Eddie Hearn Brutally Honest On Dillian Whyte’s Career If He Loses Against Alexander Povetkin Again: “I Think It’s Terminal For His World Title Chances”
By: Hans Themistode
Heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte was in clear control of his career.
Following eight straight wins against some of the divisions very best including former belt holders Joseph Parker and Lucas Browne, Whyte (27-2, 18 KOs) found himself on the verge of his very own title shot. All the British native needed to do was dispose of the ancient 41 year old contender Alexander Povetkin on August 22nd.
Before their matchup, WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman went on the record stating that if Whyte managed to do what many were expecting, that he would be given the first shot at the Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury winner.
Povetkin vs Whyte played out typically to start off. Whyte out boxed his man early until he landed bombs on the Russian contender in the fourth round, dropping him twice. Then out of seemingly nowhere, Povetkin landed a monstrous left uppercut that immediately turned off Whyte’s light switch.
Before Whyte could give his concession speech though, he was calling for an instant rematch. Well, come November 21st, he’ll have his wish.
Promoter Eddie Hearn didn’t sound thrilled when discussing Whyte’s quick turn around. With that being said, he simply acquiesced to his request.
“Moving into the rematch just 13 weeks after the first fight is very, very dangerous,” said Hearn to Sky Sports. “But Dillian Whyte wouldn’t have it any other way.”
For Povetkin, asking the recently turned 41 year old to make such a quick turn around would seem unfair on his part. But with a highlight level knockout win over his man already under his belt, both him and his team believe that they can and will do it again.
“Povetkin and his team are ready to go,” said Hearn. “They don’t see a problem. They’ve knocked him out once and they believe they’re going to do it again in November. “
For the past half decade, Whyte carried both pressure and expectations into the ring with him. Following his knockout loss at the hands of current unified champion Anthony Joshua in late 2015, Whyte spent all of his time rebuilding his name and image. By all accounts, it worked. He was widely regarded as a top contender in the division and stood in the number one spot in the WBC rankings.
The British native could have easily stood by, twiddled his thumbs and waited for his shot at a world title. Instead, he repeatedly placed everything on the line time and time again. The pressure to perform never seemed to bother him, but with two huge knockout losses on his record, Hearn believes the pressure on Whyte for his rematch with Povetkin is going to be out of this world.
“This is the pressure of his career. He was controlling the fight August 22nd, and then brutal knockout. All of a sudden his career spins on its head. But he’s hugely motivated to put this right but it’s extremely dangerous. I think it’s terminal for his world title chances and that’s obviously the ultimate aim for Dillian Whyte. I think he knows the pressure.”
Eddie Hearn Optimistic On Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury Showdown: “I Think We Are On The Verge Of Papering That Deal With Bob Arum”
By: Hans Themistode
Most of the boxing world has been fixated on how a Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua showdown would play out. Most of that is due to the fact that both men have come out and expressed their interest in making their fight a reality.
But while fans and observers are split down the middle on who would actually win, promoter Eddie Hearn cringes whenever he hears a contest between the two discussed. It may be a great fight on paper, but there are way too many roadblocks in the way to have any serious discussions just yet.
“I’ve been talking to Bob Arum about various things such as Crawford against Brook which looks close to happening as well,” said Hearn to Sky Sports. “We want to talk about it but we also want to take care of business which Kubrat Pulev for AJ and Deontay Wilder for Tyson Fury.”
As mentioned by Hearn, one bad night at the office is all it will take to derail one of the biggest fights in recent heavyweight history.
For Fury, although he’s beaten Wilder before, the former heavyweight champion is reportedly in “tremendous” shape and looks forward to decapitating the British champion this time around. Joshua on the other hand, may have a seemingly easier opponent in front of him in Kubrat Pulev, but with eight straight victories under his belt, coupled with Joshua’s most recent loss against Andy Ruiz Jr. in mid 2019, the 6 ‘6 chiseled unified champion is believed to be vulnerable.
Still, even with Wilder possessing the sort of power that could leave a fighter in a vegetative state and Pulev in the best form of his life, Hearn believes both Fury and Joshua will get through their preliminary matchups and meet twice next year.
“I’m very sure you are going to see two versions of that fight in 2021. I think we are on the verge of papering that deal with Bob Arum. We haven’t done it yet but all of the conversations have been positive. In 2021 I’m very sure we are going to see those two fights.”
The road isn’t exactly easy for either man, but it’s a clear one, at least for Fury. The current WBC and Lineal titlist simply needs to get past one more opponent in Wilder before he can attempt to unify the division. Yet for WBA/IBF and WBO titlist Anthony Joshua, his road to a mega showdown with his rival has a few more landmines.
Provided Joshua gets past Pulev, standing in between him and the matchup he wants against Fury could be WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk. The former undisputed cruiserweight champion is set to take on heavyweight contender Dereck Chisora later on this year.
At no point has Usyk ever expressed a desire to take a backseat in order to let someone else take his world title opportunity, and nothing has changed in that regard.
