Bernard Hopkins: “I Think Joshua Beats Tyson Fury by Late Knockout
By: Hans Themistode
Words such as strong, powerful and resilient were quickly replaced with fragile, overrated and over the hill.
The first set of words described current unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua for the vast majority of his career. The second set came as a result of four knockdowns and an upset loss at the hands of Andy Ruiz Jr. in June of 2019.
Joshua, would of course dust himself off and step into the ring with Ruiz yet again six months later. The results the second time around were much different as Joshua boxed circles around his man.
With Ruiz now in his rearview mirror, Joshua has been linked to a contest with WBC belt holder Tyson Fury in the not so distant future. The loss to Ruiz may have revealed a few chinks in the muscular armor of Joshua, but for former two division world champion Bernard Hopkins, he believes that the loss to Ruiz will lead to a victory over Fury.
“I like Joshua to be tested in this fight,” said Hopkins to Sky Sports. “To get his feelings hurt early which might be a knockdown but he will get up. I believe that he learned lessons from being overconfident. He paid a big price but he redeemed himself. So now that he has the page in his memory of what not to do, I think Joshua beats Tyson Fury by late knockout. But it will be an interesting and exciting five or six rounds in the beginning. After that, Joshua’s boxing IQ and experience will overwhelm Tyson Fury. I like Joshua by late knockout.”
At only 30 years of age, Joshua has built up an impressive resume. Wins over Wladimir Klitschko, Joseph Parker, Alexander Povetkin, Andy Ruiz and Dillian Whyte have pushed Joshua to a multi year title reign. Conflate those aforementioned victories with the gold Olympic medal dangling around his neck from the 2012 London games, and Joshua has already scratched off most of the goals from his to do list.
Still, greatness is a word that Hopkins does not throw around lightly. With an undisputed title reign at 160 pounds, coupled with his record setting 20 title defenses, the newly inducted hall of famer knows a thing or two about greatness and how to achieve it.
In the case of Fury, Hopkins views him as the path that Joshua needs to take in order to achieve that status. The undefeated WBC belt holder is fresh off a one sided stoppage win against long reigning champion Deontay Wilder.
Their contest was built up to be one of the most competitive and hyped up matches in boxing history. However, Fury delivered a statement on the night as he knocked Wilder down twice before forcing his corner to throw in the towel.
To the hall of famer, Joshua can pick up any amount of wins that he wants. But in order to achieve greatness, only one contest will lead Joshua to that status.
“This fight is Joshua’s stamp of approval of being great, he isn’t there yet,” explained Hopkins. “But this one will get him in the conversation. This is a legacy builder. He has to make a real serious statement.”
Mauricio Sulaiman Addresses Daniel Kinahan Situation, Joshua vs Fury, and Much More on Boxing Insider Radio
For this week’s episode on Boxing Insider Radio, the crew welcomes WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman as he calls in to talk with our panel on some of the topics that have grabbed boxing by the throat over the past few days.
With Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury reportedly coming to an agreement for a two fight deal in 2021, how realistic is that contest? Also the man behind the deal in Daniel Kinahan finds himself in legal trouble due to his questionable past. Sulaiman gives his thoughts on the situation. How about Dillian Whyte? Where does WBC interim champion fit into the Heavyweight landscape? Sulaiman addresses it all and more on this weeks podcast.
For the first time in roughly four months, boxing fans had a smile on their face. They sat back and watched as COVID-19 took away their 2020 boxing schedule after a promising start. Thoughts of Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury 3, Leo Santa Cruz vs Gervonta Davis and Canelo Alvarez vs Gennadiy Golovkin 3 all fell by the wayside.
Now, fans were given no choice but to enjoy the grotesque mismatches of Shakur Stevenson vs Felix Caraballo. The frown that accompanied the faces of fans grew to anger. But with one announcement, it was turned upside down.
Fans of the sport broke their chairs, smashed their telephones and screamed uncontrollably as unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) and WBC belt holder Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) informed the public that they agreed on a two fight showdown in 2021.
But things quickly became strange when the man behind the scenes who helped broker the deal in Daniel Kinahan, is said to have a hand in more than just boxing.
Drugs, illegal firearms sales and a long list of other crimes now accompany the name of Kianhan. Which in turn, makes Fury vs Joshua a moot point. Fans of the sport became confused as to what his alleged illegal associations meant for the biggest fight in quite some time. Joining fans in their confusion is WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman. Much like the fans who read the headlines all across the Internet, a puzzled Sulaiman scratched his head.
“I have no idea,” admitted Sulaiman on Boxing Insider Radio. “Since we have had his pandemic, I have chosen to keep a very clean, mental health. And to do that, I avoid anything that creates anxiety. So I don’t really follow much of what goes on unless it’s something positive or inspires me. I choose not to listen to gossip or whatever is not official. I have followed very little. And I have no interest in getting involved in what is not for the betterment of the sport.”
Kinahan and his current legal troubles aren’t the only thing that is in the way of the mega showdown between Joshua and Fury though. While the rest of the world marks Joshua vs Fury and their collective calendars, Deontay Wilder paces back and forth in his palatial estate. Seething, fists clenched and smoke fuming from the top of his head. With a title reign that stretches five years and the most devastating right hand in boxing history. Wilder is incredulous to the conjecture of most counting him out of their upcoming third clash.
Sulaiman however, is not. The WBC President is quick to remind everyone that although he is unsure of when, their third contest will certainly happen.
“Right now we don’t know when boxing is going to resume for some specific fights such as the rematch between Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury. We don’t know if that fight will happen October, November, December, next year. We cannot control that. But for the WBC there is a legal contract that they signed for a third fight.”
Wilder and Fury of course, gave the fans one of the most dramatic heavyweight contests in history when they battled to a highly controversially draw in 2018. There was nothing contentious in their rematch however, this past February as Fury dropped Wilder twice before ultimately stopping him. One more contest now awaits both men. But while COVID-19 has made awaiting their third contest painfully difficult with no date set in stone, interim WBC titilst Dillian Whyte has been waiting even longer for his own shot at a world title.
