By: Michael Kane
The big fights keep on coming for UK boxing fans.
Tony Bellew has moved back down to cruiserweight and will face undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, all of Usyk’s belts will be up for grab, the WBO, WBC, IBF as well as the Ring magazine belt.
The fight is to take place at Manchester Arena on November 10th.
Bellew, who was the WBC cruiserweight champion, is looking to end his career off in some style, with reports this is to be his last fight. The 35 year old moved up to heavyweight to face David Haye twice and stopped Haye for the second time in March this year.
Bellew told BBC Radio 5 Live, “He’ll see someone that will never give in, ever. He is one of the most feared men in boxing. This is the ultimate test for me.”
He added: “I’m taking this with my eyes wide open, I know I’m facing the best cruiserweight in the world, the best since Evander Holyfield in my opinion, an amazing fighter who can do everything and I’m happy to go in there against him and once again prove the whole world wrong. He’s a monster they all say I can’t beat but it’s not my first time at the rodeo. I’ve heard it all before. Let’s just see if he can answer all the questions I’ve had to answer throughout my career.
“Can he get off the floor? Can he come back from a nasty cut? Can he fight through bad injuries? Can he come from behind on the scorecards? Can he provide a one-punch knockout when it’s needed? All these questions I’ve answered on umpteen occasions.
“What I can promise is I will not be in awe of this man. I will not allow him to rattle five-, six-, seven-punch combinations. He will see someone that will never give in, ever. I’ve fought people far quicker, far more powerful. What I haven’t fought is someone who puts all the things together as good as he does. He can’t show me something I haven’t seen before.
“The world says I can’t beat him, can I outbox him? Probably not. Can I chin him? Absolutely. I’m the quickest cruiserweight he has ever fought and when I hit him he’s going to know I am the hardest cruiserweight he has ever fought.
“There ain’t a man I’ve ever shared a ring with who hasn’t felt the same thing ‘how in God’s name has that skinny fat freak just hit me so hard’. And he’s going to feel the same.”
Usyk, 31, become the first man to hold all four cruiserweight titles after winning them as part of World Boxing Super Series, Usyk entered the competition with the WBO then added the rest by beating Mairis Breidis in the semi final for the WBC and then added the IBF and WBA crowns by beating Murat Gassiev in the final.
Usyk, said to Sky Sports, “ I’ve been preparing for this fight for a long time and i’m delighted that we’ve got the venue and the date finalised. I cannot wait to fight in the UK.”
By: Ste Rowen
This Saturday night in Germany, WBA ‘Regular’ super middleweight champion, Tyron Zeuge, 22-0-1 (12KOs) takes on, Commonwealth and recently-vacated British champion, Rocky Fielding, 26-1 (14KOs) at Offenburg’s, Baden-Arena, for the fourth defence of his secondary title.
Zeuge, fighting in Germany for the 24th time in his 24-fight pro career, defended his WBA strap just over a year ago when he took on Fielding’s fellow Brit and Liverpudlian, Paul Smith Jr, dropping the 3-time world title challenger, along the way to earning a dominant 12-round decision, and though from the 1st bell the victory never seemed in doubt, Tyron’s lack of power left the crowd wanting something more from the man hoping to emulate fellow countrymen, Arthur Abraham and current trainer, Juergen Braehmer by making big waves in the 168lb division, but he had the opportunity, in his first bout since the Smith fight, to prove to the German fans he had the ability to finish opponents when he took on Isaac Ekpo for a second time in March this year.
Photo Credit: Rocky Fielding Twitter Account
The first time the German met Nigerian, Ekpo it ended early when Zeuge suffered a cut near his right eye and the bout was called a Technical Decision victory to Zeuge in the 5th round. So, there was unfinished business for the two fighters heading into the March event. This time the WBA strap holder made lightwork of Isaac, dropping his opponent once at the end of the 1st and then landing a multitude of huge right hooks in round 2, dropping Ekpo again and forcing the referee into ending the bout.
Speaking to German website ‘BOXSPORT’, Tyron is confident he’ll still be unbeaten after Saturday,
‘I’m not too concerned with my opponent. Juergen (Braehmer) took a close look at Fielding and analysed him… He is a fighter, this will certainly be a good fight.’
And whether Fielding is his toughest opponent to date?
‘Hard to say, the next opponent is always the hardest.’
Three months ago, Fielding was apparently in talks to face another champion in Mexican, Gilberto Ramirez, the current WBO champion, but instead finds himself fighting for a lesser belt in, some would say, an even more hostile environment in Germany, as opposed to a US showdown with Ramirez.
But speaking to ‘Boxing News Online’ the former British and current Commonwealth champion is confident in his own ability to silence the crowd, and if it goes the distance, win over the judges,
‘It’s an opportunity that’s been presented to me and I have to take it, wherever it is I’ll go…The pressures on him to keep that belt in front of his home crowd.’
‘Zeuge is a good fighter, he does everything well, but I think I’ve boxed the better opponents…and I think I punch harder.’
Rocky is on a 5-fight win streak since he was knocked out in one round by current World Boxing Super Series finalist, Callum Smith back in 2015. The Liverpool native has earned completive, split 12-round decisions over Christopher Rebrasse and John Ryder, as well as 3 stoppage victories, the most impressive coming against Scotsman, David Brophy in November last year when Fielding took less than 60 seconds to wipe out then, 19-1-1, Brophy, whose only other loss came at the hands of current WBA ‘Super’ champion, George Groves.
It’s power that could be the real gamechanger if Fielding is to win. He’ll have the slight height advantage when the two meet, but arguably Zeuge’s best asset is the ramrod jab he’s displayed in his biggest fights, most notably when he took on Smith last year and no doubt from the 1st bell on Saturday it will be the German who attempts to immediately establish himself in the middle of the ring behind a constant throw of his piston left hand.
But as mentioned, it will be interesting to see, if and when Fielding lands his first significant punch, whether his opponent has the chin to withstand the shot, despite being the man heading into the bout with a KO loss on his record, Rocky has certainly come up against a consistently higher quality, and bigger punching calibre of opponent.
Whoever emerges victorious, the super middleweight division is packed with interesting matchups, from the WBSS finalists, Groves & Smith, to fellow belt holders Ramirez, Benavidez and recently crowned Uzcategui, and the broader string of challengers in the two Calebs, Truax and Plant or Eubank Jr. The list goes on for the 168lbers.
By: Oliver McManus
As I’ve been shouting from the rooftops for a long time now, boxing in Britain is BOOMING and has an overflow of talent flooding through the veins at the moment – hot talents are making their debut on a weekly basis all of whom are capable of causing some serious carnage at the top of the game.
The three fighters featured below are no different – Ryan Charles, Mitch Frearson and Liam Dillon are all represented by Portobello PR and are set to make massive statement, I caught up with all three to find out more;
First up is Ryan Charles, a cruiserweight signed with British Warriors who represented St Lucia at the Commonwealth and World Amateur Championships, scheduled to turn pro last year he was beset by cancelations and will FINALLY be making his debut on the 28th;
Obviously you’re making your debut at the end of the month, how’s preparation been going, how are you feeling?
Yeah preparation has been good, I’ve been really ready for this for a while because I was due to box last year but a couple of cancellations and things meant I couldn’t but I’m training down at Miguel’s Gym with a lot of good fighters – Richard Riakporhe, Isaac Chamberlain, Chris Kongo – so yeah, it’s going well. Really well.
You were at the 2014 Commonwealth games, was it on your mind to turn pro straight away or did you always want to wait a bit longer?
Basically after the 2014 Commonwealth’s, I don’t know if you remember but I kind of got robbed really badly, I gave the guy two standing counts in the round and it was still only scored a 10-8 round by one of the judges and the guy won the fight on points, so honestly it put me in a bad place.
I kind of took a bit of a break from boxing, from 2014 to the end of 2015 I weren’t really training, I started again in 2016 and then I decided I wanted to turn pro and started the process from there – as I said I was due to box last year.
When you look back at the Games is it hard to take positives or do you just move on and change it into something positive?
It can be hard, yeah, obviously it’s the Commonwealth’s now and it’s on TV as we speak. I’m just watching some of them and thinking like “one of those medals should have been mine” but everything happens for a reason. It wasn’t meant to be so I’ve just got to treat it as a learning experience and say “ok, just move on and in the future once you’ve got someone hurt make sure you finish them off, don’t give them a chance” because if I really went for it I could have got him out of there.
