By Eric Armit
This year we will see Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk, Artur Beterbiev vs. Dmitry Bivol, Saul Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin III, Terrence Crawford vs. Errol Spence, George Kambosos vs. Devin Haney, Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Gervonta Davis, Oscar Valdez vs. Shakur Stevenson, Naoya Inoue vs. Nonito Donaire II and other great fights. I absolutely guarantee it. By the end of 2022 there will be just one champion per division, no sanctioning bodies, no exclusive promotional contracts, and no exclusive TV/Streaming contracts none of those things that have been put forward as reasons/excuses for the fights everybody wants to see not happening-marvellous! The bell is tolling right now for the sanctioning bodies and….no hang on that’s my alarm clock-oh no I’ve been dreaming I was back in the 1950’s again!
As I write on Thursday 27 January the WBC has given a final extension until tonight for the teams of Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte to come to an agreement and if there is no agreement then the fight will be auctioned on Friday 28. The interesting thing will be the purse split. According to the WBC rules the follow applies:
“ 2.16 Division of Proceeds in a Purse Offer. The net purse offer (after deduction of all sanction fees payable to the WBC hereunder) shall be divided as follows: (a) first, 10% of the total shall be set aside as a bonus for the winner of the contest, then, of the remainder, (b) 70% of the remaining 90% shall be for the champion and 30% of the remaining 90% shall be for the challenger in title bouts; and (c) 50% of the remaining 90% to each contender in the case of vacant titles or elimination bouts; provided, however, that the WBC Board of Governors, may by a majority vote, authorize a modification of the division of purse offer proceeds between boxers in a purse offer in particular cases, such as consideration of outstanding marketing value of one of the boxers, as the WBC shall determine in its sole discretion. The modification of the split of the remainder shall be limited to 60-40% and 55-45%, except in the most exceptional circumstances, in which the split may be modified to 50-50% at the WBC's sole discretion. “
So the WBC can alter the split however they like although it is interesting that the other splits mentioned all give the challenger a bigger share and nowhere does it imagine the challenger getting less than 30% but you can be sure that somewhere in the small print there is a bit that says irrespective of anything anywhere in these documents we can change whatever we want to change whenever we want to change it. Standard clause for all sanctioning bodies but when Jose Sulaiman tried to screw Graciano Rocchigiani out of the light heavyweight title he sued the WBC and forced it to file bankruptcy so perhaps not so watertight a get-out clause.
Mentioning the Japanese “Monster” Naoya Inoue earlier he is aiming to fight again in June in Japan. The plan is for him to face either Nonito Donaire or John Riel Casimero but if they are not available then he will look to move up and try for a shot at a version of the super bantamweight title to make himself a four division champion.
Whilst George Kambosos and WBC champion Devin Haney are in talks over a unification fight at lightweight Argentinian sources say that the IBF eliminator between No 3 lightweight Gustavo Lemos and No 4 Lee Selby will go on in Buenos Aires perhaps at the famous old Luna Park.
Former undefeated IBO cruiser champion Kevin Lerena is aiming to pick up his first title as a heavyweight when he faces Romanian Bogdan Dinu for the WBA Inter-Continental title in Kempton Par on 26 March. Lerena has a 15 bout winning streak going including seven IBO title fights. Dinu is 20-3 with his losses coming inside the distance against Jarrell Miller, Kubrat Pulev and in June last year to Daniel Dubois. Dinu is 6’5” and was 260lbs against Dubois whereas Lerena is 6’1” and was 211lbs in his last fight against Patrick Ferguson in December 2020 so a “big” test for Lerena. Also on the card Jan Roux will defend the national heavyweight title against Josh Pretorius and Shervantaigh Koopman puts his South African super welterweight title on the line against Jami Webb.
If EBU activity is any measure then boxing is certainly well on the road to recovery from the pandemic. There are still some delays and cancellations but as an example of what will be a busy day at the EBU office on February 16 in Rome bid purses, Jason Cunningham’s EBU super bantamweight title defence against Frenchman Terry Le Couviour, Italian Mauro Forte’s EU title featherweight defence against 28-0 Kamil Laszczyk and for Melania Sorroche’ s defence of the EBU Female bantamweight title against Delphine Mancini. Already agreed is the fight for the vacant EBU flyweight title between Angel Moreno and fellow-Spaniard Jairo Noriega marking only the third time that two Spaniards have fought each other for this title, Karim Guerfi putting his title on the line against England’s Jordan Gill on 27 February. A date is yet to be settled for Marco Huck vs. Agit Kabayel for the vacant EBU heavyweight title. Purse offers were also due on 16 February for David Ayanesyan’s welterweight title defence against unbeaten 28-0 Jordy Weiss but instead Avanesyan will make a voluntary defence against Finn Oskari Metz in March with a new date to be set for Avanesyan vs. Weiss.