It’s been five years since Whyte suffered his lone loss to Anthony Joshua. Since then, Lebron James added another NBA title to his resume, Jay-Z dropped the 4:44 album and Tom Brady grabbed two more Super Bowl titles to give him a grand total of six. During that span, Whyte hasn’t just sat back on his laurels either. He’s taken down three undefeated fighters, two former world champions and won every possible title eliminator thrown in his direction.
With everything completed on his end, Sulaiman believes that he cannot make the British born fighter wait any longer.
“For the WBC there is a mandatory title defense that the champion has to make. The mandatory challenger is the interim champion Dillian Whyte. He has the right to enforce his title shot after the Wilder vs Fury third fight. Fury vs Joshua is just speculation. They have both come out and said that they have a deal which is very good. But there are many things that must take place before it actually happens.”
Tyson Fury Tabbed as Early Favorite Against Both Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder
By: Hans Themistode
When Tyson Fury made the claim that he was the best fighter in the world several years ago, he was met with laughs and smart remarks. Now however, there isn’t a smile in sight when those words are uttered.
If you’re looking for a seat at the table for a date with Fury in the coming years, it’s best that you take a rain check. The current WBC Heavyweight titlist has three candle lit dinners with some of the best fighters that the division has to offer in Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua.
A win in the sport of boxing is never guaranteed, but in the case of Fury, the betting market seems to believe that the outcome will be the same regardless whom he faces. Which is to say, Fury’s hand will be raised in victory while his opponent is either slumped over the bottom rope or left scratching their head trying to figure out what went wrong.
Believers in both Wilder and Joshua could rake in the big bucks if they side with either man as they’ve been given +175 and +275 odds respectively. Those looking for even better better numbers, can throw a few dollars on the chances of a draw. Whether fans decide to take the +2500 odds associated with Wilder vs Fury 3 or the +3000 odds linked to Joshua vs Fury, the outcome of a draw will leave bettors planning an early retirement.
With Fury becoming the man to beat in the division, it’s a position he isn’t familiar with. In his 2015 title fight against Wladimir Klitschko, Fury was expected to become victim number 23 on Klitschko’s long title reign. But at +350, someone cashed in big time as the British born big man won an ugly unanimous decision.
At +105 odds for his rematch with Wilder, Fury once again rewarded someone’s bank account with another stellar win. Now that he’s in the favored seat though, bettors could still cash in with him. Just not as much as they’ve grown accustomed to.
Wilder vs Fury 3 has a tentative date set for December of 2020 while Joshua will get his crack in back to back fights in 2021. Provided of course, Fury gets by Wilder again and Joshua takes care of his IBF mandatory challenger in Kubrat Pulev.
Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury Reach Agreement For Two Fight Deal
By: Hans Themistode
The road to Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury seemed nonexistent roughly one year ago.
Joshua was fresh off a loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. that not only saw him lose his undefeated record, but also his three Heavyweight titles. Fury on the other hand, was coming off a split draw against Deontay Wilder and in their upcoming rematch, many predicted he would be kissing the canvas.
Fast forward one year later, and Joshua redeemed himself in his rematch with Ruiz. While Fury made it look easy against Wilder, stopping him in the seventh round. Now that they’ve established themselves as the best fighters in the division, they’ve reportedly agreed to settle the score on who deserves the top spot.
“We’re making great progress,” said promoter Eddie Hearn to Sky Sports News. “There is still a lot to overcome [but] are looking at venues and dates.”
The news of the deal might be music to the ears of boxing fans, but to Heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte, he wants to hear none of it. The agreement between both champions are reported to be a two fight deal, which could push back Whyte’s championship hopes.
The British born fighter has been waiting for years for his crack at another world title. And although the news of Fury vs Joshua has left him fuming, Hearn doesn’t plan on skipping over him.
“We have the Dillian Whyte mandatory which is due before this fight,” said Hearn. “But it’s fair to say [Joshua and Fury] are in agreement regarding the financial terms of the fight. We’ve been talking to [Fury’s management team] MTK, giving them the assurances from Joshua’s side. All the details on the structure of the deal is approved from our side. And it is from Fury’s side, as well. We’re in a good place. It’s fair to say that, in principle, both guys have agreed to that fight.”
Joshua vs Fury is quite possibly the biggest fight in British boxing history. With Joshua currently holding three world titles and Fury in possession of the remaining two in the WBC and Ring Magazine belts, the contest between them is going to be for all of the marbles.
Before the ink can dry on any deal between the two however, both men have their own obstacles to deal with. For Joshua, he currently has a date with IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev set for later on this year. Fury Alternatively, has a 6 ft 7 inch former champion with the hardest hitting right hand in boxing history according to most, standing in front of him in Deontay Wilder.
Any slip ups by either man could put an end to their matchup. Something that Hearn is well aware of.
“A lot to overcome in the meantime. We’re moving in the right direction. I’m confident that both guys have given their blessing for the fight to go ahead.”
Anthony Joshua Doesn’t Blame Kubrat Pulev For Refusing to Step Aside
By: Hans Themistode
Current unified Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is having a hard time keeping his eyes on the prize. With WBC belt holder Tyson Fury constantly calling him out, it’s been difficult to focus on anyone else. However, the last time Joshua looked ahead, he found himself on the mat on four separate occasions before ultimately getting stopped by Andy Ruiz Jr. in mid 2019.
Joshua, of course, has since bounced back. Now, he is now in line to face off against IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev. The former title challenger has been rolling since losing to Wladimir Klitschko in 2014, winning eight straight matchups.
Pulev has done all of the dirty work. He faced the virtual unknowns such as George Arias and Maurice Harris to knocking off title contenders such as Dereck Chisora and Hughie Fury. He’s now exactly in the position that he wants to be. And don’t expect him to simply relinquish his spot so easily. Even if it means most of the boxing world hating him for coming in between one of the biggest fights in recent history.