When you do get in the ring on the 28th are you looking for rounds or do you want to right some wrongs and make a big statement?
You know what, either way, I wouldn’t mind getting a few rounds but the sooner the better, if I can get them out of there then that’s even better and I can make a bit of a statement, that’s good and I can move onto the next one earlier.
You’re quite a big cruiserweight, could we ever see you at heavy?
Potentially yeah, potentially. As an amateur, when I started off I boxed at Super Heavyweight, then I went down to 91kg (heavyweight) and I stayed there for a bit, then I went down to cruiserweight which is 86, then I went back up to 91. I decided, “let me get all the way down” so I went to 81kg so between light heavy and heavyweight (in the pro ranks) I can box between them. I reckon for me my optimum weight is probably 14 ½ stones, so about 91kg.
In the future I could potentially go up, it’s just the height factor, I’m not the tallest of cruiserweights so it may be a problem.
I won’t keep you much longer because it’s incredibly noisy here (I was at York Hall) but what are you looking to achieve over the next 12 months?
Definitely in the next 12 months I want to be pushing towards area titles, maybe secure an area title and then move on from there – this game is cutthroat and you’ve got a short career, I’ve got to try do as well as I can. I think all the international experience I’ve got will put me in good stead already – I think I’ve fought, 3 Olympians, Commonwealth gold medallist, world and American champs. I think that will help me in the pros as well. I just want to try and get as many fights as possible.
Mitch Frearson is next up, signed by MTK Global and making his debut on the 28th April – down to earth, humble, great fighter, he’s the real deal;
The phone rang about 5 seconds after I texted Mitch to set the interview up, immediately coming across as a great gentleman.
Your debut is coming up, how are you feeling, how’s the prep?
It’s been going well, it’s been a lot, started camp end of / middle of December really so I’ve just been working my way into it doing bits and bobs before getting serious in the New Year when everything was official and I knew I had a set date on the 28th.
Yeah and once you get the date does it become easier to motivate yourself to train or are you always up for it?
I’m always motivated regardless but, obviously, when you’ve got that date, you get that little switch that goes in your head and you know that is you the, you know you’re fighting and you have to turn it on a bit and ramp the training up a bit more.
When you’re in the ring do you want to make a big statement early on or do you want to get some experience under your belt?
I’m not entirely fussed about making a big statement, I just want to get the rounds. As long as I box well and I’m happy with myself then I don’t care how the fight goes – other than me winning, obviously – but as long as I put into play what I’ve been practising in the gym then I’m not fussed how it’s perceived on the night as long as I’m happy, my trainer’s happy.
I’ve heard it said you’re sort of “here for a good time” are you more up for having some good fights?
Nah, it’s not like I’m just here for a good time, I want to progress quickly and work my way up in the sense of like other fighters round the area who would make a good fight…
… you want to put on a show as opposed to just journeyman?
Yeah, basically, yeah I want to put on a show. You’re asking people to pay 40, 60 quid for tickets, you need to turn up and box – obviously I’m under no illusion that I will box journeyman at the beginning – but as long as it puts on a good show, that’s all I care about.
How many tickets are you looking to sell for your debut?
Probably between 100 to 150, I could sell more but where I work still, it’s about balancing time and delegating to tickets, working or training. I’ve got a few people helping me out but I’ve basically been doing it all myself, I could get more tickets out but I’m not too fussed at the minute.
Does it always add extra motivation or is it sometimes unwanted pressure?
From boxing in the amateurs I only boxed in front of about five people, well that I brought myself, there was a few others around but there is subconsciously an added pressure but I’ve been boxing long enough to deal with pressure. It’s no different to any of my amateur bouts – just a few more people!
Are you sort of taking the attitude that it is just amateur but on a bigger scene? Not overthinking it?
I’m a massive overthinker, it’s my one downfall. In this camp moving forward as a professional boxer my one thing was not overthink, just enjoy the moment, go through the process and just see where I end up instead of just overthinking and stressing myself out.
I’m training hard, I believe in myself and go from there.
In about a year have you got somewhere specific you want to be or just keep the fights coming?
I’m not going to be one of those guys that say “I wanna win this, I wanna win that”, I’m in charge, really, of how I progress and that so I want to progress quite quickly and if that’s domestic titles then yeah I’ll crack on with that but I just want to improve as boxer, fit nicely into the programme and set myself up for a good career.
Finally in this trio of interviews is Liam Dillon, a 22 year old lightweight carrying an unbeaten ledger into his sixth professional fight on the 26th May at York Hall – having secured five comfortable points victories over the four round distance, Dillon steps up to six in his next contest and the high pressure fighter will be looking to pile on the pressure at the top of the domestic lightweight division in the not-too-distant future;
Firstly, you’ve had 5 fights in your pro career so far, how would you assess them and what can we expect from you in 2018?
I’ve boxed 5 tough boys all very experienced, myself and my team have seen a massive improvement between my first professional outing and my 5th. I hopefully would like a belt around my waist by the end of 2018.
Absolutely, are you hoping to be out as frequently this year or would you rather fewer, but tougher, fights?
I’m hoping to keep active this year. Same as last year. I’m always in shape. I want the big fights. The fights that’ll move me up the rankings.
And when you talk about the big fights have you got a particular route in mind or will you just see what opportunities arise?
I’ll like take the best opportunities available. Listen to my coaches and my team as I think they know what’s best for me.
How does your relationship with your coaches and gym mates affect your motivation for fight night – do you almost want to do well for them as well as for yourself?
Yeah I don’t just fight for myself, I go out to represent my team, I believe I’ve got one of the best teams in the country around me, my coaches Steve Kipps and Bob Kipps have trained fighters at world level, Ian Wilson (who owns the gym) has put so much effort and belief in me, he’s another brilliant coach. Mathew Chanda, a boxer I train with, is the best I’ve ever trained with. I learn so much from him and after we spar or he watch me spar someone else, he always gives me advice after. Another guy I train with Patrick Sandy is a fitness coach, he gets me in brilliant shape, he puts me through old school training methods. My nutritionist Paul O’Neil from pro- nutrition does a great job helping me maintain weight and all the guys from team Sparta in Chingford. It’s a great gym to train at and there’s no other place of rather be.
Sounds like a really solid team – I was going to ask about Matty Chanda actually, does having some so experienced (Commonwealth level) in the gym make it easier to motivate yourself on the days you’re feeling rough?
Yeah definitely, it’s great to have a fighter of that calibre in your stable, it motivates me to get to that level myself, and Matty always giving his input into my training and helping me get to that level.
You’re quite well known for being a good pressure fighter but what do you think are the strongest areas of your game?
I’ve been told I’m very physically strong for my weight, I’ve hard to push back, I’ve never been good at boxing on the back foot so I just keep going forward.
Finally from me, when you fight at the end of May what can we expect from you? & at only 22 how long can you be in the sport for?
I’m in it for the long run as long as everything runs smoothly. I hope to have a long career in the sport. At 22 I hope I can have at least another 10 years in the sport filled with big fights.
And there we have it, three of the most exciting fighters to grace the “small halls” of the United Kingdom over the next month – they’ll all be looking to make explosive statements – don’t blink or you’ll miss it!
By: Oliver McManus
The iconic York Hall, Bethnal Green, played host to the latest promotion courtesy of British Warriors – dubbed Fire and Fury there was no shortage of action as 18 fights took place over the course of 7 hours.
When the action started at 4pm the first men into the ring were Connor ‘The Lion’ Vian and Ricky Rose who duelled it out over 4 rounds of welterweight action – at 6 and 0 Vian was the heavy favorite over a 3-2 Rose but the underdog was game and arrived ready to fight.
Vian, a former Army champion, looked to control the ring early on and established his superior aggression with relentless rope work and inside punches forming his attacking game-plan.
With an ever-bobbing head from his opponent it was hard for Rose to be the thorn in Vian’s side but he gave as good as he got, showing heart and courage aplenty to rattle the Lion on occasion.
Despite these momentary threats it was the army-man who came through this war with the victory on his resume – a final flurry of body shots securing a 39-37 points victory to set the tone for what be a night of non-stop barnstormers.