“For sure, he’s not stepping aside. He wants to fight the winner of Joshua vs Pulev for the WBO world title. Usyk believes he can go out and get a good win under his belt in the heavyweight division and then move on to challenge for a world title in 2021.”
Eddie Hearn Admits Terence Crawford vs Kell Brook Talks Underway: “We’re Trying To Make That Fight Happen”
By: Hans Themistode
After months of hearing his name associated with the likes of Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman and even Gary Russell Jr–Terence Crawford is heading in another direction entirely.
The WBO welterweight titlist is on a collision course with former belt holder Kell Brook. Their clash is far from a reality, but according to promoter Eddie Hearn, everything is pointing in the right direction.
“I had a couple of conversations with Bob and Carl Moretti yesterday,” said Hearn on IFL TV. “I feel that’s a big fight for UK TV, so we’re trying to help out and get that over the line. Personally, I would love to see Kell get that fight.”
Before COVID-19 turned the boxing landscape upside down, Brook was amongst Arum’s possible opponents for his welterweight titlist. Although, the long time promoter ranked it his least favorite amongst the remaining options on the table
“There are a number of possibilities,” said Arum to talkSPORT two months ago. “Thurman, Porter or this kid Ugas, the Cuban who’s a good, good welterweight. They’re with Al [Haymon’s] company PBC. But we’re working well together with that company, so I don’t think that’ll be a problem. And then finally there’s Kell Brook. So the first possibility is Pacquiao, if that’s possible. Second possibility is a fight against one of Al’s guys. And the third possibility is Kell Brook.”
For Crawford, his name has appeared in the headlines even more than usual as of late.
Current 126 pound WBC champion Gary Russell Jr. kicked things off. The Maryland native recently revealed that he broke the jaw of Crawford at the Olympic center several years ago during a heated argument. The former three division titlist quickly went online to dismiss Russell Jr’s claims and threatened to “break his neck.”
Those threats fell on deaf ears as Russell Jr. offered to move up four weight divisions to face Crawford. Most recently, the long standing champion claimed that an offer was sent out to Crawford for a showdown later this year but a response was never sent back.
As they continued to go back and forth, Crawford quickly found himself feuding with another former champion, but someone his own size in Keith Thurman.
“You never got respect in the game at 147,” said Thurman to Brian Custer on the Last Stand podcast recently. “You haven’t pushed the buttons at 147.”
With the two sides continuing to bark at one another, Arum nixed any possibilities of the two squaring off in the ring, claiming that Thurman wanted mind numbing money. Numerous reports were that the former champion’s number was in the 10 million dollar range.
Now, with Thurman off the table and Manny Pacquiao currently eyeing other opponents, Arum appears to be settling for his least desired option. News that brings a smile to the face of Hearn. But before an agreement surfaces, Hearn has made it clear that Arum will have to dig deep in those heavily funded pockets of his.
“I think [Top Rank] had a conversation with Keith Thurman, and obviously they wanted too much money. It’s difficult at the moment … Crawford wants a lot of money, and Kell wants a lot of money. He deserves it. We’re trying to make that fight happen to assist Top Rank in getting the numbers together.”
Eddie Hearn: “There’s Still A Very Strong Chance That AJ Will Have To Fight Behind Closed Doors”
By: Hans Themistode
2020 has become an absolute crap shoot.
The year started off with such promise as big time matchups between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury led the way. But with COVID-19 turning the boxing world upside down, notable fighters have seen their once busy schedule dwindle down considerably.
For unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in particular, his schedule has been nonexistent.
With a win over Andy Ruiz Jr. to take back the titles that were ripped away from his broad shoulders in late 2019, Joshua was set to return in mid 2020 in a mandatory title defense against number one contender Kubrat Pulev. Assuming Joshua made it out of that contest in one piece, a date with WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk awaited him. From there, a matchup with Tyson Fury would be next on the docket.
Yet, before boxing fans can wipe the drool from the side of their mouths as they envision those future matchups, Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) must first make his 2020 debut. Unfortunately for the British born champion however, the lack of a live audience has made his return an arduous question to answer.
“We know AJ’s only going to fight once this year,” said promoter Eddie Hearn to ESPN. “We want to give ourselves the best opportunity to bring in a crowd, and obviously the later the better. But it’s still not a gimme at all. There’s still a very strong chance that AJ will have to fight behind closed doors.”
Throwing punches inside of an empty arena will be much different for a man who has grown accustomed to doing so in front of thousands of screaming British fans. The O2 arena in Liverpool, England has become the 30 year old Joshua’s home away from home. But even with countless knockouts inside of that aforementioned venue, it doesn’t seem likely that Joshua will be making a trip there for his matchup with Pulev.
“Their regulations comply with the government, so at the moment they’re closed,” explained Hearn. “So they would need to open up. We’d need to get an understanding from the government what is allowed in arenas. Are you going to open at 50 per cent [capacity]? Are you going to open up 100 per cent? There’s a lot of work that has to go into that with the government and The O2.”
