2016 Olympians: Team Great Britain Report Card
By: Oliver McManus
The pinnacle showcase of standout talent, every four years, the Olympic Games are designed to be a celebration of the elite. Emphasis on ‘designed’, you’ll notice, with recent editions being overshadowed by dodgy judging decisions, incompetent governance from the AIBA and a whole host of other dogged issued – to such an extent the sport may not feature in Tokyo next year.
Put politics to one side and each Olympic cycle brings forward flourishing prospects, many of whom will seek to replicate their success as a professional. The old adage goes that ‘a great amateur doesn’t necessarily make a great professional and vice versa’ which is true enough but let’s delve into it and take a look at what came next for Great Britain’s Rio 2016 boxers –and yes, weights are referring to their Olympic categories!
Galal Yafai – Light Flyweight
Yafai, the younger brother of Khalid and Gamal, went over to Rio at the young age of 23 having secured his place with a comfortable win over Samuel Carmona Heredia in the qualifiers. Once in Brazil the draw immediately looked difficult with Joahnys Argilagos – the World Amateur Champion from 2015 – his second round opponent. Yafai put in a good display against Argilagos, a prodigious Cuban, but lost out by 2 rounds to 1.
Since then the Birmingham fighter has shown a really impressive maturity, taking on that Olympic experience, to win Silver at the 2017 European Championships and Gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games – boxing well and working the angles throughout. Now aged 26, Yafai has built on his solid early foundations and has sought to move up to 52 kg over the last year – he’ll be in pole position to represent Team GB next year and will, surely, have plenty of promotional offers in the aftermath.
Nicola Adams – Flyweight
One half of Team GB’s female contingent in Rio, Nicola Adams strolled through the flyweight division to secure her second Olympic Gold medal before turning her attention towards the professional ranks. The distinguished amateur – 12 major medals, all told – signed terms with Frank Warren and made her debut in April 2017 against Virginia Carcamo.
5 fights in a year and a half represents frustration for Adams who, initially, had hoped to be a world champion by the end of 2018. Varying reasons were responsible for her periods of inactivity – none her own fault – but the Lioness from Leeds has looked the real deal throughout her professional career. Last time out, in October, Adams faced Isabel Millan for the interim WBO world title in a contest where she failed to capitalize on her vast technical superiority.
As fast as she has risen up the ratings, you could easily argue that the calibre of opposition hasn’t fully allowed her to showcase the full range of her ability. Almost inadvertently leading to the foot coming off the gas – and let’s be clear, that’s understandable. Luckily for Adams – who turned 36 in October – Arely Mucino will provide the first world title opportunity, in March, with full WBO honours on the line. After that it’ll be a case of unification, then domination.
Muhammad Ali – Flyweight
Born in 1996, Muhammad Ali was a regular with the GB Lionhearts in the World Series of Boxing prior to competing at the Rio Olympics. Possessing all the desirable attributes to attain success, the 20 year old looked visibly under-experienced in his first round bout against, eventual Silver medallist, Yoel Finol.
Ali tested positive for Trenbolone in April 2017 and was suspended by AIBA until May 2019. The 22 year old is said to be targeting a place in Tokyo but, given the firm anti-doping stance taken by those at the helm AND Galal Yafai stepping up in weight, it seems an unlikely endeavour.
Qais Ashfaq – Bantamweight
Another one of those to have come through the WSB programme, Ashfaq lost his first fight at the Olympics against Chatchai Butdee. Eager to turn professional, Ashfaq initially signed with Hayemaker Ringstar in the Summer of 2017 in a move that stalled – Eddie Hearn came along in early 2018 and, since then, the 25 year old has racked up four fights in quick succession.
A Commonwealth and European Championships Silver Medallist, Ashfaq beholds pedigree and has adapted with consummate ease over the first 12 months. An eye-catching knockout against, game, Jay Carney ensured the year ended in style and was a sign of the speed and power that Ashfaq holds at super bantamweight.
Incredibly likeable and with plenty of time on his hands, there’s plenty still to come from the feisty southpaw.
Joe Cordina – Lightweight
2015’s European Amateur Champion, the Welshman reached the Round of 16 in Rio before signing with Eddie Hearn – seemingly the go-to man for post-Olympic euphoria – in 2017. It’s fair to say that the 27 year old made an immediate impression with his first four fights ending inside the distance. The fourth, a first round stoppage over Jamie Speight, particularly notable for the punishing style in which he despatched with such an experienced counterpart.
Six fights in eight months set the initial tempo but Cordina was limited to just two outings over the course of 2018. That’s not to say he wasn’t mightily impressive in those outings and, indeed, he comprehensively out-pointed Sean Dodd in August to add the Commonwealth title to his WBA International strap.
Training with Tony Sims, Cordina has looked immaculate thus far with a maturity beyond his years. Certainly capable of flashy, eye-catching work it is always pleasing to see him revert back to his, equally adept, jab. For me, a wonderfully well-rounded fighter who should be in line for a massive 2019.
Pat McCormack – Light Welterweight
One of only two boxers who represented Great Britain in Rio to stick around as part of the GB set-up in Sheffield, Pat McCormack has stepped up to Welterweight and is likely our representative in Tokyo. Only 23 years of age, the Sunderland sensation has already been to an Olympics, won two Silver medals at the European Championships and a Gold at the Gold Coast Commonwealth in 2018 – talk about setting the bar high! In all seriousness, McCormack should easily surpass the Round of 16 – where he lost narrowly in Brazil – and be a hot-tip for medal contention.
Josh Kelly – Welterweight
A 24 year old at the heart of a North East revolution – pivotal, alongside Lewis Ritson, in a resurgence of love for the sport. Only twice, though, has Kelly fought on North East soil with the unrelenting flamboyance reaching all four corners of the United Kingdom.
Kelly has partnered up with Adam Booth to produce some electric results, no less so than the seven round pummelling of Kris George in June. Offensively supreme, I would suggest that more variation is required and, indeed, the fundamentals of boxing to be displayed more frequently when Kelly takes a step up in level.
Having said that it doesn’t really matter at this stage of Kelly’s career because he’s getting the job done and he’s doing it in merciless fashion. With a keen eye on the punishing the body of his opponent, Kelly swings in hooks with venomous intent and does so with pace and precision – enough to sicken anyone.
Defensive fragilities but, offensively, nightmarishly unconventional.
Anthony Fowler – Middleweight
The man who divides opinion across my Twitter feed, the mere mention of his name seems to stir spirits. Whatever you think of him, Fowler has made an unblemished start to his career at super-welterweight with nine wins, eight of those coming by knockout. Against Ryan Toms and Craig O’Brien, Fowler took out back to back domestic fighters – O’Brien the Irish Champion, Toms a two-time Southern Area kingpin – as he mercilessly targeted the body of his opponents, finishing the job with show-reel combinations.
Confident in his own ability, the Liverpudlian has continually looked imperious and relaxed over the course of his professional career without ever, really, having to click into second gear. A real centre-of-the-ring fighter who controls the tempo of the bout, Fowler is a real hot talent emerging out of Merseyside.
A much-discussed contest with Scott Fitzgerald awaits on March 30th before the 27 year old turns his attention towards, European and British Champion, Ted Cheeseman. It’s nice to see Fowler wanting to prove himself domestically in a sport where, far too often, reputations are forged through regional rainbow belts.
Savannah Marshall – Middleweight
The only boxer to have defeat Claressa Shields, that contest in the amateurs, Savannah Marshall may well be on a collision course with the American as a professional. The 27 year old from County Durham signed a professional deal with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and debuted on the undercard of Mayweather-McGregor. A glimpse of the big time to, surely, whet the appetite.
Four bouts have followed over the course of 2018 – three in the United Kingdom and one out in Bulgaria – with Marshall collecting the WBA Inter-Continental belt whilst on foreign soil. Marshall has shown a dangerous finishing instinct with three stoppages inside the distance – all occurring in the second round – with the Silent Assassin establishing a firm left jab along the way.
Generally quite outside of the ring, it’s the skill inside the ring that makes noise for Marshall and it’s a crescendo that’s yet to reach its peak.
Joshua Buatsi – Light Heavyweight
For me, Buatsi is the cream of this particular crop – the fighter with the most natural ability and highest ceiling to reach. That’s no discredit to any of the other guys, either, all of whom seem certain to achieve good things in the sport but Buatsi is, in my humble opinion, something else. Entering the pro ranks with an Olympic Bronze medal was always going to place him on a slightly higher pedestal and, boy, has he delivered.
