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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 .

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Tyson Fury Returns to Defeat Seferi

By: Oliver McManus

Tyson Fury’s much-awaited return saw The Gypsy King back doing his thing, Sefer Seferi’s soul was soundly shellacked as he made his first foray into fighting in the United Kingdom – probably his last, too – the raucous atmosphere of near 20,000 fans exploded into life and Frank Warren stood proudly in the ring like an old school teacher witnessing his pupil achieve the greatest of successes.

Having lost 8st 2lbs since getting back in the gym, Fury was still unbelievably 4st heavier than Seferi but, by gosh, was he by far the physically imposing figure and within 12 seconds he had already set about taunting his Albanian opponent.

Seferi looked reminiscent of Brian Sutherland – remember him? – but Tyson Fury did little to impress in the opening round just looking far too relaxed, almost mocking his opponent and appearing to treat this as an exhibition contest.

Farcical, almost, there were flashbacks to David Haye vs Audley Harrison except 10x worse but Fury began to actually throw punches in the second round with fast, fleeting hands finding the target but having very little impact.

Phil Edwards, the referee, had to have words worth Fury and there began to be a genuine thought that Fury could be disqualified but before any noticeable action happened within the ring, a fight erupted outside of it.

The state of this fight is perhaps best summed up by the fact my 53 year old father, who I was watching with, fell asleep before the end of the third round and, god, it was becoming a real snooze-fest.
Fury looked bored and for all the hype surrounding his comeback this was, make no mistake about it, a borderline disgraceful performance. Aside from the fact his opponent offered nothing in return, Fury knew he could do anything and still win every single round.

Four rounds in and he produced some serious stuff, showing the class that made him world champion with good shot selection and but in even more farcical scenes, Sefer Seferi stayed on his stool at the end of the fourth round having come to Britain, pocketed 30 grand and done nothing!

The less said about this fight the better but Tyson Fury got the win to kick-start his career yet again.

Terry Flanagan was moving up in weight class having made six defences of his WBO Lightweight title and faced Maurice ‘Mighty Mo’ Hooker for the same organization’s super-lightweight belt; Hooker was first into the ring and remained convinced throughout that he would be the man to take Flanagan’s unbeaten record and planned to “punch Flanagan straight in the f***ing mouth”.
Hooker was one a half inch taller than Flanagan and came into the bout with a nine inch reach advantage over the, technically outstanding, southpaw.

Flanagan, in the bright blue shorts, was looking to become the 10th British multi-weight champion and the first to do so in the light and super-light divisions. Fast and nippy on his feet, Flanagan bounced in and out with ease to keep Hooker’s brain ticking over and whilst Hooker looked aesthetically the bigger man – no surprise given his larger stature – the opening round was awkwardly cautious with the American underdog failing to settle into a rhythm and Flanagan utilising his footwork as opposed to his hands.

Hooker failed to connect with anything meaningful but threw some overhand rights to signify his intent whilst Flanagan stayed busy, kept the higher work-rate, to establish his tag as the favourite.

A scamperous, enthusiastic Flanagan looked incredible in terms of movement as he bounced around the ring to stay out of range from Hooker resulting in technical opening third to the fight with neither boxer willing to commit 100% to their game-plan but both staying in contention with tough-to-call rounds.

Fourth round saw fire aplenty with both men starting to gain confidence and throwing shots more regularly, Hooker often followed through with secondary punches to double-up on Terry Flanagan before some nasty head-action followed by dirty punches from Hooker left Flanagan feeling uncomfortable.

Into the fifth round and Hooker enacted that game-plan of his, landing square to the face of Flanagan with the Manchester man getting visibly angered, leading with his head – there was danger of this fight all going to waste for Terry with him showing little interest in the bout.

Perhaps this would be an all too familiar tale of an unknown American coming over to Britain and catching us, maybe arrogant, Brits unaware – Caleb Truax, anyone? A huge cut from Flanagan opened up in the seventh after Flanagan fired sensational shots into Hooker, battering up his opponent like a jumbo sausage with the pressure being piled on from a fighter aware that time was not his friend.

Hooker acting like an amateur-dramatics teacher began to fall victim to the open irritation of Flanagan who tried to step up the pressure on a fatiguing Hooker with the pride of Manchester showing guts of his own to inspire the crowd, landing at will on the American as the fight began to hot-up, Flanagan finding rhythm.
Replays showed that a concussive crack of heads between the two fighters resulted in the gaping clash of heads and with Frank Hopkins in Flanagan’s corner there could be no better man to ensure Flanagan had every fighting chance possible to come out with his second weight world title.

ON THE ROPES was Hooker towards the final third of the eight with Flanagan teeing off on his American opponent with the cut ever worsening but the heart of an absolute lion the only thing carrying Terry into war-like territory.

Claret flowing into the eyes of Turbo surely put paid to criticism, beforehand, that Flanagan was a boring fighter because this was shaping up into a real fire-fight – intentional or not, that’s a different question.

The British fighter came into the fight with far more experience and expectation was that the championship rounds would see him home and Hooker’s corner seemed to be increasingly nervy as the final three rounds got underway but, without doubt, the scorecards were far closer than either corner could imagine.

Flanagan started the 10th with yet another burst of energy, springing into the face of Hooker and firing off with some delightful left hands but Hooker retained in close contact with the former Champion and it was anyone’s guess who was leading on the scorecards with two rounds to go.

Truth be told this was disappointing from Flanagan, vastly disappointing, and it’s hard to say he deserved the win but, then again, the same could be said for Hooker – it was just a fight that failed to really showcase either of their skills; Hooker was more flashy but you’d make an argument that Flanagan was the more gritty, technical boxer.

Flanagan raided into the 12th round, a man on a mission, and came blasting into the round sending fire and fury cascading into the face of Hooker – this was the crescendo hoped for and with Flanagan fighting to the tempo of the crowd it looked as though he was getting the better of an awkward, lanky American who was fighting to elevate his career into unknown potential.

Terry coped well with the pressure, Hooker dealt with the occasion well and the cleaner work was carried off by the British fighter, the more experienced professional whereas Hooker fought dirty but hard – it’s hard to take a warming to his style and many of the fans didn’t.

The bell sounded and there was a warm, nervous applause from the crowd at the Manchester Arena, no-one really knowing which way the fight was going to go.

A split decision, 115-113, 111-117, 117-111, in favour of Maurice Hooker seemed to tell a different tale to the fight that unfolded at the Manchester Arena. It’s unjust but it’s not a rematch you want to see.

Ricky Hatton’s heavyweight protégé Nathan Gorman was the opening bout of the television broadcast up against Sean ‘Big Sexy’ Turner who promised to wipe the grin off the rapidly rising 21 year old, Frank Warren fighter.

The fight opened tentatively with Gorman throwing repeated double jabs and when the Sean worked his way up close – into phonebox territory – Gorman launched flurry after flurry of ferocious uppercuts with menace packed behind them.

Turned – who went the distance with Filip Hrgovic earlier this year – was undoubtedly the most durable of opponents to have stepped in the ring with Gorman but appeared to be lazy in his head movement, becoming an almost static target for the relaxed fighter to pick off at will.

A right hand uppercut in the 2nd round dropped Turned in his own corner, a heavy shot that emphasised the gulf in quality between the two combatants but Turner rose on the bell and lived to face the third round.

Gorman started that third round, of a scheduled ten, with a sustained barrage lasting about 30 seconds in attempt to blast Turner out of the ring and whilst Big Sexy stayed mobile, Gorman hit back after a fifteen second breather with two successive uppercuts to rock the Irishman followed be a flurry on the ropes to stop Sean Turner on the ropes and move the talented heavyweight talent to 13 victories without defeat.

A statement made, no doubt.

On the undercard JJ Metcalf fought Aitor Nieto – who’d never been stopped – for the WBC International Super Welterweight title and took to the centre of the ring right from the off, establishing his superiority from the off to keep a sustained pressure despite the attempted high temp from his Spanish appointment.
A controlled performance from Metcalf, who always looked like the better technical fighter, looked to be going the distance but in the 12th round, Kid Shamrock unleashed a thunderous blind-side left hook to drop Nieto to the floor and with the Spaniard’s legs betraying him, ever-stiffening, Metcalf went in for the kill with Nieto looking to cling on.
With 90 seconds to go the fight was halted momentarily to let Metcalf re-bind his gloves, allowing Nieto precious time to recover but, if anything, Metcalf emerged the more invigorated of the two, stalking his opponent patiently throughout the ring before a HUGE punch sent his opponent scampering across the full diameter of the ring – Victor Loughlin came in with the merciful stop but, boy, did Metcalf show some stamina.
Mark Heffron was sin the shape and fight of his life against Andrew Robinson for the vacant WBC International Middleweight Championship. Heffron was the favourite but Robinson had never been stopped and both had their eyes on this as the fight in which to take a substantial step up.
Neither fighter shied away in the opening rounds with both standing in the middle of the ring – a little tentative in the timing of their punches but both showing conviction and intent a plenty. Heffron was hammering in shots to the body in order to fatigue the body of Robinson, at one point landing a substantially low blow, and the better work rate was enough to win the first three rounds over his more experienced counterpart.

An enjoyable fight to watch, the sixth round ignited with a continued body attack to the iron-will of Robinson but, consequently, in the barrage of punches there was a variety of low punches that saw energy sap from Robinson and Ian John Lewis giving a final warning.

A great shot in the immediate restart rattled the brain of Robinson as he began to duck and weave, bent over near the ropes, Heffron swinging wildly, connecting with some and missing with others but they all counted to the downfall of Andrew Robinson who fell victim to a sixth round knockout from the Oldham favourite who, yet again for this card, MADE A STATEMENT!

Also on the bill – Lyndon Arthur out-pointed, experienced and tough, Charles Adamu by 60-54, Jordan Thompson secured a 4th round stoppage as did Alex Dickinson to move 5 and 0 with the win against David Howe, Jack Massey got a 2nd round victory and Zac Burton successfully completed his debut with a 40-36 victory.

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Tyson Fury Return & Flanagan vs. Hooker Preview

By: Ste Rowen

This Saturday night marks the return of the lineal heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury after almost 3 years outside of the ring since his 2015 victory over then heavyweight king, Wladimir Klitschko. Taking on Sefer Seferi 23-1 (21KOs) over a scheduled 10 rounds.

From being stripped of the IBF belt within weeks of clinching 4 titles (IBF, WBA, WBO & Ring) that came with beating the 11-years undefeated Ukrainian; then vacating the WBA & WBO citing health issues; to eventually losing the Ring Magazine belt due to inactivity earlier this year; it’s been a rollercoaster of events since that night at the Esprit Arena in Dusseldorf.

But the ride looks to be back on a steady rise again, and the lineal champion is ready to prove he’s better than ever.

