Is This the Last Season of the World Boxing Super Series?
By: Shane Willoughby
Since Kalle Sauerland launched the World Boxing Super Series we have seen some fantastic fights. It has created unified champions, undisputed champions and fight fans have got what they have always wished for, the best fighting the best.
The entire Cruiserweight division would have been null and void of attention and coverage if it wasn’t for the tournament.
But with all that said their financial problems over the past few years are no secret. The series have struggled to maintain what is obviously an extremely high budget.
Last year there was a massive pause on the tournament, and allegedly many fighters from this season hadn’t been paid. It appeared that the World Boxing Super Series may have gone bust.
However, when DAZN launched they quickly added the series to their platform, which meant they received a flood of money and they were able to keep the series going.
Since then we have seen this season continue with the Cruiserweight, Bantamweight and Light Welterweight division. The final for all of those divisions will take place between October and December.
So it appeared all the WBSS financial situations where over, and when there were rumours going around that Sergey Kovalev was looking to join the next season, things were looking bright.
However, recently Regis Prograis and his team filled a lawsuit against the organisation, as the organisation have allegedly failed to live up to the contract.
The lawsuit has now been drop and the fight between Josh Taylor and Regis Prograis is now on but, there are quite a few signs of turbulence once again.
It wouldn’t be unrealistic to think that Prograis issues were to do with money. Because let’s be honest the fight between Prograis and Taylor wouldn’t have happened unless Sky Sports and Matchroom didn’t put the money up.
Without that fight going on a Matchroom card, the final of the WBSS at super lightweight wouldn’t have happened. Whilst that fight is now safe and secure what about the future fights.
Eddie Hearn and Adam Smith can’t keep saving the WBSS and putting their fights on Matchroom cards. Or can they? Maybe Kalle Sauerland and Hearn go into business together because they do have a great relationship and it’s hard to see how the WBSS continues without the backing of a major promotional company.
However, if that doesn’t happen it’s hard to see how the series continues with their ever-present problem with money. This will be a shame because they have done fantastic for boxing and the sport needs a tournaments like this.
Inoue’s Popularity Continues to Grow
By: Blaine Henry
The World Boxing Super Series finals is rapidly approaching. With title fights in bantamweight, cruiserweight, and super-lightweights, one of the biggest cards of the year is upon us.
The Ring magazine has revealed their latest issue featuring Nayoa Inoue in manga style art work. The cover shows the WBSS undefeated superstar as depicted by George Morikawa, a renowned manga artist.
Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account
Inoue has made waves in the boxing world during the WBSS finals. He’s won both of his fights in the tournament in spectacular fashion. With a first round knockout of Juan Carlos Payano in his first bout and a second round knockout against Emmanuel Rodríguez, all eyes are on the final matchup between him and Nonito Donaire.
Inoue has become the first ever Japanese boxer to grace the cover of “The Ring” since it’s inception in 1922.
Morikawa is the author and creator of “Hajime no Ippo” (The First Step). It’s a boxing manga series that has sold approximately 100 million copies world wide. With the series gracing television and video games, it’s a great honor for Inoue to be depicted by such an artist.
“Naoya Inoue is a special fighter to me as a fellow Japanese,” says Morikawa as he spoke with Ring Magazine. “I drew the artwork with all my heart as a fan of boxing and a fan of Naoya.”
Naoya was the first ever to drop both of his WBSS opponents. With only 5 minutes and 29 seconds of fight time, Inoue is sure to be well rested for the finals to take home the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
He faces off with “The Filipino Flash,” Nonito Donaire who is also coming off of a fantastic win over Stephon Young in Lafayette, Louisiana in his seminal match. The place is not set yet but should be announced soon.
Also on the card is another fantastic couple of matches. In the super-lightweight division, top two rated boxers, Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor are set to throw down in a fight of epic proportions. The cruiserweights also have a fantastic matchup as Mairis Briedis and Yunier Dorticos get ready to take on each other on the same card.