Calm and composed, Buatsi’s nerves seem unshakeable with the 25 year old’s natural ability coming through when fighting up close. It’s really enjoyable to watch the patience that Buatsi shows before finding an opening and then compare that with his instant burst of aggression when the moment is right. Much like Fowler and Kelly, Buatsi has hammered away at the body of his opponents with vast success.
Against Andrejs Pokumeiko (a late replacement for Ricky Summers), Tony Averlant and Renold Quinlan, Buatsi has blitzed through his counterparts with successive first round knockouts – make what you will of the opponent calibre, Buatsi gets in the ring and does the job in destructive fashion. Indeed I’m of the opinion that Buatsi is the best British light-heavyweight – better than Callum Johnson and Anthony Yarde.
Lawrence Okolie – Heavyweight
Okolie has carved himself the most materialistic success of all the 2016 Olympians with the British, Commonwealth and WBA Continental belts all, at one stage, gracing the shoulder of the Hackney hammer (new nickname alert). Standing mountainously tall at 6 ft 5 inches, the cruiserweight breezed past the cannon-fodder placed in front of him over his first seven bouts – Blaise Mendouo the only opponent to hear the final bell.
Then came Isaac Chamberlain, Luke Watkins and Matty Askin – Okolie’s trio of contests over 2018 – three domestic rivals in fights that could all have ignited into something special. Except none of them did. Quite the opposite, they were relatively forgettable. I won’t, however, join the merry brigade in writing off his fight aesthetics – he’s shown he’s adaptable and I’m confident that 2019 will be a turning stone.
All but Askin have been dropped en route to defeat, a clear demonstration of his punch power. Guided by Eddie Hearn and Anthony Joshua, you can have no doubt in your mind that Okolie is on the right path for success but the question for me is, can he become a genuine big show headliner?
Joe Joyce – Super Heavyweight
Years past without the heavyweight phenom making the transition into professional boxing – people were of the opinion he had, perhaps, left it too late. Rio granted him a Silver medal which should have, in a fair world, been Gold. The softly-spoken giant inked a deal with Hayemaker Boxing and smashed his way into domestic contention with a beatdown of Ian Lewison.
Then came the waiting game, Rudolf Jozic and Donnie Palmer were both exploited before the Commonwealth title came a-knocking with Lenroy Thomas on the other side of the door. That fight was over with in double-quick fashion, as were contests with Ivica Bacurin, Iago Kiladze and Joe Hanks.
Criticism has been levelled at him for a visually slow and ponderous fighting style with Joyce not having forced the pace of a contest, as of yet, despite opportunities arising. Not that I suspect him or his team will be fazed by this, Joyce is getting the job done and has looked untroubled in doing so.
The 33 year old faces Bermane Stiverne on February 23rd with the British fighter looking to move 8 and 0 and force his way closer to a world title challenge.
12 boxers represented Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the 2016 Olympics, nine turned professional and have since forged a combined record of 64-0. Who , then , has impressed you the most since Rio 2016 and who’s left you feeling a little deflated?
The Pound for Pound All-Time Best: Ray Robinson, Henry Armstrong or Willie Pep
By: Ken Hissner
Three boxers are usually always on everyone’s pound for pound best fighter of all-time. This writer’s choice is “Sugar” Ray Robinson. He once defeated Henry “Homicide Hank” Armstrong when the latter was well past his fighting days. Armstrong is another considered to be an all time great as is Willie “Will o’ the Wisp” Pep.
It should be noted that none of these three fought with their names at birth. Robinson was born Walker Smith, Jr., Armstrong was Henry Jackson and Pep was Gugliermo Papaleo.
Robinson had a record of 174-19-6 with 109 stoppages. He held the World Welterweight Title from December 1946 to February 1951 before winning the middleweight title for the first time from February 1951 to July 1951. He would regain it a second time in September 1951 to December 1952. He then won it for a third time holding it from December 1955 to January 1957. Finally for a fourth time from March 1956 to January 1960.
He won his first 40 fights. Robinson lost for the first time to Jake LaMotta but won the next five times they fought. LaMotta commented on fighting Robinson those six times with “I fought Sugar Ray so often, I almost got diabetes.” After reversing a loss to Gene Fullmer he knocked out Fullmer. When Fullmer got off his stool he asked “why is Robinson jumping around?” He was told “because he just knocked you out!”
Robinson challenged for the Light Heavyweight Title that Joey Maxim held and was well ahead after thirteen rounds but couldn’t come out for the fourteenth due to heat exhaustion. The temperature at ringside was 103 degrees. It was the only time in his career he was stopped. He was 132-3-2 and retired for the first time. He came back after thirty months and his record from there on was 42-16-4. Like too many boxer’s he stayed around too long. He defeated fifteen former, reigning, or future world champions.
When Robinson left boxing he dabbled in acting. He was also known for the best rope jumper and a great dancer. In 1069 he founded the Sugar Ray Robinson Youth Foundation in Los Angeles.
Armstrong was 152-21-9 with 101 stoppages. He first won the World Featherweight Title holding it from October 1937 to September 1938. He jumped over the World Lightweight Title and won the World Welterweight title holding it from May of 1938 to October of 1940. During this period he won the World Lightweight Title holding it from August of 1938 to August of 1939. He attempted to win the Middleweight Title from Ceferino Garcia who was recognized in California and New York but the decision ended in a draw.
This is when there was one organization and 10 contenders. Much different than today with 4 or 5 organizations with at least 60 or more contenders. All three were inducted into the IBHOF in 1990.
After retiring Armstrong became an ordained Minister and devoted himself to underprivileged children.
One of Pep’s comments toward Middleweight Champion Rocky Graziano was “you couldn’t hit me with a fist full of stones!” Then pertaining to being married six times he said “All my wives were great housekeepers, after every divorce they kept the house!” Pep won his first 62 fights.
Pep had a record of 229-11-1 with 65 stoppages. Pep held the World Featherweight Title from November 1942 to October 1948. Then, from February 1949 to September 1950. He was 134-1-1 when he lost his title to Sandy Saddler in October of 1948.
Pep came back in March of 1965 after a four year and two month retirement. In his second fight back this writer was at ringside when he defeated Philly’s Jackie Lennon in April of 1965 over six rounds at the Philadelphia Arena. At age 42 he still looked good to me. In his comeback he won 9 straight before losing his final fight in March of 1966.
After retirement Pep became a prominent referee and a Connecticut Boxing Commissioner.
Bert Sugar’s 100 greatest fighters list was No. 1 Robinson, No. 2 Armstrong and No. 3 Pep. I find it hard to argue with that. How about you?
More Boxing History
Learning From The Greats: Subtle Secrets of Floyd Mayweather Jr’s Success
By John Tsoi
It is safe to say that the title as the face of boxing is wide open right now. No fighter has made a statement convincing enough to fill the void left by Floyd Mayweather Jr following his retirement from the sport. Gennady Golovkin submitted sub-par performances against Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs, while Canelo himself was marred in the clenbuterol scandal. Other pound-for-pound boxers such as Terence Crawford, Vasyl Lomachenko and Errol Spence Jr are still looking for more signature victories in their respective weight classes. As we stay privileged watching these fighters continue to prove themselves, let’s take a walk down memory lane and look at why Floyd was always a notch above others at the top, including his habits and tactics that the up-and-coming ambitious boxers can learn from. Rest assured that it is not just about the obvious “hard work, dedication”, but instead, the more subtle secrets that might have eluded our eyes.
First of all, Floyd’s noctural training schedule had worked out really well for him. While most boxers train during daytime, he took pride in training when others are sleeping, which many perceive is his method of gaining a mental edge. Yet, any logical person can deduce that he must be resting while others were training in the morning. Therefore, there must be another reason why he craved late night workouts. Remember your last trip to a boxing event? They usually occur at nighttime, where main events usually start late. Floyd has accustomed both his mind and body to train at the period of time when others are already resting, which translated to great performances at his late night fights. Of course, one can argue that other boxing greats who trained conventionally also performed equivalently well. However, the slightest of advantage makes a huge difference, especially when facing top opponents and having a style that demands high concentration. Thus, Floyd’s amazing reaction time and overall awareness serve as a testament to the effectiveness of his unique training timetable.