“Pulev’s entitled to do exactly what he wants,” said Joshua to IFL TV during a recent interview. “He’s in position to fight me. So, if he wants the opportunity to fight, he sticks to his guns. But if he wants to see, you know, the two world champions in Great Britain clash, then step aside. But that’s the only options.”
Joshua may claim that Pulev has two options, but at 39, he may have only one. Stepping aside during a global pandemic in order to allow Tyson Fury and Joshua to meet up in the ring, may not be in his best interest. But putting all pessimism to the side, Pulev could opt to sit on the sidelines and collect not only ring rust, but also piles of cash. But that’s only one side of the equation. Fury still has business of his own to handle in a third fight with Deontay Wilder.
“If he wants to fight me and he’s confident, come get this work. Or if you would rather sit back and watch what happens with me and Tyson Fury, that option’s there as well. But if I’m honest with you, my negotiations with Pulev were a bit different. I think [Fury] has a lot of things he needs to sort out with Deontay Wilder.”
Tyson Fury on Anthony Joshua Showdown: “First Time I Connect, His Legs Will Do a Dance”
By: Hans Themistode
Tyson Fury isn’t just a boxer, apparently he is also a fortune teller.
In 2015, Fury told every and anyone who would listen that he was going to make it look easy against long standing Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko. Those who laughed though, were left shell shocked when Fury did exactly what he said he would do. Three years later, he told the world that he would box circles around Deontay Wilder. Outside of two knockdowns on the night, Fury did exactly what he said he would do once again. Fast forward two years to February of 2020, and Fury made his boldest prediction yet.
A win wasn’t good enough in his rematch with Wilder. No, he wanted his hand raised before the final bell. If you’ve been paying attention to the theme thus far, then you’ll know that he was right once again. Stopping Wilder in the seventh round. Now, with a perfect record not only in the ring, but also in his predictions, Fury is making another prognostication.
“I’ll knock him out around two to three rounds,” said Fury when asked how a fight with unified Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua would play out. “First time I connect, his legs will do a dance. I’ll just jump on him like that fat kid [Andy Ruiz]. I’ll tell you what shot it’s gonna be, should I? ‘Left hook to the temple, you’re gonna see him do a Bambi dance all over the ring.”
Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury would be a dream matchup for most boxing fans. However, COVID-19 isn’t the only reason why that contest won’t be happening anytime soon. Fury is currently wrapped up in a third and seemingly final fight with Wilder. Joshua on the other hand, has to get past IBF mandatory challenger in Kubrat Pulev.
But even if Joshua runs through Pulev and Fury gets rid of Wilder and health experts knockout COVID-19, Fury believes there could be another obstacle.
“Eddie Hearn talks a lot of hot air as usual. Have the guts to step up to the plate and get flattened, son. Give the fans what they want and stop running away from the biggest fight since Lennox [Lewis] fought Frank Bruno.”
Anthony Joshua:”Pulev, Ain’t On My Level”
By: Hans Themistode
Not even COVID-19 can stop current unified Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua from perfecting his craft. The 30 year old Joshua has been able to keep himself in shape during this mostly worldwide quarantine, and for good reason.
Whenever health experts deem it safe enough to return to the ring, Joshua will have IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev awaiting him. On paper, Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs) seems like a solid test for Joshua. Since losing in his first crack at a world title to Wladimir Klitschko in 2014, Pulev has won eight straight. The wins have been against quality names such as Hughie Fury, Kevin Johnson and most notably, Dereck Chisora.
In short, Pulev has earned his shot at a title. But with that being said, Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) doesn’t seem to be concerned in the slightest. In fact, you could say that he already has his eyes set on a unification contest with Tyson Fury.
“It’s in a way overlooking Pulev, but I’ve gotta look through Pulev because I’m gonna walk through Pulev,” Joshua said in reference to his IBF mandatory challenger and upcoming opponent. “That’s the mindset. I’ve gotta walk through him. When it comes to Pulev, he ain’t on my level. I want the boys at the top. I ain’t worried about the boys, you know, around me. I’m walking through them all, and that’s the mindset that we have to have as fighters.”
Pulev is nothing more than a blimp on the radar. At least according to Joshua. And while he could take it as a sign of disrespect, Pulev is simply being treated as everyone else in the division.
“I’m looking at Tyson Fury like I’m gonna walk through him as well, because I had my issue last year, I got through it and I wanna correct it. And I told you like people don’t know what that does for a fighter mentally, when he loses in front of the world, and what it takes to come back. And, you know, having this time to reflect has been a blessing in disguise. It’s been a blessing in disguise, so we’ll see what the future holds. When Fury and Wilder’s ready, I’ll tell you this, I will not turn down that offer.”
David Haye Willing to Face Winner of Joshua vs Fury: “All my Injuries Have Healed Up’
By: Hans Themistode
David Haye is currently in the midst of his third retirement. But just like the previous two, He isn’t exactly ready to call it a career.
The former unified Cruiserweight champion and one time Heavyweight titlist, ended a four year hiatus to stop the unheralded Mark De Mori and Arnold Gjergjaj in 2016. That win streak however, along with Haye’s hopes for another title shot, ended quickly with back to back knockout losses to Tony Bellew in 2017 and 2018.
Since then, Haye decided to ride off into the sunset for seemingly one last time. But now, it looks as though he could change his mind. Nevertheless don’t expect him to make a return to the ring against a rising contender or a no name opponent. No, only the best of the best can make the man nicknamed “Hayemaker” return one more time.
“The only one that I would do it for is the winner of AJ and Tyson Fury because that would be No1 vs No1,” said Haye in an interview with Behind The Gloves. “That’s probably the only one, but not really. It’s a lot to go through.”
