Boxing Insider Notebook: Farmer, Pulev, Fury, Rios, Showtime, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of August 21st to August 28th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Kubrat Pulev Promising ‘Fire & Fury’ in IBF Eliminator Against Hughie Fury on October 27th in Sofia, Bulgaria
On Saturday, October 27, “Fire & Fury” will collide, as IBF #2-rated heavyweight contender Kubrat “The Cobra” Pulev will face Britain’s IBF #5-rated Hughie Fury in a 12-round elimination bout at the Arena Armeec in Pulev’s hometown of Sofia, Bulgaria.
Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs) and Fury (21-1, 11 KOs) will be competing for the right to face the winner of the September 22 showdown between champion Anthony Joshua and challenger Alexander Povetkin.
The event, entitled “Fire & Fury” will be presented by Ivaylo Gotzev and John Wirt’s Epic Sports and Entertainment, together with Fury’s promoter, Hennessey Sports, and will be broadcast live in the UK on Channel 5.
One of the most popular athletes in all of Bulgaria, 37-year-old Pulev is on a five-fight winning streak, including a TKO 3 over former heavyweight champion Samuel Peter. Among his many distinctions, Pulev is a former two-time European and IBF International Heavyweight Champion. He stands 6’ 4 ½” and weighs in around 240 lbs. Pulev’s only career loss came in a challenge for the undisputed heavyweight championship against Wladimir Klitschko in 2014. Fury is the fourth opponent scheduled to face Pulev, as Britain’s Dillian Whyte and Americans Jarell Miller and Dominic Breazeale all declined the fight.
Pulev, who will be having his first bout since partnering with Epic Sports and Entertainment, says Fury better not be looking past him while preparing for this fight.
“The fact that Hughie Fury is coming to Bulgaria when many others ran away speaks volumes,” said Pulev. “I understand that he is very motivated because this is an eliminator fight for a chance at the world title. I suggest he stops thinking about the world title for a moment and come prepared for a real battle. I am already in beast mode and I’m hungry for my return in the ring!”
Fury hails from Manchester and is the current BBBofC British Heavyweight Champion and is trained by his father, Peter Fury. The 23-year-old stands 6’ 6” tall and also weighs in around 240 lbs. In September of 2017, Fury suffered his only career loss, a controversial majority decision to Joseph Parker for Parker’s WBO Heavyweight Championship.
“It’s taken a lot of time to make this fight happen and I want to thank all of those involved,” said Hughie Fury. “I want to fight for world titles and to do that I need to beat the guys at the top of the division. Kubrat Pulev is a serious fight for the mandatory position and I know I’ve got to be the real deal to beat him. I believe I’m going to do that in his back yard where others trembled at the thought of it.”
“We want to be involved in these big fight nights and to go up against the big names that lead the division,” added father and trainer Peter Fury. “To become a world heavyweight champion, you’ve got to overcome every challenge that’s put in front of you. And for Hughie that starts in Bulgaria in October.”
“In this day and age, when some promoters and their fighters opt for the safest bets, Hughie Fury has done the opposite,” said Ivaylo Gotzev of Fury, who has faced his own share of delays and disappointments on his way to this eliminator bout. “Fury has decided to step into the Lion’s Den, and fight Kubrat in his home town of Sofia. This matchup is intriguing, as two of the best in the division step up and face one another. We expect a great heavyweight battle – one that will decide one man’s destiny to fight for the most coveted title in the world – the Heavyweight Championship. To all of Team Fury – you are welcome in Bulgaria!”
Hennessy Sports CEO Mick Hennessy, promoter of Fury, said: “First and foremost I’d like to heap praise on my young fighter Hughie Fury. There’s no pantomime and no theatrics. He’s just a young man, full of respect for everyone he faces, and who believes in giving the fans proper fights and value for money. At just 23 years of age Hughie is a massive talent. He’s not perhaps got the plaudits he deserves, so this is his moment to make the boxing world really sit up and take notice of what he’s capable of.”
“I’d also like to thank my counterparts at Epic Sports & Entertainment for making this fight happen. It’s taken a lot to get to this point, but we were determined to give the fans a fight that they deserve. Both teams are excited about this one.”
Uzcátegui and Jerwin Ancajas Headline Oakland Throwdown
IBF super middleweight champion José Uzcátegui, the power-punching boogeyman of the 168-pounders, will face Ezequiel Maderna in the 10-round, non-title main event on Friday, Sept. 28 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
And, in the co-feature, Jerwin Ancajas, the world’s longest-reigning 115-pound world champion, is ready to add another defense to his résumé. The southpaw Filipino sensation will make the sixth defense of his IBF junior bantamweight world title against the hard-charging Alejandro Santiago.
Ancajas-Santiago and Uzcátegui-Maderna will stream live in the United States beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+ — the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment in conjunction with ESPN.
The undercard will stream on ESPN+ beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET and includes a matchup of former 122-pound world champions: Jessie Magdaleno will take on Rico Ramos in a 10-round featherweight bout. Also appearing on the ESPN+ broadcast will be 118-pound contender Joshua Greer Jr. (17-1-1, 9 KOs) making his Top Rank debut in a 10-rounder against Giovanni Delgado (16-7, 9 KOs); the return of Filipino featherweight contender Genesis Servania (31-1, 14 KOs); and 18-year-old featherweight sensation Christopher Zavala (1-0) in a four-rounder.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with MP Promotions and Zanfer Promotions, tickets for this all-action card go on sale Wednesday, Aug. 29 at 10 a.m. PST. Priced at $105, $78.75, $52.50, and $26.25, including facility fees, tickets can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com or at the Oracle Arena box office. The Oracle Arena box office is open Monday-Friday from 12-5 p.m.
“This is my first fight since winning the world title, and I will be representing my country and my beloved Tijuana, Mexico, with pride and guts,” Uzcátegui said. “I will show the world and my opponent why I’m the best super middleweight in the world right now!”
“I am very excited to defend my title in Oakland in front of the great fans there, and I look forward to a great challenge from Santiago,” Ancajas said. “There is a large Filipino community in Northern California, so I expect an incredible atmosphere inside the Oracle Arena. I also want to thank MP Promotions, Sean Gibbons, Top Rank, and Mr. Bob Arum for this opportunity.”
“I want to be a world champion again. I have that fire and that fuel, and I am ready to do whatever it takes to get back there,” Madgaleno said. “I have new trainers, Ismael Salas and Jorge Capetillo, and I feel like it’s been a great move. I feel like I Iacked movement in my last fight, and I felt like I needed to get back to the way I was when I won the world title against Nonito Donaire. Everyone will see a renewed Jessie Magdaleno when I fight Rico Ramos.”
Uzcátegui (27-2, 23 KOs) is coming off the biggest win of his career, an eighth-round stoppage against former world champion Andre Dirrell on March 3. It was a rematch of a controversial 2017 disqualification defeat for Uzcátegui, who was ruled to have knocked out Dirrell after the bell had sounded to end the eighth round. The win over Dirrell earned Uzcátegui the IBF interim title, but he was elevated to full champion after then-champion James DeGale elected to vacate the belt rather than face Uzcátegui. A native of El Vigia, Venezuela, Uzcátegui’s last 10 wins have come via stoppage. Maderna (26-4, 16 KOs), from Buenos Aires, Argentina, turned pro in 2008 and has won three of his past four fights.
Ancajas (28-1-1, 19 KOs) from Barangay Ramirez, Magallanes, Cavite, Philippines, is a southpaw power puncher who has been a world champion since Sept. 3, 2016, when he knocked down McJoe Arroyo in the eighth round en route to a unanimous decision victory. He is one of boxing’s most active champions, having defended his title three times in 2017 and twice in 2018. In his last bout, May 26 at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California, Ancajas defeated countryman Jonas Sultan via unanimous decision in the first all-Filipino world title bout since 1925. Ancajas is 16-0 with 14 knockouts since his only loss, a 10-round majority decision to Mark Geraldo on March 17, 2012.
Santiago (16-2-4, 7 KOs), a native of Tijuana, Mexico, is riding an 11-bout unbeaten streak dating back to August 2015. He last fought on March 14 in Ponce, Puerto Rico, battling to a spirited draw versus Jose Martinez for the NABO super flyweight title.
