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.
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