Returning to the ring for the first time in four years was Tommy Williams – known as The Wisp – who set to work immediately with a sharp left jab, taking to the centre of the ring and keeping his opponent at distance.
Despite this being his first fight in such a significant period of time, Williams showed no signs of ring rust although the occasional shot saw his head in jolt in recognition of a live opponent. Sustained pressure and a high work rate ensured he had nothing to worry about.
In the final stages, a stunning salvo of shots to the head failed to land the knockout but a convincing 40-36 points win saw successful return for The Wisp.
The next fight of note saw John Harding Jr fight Victor Edagha over four rounds – although initially slated as a six rounder – with Harding heralding a strong fan base and trained by Leon McKenzie.
Beset by an awkward opponent who held from the beginning, Harding showed great mental fortitude to stick to his game plan – a game plan that saw Edagha wobbled seriously in the 1st.
A composed performance was enough to gain the win but the lasting impression was one of good movement – a strong core supported by fleeting footwork and evasive body swivels enabled him to stand clear of any potential fire coming from his opposite man.
Instead Harding was able to pile on the pressure to Edagha, frustrating the Anglo-Italian in the process to the point of a head butt that almost saw Harding tumble out of the ring.
Talking to me after the fight he said “because he was so awkward, I was just trying to jab-jab stick to my gameplan… but you learn from these tricky experiences, the main thing I can focus on is job done and what I learnt.”
Jeff Ofori took to the ring, fighting for the first time at super-feather, and started strongly against Aleksandrs Birkenbergs – a durable Latvian – with the first two rounds all going his way comfortably.
The third round saw Ofori’s onslaught ramped up to maximum gear, unloading a never-ending series of shots to bounce Birnkenbergs, quite literally, all over the ring. Ducking and weaving would do the Latvian no good as Jeffy’s shot selection seemed superior.
“On paper it was a good fight but round one it took me a while to find my range, round two I caught him, he took two solid shots and he wobbled but he was still game.”
“The thing is he wasn’t throwing back and I could see the ref creeping up on my shoulder so I was trying to give him a good whack but at the same time I understand the referee didn’t want any injuries”.
In the fight of the night was Daniel Egbunike, “Danny Darko”, a 2-0 welterweight looking to make it three wins and three knockouts on the trot. Having sold 150 tickets there was vocal support from all corners of York Hall – an incredible atmosphere, salacious noise.
Darko looked to establish his control over Ivan Godor (an 81 fight veteran) in the 1st round with incredible hand speed and power keeping his opponent in check, with the roar of the crowd behind him, Darko refused to back down and slammed shots repeatedly for the opening three rounds.
The young fighter remained relaxed throughout despite his incredible hand speed seeming to come with ease, a real snap of the wrist whilst throwing showed vicious intent and the he displayed all the characteristics of a top quality technical fighter.
Continuing in the same vein, Godor absorbed the punishment like a sponge whilst Egbunike put on record his “box office” credentials, flashy footwork perfectly complimenting his sumptuous shot selection.
Bouncing his head like a watermelon between the hands of a gorilla, Darko appeared to be toying with Godor and was an easy points winner over the course of six rounds but it could easily have been stopped on two or three occasions.
Speaking to Godor afterwards “the Slovakian Dragon” told me he’d welcome the fight again, “next time we do it in London or in Glasgow”. For Darko, however, it’s onwards and upwards.
Also on the card was a young Polish-born, Camden-resident in Peter Mirga who, hands down, is one of the nicest people you will ever meet – he eased his way to a points victory over Harvey Hemsley and in his post-fight interview Mirga said remained humble;
“Fight was all good, boxed nicely, took my time, my second fight now, get as many rounds as I can and hopefully it will pay off in the future. I can box until I’m at least 30, I’m realistic with my goals at the moment, stick to Southern Area titles.
When my managers think I’m ready, for now just learning fights, I want to keep really busy – maybe 5, 6 times this year, just keep busy and keep learning – I love having people, voices that I know, just feels like someone has my back”.
Other fights on the bill saw Andre Grant move to 3-0 with a points victory, Darren Gibson was involved in a thrilling fight against an ever-game Elvis Dube but secured a points win to go 2 and 0; Chavez Campbell enhanced his record with a points victory as did Tommy Williams and Lewis Adams.
The proclaimed headlining fight, Kallia Kourouni vs Monika Antonik proved to be a damp squib with the most notable action coming when Kallia turned up to the ring with the wrong size guard on, prompting a 15 minute delay to the fight.
A chess match encounter failed to see styles mesh and Kallia managed to get the tactical better of her opponent – perhaps the most telling comment as to the nature of the fight is that her second (corner-man) sat next to me and said “this is one of the worst fights I’ve ever seen”.
That aside this was an INCREDIBLE night of boxing courtesy of Mo Prior and British Warriors, with the whole of British boxing set on notice for these youngsters poised to set the domestic scene on fire.
By: Ste Rowen
When I sat down to write something this week, I was struggling, and then it came to me.
In a quiet few weeks for boxing what better way to create unnecessary arguments about a popular but ultimately irrelevant subject?
So here goes, this is my Top 10 Pound-For-Pound UK Boxers.
*I also feel like I have to say, the views expressed in this article are that of the writer and do not represent those of other writers at BoxingInsider.com…. Phew!
10 Tony Bellew 29-2-1 (19KOs)
Despite only fighting once and winning in peculiar circumstances, Bellew keeps a spot in the top 10. Still riding high on his first heavyweight fight, and victory over David Haye, the WBC Cruiserweight Emeritus Champion – no, me neither – was hoping to prove his March 2017 victory over Haye was no fluke but an inevitable injury to the Hayemaker has forced the rematch to take place in May next year instead.
9 Khalid Yafai 23-0-0 (14KOs)
Kal Yafai began 2017 as a world champion, superbly outpointing Luis Concepcion to a unanimous decision in December 2016 for the WBA Super Flyweight title. Aside from Ryan Burnett, featured later, Yafai has perhaps had the quickest ascent, and in an especially stacked division has made his mark. In his two fights of 2017 he earnt unanimous decision victories over former Japanese Fly and Super Flyweight champions Suguru Muranaka and Sho Ishida respectively. If Kal is able to get a place in the upcoming HBO SuperFly 2 card, he would be making the perfect start to 2018.
8 Chris Eubank Jr 26-1-0 (20KOs)
Round about this time last year Chris Eubank Jr was still receiving grief for deciding to dodge the Golovkin fight and nobody quite knew where his career was going. Twelve months and three fights later and Eubank is now one of the biggest players in the super middleweight division. He holds a version of the world titles, the IBO; is less than two months from fighting for the WBA Super belt and, in the UK at least, is now a PPV fighter with the help of ITV. Stand out performances against Arthur Abraham and Avni Yildrim have solidified his status with most bookies as the favourite for his February 17th WBSS semi-final against George Groves.
7 Josh Taylor 11-0-0 (10KOs)
In stark contrast to his former stablemate, Carl Frampton, Josh Taylor has had a fantastic year though it did start off with an awkward win over Alfonso Olvera on the Frampton v Santa Cruz undercard in Vegas. He kicked on by dominating Warren Joubert and then humbling the unbeaten and outspoken Ohara Davies, forcing Davies to quit in the seventh. He finished the year in a risky bout vs Miguel Vauzquez but proved yet again he is well worth the hype by knocking out the former lightweight champion with a killer body shot in the 9th. He’s now at number 9 in the Ring Magazine Jr welterweight rankings, and 5th with the WBC.
6 Lee Selby 26-1-0 (9KOs)
It was difficult to place the IBF Featherweight Champion. Despite a busy 2017, fighting three times with wins that included a 9th round stoppage over Andoni Gago, and dominant displays over Jonathan Barros and an overweight Eduardo Ramirez, the level of opposition and an inactive 2016 have harmed Selby’s standing amongst British fans. However, his long-awaited bout with Josh Warrington has been all but confirmed. If he comes through that with the W, and fights at least once more against Carl Frampton or one of the other title holders, we should see Selby shoot up most rankings.
