Klitschko Brothers Object to Dimitry Bivol vs Canelo Matchup; Bivol Says “It’s Sad” They Have Become Politicians. Plus: Will Tyson Fury Show in Vegas?
by John “Gutterdandy” Walker
Former heavyweight champions of the world the Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali, won’t be cheering on WBA light heavyweight champion Dimitry Bivol when the latter man takes on superstar Canelo Alvarez this Saturday evening at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Though Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs), a Russian, has spoken out against the war his country has chosen to wage against neighboring Ukraine, the Ukrainian Klitschko brothers are far from satisfied about Bivol is getting a world wide platform to perform against Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) in the middle of a bloody conflict that his country started.
According to former unified world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, currently fighting on the front lines with his brother [the current mayor of Kyiv] Vitali, it’s nothing personal against Bivol, but a matter of principle.
In an interview with the BBC, Wladimir recently opined that “[Bivol should] absolutely not [be facing Canelo]. Every sanction, and it’s nothing against the personality or athletes, it’s about the politics of Russia.”
“Every Russian representative in this case needs to be sanctioned, because this way we show to Russia that the world is against this senseless war and that there’s no good in this war,” Klitschko said.
Bivol, of course, sees the issue differently, and claims the realms of sports and politics should be kept separate.
“All his career I support [Wladimir], I liked how he was fighting and of course I was glad when he won,” said a somber Bivol.
“He is [a] sportsman, he should know sports and politics is different. He was [an] athlete. Now he is politician. It is sad that wants to shake it up and mix sport and politics,” a downcast Bivol told Britain’s IFL TV.
While the Klitschkos won’t be making a Vegas trip to see Bivol defend his title against Alvarez, one face to look for at ringside is that of current “retired” WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
Last weekend, Matchroom promotions honcho Eddie Hearn put on a successful women’s boxing headliner featuring popular Irish fighter Katie Taylor at Madison Square Garden in NYC.
Irish compatriots such as former pugilist Matthew “Mack The Knife” Macklin, and according to rumor, Tyson Fury himself were slated to fly to Manhattan to cheer on their woman, but Mackin and “other boxing figures” were refused entry into the USA due to their connections with former MGM/MTK honcho and reputed Irish mob kingpin, Daniel Kinahan (“MTK” is an acronym for Mack The Knife).
Fury, rumor has it, was tipped off not to get on the plane to Manhattan. The WBC champion, who recently made light work of hapless challenger Dillian Whyte, was very friendly with Kinahan until the FBI offered a $5 million reward for the mob boss, at which point an agitated Fury was adamant that he knew nothing of Kinahan’s business and split ties with him.
If Fury, who recently bought a home in the Las Vegas area, and who is due to meet with the WBC next week to discuss his retirement plans–which he claims are 100% irreversible–fails to show at the Canelo vs Bivol tilt, the rumor mill over Fury’s own legal status regarding Kinahan and the now-defunct MTK Global promotional outfit will surely go into overdrive.
MTK Global Boxing Promotions Shuts Down Over Ties to ex-Tyson Fury Advisor Daniel Kinahan
by John “Gutterdandy” Walker
MTK Global boxing promotions has shut down for good, due to its ties to alleged mob boss Daniel Kinahan. Kinahan, who is currently on the run from law enforcement, is an ex-advisor and former close confidante of WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs), who makes his second title defense in London this coming Saturday night against fellow Brit Dillian “The Body Snatcher” Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs) at Wembley Arena in the UK.
The lead-up to the Fury-Whyte bout has been haunted by the troubles of the reputed cartel boss Kinahan, whose organization has been accused of selling large quantities of South American cocaine across the globe. Until very recently, Tyson Fury had nothing but praise for Kinahan, and had posted a picture online of the two men engaged in a chummy pose in Dubai last February.
A statement issued by MTK Global reads:
“It is a matter of public record that Mr Kinahan’s involvement in MTK ceased in 2017, and despite repeated reassurances in this regard, unfounded allegations about his ongoing association with us and our fighters persist.
“Since leading promoters have now informed us that they will be severing all ties with MTK and will no longer work with our fighters, we have taken the difficult decision to cease operations at the end of this month.
“MTK prospered because we always put the long term interests of our fighters at the heart of what we do.
