By Eric Armit
Many writers of British history find it irresistible to write about the PTS period. No that’s not Post Traumatic Stress it is Plantagenet, Tudors and Stewarts as there was always something happening during the reigns of the respective regents of those three eras. It is very much like the heavyweight division today. The head that wore the crown then was always likely to have his reign come to an end in a dramatic fashion. Over those three periods we cut the head of a king, supposedly disposed of others by drowning one in a vat of wine and another by inserting a red hot poker up where I dare not mention and killed one in battle. No king retired peacefully or willingly but a couple were stripped of their titles and sent to some awful foreign place such as France or Italy. It should also be noted in a reflection on the emergence in the present day of female boxing that we also chopped the heads of three queens!
We do things in a much more civilised manner these days. King Anthony Joshua travelled to one of our former colonies and was ambushed and deposed by that foreign villain Andy Ruiz. Joshua was not executed for this failure but did not escape being pilloried. He regained the crown by defeating the usurper Ruiz. However as has happened throughout the PTS period there have always been other claimants to the throne. For many years it was Deontay Wilder a citizen of Alabama an area to the West of our thirteen colonies. However Tyson Fury, a giant from our North West, established a strong claim for kingship by vanquishing Wilder. Fury himself had been the strongest claimant until he was unable to enter the field of battle to defend his crown. Eventually with the aid of the powerful Warren Clan and Bob Arum, a citizen of one of our thirteen colonies, he has now gained considerable recognition as king in his own right.
Just as in the PST period we have young pretenders waiting to claim the throne such as Daniel Dubois and we face invasion from foreign forces such as Oleksandr Usyk from Ukraine and Kubrat Pulev from Bulgaria so no real change there. No drugs problems in those days. In fact we did not even have tobacco until 1586-hell of a long time to wait for a smoke! Things are much different today with there having been failed tests or contested results surrounding Fury, Dillian Whyte and Hughie Fury although all have been cleared on this. In a reminder of the PST period Fury’s positive test came from eating boar’s meat. Perhaps that’s what made the English such formidable fighters. I can hear Sir Francis Drake saying I don’t care if the Spanish Armada is sailing up the channel I am not going anywhere until I finish me game of bowls and my boar’s meat sandwich.
One feature of the PST period we might think of reintroducing is the scale of punishments existing then. Today for a drugs offence it seems the maximum punishment is two years suspension and too often it in nothing more than a slap on the wrist. We should reintroduce that old favourite hanging drawing and quartering. Those of a delicate nature should skip this bit as I am about to describe the process. The miscreant was hung by the neck then taken down whilst still alive had his guts cut open and his innards drawn out and then placed in his hands often whilst still alive then be cut into four pieces with each piece being displayed on a spike at the entrances to the city. Now that’s what I call a deterrent!
Additionally no one ever confesses these days when caught on a positive test so how about a session on the rack to enhance their memories
Just as today where we have COVID-19 back in the Plantagenet era we had the plague. Ignorance allowed the plague to have a far more tragic result. Today promoters deserve a vote of thanks for the way they are working with the health officials to keep boxing alive. Top Rank blazed the trail but in Britain both Queensbury and Matchroom picked up that torch.
One of the infamous historic incidents in the PST period is the still unanswered question of what happened to the two princes Edward V (before he could be crowned) and the Duke of York who were locked in the Tower of London and mysteriously disappeared. Modern equivalent of mysterious disappearance? When was the last time you saw WBA heavyweight champions Manuel Charr and Trevor Bryan in a ring?
Of course Wilder has caused a stir with his ridiculous claim that Fury loaded his gloves for their second fight. Firstly it has taken Wilder more than ten months to realise Fury’s gloves were loaded and secondly he is accusing the Nevada Commission of incompetence. It makes him look pathetic and a poor loser.
To finish with the heavyweights Alexander Povetkin is free of COVID-19 but too late to save his return fight with Dillian Whyte with even the 30 January looking in question. Whyte has accused Povetkin of faking the COVID-19 case saying Povetkin is only using it as an excuse to get more time to prepare. You have to hand it to the heavyweights they really know how to make themselves look silly. Luis Ortiz has challenged Andy Ruiz, Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce face each other on 1 November with new heavyweight prospect David Adeleye vs. Danny Whittaker and WBO No 1 super light Jack Catterall tackling Tunisian Abderrazak, Tony Yoka takes on Christian Hammer in Nantes on 27 November, there’s talk of a Filip Hrgovic and Mike Hunter fight which would be the first real test for Hrgovic and of interest since Hunter drew with Povetkin in December-a result for which he did not get the credit he deserves and may be the reason why Povetkin was not seen as too big a risk for Dillian Whyte.
Then there are the two big nights with the kings putting their crowns on the line with Tyson Fury defending the WBC tiara on 5 December with former undefeated European champion Agit Kabayel the likely opponent and 12 December with Anthony Joshua putting the IBF, WBA, WBC and IBO titles on the line against Kubrat Pulev. The executioner is sharpening his axe but let’s hope it is not a king’s head which ends up on the block next month.
The WBA’s disappearing trick does not just apply to heavyweights. Their secondary champion at cruiserweight Beibut Shumenov won the title in July 2018 and has yet to defend it. That is disgraceful when there is an interim champion in Ryad Merhy who would fight him tomorrow. It is ridiculous that the WBA keep inventing new titles to garner sanctioning fees but are willing to let Shumenov freeze their title for two years
The situation with Saul Alvarez seems to change from day to day with him having recently been declared a free agent you would think there would be a queue at his door and lots of rumours flying about. The latest twist is talk of going back to DAZN to fight Callum Smith in Texas next month in front of a live audience as spectators are allowed in Texas. That would reduce the number of title holders the WBA have super middle with Smith the real champion and Alvarez the holder of the secondary title. You can’t be sure this is the final outcome with other names still being thrown around but Alvarez vs. Smith would be a tough ask for both fighters and better than some of the other matches being talked about.
Luke Campbell is reported to be coming along well in his recovery from COVID-19 and his WBC lightweight final eliminator against Ryan Garcia is now rescheduled for 19 December with a shot at Devin Haney the prize for the winner.
Good to see that a settlement has been made in the court case between Carl Frampton and Barry McGuigan. Boxing needs Frampton in the ring in big fights and boxing needs McGuigan finding and developing new talent on his promotions.
It was surprising to see that Felix Sturm is to return to the ring in Hamburg on 19 December under the Universum banner. The former world middleweight and super middleweight champion will be 42 in January and this will be his first fight since February 2016. In early 2019 Sturm was arrested and spent eight months in custody. In April he was convicted of tax evasion, violation of anti-doping laws and assault and the case is going through the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe.
Former undefeated WBO super middle champion Gilberto Ramirez is ready to return to the ring. He will fight Alfonso Lopez on 19 December with somewhere in Texas the likely venue. Ramirez is No 1 with the WBC and No 4 with the WBA. It will be Ramirez’s first fight since April 2019 and he will be looking to challenger Artur Beterbiev for both the WBA and WBC titles early next year.
Two of South Africa’s stars could clash in the New Year. Both former WBO bantamweight champion Zolani Tete and IBO super fly champion Gideon Buthelezi have indicated interest in the fight if the money is right. Tete has not fought since being crushed by John Riel Casimero in November and Gideon since defending his IBO title in July last year.
By Eric Armit
The heavyweight bonanza planned for the next two months starts on Saturday night in London with Olek Usyk and Dereck Chisora clashing in London. It is effectively a WBO eliminator and there will be a push for whoever wins to get a fight with Anthony Joshua. The WBO could well throw a spanner in the planned schedule for the two Joshua vs. Tyson Fury fights by threatening to strip Joshua if he does not fight Usyk or Chisora.
Joshua puts his three titles on the line against Kubrat Pulev on 12 December and Tyson Fury fights someone on 5 December. Lots of names being thrown around but none seem too threatening as the last thing Eddie Hearn and Bob Arum need is a banana skin such as Andy Ruiz proved to be. There is then the skeleton of a plan for Joshua vs. Fury 1 around April/June next year with Joshua vs. Fury 2 in November/ December 2021.
Alexander Povetkin and Dillian Whyte have their return bout on 21 November for the interim WBC title but it looks as though it may be 2022 before they get a title shot
Joe Joyce and Daniel Dubois clash on 28 November for the Commonwealth, British and vacant European titles and the EBU have set a date of 17 November for purse offers for two unbeaten heavyweights Tony Yoka and Croatian Peter Milas to fight for the vacant EU title. Joseph Parker faces Junior Fa on 11 December, Luis Ortiz fights Alex Flores on 7 November, Filip Hrgovic fights Rydell Booker 7 November, Murat Gassiev has his first fight at heavyweight on Saturday against Nuri Seferi, Andy Ruiz is training hard(well relatively hard) and Deontay Wilder is training but he has no idea why. Let’s not forget the two boxers who have been cast into the wilderness for the sin of winning version of the WBA heavyweight title. The rules say a champion must defend his title within twelve months – less in some cases. Well poor Mahmoud (Manuel) Charr won the secondary title in November 2017 so just short of three years and Trevor Bryan won the interim title in August 2018 so over two years. Message to the WBA: Your rules and regulations are on your web site if you have lost your copy.
I still have serious reservation over the 10-8 scoring for a round in which a fighter is knocked down. This is cast in stone in the rules of the sanctioning bodies with no ifs or buts. It says plainly if there is a knockdown in a round then the round shall be scored 10-8 in favour of the boxer scoring the knockdown. That means that a fighter could hand out a beating to his opponent for 2:55 seconds and Compu-Box might show the boxer had outlanded his opponent by a huge margin in the round but if a punch to the shoulder causes him to lose his balance and his glove touches the floor then he will lose the round 10-8. I am amazed at the insult this is to boxing judges. The sanctioning body will tell you that they have the best judges in the world but don’t even trust them enough to let them judge a round over the whole three minutes and take into account the impact of a knockdown on the totality of the round. It is even worse when you consider that the 10-8 score has different impact depending on who is knocked down. If the fighter who is knocked down was losing the round then 9-10 becomes 8-10 so really just a one point penalty. If the fighter is winning the round then a 10-9 becomes an 8-10 so a three point penalty arising from what could be just a glove touching the canvas. To some judges the 10-8 is a great let-out. If a round is close then the knockdown makes life easy for you as you can dismiss any uncertainty from your mind over who you were going to give the round to as the rule book relieves you of any responsibility for your score in that round. It’s 10-8 a no brainer. It takes a very courageous judge to actually score the round 10-9 to the guy who was knocked down for if the other two judges are split then your 10-9 could be the score that decides a winner in a world title fight. The losers team would have a readymade protest and the loser’s fans would murder you on social media. Why have the best judges in the world and them tell them how to do their job?
