Crawford-Khan On For April 20th
By: Sean Crose
With the above words, Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions let the world know, via Twitter, that WBO welterweight champ Terence Crawford would indeed be facing off against the talented and well known Amir Khan on April 20th. The tweet was accompanied by a picture of both men squaring off and the hashtag #CrawfordKhan. Fans and analysts had expected the announcement to be made for at least several days, after it became clear that the two sides had reached an agreement.
The match will give Crawford a name opponent and Khan another chance at the glory that has eluded him over the years. The bout will be aired live on Pay Per View, courtesy ESPN, which has a deal with Top Rank. It has yet to be announced where the fight will take place. Crawford, who fights under Arum’s famous Top Rank Promotions banner, is widely regarded as one of the top fighters in the world. The fact that most known welterweights fight under rival Al Haymon’s PBC banner, however, has made it difficult for the Omaha, Nebraska native to face big name rivals. The announcement of the fight with Khan changes that.
England’s Khan, a former top Olympian, has long been known for his speed and gamesmanship inside the ring. He’s often come up short in big fights, however, and was avoided by Floyd Mayweather when the then pound for pound king instead decided to face Marcos Maidana in 2014. There had been talk that Khan would face countrymen and rival Kell Brook in a British superfight, but Khan opted for Crawford instead, presumably because a win over Crawford would establish him as one of the biggest names in the entire boxing business. Known for craving major fights, Khan has once again landed on a major pay per view event (he lost to Canelo Alvarez in a game but doomed Pay Per View broadcasted effort in 2016).
This will be ESPN’s first foray into the Pay Per View Market. British super promoter Eddie Hearn will also promote the fight on behalf of Khan, though he reportedly wishes that Khan would have faced his countryman Brook rather than Crawford. With a record of 33-4, Khan will clearly be the underdog in this fight. Still, the 34-0 Crawford has arguably not met anyone of Khan’s caliber at welterweight, where he has fought since unifying the junior welterweight titles in 2017 against Julius Indongo.
Crawford-Khan Expected To Be Announced At Jan. 15 London Presser
By Jake Donovan
It appears that Amir Khan has finally made his choice.
Weeks of speculation as to the next steps for the Brit as well as that of unbeaten pound-for-pound king and welterweight titlist Terence Crawford were finally answered on Friday. Top Rank, whom promotes Crawford, announced a major press conference to take place on Tuesday, January 15 in London.
Barring a curveball being thrown, the expectation is to reveal plans for an April 20 showdown between Crawford and Khan, which will likely headline an ESPN-distributed Pay-Per-View telecast.
Such details weren’t revealed in a cryptic press release sent through Top Rank’s press office, other than to confirm that both fighters as well as Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum and representatives from Matchroom Boxing—Khan’s promoter in the United Kingdom—will be on hand for the session.
For months, Khan appeared to be on a collision course with longtime domestic rival Kell Brook, although the two spent more time bickering through the media than in coming to terms for a long-awaited all-UK showdown.
Such a fight even was a major factor in Khan (33-4, 20KOs) signing a promotional pact with Matchroom Boxing earlier this year. He has fought twice under Matchroom’s banner, scoring wins over Phil Lo Greco and Samuel Vargas after having spent nearly two years sitting on a May ’16 knockout loss to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in Las Vegas.
From the time between his win over Vargas and Brook’s scheduled homecoming versus Michael Zerafa last December, it was believed that the two would eventually reach a deal for a super fight in the first half of 2019. Promoter Eddie Hearn was even hopeful that Khan would turn out for the Brook-Zerafa card, which landed on his 32nd birthday and with the idea of announcing their fight shortly after the main event.
Khan threw a major wrench into this plans, however, at the start of fight week. The 2008 United Kingdom Olympic Silver medalist and former 140-pound titlist dropped a bombshell in making public a lucrative offer from Top Rank to instead face Crawford.
All parties involved acknowledged that Khan stands to make more in a domestic dustup with Brook, but he liked the idea of challenging whom believes to be the very best boxer in the world. His thinking was the public appeal for a Brook fight will always be there, as such a showdown will carry a theme of unfinished business more than any surrounding relevance.
In getting Khan to mull over—and now seemingly agree to—such a fight, Crawford finally gets an opponent with a big name. The switch-hitting rising star from Omaha, Nebraska was lukewarm on the prospects of a proposed bout versus Luis Collazo, which was originally slated for March 23 at Madison Square Garden.
Collazo—a 37-year old Nuyorican and former welterweight titlist—had long ago agreed to such a fight, where he stood to make a hefty seven-figure payday for his services.
Crawford, on the other hand, never signed the bout agreement, instead reminding the Top Rank family of his desire for big fights moving forward. There’s no question a showdown with Khan carries the bigger event feel.
The proposed clash will mark the second welterweight title defense for Crawford (34-0, 25KOs), who is coming off of a 12th round stoppage of previously unbeaten Jose Benavidez last October. The bout was frowned upon by most observers—and even several members of Crawford’s inner circle—but only went to show the 31-year old’s drawing power.
The ESPN-televised clash served as the most watched boxing event of 2018, drawing well north of 2 million viewers. As for the in-ring result itself, the feat marked Crawford’s 5th straight stoppage victory, also running his record to 12-0 (9KOs) in title fights spanning three weight divisions.
Assuming that Tuesday’s press conference does in fact confirm a Crawford-Khan showdown, also expected to be part of the reveal is the destination for such a contest. New York’s Madison Square Garden was the originally targeted location for both the initially proposed March 23 date as well as April 20, although there remains a distinct possibility of the show landing in Las Vegas.
Amir Khan: Kell Brook or Terence Crawford next?
By: Waqas Ali
Former two-time world champion Amir ‘King’ Khan is on the loop hole for a potential clash with either American Terence Crawford or domestic rival Kell Brook.
Khan, 32, who last fought back in September against Samuel Vargas, has opted the probable option of going for Crawford more than Brook.
Crawford, whose record stands at 34 victories and zero defeats is a three-weight world titlist and has had two wins in the welterweight division already.
The same division Khan (33-4) has been fighting in for the past four and half years.
Speaking to Express Sport in early December, he stated: “We’ve negotiated a lot at the moment and we are close to getting it done.
