This past week has been an interesting one. The sport has definitely taken a big step forward in returning to normal, with Sky Sports and Showtime both airing live cards for the first time in months, it has also seen more bouts being announced and a genuine sense that we are getting places in the sport. Sure we've not seen monster bouts getting announced, but we have seen strides taken!
With that said there's also been bad and some ugly, so lets take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly for the past week!
1-More fights and more action!
Of course we've seen more fights! And actually seen a good level of fights. We had interesting bouts in the US, UK and Thailand this week and as I mentioned in the introduction it really does feel like we are taking a big step forward with the sport. We won't say that the Showtime card or the Matchroom card were amazing, but they were a solid step up from the other US and UK cards we've had and hopefully everyone now looks to match the level of shows we got this week. If we can get people putting on better shows then, fingers crossed, the sport gets better as a result!
Fights like Angelo Leon Vs Tramaine Willians, James Tennyson v Gavin Gwynne Ted Cheeseman Vs Sam Eggington were really enjoyable fights and George Joseph's KO of Marcos Escudero was a beauty.
2-Global interest in a Thai card
On Saturday it was really great to see the boxing world turn it's attention to Thailand for what was, for all intents, a Thai domestic card. Admittedly it did feature 2 former world champions and a number of top prospects, but it was still great to see more fans tuning into an an event from Thailand. It's a shame in some ways that fans didn't seem to be aware previously that the WP Boxing events were available globally for free, but for at least 1 week people tuned in. Fingers crossed future WP Boxing events will be available to a similar interested global audience. We're unlikely to see a bout THIS big on WP Boxing again any time soon, but the events do give some talented Thai prospects a chance to shine, and that's not a bad thing at all!
3-Funds raised for Takuya Yamaguchi
We were really slow to this story, but it was revealed that after being on an A-Sign boxing video this week Japanese fighter Takuya Yamaguchi had significant funds raised to help him financially. Yamaguchi is certainly not a big name fighter, and he's never going to be a boxing star, but he's a naturally charismatic guy who we've been fans of for a while and to see others getting behind him, and getting to learn about him, and donate funds to him is amazing. It was reported that more than ¥200,000 was donated to Mr Yamaguchi. Funnily the fighter himself was apparently not aware as he doesn't use the internet and the money has been collected on his behalf by A-Sign.
A big well done to the Japanese boxing world for getting behind Yamaguchi in this way! And well done to A-Sign for creating the documentary that had granted him so much attention!
1-The phrase "Boxing is back"
One thing we seemed to hear a lot this weekend was "boxing is back". In reality boxing has been back for several weeks now in various places, including the US, Japan, Germany, Poland, Thailand and the UK. Yet for some reason Sky Sports and Showtime seemed to want to pretend that this weekend was the start of boxing's return. It felt like a very odd narrative to drive, and one that was just wrong. Sadly it was also parroted by fans who seemed unaware that we had had so much boxing in recent weeks. Whilst we can complain about the quality of the Top Rank and Queensberry shows the reality is that boxing has been back, and for a while.
2-Teofimo Lopez and Vasyl Lomachenko in jeopardy?
One bout that seemed like it should be signed and sealed, and should have been for a while, is the much talked about Lightweight unification bout between Teofimo Lopez and Vasyl Lomachenko. It appears the bout is in jeopardy due to financial demands made by Lopez. We're not going to take one side or another on the negotiations aspect of the fight, to be quite frankly honest we couldn't give a shit how much a fighter makes as we don't see a penny of it, but for the bout to be in jeopardy is not a good thing for the sport right now. Hopefully the issues get sorted and the bout is on, but if not, the sport, and fans, are the ones that miss out!
3-Tom Carusone's scorecard
We mentioned earlier Joseph George's KO of Marcus Escudero and it's a good thing he scored that KO or we'd be talking about about the card of Tom Cursone a lot more. Some how he scored the bout 79-73 in favour of George, a score that was simply impossible to have. That was the direct opposite of Don Trella's score, who had Escudero leading 79-73, Steve Weisfeld had the bout 77-75 to Escudero. Most independent observers seemed to have Escudero in a comfortable lead and it was impossible to do the mental gymnastics to have George in a dominant lead.
The commissions really need to have a damn look at some of these ridiculous cards and get people of the sport as it's becoming a massive joke!
1-Further "positives" in Japan
The "on going global situation" has become a growing problem in Japanese boxing with the Osakan cluster growing to 16 and now a trainee in Okinawa. We hope the issues are now being isolated and stopped from getting bigger, but we do continue to worry that the issues aren't sorted and could get worse. Bringing boxing back is great, but not if boxing becomes part of the growing problem in the world.
This past week has been a really interesting one for boxing, with various announcements, bouts, and action. Whilst we won't pretend it's been a an amazing week, it has certainly been an interesting one, with things that fall outside the usual realms of this series. With that in mind we'll be adding one extra category this week, making this The Good, The Bad and the Ugly...and the Weird!
1-Rentaro Kimura leaves an impression
Lets start in Asia, this week and discuss the debut of Rentaro Kimura. Boy did this guy look good! The talk from Japan was that Kimura was going to be something special, and a prospect to keep an eye on though few would have anticipated for him to shine as he did. Not only did he look exciting, skilled and promising, but he also left us with a highlight reel KO which will be played over and over. This young man is talking like someone who wants to be a star, and despite debuting in an empty arena he has already shown star potential.
