European Boxing Notebook: Taylor, WBSS, Postol, Hearn, Fury, and more…
By: Oliver McManus
Welcome along to the latest instalment of the European Boxing Notebook and boy, oh boy, oh boy it’s been a stellar couple weeks of action across the continent so nothing too in-depth today but let’s rattle through all the key talking points;
Photo Credit: Josh Taylor Twitter Account
Taylor Thumps Postol
Josh Taylor was in action on June 23rd in Glasgow as he took on Viktor Postol in a WBC Final Eliminator – off the back of a third round KO win against Winston Campos in March, all the pressure was on Scotland’s hero with many placing him as the best in the division.
A ferocious fight at the SSE Arena saw both Taylor and Postol finding success with no real round – aside from the 10th – being anything less than 50-50 and, let’s be clear, this was a case of incredible matchmaking with Postol’s stock falling and Taylor’s rising, make no mistake by that, however, Postol was very much here to take glory as opposed to make up the numbers.
The fight started off with the Scottish southpaw and the orthodox-stance Ukrainian circling in the middle of the ring, Taylor punching high with his right jab – against an opponent taller than him – whilst Postol searched in an aggressive fashion, looking to land lunging punches.
Throughout the duration of the 12 rounds we witnessed aggression galore with the intent often being better than the finished product but silky combinations and toe-to-toe, phone-box, fighting ensured this would go down as one of the most aesthetically pleasing “brawls” in recent memory.
A high tempo combined with heavy pressure saw Josh Taylor home with success being born out of his superior work-rate and crisp, clean, body attacks – a flurry of such punches sent Postol down to the canvas in the 10th with his legs seeking to betray.
117-110, 118-110, 119-108… the scorecards were nothing to be get excited about, Taylor’s promoter said as much as that in his post-fight interview, 115-112 was a fair score-line but the right man won and a world title shot is, surely, his next calling.
World Boxing Super Series
Talking of a world title shot the big news regarding Josh Taylor is that he will enter the 2018/19 Super Lightweight World Boxing Super Series in a tournament that, should, guarantee him a shot at, at least, ONE world title; Kiryl Relikh and Eduard Troyanosky will form one of the opening quarter-finals, Ivan Baranchyk and Anthony Yigit will make-up another one whilst the winner of Regis Prograis and Juan Jose Velasco will also enter the tournament.
In the bantamweight division Zolani Tete and Ryan Burnett have long been confirmed as participants for the 2018/19 tournament, along with Emmanuel Rodriguez. It is widely believed that Nordine Oubaali and Tassana Sanpattan will fight each other in a quarter-final match-up whilst Jason Moloney, IBF mandatory challenger, has also been confirmed for the tournament.
Butcher and Camacho set sights on Commonwealth glory
With Jason Moloney entering the WBSS it’s more than likely that he’ll vacate his Commonwealth and with Iain Butcher being the mandatory challenger his title shot could come sooner than expected – the most likely opponent for Butcher to face would appear to be Kyle Williams in a bout that would see Williams, the English champion, looking to add a second belt to his collection.
Wadi Camacho has been confirmed to BoxingInsider as the mandatory challenger for Lawrence Okolie’s Commonwealth strap and Camacho has been vocal on social media in wanting the contest; Okolie has been mandated to defend his belt against Camacho by the end of September 2018 and, Camacho’s manager, Steve Goodwin has said he intends to outbid Eddie Hearn for the rights to stage the event with a likely date being September 22nd.
Conlan’s technical brilliance
Mick Conlan returned to his home town of Belfast in significant style as he fought in Northern Ireland for the first time in eight years. His opponent was of the ideal calibre, a former world title challenger looking for redemption but easily beatable, and Adeilson dos Santos played his role to perfection.
The Brazilian came to box and wanted the win but ultimately was out-classed by the supreme technical skills of Michael Conlan who hardly looked like stepping out of first gear – really silky with his footwork, Conlan’s confidence grew as the rounds went on and a swift counter-punch and, space-creating, jab ensured the Irish hero controlled the bout from the outset. 79-73 to Top Rank’s super-protégé, The Conlan Revolution has only just begun.
On the undercard Jono Carroll handed out a nine round beat-down to his most ferocious of rivals in Declan Geraghty; the challenger seemed to lack the conditioning required for such a high tempo, aggressive fight and after the 2nd round he was visibly huffing and puffing.