Moreover, his fighting style contributes massively to his successful career. From “Pretty Boy Floyd” who had speed and power, to “Money Mayweather” who unfortunately has rather brittle hands and therefore adjusted to being a more defensive boxer, he was never a one-punch knockout artist. He thrived by winning rounds regardless of whether he hurts his opponent or not. We all know what happens when a boxer who is used to knocking everybody out meets a foe who can take his punches. At the highest level of the sport, carrying the media-built mantra as a knockout king could easily backfire against the boxer. What’s most amazing about Floyd’s mentality, particularly in the latter stages of his career, is that you never see him aiming to finish off his opponents unless an opportunity presents itself, nor did the media expected knockouts. Errol Spence Jr, a talented boxer who is currently riding a knockout streak towards his next fight, has a style only half-similar to that of Floyd. The difference is that Spence himself, along with the pressure imposed by the media, anticipate knockouts in mid to latter rounds. When a fighter with such style fails to break down the enemy, a shroud of self-doubt could loom over the fighter which is detrimental. We have yet to see how Spence will react when an opponent can handle his pressure and style, something we will likely see when he squares off against Crawford in the future. Floyd was devoid of that pressure to eventually score knockouts. All he had to do was outpoint them over the twelve rounds, which forced his rivals to deliver the action and subsequently, adjust to his style instead of following theirs. Such mentality allows Mayweather to exercise caution without over-committing, and most importantly, transferred the burden of a fight to his opponent.
Over the course of Floyd’s career, he embraced the “bad boy persona”, where even some of his own countrymen cheered against him. This allowed him to be more relaxed because he did not have to be a national hero who carries a whole country’s expectation like Manny Pacquiao or Anthony Joshua. Even for lesser-known fighters, making the walk to the ring against a hostile crowd could sap their confidence. For example, Brandon Rios was admirable for admitting that whilst looking confident and ready, he was intimidated and nervous deep down inside, especially when he fought in a Macau arena with partisan crowd in favour of Pacquiao. For Floyd, being booed is normality that he is used to, while being cheered on is probably a bonus. Therefore, he was never fazed by the media or the crowd. Being a known master of mind games, he understands the importance of winning the mental battle before the bell rings.
The final secret lies on the level of media exposure that Floyd allowed during his training camps. When we search for his past training camp footages, chances are that we will only find those from media day workouts which he obliged, from network documentaries, plus snippets of workout clips from his social media accounts. Otherwise, you rarely see his full workout videos, unlike many other boxers who constantly allow media access in the gyms day in and day out. Having reporters strolling around, recording and incessantly asking questions could be a disturbance, stripping your much-needed focus for training. In addition, it would be no surprise that Floyd could have secret training methods or innovative workouts that outsiders do not know of, merely because he kept a tight media access and employed a group of loyal personnel who do not leak information. This is a savvy move since an attentive coach can spot bits and pieces of the game plan that an opposition camp carelessly divulge due to the media, or even possible injuries that one is trying to hide. In short, Floyd showed his meticulousness by disclosing his training camps with as few details as possible, but enough to promote a fight.
For the new generation of fighters vying to take the top spot left by the crafty American, learning from a boxing great like Floyd Mayweather Jr is not about copying everything he did, but to develop a mindset in approaching each fight comprehensively, just like how he attended to the physical, psychological and pre-fight aspects of boxing, all of which ultimately led him to find his niche in the sport. Love him or hate him, he showed us that success is not by doing what works for others, but finding and doing what works for oneself.
Does Manny Pacquiao Have One Last Fight in Him?
By: Bryant Romero
Does the Great Manny Pacquiao have one last great fight in him? Promoter Bob Arum posed that question to fans on his twitter account and the boxing world will find out this Saturday in an unusual site for a Manny Pacquiao fight. Kuala Lumpur at the Axiata Arena in Malaysia is the site for Pacquiao’s next fight when he takes on dangerous puncher and current World Champion Lucas Martin Mathysse (39-4, 36 KOs) in what should be a thrilling fight between two fighters who’s best days may be behind them. Pacquaio (59-7-2, 38 KOs) is seeking his 60th victory in what has been a legendary but now declining career where he’s no longer the superstar he once was, but is out to prove that he was the true winner in his controversial loss last July to Jeff Horn and perhaps there is still a couple of great nights left in his incredible career.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Twitter Account
Not only is the site of the fight different compared to many other Pacquiao fight weeks, but the Filipino icon is the lead promoter of the event. Bob Arum and Top Rank are simply just distributing the fight in the United States and it will be shown on the ESPN + app, which has indicated that perhaps Pacquiao and Arum seem to be at odds with each other. Pacquaio continues to tell the boxing press that he’s no longer affiliated with Top Rank and is currently a free agent. Arum of course has downplayed the situation and maintains that his company still has a working relationship with Manny.
This bout of course was not without controversy as in the weeks leading up into the event there were concerns that the event would be cancelled altogether as Pacquiao and his team missed numerous deadlines for payments. It wasn’t until early this month that Matthysse and his team were assured the money will put in place for his purse for the fight and now the fight is a go with Manny only slight favorite to defeat La Maquina.
Many believe Pacquiao defeated Jeff Horn last summer, but just 4 months shy from his 40th birthday, a long layoff, and facing a big puncher. It could be anyone’s guess on what Pacquaio truly has left for the 69th bout of his career.
Pacquiao fired his longtime trainer Freddie Roach and perhaps it was the right move now that Roach is no longer one of top trainers in the game. Buboy Fernandez his long time friend is now is head trainer and Buboy feels we will see a hungrier more dangerous Pacquiao, which could spell trouble for Matthysse.
Obviously, the Filipino legend is nowhere near the fighter he was 8 years ago, but Manny is still a capable fighter with loads of experience, speed, footwork, and tremendous skills. Expect an impressive performance from Manny as he will notch his 60th victory and perhaps even end his knockout drought in a fun fight with Matthysse in Malaysia.
Ranking Wladimir Klitschko
By: Matt O’Brien
With the recent announcement that Wladimir Klitschko is officially retiring, a page was turned to end an era of heavyweight boxing. And while many would have gladly viewed a return of last April’s gripping contest with Anthony Joshua, few would have predicted a different result. At 41 years of age and following such a tremendous effort, now would seem the perfect moment for the Ukrainian to call time on his illustrious career. Which begs the question: where does his legacy rank in the annals of heavyweight history?
The stats alone are enough to ensure that the former champ will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame at the first opportunity. An Olympic gold medalist and two-time world champion, “Dr. Steelhammer” won the second highest number of heavyweight title fights in history (25), had the second longest title reign ever (9 years, 7 months and 7 days) and made the third highest number of consecutive defenses (18). Even considering the proliferation of modern “world” title belts, any conversation about heavyweight championship history that doesn’t mention Wladimir’s achievements is therefore incomplete.
That said, greatness is predicated on more than statistics. If it weren’t, historical behemoths like Sonny Liston (with a single successful title defense to his name) would barely merit a mention. In other words, Klitschko’s career-record entitles him to a fair hearing in the discussion of boxing’s greatest big men, but it doesn’t guarantee him a place in the upper echelon of their ranks.
Other, more subjective questions to consider include how Wladimir matches up with previous greats physically, skill-wise and in terms of the opposition he faced. Then there’s the question of what impact he had on the sport and society more generally. Legends, after all, are borne of character as well as conquest.
Head-to-head, Wladimir’s size and stature suggest that he would have been too much to handle for the majority of the pre-1960’s heavyweights. If we were to transport him back to the 1950s in a time machine to face Rocky Marciano, for example, he’d enter the ring over 50lbs heavier, stand 8 inches taller and enjoy a 13-inch reach advantage. On paper, it just doesn’t seem like a fair fight. This argument can be replicated for many of the ancient greats (Dempsey, Tunney, Fitzsimmons, Corbett et al) if it pleases you, though increases in the average build of modern heavyweights, advances in sports science and the corresponding effect on physique, strength and conditioning are only part of the story.
Many would argue that, more importantly, in terms of ring craft and the pool of competition against which their skills are honed, it is the modern giants that fare worse. Klitschko’s so-called “jab and grab” style was effective, though often uneasy on the eye and lacked the punch variety and finesse of his predecessors. It led him to an impressive number of defenses, albeit against a string of mediocre opposition. Indeed, the question of which fighter Wladimir’s single greatest victory came against turns up a relatively poor list of options: David Haye? Samuel Peter? Chris Byrd? Kubrat Pulev? Alexander Povetkin? (Choose any you want, the point is none of them constitute a truly great rival).