‘I feel like I’ve been a goldfish in a tank and now I’m getting released back into the river where I belong,’ Fury told a packed-out press conference on Wednesday, ‘So just put me there and watch me swim.’
‘I’ve been out 1000 days, it’s a long time for anybody isn’t it? Not to mention the amount of weight I put on, 8 stone…I’m looking good, I’m flying…I’ve got better looking by the day.’

Fury, 25-0 (18KOs) admitted to rising to 27.5 stone. Compare that to the weight he expects to enter the ring this weekend, ‘Anywhere around 19’7.’

‘I feel sharper now, faster than I’ve ever been. More power. I just want it more.’

On his opponent, whose most notable fight came in a 10-round decision loss to Manuel Charr in 2016,
‘I’ve met his manager before, he was the manager of Christian Hammer, and I pumped his ass too. Listen Sefer’s a good fighter, I’m not underestimating Sefer. I look at him like I look at Wladimir, Joshua, Wilder, anybody.’

Seferi, according to Boxrec rankings, is Albania’s 2nd best cruiserweight (below brother, Nuri) and Europe’s 44th, having primarily fought most of his pro career at, or below 200lb. But, it was unrealistic to expect a top 10 level opponent as Tyson himself claimed a number of months ago.
Saturday’s fight is all about one man shaking off the rust and announcing his ring return.

Terry Flanagan vs Maurice Hooker

Fury may be the biggest name fighter on Saturday’s Manchester Arena bill, but he’s certainly not involved in the biggest bout. That honour goes to former WBO world lightweight champion, Terry Flanagan who takes on Texas native, Maurice Hooker, 22-0-3 (16KOs) for the vacant WBO super-lightweight championship.

‘Turbo’ Flanagan, 33-0 (13KOs) made five decent, but somewhat underwhelming defences of the lightweight strap he attained back in 2015, including convincing victories over Diego Magdaleno, Derry Matthews and Petr Petrov. But the Manchester native, who fights for a world title for the 4th time in his home city, was never able to secure the big unification bouts that were rumoured to be in development against the likes of IBF champion, Robert Easter Jr, or former WBA and Ring 135 champion, Jorge Linares.

In any case, speaking to ‘Fight Hub TV’, the southpaw is now ready to become a 2-weight world champion,
‘I wanted Linares, I wanted Lomachenko, I wanted them all, but they just didn’t happen…For some reason these fighters don’t. Maybe they see me as little reward and big risk.

‘I’ve prepared for elite fighters, I’ve not prepared for a Maurice Hooker, I’ve prepared for better,’
Terry fought just once last year, a 12-round defence against Petr Petrov and was due to fight his mandatory, Felix Verdejo around June time but pulled out because of a leg injury, before then deciding to make the move up in weight to 140.

‘Might Mo’ Hooker, trained by Vince Parra is yet to go the 12-round distance, going 2-0-1 in his last 3 fights over 10, including a split decision draw with former WBA lightweight champion, Darleys Perez on the KovalevWard1 undercard.

Hooker has so far made his career at super-lightweight and speaking to ‘British Boxers’, the American feels the difference in weight is going to be a big disadvantage for his British opponent,
‘The extra 5lb, my height, my power, my skills, everything; Terry’s not an exciting fighter and I’m ready for Saturday and I’m gonna take it to him.’

‘He’s soft. He was a champion at 135, how you gonna be a champion and not fight nobody?…He got a good matchmaker, they’re finding him these little guys to fight at 135.’

If Flanagan emerges the victor on the night, he’ll match fellow Mancunian, Ricky Hatton in becoming a two-weight world champion, and ‘Turbo’, though trying not to overlook his upcoming opponent, sees his future rising up at least another weight class,

‘I’m plenty big enough, I’m tall enough…I’m happy at the minute where I am but if them opportunities come up again at the weight above, I’ll jump at the chance.’

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Boxing Insider Notebook: Trout, Shields, Lee, Hammer, Fury, Smith, and more…

Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of May 29th to June 5th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Photo Credit: Austin Trout Twitter Account/Chris Farina

Austin Trout Training Camp Notes

Austin Trout (31-4, 17 KOs), the former super welterweight world champion, is headed to Los Angeles today to meet current WBC Super Welterweight world champion Jermell Charlo inside the ring this Saturday, June 9 live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins at 10 p.m. ET/PT and is headlined by the featherweight world championship rematch between Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares.

In Trout’s words, this fight is finishing the mission. Spiritually centered and in his prime physical condition, it is, in his own words, his time.

“People are underestimating me and overlooking me,” said Trout. “I earned and continue to earn respect in this sport and my competition can choose to ignore it or acknowledge it. I’ve beaten champions and taken titles. I’ve lost in controversial decisions to champions like Canelo. This is my time. Don’t underestimate the power I bring to boxing as well as the international competitors I’ve already stepped into the ring against and beaten.”

After his October fight against Jarrett Hurd and February’s unanimous decision victory over Juan De Angel, this WBC title bout, in Trout’s words, is the fight that no one saw coming.

“The Hurd fight was the danger fight,” he said of his October 2017 match. “It was part of the process of knocking out the ring rust, and De Angel was part of that as well. Everything I do or don’t do is circumstantial. Because of the layoffs, it’s been challenging; now I’m back on track timing wise and I plan on changing boxing’s plans for me. I’m not sitting back and waiting.

“I started boxing as a kid to stand up for people that were being disrespected, and as an adult I continue to do that in the ring.”

A long time top ten and former #2 in the 154-pound division by Ring magazine, Trout will be once against be working with D.C. based world champion trainer Barry Hunter, to whom his longtime cornerman, Louie Burke, worked as an assistant.

“We are calling this fight ‘finishing the mission.’ I’m squarely in a dangerous division that’s full of talent. It’s one of the top divisions in my opinion. Everyone’s a killer including myself. It has the perfect balance of speed and power. This is where I excel, plus I have the brain.”

Showtime to Live Stream Tyson Fury Return

SHOWTIME Sports has secured the U.S. rights to stream the long-awaited return of former heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury, who will face Sefer Seferi in a 10-round heavyweight bout Saturday, June 9 from Manchester Arena. SHOWTIME BOXING INTERNATIONAL® will stream live exclusively to U.S. audiences on the SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page and SHOWTIME Sports YouTube Channel beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. PT.

In the opening bout, local hero Terry Flanagan (33-0, 13 KO’s) will look to become a two-division world champion when he clashes with unbeaten American Maurice Hooker (23-0-3, 16 KO’s) for the vacant WBO Junior Welterweight crown. This will be the fourth live streaming boxing event this year on SHOWTIME Sports social media platforms.

Live coverage for the Frank Warren promoted event will be provided by BT Sport and BoxNation with U.K. sportscasters John Rawling providing the blow-by-blow and Richie Woodhall the analysis. Boxing broadcaster Ray Flores and analyst Chris Mannix will deliver pre-fight and post-fight analysis from Staples Center in Los Angeles for the SHOWTIME Sports audience.

The live stream of Fury vs. Seferi will precede that evening’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® doubleheader that features WBA Featherweight World Champion Leo Santa Cruz in a rematch against fellow three-division world champion Abner Mares live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed in the West Coast) from Staples Center. In the co-feature, Jermell Charlo will face Austin Trout for the WBC Super Welterweight World Championship.

Fury (25-0, 18 KOs), a former WBA, WBO and IBF Heavyweight World Champion will end a two-years-and-seven-months exile from the sport on June 9. Fury has been inactive since outpointing Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf in November 2015 due to an injury, personal problems and a doping ban.

“I’m the fittest I’ve ever been,” said Fury, who has teamed up with new trainer Ben Davison. “Timing, reflexes, everything is better than it’s ever been. I kid you not. I’m 29 years old, coming into the prime of my life, I’m stronger and faster, holding more muscle mass than ever. I’m more confident looking at the competition.”

Albania’s Seferi (23-1, 21 KOs) is a 39-year-old Switzerland-based cruiserweight who is stepping up in weight and opposition when he faces the 6-foot-9 Fury. Seferi’s sole loss came in 2016 in a heavyweight bout against now-secondary WBA heavyweight champ Manuel Charr.

“This is going to be a hard fight for Fury,” said Seferi. “Two-and-a-half years out of the ring is a long time and nobody knows if he is still the same fighter that dethroned Wladimir Klitschko.”

Flanagan, the first Englishman to earn a lightweight world title, will seek to capture a title in a second weight class just days away from his 29th birthday. Hooker, a southpaw from Dallas, Texas and ShoBox alum, has been training with Terence Crawford. Hooker will look to follow in the footsteps of fellow Dallas resident Errol Spence Jr., who went to Kell Brook’s hometown of Sheffield, England to capture his first world championship.

Christina Hammer vs. Tori Nelson Added to June 22nd Claressa Shields Card

The women’s middleweight world championship between unified WBC and WBO titlist Christina Hammer and former world champion Tori Nelson has been added to the June 22 SHOWTIME telecast from Masonic Temple in Detroit.

In the main event, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and unified 168-pound champion Claressa Shields will attempt to become a two-division champion when she faces unified 154-pound titleholder Hanna Gabriels for the vacant IBF and WBA Middleweight World Championships.

With the addition of Hammer vs. Nelson to the June 22 SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION (10 p.m. ET/PT) telecast, all four women’s middleweight world titles will be at stake in separate bouts featuring two of the consensus top 10 pound-for-pound women in the world.

The winners of Shields vs. Gabriels and Hammer vs. Nelson will meet this fall on SHOWTIME to determine the undisputed women’s middleweight world champion.

Hammer (22-0, 10 KOs), of Dortmund, Germany, has dominated the women’s middleweight division for nearly eight years, losing just a handful of rounds in her reign as champion at 160 pounds. The 27-year-old, who will make her U.S. debut on June 22, won the WBO title in 2010 then became unified champion in 2016 with a win over defending WBC champion Kali Reis.

Nelson (17-1-3, 2 KOs) won a middleweight world championship in 2011 and owns wins over previously unbeaten Alicia Napoleon, Mia St. John, and Reis, who recently floored women’s welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus. The native of Ashburn, Va., suffered her first loss in a spirited decision to Shields this January on SHOWTIME in what was the toughest test of Shields’ young career.

“Now that I’m added to the TV portion of the card it gives me even more motivation to prove to the U.S. audience that I’m the best female fighter in the world,” Hammer said. “My plan is to do something that Claressa Shields couldn’t do – knock out Tori Nelson. Once I take care of business with Nelson, my goal is to fight the winner of Shields vs. Gabriels to become the undisputed women’s middleweight world champion.”

“Christina Hammer can’t bring anything I haven’t seen before,” Nelson said. “I’ve beaten Kali Reis, Mia St. John, Alicia Napoleon. I went the distance with Claressa Shields and I plan on beating Hammer on June 22 to earn my shot at revenge against Shields. This is my chance and I don’t plan to let it slip away.”