Magdaleno (25-1, 18 KOs) is a former WBO junior featherweight world champion who lost the belt in one of the best fights of 2018. On April 28 in Philadelphia, he knocked down Isaac Dogboe in the first round, but Dogboe rallied to score three knockdowns of his own and knock Magdaleno out in the 11th round of an instant classic. Ramos (29-5, 14 KOs), is a 10-year pro, won the WBA 122-pound title with a shocking, one-punch left hook knockout against Akifumi Shimoda in 2011, but lost the title in his first defense against then-unbeaten Guillermo Rigondeaux on Jan. 20, 2012 in Las Vegas. Ramos has won five in a row since a third-round KO loss against Claudio Marrero in July 2015.
WBC Ambassadors Maureen Shea and Brandon Rios Support the Grand Opening of Virgil Hill’s New Gym Funded by George Lopez
A few months ago, a Simi Valley Boxing Gym lost its owner due to canceR, It didn’t take much for comedian George Lopez and his company Fifty150 (Chasing Dreams – Overcome Obstacles) to step up to the plate and help save the gym the kids loved. This past Saturday, the gym had its Grand Opening ceremony where QuickSilver Hill Sports Academy was presented to the community with Head Coach, Former Champion, Virgil Hill.
In attendance at the Red Ribbon cutting ceremony was Former Champions and WBC Ambassadors, Bam Bam Brandon Rios and Maureen Shea, as well as Golden Boy Boxing’s house DJ Ray and hosting the event was Nancy Rodriguez. The WBC presented Virgil Hill with a WBC Certified plaque, very soon Pepe Sulaiman and team will be going to the gym for workshops and Boxing fundamentals.
The gym had two sparring sessions where both Brandon Rios and Maureen Shea were put in as trainers, which was great to see them in these roles. Many raffles, prizes, photos, autographs from the fighters, free food and drinks for all.
Rios and Shea spoke to the children in attendance and really gave them great advice on following their dreams and never giving up.
On behalf of the WBC, we’d like to congratulate Quicksilver Hill Sports Academy on their Grand Opening and we look forward to seeing them in the Boxing Community.
Showtime to Premiere Cradle of Champions
SHOWTIME has acquired the television rights to CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS, a documentary film that takes viewers through the New York Golden Gloves tournament, one of the most prestigious amateur boxing tournaments in the country. Written and directed by journalist Bartle Bull, the film will premiere Friday, September 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.
CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS chronicles three inspiring fighters—James Wilkins, Nisa Rodriguez, and Titus Williams—as they navigate the 10-week tournament and fight their way among 500 boxers from the five boroughs, all vying for the coveted title of Golden Gloves champion. Through the three intertwined yet unique narratives, the film explores the pressures and sacrifices on the arduous journey toward boxing greatness.
Shot in a cinema verité-style with no voice-over narration, the character-driven narrative examines what it means to “fight for your life,” not only for the boxers, but also for their coaches, mentors, teammates and loved ones. CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS includes genuine characters and intimate revelations set against the gritty urban landscape of New York City to create a powerful and layered account of the 2015 tournament.
The film follows Williams and Wilkins as they battle through opposite sides of the 132-pound bracket. Williams is the tournament favorite on the brink of professional success. He is mentored by coach Joe Higgins, a retired New York City firefighter suffering from illnesses sustained during rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Wilkins, a Staten Island native who channels his propensity for fighting into an amateur career, aims to beat Williams and establish himself as a prospect to watch as he turns to the professional ranks. Meanwhile, single mother and teacher Rodriquez—a five-time Golden Glove champion and self-proclaimed, “fighting pride of the South Bronx”—attempts to cement her legacy as she sets her sights on the 2016 Olympic Trials.
CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS is Bull’s first endeavor into documentary filmmaking. A New York based author and journalist by trade who specializes in foreign affairs and the Middle East, Bull has appeared on NPR, Fox News, BBC, and other news outlets, and his work has been featured in New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal.
CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS is executive produced by Donald Rosenfeld (Tree of Life, Jodorowsky’s Dune, Remains of the Day) and written and directed by Bull, in association with cinematographer Tom Hurwitz (The Queen of Versailles) and editor Michael Levine (Restrepo). The film was an official selection at the 2017 American Documentary Film Festival, the 2017 Santa Barbara International Film Festival and Doc NYC 2017. CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS was named Best Feature at the 2017 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.
The Underground Showdown Returns to Atlanta September 15
ATLANTA, GA- Saturday September 15, The Underground Showdown returns to Buckhead Fight Club, presented by Holmes Entertainment . This evening of pro/amateur boxing action will see an action packed card, and promoter Mark Holmes is excited to be back in Atlanta and return to professional boxing promotions. “”This is a great opportunity to see good, local growing talent, so I’m going to put some shows together and try and keep the fighters in all these gyms busy and fighting.”
Underground Showdown is stacked with many of the top Mexican fighters in Atlanta, all ready to battle it out on Mexican Independence weekend. Pro fighters scheduled to appear are: super welterweights Jesus Tavera and Anthony Hill in a 6 round main event; featherweights Deonte Brown and Joe Gibson, 4 rounds; super welterweights Antonio Todd and Jorge Gonzales Rolon, 4 rounds; fly weights Rondarius Hunter and Arrel Love, 4 rounds; Jerson Ramos, super featherweight opponent TBD, and welterweight Sean Charleston and opponent TBD. Amateur bouts will feature Abel Aparicio, Roberto Escalante, Luis Damian, Rafael Castillo, William Hernandez and Andres Leon.
Doors open 6 PM Saturday, September 15 at Buckhead Fight Club/Atlanta Art of Boxing, 3293 Buford Hwy. NE #500, with first bell at 7 PM Sharp. Tickets are available now at Buckhead Fight Club or online at: http://undergroundshowdown3.doattend.com
Former Welterweight Champion Victor Ortiz Clashes with Hard-Hitting Brawler John Molina Jr. in Premier Boxing Champions Main Event
Expect fireworks when former welterweight champion “Vicious” Victor Ortiz meets hard-hitting former title challenger John Molina Jr. on Sunday, September 30 in the 12-round main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FS1 and FOX Deportes live from Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California.
Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will feature a stacked lineup of undercard attractions leading up to the action-packed main event.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Ringstar Sports, go on sale tomorrow, August 24 at 12 p.m. PT and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com.
Ortiz (32-6-3, 25 KOs) is an all-action boxer-puncher who comes to fight and is always in exciting battles. The 31-year-old southpaw has one of the best resumes of anyone in the welterweight division having been in against Floyd Mayweather, Andre Berto twice, Lamont Peterson, Luis Collazo and Marcos Maidana. Ortiz, who was born in Garden City, Kansas and now lives in Ventura, California, is coming off a majority draw against Devon Alexander in February.
“We’ve known each other a long time and we’re both always in exciting battles, so fans should expect nothing less on September 30,” said Ortiz. “I had a broken eye socket from an injury in the second round of the Alexander fight, but I’m feeling 100 percent now. I’m ready to take what is rightfully mine, and that’s another world title down the road. It’s going to be a way from round one and I can’t wait.”
Molina (30-7, 24 KOs) has never backed down from a challenge and has been in the ring with some of the best boxers from lightweight to welterweight during his career. The 35-year-old from Covina, California beat a fierce Ruslan Provodnikov by unanimous decision in 2016. Another standout battle from Molina’s career saw him drop former welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse twice before losing on an 11th round knockout. In his last fight he scored a fourth round TKO victory over Ivan Redkach in a back-and-forth bout from December on FS1.
“I respect Victor and everything he’s accomplished in this game, but I know that I have the tools to overcome everything he does,” said Molina. “Everyone knows that I’m in it to win it. We’re both going to be ready to mix it up and throw bombs. There is no way that I see this fight going the distance. It’s going to come down to heart and I’m going to be there until final bell.”