Over the course of Haye’s career, he spent the vast majority of it hurt. Injuries to his bicep, a torn achilles and most notably an injured toe hampered him for long stretches. But now, as is often the case with retired fighters, Haye feels rejuvenated and better than ever.
“I got my body in a good place right now, and I’m in a good place. All my injuries have healed up. There’s been no hardcore training. I’ve been at home with my weights. I’ve enjoyed this time where the intensity has been taken from a ten to a three. Everyone thinks I train super, super hard. Not really. I probably train between half an hour to 45-minute every day, but I have a nice routine.”
“I’m not training for an athletic performance. I’m training for vanity. When I watch fights now, I think ‘I’d slip this jab, I’d do this and do that.’ That’s the slippery slope when your brain starts going like that.”
It’s hard to get the 2018 version of Haye out of the minds of fans. He was slow, unathletic, lethargic and a shell of his former self. It’s difficult to imagine that version of Haye standing a chance against Joshua, Fury or any top ten Heavyweight.
At one point, Haye had it all. He possessed the power, speed and finesse to give anyone in the Heavyweight division fits. But even if he could get his hands on a time machine and reach back to his old championship caliber self, Haye isn’t 100% sure it would be enough.
“I remember watching Anthony Joshua when he [recently] fought Andy Ruiz, and I thought, ‘Damn, that would be very, very difficult to beat,” said Haye. “Even on my best day, that version of him [Joshua] that is boxing, and light on his feet, he’s ready and fearful as well,’ that’s hard to beat.”
“I thought the same thing when I saw Tyson Fury fight Wilder. I’m watching, and I’m like, ‘That guy [Fury] is a hard guy to beat.’ So those are the two performances I’ve seen since I’ve been retired where I watched it and gone, ‘That would have been a hard work, no matter what version of me that was.’
Anthony Joshua Praises Tyson Fury: “He Annihilated Deontay Wilder”
By: Hans Themistode
While the rest of the world collectively picked up their jaws from the ground due to the shock of how dominant Tyson Fury was against Deontay Wilder in their February rematch, unified Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua wasn’t.
With Fury and Wilders first contest in 2018, ending in a close split decision draw, it was anyone’s guess as to who would win the rematch. Whomever you decided to side with wouldn’t have been argued as both men had a great chance of winning. But no one, maybe outside of Fury, saw how easy that match turned out.
Fury dropped Wilder twice throughout, and pounded on him for seven rounds until his corner screamed “no mas” and threw in the towel.
Wilder has always been a bit one dimensional in his career. But that dimension is arguably the best in the entire sport. His right hand. Yet, when he couldn’t find a home for it, a beatdown ensued.
Their contest may have taken place roughly two months ago, but most fans and media pundits are trying to make sense of it. Wilder was as dominant as they come. And before that match, he had always been the hammer and not the nail.
Although Joshua is enjoying his second reign as champion, his true calling could be in fortune telling as he saw what happened to Wilder coming a mile away.
“I believed Tyson Fury could potentially do what he done,” Joshua told Sky Sports. “I just felt like, Deontay Wilder is a formidable ex-champion. He has a chance to come back as well. But I just knew that when he gets to the top level, it will be difficult. It’s one thing getting there and it’s another thing staying there.”
“We’ve seen in some of his fights, it’s been difficult for him. But then he lands his punch and he’s been victorious. But I always believe that when you go to war, you can’t have one weapon in your arsenal. Which was his right hand.”
“Once that was taken away from him, which Tyson Fury did, I’m not going to go into tactics, but he was able to annihilate Deontay Wilder and expose him for some of his weaknesses. Tyson Fury did a great job tactically and I’m looking forward to their rematch.”
A third fight with Wilder and Fury was originally set to take place sometime in July. But with COVID-19 interfering with every sport around the world, a tentative date in October has been made.
Robert Helenius Wants Anthony Joshua Next: “I Think I Would Beat Him”
By: Hans Themistode
Unpredictability has always been the name of the game when it comes to boxing’s Heavyweight division.
Unlike most weight classes, you just never know what you’re going to get once the big guys step inside of the ring. And on March 7th 2020, at Barclay Center in Brooklyn New York, that unpredictability was on full display.
Evaluating a fighter takes a bit of time. So deciding to take out the pen and paper and hand a grade to them during the first few years of their career is incredibly unfair. Yet, in the case of Robert Helenius, the grade on him seemed beyond fair.
Helenius proved that he was a legit contender with solid wins over Samuel Peter and Dereck Chisora. But he also proved that he was more of the fringe variety rather than an actual threat with knockout losses to Johann Duhaupas and Gerald Washington.
He was solid. Nothing spectacular. More of a stepping stone sort of fighter. If you lost to him, then you were never a true contender in the division. If you picked up a win against him, well, you still weren’t considered a contender just yet. But you were ready for the next step.
For the formerly undefeated Adam Kownacki, he was in search of the latter. The Brooklyn raised Kownacki scored three solid wins in a row over Charles Martin, Chris Arreola and Gerald Washington. So when both Kownacki and Helenius met up on March 7th, many expected him to make it four in a row.
Everything seemed simple and pretty easy to follow. Helenius was knocked out by Gerald Washington in the eighth round of their contest in 2019. Kownacki on the other hand, destroyed Washington in the second round of their match in the very same year.
Fortunately for Helenius, that didn’t have a trickle effect on him as he dropped and ultimately stopped Kownacki in the fourth round.
It was a major win for Helenius. And now, he’s trying to use his massive upset to launch himself towards the top of the division.
“I think it would be a very interesting fight,” said Helenius when discussing a matchup with unified champ Anthony Joshua. “I would like that very much. It would be fireworks and tactics, of course. But I think it would be a very, very interesting fight for me.”
Huge upsets in the sport of boxing has a tendency to lead fighters into the biggest fights of their careers shortly after.