“Adding Hammer vs. Nelson to the card was the right move as we collectively work to elevate the status of women’s boxing at the highest level,” said Gordon Hall, Executive Producer of SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION. “The June 22 telecast now features two of the best pound-for-pound female fighters – Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer – in what will be our eighth presentation of women’s boxing since 2016. All four of the world titles in the women’s middleweight division are at stake on June 22 with the goal of the winners meeting this fall to determine an undisputed middleweight champion.”

“I am honored to promote this historic night of boxing on SHOWTIME in the championship city of Detroit,” said promoter Dmitriy Salita. “I believe these fights are in line with the best and most competitive matchups in the history of women’s boxing. All four of these fighters are coming from different parts of the globe to win a world title and show they are the best. It will be an exciting and explosive night of boxing from beginning to end for the fans attending the fight at the Detroit Masonic Temple and for those watching the fight live on SHOWTIME.”

Joe Smith Jr. to Face Melvin Russell on June 30th

JOE SMITH JR. (23-2 18KO’s) makes his much anticipated return to the ring on June 30th at Mohegan Sun Arena, in Uncasville, Connecticut. STAR BOXING’S “SLUGFEST at the SUN” is set to be one of boxing’s best cards thus far in 2018.

Already announced as the co-feature bout, highlights Rhode Island Native American warrior, KALI REIS (13-7-1 4KO’s) pitted against Hungarian , SZLIVIA SZABADOS (17-11 8KO’s). Kali is coming off of a historic power punching performance against undisputed champion Cecilia Braekhus, in the first female bout featured on HBO. Kali thrilled fans around the world in that fight, and promises the same action at Mohegan Sun on June 30th.

As a union laborer for Local 66 on Long Island, JOE SMITH JR. earned the title of the peoples champion when he burst onto the boxing scene in 2016. Working with a sledgehammer by day, and training by night, Smith Jr. defines hard work and determination.

The rise of Smith Jr. began when he took on, top rated light heavyweight, ANDRZEJ FONFARA on NBC in Chicago. As a 20-1 underdog, Smith Jr. destroyed Fonfara in the first round, knocking down the mighty Pole twice, before the referee called a stop to the onslaught. Later that year, Smith Jr. knocked legend, BERNARD HOPKINS on HBO, clear out of the ring, becoming the first person to ever KO the former multi-division world champion.

In the main event of Star Boxing’s “SLUGFEST at the SUN,” “THE BEAST” JOE SMITH JR. will be facing Kentucky’s MELVIN RUSSELL (11-4-2 7KO’S). The tough Kentuckian, who goes by the moniker “The Romantic Redneck,” has been in all out brawls with undefeated prospect Mike Wilson (then, 17-0 8KO’s) and world-title challenger Edwin Rodriguez (then, 28-2 20KO’s). Russell has proven the ability to go deep into fights, while still using a come forward offense. Fighting behind his jab, Russell will look to keep his distance from “THE BEAST” Joe Smith Jr., attempting to avoid his devastating power.

Smith Jr. returns to the ring after an eleven month layoff due to a broken jaw suffered in the second-round of his HBO fight against Sullivan Barrera last July. Smith Jr. said this about his June 30th return, “I am as confident and stronger than ever. I am ready to reclaim my position as one of the best light heavyweights in the world. Thank you all for the love and support over the past few years. I am ready to show the boxing world why I am the beast from the east.”

Star Boxing CEO, JOE DEGUARDIA, had this to say about June 30th, “Everyone in boxing has been anticipating the return of the “Common Man,” Joe Smith Jr.. He truly became the champion of the people, and is ready to get back in the ring on June 30th, to reclaim his position on top of the light heavyweight division.”

Mike Lee Inching Closer to Title Shot

There might not be a more well-rounded fighter on the planet.

Mike Lee (20-0, 11 KOs), who takes on Jose Hernandez (19-3-1, 9 KOs) this Friday night for the WBO Junior World Light Heavyweight World Title at The Allstate Arena in Chicago, brings all the intangibles that one would want in a professional athlete.

The card will be broadcast live on CBS Spots Network (9 PM ET) with an all-star announce team of International Boxing Hall of Famer Barry Tompkins and renowned Teddy Atlas.

Lee has not taken the route that most fighters take to get to the door of competing for a world title.

There isn’t the big name promoter. In fact there is no promoter at all. In a day when most fighters are afraid to test themselves, Lee’s last five opponents (Including Hernandez) have a combined record of 78-10-5.

Does Lee, take a vacation or just relax between fight? No he doesn’t, you have just as much chance to see Lee talking to major corporations or being a national spokesperson for a major company as you do as seeing him raising money for cancer stricken children.

Lee also brings a heart and determination into the ring as he battled and overcame autoimmune disease.

“Training camp in Los Angeles has been great. We had a good camp, I am 20-0 for a reason,” said Lee.

“I am not looking past Hernandez, but my dream is to win a a world championship one day. June 8th is a step towards that. I have everything in my body and mind towards that, and when I am determined, I am very difficult to beat.”

When Lee talks about what motivated to speak to companies around the country, it was that illness that almost derailed his career that came to mind.

“My career was almost taken away with autoimmune disease, and I wanted to tell my story. I have been lucky to speak to people and give techniques of visualization and mindset.”

“I am excited to fight in my hometown with a great crowd. I love fighting in a bigger venue which is a phenomenal arena. I have waited for this moment, and I can’t wait for Friday night.”

When WBO number-3 ranked light heavyweight contender Mike Lee (20-0, 11 KOs) takes on Jose Hernandez (19-3-1, 9 KOs) this Friday night at The Allstate Arena in Chicago. The card will be broadcast live on CBS Spots Network (9 PM ET) with an all-star announce team of International Boxing Hall of Famer Barry Tompkins and renowned Teddy Atlas.

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Tyson Fury’s Next Opponent: Sefer Seferi

By: Oliver McManus

Tyson Fury returns to the ring on June 9th after a substantial two and half year absence enforced by a variety of compounding issues resulting in the withdrawal of his license and despite such lengthy ring-rust the Lineal champion is looking in the shape of his life having lost eight stone since returning to the gym.

The former IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO Heavyweight Champion of the world will be up against, 23-1, Sefer Seferi who calls himself The Real Deal – indeed the Albanian, born in Macedonia, will be looking to cause an upset of untold magnitude when he looks to dance with the devil in Manchester.

On the face of it that record looks like the opponent you want for a comeback fight – far more appetizing than the likes of a 17 wins, 19 losses, Jakov Gospic who, for many, was the expected level of opposition – with his 21 knockout victories appearing to be show immense one-punch power.

Look deeper at Seferi’s opponents and you’ll find that a mere five of them came into the bout with winning records and his last opponent – Laszlo Hubert – was a seventy-four fight veteran, 23 of those being losses (22 via knockout) and edging ever closer to his 43rd birthday.

The real deal got the job done in the 2nd round against the Hungarian who showed no real desire to fight and Seferi’s opponent prior to that was Marcelo Ferreira dos Santos for the World Boxing Federation Inter-Continental Cruiserweight title which brings us neatly onto the second issue with Sefer.
Very simply put – he’s a cruiserweight! Not a cruiserweight who’s floated up into heavyweight and had success – akin to David Haye but on a smaller level – but an out and out cruiserweight who’s only ever had one notable fight in the heavier division.

To be fair it’s hard to say that the Albanian has even made a splash in the pond of the cruiserweight scene so the credentials for picking him are slim-to-none and when he did step up to fight Manuel Charr – now WBA Regular Champion – in September 2016, he lost via a 10 round unanimous decision.

If you can take BoxRec’s rankings too seriously you’ll see that the 39 year old isn’t even ranked as the best cruiserweight in Albania – that honour goes to his older brother Nuri.

Nonetheless it’s the padded record we’re familiar with a variety of boxers such as William Bezerra (a 41-0, 40 KO cruiserweight who’d never advanced past South American level) and is a paper-opponent you’d expect to see in with Tyson after such a lengthy absence.

Indeed I’d raise the point that you can expect Seferi to go further than the 40 seconds that Phil Lo Greco endured in with Amir Khan at the back end of April and Khan received far less stick for his choice of opponent than Fury has done and, no doubt will continue to do so, after his performance on June 9th.
Whilst Sefer Seferi does little to raise hopes of an immediate return to world level for Tyson Fury, when you look at where Fury was 12 months ago it makes the prospect of him getting back where he belongs even more realistic because he’s back fighting and, let’s be honest, few of us truly believed we’d see him back – at whatever level – and whilst this journey will take longer than many would hope for, let’s just enjoy it whilst it lasts because you never truly appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone.

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Fury Responds to Klitschko, Shows Respect for Joshua and Wilder

By: Ciaran O’Mahony

Former heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury has shrugged off Wladimir Klitschko’s claims that he will lose to Anthony Joshua and disappear from boxing “like a fart in the wind”.

Speaking to Michelle Joy Phelps of Behind the Gloves, Fury was unmoved by his former adversary’s words, stating “well that’s typical Wladimir Klitschko, he would never be able to give me the credit that I deserve.”

It’s no secret that Klitschko isn’t a fan of the “Gypsy King”, who constantly tormented him in the build-up to their world title fight nearly three years ago.

Fury rubbed further salt into the wound by comprehensively out-boxing him in Cologne and says “even on the night in Germany he couldn’t make the effort to say he lost to a better man and he did.”

“He didn’t just lose, he got played with. Like I’ve said time and time again, if that’s the so-called super-champion, he got beaten by a fat man so how dare he talk to me like that,” Fury says.

Klitschko says Joshua will beat Fury because he has more desire and discipline than the Manchester native.

However, Fury feels that the Ukrainian is only backing “AJ” because he has a better relationship with him and says the former lineal heavyweight champion is still bitter about losing to him all those years ago.

“I’m sure him and Joshua are chum buddies and they support each other, but in hindsight we know who gave Wladimir the hardest fight,” he says.

“Joshua won by the skin of his teeth and had to climb off the canvas, Wladimir couldn’t land a punch on me in 12 rounds,” according to Fury.

Prior to his hiatus from the sport, Fury had a reputation for trash-talking his opponents and getting under their skin.

However, he has had plenty of nice things to say about Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder recently.
“I think they’re very fine specimens of men, they’re very good looking, they’re very athletic and they’re very good boxers,” he says.

“They’ve come from nothing and I’m so proud that they’ve changed their stars, their family, everything. I’m sure they’re getting everything they’ve ever dreamed of,” Fury says.

He bears no ill-will towards either fighter and hopes that they will be set for life by the time their careers are over.

“People are talking about $50 million, I think they deserve $250 million. Any fighter that gets in there and gets punched in the face for a living deserves a lot more than they ever get,” he says.