“Victor Ortiz vs. John Molina Jr. has war written all over it and should be another in a long line of memorable battles featuring these Southern California fan-favorites,” said Richard Schaefer, Chairman and CEO of Ringstar Sports. “These two men are known for leaving it all in the ring and giving the fans incredible action from the opening bell. I have no doubt that this will be another outstanding showdown, with the winner setting themselves up for even bigger things in the star-studded welterweight division. We’re excited to bring this matchup, plus a jam-packed undercard, to the fans in Ontario and watching live on FS1 and FOX Deportes.”
“This is a true crossroads battle between two hardnosed veterans who have fought almost every welterweight of note in the last decade,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “The one thing you can be certain of when you get Victor Ortiz and John Molina Jr. in the ring is that a fight will break out. This match should be highly entertaining for the fans at Citizens Business Bank Arena and those who tune in on FS1 and FOX Deportes on September 30.”
Tevin Farmer Pens Multi-Fight Co-Promo Deal with Matchroom Boxing USA and DiBella Entertainment
Tevin Farmer has signed a multi-fight co-promotional deal with DiBella Entertainment and Matchroom Boxing USA.
The newly crowned IBF World Super Featherweight champion will make the first defense of his title live on DAZN in a bout to be announced this week – another step in the remarkable career of the popular southpaw.
Farmer travelled to Australia earlier in the month to land the title in convincing fashion in the backyard of Sydney’s Billy Dib, to claim the IBF strap at the second attempt having been on the wrong end of a controversial split decision against Kenichi Ogawa in Las Vegas in December, a result subsequently change to a no-contest following Ogawa failing a drugs test.
The Philadelphian ace’s win was a sweet moment after recovering from a career-threatening injury when he was shot in the hand in July 2017 – reaching the World title status his undoubted talent has always promised.
Farmer is hunting down unification bouts as soon as possible, with champions Gervonta Davis, Miguel Berchelt and Masayuki Ito all on his radar.
“Winning that belt after everything I’ve been through brought me indescribable joy,” said Farmer. “I always felt that I was a true champion. I just had to go over to Australia, capture the title and prove it, and I did just that. I came home a champion and celebrated, but I got right back in the gym. I want to be an active champion and defend my title. That’s why I’m so thrilled about this deal. It’s a pleasure to work with both DiBella Entertainment and Matchroom Boxing USA and I know that with us working together, big things are going to happen. Ultimately, my goal is to get all the belts and I’ll do whatever it takes. I’m open to fighting anybody to unify. I’m looking forward to showing the world who Tevin Farmer is and what I can do.”
“Through all of Tevin’s hard work, heart and determination, he overcame the odds, achieved his dream, and now he can enjoy the fruits of his labor,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “This is a great deal that will help progress Tevin’s career as he begins his championship reign. Starting with his first title defense in October, Tevin will stay active as we work toward getting him the biggest and most meaningful fights available.”
“Tevin Farmer has a great story but more importantly to me the man can really fight,” said Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing USA. “He showed great heart to bounce back from that shocking decision in Las Vegas and go to Australia to win the title – and now the world is his oyster.
“We have a great fight lined up for him in October but the ultimate focus is Gervonta and other unifications. We are going to keep him nice and busy and we look forward to working with Tevin and Lou on this exciting journey.”
Wilder Trainer Mark Breland Weighs In On Upcoming Fury Bout
By: Sean Crose
“I don’t think they want the fight,” world welterweight champion turned top trainer Mark Breland told me earlier this summer. “When Joshua fights, he doesn’t talk.” The Joshua Breland was referring to, of course, was heavyweight multi-titlist Anthony Joshua, who holds every major belt in the division except for the WBCs famed green strap. That particular item is in the possession of the man Breland works with, Deontay Wilder, an individual who has been calling Joshua out for ages. That highly anticipated fight still hasn’t been made. What’s more, Joshua, unlike Wilder, “doesn’t talk” much about chomping at the bit to face his championship counterpart, leaving many to think – fairly or not – that the man isn’t interested in facing Wilder at the moment.
When we spoke in June, Breland made it clear he felt Joshua, who has defeated former long reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko in thrilling fashion, is content taking his time on the matter. “Eventually,” he told me, “they’re going to have to fight.” Breland indicated, however, that he doubted “it’s going to happen any time soon.” Breland also pointed out that Joshua was living high at the moment. “He doesn’t need Deontay,” Breland said of team Wilder’s mindset. “Deontay needs him.” How times change. Former heavyweight champ Tyson Fury, who wrested the title away from Klitschko in 2015, has come back to the ring after some hard times and is now set for a heavyweight superfight – against Wilder, not Joshua. No doubt it must seem strange to Joshua that the biggest heavyweight fight right now is between Wilder and Fury, a man who has dismissively referred to Joshua as “the other chump.”
Yet when we spoke on Sunday, Breland himself noted the strangeness of the sudden turn of events. “A little bit,” he said after I asked if he was surprised his fighter would soon be facing Fury in the ring. Wilder-Fury is a huge risk for both men, as a fight with Joshua would probably bring each fighter more money and accolades. As Wilder said over the weekend, though: “This is what we’ve been waiting for…the best fighting the best.” Wilder will have a challenge for himself when he faces Fury (the date and location of the match will be announced this week). Standing at almost six feet, nine inches in height, the Englishman can be incredibly – and surprisingly – slick.
“There’s going to be a slight difference,” Breland said of Wilder’s training camp this time, “because Tyson is tall.” Wilder, he says, will “just have to adjust to someone taller.” Breland, who was a gold medal Olympian, as well as a professional world titlist, still isn’t impressed with how Joshua is handling his career. “I’ve been in boxing for a long time,” he told me. “When you’re a champion…normally you have to face the (top) person whose up next.” Joshua’s next bout will be on September 22nd, when he faces Alexander Povetkin, a top challenger, but not a current or former titlist.
Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder Heavyweight World Championship Announced For Later This Year
WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury announced on Saturday that they have agreed to a heavyweight showdown later this year. The announcement was made in Belfast immediately following’s the undefeated Fury’s shutout decision of Francesco Pianeta. VIDEO: https://s.sho.com/2vVYtlj
Wilder vs. Fury, a 12-round matchup for Wilder’s WBC Heavyweight World Championship, will be produced and distributed by SHOWTIME PPV. A date and venue for the event will be announced shortly.
The 6-foot-7 Wilder is 40-0 with 39 knockouts and American’s only heavyweight champion since 2007. The 6-foot-9 Fury is a former IBF, WBA and WBO Champion who has never been defeated in 27 professional fights.
Frampton and Fury Win in Belfast
By: Oliver McManus
Up in Windsor Park in front of a raucous crowd of 25,000 – all out in support of their hometown hero – Carl Frampton completed a lifelong dream in competing at the home of the Northern Irish football team and, in doing so, stamped his authority all over the featherweight scene thanks to a convincing win over Luke Jackson.
Jackson, 16-0 before the fight, came into the fight with the heavy tag of underdog and despite this was determined to put in a performance to be proud of. Frampton meanwhile was cautious not to overlook the Australian but was steadfast in his belief that there bigger things lay visible on the horizon.
Dusk was settling over the skies of Belfast when the first bell rang and the fight kicked off with Carl Frampton taking to the centre of the ring and lurching out with a pawing left hand to signal his intentions – a swift right hand marked out the early danger, pushing Jackson onto the ropes momentarily within the opening minute.
Jackson, from a crouched stance, leaned in with left hands of his own but offered relatively little in way of genuine threat throughout the, admittedly quiet, opening rounds but the attacking mind set of Frampton was, undoubtedly, enough to notch up the rounds on the scorecards.
A rhythm was found with a consummate ease by The Jackal as he rocked back on forth on his toes, taking his time before offering up some solid body shots, moving with grace, crisp on his feet and displaying the technical ability and footwork that has seen him claim so much glory in the past.
Frampton was able to put Jackson near the red without having to break out of stride or launch any particularly vicious flurries – all he had to do was stay busy, stay present and that seemed to be enough to make life uncomfortable for the Australian challenger.
