim Guerfi will face Filipino Michael Dasmarinas for the vacant IBO bantam title. Dasmarinas is nicknamed “Glove of Fire” That is not a reflection of his style of fighting but is due to a member of his family being so unhappy with the young Dasmarinas taking up boxing that he threw the young fighter’s boxing gloves in the fire!
A much bigger event will happen in Kuala Lumpur on 8 July when Manny Pacquiao challenges Lucas Matthysse for the secondary WBA welter title. A risky fight for the great 39-year-old Filipino for the comparatively minor reward of a secondary title.
Still on the scene out East Daigo Higa will defend his WBC fly title against Nicaraguan Cristofer Rosales on the same show as Murata vs. Blandamura. It seems the Japan now has so many champions they have to put two or three title fights on a show to fit them all in. Jamie McDonnell faces a very tough task in defending his secondary WBA bantam title against unbeaten Japanese “Monster” Naoya Inoue. On the same show Ken Shiro will put his WBC light fly title on the line against Mexican former WBC champion Ganigan Lopez. Shiro won the title with a majority decision over Lopez last May.
Fights coming up include 13 April Bahamian Edner Cherry returns to action against Denis Galarza in Minneapolis with Jamal James 22-1 vs. Abel Ramos 18-2-2 also on the card. Busy, busy 21 April. In Brooklyn Gervonta Davis takes on Jesus Cuellar for the secondary WBA super feather title, Adrien Broner and Jessie Vargas go against each other and Jermall Charlo fights Hugo Centeno for the interim WBC middle title. Big show in Belfast on the same night with Carl Frampton vs. Nonito Donaire for the WBO featherweight title. A fight that neither man can afford to lose and also on the card a great match with South African star Zolani Tete vs. Omar Narvaez for the WBO bantam title. The 42-year-old Narvaez is aiming to become a three-division champion.
Huge fight in Sundsvall, Sweden also on 21 April where Otto Wallin 19-0 takes on fellow-Swede 15-1 Adrian Granat for the European Union heavy title. Biggest fight in Sweden in years and one that hopefully will give boxing in Sweden a huge boost. Also 21 April in Czestochowa, Poland Mariusz Masternak vs. Youri Kayembre Kalenga for the WBO European cruiser title whish will double as a WBO eliminator with Tomasz Adamek vs. Joey Abell, 39-0-1 Damian Jonak and a WBO Female super feather title fight between unbeaten local Ewa Brodnicka and Canadian Sarah Pucek also on the card. Abell is very popular in Poland and has done work at a Works Community Behavioural Health Centre there working with people with mental health problems. Joey has a degree in Humanities.
Also on 21 April in Neukoelln, Germany unbeaten German heavy Tom Schwarz 20-0 faces 16-0 Senad Gashi European heavy champion Agit Kabayel 17-0 defends title against 19-1 Miljan Rovcanin and more to come as the year unfolds including Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Jorge Linares one to saviour.
These articles are submitted by guest writers and sites. They aren't submitted by the usual folk behind Asian Boxing and don't fall in line with our editorial stance, giving a fresh view on various boxing issues from the Asian boxing scene.