Winners and Losers From a Wild and Furious Weekend
By: Kirk Jackson
A legendary late, great trainer informed the public six years ago about the greatness awaiting the heavyweight division.
Before his untimely passing in 2012, Emanuel Steward spoke highly of two rising heavyweights geared to take over the division once Wladimir Klitsckho’s reign ended.
“There’s one kid in America no one speaks of and that’s Deontay Wilder. He was on the Olympic Team (United States) he lost but he’s a big kid,” said Steward.
“I’ve had the fortune of; he has trained with me before, he’s a big kid too, bigger than Wladimir (Klitschko) and he’s got good speed and power and best talent… and best talent is going to be Tyson (Fury) and Deontay Wilder.”
This past weekend exhibited the rare instance in which the main event matched or arguably exceeded the pre-fight hype building over the course of several months.
The WBC heavyweight champion Wilder 40-0-1 (39 KO’s) battled the Lineal heavyweight champion Fury 27-0-1(17 KO’s) over the course of 12 exhilarating rounds.
Although the bout ended in a draw, there were winners and losers for this event. We’ll start with the losers.
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) December 2, 2018
It’s hard to be considered a loser when you’re the unified champion of the division, holding three of the coveted world titles and undefeated. But for Joshua, who wasn’t in attendance due to business obligations, appears to be an afterthought amidst the excitement and controversy stemming from the past weekend’s event.
The perception amongst many boxing circles suggests Joshua or his team is avoided possible unification with Wilder for quite some time now. These very same circles of people may possibly add Fury to the list for Joshua.
Fury spoke his piece on the potential of facing Joshua in the near future post-fight with Wilder.
“That’s me and Joshua, everybody wants it and the only people who don’t seem to be his team,” said Fury. “We are the two best heavyweights in the world right now. I am No. 1 and he (Wilder) is No 2. We had the balls to put it all on the line.”
Now for the winners. The first obvious choice is the Gypsy King.
Battling depression, ballooning up to 400 lbs., over two year lay-off, battling substance abuse, Fury’s struggles are well recognized at this point.
“I think it’s all been well documented. But it didn’t get me. I found a way. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, more determined. My story has got more pain in it now. I believe that rain has passed and the sun is shining brightly,” said Fury about his struggles and comeback.
For anybody who’s ever been knocked down in life, that was for you. You can get up too! #andstill lineal heavyweight champion of the world
— TYSON FURY (@Tyson_Fury) December 3, 2018
Realistically, Fury entered this situation as a win-win opportunity. Some of us within the boxing community believed in Fury’s boxing ability and mental capacity to come back and defy the odds – in which he did successfully.
If he were to lose, the narrative casted was he supposed to be destroyed by the knock-out artist Wilder and there would be no shame in losing.
Contrary to Showtime commentary, Skysports commentary and other observers, Wilder is the winner because he walks away with his title.
“I think, with the two knockdowns, I definitely won the fight,” Wilder said after the bout.“We poured our hearts out tonight. We both were warriors. We both went hand to hand. But, with those two drops, I feel like I won the fight. I don’t think he had control of the fight. I wasn’t hurt. I came out slow. I rushed my punches.”
We must remember, rounds are scored subjectively and judges do not have access to punch stats. While analyzing the punch stats, cumulatively and round-by-round, Fury has the edge regarding accuracy and efficiency, but the statistics are closer than you would think and Wilder was the aggressor.
Kevin Iole from YahooSports.com, scoring the fight 113-113, provided excellent analysis of the fight:
“I thought Fury was clearly the better boxer, but he wasn’t active enough. And while I vehemently disagree that Wilder won the first four rounds, I also disagree with the contention I’ve heard that Fury dominated those rounds. There wasn’t a lot to pick from in a lot of rounds.”
Either way, there’s a compelling case for a rematch.
Ultimately, the fans won Saturday night as well. No matter the result of the fight, it was highly entertaining.
The walk-out introductions for each fighter was captivating, with Fury walking out to a mixture of three songs and capturing the support and adoration of the United Kingdom contingent travelling to U.S. soil to support their fighter.
The pitch-black setting for Wilder, walking out to large bombastic sounds and accompanied by budding Hip-hop star Jay Rock, performing his popular song “Win.” The fitted golden mask/crown was a nice touch as well.
Each fighter throughout the course of the event whether it was the walkout entrance, post-fight interviews and most important through-out the course of the fight exhibited their showmanship as fighters and displayed their contrasting, unique personalities.
How often do we get to see large, stylistically awkward, elite level fighters? They’re mirror images of each other regarding uniqueness, but obviously their styles and stories are different.
But when blended together the equation is pure entertainment. The ultimate winner was the sport of boxing.
Wilder-Fury And The Continued Heavyweight Resurgence
By Jake Donovan
Even without a winner being produced in the memorable heavyweight title fight showdown between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, or going 12 more months without Wilder and Anthony Joshua colliding in the ring, 2018 will still go down as a year that saw restoration in
the sport’s most storied division.
That’s a very good thing for boxing.
It wasn’t a year where Wilder and Joshua challenged each other—at least where it matters—but where both faced serious challenges and manage to persevere in the face of adversity.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
Some 17 months after recovering from the lone knockdown of his career to knock out former World champion Wladimir Klitschko in their 2017 Fight of the Year, Joshua found himself in a tough assignment versus Alexander Povetkin this past September at Wembley Stadium in London, England.
The official scores had Joshua ahead through six rounds, but even many among the partisan crowd of 80,00 in attendance along with those watching live via Sky Sports or DAZN saw the unbeaten, unified champ having a difficult time keeping the former titlist at bay while fighting through the sight of his own blood. It changed in a hurry, thanks to a pair of knockdowns in round seven putting away Povetkin for good.
It was a far more memorable night at the office than was his unification clash versus New Zealand’s Joseph Parker earlier in the year. The fight itself turned out to be a disappointment, especially when playing to the backdrop of a unification bout between unbeaten titlists coming in front of 78,000 in attendance.
The threat of a war never quite broke out, as Joshua was content to box his way to victory in going the distance for the first time in his pro career. The feat came four weeks after Wilder would stare down adversity for the first of two times in 2018, rallying from early struggles versus Luis Ortiz to put away the previously unbeaten Cuban southpaw in the 10th round of a terrific heavyweight battle worthy of Fight of the Year consideration.
The feat was far more definitive—and considerably less controversial—than his relying upon a pair of knockdowns and suspect scoring to escape with a 12-round draw in Saturday’s instant classic versus Fury at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif. Most had Fury winning, but the unbeaten 6’9” Brit was also forced to rise from adversity—literally, as he twice peeled himself off the canvas following hard knockdowns in delivering arguably the best performance of his wild career.
That Fury survived the 12th and final round simply should’ve been enough to give him the win and Wilder’s alphabet title along with it. Only one judge saw it that way, with Robert Tapper scoring the contest 114-112 for the former unified heavyweight champion.
Mexico’s Alejandro Rochin lived down to every negative stereotype heaped upon the sport, disgracefully turning in a 115-111 card in favor of Wilder, including his inexplicably scoring the first four rounds for the defending titles. England’s Phil Edwards ruled the bout 113-112 to produce a stalemate—and the possibility of a rematch during the first half of 2019.
Of the four aforementioned bouts, only Joshua-Povetkin didn’t feature unbeaten heavyweights on both sides of the marquee. It’s not at all a bad exception, considering that Povetkin had only lost once in his pro career prior to his September showdown versus Joshua—that defeat coming five years prior in an Oct. ’13 points loss to Klitschko.
It’s always a letdown when we can’t get a fight between the two best boxers in the division particularly when they are both unbeaten and in their respective primes. But at least we were given the next best thing throughout 2018—a steady stream of heavyweight fights worth caring about and not even limited to the very top level.
On the heels of his first pro defeat, Parker was eager to remain in the mix and claw his way back toward the too of the divisional heap. In doing so, he agreed to yet another away game in England, his third straight. He’d only go 1-2 on his road trip, having outpointed Hughie Fury in 2017 prior to his loss to Joshua, only to suffer a second straight loss in falling short versus top contender Dillian Whyte this past July.
The win was enough to keep Whyte in the title hunt, as the UK-based heavyweight is the frontrunner to land a coveted showdown versus Joshua next April. Such a bout would give Whyte a shot at avenging the lone loss of his career, having suffered a 7th round knockout in Dec. ’15, Joshua’s final fight as a contender before blasting out Charles Martin in two rounds for his first title win four months later.