Dorticos and Breidis Advance to Finals
By: Shane Willoughby
The Latvian did not let his country down. In front of the thousands in attendance at the Riga Arena, Mairis Breidis proved that he still has the power and stops Glowacki in the 3rd round.
One of the most exciting 3 rounds in the history of boxing; it’s difficult to know where to start. Let’s begin with the craziness of 2nd round.
After a pretty basic 1st, the 2nd round exploded into action with both going for broke. Someone must have told them that this can’t go the distance. They both landed massive shots on one another. But what happened next was probably the most bizarre thing in boxing history.
Both Briedis and Glowacki went into a clinch where it appeared that Glowacki hit Briedis behind the head. Instead of waiting for the referee, Breidis followed up with a flying elbow. Dana White you might need to sign these guys up for the UFC.
The elbow sent the polish men crashing to the canvas, a perfect knockout. At one stage it looked as if he couldn’t get up. But once he finally got up Breidis smelt blood and went for the finish. After being deducted a point, it was like the Latvian didn’t care about the scorecard anymore.
Briedis dropped Glowacki too more times in the round; this time with punches. The entire crowd rose to the feet screaming for their hero to finish the fight. What happened next was remarkable.
They both started trading again in the middle of the ring. The bell goes to signal the end of a fantastic round and the fight continues. Both guys refused to stop throwing punches and Briedis drops Glowacki again. 30 seconds after the bell rang.
In the defence of the fighters, the arena was very load so they may not have heard. Where was the ref, you may ask? Not judging the fight that’s for sure.
Glowacki made it to his feet and made it to his corner and that was finally the end of the round. But it wasn’t the end of the action. Thinking that the fight couldn’t possibly provide more drama, and they would take a bit of a rest. Nope.
Both men cane out again for the kill. After being on the verge of defeat, the WBO champion landed a great shot on the home fighter and Briedis looked to be out on his feet. But the Latvian done the veteran thing and held on.
Once back to his senses, back on the attack. Briedis went back in the middle to trade off again, but this time it saw the end of the bout.
The home town fighter gave his fans something to cheer about, permanently landing a brilliant combination to end the fight and a fantastic night of boxing.
Not so much for the the many polish fans, who were livid at the invisible referee. But at least they don’t have to travel that far home.
Yunier Dorticos wins the IBF championship by knocking out Andrew Tabiti in the 10th round. Dorticos has now advanced to the WBSS final and become a two time Cruiserweight Champion.
Like most fights at the top level, the fight started very cagey with both men not throwing much. But the Cuban was trying to press the action but couldn’t quite keep up with the speed of Tabiti.
But like a true veteran, Dorticos started putting money in the bank by going to the body.
Eventually, Tabiti started to slow down and the fight started to got much cleaner.
The 6th round was definetly a game changer. When Dorticos got cut from an accidental headclash and Tabiti got a point deducted for a excessive holding.
After the fight became much more exciting, both landing good shots but Dorticos’ body work in the early rounds paid dividend as Tabiti started to hold his feet.
Knowing that he was probably down on the cards, the American started to trade up with Dorticos and was getting some success.
However, he traded one time too much and the KO doctor gave out an amazing prescription. The right hand landed flush on the undefeated fighter and sent him to the canvas and Tabiti wasn’t able to get up.
Now the new Cruiserweight Champion has cemented his name in the history books and moves onto the final and into a unification with Mairis Braidis.
Kalle Sauerland: The IBF Belt Will be Vacant for this Series
By: Shane Willoughby
Ahead of Saturday’s WBSS Semi-final clash between Yunier Dorticos and Andrew Tabiti, Kalle Sauerland added some insight at the press conference to exactly what is happening with the IBF belt.
With Tabiti ranked number 1 and Dorticos number 2 with the IBF and Usyk obviously moving to heavyweight, the belt being available for this bout makes perfect sense. However, there has been no word from either the governing body nor Usyk about him relinquishing his title.
