By: Hans Themistode
Victories don’t seem to last long in the sport of boxing. At most, you are afforded just a few seconds before the dreaded question comes.
“Who do you want next?”
For Tyson Fury, his victory parade lasted roughly a few minutes.
Fury just put together quite possibly the best performance of his career in defeating Deontay Wilder for his WBC title. Fury dropped, battered and manhandled Wilder all night long. It was a great, yet jaw dropping performance by Fury. But as he walks around with his newly won WBC title around his waist, he’ll have a new challenge awaiting him.
“I’ve already spoken to AJ,” said promoter Eddie Hearn about the possibility of matching up Fury with unified champion Anthony Joshua. “He wants to go into this fight next.”
The excitement is great, but a bit unrealistic at this point. Joshua has already hammered out a deal to take on mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev in June. Even if Pulev did decide to step aside, the contest would still be unlikely as Wilder has a rematch clause in their contract.
Still, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Two British fighters holding all of the titles in the Heavyweight division is more than just rare. It’s never happened before.
“We have to make this fight happen. We will never, ever get the chance for two Brits to fight for an undisputed heavyweight world championship. I promise you we will do everything we can to make this fight. It has to happen. We will never get this opportunity in this sport to do this again with two Brits. I’ve already spoken to AJ – he wants to go straight into this fight next. He loves the Tyson fight, he has has zero fear of fighting Tyson Fury. He has been through everything already and he wants to be undisputed and this is the chance for our sport to have one of those legacy moments that we will never get the opportunity to have again.”
Fury vs Joshua is the sort of fight that fans dream of. Both fighters are at the top of their game and will have the chance to call themselves the best in the world if either of them is victorious.
But this is a contest that will take some time to materialize. So for now, Fury will be given the chance to enjoy his win over Wilder. The new WBC champ impressed everyone around the world, including Hearn.
“I heard out of his camp he was going to be aggressive and go for it and I thought it was absolute madness and it ended up being genius from him and his team. Just a wonderful performance. What a time for British boxing – an incredible night. I felt like he could school him but I didn’t think he could school him and beat him up, and he did that.”
By: Sean Crose
After winning back his belts from Andy Ruiz in impressive fashion last December in Saudi Arabia, Anthony Joshua found himself back at the top of the heavyweight division. He’s got company up there, however, and promoter Eddie Hearn has indicated Joshua is ready to prove who the best man truly is. Along with Joshua, American Deontay Wilder and Englishman Tyson Fury are considered the top dogs at heavyweight. Wilder and Fury will be rematching next month for Wilder’s WBC and Fury’s (claimed) lineal heavyweight titles. Hearn pointed out that he wants Joshua to face the winner.
“You have new players in town,” Hearn recently told Sky Sports, “that are willing to spend money never seen before in the sport. It’s there.” Hearn was clearly referring the Saudi Arabian government, which hosted Joshua’s December rematch with Ruiz. “We’ve had the conversations,” said Hearn. “We did it once in December. I know the money they’re willing to put into this fight at the backend of the year.” Although Wilder and Fury are about to fight for the second time, there has been difficulty getting either man a Joshua fight. One side blames the other in these scenarios, but Hearn argued it’s time to get a match with either fighter done.
“There’s just too much money,” Hearn stated. “There comes a time in the sport where money talks too much.” In other words, Hearn feels there will be no reason in the world Joshua can’t face the winner of Wilder-Fury 2. “We’re at the stage now where even if the other guys didn’t want it, they can’t ignore the numbers.” Although Joshua has yet to fight Wilder or Fury, Hearn feels that a battle between Joshua and either man would be even bigger than it previously would have been. “Everybody’s lucky that the numbers we were talking about a year ago have doubled, tripled,” he said.
Fans would obviously love to see one fighter emerge as the king of the heavyweight division. The problem, as is generally always the case in modern boxing, is politics. Joshua, Fury, and Wilder are represented by separate managers, and appear on separate networks. Throw in the egos that abound in boxing and things are apt to become even more complicated. With Wilder and Fury about to fight in front of a PPV broadcast shared by ESPN and Fox, however, there’s some indication that icy relationships can thaw under the right circumstances – at least temporarily.
“Don’t be greedy,” said Hearn “You’ve spun it up on that roulette wheel, now take your chips and leave.”
By: Sean Crose
In a bit of a surprise, Matchroom Boxing announced Sunday that it had signed Mikey Garcia to it’s impressive stable of fighters. “Former four-weight World king Garcia (39-1 30 KOs) will return to action on February 29, exclusively live on DAZN,” the promotional outlet claimed in a press release, “as the California favorite looks to regain his World champion status and continue his glittering career at the elite level.” For his part, the 32 year old Garcia came across as excited. “I am happy to announce my return to the ring for February 29,” Garcia said. “I am eager to make my return and grow my legacy. I look forward to working with Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN and I want to thank all my fans for the continued support. Fight details will be announced soon and I can’t wait to be back in the ring.”
Garcia was last seen in the ring against welterweight powerhouse Errol Spence last March. It was the first time in his career that the acclaimed Garcia had been bested. Still, few criticized the man for not being able to best a rising star a full two weight divisions higher than he had previously fought at. Since that time, Garcia has been conspicuously quiet, with some thinking he might try his hand against former titlist Danny Garcia and still others suggesting he might be interested in facing the iconic Manny Pacquiao. Although no opponent or weight realm has been set for Garcia’s comeback fight, the fact the multi-titlist has signed with Hearn is a notable development in and of itself.
“I’ve been talking to Mikey for over a year now,” said Hearn, “and I’m so happy to welcome him to the team… Mikey is a standout star and I’m looking forward to working with him on big fights moving forward.” Hearn also made it clear that further details on Garcia’s next fight would be sure to come. “We will be announcing the opponent and venue shortly,” he said. “The talent within Matchroom Boxing and on DAZN is unprecedented – we look forward to an epic 2020!” Garcia has been aligned, in one form or other, with a considerable number of high level outlets. Besides being once connected to Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions, Garcia was also fighting on a Premiere Boxing Champions (PBC) card when he faced off against Spence last winter or pay per view.