5 Carl Frampton 24-1-0 (14KOs)
It’s been a bad year for Frampton. Twelve months ago, the two-weight world champion would’ve been top of the list but he started 2017 with a defeat to Leo Santa Cruz in an immediate rematch of their July 2016 bout. Then he split with long time promoter Barry Mcguigan and his son, 2016 trainer of the year Shane McGuigan after his return to Belfast fight fell apart the day before the fight. Ending the year with a, closer than the scorecards suggest, decision win over Horacio Garcia and past victories over Santa Cruz and Scott Quigg keep credit in the bank for Frampton who’ll be hoping for somewhat of a comeback year in 2018.
4 Billy Joe Saunders 26-0-0 (12KOs)
The WBO Middleweight Champion has found himself as a late entrant into the top five of this list after a superior display over former IBF Champion David Lemieux. Even the unanimous scorecards didn’t do justice to the way Saunders played with the Canadian in his own backyard. Billy Joe also scored a unanimous decision over fringe contender Willie Monroe Jr in September. Both victories, but more so the performance in Quebec, see the middleweight in the 4th spot.
3 George Groves 27-3-0 (20KOs)
After re-establishing himself as one of the best super middleweight contenders in 2016, Groves, on the fourth time of asking, became a world champion in April 2017 stopping a durable Fedor Chudinov to win the WBA ‘Super’ World Super Middleweight belt – the proper one. Not only did the win get him his first world title, but also counted towards his number 1 seed into the World Boxing Super Series. His second fight of 2017 saw him body-shot KO unbeaten Jamie Cox to seal his place in the WBSS semi-final, there to face number 8 on this list, Chris Eubank Jr in early 2018.
2 Ryan Burnett 18-0-0 (9KOs)
What a few years it’s been for the WBA and IBF bantamweight champion. Since winning the vacant British title back in November 2015 Burnett has fought six times and in his two bouts this year, he firstly won the IBF title in a dominant decision win over Lee Haskins and then four months later unified the bantamweight division by defeating Zhanat Zhakiyanov in Belfast, in a great display of skill and heart. Already viewed as a standout talent of the lighter weight divisions, a win in 2018 against the likes of Zolani Tete, could boost Burnett into the an overall P4P player.
1 Anthony Joshua 20-0-0 (20KOs)
Almost inevitably, Anthony Joshua tops the list thanks almost completely to his fight of the year contender and almost certainly event of the year, vs Wladimir Klitschko in a bout to unify the IBF and WBA heavyweight belts. 90,000 people packed into Wembley to see the unbeaten Brit drop and get dropped on the way to an 11th round stoppage victory. Then in October he came through a rough test against Carlos Takam to earn his 20th straight victory and stoppage. With a Tyson Fury return looking imminent and potential unification bouts with Deontay Wilder and Joseph Parker in 2018, this time next year AJ could either find himself near the top of the World P4P rankings or pipped to the top of the UK rankings by a fellow Brit.
Kell Brook – Consecutive stoppage defeats to Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence, a bout which lost him his IBF title, have forced the Sheffield welterweight to drop out of the rankings. Moving up to 154 will hopefully kickstart Brook’s career.
Anthony Crolla – The Manchester native may have defeated an outgoing Ricky Burns recently but the former WBA Lightweight Champion was also dealt with twice in pretty dominant fashion by Jorge Linares. Whichever weight he decides to fight at he’s got a big job to get back to the heights he reached in 2016.
Terry Flanagan – One decision victory over Petr Petrov and a move up but, as yet no fights at light welterweight make for a disappointing year for Flanagan who was talking about unification fights with any or all of the champions at lightweight that never materialised.
Jamie Mcdonnell – An overlooked fighter whose two victories over Tomoki Kameda back in 2015 seemingly never got the praise they deserved but the Doncaster native has fought just three times since September 2015, and his one fight in 2017 was a technical draw with Liborio Solis after a clash of heads put an end to their rematch.
Liam Smith – The former WBO Jr middleweight title holder fought twice against the same opponent in 2017. His controversial stoppage of unbeaten Liam Williams in April, and then a majority decision in the rematch weren’t enough to see him reach the top 10.
Callum Smith – The youngest Smith brother undoubtedly had the toughest fight of his career in the first WBSS super middleweight quarter final when he earnt a unanimous decision win over Erik Skoglund, dropping the Swede in the 11th round. Unfortunately, it was the only time we saw ‘Mundo’ all year. 2018 could be a career definer, especially if he gets past Juergen Braehmer to reach the final of the super series.
By: Thomas Nicholls
Tyson Fury has once again announced his retirement, but only this time I feel it is for good.
Tyson, is quick to remind the world and rightly so about his status as the “lineal” heavyweight champion, the holder of the Ring Magazine belt which is by far the most desired and prestigious amongst the world’s fighters. Since his crowning night against WladimirKlitschko in November 2015, before his impressive rendition of Aerosmith, he spoke of how he’d love to be half the champion that Klitschko was – it becomes more apparent with each passing saga, unfortunately that will never be the case.
Before that night in Dusseldorf, where let’s not forget, Boxing’s “experts” never gave Fury a prayer, he was establishing himself as somewhat of a pantomime villain, an enigma and an uncompromising controversial rising star that hailed himself “The Gypsy King”. Fury enjoyed his role as the outlaw, he took great pride in swimming against the tide, in a world where sportsmen and women are under such media scrutiny, they very rarely speak their mind – instead they just say the things that people want to hear. Tyson is different.
At 6ft9, Fury is a giant and a giant with an equally enormous sense of vulnerability about him, a vulnerability which in previous times has captured the hearts of the nation i.e Paul Gascoigne & Ricky Hatton, but despite all of his successes, he never got the praise, respect & recognition he felt he deserved. A British Heavyweight that conquered the unconquerable, a new world champion from the British shores was jeered at the Sports Personality Of The Year Awards. People campaigned for him not to be allowed through the doors. Britain’s most successful sport’s star from the year 2015 and without a shadow of a doubt the biggest personality, was being ousted by the media & frowned upon by the public.
Laughably, Andy Murray was handed the trophy. Time to rethink the name of the competition perhaps?
Fury has been fighting from day one, a premature birth resulted in him being born weighing just 1lb, as he battled on to stay alive, his father John saw a fighting spirit that earned his son the name Tyson. Born into a family with a deep history of bare knuckle fighting, Tyson’s path in life was to emulate those before him and make a stir in the heavyweight scene. In a recent interview with Gareth A Davies, Tyson highlighted how he’d always wanted to become the most controversial sports star on the planet. Whilst, he’s certainly made a good attempt of it, it seems his career is coming to a close.
Two schoolings against the then highly regarded Dereck Chisora, a knock out win over the accomplished Steve Cunningham and a convincing win against Christian Hammer had propelled Fury into the mandatory position for a shot at Klitschko, but he was certainly made to wait. Team Fury had always said they had the formula to stop Klitschko and to do a number on him in his own back yard where many men had failed, most notably David Haye – who incidentally postponed two scheduled bouts against Fury which has since left an extremely bitter taste in the mouth.
Recently, it’s seemed the rebirth of Tyson Fury was in effect, a number of social media posts of him in the gym, a training camp in Marbella with old pal Billy Joe Saunders and a detail of his hunger to derail the Anthony Joshua “hype train”. Yet, in a surprising twist yesterday, Peter Fury & promoter Mick Hennessy were present in the HayeMaker gym, laying down the foundations for a possible fight next year should Hughie beat Parker in September. Peter, Tyson’s coach & uncle, has often stressed his dislike to the Haye camp following the two postponements which left Tyson in a world of lost time. Tyson clearly had no idea about this surprise rendezvous and after seeing the pictures online, he took to twitter to announce his retirement.
In reference to the picture of Peter & Mick Hennessy, Fury took to Instagram –
“Can’t believe you’re in that pr***s gym & even considering doing business with that piece of ****. I’m totally disappointed in you both #JUMPINGINBEDWITHTHEENEMY “
He followed that post with an upload signaling his retirement, “Been very blessed in my life & career to achieve the utmost in Boxing, was an epic journey along the way. Thanks to all the fans that supported & believed in me along the way, Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. THE END.”
Fury, is still in the middle of a UKAD investigation into doping dating back to 2015, he has claimed he has been taking cocaine since being out of the ring, he has a battle to get back to fitness should he ever wish to lace up the gloves again, but now most hurtful of all, he feels betrayed by coach & uncle Peter.