“But there are other fights out there at the moment, like pound-for-pound champions, that is on the table for me.
“And I think that’s a fight which might never, ever come in my lifetime again. The pound-for-pound title is back in the welterweight division.
“It’s Crawford. Crawford has the pound-for-pound title and I’ve got that fight right in front of me, so I want to take that one. It’s either that or the Kell Brook fight.”
Both fighters are virtuous stylistics fighters but the questions that need to be asked are: Who would be the bigger draw and who is the bigger threat?
With Crawford, 31, aka ‘Bud’ he has a reach of 74” and a height of five feet 8 inches with a knockout ratio of 74%.
In his last 10 bouts, eight of them were KO/TKOs.
Crawford’s boxing style consist of speed, power and footwork. He uses those assets very well including loading up his combinations and keeping the distance at long range.
He also switches stances every now to provide activity on both angles of conventional and southpaw.
His resume of competitive competition include Ricky Burns, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Raymundo Beltran, Viktor Postol, Julius Indongo, and Jeff Horn.
Only fought once outside the United States, when defeating Ricky Burns for the WBO lightweight title in March 2014 in the UK.
Brook, 32, has a record of 38 wins and two losses. His reach stands at 69 inches and with a height of five foot nine.
The Pride of Sheffield’s style contains speed, agility and balance. His level of competition include Lovemore Ndou, Vyacheslav Senchenko & Shawn Porter. All three he won against.
Two high levelled competition he did lose to were Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence Jr.
With Porter however it was quite competitive and to Brook’s credit he utilised his jab well in order to keep the fight at distance and countered effectively.. Brook landed 158 of 441 punches – 36% connect rate.
After losing to Spence Jr at the welterweight division, Brook decided to move to junior middleweight where he felt was the right decision.
With a recent win over Michael Zefara, it raised the question of Brooks’ capability and style of wonder in the 154 weight division.
No doubt in anyone’s mind particularly the British fans, selecting Brook would be a huge pay-per-view draw. It could possibly land in one of the biggest domestics bouts in history.
Britain is no stranger when it comes to historical domestic clashes.
Michael Watson vs Nigel Benn
Chris Eubank vs Michael Watson 1 & 2
Chris Eubank vs Nigel Benn 1 & 2.
Chris Eubank vs Carl Thompson 1 & 2
Frank Bruno vs Lennox Lewis
Just to name a few.
Eddie Hearn, Brooks’ promoter, made it public that he had offered Khan £8m flat fee, plus an upside of the revenue to fight Brook.
The offer was made a week after Top Rank offered Khan £3.9m [$5 million] to face Crawford.
So by analysing the evidence upfront it would make sense to make the Brook fight happen. However with Crawford, Khan could potentially win the WBO belt from Crawford should the bout take place.
Therefore it is my belief that the Crawford is dubbed and rightfully should be as the bigger threat than Brook.
Crawford has more tools of weaponry against Brook and Khan, who has been down numerous times in his career.
Should Khan win, it would place him back in the spotlight of elite, considering the fact that Khan hasn’t won a title since early 2012 when the WBA awarded him the junior welterweight after Lamont Peterson tested positive for a banned substance.
Kell Brook Prepared To Move On As Khan Mulls Crawford Offer
By Jake Donovan
From the moment news leaked of a proposed opportunity to face unbeaten welterweight titlist Terence Crawford next March, many in the industry lauded Amir Khan for his career-long willingness to take on all comers.
However, you can count Kell Brook among the few not quite impressed with the Brit’s in-ring pursuits—and for several good reasons.
In a story first broken by the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail, Khan revealed that plans for his next superfight wouldn’t be that of a long awaited showdown with longtime in-country rival Brook but a trip to New York’s Madison Square Garden to face the reigning pound-for-pound king in Crawford. The news stings in more ways than one, as it came at the start of fight week for Brook, who faces Michael Zerefa this Saturday at home in Sheffield, England.
The show lands on Khan’s 32nd birthday, which promoter Eddie Hearn hoped to help the former 140-pound titlist celebrate with the reveal of a superfight with Brook finally occurring in 2019. However, Khan—while still considering the lucrative offer from Crawford’s promoter Bob Arum—instantly spoiled those plans with a doubly stinging announcement of his own, that he won’t be in attendance and is more likely to head back to the United States for his next fight.
“Fighting for a pound-for-pound title would be amazing,” Khan (33-4, 20KOs) told the Daily Mail on Monday of his desire to face Crawford over Brook. “To win it would be even better, so I think I’m in a position where I can get that fight with the pound-for-pound champion.
“The Brook fight is always going to be there. It’s for no title, whereas I’m getting offered a world title and the pound-for-pound title. So why not?”
His countryman is more than happy to explain.
“It’s not [going to be there],” Brook (37-2, 26KOs) insisted in a recent interview with BBC Sport. “I am going to go after the big names in America and the fights all the fans want. I am going to do my thing. I don’t need him at all.”
The offer on the table for Khan is reportedly a $5 million guarantee, with incentives as a showdown with Crawford—if finalized—would land on Pay-Per-View as distributed by ESPN. It would also mark a return to the site of Khan’s stateside debut, as his first U.S fight came in a May ’10 stoppage win over Paul Malignaggi at MSG Theatre (now the Hulu Theatre).
Khan has fought 10 times overall in the U.S., his last trip abroad coming in a 6th round knockout loss to middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in their May ’16 155-pound catchweight bout. He returned to the ring this past April, having won a pair of tune-up bouts atop shows promoted by Hearn with whom he joined forces earlier this year.
Their partnership was designed to lead to an eventual collision with Brook, but piecing together such an event has proven problematic, to say the least. The loss to Alvarez undoubtedly still resonates with Khan, who has demanded a rehydration clause be in place for a clash with Brook, a former welterweight titlist who is now campaigning in the super welterweight division.
Brook agreed to come down to welterweight for such a fight, but thus far has refused to commit to a rehydration cap. Khan has demanded a second-day weigh-in where neither boxer can gain more than 10 pounds from the contracted weight, whereas Brook’s position is that his coming down to the 147-pound limit is already a major concession.