Even with the lure of a lucrative rematch, Whyte decided there was plenty of room to make at least one more statement. Rapidly approaching is a December 22 rematch with Dereck Chisora, whom he barely edged in their 12-round thriller in Dec. ’16.
If the sequel is even half as good as the original, then the clash will serve as a fitting close to what was a fantastic year for the heavyweight division. Even better, the final month of the year will figure to set the stage for two more big bouts right out the gate in 2019 in Joshua-Whyte II and Wilder-Fury II.
Given Joshua’s massive drawing power in the United Kingdom and the instant buzz that came with Saturday’s thriller between Wilder and Fury in Los Angeles, the upcoming calendar year will boast two true super fights in what has once again become the sport’s glamour division. That’s what happens when the best in the world consistently square off, even if it stops short of a promised pairing between the very best.
Tyson Fury: The Path to Heavyweight Clarity
By Thomas Choong
Lennox Lewis versus Vitali Klitschko, held on June 21, 2003, was the last time I recognized the winner of a bout as being boxing’s “true” heavyweight champion of the world.
How Lewis obtained that status is up for debate. For some, such status was obtained when he unified the 3 major belts of his era (those being the WBC, WBA, and IBF belts – the WBO still straddled the line of relevance at the time).
For others, Lewis’ championship status was derived from having earned his place in the lineage of this sport’s great line of heavyweight kings. Lewis defeated Shannon Briggs, who defeated George Foreman, and further preceded by Michael Moorer, Evander Holyfield, so on and so forth – a line of champions that had remained unbroken since the Floyd Patterson defeated Archie Moore to claim the championship mantle after the retirement of Rocky Marciano in 1955.
The latter is a title of status that stands above sanctioning bodies or politics. If anything, the path is simple: the champion is “the man who beat the man,” and in doing so, is cemented in the annals of boxing history.
In theory, filling the vacant spot shouldn’t be difficult. By unifying all of the major belts, there ought to be universal consensus as to who is the world’s top heavyweight. To note, once Lewis retired, boxing fans accepted the relevance of the WBO belt alongside the ones Lewis had held, and the chase began.
While many people recognized Wladamir Klitschko’s status as universal champion through his obtaining of the WBO, IBF and WBA belts, let’s not forget that our acceptance of Wlad’s status was under unique circumstances on account of the impossibility of Wlad unifying the the 4th belt against his elder brother, then WBC champion Vitali Klitschko. Vitali’s retirement did not resolve this issue as a string of mandatory defences for Wlad, alongside boxing’s (unfortunately) accepted political turmoil prevented us all from getting the universal clarity that we sought. Deontay Wilder picked up the elder Klitschko’s former title in April of 2015 and we, the fans, were essentially left with a better known and more established European champion in Klitschko, and a lesser known American Champion in Wilder who still sought a career defining fight.
Tyson Fury, hailing from Manchester, England, defeated Wladamir Klitschko in November 2015, and with that, the belts and adulation of defeating a respected champion. The narrative that followed his triumph was far from epic after his victory, as the promotion for Saturday’s fight has well noted Fury’s fall from grace which includes battling depression, obesity and substance abuse. His journey back from his life’s hellish abyss is nothing short of inspiring, as is his desire to reaffirm his place at the top of the heavyweight heap.
It wasn’t politics that stripped Fury of his belts; he did that on his own. His two comeback fights have been less than inspiring against non-descript opposition. He knows this.
However, as we count down to Saturday’s bout, Fury’s willingness to challenge Deontay Wilder and add the WBC belt to his trophy case is a feat that his “sanctioned” successor, another Brit, and current WBA, IBF and WBO champion Anthony Joshua, has demonstrated an aversion to – much to the dissatisfaction of the boxing community.
Respected veteran coach/trainer Nazeem Richardson recently stated in an interview on Fighthype.com that the winner of this bout will be entitled to hold Mike Tyson’s old moniker of being “the baddest man on the planet” by virtue of noteworthy wins on their respective resumes. A win for Wilder would allow him to boast victories against Tyson Fury and his recent, come from behind, triumph over previously undefeated Cuban amateur standout Luis Ortiz in April of this year. Fury’s victory would allow him to cement his legacy by way of having won all four major titles in the ring against Wilder and Klitschko.
For Fury to win this fight, he’ll have to be back to the same form he was when he defeated (and dominated) Klitschko three years ago. While styles make fights, I’d bet the house on that version of Fury to render Joshua’s skillset ineffective. Joshua’s still developing legacy is also highlighted by his own win against Klitschko, though Joshua’s battle with Klitschko was a life-and-death, see saw affair that, although thrilling, showed Joshua struggle against a 41 year old former champion coming off of his loss against Fury and 17 months of inactivity.
As far as the heavyweight picture goes, there is no comeback story that compares to the one Tyson Fury hopes will unfold on Saturday night. History has not been kind to past champions who retired on top and attempted to return to their former glory. However, this story isn’t that of Jim Jeffries coming off a 6 years of inactivity to return as America’s Great White Hope to challenge Jack Johnson in 1908, nor is it the story of a 36 year old Joe Louis returning from a 27 month layoff to challenge Ezzard Charles in 1950. We’re talking about a 30 year old, 6’9” giant who, in this part of his career, has shown the fortitude to overcome near insurmountable adversity, take the steps he felt necessary to return to top form, and challenge the man who many consider the most dangerous boxer on the planet.
As the odds narrowly suggest, Deontay Wilder is expected to come out victorious on Saturday night with many people already prepared to criticize him for facing a man who is merely a shadow of his passed prime. However, the fact that the odds are so close despite Fury’s inactivity signify the level of respect for his boxing acumen within the pugilistic community, provided he’s as ready as he claims to be.
On Saturday night at the Staples Center, the same site where Lennox Lewis made his final successful defence of the heavyweight crown before retiring, this writer will be rooting for Fury to bring clarity to the heavyweight division. Within the modern era of boxing where multiple titles and politics have managed to confuse the masses and push boxing to the brink of fringe status in North America, a win by Fury would not only re-establish his status as being “the man to beat,” but he would also be the reigning, undefeated WBC Heavyweight Champion of the World whose trophy case also includes the WBA, WBO, and IBF titles.
For this fan, a Tyson Fury victory will finally bring clarity to who stands on the mountain top of our sweet science.
Fury Joins Line of Former Heavyweight Champions Who Aimed For Comeback Glory
By: Sean Crose
And so this Saturday evening in California, Tyson Fury, undefeated fighter, one-time heavyweight kingpin, and – in the opinion of some, at least – still lineal heavyweight champion of the world, will step back into the ring to attain lost glory. His opponent will be WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder, a thunderously hard punching American who, like Fury, is far more skilled than he’s been given credit for. What makes this bout particularly interesting is the fact that Fury went over two years without a fight after winning the heavyweight crown by shocking Wladimir Klitschko back in 2015. What’s more, he’s only had two matches – against less than stellar opposition – since returning to the sport.
During his time away from the ring, Fury drank, drugged, ate, and fell into a profoundly deep depression. He argues that he’s pulled out of his funk since that time (here’s hoping he truly has) and that he’s ready to shock the world. Perhaps he will. Yet it’s worth considering the fact that Fury is only the latest in a line of former heavyweight rulers who came back to attain past glory. Most have failed – though there’s at least one who was able to return in stunning and glorious fashion. Only time will tell on which side of the equation Furry will end up on. Until then, let’s take a look at some others who have found themselves on the same path Fury does now.
Way back, on the Fourth of July, 1910, a former feared and undefeated heavyweight champion named James J Jeffries stepped back into the ring after more than five years to try to wrest the heavyweight crown away from Jack Johnson, the world’s first black heavyweight champ. Jeffries was able to lose over a hundred pounds before the bout, but he wasn’t able to satisfy the white supremacists who wanted a Caucasian heavyweight kingpin. Johnson easily won the fight. It’s been claimed that Jeffries later admitted that, had he been in his prime, he still couldn’t have bested Johnson. He may well have been right.
Flash forward seven decades, to Muhammad Ali’s nearly tragic October 1980 attempt to win back the title after two years away from the ring. Larry Holmes may have previously been Ali’s sparring partner, but eight years before he himself fell victim to a younger champ, Holmes performed a one sided shellacking of the man known as the “Greatest.” Even the victorious Holmes, perhaps the greatest heavyweight titlist aside from Ali, was said to be profoundly depressed by the experience.
