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.
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