“It’s the hardest sport in the world, not just physically and mentally, but also being away from your family, being locked away in training camps,” according to Fury.

“The public don’t understand how much pain, torture and sacrifice is needed to get to that level of success,” Fury says.

Fury believes that Wilder will prevail when they finally face each other in the ring, however, as he holds a speed advantage.

“Wilder’s very quick and very accurate and he’s very dangerous,” he says.

“Anthony is dangerous too, but I just think the speed factor favours Wilder and the fighter who gets there quicker and first will be Wilder for me,” according to Fury.

He has had a tense relationship with Joshua in the past, but Fury insists he is not biased.

“I don’t like either of them more than the other. I know Joshua, I know Wilder, and I’ve met them both face to face. I like them equally,” he says.

“It is a heavyweight bout and anything can happen while they’re in there, but if I was putting 20 quid on it, I’d put it on Wilder to win,”

If the fight materializes, Fury will certainly be watching with interest as he is likely to face one or both men in the future.

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Fire and Fury Results: Williams, Harding, and Egbunike Win in England

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.

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Tyson Fury Announces Return

By: Ciaran O’Mahony

Tyson Fury is officially back, but he won’t be fighting Joshua or Wilder just yet.

Former Heavyweight World Champion Tyson Fury has finally agreed terms with promoter Frank Warren and is set to return to the ring on the 9th of June against an as yet unnamed opponent.

Speaking at the official announcement in Manchester, Fury promised that he will recapture the belts he won against the great Wladimir Klitschko over two years ago.

“I’m back to reclaim what is rightfully mine and that’s the world,” says the outspoken former champion.

“There are a lot of people out there who are claiming to be the world’s best, and I know for a fact they’re not,” he says.
However, Frank Warren says he will not be rushing Fury into a world title fight anytime soon as he will need three or four fights to get “fighting fit” first.

“He’s going to be busy and he needs to get some rounds under his belt first,” he says.

Fury agreed, saying “by the time I return I’ll have been out for about 2 years and 7 months, so that’s going to be one of the longest comebacks in heavyweight history for a world champion”.

“It’s going to be an interesting journey if I’m honest and there are a lot of challenges out there that I’m looking forward to,” Fury says.

Fury, 29, is undefeated and rather than losing his belts in the ring, was forced to vacate them after suffering serious mental health problems.

In his absence, Anthony Joshua has claimed three out of the four heavyweight belts, while Deontay Wilder holds the WBC title.

Fury says that once he has a few fights under his belt, neither fighter will pose a major threat to him.

“Given the right time and the right amount of fights, all of those guys, I don’t believe that they’re going to be much of a match for me,” he says.

“My speed, agility and skill will be too much for what we have today, sluggers and wild punchers,” says Fury.

He says of Joshua “he’s looking for one punch all night, anyone who can move a little bit and who faints, he struggles against and he can’t land on.”

“I’ll outbox him for a few rounds and then knock him out, he’s not the hardest man in the world to hit,” he boldly states.

Fury says he bears no ill-will towards Joshua, however, despite the fact that “AJ” has taken his belts and become a huge star in the process.

“I’d just like to congratulate the fellow, he’s done very well. I gave up my belts voluntarily because I had bigger fish to fry and that was my own health and now I’m back and it’s up to me to get it all back,” says Fury.

“It hasn’t been frustrating, it’s been exciting. I’ve had many good Saturday nights watching the fellow. He’s an exciting fighter and I can’t wait to get in there and prove I’m still the best,” he says.

He feels that Wilder is the best fighter in the division at the moment because “he’s dangerous until the last two seconds of the fight”.

“As we’ve seen against Ortiz, he was losing the fight all the way through and he only needs to land one punch and unlike AJ, he has the agility and speed to throw from anywhere,” Fury says.

Fury sees plenty of weaknesses in Wilder’s game though, saying that “he’s a bit weak around the whiskers and he’s not the best boxer in the world so they’re all very beatable”.

Many have questioned whether Fury will ever be the same fighter after his mental health issues and enormous weight gain.

Having spent the last few months training hard and shedding the pounds, he says “let’s just say I’m a lot, lot, lot lighter than I’ve been in the past”.

He insists that he is now in peak physical condition and that his “timing, reflexes, everything, are better than they have ever been.”

“Achilles is back. I’m 29 years old and coming into the prime of my life. I’m stronger now and faster and looking at the competition out there, it should be relatively easy,” he says.

We’ll find out if he’s right in just two months.

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Boxing Insider Notebook: Charlo, Trout, Fury, Jennings, Murata, Garcia, and more…

Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of April 4th to April 11th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Charlo to Face Trout on June 9th

The 154-pound division continues to heat up as undefeated world champion Jermell Charlo defends his belt against former world champion Austin “No Doubt” Trout Saturday, June 9 in a 12-round showdown live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.

The Premier Boxing Champions event is headlined by WBA Super World Featherweight World Champion Leo Santa Cruz battling WBA Regular Featherweight World Champion Abner Mares in an anticipated world title rematch.

Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, begin at $50, plus applicable fees, and are on sale now To purchase tickets visit AXS.com or click HERE.

Super welterweight is one of the deepest and most ferociously contested divisions in boxing with unified champion Jarrett Hurd and Charlo on a collision course for supremacy in the weight class. Virtually all of the most significant fights in the division are taking place in 2018 on SHOWTIME, with the three consensus best fighters, and at least five of the consensus top-10, facing off in what has become an unofficial tournament.

Charlo (30-0, 15 KOs) has blasted his way to the top of the division, having stopped four of his last opponents by knockout. The 27-year-old from Houston won the title with a knockout victory over John Jackson in 2016. Since then he has successfully defended it twice, including scoring a devastating first round knockout victory over top contender Erickson Lubin in his last fight in October and a Knockout of the Year contender against Charles Hatley in April. Charlo and his twin brother, Jermall, were the only twin brothers to hold world titles in the same weight class simultaneously before Jermall relinquished his 154-pound championship to campaign at 160 pounds.

“Trout is no journeyman. He’s a former world champion, someone who has a name and he comes to fight. The name means he’s worthy of another title challenge,’’ said Charlo. “Trout is the man that has been chosen for me and I have to take care of him. I’m super excited to be fighting and defending my title again.

“The only thing I’m going to tell you about what I’m going to do against Trout is, I’m going to surprise you guys. I plan to show my skills and show why I’m the best at 154 pounds. The most important thing is to make my mark and claim my territory.’’

The 32-year-old Trout (31-4, 17 KOs) is one of most accomplished boxers in the 154-pound division, having stepped into the ring against champions like Miguel Cotto, Saul “Canelo’’ Alvarez, Erislandy Lara, Jermall Charlo and Jarrett Hurd. Representing Las Cruces, New Mexico, he won the super welterweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Rigoberto Alvarez in 2011. He successfully defended the title four times, including a victory over Cotto, before losing the championship to Alvarez in 2013 and a decision to Lara eight months later.

After winning four straight, Trout stepped in for a world championship against Jermall Charlo but lost a close unanimous decision in 2016, although he is the only person to go the distance with Jermall since 2015. Last October he took on Hurd for the title, but lost via 10th round TKO – the first time in his career that he’d ever been stopped. Trout is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Juan De Angel on Feb. 17.

“I’m more than excited. I’m happy because I’m still a threat in this game,” said Trout. “People can write me off all they want. Even when I was a champion people wrote me off. This is an opportunity of a lifetime. I’m approaching it is as my last opportunity. Everybody is counting me out and I’m hoping he is too. I’m going to shock him and the world.

“I feel like I’ve done this before because I fought his brother. Jermell uses more of his skills where Jermall uses more of his brute strength. I fought the bigger one and I fought Hurd who was like his bigger brother. Now I get to fight someone who is closer to my size.’’

Jennings vs. Dawejko Matchup April 28th Recalls Memories of All-Philly Fighters

When heavyweights Bryant “By By” Jennings and Joey “The Tank” Dawejko square off in their 10-round heavyweight bout Saturday, April 28, it will revive memories of the some of the great all-Philly matchups that helped to make the Quaker City one of the leading boxing centers in the country.

The Jennings-Dawejko match is one of three bouts at the Liacouras Center at Temple University to be televised live by ESPN, beginning at 7 pm EST. The card is being promoted by Top Rank and Peltz Boxing.

Topping the show is a 12-round contest for the WBO junior featherweight title between defending champion Jessie Magdaleno, of Las Vegas, NV, and mandatory challenger Isaac Dogboe, of Accra, Ghana. The 10-round semifinal features Jesse Hart, of Philadelphia, against Demond Nicholson, of Laurel, MD, for the vacant NABF super middleweight championship.

First live fight begins at 4 pm EST and all undercard bouts will be streamed on the ESPN App.

Always a leading center for boxing, Philadelphia built its reputation by matching fighters from different neighborhoods in front of large, enthusiastic crowds. Artist Jim Meehan’s drawing (above) lists several of those great matchups, among them the classic 1928 showdown at Shibe Park between Hall-of-Fame junior lightweight champion Benny Bass and unbeaten crosstown rival Harry Blitman in front of 24,000 raucous fans.

“My dad went to that fight with his dad,” promoter J Russell Peltz said, “and he’d always tell me about it. My dad went to school with Harry Blitman and he never got over the fact that Blitman smoked cigarettes and still was successful as a fighter. My dad sat on the second row and he used to tell me about the sweat that flew off Blitman’s hair every time Bass nailed him.”

Bass, who boxed from 1919 to 1940, won by knockout in six rounds and went on to a career record of 158-29-6 with 72 K0s. Blitman, who boxed from 1926 to 1934, finished at 53-11-4, 25 K0s, including a victory over Hall-of-Fame lightweight champ Tony Canzoneri.

“There were so many great all-Philly fights that you simply cannot list them all,” Peltz said. “The heavyweight bout between a couple of Joe Louis victims, Al Ettore, of West Philadelphia, against Gus Dorazio, of South Philly, belongs on that list, as well as the world lightweight title fight between Hall-of-Famer Bob Montgomery and Wesley Mouzon, who had knocked Montgomery out three months earlier in a non-title fight.”

Peltz, who began promoting in 1969, rates the first meeting between middleweights Bennie Briscoe and Eugene “Cyclone” Hart, a 10-round draw late in 1975 at The Spectrum, as one of the greatest action fights in Philly’s long and storied boxing history.

“Now we’ve got Jesse Hart, Cyclone’s son, on the card,” Peltz said. “I believe Jennings vs. Dawejko is the biggest all-Philly matchup in 36 years. That goes back to 1982 when Jeff Chandler successfully defended his WBA bantamweight title by knocking out former high school classman Johnny Carter in six rounds at the Civic Center. We’ve had some good ones since then, but none as big as Chandler vs. Carter.