“Our priority in the weeks ahead will be to ensure that our world class boxers are supported to find new partnerships as swiftly as possible.
“MTK gyms are operated independently so will remain open for the foreseeable future.
“Further announcements will be made in due course. Thank you to all the fans who have supported us over the last decade.”
Tyson Fury has seemed irritated this week when the topic of Kinahan has been raised, though it must be said that most of the professional boxing media has preferred to avoid the subject, instead sticking to rote questions about training camps instead. Fury has chosen to stick to a stock response about “minding his own business” to try and deflect from his former close ties to Kinahan.
“Because I had my picture taken with a man it doesn’t make me a criminal,” Fury said.
The WBC champion added, ” “I’ve got nothing to hide. The only time I’ve ever broken the law was when I got a speeding ticket.”
That last statement would seem to be at odds with Fury’s admissions of rampant cocaine abuse, back when he claimed to have mental health issues while twice avoiding rematches with former unified heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko of Ukraine. Fury ended Wlad’s decade-long title reign with a scrappy decision win late in 2015.
This week, with the allegations against Kinahan forming a constant looming backdrop to the upcoming fight, Fury has doubled down on his vow to retire from boxing after the Whyte bout, win, lose or draw.
Until very recently, however, Fury had spoken of enjoying his life as a “fighting man” and had submitted a list of five fights he wanted in the future, a list that notably did not include the unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine but did include men he has beaten multiple times, such as Deontay Wilder and Dereck “WAR” Chisora.
During a press conference via Zoom last week, however, Fury seemed to be backing away from retirement, only to double down on his vow to quit boxing forever in the last two days.
Contrary to what he said in March, when he talked about wanting to live the fast life of a Miami jet setter, Fury now claims he has no interest in money, and that he seeks a very quiet life of taking out the garbage and doing other familial activities and chores, far away from the glare of the media spotlight.
“I just want to be left alone, I don’t want to be tortured by people,” Fury explained to UK boxing personality Adam Smith in a recent interview.
“I’m here to do this one last fight, and that’s me, I’m out.”
Boxing Insider Notebook: Donaire, Rosado, Top Rank, MTK Global, Clark, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of March 5th to March 12th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing
Hearn: Winner of Rosado-Sulecki Fight Likely for Andrade
The Middleweight clash between Gabriel Rosado and Maciej Sulecki on Friday night (March 15) at the Liacouras Center, Philadelphia live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports in the UK, has extra spice added to it as promoter Eddie Hearn announced that the winner is likely to face WBO kingpin Demetrius Andrade in June.
TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW PRICED FROM $40 FROM THE LIACORAS CENTER WEBSITE
Rosado and Sulecki promised to be a war from the get-go when the fight was announced in January, but now the WBO International title will be on the line, and with that, a likely shot at Rhode Island star Andrade in the summer.
Rosado (24-11-1 14 KOs) is back in action following his closely fought draw with Luis Arias in Mulvane, Kansas in November – another contentious fight for the Philly favorite who will now be chasing a third World title shot in his first fight on home turf in seven years.
Sulecki (27-1 11 KOs) is hunting a first World title shot having returned to winning ways in November with a second round stoppage of Jean Michel Hamilcaro in his native Poland. The 29 year old gave Daniel Jacobs a stern test in April before the Brooklyn man moved on to become a two-weight World ruler, and Sulecki will believe that experience will serve him against Rosado.
WBO ruler Andrade defended his title live on DAZN in January against Artur Akavov at Madison Square Garden in New York, and the streaming giants rubber-stamped their status as the home of the elite Middleweights by adding Kazakh star Gennady Golovkin to the phenomenal roster of 160lbers, with Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs clashing in a unification blockbuster on DAZN on May 4 in Las Vegas.
“I’m pretty sure that the winner of Saturday’s fight will be the next opponent for Demetrius in June,” said Hearn. “It’s a massive fight for Gabe and Maciej – we know that DAZN is the home of the Middleweights and these two have the opportunity on Friday to unlock the door to the big time.
“I expect an absolute war between both men, I think it could be fight of the night and on this card, that’s saying something!”