Then, on January 22nd, 1988, it was Holmes who decided to return to boxing, after a span of close to two years, in an attempt to regain his crown. His opponent? The feared and dominant undisputed boss of the big men, Mike Tyson. The world was promised a ready Holmes, but, although the “Easton Assassin” had a brief moment or two, Tyson destroyed the older man within four rounds in Atlantic City.
Yet there was one who was able to come back to the ring after a prolonged absence and regain the heavyweight crown. That man? Big George Foreman. Young people today may see Foreman as a ubiquitous pop culture figure, but as a young man, Foreman was truly a force to be reckoned with. Muahmmad Ali put an end to his glory train in 1973, but Foreman was able to return in the late 80s, and eventually, amazingly, win back the heavyweight championship a full 21 years after he had first won it against Joe Frazier. To put things in perspective:
Foreman was 24 years old and 217.5 pounds when he first won the title. When he won it again, he was 45 years old and a good thirty plus pounds heavier- a stunning feat by anyone’s standards.
A Fury victory on Saturday wouldn’t be nearly as stunning as Foreman’s comeback win against Michael Moorer back in 94, but considering the weight of his demons, and the 150 or so pounds he’s said to have taken off, it would quite the feat nonetheless.
Whyte vs. Chisora II Officially Announced
By Jake Donovan
With a high-profile rematch versus unbeaten heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua potentially waiting in the wings, Dillian Whyte sets his sights on another past adversary to remain active in the interim.
The top-rated heavyweight contender will once again meet with Dereck Chisora, as their long-discussed rematch is officially set. The sequel to their Dec. ’16 Fight of the Year-level war will take place December 22 at O2 Arena in London, England.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
“It’s on,” Eddie Hearn, Whyte’s promoter enthusiastically exclaimed through his verified social media account on Thursday. “[The] Dillian Whyte and Derek ‘WAR’ Chisora rematch, Dec. 22 (at) The O2!”
The matchup was formally announced during a press conference Thursday in London. Among the details revealed were broadcasting rights, with the heavyweight scrap to air live on Sky Sports Box Office in the United Kingdom and on sports streaming platform DAZN in the United States, both for whom Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing serves as the primary boxing content provider.
Their rematch comes just over two years after their Dec. ’16 thriller, in which Whyte (24-1, 17KOs) prevailed by split decision in a bout where both men were rattled but neither ever hitting the canvas.
For Whyte, the victory is among a current eight-fight win streak following the lone defeat of his career, a 7th round stoppage at the hands of Joshua who would go on to score knockout wins over Charles Martin and Wladimir Klitschko to become a unified heavyweight titlist.
Whyte’s name has surfaced high among the short list of candidates to man the corner opposite Joshua on a planned April 13, 2019 bill at Wembley Stadium in London. While it was important to remain active ahead of that potential fight date, a rematch with a career spoiler such as Chisora is a risk he didn’t have to take—but nevertheless boldly embraces.
More so, he sees a repeat win as a guaranteed ticket to his first career title shot.
“This will be Chisora’s last fight, the donkey’s last ride,” vows Whyte, whose impressive 2018 campaign already includes wins over previously unbeaten Lucas Browne and former titlist Joseph Parker. “I think that he needs to really have a good think about taking this fight because he’s going to be heading home after the fight looking like he’s been run over by a truck.
“I believe that I’ll knock him out in devastating fashion this time. Last time was my first 12 rounder and I was a little bit inexperienced but this time I’ll know exactly what to do. He’s at the end of the road.”
Wherever he may be in his career, Chisora (29-8, 21KOs) remains a dangerous task for any heavyweight on the planet. The divisional trialhorse—who turns 35 just a week after his forthcoming sequel with Whyte—is a modest 3-1 since their first fight but resurfaced in the heavyweight fold following an 8th round knockout of Carlos Takam this past July.
The bout came on the undercard of Whyte’s win over Parker, a show designed to set up a second pairing between the two. Talks stalled with the two seemingly intent on heading in opposite directions after Chisora signed with Hayemaker Promotions, run by his prior conqueror and one-time heated rival David Haye. Hearn intimated as much to media members when questioned after his October 20 show in Boston, revealing that the hunt was still on for a quality heavyweight to face Whyte.
Momentum somehow picked up in the past couple of weeks, though. With every other notable heavyweight either just coming off of a fight or booked in the foreseeable future, it only made sense for the two UK-based contenders to do it again—even if viewpoints vary on the delay in getting to this point.
“Dillian has spent the last two years avoiding getting back in the ring with me,” insists Chisora. “He knows exactly what it feels like to go toe-to-toe with me. For the next seven weeks he will have sleepless nights knowing what he has finally signed up to. His last couple of opponents didn’t come for battle, they didn’t even put heat on Dillian, on December 22nd I’m coming to burn him up!
“I was cheated in our first fight by the judges, everyone knows that I was the true victor. This time I have a score to settle, Dillian won’t be hearing the final bell to be saved by the judges. I will be stepping in the ring a different fighter. I have everything to prove and it all to lose. ‘Dell Boy’ is no more, ‘WAR’ Chisora doesn’t cut corners, he doesn’t skip sessions, he doesn’t look for the easy option. I’m in the gym every day pushing my body to its limit. I’m in complete control of my destiny, December 22nd will be WAR.”
His longtime rival welcomes the challenge—and the opportunity to once and for all turn the page on this chapter of his career.
“This is Heavyweight boxing and you never know what’s around the corner, but I’ve done what I need to do to secure a shot at a World title,” Whyte believes. “There’s always something getting in the way, other fights being made or money and politics ruining things, but after I finish Chisora nobody can deny me my shot.”
Per Matchroom Boxing press release:
Tickets are priced £40, £60, £80, £100, £150, £200, £300 and £600 VIP.
On sale dates: O2 Priority (Thursday 1 November) Matchroom Fight Pass (Friday 2 November, 1pm) and general sale via StubHub on Saturday 3 November at 1pm.
DAZN Boxing Results: Joshua Stops Povetkin, Maintains Claim to the Heavyweight Throne
By: William Holmes
Wembley Stadium in London, England was the host site for tonight’s Heavyweight Championship fight between Anthony Joshua and Alexander Povetkin for the IBF, WBA, and WBO Heavyweight titles.
A mega fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder was just announced for December 1st on Showtime, and the winner of the Joshua and Povetkin fight will likely, and hopefully, face the winner of tonight’s bout in the near future.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
The undercard featured several good prospects. Sakhram Giyasov defeated Julio Laguna by a fourth round KO, Sergey Kuzmin defeated David Price by 4th round TKO, and Lawrence Okolie defeated Matty Askin by points.
The co-main event of the night was between Yvan Mendy and Luke Campbell in a lightweight eliminator for the WBC title. Luke Campbell was in clear control for a majority of the fight and pulled out the decision win with scores of 119-109, 118-111, and 116-112.
Anthony Joshua (21-0) and Alexander Povetkin (34-1) met in the main event of the evening before a very pro Anthony Joshua crowd.
Povetkin, the first man to enter the ring, was met with a loud chorus of boos and whistles.
Joshua towered over Povetkin, who had to use good head movement early on to avoid the jab of Joshua. Povetkin was able to land some good right hands to the body, and ended the opening round with a good combination.
Joshua came out aggressive in the second round but had a bloody nose by this point. Povetkin was able to land some good right crosses to the head and body, but Joshua started to pump his jab with more regularity.
Joshua opened up the third round with a solid short right hand, but Povetkin was able to answer with an over the top right hand. Joshua landed a few good uppercuts and left hooks and likely took the round with his accurate punching.
Povetkin had a cut open up by his left eye in the fourth round, and by the fifth round Joshua had landed 30 jabs to the 2 jab that Povetkin landed. But Povetkin was throwing and landing more power shots than Joshua at this point.
Povetkin got tagged with several good jabs by Joshua in the sixth round. Povetkin was aggressive and tried to hurt Joshua with short right hands, but often landed on the guard of Joshua or swung at air.
Joshua opened up the seventh round circling away from Povetkin, who was coming forward with straight right hands. Joshua landed a sudden straight right hand that hurt Povetkin and followed it up with a combination that ended with a right hook that sent Povetkin down.
Povetkin looked hurt but was able to get back to his feet, but was still badly hurt. Joshua jumped on Povetkin with another combination that forced the referee to jump in and stop the fight.
Anthony Joshua wins by TKO at 1:59 of the seventh round.
Boxing Insider Interview with Martin Bakole and Billy Nelson: A Contender from the Congo
By: Oliver McManus
Martin Bakole and Billy Nelson aren’t, on paper, two names that you’d associate with one another but, forget paper, because the relationship that they have brings out the best in each other and it really is as simple as that with Nelson relishing the prospect of guiding his Congolese heavyweight to the very top.