Previously, I’d been confident that he would return to the ring, there was a glint in his eye as he bid to silence all his critics and reclaim what he believes is his – the status as World’s number one. Now, however, It seems he may have fought his last fight in the ring, but certainly not out of the ring, by his own admission Tyson has been plagued by depression, he’d previously stated “I’m seeing psychiatrists. Everything. They say I’ve got a version of bipolar. I’m a manic depressive.”
“I’ve not been in a gym for months. I’ve not been training. I’ve been going through depression. I just don’t want to live anymore, if you know what I’m saying.”
“I’ve had total enough of it. They’ve forced me to the breaking edge. Never mind cocaine. I just didn’t care. I don’t want to live anymore. So cocaine is a little minor thing compared to not wanting to live anymore.”
“I am seeking help, but they can’t do nothing for me. What I’ve got is incurable. I don’t want to live. All the money in the world, fame and glory, means nothing if you’re not happy. And I ain’t happy. I’m very far from it.”.
For all the controversy, all the foul-mouthed rants, all the social media slurs, Boxing needs Tyson Fury and Tyson Fury needs Boxing.
Tyson climbed his Everest when he beat Klitschko in 2015, he had hit his peak at just 27 and now it seems we may have the seen the last of him as a sporting entity and if we don’t see him in the ring again, let’s just hope he wins his most important fight of all.
By: Thomas Nicholls
As the British Boxing scene continues to grow from strength to strength, this new weekly feature will highlight all the news, views and fight previews from the Great British circuit. Enjoy!
On Saturday night, the enigmatic Chris Eubank Jr defended his IBO Super-Middleweight crown against German veteran “King” Arthur Abraham at the SSE Arena in London. Many had foreseen the outcome of the fight as the cocky, charismatic Eubank dominated his way to a landslide points decision as the weary Abraham had no answer for the Brit’s speed and punch volume.
In victory, Eubank (27) has now confirmed his place in the forthcoming World Boxing Super Series otherwise known as the “Muhammad Ali Trophy”, a mouth-watering eight-man tournament starring some of the main players in the 168lbs division. As third seed, Eubank will have home advantage against unbeaten Turkish prospect Avni Yildirim. Eubank is one of four Britons who will feature in the tournament, alongside Jamie Cox, WBA Super Champion George Groves and pre-tournament favourite, Callum Smith.
Muhammad Ali Trophy Quarter Finals –
George Groves (GB) vs Jamie Cox (GB)
Chris Eubank Jr (GB) vs Avni Yildirim (TUR)
Callum Smith (GB) vs Erik Skoglund (SWE)
Jurgen Braemer (GER) vs Rob Brant (USA)
Elsewhere in the UK, WBO Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders is set to defend his crown against American southpaw, Willie Monroe Jr. Monroe Jr is in the process of resurrecting his career after a defeat to GGG back in May 2015. In the press conference on Monday, Saunders hailed Monroe a “quitter” in reference to his evident surrender against the hard-hitting Kazakh, Golovkin.
Billy Joe Saunders has been concerningly inactive since he was crowned champion in 2015, his solitary defence coming in an unconvincing display against unknown Russian, Artur Akavov. Saunders has frequently vowed to unify the division and promoter Frank Warren has twice come close to finalising a fight with either GGG or Canelo, but Billy Joe’s repeated injury setbacks have for now scuppered those plans. London’s CopperBox arena will play host to the fight with Monroe on September 16.
September is due to be a busy month for Britain’s fighters as the Heavyweight clash between Hughie Fury and Joseph Parker is now back on after a cancellation earlier in year. Originally, the fight was due to take place in New Zealand, but the Manchester Arena is the new venue for the Heavyweight showdown.
Hughie, cousin of Tyson, is a slick point scoring fighter who possesses an impressive 20-0 record at just 22 years old. WBO Champion, Parker will enter the fight as favourite, but the Fury camp are certainly no strangers to the underdog status and they will take courage from Parker’s most recent bout as he failed to topple the uninspiring Romanian, Razvan Cojanu.
Manchester based Hughie has this week claimed that he, for the first time in his career, feels at full fitness. Plagued by health issues throughout his teens, Fury is looking and feeling healthier and is convinced it’s his time to make his mark on the Heavyweight scene and bring the WBO strap back in to the Fury family. “It doesn’t matter where I fight Parker in the world, I know my ability and what I’m capable of achieving and I know I can win the world title.”I don’t like to count my chickens, but the obvious incentive to beat Parker is the big fights out there like a unification against Joshua or Wilder.
“This is what boxing is all about, the best should fight the best and the best fighter will come out on top.”
“Tyson will be coming back and he’ll be out to reclaim his position, we’ll never fight each other, but we’ll rule the division together.”
Meanwhile, we still await confirmation of Wladimir Klitschko triggering his rematch clause with Anthony Joshua, but Eddie Hearn and his Matchroom staff were in Vegas last week looking at potential venues for the fight. Let’s hope we have an announcement in the coming weeks!
After conquering The United Kingdom, what is the next move for Errol Spence Jr.?
By: Kirk Jackson
He came, he saw, he conquered.
Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. 22-0 (19 KO’s) delivered on his promise, dethroning IBF welterweight champion Kell “Special K” Brook 36-2 (25 KO’s) in a thrilling, competitive bout across the pond in Sheffield, Yorkshire, United Kingdom this past weekend.
Displaying what Spence described as “True grit,” the newly crowned champ accomplished the same feat a few high profile, contemporary American fighters accomplished – traveling to the United Kingdom to win their first world title.
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) May 28, 2017
Terence Crawford, Timothy Bradley and Marvin Hagler won their first world titles in the United Kingdom. Pretty good company.
After eating a few of Brook’s “Chocolate brownies,” Spence dissed out his own punishment, stopping the brave Brit in 11 rounds.
“I watched some of his fights and he likes to fight at a certain pace,” Spence told Showtime’s Jim Gray after winning the title.
“And once you pick up the pace on him, he kind of breaks down a little bit, and he can’t throw a lot of punches. So I decided to press the action, make him fight at a pace that he didn’t wanna fight at. Then he started breathing hard and he started slowing down, and I knew that I had him.”
Spence stated in his post-fight interview, the goal is to fight all of the top guys in the division. He wants to unify all of the belts and specifically called out unified WBA and WBC welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman 28-0 (22 KO’s) and WBO welterweight champ Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao 59-6-2 (38 KO’s).
“I’ve been calling Keith Thurman out for a long time,” said Spence. “Now it’s time. You say I have to prove myself and I haven’t fought anybody. Well, I just beat the so-called biggest welterweight in the division – Kell Brook. So now, Keith Thurman, you know, come-out. It’s time to fight.”
— Keith Thurman Jr. (@keithfthurmanjr) May 27, 2017
Thurman appears to be game. Whether these fights occur remain to be seen. It’s been suggested Spence has been avoided in boxing’s toughest division.
It will be difficult to avoid Spence now that he has championship stake in the division. If he can unify, then all championship welterweight roads must be traveled through him.
“The goal is to unify the titles,” Spence told Sky Sports following Saturday’s fight. “I wanna fight Keith Thurman next, you know, Manny Pacquiao next. I wanna fight the champions next, unify the division and become the undisputed champion of the world.”
Danny “Swift” Garcia 33-1 (19 KO’s) and Thurman played their part in the unification process earlier in March and it will be great for boxing if the trend continues throughout the year.
With Pacquiao facing relatively unknown contender Jeff “The Hornet” Horn 16-0-1 (11 KO’s) in July, time to will tell if he wants to participate in this unofficial, welterweight-tournament styled unification process.
Spence appears to have a bright future and it will be interesting to see the challenges in store for him next.
Spence Dethrones Brook In Thriller
By: Sean Crose
In front of a jam packed, explosive hometown crowd in Sheffield, England, IBF welterweight champ Kell Brook went out like a British hero of old. Showing great gamesmanship and courage, Brook, whose eye was badly damaged by Gennady Golovkin months earlier, took a knee in the 11th round after being sent down by American challenger Errol Spence Jr. in the 10th. Brook was subsequently counted out. Spence can go home with a belt, but man, he had to fight for it.