Carroll had a wobbly first round but after that he got into his stride with ease, keeping the punches flowing and varying from body to head with ease, a ninth round knockout ensured he retained his IBF Inter-Continental super featherweight title.
Jazza Dickens vs Martin Ward
Jazza Dickens and Martin Ward will meet for the vacant British super bantamweight title on July 27th, live on FreeSports, in Houghton-le-Spring, as the pair compete for the second time in their careers with the first bout, some three years ago, producing an enthralling split decision victory for Dickens; since then Jazza has faced Guillermo Rigondeaux and the belief is that he has improved greater than Ward in the time following but this is, still, too close to call.
Hearn’s new shows
Eddie Hearn has announced two new shows with the first being a NXTGEN event in Cardiff headlined by Joe Cordina vs Sean Dodd; Cordina headlines in his home country for the first time against, ever-game, Dodd in a scrap for the WBA International and Commonwealth lightweight belts.
The Commonwealth belt was vacated by Tommy Coyle who will fight in America in September.
Also on that Cardiff show, August 4th at the Ice Arena, will be Sean McGoldrick, Daniyar Yeleussinov, Jordan Gill and Tasha Jonas.
Amir Khan will return to the ring for the second time since his comeback began, in April, on September 8th in Birmingham, facing, world-ranked, Samuel Vargas in a contest that will be sure to test the former unified champion far more than his 39 second outing against Phil Lo Greco.
Jason Welborn and Tommy Langford will go toe-to-toe for the second time this year as they rematch for the British middleweight championship – the last time they met, in Walsall, there was non-stop action for the full 12 rounds with Welborn, just, nicking a split decision to steal Langford’s title… here’s hoping for more of the same.
Fury’s route to the top
With Jarrell Miller, seemingly, following Dillian Whyte in refusing to travel to Bulgaria to face Kubrat Pulev for an IBF final eliminator contest it is looking increasingly likely as though Hughie Fury will be the next fighter to be mandated against the 37 year old. Negotiations are still ongoing with the Miller camp but with such a public declaration of reluctance to travel it seems inevitable that the governing body will turn to their next eligible challenger in a bid to get the contest staged rather than later.
MTK ink BoxNation deal
Last notebook we reported on the breaking news that BoxNation were to cease broadcasting Frank Warren shows and the news emerging since has revealed that MTK Global will broadcast, at least, 12 shows a year on the 24-hour channel.
The first broadcast will occur on Friday 24th August, from the Emirates Arena, as Ronnie Clark and David Oliver Joyce headline in a contest for Clark’s IBF European Super-Featherweight title; local legend Willie Limond will tackle, MTK newcomer, Darragh Foley whilst Stephen Ormond battles, stable-mate, George Ashie. Also on the bill is David Brophy, Kieran Smith, Stephen Tiffney, Tommy Philbin, Chris Wood and Aidan McGlynn.
European round up
Tony Yoka took on teak-tough David Allen at the Dome de Paris-Palais des Sports on June 23rd with the Rio Olympic gold medallist in the toughest test of his professional career – David Allen was receiving his biggest payday but it wasn’t about the money, there was a genuine belief from Allen that he could find success over the Frenchman and there were periods in which he did rattle some serious punches through. The superior condition of Yoka was enough to see him have the more dominant periods of the bout and he triumphed via 10th round TKO.
That’s the main result but other quick ones – Pavel Sour and Vaclav Pejsar rematched in the Czech Republic, Sour won in the first fight, and got the win the second time round thanks to a unanimous decision to retain his Czech heavyweight title; Abigail Medina defended his EBU Super Bantamweight title against Anthony Settoul and finished the bout in style with a classy first round knockout.
That is it for this edition of the European Boxing Notebook, like I said, there was a lot to get through but it’s been a busy couple of weeks!
European Boxing Notebook: Fury, Flanagan, Hyland, Fielding, and more…
By: Oliver McManus
Hello and welcome along to Boxing Insider’s European Boxing Notebook, covering everything you need to know from the world of boxing over here in the UK and on the continent – it’s been a sensational couple of weeks so let’s get straight into the action;
Fury’s less than furious comeback
Tyson Fury returned to the ring on June 9th with a cacophony of hype, glamour and ecstasy surrounding the lineal champion’s return to the ring after an extended period of absence – two and a half years.