Fight Camp: Something New And Old
By: Hans Themistode
Dark lighting and empty seats inside of boxing venues have quickly become the new norm.
Just three months ago, the sport of boxing was put on a COVID-19 induced hiatus. Pugilism was replaced with soap operas and old television shows from the 90s. While they were appreciated, boxing was sorely missed.
The thought of the sport returning sometime this year seemed far fetched with the deadly virus refusing to slow down. Despite that, promoter Bob Arum and his Top Rank stable set in place the guidelines that would allow them to come back. That they did, but things looked and felt vastly different.
There were no more obnoxious fans caught on camera giving the middle finger, nor were there any that stood on their feet whenever a big shot landed. No, they were substituted for blacked out backgrounds or in other cases, old fight posters.
For the most part, fans didn’t seem to care. Fights were back on the big screen and that’s all that mattered. Nevertheless, promoter Eddie Hearn couldn’t stand it. Matchroom Boxing’s head man took notes and began putting the pieces in place to return his fighters to the new COVID-19 boxing world.
This global pandemic may have placed a hinderance on much of the sport, but for Hearn, he used it to his advantage. And with that being said, “Fight Camp” was born.
First thing in the morning, Hearn would stretch out and be awoken, not by the sound of birds chirping, but by the sounds of bodies hitting the canvas as he built an entire arena in the backyard of his once childhood home turned Matchroom headquarters.
Headlining the first event of his outdoor venture would be a pair of fringe 154 pound contenders in Sam Eggington and Ted Cheeseman. Other than the obvious egg and cheese breakfast joke’s that were told at nausea, both fighters put on an eye pleasing show. In between watching fists fly through the night, green grass and Matchroom employees could be seen in the background.
Hearn’s plan is creative, but not unseen throughout boxing history. Fights have always been done in this way. Friends would gather around a pair of pissed off young adults and watch them settle their differences in a bloody way behind the home of a close friend. Whether you get your ass kicked in the most embarrassing way, or you walked away as the winner, backyard fights have always been a part of both pugilism and fighting history. The StubHub arena in Carson California, has been the home to outdoor boxing events on the west coast for decades. But despite the long outdoor boxing history, nothing has ever been done quite in this way.
“Fight Camp” is essentially Eddie Hearn’s professional backyard brawls. For the entire month of August and possibly even longer, Matchroom’s head man will continue to host events there. His vision has become a reality, and although he expressed extreme satisfaction with his first event, the jury is still out on whether or not fans of the sport are completely receptive to his idea.
Eddie Hearn Will Host August 15th Event in The Middle of The Tulsa Streets
By: Hans Themistode
Matchroom boxing and promoter Eddie Hearn are simply not interested in the norm.
With COVID-19 still forcing fans out of arenas, Hearn has taken this time to get creative. While promoters such as Bob Arum have hosted events inside of empty venues, Hearn has let out a deep yawn.
The worldwide pandemic has allowed him to think outside of the box and come up with different ideas.
Roughly one month ago, Hearn announced “Fight Camp.” The site in which his August events will take place will be right outside of his Matchroom headquarters. The venue has been completely revamped and now contains an outdoor ring.
Now, only one month later, he’s placed another creative idea on the table. On August 15th, Hearn has taken over the streets of Tulsa Oklahoma. Literally.
COVID-19 has turned streets everywhere into a desolate area. And while the roads are emptier now then ever before, the 4th and 6th intersection of S. Boston Ave, in downtown Tulsa will be buzzing due to a special event.
Right in the center of the street, a boxing ring will be present and championship fights will be held.
Fans will not be allowed to attend the event, and social distancing protocols will be followed, but fights will take place in the middle of the street.
“We are taking elite World Championship boxing to the streets in Tulsa!” said Hearn on a recent Matchroom press release. “For our return in the US we wanted to stage something as unique, ambitious and spectacular as we have with Fight Camp at Matchroom HQ in the UK, and I believe that’s exactly what we have in Oklahoma. We had so many options and offers on the table for our return on August 15 from coast-to-coast. But I’m just not a believer in boxing in a studio setting. The fighters and the sport deserve more than that.”
“Tulsa shared our vision of wanting to create something special. I am thrilled to be working with the Mayor’s office, Joe Miller at the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission and Tony and Bryce Holden on bringing a thrilling fight night to the city.”
Kicking off Hearn’s outside event will be two championship showdowns as Julio Cesar Marinez (16-1, 12 KOs) puts his flyweight title on the line in the main event against number one contender McWilliams Arroyo (20-4, 15 KOs). Co main eventing will be the undisputed welterweight champion Cecilia Brækhus (36-0, 9 KOs) against Jessica McCaskill (8-2, 3 KOs).