“A lot of 21st century boxing ‘experts’ don’t like to see all-Philly fights. They wonder why we would want to knock off a local attraction. I guess they’d rather me import some scrub from the South or the Midwest to get his brains beat out. They’d rather watch that than a competitive all-local fight. The most recent major local showdown was in 2010 when junior middleweightDerek Ennis beat Gabriel Rosado at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia. Guess who got knocked off in that one? The winner, Ennis, who soon faded from the scene. The loser that night, Rosado, went on to climb the ladder and make a lot on money and he’s still going strong.

“Jennings vs. Dawejko is my kind of fight. I guarantee there will be more action in one round than there was in 12 rounds of the recent heavyweight unification match between Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker.”

Murata to Defend WBA Middleweight Title Against Emanuele Blandamura

It’s breakfast with the middleweights on Sunday, April 15, as Ryota Murata makes the first defense of his World Boxing Association (WBA) middleweight title against Italian challenger Emanuele ‘Sioux’ Blandamura at Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan. This special, international edition of Top Rank on ESPN will air live on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes and stream on the ESPN App at 8 a.m. ET, with a same-day replay scheduled for 11 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

Murata (13-1, 10 KOs), from Nara, Japan, captured a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics (165 pounds), becoming the first Japanese boxer to accomplish that feat since Takao Sakurai at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. He turned pro on Aug. 25, 2013, and by his fifth pro bout, was already fighting in scheduled 10-rounders. Murata made a big statement on U.S. soil on July 23, 2016 in Las Vegas, when he knocked out George ‘Comanche Boy’ Tahdooahnippah in the opening round.

His first title challenge came this past May against Hassan N’Dam for the vacant WBA middleweight title at Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo. In one of the year’s most controversial verdicts, N’Dam prevailed via split decision. The WBA ordered an immediate rematch, and the two judges who scored the bout for N’Dam were suspended for six months and ordered to pass several evaluations before being allowed to judge WBA-sanctioned fights again. Murata got his revenge — and the WBA world title — in the rematch on Oct. 22, when he dominated the action and forced N’Dam to retire on his stool following the seventh round.

Blandamura (27-2, 5 KOs), ranked No. 8 in the WBA middleweight rankings, is a former European middleweight champion who captured the title with a 12-round split decision over Matteo Signani on Dec. 3, 2016. In his last ring outing, on June 17, 2017, Blandamura retained the European title with a unanimous decision against Alessandro Goddi. He later vacated the title and heads into his first world title bout riding a four-bout winning streak.

Showtime Adds Two Featherweight Fights to Lineup

SHOWTIME Sports added two featherweight bouts to its robust boxing schedule with two high-stakes matchups from the U.K. streaming live on SHOWTIME Sports social media platforms, free to boxing fans in the U.S.

Former two-division world champion Carl Frampton will battle former four-division champion Nonito Donaire on Saturday, April 21 in Belfast, Ireland for the interim WBO Featherweight Title. Then, on Saturday, May 19, IBF World Champion Lee Selby will defend his 126-pound title against undefeated Josh Warrington live from Leeds, England. Both SHOWTIME BOXING INTERNATIONAL® social media offerings will stream live in the U.S. on SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page and SHOWTIME Sports YouTube Channel. The events are promoted by Frank Warren with live coverage provided by BT Sport and BoxNation.

The previously announced rematch between WBA Featherweight World Champion Leo Santa Cruz and former three-division champion Abner Mares will take place just a few weeks later on Saturday, June 9 live on SHOWTIME® from the Staples Center in L.A.

In all, five of the consensus top-10 ranked featherweights will clash on SHOWTIME platforms in two months, including two world champions and four former multi-division champions. These matchups between titleholders and top-ranked featherweights will give further clarity to a stacked division.

“As we’ve seen at welterweight, super welterweight and even heavyweight, the top fighters in the featherweight division are looking to prove that they are undoubtedly the best in the world,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports and Event Programming for SHOWTIME. “They are doing so by facing their toughest challengers and ultimately seeking to unify world titles. SHOWTIME proudly leads the industry with fights like these—the most competitive and important fights in boxing’s most talent-laden weight divisions. We commend the fighters who have dedicated themselves to this simple, yet dangerous premise. Their effort has been inspiring and contagious.”

Tyson Fury Sets Return Date and Names New Promoter

Former WBA Super, WBO and IBF world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has confirmed his return under a new promoter.

Fury caused a colossal upset in his previous bout in November 2015 when he ended the 11-year reign of Wladimir Klitschko with a masterful points victory in Dusseldorf.

Now, the unbeaten 29-year-old (25-0-KO18) will fight for the first time in two-and-a-half years at the Manchester Arena on June 9 after signing a promotional deal with Frank Warren.

Ahead of an official press conference on London’s Park Lane, Fury said: “A lot of people out there are claiming to be the best and I know they’re not.

“They won’t be a match up for me. They’re sluggers and wild punchers and I’m looking forward to getting in there and showing them.

“Let’s say I’m a lot, lot, lot lighter than I’ve been in the past. If Frank asked me to fight this weekend, I’m ready. I’m better than I’ve ever been.”

Warren added: “The heavyweight division should now be put on notice because the lineal champion will be looking to pick back up where he left off.

“I am thrilled Tyson has entrusted us with the responsibility of recharging his career and steering him back to where he once emphatically belonged.

“Were it not for his exploits, the now thriving and fascinating heavyweight scene might have remained stagnant. Tyson’s comprehensive schooling of the Wladimir Klitschko opened all sorts of doors from which others have ultimately benefitted.

“Now Tyson is back, in fantastic shape and full of beans, ready to take the first step on the road back towards world domination once again.

“I am certain the boxing public – who he never lost the affection of – will get behind him in force and support his journey.”

A spokesperson for MTK Global added: “It’s been a long wait but we are delighted with the news that Tyson’s return is now finalised.

“Working with Frank Warren and his team on this has been highly productive and this is just the start of another chapter of success in Tyson’s extraordinary story.

“We are all looking forward to seeing Tyson conquer the world again as he begins his climb back to the top of boxing’s marquee division.”

Ryan Garcia to Face Jayson Velez

Ryan “The Flash” Garcia (14-0, 13 KOs), the 2017 consensus prospect of the year and pride of Victorville, Calif., headlines a very special edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Garcia, who is the brightest rising star in the sport of boxing today, will kick off the Cinco de Mayo festivities as he faces seasoned Puerto Rican contender Jayson “La Maravilla” Velez (26-4-1, 18 KOs) in a 10-round super featherweight fight in this spectacular arena that has become the home for great battles.

ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes will air the fights beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT, and stream live on ESPN3 starting at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.

At only 19 years of age, Garcia is the future superstar of boxing. After winning multiple national championships as an amateur and several professional fights in Mexico, Garcia signed with Golden Boy Promotions in Nov. 2016. Since then, he has won every fight by knockout, including a highlight-reel knockout of Miguel Carrizoza to win the Junior NABF Super Featherweight Title. In his most recent performance, Garcia defeated Fernando Vargas on the March 22 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN via a stunning first-round knockout victory.

“I’m back already and with high expectations,” said Ryan Garcia.”I’m glad to be headlining two times in a row and excited to be fighting in an iconic venue where there have been many wars. I’ve said all along that I was destined for greatness. I’m speaking it to existence, and I will show that on May 4.”

Velez is an experience contender of the Island of Enchantment, Puerto Rico, home of former world champions such as Wilfred “El Radar” Benitez, Wilfredo “Bazooka” Gomez, Felix “Tito” Trinidad and Miguel Cotto, among others. The 30-year-old pugilist has faced the toughest fighters of the competitive 126-pound division, including Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, Jr. and Ronny Rios. Velez is coming off three impressive victories, including a unanimous decision win against the previously undefeated Alberto Mercado and back-to-back stoppage victories over former contender Giovanni “El Ruso” Caroand former world champion Juan Manuel Lopez.

“I will not let my country down as it is a powerful force in boxing,” said Jayson Velez. “If anyone believes that I am only going for the paycheck, they are wrong. As I have proved before, I always give my best and this will not be the exception against Garcia. In the face of all predictions, I will defeat him.”

“Ryan Garcia is going to prove that he’s the next superstar in the sport of boxing,” said Golden Boy Promotions Chairman and CEO Oscar De La Hoya. “After an amazing performance in March, Garcia will now make his debut in an arena that is slowly becoming a legendary battleground for boxing, the StubHub Center.”

In the co-main event, Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (27-2, 19 KOs), the incomparable and explosive Irish contender, will make his Southern California debut in a 10-round middleweight fight presented in association with Murphy’s Boxing. O’Sullivan has faced the likes of current WBO Middleweight World Champion Billy Joe Saunders and Chris Eubank, Jr., and he’ll returning after his most significant and impressive victory against Antoine “Action” Douglass via seventh-round technical knockout. O’Sullivan will be next in line for a middleweight title shot if successful on May 4.

Welterweight knockout artist Alexis “Lex” Rocha (11-0, 8 KOs), who without a doubt will be the first world champion to come out of Santa Ana, Calif., will participate in an eight-round 147-pound fight. Rocha has many tools in his southpaw arsenal as he can both fight at the distance and knock people out from the inside.

Ferdinand Kerobyan (8-0, 4 KOs) of North Hollywood, Calif. will battle across a scheduled six-rounds of action in the super welterweight division. Kerobyan is the latest prospect to be signed to the exclusive Golden Boy Promotions stable and the first fighter under the management of former UFC fighter and current WWE Superstar Ronda Rousey.

Richard “Kansas Kid” Acevedo (1-0, 1 KO), a prospect originally out of Garden City, Kansas, will participate in a four-round super welterweight fight. This exciting puncher out of the Westside Boxing Club promises fireworks as he initiates this exciting card.

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Is The Gypsy King About to Reclaim his Crown?

By: John Hoolan

The supposed return of Tyson Fury to boxing has taken well over two years, his return to a boxing ring may well take longer or it might not even happen at all. However Fury is nothing if not the king of getting the media, via social media into a frenzy and everyone seems to have an opinion on him and what he should do next.

He has stated on many occasions lately via his social media outlets that he wants Anthony Joshua next. Not next month or next phase of the moon, but the very next fight. His comeback fight in fact. A great many think this to be a good idea, after all Fury beat the man (Klitschko) in his own back yard after ten years of dominance, and won the IBF, WBA, IBO, WBO, Ring Magazine and Lineal Titles, through a masterclass (I’ll come back to that), only to see him stripped of it all bar the supposed most important title of all.

Tyson Fury is still the Lineal Champion of the World and this is the thread/hope his supporters and himself cling too. The fact that he won it over two years ago, hasn’t come close to fighting since, has had some personal issues, served a ban and ballooned in weight to twenty five stone, seem to mean nothing at all and are totally irrelevant.

