Brook and Spence Set To Rumble, Crawford To Face Diaz
By: Sean Crose
The long awaited IBF world welterweight title throwdown between champion Kell Brook and rising star Errol Spence Jr has been set for May 27th in Brook’s hometown of Sheffield, England. Many felt that Brook, an excellent 36-1 titlist, might move away from the welterweight division after a crushing loss to middleweight honcho Gennday Golovkin last year. Brook proved game, however, showing a willingess not only to return to welterweight, but also to take on a menacing challenge in the 21-0 Spence. “I’m an expereinced fighter,” Brook said at a Wednesday press conference, “I know what I need to do. I’ve done it before. I’ll do it again.”
Brook refused to pay homage to Spence at the conference. When Spence was referred to at one point as a “brilliant American,” Brook scoffed. “Brilliant American,” he quipped. “Yeah. We’ll see how brilliant he is.” Spence, however, wasn’t about to show deference to Brook, either. “Dude had two good rounds with GGG,” the Texas native snapped. “Willie Monroe did the same thing.” To be sure, there was a lot of back and forth at the press conference – mainly, it seemed, between the two fighter’s trainers. Such things make for good drama, however, and Brook-Spence promises (at least on paper) to be a very interesting matchup.
For Brook is a big, strong welterweight who knows how to let his strength be felt while throwing impressive straight punches. Spence, on the other hand, comes across as something of a wunderkind, a fact evidenced by his dismantling of former junior welterweight champ (and Manny Pacquiao opponent) Chris Algieri. Spence simply went through the Long Island native, much as he has most of his opponents to date. Can he get by the skilled and expereinced Brook, however? Can he do so in Brook’s hometown, no less? Those questions are what make this match so intriguing.
There’s also intruiging news to be found in the division below Brook and Spence, for Bud Crawford, the 30-0 king of the junior welterweight division is all but set to face 19-1 Felix Diaz May 20th in Newark, New Jersey. People have been waiting for a while to find out who the highly lauded Crawford’s next opponent would be. And while many want to see the WBC and WBO super lightweight champ against the likes of Adrien Broner or Manny Pacquiao, Diaz, whose apparently wanted this fight for a while, looks to be the man. While he’s no household name, Diaz has managed to best the likes of Adrian Granados and Sammy Vasquez. Some also feel he got robbed when he fought Lamont Peterson back in 2015. In other words, the guy’s no slouch.
Rio 2016 Boxing Recap
By: Matthew N. Becher
All the medals have been awarded and the Rio Olympics have finally come to a close with last night’s ceremonies. In the Boxing division a lot of great fights took place, future world champions got to display their talents to the masses and controversy still reared its ugly head as it always does in this sport. Here were some of the highs and lows of what took place in the past 2 weeks.
USA captures 3 medals:
The US team won more boxing medals then it has in over a decade. Nico Hernandez was able to win a Bronze medal to start off the pace. Shakur Stevenson lost a heartbreaking split decision to Cuban, and now two time Olympic Gold Medalist, Robeisy Ramirez. Stevenson was awarded a Silver medal and will now most likely look to turn professional. And rounding out the Americans that medaled, the Golden Girl, Claressa Shields took home the gold medal for the second time in two Olympics.
Uzbekistan ruled the podium:
The country of Uzbekistan took home 7 medals in all (3 Golds, 2 Silvers & 2 Bronze). They were represented from the smaller fighters to the bigger, and have now officially cemented their name onto the international scene with the showing in these games.
Hasanboy Dusmatov, the Light Flyweight Gold Medalist, was awarded the Val Barker trophy for the most outstanding male competitor. Dusmatov is also the first of the amateurs competing in this year’s Olympics to sign a professional contract. (He has signed on with South African Promoter Rodney Berman’s Golden Gloves)
The Pro’s couldn’t cut it:
In a year that eliminated the head gear, the International Boxing Federation also allowed Professional fighters to compete with the Amateurs for the first time. This was a hot topic throughout the boxing world, with many seeing it an unfair advantage to let a seasoned veteran compete with amateur fighters. It turned out to be a non-topic. As most amateurs were not threatened by the professionals being allowed to compete, they proved themselves right. The two most well-known pros that turned out for the games, Hassan N’Daam of France and former world champion Amnat Ruenroeng could not get passed the first round and the round of 16 respectively. The amateur style was not to their ability and both will now have a difficult time with backlash in their pro careers.
Allegations of Fixed matches, again:
In the history of the games match fixing has been the black eye of the sport. The fights of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Roy Jones are two of the most famous that have ever taken place, and this year saw a few too many fights that seemed to follow suit.
AIBA was forced to take a look at fights that many felt were clearly swayed by dishonest referees and/or judges. AIBA issued a statement that agreed that some negligence may have played a role, but that no evidence could be found in the ‘fixing’ of fights. Several Judges and Referees were excused from the games early (though they were not named) and AIBA did not overturn any of the results. It is a very difficult process to manage the amateur boxing officials, but more thought and efforts need to go into the games. It seems that this happens in every Olympics now, and it is hurting the sport in a great deal.
Claressa Shields becomes history:
Claressa Shields is only 21 and may be the best female boxer on the planet. She capped off her time in Rio, the same way she did in London, with a Gold Medal. Shields became the first US boxer, Male or Female to win two gold medals. She was also awarded the Val Barker trophy for the Most Outstanding Female boxer in the games.
Shields right now is at the top of her sport and has options. She can show up again and go for the three peat, which only 3 boxers have ever done before. Or she can turn pro and try and weave her way through the Female boxing scene, which has historically not been so rewarding to its fighters.
Either way, she is a very bright star in the sport and she will be at the top for a long time.
See you all in four years, 2020, when Tokyo plays host.