Big right hands, chipping uppercuts and solid hooks rendered a stiffness in the legs of Jackson and a left hand caught the right hand side of the Aussie – whilst he was off balance – to wobble his man and Jackson was being outworked in all departments, the work rate of Frampton was superior as he moved through the motions and the uppercut of Frampton proved to be a crucial punch throughout the contest before he dropped down to target the body.
Moving into the second third of the contest and much of the same followed with Frampton working the angles against a game, gutsy Luke Jackson who wasn’t looking particularly hurt but, equally, wasn’t really offering much in terms of counter punches.
Jackson, a Commonwealth bronze medallist was trying to attack, trying to find the body of Frampton but he failed to find any regularity with his punches, looking sluggish on his feet and half-hearted with the hands.
A solid sequence of punches in the fifth round signalled the start of the end for Jackson with Frampton starting to tee off, hammering the body of Jackson with alarming consistency and power, uppercuts snapping the head back of his counterpart and, to put it simply, looking a class above the challenger.
Having declared prefight that he wanted to secure a knockout victory there was a definite change in tempo at the halfway mark from Carl Frampton but with that brought a renewed vitality from Jackson who began to throw punches with the full swivel of his body – nothing Frampton couldn’t handle, mind.
With the Australian tiring yet continuing to show heart throughout each round, he began to wander more into range of Frampton who set about making him pay with repeated shots to the body and as the rain came cascading down onto the ring, Frampton’s shots continued to cascade towards his gritty opponent.
Looking in ferocious shape, Frampton started to piece combinations together and sent a beautiful uppercut followed by sickening shot to the livers of Luke Jackson, dropping him towards the end of the eight and with blood in the water, it was time for The Jackal to set finishing the fight off once and for all.
Holding on groggily, Frampton continued to target the body of Jackson with his shots now packing extra venom, extra power, shot after shot towards the big cage of Jackson were causing visible pain and it was only a matter of time before the Australian was pulled out by his corner – so it came, with 1 minute and 21 still left on the clock of the ninth round.
Next stop? Josh Warrington for the IBF Featherweight title of the world.
On the undercard of such a memorable occasion featured Tyson Fury, lineal heavyweight champion, in his second contest since returning from his much-publicised layoff and he was up against, two time world title challenger, Francesco Pianeta.
Underwhelmed sighs greeted the announcement of his opponent but, since then, the near-inevitable showdown with Deontay Wilder towards the backend of this year has seen the spice factor significantly raised and excitement abound.
He had to get the job done first, though, in Belfast and was set about doing his business without the showboating that blighted his encounter with Sefer Seferi and weighing in at 18st 6lbs he looked the real deal and incredibly nimble.
Pianeta came into the first round with an incredible ferocioty and pace to the encounter, showering shots in towards Fury but the Tyson merely swivelled his hips, weaved his head and avoided the punches without blinking an eye.
Looking cool and comfortable the mobile figure of Fury was able to bounce around the ring, establishing a convincing jab with his long levers against an opponent who, actually, came to fight and spring a surprise.
Controlling the pace of the bout with ease it was all about Tyson Fury and with Deontay Wilder in attendance, Fury looked like sending a statement to him and the Belfast crowd.
Firing shots in with a snap of the wrist, Fury looked fast, looked comfortable and, more importantly, looked happy to be in the ring and happy with his performance. Taking it vastly more serious than his contest in Seferi, this was the Tyson Fury of old and he found his range quickly, looping in shots round the guard and exploiting the, perhaps, over-eagerness of Pianeta.
Switching stances from time to time, Fury was free flowing and quick on his feet. Elusive in his movement it was clear to see who the superior fighter was and Tyson always looked like his reflexes were one step faster than Pianeta, making the German-Italian miss by a good few inches whilst staying alert throughout the full duration of each round.
Each round seemed to follow the same sort of theme with Pianeta looking to be brute in his manner of fighting whilst Fury nullified the sting with cultured and classy movement, a cat and mouse sort of game, controlling the contest with complete and utter ease, never looking fazed and, frankly, never looking out of second gear.
Taking each round on the scorecard of Steve Gray to win the contest by 100-90 the fight didn’t produce the explosive knockout that many were expecting but it did provide crucial rounds in the bank for Tyson with his world title challenge confirmed shortly after the fight – this may not have been the exact outcome that we wanted but, certainly, it was a performance that we needed and proved, beyond doubt, that, yeah, Tyson Fury is back.
Deontay Wilder will be next – in November or December – and to use Dillian Whyte’s words, “Wilder, let’s go baby, LET’S GO!!!”.
As always, then, boxing and Belfast just seems to be that magical combination that works each and every time.
Fury Rewriting Rules of Boxing Show Business
When most fighters face off, insults and sometimes pushes and blows are exchanged. When Tyson Fury does it there are smiles, hugs, selfies and best wishes for his opponent.
Friday’s hotel lobby fracas with Deontay Wilder even seemed well-meaning and conducted in good spirits. You got the sense the pair would genuinely enjoy exchanging views during a prospective pre-fight build-up.
By his own admission, the world lineal heavyweight king has always flouted convention (“I’m different…”) but now seems to be doing so driven not by contrarianism but by a simplistic goal: making the world a better place. Torn-up rulebooks are collateral damage.
The act of fighting – by its nature – is destructive. Selling the spectacle of that impending destruction is, historically, primarily reliant on presenting an element of ‘bad blood’ during the build-up. Often, combatants launch tirades of physical threats – sometimes as much to open up new heights of aggression in their own minds as much as to intimidate a rival.
If he ever felt the need to or not, Fury doesn’t need to sell anything now. The cameras will follow him, the journalists will write about him and the whole world will want to watch him box regardless. There is no reason for him to act or speak disingenuously.
At the weigh-in for his comeback fight, Fury picked up his comeback opponent Sefer Seferi as if the Albanian was a damsel in distress. After some playful groping of Pianeta at their opening press conference, there were laughs and handshakes all round.
Fury said: “It’s the Tyson Fury show. People know what they’re going to get when they come to one of these things and they like it.
“If I’m coming back and setting an example, being a role model, then there’s no need for all the animosity between fighters. I believe that nowadays you can put on a good fight without wanting to kill each other.
“I’ll pray for Pianeta. I pray he produces his best performance on the night. I don’t want to hurt Pianeta. I don’t want to do anything bad to him – I just want to beat him on Saturday night.
“I hope he goes home to his family lovely and safe. That’s just the man I am. I don’t wish harm on anybody. I’ve got no enemies and I don’t hate anybody.
“I like to put on a show. I like to do it. It’s entertainment. Yes, I suppose it’s entertainment. It’s great entertainment! I’m very modest, as you can tell…”
It’s nigh-on certain there will always be a place for the pantomime of genuine ill-feeling between fighters at press conferences and weigh-ins. Now Fury is a flag-bearer for an alternative, more light-hearted and humorous approach, though.
Perhaps we’ll see a change if and when he faces a man like Wilder – a fight which would likely take place on away turf against a formidable opponent who speaks English at a similar rate of knots to ‘The Gypsy King’.
For now, however, Fury is almost like a congenial host making his opponents feel welcome and at ease before serving up cold boxing lessons for dessert.
Only a few hundred tickets remain for Saturday’s historic stadium show at Windsor Park – featuring Fury v Pianeta, Carl Frampton v Luke Jackson, Cristofer Rosales v Paddy Barnes and more.
Tyson Fury vs. Francesco Pianeta Final Press Conference Quotes
Lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and former two-time heavyweight title challenger Francesco Pianeta faced off on Tuesday in Belfast during the final press conference for their 10-round heavyweight bout this Saturday from Windsor Park. The second comeback fight of the former unified champion will stream live exclusively to U.S. audiences on the SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page and SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT (please note new start time). SHOWTIME will air an encore presentation later that evening on SHOWTIME EXTREME® (10 p.m. ET/PT).
The former IBF, WBA and WBO champion Fury (26-0, 19 KOs) returned to the ring in June and will fight for the second time in less than 75 days following a nearly three-year layoff. Prior to his extended hiatus, the 6-foot-9 Fury established himself as the premier heavyweight boxer in the world by becoming the first man to defeat Wladimir Klitschko in more than 11 years.