“With explosive Mexican Martinez defending his World title against Puerto Rico’s Arroyo, the undisputed Welterweight battle between Braekhus and McCaskill, Uzbek star Giyasov and talents Ababiy, Ford and debutant Castro, this is a line-up that could stop traffic – so we’ve done exactly that!”
Katie Taylor vs Delfine Persoon Rematch Co Main Events on Dillian Whyte vs Alexander Povetkin Card on August 22nd
By: Hans Themistode
For much of Katie Taylor’s professional career she has cruised by her opposition. However, there was one night that left the fans watching at home wondering whether or not she was the better fighter.
When Taylor and Delfine Persoon matched up against one another in a 2019 lightweight unification, it was assumed to be an easy night’s work for Taylor. Yet after 12 grueling rounds, the thought of who actually won their contest came into question.
Taylor’s fanbase was left in disbelief when the scorecards gave her the nod against Persoon on the night. Now, with the recent failed negotiations between Taylor and seven division world champion Amanda Serrano, Taylor has decided to settle some unfinished business.
Taylor and Persoon will meet on August 22nd as the co main event of Dillian Whyte vs Alexander Povetkin. News of their agreement left promoter Eddie Hearn jumping out of his seat.
“Wow! What a fight – what a night! To be honest I can’t quite believe this fight has been made, I can’t give enough credit to Katie and Delfine for agreeing to do it again,” said Hearn in a recent press release. “Since their epic Fight of the Year contender at MSG last year, everyone has wanted to see this once again and now we have it. I’m very proud to stage this fight especially at such a critical time for our sport – along with Whyte vs. Povetkin August 22 will be one not to forget.”
For Taylor, her contest against Serrano was discussed as possibly the biggest fight in women’s boxing history. Yet with things falling apart, she could have easily stepped into the ring on August 22nd, against both a lesser known opponent and one who presented fewer dangers. But there would have been no fun in facing someone who most expected her to beat. So instead, Taylor is aiming to take down Persoon once again and clear up any doubt from their previous contest.
“With Amanda Serrano not taking the fight I wanted the biggest fight possible in August. I think a second Persoon fight is one that everyone wants to see,” said Taylor on a recent press release. “I’ve been looking forward to a rematch ever since the first fight and I’m delighted it’s been made. It was definitely very close the first time around, but I felt I deserved the win and I intend to leave no doubts in the rematch.”
Persoon sulked on the night of their first matchup. She believed that she had done more than enough and at the moment, should hold all four Lightweight world titles over her shoulders. Regardless of her loss the first time around though, she’s prepared to hand Taylor the first defeat of her career.
“I am ready to get the victory following the injustice last June in New York,” said Persoon on a recent press release. “Not by words but in the ring – I am ready!”
Katie Taylor vs Delfine Persoon Could Co Main Event on Whyte vs Povetkin According to Eddie Hearn
By: Hans Themistode
Unified Lightweight champion Katie Taylor had been preparing for the fight of life. The undefeated Olympic gold medalist was set to take on seven division world champion Amanda Serrano in what was being called the biggest fight in women’s boxing history.
Making big fights however, has never been easy in the sport of boxing, and with COVID-19 still rampaging through most of the world, Taylor vs Serrano became one of its latest casualties.
Still, even with the deadly virus throwing a monkey wrench in Taylor’s plans, promoter Eddie Hearn is hard at work for a more than worthy replacement.
“We are working hard on the Taylor versus Persoon rematch for August 22,” Hearn told Sky Sports. “Katie wants the biggest fights out there and when Serrano pulled out, Katie immediately asked about the Persoon rematch.”
Throughout Taylor’s four year career, she has been perfect inside of the ring. 15 fighters have stepped up to the plate to face her, but all have fallen short. In the case of her bout against Delfine Persoon however, Taylor was anything but perfect.
Forget about losing fights, Taylor was becoming unfamiliar with losing rounds inside of the squared circle. When she wasn’t scoring highlight reel level knockouts, then she was simply boxing circles around her opponents. Yet, during her 2019 matchup with Person, Taylor found herself in a dog fight. The unified champion was consistently backed up against the ropes for long stretches and outworked.
Taylor’s customarily easy night at the office was anything but that as she bit down on her mouthpiece and fought fire with fire. The end results were the same for Taylor as the judges ruled it unanimously in her favor, but the majority of the crowd inside of Madison Square Garden in New York City, believed that her title reign should have been truncated on the night.
Question marks of whether or not Persoon is the better fighter arose, and now, Hearn is looking to put those thoughts to bed for good.
Taylor vs Persoon is a significant match up, but their proposed rematch date is important as well.
On August 22nd, former multiple time heavyweight title challenger Alexander Povetkin is set to headline a Matchroom card against WBC interim titlist Dillian Whyte.
The notion of two high level fights on the same card has motivated Hearn to make it happen. With that being said though, the fight isn’t a done deal just yet.
“The first fight was one of the best I’ve ever seen live and as a fan. I would love to see it again. Whyte versus Povetkin and Taylor versus Persoon 2 is an epic double header. Let’s see if we can get it done.”