Billy rang me on Monday, about 10 minutes after he and Martin touched down at the hotel in Sheffield – where they’ve been sparring Anthony Joshua – and Bakole started off by telling me about growing up in Congo, how his father used to be a boxer and that he and his brother, Ilunga Makabu, would bounce off each other trying to be the best.
There were relatively few details at this point with Bakole struggling to understand my thick Southern accent so for the duration of the interview I had to rely on Billy, kindly, relaying the questions back in his unmistakable Scottish voice.
Talking of Scotland and his relationship with Billy, the fighter told me, “Yes, I’m getting used to it (the rain), I am a vegetarian, not only in Scotland but everywhere…
… it doesn’t matter where the meat comes from Ollie, he won’t eat it, there’s actually an African shop nearby where he gets his stuff from but I do try to get him trying the Scottish stuff…
…but the relationship with Billy is a very good one, I trust him, it’s great, it’s lovely, lovely, I always listen to what he tells me and he knows what he’s doing. My career has moved on since I’ve met him, I’m getting better, I’m having bigger fights. He gets me good sparring and I’m happy”.
Billy echoed those sentiments and I asked him just how good Martin was in comparison to his former charges, “Martin is by far the best fighter I have ever trained, he is technically fantastic, naturally gifted which makes my job a bit easier but the most important part for me is just tweaking some of the areas, fight management and guiding him through, he really is a fast learner”.
11 and 0 as a professional boxer, having made his debut back in 2014, there was a refreshing honesty from Martin when it came to that first fight – against Cecil Smith, also making his debut, at Emperors Palace in South Africa – “It was scary, harder than I thought it would be, in the amateurs there are head guards and I wasn’t used to it”.
Any fears that he initially had have been long put to bed with the Airdrie resident first fighting in the United Kingdom in August 2016 and having seven fights since, his last two fights have been against DL Jones and Ali Baghouz which, whilst not the highest level of operators, Martin dispatched with quicker than Daniel Dubois and Tony Yoka, respectively, and yet there is a comparative lack of attention being shone on Bakole.
Nelson was tactful on this, insisting it was just a case of biding their time, “It’s a fair point, they are British heavyweights but I can assure you that Martin Bakole’s time will come and Daniel Dubois will not fight Martin Bakole, not in a month of Sundays, Martin is just far too good right now. As good a fighter as Daniel is, Ollie, Martin is far superior so we don’t worry about getting the hype around us, Martin does the talking in the ring”
Fighting DL Jones back in June saw Bakole drop the challenger on two occasions on his way to a 62 second knockout, including the count, but it was by far the test that the IBO Continental champion was hoping for with a, unnamed, former European challenger withdrawing from the bout –
“I was beginning to worry that we wouldn’t get an opponent, at least DL Jones stepped up to the plate but look at the difference between Martin’s first fight with me – against (Dominic) Akinlade – and a few months previously Akinlade had gone 10 rounds with Nathan Gorman who is well thought of, we’ve sparred him, but Martin destroyed Akinlade in one round. DL Jones went three rounds with Dubois, Martin Bakole broke his nose and fractured his eye socket in 62 seconds. But the thing is, if you look at the Top 12 in Britain, I’d say at least eight of them will say ‘no, thank you’.”
Martin interjected at this point, “I think that was my best fight, or the guy I fought before, it’s a difficult name to say (Ali Baghouz), but DL Jones was a good fight, I got a very good knockout and it made me happy”.
Finding opponents is an area Martin doesn’t have to worry about, with the Congolese giant saying, “I don’t mind who I fight, I will not pick, I just want to fight” but it is something that causes Nelson nightmares, “we’ve offered Dave Allen the fight two or three times but he won’t take it, he was a bit derogatory to Martin but we made up and sparred two rounds and that’s really concreted that he won’t fight Martin, after that. The thing is that Martin has been round the country to spar, he sparred Tyson Fury a few years ago, Dillian Whyte called off sparring the night before, everyone knows what Martin has done in sparring and I got a coach telling me “play the game”. I told him “we don’t play games”, we’re here to spar Anthony Joshua for the next week but Martin doesn’t seem him as a sparring partner, they both need quality sparring and you’d pay good, good money to watch the spars”.
Attention swiftly turned to Martin’s next fight, on October 13th, against Michael Hunter – former Oleksandr Usyk challenger – and Bakole seemed to relax in prospect of this fight, taking a deep breath before telling me, “I am ready to show to the world who I am, that I will be a future world champion and I’m not going to be scared, I’m going to show people how good I am with a big fight, I will stop people saying “Who is Martin Bakole?. I will make a statement, whenever I knock him out, it will be a statement.”
That confidence was expanded on when he opened up about sparring with Anthony Joshua, “it gives me good confidence, no-one else wants to spar me but Anthony Joshua and his coach know that I am the best so when I spar him it is very good sparring, high level and it keeps me focussed. Helps my intelligent and he always texts me after sparring saying thank you and it gives me confidence going into my fights”.
A much mooted fight was that of Joe Joyce, who claimed Bakole needed to bring more to the table, “Martin is fighting Michael Hunter, who knocked out Joe’s last opponent, Kiladze, so it’s hypocritical of him to say that, I think we’ll go down different routes now but we would fight him in a heartbeat.”
Despite hailing from the Congo, Bakole will be eligible for a British Boxing Board of Control License from next year, allowing him to fight for domestic and European titles, and I asked him if that was a fight (Agit Kabayel) that interested him, “I think I am better than that level, I am higher than that”.
It was pleasing to hear the quiet character showing such confidence and Billy was happy with the progress made under him, “the guys just don’t want to fight him but he’s knocked Akinlade, Baghouz, DL Jones out in one round and the only guy to go the distance under me was Sokolowski, no excuses that day because we travelled from Scotland to London at about 6.30 in the morning – I had three in title fights the night before but Martin didn’t want to go down with anyone else – and he gave that guy a hell of a beating, broke his nose, the worst broken nose I’ve ever seen and Sokolowski is one tough guy”.
This was another one of those rare occasion where Martin came in with a declaration of his own, “I will fight anyone, I will beat anybody, it doesn’t worry me who they are, I will not say this one or that one but whoever wants to fight me, I will be thankful but I will beat them. I would like to be out 4, 5 time next year.”
I asked him what he thought of fighting on TV and in his new home country of Scotland, “It is nice to be on TV, people watching me live and it makes me feel nice, thank you to them for watching and for Cyclone Promotions. I love fighting in Scotland. I like the people here, they make me feel loved and happy”.
The last word, fittingly, should go to Bakole who had a very simple, emphatic answer for me when I was cheeky enough to ask if anyone could beat him – “NO”.
The Ultimate Showdown of Boxer vs. Brawler: Fury vs. Wilder
By: Dylan Smith
The Battle of the Behemoth
Could this be it? The greatest pugilist Giants waging war to win the ultimate title of Super Heavyweight Champion of the world and could the victor be crowned as the GOAT?
Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder are the longest bodied out of the top ranked heavyweights in the world with a combined wingspan of over 5 meters and each stretching over 6 feet 7 inches tall. Tyson Fury is back in the ring and has proclaimed he wants to take back his titles, which he never lost in the ring and even go on to defend them to match the great Joe Luis’ record of number of defences. So far Fury has done what he set out to do by beating Vladimir Klitscho on his home turf against all the odds so why now, even after his 2 year lay off, should we doubt him? One of the reasons could be the climate of the heavyweight division has drastically changed with rough tough young competitors like Joseph Parker and hard hungry powerhouses like Dillian Whyte who pose massive threats to Tysons unbeaten record and dreams of a glory. The British public and the world however do love a comeback story and an underdog as they are dramatised in classic films such as Rocky. So has he got the minerals? Usually for such a large man you wouldn’t see this kind of movement however Tyson floats around the ring turning, slipping and ducking like a man half his size normally would. His technique is masterful and you can tell he has crafted his skill over a number of years, dedicated his life to boxing. Some say he doesn’t hit hard for a large heavyweight but even if he doesn’t hit like AJ or Wilder he more than makes up for it with precision, speed and timing with 19 ko’s out of 26 contests. Tyson Fury throws every punch in the book from every angle and has an awkward style where he can switch stances, fight long or up close, spoil and counter on the entry and exit from the clinch. He is used to going to the champions turf so will he be the man for the job and can he shock the world again and prove all the doubters wrong in becoming the
WBC heavyweight champion of the world?