Rosado’s clash with Sulecki is part of a huge night of action in Philadelphia on St Patrick’s weekend topped by a World title double-header as Philly’s Tevin Farmer (28-4-1 6 KOs) comes home to defend his IBF Super-Featherweight title against Ireland’s Jono Carroll (16-0-1 3 KOs), and Irish sensation Katie Taylor (12-0 5 KOs) looks to unify the Lightweight division once again, putting her IBF and WBA straps on the line against Brazil’s WBO champion Rose Volante (14-0 8 KOs).
Philly Lightweight’s Hank Lundy (29-7-1 14 KOs) and Avery Sparrow (9-1 3 KOs) battle for local pride, Olympic gold medal pair Luke Campbell MBE (19-2 15 KOs) and Daniyar Yeleussinov (5-0 3 KOs) and silver medalist John Joe Nevin (11-0 4 KOs) taste their first action of 2019, unbeaten Super-Middleweight D’Mitrius Ballard (19-0 12 KOs) faces Victor Fonseca (17-9-1 14 KOs) while exciting New Jersey amateur star Raymond Ford makes his pro debut.
Super Welterweight Contender Jamontay Clark Battles Unbeaten Vernon Brown on March 24th
Exciting super welterweight contender Jamontay Clark joins the Peterson brothers on a Premier Boxing Champions on FS1 and FOX Deportes show on Sunday, March 24 from MGM National Harbor in Maryland.
Clarkwill take on Vernon Brown of Chicago in a 10-round super welterweight match that will open the broadcast at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. ET. Two-division world champion Lamont Peterson takes on former junior welterweight world champion Sergey Lipinets in a 12-round welterweight match that will headline the show. Anthony Peterson, Lamont’s brother, battles former junior lightweight world champion Argenis Mendez in a 10-round junior welterweight bout that serves as the co-main event.
The Peterson brothers are an inspirational duo that rose from poverty and homelessness in Washington D.C. as children to become professional boxers and reach an elite level in the sport. They will be fighting as the main and co-main event in these nationally televised bouts for the first time since 2006 and will look to put on a show for fans just outside of their hometown.
The 24-year-old Clark (13-1, 7 KOs) was on an impressive roll, having defeated Domonique Dolton and previously unbeaten Ivan Golub, before his match against Jeison Rosario last August. Fighting out of Cincinnati, he dropped a tough unanimous decision to Rosario in the first loss of his career. He will be looking to bounce back against the 29-year-old Brown (10-0-1, 7 KOs), who had a busy 2018 with three victories – two by way of knockout.
The FS1 prelims broadcast will begin at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT and feature Mexican slugger Jose Miguel Borrego (14-2, 13 KOs) clashing with California’s Jerry Thomas (14-1-1, 8 KOs) in an eight-round super lightweight match. It will also see Brandon Quarles (21-4-1, 10 KOs) battling Kansas-native Aaron Coley (15-2-1, 7 KOs) in an eight-round middleweight bout, plus Baltimore’s Lorenzo Simpson (2-0, 2 KOs) taking on Earl Henry (0-1-1) in a four-round super welterweight attraction.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and HeadBangers Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting www.mgmnationalharbor.com/.
Action-Packed Night of Undercard Attractions Lead Up to Errol Spence Jr. vs. Mikey Garcia
An exciting night of undercard attractions will lead up to the first Premier Boxing Champions on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event headlined by unbeaten welterweight world champion Errol Spence Jr. taking on undefeated four-division champion Mikey Garcia on Saturday, March 16 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The action features 2016 Mexican Olympian Lindolfo Delgado (8-0, 8 KOs) looking to keep his perfect record intact against once-beaten Oklahoma-native James Roach (5-1, 5 KOs) in an eight-round super lightweight fight and undefeated Dallas-native Fernando Garcia (11-0, 6 KOs) taking on Colombia’s Marlon Olea (14-4, 12 KOs) for eight rounds of super featherweight action.
Tickets for this showdown, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Ringstar Sports, are on sale now, and can be purchased at SeatGeek.com, the Official Ticketing Provider of AT&T Stadium.