Perhaps denigrating Wladimir’s achievements too much based on the quality of his opposition is overly harsh, though. A fighter can only best the competition available to them, and that is something he did consistently – and conclusively – over a period of time rarely witnessed before. So while you won’t find a Frazier or Foreman-esque name on Klitschko’s record, there’s a plethora of challengers who were properly ranked as the best contenders in the world at the time he faced them, and he dominated them all.
Well, almost all of them. Wladimir tasted his share of defeat, and the manner of his earlier career losses in particular puts a serious dent in his résumé. Whether the result of inexperience, exhaustion, fragility or a combination of these factors, knockout defeats to Ross Puritty, Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster do not sit well when you are comparing yourself to the toughest men in history.
Of course, no boxer enjoys getting hit in the face, but Klitschko’s palpable aversion to punishment stood out more than most. The Ukrainian giant appeared nervous to the point of being allergic to punches at times in the ring, resulting in what could sometimes be a maddening reluctance to let go with his hands. One can only imagine the intimidation that could be inflicted before the first bell even sounded by a menacing figure such as a prime Mike Tyson or Sonny Liston. It does not take much of a leap from here to argue that the smaller men of past years would not have been at such a disadvantage, after all.
For if we allow that “Iron” Mike, at 5’10” and with a 10-inch reach disadvantage, could impose himself on the much bigger Wladimir, then why not the smaller heavyweights of yesteryear, too? As the saying goes, sometimes it is not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog. And for all his impressive physical attributes, if Klitschko lacked one thing it was the size of the dog inside of him.
It is ironic, in this sense, that the mettle he was criticized for lacking throughout his career was the same attribute he seemed to discover in his final outing, at 40 years of age and with 90,000 Englishmen baying for his blood.
Wladimir’s valiant effort against the undefeated and highly favoured Joshua, in which he seemed to shed a lifetime’s worth of doubt about his chin, has led to the kind of adoration in defeat and retirement that he sorely lacked during his long and often dreary title reign. Dramatic and fiercely contested, his stoppage after eleven back-and-forth rounds was everything that his decade-long reign as champion was not. If only he had been able to summon an extra ounce of killer instinct in that sixth round, perhaps he would now be retiring as a three-time world champion. Alas, breaking so many habits in one night was too much to ask.
If Klitschko’s dominance inside of the ring rarely made for compelling viewing, outside of it he always carried himself like a true champion. When he told Tyson Fury to “fuck off” ahead of their planned rematch, the words sounded so unnatural that they were funny rather than profane. Trash talk was rarely needed or utilized, and though he lacked the charisma of a champion like Muhammad Ali, the magnetism of a fighter like Mike Tyson or the prominence in the public consciousness of men like Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis, he was a consummate professional and represented the sport of boxing with grace and dignity. In a market where slurs and insults function as the standard currency, Klitschko was a refreshingly polite role model.
“My HEART is at PEACE as I pass the torch to @anthonyjoshua – the next generation. Good luck little bro, I’m proud of you!”
His recently posted retirement message was the kind of gentlemanly and sportsmanlike gesture that defined his character, though sadly it was not entirely accurate. It’s fair to say that the Joshua fight did bear many of the typical hallmarks of a “passing of the torch” type fight, but the elephant in the room was a whacky Englishman by the name of Tyson Fury, whose slide into drugs and depression does not change the fact that Wladimir, for all his honest intentions, no longer held the torch by the time he lost to AJ. The heavyweight lineage had already changed hands in Germany a year and a half earlier, the old champion seemingly psyched-out before being bamboozled over twelve cagey rounds by the unpredictable “Gypsy King”.
Though he never got chance to put things right in a rematch, ultimately Klitschko did earn some redemption in defeat to Joshua. He went out on his shield, proved he was capable of withstanding more punishment than was believed, and gave far more of himself in the ring than he had against Fury. So, now all is said and done, where should Klitschko stand in the all-time heavyweight pantheon?
His final effort certainly does his legacy no harm, though even a glorious victory would not have been enough to elevate him alongside the two greatest heavyweights of all time, Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis. The tier just below these two immortals, typically including Jack Johnson, Larry Holmes and (more debatably) Rocky Marciano, is also well out of reach, I think.
A case could be made for him sitting somewhere within the second half of the top ten, amongst names like George Foreman, Lennox Lewis, Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, Jack Dempsey – or perhaps Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson, depending on your preference. This would also be overly generous though, in my opinion. The paucity of impressive names on Wladimir’s record combined with the nature of his defeats and overly cautious style again precludes him from such a high ranking.
Putting him just outside of this field – into territory including fighters such as Gene Tunney, James Jeffries, Riddick Bowe, Jersey Joe Walcott and his brother Vitali – seems a more reasonable placement. If he were to be seated in the higher reaches of this tier, you wouldn’t hear much of an argument from me.
All in all, despite his flaws Wladimir was still a great heavyweight champion. He carried himself with class, carved out a record that will stand the test of time, and earned the right to be called the best of his era. You can’t ask for much more than that.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Golovkin, Canelo, McGregor, Mayweather, Shields, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 18th to July 25th covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
HBO Sports 24/7 Canelo/Golovkin Debuts August 26th
HBO Sports’ groundbreaking “24/7” reality franchise, which has captured 18 Sports Emmy® Awards, will return for its 23rd multi-part boxing installment with 24/7 CANELO/GOLOVKIN, it was announced today by Rick Bernstein, executive producer, HBO Sports. The two-part behind-the-scenes series follows two elite fighters – Canelo Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin – as they prepare for their middleweight championship megafight title showdown Saturday, Sept. 16 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
24/7 CANELO/GOLOVKIN debuts SATURDAY, AUG. 26 (midnight-12:30 a.m. ET/PT), immediately following the previously announced “World Championship Boxing” doubleheader that begins at 9:45 p.m. (ET/PT).
The show will also be available on HBO On Demand, HBO NOW, HBO GO and affiliate portals.
“The boxing world has eagerly anticipated this middleweight showdown between two of the best fighters and biggest stars in the sport,” said Bernstein. “We now get to present them and their preparations for this long-awaited encounter in the ring.”
Episode two of 24/7 CANELO/GOLOVKIN debuts one week before the high-stakes bout, on Saturday, Sept. 9 (1:00-1:30 a.m. ET/PT), immediately following the “HBO Boxing After Dark” tripleheader that begins at 10:15 p.m. (ET/PT).
24/7 CANELO/GOLOVKIN will provide exclusive behind-the-scenes access, along with in-depth interviews, as the fighters gear up in Southern California for their Las Vegas collision in the ring. Both men rank high on many pound-for-pound lists and have been dominant in the middleweight division.
Canelo Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs), of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, is again holding camp with renowned trainer Eddy Reynoso. The 27-year-old phenom is coming off a dominant victory over fellow countryman Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in May and is on a seven-bout winning streak that has reinforced his elite standing in the middleweight ranks. His drawing power as the sport’s top pay-per-view attraction has been demonstrated both at the box office and in pay-per-view performance.
Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs), from Karaganda, Kazakhstan, now living in Los Angeles, is training with the acclaimed Abel Sanchez. The undefeated 35-year-old has compiled an extraordinary knockout-to-win ratio of 89%, while only three of his fights have gone past the eighth round and only one has lasted the full 12 rounds. Golovkin’s dramatic ring style has transformed him into one of the sport’s brightest stars in a few short years and he has sold out arenas from New York to California.
Canelo’s fourth “24/7” appearance and Golovkin’s second, 24/7 CANELO/GOLVKIN is the latest installment of the acclaimed franchise that began in 2007. Among the most-honored sports series on TV, it was called “a masterfully entertaining reality show” by ESPN The Magazine.
“Canelo vs. Golovkin” will take place at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 8:00 p.m. (ET)/5:00 p.m. (PT), and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®.
The executive producer of 24/7 CANELO/GOLOVKIN is Rick Bernstein; senior producers, Dave Harmon and Bentley Weiner; producers, Harley Glantz, Abtin Motia and Christine Wilt; writer, Aaron Cohen. Liev Schreiber narrates.
Mayweather/McGregor Ticket Market Following Monday’s Online Sale
The PPV Price is $89.95 for SD or $99.95 for HD. Most experts see this reaching similar buyrate numbers to Mayweather/Pacquiao (4 million+ buys)
Face value of tickets range from $500-$10,000 and went on-sale Monday July 24. However, secondary market tickets are seeing up to a 400% premium on face value and currently range from $2,145-$20,000. POST ON-SALE: After Monday’s on-sale there was an increase of about 7% (36 tickets) listed on the secondary market, bringing the current total to about 500 listed on the secondary market. The 500 tickets available is just 2.5% of T-Mobile Arena’s capacity, so secondary prices aren’t likely to drop significantly between now and the fight.