After scoring one of the biggest upsets of the year in 2013, with a win over Adrien Broner, Marcos Maidana walked into the two biggest fights of his life with back to back contests against Floyd Mayweather. Corrie Saunders in 2003, grabbed a huge upset win over Wladimir Klitschko which subsequently landed him a one sided butt kicking against his older brother Vitali Klitschko. More recently, Ivan Redkach parlayed a huge win over former champion Devon Alexander in 2019, into the biggest fight of his life against Danny Garcia earlier this year.
It’s scenarios such as those, coupled with Joshua’s recent loss against Andy Ruiz Jr, that has Helenius not only believing that he should be next in line for Joshua, but that he can also beat him.
“I was very surprised that he got knocked down by Andy Ruiz Jr. He made mistakes, but he did well in the second fight. Ruiz and me are very different fighters. We are the same height, Anthony and me. I’ve been there in a sparring camp with him. I have nothing personal against him, he’s a very good guy. I think very highly of him and I like him a lot, but I think I would beat him.”
With fighters such as Dillian Whyte, Oleksandr Usyk, Luis Ortiz and a slew of others still presumably ahead of him, Helenius isn’t expected to walk into a title shot just yet. But he’s alright with that. He simply wants to fight the best.
“I hope I will get the biggest fight. I don’t really care who I’m fighting next. I’m going to be ready for whoever comes in my way.”
Bob Arum Explains Why Kubrat Pulev Will Knockout Anthony Joshua: “He Has No Chin”
By: Hans Themistode
The Heavyweight division has somewhat of an arbitrary list. But just about everyone views the top of the weight class the same. Former WBC titlist Deontay Wilder, current WBC belt holder and Lineal champ Tyson Fury and unified champion Anthony Joshua are all at the top.
One name that is never mentioned amongst those three is Heavyweight contender Kubrat Pulev. Actually, forget about the top three, Pulev isn’t considered a top five Heavyweight. And seldom cracks the top 10. That is exactly why most are looking at Anthony Joshua’s upcoming match against Pulev as a gimme.
Well, almost. Had this matchup taken place one year ago in early 2019, then no one would think much of it.
At the time, Joshua was on top of the world. He was fresh off a knockout win over Alexander Povetkin and prior to that, he easily outpointed former champ Joseph Parker. To sum it all up, he looked unstoppable. He was six feet six inches tall and looked like you would need hands made out of steel in order to knock him out. If anyone had an aura of invincibility, it was Joshua. But things quickly changed when he got beat down and stopped by Andy Ruiz Jr.
Give Joshua credit though, he came back six months later and won the immediate rematch. But still, promoter of Pulev, Bob Arum isn’t buying it.
“He has no chin. I knew Andy Ruiz prior to his first fight with Joshua. Every one of Ruiz’s fights except the one previous to that [Alexander Dimitrenko] was promoted by us. So we are experts on Andy Ruiz. We know how good he is, what he lacks, we know he has fast hands, a pretty good chin, but he’s not a knockout guy,” said Arum.
“Trust me, look at his record. He fought a lot of ham & eggers and he couldn’t knock them out. The fact that he knocked out Joshua the way he did indicates to me that Joshua’s chin is very, very suspect. If you compare Ruiz with Pulev, Pulev is a much better fighter than Andy Ruiz. Therefore, what I’ve said is if Ruiz can knock Joshua out, then Pulev has an even better chance to knock him out.”
At one point in time, the words of the 88 year old Arum would be taken as gospel. If he said his man is going to win then that’s what’s going to happen. Now however, he seems to be on an island all by himself as oddsmakers all around the world have made Joshua a huge favorite. -1100 to be exact. Meaning you would have to risk $1,100 just to bring back $100. Pulev on the other hand, would bring back betters $700 for that same $100 bet.
The two are scheduled to face off on June 20th, but with this global pandemic caused by the Coronavirus, their bout has been pushed back. When will it take place is anyone’s guess. But when it does, Arum is fully expecting a Pulev knockout win.
Is Robert Helenius a Real Heavyweight Contender?
By: Hans Themistode
Robert Helenius was supposed to make a quick couple bucks. Come into the ring, get beat up for a few rounds against Heavyweight contender Adam Kownacki and walk out. Nothing more, nothing less.
The script was already written, it just had to be played out.
For the first three rounds of their Heavyweight contest which took place on March 7th, 2020, everything was going according to plan. Kownacki had the Polish, Brooklyn crowd at Barclay Center, on their fight for every second of the fight. It all looked easy. Kownacki was landing whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. After two rounds that were easy to score in the favor of the hometown guy, Kownacki almost had his man out of there in the third round.
Helenius managed to make it to the bell, but the fans in the arena were already packing their bags and getting ready to miss the rush out of the building as Kownacki was just about ready to close the show.
The fans were right on their first initial thought. The fight was coming to an end, but not the way many of them were expecting.
Kownacki hit the deck within the first few seconds of the round. Initially, it was ruled a slip. But everyone in the arena knew that it wasn’t. A few seconds later, Kownacki hit the deck again. This time with a thud. He bounced right back up, but things wouldn’t last much longer as Helenius pounded him against the ropes until the referee put a stop to the contest.
It took 12 long years as a professional boxer, but Helenius picked up the biggest and most credible win of his career. And now, everyone is looking at him a bit differently.
Before his contest with Kownacki, Helenius was never viewed as a threat to anyone in the division. Calling him a gatekeeper would be disrespectful to the word. No, he was something below that. A fringe contender. Somewhat of a step up fight for young prospects to jump on.
Kownacki on the other hand, was a star in the making. He had a fan friendly style and had the sort of fanbase that would lead you to believe that he is the best Heavyweight fighter since Muhammad Ali. A win wasn’t just needed, it was expected. Yet, Kownacki didn’t deliver.
So what now? Kownacki will need a few fights, maybe even a few years to rebuild his image. But what about Helenius? Knockout losses to Johann Duhaupas in 2016, and Gerald Washington in 2019, had given many the impression that he wasn’t a contender in the slightest. But with a win over Kownacki, he has officially placed himself in the front of the line as their contest was a WBA title eliminator.