2-Shinsei Live Stream
During the week news broke that there wouldn't be fans at the Shinsei show on Saturday, something that was genuinely disappointing as we had anticipated fans. Shinsei turns that into a positive however and lived streamed the two main bouts from the card, live, and for free. This meant more people could watch, including international fans, and the stream was fantastic. The bouts were well fought, even if the main event was surprisingly one sided. No complaints here at all, and Shinsei turned a bad situation into a very, very good one. Fingers crossed we'll see this done by more promoters from Japan during the current "no fan era".
It's also worth noting that the entire show ended up within 48 hours as well. Very solid stuff from Shinsei.
Okay leaving for a moment, Showtime announce their up coming scheduled and man is it ever good! From the shows they announced this week there was a great number of very good bouts, some excellent bouts and only one or two we felt were mismatches. Of course them all taking place, and not falling through for whatever reason, is something we don't expect to see but if 66% of the bouts announced do happen we'll be happy with that!
4-Berlanga and Ortiz show great potential
Of course Rentaro Kimura wasn't the only one who impressed this week and we were impressed by Edgar Berlanga and Vergil Ortiz. Both youngsters not only impressed in the ring, with very solid performances, but also outside of it. Both youngsters seemed eloquent, confident, hungry but also down to earth. Sadly ESPN spent far too much time focusing on Berlanga's streak, rather than Berlanga the man, but he came across as a very good young man and a wonderfully promising fighter, whilst Ortiz, on DAZN, came across as a fantastic prospect who is learning all the time.
We've just praised a number of young fighters but let us also tuck in one more good, and that was the hungry losers. Chris Avalos, Jayson Velez and Sammy Vargas were all big betting under-dogs. Few would have expected them to put in any kind of a fight, and instead most would have anticipated they would roll over and just lose. Instead all 3 came to win, gave a genuine account of themselves and gave viewers something to enjoy. Losing efforts like this do a lot of the sport, and we want to just give all 3 men some big time props!
1-Miranda Adkins getting blitzed
Mismatches happen, we all know that. We all know they are a common thing in the sport. Sadly though what we saw on Friday was beyond the scope of a mismatch. It was like throwing a kitten in with a starving lion. Miranda Adkins had no right to be in the ring with Seniesa Estrada and it showed with pretty much the first, and only, combination Estrada threw. The bout lasted just 7 seconds, Adkins had no idea how to defend herself and looked like a lamb to the slaughter from the off. The only positive was that the sport has a clip that has gone viral, but it should just how poorly matched this contest was. The commission need to take a series look at them selves. It's easy to claim "20-20" vision, but give Adkins was 42, had never fought anyone with a win and was going in with a world class fighter it didn't take 20-20 vision to see this was a horrible match up.
2-Nazim Richardson's passing
We're really, genuinely, sad to hear about "Brother" Nazim Richardson passing away at the age of 55. Richardson was one of the smartest men in the sport, and his loss is a huge one for boxing. A very astute mind, always worth listening to and someone who has helped pass on so much knowledge. We want to send our thoughts to his family and friends. Genuinely the sport was better for Richardson's influence and old school tricks.
3-Jack Reiss steals center stage
We often complain about officials here and unfortunately we need to do it again, but this time it's for an official we actually have a lot of respect for. Veteran referee Jack Reiss is one of the best in the business, when he's on point. He's also awfully inconsistent and this past week he was certainly putting in a memorable performance, but one that screamed "give me attention". He seemed intent on giving Vergil Ortiz a telling off and swore at Sammy Vargas in a bizarre, attention grabbing performance. When Reiss is in the mood to be a top referee there are very few who can match him, but this week he seemed like an old curmudgeon. A shame, but thankfully not something that affected the result of a bout he was responsible for.
1-Osakan Case Cluster Grows
Last week we spoke about the cases of "the ongoing situation" around a gym in Osaka. At the time there was just 5 case, that number more than doubled this week, with 11 cases associated to the cluster. Fingers crossed that's as bad as it gets and we won't see more cases, but there is a worry that it will grow and that we are still on at the tip of the proverbial iceberg. We hope everyone a speedy recovery, and hope this serves as a very clear warning to how dangerous and easily spread this is.
1-Triller to show Tyson Vs Jones Jr
And now we get to the weird. We're not really down with social media, we don't know our myspace from our faceparty, or ticktok from our bebo. This week we were introduced to "Triller" who will be showing the recently announced Mike Tyson Vs Roy Jones Jr exhibition. The service has paid an insane amount to show the bout, the two men are getting an incredible sum for the contest, and this social media company, who are apparently huge in India, are showing it. All very weird.
As for the bout it's an exhibition, we don't have anything against exhibitions, though we do wonder if this will just be about lining people's pockets or will have a charity element to it. If there is charity involved then that would be brilliant, given the way 2020 is going, but we fully understand if this is just a cash grab for two legends well past their primes.
The past week in boxing has been a strange one. It's had some of the best highs in recent months, but was also one of the saddest in months and also a confusing one. With that said, lets take a look at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly!
1-Boxing back at Korakuen Hall
Whilst last Thursday's show at Korakuen Hall was only a 2-bout card it's great to see boxing return to the "Holy Land" of Japanese boxing and it showed that the sport can run behind closed doors, at least in the short term. It's a shame things are the way they are, but the card was a good one, and given how both bouts finished we ended up getting the entire card on Fuji TV on tape delay with no issues. It's the first step in getting boxing up and running properly in the Japanese capital and was a huge step in the right direction.