Interested in money-who isn’t? Purses for the big show last weekend were: Roman Gonzalez $500,000 (the second biggest purse in the Nicaraguan’s career), Israel Gonzalez $75,000, Juan Francisco Estrada $300,000, Carlos Cuadras $50,000, Julio Cesar Martinez $100,000 and Moises Calleros $30,000. There seems an imbalance between what Roman Gonzalez was paid and the payment to Estrada but I guess everyone was happy with what they earned.
Showtime is preparing a documentary about Hector Camacho which will cover both his great achievements in the ring and his battles with addiction out of the ring. Camacho was killed in a still unsolved shooting incident in Bayamon in November 2012. The three division champion should make a fascinating study. In one run he beat four fighters with combined records of 92-1and scored wins over Rafael Limon, Jose Luis Ramirez Freddie Roach (yes that Freddie Roach), Edwin Rosario, Cornelius Boza-Edwards, Howard Davis, Ray Mancini, Vinny Pazienza, Greg Haugen, Roberto Duran and a badly faded Sugar Ray Leonard. I recall seeing Hector in Aruba dancing in a glittery spangled outfit wearing earrings and a pig tail smiling, gyrating and having a great time. A fond memory. A great fighter and a tragic end.
Boxing will return to Puerto Rico on 5 December. Miguel Cotto’s promotional outfit has received permission from the Department of Heath for the show. No fans allowed but it will be televised. It is planned that unbeaten prospects Danielito Zorrilla and Oscar Collazo will both fight on the card. The Department of Health has offered to help with the necessary medical exams.
The news is not so good from Germany where two planned shows have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus. The shows were to be in Berlin and Munich but for the venues the number of local virus cases measured on the COVID-19 incidence scale meant that the Berlin one had to be cancelled and the Munich show would be restricted to 50 people in attendance and would have to close doors by 9.00pm which made it impractical. There is a show scheduled for 21 November in Magdeburg and that seems likely to go ahead with former IBF cruiserweight champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez continuing his comeback despite a seventh round kayo loss against Kevin Johnson in August.
Puerto Rican Prichard Colon was hospitalised this week. Colon has been in the care of his mother since requiring emergency surgery after suffering a brain swelling in his fight against Terrel Williams in October 2015. This hospital surgery was required to reconnect a tube which supplies Prichard with food. It is hoped he will released from the hospital in a few days but life is still a struggle for Prichard and his mother.
There are already some fighters eager to compete at the new weight introduced by the WBC (and eventually the IBF, WBA and WBO who would not want to miss out on the sanctioning fees but as usual will all come up with their own name for the division). From Poland Mateusz Masternak, Krzys Wlodarczyk, Michal Cieslak and even WBO No 1 cruiser Krzys Glowacki have all said they will look at going up to the 224lbs division.
There will be an interesting fight on the undercard to Tyson Fury vs. TBA on 5 December as Michael Conlan clashes with former WBO super bantam champion Isaac Dogboe in a big fight for both boxers.
Artur Beterbiev’s defence of his IBF and WBC light heavyweight titles against Adam Deines has been rescheduled for the third time and will now take place in January in Russia with the expectation that it will be in front of a full house of fans.
The WBO have given the handlers of super welterweight champion Patrick Teixeira until 5 November to agree terms on Teixeira’s mandatory defence of the super welterweight title against Brian Castano or it will go to purse offers.
As WBO No 2 at super welter Tim Tszyu should move into the mandatory position after the above fight. Tszyu is not sitting waiting for that to happen and on 16 December will tackle New Zealander Bowyn Morgan in Sydney. Morgan is a good choice with a 21-1 record 13 wins in a row and a good depth of amateur experience.
BoxRec shows a fight scheduled for Friday in Dar es Salaam featuring a local boxer and Thai Sirimongkol Singwancha (Sirimongkhon Iamthuam). Singwancha has had a remarkable career. He turned pro in 1994 as a flyweight and won the World Boxing Union super flyweight and bantamweight titles in 1995. He won the interim WBC bantamweight title in 1996 and the full title in 1997 and lost it in the same year in his fourth defence in seven months. He then progressed up through the weights until he won the WBC super featherweight title in 2002 but lost it in 2003. He won a WBC lightweight eliminator in 2005 but did not get a shot at the title. Over 2007 and 2008 he won minor titles at super feather and super light and in 2012 won the WBC Asian title at welterweight. In 2014 he won the WBO Asia Pacific title at super welter and just before losing in a challenge for the WBC Asian middleweight title his record was 94-2. In 2018 he won the Thai light heavyweight title and for the fight in Tanzania will get down to super middle. He is now 43 and has had at least one fight in 25 of the 26 years he has been a pro. His record is 97-4 with 62 wins by KO/TKO so he might get to 100 career wins if he goes on for another year.
It saddens and ages you when you read of the death of a fighter whose career you followed from start to finish. That’s the case with Miguel Angel Castellini who died on Tuesday at the age of 73. I followed his progress though Simon Bronenberg’s KO Mundial and monthly results sheet from Julio Ernesto Vila-who I miss still. After an indifferent start to his career Castellini went on a run that saw him lose just one of his next thirty-eight fights and win the WBA super welter title. It took him eleven years and 76 fights to win a world title and he reigned for just five months. He retired in 1980 with a record of 74-8-12 with 51 wins by KO/TKO. RIP Miguel I enjoyed the ride we took together
By Eric Armit
Saturday’s fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Teo Lopez has to be one of if the most anticipated fights of the year. It has that mix of the already legendary Lomachenko against the young upstart Lopez. The supreme craftsman against a fighter with the power to end any fight with a single punch and render skill redundant. The lead up to the fight has reflected these differences with the brash Lopez mouthing threats of imminent destruction and Lomachenko exuding a quiet confidence. I slightly favour Lomachenko but above all I hope we get a memorable fight and avoid any controversy.
The WBC has really tied themselves in knots over this fight even though it is for Lomachenko’s WBA and WBO titles and Lopez’s IBF title. The WBC are adamant that all four versions of the lightweight title are on the line as Lomachenko is their “champion” and that raises the question of what title Devin Haney holds and what the WBC means when they designate a fighter (Haney) as their World champion. Lomachenko was announced by the WBC as their “Franchise” champion (I initially thought wrongly that perhaps they had given him the franchise to sell WBC Green McBurgers). Then interim champion Devin Haney was upgraded to WBC champion in their ratings issued on 9 October. On 9 November Haney beat Alfredo Santiago in a fight which was advertised as being a defence of the WBC world title. If Haney is not their world champion why did the WBC allow the fight to be advertised as a world title fight with no qualification announcing that it was not for the real WBC title but for a version of their world title as Lomachenko was in fact their real champion and why did they not advise the promoter that he was not in fact promoting “the WBC title” but a lesser version of the title similar to the WBA secondary title. They announced at one time that the “Franchise” title was not transferrable but all the Lopez team had to do was ask for the “Franchise” title to be on the line and gone was the “non-transferrable” .
The hypocrisy of designating Lomachenko as WBC “Franchise” champion is that Lomachenko has fought in13 fights involving a WBO world title, 4 involving a WBA title and just one WBC title fight. Strange to pick as your “Franchise” champion someone who in six years as a pro had never shown any interest in fighting for your title. I could understand them designating Wanheng (Chayaphon Moonsri) who during six years as WBC minimumweight champion and through twelve WBC title defences has never fought for any other sanctioning body other than the WBC . A similar case could be made for Deontay Wilder who fought in eleven WBC title fights brining in huge sanctioning fees, The “Franchise” is not about loyalty-otherwise Lomachenko would not qualify-it is about profile and Lomachenko has the profile and Wanheng does not but the case of Wilder is more puzzling..
However it is misleading for the WBC to describe Haney as WBC champion in the ratings they issued on 9 October and then have Mauricio Sulaiman declare only a few days later that Lomachenko remains the real WBC champion and just to rub it in if you look at the WBC ratings the banner headline at lightweight declares Lomachenko is the Franchise champion in such large letters that you almost need a magnifying glass to see the that Haney is the champion which seems to me to be an insult to Haney. Even the WBC can’t have two world champions. Oh sorry! This is boxing so of course they can. I guess that the fight between Haney and Yuriorkis Gamboa on 7 November is for the WBC secondary title. Oops sorry world title.
Another of my rants but this is not about Lomachenko who for me is the most accomplish boxer in the world today but about a sanctioning body doing double speak over who is their champion.
There is talk of IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington fighting Can Xu, the holder of the WBA secondary title, in December. Depending on what happens in the fight mentioned below between Gervonta Davis and Leo Santa Cruz
The time lost to COVD-19 is leading to a rush of outstanding shows being packed into the last three months of the year. Apart from Lomachenko vs. Lopez, and an excellent undercard on the show, on 23 October in Mexico City Juan Francisco Estrada, Roman Gonzalez and Julio Cesar Martinez all put there WBC title on the line against Carlos Cuadras, Israel Gonzalez and Maximino Flores respectively a joint-production by Promociones Zanfer and Matchroom Boxing. Three excellent title matches that mark the official return of boxing to the Mexican capital.
October 31 will see “Monster” Inoue putting his IBF and WBA bantamweight titles on the line in Las Vegas against feisty Australian Jason Moloney in a fight that promises to be explosive. Just as big will be the fight in San Antonio between Gervonta Davis and Leo Santa Cruz. This is an unusual one as it will be for WBA titles in two different divisions-lightweight and super featherweight- but still an intriguing match. On the same night in England Oleksandr Usyk steps into the ring for the first time in a year as he fights Dereck Chisora with Tommy McCarthy and Bilal Laggoune clashing in a well-matched contest for the vacant European light heavyweight title and Lee Selby facing unbeaten Australian George Kambosos in a fight that will tell us how much former IBF featherweight champion Selby at 33 has left in the tank and how high Kambosos might climb.