In just a few short hours, Helenius went from the bottom of the barrel, to the top of the food chain.
At the moment, the WBA title is in the hands of British star, Anthony Joshua. But at this point, it isn’t about if, but when, Robert Helenius takes on Joshua, does he have a chance? It’s hard to tell isn’t it.
Joshua has proven that he can be beat, but Helenius would seem to be in over his head against the unified Heavyweight champion.
Is Robert Helenius a true contender? Or did he just get lucky on the night?
Sure Adam Kownacki looked every part of a true contender, but maybe he wasn’t. If you ask Helenius, he’ll tell you that he can beat anyone. That’s what he is supposed to say.
James “Buster” Douglass knocked out Mike Tyson in 1990, in what many still believe is the biggest upset in boxing history. He would go on to lose his very next fight against Evander Holyfield. Leon Spinks handed Muhammad Ali a surprising loss in 1978. He would also go on to his very next fight, and 16 more throughout his career.
Helenius seems destined for that same fate. It may have been a great win for him, but as far as being a big time player in the Heavyweight division, it seems unlikely.
What is the Hold Up for Zuffa Boxing?
By Bryanna Fissori
It has been about a year now since the combat sports world first saw the “Zuffa Boxing” image across UFC President Dana White’s red Reebok shirt. This was during the hype for the Conor McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather Jr fight in August of 2017. How the time does fly . . .
Zuffa Boxing Recap
Shortly after the bout, which was largely a financial success, Dana White announced that the rumors were true. The UFC parent company was indeed looking to enter the boxing ring as the world’s newest promotion on the block.
Over the last year, White has made a number of claims about what the promotion will and won’t do. Here are a few:
- Zuffa Boxing will NOT have a roster of current UFC fighters
- Cards will be structured so that all of the fights are hyped (as opposed to just the main event, which is common in boxing)
- Up and coming fighters will be heavily promoted to build star-status
- The promotion will not be structured under a sanctioning body
- Zuffa Boxing will have its own champions
- He will not work with Oscar De La Hoya or Bob Arum
Reasons for the Delay
There have been rumors that White’s first big signing would be Anthony Joshua, which is certainly a go-big-or-go-home type of move. Though that doesn’t seem to be in the cards right now, it would be a stretch to think that this the primary reason for the delay. White has also commented that Joshua’s manager, Eddie Hern is “oversensitive.” No one ever said White was good at making friends.
The UFC has certainly kept White busy, hosting a card nearly every weekend. Plus additional shows like “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series” and “Dana White- Looking for a Fight.” Both of these require White’s presence. Though a busy man, that is certainly not the only reason for the delay in Zuffa Boxing progress.
Status: It’s Complicated
All of White’s previous assertions about what Zuffa Boxing will and won’t do could be complicated. The promotion will need a full roster if it is going to operate independently of other organizations and sanctioning bodies. It would need to the time and resources for promotion, and is limited on partners with De La Hoya and Arum out of the question. Not to mention the legalities of skirting the Muhamad Ali Act.
“This is one of those things I said I’m going to put my toe in, I’m not diving in head first. We’re still working on stuff. A lot of things didn’t line up the way that I thought they would in the boxing world when I said we’re about to make a ballsy move,” White said on UFC Unfiltered.
“The thing kind of took a left turn, so I wasn’t able to make an offer on that deal yet. But when that deal does happen, and when it comes, I’m going to jump in.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Dana White, Anthony Joshua, Sosa, Takam, Smith, Williams, Hernandez, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of October 17th to October 24th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Dana White Says UFC Could Start to Promote Boxing
Dana White recently spoke to the Wall Street Journal at https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=V2wbIUSpALY. In this interview Dana indicated that he likes promoting MMA but has an interest in promoting boxing.
He told Jason Gay of “The Unnamed Podvideocast” that, “I could see bringing boxing under our umbrella and trying to see what we could do with that.”
White was observed wearing a shirt that read “Zuffa Boxing” on the promotional tour for the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor bout. Zuffa Boxing could soon become a real thing.
Watch Joshua vs. Takam Heavyweight Title Fight Exclusively on DAZN
Fight fans can watch Anthony Joshua defend his IBF and WBA Heavyweight Titles against Carlos Takam on Saturday, October 28th live on DAZN.
DAZN is a live and on-demand sports streaming service that allows fans to watch their sport, their way, live or on-demand. Fans can watch their favourite teams, leagues and players anytime, anywhere with the ability to play, pause and rewind anytime. Subscriptions are available for $20 a month or $150 annually, with the first month free.
DAZN is also the only way to get unlimited access to every live NFL game this coming season. And with access to the NFL Network 24/7 and NFL RedZone, you’ll never miss another touchdown, field goal or interception ever again. You can also see top European soccer including LaLiga Santander, Ligue 1 and Serie A, plus KHL Hockey, Moto GP, ATP 250 Tennis, PDC Darts and Pro14 Rugby Union – all in HD.
It’s available in Canada on most connected devices including Smart TVs, smartphones, tablets and games consoles – for more information or to sign up, please visit dazn.com.
Olympian Nico Hernandez Fighting for First Pro Title December 2nd
2016 Olympic bronze medalist Nico Hernandez will be fighting for his first professional title on Saturday, December 2, when he takes on Hungarian invader Jozsef “Little Red” Ajtai in the eight-round main event for the vacant International Boxing Association (IBA) Flyweight Championship, headlining “KO Night Boxing: Gold & Glory” at Hartman Arena in Park City, Kansas.
“KO Night Boxing: Gold & Glory” is a presentation of KO Night Boxing LLC., in association with Hartman Arena, and sponsored in part by Twister City Harley-Davidson Metro PCS, Mort’s Cigar Bar and Jimmy Egg.