“We have applied for the full world championship, the current status is that we’re waiting to here back, we should here by Saturday”. Sauerland added “in a logical world there is no reason why it can’t happen, it should happen and it will happen. The question is whether it’s now or for the final.”
To be honest its difficult to see what the hold up is. There is no chance Usyk will be making any defences of his belt and both Dorticos and Tabiti are the next in line for a shot at the title.
It’s not usual for the IBF to take so long in freeing up their belts. They stripped Tyson Fury of his IBF belt before he even realised he won it.
“The WBO and WBC have already gone ahead and we expect the IBF to follow suit but we have to wait for all the formalities of it” Kalle Sauerland stated.
The promoter brought up the fact that Usyk vacated his other belt. But look how long it took him to finally give them. There could have been 5 new world champions between now and the Ukrainians last title defence.
Mr Sauerland and his team could be waiting until next year if they are waiting for Usyk to vacate the belt. But hopefully the IBF come to their senses and make the title available for Saturday’s clash.
And if the governing body does what it’s suppose to, it makes Saturday’s clash even more interesting. Is Dorticos going to become a two time world champion, or is Andrew Tabiti going to be returning with the strap.
Kalle Sauerland: The Judges Will Have No Favoritism Towards Briedis
By: Shane Willoughby
Ahead of Saturday’s WBSS semi final between Glowacki and Briedis for the WBO and WBC Cruiserweight titles, German promoter Kalle Saurland, is confident the judges won’t be in favour of the home fighter.
Mairis Briedis is a national hero in Latvia; the biggest sports icon in the country. So it is no surprise that the question of bias towards him is brought up, especially as the fights in his home town. However, Saurland stressed that the fight will be completely impartial.
“The officials are not from Latvia. The ring might be in Latvia, but the ring is a ring and as Usyk showed he faught three times away from home in the first one [WBSS]” as confirmed by Saurland.
Whilst it is difficult to believe that judges can be impartial especially when watching modern boxing, Mr Saurland makes a very strong point especially, when Usyk won a close points decision against the Latvian in his backyard.
“The biggest fight that he [Glowacki] has made in my opinion was against Marco Huck and that was also not in Poland, so he shown that he can travel” added Saurland.
Whilst all those points maybe true, it will be interesting to see how well the judges do, when the home supporters are cheering for their guy. Will they be inclined to give any close decision to the pre fight favourite and potential cash cow in the series.
Mairis Briedis is the only fighter who can potentially sell out a venue in a country and is the pre – tournament favourite. In addition to that, the former WBC champion got a favourable decision in his last fight against Noel Gevor.
Many thought that Briedis lost that fight and whilst the fight wasn’t in Latvia, the WBSS couldn’t afford for their only crowd puller to come into the competition off a loss.
All of the speculation and conspiracies are unnecessary and probably carries little substance or truth. If the promoter says a fight will be fair then that is exactly what will happen. When have you ever seen an untruthful boxing promoter?
WBSS Semifinals Preview: Briedis-Glowacki and Dorticos-Tabiti
By Robert Aaron Contreras
It will be an earlier Saturday than usual for fight fans. The semifinals of the second cruiserweight World Boxing Super Series kicks off on DAZN at 2 p.m. ET.
Two matchups will decide the tournament finale as Mairis Briedis hosts the rest of the field from his backyard in Riga, Latvia on June 15. The hometown man battles former world champion Krzysztof Glowacki. And another of the division’s sharpshooters, Yuniel Dorticos meets the undefeated Andrew Tabiti.
All four men are rated among the best in the world, carrying on the tradition of intense matchmaking that has in recent memory defined these most courageous competitors.
Mairis Briedis (25-1, 18 KO) vs. Krzysztof Glowacki (31-1, 19 KO)
This matchup may only technically be the semifinals, but this particular clash could decide who for the time being is the premier fighter in the class. Last season’s WBSS finalists, Oleksandr Usyk and Murat Gassiev, are both set for the land of heavyweights, leaving the WBC and WBO belts up for grabs between Briedis and Glowacki.