It appeared as if both sides would find common ground in order to deliver good news this weekend. However, a window of opportunity for Khan to look elsewhere came when it was revealed by BoxingScene.com’s Keith Idec that Crawford’s reported March 23 MSG headliner versus Luis Collazo wasn’t quite finalized.
Collazo—a former welterweight titlist whom Khan dominated in a May ’14 clash in Las Vegas—had long ago agreed to terms to make the short trek from Brooklyn to MSG. Crawford and his team, on the other hand, had been vocal in demands for bigger fights, and seemed convinced that something better was out there.
Such desire prompted Top Rank—who’d previously sought the services of former two-division titlist Danny Garcia for Crawford—to go after Khan, who seemingly has no problem walking away from a far more lucrative grudge match with Brook.
Should he agree to terms to face Crawford, it could be his last guaranteed big fight.
“I would like to have announced our fight in the ring and give fans an early Christmas present,” revealed Brook, who seeks his second win following a welterweight title reign-ending knockout loss to Errol Spence last May. “But it does not look like it will happen. It looks like he has run off again.
“I have done everything in my powers for it to happen. It is him who has let the public down. (But) it’s not the end of the world and I will move on. I am more established at welterweight being world champion. I will be hunting these guys and the weight above at light middleweight.”
Pacquiao Signing With Haymon Makes Khan vs. Brook Possible
By: Michael Kane
There are widespread reports that Manny Pacquiao has signed with Al Haymon, leading to a fight with Adrian Broner before a potential re match with Floyd Mayweather.
According to a SPIN.ph source, said to be a member of Pacquiao’s inner circle, a fight with Broner is expected in the second week of January.
This news has set in motion a chain of events in the UK, where Amir Khan had been hoping to face Pacquiao.
It now would appear that a long awaited fight between Amir Khan and Kell Brook is in the works.
Former IBF welterweight champion Brook has had his eye on Khan for a while, however until now Khan has never shown too much interest.
Eddie Hearn, Khan and Brook’s promoter told SKY Sports , “It’s the first time where we’ve probably actively negotiated and it has never happened before.
“Probably in five years trying to make this fight we’ve never been at a stage where we are actually going back and forth with information, planning fates, and things like that.
“There is a long way to go, but I do believe now that both guys have got it in their head that the fight will happen in February or March next year.
“Kell will probably box in Sheffield on December 8. He hasn’t boxed since March Amir obviously just boxed and I am hopeful and excited that this fight, that has eluded us for so long, could be close to happening.”
It’s been suggested by Khan that Brook has agreed to a 10 pound rehydration clause however Hearn said thats not been agreed as yet.
Brook is the current WBC Silver Super Welterweight Champion and has faced Gennady Golovkin at middleweight.
“Kell would like to fight at 150 lbs but Amir has got a point: ‘ I am a welterweight, if you want this fight, come to my weight’ and Kell can make 147.” Said Hearn.
“He’s already in camp and has been for a long time because he knows he can’t afford to make any mistakes if he’s going to make 147.
“He can make it, there is talk of a rehydration clause but nothing is confirmed on that.
“It’s not going to be easy, both guys are going to want their advantages going into this fight, but I just want to get it made.
“When those two come face to face and we announce that fight it’s going to be a very special moment for British Boxing, so fingers crossed we can get it over the line.”
Pacquiao Makes Peace with Top Rank, Amir Khan Targets Him Next
By: Sean Crose
“My post from the other day,” Manny Pacquiao declared on Instagram on Wednesday, “was a result of miscommunication between my Team and Top Rank. Everything has been clarified. I would like to thank Bob and Top Rank for helping guide my career and for the many great years of working together. We have accomplished so many amazing things together.” And with that, Manny Pacquiao seemed to drop the suit the world learned he was planning to employ in order to get back pay from Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions.
The fight world was abuzz earlier this week when Pacquiao, or someone in his rather large camp, posted on Instagram that he was going to sue Top Rank for money owed him from last summer’s victory over Lucas Matthysse. “Congratulations and good luck to @TRboxing and @ESPN on your 7-year partnership agreement,” the post read on Pacquiao’s page. “I know both of you have been very busy finalizing the deal. However, I have not received the US rights payment for my July 15 fight against Lucas Matthysse that was broadcast on ESPN plus. Therefore, I am initiating legal proceedings against Top Rank and all other parties based on the non-payment and attempt to restrict my future rights. Thank you.”
Pacquiao had long been teamed with Arum. Indeed, theirs was one of the most lucrative partnerships in the sport. The veteran promoter Arum led Pacquiao through blockbuster fight after blockbuster fight, guiding his man through one of the most decorated and lucrative careers in all of sports. For his part, the Filipino fighter was gold for Arum, earning Top Rank, Arum’s promotional outfit, vast sums of money over the years. The duo reached their peak in 2015, when a very difficult fight was made with fellow fight icon Floyd Mayweather (who walked out of the ring with a UD win that night).
Things have clearly changed for Pacquiao in recent years, however. Now an active, full time senator in his homeland, the Filipino legend is looking for lucrative (and perhaps not overly challenging) matches to add to his coffers. Reportedly past his peak, Pacquiao didn’t work with longtime trainer Freddie Roach for the first time in ages for the Matthysse fight, and his relationship with Arum is clearly not what it was. The question of money due, however, appears to no longer be an issue, something that certainly comes as a relief to all parties involved.
As for the future, England’s Amir Khan feels he and Pacquiao are on a collision course. “There’s been talks,” Khan told Good Morning Britain. “They are very interested in taking the fight. Manny and me are both in the same position where we are looking for an opponent at the end of the year, start of next year.” So confident is Khan that a big money fight between he and Pacquiao will happen that he told Good Morning Britain that the chances of a contract coming through are between sixty and seventy percent. Khan, who recently bested Samuel Vargas, has been longing for a major welterweight battle for years. It looked like he might land a coveted shot against Floyd Mayweather a while back – but Mayweather opted to face Marcos Maidana instead.
DAZN Boxing Results: Amir Khan Survives Knockdown, Decisions Vargas
By: William Holmes
Amir Khan (33-4) returned to the ring tonight at the Arena in Birmingham, England to face veteran welterweight Samuel Vargas (29-3-2) in the welterweight division.