Is it right that a man can be lineal champion, not fight for over two years, announce his retirement at least three times in that time span and still be the lineal champ? I suggest not, quite a few others vehemently disagree with me. Fury is the king and will be forever comes the main chorus from that choir.

The world has turned a few times in the last twenty six or so months, perhaps it has stood still for some and gone backwards for others…

In fairness to Joshua he has remained fairly quiet on the subject of fighting Fury anytime soon until earlier today in the Daily Mail, when he said of the proposed fight –

“That’s more of a fantasy at the moment. It’s just that he’s not fit and he hasn’t had a fight. The ball is in his court. We’ve stayed consistent, we’ve defended the titles, we’ve won and we’ve captured more titles. If Fury was still fit, we would probably be talking about Fury for March.”

Of course this is already being called a duck by the Fury camp and his supporters, with Fury replying on social media –
“Just seen Anthony Joshua trying to play my challenge down saying I’ve not had a fight & not fit! I’m ready for this summer, don’t shit yourself now it’s been put on you!? When your the lineal champion in your division your number 1 even without alphabet titles. The truth. So whatever people want to say it will be AJ challenging me for my status!!! THE LINEAL HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION. & RING MAGAZINE HOLDER.”

The fact Joshua is almost certain to sign for the Parker unification shortly after weeks of negotiations will again mean nothing. David Higgins from Duco is flying over to the UK this week, so the deal is as good as done. Team Fury followers will be whipped up into a frenzy and Joshua will again be seen as a coward and the lesser champion.

Some would argue that Joshua already has the better legacy over Fury however, perhaps that’s a discussion for another time.

The highlight (and it was some highlight) of Fury’s career was clearly beating Klitschko to take all those titles however, it was not the masterclass, schooling or beating that many would like us to think. Fury actually landed a punch on Klitschko less than 90 times in the whole of the 12 rounds, or 36 minutes.

Let that sink in for a second.

Less than ninety times in the whole of the twelve rounds, that is just over seven punches a round, seven punches in three minutes.

So with that in mind lets get away from the nonsense thoughts of a masterclass and even “Ali-esque” as quoted by some. It was spoiling tactics against an ageing champion. To be fair those were tactics that won the fight and titles however and whilst there were many euphoric roars from the British media/public at the time, as people have looked back at it since then, especially since the Joshua vs Klitschko fight was given fight of the year, those roars have become more like whimpers.

Tyson is no longer trained by his uncle Peter and is now instead trained by the very capable Ben Davison. The split from Peter shocked a lot of the boxing world, certainly within the UK however, perhaps it could be the best for Tyson. A completely fresh start as it were.

All that seems to be missing from Tyson’s armoury now is a promoter capable of matching his potential ability and his persona with some big money fights. I can only think that Hearn or perhaps Warren in the Uk are the only two big enough for the Fury ego. Warren has already tried to tame him before, but wasn’t able too. Hearn may relish the challenge whilst the old friend of the family (Mick Hennessey) is not going to be able to promote Tyson Fury on YouTube.

Perhaps a potential link up with Hearn led to the split with Peter Fury.

Kubret Pulev has been out of the limelight since having to pull out of the Joshua fight through a shoulder injury. There is a strong possibility he could the first defence for Manuel Charr for his WBA “regular” title.

Tyson Fury could do worse than fighting David Price as a comeback fight and then fighting the winner of Pulev vs Charr. He needs to get rid of the rust and there will be plenty. Win those two fights and it’s an easy way for him to get a ranking and also a sure fire way to build a future huge money legitimate fight against Joshua or even Wilder.

Whatever the future holds for Tyson Fury, I hope he has now beaten his personal issues and can focus on the rest of his career.

Love him or loathe him, the world heavyweight scene is a hell of a lot more interesting with Fury involved.

The Boxing Mad Man.

Twitter – https://twitter.com/TheBoxingMadMan

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Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua: A Fight of Compatibility

By: Waqas Ali

Without any doubt, this fight would be dubbed as one of the biggest domestic fights in British boxing history.

The comparison in styles, skills and techniques are completely in inarguable.

Both Joshua and Fury have immense talent that would make any boxing fan to use it as a tool of arguing ones point and as evidence.

But the question at this moment remains is: Is there any closure to getting the fight made?

Not quite or even the slightest.

Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) has called out Joshua numerous times on Twitter including a recent stating: “Fantastic first week in camp. The weight is pulling off. I’m more focused and determined than ever, if @anthonyfjoshua don’t have the balls to sign to fight me then I’ll be out in late April/Early May. Feel like I never left!

Joshua, who has been spending time in Dubai with his family has yet to respond to the tweet.

Joshua also known as ‘AJ’ last fought in October ’17 when he stopped Carlos Takam in ten rounds retaining his IBF title. Six months earlier, he fought in a competitive slugfest with 41-year-old former unified champion Wladamir Klitschko and stopped him in the eleventh round.

The fight was watched by more than ten million viewers in Germany and peaked at 658,000 viewers on America’s Showtime.

Fury’s last bout was back in November 2015 when he defeated Klitschko for the WBO, WBA, IBF, and the IBO heavyweight titles.

He also became the first fighter of Irish descent in 121 years to win the heavyweight title since Bob Fitzsimmons who won the belt in 1897.

Perhaps one of the main differences between AJ (20-0, 20 KOs) and Fury was the way they individually fought Klitschko.

Fury took control right from the very first round by using his height, reach and footwork to outwork Klitschko.

The famous Klitschko right hand did not come until ten rounds later when the Ukrainian finally landed the shot but did very little effect.

A complete clinical performance from Fury saw hit the Compubox numbers of throwing 371 punches and landing 86 with a connect percentage standing at 23%.

Klitschko, who constantly clinched and performed very little activity against Fury, threw 231 and landed just 52 (23%).

With Anthony Joshua, Klitschko gained some momentum in the fight. Especially in round five where he was knocked down by AJ and took control with the remaining one minute eleven seconds of the round and stunned the Watford born fighter.

Klitschko again took control in round six when he knocked down AJ with a 1-2 combination. The next remaining rounds were competitive with each fighter gaining momentum and exchanging hard hitting shots.

That all changed in round 11 when AJ stopped Klitschko after dropping to the canvas once again and forcing the referee to stop the bout.

CompuBox stats showed that Joshua landed 107 of his 355 punches thrown (30%), and Klitschko landed 94 of 256 (37%).

In terms of height and reach, Fury stands at six feet nine inches with an 85 inch reach. Whereas AJ stands at 6 feet 6 inches with an 82 inch reach.

By looking at the context of the bouts with Klitschko we can see a range of differences of how each fighter fought but the question of Fury’s inactivity of two years will be raised in many of the boxing fans’ mind.

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Tyson Fury May Be Right About Anthony Joshua

by B.A. Cass

On Friday, Tyson Fury took to social media to go after Anthony Joshua, claiming that the public should reconsider the potency of Joshua’s victory over Wladimir Klitschko.

Fury is certainly not the “Don of the heavyweights.” If the prefix “Don” can be applied to Fury at all, it is because, like Marlon Brando who played Don Corleone in the Godfather, he shares a habit of gaining too much weight between professional gigs. So let’s put aside Fury’s ridiculous claim and consider his more legitimate point about Anthony Joshua.

After going all out—and failing—to score a knockdown of Wladimir Klitschko in Round Five, Joshua was spent. The only thing that kept him standing for the remainder of that round is the fact that Klitschko was a bit tired too. Joshua planted himself and likely prayed for the sound of the bell. He made it, but in Round Six, Klitschko scored a knockdown.

The Joshua-Klitschko fight was exciting to watch. Both men had to push themselves beyond what it seemed their bodies were naturally capable of. Joshua went on to defeat Klitschko by TKO in the eleventh round. However, we should remember that Joshua is a fighter in his prime and Klitschko, coming off a recent loss to Fury, was clearly past his best days.

Whenever a young fighter faces an aging fighter, it is natural to ask what would have happened if both fighters could have faced off when each was in his prime. Would a twenty-eight-year-old Wladimir Klitschko have defeated a twenty-eight-year-old Anthony Joshua? We can never know, but it’s fun to speculate.

Klitschko had been beaten four times before he met Joshua in the ring, and it took Joshua—supposedly the next great heavyweight of the world—eleven rounds to finish him off. It’s unlikely the fight would have ended that same way had Klitschko been in his heyday.

In his next fight, Joshua faced Carlos Takam who, it should be noted, is also much older than Joshua—nine years older to be exact. Joshua defeated Takam by tenth round TKO, but his performance wasn’t spectacular.

There’s a reason Tiger Woods never competed against Jack Nicklaus. By the time Tiger Woods began to compete in the PGA Tour, Nicklaus was already competing in the Senior PGA Tour. If Woods and Nicklaus had competed, the younger man would have handily won.

In boxing, we have weight classes to even the playing field. Why not have a cut off for age as well? That will never happen, of course, but age does matter in sports. Muhammad Ali was done as a fighter several years before the age of thirty-eight when he was brutally dominated by his former sparring partner Larry Holmes, who was eight years Ali’s his junior.

We should never be surprised when a younger fighter beats an older one. It wasn’t a big upset that Joshua won his two most recent fights against older men long past their prime. The only thing that should have come as a surprise to us is how much Anthony Joshua struggled along the way.

Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch

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Boxing Insider Notebook: Joshua, Fury, Karperis, Santiago, and more…

Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of December 26th to January 2nd, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Anthony Joshua Does Not Respect Tyson Fury

Anthony Joshua recently spoke to the BBC and told them that he does not respect Tyson Fury, but that Fury is welcome to enter the ring with him.

Fury had a two year ban for steroids dating back to February of 2015, and in his last fight he defeated Wladimir Klitschko.

Joshua stated, “I don’t respect him. I don’t have much respect for many boxers in the heavyweight division. It’s not an acti with me. I’m being honest. I used to. I used to say very nice things.”

He continued, “If I speak well of Tyson Fury and say ‘what he’s achieved is so hard and I respect him’ it builds the credibility of the heavyweight championship belt up. But when Tyson Fury says ‘Anthony Joshua is a bum’ and ‘look at him, he’s struggling against this opponent’ it discredits everything I’ve achieved.”

Read more at: http://www.bbc.com/sport/boxing/42522589

The Return of Showtime: Anthony Karperis Returns to the Paramount January 26th for Rockin Fights

Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing will kick off the new year with a bang, as Long Island’s own Anthony “Showtime” Karperis returns to headline Rockin’ Fights 29 at The Paramount against tough Mexican brawler Erick Martinez in a 10-round jr. welterweight contest on January 26th.

Both Karperis and Martinez are looking to bounce back after tough losses. Karperis’ loss coming by the hands of highly rated prospect and former gold glove champion Louis Cruz, and Martinez’s loss coming courtesy of the up and coming Zachary “Zungry” Ochoa.