Pianeta (35-4-1, 21 KOs), a 6-foot-5 southpaw who fights out of Germany, has twice challenged for the heavyweight world title. Pianeta faced then-unified champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2013 and lost in a bid for a secondary title against Ruslan Chagaev in 2015.
Here’s what the fighters had to say at Europa Hotel in Belfast on Tuesday:
“The old Tyson Fury is gone. The Tyson Fury from three years ago and beyond is finished. Let’s face it, we all move forward in life with age and experiences and I’m not looking to dwell on the past. I’m looking to live for today and improve on who I am tomorrow. The new Tyson Fury is here now and my promise is to put on a good fight. Whether that’s better or worse than the old Tyson Fury, we’ll find out on Saturday night.
“What you’re likely to see from me on Saturday is a heavyweight Sugar Ray Leonard. Anything less is a failure.
“I do want to win a world title again so I have to raise my game. I’ve been out of the ring for three years nearly. It’s an uphill battle to lose the weight I’ve lost. It’s been challenging and a long, hard battle to get back to where I am.
“I study my heavyweights and I know Francesco has fought some very good men. He had a very good winning spree, he was 28-0 when he fought Klitschko. I’m not underestimating Francesco. I know he’s a very big, strong fellow and he knows if he wins this fight then he can go on to fight (Deontay) Wilder instead of me. It’s all to play for.
“In heavyweight boxing, if you take your eye off the goal for ten seconds you’re out of there. I know what to expect, I expect him to bring his ‘A game’ and he’s going to try to knock me out because that’s what they all do. Hopefully, he’s not successful and we put on a great show and entertain the fans.
“If I come through this, then Wilder has a chance to fight me for the lineal championship. I’m not the one who gets the chance to fight him. Let’s face it, he hasn’t really fought anybody. He has 40 fights and it is what it is. We’re not here to talk about Wilder at all. It may as well be a million years in the future, I’ve got to concentrate on this man in front of me. I’m sure he wants to take my glory away from me.
“I’ve made all the right sacrifices. I trained really well, ate right, slept well and I had four or five sparring partners that were all southpaws. If I do what I think I can do, then I’ll impress, put on a good show and win the fight. If I don’t do what I think I can do, then I’ll get chinned in about ten seconds and it will be, ‘See you later Tyson Fury and hello Francesco Pianeta.’
“Southpaws are a lot more awkward because there’s less of them in the division. You don’t get too much work with southpaws other than when you’re fighting with them. It’s hard to get southpaws to spar in training because there aren’t many heavyweight southpaws around the world. But I do have one interesting fact, every southpaw amateur or professional I’ve ever faced I’ve knocked out. That’s not good for Francesco.
“To be a two-time heavyweight champion is all right. It’s not great because there’s been plenty. To be a three-time heavyweight champion, it’s been done before. So I think I want to set a precedent of being a five-time heavyweight champion without losing a fight. That’s my goal. I always aim for the stars and set big targets.
“If I can beat Francesco Pianeta on Saturday night, I’ve beaten another boxer. Big deal. But if he beats me, he’s going on to something very big. It would be life-changing for him. It I can’t beat Francesco, then I’m going nowhere.
“I think I’m the greatest heavyweight that’s ever been born, so I should handle Francesco Pianeta. And whoever else is out there, Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua, all the bums out there.
“It’s very easy to win all the belts back. I’ve only got to beat two bums, basically. Wilder and Joshua and that’s it. They both haven’t got a brain cell between them so it shouldn’t be too hard for a great boxer like myself.”
Ben Davison, Fury’s Trainer
“Everything is good with Tyson. It’s good that he’s getting straight into the ring again. It’s been a good progression since the last fight and everything is perfect. We’re just ready for Saturday night. You can’t do anything more from now.
“He’s lost a good amount of weight since the last fight. To me, there’s only a certain level of fitness that you can get to and Tyson runs on two very good engines anyway. There’s never been any worry with that.”
“I’m going to give my best and I’m looking forward to the fight. It’s an honor for me to box in front of such an audience.
“I have a high opinion on Tyson. I was very impressed with his win over Klitschko, I rate him very highly. He says that he’s knocked out every southpaw he’s ever faced, but we’ll see if he is able to do that Saturday night.”
Fight Week in Belfast for Frampton vs. Jackson
By: Oliver McManus
It is fight week in Belfast with 25,000 people set to descend upon Windsor Park this coming Saturday to witness Carl Frampton defend his interim WBO featherweight title against, Australian challenger, Luke Jackson whilst Irish Olympic hero Paddy Barnes challenges for a world title of his very own – the WBC Flyweight belt currently held by Cristofer Rosales – and as if that wasn’t enough the lineal heavyweight champion of the world, Tyson Fury, will complete a stellar line-up.
Fighting at the home of the Northern Ireland football team, Carl Frampton will be fulfilling a lifelong dream and against Luke Jackson, Frampton faces an opponent who, on paper, should be no match for the silky skills of the 31 year old.
Against Nonito Donaire back in April, Frampton displayed a piercing shot selection to outwork the Filipino with ease to win by six rounds on all three scorecards and his aggressive ring-craft shows no signs of letting up regardless of opponent – an almost unnerving knack of remaining steadfast in the centre of the ring before capitalizing on even the smallest of concentration lapses give him a genuine for the best British boxer, pound for pound.
Seemingly annoyed by some of the things that Luke Jackson has said, the added needle is always extra motivation for a convincing performance and with his home crowd roaring his name we can be sure that Frampton will seek to deliver a punch-perfect masterclass as he awaits a potential fight with Oscar Valdez, pending the Mexican getting back from injury.
Jackson, on the other hand, is convinced that his amateur pedigree will see him claimed the victor with, to quote him, Frampton having “achieved everything he wanted to achieve”. Jackson believes himself to be the hungrier of the two boxers and admits that we’ve yet to see anything like his best over the course of his 16 fight professional career.
Having waited seven years from his Commonwealth medal to transfer to the paid ranks, the Australian is looking to rise up ranks in double-quick time and whilst the level of opponent that he’s faced hasn’t been the most inspiring he has, by all accounts, worked his way to this world title challenge with relative ease.
Strong in the engine, Jackson has the stamina necessary to keep a high tempo across the 12 scheduled rounds and attempt to wear down his more experienced counterpart but, in equal part, Frampton’s terrier-like energy ensures that this fight will be an eye-catching spectacle with plenty of shots being thrown from both corners.
If there’s one thing you can count on from this fight between Carl Frampton – an all-time British great – and Luke Jackson – a hungry Hobart hero – its action.
We all know what Carl Frampton is about whereas Luke Jackson has the factor of the unknown about him, if he’s to topple Frampton in his own backyard then he’ll need to produce an all-time great upset in order to match his confident talking.
Paddy Barnes will be looking to produce an upset of his own – at least according to the bookies – but with odds of 2/1 on the leprechaun becoming WBC Flyweight champion upon the conclusion of his fight with Cristofer Rosales, he is well worth a punt.
Barnes will attempt to wrestle the prestigious green belt of the Nicaraguan champion in only his 6th professional fight but with amateur pedigree as rich as royalty, the experience he possess is enough to match any man and as a natural aggressor he’ll look to dictate the pace of the encounter from the outset.
Against Eliecer Quezada – another Nicaraguan – last November. BAarnes looked his most complete with the rangy boxer switching stances periodically throughout the bout and demonstrating his superfluous footwork before rocking Quezada with right hand after right hand, securing a 6th round knockout to set up this world title clash.
Rosales is no stranger to fighting away from home and has even fought on UK soil before when he faced Andrew Selby back in 2017 and himself produced an upset in April this year to claim the world title when he knocked out Daigo Higa during the 8th round of their nip-and-tuck contest.
Faster with his hands than Barnes but slower with his feet, this fight promises to be mouth-watering from the outset and Rosales is, historically, a big puncher with 18 knockouts from his 30 professional fights – 27 of those being wins.
Andrew Selby was on the receiving end of a Rosales trademark on-the-ropes flurry and hit the canvas before overcoming the Nicaraguan on points so whilst the champion does pack that power, if you can keep cool and composed then he’s there for the taking.