This was Khan’s first fight with on DAZN and is one of their more marketable stars. DAZN made this fight available for free on their social media networks.
Photo Credit: DAZN USA Twitter Account
Khan, a strong favorite, showed no signs of a slow down in the opening rounds by pressing the action and using his superior speed.
Khan was doing well at keeping a safe distance and even sent Vargas down in the second from a combination that ended with a right han, but Vargas was able to land a straight right to the temple that sent Khan crashing to the mat after recovering from the knockdown.
Khan was able to recover, and went back to fighting at a safe distance and utilizing his quick combinations. Vargas was able to land a few good shots to test Khan’s chin, but Khan was able to withstand his power.
Amir Khan had Vargas bloodied by the fifth round and appeared to be close to knocking Vargas down. Vargas did have his moments, including momentarily stunning Khan in the tenth round and strong 11th round rally.
The final scores were 119-108, 119-109, 118-110 for Amir Khan.
Khan has bigger prizes on his mind, and noted that he’d like to face either Kell Brook or Manny Pacquiao next. The fight with Kell Brook should be easier for Eddie Hearn to make, but a fight with Manny Pacquiao would also be an entertaining fight.
A Look at the Options for Khan and Brook
By: Oliver McManus
Amir Khan and Kell Brook have had a long running, well-documented, rivalry with the “super-fight” being touted as “never being closer” on numerous occasions throughout the last five years and, indeed, despite that looking like the truth when Amir Khan and Kell Brook had a, tentative, face-off in the ring following the conclusion of Khan’s comeback in April, the likelihood of the bout taking place in the immediate future has since dwindled.
Here we take a look at the potential options for both Khan and Brook before discussing whether or not a meeting between the two can legitimately lay claim to the title “super-fight” –
On the basis that the pair don’t face each other next then the immediate option being bandied around is Manny Pacquiao with Khan being the front-runner for such a bout, to take place in America, and you get the feeling that, despite his performance against Matthyssse, this would be a matchmaking art-form.
A big fight in America and a big fight in the United Kingdom, we know that Eddie Hearn has been in talks with Pac Man to fight on DAZN so there’s definite potential for the fight and, let’s not forget, that the pair were supposed to fight on April 23rd last year, in the United Arab Emirates, before the bout got called off, supposedly due to a lack of funds.
With a world title to his name, the latest in a seemingly endless conveyor belt, there’s added spice to this bout with, for Khan, arguably the easiest route straight back to a world title and, dare we say it, a legacy defining bout for both boxers with an opportunity for Pacquiao to prove he’s not “over the hill” and Khan getting one MONSTEROUS name on his CV.
Hold up, hold up, let’s not get ahead of ourselves though because the fight with Pacquiao is a fight that Kell Brook wants as well and we’ve seen, over the course of history, that Brook is a guy with absolutely no fear heaving stepped up in weight to face Golovkin before taking on Errol Spence Jr, he lost on both occasions but the performances were stock-raising, nothing to be sniffed at, and he proved his heart and guts.
We know that he has the boxing ability to cause serious problems at the highest level and, indeed, packs some serious power as evident from his, most pertinently, sixth round TKO over Frankie Gavin but, equally, in his two round demolition jobs of Kevin Bizier and Siarhei Rabchanka – admittedly not the greatest quality opposition but you can only deal with what’s in front of you and Kell is consistently convincing.
A fight between Amir Khan or Kell Brook and Manny Pacquiao is, truth be told, one of the only realistic bouts featuring the Filipino that gets me excited and I don’t really care which one of the Brits gets the shot but I want to see one of them in there.
BRING IT ON!
If we turn our attentions to the Sheffield superstar then, on paper, he has more, realistically, winnable options for a world title and that’s not just because he’s able to fight at 147 and 154 – the title holders at super welterweight are have more of an air of vincibility than those at welter.
Jaime Munguia, as heavy and explosive as he is, should be no match for the maturity and experience of Kell Brook and, whilst I confess this all hypothetical, there is then the scope for genuine showdowns with the likes of Jarrett Hurd, Erislandy Lara and Jermell Charlo.
Brook looks a more complete article at super-welterweight, as well, he looks naturally healthier and has significantly more energy, able to fight at a higher tempo and, rather obviously, packs that heavier artillery which enables him to really double-down and get the business done.
That’s not to say he’s not a threat at 147 because he, undoubtedly, is but it just seems to me that it’s about time in his career where he stops squeezing himself down to the lower weight and, indeed, Eddie Hearn has said that it takes him 16 weeks to get there so when all of that is taken into account it seems only logical that he remains at super welter for the long term because, yes, whilst this would probably rule him out of a couple of the bigger fights he would stand a far healthier chance of an extended career with, to his credit, huge clashes to be had with a trio of, simply, sublime Americans.
Amir Khan seems belligerent in adjusting weight, refusing the potential for a 150lb catch-weight fight with his longest rival which is shrewd on his part for maximising his natural advantages but does also allow the doubt in to creep in as to whether the fight will actually happen.
Looking further into the future then and there are plenty of tasty fights – Pacquiao and Brook, aside – that Khan could be involved with and this is where his time in America comes in handy because promoters over there want to have him on their shows, networks want him on TV and he’s very easy to market.
Danny Garcia is a man that Khan has publically said he wants to face, claiming he was “unfocussed” in their original clash back in 2012 – in which Khan was dropped on three occasions as the bout came to a swift conclusion in the fourth round – and it’s a fight that has appeal for both parties with, frankly, Garcia not quite the hot-shot that he formerly was and Khan is a route back into the headlines.
Having made a blistering return against, admittedly over-matched, Phil Lo Greco, Amir Khan didn’t prove anything new over the course of those forty seconds but he did show that he’s not lost any of his killer instinct, the ability to pounce on a subject as soon as a weakness is shown, and, boy oh boy, does he still have that hand speed.
So, we move until the bigger question on the horizon, is Amir Khan vs Kell Brook or, for that matter, Kell Brook vs Amir Khan still a) relevant and b) a mega-fight?