Dillian Whyte vs Alexander Povetkin Headline August Summer Schedule For Matchroom’s “Fight Camp”
By: Hans Themistode
Promoter Eddie Hearn has sat back and watched from the sidelines long enough.
Together with Matchroom promotions, they have announced the release of their August schedule. Much like promoter Bob Arum and his unique Top Rank “Summer Series,” which airs shows a minimum of twice per week, Hearn has created something different as well.
Unlike other boxing events, Fight Camp will not take place inside of an empty arena, instead, fights will be staged in Brentwood, Essex in the United Kingdom, at the Matchroom headquarters.
Hearn has spent several months renovating the area and it appears he is now ready to host live boxing events.
Headlining the first card which will take place on August 1st, will be Jr Middleweight contender Sam Eggington as he takes on Ted Cheeseman. Also on the card will be James Tennyson as he looks to take out Gavin Gwynne. Details for the entire card can be found below.
–Sam Eggington (28-6, 17 KOs) vs Ted Cheeseman (15-2-1, 9 KOs)
-James Tennyson (26-3, 22 KOs) vs Gavin Gwynne (12-1, 2 KOs)
-Jordan Gill (24-1 KOs) vs Reece Bellotti (14-3, 12 KOs)
–Fabio Wardley (8-0, KOs) vs Simon Vallily (17-2-1, KOs)
–Dalton Smith (5-0, 4 KOs) vs Nathan Bennett (9-1, 2 KOs)
“Eddie Hearn has supplied a sizzling summer schedule in August,” said head of boxing development for Sky Sports Adam Smith. “Starting with three Sky Sports shows packed with British talent. Sam Eggington against Ted Cheeseman should be a classic clash, while the exciting trio of Jordan Gill, Fabio Wardley and Dalton Smith will be eager to impress.”
Next up for the second week of “Fight Camp” will be WBC and IBO super featherweight champion Terri Harper as she places her titles on the lines against Natasha Jones. Also putting their undefeated records on the line will be a trio of prospects in Nathan Thorley, Aqib Fiaz and Hopey Price. Checkout who they’ll be taking on along with the entire night of action below.
–Terri Harper (10-0, 5 KOs) vs Natasha Jones (9-1, 7 KOs)
–Chris Billam-Smith (10-1, 9 KOs) vs Nathan Thorley (14-0, 6 KOs)
–Anthony Fowler (12-1, 9 KOs) vs Adam Harper (9-1)
–Aqib Fiaz (5-0) vs Kane Baker (13-6)
–Hopey Price (2-0, 1 KO) vs TBA
“Terri Harper has already endeared herself to fight fans with her remarkable success story,” said Smith “But Natasha Jones is a genuine threat as we return to Matchroom HQ with a high-class World Title fight. Anthony Fowler and Chris Billam-Smith have big ambitions and cannot afford slip-ups on the same bill.”
Felix Cash grabs week three by the horns when he main events against Jason Welborn. Zelfa Barrett on the other hand, hopes to make it five wins in a row when he takes on Eric Donovan. The full line up of week three can be found by scrolling below.
–Felix Cash (12-0, 8 KOs) vs Jason Welborn (24-8, 7 KOs)
–Zelfa Barrett (23-1, 14 KOs) vs Eric Donovan (12-0, 8 KOs)
–Kieron Conway (14-1-1, 3 KOs) vs Navid Mansouri (20-3-2, 6 KOs)
–Shannon Courtenay (5-0, 2 KOs) vs Rachel Ball (5-1)
-John Docherty (8-0, 6 KOs) vs TBA
“Felix Cash defends his Commonwealth belt against the dangerous Jason Welborn on our third action-packed show. We’ll get another chance to see Shannon Courtenay in action – she is a rising talent with an entertaining style – and it’s a perfect platform for Kieron Conway and Zelfa Barrett to showcase their skills.”
The previous three shows will bring us to what “Fight Camp” is considering their biggest show of them all. WBC Interim heavyweight titlist Dillian Whyte hopes to knock off another big name when he takes on Alexander Povetkin. The former gold medal winner is fresh off a split decision draw in his last contest against Michael Hunter, and at the soon to be age of 41, time isn’t on his side if he hopes to gain a third crack at a world title.
In addition to the main event, undisputed Lightweight world champion Katie Taylor returns against an opponent yet to be named. Her original opponent, seven division world champion Amanda Serrano, opted against facing Taylor for financial reasons amongst many.
Check out below for the full line up of Fight Camp week four.
–Dillian Whyte (27-1, 18 KOs) vs Alexander Povetkin (35-2-1, 24 KOs)
–Martin Bakole (15-1) v. Sergey Kuzmin (15-1)
–Luther Clay (13-1) v. Chris Kongo (11-0)
–Katie Taylor (15-0, 6 KOs) vs TBA
“Fight Camp ends with fireworks as Dillian Whyte risks his World Title ambitions against the big-hitting Alexander Povetkin, live on Sky Sports Box Office. Katie Taylor can cement her status as one of the sport’s finest fighters when she returns to action on another fantastic bill. We’re back with a red-hot line-up of live boxing!”