Deontay wilder is an absolute knockout artist with a phenomenal record of 39 ko’s out of 40 contests in which he has knocked out every opponent he has ever faced as a professional in the squared circle, as in the rematch against Bermaine Stivern he managed to take him out in literally the last second of the first round. His name appropriately resonates his fighting style as he is famous for throwing wild hooks and hurtful haymakers. He started off more of a brawler and still is, however his skill set has massively improved over the years. He has honed in on his accuracy of shots and has a fantastic snappy jab, he also displays his improved boxing intelligence with the shot selections and combination punches he throws, displayed recently against Luis Ortiz where he annihilated him in the 10th round after being shook himself earlier in the fight. Still with all that skill he still loves to bang out that straight right hand and possesses that one punch knockout power that could shut anyones lights out if it touches them anywhere on the head. Wilder likes to brawl and bash his opponents, break them down and finish in fierce savage style. We can talk attributes: length; power; speed and both fighters tick all of the boxes, also both have unbeaten records. It will then be a case of who can make the other one fight their style. Fury will box and spoil and Wilder will shake him off and look for the overhand right as Tyson enters the clinch. Or will Wilder want to box long and display his pugilist skills and shock everyone like Fury did to Klitschko. The likelihood is however Fury will bob and weave and Wilder will get more and more desperate and keep firing the right hand until it finds a home on Fury’s head.
With the deal being reported by Frank Warren (Tyson Fury’s promoter) as nearly done for December we may see how it plays out. Are we going to be given an early Christmas present? Will we see these 2 colossals collide in the ultimate mammoth match of boxer versus brawler for the most prestigious title in Boxing? I hope so.
Best of the Rest: The Heavyweight Division
By: Oliver McManus
Last week we focused on the “elite” heavyweight fighters and in an ever-changing division with contenders coming and going, this article seeks to take a look at the next crop of challengers looking to force their way to a world title.
Where better a place to start than with the man who will challenge Anthony Joshua for the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO world titles on September 22nd – Alexander Povetkin. Now if this was written three, four years ago then Povetkin would easily walk into your top 5 on any given day but a whole range of factors have seen his profile and, indeed, fear-factor cascade down.
Obviously part of that is due to his failed drugs test which, rightly or wrongly, cast a shadow over all performances both past and future and if we’re being honest the Russian superstar looked slow and lacklustre in his two fights of 2017 – namely against Christian Hammer and Andriy Rudenko – whilst against David Price on March 31st of this year he showed fragility when Price gave him a major scare in the third round.
That’s the negativity out of the way with, then, we can now focus on the positives which is, to be frank, that Povetkin is an absolute animal in the ring and despite that scare against David Price he also showed a killer instinct to get the job done in the fifth with one of the most brutal knockdowns of recent memory.
His power is frightening as too, by the way, is his icy, steely persona which remains seemingly unfazed during conflict, and that emotional detachment from the sport, his job, is something that is quite scary but clearly plays into his favour because, in a way, he does treat this like a job and it’s just something he needs to get done. And boy he doesn’t half do it well.
“Big Baby” Miller, next on our list, is, well, a huge lump of muscle and one huge brawling machine.
That’s not to do him any disservice because it’s got him the results he needs – against Gerald Washington back in 2017 he took his American counterpart to town in a brutal beatdown that lasted eight rounds whilst against Mariusz Wach he exhibited his sheer power in exploding the Polish veteran out of the ring in the ninth round.
Of course this come-forward, swing at all costs, style of fighting has it’s downsides as does, evidently, weighing near 300lbs so the natural to criticism to levy his way is that he’s not that great a mover and he’s open to get hit and, true as that may be, I’ve been impressed with his opening explosivity and hand-speed although, naturally, he does fatigue an awful lot quicker than his nearest rivals.
Undeniably being lined up to face Anthony Joshua, Miller signed with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom USA recently and has already been making noises with regards that fight, appearing at the DAZN press conference and getting under the skin of AJ already (as scripted as it looked).
Next out on October 6th, Miller is at the stage of his career where he needs to fight legitimate Top 15 contenders – Carlos Takam is a name that comes to mind – in order to prove that he’s more than first impressions would suggest and really catapult him into the top brass of this division.
The ageing Cuban who, for a long time, has been heralded as the purest heavyweight in the division knows that time is against him with the 39 year old knocking on the door of a world title for the last time.
A former interim WBA World Heavyweight champion, the power of the Cuban is undeniable – as we saw in back-to-back destructions of Martias Ariel Vidondo, Bryant Jennings and Tony Thompson in a five month period between October 2015 and March 2016.
Since then we’ve seen Ortiz look stale when up against Malik Scott and David Allen, his two fights under the promotional banner of Eddie Hearn, but in contrasting fashion his fight against Deontay Wilder in March re-established himself as a threat – it was do or die throughout the fight for Wilder with many seeing Ortiz as leading on the scorecards prior to the stoppage (though Wilder was officially ahead by 1point on all three).
Twice having failed drugs test since 2015 there will always be those who raise eyebrows when his name is mentioned but a fiery salvo in the seventh round against Wilder was all you need to see to know, “yeah, this guy’s got it”. Not instinctively fast, when King Kong turns it on then, trust me, it is ON and, like a switch, he can become dynamism personified for the round as he piles the pressure on.
In need of the big fights, Ortiz is a man who looks infinitely more polished and threatening when in with a better calibre of opposition and relies on 12 rounds (or less) of fighting as opposed to a nuanced tactical battle.
Take his fight with Anthony Joshua away from his CV and it’s easy to forget that Joseph Parker was actually WBO heavyweight champion of the world with thanks to a uninspiring victory over Andy Ruiz followed by, equally uninspiring defences, against Razvan Cojanu and “Shades of Ali” Hughie Fury.
Nonetheless he was the world champion and the first man to take Anthony Joshua to task for a full 12 rounds so we shouldn’t be overly critical and the Kiwi, unlike Ortiz, is a man that needs to have a careful, controlled fight to enable him to work the body and get his footwork into play.
At least that’s what we thought until he got in the ring with Dillian Whyte in a fight that, whilst still not superfluously impressive, answered a few questions with regards David Higgins’ poster boy – for the first time in a long time we saw the power that Parker packs as he rattled Whyte, dropping him in the process, and rallied for an absolute barnstormer of a final two rounds.
Questions answered but, simultaneously, questions raised. Namely, why on earth does Parker not show that heart, conviction and sheer fire throughout the whole fight instead of saving it for a final flurry? Only he knows the answer to that but it showed the fans that he’s certainly a class act and not someone that anyone is going to go out of their way to fight – except Whyte, of course.
The next fight is key for Parker, a win is a necessary must for him to get back into title contention.
The hardest man in boxing? Old school hard, that is. A man you wouldn’t want to meet in the back alleys of Newport on a blustery Sunday night. And that’s what makes him such a threat to this current crop of heavyweight challengers because you can never write Chisora off.
Sure he has his bad days, need we mention Agit Kabayel? But he outnumbers those, by a significant handful, with stellar fights against the likes of Dillian Whyte and, more recently, Carlos Takam. That Takam fight, let’s be clear, wasn’t all Dereck, either, but he looked cool, he looked breezy and he finished the job with a scintillating knockout in a fashion that made Anthony Joshua’s victory over Takam look, well, mediocre.
That’s another thing about Del Boy, you can’t really attempt to analyse him in too much detail because his style is, in the nicest way possible, get stuck in, throw some punches and get the hell out of there as quickly as possible. Not a brawler, for that term has so many negative connotations, but a perfectly executed FIGHTER.
Rumours murmur that he could be in the pipeline for Joshua, a $5million offer has been made to Deontay Wilder but Chisora has options for the more immediate future – a lucrative rematch with Dillian Whyte, a WBA Regular shot at Manuel Charr, maybe even Tony Bellew, who knows, but the point is that the future is looking as bright as I can remember for Steve Goodwin’s fighter and, good god, the ride promises to be exciting!
Whyte, Fury, Wilder and Chisora and the Order of the Square Jungle
By: Daniel Smith
“CRACK!” A whamming freight train of a left hook smashes against the granite jaw of Joseph Parker, as a thrash of thick, spume-like slaver oomphs from his gaping mouth, while a spattering-lash of sweat pelts from his drenched glistening crown. In that precise moment, Joseph Parker’s body is scaffolded by legs of thin splints as he falls to the canvass like a mighty oak that’s been chopped down and defeated by a burly powerhouse lumberjack in, Dillian “the body snatcher” Whyte.