“Mikey Garcia joining the DAZN roster will allow us to deliver even greater value to our subscribers as our Fight Season schedule begins to take shape for 2020,” DAZN EVP, North America Joseph Markowski claimed. “We’re a data-led business and so we’re naturally drawn to the fact that Mikey has consistently delivered numbers – whether it’s been television audience, pay-per-view buys or ticket sales. We look forward to welcoming his fans to DAZN on Leap Year Day.”
By: Sean Crose
Although the DAZN streaming service is clearly uninterested in presenting subscription buy numbers to the public, promoter Eddie Hearn may be indicating that this month’s Logan Paul – KSI boxing rematch was a financial success. Why? Because Hearn has expressed interest in promoting other novelty bouts. “After promoting his first YouTuber event,” claims Sky Sports, “Hearn would consider staging another in the future, and revealed how big names had contacted him about a potential next bout.” Although Hearn made it clear he doesn’t want the sport of boxing to be demeaned, he still came across as intrigued by the possibilities.
“Would I encourage more of this, I have to say yes, at this moment in time,” the promoter was quoted as saying, “I would, but at the right time, the appropriate time, whilst still respecting the code of the sport.”
Although many in the boxing world rolled their eyes at the Logan-Paul KSI rematch, the two YouTube stars clearly prepared for the event and gave it their all in the ring. What’s more – and perhaps most importantly – their huge fan bases appeared to walk away from the event happy. The fact that the fight itself was rather exciting – if sloppy – no doubt helped matters.
Having apparently had success with Logan Paul – KSI 2, which went down at LA’s Staples Center and aired live on DAZN, it makes sense that Hearn is interested in continuing to go down a profitable route. He also seems willing – in public at least – to not let things devolve into the level of farce. Whatever else could be said about Logan Paul and KSI, few would argue that they didn’t take their showdown seriously. It may not have been a high quality boxing match – but the two fighters were clearly respecting the dangerous sport they were engaged in that night (if only the same could be said for all active boxers).
“Everybody gave them stick from the boxing community,” Hearn said of Logan and KSI, “but now you have to give them respect, because they always say you don’t get the respect of the community until you step through the ropes. They’ve done it twice now, on the biggest of stages.” The question now, of course, is whether or not other people outside the fight game would take a boxing match so seriously. They should, especially if they choose to engage in a professional match. Too many people get hurt and/or die for the sport to be taken lightly.
By: Shane Willoughby
The heavyweight division by many is seen as the most stacked division. With Wilder, Ruiz, Fury and Joshua seen as the top dogs, it’s about time we find out who is the best of the rest, and there are many fighters that can upset the apple cart.
Luis Ortiz, Dillian Whyte, Alexander Povetkin, Kubrat Pulev, Oleksandr Usyk and Joseph Parker are all in that tier just below the elite.
However two fighters whose names are rarely called but could be potential dark horses in the division, are set to face each other on the 13th September.
Both Sergei Kuzmin and Michael Hunter are both credible heavyweights with decent wins at the weight.
Kuzmin had an impressive 4th round stoppage over David Price, whilst Hunter, since moving up from Cruiserweight, has stopped veteran Alexander Ustinov and highly-touted prospect Martin Bakole.
However, for both fighters, the matchup between the two is a big step up from their previous opponents. Whilst Hunter has fought Usyk, it was at Cruiserweight and he lost, so a win over the Russian will be his best to date.
The most intriguing factor is both fighters will probably see themselves as favourites going into the matchup. Hunter because of his resume and Kuzmin due to him being the natural heavyweight and the more experienced campaigner.
To top it off, Kuzmin is undefeated, whilst the American has only a single loss which came in 2017. The pair should be more than confident that they can win and push onto bigger things.
Whoever wins this fight should be looking to fight for the title soon after but because of how stacked the division is they probably need another big win over one of the other contenders, or get in a mandatory position.
Most fight fans will make Hunter the slight favourite but Kuzmin is known for pulling off upsets. Anyone with an amateur win over both Hrgovic and Joe Joyce must be a good fighter.
By: Sean Crose
“It is an absolute honour to announce I am now working with @gggboxing to promote his fights worldwide. Great man, great fighter – we look forward to bringing you the drama and excitement in arenas all over the world. #Oct5 @DAZN_USA”
The above tweet, which came courtesy of Matchroom honcho Eddie Hearn, let the world know on Thursday morning that Hearn has now teamed up with middleweight superstar Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. It’s a significant development in a middleweight saga that currently spans across numerous promotional outlets.
Golovkin, who had been the dominant figure in the division for years, was dethroned by Golden Boy Promotion’s Canelo Alvarez in highly controversial fashion over the course of two bouts during the past two years. With Canelo reportedly refusing to once again face the man most feel he still hasn’t proven himself against, Golovkin is currently set to face Sergey Derevyanchenko for the IBF middleweight title on October 5th at Madison Square Garden.
“My promotion company and I are happy to partner up with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom,” said Golovkin in a press release, “to bring the fans what they want – the best boxing and the best events. By teaming up with Matchroom, we stress that GGG Promotions is committed to presenting the biggest events in the most important arenas. I’m always happy to work with the best in business, and I’m looking forward to what this collaboration will bring to the boxing fans.”
Hearn was equally effusive.
“It’s an absolute honor to be involved with Gennady Golovkin’s career moving forward,” he claimed. “I’ve long admired Gennady as a fan and how he conducts his business and we team up at a very exciting moment. Gennady is one of the most recognizable and entertaining fighters on the planet and I can’t wait to get started to work together on the upcoming world title challenge against Derevyanchenko at MSG on October 5.”
Hearn also addressed the fact that a third fight with Canelo is the match most fans would like to see Golovkin engaged in. “We know the world wants to see the Canelo trilogy,” he claimed, “but there are so many opportunities out there for Gennady all over the world and we look forward to working together on them.
First things first is for Gennady to win the title on October 5.
Golovkin has long been promoted by K2 honcho Tom Loeffler. Today’s announcement doesn’t appear to have had a noticeable impact on that relationship (at least of yet), as Loeffler’s Twitter feed is still actively promoting the October 5th bout. Golovkin now joins fellow powerhouses Demetrius Andrade and Billy Joe Saunders as part of Hearn’s lineup in or around the middleweight division. With all three men fighting on DAZN, along with the aforementioned Canelo, it seems logical that a series of matchups will bring clarity to the middleweight division. The chaos of modern boxing, however, unfortunately offers no guarantees.