Fans hoping to catch the event can tune into Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN for those who are based in the US.
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.”
Eddie Hearn is Turning His Backyard Into an Arena to Host Fights
By: Hans Themistode
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
COVID-19 has been a disaster for roughly everyone around the world. But the argument can easily be made that the sports landscape, and boxing in particular, has suffered more than anyone else. Live boxing events haven’t taken place in nearly three months and the reprieve seems to be nowhere in sight.
Instead of waiting for boxing to be thrown a lifeline, Eddie Hearn is focused on becoming the first promoter to bring live boxing shows back to TV screens around the world. Even if he has to go outside the box.
“I want to be the first but I want to get it right,” Hearn, told BBC Sport. “I don’t want to be the first with a bad product.”
At the moment, staging events at arenas aren’t exactly feasible. Even with social distancing and a seemingly endless supply of tests, fight centric cities such as Las Vegas and New York City are off limits.
With numerous sites off the board, Hearn has decided to go in a completely different direction by hosting events in the home he once grew up in that has been transformed into his Matchroom boxing headquarters.
“Financially this will be painful for us. But after the momentum we have worked so hard to build over the past ten years, I’m not going to let boxing just dribble back. While other guys go with arenas and empty studios, ours will look very different. Just imagine it. It is summer, the house is all lit up, you can see Canary Wharf in the distance and fireworks are going off. Then over the hill walk Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin for a massive tear up on my lawn. World championship boxing in my garden? Oh, go on then.”
Backyard boxing? It has a certain ring and appeal to it. Fighting in front of no fans in attendance hasn’t just become a possibility but a reality.
And while sports such as the UFC have not only found a way to return to business, but also normalize no fans in the arena, Hearn wants to bring some flair to his comeback.
“We cannot just bring boxing back with a dark studio. We have built our product on the razzmatazz, the sexiness and the drama. It has all been about building that moment for a fight. So we cannot afford to just bring people out like a game show.”
“We want to create a gladiatorial environment that will not only ensure compelling viewing but will also ensure fighters can perform at the highest level.”
Creating a spectacle is great. And live boxing making a return is even better, but what about testing and ensuring the safety of the fighters? Hearn has both of those bullet points checked off on his comeback list.
“We will be testing up to 100 people for the week, that’s a cost of £25-30,000. The tests are comprehensive and they take 24 hours. The fighter will stay in their room until they get a call from our doctors. Likely, the call would be on Wednesday, with their results. If they are positive, they will leave the hotel immediately. If they are not, they are able to leave their room and take part in the obligations of fight week, all with social distancing. Everyone involved in the show, from top to bottom, will have to go through that process before they are allowed on to our premises.
After years of promoting fights, it feels as though Hearn is starting from scratch to a certain extent. From supplying hundreds of tests, to completely rebuilding his headquarters, Hearns mission to bring boxing back would seem almost impossible. But it’s those very obstacles that have made Hearn as motivated as ever to get it done.
“It is a huge mission, but we feel we can do it. We are building changing rooms for the fighters. Setting up a space for a ring walk, and figuring out how we can do everything you need for this kind of production with as few people as possible.”
“We are in talks with a nearby hotel about taking control of it for each of the weeks. The way it will work is everyone involved. The fighters, their teams, the broadcasters – will go into the hotel on Tuesday. The fighter and their team will go to a testing facility at the hotel. You will go in, get tested, be handed a room key and go straight to your room, where you will wait until you get the result of the test.”
Hearn seemingly has it all mapped out. But he still has a bit more work to do in terms of smoothing everything out.
“In terms of fight-week promotion, that is the other side of the challenge. How do you do the media around it? Obviously we cannot have dozens of journalists turning up and sitting shoulder to shoulder for a presser and a weigh-in like normal.”
“So we need to decide how it will go. It is likely that Zoom interviews and social media live streams with the fighters and journalists will be the new norm and pumping out clips of the fighters around the clock. building up to the weigh-ins on the grounds on Fridays and the fights on Saturdays.”
Mikey Garcia Already Has a Plan if Chosen to Fight Manny Pacquiao
By: Hans Themistode
Time has changed the perception of Mikey Garcia. Both good and bad.
From roughly 2006-2014, Garcia was viewed as one of the best in all of boxing. He wasn’t spectacular in any area, but all he did was win, win, win and win some more. Simply put, you couldn’t name the best boxers in the world without mentioning Mikey Garcia.
Then, out of seemingly nowhere, Garcia hit the sidelines for over two years amidst contract issues. As the old saying goes, out of sight out of mind. Garcia had effectively become yesterday’s news. But once he re-emerged two and half years later, he reclaimed a spot amongst the best in the world with wins over Dejan Zlaticanin, Adrien Broner, Sergey Lipinets and Robert Easter Jr.