November offers us Devin Haney defending the WBC lightweight title in Hollywood Florida against Yuriorkis Gamboa on 7 November and one week later Terrence Crawford defends the WBO welterweight title against Kell Brook in a fight that fills me with trepidation. After taking severe punishment in his losses to Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence Brook has fought his way back with good wins over Siarhei Rabchanka, Michael Zerafa and Mark Deluca so he has earned the chance but there is the fear that another bad beating awaits him at the hands of Crawford. November 21 will see the return contest between Alexander Povetkin and Dillian Whyte a fight that will send one of them into the boxing wilderness.
Without looking too far ahead 5 December will be a big night with Errol Spence defending the IBF and WBC welterweight titles against Danny Garcia in Texas and in London Luke Campbell and Ryan Garcia fighting for the interim WBC lightweight title. The big event for 5 December will be Tyson Fury returning to the ring against an opponent yet to be named. I have seen Bob Arum talking about Oscar Rivas, Efe Ajagba and Agit Kabayel who are all in the WBC ratings with Otto Wallin claiming he should have another shot at Fury and Charles Martin also being touted by some sources. The great pity is it won’t be Deontay Wilder. Although there was a return clause in contract for their last fight it was time sensitive and the option expired so for now Wilder is out of the picture. If Anthony Joshua beats Kubrat Pulev on 12 December and Fury beats whoever he faces on 5 December then Fury vs. Joshua will be on for sometime next year. Hopefully it will be for all four versions of the title but that depends on whether the WBO order Joshua to defend their title against Usyk (or Chisora) or be stripped. Nothing is ever straight forward in the heavyweights.
One thing I won’t be looking forward to next year is Manny Pacquiao vs. Conor McGregor. Pacquiao has taken the step of signing a partnering contract with Paradigm Sports who also handle McGregor. That is a “clearing of the decks” move and the fight goes from improbable to highly probable. One of the questions that has to be asked is whether their fight will be for Pacquiao’s WBA title ( Floyd Mayweather Jr was an ex-champion when he fought McGregor). You might think it would be impossible for a guy who has lost the only boxing contest he has ever had to fight for a title but if you do think that then all I can say is “money” and “WBA” which should be enough to make anything possible.
Not everything goes to plan. German outfit Universum had a show set up for Dusseldorf this weekend. It would have featured Kazak heavyweight Zhan Kossobutskiy, who the IBO seem to have designated as official challenger to Anthony Joshua, and unbeaten German heavyweight hope the 6’ 8 ½ Christian Thun. The show was bannered as “Back to Business”, Unfortunate choice of words as the show was cancelled on Monday over a spike in COVD-19 cases in the area! A blow to Universum but it is good to see them back in boxing.
I worry (sometimes I think I worry too much) about boxing. The sport seems to be regressing. We recently had an outfit talking about returning to fifteen round title fights and now we have bare knuckle boxing with one of its recent shows being included in Box Rec’s list of shows for that week. Where will this lead. Will we see boxers in knee britches, fights staged outside on turf, no ropes and no judges, a “mark” scratched on the turf, fifty round plus fights ( the longest bare knuckle fight lasted 6 hrs and 15 mins)etc.etc. Why does this sort of thing only happen in boxing?
I am also concerned that boxers are getting soft. At one time we had nicknames such as “Bonecrusher”, “The Executioner” and “The Assassin”. Now we get “The Prodigy”, “The Chosen One”, “The Problem” , We had a fighter last week whose name was Wendy and a boxer with “Grandad” on his short’s band (personally I liked that one)we need to get the guys back on a red meat diet.
Saw a lovely little story along the lines of “everything comes to those who wait”. David “Poison” Kotey shocked boxing when he beat Ruben Olivares to win the WBC featherweight title in 1975. After one of his world title fights in 1976 he supplied $45,000 out of his purse to meet a request from the administration in Ghana to finance the import of mackerel which was a staple diet and in short supply. It was a loan which the Sate promised to repay to Kotey when he returned to Ghana but the State defaulted on its promise. After over 40 years of fighting to get his money last week the Ghanaian President instructed the Finance Ministry to pay the debt. Justice for the man who blazed the trail as the first ever Ghanaian world champion. Now can we discuss 40 years interest on $45,000 !
By Eric Armit
When I first began to pick up whispers of Conor McGregor dabbling in boxing again I hoped it would be a case of smoke but no fire. Just McGregor keeping himself in the public eye. When McGregor then started to talk about a fight with Manny Pacquiao there was more smoke but it was coming out of my ears. Surely Pacquiao would not lower himself to participate in such a farce and an insult to boxing in the way that Floyd Mayweather had. Then McGregor started to claim that he would be fighting Pacquiao in the Middle East next year. Was there really a fire under that smoke after all? Surely Pacquiao would come out and make a statement rubbishing talk of fighting McGregor. Well Pacquiao certainly made a statement but it read more like an opening gambit in a negotiation. He was interested in sharing the ring with McGregor, but only on the condition that his own promotion company MP Promotions co-organised the event. So no denial and instead more wood on the fire. That remark regarding the co-organising says it all. If the money is right the fight will happen. At 41 Pacquiao has very few fights left in him. One, two at the most. Right now if he walks away his legacy is obviously assured with no qualification tagged on the end. Over a 22 year period from winning the WBC flyweight title in 1998 to currently holding the WBA welterweight title he has won ten version of a world title in six different divisions and earned millions of dollars yet it seems that is not enough. Yes fighting McGregor will be very richly rewarding in money terms but it will add nothing to his boxing legacy-it certainly has not done so for Mayweather-and horror of horrors what if he actually lost? Forever his legacy would have that qualification on the end “great, great fighter-but he lost to McGregor”. What a terrible way that would be to end his great career. Obviously as it will add nothing to his legacy he is doing for the money and if he was going to donate a large part of his purse to help his fellow-countrymen as he has done in the past that would temper some of my misgivings but at the same time if he does not fight again until he fights McGregor and then retires that would be a slap in the face for real professional fighters in the WBA ratings such as Yordenis Ugas, Vergil Ortiz, Mikey Garcia or others the WBA not have in their ratings such as Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia. Forget Errol Spence and Terence Crawford they would be too good for a 41 year Pacquiao. I can hear the WBA rubbing their hands at the sanction fee that would come their way even if it meant approving a guy to fight for their title who had lost the only boxing match he had. I guess that would just be business as usual for them. Will a TV company take Pacquiao vs. McGregor will it sell? Of course there are still million of idiots out there who love a circus.
With Saul Alvare’s legal team resubmitting his action against DAZN and Golden Boy things are getting messy. The WBC have ordered Alvarez to fight the No 2 in their latest rankings Avni Yildirim. Alvarez is not their champion of course. He has never won their super middleweight title-he holds the secondary WBA title- but he is the WBC “Franchise champion”-what rubbish. However since Alvarez is in a legal battle with his paymasters DAZN he cannot go ahead with the Yildirim fight unless a settlement is made in his case against DAZN and Golden Boy. The WBC originally called for purse bids by 23 September. DAZN was reported to have offered Alvarez $20 million for the Yildirim fight which is a lot less than called for under their contract. The date for purse bids has now been pushed back to 6 October but it seems to me that until there is a judgement on his contract dispute Alvarez is not a free agent. That would mean him withdrawing his name from the WBC instructed fight with Yildirim and the WBC nominating someone else to fight for the vacant title. A Gordian knot that need to be cut.
It looks likely that Naoya Inoue’s title defence against Australian Jason Moloney is on for October 31 in Las Vegas. Naoya’s IBF and WBA bantamweight titles will be on the line. Moloney’s only defeat is a split decision against Emmanuel Rodriguez for the IBF title which was also part of the WBSS bantamweight tournament. The feisty little Australian comes to fight so it should provide plenty of entertainment. If Inoue comes through that then hopefully a unification fight with John Riel Casimero will follow. The fight was talked about last year but Casimero had visa problem but as he fought in Connecticut last week that should not be a barrier.
You can’t trust these little guys. Julio Cesar Chavez and Jorge Arce fought an exhibition and it seems that Arce ended up ambushing Chavez by taking it a lot more serious than Chavez thought he had agreed. No harm done. This was a good example of two veterans fighting as Chavez was donating the money he was paid to a clinic for addiction treatment and Arce towards providing low cost housing for people in his area.
One star female boxer and one newcomer fought at the weekend. Tony Yoka is always under pressure to win as his wife Estelle Mossely is the IBO world female lightweight champion and she outpointed Aurelie Froment on the undercard to Yoka’s win over Johann Duhaupas last Friday. Mossley also won a gold medal at the Rio Games so there was even pressure there on Tony. The other female boxer was a total newcomer. Young Jaromira Konecny won her first amateur fight last Friday. She is the 14-year-old daughter of Lukas the former interim WBO and European super welterweight champion who also promoted the show. Jaromira your dad is a former World and European champion and competed at the Olympics and your late granddad Milan was Czech light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion-no pressure there Jaromira honest.
I saw where Floyd Mayweather Jr has offered to help train Deontay Wilder for his third fight with Tyson Fury. I find it difficult to envisage what a fleet and fast Mayweather could teach a 6’ 7” Wilder. A bit like an antelope teaching a rhino to dance. I suppose he could insert some rhythm into Wilder’s work. Along the lines of –you put left jab in, your left jab out, your left jab in and you shake it all about. No stop it Eric you’re just being silly.
Good card building for the Leo Santa Cruz vs. Gervonta Davis WBA title fight (s) which will see typical WBA confusion. The fight will be for the secondary WBA lightweight title held by Davis (the real champion is Vasyl Lomachenko) and the WBA super featherweight title held by Santa Cruz-who also holds their featherweight title. Davis will have to make 130lbs for the fight so that both titles can be on the line for both fighters. The show will be before a live audience for the first time since the pandemic struck. Mario Barrios will defend the WBA secondary super lightweight title against Ryan Karl and Regis Prograis and Diego Maldonado will also appear in fights on the show.
Only 16 days until Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Teo Lopez. The IBF, WBA and WBO lightweight titles (that’s the real titles)will be on the line in what promises to be a great clash of experience against youth and power. In one of the supporting fights super middle Edgar Berlanga will be going for first round KO/TKO win No 15 in a row. The record is held by Tyrone Brunson with 19. Brunson went downhill after his 19 wins and is 9-8-2 since then but with Top Rank guiding him I can’t see that happening to Berlanga but I feel he might settle for a second round win to get that pressure of the record off his back.
