Klitschko Brothers Object to Dimitry Bivol vs Canelo Matchup; Bivol Says “It’s Sad” They Have Become Politicians. Plus: Will Tyson Fury Show in Vegas?
by John “Gutterdandy” Walker
Former heavyweight champions of the world the Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali, won’t be cheering on WBA light heavyweight champion Dimitry Bivol when the latter man takes on superstar Canelo Alvarez this Saturday evening at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Though Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs), a Russian, has spoken out against the war his country has chosen to wage against neighboring Ukraine, the Ukrainian Klitschko brothers are far from satisfied about Bivol is getting a world wide platform to perform against Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) in the middle of a bloody conflict that his country started.
According to former unified world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, currently fighting on the front lines with his brother [the current mayor of Kyiv] Vitali, it’s nothing personal against Bivol, but a matter of principle.
In an interview with the BBC, Wladimir recently opined that “[Bivol should] absolutely not [be facing Canelo]. Every sanction, and it’s nothing against the personality or athletes, it’s about the politics of Russia.”
“Every Russian representative in this case needs to be sanctioned, because this way we show to Russia that the world is against this senseless war and that there’s no good in this war,” Klitschko said.
Bivol, of course, sees the issue differently, and claims the realms of sports and politics should be kept separate.
“All his career I support [Wladimir], I liked how he was fighting and of course I was glad when he won,” said a somber Bivol.
“He is [a] sportsman, he should know sports and politics is different. He was [an] athlete. Now he is politician. It is sad that wants to shake it up and mix sport and politics,” a downcast Bivol told Britain’s IFL TV.
While the Klitschkos won’t be making a Vegas trip to see Bivol defend his title against Alvarez, one face to look for at ringside is that of current “retired” WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
Last weekend, Matchroom promotions honcho Eddie Hearn put on a successful women’s boxing headliner featuring popular Irish fighter Katie Taylor at Madison Square Garden in NYC.
Irish compatriots such as former pugilist Matthew “Mack The Knife” Macklin, and according to rumor, Tyson Fury himself were slated to fly to Manhattan to cheer on their woman, but Mackin and “other boxing figures” were refused entry into the USA due to their connections with former MGM/MTK honcho and reputed Irish mob kingpin, Daniel Kinahan (“MTK” is an acronym for Mack The Knife).
Fury, rumor has it, was tipped off not to get on the plane to Manhattan. The WBC champion, who recently made light work of hapless challenger Dillian Whyte, was very friendly with Kinahan until the FBI offered a $5 million reward for the mob boss, at which point an agitated Fury was adamant that he knew nothing of Kinahan’s business and split ties with him.
If Fury, who recently bought a home in the Las Vegas area, and who is due to meet with the WBC next week to discuss his retirement plans–which he claims are 100% irreversible–fails to show at the Canelo vs Bivol tilt, the rumor mill over Fury’s own legal status regarding Kinahan and the now-defunct MTK Global promotional outfit will surely go into overdrive.
MTK Global Boxing Promotions Shuts Down Over Ties to ex-Tyson Fury Advisor Daniel Kinahan
by John “Gutterdandy” Walker
MTK Global boxing promotions has shut down for good, due to its ties to alleged mob boss Daniel Kinahan. Kinahan, who is currently on the run from law enforcement, is an ex-advisor and former close confidante of WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs), who makes his second title defense in London this coming Saturday night against fellow Brit Dillian “The Body Snatcher” Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs) at Wembley Arena in the UK.
The lead-up to the Fury-Whyte bout has been haunted by the troubles of the reputed cartel boss Kinahan, whose organization has been accused of selling large quantities of South American cocaine across the globe. Until very recently, Tyson Fury had nothing but praise for Kinahan, and had posted a picture online of the two men engaged in a chummy pose in Dubai last February.
A statement issued by MTK Global reads:
“It is a matter of public record that Mr Kinahan’s involvement in MTK ceased in 2017, and despite repeated reassurances in this regard, unfounded allegations about his ongoing association with us and our fighters persist.
“Since leading promoters have now informed us that they will be severing all ties with MTK and will no longer work with our fighters, we have taken the difficult decision to cease operations at the end of this month.
“MTK prospered because we always put the long term interests of our fighters at the heart of what we do.
“Our priority in the weeks ahead will be to ensure that our world class boxers are supported to find new partnerships as swiftly as possible.
“MTK gyms are operated independently so will remain open for the foreseeable future.
“Further announcements will be made in due course. Thank you to all the fans who have supported us over the last decade.”
Tyson Fury has seemed irritated this week when the topic of Kinahan has been raised, though it must be said that most of the professional boxing media has preferred to avoid the subject, instead sticking to rote questions about training camps instead. Fury has chosen to stick to a stock response about “minding his own business” to try and deflect from his former close ties to Kinahan.
“Because I had my picture taken with a man it doesn’t make me a criminal,” Fury said.
The WBC champion added, ” “I’ve got nothing to hide. The only time I’ve ever broken the law was when I got a speeding ticket.”
That last statement would seem to be at odds with Fury’s admissions of rampant cocaine abuse, back when he claimed to have mental health issues while twice avoiding rematches with former unified heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko of Ukraine. Fury ended Wlad’s decade-long title reign with a scrappy decision win late in 2015.
This week, with the allegations against Kinahan forming a constant looming backdrop to the upcoming fight, Fury has doubled down on his vow to retire from boxing after the Whyte bout, win, lose or draw.
Until very recently, however, Fury had spoken of enjoying his life as a “fighting man” and had submitted a list of five fights he wanted in the future, a list that notably did not include the unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine but did include men he has beaten multiple times, such as Deontay Wilder and Dereck “WAR” Chisora.
During a press conference via Zoom last week, however, Fury seemed to be backing away from retirement, only to double down on his vow to quit boxing forever in the last two days.
Contrary to what he said in March, when he talked about wanting to live the fast life of a Miami jet setter, Fury now claims he has no interest in money, and that he seeks a very quiet life of taking out the garbage and doing other familial activities and chores, far away from the glare of the media spotlight.
“I just want to be left alone, I don’t want to be tortured by people,” Fury explained to UK boxing personality Adam Smith in a recent interview.
“I’m here to do this one last fight, and that’s me, I’m out.”