No matter where you looked, there just wasn’t a single pound for pound list that didn’t have the name Mikey Garcia. Even with all of his success, Garcia saw his lowest point after he moved up two weight classes and lost to Welterweight champ, Errol Spence Jr in 2019.
It wasn’t that he simply lost. In fact, many were expecting it. But it was the manner in which he was dominated. Garcia lost every single round against Spence and at no point was it competitive.
The sort of loss that Garcia suffered isn’t just difficult to bounce back from, but it also makes it difficult for him to attract big name fighters. Well, Fast forward one year later, and Garcia finds himself near the top once again.
The cause? A great performance against former multiple division champion Jessie Vargas.
Now that Garcia has regained most of his credibility, he finds himself in line for another big fight. This time, against Manny Pacquiao.
For years the two pound for pound stars have been rumored to face off with one another. Now however, things seem to be getting serious as Garcia, Spence, WBO Welterweight champion Terence Crawford and former two division champ Danny Garcia are all in the running to face him next.
Who Pacquiao chooses is anyone’s guess. But if Garcia gets the call, he already has an idea on how he would fight Pacquiao.
“He’s very aggressive, very experienced, very strong,” Garcia said of Pacquiao. “But I look at it as an opportunity for me to fight very smart and try to counter-punch, very similar to the way Marquez fought Manny. You know, Juan Manuel Marquez was very, very intelligent, a great counter-puncher. He did fight Manny, you know, four times. And even though he lost the middle two fights, I felt like he had won. So, I think it’ll be very similar in that way, where I can use my intelligence, my counter-punching abilities and timing to try and beat and overcome that aggressiveness and power that Manny possesses.”
At the moment, promoter Eddie Hearn is hoping to bring a contest between Garcia and Pacquiao to Saudi Arabia sometime later this year.
Billy Joe Saunders Gets License Suspended and is Ripped by Heather Hardy and Claressa Shields
By: Hans Themistode
For the better part of four years, WBO Super Middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders spent the vast majority of his time calling out Canelo Alvarez. After years of employing the same tactics, Saunders finally got his wish. A date with Alvarez on May 2nd with Saunders WBO title on the line.
Now, ironically enough, Saunders used his words to land the biggest fight of his career. But now, his words are about to cost him.
With the entire world seemingly on quarantine thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, Saunders thought it would be funny to share a video of what men should do to their female spouses should they get on their nerves too much during isolation.
Saunders quickly found out that he was the only one in the room laughing.
Domestic violence has always been a hot button topic. Too many athletes have found themselves in trouble for simply failing to keep their hands to themselves. Saunders may not have actually put his hands on a female, but everyone, including his promoter Eddie Hearn is shaking their head at him.
“I was appalled really,” said Hearn. “It was so idiotic, it was so frustrating because I know Billy well. He’s a really good kid, with a really good heart … but every now and again he does the most stupid things.”
“It’s unacceptable for Joe Bloggs down the street to do it. It’s much more unacceptable for a world champion boxer to be doing it. People who are in abusive relationships are watching that video. You cannot do it, it’s unacceptable.”
Unfortunately, domestic violence is a common occurrence. Yet, you might be willing to bet that one woman has never had to deal with it. That would be arguably the best female boxer in the world, Claressa Shields. With two gold medals, world titles in three different weight classes and an undefeated record, you would have to be crazy to even think about putting your hands on Shields.
While she isn’t worried about herself. She did offer a bit of advice to all the ladies in abusive relationships.
Necessary? Also yes.
Another fighter who decided to jump all over Billy Joe Saunders is former WBO Featherweight champion Heather Hardy.
“This is not funny,” Hardy wrote in a Tweet that she has since deleted. “I can’t imagine the number of people quarantined in abusive and dangerous spaces right now, and this dumb piece of sh*t makes a joke about ‘how to hit your annoying wife.”
The words of Hardy, Shields and Hearn were sharp, but Saunders really felt it when his boxing license was suspended.
“Having considered comments made by Billy Joe Saunders on social media,” the BBBofC said in a statement, “we have suspended his boxer’s license pending a hearing under the board’s misconduct regulation, at a time and venue to be confirmed as soon as possible.”
Saunders has always been known as having thick skin and unapologetic. But this time around, he’s noticed that he made a huge mistake.
For what it’s worth, the boxing community has seemingly appreciated the apology. Even Hardy came around and apparently wants to sweep things under the rug.
While Hardy may not think that Saunders is “dick head” the rest of the world may still feel that way. He has always been perceived in an unfavorable light and this situation certainly doesn’t help.
If Saunders hopes to get into the good graces of everyone he’ll need to take even more action. That would include becoming a social advocate against domestic violence.
As for his contest with Canelo, unless he can somehow get his license back, he may have lost the biggest fight of his career before it even started.