Dubai continues to build as a boxing venue with Guillermo Rigondeaux facing Filipino Vincent Astrolabio for the vacant WBC International bantam belt on 26 February. Astrolabio is not in the WBC ratings but at this time but is No 7 with the WBO due to holding their Oriental title. Taking on Rigondeaux will be a huge jump in quality of opposition for Astrolabio.
The busy schedule in Dubai will continue on 18 March with Olympic gold medal winner Estelle Yoka-Mosely (9-0), the partner of Tony Yoka, defending her IBO light title against Argentinian Yanina del Carmen Lescano (10-1). Mossely won gold at the 2016 Games and also won gold at the 2016 World Championships beating Katie Taylor in the semi-finals. Jono Carroll is also scheduled to fight on the card.
On the following night Sunny Edwards is scheduled to defend the IBF flyweight title against Muhammad Waseem. It will be Edward’s second defence of the IBF title. Waseem lost on points to Moruti Mthalane for the same IBF belt in 2018. Regis Prograis will also be on the March 19 card against Tyrone McKenna and also on the card will be Tokyo bronze medallist Hovhannes Bachkov from Armenia who lost to Keyshawn Davis at the Olympics.
Mossely against Lescano will be the first of two unique occasions for female boxing. The Mossely vs. Lescano contest will be the first all-female title fight to be staged in Dubai and an even bigger event will see Katie Taylor defend her four lightweight belts against Amanda Serrano at Madison Square Garden on April 30. The first time two female boxers have been the top line attraction in the history of the Garden.
Colombia lost one their history making fighters with the death of Bernardo Caraballo at the age of 80 last week. Caraballo was the first Colombia boxers to fight for a world title. After turning professional in 1961 he was unbeaten in his first 31 fights including victories over Pascal Perez, Piero Rollo, Chartchai Chionoi and Manny Elias. When in 1964 he challenged Eder Jofre for the WBA and WBC bantamweight titles (there was no IBF or WBO then) their combined records totalled 80 fights without a loss Caraballo’s record was 29-0-1,1ND and Jofre 46-0-3. Caraballo was knocked out in seven rounds by Jofre and in 1967 lost on points to Fighting Harada for the same titles. He fought on until 1977 facing top fighters such as Chucho Castillo, Alfredo Marcano and Ernesto Marcel ending with a record of 69-18-5,1ND and was honoured with the sports stadium in Cartagena being named the Bernardo Caraballo Coliseum. RIP Bernardo.
France also lost a well respected boxer with the death at 76 of Alain Ruocco on Sunday. Alain never reached world title status with a 29-8-1 record but he was a fight anyone type of fighter with his best performance being a victory over Louis Acaries for the French welterweight title in 1978. He managed and trained his son Marc who challenged for the EBU title and Alain trained French champions Jeremy Parodi, Daniel Bicchieray and Fredric Sellier. RIP Alain.
There were wide scale protests when the Iranian Government executed wrestler Navid Afkari in September 2020. Afkari was accused of the murder of a security guard but sources outside Iran felt that the sentence was tied to his part in some political protests. Now a young local boxing champion Mohammad Javad Vafaeli-Sani, detained in 2020, has been sentenced to death under charges of arson and destruction of government buildings but also of taking part in protests. His lawyer is lodging an appeal.
Politics has also played a large part in the post-boxing life of Vitali Klitschko and he has been appealing to people in Germany for solidarity with the Ukraine at this time. Both he and Wlad have give financial assistance to Ukraine during the war there but in the shape of medical supplies etc not in the form of arms or ammunition.
Two shows in Europe on February 19 will see Artur Mann trying to get back to winning ways as he faces Pole cruiserweight Nikodem Jezewski in Warsaw. Mann 17-2 lost on a third round stoppage against Mairis Breidis for the IBF title in October and Jezewski 20-1-1 was stopped in two rounds by Lawrence Okolie. Jezewski stepped in as a late substitute when Krzys Glowacki had to pull out of his fight with Okolie for the vacant WBO title in December 2020 due to a positive COVID-19 test.
On the same night in Hamburg Kazak heavyweight Zhan Kossobutskiy 17-0 will take on Johann Duhaupas 39-6 for the vacant WBC International title. Kossobutskiy is rated No 9 by the Worst Boxing Association. Duhaupas was wiped out inside a round by Tony Yoka in September 2020 and at 40 should not pose a threat to Kossobutskiy who is being “conservatively” matched.
It is a horrifying thought but there are three NABA title fights on the undercard of Makabu vs. Mchunu featuring fighters who would hardly qualify for a main event in the boondocks e.g. Anthony Lenk rated No 251 at middleweight and Cody Wilson 273 at welterweight. With the way Don King and the Worst Boxing Association “work” so closely together these guys could find their way into the WBA ratings.
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