Fighting at the Manchester Arena in front of 20,000 fans, the opponent chosen was Sefer Seferi from Albania and whilst everyone knew, going in, that this was THE Tyson Fury show and, even, that Seferi had shown nothing worthy of warranting a place in the ring with the Brit, NO-ONE knew just how poor Seferi was going to be.
Coming into the ring a diminutive figure, looking half the size of Fury – who, despite having lost 8st, still looked a good 1.5-2st out of shape – the mockery of the sport began instantaneously with Fury jumping around with a big smile on his face and Seferi whipping out an Ali shuffle of his own.
The fight lasted four rounds during which few shots were thrown from either man – probably none that landed from Sefer – but Tyson Fury, to his credit, looked loose and liquid-like in his movement, still as active as ever before, sharp and energetic.
He looked happy in the ring and, as we all know, you need to be happy in yourself in order to perform at your best. Ring rust was non-existent but it would have been nicer, far nicer, to see Tyson really go for it and pummel Sefer Seferi as quickly as he could.
Make no mistake, if Fury had pushed the case, Seferi could have been bounced out of the ring back to Albania, quite literally, within one round.
Tyson Fury will return to the ring on August 18th at Windsor Park but if we are, truly, to believe this comeback will result in a long-term Tyson then he’ll need a far better performance against a far better opponent.
Faltering Flanagan, the bait on Mo’s Hook(er)
On that same card we witnessed Terry Flanagan stepping up in weight to fight for the vacant WBO Super Lightweight Championship of the World against, little-fancied, Maurice ‘Mighty Mo’ Hooker.
Hooker, going in to this fight, was dismissed extensively by British fight fans – myself included – who saw him as little other than an easy win for Terry Flanagan; there were odds of 6’s and 7’s being offered on Hooker just minutes before the bell rang.
Terry Flanagan started off slowly but with more intent, looking in control, whereas Mo Hooker began with fire in his belly, seeking to rough up and annoy the British favourite and, boy, it worked.
Truth be told it took a gaping cut and a cascade of claret down the face of Flanagan to really get him into gear. Aware that time was not his friend, the cut worsening, he really exploded into life sending barrage after barrage of combinations towards Hooker.
The rounds would follow the same pattern, however, with Hooker coming on strong in the final 90 seconds and, ultimately, it was Flanagan’s footwork that seemed to be his downfall getting his feet almost, metaphorically, in a tangle with him never seeming too confident in where to place them.
We went to the scorecards and with two judges giving it 117-111, albeit one to Flanagan and one to Hooker, we headed to a split decision with the third judge giving it 115-113 to the American challenger.
A horrible fight to watch, make your own mind up on the scorecard.
Lewis Leather’s Hyland
Lewis Ritson produced a stonking performance as he returned to the North East to win the British Lightweight title OUTRIGHT by stopping Paul Hyland Jr in the very first round – dropping him on three occasions.
Now with seven successive fights ending before the final bell, Lewis Ritson has need just four rounds in his last three bouts to finish off Joe Murray, Scott Cardle and Hyland – all were expected to be his “toughest challenge yet”.
An absolute superstar in the North East the mission, for Hearn, is now to turn him into a global sensation because he certainly has the talent to get there; domestically he’s a step above but the gap to world level is even bigger so finding the right for Ritson is going to be mighty hard over the next 12 months.
Josh Kelly was another stellar fighter in action at the Metro Radio Arena, co-headlining, but he left the fight with more questions asked than answered. Kelly looks phenomenal when going forward and attacking but from a defensive point of view, he shows very little of the fundamentals and looks likely that he could get caught out against elite fighters.
Rocky’s Road to Germany
Announced over the past week was Rocky Fielding’s challenge to Tyron Zeuge’s WBA ‘Regular’ Super Middleweight title, the bout to take place on July 14th in Offenburg, Germany.
For about a month, now, we were aware that Zeuge’s next defence would take place against either Fielding or John Ryder but, Rocky was the man who got the nod with the 26-1 fighter looking to move to higher heights having vacated his British and Commonwealth Super Middle belts earlier this year.