Onto the big man then with Tyson Fury who, actually, having said he’s the big man has been looking astonishingly slim when walking around in Belfast this week so you can expect a markedly more mobile performance from the lineal champion than on his June 9th comeback.
Franceso Pianeta is a distinct step up from Sefer Seferi although that’s not particularly hard and even though Pianeta has been a two-time world title challenge there is a distinct yearning for someone like Sam Sexton or Gary Cornish to get in the ring with Fury in order to provide a domestic challenge of some sort.
The German-Italian will come to fight, Fury has said as much, and whilst there seems to be very little prospect of this being anything other than a Fury victory we can be sure to see him work through the motions and, hopefully, unfurl the type of performance we saw against Wladimir Klitschko way back when in 2015.
A return to a world title fight beckons with, WBC Champion, Deontay Wilder set to be ringside in Belfast ahead of the potential announcement of a bout between Fury and Wilder – scheduled for either November or December – that fight “99% done”.
And it’s that fight on the horizon that could serve as the additional motivation required to produce a display that shows the Tyson of old, the Tyson we all want to see back in the ring and, more importantly, the Tyson that can set up a blockbuster fight with Anthony Joshua.
As always when fight night hits Belfast, we are in for one hell of a treat.
The Ultimate Showdown of Boxer vs. Brawler: Fury vs. Wilder
By: Dylan Smith
The Battle of the Behemoth
Could this be it? The greatest pugilist Giants waging war to win the ultimate title of Super Heavyweight Champion of the world and could the victor be crowned as the GOAT?
Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder are the longest bodied out of the top ranked heavyweights in the world with a combined wingspan of over 5 meters and each stretching over 6 feet 7 inches tall. Tyson Fury is back in the ring and has proclaimed he wants to take back his titles, which he never lost in the ring and even go on to defend them to match the great Joe Luis’ record of number of defences. So far Fury has done what he set out to do by beating Vladimir Klitscho on his home turf against all the odds so why now, even after his 2 year lay off, should we doubt him? One of the reasons could be the climate of the heavyweight division has drastically changed with rough tough young competitors like Joseph Parker and hard hungry powerhouses like Dillian Whyte who pose massive threats to Tysons unbeaten record and dreams of a glory. The British public and the world however do love a comeback story and an underdog as they are dramatised in classic films such as Rocky. So has he got the minerals? Usually for such a large man you wouldn’t see this kind of movement however Tyson floats around the ring turning, slipping and ducking like a man half his size normally would. His technique is masterful and you can tell he has crafted his skill over a number of years, dedicated his life to boxing. Some say he doesn’t hit hard for a large heavyweight but even if he doesn’t hit like AJ or Wilder he more than makes up for it with precision, speed and timing with 19 ko’s out of 26 contests. Tyson Fury throws every punch in the book from every angle and has an awkward style where he can switch stances, fight long or up close, spoil and counter on the entry and exit from the clinch. He is used to going to the champions turf so will he be the man for the job and can he shock the world again and prove all the doubters wrong in becoming the
WBC heavyweight champion of the world?
Deontay wilder is an absolute knockout artist with a phenomenal record of 39 ko’s out of 40 contests in which he has knocked out every opponent he has ever faced as a professional in the squared circle, as in the rematch against Bermaine Stivern he managed to take him out in literally the last second of the first round. His name appropriately resonates his fighting style as he is famous for throwing wild hooks and hurtful haymakers. He started off more of a brawler and still is, however his skill set has massively improved over the years. He has honed in on his accuracy of shots and has a fantastic snappy jab, he also displays his improved boxing intelligence with the shot selections and combination punches he throws, displayed recently against Luis Ortiz where he annihilated him in the 10th round after being shook himself earlier in the fight. Still with all that skill he still loves to bang out that straight right hand and possesses that one punch knockout power that could shut anyones lights out if it touches them anywhere on the head. Wilder likes to brawl and bash his opponents, break them down and finish in fierce savage style. We can talk attributes: length; power; speed and both fighters tick all of the boxes, also both have unbeaten records. It will then be a case of who can make the other one fight their style. Fury will box and spoil and Wilder will shake him off and look for the overhand right as Tyson enters the clinch. Or will Wilder want to box long and display his pugilist skills and shock everyone like Fury did to Klitschko. The likelihood is however Fury will bob and weave and Wilder will get more and more desperate and keep firing the right hand until it finds a home on Fury’s head.
With the deal being reported by Frank Warren (Tyson Fury’s promoter) as nearly done for December we may see how it plays out. Are we going to be given an early Christmas present? Will we see these 2 colossals collide in the ultimate mammoth match of boxer versus brawler for the most prestigious title in Boxing? I hope so.
Whyte, Fury, Wilder and Chisora and the Order of the Square Jungle
By: Daniel Smith
“CRACK!” A whamming freight train of a left hook smashes against the granite jaw of Joseph Parker, as a thrash of thick, spume-like slaver oomphs from his gaping mouth, while a spattering-lash of sweat pelts from his drenched glistening crown. In that precise moment, Joseph Parker’s body is scaffolded by legs of thin splints as he falls to the canvass like a mighty oak that’s been chopped down and defeated by a burly powerhouse lumberjack in, Dillian “the body snatcher” Whyte.
The “Whyte vs. Parker” fight was certainly a brutal crackerjack of a slugfest which demonstrated the power, iron-grit and determination of Dillian Whyte. So, with the World Boxing Council President Mauricio Sulaiman, declaring that Whyte is being overlooked in place of Tyson Fury as the challenger for Deontay Wilder’s WBC world heavyweight title; it wouldn’t be hard to imagine “The Gypsy King” vs. “The Bronze Bomber” is maybe a fight Wilder would much prefer.
Let’s see why.
At 6ft 9″ and 18 stone; the former WBA, WBO, IBF, IBO and Lineal champion, Tyson Fury is a dangerous foe to any fighter within the heavyweight division and a man whose adept boxing capabilities and unorthodox, hybrid style is awkward and extremely tricky to overcome. Fury sports an impressive record of (26-0-0), with nineteen coming back way of knockout. It’s certainly clear Tyson Fury can “bang”; however, he’s not a “banger” per se – unlike the power-punching calibre of Wilder, Whyte and Joshua.
Fury (in theory) can and probably should win the bout against Deontay Wilder. Although, as we know, fights are not won theoretically and the cold reality is, Fury’s had a long hiatus from the sport and a showdown with a formidable knock-out merchant, such as Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder, may possibly be too soon for the Lineal champion. Presently, this clash favours the WBC champion – a fight with Lineal status on offer will too much of an enticement and opportunity for Wilder turn down.
Dillian ‘the Body Snatcher’ Whyte. (24-1-0)
At 6ft 4″ and 18 stone; the former British heavyweight champion and current WBC Silver world heavyweight titleholder is a bull of a man that configures a solidly-strapping, bulky-muscular physique. A lethal certified stalwart-banger who is equally equipped and capable to dance within the parameters of the sweet science as well as tearing it up in an ugly, broiling-brawl. A man whose boxing abilities have certainly slipped a gear or two in the last eighteen months. Whyte is one of the most lethal heavyweights competing right now, who’s hungry and ready to annihilate both Wilder’s and Joshua’s aspirations of becoming unified champions.
But, with no title fight this year on the horizon, it looks as though the second rumble with Derek Chisora may be likely. The two heavyweight scrappers met in 2016 and tore shreds out of one another for twelve rounds, in a dynamite exchange of heavy artillery. However, there was some controversy regarding the result as”The Body Snatcher” had seemingly “snatched” the victory in a points win. If the title-hungry fighters return for a second fight, we could well expect another 10 oz gloved straightner from two heavy-handed warriors. Plus, Chisora’s savage knockout over Carlos Takam is a testimony to his devastating, one punch- power ability and how just one beefy, chopping slog could render Whyte out cold and potentially out of the mix for a title shot.
Only time will tell.
But, whether it’s Whyte vs. Chisora or Wilder vs. Fury; one thing’s for certain: heavyweight boxing is ablaze and roaring right now with a glut of talented boxers who are revved up and raring to go – relishing the opportunity to be No 1 and King of the heavyweight division. Interesting, enticing, and exciting times are most definitely upon us within the noble art of boxing.