The “Whyte vs. Parker” fight was certainly a brutal crackerjack of a slugfest which demonstrated the power, iron-grit and determination of Dillian Whyte. So, with the World Boxing Council President Mauricio Sulaiman, declaring that Whyte is being overlooked in place of Tyson Fury as the challenger for Deontay Wilder’s WBC world heavyweight title; it wouldn’t be hard to imagine “The Gypsy King” vs. “The Bronze Bomber” is maybe a fight Wilder would much prefer.
Let’s see why.
At 6ft 9″ and 18 stone; the former WBA, WBO, IBF, IBO and Lineal champion, Tyson Fury is a dangerous foe to any fighter within the heavyweight division and a man whose adept boxing capabilities and unorthodox, hybrid style is awkward and extremely tricky to overcome. Fury sports an impressive record of (26-0-0), with nineteen coming back way of knockout. It’s certainly clear Tyson Fury can “bang”; however, he’s not a “banger” per se – unlike the power-punching calibre of Wilder, Whyte and Joshua.
Fury (in theory) can and probably should win the bout against Deontay Wilder. Although, as we know, fights are not won theoretically and the cold reality is, Fury’s had a long hiatus from the sport and a showdown with a formidable knock-out merchant, such as Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder, may possibly be too soon for the Lineal champion. Presently, this clash favours the WBC champion – a fight with Lineal status on offer will too much of an enticement and opportunity for Wilder turn down.
Dillian ‘the Body Snatcher’ Whyte. (24-1-0)
At 6ft 4″ and 18 stone; the former British heavyweight champion and current WBC Silver world heavyweight titleholder is a bull of a man that configures a solidly-strapping, bulky-muscular physique. A lethal certified stalwart-banger who is equally equipped and capable to dance within the parameters of the sweet science as well as tearing it up in an ugly, broiling-brawl. A man whose boxing abilities have certainly slipped a gear or two in the last eighteen months. Whyte is one of the most lethal heavyweights competing right now, who’s hungry and ready to annihilate both Wilder’s and Joshua’s aspirations of becoming unified champions.
But, with no title fight this year on the horizon, it looks as though the second rumble with Derek Chisora may be likely. The two heavyweight scrappers met in 2016 and tore shreds out of one another for twelve rounds, in a dynamite exchange of heavy artillery. However, there was some controversy regarding the result as”The Body Snatcher” had seemingly “snatched” the victory in a points win. If the title-hungry fighters return for a second fight, we could well expect another 10 oz gloved straightner from two heavy-handed warriors. Plus, Chisora’s savage knockout over Carlos Takam is a testimony to his devastating, one punch- power ability and how just one beefy, chopping slog could render Whyte out cold and potentially out of the mix for a title shot.
Only time will tell.
But, whether it’s Whyte vs. Chisora or Wilder vs. Fury; one thing’s for certain: heavyweight boxing is ablaze and roaring right now with a glut of talented boxers who are revved up and raring to go – relishing the opportunity to be No 1 and King of the heavyweight division. Interesting, enticing, and exciting times are most definitely upon us within the noble art of boxing.
Joshua, Povetkin, Wilder and Whyte – Amidst the Heavyweight Jungle
By: Daniel Smith
Alexander the “White Lion” Povetkin is certainly no palooka Joe opponent for the current WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF world heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua. The Russian bulwark and former WBA champion comes equipped with explosive hooking-bombs and an attacking ferocity that’s set to a hair trigger. A steely seasoned pro, a lethal brawling-scrapper who conducts his affairs inside the ring without pomp, pretence or pantomime grudges for that matter. A rough, tough fighter, who’s more than ready to upset the order of the food-chain amidst the heavyweight jungle!
Let’s take an analysis of the hardboiled Russian’s attributes.
Povetkin – a 6ft 2″ and 16 stone, solidly conformed, power-punching, pit-bull of a man. A heavyweight brusier who blasts out opponents from his inside fighting style and punishing combinations. Povetkin’s not a man to be tangled with, as his impressive record of 34 wins in 35 fights demonstrates his fighting caliber. The former two time heavyweight, Ring Magazine, Lineal and WBO, WBA, IBO and IBF champion, Wladimir Klitschko is only man to have beaten the “White Lion” – a win that came by unanimous decision, not before the Russian was knocked-down in round 2 from a quick left hook, and 3 knockdowns in round 7.
However, since his defeat against “Dr Steel-Hammer”, Povetkin has showcased and examplified his brutish-brawling aptitude by contiuing his winning streak in his last six bouts – his most recent victory coming by way of a chilling knockout against the 6ft 7″ heavyweight, British contender, David Price. Povetkin, prior to the knockout was staggered backwards, crashing into the ropes in round 3 before recovering and deploying a sledge-hammering hook to the chin that rendered Price out for the count in round 5.
In addtion to the hardboiled Russian’s rampart-esque attributes; Povetkin is “no piece of cake” for any fighter, including Mr Joshua. His resilience, grit, iron-determination and his rapcious pangs to be world champion once again, position him within the mix of top-tier heavyweight lions that trade leather in the squared cirlce.
AJ – some have regarded the heavyweight champion as the ‘complete boxer’. A fighter who posseses a furnished slew of a proficient pugilistic attributes, whilst equally equipped to slug it out in a gritty brawl when the chips are down. You just have to look no further than his win over Wladimir Klitschko, back in 2017.
Joshua is a boxer who appears to prefer fighting guys of similar height and weight. In his last two bouts, AJ fought Carlos Takam and Joseph Parker – two relatively smaller fighters within the division and two guys who he didn’t blast out of the ring or chin with smashing uppercuts. But that said, I feel the days of Anthony whamming fighters across the ring, maybe drawing to a close.
Nowadays, AJ seems to tread with caution, taking a more strategic chess- match enforcement; utilising dynamics, fundamental advantages, such as speed, skill, reach, knowledge and now, experience, rather than emptying his tank after six or seven rounds from firing-out a barrage of sheer velocitised power-punchers. Joshua seems to struggle slightly when figting the smaller heavyweights – his punching power becomes somewhat blunted with the shift of gravitational direction, from channelling his momentum downwards instead straight ahead or up.
But I’m confident Josh’s record will be sporting another notch come September, 22nd, 2018, for he’ll undoubtedly treat the Povetkin fight with the respect and earnestness it demands, not looking past the extremely dangerous opponent who thretens his rein. However, if he does emerge as the victor against the solid Russian; would the unfication bout between himself and Deontay Wilder be back on the cards in 2019? I have to be honest – I’m not completely sure it will come to fruition.
And here’s my thoughts as to why.
Not for a moment do I believe AJ harbors any fear or doubts in his ability to beat Wilder, nor do I believe he is ‘ducking’ the WBC champion (even though that’s how it may appear to some). However, I do believe Joshua is conscious he would be facing an opponent that is capable of destryoing his Lineal champion dreams, by sparking him out-cold. It may well in fact be Matchroom who are calculating the “risks vs. benefits” assessment of a unification battle with “the bronze bomber”, Deontay Wilder. And it’s a possibilty Hearn who’s avoidng the clash, in an attempt to have another ‘sing-song around the money tree’ or to ‘make hay while the sun shines’, as the old phrases go.
So, what are the risks and benefits of the WBO, WBA, IBO and IBF world heavyweight champion, (21-0) Anthony vs. the WBC world heavyweight champion, (40-0), Deontay Wilder?
Let’s take a look.
Wilder – a formidable powerhouse banger who dishes out brutal beatdowns like they’re going out of style. A dangerous fighter, a certified knockout merchant whose punching power detonates on impact like brass knuckles shattering a glass jaw. A man whose boxing forte is not within the parameters of pugilistic sophistication; nor could he lay claim to any proficient technique or graceful footwork. However, Wilder more than compensates and counters with a raw, brutal strength and a primal-predatory ferocity that detects fighters vulnerabilities and weaknesses, like a shark sensing a mere droplet of blood in miles of ocean before attacking its prey.
A towering 6ft 7″, 15stone 10lbs, physical heavy weight- hybrid whose lanky- skinny legs scaffold a lean and muscled statue that configures a physique that becomes a perilous weapon of mayhem and destruction, throwing a torrent of hard-solid shots, wildly swinging muscly spaghetti-like arms in a frenzied punching onslaught, demolishing and obliterating fighters into a straggled heap.