Let’s deal with “a” first and, to be brief, yes it is still relevant and it will continue to be relevant for as long as the two protagonists continue to target each other and whilst their still active in the sport because, make no mistake, there will always be an appetite to see the two of them square off in the ring purely because of the history, the deep rooted nature of this rivalry, and everyone wants to know, who ACTUALLY is the best?
Is it still a mega-fight? Well that depends who you are, it is certainly a big encounter and would be made even bigger if one of them were to capture a world title before such a showdown, it’s a stadium fight but it’s a fight that would have been way, way bigger in 2014. People will watch, of course they will, but the excitement won’t be as red-hot as it once was and it will almost be more of a sigh of relief if it were to happen as opposed to a never-ending crescendo of excitement.
Is it relevant in terms of the world scene? Well that’s a separate question and that particular relevance has been like a ticking time bomb over the past five years and there’s a nagging suspicion, from me, that we won’t see this bout until after there is any serious consequence. I could be wrong, mind.
I hope I am.
DAZN Boxing Preview: Amir Khan vs. Samuel Vargas
By: Ste Rowen
At Arena Birmingham this Saturday night, Amir Khan takes on Samuel Vargas in a 12-round contest that will surely propel the winner to a shot at the biggest names in the welterweight division.
Since May 2016, the former unified super-lightweight world champion, has spent just shy of 40 seconds in the ring. On his first return to the ring since being wiped out by ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, Amir Khan stepped between the ropes in March to decimate an overawed and overmatched, Phil Lo Greco in the 1st round.
‘‘I didn’t get a chance to show everyone what I had been working on during my time out, against Lo Greco.’’ Said Khan, 32-4 (20KOs), speaking to his promoter Matchroom last month. ‘‘But you saw the punch power, accuracy, speed and timing, and you’ll see it again against Vargas. I always make it exciting.’’
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
Post-fight in April, Amir mentioned the likes of Adrien Broner as a potential next opponent but whilst Broner is otherwise engaged – trying to get Burger King employees to quit on the spot – Khan, and promoter Eddie Hearn, moved to make the Sam Vargas bout, and keep a historically inactive fighter in Amir busy, before an expected massive welterweight showdown with any of the division’s big names.
‘‘This will take me to the bigger and better fights, and that’s with no disrespect to Sammy. He’s going to come to win. He knows by beating me it propels him on to a whole new level…Vargas is a very tough and well-schooled fighter but if he wants to fight on the inside, I’ll be more than ready for it.’’
‘‘There’re big fights in the pipeline but I can’t afford to look that far ahead. Vargas has my full attention.’’
Colombian, Vargas was on a hot streak of four consecutive victories, since his stoppage loss to Danny Garcia in 2016, until he ran into Mauro Godoy two months ago. At Ontario’s Scotiabank Convention Centre, the two South Americans fought out a tit-for-tat majority draw, which did very little to wow the crowd.
The Canadian resident isn’t exactly renowned for his power, but his KO record isn’t holding him back from laying out to the 2004 Olympic silver medallist, exactly how dangerous of an opponent he will be,
‘‘If I touch him on the chin, he’s going down. That’s a guarantee…He’s been stopped really badly a couple of times, so we know it’s always there and we have 36 minutes to do it…Your body can only take so much before it gives out. Maybe this is the fight for him.’’
As mentioned earlier, Vargas, 29-3-2 (14KOs), isn’t a complete stranger to sharing the ring with the biggest talent. The current WBA-NABA champion has stepped in, and lost to WBC champ at the time, Danny Garcia – going 3 rounds further than Saturday night’s opponent could handle against the Philadelphian – and the 2015 tussle with a 15-0, Errol Spence.
‘‘I’ve been in there with the best. Obviously, I didn’t get the results that I wanted but those defeats have been my biggest lessons…I’m just a regular guy that decided not to quit and not give up, to get up and to keep on going. And here I am.’’
‘‘This is all or nothing for me.’’
This fight will also be Bolton native, Khan’s second under the tutelage of Joe Goosen. Hopefully fans get to see a little more of what the legendary trainer has been teaching him this time round.
Saturday night’s card also includes a number of domestic favourites including;
Current British middleweight champion, Jason Welborn will once again face-off against Tommy Langford, the man he took the Lonsdale belt from back in May, with a 12-round split decision.
British lightweight champion, Lewis Ritson is scheduled for a 10-round stay busy fight against Nicaraguan, Oscar Amador, 10-7 (1KO). The Newcastle native, 16-0 (10KOs), is already set to headline a card in his hometown on the 13th October, where he’ll come up against Belgian, Francesco Patera, 19-3 (7KOs), for the EBU European 135lb title.
2014 Commonwealth gold medallist at 69kg, Scott Fitzgerald, 10-0 (7KOs), takes on southpaw, Craig Morris, 10-1 (3KOs).
Sam ‘The Savage’ Eggington enters the ring for the 3rd time in 2018 when he takes on Tanzanian, Hassan Mwakinyo, 11-2 (7KOs) in a scheduled 10-rounder. Eggington, 23-4 (15KOs) is currently 15th in the WBC’s junior middleweight rankings.
The Midlands Area junior middleweight champion, Ryan Kelly, 11-1 (5KOs), defends his strap for the first time, against the unbeaten Kelcie Ball, 9-0 (2KOs).
DAZN to stream Amir Khan vs Samuel Vargas on Facebook and Twitter for Free
Ahead of DAZN’s U.S. launch, the live and on- demand sports streaming platform announced it will make Amir Khan vs. Samuel Vargas available for free on Facebook and Twitter. The Matchroom Boxing fight card will air live on Saturday, Sept. 8 from Arena Birmingham in the U.K. with the main event beginning at approximately 5 p.m. ET.
The fights will appear on the @DAZNUSA Facebook page and via the @DAZN_USA Twitter handle, and fans won’t need to be signed up for DAZN to watch the fight.
“As part of our joint venture with Matchroom Boxing, we held the rights to Khan vs. Vargas but DAZN doesn’t go live in the U.S. until Sept. 10. We fully recognize Khan’s broad appeal and will work with Facebook and Twitter to give U.S. fight fans an opportunity to see his fight for free,” said Joseph Markowski, DAZN SVP, North America. “Cheers! This one is on us.”