I really do despair of the WBA no matter how low they go they can still go lower. They must give their Board of Governors limbo dancing lessons in fact they must be aces at it. The most recent disgrace is their No 8 cruiserweight Rafael Murphy. He is rated above former world champion Krzys Wlodarczyk. His “achievements” his last four fights sre that in his only fight in 2017 he was stopped in five rounds by Hugo Trujillo. Trujillo’s record was 2-0-1. In his only fight in 2018 he beat Juan Reyna who was 6-9-1 and had won only one of his last 9 fights. In May 2019 he beat Oswaldo Ortega who was 3-11 and in August he outpointed 11-20 Larry Pryor over four rounds. Going into the Murphy fight Pryor was 1-6 in his last 7 fights with the win being a four round points victory over someone with a 3-18-1 record. The win over Pryor suddenly saw Murphy enter the WBA ratings at No 8. I don’t want to be unfair to the WBA so please WBA work with me here advise of one honest reason for Murphy to be rated at all let alone No 8 in the world. Box Rec rates him No 175 and that seems generous.
Undefeated World Boxing Council (WBC) straw world champion Wanheng Menayothin will be making the thirteenth defence of his title, against his compatriot, Petchmanee CP Freshmart, on November 27, in a city to be announced. At 34 he could have a few more fights in him. He is 54-0 and if he finally retires undefeated he will be No 1 in the all-time list of world champion who have retired after winning all of their fights and second in the all-time list of world champions to retire undefeated behind Jimmy Barry who was undefeated in 68 (including ten draws) but I can’t see him hanging around to beat Barry’s record. Floyd Mayweather with 51-0 is second in the list of world champions to have won all their fights and Rocky Marciano is third on 49-0.
Boxing continues to ease its way back from the pandemic. Boxing returns to Namibia on 7 November but with no fans in attendance, There will be two separate shows one starting at 15.00 hours featuring world rated Namibians Jeremiah Nakathila the WBO No 3 super featherweight and WBO No 6 welterweight Mikka Shonena with Harry Simon Jr also on the 15.00 show. The second show will start at 21.00 and topping the card will be former WBO middleweight title challenger Walter Kautondokwa. The show will have TV coverage which makes it viable-just.
By Eric Armit
Everyone in boxing has suffered due to the pandemic. We know this but when you see the figures for the number of fight cards in 2020 compared to 2019 that really drives it home. To give you an example for 2019 Box Rec was notified of 604 potential shows in the USA a substantial number even if some of those notified fell by the wayside. For 2020 from January through to the end of December for the USA the projected figure is 200. For the United Kingdom the figures are 272 for 2019 and 72 to the end of 2020. For Mexico the figure for all of 2019 was 594 shows and for 2020 through to the end of October the available projected figure is 122. Japan in 2019 registered 183 shows and the projected figure to end November is 49. As can be seen the impact on boxing around the world has been catastrophic.
Boxers, managers, promoters, seconds, trainers, gyms, local commissions, Boards, sanctioning bodies and even we poor boxing journalists have lost income due to the pandemic (Except myself. The last time anyone paid me for writing it was in doubloons and they were delivered by a guy on a horse).
The impact differs. For some it means the difference between living and just existing. Not having food on the table and not being able to support your family but sometimes that brings out the best in people. An example is Thai promoter and philanthropist Naris Sangwancha. When he learned that a gym in the Philippines did not qualify for the support offered by the Games and Amusement Board (GAB) he provided food for the 37 boxers and other people involved with the gym. It is also an indication of the problems affecting bodies such as the GAB whose support can only go so far. The figures for the Philippines were 121 shows in 2019 and up to 9 March, the date of the last show in the Philippines, the total was 14.
However the green shoots of the recovery by boxing from COVD-19 continue to grow and on 5 December in Paranque City, Manila Vic Saludar and Robert Paradero will contest the vacant secondary WBA minimumweight title.
Encouragingly in South Africa the Sports Minister has given clearance to the regulating body Boxing South Africa (BSA) for boxing shows to restart under strict conditions. Of course BSA is not a promoter so the pace of the return to boxing will be set by the promoters but BSA has offered to help with the costs of COVID-19 tests. It is hoped that Rodney Berman’s Golden Gloves will put on a show in October but for some promoters it will be like being awarded a driving licence but not having a car. Boxing is a business and it has been hard enough for small promoters in South Africa to stage shows when there were no restrictions so without gate money and little or no TV it is a hard road ahead but BSA will do what it can to smooth some of the bumps.
A show is planned for Ibadan in Nigeria in December but so far Ghana has not been given the go ahead.
It seems almost obscene to go from the hardships some in boxing are suffering to Saul Alvarez suing DAZ-N for $280 million. It seems to fly in the face of the old sayings of never bite the hand that feeds you and he who pays the piper calls the tune. Of course whoever thought up those saying failed to read the small print. One of Alvarez’s beefs is that he has not been able to fight since beating Sergey Kovalev on 2 November and whilst my heart goes out to him as he must be down to his last $100 million by starting his action against DAZ-N and Golden Boy it means he won’t be fighting anywhere except the courts for a while.
This week was a good week for Team Sauerland as they landed the rights to stage two IBF final eliminators. A bid of $118,530 helped them outbid German rivals SES for the super middleweight contest between Zach Parker and Stefan Haertel. The top two places in the IBF super middleweight ratings are vacant as no one currently in their ratings has beaten a rated fighter but with Parker No 4 and Haertel No 5 the winner will go to No 1 leaping over No 3 Caleb Truax. The other final eliminator. This one at middleweight, will feature Patrick Wojcicki against Patrice Volny. Neither fighter has faced a quality opponent yet (In their computerised world ratings Box Rec has Volny at No 33 and Wojcicki at No 37 and the EBU places Wojcicki at No 15 in Europe) but the winner will be the mandatory challenger to Gennady Golovkin. Best of luck with selling that fight to the public.
The WBO are naturally only concerned with their own titles so despite hopes of a Josh Taylor vs. Jose Carlos Ramirez unification fight they have set the date of 20 September for the teams representing Ramirez and Jack Catterall to reach an agreement or they will then call for purse bids. Incidentally the minimum purse bid for a WBO super lightweight title fight is $150,000 but of course the fight is worth a lot more than that. As an example for the fight with Viktor Postol Ramirez’s purse was $850,000 and Postol’s $500,000
To take part in a professional boxing match you have to be medically examined to ensure you are fit to box. It seems to me sometimes that if you have the standard two legs two arms a trunk and a head you are half way there. If you are not blind and don’t have a physical disability or any disease then the chances are you will qualify as fit to box. After some recent fights I wonder whether there should be another factor taken into account. Take the cases of Dennis Lewandowski and Chauncy Welliver. Lewandowski is 27 stands 6’2” and for his last fight weighed 335lbs giving a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 42.4. Welliver is also 6’2” and weighed 378lbs for his last fight giving him a BMI 48.5. The BMI scale shows that anything over a BMI of 30 is into the red zone of obesity and therefore clinically perhaps even dangerously unfit-but nevertheless- fit to box! If a doctor examined Welliver outside of the context of boxing he would never say that a man who was more than twice the upper range of fitness for his size i.e. 183.6lbs was “fit” but hey this is boxing so two arms, two legs etc…….
Plenty of action coming up with “Sasha” Povetkin and Dillian Whyte meting again on 21 November with Povetkin defending the WBC interim title he won with his stoppage of Whyte in August. Before then on October 10 Nathan Gorman fights for the first time since his kayo loss against Daniel Dubois last July. He faces Ghanaian Richard Lartey who was knocked out in four round by Dubois in April last year. At light heavyweight Joshua Buatsi puts his IBF No 3(2) rating and his WBA International title on the line against inexperience Croat Marko Calic and another WBA International title will be up for grabs in Newcastle on 17 October when Lewis Ritson defends against former IBF lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez. Unbeaten Olympian Qais Ashfaq, Pakistani-born Scot Kash Farooq and unbeaten WBO No 2 super bantamweight Thomas Patrick Ward are all schedule to be on the card.
Eddie Hearn continues to spread his reach even further with a Matchroom show in Mexico on 23 October. The plan is for three world title fights with Juan Francisco Estrada defending his WBC super flyweight title against former champion Carlos Cuadras, Roman Gonzalez risking his WBA super fly title against Israel Gonzalez and Julio Cesar Martinez putting his WBC flyweight title on the line against currently-but not for long-unrated Maximino Flores. If Estrada and Gonzalez come thought those defences successfully then an Estrada vs. Gonzalez unification match must be the aim.
Matchroom are also aiming to stage one of the biggest fights in New Zealand boxing history between Joseph Parker and Junior Fa. They have unsettled business from the amateurs where they both scored wins over each other but Fa’s win in the Oceania Olympic Qualifier cost Parker a place at the 2012 Olympics.
The almost forgotten final of the WSSB cruiserweight tournament will take place in Munich on 26 September. In case you have forgotten-and you could be excuse if you have as the semi-finals were staged fifteen months ago-it will be Mairis Breidis against Yuniel Dorticos. Not sure if they will play the national anthems or the last post as this tournament has been dead but not buried for over a year.
Where can I hide my head in embarrassment for boxing? Wlad Klitschko striding down the catwalk modelling a new police uniform. If you hear a sound like an electric fan it is Tony Galento spinning in his grave.
Former IBF and WBA cruiser champion Murat Gassiev is training again with the aim of fighting at heavyweight. He has not fought since losing to Oleksandr Usyk in a unification fight in July 2018.
Can’t get too excited about Andy Ruiz vs. Chris Arreola which is slated for 7 November. Ruiz is still very much in the heavyweight picture being No 4 with the WBC and WBA and No 5 with the IBF and WBO but a lot of interest will be on what he weighs after he was 283 ½ Lbs in the return fight with Anthony Joshua in December. Anything over 260lbs will raise questions over his fitness. Same with Arreola if he is over the 244lbs he weighed in his fight last August when losing to Adam Kownacki.