Eddie Hearn Still Believes Billy Joe Saunders vs Canelo Alvarez Will Happen Just Unsure When
By: Hans Themistode
For the past few years, WBO Super Middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders has been calling for a shot at pound for pound star Canelo Alvarez.
With back to back wins over Willie Monroe Jr and David Lemieux back in 2017, Saunders had effectively placed himself in the Canelo drivers seat. Yet, he was passed up by Gennadiy Golovkin and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Saunders dreams of fighting Canelo Alvarez seemed like a distant memory. But fast forward three years and add three additional wins to his resume and Saunders finds himself in the position he had been waiting for.
On May 2nd, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, Saunders will finally receive his wish. The undefeated Super Middleweight champ will place his WBO title on the line in the bout he had been waiting for.
After years of waiting, Saunders finally landed his man. Or at least he hopes he did.
The unprecedented Coronavirus pandemic that has currently swept the entire sports world under the rug, has placed Saunders vs Canelo in major jeopardy. Their Super Middleweight contest has already been pushed back from their May date and has been tentatively set for June.
So now, like much of the sports world, the question of whether or not the contest will take place at all, is something that is almost impossible to answer at this point.
“Everything now depends on when the sport begins, because that fight was supposed to take place on Cinco de Mayo [weekend],” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Now we know that’s definitely not happening.”
If Canelo vs Saunders is pushed back even further, then there is a good chance it won’t happen at all. Reason being, is that a highly anticipated third contest between Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin has been agreed too for September 12th.
Needless to say, a third Golovkin contest would be far more lucrative for Canelo. It would also do much more to enhance his already impressive resume. Still, even with their contest without a definitive date, Hearn believes that his man is next in line no matter what.
“Will boxing return in June, July? If it does, there’s every chance that Billy Joe Saunders will fight Canelo Alvarez in that period, and the date of the Golovkin fight will be put back. I think with the whole disruption, the old Cinco de Mayo and [Mexican Independence Day] will weekend have to take a back seat.”
For now, while the world waits on a decision, Saunders continues to play his part to prepare himself for the biggest fight of his life.
“Right now, Billy Joe Saunders is actually in Vegas, training,” Hearn said. “We were supposed to have a press conference on Monday, to announce the Canelo Alvarez fight. He’s out training with Ben Davison and Josh Taylor, who has just had his fight postponed for May 2 as well. No one knows what they’re doing. It’s the moment where you’ve got to stay focused, you’ve got to stay disciplined. I believe Billy Joe Saunders will fight Canelo Alvarez, as long as the boxing schedule returns this summer.”
Eddie Hearn Wants to Bring Manny Pacquiao to Saudi Arabia
By: Hans Themistode
When Saudi Arabia landed the Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr rematch in late 2019, not only did they get their hands on one of the biggest fights in recent boxing history, but they also officially became a major player in the boxing landscape.
Arena’s all over the world that became accustomed to hosting some of the biggest boxing events, immediately turned their eyes to their new overseas competition.
Not everyone believed in Saudi Arabia. Sure, they managed to get their hands on one monumental contest, but they weren’t a real threat to get their hands on anymore, right? Well, according to promoter Eddie Hearn, that just isn’t true.
“We’re gonna be doing a show there at the end of June/early July. That’s what we’re looking into at the moment,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “We have a partnership in place with Skills Challenge for shows in Saudi. That also involve’s some exciting stuff about academies and performance centres. The goal is to try and bring amateurs through in Saudi Arabia as well.”
If Joshua vs Ruiz 2 is any indication, then Saudi Arabia will be gunning for another huge name.
Anthony Joshua could make another trip to the area, but so could WBC/Lineal Heavyweight titlist Tyson Fury. An appearance by four division world champion Canelo Alvarez would turn a few heads. So would a showing from three division champ Vasiliy Lomachenko if he decided to pay them a visit.
Every single one of those aforementioned names would bring a ton of star power. But there’s one fighter that wasn’t previously mentioned, that Saudi Arabia currently has an eye on.
“They want us to deliver a huge show at the end of June/early July. I think Manny Pacquiao is a guy they would probably love to bring to the Kingdom.”
Manny Pacquiao in Saudi Arabia? Why not?
During his 25 year career, the eight division world champ has fought just about everywhere.
Las Vegas, Malaysia, Australia and even a pit stop in China back in 2013.
Even at the age of 41 which usually signals retirement, Pacquiao doesn’t seem to be anywhere near the finish line. The WBA Welterweight champ is fresh off a win against Keith Thurman in July of 2019.
As for who he could take on next, simply take a look at the top of the division and take your guess. Unified champion Errol Spence Jr, former belt holder Danny Garcia and four division world champ Mikey Garcia are all on the top of his wish list.
With Pacquiao having a tendency for making his fans pack a passport in order to see him fight, they could be forced to do so again. The current WBA Welterweight star could be on his way to a mega showdown with one of the divisions best, half way access the world in Saudi Arabia.