2-Fans back at boxing in Japan
Whilst having boxing back at Korakuen Hall was brilliant the "behind closed doors" nature of the event was strange. What was even better was having a card in Okinawa on Sunday allowing fans into the venue. Whilst it was a 90% empty venue it was again a step in the right direction, and it seems like we're going to slowly see cards having more and more fans as things slowly resume to some sense of normality. We are some way from things getting back to what they were, if they ever are, but the Okinawan card, with fans, gave a real sense of hope and genuinely filled us with joy.
3-Eumir Marcial Turns Pro!
Filipino boxing needs a new star. Manny Pacquiao, Nonito Donaire and Donnie Nietes, if he's still even active, are all beyond their best years. Jerwin Ancajas had the look of a star, but his match making since winning the IBF Super Flyweight title has left much to be desired, and the need for a bright and promising fighter in the pros is needed. Step forward Eumir Marcial, the amateur standout who signed his professional contract with MP Promotions this week. This kid has the tools to be a huge star in the pro ranks and we are very glad to see him turn over. It's worth noting that he is joins a number of Asian fighters who are planning to dual-code in boxing, making sure to have his contract allow him to fight in amateur bouts, leaving the door wide open for an appearance at the delayed Tokyo Olympics. Marcial is special and hopefully MP Promotions treats him like a special fighter.
1-Mark John Yap and the pre-fight issues
Whilst we all understand fighters aren't training in the way they usually do it's hard to have any defense for what Mark John Yap did last week. In accepting the fight with Miguel Marriaga he took an opportunity away from someone who did want the fight. That along makes his poor attempt to make weight seem pretty bad, but to then read the comments he made to Ryan Songalia makes things worse, with Yap essentially admitting that he didn't really want to fight. We can defend missing weight by a a pound or two, given the world is how it is, but to make it clear you didn't want to fight and would quit if the heat got hot, before totally missing weight. Yeah that bad. Real bad.
2-What the fuck is going on with Jamel Herring's tests?
WBO Super Featherweight champion Jamel Herring really has had a screwed up few weeks with several positive tests and negative tests for "the ongoing health issue". Whilst being sick is bad, having false positives, false negatives, or repeated issues is even worse. We really wish Jamel is fine, and completely fine, though the whole situation regarding his health and the inconclusive results of his tests do lead us to worrying, not so much about him, he seems fine but the whole of boxing's return in the US. Is there other false tests that are being seen in boxing?
Once again we hope Jamel is fine, and he has shown a good sense of humour through the last week, but we do need to wonder just how accurate the testing is, and how workable it is in the medium to long run.
1-Coronavirus closes Osakan Gym
There hasn't been too much ugly for us to talk about, but the story out of Osaka in the week was a worrying one. For those who missed it 5 members of an Osaka boxing gym, including the owner, 2 pros, an amateur fighter and a trainer, all tested positive with Coronavirus. Whilst those that positive, and the gym, weren't named, it is still a scary thought that boxing could still have gyms and fighters passing it around. The scariest thing here is the owner of the gym is said to have been at another gym, with a fighter, potentially leading it to spread through multiple gyms. Fingers crossed this was just a one off and won't be something that gets repeated as boxing opens up.
2-Four fighters pass away following traffic accidents
The ugliest bit of news this week was the sad passing of 4 different fighters in traffic accidents. In the space of a week American 24 year old Travell Mazion, and Kazakh trio Elaman Rakhmetolla, Nurken Nurymov and Sunkar Telmanov all passed away. We think we speak for the whole boxing fraternity when we send out thoughts out to the family and friends of all 4 men.
Another week is over and once again we've taken the time to look at the good, the bad and the ugly. And this week has, surprisingly, been a good week! Boxing seems to be moving forward, we've had a female super fight announced, we've seen the sport return but it's not all been good, and we had one, very ugly, incident in Poland!
So with that said lets look at the Good, the Bad and The Ugly!
1-Boxing is Back!
Over the past few days we have seen boxing return to more countries, with not only shows in the US, Poland, China, South Korean and Mexico, who have been having shows for a little while, but also Australia, the UK, Japan and Thailand. It seems, at last, that boxing is starting to resume globally, and we are moving closer and closer to a full resumption of the sport. Yes we are a long, long way from having huge sell out crowds and the sport running up and running as it once was, but we are seeing moved being made to have the sport back, and fingers crossed we won't see the sport causing upticks in infections.
On Friday we were impressed by British fighters Brad Foster and Hamzah Sheeraz, both of whom look like real bright lights for British boxing. Just hours later Phoobadin Yoohanngoh and Arnon Yupang shined in Thailand. Earlier in the week Gabriel Muratalla showed what he could do. Whilst none of these men scream "definite future world champion" they all look like they have a lot of potential, and took their chances to shine. Whilst boxing isn't where it was, it's nice to see some fighters taking the chances they are getting and making it clear that there is a lot of young talent out there, from all over the place. Fingers crossed we see more and more young talent being given a chance to shine before we begin to be flooded with PPV fights.
3-Katie Taylor Vs Delfine Persoon II
Whether you love women's boxing or not it's fair to say that the Katie Taylor Vs Delfine Persoon bout few from last year was everything fight fans demand. It was two top fighters, giving their all, in a 50-50 type match up. It may have been tainted by controversy, but that controversy lead it's self perfectly to a rematch which got signed off this week for August 22nd. We loved their first bout and we are genuinely looking forward to their rematch. It's a shame it's on PPV, but a great bout and one of the first true "Must Watch" bouts of the "No Audience Era".