By: Jesse Donathan
Perhaps the biggest scandal of 2019 in professional boxing is currently unfolding as heavyweight Dillian Whyte tested positive for metabolites of the prohibited performance enhancing drug Dianabol prior to his most recent decision victory over Oscar Rivas. The United Kingdom’s own government oversight bodies, United Kingdom Anti-Doping (UKAD) and the British Board of Boxing Control (BBBofC), failed to take action or even notify the Rivas’ camp of their findings prior to the fight in an unconscionable decision that may haunt the oversight bodies for long to come in the future.
According to an August 1, 2019 frankwarren.com article titled, “Where’s the B Sample?” author Frank Warren writes, “The silence surrounding the failed drug test of Dillian Whyte – and the subsequent permission given for him to fight – continues to hold firm.” Warren, a fight manager and promoter to some of the biggest names in the industry including Tyson Fury would go on to write:
“Whatever has taken place in this case and whether there has been “procedural issues”, lawyers have written to most of the media claiming Whyte’s privacy is being invaded, despite the fact he has gone on record himself on a number of occasions accusing some fighters, including Anthony Joshua, of being “Juicers” without providing any proof.”
The Warren report goes on to state, “After making such accusations, I believe he forfeits any right to privacy after he was informed that he himself had tested positive.” The overall tone and focus of Warren’s article being that of one in defense of the circumstances that lead to the news of Whyte’s flagged test result becoming public knowledge in an interesting picture to consider.
Whyte, an intelligent man who is not afraid to speak his mind, had previously summed up former heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua’s troubles in the ring against Andy Ruiz Jr. as being the result of fighting in the United States under the stringent Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) testing program where obtaining therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) is markedly more difficult to achieve than in the United Kingdom.
Warren, not lost for words on the subject, went on to write, “Thomas Hauser, one of the most respected journalists in the sport has rightly reported on this matter is now being discredited by Eddie Hearn. Yet he fails to elaborate on which points are supposedly wrong.”
According to Warren, “As a leading boxing writer and lawyer, is it right that Hauser has to endure having his reputation trashed for doing his job and bringing this serious matter to the public’s attention and more importantly, to the man most affected by this sorry situation, Rivas?” Indeed, if not for Thomas Hauser, his sources and subsequent reporting, one has to wonder at what point if ever any of this information would have ever come to light.
In the original July 24, 2019 boxingscene.com article titled, “Dillian Whyte Tests Positive for Banned Substance,” author Thomas Hauser writes, “Under VADA protocols, the positive test result would been reported to the World Boxing Council and Rivas camp. That appears to have not been the case in this instance with UKAD.”
You read that right, UKAD not only allowed the fight to proceed after a positive test from Whyte but failed to notify his opponent who was literally stepping into the ring with his life on the line against a potentially doped fighter.
Referencing an August 1, 2019 boxingscene.com article titled, “Whyte Completes VADA Testing Program – But Not Yet in Clear,” author Jake Donovan writes that both Rivas and Whyte had pre-fight VADA samples collected on July 17 and post-fight samples on July 21, approximately a day after the bout. According to Donovan, VADA had announced the fighters had entered the testing pool on April 26, 2019 and that United Kingdom Anti-Doping (UKAD), a separate government body from the prestigious Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) conducted their own distinct drug test from that of the VADA testing program.
Donovan goes on to write, “The remaining question is how his late-June test with UKAD produced the lone adverse finding through 12 weeks of testing with two different agencies. Any such cleared test from either agency would also have to fall within the timeframe the substances in question remain in the human system, which would support Whyte’s case.”
Whyte reportedly tested positive for metabolites of the anabolic steroid Dianabol, a banned performance enhancing drug with a half-life of 3 to 5 hours according to a January 17, 2017 anabolic-bible.org article titled, “Dianabol -Methandrostenone.” According to author Jay Nichols, “The half-life of Dianabol is only about 3 to 5 hours, a relatively short time. This means a single daily dosage schedule will produce a varying blood level, with ups and downs throughout the day. The user likewise has a choice, to either split up the tablets during the day or to take them all at one time.”
Nichols goes on to write, “The usual recommendation has been to divide them and try to regulate the concentration in your blood. This however, will produce a lower peak blood level than if the tablets were taken all at once, so there may be a trade off with this option.” One such technique in particular, known a micro-dosing, is a methodology of taking small, barely detectable amounts of performance enhancing drugs in order to reap their rewards while minimizing the potential punitive risks and consequences associated with more commonly used administrative schedules.
Google defines the term half-life as, “The time required for any specified property (e.g. the concentration of a substance in the body) to decrease by half.” So that means if Whyte was theoretically dividing his dosages of Dianabol up in micro-dosages to regulate the concentration in his blood it would take 3-5 hours for that concentration to decrease by half until the concentration halves itself into undetectable levels.
A February 12, 2018 BusinessInsider.com article titled, “Olympians may be taking cues from Silicon Valley’s favorite way to do drugs,” author Eric Brodwin writes, “Testosterone micro-doses may escape regulators’ radar because they only stay in the system for minutes or hours.” Dianabol is of course a modified form of testosterone.
This may be the answer to Donovan’s remaining question, simply put, it’s all a matter of the timing of the test in relation to the amount and last ingestion of the Dianabol itself. With such a short half-life, athletes may be able to pass random tests simply based upon the nature of the drug itself in relation to the timing of the testing. Unless caught within the timeframe it takes for the drug to half itself out of detectable levels through micro-dosing, its theoretically possible to avoid detection altogether under the currently standing conditions.
Both VADA and UKAD would use World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited testing facilities, which means the testing procedures for both individual, separate agencies would be dependent on laboratories that adhere to the same WADA Code of scientific testing procedures and protocols. The adverse finding was not from the prestigious Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) but from the sore thumb in the crowd United Kingdom Anti-Doping (UKAD), which may or may not bring into question the sample chain of custody with UKAD’s Doping Control Officers (DCOs), Blood Collection Officers (BCOs) and Chaperones.
