Joshua vs. Takam – The Undercard
By: Ste Rowen
Despite the late change of opponent, the biggest draw on Saturday night remains the main event, with Anthony Joshua taking on Carlos Takam for the WBA, IBF and IBO Heavyweight World title belts. However, hidden gems may lie in the undercard.
Photo Credit: Esther Lin/Showtime
Yafai v Ishida
Chief support to Joshua’s bout sees WBA Super Flyweight Champion Khalid Yafai take on Sho Ishida in his second title defence. Kal (22-0-0 14KOs) won the vacant WBA belt back in December 2016 from Luis Concepcion, who’d come in over the limit in two attempts at the scales, meaning the only Yafai could win the belt. Then in May this year Kal got his first defence in the bank when he dominated Suguru Muranaka. Yafai was mightily impressive in both bouts, scoring legitimately wide scorecards. He’ll be hoping that this is the stepping stone fight to being included on HBO’s ‘SuperFly 2’ in early 2018. His opponent Sho Ishida’s record is good on paper, 24-0-0 (13KOs) however that does include six debutants including his last two bouts in which Ishida stopped first timers Patiphon Saithonggym and Phetnamnung Sisaketphattana in rounds three and two respectively. This will also be Sho’s first fight outside of Japan, he’ll be hoping to upset the Brit’s party and join his countryman, Naoyo Inoue at the top table of the Superfly division.
Whyte v Helenius
Dillian Whyte (21-1-0 16KOs) is looking to turn up the heat on the current Heavyweight belt holders when he goes up against Robert Helenius. In his most recent outing Whyte made quick work of Malcolm Tann on the undercard of Crawford v Indongo in Nebraska. Though sloppy at times, he made sure his keep-busy fight didn’t last long, dropping Tann for a third time with a body shot in the third round. A stark contrast from his split decision win previous to that, when he fought in a Fight of the Year contender, going all twelve in a heavyweight war against Dereck Chisora. His opponent, Robert Helenius (25-1-0 16KOs) was once the man to beat in the European Heavyweight scene. A sparring partner of Anthony Joshua’s leading up to the Klitschko fight, Helenius was racking up victories including a controversial decision over Chisora in 2011 and knocking out an unbeaten Gregory Tony in 2010. His steady rise took a big hit in 2016 though when he was knocked clean out by a big 1-2 from Johann Duhaupas. He’s on a three-fight win streak and will be looking to take Whyte’s status as a number one contender for the belts.
Sanchez v Taylor
Katie Taylor (6-0-0 4KOs) fights for her first world title in just her seventh fight when she takes on Anahi Esther Sanchez for the WBA Lightweight belt. It will be Taylor’s second schedule ten round fight, in her second stadium fight, and the omens are good because in that ten-rounder at Wembley Stadium last April, Taylor continued to show her class when she dispatched of unbeaten Nina Meinke in the seventh. In her one fight since, the Irishwoman beat up Jasmine Clarkson for three rounds before the American’s cornerman pulled her out. Anahi Esther Sanchez, as expected should represent Taylor’s biggest challenge yet. Sanchez (17-2-0 9KOs) has previously held a world title when she won the IBF Super Featherweight belt in March 2016. She’s also fought and lost twice in world title fights. Once in December 2016 via a unanimous decision to Nina Wahlstrom for the WBC Super Feather title and again in May this year, when she was given two standing counts and eventually stopped in the fourth for her old IBF title. She bounced back quickly, and in her second fight at the 135lb limit, stopped Cecilia Sofia Mena for the WBA belt, that will be on the line this Saturday.
Cult hero Dave ‘White Rhino’ Allen (12-3-1 9KOs) was looking to exact revenge on Commonwealth Champion, Lenroy Thomas when the two were set to meet for the second time on Saturday night for an immediate rematch of their May 2017 split decision. However, the Jamaican has pulled out due to a virus. Allen is expected to remain on the undercard in a six round keep busy fight before going again for the British and Commonwealth belts.
Buglioni v Richards
Another late change to Saturday’s card sees British Light Heavyweight Champion, Frank ‘Wise Guy’ Buglioni take on Craig ‘Spider’ Richards. Buglioni (20-2-1 15KOs) was due to fight Callum Johnson in a mandated bout but Johnson withdrew last week, leaving the door open for Craig Richards (9-0-0 3KOs), who has been campaigning mainly at Super Middleweight up to this point.
Three of Matchroom’s 2016 Olympic signings will also be on the card. Cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie (5-0-0 4KOs), taken the distance for the first time in his last fight with Blaise Mendouo. Super Featherweight and Welshman Joe Cordina (4-0-0 4KOs) fighting in Wales for the first time in his pro career. And Light Heavyweight Joshua Buatsi (2-0-0 2KOs) a bronze medallist in Rio, and arguably Britain’s most highly thought of from the class of 2016.
What’s Next for Shannon Briggs?
What’s Next for Shannon Briggs?
By: Iftisaam Khan
Having suffered a number of setbacks in his career of late, Shannon ‘The Cannon’ Briggs will be certainly looking to put that all behind him as he aims to return to the ring next year. Reflecting on a year of bad luck, the American will be rather disappointed at his inactivity in the ring as he was overlooked on numerous occasions due to a number of reasons.
Looking for an opponent initially saw the 45-year-old focus his efforts on securing a bout with Heavyweight rival, David Haye which eventually came to no avail. Chasing the fight saw ‘The Cannon’ go around the country gate-crashing press conferences and media events to call out the Londoner but his efforts eventually turned futile. At times the prospect of thefight being made actually looked promising with Briggs featuring on the undercard of Haye’s fight, but it turned out that was the closest the American was going to get to Haye as he overlooked the American and weeks later announced his next fight against Tony Bellew in 2017.
If his luck couldn’t get any worse, his hopes of attaining a heavyweight title this year weredashed after his opposed fight with Australian, Lucas Browne was cancelled after his opponent was found to have had taken banned substance, Ostarine leaving the former world champion looking at the coming year for a change of luck.With the Heavyweight scene currently thriving there won’t be a shortage of options.
One potential opponent in the new year could be the ‘Body Snatcher’ who will be looking to take as much time off from the ring as possible given his superb performance against Derick Chisora in a fight being touted as fight of the year. The possibilities of seeing Briggs and Whyte share the ring next year are unlikely with Eddie Hearn hoping for a rematch instead between Whyte and Chisorainstead.
A more realistic possibility could see the ‘Cannon’ take on fellow compatriot and friend, Luis Ortiz who recently overcame a brave Dave Allen in Manchester; stopping him in the 7th round. A fight between the pair would make sense for both parties but time will tell.
A fighter who’s known for his willingness to share the ring with anybody, the ‘White Rhino’would be a great option as a step up of opposition for Briggs who will be looking to ease his way back in the heavyweight scene.
Looking to resurrect his career is Liverpudlian, David Price. The fighter will be looking to make everyone forget about his 3 defeats to Tony Thompson and ErkanTepen which came as a big shock to the boxing world as at the time Price was touted for special things in the division. Time is on his side to establish his career again but another slip up cannot be afforded.
A logical fight for both parties, Briggs would provide a stern test for the scouser who is aiming for a shot at World Champion, Anthony Joshuain the near future.