Earning hard fought, quality wins against Ariel Duran and Scott Burrell in two of his last three main events at The Paramount, Karperis returns for his fourth consecutive main event. With his strong Long Island following behind him, Karperis will use his crowd pleasing style, and infectious charisma in an attempt to earn his 15th victory.

Martinez will be no easy task for Karperis, as he has fought highly touted prospects in Zachary Ochoa, Juan Ruiz and Taras Shelestyuk. The crafty Mexican brawler will look to leave his mark on the soon to be sold out crowd at the Paramount, in search of a victory to steer his career in the right direction.

Promoter Joe DeGuardia had this to say about the main event, “We have put together a great card on January 26th to start the new year. Anthony Karperis always brings a unique and rowdy energy to the Paramount and his fans always show up, loud and proud. We have put him in against a tough Mexican brawler in Erick Martinez, who will be sure to test Karperis for the entirety of this fight. This is sure to be a great night of fights, so be sure you get your tickets now, as they will not be around for long.”

Daniel Baiz vs. Joey Dunmoodie for January 20th at the Scottish Rite Theatre

On January 20, 2018, the Scottish Rite Theatre in downtown San Antonio, TX, will host “FIGHT NITE AT THE SCOTTISH RITE”, a five-star boxing event presented by TMB & PRB Entertainment.

Headlining the main event will be an all-action showdown between hometown hero, Daniel “Da Beast” Baiz (10-1, 6 KOs), as he battles Joey Dunmoodie (9-2, 4 KOs), in a 6-round super-welterweight bout. The co-main event will feature a special female attraction when two local warriors square off against each other as Briana “Queen B” Gonzales (2-1) faces Brittany “Mi Vida Loca” Ordonez (2-1), in a 6-round bantamweight clash.

“Boxing is thriving here in San Antonio and we are expecting a sellout crowd,” said TMB & PRB Entertainment promoter Rick Morones. “The Scottish Rite is a beautiful venue and the fans are going to see some really good action-packed fights. We will be showcasing a lot of local talent. Every boxing fan that lives in San Antonio will be at this event so everyone please get your tickets in advance. Bring the family, everyone is welcome.”

“This will be a great event for boxing fans of all ages” said Greg Hannely, president of Prince Ranch Boxing, who manages Biaz and Pasillas. “Daniel Biaz has a crowd-pleasing style and brings a lot of excitement to the ring. Pasillas is returning after a long layoff and will look to stay undefeated. With all the other local fighters performing, this will be a fantastic show.”

Subriel Matias Matthew and Alfredo ‘Ojo’ Santiago Are Set to Return in February

WBA ranked #13, Alfredo ‘Ojo’ Santiago (8-0, 2 KO’s) and highly touted prospect, Subriel Matías Matthew (8-0, 8 KO’s), both from Fajardo, will be seeing action on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at the Fajardo Municipal Equestrian Park. Opponents will be announced soon by Fresh Productions.

With eight fights each, both fighters already have very impressive victories over prospects, world title contenders, and former Olympians.

Campaigning at the lightweight division, Santiago, a native of Moca, Dominican Republic, has three notable victories over: former Mexican Olympian, Arturo Santos Reyes by unanimous decision ( UD ), former world title contender, Jayson ‘La Maravilla’ Velez by majority decision, and the always seasoned, Andrés ‘Pajita’ Navarro by UD.

On his part, Matías Matthew, who is in the junior welterweight division, defeated in his fourth professional fight, rising prospect, Jeffrey Fontánez from Caguas by technical knockout in the second round.

In his last presentation, held in November at the Hotel Jaragua in the Dominican Republic, Matías Matthew, won also by technical knockout in the second round, over former Venezuelan Olympian, Patrick Lopez.

“As usual in Fresh Productions, the opponents of ‘Ojo’ and Subriel will be of great quality,” said promoter Juan Orengo, “We already have in our sights several Mexican fighters who are good and will be in great condition heading to February 17. We always look for more experienced opponents to face my fighters because that’s what a real development is all about. We do not sell dreams to the fans or to my boxers, they have to fight hard because they need to be ready for the big stage in the near future”.

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Boxing Insider Notebook: Shields, Sosa, Gamboa, Fury, Seldin, and more…

Compiled By: William Holmes

The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of October 31st to November 7th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.

Claressa Shields to Defend Women’s Super Middleweight Title Against Tori Nelson

Unified Women’s Super Middleweight World Champion Claressa Shields will defend her 168-pound titles against undefeated IBF mandatory challenger Tori Nelson on Friday, Jan. 12 live on SHOWTIME.

A two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Shields (4-0, 2 KOs) will face her second consecutive undefeated opponent in the main event of ShoBox: The New Generation live at 10 p.m. ET/PT from Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y.

Shields dethroned previously unbeaten Nikki Adler Aug. 4 on SHOWTIME to pick up the WBC and vacant IBF titles less than one year after she became the first American boxer to capture back-to-back Olympic gold medals. The 22-year-old native of Flint, Mich., returns to face Nelson, a seven-year veteran with seven times the professional ring experience.

“I’m truly excited to have the chance to demonstrate my skills against an opponent the caliber of Tori Nelson,” Shields said. “I’m honored to be headlining the first ShoBox of 2018, and I know January 12 will be a great night for the fans. This will be the beginning of a historic year for me and for women’s boxing.”

Nelson (17-0-3, 2 KOs) won a middleweight world championship in 2011 and owns wins over previously unbeaten Alicia Napoleon and Mia St. John. The 41-year-old Ashburn, Va., native looks to capture her second world title in a showdown with the fastest rising star in women’s boxing.

“Ever since Claressa turned pro, I have wanted this fight,” Nelson said. “She’s young and talented, but my experience will make the difference. Since I became a boxer, I have dreamed of being in big fights on television. I am confident that I will win this fight and remain undefeated. And I plan to retire as an undefeated world champion.”

Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Salita Promotions in association with Aasha Record Breakers, go on sale Monday, Nov. 13 for $75 for the first two rows of ringside, $65 for remaining ringside seats and all others priced at $49 and $37, plus any applicable fees. Tickets can be purchased in person or by calling the Turning Stone Resort Box Office at 800.771.7711 or online at Ticketmaster.

“Claressa’s determination to challenge the best available contenders shows why she is one of the most accomplished fighters in the sport today,” promoter Dmitriy Salita said. “This is a great matchup and I am confident that we will witness another memorable performance.”

Said Gordon Hall, Executive Producer of ShoBox: The New Generation: “Claressa is a star both in and out of the ring who possesses all the intangibles to become the face of women’s boxing. In just four professional fights, two as headliners on ShoBox, she is already unified champion at 168 with plans to conquer the 160 and 154-pound divisions. Tori Nelson is undefeated, a former champion, and represents what should be the toughest test of Claressa’s young career. Only time will tell, but I don’t know if there is any fighter in the world who can stop Claressa Shields.”

Shields compiled an amateur record of 77-1 and won her first Olympic Gold when she was only 17 years old in the inaugural women’s boxing competition at the 2012 London Games. She won a second gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and turned professional three months later.

In March 2017 in Detroit, Shields stopped Hungary’s Szilvia Szabados in four rounds in the first women’s main event in premium television history. Shields returned to headline her second ShoBox telecast in August, knocking out Adler in the fifth round to become unified champion in just her fourth professional fight. With the win, Shields became the 70th world champion in the history of the prospect developmental series.

Active in her community, Shields advocates for several social issues and serves as an inspirational figure in her hometown of Flint, a city beset by problems.

Nelson turned professional at the age of 29 and won the WBC 160-pound title in just her fifth professional fight. She twice fought to a draw in middleweight world title bouts with Teresa Perozzi.

The high-pressure Nelson is one fight removed from a unanimous decision over the previously unbeaten Napoleon, and is fresh off a second round knockout of Latashia Burton in her first hometown fight in Ashburn, Va.

Undercard bouts for the ShoBox telecast will be announced in the coming weeks.

Hennessy Sports Statement in Regards to Tyson Fury

Both Tyson Fury and Hughie Fury have been fighting the United Kingdom Anti-Doping (Ukad) over Fury’s positive test for steroids in June of 2016. The BBC is reporting that the Ukad fears it could be made insolvent or require a government bailout over a dispute with Tyson Fury.

Hennessy Sports recently released a statement in regards to Tyson Fury and stated, “It has been a difficult two years but we will not stop until we have cleared Tyson Fury and Hughie Fury names.”
Former Unified Featherweight Champion Yuriorkis Gamboa to Step In and Fight Jason Sosa
Former unified featherweight champion Yuriorkis “El Ciclon de Guantanamo” Gamboa (27-2, 17 KOs) will step in to fight Jason “El Canito” Sosa (20-2-4, 15 KOs) in a 10-round super featherweight fight at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in the televised opener to Kovalev vs. Shabrankskyy. The event takes place Saturday, Nov. 25 and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Gamboa, a 35-year-old native of Guantanamo, Cuba, is an Olympic Gold Medalist who shot to the top of the Featherweight rankings to win two world titles, defeating the likes of Orlando “Siri” Salido and Daniel Ponce De Leon before officially moving up to 130 pounds. Gamboa has also faced stiff competition as a super featherweight, with wins against Darleys Perez and Rene “El Gemelo” Alvarado under his belt. Gamboa is replacing Robinson “Robin Hood” Castellanos, who pulled out of this fight due to an injury.

“I’m excited for this great opportunity to fight Sosa on the undercard of Kovalev-Shabranakssy,” said Gamboa. “A win over Sosa on HBO could push me back into title contention. I’m a fighter with many aspects and dimensions, and that’s what I’ll bring in my fight against Sosa. For my my last fight, I wasn’t prepared well. This time I will be very much prepared, so I can walk away with my hand raised.”

“I’m excited for Gamboa,” said Zeferino Ramirez of ZR Entertainment. “This is the fight we wanted. And I expect big things in 2018. He’ll be ready for any 130-pound champion if he is successful on November 25.”

The 29-year-old Sosa, of Camden, NJ, is the former WBA World Super Featherweight Champion. He earned his title by handing Javier “El Abejon” Fortuna his first loss as a pro with an 11th-round knockout in Beijing, China in June 2016. Sosa successfully defended his title with a 12-round decision win over Stephen Smith in Monte Carlo in November 2016 before returning several months later in a tough fight against Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko in April 2017. Sosa is also known for fighting to an impressive majority draw against former WBA Super World Featherweight Champion Nicholas “Axe Man” Walters and for stopping former world title challenger Jerry “The Corpus Christi Kid” Belmontes in only one round.