By Eric Armit
There always seems to be so much going on with the heavyweights these days from the sublime to the ridiculous. Anthony Joshua vs. Kubrat Pulev is now set for 12 December in London. On the same card Lawrence Okolie and Krzys Glowacki will contest the vacant WBO cruiser title. Joe Joyce vs. Daniel Dubois for the vacant European title is set for 24 October and it has been floated that the return match between Alex Povetkin and Dillian Whyte will be in London on 14 or 21 November but that is not yet nailed down and neither is the proposed Oleg Usyk vs. Dereck Chisora fight although 31 October looks the likely date. Oh and Tyson Fury is talking about fighting a wrestler. Down in New Zealand negotiations are ongoing for old amateur foes Joseph Parker and Junior Fa to settle their differences. In France the much anticipated youth vs. experience contest will see Tony Yoka face former WBC title challenger Johann Duhaupas in Paris on 25 September. The hope is that 5,000 fans will be able to attend the fight. The 39-year-old Duhaupas has never lost to a French fighter. Yoka needs the action. He spent a year out of the ring after being suspended for skipping the drug testers and only managed to fit in two fights when his ban ended so has had only two fights in over two years. Croatian hope Filip Hrgovic returns on 29 September against Czech Ondrej Pala.
Marco Huck will be the mandatory challenger for the winner of Joyce vs. Dubois. Huck was previously mandatory challenger but stepped- aside through injury and was reinstated once the Joyce vs. Dubois fight was approved by the EBU.
Huck returned to action last Saturday. His only outing in 2019 ended on a one round No Decision after it was ruled that a knockdown he had scored was caused by a punch landed after the break call so before Saturday he had managed just 57 seconds of ring time in the last two years. His comeback is the ridiculous bit I mentioned at the start. It was a farcical mismatch against Dennis Lewandowski. The obese 6’2” Lewandowski weighed 335lbs (152kgs). The Body Mass Index (BMI) chart shows that anything over 30 is obese. Lewandowski’s BMI comes out at 43 almost 50% higher than the start figure for obese. What is even more alarming is that Lewandowski was not the worst case. On Friday night veteran Chauncy Welliver weighed 378lbs (171.5kg) against Cassius Chaney. Welliver is also 6’2” giving him a BMI of 48.5. Both Lewandowski and Welliver are considered “fit to box”. That stretches the definition of fit to the extreme. I just hope they never fight each other as instead of ropes and canvas you would need anchor chains and granite flooring.
Boxing is slowly climbing out of the bunker and rebuilding after the pandemic. The latest to get the go ahead is the Philippines Games and Amusement Board which will be allowed to approve shows but within strict guidelines. I find it amusing that boxing comes under the banner of Games and Amusement.
Subject to UK Government approval and BBB of C agreement Eddie Hearn is hoping to put on a show in front of fans on 26 September in London probably featuring unbeaten Joshua Buatsi
Hearn will be putting on the IBF eliminator between Lee Selby and George Kambosos. Matchroom won the bidding for the fight with a purse of $277,777 against the $260,000 bid by DiBella Enterprises. As the No 1 and 2 slots in the IBF ratings are vacant the winner will be the mandatory challenger for the winner of the IBF champion Teo Lopez vs. Vasyl Lomachenko fight. It would be nice to think that the winner of Lopez and Lomachenko would be the unified lightweight champion but since the WBC appointed Lomachenko “franchise” champion that means that Devin Haney is the WBC champion-I think!!!
Any hopes that WBC/WBO super light champion Jose Carlos Ramirez’s win over Viktor Postol would lead to a fight with IBF/WBA champion Josh Taylor and an early unification of the titles at super lightweight have disappeared. The WBO have ordered Ramirez to defend against their No 1 Jack Catterall. They have given the respective management teams twenty days to negotiate but if no agreement is reached then the fight will go to purse offers and in theory the fight should be scheduled to take place within 120 days but that is negotiable. Catterall has a 25-0 record with wins over Tyrone McKenna and Ohara Davis but does not have a very high profile in the USA
Taylor puts his titles up against Thai Apinan Khongsong (Sakkreerin) in London on 26 September. If Catterall’s profile is not high Khongsong’s is practically invisible. Box Rec rates the Thai No 95 in the world and the computerised IBO ratings have him at No 59! I guess if both Ramirez and Taylor come through their title defences unscathed then early next year might be a realistic projection for that unification fight. Former undefeated WBC flyweight champion Charlie Edwards returns to action on this show against bantamweight Kyle Williams.
Gervonta Davis already seems to looking beyond his fight with Leo Santa Cruz on 24 October and talking about how he will beat Vasyl Lomachenko. The Davis vs. Santa Cruz fight is another example of sanctioning body madness. The fight is said to be for the secondary WBA lightweight title held by Davis and the WBA Super super featherweight title held by Santa Cruz. That means that Davis will have to weigh inside the super featherweight limit whilst defending his lightweight title, which he has said he will do. If Santa Cruz wins he does not unify any titles as Vasyl Lomachenko is the real WBA lightweight champion and don’t forget that Santa Cruz is WBA featherweight super champion but obviously that title is not on the line. To be honest if someone asked whether I would rather recognise the WBA or the IBO then the IBO would win hands down.
With Lawrence Okolie relinquishing the European cruiser title Belfast-based Tommy McCarthy will meet Belgian Bilal Laggoune for the vacant title. McCarthy earned his right to fight for the title with a points win over 17-0 Fabio Turchi in October. Laggoune drew with Dmytro Kucher in a fight for this title in 2015 and has won his last five fights. It looks a good match.
Le McGregor is another British fighter on the cusp of a European title fight. He will challenge Frenchman Karim Guerfi for the bantamweight title on 14 November.
Some people are just too talented and Frenchman Brahim Asloum seems to be a boxing version of a polymath. Asloum, the fourth child in a family of ten, won a boxing gold medal at the 2000 Olympics, the first Frenchman to do so since 1936, turned professional and won the WBA light flyweight title, moved on to become a sports broadcaster, set up a foundation to help people made vulnerable through illness, went into movies with a couple of starring roles, competed in reality shows, moved into boxing promotions, and is still active, and owned the Paris United team that competed in the World Series of Boxing. Finished? No way next year he intends to run for the position of President for the French Boxing Federation.
Some world title fights to look out for include the exciting show at the Mohegan Sun on 26 September that will feature both of the Charlo twins in title fights. WBC super welter champion Jermell will tackle IBF champion Jeison Rosario in a unification battle and Jermall puts his WBC middleweight title on the line against No 1 Sergey Derevyanchenko in a great match up. Additionally Brandon Figueroa will defend his secondary WBA super bantam title against Damien Vazquez. In Moscow on 23 October Artur Beterbiev defends the WBC and IBF light heavyweight titles against Adam Deines. The Russian-born Deines lost an IBF eliminator against Fanlong Meng in June last year but when Meng decided not to face Beterbiev Deines took the offer of the title shot. On 31 October in Las Vegas Naoya Inoue defends his WBA and IBF titles against Australian Jason Moloney a fight that promises fireworks. Yordenis Ugas and Abel Ramos will fight for the vacant secondary WBA welterweight title on 6 December in Los Angeles. The WBA stripped Alex Besputin when he tested positive after winning the vacant title against Radzhab Butaev in November. On 12 December Nordine Oubaali defends the WBC bantam title against Nonito Donaire.
Sad to learn that great little Swiss fighter Fritz Chervet collapsed and died on Saturday. Chervet was active between 1962 and 1976 and had a 59-9-2 ,1ND record at a time when Europe had a rich crop of flyweights and Fritz fought them all. Fernando Atzori, John McCluskey, Franco Udella and so many more. He did not fight for and win the European title for the first time until fight No 47 of his career. He had two shots at the world title challenging Thai Charchai Chionoi twice losing on a split decision in the second fight. One of the greatest boxers Switzerland has produced. The other bit of sad news was the death from cancer of Jean Baptiste Mendy at the age of just 57. The brilliant Frenchman was WBC, WBA, European and French lightweight champion being 9-0 in European title fights. A true great in French boxing history. RIP Fritz and Jean Baptiste.
Last weekend Polish veteran Rafal Jackiewicz upset the odds when he won a six round decision over Rico Mueller in Germany. The scores were 58-56 twice for Jackiewicz and 57-57. So none of the three local judges scored the fight for Mueller. However Mueller’s team appealed to the Bund Deutscher Berufsboxer (BDB) who had five “impartial judges” review the fight and they all scored the fight for Mueller. Now at best the result will be changed to a No Decision and it might even be changed to a win for Mueller. Two things here. Firstly presumably the original three judges were “impartial” as they were German judges scoring a fight involving a German fighter in Germany. Secondly if the result is changed to a win for Mueller will Jackiewicz be allowed to appeal and if he wins that appeal will Mueller appeal………..and so on.
By Eric Armit
It has been a good week/bad week in boxing. The Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Teo Lopez fight will now go ahead at MGM Grand on 17 October. We know who Saul Alvarez’s next opponent will be, there are some more green shoots of recovery emerging and we have gone a whole week without any of the sanctioning bodies inventing a new title although the WBC is investigation the need for a new division. On the down side boxing in the Philippines took a big hit when ALA Boxing decided to pull out after 35 years of being a major force in boxing there and some proposed fights have fallen by the wayside.
Lomachenko showed how much he wanted the Lopez fight and what he was willing to do to get the deal done. He agreed to reduce his cut from $3.5 million to $3.25 million with that $250,000 cut going to boost Lopez purse from $1.25 million to $1.5 million. Both fighters will finish up with more than those amounts when ancillaries are added in. Lomachenko’s move puts to shame those fighters whose ego has seen them walk away from a big fight rather than cut a deal. Bob Arum has said it will not be a PPV fight. He is concerned that with so many people losing their jobs due to COVID-19 that there may a reluctance to pay the PPV fee. I am not so sure. This is a fight that every boxing fan would want to see and if people want something bad enough they will find the money but Arum knows this business better than anyone else and if he feels he can make money out of this fight working with ESPN then even I am not dumb enough to question him.
Just as a contrast Top Rank won the bidding for the vacant WBO featherweight title fight between Emanuel Navarrete and Jessie Magdaleno with a bid of $250,000. They were the sole bidders.
It’s a good sign to see a big heavyweight fight as Dillian Whyte and Alex Povetkin clash on Saturday in Eddie Hearn’s back garden. It is for the interim WBC title as a sop to Whyte who has almost grown old in the WBC No 1 position. I can’t think of any boxer who has been rated No 1 in any division and yet gone almost three years without getting a title fight (he was installed as No 1 in November 2017). The WBC are fooling themselves if they think that this interim title and a Diamond belt are in anyway compensation for the disgraceful way Whyte has been treated.
Green shoots! Boxing has been given the go ahead in South Africa but with strict provisions laid down. Rodney Berman has a card scheduled for 10 October topped by a return fight between super welterweights Boyd Allen and Brandon Thysse scheduled for 10 October. These two fought a draw in May last year. He is also targeting early December for another show.