Average price actually rose from $6,256 on Monday morning to $7,190 (15%) by Monday evening, but the cheapest seat fell from $2,500 to $2,145 (-14%) in the same time frame.(https://www.tiqiq.com/fight/c onor-mcgregor-tickets/conor-mc gregor-vs-floyd-mayweather-jr- -08-26-2017/4035147264396)
If all PPV targets are hit, Mayweather could make $400 million and McGregor $127 million (https://www.forbes.com/sites/ brianmazique/2017/06/16/the-es timated-purses-for-floyd-maywe ather-vs-conor-mcgregor-fight- are-staggering/#47d12d423d00)
Mayweather is favored to win the fight with 1/6 odds, but the most popular bet is currently for McGregor at 11/2 odds. (https://www.oddschecker.com/ boxing/floyd-mayweather-jr-v- conor-mcgregor/winner)
This is by far the most expensive combat sports event we’ve tracked in terms of average price.
Average price for Mayweather/Pacquiao at the same time range (approx. 5 weeks out) was $5,312. So tickets dropped on average 9% leading up to the fight.
Some other notes:
According to Priceline.com, a Vegas 4-Star hotel on the night of the fight will cost a minimum of $135. By comparison, rates are as low as $68 the Saturday beforehand (Aug 19), marking a 98% premium on hotels during fight weekend.
The undercard is currently scheduled to consist of only boxing matches, no MMA.
McGregor is the more active of the two on Social Media, and has over 26 million followers between Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Mayweather’s social media accounts are more geared towards his line of products, yet he eclipses McGregor by over 10 million followers across the same social platforms.
Both McGregor & Mayweather are WWE fans and WWE officials are trying to secure one or both to make an appearance on an episode on WWE Raw in the weeks leading up to the fight. Fun Fact: Floyd Mayweather competed in a semi-main event match at Wrestlemania 24 defeating “The Big Show” Paul Wight by knockout. Wight is billed as 7 feet tall and 383 pounds.
Chivas Fight Club Launches with Boxer Gennady “GGG” Golovkin
Chivas Regal, the world’s first luxury whisky, is aiming to inspire a new generation while making a positive impact on the lives of others by introducing The Chivas® Fight Club. This initiative extends to every individual with a fighting spirit from communities nationwide and is centered on boxing in partnership with Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. Gennady is boxing’s unified WBC, WBA, IBF, IBO middleweight champion of the world, who personifies the Chivas spirit of shared success and dedication, both in and out of the ring.
“This movement is special to Chivas as it brings to life our core values, embracing the mixture of cultures and importance of shared success, as every person has a unique battle they fight with passion, gloves on and off,” said Shefali Murdia, Brand Director for Chivas Regal, Pernod Ricard USA. “Like the Chivas brothers, Gennady comes from humble beginnings and has allowed his dreams to push him to where he is today, all while staying true to his values and Winning the Right Way.”
The Kazakhstan-born fighter began his boxing career at an early age and immediately demonstrated his diligent work ethic, representing his home country at the 2004 Summer Olympics, where he won a middleweight silver medal. The fighter now boasts the top knockout ratio in middleweight championship history, an impressive 89.8 percent. Golovkin enters the ring as the face of The Chivas® Fight Club campaign, a nationwide effort promoting the unique fighter within every individual, offering exclusive access to activities, events and content for those who enter
“The Chivas Fight Club stands for the things that I believe in and represents the heart and soul of the fighter in all of us,” Golovkin said. “When I wrap my hands, I do it for my family. I owe my courage to them and also my success. That’s why I fight.”
All consumers and fans are invited to join The Chivas® Fight Club by sharing what they are fighting for by using the hashtag #FightForIt on social media. Those who join the club will be entered into sweepstakes for a chance to see Golovkin’s upcoming bout on September 16th against Canelo Alvarez, and gain exclusive entry into watch parties and boxing workout classes. Chivas® Fight Club members will also receive inspiration to “Fight for It” with exclusive boxing content, interviews, videos, behind-the-scenes photos, calendar of upcoming Chivas Regal boxing events, and more. Additional program incentives will continue to be rolled out following the campaign launch.
For more information on the Chivas Fight Club and Chivas Regal visit www.ChivasFightClub.com.
All British Quarter Final Clash for Muhammad Ali Trophy Between WBA World Champion Groves and Cox at the SSE Arena, Wembley on October 14th in London
The first domestic showdown of the World Boxing Super Series is scheduled for October 14th when top seeded super middleweight George Groves (26-3, 19 KOs) puts his WBA World title on the line against his undefeated countryman Jamie Cox (23-0, 13 KOs) in a ‘Battle of Britain’ at The SSE Arena, Wembley in London, United Kingdom.
Groves, the 29 year-old from Hammersmith, London, claimed the WBA strap with a sensational sixth-round stoppage victory over Fedor Chudinov on May 27th at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, and will make his maiden defence in this quarter-final clash with Cox, whom the ‘Saint’ selected as his first round opponent at the live Draft Gala on July 8th at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.
‘‘I’m really looking forward to getting started,’’ said Groves. ‘’It’s great to have a date set so early to give you something to strive for. I’m already in the gym plugging away and I’ve got plenty of time to prepare. The SSE Arena, Wembley Arena has always been a happy hunting ground for me. I‘ve had many good nights there, and I’m looking forward to fighting there again on October 14th. It’s my first World title defence, my first fight in the World Boxing Super Series, an all-British affair and hopefully something everyone is going to be excited about.
‘’I’m happy with my choice of opponent. I know there are no easy fights in this tournament and there are no easy fights at World level, but Jamie is the guy I know the most about. I know about his background, I know how he trains, I know who he trains with, but most importantly, I know the things you need in this tournament, such as composure and experience at the highest level, he’s lacking. I’ve got them in abundance, but he’s brand new, he’s a total novice. I don’t think he’s even headlined his own show yet and he’s getting flung in the deep end with me. This is a big pressure fight for him and I think he’ll struggle to cope.’’
Looking to secure his semi-final spot, Cox, the unbeaten 30 year-old contender from Swindon, Wiltshire, is confident he can dethrone his domestic rival and move a step closer to claiming The Greatest Prize in boxing, the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
‘’I’m really excited for this fight,’’ said the 30 year-old southpaw. ‘’To win a World title on the way to fighting for the Muhammad Ali Trophy would be a huge honour. I’m glad George picked me. I was prepared for anyone but I was hoping for a UK fight so I can’t wait. George is a tough opponent. He has some good attributes but I’m prepared to shock everyone. This is what I’ve been working towards all my career, and to be a part of something this big is amazing. Now I’m here, I’m ready to capitalise on it and win my first World title and progress to the semi-finals.’’
Roberto Dalmiglio, Comosa´s Head of Management Board, believes the World Boxing Super Series has delivered on its pledge of bringing together the best boxers in the world, and is expecting a memorable fight on October 14th. ‘’The World Boxing Super Series promised to pit the best against the best, and I believe we he have delivered on that promise,’’ said Dalmiglio. ‘’All our quarter-final fights are stacked with talent, and George Groves versus Jamie Cox is no exception. The SSE Arena, Wembley will play host to a fantastic night of boxing.”
Comosa`s Chief Boxing Officer, Kalle Sauerland is predicting a fan friendly affair from the domestic foes. ‘’This is a going to be a great fight for the fans,’’ said Sauerland. ‘’Domestic dust ups always bring with them an added excitement and intensity, and here, we have a British World Champion against an undefeated British challenger, it doesn’t get any better than that!’’
In the World Boxing Super Series, 16 elite fighters – eight super-middleweights and eight cruiserweights – will battle it out in a bracket-style elimination tournament. In both divisions, there will be four quarter-finals (September / October 2017), two semi-finals (early 2018) and one final (May 2018), making for a total of 14 high-class fights.
Ticket details for the World Boxing Super Series’ quarter-final bout between George Groves and Jamie Cox on October 14th at The SSE Arena, Wembley in London will be announced shortly.
WBC Champion Nikki Adler Hard at Work to Defend Her Belt Against Claressa Shields on ShoBox
German WBC Super Middleweight World Champion Nikki Adler is hard at work for her Friday, August 4 title defense against two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa “T-Rex” Shields.