The Elite Boxers in the Heavyweight Division
By: Oliver McManus
Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora produced the two best performances of the night on Saturday at the O2 Arena and with that set up the potential for super fights across the heavyweight division, here we take a look at the five ‘elite’ heavyweights in the world and assess their credentials before a subsequent article next week will look at five ‘contenders’ –
Anthony Joshua – WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO Heavyweight Champion of the World
Where else to start but the face of heavyweight boxing? Anthony Joshua is capable of selling out Wembley Stadium with just the mere mention of his name and his record in the sport is simply remarkable – a gold medallist at his home Olympics in 2012, the pressure was always going to be on but, boy, has he handled the pressure supremely.
The 12th of December 2015 saw emotion seep into his fight-mentality for the first time as he let the rivalry between Dillian Whyte and himself get the better of his, previously, cool and calculated game plan with Joshua drawn into a firefight. Arguably that was the best thing that ever happened to him because it brought out a completely different animal within him, the killer instinct was born.
Wladimir Klitschko was legacy defining, there can be no other way of putting it, and whilst that clash highlighted the fact AJ was mortal – hard to believe, I know – you simply cannot knock the Watford-man for taking on and pulling off a feat of monumental proportions that many had previously tried and failed in, in only his 19th professional bout.
Oddly you could say his stock has fallen or, rather, the gap has got closer between himself and his closest competitors over the weekend with Chisora destroying Carlos Takam in a fashion far more convincing than Joshua and Dillian Whyte dropping Joseph Parker – once legitimately, once questionably – on the way to a unanimous decision.
Joshua is a rare breed of fighter in that he is seemingly willing to fight anyone and up against Alexander Povetkin in September he faces, previously, one of the most feared heavyweights in the world and, certainly, a huge puncher but someone that should be a relatively easy fight over Joshua’s last few tests.
2019, then, is the year for Anthony Joshua to continue in his pursuit of ever-lasting greatness.
Deontay Wilder – WBC Heavyweight Champion of the World
The ‘Punch’ to Anthony Joshua’s ‘Judy’ – a reference which anyone outside of the UK will need to Google – Deontay Wilder has a rather reasonable claim to being the hardest puncher in the current heavyweight division and is famed for his “windmill” shots which, when unloaded, signal a trademark finish to the fight.
Questions have, rightfully, been raised at the quality of Wilder’s recent opponents with the likes of Chris Arreola, Bermane Stiverne (the second time) and Artur Szpilka not exactly screaming “world class” but, having said that, Wilder has consistently dispatched the people put in front of him in a fashion you’d expect from the WBC Champion of the World.
Against ‘King Kong’ Luis Ortiz in March this year, the American was in the toughest fight of his career and took the best that Ortiz threw at him. Whilst the fight was a strong 50-50 prior to the stoppage that the Bronze Bomber managed to pull out of the bag, the contest showed that Wilder was capable of taking a shot to land a shot and that is the phrase that best defines his style.
Even when in with the best, genuine elite level fighters, he sticks to what he does well and that, very simply, is PUNCH. Now some may argue that shows a weakness in ability to adapt to the styles of challengers and whilst that is something that could be his downfall in the future, it’s worked with tremendous success thus far.
Not necessarily a household name in the United States – indeed you could say he’s more well-known on this side of the pond than in his own backyard – you can understand the strategy from those around him of building him up with all-American match-ups (Dominic Brezeale is rumoured to be the next defence) which enable him to gain profile and keep the belt with, relatively, easy fights.
BUT then comes the question of why on earth should a world champion need to have his profile built up? The fight with Anthony Joshua is a fight that NEEDS to happen in order for Deontay Wilder to be able to put to bed questions regarding the legitimacy of his reign and, for many, we’ve still yet to see the WBC champ fully tested.
Dillian Whyte – WBC Number 1 ranked heavyweight contender
Whyte proved his doubters wrong on Saturday with a scintillating win over Joseph Parker, make no mistake, he was sincerely rocked and challenged by the former WBO Champion, dropped to the canvas at one point, but what was most impressive about taking the barrage of punches was that he proved his chin has developed far more than anything else since he faced Anthony Joshua in 2015 –we always knew he had the agility, the power, the energy, that was never in question.
It’s hard to believe that it’s 18 months since Whyte went to war with Dereck Chisora, winning a split decision, but that bout seems to be symbolic of the way he goes about every fight – with an attitude of “guts and glory”, leaving everything on the line, and that’s something you cannot criticise because it produces excitement galore.
Up against Robert Helenius, Whyte really failed to click into gear when in the ring with the Nordic Nightmare and whilst the fight wasn’t aesthetically pleasing it was a valuable lesson for the Brixton Bomber because it showed him that, sometimes, you can’t go all-out for a knockout and have to box around the opposition, out-working them and simply fatiguing them into defeat.
With Deontay Wilder having been offered a princely sum – a career high pay day – to face Whyte (in the United Kingdom) and turning it down, there can be no doubt as to the stature of Eddie Hearn’s fighter and the attributes he possess all point to him being a world-champion in waiting.
Mild controversy erupted when he, and his team, turned down fights with Luis Ortiz and Kubrat Pulev in world title eliminators with many saying he was ducking the respective fighters but the fight with Joseph Parker seems to have answered all the questions being lobbied at him because whilst Parker isn’t as explosive as Ortiz he is faster, he is more sprightly and he’s every bit as technical as Pulev so, in a way, he got the best of both worlds.
I wouldn’t have said it three years ago but Dillian Whyte has proved me, and many critics wrong, and I’m happy to hold my hands up with regards to that because it was never anything personal but, for me, Dillian Whyte is the best heavyweight outside of the world title holders.
AJ in April? Sounds like a plan.
Kubrat Pulev – IBF Number 2 ranked heavyweight contender
Pulev is an interesting character, vastly underrated by fans and extensively avoided by fellow fighters, his technical style of boxing is one that hasn’t exactly played into his hands because with him not being a HUGE puncher, his technical and defensive aspect are exponentially enhanced and it makes him one heck of a challenge for anyone brave enough to take him on.
Dillian Whyte opted not to travel to Bulgaria to face Pulev and Jarrell Miller is another to have avoided stepping into unknown territory for the fight – which the IBF sanctioned, in both cases, as a final eliminator – and it’s not the location that is the sticking point but rather the risk-reward factor which strayed significantly into the risk region.
As I’ve said, Pulev relies on the technical fundamentals not to blast his opponents out of the ring but rather to get the better of them in the longer run, over the scheduled distance, with calculated punch output, shot selection, and beautifully timed footwork culminating in style of fighting bordering on art but so under-appreciated.
Another fighter to have taken on Dereck Chisora, emerge from the fight win the win and be levied with headlines of “Chisora fails to perform” as opposed to “Pulev outclasses Chisora”, Pulev hasn’t been one to avoid fights for the duration of his career and as a former European champion the Bulgarian has produced convincing wins on the big stage for a long, long time with the likes of Alexander Dimitrenko, Alexander Ustinov and Tony Thompson all falling foul of The Cobra’s leathal bite.
A former world title challenger Pulev has the experience of that level and whilst he’s not looked as sharp as his previous years, since his loss to Klitschko (in 2014) he has looked mentally more prepared whenever he steps in the ring – albeit against lesser opposition – and many were expecting him to provide Anthony Joshua with a stern test when they were scheduled to face-off and with Pulev back in the world title scene, there could still be life in the ageing cobra yet.
Tyson Fury – Lineal heavyweight champion of the world
This isn’t wrote in any order so before anyone gets in a huff as to my positioning of Fury in this list – or indeed my inclusion of him at all – let me explain why the lineal champion is in this “elite” overview;
Whatever you think of his last opponent – Sefer Seferi – Tyson Fury was the man who beat the man and, in doing so, made Klitschko look average and that is an achievement that simply cannot be overstated, it was beyond unexpected and Fury produced the goods.