Another encouraging sign is Hennessy Sports staging their first post-virus card in Redditch on Saturday topped by a British title fight between light heavyweights Shakan Pitters and Chad Sugden and this will be shown live and free on terrestrial TV.
Returning is not an easy road for many promoters. With the additional cost of complying with the condition laid down by national governments and no attendance or TV breaking even is going to be tough or at times impossible.
The proposed unification fight between bantamweight champions Naoya Inoue and John Riel Casimero has fallen through. Bob Arum advised that the schedule for the fight was compromised by the COVID-19 restrictions which had seen the US Embassy in Japan closed making it impossible for Inoue to get a visa. Casimero will now defend his WBO title against Ghana’s Duke Micah on September 28 as part of the show at the Mohegan Sun featuring Charlo twins Jermall and Jermell and Mario Barrios in world title fights. I guess Inoue’s attitude to the fight falling through would be “no sweat”. He has worked with a Japanese company to develop a sauna suit to help with weight making. No news as to whether David Benavidez has placed an order for one. Top Rank are now aiming for Inoue to defend his IBF and WBA bantam titles against Jason Moloney which is good match.
Other fights that have slipped away include the WBC/IBF light heavyweight title defence for Artur Beterbiev against IBF No 1 Meng Fanlong which was to have taken place on 25 September With Fanlong pulling out there is talk that either IBF No 6 Adam Deines or No 9 Igor Mikhalkin may be in the other corner. It is interesting that Deines, who was expected to fight on the SES card in Magdeburg on Saturday, is no longer on the card. The 3 October IBF eliminator between Lee Selby and Australian George Kambosos is back on the table after Kambosos refused to accept a proposal from Eddie Hearn of a cut in their previously agreed purse from $150,000 to $100,000. The IBF may now call for purse bids. Daniel Dubois fight of 19 August is still on but instead of Erik Pfeiffer Dubois will now face Dutchman Ricardo Snijders who has an 18-1 record. The downside to Snijders is that he is not a real heavyweight. Most of his fights have been at cruiser and in May last year he was floored and lost a wide points decision to Joel Tambwe Djeko for the IBO Inter-Continental cruiserweight title. He was 213 ½ lbs for a fight in September but that looks to be a career high weight.
The news of ALA’s closure is a big blow for boxing in the Philippines. Business man Tony Aldeguer set up ALA Boxing back in 1985 and helped develop the careers of many of the top fighters from the Philippines such as world champions Donnie Nietes and Milan Melindo and fighters such as Z Gorres, AJ Banal, Rey Bautista and Michael Domingo. ALA had a good team employing former world title challenger Edito (Ala) Villamor and his brother Edmund as trainers. The impact of COVID-19 and the end of their working relationships with their broadcasting network made it impossible for ALA to continue and I wonder if there will be other causalities. ALA fighters are now all free agents including world rated Albert Pagara and Nietes a four division world champion with a record of 17-0-2 in world title fights and just one loss in his forty-seven fights with the loss being a split decision back in 2004. At 38 Nietes needs a new promoter and some contests. He has not fought since December 2018 and relinquished the WBO super fly title in February 2019.
Another piece of bad news was to hear one of Manny Pacquiao’s advisors talking up a fight between Manny and Conor McGregor saying that nine out of ten Filipino’s wanted the fight. Not sure what that says about fight fans in the Philippines. It will probably sell but as a finale to Manny’s career it stinks. Manny is working hard on his political duties. He is involved in an investigation into the alleged part played by the Philippines Bureau of Customs and Excise into a shipment of $126 million of illegal drugs from China.
The WBC should send a thank you card to David Benavidez. When he lost his WBC super middleweight title on the scales he opened the door for the WBC to nominate Saul Alvarez and No 1 Avni Yildirim for the vacant title. It gives the WBC a big sanctioning fee and a high profile fight. Yildirim became No1 with the WBC for losing a disputed decision to Anthony Dirrell and has not fought since February 2019! Of course Alvarez is the holder of the secondary WBA a title and the ridiculous WBC Franchise title but I assume he will relinquish the WBA title as you can hardly be the WBC full champion and the secondary WBA champion-even our sport can’t be that stupid. I need to stop saying the sanction bodies can’t get even more stupid as they seem to be taking those words as a challenge.
The fact that the WBC are reviewing the need for a new division for fighters weighing between 200 and 225lbs won’t be welcomed by most fans. There are times when I believe all of the sanctioning bodies operate Title Invention Teams (TITS). The WBA get on my tits most of all but let’s not forget the Jose Sulaiman was the first to introduced the interim and silver titles. This is new division proposal is a little different. The WBC also introduced the light flyweight, super flyweight; super middleweight and cruiserweight divisions and I don’t now believe that boxing people see them as unnecessary. Before their introduction if you weighed more than 185lbs you were too heavy to be a light heavy so could find yourself having to fight guys weighing 240-250lbs and more. At the other end of the scale if you weighed 105lbs then you would be fighting guys who weighed 112lbs and even more than that by fight time. That’s a lot for the small guys to give away.
As an example I looked at the last recorded weights of twelve of the top heavyweights in the world:
Tyson Fury 272lbs
Deontay Wilder 231lbs
Anthony Joshua 237lbs
Ole Usyk 215lbs
Alex Povetkin 229lbs
Andy Ruiz 283lbs
Dillian Whyte 271lbs
Mike Hunter 226lbs
Dereck Chisora 260lbs
Luis Ortiz 236lbs
Joseph Parker 245lbs
Kubrat Pulev 248lbs
Looking ahead the next generation / currently unbeaten heavyweights are also above 225lbs: Joe Joyce 270lbs, Daniel Dubois 240lbs, Filip Hrgovic 241lbs, Efe Ajagba 242lbs, Tony Yoka 239lbs, Junior Fa 267lbs, Guido Vianello 230lbs, Cassius Chaney 250lbs and Peter Kadiru 239lbs so all over 225lbs.
It makes a case I might support in return for a vow not to introduce another set of interim, silver, gold, bronze, tin titles etc. Now come on don’t laugh I am serious but of course once again the TITS will be dancing on the tables as they gleefully tot up the potential sanctioning fees.
Sorry to see Sergio Martinez returning to the ring. “Maravilla “fights Spaniard Jose Fandino in Oviedo on Friday. Even at 45 Martinez should not have any problem beating Fandino but he has already approached the WBA about getting approval to challenge Ryota Murata the holder of their secondary middleweight title.
Boxing has rallied around to help Ricardo Mayorga the former WBA and WBC welterweight champion and WBC super welterweight champion. The Nicaraguan is in a bad way and former WBA Minimumweight and light flyweight champion Rosendo Alvarez together with Mauricio Sulaiman have helped get Mayorga into rehabilitation to fight his problems with drugs and alcohol. Alvarez is now a major promoter in Nicaragua. He does not get the respect he deserves. At a time when Ricardo Lopez was 47-0 and on his way to the International Boxing Hall of Fame he twice fought Lopez in unification fights with the first ending in a technical draw with one judge having Alvarez five points in front and then lost a split decision to Lopez in the return. Lopez retired with a record of 51-0-1.
Good old reliable WBA. When they hit rock bottom they keep right on digging. Their new interim WBA champion Rolando Romero was rated No 7 before winning the title last week. That’s despite having had only eleven fights, never having fought a ten round fight and only one eight round fight in which he beat a guy with a 5-0 record. Pity all those poor suckers who think they actually have to beat reasonable opposition to be awarded with a title fight. It takes quite something to make the other sanctioning bodies look good but the WBA can do it in their sleep. Come to think they probably were asleep when Romero slipped past them
By Eric Armit
One day this week I climbed into my car started it sat there whilst banging my head on the steering wheel (I do that a lot usually after reading the latest pronouncements from the WBA) it also help wake me up so that I don’t go down to the local shops in my pyjamas-again. I then turned off the ignition and stepped out. I went indoors and checked my calendar and saw that it was really was still 2020. I was relieved. When I read about proposed fights for Roy Jones, Mike Tyson, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jorge Arce, Oscar De La Hoya and Sergio Martinez I thought my car might have been secretly replace by the car from Back to the Future and had actually transported me back to the past! Most of these are being projected as exhibitions and as long as adequate safety provisions are in place I guess that is OK but I would pay to avoid seeing Mike Tyson and Roy Jones huffing and puffing and would rather remember them as they were. Both Del La Hoya and Martinez are adamant that their returns will be genuine contests and not exhibitions with Martinez targeting a comeback fight on 21 August.
The Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Teo Lopez fight is still up in the air with reports that Lopez is holding out for more money. Reportedly Lopez was offered $1.25 million for the fight. The question is who needs who the most. With Lomachenko holding three of the four versions of the lightweight title Lopez, the IBF champion, won’t get that money against anyone else at the weight. The first two spots in the IBF ratings are vacant (no rated fighter has been another rated fighter so they can’t move into those spots) and with all due respects to them Nos 3,4 and 5-George Kambosos, Lee Selby and Gustavo Lemos are not big PPV names. Lopez might be able to squeeze a little more out of Bob Arum but he should take this fight. A win would make him a super star and if he loses he is only 23 so it might only prove to be a bump in a long lucrative career.
The WBC lightweight rankings are in for a shake up. No 1 Javier Fortuna fights No 4 Jorge Linares on 28 August and if they can ever come to terms hopefully No 2 Luke Campbell and No 3 Ryan Garcia will fight each other. Campbell vs. Garcia should not be that hard to make. I am wondering if Saul Alvarez is handling the negotiations.
Errol Spence is a heavy favourite when he puts his IBF and WBC titles on the line against Danny Garcia on 21 November. One of the questions that will be answered in this fight is whether the serious injuries Spence received in October have had any lasting effect. Spence’s car crossed the meridian in Dallas and rolled over a number of times and ejected him. Lucky to be alive.
Spence’s last opponent before the accident was Shawn Porter. He returns to the ring on 22 August against unbeaten German Sebastian Formella for the vacant WBC Silver welterweight title. This constitutes a big hike in the standard of opposition for Formella.
French heavyweight hope Tony Yoka will face his biggest test to date when he tackles former WBC title challenger Johann Duhaupas in Paris on 25 September. Duhaupas is well into the veteran stage at 39 but only Deontay Wilder and Alex Povetkin have beaten him inside the distance and he has wins over Robert Helenius and Manuel Charr. Yoka’s wife Estelle Yoka-Mossely the IBO female lightweight champion and unbeaten Souleymane Cissokho will also fight on the card-not against each other I hasten to add.