Adler (16-0, 9 KOs) will make the third defense of her WBC 168-pound title, and try to add the IBF Super Middleweight belt to her collection, against Flint, Michigan’s Shields (3-0, 1 KO) in the 10-round main event of Salita Promotions’ “BATTLE OF THE BEST” event at MGM Grand Detroit and Televised live on ShoBox: The New Generation (10;30 p.m. ET/PT)
In the night’s televised co-main, junior welterweight KO artist Bakhtiyar “Bakha Bullet” Eyubov (13-0, 11 KOs) will face undefeated prospect Sonny “Pretty Boi” Fredrickson (17-0, 11 KOs) over 10-rounds and to open the telecast, world-ranked super bantamweight Vladimir Tikhonov (16-0, 9 KOs) of Russia will face Texas slugger Jesse Angel Hernandez (8-1, 6 KOs) over eight rounds.
Tickets for the event promoted by Salita Promotions are on sale now and are priced at $350, $250, $125 and $60. They will be available at www.ticketmaster.com.
Adler says the only adjustment to fighting in the North America for the first time is to improve her English. And if she’s concerned about facing Shields, the only American to capture back-to-back boxing gold medals at the Olympic Games, she’s not showing it. She hasn’t even watched tape of Shields’ meteoric three-fight professional career. In fact, Adler and trainer Rene Friese are asking Americans not to take it personally when their hero falters against her.
How is training going?
It is going great! I work hard and I am very focused. My trainer is very satisfied with me and my progress. We entered training camp a few weeks ago, already had great tough sparring and I will be very well prepared to defend what’s mine: the green belt.
Did you prepare any differently for this fight compared to your others?
Yes, but it has nothing to do with Claressa. At the beginning of the year, I changed my trainer who brought me and my boxing skills to a new incredible level. I am better, faster and stronger. This feels amazing!
What do you think of Shields as a fighter?
To be honest, I’ve never watched her fight, but I am sure Claressa is a fighter from the bottom of her heart. So am I. This will create magic moments on August 4.
Does it make any difference to fight in North America for the first time?
Yes, because I need to improve my English. I speak German and Croatian fluently and will do my very best to thank Claressa personally for a great fight and to tell her without any translator that she can be proud that she took the challenge and one day she will be a champion too – maybe at middleweight.
What would a victory over Claressa Shields mean to you?
How do you feel about the recent resurgence of women’s boxing?
Our fight announcement rocked the media, the fans and lot of other boxers who want to be a part of the event. It is great to see and it will get better. But, just a warning, America needs to be strong when I take my belts back home to Germany. I said it once before and I will say it again and again: The higher the quality, the more attractive is the fight for the fans. The state of woman’s boxing needs tough woman like Claressa and me who are not afraid of a challenge.
How does it feel to be fighting on Showtime and in front of the world?
It is the biggest woman’s boxing fight in 2017. Winning is the only thing I’m concerned with.
What can the fans in Detroit and on television expect to see from you?
Fans will see a fit fighter, they can expect a tough puncher and, finally, a dominating reigning champion.
Showtime Sports to Present Three Seperate Live Boxing Presentations on July 29th
SHOWTIME Sports will offer three separate boxing presentations on Saturday, July 29, delivering two digital live streams preceding the evening’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING televised doubleheader. The digital-only offerings will be available on Facebook Live and YouTube prior to the live SHOWTIME® telecast at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, as the network continues its unrivaled commitment to boxing.
The full day of high-stakes boxing will begin at approximately 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT with streaming coverage from Belfast, Ireland as 2016 Fighter of the Year Carl Frampton makes his long-awaited homecoming. The former two-division titlist Frampton (23-1, 14 KOs) will face once-beaten Andres Gutierrez (35-1-1, 25 KOs) in a 12-round featherweight bout, his first since splitting a par of slugfests with three-division world titlist Leo Santa Cruz. Coverage of Frampton vs. Gutierrez will be provided by Channel 5, a television station in Northern Ireland.
SHOWTIME Sports will then deliver live coverage from Barclays Center in Brooklyn beginning at 7:15 p.m. ET/4:15 p.m. PT with “SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Prelims”. The two-fight live stream will feature former world title challenger Gerald Washington (18-1-1, 12 KOs) against Brooklyn native Jarrell Miller (18-0-1, 16 KOs), plus the U.S. debut of female boxing star and Irish Olympic Gold Medalist Katie Taylor (5-0, 3 KOs). Hall of Famer Barry Tompkins will call the live streaming fights from Brooklyn alongside former world champion Daniel Jacobs.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Prelims and Frampton vs. Gutierrez will be available to U.S. audiences only.
The July 29 SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast is headlined by a blockbuster matchup between two of boxing’s biggest stars as three-division world champion Mikey Garcia moves up to 140 pounds to face four-division champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner. Televised coverage begins live on SHOWTIME at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT as unbeaten former world champion Jermall Charlo returns to face Jorge Sebastian Heiland in a middleweight world title eliminator. The event is presented by Premier Boxing Champions from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Prelims is an extension of SHOWTIME BOXING on SHOWTIME EXTREME, which is the first premium television series to offer live undercard coverage. Both offerings provide bonus bouts to viewers at home, delivering an experience that was previously available only to fans in arena. Via SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Prelims, viewers are afforded the unique opportunity to interact with the boxing community during the event in real time.
SHOWTIME Sports also will live stream the Broner vs. Garcia final press conference on Thursday and the official weigh-in on Friday across digital platforms, including Facebook Live and YouTube.
WBA/IBF World Heavyweight Championship Round by Round Results: Joshua Stops Klitschko in Instant Classic
WBA/IBF World Heavyweight Championship Round by Round Results: Joshua Stops Klitschko in Instant Classic
By: William Holmes
Wembley Stadium in London, England was the host site for tonight’s highly anticipated heavyweight title fight between Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua.
Showtime televised the bout live from England and HBO televised the replay on the same day.
Photo Credit: Sky Sports
For the first time in twelve years Wladimir Klitschko was the underdog in a fight. The crowd at Wembley Stadium was lively, loud, and ready for a good fight.
Wladimir Klitschko entered the ring first as the challenger underneath a backdrop of 90,000 cell phone lights. Anthony Joshua entered second to a loud and boisterous crowd.
Nataliya Klitschko performed the Ukranian national anthem and Louisa Johnson sung the British National Anthem.
Anthony Joshua (18-0) and Wladimir Klitschko (64-4) fought to unify the WBA and IBF titles.
Klitschko comes forward with a range finding jab while Sohua keeps his hands high and looks for a counter. Joshua lands a check left hook to the chin of Klitschko. Joshua is short with a two punch combination. Joshua lands a good jab to the body. Klitschko throws a left hook that’s partially blocked. Klitschko is keeping at a safe distance from the power shots of Joshua. Klitschko lands a good quick jab. Joshua lands a left hook to the body. Joshua lands a short jab. Joshua lands a good right to the body of Klitschko. Joshua lands a left to the body and has a follow up right partially blocked. Klitschko lands a good stiff jab. Klitschko lands a reaching jab.
Klitschko lands a sharp straight right hand on the chin of Joshua. Joshua lands a short jab and misses with a two punch combination. Joshua lands a quick jab. Klitschko looks light on his feet. Klitschko snaps out a
quick jab. Joshua lands a short jab and punches the shoulder of Klitschko. Joshua lands a clean right hand to the chin of Klitschko. Joshua sticks a jab in the chest of Klitschko. Klitschko misses with a straight counter right. Joshua misses with a lead left hook. Close round.
10-9 Klitschko; 19-19
Joshua is short with several shots and gets a little wild. Joshua misses with another hard straight right. Klitschko misses high with a right cross. Joshua barely misses a huge uppercut and then lands a few hooks to the body. Klitschko clinches when Joshua gets in tight. Joshua is short with a double jab. Joshua misses a left hook and a two punch combination. Klitschko lands a lead left hook. Joshua lands a god jab to the nose of Klitschko.
10-9 Joshua; 29-28 Joshua
Klitschko lands a stinging straight right hand and follows it up with another straight right. Joshua lands a hook to the body of Klitschko. Klitschko lands two jabs to the face of Joshua. Joshua lands a sharp straight right hand. Joshua lands a jab to the body of Klitschko. Klitschko misses with a lead left hook and a straight right cross. Joshua lands a right to the body of Klitschko. Joshua lands a quick jab and later follows with a counter right hook. Joshua lands a stiff jab. Close round.