Deontay is understandably frustrated, as he’s not being given the opportunity to display his devastating punching aptitude against AJ – and I’m sure he’s rehersed the fight a million times, as he envisions himself beneath the lights of the squared circle, in the midst of a sell-out rip-roaring, blood-thirsty arena crowd, while he throws mostrous knockout shots before the ref waves off the fight and he emerges as unified heavyweight champion of the world; carving out a legacy along with the memories of career best performance within a battlegound domain that’s embellsihed with the blood, sweat and spit of a classic bout between two hard-hitting heavyweights – the best of their era.
In my opinion, Joshua would be taking the greater risk in this bout as he would be trading leather with an extremely ferocious opponent in Wilder, with an uncalibrated distribution of the belts at stake. I suppose that’s why the proposed uneven see-saw of financial spoils are being generously distributed in Matchroom and AJ’s favour.
It’s fair to say, only relevant people involved from both camps truely know what’s going on and when or if the fight will ever happen. It’s evident there are risks involved for both men, as it’s the heavyweight divsion and it the world can come crasing down with one big punch.
So there’s obviously a lot going on behind the scenes we don’t know about. However, what we do know is Anthony Joshua’s takes on Povetkin, while Wilder will probably have to defend his title to the mandatory challenger, Dominic Breazeale (19-1).
However, outside Joshua and Wilder, Dillian “the body snatcher” Whyte is the one to watch and possiblly the sleeping, unification giant of the heavyweight divsion – providing he makes an example of Joseph Parker by way of knockout. A potential cracker-jack of a fight that takes place on July 28th, 2018 at London’s O2 arena.
Fury Responds to Klitschko, Shows Respect for Joshua and Wilder
By: Ciaran O’Mahony
Former heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury has shrugged off Wladimir Klitschko’s claims that he will lose to Anthony Joshua and disappear from boxing “like a fart in the wind”.
Speaking to Michelle Joy Phelps of Behind the Gloves, Fury was unmoved by his former adversary’s words, stating “well that’s typical Wladimir Klitschko, he would never be able to give me the credit that I deserve.”
It’s no secret that Klitschko isn’t a fan of the “Gypsy King”, who constantly tormented him in the build-up to their world title fight nearly three years ago.
Fury rubbed further salt into the wound by comprehensively out-boxing him in Cologne and says “even on the night in Germany he couldn’t make the effort to say he lost to a better man and he did.”
“He didn’t just lose, he got played with. Like I’ve said time and time again, if that’s the so-called super-champion, he got beaten by a fat man so how dare he talk to me like that,” Fury says.
Klitschko says Joshua will beat Fury because he has more desire and discipline than the Manchester native.
However, Fury feels that the Ukrainian is only backing “AJ” because he has a better relationship with him and says the former lineal heavyweight champion is still bitter about losing to him all those years ago.
“I’m sure him and Joshua are chum buddies and they support each other, but in hindsight we know who gave Wladimir the hardest fight,” he says.
“Joshua won by the skin of his teeth and had to climb off the canvas, Wladimir couldn’t land a punch on me in 12 rounds,” according to Fury.
Prior to his hiatus from the sport, Fury had a reputation for trash-talking his opponents and getting under their skin.
However, he has had plenty of nice things to say about Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder recently.
“I think they’re very fine specimens of men, they’re very good looking, they’re very athletic and they’re very good boxers,” he says.
“They’ve come from nothing and I’m so proud that they’ve changed their stars, their family, everything. I’m sure they’re getting everything they’ve ever dreamed of,” Fury says.
He bears no ill-will towards either fighter and hopes that they will be set for life by the time their careers are over.
“People are talking about $50 million, I think they deserve $250 million. Any fighter that gets in there and gets punched in the face for a living deserves a lot more than they ever get,” he says.
“It’s the hardest sport in the world, not just physically and mentally, but also being away from your family, being locked away in training camps,” according to Fury.
“The public don’t understand how much pain, torture and sacrifice is needed to get to that level of success,” Fury says.
Fury believes that Wilder will prevail when they finally face each other in the ring, however, as he holds a speed advantage.
“Wilder’s very quick and very accurate and he’s very dangerous,” he says.
“Anthony is dangerous too, but I just think the speed factor favours Wilder and the fighter who gets there quicker and first will be Wilder for me,” according to Fury.
He has had a tense relationship with Joshua in the past, but Fury insists he is not biased.
“I don’t like either of them more than the other. I know Joshua, I know Wilder, and I’ve met them both face to face. I like them equally,” he says.
“It is a heavyweight bout and anything can happen while they’re in there, but if I was putting 20 quid on it, I’d put it on Wilder to win,”
If the fight materializes, Fury will certainly be watching with interest as he is likely to face one or both men in the future.
Interview: Otto Wallin is Ready to Take Home the EU Heavyweight Boxing Title
Otto Wallin (19-0, 13 KOs) is Sweden’s top Heavyweight and he is taking the division by storm. Wallin faces Adrian Granat (15-1, 14 KOs) this weekend at the Gardehov Ice Hockey Arena in Sundsvall, Sweden for the European Union Title.
How do you feel about fighting at home in Sweden?
“I love fighting at home so that is the biggest venue for me. I never had one special place except for home. When I started as a pro, boxing wasn’t really allowed in Sweden. There were a lot of restrictions, So I had my first 14 fights outside the country. It started last year, so that was when I had my first fight as a pro at home.
Fighting at home is the best. I feel a lot of support. I come from a small town, about 100 thousand people and I can just walk through the city and people are cheering me on. There is more at stake but I like it. I’ve always had my best fight at home as a professional and amateur. The support motivates me.”
Otto Wallin played other sports growing up, but found boxing around 15 or 16 and decided that was what he wanted to do.
“I played ice hockey and soccer and I wanted to be an ice hockey player as a kid. Eventually, I stopped those sports and went into boxing. I felt right away that it was for me. It was great and something that I immediately wanted to do”
Otto Wallin made his professional debut in 2013 and has been making a name for himself that extends far beyond his home country. Wallin now trains in New York City with his head coach Joey Gamache.
What do you think about life in New York?
“I was training with Joey Gamache in Denmark for four years. Last spring he moved back to New York. It is great to keep training with Joey. So, that is the most important thing.
There is so much going on here. A lot of heavyweights, great sparring – That is something that I lacked in Sweden and throughout Europe. It is great. I’m sparring with top guys, which is the most important thing for training.”
Are there any boxers or trainers (past or present) that you consider an inspiration or role model?
“My biggest inspiration is my trainer, Joey. He’s been there and done it as a world champ. I am confident with him and love training with him.”
What do you feel is the secret to success in this sport?
“If you look at the great fighters they usually have a big mentor. A trainer or someone who is by their side most of their careers. It is important to have a good team that you trust and you know you can go somewhere with. That has to be tough to change trainers. Trust. They know you and you know them. They are dedicated and serious which makes a difference.”
This next bout will be a big test for both boxers who have known each other since they were amateurs. There is no love lost between the two of them.
Otto Wallin is a gentleman by nature and doesn’t care for the Granat’s cocky demeanor.
“I think with that fight, I don’t like how he presents himself. How he says he will knock out and beat his opponents. You have to do it with class. You have to take every opponent seriously. This is business and you should respect everyone, win or lose.”
What makes you different from other guys in your division?
“I’m technically sound and I am built well and fast for a heavyweight.”
Standing over 6 feet 5 inches tall with an undefeated record, that statement is difficult to argue with. Despite being a heavyweight, Otto Wallin is conscious of his diet.
“I cook, which is good for me. There’s not much time when I’m not training. I hang out with friends. There is so much to see. It’s a beautiful city and great energy. Everyone has been very friendly.
When I have cheat days usually go for burgers. I love food. I’m in a Spanish neighborhood here. I also love ice cream.”
What has been the most difficult part of life as a professional boxer?
“Being away from family and friends. For me, that is the hardest part but it is worth it to be able to train and compete like I do.”
2018- the Year of the Vulnerable Heavyweight
By: Greg Houghton
Whether you love it, hate it, or feel indifferent towards the current state of the heavyweight division, the unpredictability of the division is such that right now you can’t take your eyes off it.
For a good decade, Wladimir Klitschko controlled the division with utter dominance over the division, at a point when boxing’s popularity took a slight plunge amongst the masses.
This period in hindsight seemed like a lull in the division as the roaring flame that was the Tyson, Lewis and Holyfield era faded to black. Regardless of relative quality of his opponents, and regardless of whether you like the style in which he did it, Wlad was the heavyweight division for over a decade. The point is, any fan of the Ukrainian Hall-of-Famer would have watched on at their man with little to no anxiety for a good twelve years of his career. The same can not be said about our current heavyweights.