There will be a real clash of styles when Emanuel Navarrete and Jessie Magdaleno fight for the vacant WBO featherweight title. The date will be either 19 or 26 September. Navarrete was a beast at super bantam winning his last 15 fights inside the distance including seven world championship fights. Magdaleno is slick but Navarrete could be too strong.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr is scheduled to fight in Monterrey on 12 September. No opponent named yet but one fighter in the frame is Mari Cazares. His claim to fame is a win over Saul Alvarez in the amateurs but he did not turn pro until 2015 instead concentrating on obtaining an economics degree.
Former undefeated IBF cruiser champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez returns to the ring in Magdeburg on 22 August. It will be the 35-year-old Cuban’s first fight since 2014. He will face Kevin Johnson. That’s a fight to be missed if you can- I hate Johnson fights. The only good thing about them is that you can pop down to the shops and back without missing anything remotely exciting. Also on the card are 19-1-1 light heavyweight Adam Deines and 14-0 Tom Dzemski. The show will be staged beside Magdeburg Lake so you might even get a chance to do some fishing whilst the Hernandez vs. Johnson fight is on.
Coming back to my head-banging over the WBA I could not believe when I read that President Gilberto Jesus Gonzalez had whined that it was so difficult to reduce the number of titles. How would he know-the WBA has never ever made any move to reduce the number of their titles they just keep adding more and more. If you include their Gold title they now have four heavyweight champions-just more hypocrisy. I now term them World Bulls—ting Association! This weekend they have sanctioned two interim title fights including one for the super middleweight title where they already have a champion in Callum Smith a secondary champion in Saul Alvarez and a Gold champion in Fedor Chudinov. The super middleweight title fight will be between Lennox Allen, who has had just one fight in the last two years, and a young Cuban David Morrell a former top amateur who has had just two professional fights-one six round and one eight round. There is an attempt to paint this as similar to Vasyl Lomachenko who won the WBO featherweight inn his third fight. There was some justification for Lomachenko jumping past all of the rated fighters as he came out of the amateurs with two Olympic gold medals and three World championships. Morrell has one World Youth gold and was twice Cuban champion. He will probably beat Allen but to be rated No 3 in the world after winning just two preliminary fights is an insult to good quality fighters such as Daniel Jacobs, David Lemieux Anthony Dirrell and others the WBA bumped him past.
The WBA heavyweight division is still in a mess with four champions in real champion Anthony Joshua, secondary title holder Mahmoud Charr, and Gold champion Robert Helenius and interim champion Trevor Bryan. Ominously they have now slipped Christopher Lovejoy in at No 14. He is 19-0 with his 19 opponents have just 51 wins between them. To me it looks as though the plan will be for Truelove to challenge Trevor Bryan. I could rave on about Truelove (yes I know I am) so all I will say is that Box Rec have him at No 424 in the world and I would recommend having a look at his record. His Box Rec identity is #746640 and make up your own mind.
Charr has not fought since winning the secondary WBA heavyweight title in 2017. After using Manuel as his name for quite a while he has reverted to his birth name of Mahmoud. During his inactivity he has been working with refugee groups in Germany. He did claim he had German citizenship to help his career but he only had refugee status having arrived from Lebanon as a five-year-old lad and he still has no German passport. He is hoping his management can get him a fight with Andy Ruiz.
Whilst British fighters can no longer hold or compete for the European Union titles they are still a major force in European boxing. Andrew Selby, Gamal Yafai, Gavin Mc Donnell, Alex Dilmaghani, Josh Kelly and Callum Johnson are all awaiting dates for their European Boxing Union title fights and of course Joe Joyce and Daniel Dubois are lined up to clash for the vacant heavyweight title. For some reason British promoters never seemed to have a great deal of interest in the EBU-EU titles (these are for fighters from countries in the European Union) and now British fighters can no longer challenge for them it has opened up huge opportunities for boxers from other European Union countries who have slotted into the gaps in the ratings caused by Britain’s withdrawal. Instead the British fighters are now in the EBU-EE ratings alongside fighters from non-European Union countries such as Russian, Ukraine, Belarus, Norway etc. British fighters hold the No 1 spots in eleven division of the EBU-EE ratings but if the EU titles did not attract them I can’t see there being a sudden flood of EBU-EE title fights in Britain.
Miguel Cotto is aiming to return boxing to Puerto Rico on 22 August but whether that happens or not depends on what relaxations on sporting events the Puerto Rican government announces on 15 August. If it is not possible to stage the show then Cotto has said he will consider switching the show to a venue in the USA.
Both WBC super flyweight Juan Francisco Estrada and his wife were infected with the COVID-19 virus but luckily have both recovered. There is talk of Estrada defending his title against Carlos Cuadras on 17 October. These two clashed in a non-title fight in 2018 with a late knockdown costing Cuadras victory.
Japanese boxing suffered a minor set-back as a young male professional boxer tested positive for COVID-19 which has resulted in the closure of the gym he attended in Nagoya which will the delay the return to boxing in that city.
There is no hope of boxing returning in South Africa in the near future. A source there indicated that it had been hope it might return in October but it could now be December instead. Boxing there is currently leaderless as Tsholof Lejaka; the CEO of Boxing South Africa (BSA) has resigned. He had another year to run on his term in office but decided to take his career along a different path. He took the post at time when BSA was in a state of chaos and conflict and has proven a steadying hand. A level of the problems the BSA faced is illustrated by the fact that none of Lejaka’s predecessors served their full five year term mostly jumping before they were pushed.
By Eric Armit
It takes a lot to upset me but I am really disappointed. I have realised that everyone else has been mentioned as the next opponent for Saul Alvarez except me. I threw my hat into the ring but it seems it was just too much trouble to dig through the 999 other hats to find mine. What have I done wrong? How hard can it be to pick out an opponent who is no threat and cheap? I qualify on both of those criteria so came on “Canelo” make your choice before it become a bore and we lose interest in who you are going to face next.
Boy it has been a depressing couple of weeks. We have Mike Tyson talking about fighting; we have Oscar De La Hoya “training” for a fight. We have Floyd Mayweather Jr apparently ready to fight again and Michael Nunn at 47 appearing in a MMA exhibition and in the ultimate exhibition of hypocrisy we hear the poor WBA whinging that it is so very difficult to cut down the number of titles. That’s like some guy driving whilst using his mobile phone complain about the number accidents caused by people driving and using their mobile phone. If you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem. Here’s a hint WBA try to stop inventing more. That would be step in the right direction. Lockdown madness rules OK!
Jarrell Miller will hear his fate on 5 August when he is called in front of the Nevada State Athletic Commission to explain his latest positive test. After his positive tests before the Anthony Joshua fight I was surprised Top Rank gave him another chance to save his career but Bob Arum has made it clear that Miller betrayed the trust they placed in him so even if his career is not over finding someone else to trust him is not going to be easy and if his career is over he only has himself to blame.
To be honest boxing does not need Miller. If there is one thing there is no shortage of it is heavyweights. Putting aside such as Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, Dylan Whyte etc. there is a huge list of unbeaten heavyweights active right now. We have Joe Joyce, Daniel Dubois, Filip Hrgovic, Efe Ajagba, Tony Yoka, Agit Kabayel, Jermaine Franklin, Junior Fa, Frank Savage, Guido Vianello, Petar Milas, Cassius Chaney, Jared Anderson, Darmani Rock and Viktor Vykhryst all unbeaten so the future of heavyweight boxing is in safe hands.
Both Joyce and Dubois have matches coming up as they look towards one of the biggest heavyweight fights in the history of British boxing. In two Britain vs. Germany bouts Joyce faces Michael Wallisch on Saturday and Dubois takes on Erik Pfeifer on August 29. If they both come through those bouts then Joyce and Dubois are paired in a fight for the vacant European title with the winner mandated to fight Marco Huck. I can’t see the winner being interested in a Huck fight. Whilst there is plenty bubbling up at heavyweight with the talk of two or three fight series featuring any two of three from Fury, Joshua and Wilder and with Dillian overdue a chance those guys have a stranglehold on the four titles and boxers such as Joyce, Dubois and Oleg Usyk could find themselves still waiting for a title shot this time next year.
Boxing is slowly shaking off the effects of the COVID-19 virus. Top Rank has led the way. Golden Boy re-launches on Friday with Vergil Ortiz vs. Samuel Vargas in Indio. German promoters are continuing action there with a clash between Jack Culcay and unbeaten Abass Baraou set for 28 August in Berlin and Tyron Zeuge tackling Giovanni De Carolis on 27 November. Culcay vs. Baraou is a real 50/50 match. Another big fight will see Jeff Horn and Tim Tszyu exchanges punches in Brisbane on 26 August. There are signs all over that the sport is stirring. Queensberry staged the first show in Britain, Miguel Cotto has asked for clearance to stage a show in Puerto Rico on 22 August. Gyms are scheduled to reopen in South Africa on 1 September. European title fights featuring French fighters will see Samir Ziani making a voluntary defence of the super featherweight title against Alex Dilmaghani on 22 August in Redditch with the winner to face mandatory challenger Martin Joseph Ward and Maxime Beaussire challenging champion Matteo Signani in Caen on 10 October. There will be a show in Aarhus, Denmark on 19 September. It will be mainly amateur matches with on professional fight. There was a small show with spectators in attendance in Okinawa on Sunday and Oleg Usyk is reported to be staging his first promotion in 1 August.
Filipino Eumir Felix Marcial has been signed to a professional contract by Manny Pacquiao’s MP Promotions. He won a gold medal at the World Youth Championships and a silver medal at the World Championships and had qualified for the 2020 Olympics. He has reportedly received a $200,000 signing bonus and the intent is to still have him compete at the rescheduled Games as well as fight as a professional.
The last few weeks have seen some tragedies hit boxing.
Three promising members of the Kazakh amateur team who had recently advanced from the Youth squad to the Senior level died in a car accident and unbeaten American super welterweight Travell Mazion was killed in another car accident this one outside Austin, Texas. The 24-year-old Mazion was 17-0 and had won the NABF title in January. Javier Gonzalez was another unbeaten young fighter to pass away recently. The 21-year-old from Gomez Palacio was 15-0 and was ready to move up to eight rounds when cancer ended his young life.