Former unified light welterweight world champion Khan (32-4, 20 KOs), back in action following his knockout of Phil Lo Greco in just 39 seconds, will take on Colombian-Canadian contender Samuel Vargas (29-3-2, 14 KOs) in the 12-round welterweight main event.
“One of my aims this year was to be as active as possible, so I’m very happy to get back in the ring again so soon against Samuel Vargas,” said Khan when the fight was announced in June. “Vargas is a tough and well-schooled fighter who has shared the ring with some top welterweights, including Danny Garcia and Errol Spence Jr.”
The Facebook and Twitter streams will begin at approximately 3 p.m. ET, featuring the Jason Welborn vs. Tommy Langford rematch following Welborn’s snatching of the British middleweight title from Langford via split decision in May, as well as the junior middleweight tilt Ryan Kelly vs. Kelcie Ball.
“Amir Khan is back and although there is a lot of talk about massive fights on the horizon he must come through this test against Vargas in style. With DAZN launching later this month, we wanted to give Amir the biggest audience possible so U.S. fans can see how sharp and determined he looks,” said Eddie Hearn, Matchroom President. “Enjoy this card on us and then come back to check out DAZN’s top-notch platform and live sports production starting Sept. 22, when the heavyweight champion of the world Anthony Joshua defends his belts against Alexander Povetkin.”
DAZN’s stacked fall lineup of exclusive fights features Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin on Sept. 22, Bellator 206 on Sept. 29, Jessie Vargas vs. Thomas Dulorme on Oct. 6, Billy Joe Saunders vs. Demetrius Andrade on Oct. 20, among many others. Fans can sign up for DAZN by registering
at DAZN.com or by downloading the DAZN app on a wide range of connected devices, including smart TVs, PCs, smartphones, tablets and game consoles, when the service goes live on Sept. 10.
George Foreman Winning a Title at 45 Influenced Others
By: Ken Hissner
On November 5th in 1994 at the MGM Grand, Grand Garden Arena, in Las Vegas, Nevada, “Big” George Foreman regained the IBF and WBA Heavyweight title knocking out Michael Moorer in the 10th round. He was behind on point from the judges with scores of 88-83 twice and 86-85. Shortly after the fight Foreman was stripped of the WBA title for refusing to fight Tony Tucker.
One of the fighters Foreman influenced most was now 44 year old Shannon “Cannon” Briggs, 29-1, who was the last opponent in Foreman’s 81 fight career. It was thought Foreman was lucky to get by Germany’s Axel Schulz, 21-1-1, in April of 1995 and most felt he deserved the decision over Briggs losing 117-113, 116-112 and 114-114.
Briggs last fought on November 4th 2016 improving his record to 60-6-1 (53). He has been 9-0 since turning 40. He chased Wladimir “Dr. Steelhammer” Klitschko then champion for years. He won the WBO title on November 4th 2006 stopping Siarhei “White Wolf” Liakhovich. Liakkhovich in his last bout at 42 in October of 2017 stopped Ramon “Pantera” Olivas, 14-7, of Sonora, Mexico, in the 3rd round of a scheduled 6, in Sonora, Mexico.
Former WBC Heavyweight champion Oliver “The Atomic Bull” McCall, 57-14 (37), at 49 lost his last fight in April of 2014 to Marcin “Rex” Rekowski, 13-1, over 10 rounds in Poland, in a rematch that McCall won in February. He was 15-7 after the age of 40. He won the title in September of 1994.
Fres “The Big O” Oquendo, 37-8 (24), at 45 is scheduled to fight for the WBA World title on September 29th at Cologne, Germany, when he meets champion Manuel Charr, 31-4 (17), though Oquendo hasn’t fought in four years. He lost a disputed decision to Chris Byrd in September of 2003 for his IBF World title.
Like Oquendo 45 year-old southpaw Amir “Hardcore” Mansour, 23-2-1 (16), is still chasing a title opportunity. He has won 7 minor titles and has been in the world ratings. His last fight was in November 2017 ending in a NC3 over a clash of heads against Russia’s Sergey Kuzmin, 11-0, in Moscow.
Billy “Bronco” Wright, 52-4 (43), of Las Vegas, last fought in January of 2016 at the age of 51. He hadn’t lost since 1998 to Tony Tucker. He won his last 22 fights since then of which 9 of his last 11 fights were in Bolivia. He won the WBC FECARBOX, WBO Latino and interim PABA titles.
All of these heavyweights felt they could match what George Foreman did at age 45 winning the heavyweight title.
Amir Khan Blasts Lo Greco in First Round
By: Eric Lunger
It was a sold-out Echo Arena in Liverpool, UK, that saw the return of former Super Lightweight Champion Amir Khan to the ring after an almost two-year hiatus from the sport. For Khan (31-4, 19 KO’s) there were two main questions to be answered. First, how much did the time off diminish his hand-speed and timing? Second, what effect (if any) did the scary Alvarez knock out have on the Bolton, UK, native?
Unfortunately, the bout didn’t really last long enough to get definitive answers to those questions. In the first round, Lo Greco came out fighting behind an awkward high, pawing jab. Almost immediately, Khan blasted an overhand right straight past Lo Greco’s defense, and the Canadian went down hard. Lo Greco got back to his feet, smiling as though he couldn’t believe he could be so careless. But Khan pounced — exhibiting his hand speed of old — and Lo Greco had no answers for Khan’s sudden onslaught. That was it, Khan wins by TKO in the first round.
In the post-fight interview, Khan acknowledged the supportive fans: “I was a little nervous, coming back to a full Liverpool crowd, but guess what: I’m back! Khan is back!” He went on to promise that he would continue to fight in the UK, “I want to be a world champion again, to bring a big name back to England and fight him here.” Khan also insisted that his future was in the welterweight division, not at 154 lbs.
The broadcast team tried to goad Khan into calling out former IBF Welterweight Champion Kell Brook, who was ring-side as a SKY Sports commentator, but Khan repeated his intention to fight next at 147. When Brook entered the ring, the boxers went on a fairly conventional (and artificial) verbal sparring match that lasted longer than the actual main event.