We begin the bad with an Asian issue, and that's the cancellation of the Kazakh show on July 18th. This isn't unexpected news, given what is happening in Kazakhstan, but it is still a bad. The card looked like one of the better ones planned for July and to see this called off around 10 before it was supposed to take place is disappointing. The card have several good looking bouts and fingers crossed it does get re-arranged for later in the year.
2-WBO Lightweight situation
Last week we were happy that the WBC had ordered Luke Capmbell Vs Ryan Garcia, and although there was a real chance that bout wouldn't be made, because this is boxing, it was a match up that was exciting and would have built the winner well ahead of a future world title fight. This week the WBO have given Garcia an out of that bout by ordering him to face Emmanuel Tagoe for their interim title. In reality the Garcia Vs Tagoe bout wouldn't be a bad one, but the timing of the WBO's order was frankly stupid. We all know why it was done, we all know it was about them getting a sanctioning fee from Garcia, but it still feels like the timing was cynical and disruptive to other talks.
It's really confusing as to what is going on with Dave Morretti in recent months. His scores cards have, consistently, been odd. He had another odd one this week, for the Andres Cortes vs Alejandro Salinas fight, and it really is a mystery as to how he has gone from being a rather good judge to one with a string of questionable scorecards in the space of just a few weeks.
We need to wonder what the fuck goes on in the heads of some fighters. This past week former Heavyweight title challenger Artur Szpilka decided to spit on a fan in Poland. That by it's self is pretty disgusting but when we considering theirs a pandemic going on and people have died after catching it from being spat on this was just disgraceful from Szpilka. Whether he feels he has a reason for it or not is really irrelevant. This was disgusting behaviour from someone who was, of course, known for being a thug before becoming a boxer. Truly ridiculous from Szpilka.
Another week is upon us and we move one step closer to having boxing back to normal. Well...the new normal. As we move more and more towards boxing normality we again cover some of the good, the bad and the ugly.
1-Daigo Higa joins Ambition Gym
Earlier this year we had feared that Daigo Higa was done with the sport, after the fighter revealed he was lacking motivation for the sport. It seemed like he was going to walk away from boxing, despite still being a real youngster. Thankfully it now seems those fears can be put to bed with the former WBC Flyweight champion announcing a new management contract with TLA ROCK and that he would be the second fighter to fight out of the Ambition Gym. The move to the gym will see him and Kazuto Ioka fighting out of the gym and will also see Higa working with trainer Joiji Nogi. We suspect that this move, and what Higa has been up to in recent weeks will see the fighter back with a lot of hunger and desire, and that is certainly not a bad thing.
2-Albert Batyrgaziev's debut
Former Russian amateur standout Albert Batyrgaziev, who may well become one of the many cross code fighters, made a good statement on his debut on Friday by fighting in a 10 rounder regional title bout. You did read that right, his debut was a 10 round regional title bout. The talented 22 year old stopped Armen Ataev in 7 rounds and looked every bit a fantastic talent. We know many won't have caught his debut but for those who like to see prospects fast tracked he's one to keep an eye on, and any prospect debuting in a 10 rounder instantly gets our attention. Keep an eye out for this kid going forward!
Some of the recent Top Rank Cards haven't really been memorable, though we need to give huge props to Kinglsey Ibeh, who has now scored 2 wins in 8 days. The Nigerian born US based Heavyweight scored a fun win on June 25th and returned on July 2nd to score his second win "in the bubble". Whilst he is very limited, crude and lacks true fitness he looks like a God and puts on a good show with his heart and desire. We are well and truly on the Ibeh Express and he has been one of the fighters who have seen what an opportunity they have with these fights and grabbed the brass ring. Don't get us wrong, he's never going to be a world champion, but he's already been one of the best parts of..."Bubble Boxing".
4-WBC order Luke Campbell Vs Ryan Garcia
Whilst the WBC are making a total mess of their title picture at Lightweight, with a Franchise champion, a "Champion in Recess" and a Silver Champion, they have managed to order a brilliant match up. The bout, pitting Luke Campbell and Ryan Garcia is a genuinely excellent bout and one we hope the teams will agree on making. Sadly this is boxing, and there's a real chance that this will fall apart, but we genuinely hope the teams to sort out what ever issues there is and get this one sorted. A potentially brilliant bout that will answer a lot about both men, and the direction of their career's going forward.
1-No so "instant" instant replays
The Top Rank card this past Thursday had "instant replay" used in the main event between Jose Pedraza and Mikkel LesPierre and it was awful. The idea of "instant" replay needs to be something quick, and potentially even done on the fly by a third party. Instead what we saw was a notable hold up between rounds 5 and 6 to review a knockdown by Mikkel LesPierre. At the end of the day the call on whether it was a knockdown or not was totally irrelevant, and made next to know difference, potentially deciding whether Pedraza won the round 10-9 or 10-8. Whilst it was likely irrelevant to the result here, though may have bout LesPierre some extra recovery time, the reality is that this was just as bad as VAR has been in soccer. Some sports can be improved by use of this type of technology if used properly, but this showed there is real work for it to be used properly in boxing.
Note similar technology was also used in Nihito Arakawa's bout with Daniel Estrada and also left a feeling of "this doesn't work". Boxing needs to sort this out or drop it until a workable system is possible.