10-9 Joshua; 39-37 Joshua
Joshua comes out firing and lands several hard punches and combinations. Klitschko tries to hold on and looks a little wobbly. Joshua lands a hard combination including a stiff uppercut and Klitschko goes down. Klitschko has a mouse underneath his eye. Joshua comes forward and lands a left hook. Klitschko trying to hang on and survive. Klitschko misses a wild right hook. Klitschko has a bad cut over his left eye. Klitschko misses with a wild left hook. Klitschko lands a straight right to the chin of Joshua. Joshua looks tired. Klitschko lands a straight right and a left hook. Klitschko lands a straight right followed by a left hook. Klitschko lands a right uppercut and Joshua looks hurt. Klitschko lands a two punch combination on Joshua. Both guys look exhausted and are holding on. Klitschko lands a right cross and Joshua holds on. Klitschko lands a hard right uppercut and a left hook. Great round, Klitschko was coming on strong late.
10-8 Joshua; 49-45 Joshua
Both boxers look alert after the hellacious fifth round. Klitschko lands a good right hand on Joshua. Klitschko misses a wild left hook. Joshua spit out his mouthpiece and the fight is briefly stopped. Klitschko lands a jab and Joshua lands a right hook to the body. Klitschko lands a thunderous straight right hand and Joshua goes down! Joshua gets up before the count of ten. Joshua looks badly hurt. Klitschko misses a wild left hook. Klitschko lands two short right hooks. Klitschko presses Joshua back to the corner and lands a hook and a right cross. Klitschko misses a wild left hook. Klitschko lands a short jab. Another quick jab lands for Klitschko. Joshua holds on. Joshua lands a short jab. Great round.
10-8 Klitschko; 57-55 Joshua
Both boxers look alert at the start of the seventh round. Klitschko pressing forward though and looks a little more awake. Klitschko lands a sharp jab and is controlling the action. Klitschko lands a left hook to the head of Joshua. Klitschko looks patient. Klitschko lands a good jab. Klitschko lands another jab. Joshua is jawing at Klitschko. Klitschko misses with a sweeping left hook. Klitschko lands a short left hook. Klitschko lands another jab. Klitschko misses with a straight right and Joshua holds on. Klitschko bangs a left hook off the high guard of Joshua. Joshua lands a hook to the body.
10-9 Klitschko; 66-65 Joshua
Joshua didn’t take a lot of damage in the last round, but has never gone past the seventh before today. Klitschko lands two punches out of three while coming forward. Klitschko lands a reaching jab. Klitschko misses a missle of a straight right hand. Joshua comes forward with a double jab but touches air. Klitschko misses with another wild right. Joshua barely misses a straight right hand. Klitschko lands two jabs. Klitschko lands another jab. Joshua lands a jab but Klitschko answers with a stiff jab. Joshua throws a hook to the body and then ties up. Klitschko lands another jab. The pace favors Klitschko.
10-9 Klitschko; 75-75
Klitschko lands a right hook upstsairs and Joshua lands two hooks to the body of Klitschko. Klitschko lands a short left hook but eats two more body shots. They tied up after Klitschko throws two jabs. Klitschko lands a jab but Joshua lands a short left hook. Joshua lands a hard left jab and follows it with a short right hook. Joshua misses a lead left hook. Klitschko lands a quick jab on Joshua. Joshua lands a hard shot to the body. Klitschko is controlling the distance but appears a little hesitant to throw. Joshua lands a short right hand and two hooks to the body.
10-9 Joshua; 85-84 Joshua
Joshua opens up with a two punch combination. Joshua is short with a right cross to the body. Joshua gets tagged with a quick jab. Joshua digs a hook into the body of Klitschko. Joshua lands a short inside uppercut. Joshua throws a two punch combination upstairs and clips Klitschko. Joshua lands a hook to the body of Klitschko. Klitschko lands a good jab. Klitschko misses with a straight right. Joshua lands a jab upstairs. Joshua lands another short jab on Klitschko. Klitschko’s right hand is not finding it’s target. Klitschko lands a good straight right hand. Klitschko lands another good straight right as the round comes to an end. Could have scored it for either boxer.
10-9 Klitschko; 94-94
Joshua comes out firing and has Klitschko looking a little wobbly. Joshua is throwing bombs at Klitschko. Joshua throws a reaching jab. Klitschko lands a quick jab. Klitschko lands a straight right and Klitschko looks like he’s in bad shape. Joshua lands a straight right on Klitschko . Joshua lands a short left hook. Joshua lands a thunderous right uppercut on Klitschko and follows it with a left hook. Klitschko is wobbly and gets up before the count of ten. Josha tags Klitschko with another combination and Klitschko goes down again. Klitschko looks like he’s badly hurt. Joshua is chasing Klitschko around the ring and is firing off punches before the referee jumps in and stops the fight.
Anthony Joshua Wins Thriller by TKO at 2:25 of the eleventh round.
WBA/IBF Heavyweight Title Fight Preview: Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko
WBA/IBF Heavyweight Title Fight Preview: Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko
By: William Holmes
On Saturday afternoon one of the biggest heavyweight bouts in recent memory will take place at the famous Wembley Stadium in London, England.
This is such a major event that Wembley Stadium is expecting a record setting crowd of 90,000 fans in attendance. It is so big that Showtime will air the fight live at 4:15 p.m. live while HBO will televise the replay at 11:00 p.m. on same day tape delay.
It’s rare to see two of the biggest broadcasters of boxing agreeing to televise the same fight.
Photo Credit: Esther Lin/Showtime
Both boxers appear to realize the magnitude of the vent at the most recent press conference. Joshua stated, “ Even though this is such a great event, I always try to strip it down to what it really is and just focus that it’s just me and this man coming to blows and the best man will win. I’m not only prepared physically but mentally as well for any battle.”
Klitschko recognizes that many count him out as an old faded champion and stated, “ Can you imagine my next opponent is going to fight a guy whose age is exactly the number of how long he has been in boxing- 27 years? Can you image that? It’s a pretty amazing task. Is it a degradation that I’m actually a challenger and underdog in this fight after 27 years in the sport? I don’t think so. I think it’s great”.
This is a huge bout, and will help determine if Anthony Joshua is the current kingpin of the heavyweight division and the reign of Klitschko is over, or if Klitschko’s time at the top is still ongoing.
The following is a preview of Saturday’s heavyweight title fight.
Anthony Joshua (18-0) vs. Wladimir Klitschko (64-4); WBA/IBF Heavyweight Title
This bout is between the next great big thing in the heavyweight division and a man who reigned over the heavyweight division from 2000-2015.
Both Joshua and Klitschko obtained the highest accolade one could achieve as an amateur boxer. Klitschko won the Gold Medal in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games for the Ukraine in the super heavyweight division and Joshua won the Gold Medal in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games for Great Britain in the super heavyweight division.
Both Joshua and Klitschko are very large heavyweights. Both stand at 6’6” and Joshua will have a slight one inch reach advantage, but both men have a reach of over 80”.
Klitschko’s age is his biggest liability. He’s forty one years old and is fourteen years older than Joshua. Joshua’s biggest liability is his relative lack of experience in big fights. He’s only fought eighteen times and has never faced an opponent the caliber of Klitschko.
Klitschko’s inactivity may also hurt him. He fought zero times in 2016, partially due to a calf injury, and only fought twice in 2015. Joshua on the other hand has been very active and fought five times in 2015 and three times in 2016.
Klitschko has been absolutely dominant the past decade and has defeated almost every big name in the heavyweight division in that time frame. He has defeated the likes of Bryant Jennings, Kubrat Pulev, Alexander Povetkin, Mariusz Wach, Tony Thompson, David Haye, Samuel Peter, Eddie Chambers, Ruslan Chagaev, Hasim Rahman, Sultan Ibragimov, Lamon Brewster, Calvin Brock, and Chris Byrd.
Joshua doesn’t have the extensive list of defeated contenders on his resume as Klitschko, but he has still defeated some very good opponents. He has defeated the likes of Eric Molina, Dominic Breazeale, Charles Martin, Dillian Whyte, Gary Cornish, and Kevin Johnson.
Joshua has the clear edge in power as he has stopped every single opponent he has faced as a professional. Klitschko has stopped fifty three of his opponents but has been stopped three times in his career.
Klitschko’s two biggest concerns appear to be fighting a tall boxer as was evident in his fight with Tyson Fury, and fighting a hard puncher as evident in his three knockout losses.