The action will be taped live for future airing on CBS Sports Network.
The 21-year-old Hernandez (3-0, 2 KOs), fighting out of Wichita, will be fighting in a scheduled eight-round bout for the first time. His three pro fights to date were all scheduled for six rounds and each was held in Kansas, the last two in his second home, Hartman Arena.
In his last fight this past September 23rd, Hernandez was forced to fight late replacement Kendrick “Uprising” Latchman who outweighed the celebrated American Olympian by more than 10 pounds. Hernandez won a six-round unanimous decision by scores of 60-54 and 59-55 twice.
Despite being younger than Hernandez by almost a year to the day, Ajtai (19-9, 12 KOs) has already had 28 pro fights, including a full 10-round distance loss by decision last year to two-time Olympic gold medalist Shiming Zou, the former World Boxing Organization (WBO) flyweight world champion.
“By far, Nico is fighting the toughest opponent of his pro career,” Hernandez’ promoter John Andersen (“KO Night Boxing LLC) said. “Ajtai has much more experience as a pro than Nico, plus he went the distance against a two-time Olympic gold medalist, Zou. Ajtai is a busy fighter with a good knockout ratio (63%). This fight is going to tell us a lot about Nico, especially his power at 112 pounds.
“Nico fighting for a title in only his fourth pro fight proves that all our hard efforts of KO Night Boxing and Team Nico has paid off quickly and we’re grateful that the IBA has given him this great opportunity. I didn’t realize the high quality of champions the IBA has had in the past and we’re proud that Nico can someday join this group. In the flyweight division, Nico may enter world title fight shot discussions earlier than I had originally thought, which was in his third year as a pro. An impressive performance against Ajtai could position him for a world title fight next year with less than 10 fights under his belt.”
“We’re excited to have an American Olympian fighting for our first Americas title,” IBA President J.C. Courreges added. “Nico Hernandez is an Olympic bronze medalist and we’re hopeful that he will develop into an IBA world champion in the not too distant future. His amateur pedigree speaks for itself and we’re very happy to have this young man fighting for the IBA Americas title.”
IBA world champions during the past quarter-century include Hall-of-Famers Oscar de la Hoya, George Foreman, Roberto Duran and Arturo Gatti, as well as stars such as Roy Jones, Jr., Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosely, James Toney, Mikkel Kessler, Eric Morales, Diego Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo, Glen Johnson and Antonio Tarver.
Ukranian Olympian Makes Professional Debut on Friday
Olympian middleweight Dmytro Mytrofanov will make his professional boxing debut Friday night in Elk Grove Village against an unbeaten foe.
Mytrofanov, who fought for the Ukraine in the 2016 Olympics, will square off against American Brandon Maddox, who is 7-0, with five knockouts.
The six-round bout will take place at the Belvedere Events Center, 1170 W. Devon Ave., Elk Grove Village.
Mytrofanov, 27, won national titles in the Ukraine in 2008 and 2012, The middleweight was also a bronze medalist at the 2011 European Championships.
He is represented by Andrew Sobko of Natex Boxing Promotions.
The 31-year-old Maddox has won 71 percent of his fights by knockout. The Detroit, Mich. fighter won Golden Gloves titles in Detroit and Chicago. He also posted a 4-2 mark in professional Mixed Martial Arts fights.
Friday’s fight, sanctioned by the Illinois State Athletic Commission, is being promoted by Natex and Hitz Entertainment.
On Friday’s fight card, along with Mytrofanov-Maddox, are:
Super welterweights Anthony Prescott and Anthony Abbruzzese
Undefeated super featherweight Giovanni Mioletti and Tyrome Jones
Undefeated super middleweight Tommy Hughes and Emmanuel Sanchez
Heavyweight Tulagonov Osvaldo, making his professional debut
Undefeated middleweight Osvaldo Vera
Friday’s first bout begins at 7:30 p.m.
VIP tables, which seat 10 people, are $250 per person. General admission is $40.
Tickets can be purchased at www.natexboxing.com
Ishe Smith to Face Julian Williams on November 18th
Former world champion Ishe Smith battles top 154-pound contender Julian “J-Rock” Williams in a 10-round super welterweight clash that headlines Premier Boxing Champions on Bounce live from The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Saturday, November 18.
In the co-feature, Lionell Thompson clashes with unbeaten prospect Earl Newman in a 10-round light heavyweight bout. Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT with unbeaten prospects Tugstsogt Nyambayar and Xavier Martinez going head-to-head in a 10-round featherweight fight.
“This card is going to bring it,” said Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe. “The fans will be presented with variety; veterans and prospects going head-to-head and tough fighting styles meshing come fight night. The main event between Ishe Smith and Julian Williams is going to be an exciting battle! I think Ishe and Julian are going to put on a great show. Both fighters are very tough competitors and fight with everything they have. We also have a great undercard line-up. This is going to be an all-around exciting night of boxing for the fans.”
“This is the kind of show that presents something for every boxing fan,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Ishe Smith is a former champion who still has title aspirations. He’s going up against a young hungry contender on the comeback trail in Julian Williams. Earl Newman will be taking a major step up when he takes on Lionell Thompson in the co-feature and both Tugstsogt Nyambayar and Xavier Martinez will be looking to keep their undefeated records intact. It all adds up to a fun night for boxing fans.”
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Mayweather Promotions and TGB Promotions, are priced at $29, $39, $59, $69, $89 and $149 and are on sale now. Tickets are available at www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com or through Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 andwww.ticketmaster.com.
The 39-year-old Smith (29-8, 12 KOs) won his world championship with a majority decision over Cornelius Bundrage on Feb. 23, 2013 to become the first Las Vegas-native to win a world title. He has also challenged top fighters such as Erislandy Lara and Daniel Jacobs and most recently defeated Tommy Rainone and Frank Galarza in his last two bouts.