The Texas native came out to a loud chorus of boos, which was no surprise, as over 25,000 fans had packed into Bramall Lane to see their countryman, Brook, defend his title strap. Brook’s entrance, on the other hand, was electric, which was also no surprise, as England is quickly becoming THE international hot spot (if not home base) for boxing. Each man visibly oozed confidence and the excitement was palpable in the lead up to the opening bell. Unfortunately, fans in the audience booed the American National Anthem, which spoke more to their individual personalities than it did to anything related to international relations.
The fight itself was extremely close…and extremely thrilling. Some rounds were nearly too close to call. Early on, in fact, it looked like Brook might successfully hold on to his belt. Spence worked the body effectively in clinches, though, and that undoubtedly helped tell the tale. The matter of Brook’s injured eye, however, cannot be overlooked. The man’s face looked a mess as the bout wore on. In short, Brook was wise to take a knee at the end. He came to fight…he didn’t come to lose his eye. “Devastated” was a word Brook used to describe his feelings after this loss. He shouldn’t be. He’s some kind of fighter.
As for Spence, the future is extremely bright. He wants Keith Thurman. He wants Manny Pacquiao. The bottom line is that the man wants greatness, and, although it may be way too soon to say, he may well be on his way to getting it. Another word on Brook, though: More fighters should be like the guy. He’s lost two in a row simply because he’s challenged himself twice in a row. Really challenged himself. How many others fighters can that be said of? Aside from Wladimir Klitschko, I can’t think of one.
This past weekend once again proves that boxing is certainly in a good place in 2017. Indeed, it’s been one major event after another. Even more importantly, it’s been one thrilling event after another. It’s a good time to be a fan.
Showtime World Championship Boxing Preview: Errol Spence Jr. vs. Kell Brook
By: William Holmes
On Saturday afternoon at the Bramall Lane Football Ground in Sheffield, England one of the best fights that could be made in the welterweight division will occur.
Uber prospect Errol Spence Jr. will take on IBF Welterweight Champion Kell Brook in Kell Brook’s home town and this bout will be televised on Showtime in the United States.
Eleven bouts are currently scheduled to take place on the undercard, including a WBA Super Middleweight Title bout between George Groves and Fedor Chudinov. It’s unlikely that the Groves bout will be televised in the United States absent a quick stoppage.
The following is a preview of the IBF Welterweight Title fight. The lead promoter for this bout is Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing.
Kell Brook (36-1) vs. Errol Spence Jr. (21-0); IBF Welterweight Title
The welterweight division has always been a stacked division full of talent. Keith Thurman currently holds the WBA and WBC World Titles, Kell Brook holds the IBF Title, and Manny Pacquiao holds the WBO title, but only Kell Brook had the courage to move up two weight classes to face Gennady Golovkin and give him a better fight than most expected.
Brook could have taken an easy fight after his bout with Golovkin and most boxing experts would not have blamed him. However, Brook has decided to take on one of the most dangerous prospects in the sport today, Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr.
Errol Spence was an amateur star on the United States amateur scene and was a 2011 US National Champion and a 2012 Olympic team member. Kell Brook didn’t compete in the Olympics, but was able to experience a good amount of success as an amateur in England, including two Amateur Boxing Association of England titles.
Spence appears to have the advantage in the physicals. Spence will have about a half an inch height advantage, a three inch reach advantage, and is four years younger than Brook. Spence also appears to have the edge in power. Spence has stopped eighteen of his opponents and is currently riding an eight fight stoppage streak.
Brook also has power in his hands as he has stopped twenty five of his opponents. Seven of his past eight wins were stoppage victories, but his last bout was a TKO loss.
Both boxers have been fairly active the past two years. Spence fought twice in 2016 and four times in 2015. Brook fought twice in 2016 and twice in 2015.
Spence has soundly defeated the likes of Leonard Bundu, Chris Algieri, Alejandro Barrera, Chris Van Heerden, Phil Lo Greco, Samuel Vargas, Ronald Cruz, Emmanuel Lartei Lartey. Kell Brook has defeated the likes of Kevin Bizier, Frankie Gavin, Shawn Porter, Vyacheslav Senchenko, Carson Jones, Matthew Hatton, Lovemore Ndou, Michael Jennings.
This is a tough bout to choose the winner. Spence will be in enemy territory and the 30,000 expected fans in attendance will be loudly cheering for Brook. However, Brook is coming off a TKO loss to Gennady Golovkin and has not been seen in the ring since.
Additionally, Brook will have to make the cut back down to 147 again after competing in the middleweight division.
This is a rare time that we get to see a young prospect with high expectations take on an established champion still in the midst of his athletic prime, and it’s a fight that hardcore boxing fans are looking forward to.
It’s a fight that this writer expects Errol Spence Jr. to officially announce to the world that he is, in fact, the next big thing with a convincing and clear victory.
Five keys to victory for Kell Brook
By: Kirk Jackson
Kell “The Special One” Brook 36-1 (25 KO’s) aims to defend his IBF welterweight championship for the fourth time facing Errol “The Truth” Spence 21-0 (18 KO’s) May 27th, at the Bramall Lane Football Grounds arena, in Sheffield, Yorkshire, United Kingdom.
In a battle of welterweight supremacy, this bout may shape out to be a career defining fight for Brook or a coming out party for Spence.
Each fighter is highly skilled and holds certain advantages. What are some factors determining the outcome?
One of the unique elements regarding Brook is his versatility. Brook has the ability to throw punches from different angles and can effectively throw a variety of punches with precision and power.
Possessing an excellent right hand lead and a right uppercut, Brook will have to emphasize landing these types of punches against Spence.
Brook also possesses one of the best 1-2 or (left jab, straight right hand) combinations in boxing. His jab will be crucial in regards to establishing range, locating his target and finding his comfort zone early in the fight.
Facing a southpaw,right hand proficiency is crucial. Although Spence has the edge is reach 72 inches compared to 69 inches for Brook and is the slightly taller man standing 5’9 ½” – Spence likes to fight on the inside to attack the body.
To ward off Spence’s pursuit and eventual attack, Brook may aim uppercuts down the middle, in between Spence’s high guard as he enters up close.
Alejandro Barrera 28-3 (18 KO’s) landed occasional right uppercuts and right hand lead punches when he fought Spencein November of 2015.
Brook may aim to do the same.
Is Brook the bigger man? Fellow welterweight Danny Garcia believes so talking to Boxingscene.
“I think the timing favors Spence a little bit because Brook just fought Triple-G [Gennady Golovkin]. All that weight, saying he couldn’t make the weight, to come back down, we don’t how he’s physically gonna feel.”
Brook however, altered his diet in preparation for his return to welterweight.
“First, we put him on a strictly-controlled keto diet for a couple of weeks which burns fat,” said nutrition expert Greg Marriott.
“If he spars in the morning, he’ll wake up at 7am and eat slow-release carbohydrates like a bowl of simple oats. An hour before he spars at 10am he has a fast-release carbohydrate like white bread with jam or honey,” Marriot continued.
“In the evening he’ll have a low-glycemic carbohydrate like sweet potato with lean fish.”
Diet and recovery is imperative to maintaining strength. This will allow Brook to fight at full effectiveness; he can fight on the inside and use his frame to keep Spence off balance and attempt to clinch whenever Spence tries to work inside.
Brook can nullify the inside attack like he did in route to defeating Shawn Porter for the IBF title back in August of 2014.
Brook’s power ties into his size and overall strength; he is considered a large welterweight and is rumored to walk around up to 180 lbs or higher when not preparing for a fight.
Brook not out of shape however, possessing the physique of a body builder.
Lead by nutrition expert Greg Marriott and his comprehensive dietary plan, Brook should maintain his strength leading up to his fight with Spence.
With 25 KO’s in 37 bouts, Brook boasts a KO ratio of 68%. He stopped two previous opponents, Kevin Bizier 25-3 (17 KO’s) and Frankie Gavin 24-3 (14 KO’s) prior to facing middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin this past October.
His stoppages against high quality opposition may be questioned, but even against the bigger man Golovkin, the reigning middleweight championwas rocked a few times.
At the very least, Brook possesses enough power to keep opponents honest. Those very weapons, Brook refers to as “Chocolate Brownies.”
For those believing Spence will easily walk through Brook,must think again.