Further to that his mental strength is, for me, the best of anyone in the division. He has had several well documented struggles and, let’s be clear, earned more than enough money for him to afford to retire and live comfortably for the rest of his life. So there was no need for Fury to comeback, he had proved his doubters wrong, but it was his inner motivation to prove that he was better than Joshua, better than Wilder, better than everyone that pushed him to return and lose 8stone in the process. That’s super-human.
Fury himself is unconventional in fighting style with the ability to switch stances with ease combined with his freakish height and surprisingly lucid movement marking him out as one of the most unpredictable men in the ring – one second he’ll be staring out into the crowd and the next launching a furious flurry into the body of his opponent.
And that is what marks him out from the other guys on this list because whilst they are all exceptional fighters in their own right, they are distinctly predictable – you know what you’re getting with each of them – but with Fury you get the impression that not even he knows. He’s no stranger to being an underdog, either, and dealing with the pressure of fighting in the away corner so his ability to handle those situations are incredible.
Fighting Francesco Pianeta on August 18th, Fury is targeting two further fights by the end of 2018 before mounting a serious challenge to the belts he used to own and with discussions already being held about the potential for a fight with Deontay Wilder, you’d be inclined to suggest it’s only a matter of time before he’s back where he belongs.
AND THERE WE HAVE IT, a look at the heavyweight elite boxers and of course the use of the term elite is entirely subjective, it’s merely my top 5 and there are plenty of guys that could have warranted being featured but, hey, nobody said it was easy!
European Boxing Notebook: DeGale, Fury, Saunders, WBSS, and more…
By: Oliver McManus
A busy, busy couple of weeks has seen action across Britain aplenty but, for a while, there were relatively few major talking points. Nonetheless here is everything you could possibly need to know from the course of the last two weeks –
Chunky chases the dollar
James DeGale chose to relinquish his IBF super-middleweight title ahead of purse bids with his mandatory challenge Jose Uzcategui to chase fights that will define his “legacy in the division”. The 32 year old British boxer would have been up against a tough, powerful, Venezuelan in Uzcategui and the risk far outweighed the potential reward.
By ridding himself of the IBF title and, therefore, the mandatory situations he is now free to chase huge, money-making fights as he nears the end of his career. Without doubt the ideal location will be in the United Kingdom and DeGale never really managed to take off in America but, back home, there is the potential for some genuine mega-fights.
The winner of the World Boxing Super Series immediately springs to mind with Callum Smith and George Groves both providing stern tests and the appetite for a rematch with Groves has, arguably, never been hotter.
Billy Joe Saunders is another name that had been sounded out with potential for a clash to take place on September 15th but the finances of such a bout were believed to be a sticking point.
Watch this space, though.
Billy Joe Saunders mandated to defend against Demetrius Andrade
Talking of Billy Joe Saunders, the World Boxing Organisation has mandated their middleweight champion to defend his belt against mandatory challenger Demetrius Andrade – ranked number 2, the WBO’s number 1, Daniel Jacobs is facing Sergiy Derevyanchenko for the vacant IBF title – with purse bids expected before the end of the month.
Saunders was scheduled to face Martin Murray on two occasions already this year – April and June – before pulling out with injury both times and with Murray, now, reluctant to sign on for a third bout there was seemingly few attractive avenues for the champion to go down.
Against Andrade, Saunders would be up against a former super-welterweight champion and, you’d say, one of the hardest challenges of his career. We already know September 15th is the date being mooted for Saunders’ next fight, at the O2, and Andrade would provide quite a nice test in anticipation of a potential showdown with the winner of GGG-Canelo.
Saunders has already declared his willingness to take the fight as well as his confidence in beating the American but with Andrade signing with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing USA we could be set for one tasty purse bids.
WE HAVE A TOURNAMENT for 2018/19 with the World Boxing Super Series announcing the complete line-up for the Bantamweight division with no less than four world champions – the WBC are the only governing body not represented by a world champion (mainly because the belt is currently vacant) – in Emmanuel Rodriguez, Naoya Inoue, Ryan Burnett and Zolani Tete the belt holders to have signed up.
The other four fighters in the tournament are Jason Moloney (IBF Mandatory), Juan Carlos Payano (WBO #1), Nonito Donaire and, 4-0 Russian, Mikhail Aloyan.
Safe to say this tournament is shaping up to be the cruiserweight equivalent for 2018/19 and Emmanuel Rodriguez vs Jason Moloney will serve as one of the first quarter-finals having been called as a mandatory whilst Burnett, Tete and Inoue will be the other three seeds.
Fury looks to freeze Pianeta
The former heavyweight kingpin will be returning to the ring for the second time since his much awaited comeback kicked off and will face Francesco Pianeta at Windsor Park on August 18th, on the undercard of Carl Frampton vs Luke Jackson.
Fury will be looking for a far more polished and serious performance than the crowd at Manchester Arena witnessed on June 9th against Sefer Seferi with critics accusing him of not taking the sport seriously. Against Pianeta there is, on paper, a far more challenging opponent in the opposite corner with Pianeta a two-time world title challenger.
Those title challenges both ended with the Italian-born German getting knocked out, by Wladimir Klitschko and Ruslan Chagaev and the 40 fight veteran has had a less-than-impressive record over the past 12-18 months having lost to both Petar Milas and Kevin Johnson in depressingly convincing fashion.
Tyson Fury should, then, sweep past his latest challenge with relative comfort.
MTK Scottish card
MTK Global announced their first card as part of the new BoxNation broadcast agreement, to take place at the Emirates Arena on Friday 24th August in Glasgow with an absolutely stacked card of action set to take place.
Ronnie Clark, who sensationally upset Zelfa Barrett earlier in the year, defends his IBF European title against unbeaten prospect David Oliver Joyce – 7 and 0 – with the Irishman coming off the back of a sixth round TKO victory over Jordan Ellison.
Joyce has already proven his natural power with six wins via knockout and he’ll be looking to stamp his authority throughout the course of this, scheduled, 12 rounder. Clark is well aware of the threat posed by his 31 year old counterpart having declared the bout will be “amazing” to Irish-Boxing.com.
And, mark my words, this will be a war. There are no other ways of putting it.
On the undercard, local-legend, Willie Limond will return to the ring to take on MTK’s new signing in Darragh Foley over the course of 10 rounds with Foley fighting for the first time on British shores as a professional having been based in Australia up until now.
Rankin’ Rising up the Rankings
Hannah Ranking, the leading light in female Scottish boxing, will look to put behind her the previous issues in finding opponents when she travels to New York for her world title challenge on August 4th. Fighting Alicia Napoleon for the WBA Super Middleweight title, Rankin is in with a counterpart who has lost just once previously – to Tori Nelson – and is moving up YET ANOHTER weight category having last fought at middleweight and, prior to that, super welterweight.
British purse bids
As is always a busy period in the month, it was time for the BBBofC purse bids and seeing as there is so much to get through, this will be brief;
Cruiserweight – Matty Askin has been mandated to defend his British cruiserweight belt against up-and-coming Lawrence Okolie after the two have been verbally sparring across social media for weeks. The contest will go to purse bids on Wednesday, August 8th.
Light Heavyweight – Following a tempestuous fight for the English title back in February and months of expectation, a date was set for the rematch between Liam Conroy and Miles Shinkwin – slated for Friday, September 14th – but just days afterwards Liam Conroy decided to vacate the title and avoid the fight.
Middleweight – With the English middleweight belt being vacant promoter Errol Johnson reached an agreement with Reece Cartwright and Tyler Denny for the two to go toe-to-toe on Saturday, September 29th in Walsall for the title.
Super Welterweight – An agreement was reached by Eddie Hearn and the respective parties to stage Asinia Byfield vs Ted Cheeseman for the vacant British Super Welterweight title with the fight to take place on Saturday, October 20th in London; Adam Harper and Billy Bird will meet for the vacant English title on Saturday, September 22nd in Ipswich.
Super Lightweight – Robbie Davies signed a three-fight agreement with Eddie Hearn earlier in the month and his first fight will be on Saturday, October 13th in Newcastle for the vacant British Super Lightweight title and he’ll be up against Glenn Foot in a bruising encounter.
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 .
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.
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.’
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.