“People think we have an easier opponent in Gamboa since Castellanos beat him, but we’re not buying into that,” said Sosa. “Maybe Gamboa didn’t take Castellanos seriously. We expect to see the very best Gamboa on Nov. 25. Having said that, this is not about who we are fighting; this is about why. We are fighting to make Puerto Rico proud after what all the people who live there have been through recently.”

“This should be a solid fight between two guys, the same size, who like to hurt people,” said Russell Peltz, Hall of Fame Promoter of Peltz Boxing Promotions.”It’s a better matchup, style-wise, than the one between Jason [Sosa] and Robinson Castellanos.”

Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy is a 12-round fight for the vacant WBO Light Heavyweight World Title promoted by Main Events and Krusher Promotions in association with Golden Boy Promotions. Barrera vs. Valera is a 10-round light heavyweight fight promoted by Main Events in Association with Shuan Boxing Promotions.

Gamboa vs. Sosa is a 10-round super featherweight fight promoted by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Peltz Boxing and ZR Entertainment. The event will take place on Nov. 25 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldin and Tyron “Pretty Boy” James Media Day Quotes

Super lightweight contender and Long Island knockout artist CLETUS “THE HEBREW HAMMER” SELDIN, (20-0 16 KO’s), and undefeated welterweight prospect TYRONE “PRETTY BOY” JAMES (5-0 3 KO’s) entertained the large group of press and fans at the Westbury Boxing Gym in Long Island today, in advance of their fights at NYCB Live, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, this Saturday, November 11th. James will face veteran DANIEL SOSTRE (13-14-1, 5 KO’s) in a 6 round bout during the non-televised portion of the card. Also in attendance was Long Islander, TOMMY “THE RAZOR” RAINONE, who will be fighting on the non-televised portion of the card.

Seldin will be the TV opener on HBO, in a 10 round clash against Mexican brawler ROBERTO “MASSA” ORTIZ (35-1-2 26 KO’s). Headlining the card is DANIEL “MIRACLE MAN” JACOBS (32-2 29 KO’s) vs LUIS ARIAS (18-0 9 KO’s) in a 12 round bout and co-feature JARRELL “BIG BABY” MILLER (19-0-1 17 KO’s) vs MARIUSZ WACH (33-2 17 KO’s) in a 12 round heavyweight showdown. The HBO World Championship production is set to begin a 10:00 PM ET with Cletus Seldin vs Roberto Ortiz bout.

“When Star Boxing told me that I had a fight on HBO, I just jumped at it, I didn’t even ask who the opponent was”
“Im ecstatic, so excited, to be fighting on HBO and to be in my hometown of Long Island.”
“This is my audition and I’m taking it as there is no tomorrow.”
“I want to show everybody that I am just a really hard working individual who as long as I work hard, I will get there.”
“Whether I am the first fight or the last fight, I will put on the most exciting fight of the night.”

“This is a big fight for me and I know that, but I am going to take it like any other fight, training 110% just like my other fights, and give it everything I have.”
“We will come out victorious.”

Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame Second Induction Weekend June 1st through June 3rd

The Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame is proud to announce its second Annual Induction Ceremony & Celebration Weekend. The 2018 celebration is set for Friday, June 1st through Sunday, June 3rd; and will be held at the historic Claridge a Radisson Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Our esteemed Nomination Committee has completed the nomination and voting process; and the names of all luminaries who will be inducted into the 2018 Induction Class, will be announced Monday, November 27, 2017, via an official press release. This year’s group of Inductees is comprised of Boxers, Trainers, Promoters, Managers, Matchmakers, Historians, Special Contributors, and Posthumous individuals. All who have played a major role in making Atlantic City atop boxing destination in the U.S.A.

The countdown to Induction Weekend has begun as plenary meetings are already underway. Over the next several week’s updates on room packages, schedule of events and expected celebrity appearances will be posted on the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame and the Claridge Hotel websites and social media platforms.

During last year’s inaugural three-day celebration – ACBHOF showcased the Fight Fan Experience – a festive boxing-themed environment that included a Boxing Fantasy Camp, Pop-Up Barber Shop, Jack Johnson Exhibit, Icons of Boxing, The Legacy Exists Joe Frazier Scholarship Fund, James O’Neal Sculptures, Cake King of Queens, The Press of Atlantic City Exhibit, WBC Boxing, Food vendors and music by DJ Young Hitta.

The master of ceremonies for the ceremony was President of NJ Boxing Hall of Fame, Henry Hascup. The 2017 induction weekend was a smorgasbord of boxing royalty, celebrity guests, and legions of boxing fans. Last year’s star-studded Charter Class members included: Don King, Michael Spinks, Larry Hazzard, Steve Smoger, Mike Rossman, Dwight Muhammad Qawi, Frank Gelb, Don Elbaum, J Russell Peltz, Dave Bontempo, Ken Condon, Robert Lee, Sr., Larry Holmes and Mike Tyson.

Some of last year’s VIP guests included: Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian, Councilman Frank Gilliam, Dr. Nina Radcliff, Whitney Ullman, Jill Diamond, Flo Anthony, Aaron Snowell, Lillo Brancato, Alan Goldberg, Ray Mercer, Mark Breland, Iran Barkley, Iceman John Scully, Tracy Patterson, Milton Luban, Chuck Zito and the Grandy Twins. Entertainment was provided by former Miss America, Suzette Charles; Chicken Bone Beach Jazz Band and saxophonist Parris.

Considering the scale and level of our inaugural event and the significant interest it has kindled, we can safely say that the celebration remains unique and exciting for Atlantic City and the sport of boxing.

All interested sponsors, exhibitors, and vendors looking be involved in 2018 induction weekend or to reserve a booth are encouraged to contact the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame (ACBHOF) at info@acbhof.com

Two Time Olympian Alberto Melian to Turn Professional December 16th

Sampson Boxing’s newest promotional signing, Argentinean amateur star and two-time Olympian, Alberto “Impacto” Melián, will be taking the “Lomachenko” route into the professional ranks by facing Diego Ricardo Santillan (23-2, 15 KOs) in an eight-round bout for his first professional fight on Saturday, December 16, at the Macro Stadium of the Argentine Federation of Boxing (FAB) in Buenos Aires.

A formidable foe for anyone, the 30-year-old Santillan, from Tartagal, Salta, Argentina, is a former Argentina (FAB), WBC Mundo Hispano and South American Bantamweight Champion. Melian, however, has requested the fast track to a world championship and promoter Lewkowicz has agreed.

“Alberto is regarded as one of the best Argentine amateur boxers ever and he’s ready for the best of the professional ranks. We hope to have him fighting for a world championship within 10 fights,” said Lewkowicz.

Lewkowicz says that Melian’s amateur credentials are enough to let him forego the usual development period of a new professional.

“In addition to his two Olympic appearances, Alberto fought in nearly every international tournament and won dozens of titles. He’s ready for anyone in the world going into his first fight. We have every confidence in him.”

Melián vs. Santillan will be televised live by TyC Sports Argentina.

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Joseph Parker Retains WBO Heavyweight Championship In Yet Another “Controversial” Decision

by Johnny Walker

New Zealand’s undefeated Joseph Parker retained his WBO heavyweight championship tonight with a 114-114, 118-110 (twice) majority decision victory over previously undefeated challenger Hughie Fury (cousin of the more famous Tyson) at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.

Unfortunately, the fight set itself up early on for another one of the “controversial” decisions that have plagued boxing lately, basically meaning that any fight not ending in a knockout or TKO is suspect.

The lankier and newly muscled Fury (20-1, 10 KOs) fought well to a gameplan, in a style obviously mapped out by his trainer and father, Peter Fury, who guided cousin Tyson to his uncontroversial defeat of long reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko (who would come close, but never hold a championship strap again).

The strategy was virtually the same one that Canelo Alvarez used against slugger Gennady Golovin last week in another “controversial” decision that ended in a draw.

If, as I had contened in a previous column, this was a fight in which Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) needed to step up and impress boxing fans that he is the real deal, he failed miserably. He seemed totally flummoxed by Fury’s tactic of throwing repeated jabs, taking a half-step back and landing nifty uppercuts, leaning back hard against the ropes to take the sting off of any hard shots, and so on.

The only real damage suffered by Fury was a cut caused by what was ruled an “unintentional head butt” in round three, and a couple of “close my eyes and hope it lands” shots the increasingly desperate Parker threw as the match progressed. Make no mistake, it seemed that Parker felt his title reign was ending.

As it turned out, the New Zealand native had nothing to worry about.

It seems that in boxing, the bitter truth is that there really are no stringent criteria by which to judge a fight, and thus there will be those in Parker’s camp who will now go to great lengths to describe the reasons why their man won, reasons the eyes of many watching, including the fight’s announcers and analyst Amir Khan, must have missed.

Personally, I would put money down on former heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko taking a week off from his arduous job as Mayor of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, and knocking Parker out in a gym bout after a mere week’s training. How about it, champ? Proceeds could go to displaced Ukrainians, or some other worthy cause.

Anyway, of the current holders of major heavyweight belts (Britain’s Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder of the USA, and Parker), it seems that the first to go, based on tonight’s very mediocre performance against a still-learning and young Hughie Fury, will be the New Zealander.

A fight against any one of Dillian Whyte, Dereck Chisora, Robert Helenius, and David Haye would likely end badly for Parker.

And one can almost imagine Britain’s Haye, who has been conspicuously buddying it up with Parker and his camp recently, almost beside himself with excitement at the prospect of picking up the WBO belt (Tony who?) and using it as leverage to go after the big bux fight he dreams of: a Wembley Stadium showdown against the massive, but slightly chinny, Anthony Joshua.

With power being the last thing to go, Haye must feel that, Joshua having been stunned by Dillian Whyte and very close to knocked out by a 41-year-old Wladimir Klitschko in the latter’s final fight, that he, David Haye, still has enough left in the tank to put Joshua to sleep before his failing body once again lets him down, as it did against Tony Bellew.

Even if he loses, Haye, having recently gone through what was rumored to be a costly divorce, will still come out a financial winner against Joshua. But he needs leverage to get to “AJ”, and that leverage may well be a flattened Joseph Parker, resulting in David Haye as WBO Heavyweight champion.

With the strange decision-making again going on again in this bout (how can one judge have it a draw and two others have it scored a virtual mismatch at 118-110 — do these people spend the night in the local pub before they are called to duty?), it may be that Hughie Fury is first offered a rematch, but it might be best for him to simply move on and fight some other worthy challengers to add some experience for his next title shot, which will likely come soon enough under the tutelage of Peter Fury.

Parker has been protected for the majority of his world championship “reign,” and a fight against any of the previously mentioned pugilists will likely end that reign, which went virtually unnoticed outside of New Zealand in comparison to the career of countryman David Tua, who never did win a World championship strap.

Myself, I’d take the prime David Tua who fought Ike Ibeabuchi over Joseph Parker any day–and it seems I’m not alone.

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