“The Special One” has an underrated skill set and can do many things; inside fighting, slipping punches, effectively maneuvering on the inside and pushing off with his shoulders to create separation and different angles, pull back counters, etc.
Brook is crafty in the trenches, can disguise punches effectively and it can be argued he is more fluid – from a punch combination aspect compared to Spence. Brook also looks a shade quicker in regards to hand speed.
Brook has been here before, participating in five world championship bouts. He is the reigning IBF welterweight champion and held his own against the current unified middleweight champion of the world.
He has experience fighting in front of his hometown fans in Sheffield, Yorkshire. Brook has familiarity fighting in front of a large, ruckus audience, as he fought in front of 19,000 at the O2 Arena in London. Last thing he wants to do is loose in front of the hometown crowd for the second time.
Brook may want to use the elements at play to his advantage and jump on Spence early to create a level of doubt in his mind. Establish himself as the champion and control the fight. This will be key in defending his crown.
Is Floyd Mayweather Jr. going ALL IN with Gervonta Davis?
By: Matthew N. Becher
Ever since the beginning of boxing the future stars of the sport are always compared to their counterparts of the past. Who is the next Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, etc., etc. It is something that goes hand in hand with the history of the sport, the same as “WHO” of this era could beat “WHO” of that era. It is a fictional dialogue that will never cease to exist.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/Showtime
The interesting part about one of the fights coming up this weekend is, has a fighter ever been mentored by who they are being compared to, and if so, have they ever been managed and promoted by their past comparisons?
This Saturday undefeated, IBF Super featherweight champion, Gervonta Davis will be defending his title for the first time against Liam Walsh. Davis, who is only 22 years old with an unblemished record of 17 wins with 16 coming by way of Knockout , is one of the fastest, flashiest and well poised champions around today. For a 22 year old, he is years beyond his skill and looks to have the potential of an all-time great. Now here is the kicker, “Flashy”, “Fast”, “Young”, all these words were also used to describe Gervonta’s promoter, Floyd Mayweather Jr. And the question has certainly come up, is Davis the next “Money” Mayweather?
From watching Davis train in front of him at the Mayweather Boxing Club, to going on late night runs side by side through the Las Vegas streets, Floyd Mayweather seems much more hands on with Gervonta Davis then he has been with any other of his TMT fighters.
“It’s not just one performance. It takes more than just one performance. We truly believe that he can be a great fighter, but he came in his last fight with only 16 fights and beat the champion. We know he’s not going to lay down. This kid has dynamite in both hands. If he keeps going out there beating great fighters he cannot be denied.” Floyd said of Davis. “’ I told him, ‘if you listen to me and continue to work hard I truly believe you can be world champion within 24 months.’ And that’s just one stepping stone.”
Floyd seems to be 100% Gervonta Davis at the moment. Taking time from speaking about his fight with Connor McGregor to fly across the pond and work with Davis.
Gervonta is not only a young champion like Floyd was, but Davis is doing something that Floyd never did in his illustrious career and that is fight on foreign soil. We will see how Davis does this weekend against Liam Walsh, and if the kid from Baltimore can continue his own historical rise.
Is Joshua-Klitschko II On The Way?
By: Sean Crose
Last month, fight fans were treated to what was arguably the best heavyweight title fight in the past two decades. For Anthony Joshua gained heavyweight supremacy by besting aging icon Wladimir Klitschko in a terrific back and forth battle that had both men hitting the mat before Joshua finally blasted his way to victory in the 11th round. Not only was the bout itself thrilling, it was held before close to a hundred thousand fans in London’s Wembley stadium. The mood surrounding the event was absolutely electric and – for once – the match itself delivered.
Soon afterward, almost immediately so, talking heads started proclaiming loudly that boxing was finally back. Hopefully, that proves to be true. But Klitschko may be coming back, as well. The man had a rematch clause in his contract for the first Joshua fight and now Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn feels like Klitschko will act upon it. This may disappoint some fans, who want to see Joshua move on to bigger and better things after finally disposing of Klitschklo in a thorough manner several weeks ago. Still, Klitschko is legally free to do what he wants. And, being a legit sportsman with a sense of honor, he would surprise few if he were to choose to give Joshua another crack.
The question, of course, is would Klitschko have much of a chance of winning a rematch? In all honesty, it might be hard for some to see how he would. The man gave Joshua everything he had the first time. Many are even saying it was Klitschko’s best performance in years – if not ever. Yet he still came up short. What could he do to improve upon the last performance? People also need to remember the fact that Klitschko is no longer a young man. He’s in his forties now and, like it or not, age does matter.
Regardless, Joshua-Klitschko II would be a must see event, even if it would prove incapable of matching the thrill of the first go-round. Klitschko, who has long been accused of being boring, was exciting enough the last time to indicate a second bout wouldn’t be sleep inducing (would he carry out the same strategy against Joshua again, though?). Add in the fact that it’s two big men fighting for big stakes and the bout becomes all the harder to resist.
And then there’s the rising star of Joshua, who is quite possibly the most exciting heavyweight since Tyson. In fact, he may be on the verge of becoming an international draw regardless of who he fights. That’s something the heavyweight division hasn’t seen in ages.
WBA/IBF World Heavyweight Championship Round by Round Results: Joshua Stops Klitschko in Instant Classic
By: William Holmes
Wembley Stadium in London, England was the host site for tonight’s highly anticipated heavyweight title fight between Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua.
Showtime televised the bout live from England and HBO televised the replay on the same day.
Photo Credit: Sky Sports
For the first time in twelve years Wladimir Klitschko was the underdog in a fight. The crowd at Wembley Stadium was lively, loud, and ready for a good fight.
Wladimir Klitschko entered the ring first as the challenger underneath a backdrop of 90,000 cell phone lights. Anthony Joshua entered second to a loud and boisterous crowd.
Nataliya Klitschko performed the Ukranian national anthem and Louisa Johnson sung the British National Anthem.
Anthony Joshua (18-0) and Wladimir Klitschko (64-4) fought to unify the WBA and IBF titles.
Klitschko comes forward with a range finding jab while Sohua keeps his hands high and looks for a counter. Joshua lands a check left hook to the chin of Klitschko. Joshua is short with a two punch combination. Joshua lands a good jab to the body. Klitschko throws a left hook that’s partially blocked. Klitschko is keeping at a safe distance from the power shots of Joshua. Klitschko lands a good quick jab. Joshua lands a left hook to the body. Joshua lands a short jab. Joshua lands a good right to the body of Klitschko. Joshua lands a left to the body and has a follow up right partially blocked. Klitschko lands a good stiff jab. Klitschko lands a reaching jab.
Klitschko lands a sharp straight right hand on the chin of Joshua. Joshua lands a short jab and misses with a two punch combination. Joshua lands a quick jab. Klitschko looks light on his feet. Klitschko snaps out a
quick jab. Joshua lands a short jab and punches the shoulder of Klitschko. Joshua lands a clean right hand to the chin of Klitschko. Joshua sticks a jab in the chest of Klitschko. Klitschko misses with a straight counter right. Joshua misses with a lead left hook. Close round.
10-9 Klitschko; 19-19
Joshua is short with several shots and gets a little wild. Joshua misses with another hard straight right. Klitschko misses high with a right cross. Joshua barely misses a huge uppercut and then lands a few hooks to the body. Klitschko clinches when Joshua gets in tight. Joshua is short with a double jab. Joshua misses a left hook and a two punch combination. Klitschko lands a lead left hook. Joshua lands a god jab to the nose of Klitschko.
10-9 Joshua; 29-28 Joshua
Klitschko lands a stinging straight right hand and follows it up with another straight right. Joshua lands a hook to the body of Klitschko. Klitschko lands two jabs to the face of Joshua. Joshua lands a sharp straight right hand. Joshua lands a jab to the body of Klitschko. Klitschko misses with a lead left hook and a straight right cross. Joshua lands a right to the body of Klitschko. Joshua lands a quick jab and later follows with a counter right hook. Joshua lands a stiff jab. Close round.