Let’s hope the outcome is better for retired Nigerian heavyweight champion Ngozika Ekwelum who is fighting cancer of the bladder and is about to start another series of chemotherapy. He faced British heavyweights Billy Aird and John L Gardner in the UK in the 1970’s.
From a personal point of view I was so very sorry to learn of the death of Dickie Cole. Dickie was a great referee and was the head of the Texas Commission but for me he was a much loved friend who was head of the WBC Ratings Committee when I was a member. Dickie would often attend the Ring Officials and leave me in charge of the Ratings. Later Dickie would catch up with me and say “Jose wants to see me-what have you done to the ratings I can’t leave you alone for a minute “. He was such a lovely man and any time I met with him was a good day for me. My thoughts go out to his family. RIP Dickie the world is a poorer place without you.
South Africa’s former WBA featherweight champion Simpiwe Vetyeka saw his career ended in 2018 when he was hit by a passing vehicle has made a successful return-as a trainer of amateur boxers and has already produced some local champions.
By Eric Armit
What a great achievement by Tyson Fury to come through all of his troubles and tribulations to triumph. At one time it seemed he had serious mental and physical problems and that his career might be over just when he had reached the pinnacle. He didn’t lose faith when he looked to have been denied a clear victory in their first fight and he then suffered a horrible cut in his next fight but shook that off. He came though all that and crushed Wilder so comprehensively. In addition he did it by taking the fight to Wilder standing in front of Wilder and dominating him. A brilliant and brave switch of tactics against a fighter many were labelling the hardest puncher in the history of the heavyweight division. Wilder was like a playground bully who did not know what to do when someone punched back.
There was also a huge difference in how each fighter handled disappointment. Fury did not make a big fuss over the drawn verdict whereas Wilder is ready to blame everyone but himself for his loss. Firstly it was the outfit he chose to wear into the ring was so heavy it weakened him (that one is straight out of the David Hay’s big toe excuse for his pitiful showing against Wlad Klitschko). If walking that short distance weakened him it casts serious doubt on how hard he trained for a twelve round fight. Next it was a burst ear drum, then the towel should not have been thrown in and then the referee let Fury off with fouls etc. etc. Pitiful!
Reportedly the gate receipts hit $16.9 million exceeding the record for the heavyweight division set previously by Lennox Lewis vs. Evander Holyfield II in 1999 and the PPV buys, although not yet fully confirmed, were said to be between 800,000 and 850,000 a little short of that forecast. Each fighter was guaranteed $25 million plus a share of the PPV sales. The PPV figure is the best since the 1.1 million for the second Saul Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin fight in 2018 and the highest in the heavyweight division since the 2 million for Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson in 2002.
Wilder is adamant that he will activate the return clause in the contract. He has a standard medical suspension from the Nevada Commission until 23 April which includes a no contact stipulation until after 8 April and it seems end of July might be the earliest date for the their return fight. I just hope that there is no return clause in the contract for the return fight or we could end up with a boxing version of Ground Hog day. And meanwhile Dillian Whyte adds another year to his tenure at the No 1 spot in the WBC rankings and with Anthony Joshua waiting for the winner of Fury vs. Wilder II Whyte is having his own Ground Hog day.
The above figures certainly put into perspective the value of the WBA secondary heavyweight title. The WBA have called for purse bids for champion Manuel Charr vs. Trevor Bryan. It will cost you $15,000 to participate in the bidding and they have set a minimum bid level of $1,000,000. They should be so lucky! Charr has not fought since November 2017 and Bryan since August 2018. I think it must be a typing mistake and they meant to set the minimum level for the purse at $15,000 which seems more realistic and pay people $1,000,000 for showing an interest!
Whilst Fury and Wilder were getting stratospherically high money the guys on the undercard had to settle for something a little more down to earth. Emanuel Navarrete was the next highest earner with $300,000, Gerald Washing got $275,000, Charles Martin $250,000 and then it falls away rapidly with Jeo Santisima getting $25,000 for his challenge to Navarrete, unbeaten Sebastian Fundora on $40,000 and his opponent Daniel Lewis $35,000
According to a number of sources Bob Arum is contemplating selling Top Rank but it is difficult to establish if it’s a case of Arum saying everything is for sale in a general remark not specific to Top Rank although it is claimed that Arum was “courting a similar deal to the one which saw UFC sold to WME-IMG” but I will believe that when it happens as right now Arum is the No 1 man in world boxing and seems to be enjoying himself too much.
Despite the huge attraction that the Fury vs. Wilder fight generated there are some reverse signs out there. Beer company Tecate, which has ploughed sponsorship money into boxing for eleven years has now decided to pull the plug and focus on other sports and events which is a huge blow. In Germany there was a brief ray of sunlight when public broadcasting company ZDF broke its nine year absence from boxing by joining with the regenerated Universum outfit to cover two of the Universum shows. The first show attracted 820,000 viewers which was way below expectation so they have pulled the plug and will once again exit stage left. Not good.
The boxing world is waiting with bated breath for the announcement of who will face Saul Alvarez on 2 May. Both Callum Smith and Billy Joe Saunders have been mentioned but others such as Caleb Plant have ruled themselves out. Jaime Munguia’s name has also come up but being my cynical self what is going on is probably a reverse auction with the lowest bidder getting the chance to fight Alvarez.
Gennady Golovkin’s name has not come up but it would not matter if it did as a shin injury has forced Golovkin to put back the date of his IBF title defence against Kamil Szeremeta to the end of May or early June. Fifth postponement of this one.
It seems no one wants to fight in the eliminators for the WBO and WBC light heavyweight titles. The WBO selected Umar Salamov and Max Vlasov but since neither fighter has shown any interest they are threatening to nominate two other fighters and Gilberto Ramirez has refused to face Eleider Alvarez for the WBC because he is trying to get out of his contract with Top Rank who won the bidding for the fight. The WBC are replacing Ramirez with Joe Smith Jr. Not sure where the WBO might go but I would not be surprised to see Anthony Yarde’s name crop up as Frank Warren has a good working relationship with the WBO.
There has been a delay in the court hearing of the civil case between Felix Trinidad and the Banco Popular. The judge had asked both parties to agree the proposals and evidence they will present in the case by 15 February. That did not happen so now they are both under strict orders to do that by the end of this week. In the case the Banco Popular is making a claim against a $22 million line of credit they extended to Trinidad. The former champion lost most of his money when the Puerto Rican government bonds his money was invested in nose dived and his worth reportedly dropped from $27 million to $1.6 million. If he loses the case then he could lose everything-car, house, and boxing trophies-the lot.
The corona virus is having an impact on boxing. The Japanese Boxing Commission has cancelled all boxing shows scheduled for March and cancellations are also happening in Italy right now and I guess other countries may soon take similar steps.
It has been a rocky time for boxing in South Africa. National heavyweight champion Ruann Visser has been handed a four year ban by the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS). Visser tested positive for the anabolic steroid Stanozolol after winning the South African title with a victory over Osborn Machimana in 2018. Visser successfully challenged an initial ban citing doubts over the chain of custody of his urine sample and an independent panel in South Africa gave Visser the ‘benefit of the doubt’. However the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed that outcome. Visser’s legal team went to the Federal Courts in Switzerland but they were unable to prevent the case from being heard at CAS and CAS handed down the ban which prevents Visser from competing, training or sparring in any organised boxing environment and also from participation in any other support which highlights how disgustingly lenient the treatment was of Jarrell Miller who tested positive for three banned substances and is expected to return to action soon only a year after giving those positive tests.
The other boxer in the news down there is former IBO champion Tommy Oosthuizen who was arrested for alleged assault with intent to cause grievous body harm and is in police custody. In 2018 he was sentenced to 18 months for dealing in drugs and with his past has actions and current troubles has effectively flushed his career down the toilet.
It has not been a good week for boxers from Eastern Europe either. Sergey Kovalev gets arrested for driving under the influence and because of visa problems Kubrat Pulev gets deported instead of watching the Fury vs. Wilder fight. Oh and of course Adrien Broner gets thrown out for acting like Adrien Broner!
It was interesting to see that Henry Tillman was in Charles Martin’s corner at the weekend. Tillman’s two claims to fame are that he beat Mike Tyson in the final of the US Olympic Trials for the 1984 Olympics and that he then went on the win the gold medal in Los Angeles. He had a shot at the WBC cruiser title in 1987 but lost to Evander Holyfield.
Talk is that John Ryder will tackle Daniel Jacobs at the end of May and Jorge Linares vs. Ryan Garcia is set for 11 July. A loss there would probably be the end of the line for Linares. Jeff Horn vs. Tim Tszyu will be a huge fight in Australia. It is scheduled for 22 April but not sure of the venue yet. With Horn having reversed his loss to Michael Zerafa and Tszyu 15-0 with good domestic wins over Dwight Ritchie and Jack Brubaker it sells itself as a fight. At 32 it’s a fight Horn can’t afford to lose and one that Tszyu seems confident he will win.
Otto Wallin was trying to talk up a fight with Tyson Fury arguing that he gave Fury a tough time in September. Don’t hold your breath Otto. He was to have fought Leroy Browne in Las Vegas on 28 March but has had to pull out with an injury and has been replaced by unbeaten Russian Apti Davtaev. Also on the card Luis Nery takes on unbeaten fellow-Mexican Aaron Alameda in a WBC eliminator at super bantamweight
Jason Moloney is having to settle for the bridesmaid spot. With WBO No 1 Guillermo Rigondeaux now the holder of the WBA secondary title after beating No 2 Liborio Solis No 3 Moloney would have hoped to move into the mandatory position but instead he has to settle for a place on the undercard to Naoya Inoue vs. John Riel Casimero on 25 April in Las Vegas. There is some good news for the Australian as he will face Joshua Greer who is WBO No 1 so a victory would put Moloney in a mandatory challenger slot.
Francesco Patera was to have defended his European lightweight title against veteran Devis Boschiero but instead the Belgian has relinquished the title and their fight in Verona on 27 March will be for the vacant interim WBA title. It will now be former champion Edis “Prince” Tatli vs. Italian Luca Ceglia for the vacant European title in May.
It will be just a six round bout on a mixed pro/amateur Card in France on Saturday night but I will be cheering for 10-0 Daniel Blenda Dos Santos. After a deprived and delinquent childhood which led to three and a half years in prison he studied hard came out with a diploma in management got married and is rebuilding his life through boxing. Best of luck Daniel.
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features