2-Robeisy Ramirez and Albert Bell
We don't want to pick on Top Rank, and it is at least good that someone has been putting boxing on, but two of their fights this past Thursday were just dull. Albert Bell, who looks a talent, showed no real desire to wow or impressive against limited Filipino Mark Bernaldez whilst Robeisy Ramirez looks like a 2-time Olympic champion who will really struggle in the professional ranks. Bell is a physical freak at Super Featherweight-come-Lightweight but his style is awful to watch and hopefully next time we see him fight it will be against someone much better than Bernaldez, who looked under-sized, too slow and lacking in ambition. As for Ramirez he avenged his loss, on debut, over Adan Gonzalez but didn't look like anything special. Gonzalez was limited, but tough though there was no real extra gear from the Cuban, who we expected much more from.
1-Jarrell Miller is "unwillingly" taking banned substances
For a second week running we need to talk about Jarrell Miller and his behaviour that really can only be described as ugly. The now shamed former Heavyweight has insisted on never "willingly" taking banned substances, despite now testing positive on 3 totally unrelated occasions. The guy needs to just accept responsibility and accept that he's to blame for what's in his system. All sporting participants are responsible for their body and what's in it. For Millerto claim that he's not done anything "willingly" is frankly ridiculous and the guy should be ridiculed out of the sport. Come on "Big Baby" come up with a better excuse for being a cheat than the "I didn't do it on purpose" one.
2-Amanda Serrano and Lou DiBella/Katie Taylor and Eddie Hearn
Jesus Christ what a fucking mess this is. We understand that frustrations can boil over, but this has just become a public embarrassment for 3 of the 4 people named, with only Katie Taylor keeping her dignity. We're not really sure if Serrano wants out of the bout, is just angry about her career and situation or feels let down, but tor Serrano, DiBella and Hearn to take their spat public on social media in the way they have this week has been beyond unprofessional. This situation needs sorting out in a timely fashion, without any more of this public stupidity from the camps. It's a fantastic match up but boxing, being boxing, has managed to turn what should have been a great fight into an over sized drama that has taken away from the fighters and made the whole thing a mess. There's a time for social media, and there's a time for a private call, and folks it seems very much like a call would be the best idea here.
This past week has been another subdued week for boxing, though that's understandable given the current situation with the world. However that doesn't mean there's not been some good things happening and some bad things happening and of course, there was an huge ugly occurrence.
1-Fans at Japanese boxing in July!
This week we saw news that fans will be allowed to attend some events in Japan in July. Whilst the number of fans at the events will be limited it appears that the July 26th show at the Aioi Hall in Kariya will be allowed to have around 50% attendance, and we could see several other shows, outside of Tokyo, having fans at them. This is great news for boxing and seems clear that Japan is heading in the right direction for the sport to restart fully.
2-Eddie Hearn's Garden Party Boxing is Happening
We know Eddie Hearn likes to talk, a lot, often about nothing. Making announcements of announcements regarding an announcement seems to be one of his favourite hobbies. This week we finally saw him announce the details of his 4 August shows at the garden at the Matchroom Head office. The shows aren't anything great, despite what he and his fans will say, but they aren't terrible and are a welcome return in an unusual location for the sport. They are something to be excited about, for sure, but not something to get overly excited, especially with the good old "card subject to change" note that we've seen happen a lot in recent Top Rank shows.
3-Top Rank shows improve...
Talking about Top Rank shows, this past week was the best of their summer series by far and the bouts featuring Andrew and Jason Moloney showed some actual intelligent match making and story telling. One thing the sport tends to lack is smart promotional work, but having the twins fighting just days apart left fans wanting the second part of their 2-bout story. The Heavyweights in action on Thursday may have been limited but they wanted to fight and the contest between Raymond Yanong and Clay Burns was surprisingly a great little fight.
1-Covid growing, show boxing be on in the US?
Whilst the Top Rank shows did improve this past week there is a sense that they really shouldn't be taking place at all. The rules on their Covid testing have changed but the reality is that there are growing number of cases in the US, more and more fighters and team members are testing positive and despite fewer bouts being called off their is a clear risk of something bad happening. It's great boxing is back in the US, but it's very clearly not something that is needed right now. Whilst we've, for the most part, enjoyed the US shows they do feel a bit tone deaf given the increasing number of cases in the US.
2-Mexican Cards, mismatches and No Contests
Of course ESPN's broadcasts haven't just come from the US but also Mexico, where things are even stranger. The last 2 Mexican cards have had a bunch of fights, but the official results for all of them have been No Contests, as we have essentially had a dick measuring contest between the National and local commissions. Whatever the reason for the disagreement between the two parties is is irrelvant, cases in Mexico continue to grow and events like these do spit in the face of the average person. Added to that is the complete mismatches in the main event, further questioning the need for the shows at this current time. Maybe rethink these guys, they aren't doing any good.
3-Wanheng Menayothin forced back to the ring?
A week ago we were talking about the retirement of unbeaten Thai Wanheng Menayothin, with a 54-0 record. Then in the days that followed he had "unretired" and been pushed out in front of a press covered medical, which confirmed issues with his right eye and nose. The feeling inside is that someone sees themselves able to cash out on the fighter and want to push him in to the ring for one more pay day. Maybe we're wrong, and cynical, but the whole situation is leaving a bad taste in the mouth.
1-PPV in August - Fuck off!
Boxing will boxing, and Matchroom will Matchroom. The final one of their back garden shows was announced as being a Pay Per View. That's right, the greedy bastards at Matchroom are expecting fans to fork out for a PPV following an epidemic that has seen unemployment rise through the UK, and has seen even those in jobs see a loss of hours and stability. This is simply tone deaf and missing the point of the fans. The card, headlined by Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin, is a decent fight, albeit one where they are again rolling out a well beyond his best Povetkin, but in this current climate the PPV deserves to fail. Big time. British boxing promoters have taken the fans for mugs in the past and this is another case of the sport shooting it's self in the foot, misjudging the situation and completely alienating fans who have gone through some horrific times recently.