Joshua is just as tall as Klitschko and has plenty of power.
Don’t forget Joshua will be fighting in front of his countrymen.
All signs point to Anthony Joshua winning on Saturday and ushering in a new era of heavyweight boxing.
British Boxing |The Year Ahead
British Boxing |The Year Ahead
By Courtney Riley
2016 was the year of the British Boxing Boom. The country’s fighting men have re-stamped the Great back into Britain, and we should all be proud. The year ended with Britain boasting world champions in 10 out of the 17 available weight-divisions; and a total of 12 current world titleholders – the most champions of any other nation on the planet. We saw some classic fights and we witnessed history. Northern Ireland’s 2-weight world champion, Carl Frampton, was awarded ESPN’s Fighter of the Year. The fifth-round of the heavyweight tear-up between London rivals Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora was recognised as the Round of the Year by ESPN; and Scotland’s Ricky Burn made history by becoming the first of his countrymen to have won world titles in 3 different weight divisions. 2016 was a brilliant year, so what is 2017 going to offer?
Here are 5 confirmed fights for the first half of the year (in order of date):
1.James Degale vs Badou Jack (January 14th)
Degale has not fought on Britain’s shores since November, 2014. Since then, he has won the vacant IBF super-middleweight world title across the pond and will remain there for his unification-fight against WBC title-holder, Badou Jack. This is a relevant fight and a great way to kick off the year’s fight calendar.
2.Carl Frampton vs Leo Santa Cruz II (January 28th)
These two provided an unforgettable featherweight contest last July which saw the Northern-Irishman come out on top against his tough Mexican rival to become a 2-weight world champion. The closely fought battle was quite the spectacle and fans are rightly excited to see their rematch later this month.
3.Chris Eubank Jr vs Renold Quinland (February 4th)
This fight makes the list because fans see it as a bit of a farce. Eubank Jr has had a decent 2016 in the ring where he fought a couple of decent domestic level fighters. He angered fans outside of it when negotiations for his fight with boxing’s boogieman Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin fell through. Many blamed Eubanks and his team. This led to one of biggest fights last year when the valiant Kell Brook stepped into the lion’s den and was ultimately stopped by the US-based Kazakh. Brook gained kudos and Eubank lost face. Now, he is returning in a pay-per-view fight against an opponent that no-one as ever heard of. A recent poll by a popular boxing magazine showed that 85% of the British public said they would not watch the fight, much less pay for it. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.
3.David Haye vs Tony Bellew (March 4th)
Following a 3 year hiatus, Haye made his return to the ring last January in a year that saw him punch leather in to the faces of 3 overmatched opponents. Tony Bellew, for his part, has had a year to remember. We saw him mixing with Hollywood royalty on the big screen in the Rocky spin-off, Creed, as well as realising his dream to become a world champion at cruiserweight in front of a sell-out home crowd. Now he has decided to move up in weigh to challenge the Hayemaker in a match that has the causals buzzing.
4. Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko (April 29th)
Joshua claimed a world title after blasting out the unworthy champion, Charles Martin, in April last year. He returned twice that year to defend his belt against more underwhelming opponents. Now he is looking to step up in rank by taking on the former chief, Wladimir Klitschko, in the spring. Joshua will be looking to add the first worthy name to his résumé while the old ex- champ, though long in the tooth, will be looking to prove that he still has a bite.
5. Amir Khan vs Kell Brook (still negotiating)
This fight has been boiling over for far too long. It risks fizzling out into nothingness like countless number of ‘what if’ fights that fans tend to agonise over. Both men are coming off knockout losses to much bigger opposition and have grown their stocks as a result. Who would not like to see two elite fighters who have no love for one another duke it out for the nation’s recognition in the ring, while in the prime or their lives? 2017… Let’s have it!
Manny Pacquiao – The Lion In Winter
Manny Pacquiao – The Lion In Winter
By: Sean Crose
In reality, it truly does seem like a sitcom that’s gone on a season or two too long. Indeed, Manny Pacquiao’s jump from known boxer to household name occurred the better half of a decade ago. Since that time, the man has suffered three loses, become a political figure and has inched closer to forty. Truth be told, there will never be a fight as big as the one Pacquiao engaged in against Floyd Mayweather close to a year and a half ago – at least not during Pacquiao’s career. For the end is far closer than the beginning for the fighter known as Pac-Man – unless, of course, the Filipino icon engages in some Bernard Hopkins-style timelessness.
But perhaps that’s part of the plan. Oh, Pacquiao would never go out and say he wants to fight into his fifties – and perhaps he doesn’t – but it’s clear the man still has at least a good amount of the old fire in his belly, at least if recent training videos of the welterweight are any indication. Sure enough, Pacquiao is preparing for yet another battle, this time against the talented and hungry Jessie Vargas on November 5th in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao, of course, halfheartedly retired from the sport of boxing last spring after defeating Timothy Bradley – perhaps himself a future Hall of Famer – for the second (some would argue third) time in a row. That retirement, however, didn’t even last as long as the regular distance between one Pacquiao fight and the next. And so now he’s back – as if he’s ever left – throwing punches like pistons against pads held by longtime trainer Freddie Roach, looking as comfortable in the sport that’s brought him fame and fortune as he’s ever been. Yet time, as has been said countless times, waits for no one, and Pacquiao is no exception.
Indeed, great as he is, even the iconic Hopkins isn’t the fighter he once was. And, as people like to bring up, Pacquiao hasn’t knocked out an opponent in years (though that sort of thing tends to happen when one regularly faces top level opposition). Sooner or later, some young buck will likely come along to play Kovalev to the man’s Hopkins, or – worse yet – Marciano to his Louis. Such things tend to be inevitable if one wishes to continue competing at the top of one’s profession – provided that profession is boxing.
Yet here’s a sticky truth that many seem to overlook:
Pacquiao is still arguably the best welterweight in the world. He’s just bested Bradley and could conceivably best the likes of Danny Garcia, as well (we’ll see about Vargas, though Pacquiao has good reason to be favored). Sure, men like Keith Thurman, Errol Spence, Amir Khan and Kell Brook (should he return to welterweight) could pose a real challenge, but no one in his or her right mind would write PacMan off against those potential foes – at least not yet.
Until proven otherwise, this all-time great still may rule the roost at welterweight.
What Happens If Liam Smith Stuns The World?
What Happens If Liam Smith Stuns The World?
By: Sean Crose
Most people don’t think it will happen and chances are you don’t either, but since nothing is guaranteed in boxing it’s worth asking what the implications might be if Liam Smith stuns the world on Saturday when he faces Canelo Alvarez in Texas. I know, I know, since avoiding Gennady Golovkin, Canelo has decided to take fights that are safe bets…at least that seems to be the consensus among a large number of fans. This is boxing, though, where surprises are forever in the air. In the ring, each fighter is only one shot away from defeat. That’s an indisputable fact.
So, accepting the fact that Canelo should by all expectations use his experience, strength, skill and perhaps size, to cruise to a win on Saturday night, let’s ask what happens if Smith, the current WBO super welterweight champ, stuns the world. First and foremost, Canelo’s reputation would take a serious hit. Giving up a middleweight belt in order to avoid Golovkin would seem like nothing in light of a Smith victory. This wouldn’t be Marquez knocking out Pacquiao. This would be more like Douglas-Tyson, where a man casual fans were unaware of stepped right up and took out a legit star.
Make no mistake about it, Canelo would no longer have to worry about Golovkin – fairly or not, no one would again think he ever stood a modicum of a chance. He’d also be at risk of losing a hard earned legacy. Opponents like Cotto, Mosley and Khan, all of who Canelo bested, would be brought up less than Smith, who few would have heard of before team Canelo supposedly picked him as an “easy opponent.” That would be too bad, of course, but people remember Napoleon for Waterloo more than any other battle. Human nature is human nature.
Still, it’s worth keeping in mind that Canelo would most certainly get a rematch. It’s also worth keeping in mind that Smith might be far better than many believe he is. Sure enough, it’s a safe bet that Canelo could start to pick up the pieces of his career sooner rather than later should he be shocked this weekend. It’s worth wondering, though, if he would ever again be seen as “the face of boxing,” as he reportedly is at the moment. One more quick thing: A Smith victory would further add to the banner era of British boxing the world is now witnessing. First Fury defeats Klitschko, then Smith defeats Canelo?
Great Britain indeed.