10-9 Joshua; 39-37 Joshua
Joshua comes out firing and lands several hard punches and combinations. Klitschko tries to hold on and looks a little wobbly. Joshua lands a hard combination including a stiff uppercut and Klitschko goes down. Klitschko has a mouse underneath his eye. Joshua comes forward and lands a left hook. Klitschko trying to hang on and survive. Klitschko misses a wild right hook. Klitschko has a bad cut over his left eye. Klitschko misses with a wild left hook. Klitschko lands a straight right to the chin of Joshua. Joshua looks tired. Klitschko lands a straight right and a left hook. Klitschko lands a straight right followed by a left hook. Klitschko lands a right uppercut and Joshua looks hurt. Klitschko lands a two punch combination on Joshua. Both guys look exhausted and are holding on. Klitschko lands a right cross and Joshua holds on. Klitschko lands a hard right uppercut and a left hook. Great round, Klitschko was coming on strong late.
10-8 Joshua; 49-45 Joshua
Both boxers look alert after the hellacious fifth round. Klitschko lands a good right hand on Joshua. Klitschko misses a wild left hook. Joshua spit out his mouthpiece and the fight is briefly stopped. Klitschko lands a jab and Joshua lands a right hook to the body. Klitschko lands a thunderous straight right hand and Joshua goes down! Joshua gets up before the count of ten. Joshua looks badly hurt. Klitschko misses a wild left hook. Klitschko lands two short right hooks. Klitschko presses Joshua back to the corner and lands a hook and a right cross. Klitschko misses a wild left hook. Klitschko lands a short jab. Another quick jab lands for Klitschko. Joshua holds on. Joshua lands a short jab. Great round.
10-8 Klitschko; 57-55 Joshua
Both boxers look alert at the start of the seventh round. Klitschko pressing forward though and looks a little more awake. Klitschko lands a sharp jab and is controlling the action. Klitschko lands a left hook to the head of Joshua. Klitschko looks patient. Klitschko lands a good jab. Klitschko lands another jab. Joshua is jawing at Klitschko. Klitschko misses with a sweeping left hook. Klitschko lands a short left hook. Klitschko lands another jab. Klitschko misses with a straight right and Joshua holds on. Klitschko bangs a left hook off the high guard of Joshua. Joshua lands a hook to the body.
10-9 Klitschko; 66-65 Joshua
Joshua didn’t take a lot of damage in the last round, but has never gone past the seventh before today. Klitschko lands two punches out of three while coming forward. Klitschko lands a reaching jab. Klitschko misses a missle of a straight right hand. Joshua comes forward with a double jab but touches air. Klitschko misses with another wild right. Joshua barely misses a straight right hand. Klitschko lands two jabs. Klitschko lands another jab. Joshua lands a jab but Klitschko answers with a stiff jab. Joshua throws a hook to the body and then ties up. Klitschko lands another jab. The pace favors Klitschko.
10-9 Klitschko; 75-75
Klitschko lands a right hook upstsairs and Joshua lands two hooks to the body of Klitschko. Klitschko lands a short left hook but eats two more body shots. They tied up after Klitschko throws two jabs. Klitschko lands a jab but Joshua lands a short left hook. Joshua lands a hard left jab and follows it with a short right hook. Joshua misses a lead left hook. Klitschko lands a quick jab on Joshua. Joshua lands a hard shot to the body. Klitschko is controlling the distance but appears a little hesitant to throw. Joshua lands a short right hand and two hooks to the body.
10-9 Joshua; 85-84 Joshua
Joshua opens up with a two punch combination. Joshua is short with a right cross to the body. Joshua gets tagged with a quick jab. Joshua digs a hook into the body of Klitschko. Joshua lands a short inside uppercut. Joshua throws a two punch combination upstairs and clips Klitschko. Joshua lands a hook to the body of Klitschko. Klitschko lands a good jab. Klitschko misses with a straight right. Joshua lands a jab upstairs. Joshua lands another short jab on Klitschko. Klitschko’s right hand is not finding it’s target. Klitschko lands a good straight right hand. Klitschko lands another good straight right as the round comes to an end. Could have scored it for either boxer.
10-9 Klitschko; 94-94
Joshua comes out firing and has Klitschko looking a little wobbly. Joshua is throwing bombs at Klitschko. Joshua throws a reaching jab. Klitschko lands a quick jab. Klitschko lands a straight right and Klitschko looks like he’s in bad shape. Joshua lands a straight right on Klitschko . Joshua lands a short left hook. Joshua lands a thunderous right uppercut on Klitschko and follows it with a left hook. Klitschko is wobbly and gets up before the count of ten. Josha tags Klitschko with another combination and Klitschko goes down again. Klitschko looks like he’s badly hurt. Joshua is chasing Klitschko around the ring and is firing off punches before the referee jumps in and stops the fight.
Anthony Joshua Wins Thriller by TKO at 2:25 of the eleventh round.
WBA/IBF Heavyweight Title Fight Preview: Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko
By: William Holmes
On Saturday afternoon one of the biggest heavyweight bouts in recent memory will take place at the famous Wembley Stadium in London, England.
This is such a major event that Wembley Stadium is expecting a record setting crowd of 90,000 fans in attendance. It is so big that Showtime will air the fight live at 4:15 p.m. live while HBO will televise the replay at 11:00 p.m. on same day tape delay.
It’s rare to see two of the biggest broadcasters of boxing agreeing to televise the same fight.
Photo Credit: Esther Lin/Showtime
Both boxers appear to realize the magnitude of the vent at the most recent press conference. Joshua stated, “ Even though this is such a great event, I always try to strip it down to what it really is and just focus that it’s just me and this man coming to blows and the best man will win. I’m not only prepared physically but mentally as well for any battle.”
Klitschko recognizes that many count him out as an old faded champion and stated, “ Can you imagine my next opponent is going to fight a guy whose age is exactly the number of how long he has been in boxing- 27 years? Can you image that? It’s a pretty amazing task. Is it a degradation that I’m actually a challenger and underdog in this fight after 27 years in the sport? I don’t think so. I think it’s great”.
This is a huge bout, and will help determine if Anthony Joshua is the current kingpin of the heavyweight division and the reign of Klitschko is over, or if Klitschko’s time at the top is still ongoing.
The following is a preview of Saturday’s heavyweight title fight.
Anthony Joshua (18-0) vs. Wladimir Klitschko (64-4); WBA/IBF Heavyweight Title
This bout is between the next great big thing in the heavyweight division and a man who reigned over the heavyweight division from 2000-2015.
Both Joshua and Klitschko obtained the highest accolade one could achieve as an amateur boxer. Klitschko won the Gold Medal in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games for the Ukraine in the super heavyweight division and Joshua won the Gold Medal in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games for Great Britain in the super heavyweight division.
Both Joshua and Klitschko are very large heavyweights. Both stand at 6’6” and Joshua will have a slight one inch reach advantage, but both men have a reach of over 80”.
Klitschko’s age is his biggest liability. He’s forty one years old and is fourteen years older than Joshua. Joshua’s biggest liability is his relative lack of experience in big fights. He’s only fought eighteen times and has never faced an opponent the caliber of Klitschko.
Klitschko’s inactivity may also hurt him. He fought zero times in 2016, partially due to a calf injury, and only fought twice in 2015. Joshua on the other hand has been very active and fought five times in 2015 and three times in 2016.
Klitschko has been absolutely dominant the past decade and has defeated almost every big name in the heavyweight division in that time frame. He has defeated the likes of Bryant Jennings, Kubrat Pulev, Alexander Povetkin, Mariusz Wach, Tony Thompson, David Haye, Samuel Peter, Eddie Chambers, Ruslan Chagaev, Hasim Rahman, Sultan Ibragimov, Lamon Brewster, Calvin Brock, and Chris Byrd.
Joshua doesn’t have the extensive list of defeated contenders on his resume as Klitschko, but he has still defeated some very good opponents. He has defeated the likes of Eric Molina, Dominic Breazeale, Charles Martin, Dillian Whyte, Gary Cornish, and Kevin Johnson.
Joshua has the clear edge in power as he has stopped every single opponent he has faced as a professional. Klitschko has stopped fifty three of his opponents but has been stopped three times in his career.
Klitschko’s two biggest concerns appear to be fighting a tall boxer as was evident in his fight with Tyson Fury, and fighting a hard puncher as evident in his three knockout losses.
Joshua is just as tall as Klitschko and has plenty of power.
Don’t forget Joshua will be fighting in front of his countrymen.
All signs point to Anthony Joshua winning on Saturday and ushering in a new era of heavyweight boxing.