European Boxing Notebook: Saunders, Dubois, Joyce, and more…


By: Oliver McManus

Welcome to the third instalment of Boxing Insider’s European Boxing Notebook – it’s been a fairly quiet couple of weeks in the boxing scene so this edition will be shorter than usual but nonetheless here are the headlines from the British and European fight scene;

Billy Joe says “NO”

Billy Joe Saunders has withdrawn from his scheduled WBO Middleweight title clash against Martin Murray with a hamstring injury – the fight was originally slated for the 28th April at the O2 Arena before Saunders withdrew from that contest claiming an injury. The whole card, minus Terry Flanagan vs Maurice Hooker, was moved to the 23rd June at the same venue but once again the headlining fight has been scuppered.

Martin Murray has gone public in saying he believes Saunders is a “sh***house” and doubts the extent of the Champion’s injury with many fans seeming to share the scepticism of Murray. What is for sure is that Billy Joe Saunders’ pursuit of a mega-fight with either Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin is not relenting and, indeed, just 45 minutes before pulling out of the fight on June 23rd he was calling for Golovkin to sign a contract.

The current focus remains on getting another defence scheduled in the intermittence and whether or not Murray is willing to take the risk for a third time will be the telling factor as to how quickly we’ll see Saunders back in the ring.

Dynamite Dubois’ Explosive English Title Tilt

Daniel ‘Dynamite’ Dubois will look to claim the third title of his professional career from just his eight bout – the 20 year old heavyweight sensation has already secured the WBC Youth and Southern Area titles with victories over Muarico Barragan and AJ Carter, respectively – and the challenge comes in a far sterner form by way of Tom Little.

Don’t let the name fool you, this is a BIG test for Daniel albeit one that he should be able to navigate through convincingly if, we are to believe that, he is the real deal.

Tom Little poses a challenge yet to be faced by Dubois and, to be frank, that is an opponent who actually comes to fight and throw fire. We’ve seen before that Little has the power relevant to expose those who don’t take him seriously and his awkward nature ensures no opponent has an easy night.

Dubois will want to look far more emphatic than he did last time out against DL Jones where the prospect seemed lacklustre and sluggish but with a full, uninterrupted camp under his belt this looks to set be an explosive showdown between two cracking young prospects.

Big Baby Miller wants $3million for Joyce

Joe Joyce’s pursuit of the top contenders has been dampened by the consistent pricing out of potential opponents – Jarrell Miller has been the latest to demand big figures in order to face the seasoned amateur with Big Baby demanding up to $3million in order to face the Juggernaut.

Joyce was scheduled to defend his Commonwealth title at York Hall on June 15th and whilst he’s still fighting on the card, the situation of the belt remains unclear with Hayemaker Ringstar, Joyce’s promoters, not applying to the Commonwealth Boxing Council for a defence.

Monster Mashes McDonell

Naoya Inoue lived up to his reputation of being a supreme knockout artist in the lower divisions with the Japanese sensation claiming a world title at a third weight – this time Bantam – with an unrelenting one-round stoppage of WBA champion Jamie McDonnell.

The odds were always against the Brit, who travelled to Japan for the fight, but no-one outside of the Inoue camp could have expected such a savage beat down.

The former light-fly and flyweight world champion, Inoue’s move up to the Bantamweight division has immediately marked him out as one of the fighters of his generation and in an increasingly competitive division with the likes of Zolani Tete, Ryan Burnett and Emmanuel Rodriguez there’s a never-ending plethora of super fights to be made – good job there’ll be the World Boxing Super Series this year, then.

World Boxing Super Series Update

The World Boxing Super Series seemed to encounter hiccup upon hiccup over recent months and the lack of efficient communication from the tournament has left many fans – and fighters frustrated.

Over the past two weeks we have, however, learnt the fate of the Super Middleweight final which WILL include George Groves as he’ll face Callum Smith for the WBA and WBC Diamond title’s in the United Kingdom at some point in “late summer” – I suspect the 25th August.

The undercard is expected to feature Chris Eubank Jr vs John Ryder with Ryder coming off the back of two tremendous victories against Jamie Cox and Patrick Nielsen whilst Eubank will serve as the reserve opponent for the final and will step up as a late replacement if need be.
Zach Parker is also expected to feature on the card.

York Hall SUPER Card

Eddie Hall brings a taste of the big time to the small hall scenes with a Commonwealth title double header taking place in the iconic York Hall – a sold out venue will see 1,500 fans witness the most sumptuous of headline fights between Luke Watkins and Lawrence Okolie for the Commonwealth and WBA Continetal Cruiserweight titles.

Unusually for a fight of such magnitude there has been no bad blood but rather a magnanimous respect for each other and what a fight this will be – Okolie looking to take the biggest name of his career, thus far, and claim another belt whilst Watkins will be looking to catapult himself into household name territory by derailing the hype train.

The co-main event sees Reece Bellotti looking to extend his unbeaten ledger to 13 fights against the game and gritty Ryan Doyle – Bellotti on a run of nine straight early finishes will be looking to sweep aside the threat from Doyle and continue his rapid rise up the featherweight ranks.

The card also sees Ted Cheeseman defending his WBA International title against Paul Upton, Daniyar Yeleussinov in his UK debut as well as Danny Dignum, Felix Cash, Craig Richards, Sean McGoldrick and Louie Lynn.

British Warriors return

Mo Prior and British Warriors will return with a promotion on June 30th at York Hall as they look to continue their guidance of a number of sensational prospects. Prior has been heralded in recent times by those inside the industry as being one of the best managers around and the impact he has on fighters is clear to see from both an outside perspective and conversations I’ve had with various boxers – no less than Jeff Ofori.

On the card Jez Smith is expected to get a shot at the Southern Area title currently held by Louis Greene whilst Ryan ‘Run ‘Em Over’ Charles will be in his second fight – at his natural weight of cruiser, as opposed to heavy.

Ofori returns to the ring as he looks to further his pursuit of a Southern Area belt and the big name on the card will be Chris Kongo.

No shortage of explosivity, that’s for sure.

THAT just about rounds up the last two weeks of action in Britain and Europe – it’s not been action packed but there’s certainly been several spoonful’s of news to digest!

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