“I took this fight just like I’ve taken every tough fight over the years,” said Smith. “I constantly challenge myself to the best and I believe Julian Williams is one of the best in the division. If you look at my resume, all I’ve done is fight the best guys, in their prime, so this is nothing new to me. I’ve reached the point where I’ve seen it all. This fight will get me exactly where I need to be, closer to a world title shot.”
Williams (23-1-1, 15 KOs), one of the top young contenders in the 154-pound division, is working his way back into title contention by taking on a tough former world champion in Smith. The 27-year-old Williams of Philadelphia suffered a KO loss to Jermall Charlo in his first title shot in 2016 and returned to the ring with a TKO victory over Joshua Conley in his last fight on June 30.
“We’ve been working hard for months and I’m ready to get back in the ring,” said Williams. “I could fight tomorrow. I know this is an important fight for my career. Ishe is a veteran and he is going to bring his ‘A’ game to try to prove he’s still got it. I’m not going to give him that opportunity. I will be victorious and show that I’m ready to fight the best in the world.”
Rahman Junior Opponent Chickens Out in Ring, Seconds Before Scheduled Fight
The young career of heavyweight contender Hasim Rahman Jr. took an unexpected turn last week, as his scheduled opponent, Joseph Coats, decided not to fight, while in the ring during the introductions and literally left the ring and returned to the locker room.
The four-round Rahman vs. Coats bout was supposed to happen at The Durham Armory in Downtown Durham, North Carolina, last Thursday, October 19. However, the debuting Coats, trained by reputable trainer Don Turner, initially refused to come out of the locker room. Forty minutes later, Coats finally agreed to get on with the fight only to leave Rahman waiting in the ring for nearly 10 minutes while chickening out for a second time.
He now faces suspension.
Event promoter Michelle Rosado (Raging Babe Events) and matchmaker J Russell Peltz (Peltz Boxing Promotions, Inc.) were as perplexed as Rahman’s promoter, Greg Cohen, by Coats’ sudden departure.
“Russell told me in his 48 years in the sport, he NEVER saw anything like this,” said Cohen. “A fighter in the ring rethinks his choice and leaves. I’m told he was out of the building before the announcer finished explaining to the crowd what happened.”
Cohen says he already has the next fight scheduled for the promising slugger Rahman Jr., November 4 in Springfield, Virginia, in a co-promotion with Shabazz Brotherz Boxing Promotions.
“Junior showed class and poise in the way he handled this and he’s to be commended. Sometimes in boxing, strange things happen and this is one of those times.”
Jason Sosa to Clash with Robinson Castellanos on November 25th
Two of the most experienced fighters in the stacked 130-pound division will continue the heated Puerto Rico vs. Mexico rivalry when Jason “El Canito” Sosa (20-2-4, 14 KOs) takes on Robinson “Robin Hood” Castellanos (24-13, 14 KOs) in a 10-round super featherweight fight at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on the televised undercard for Kovalev vs. Shabrankskyy. The event takes place Saturday, Nov. 25 and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Although the competition between Puerto Rico and Mexico runs deep in the ring, Latinos and Hispanics come together and support each other in times of need. In light of the natural disasters affecting Mexico and the Caribbean, a portion of the proceeds of the ticket sales form this event will be donated to relief efforts for Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the earthquake in Mexico City when ticket buyers use the code LATINOSUNIDOS to purchase their tickets through Ticketmaster.
“With the terrible natural disasters that have impacted Puerto Rico and Mexico recently, it was incredibly important to us that we find opportunities in boxing to give back to those affected,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “Though Puerto Rico and Mexico are rivals when it comes to boxing we stand together united to help these communities recover and rebuild their lives.”
The 29-year-old Sosa, of Camden, NJ and of Puerto Rican descent, is the former WBA World Super Featherweight Champion. He earned his title by handing Javier “El Abejon” Fortuna his first loss as a pro with an 11th-round knockout in Beijing, China in June 2016. Sosa successfully defended his title with a 12-round decision win over Stephen Smith in Monte Carlo in November 2016 before returning several months later in a tough fight against Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko in April 2017. Sosa is also known for fighting to an impressive majority draw against former WBA Super World Featherweight Champion Nicholas “Axe Man” Walters and for stopping former world title challenger Jerry “The Corpus Christi Kid” Belmontes in only one round. Sosa’s aggressive style should produce fireworks against Castellanos.
“Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico,” said Sosa. “I have been living there for the last few months and I opened a business there. Now to see the destruction and devastation that my people are going through, it breaks my heart. It was very difficult for me to leave and begin my training camp back in New Jersey to get ready for the fight against Castellanos. This fight is important for many reasons. It is the beginning of the road to becoming champion again and it is my way of giving Puerto Rico a reason to smile and be proud. They are my biggest supporters and that little island shows me so much love. I can’t do much but I can show them that this win is for them. I want to thank Castellanos and HBO for this opportunity.”
Castellanos is a battle-tested warrior who is coming off a spectacular performance against current WBA Super World Super Featherweight Champion Jezreel “El Invisible” Corrales in July of this year. The 35-year-old native of Guanajuato, Mexico also handed super bantamweight contender and world title challenger Ronny Rios his first career loss, stopping him by TKO in October of 2014. Before challenging for a world title, Castellanos stopped Cuban former unified WBA and IBF Featherweight Champion Yuriorkis “El Ciclon de Guantánamo” Gamboa on the May 5 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN. After having been so close to winning a world title in his last outing, Castellanos will look to make sure that he gets another crack at the top of the division with a victory on Nov. 25.
“What has happened in Mexico and Puerto [Rico] has been devastating,” said Castellanos. But it has also reminded us that we are strong and united. The crisis won’t be resolved from one day to another, but however long it takes we will lift ourselves up. I know little about Jason [Sosa], but I know that he was a world champion. He has already accomplished a dream that I am still looking to accomplish. I know that I’ll need a victory to fight for a world title again. Both of us will have to leave everything in the ring, and I hope that the people in New York really enjoy our fight.”