In an August 12 2019 skysports.com article titled, “Dillian Whyte remains determined to clear his name over drug allegations, says Eddie Hearn,” Whyte passed the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) tests both before and after his latest addition to the win column. According to the report, “The British heavyweight faced allegations of a failed UK Anti-Doping A sample following his points win over Oscar Rivas at The O2 in July, but has declared his innocence. The B sample results have not been disclosed.” Whyte, an unusually candid man who is not prone to tell tall tales often may be telling the truth in professing his innocence and there is more going on here than initially meets the eye, but only his team of lawyers and time will ultimately see to how the tale is ultimately told.
According to a July 30, 2019 talksport.com article titled, “Frank Warren slams ‘totally wrong’ handling of Dillian Whyte positive drugs test and says Oscar Rivas should have been told,” author Michael Benson writes that Dillian Whyte had appeared before an “independent panel hearing on fight day and was allowed to compete.”
One has to question the efficacy of such a panel hearing on of all days, fight night, after television and pay-per-view rights had already been negotiated, venues booked, tickets purchased etc. For a main event fight to be cancelled at the very last second would literally mean tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars, in lost revenue and likely lawsuits for some time to come into the future. In other words, it would have been a disastrous turn of events and thus one not likely to have occurred as a result.
According to Talksport.com, “There was a hearing, if you have a problem with that hearing, speak to the national UKAD government agency or whatever, Hearn said.”
With Dillian Whyte in the spotlight, all eyes are on UKAD and the BBBofC as UKAD, the less prestigious of the two agencies actively monitoring Dillian Whyte’s performance enhancing drug use produced the lone positive result yet sanctioned the fight anyway. With UKAD for all intents and purposes being the long arm of the BBBofC, the government agencies are two pigs in a blanket in this growing controversy.
Subsequently, news of Whyte’s flagged test result managed to leak out to the press through multiple unknown sources with direct knowledge to the situation according to Hauser’s original report with a short list of potential suspects who could have been privileged to that information. The B sample results, which would either confirm or bring into question the results of the original A sample are being withheld, leaving many to question the motives behind the lack of transparency, perhaps even striking at the very integrity of the governing bodies themselves.
Whyte was allowed to compete despite a flagged test result for performance enhancing drugs by government bodies whose responsibility it is to protect the health and safety of its athletes. With boxers Maxim Dadashev and Hugo Santillan recently dying within a week of each other as a result of injuries sustained in the ring, the fact UKAD and BBBofC allowed this fight to commence without informing the Rivas camp prior to the fight is an unconscionable decision that is now under intense scrutiny. And the subsequent refusal to release Whyte’s B sample is only adding fuel to the fire in what may very well prove to be 2019’s most scandalous report in professional boxing.
About the author: Jesse Donathan is the UFC correspondent for BoxingInsider.com and contributing editor to MMAPressRoom.com. A longtime fan of both boxing and mixed martial arts, Jesse’s first published combat sport reports were in 2009 and he was written for a number of outlets to include most recently BoxingInsider.com, Boxing.com and Fightpost.co.uk. Follow Jesse on Twitter @the_mmapress and @MMAPressRoom for up-to-date news and current events in combat sports.
By: Sean Crose
Strangely enough, neither man was there. In a press conference to officially announce the highly anticipated rematch between former heavyweight kingpin Anthony Joshua, and the man who stunned the world by besting him, Andy Ruiz, promoter Eddie Hearn did his best to hype the impending bout. With neither Joshua or Ruiz present, however, it proved to be an off seeming affair. Ruiz-Joshua 2 is scheduled to go down on December 7th in Saudi Arabia, though word is making the rounds that Ruiz is unhappy with the arrangement. Still, Hearn spoke in detail about the Saudi Arabia location for the match.
“For us,” said Hearn, “we really wanted to go somewhere where they believed in the sport of boxing and they had a vision.” The promoter went on to praise Saudi Arabia as a qualified host country. “I was lucky enough to attend the World Boxing Super Series,” Hearn continued. “It was a fantastic event, not just for the logistical setup but because of the vibrancy of the crowd, the interest in the sport of boxing. And of course, recently they staged another fight with Amir Khan.”
Ruiz shocked not only the boxing world, but the entire sports world when he essentially beat up Joshua last June in Joshua’s American debut. The Madison Square Garden hosted bout was supposed to be Joshua’s introduction to the American public. Ruiz was essentially a last minute replacement opponent for Joshua after Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller had to drop out due to positive drug tests. In other words, not much was expected of the Mexican-American slugger. To claim Ruiz over-performed would be an overstatement. The heavyset challenger dropped Joshua numerous times before the bout was finally stopped in round seven.
Although he was stunned and thoroughly beaten, Joshua took the loss like a gentleman. The now 22-1 Englishman has also proven ready to redeem himself since the loss. With a rematch clause in place, it was essentially only a matter of where and when Joshua would face the now 33-1 Ruiz again. With a date and location set, Hearn was effusive Monday about the fight being scheduled in a unique location. Ever the salesman, the smooth promoter claimed that “this event can change boxing forever…You could be seeing a big change in the dynamics of the sport.” Hearn added that “with curiosity, the whole world will be watching this fight.”
While the fact that Ruiz-Joshua 2 is scheduled to go down in the middle east is now unarguably a major part of the story, it also brings with it a degree of controversy, something the media is already beginning to take note of. Saudi Arabia is widely seen as a nation ripe with human rights abuses, something that will no doubt continue to be noted as the countdown for the match begins. Whether the country’s reputation will keep fans from embracing Ruiz-Joshua 2 remains to be seen.
By: Jesse Donathan
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White likes to shop for groceries and is a Tom Brady fan, according to an April 19, 2019 CNN article titled “Boxing ‘shooting itself in the foot,’ says Dana White.” Beyond those interesting facts about White, he also thinks he can do a better job at promotion than boxings current crop of charismatic front men. And White points to the lack of drawing power of Anthony Joshua in the United States, the heavyweight champion of the world, as evidence of boxing’s “strategic” mistakes in failing to properly market one of its biggest stars. CNN openly asks, could Dana White be the man to change this?