2-Jarrell Miller fails a drugs test...again
Whilst Eddie Hearn's PPV idea's for August are bad he's not even the biggest boxing villain of the week. That honour is taken by Jarrell Miller, who has again failed a drug test. He was banned in 2014 by the CSAC for failing a drug test, avoided a ban in 2019, due to a technical situation, but didn't learn his lesson and failed again last week. Sadly Miller isn't the only one to not learn a lesson as he had been booked by Top Rank to fight in July. Hopefully, this is the ned of Miller.
One thing we've seen a lot of calls for is for Miller to be banned for life, the reality however is that the drug testing bodies and local commissiosn have failed to do this in the past. Instead we need the promoters to actually agree on something and get drugs cheats out of the sport. They are, despite our dislike of them, the power players in this sport. Instead of working with fighters who have failed drugs tests we'd love to see the promoters unite and refuse to work with them. Maybe that's a fantasy, but it's also likely the only way we see the risk-reward of being caught become too big for fighters to risk it.
With boxing starting to return, albeit in a very different way to normal, we'll be resuming a lot of the regular series we had on hiatus, including "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly", where we look at the best, and the worst of the last 7 days of boxing!
1-Mike Plania's big upset
We all love an upset, and it really was nice to see the over-looked Mike Plania upset WBO #1 ranked Bantamweight Joshua Greer Jr, who likely expected an easy time against the Filipino fighter. Whilst Plania's performance wasn't perfect, and there are obvious areas for him to work on, he still impressed, and was very, very good value for the win. The two knockdowns from the Filipino were great, and the first 6 or so rounds from him were very good, however we do now have serious questions about his stamina, and it'd be great to see his team work on that before he's back in the ring.
2-Sergio Sanchez' KO of Gustavo Pina
On Saturday night we were treat to a very special KO from Sergio Sanchez, who scored one of the KO's of the year as he took out Gustavo Pina. For those who haven't seen this one we suggest you all hunt it down, absolutely fantastic way to finish a bout, and Sanchez will hopefully be getting a lot more attention thanks to the finish. It's worth noting that even before the stoppage Sanchez was looking like the sort of fighter that needs to be on TV a lot more. A very fan friendly fighter who just added to his own personal highlight reel.
3-Clay Collard getting another win
Talking about men who need to be on TV more often Clay Collard again showed what a great fighter to watch he is. The tough, rugged and crude American is unlikely to ever be a championship level contender but he's the sort of fighter who will give any prospect a genuine test. This past week he got a well deserved 6 round win over David Kaminsky on one of the Top Rank cards and that's just the latest in a in a string of upsets for the former MMA fighter. In the last 12 months has has ended the perfect winning runs of Quincy LaVallais (then 7-0), Maurice Winslow III (then 2-0), Quashawm Toler (then 9-0), Raymond Guajardo (then 5-0) and Kaminsky (then 6-0). He has also upset the then 13-1 Dushane Crooks and then 10-1 Geralrd Sherrell. Fingers crossed he now gets a genuine promotional contract and the chance to keep doing what he's been doing so damn well recently.
1-Scoring in the US
It's not been all good this past week or so, with the scoring of US shows now starting to become a bit of a joke in the Covid-19 era of boxing. Patricia Morse Jarman scoring the Kaminsky Vs Collard bout 58-56 in favour of Kaminsky is just the latest in a flurry of bad cards from "The Bubble". Whilst we all know judging is questionable at best this should have been used as an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and get the officiating right, but instead it's still an appalling mess and does little to help a sport that has a chance to shine. Hopefully when boxing resumes it's normal service we'll start to see judges actually punished for some of the scorecards they are turning in right now.
It's not just Jarman either, with Dave Moretti some how scoring the Greer Vs Plania bout level at 94-94, a score that didn't reflect the action in the ring at all.
We all understand boxers, matchmakers, managers and promoters are in a tough situation right now. Plenty of boxers haven't been able to train properly, others are essentially stuck where they are right now, limiting international fights and numerous other issues are at play. With that said however the main events of recent shows have done little to help the sport. Did we really need to see the talented Gabe Flores take on the limited Josec Ruiz? Or Emanuel Navarrete beat up Uriel Lopez? Those bouts did little for the viewers and for the fighters, who will both have had tougher sparring sessions. The sport has the limelight right now, with so little sporting action taking place, but with bouts like these it's doing it's self no favours. Fingers crossed we can get something a bit more interesting soon!
1-Covid Strikes Fights off - Too soon?
With so little boxing taking place it's hard to find to many things that are ugly in the sport right now, thankfully. One that is leaving a really bad taste however is the number of fighters testing positive for Covid-19. Whilst it's great to see bouts return to the US we have already seen Mikaela Mayer and Mikkel LesPierre being pulled from bouts due to the virus. With the 7-day rolling average for cases in the US increasing recently it may be worth realising that boxing isn't currently needed, as much as we want it, in the country. The race for sports return during a pandemic that is still not under-control is an moral issue that the sport really doesn't need, especially not with the dark cloud of Daniel Kinahan currently hanging over it.
This past week has been a really odd one for Asian boxing, with the biggest take away being the announcement that we wouldn't be getting any boxing in Japan during the month of March. Thankfully Japan isn't the only country in Asia, and we have had other Asian fighters in action from through the continent.