The undercard will also see a host of local talent from Texas as cruiserweight Burley Brooks makes his pro debut against Randy Mast (1-0) in a four-round bout, Dallas-native Amon Rashidi (5-0, 3 KOs) in a six-round welterweight fight against El Paso’s Gabriel Gutierrez (5-7, 3 KOs), San Antonio’s Jesse Rodriguez (8-0, 4 KOs)facing Rauf Aghayev (26-6, 11 KOs) in an eight-round bantamweight showdown, Mesquite’s Adrian Taylor (8-1, 4 KOs)in a four-round cruiserweight attraction and San Antonio’s Robert Rodriguez (2-0) in a four-round super flyweight fight against Fernando Ibarra.
Rounding out the show are Marsello Wilder (3-1, 2 KOs)facing Mark Sanchez (0-2)in a four-round cruiserweight fight, California’s Luis Coria (10-2, 5 KOs) in a six-round featherweight bout against Mexico’s Omar Garcia (6-7, 1 KO), Milwaukee’s Thomas Hill (7-2, 1 KO) facing Christian Aguirre (8-4, 4 KOs) in a six-round super welterweight attraction, unbeaten Aaron Morales (5-0, 3 KOs) taking on Fernando Robles (2-0) for six-rounds of bantamweight action and Mexico’s Jose Valenzuela (2-0) in a four-round super featherweight bout against Christian Velez (1-1, 1 KO).
Top Rank Announced Media Partnership with MTK Global
Top Rank and MTK Global are proud to announce an exclusive multi-year licensing agreement that will bring MTK Global events to fans in the United States on ESPN platforms, including ESPN+ — the direct-to-consumer sports streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment and ESPN.
The agreement calls for approximately 30 shows a year emanating from the United Kingdom, Ireland, and elsewhere around the globe.
The inaugural Top Rank/MTK Global/ESPN card will be announced soon.
“MTK Global manages a vast number of A-list fighters from around the globe,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “This deal will enable Top Rank, through the ESPN family of networks, to afford viewers in the United States the opportunity to see these great fighters perform.”
“This is a very proud day as MTK Global partners with the biggest and best in the industry to expand the audiences for our incredible fighters,” said MTK Global CEO Sandra Vaughan. “Our sole mission has, and always will be, to afford every possible opportunity we can to the athletes we represent, and this partnership really cements that. Top Rank and ESPN are names synonymous with boxing on an international level, as MTK Global has become in recent times, and we couldn’t imagine better partners to take the next step with.”
MTK Global is the world’s leading boxing management firm with more than 100 fighters under their umbrella, including lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, Michael Conlan, Billy Joe Saunders and Carl Frampton. The MTK Global cards will complement the wide variety of international fight offerings already under the Top Rank on ESPN banner.
Prograis-Relikh and Donaire-Tete WBSS Semi-Finals Confirmed for Lafayette
Regis Prograis & Kiryl Relikh and Nonito Donaire & Zolani Tete continue their pursuit for the Ali Trophy on April 27 at the Cajundome in Lafayette, Louisiana, USA. Tickets on sale next Friday.
The sensational doubleheader opens the semi-final stage of the World Boxing Super Series.
American and New Orleans native Regis Prograis (23-0, 19 KOs) faces Belarusian Kiryl Relikh (23-2, 19 KOs), who is training in Miami, in a semi-final in the 140lb division and American-Philippine Nonito Donaire (39-5, 25 KOs) meets South African Zolani Tete (28-3, 21 KOs) in a semi-final in the 118lb edition of the tournament.
“Fighting in Lafayette is a perfect situation for me because it’s halfway between my two homes Houston and New Orleans,” said Prograis, the WBC Diamond Champion. “I can’t wait to come out and put in a historical event.”
The World Boxing Super Series is returning to Louisiana after last years 140lb quarter-finals in New Orleans.
“We are thrilled to bring the Ali Trophy lights to Lafayette kickoff the semi-finals of the World Boxing Super Series,” said Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer. “The fans in Lafayette and around the world can look forward to two unbelievable blockbusters with the best production in the game all on one night.
“The WBSS is about the best fighting the best and to serve up Fight of the Year contenders in the quest for the Ali Trophy and the supreme international superstars involved in this doubleheader at the Cajundome on April 27 will deliver just that .”
Fans wanting to buy tickets are encouraged to sign-up to Ticket Alerts to receive emails reminders when tickets go on sale.
Fans in the U.S. and Canada can watch all the Ali Trophy semi-finals LIVE, exclusively on DAZN.