It’s possible, however unlikely in my opinion. Although I am willing to bet Dana White and company will be more successful than most are initially willing to admit. Boxing and mixed martial arts share much of the same infrastructure; the various state athletic commissions across the country issue licensing for both boxers and mixed martial arts fighters. White also has extensive experience in jumping through the various corporate hoops necessary to get new promotions off the ground and running and has demonstrated the business acumen necessary to be successful. Still, Dana White and Zuffa, the former owners of the UFC, are not without their detractors.
According to a May 3, 2019 badlefthook.com article titled, “Oscar De La Hoya doesn’t see what Dana White can bring to boxing ‘other than him screaming and yelling’” author Scott Christ quotes the boxing legend as stating, “I wish him all the best. I think he’s done a phenomenal job with the UFC. I have my opinions in the past on how I feel about the fighters getting treated by the UFC, but at this point in my life, I have so much on my plate, I’m sure he has lots on his plate.”
“Good luck. Be prepared for the ride of your life. Boxing is a roller coaster, and it’s sometimes not a fun one,” De La Hoya said.
What De La Hoya is referring to is when he called Dana White and the UFC out on how they treat their athletes. The fact is UFC fighters like to shop for groceries too, only their pay in comparison to professional boxers is grossly deficient, bordering on criminal. “We’re basically fighting for crumbs,” one fighter told ESPN.com who declined to be identified in a January 15, 2012 John Barr and Josh Gross article titled, “UFC fighters say low pay simply brutal.” According to the write up, discussing how the UFC compensates their fighters has been described as “career suicide” by one mixed martial artist.
“While paydays for top draws like Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre can run into the millions,” writes Gross and Barr, “entry-level fighters who compete under the banner of the UFC do so for as little as $6,000 if they fail to win their first match,” wrote ESPN in the 2012 report.
According to Aeric Koerner, a PHD candidate student at America University who conducted an inductive analysis on UFC fighter pay 2016 marked a change in UFC compensatory policy. In an interview by MMA analysist Luke Thomas uploaded on May 2, 2019 to YouTube.com titled, “The Truth About UFC Fighter Pay: An Examination,” Koerner describes how a transition occurred in June of 2016 that marked the end of the low-end compensated UFC fighters being paid $8,000 to show and $8,000 to win. At that point they transitioned to $10,000 to show and $10,000 to win.
Colloquially referred to as, “that Rebook money” in mixed martial arts circles the social media connotations behind it are anything but flattering for the UFC and Rebook. According to a March 1, 2019 forbes.com article titled, “UFC 235’s Ben Askren On Reebok Outfitting Program Pay: ‘It’s Pretty Terrible’” author Trent Reinsmith writes that, “The UFC signed a six-year agreement with Reebok in 2015.” According to Reinsmith, with the Reebok deal the UFC is in fact operating on tiered system of compensation based on the number of fights a fighter has within the UFC promotion itself, not their overall record which only raises more questions than answers.
“The current pay structure under the deal sees fighters with one to three UFC fights earning $3,500. Fighters four to ten UFC fights on their record make $5,000. If a fighter has 11 to 15 bouts, they receive $10,000, while those with 16 to 20 bouts make $15,000. The top tier, for those fighters who have more than 21 UFC contests pays $20,000. Title challengers make $30,000 and champions receive $40,000.”
To put these numbers into perspective, Canelo Alvarez is reported to have signed a $365-million-dollar deal with DAZN. Alvarez is said to have made $35-million from his most recent fight with Daniel Jacobs alone according to a bloodyelbow.com report.
If Dana White and company run their boxing promotion anything like they did with the UFC, future boxers signed under the Dana White and Zuffa boxing banner can expect to get the Don King treatment, always coming up short in the financial department as their handlers make off with the majority of the earnings. A sure-fire recipe for success when the backbone of your operation is paid peanuts while the corporate, Boss Hoggs kick back and watch their pile of slop grow. It worked for the UFC in mixed martial arts and it can work for Dana White and company once again as they move into pro-boxing as well.
“I am making all my boxing moves after this summer,” White said. “When this summer is over, you’ll be hearing a lot about what I’m doing in the sport of boxing,” writes Jed Meshew in his April 24, 2019 mmafighting.com article titled, “Morning Report: Dana White says boxing plans are still a go: ‘I’m making all my boxing moves after this summer’.” According to mmafighting.com:
“When Dana first began making overtures towards boxing, (Anthony) Joshua said he would “100 percent” consider signing with Zuffa boxing if the offer made sense. It was later reported that the UFC was interested in a $500 million deal to sign Joshua but White has denied those reports and Joshua went on to sign a three-year extension with Matchroom Boxing last summer.”
Whether White and Zuffa like it or not, the public perception of how they treat fighters is a stigma that they will find hard to shake moving forward, regardless if they attempt to throw the world heavyweight champion Joshua a bone and make an offer most athletes would find hard to turn down.
With the apparent exaggerated reports of a Joshua offer, one would think Zuffa would be willing to open up their wallets in order to acquire top talent. Not so, says undefeated (23-0-1) heavyweight boxer Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller. “Once upon a time MMA was a realistic option, but after he signed with K-1, Miller says he thought better of stepping into the cage,” writes Tristen Critchfield of sherdog.com in his June 19, 2014 article titled, “Glory 17’s Jarrell Miller: Why MMA is Not an Option for Me.” Critchfield would go on to quote “Big Baby” as stating:
“I did before I signed with K-1 because boxing was slow at the time. But at this point in my career: Nope. Definitely not,” Miller told Sherdog.com. “Just because the money those guys are getting and the injuries…. Listen, 99.9 percent of guys that finish their MMA career, the only thing they can do is open a gym and maybe coach, just because their face and their ears are deformed.”
“I’m not gonna be Dana White’s puppet,” Miller said. “Hell no. I’ve worked too hard,” declared a defiant “Big Baby.”
And with this inside look at how Dana White and Zuffa boxing will undoubtedly do business, its hard to agree with Oscar De La Hoya that Dana White won’t bring anything to boxing beyond yelling and screaming. What Dana White and Zuffa boxing bring to the table is a proven business model, where the fighters who are signed for pennies on the dollar will undoubtedly free up capital elsewhere for the promotion to handle the unexpected problems De La Hoya all but guarantee’s will be in White and Zuffa’s future as they transition into the sport of professional boxing.