In the featured undercard bout, Tommy “Boom Boom” Coyle (24-4, 11 KOs) took on Commonwealth Lightweight Champion Sean “Masher” Dodd (15-3-1, 3 KOs). It was a competitive and entertaining bout from the opening bell, with both fighters taking risks and throwing offensive punches. Coyle caught Dodd with an overhand right with ten seconds left in the fourth round, but Dodd managed to survive till the bell. In the sixth, Coyle landed a perfect right counter, dropping Dodd awkwardly to the matt, and the former champion banged his gloves in rueful frustration before rising to his feet. This time, however, Coyle piled on, leaving Dodd’s corner no choice but to throw in the towel.
It was a treat for US boxing fans to be able to stream a SKY Sports broadcast, via the new ESPN+ service. The next ESPN+ boxing live stream on June 9th features WBO Welterweight Champion Jeff Horn taking on American superstar Terrence “Bud” Crawford, as the Omaha fighter moves up to 147 lbs.
Amir Khan Returns to the Ring against Phil Lo Greco
By: Eric Lunger
This Saturday, at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, UK, former unified super lightweight champion Amir Khan (31-4, 19 KOs) returns to the ring after an almost two-year hiatus from the sport. His opponent is Phil Lo Greco (28-3, 15 KOs) of Toronto, Canada. The bout will stream exclusively in the US at 5:30 ET as part of the Top Rank on ESPN series.
Photo Credit: Amir Khan Twitter Account
Khan, 32, is a Bolton, Lancashire native, but Saturday marks his first appearance in the UK in almost five years. A star since his break-out year in 2009 when he won his first world title, Khan has racked up wins over Marco Antonio Barrera, Paulie Malignaggi, Marcos Maidana, and Zan Judah. In 2011, Khan suffered a tough, split-decision loss to Lamont Peterson, followed seven months later by a TKO loss to Danny Garcia. None daunted, Khan returned to the ring in December of 2012 and rang off a series of five wins over the likes of Carlos Molina, Luis Collazo, Devon Alexander, and Chris Algieri.
This string of impressive victories set up a WBC world welterweight title fight against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Giving away a serious weight advantage (made all the more frightening by Canelo’s recent clenbuterol controversy), Khan took one-too-many left jabs to the body. When Alvarez feinted another left jab and Khan dropped his hands, Alvarez delivered a crushing straight right to Khan’s chin, dropping the British fighter and silencing the T-Mobile Arena crowd.
Phil Lo Greco has fought almost all of his professional career at super welterweight, though he generally weighs in around 150 lbs. Fighting almost exclusively in Canada and Europe early in his career, Lo Greco has two big-name fights on his resumé. In 2013, he dropped a twelve-round unanimous decision to Shawn Porter on wide cards, and in 2015 he lost to rising star Errol Spence, Jr., by third-round TKO. Since then, Lo Greco has gone 2-1 against second-tier opposition.
Nonetheless, Lo Greco feels confident and prepared. Noting that he had an extensive eleven-week camp, he told Sky Sports: “I’m physically and mentally ready, I’ve lost a lot of weight.” The Canadian fighter gave Khan his due, saying, “He has done great [things] for British boxing, but his time is past. Athletes always thing they have one more in them.”
For Khan, he must put the ghost of the Alvarez knockout behind him. It would be easy to walk away from the sport after such a scary loss, but Khan is a warrior – just check out the Maidana fight. While Khan’s ring movement and hand speed can be dazzling one wonders how much his skills have rusted during the almost two-year break. Finally, there are the intangibles, like hunger, focus, and mental preparation, all of which are crucial for success at the top level of the sport. Khan can be an impulsive and emotional fighter, letting his will to tangle get himself in trouble.
“I am one of those fighters with a huge heart, I like to get into tear-ups,” Khan told ESPN, “and I like to mix it up.” Coming home to the UK, will Khan want to put on a show for his home fans? Most definitely, but he will have to minimize his risk-taking if he wants to keep Lo Greco from landing a fortuitous power-shot.
Streaming live at 5:30 ET on Saturday evening, fans can stream ESPN+ on the ESPN app on mobile and TV-connected devices, or on ESPN.com. ESPN+ is a new, direct to consumer streaming service from the Walt Disney Company, in partnership with ESPN.
Amir Iman: “It’s Time To Get The Title Now”
by: Sean Crose
Bob Arum used a Thursday press conference to promote this Saturday’s Madison Square Garden card to push his political beliefs. “We’re getting rid of all these Republicans, like Nunes and McCarthy,” the octogenarian promoter claimed at one point. “They’re all gone,” Arum also used the occasion to argue his beliefs on immigration. Alongside Arum on stage was none other than longtime rival Don King, who himself decided to wear an oversize pin adorned with a picture of President Donald Trump. Although this weekend’s card, which will be aired live on ESPN, features a world title bout, the entire affair on Thursday was about the two promoters, who took turns jabbing at one another.
The featured fighters did get a chance to speak, however. Ireland’s Michael Conlon, a 5-0 super bantamweight, made it clear he was happy to return to New York, the place where he made his professional debut exactly a year ago. “It means a lot to me to be back,” he claimed. “Every time I walk through the street, I see someone I know…it feels like Ireland when I am here.” Conlan, who will be meeting 15-2 David Berna, exchanged gifts onstage with WWE personality, and fellow Irishman, Finn Balor.
Mehdi Amar, the 34-5-2 light heavyweight who will be facing the feared 14-0 Oleksandr Gvozdyk on Saturday for the interim WBC world light heavyweight title, also expressed his pleasure at being in New York. “I’m really happy to be here,” he claimed. “Such a prestigious title.” His opponent, Gvozdyk, was in good spirits. “All the fans I think should expect a good fight,” he stated. “I’m happy to fight on ESPN and thankful for ESPN for a great opportunity.” Although he will clearly be in deep, Amar declared he was ready for Saturday’s challenge. “I’ll take this fight as any other fight,” he said. “The pressure’s on my shoulders.”