Fielding’s only loss came way back in 2015, as he was viciously exposed in a fight with Callum Smith, dropping Fielding three times in the first round before the bout was waved off; since then Fielding has bounced back with five successive wins with the standout performances being against John Ryder and David Brophy.
Zeuge, on the other hand, will enter the ring with a 22-0-1 record having defended his title three times since claiming it via a 12th round KO over Giovanni De Carolis – arguably one of the worst world champions of all time – and was most recently in action back in March with a two round demolition job over Isaac Ekpo.
Fielding represents the toughest test for Zeuge and vice versa, save for Callum Smith, but should Rocky come back to Britain with the belt, bring on a super-fight between him and the winner of George Groves and Callum Smith for THE proper WBA belt.
Whyte poo-poo’s Kubrat
Dillian Whyte has withdrawn from his IBF final eliminator contest against Kubrat Pulev after it emerged that fight was edging even closer to being hosted in Bulgaria; Eddie Hearn, Whyte’s promoter, lost the purse bids in sensational fashion and Dillian Whyte will now face Joseph Parker, live on Sky Sports Box Office, on July 28th.
Eddie Hearn says this fight sends a big “f**k you all” to the boxing community but, if anything, it screams of hypocrisy after having accused all the big names of avoiding Dillian Whyte, also WBC number 1, before avoiding the golden opportunity of forcing a MANDATED rematch with Anthony Joshua.
Take nothing away from this fight, however, it’s a brilliant contest by Dillian Whyte who gets the opportunity to really produce a big performance against a fighter, still, at the top of his game.
Parker will view this as his opportunity to bounce back, immediately, into the world title scene as well as a chance to upset the apple cart and with the Kiwi having been AJ’s last opponent there is a direct yardstick for which you can measure up Dillian Whyte’s performance.
Josh Leather’s Leave of Absence
Josh Leather has decided to take an extended leave of absence from the boxing ring and has withdrawn from his fight against Ohara Davies on June 23rd at the O2. Leather was being lined up for a potential block-buster of fights including himself, Davies, Jack Catterall and Terry Flanagan but, having split with his trainer, it will be a long time before he returns to the ring.
Hopefully for fight fans Leather can find his love for the sport, again, because he’s a cracking boxer.
BoxNation and Frank Warren are ON A BREAK!
Today (June 19th) BoxNation have announced their broadcast agreement with Frank Warren will cease to exist as of July 1st with the channel’s founder now taking his shows exclusively to BT Sport – with whom he has signed a multi-year agreement, believed to be until 2022.
This doesn’t mean an end to the 24-hour subscription channel, however, who will continue their exclusive output deal with Top Rank as well as airing other international shows, at least 12 cards a year from MTL Global and, who knows, the World Boxing Super Series?
British Boxing Purse Bids –
This will be nice and snappy because there’s a lot to get through;
Jason Welborn (Holder) will defend his middleweight title against Tommy Langford – the man he won the belt off – after a request for the rematch was approved, having been put forward by his promoter. The winner of the bout will be required to defend against Mark Heffron when called to do so.
Asinia Byfield and Ted Cheeseman will meet for the vacant Super Welterweight title after the withdrawal of Liam Williams and Joe Pigford from proposed bouts with Byfield. Eddie Heard has confirmed his intention to put the fight on.
The British super lightweight belt has been sent to purse bids with Glenn Foot vs Robbie Davies Jr the two chosen challengers for the vacant belt whilst Akeem Ennis Brown and Joe Hughes have been mandated in an eliminator.
Liam Conroy (Holder) will, again, face Miles Shinkwin for the English Light Heavyweight belt after their first fight ended in controversy with Conroy appearing to land a series of shots to the back of Shinkwin’s head; the purse bid was won by David Haye and the fight is likely to take place on terrestrial TV in either Dave or Channel 5. Ricky Summers and Craig Richards are set to meet in an eliminator.
Elliott Matthews vacated his English Middleweight title and Reece Cartwright, IBF Youth champion, and Tyler Denny have been selected by the board of the control as the two challengers for the belt.
There we have it, then, the best bits from British and European boxing over the past two weeks, it’s been stupendously busy but I’ll give the last nod to David Allen who travels to Paris on June 23rd to face , Rio 2016 gold medallist, Tony Yoka .