That additional capital can go a long way in sewing up any loose ends White believes boxing has been left dangling in the wind with the lack of big money fights and promotion of some boxings biggest stars in markets like the United States where White, Zuffa and company see an opportunity to exploit the holes that boxing has thus far remained asleep at the wheel in minding up.
Dana White thinks Zuffa boxing can promote big money fights better than the current, existing infrastructure in professional boxing and I am not so sure that he isn’t right. It is entirely possible that White and company can breathe new life into the stagnant pool of inactivity we are currently seeing in professional boxings heavyweight division.
So, Dana White likes to go grocery shopping and I am willing to bet so do a lot of other people too; including the vast majority of his fighters under contract making pennies on the dollar, short changed, while the company big whigs reap the rewards without so much as a fat lip or a black eye. This business model helped propel the UFC to a four-million-dollar sale to the company’s new owners, WME-IMG. This same business model will undoubtably be used to drive Zuffa boxing into promotional contention in the world of professional boxing in the foreseeable future. Look for Dana White and company to break into boxing in a big way moving forward, unfortunately likely at the expense of those who do incur injury as a result of their efforts.
By: Michael Kane
Eddie Hearn has revealed that he keeps being told Deontay Wilder has a further two fights lined up for after the Dominic Breazeale fight. Unfortunately they are not against either Anthony Joshua or Tyson Fury.
According to Hearn, Wilder will face Luis Ortiz and Adam Kownacki in his next fights. Pushing a likely unification fight with Anthony Joshua to next year at the earliest. Wilder defends his WBC Heavyweight title against Dominic Breazeale on May 18th.
Hearn told Barbershop Conversations: “Everybody in the business tells me that he [Wilder] has been told and all these fighters have been told that his next fights are Ortiz and Kownacki.
“That worries me because the only fight we want next is Deontay.
“They’ve got a plan to fight these other guys in place.”
This news will likely disappoint fans who had hopes of seeing either a Wilder rematch with Tyson Fury or an unification fight with Anthony Joshua.
Hearn is in the U.S this week ahead of the Canelo Alvarez-Daniel Jacobs fight this weekend. It seems we are likely also to hear of who Anthony Joshua will face in New York on June 1st.
Andy Ruiz is expected to be confirmed to replace Jarrell Miller, who failed a drug test. The news is likely to be confirmed in the next day or so.
Hearn also unwittingly gave a big hint when asked by reporters if Ruiz will be confirmed a few days ago.
He said: “Yeah, this weekend you’ll get it.”
Plans for Joshua’s U.S debut haven’t gone smoothly, first there were complaints about him facing Miller, then Miller failed a drug test. We then had reports that Luis Ortiz wasn’t taking the fight due to a low ball offer, which Hearn has denied, saying he was being kept back for Wilder.
Now it seems Ruiz is the opponent in a fight that will not whet the appetite of boxing fans in either the U.S or UK.
By: Sean Crose
Not only did super promoter Eddie Hearn throw down publicly with Showtime Sports’ honcho Stephen Espinoza on Tuesday, the two boxing powerhouses offered a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the sport at its highest level. The Twitter fight was centered around Anthony Joshua – the heavyweight powerhouse who, at the moment, possesses multiple titles in boxing’s glamor division – and a potential bout against he and American knockout artist (and WBC heavyweight titlist) Deontay Wilder. The megafight was in discussions last year before eventually falling flat. Wider went on to fight a memorable, controversial battle with former heavyweight kingpin Tyson Fury, while Joshua prepares to make his US debut against Jarrell “Bib Baby” Miller this spring.
While the heart of the Hearn-Espinoza argument dealt with a fight that never was made, the details of the online battle focused on international broadcast rights. “Contract was sent and Matchroom saw it,” Espinoza tweeted. “Contract said Sky (a British outlet) got the UK rights.” Hearn responded by essentially calling Espinoza a liar. Espinoza then suggested that Hearn lied when discussing broadcast rights for the 2017 bout between Joshua and former heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko (which Showtime was able to air in the US).
Espinoza then moved back to last year’s Joshua-Wilder negotiations, showing what appeared to be a portion of a contract dealing with Sky Sports and broadcasting rights (presumably for the potential Wilder fight). Hearn responded by demanding that Espinoza “show the contract you (Espinoza) sent.” Espinoza tweeted that he never claimed to have sent it but that “Wilder sent it and you (Hearn) confirmed receipt.” Hearn reacted with a tweet filled with emojis and capitalization. “…so now you are saying the personal email from Wilder (that was one paragraph) offering $50m was a contract!!!!,” he stated. “Hahaha – CONTRACT WAS REQUESTED AND NEVER SENT.”
“Three detailed pages,” Espinoza replied, “not one paragraph.” Hearn continued to hold onto his position. “I repeat,” he tweeted, “despite requests we NEVER received a 1 page, 3 page or 50 page contract. If I’m lying then show the contract you sent.” Espinoza then reiterated that he “never said ‘we’ sent a contract. I said a contract was sent.” Hearn insisted that team Joshua “NEVER received a contract from you, Wilder or ANYONE despite requests.” Espinoza went on to tweet “I’m not going to expose private business arrangements in a Twitter discussion.” The argument went on, however, with each side accusing the other of being less than forthright.
“You lost AJ because you ran out of money you know that,” Hearn went on to claim, indicating that Showtime can no longer air Joshua fights. “You also don’t have one of the top 3 heavyweights under contract. I get you are under pressure but don’t tell porky pies. Have a nice day.”
By: Michael Kane
According to Matchroom supremo, Eddie Hearn, there is more chance of Anthony Joshua fighting Tyson Fury at Wembley in April than a fight against WBC champ Deontay Wilder.
It would seem tentative negotiations are taking place between all the interested parties, with a match up between any two of the three likely to be welcomed by fans.
As it stands the most likely fight to take place is a rematch between Wilder and Fury, with Las Vegas or New York appearing to be the favoured locations, disappointing the UK fans who had hoped for the rematch in one of the UK’s football stadiums.