Evander Holyfield stated in an interview last year that heavyweights today only start boxing when they’re physically big, and by starting out with punching power they miss the fundamentals that come with boxing from a young age. With one quick glance across the division today you would have to agree with him. All this vulnerability however could very well make for an exciting two to three years of title fights ahead of us. This is not a knock to any of the top 5 or even top 10 heavyweights in world boxing today, but stylistically, having seen all of them progress through their careers, you just get the overwhelming feeling that any one of them could get knocked out at any moment.
In 2013 Tyson Fury was floored by cruiserweight contender Steve Cunningham. Fury later went on to win the fight, and thereafter sharpen his skillset substantially leading him to the eventual dethroning of Wladimir Kiltschko in 2015. If Fury were ever to return to the top of the division this would certainly add some flavour to the mix as it is easy to visualise him doing what he did to Wlad against any of the top 5 in the division.
However, the fight on everybody’s mind right now though is Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder.
If ever there has been a fight in heavyweight history with an unpredictable outcome, this has to be it. Both men get hurt, regularly. Both men possess astonishing power and can change the direction of a fight with a single shot. Both men, as any fan of both fighters will have learned the hard way, are incredibly vulnerable in the ring.
Most recently we saw Anthony Joshua win a comfortable points decision over Joseph Parker. Although this performance was not the explosive shootout that has become synonymous with the AJ logo that goes up in flames and lights up an entire stadium, I personally really liked this performance. Here we saw an AJ whose concentration span appears to have 10x’d over the last year, whilst controlling centre of the ring behind a beautiful jab that kept Joseph Parker out of the fight. Coming onto the scales at a mere 17st 4, AJ actually seemed to have more in the tank in the 12th round, something we have not yet seen of the heavyweight champion.
Is this the perfect weight for AJ? Well, based on the evidence that we’ve seen over his last three fights, you can’t help but the that an 18st Joshua struggles against Deontay Wilder.
With one of the most peculiar styles I can remember seeing in the heavyweight division, Deontay Wilder is nothing short of entertaining to watch. Putting Luis Ortiz away proves that his devastating right hand is no joke, but in this fight he appeared to accidentally employ a solid defence too. Through Wilder swinging his arms fanatically and moving in a far from orthodox way, Ortiz was largely finding it difficult to tee off on Wilder even when up close. This tactic didn’t prevent Wilder from getting hurt as we saw his buzzed badly in the middle rounds, although it wouldn’t be a Deontay Wilder fight if he wasn’t at least a little bit hurt along the way.
So how do the two heavyweight champions of 2018 fair up against each other? Two huge punchers, similar heights, both with a similar reach, same huge hearts and similar tendencies to leave themselves open.
As is the case with all great matchups, many hairdressers, taxi drivers and people on construction sites across the world claim they know exactly who will win this fight and how. The reality is, betting on any one of these men to be unified heavyweight champion is an incredibly risky bet.
With the recent cancellation of Canelo vs GGG 2, boxing needs this super fight, and as a boxing fan I really hope we see this fight soon.
May the promotion companies in question please hurry up and settle their differences and make this fight for all of us.
Joshua vs. Wilder: Who Wins?
By: Ciaran O’Mahony
Boxing fans have been spoiled over the last month with many of the heavyweight division’s biggest names in action, including Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, Joseph Parker, Luis Ortiz, Alexander Povetkin, Dillian Whyte and Lucas Browne. All eyes were on Joshua and Wilder though as they faced major tests that could derail their highly anticipated unification bout.
Of all the heavyweights in action, Joshua was the biggest winner, adding another heavyweight belt to his collection with a solid but uninspiring victory over Joseph Parker at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff last week.
Boxing purists praised Joshua’s performance as he fought a safe and intelligent fight against a dangerous opponent. He kept Parker on the end of his jab, nullified his speed advantage and landed the cleaner, harder shots, while keeping himself out of harm’s way. Parker had his moments but he never really got going, struggling to close the distance or do any damage on the inside.
Joshua has been hailed as the future of the heavyweight division for some time and his latest victory will keep that hype and momentum going, but this was not the type of performance we expected.
He came into the fight with a reputation as a knockout artist, but it’s safe to say fans felt a little underwhelmed by the fight. Many predicted that it wouldn’t go the distance and Joshua’s perfect knockout record as well as his epic war with Waldimir Klitshcko, gave us reason to believe it would be a brutal, action-packed affair. Add in the animosity between both camps and you’d be forgiven for expecting Joshua and Parker to slug it out, toe-to-toe, until only one of them was left standing.
Nonetheless, Joshua got the job done, coming through unscathed and showing another dimension of his game. It turns out he’s not just a power-puncher, he’s one of the best pure boxers in the heavyweight division.
For all the positives though, the fight also suggested that Joshua may not be able to dominate the division’s truly elite fighters the same way he did lesser opponents.
Wilder claimed the most important victory of his career against the undefeated Cuban, Luis Ortiz, at the Barclays Center, New York, just a month ago. Many felt this would be a difficult test for the bronze bomber, who had been criticised for facing weak opposition in the past.
Ortiz was avoided by all of the big names in the division due to his excellent amateur pedigree, boxing ability and knockout power. All of these attributes were evident on the night as Wilder struggled to figure the Cuban out and found himself in trouble on a number of occasions. For the first five rounds he struggled to land anything of note on the Cuban, who controlled the pace of the fight and forced him backwards constantly.
Then in the seventh round, Wilder was rocked multiple times and found himself trapped on the ropes, desperately hanging on amid a flurry of brutal shots from Ortiz. Although he survived, he seemed headed for a loss on points until he stopped the Cuban in the 10th round.
Like all great champions do, Wilder overcame adversity, patiently waiting for the opening he needed, even as the 12th round drew nearer. He didn’t panic or let his frustrations get the better of him while he was being outboxed.
The American was clearly confident that the opening he was looking for would eventually come and when it did, he made Ortiz pay. In the end, the fight didn’t tell us anything new about Wilder’s strengths and weaknesses, which boxing experts have picked apart for some time. However, we saw how he responds under pressure against top-level opposition and he passed that test with flying colours.
Strengths and weaknesses of both fighters
Wilder is a gifted 6’7”athlete with good speed for his size, exceptional strength, solid cardio and proven knockout power. But many have criticised his technique, particularly the wild, windmill punches he throws when he is chasing a knockout. They are certainly not easy on the eye and Wilder often leaves his chin out when he throws them.
His defence is also poor, leaving him highly susceptible to good counter-punchers who can cope with his attacks.
Despite his length and reach, lesser fighters than Joshua have been able to close the distance against Wilder, which is a major concern.
His weaknesses are well-documented, but Wilder uses his power and athleticism extremely effectively and few fighters are able to survive when he starts swinging at them, wildly or not. The big question mark around him was always whether his power and ferocity could also overwhelm the division’s true elite. His victory over one of the most skilled and feared heavyweights in the world went a long way towards answering that question.
Joshua is 6’6” and has made a habit of demolishing his opponents early, knocking out all but five of his 21 opponents within three rounds.
The consensus among the experts is that Joshua has better fundamentals than Wilder and his ability to control the pace of the fight is one of his biggest strengths.
His string of knockouts are not just down to his power, but also his excellent positioning and tactical awareness. He puts fighters on the back foot and in awkward positions where they are forced to commit to risky shots that leave them open to a knockout blow. This could spell danger for Wilder as ring positioning is one of his biggest weaknesses.
He allows his opponents to walk him down far too easily for a fighter of his size and he gave up a lot of ground against Ortiz. He was backing up so much that he couldn’t land a significant counter and if he does the same against Joshua, he will be in all sorts of trouble.
Joshua certainly has defensive weaknesses too. He looked quicker and sharper against Parker after weighing in 12 pounds lighter than his previous fight against Carlos Takam, but his lack of head movement is a major weakness that could be exploited.
When you are fighting someone as outsized as Parker it’s not as much of an issue, but Wilder has the length and the awkward, loopy style to take advantage of it. Joshua’s poor head movement could also leave him susceptible to Wilder’s underrated jab, which he didn’t use very effectively against Ortiz, mainly because the Cuban is a southpaw, but Joshua is an orthodox fighter. If Joshua fails to avoid the jab, he will likely be vulnerable to a straight right-hand, which could prove fatal against someone with Wilder’s power.
It’s hard to say who will win this fight when it finally happens. Joshua is certainly the favourite, but not an overwhelming one. It’s not quite a 50-50 fight, but it’s pretty damn close.
One thing’s for sure, boxing fans are eager to see these two battle it out for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world sooner rather than later.