The two fighters who will engage in this weekend’s main even were far more subdued than the promoters who are putting on the fight. The 21-1-0 Amir Imam showed quiet confidence in his quest to attain the WBC world super lightweight title by beating the 21-0 Jose Carlos Ramirez. “He’s a tough fighter,” Imam said of his opponent. “I see a lot in him. I’m not overlooking him.” Imam also made sure to exude confidence. “It’s time to get the title now,” he stated plainly. Like his foe, Ramirez wasn’t interested in being over the top. “It’s definitely a blessing for me to able to fight here for my first world title,” Ramirez told the media, exuding graciousness.
The fighters were polite, but the promoters made sure the even was far from tactful.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Mayweather, Anderson, Garcia, Rios, Joshua, Khan, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of December 19th to December 26th covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
USA Boxing Nationals Champion Jared Anderson America’s Next Great Heavyweight?
Christmas came early for Jared Anderson, who not only won the heavyweight title at the recent USA Boxing National Championships, the 18-year-old also captured the Most Outstanding Boxer Award in the Elite Division.
Seeded No. 7 in eight-boxer field at The Nationals, Anderson, in order, defeated No. 2 Jesus Flores in the opening round, 5-0, edged No. 3 Adrian Tillman in the semifinals, 3-2, and upset five-time national champion Cam F. Awesome, 5-0, in the championship final.
In USA Boxing’s most recently listed heavyweight ratings (Nov. 17, 2017), Tillman and Awesome are ranked No. 1 and 2, respectively, Flores is No. 5, and Anderson is unranked.
“I think that’s going to change,” Anderson noted. “Winning the heavyweight title and Most Outstanding Boxing Award meant the world to me. Maybe some people had never heard of me, but I’ve been boxing since I was eight, and I’ve faced a lot of different styles.
“I had a vendetta going with Tillman and, instead of boxing, I tried to take his head off. Simple work allowed me to beat Awesome. He is a good fighter. Cam does what he wants in the ring — throws jabs, sits there and builds up points – and intimidates some opponents. I took the fight to him. Not wild, though, because he’d have been there in the ring, calm and smiling, and I would have lost. I used my jab more than anything against him.”
One of 11 siblings in two households, Anderson is another USA Boxing success story. Growing up in Toledo, Ohio, Anderson was constantly getting into trouble in school and boxing eventually saved him. His mother convinced her son to meet a local boxing coach, who introduced Jared to boxing, drilling discipline into him, something Jared desperately needed at that point in his young life.
Boxing in Toledo has also aided his overall development in boxing. “We push each other,” Anderson explained. “We support each other and perfect our crafts. There’s a lot of support here at all the gyms in Toledo.”
Anderson represented Team USA at this past August’s 2017 Bradenburg Cup in Frankfurt, Germany, at which Anderson won the heavyweight title, as well as the Most Outstanding Boxer Award, which should have been a warning for other leading U.S. heavyweights.
As a young boxer, Anderson admired three legends who were all products of USA Boxing, U.S. Olympians and Olympic medal winners: 1. Sugar Ray Leonard – “Fast hands, speed, a phenomenal boxer.” 2. Evander Holyfield – “A warrior who could bang or box. Moved up successfully from cruiserweight to heavyweight.” 3. Muhammad Ali — “Not just because he was a great boxer, but more so because of his life.”
Right now, Anderson stand 6′ 2 and weighs 200 lbs., but he’s only 18 and should continue growing even larger. Ultimately, he wants to be heavyweight champion of the world, but Jared does have a plan.
“I want to stay as active as possible next year, competing in tournaments, and turn pro but not until after the (2020) Olympics,” Anderson concluded. “I’m not turning pro until after the (2020) Olympics. I want to win a gold medal, turn pro and win the world heavyweight title, so I can move my mother out of the ‘hood.”
Remember the name, boxing fans, Jared Anderson has the potential to be America’s next great heavyweight.
Eddie Hearn Releases Potential 2018 Fight Dates for Anthony Joshua
Boxing superstar Anthony Joshua has been the target for many of the world’s top heavyweights, including American rival Deontay Wilder.
Eddie Hearn recently indicated that they are close to confirming the next opponent for Anthony Joshua. They are looking for date on a Saturday night either near the end of March or the beginning of April.
“We’re getting there,” Hearn recently told Sky Sports. “As AJ says, he wants the belts, he wants to be the undisputed king of the division. That’s the aim, and to do that he has to win two belts.”
He continued, “We’re looking at March 24, March 31 and April 7 as potential dates for his next fight, with various different venues in London and Wales, even other venues and cities around Europe as well.”
Joseph Parker looks like the next likely opponent for Anthony Joshua.
Danny Garcia to Face Brandon Rios
Danny Garcia is scheduled to face Brandon Rios on Saturday, February 17th. This fight will be taking place on Showtime. The Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada is the announced venue.
Garcia hasn’t been seen inside a ring since his close split decision loss to Keith Thurman in March of 2017 and will have sat out for nearly a year in between fights. Rios only fought once since his loss to Timothy Bradley Jr. in November of 2015.
A loss for either fighter will likely remove them from future title shots.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. Challenges Kobe Bryant to a Game of 1 on 1
Kobe Bryant, one of Basketball’s all time greats, recently had the honor of having both of his jersey numbers retired by the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bryant posted on instagram thanking his fans, and Floyd Mayweather Jr. responded to his post. He wrote, “@ kobebryant I’m ready to play you one on one for $1,000,000”.
It’s not yet clear if this post was made in jest or if it’s for charity, but Mayweather has thrown out the challenge to Kobe.
Amir Khan Receives Death Threats for Photo of Christmas Tree
British Boxer is a practicing Muslim who recently posted a photo of a Christmas tree on his instagram.
Khan posted the Christmas tree on Instagram with the following caption, “While everyone’s asleep, daddy put the Christmas tree up. Lamaisah’s going to be happy. #Christmas #MerryChristmas2017
However, some of Khan’s followers were not happy and posted threatening messages in response.
He was accused of betraying Islam and many told him to go to hell. One person wrote, “Allah is definitely judging him for that and will surely punish those who imitate the kuffar by celebrating and joining in their pagan festivals.”
Another wrote, “You must be dead and your family will be death I promise and Allah must promise I and Allah see you and check you your angel death came to see you.”
However, some people wrote positive messages such as, “He lives in England in a western culture where Christmas is celebrated. It’s about respect just like if you were in another country. It’s for his daughter.”