Hearn however has said both Wilder and Fury have been offered the fight with Joshua.
“Well, to say Deontay Wilder’s camp has gone quiet, that’s saying it lightly,” Hearn told Sky Sports News. “Probably up to six unanswered emails now.
“In fact, I sent one a couple of days ago, saying I just want to check these haven’t gone into your Spam items.
“It is frustrating because you walk out there on the street ‘When’s he going to fight Deontay Wilder?’ It’s like, whenever they want it, but sometimes the public want to believe a fighter on Instagram all day.
“If they wanted the fight, they would talk to me. They’re not even talking to us. We’ve made offers, we’ve made percentage splits. Everything we can do, to try and make that fight.
“I think right now, there’s more chance of fighting Tyson Fury. There’s a man that knows he can have this fight, if he wants it. I’ve spoken to him. He knows if he wants to fight Joshua, it can happen April 13.”
Dillian Whyte and Jarrell Miller are two other names that have been mentioned to face Joshua, it appears Whyte wasn’t happy with the deal offered. There has also been rumours that Anthony Joshua may not appear at Wembley in April but instead make a debut in America, most likely against Miller.
“There’s Dillian Whyte, there’s Jarrell Miller, but Joshua is back from holiday, he’s started training now, he wants to know,” said Hearn. “We’ve probably got 10 days to two weeks before we officially have to pull the trigger.
“All those guys that I’ve mentioned, particularly Wilder, Fury and Whyte – that fight is there for them.
“What I can tell you is, Dillian, I was with him this morning. He wants a great deal to fight Joshua. I don’t blame him for that. He’s been through a hard road to get where he is to No 1.
“He can wait and become mandatory at some point, but if Dillian Whyte wants to fight for the world heavyweight title on April 13, there is the opportunity for him to do so, right now.
“It’s almost like a race against time, particularly for those three, Wilder, Fury and Whyte. They’ve all had offers, they could all sign now today, and get the fight. But do they want the fight? I believe the offers, some have been made, some are about to be improved, it’s put up or shut up time.
“You want to win these four title belts, you believe you can beat Anthony Joshua, then let’s go, but everyone wants to negotiate, and rightly so.”
By: Michael Kane
Matchroom Promotions head Eddie Hearn has had his say on the Tyson Fury v Deontay Wilder fight.
Hearn, who represents WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua claims the fight wasn’t great.
Photo Credit: Eddie Hearn Twitter Account
Hearn told IFL TV, “I’ll say something a little bit controversial, because it wouldn’t be an interview without it. It weren’t a great fight.
“If you watch it back, some rounds – look at the punch stats – there were very, very few punches thrown.”
Hearn did admit it was dramatic.
“But what it was, was dramatic. With the knock down in the ninth, which was a weird one, and the moment in the 12th was unbelievable.”
Several former champions, including Lennox Lewis and Paulie Malignaggi have said the result should have been scored for Fury and the general feeling in the UK is that Fury was robbed. Not so says Hearn.
“I had Fury winning by two rounds, so is a draw a robbery? No, not really. But Fury won the fight. But if you’re scoring it two rounds to someone. One round the other way and it’s a draw. But in my opinion Fury won the fight.”
Hearn had been vocal in the run up debating whether the Fury v Wilder fight would actually take place and speculating whether it would sell out the arena or sell pay-per-view. He has conceded Fury proved him wrong, at least.
“I’m holding my hands up, Fury proved me wrong. Again.
“I didn’t think he’d beat Klitschko, he did, I didn’t think he’d beat Wilder, he should’ve.
“So I give him the respect, and getting up in the 12th was great.”
By: Jake Donovan
From the moment they announced their commitment to boxing earlier this year, the brass at DAZN insisted they were in it for the long haul.
So, too, is the entire Golden Boy Promotions family, including its biggest star Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
The reigning World middleweight champion has committed to a long-term deal with the sports streaming service, according to overnight reports from ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael and The Los Angeles Times’ Lance Pugmire. The reported $365 million deal is the richest in sports history, with Alvarez’ per fight guarantee surpassing that of Floyd Mayweather’s previous six-fight deal with Showtime.
Photo Credit: Golden Boy Promotions Twitter Account
BoxingScene.com senior writer Keith Idec was the first to break the story of Alvarez heading to DAZN, with specific terms of the deal since revealed by Golden Boy Promotions through its press office.
News of the record-breaking contract comes ahead of a scheduled Wednesday press conference in New York City, originally intended to formally announce Alvarez’ forthcoming December 15 challenge of secondary super middleweight titlist Rocky Fielding.
“I’ve always liked a challenge, and this is yet another challenge in my career,” said Alvarez, in a statement that can point to both the incredible deal and his quest for a title in a third weight class.
Their bout—which will headline at Madison Square Garden, where Alvarez will fight for the first time in his career—had yet to disclose which network or platform would carry the event, which was supposed to be revealed on Wednesday. Golden Boy fielded offers from several outlets, including HBO which had presented Alvarez’ last seven bouts and 15 overall through its various networks and Pay-Per-View Arm.
HBO remained in the running to serve as the broadcast provider for Alvarez-Fielding, but removed its name from the fold after declining to match DAZN’s lucrative offer. The development means Alvarez appearing on a platform other than HBO, Showtime (where Alvarez appeared five times from 2012-14) or their respective PPV arms for the first time this decade.
Alvarez’ lucrative deal with HBO expired following his narrow points win over previously unbeaten and unified middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin in their rematch this past September. The event generated more than 1.1 million PPV buys, slightly down from the 1.3 million units sold for their controversial draw one year prior.
The two events managed to generate more than $180 million in PPV revenue, with Alvarez (50-1-2, 34KOs) alone clearing in the neighborhood of $50 million for the rematch between his guaranteed purse and PPV incentives.
Now armed with the richest sports contract ever, the 28-year old superstar from Guadalajara, Mexico will only have to worry about his name helping drive subscriptions to his new boxing home.
“We are thrilled to be exclusive partners with Golden Boy Promotions and Oscar De La Hoya,” said John Skipper, DAZN Group Executive Chairman who previously headed programming at ESPN. “By bringing Canelo’s fights to DAZN, we will turn his pay-per-view success into a growth engine for subscribers – a truly transformational moment for our business and the entire industry.”