1-Roman Gonzalez is back!
The reports of Roman Gonzalez's demise have been well and truly over-stated! We wouldn't suggest that Roman is near his prime, but this past weekend he rolled back the clock and broke down the previously unbeaten Kal Yafai in very, very impressive fashion. The Nicaraguan magician may not be a natural Super Flyweight but he is a natural wrecking ball and the way he broke down Yafai was a delight to watch! Even more impressively this was his second fight in just over 2 months, and hopefully the long break he had before resurfacing in Japan in December will do him the world of good.
2-Madrimov takes strides
We know Israil Madrimov should have been on everyone's radar after his impressive debut, but now it's impossible to ignore the exciting, charismatic and incredibly gifted Uzbek Light Middleweight. This weekend he scored his biggest win to date and moved to within touching distance of a WBA world title fight. Whilst Charlie Navarro offered little in terms of being a test, it was still marvellous to see Madrimov pick him apart, beat him up and force the stoppage. Madrimov might be "The Dream" but for the rest of the division he is a rising Uzbek monster.
3-Yunlong Shi impresses
In recent years Chinese Heavyweight debuts have been farces. Taishan Dong looked completely clueless in his 2014 debut whilst Zhang Zhilei saw his opponent happy to get out of there as soon as possible. Thankfully Yunlong Shi's debut this past Saturday was genuinely impressive. The talented professional novice, who made his debut in Poland, looked sharp, powerful and highly skilled, and maybe end up developing into a very serious contender. Certainly one to keep an eye on.
1-Coronavirus sees Japanese boxing put on hold
A pretty clear Bad one, but one that's completely understandable, is the JBC suspending boxing through out the country as a response to Coronavirus. The Japanese were slow to react in some ways but they have taken wise steps here in stopping boxing, and other sport. We suspect other countries will follow suit in the coming days, and we're genuinely shocked other countries haven't began taking steps to stop events where there will be large gatherings of people.
1-Deontay Wilder's excuses
Dude, you got beat, stopping looking for excuses, stopping looking for answers in the wrong place, and take a look inside. You've got the power, the charisma and the athletic ability to recapture a portion of the world title, but need to stop the excuses. The blaming of Mark Breland, the gloves, the ring walk outfit. ZZZZ Take the loss and learn. Don't try to cover over and make excuses, or the same will happen next time as well.
We've had another relatively quiet week of action, barring one US show, but it's a week that has also seen a lot of fighters taking part in press conference to announce that they would be turning professional this year, and a cancelled show. So lets take a look at the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from the week ending February 23rd 2020!
1 - Top amateurs turn pro
Over the last week we saw no less than 5 Japanese amateur standouts turn professional. Whilst not all of them will reach the top we are really excited to see the development of Keisuke Matsumoto, Ryutaro Nakagaki and Toshihiro Suzuki, who were all genuinely exceptional talents in the unpaid ranks. Of that trio we expect to see them all fight for, if not win, world titles, and wouldn't be surprised at all to see them being just the first wave of amateur stars turning professional before the Olympics. It's an exciting time in Japanese boxing, that's for sure!
2 - Mark Breland doing the right thing
We often have coaches who are too brave for their fighters, but Mark Breland was the bravest of them all, making the right decision in stopping Deontay Wilder from taking further punishment on Saturday. By the time of the stoppage Wilder was a bloody, beaten mess and he looked completely hapless. He had been unable to back up Tyson Fury, and was being tagged repeatedly. Whilst Wilder might want to complain the reality is that his trainer did the right thing and saved him for another day. Wilder's future might not look great in the sport, but at least he has a future. Had that bout gone on a round or two longer there's a chance Wilder wouldn't have much of a future at all as a fighter. Well done Mark Breland for doing the right thing.
3 - Tyson Fury backing up his words
Staying in the wider world it was fantastic to see Tyson Fury back up his words. We assumed he was taking the piss when he spoke about going out with the intention of knocking out Deontay Wilder, but for him then to go out and batter the then reigning WBC Heavyweight champion was just fantastic. We wouldn't go as far as to say it was the greatest performance by a British fighter, as some have suggested, but it was one of the rare times that we've seen a long term champion undressed and embarrassed. This was a showcase from the best Heavyweight in the world, and hopefully we won't see Fury facing any more weak opponents, as he did in the build up to this fight.
1 - A lack of action
Whilst not every week will be busy we were really surprised by little action took place this past week. It wasn't helped that there was an interesting looking Filipino event cancelled due to coronavirus and a card in Korea cancelled for the same reason. Thankfully we do have action coming up, and it does appear this was a one off quiet week.
2 - Muto gym tax evasion news
In a weird story from Osaka it appears the Muto Gym, and chairman Takashi Edagawa could be in some hot water over some issues with tax, and more exactly evasion of tax. It's unclear how serious the issue is, but it doesn't sound great with the gym accused of faking real estate purchases among other things. Even if the gym is innocent, or has corrected the issue, there will be a cloud over their head going forward, and it doesn't sound like the first time the gym have been accused of something like this.
Whilst we have stated we were impressed by Mark Breland, who made the right decision in stopping Deontay Wilder from taking too much unnecessary punishment. Sadly post fight comments from Wilder's other trainer, Jay Deas, were just ugly. They were full of excuses, blaming the attire Wilder wore into the ring, and criticised Breland. We understand the idea of doing what's in your bosses interest, but here Wilder needed a unified team to help him after his loss and to look after him in the ring. Deas seemed to want to blame Breland for the loss, rather than accepting their man was beaten, and was able to come again thanks to pulling the plug on the bout before took potentially life changing punishment.