DAZN entered the boxing fray earlier this year, cutting a deal with leading UK promoter Eddie Hearn for up to eight years worth $1 billion for the service to be available in the US market. The sports streaming app has already proven successful in several other markets throughout Europe and Asia, and its USA launch has so far been embraced by boxing fans.
The US-brand officially launched in September, with its first card available to North American viewers on September 22. The event aired live from London, starring unbeaten and unified heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua—easily the biggest star on that side of the pond—in his thrilling 7th round knockout of Alexander Povetkin.
It was a smart way to launch a new service, which had also armed itself with the entire schedule for season two of the World Boxing Super Series which spans three weight classes (bantamweight, super lightweight and cruiserweight). However, less inspiring was the name recognition that came with the first two shows from Hearn’s Matchroom USA company.
The October 6 show in Chicago provided plenty of thrills, far exceeding the notoriety that came with the night’s full lineup. Three separate title fights graced the undercard, but the event drew criticism for its choice in a headlining act between Jessie Vargas and Thomas Dulorme. The fight surpassed expectations, with post-fight buzz supplanting any pre-fight criticism that came with claims of the event failing to move the needle.
Still, another speed bump came ahead of this weekend’s scheduled show in Boston. The originally scheduled main event between unbeaten middleweights Billy Joe Saunders and Demetrius Andrade endured a major facelift when Saunders—who was due to defend his portion of the middleweight title—was scratched from the card after a failed pre-fight drug test resulted in his being denied a license by the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission.
Andrade will now face unbeaten but unheralded Namibian contender Walter Kautondokwa, with the now vacant title at stake but carrying far less intrigue.
That dynamic dramatically changes now that the winner can now position himself for a very makeable fight with the division—and sport’s—biggest draw.
Alvarez’ arrival adds to an already increasing middleweight pot on the DAZN side of the street. His old home, HBO is still the network provider for the October 27 vacant title fight between Daniel Jacobs and Sergey Derevyachenko. Jacobs is promoted by Hearn and Derevyachenko by Lou DiBella, who has shown a willingness to work with all promoters, as evidenced by entering a co-promotional deal with Hearn for 130-pound titlist Tevin Farmer, who defends on this weekend’s card in Boston.
Any mixing of matching between Alvarez and the winners of the aforementioned middleweight bouts will at least now come without network roadblocks.
Meanwhile, Golden Boy Promotions—who cut its own deal with DAZN in lieu of a co-promotional pact with Hearn—also finds a new home for the rest of its stable.
“This is easily one of the best days in the growing history of Golden Boy Promotions,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Golden Boy Promotions Chairman and CEO. “We are committed to making this sport as accessible as possible and at an affordable price for all the fans.
“My dream has been to make boxing a sport for all. DAZN has the perfect platform to make this dream come true, and with the biggest star in the sport at the helm of this journey, I have no doubts that we will succeed in unimaginable ways.”
With HBO announcing its exit from the sport—due to come by year’s end—after 45 years in service, Golden Boy lost out on several fight dates. The company was also faced with the burden of its own four-wall deal with ESPN expiring at the end of 2018.
That is no longer a concern. According to ESPN.com, Golden Boy secured a pact with DAZN—separate from Alvarez’ deal—due to begin in the first quarter of 2019 and guaranteeing ten fight nights per year. This opens the door for several notable fighters either promoted or affiliated (through co-promotional deal with other companies) by Golden Boy, including current titlists Rey Vargas, Alberto Machado and Angel Acosta, former titlist Jorge Linares and rising contenders and prospects like Diego de la Hoya and Ryan Garcia.
Linares and Garcia recently appeared on Golden Boy’s current Facebook Live series, but would stand to benefit from a bigger budgeted promotion that would come with DAZN, who between Joshua and now Alvarez can boldly proclaim itself as the home for the two biggest stars in the sport today.
“Being part of this historic deal will require me to prepare myself even more and offer fans even better performances,” Alvarez insists, quite the claim since he’s already led a Hall-of Fame worthy career. “At the same time, I am humbled to be selected to lead this new vision for the sport of boxing, which will without a doubt be for the benefit of the fans.”
By: Sean Crose
“I’m so excited about this fight. The fact it’s in Boston means it’s going to be like a home from home for me in there with all the Irish support.” These words, which come from the mouth of Ireland’s Katie Taylor, the women’s WBA and IBF lightweight titlist, make one thing clear – she’s looking forward to facing the 27-5-3 Cindy Serrano at Boston’s TD Center Saturday night on the undercard of the Demtrius Andrade – Walter Kautondokwa middleweight title bout. This weekend will mark the 10-0 Taylor’s third fight stateside and will be aired live via DAZN streaming service.
Photo Credit: Katie Taylor Twitter Account
Taylor is quick to credit promoter Eddie Hearn with a good portion of her success. “Eddie was as excited as me about the future,” she says, “and now I have the chance to be a part of the new venture with DAZN too which is great for me.” The former Olympic Gold medalist isn’t one to rest upon her laurels. “I am developing a fan base in the US as well as back home in Ireland and the UK,” she claims. “It’s such an exciting time for me and I am loving the pro game.”
Things have clearly gone well for Taylor since she turned pro back in 2016. “I love fighting in the US and this is a really big fight with a big name on a huge platform in Boston and on DAZN,” she says. “These are the kinds of fights that I am in the sport for.” Fighting in Boston, with its huge Irish American population, will unquestionably give the 32-year-old a boost.
As Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing states: “Katie Taylor believes another show-stealing performance in her WBA and IBF World Lightweight title defense against Cindy Serrano at the TD
Garden on Saturday night, live on DAZN can make her become a household name in Boston.”
Things haven’t always been easy on Taylor. A documentary, “Katie” details the fighter’s struggles both in the ring and with her family. With that in mind, the fighter has been able to forge herself a perfect record in the nearly two years since turning pro and has no intention of letting up as she watches her star begin to rise. Serrano, however, clearly has other plans. The Brooklyn based fighter hasn’t lost since 2012. She’s also the sister of noted champion Amanda Serrano, owner of the WBO women’s super-lightweight title.