After a few weeks where we've not had much to talk about the past week has been a much more engaging and interesting one, with some great bouts, some exciting announcements, some free streams, and plenty negatives to talk about as well as the positives.
1-CBC's live stream
Although CBC's stream this week wasn't of a huge show, it was, as we've come to expect from them, fantastic from start to end. The broadcaster aired the entire show from Kariya live on Tuesday, in excellent quality, with no issues, live replays, great camera angles and perfect sound mixing. Sadly for everyone else CBC have brought TV level production values to the free streaming game, and it's going to be down to everyone else to play catch up. As well as the quality of the stream the fights were also rather solid, especially the main event between Kento Hatanaka and Roland Jay Biendima, and Hiroki Hanabusa's body shot KO was sublime.
If someone else is going to do a free stream, this is level they should be aiming for. Amazing from start to end!
2-Nakatani Vs Magramo being made official!
We know we mentioned this bout last week, and actually the CBC free stream, but this week saw the confirmation of Junto Nakatani Vs Giemel Magramo! Better yet it's set for a Dynamic Glove show, meaning that we're expecting it to be shown live on G+. Not only is this an exceptional match up for the WBO Flyweight title but it's the type of bout that excites us, and is a risk for both men. Given that both fighters could have taken different routes to a world title we can't help but be proud of both fighters for signing up to this one!
3-Wanheng Menayothin gets date for US debut
With a 54-0 record WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin has the longest active unbeaten stream in boxing, along with the longest world title reign of any man in the sport. One thing he hasn't got is an international bout to his name. That changes in April after this weeks news of the Thai setting off for the US! Wanheng will make his international debut on April 25th, when he takes on Marco John Rementizo. The bout might not be the biggest, or the best, and the scheduling for it is fucking stupid, clashing with Naoya Inoue Vs Johnriel Casimero, but it's great to finally see Wanheng outside of his comfort zone.
4-Yuki Nakajima's uppercut
It's not often we'll talk about a specific punch on here but the uppercut Yuki Nakajima landed on Shisui Kawabata in round 6 was something special. Huge credit to Kawabata for not being left flat on his back, but the punch is up there with the best of them. Those with boxing raise owe it to them selves to rewatch this it was amazing.
1-Koki Inoue's injury
In unfortunate news Koki Inoue has suffered and injury that has forced him to postpone his mandatory title defense against Daishi Nagata. The talented and unbeaten Japanese 140lb champion thankfully doesn't appear to be too seriously injured, given he'll be defending the title against Nagata in May, but it is still said news that both men will delay their return to the ring by a couple of months.
2-Yudai Shigeoka's next opponent
We love the Shigeoka brothers. We see both becoming future world champions. We fully accept that both are super prospects. So we need to wonder what the idea is in having Yudai Shigeoka's next bout come against Sanchai Yotboon, the fighter that Ginjiro Shigeoka took out in 3 rounds on his debut! Absolutely pointless match up by Watanabe gym. This is a mismatch, and should be little more than a stay busy for Shigeoka, who beat Lito Dante a few months ago, and should have been matched much tougher than this.
3-Daigo Higa's comments on the future
After almost 2 years away from the ring we finally saw former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa back in action. Higa would win his return, stopping Jason Buenaobra, but sadly comments after the bout leave us confused as to whether he will continue fighting or will leave the sport for good. Given he's only 24 it would be a massive shame if Higa hung them up now, after just 17 fights, and we genuinely hope he can find something to motivate him again. Higa, at Bantamweight, would be at a disadvantage, but given his style and tenacity we'd love to see him making a splash in the division. We really hope he continues in the sport, but if not, we're glad to have seen the destructive little marvel on his way up, and see him walk away with his health intact. It would just be a huge shame for his name to be added to the list of "what could have been".
1-Bektemir Melikuziev Vs Oscar Cortes
We understand late replacements aren't always great but Oscar Cortes was a simply awful late replacement, especially for a fighter like Bektemir Melikuziev. The Mexican was under-sized, under-powered and essentially had lost by the time he had his ring walk. Whilst we can't blame Cortes, who obviously took his pay day, and Melikuziev, who isn't responsible for his original opponent pulling out, we do need to question the California State Athletic Commission, who should have said no. There was no point in this bout, and no one came off looking good.
2-Merlito Sabillo's leg
We've yet to hear any actual confirmation on what, if any, injury Merlito Sabillo suffered but the way his leg bent and buckled as he got knocked down by Sho Kimura suggested something nasty. As did the way he was lying on the canvas. We really hope it is nothing series, but bloody hell did it look nasty, and we wouldn't be surprised, given his age and run of 4 losses, if he ends up in retirement. If he's injured, in the way we believe, it'll likely be 9 months, or longer, until he returns, and he'll around 37 by then
3-GAB's live stream
We started with a free stream, so lets end on a free stream. CBC raised the bar, with a brilliant, professional, well edited, and high quality stream. Just days later the GAB put on a stream that was inconsistent, repeatedly froze, stopped and started, low quality and was just hard to watch, and even harder to enjoy. We know the GAB streams can work and can be wonderful, as they were at the end of the show, but for the most part the show was just terrible. Fingers crossed they get these sorted in the future, as they are a really valuable asset for boxing fans, when they work. We don't expect GAB to hit the professional levels of CBC any time soon, but if they can get a consistent stream going it would be a great starting point!
(Image courtesy of A. McGovern - Top, and Boxmob - Bottom)
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