Briedis, 35, once held that WBC title. In 2017, he went over to Germany to beat out Marco Huck for the green strap. The Latvian bruiser proved he was more than just a puncher, hardly dropping a round over the championship distance. He became just the second cruiser to defeat Huck at the weight in a decade.
Briedis also undoubtedly gave Usyk the tightest fight of the Ukrainian’s career. And his collection of knockouts is incredible: blowing away a sizable, rough-and-rumble cruiser like Simon Vallily; the physical specimen Olanrewaju Durodola, and lighting up heavyweight Manuel Charr with a single shot—walking backwards and giving up 30 pounds, no less.
Rated No. 1 in the world by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, his last two contests have not been so impressive. In fact, save for a competitive outing against Usyk, Briedis has not looked all that elite since outboxing Huck.
Last time out, Briedis was dealt with an apparent arm injury on his righthand side opposite Noel Gevor. The underdog took advantage and was all over Briedis for 12 rounds. The slippery German transplant touched his man up and down at the end of a rangy, pawing jab and awkward lateral movement. The unanimous decision Briedis received did not go over well on social media.
Gevor though is one of the most underrated boxers around, having been on the wrong end of another set of bad scores against Krzysztof “Diablo” Wlodarczyk. But that does not explain why just before that, Briedis could not get out of first gear in his fight against an unheralded bit player like Brandon Deslaurier.
Over 10 rounds with Deslaurier, Briedis shut out the Frenchman but was lackadaisical throughout. Following his first ever loss, it wasn’t held against him. He did not have that excuse when he met Mike Perez just before that. The pride and joy of Latvia may have a terrible habit of fighting down (or up) to his opponents.
Glowacki, 32, shares a couple common opponents. After all, in the 200-pound division, the créme de la créme are bound to meet each other.
For one, Glowacki also lost to Usyk, giving up his WBO strap in the process. He picked up the alphabet trinket from Huck the year prior in a barnburning affair. The Polish warrior defended the title once, turning away former champion Steve Cunningham. The exhilarating American would touch the canvas four times en route to a clear-cut decision loss to the visiting Glowacki.
Glowacki rattled off five straights victories since that loss to Usyk. Most recently, in the quarterfinals he overpowered Maxim Vlasov, who is equally a terrifying puncher, wining another decision.
Now as the division undergoes transition, Briedis and Glowacki have a chance to separate themselves from the pack. All it could take is one punch.
Yuniel Dorticos (23-1, 21 KO) vs. Andrew Tabiti (17-0, 13 KO)
From the opposite side of the bracket, Cuba’s own “KO Doctor” Dorticos meets Tabiti, from Las Vegas.
Dorticos, 33, has a real reputation for turning in violent slugfests. Though last outing against Mateusz Masternak did not fit the bill, Masternak has a way of sucking the life out of a fight. Dorticos still out-dueled the perennial contender, who is always a difficult out.
As part of the first WBSS tournament, Dorticos was pushed as far as a man can be, hammering away at Gassiev, and receiving it back just as harshly for almost a complete 12 rounds until a volley of right hands sent him through the ropes.
Never one to back down from a massive puncher, Dorticos slaughtered Dmitry Kudryashov in just two rounds. And before that, ditched the warmongering Youri Kalenga in a brutal 10 rounds. It is a division that allows for few easy touches.
Tabiti, though, unlike most of the blue-collar field, does have ritzy promotional backing behind him. Partnered with Mayweather Promotions, the 29-year-old American trains regularly with Floyd Mayweather Sr. And it shows, utilizing that calculated, “Money” Mayweather approach in the ring. But the reserved style has come close to backfiring.
In Tabiti’s previous bout, he was lucky to escape with a points win over the little known Ruslan Fayfer. The Russian journeyman matched Tabiti in output and was on his heels until the final bell.
All told, the work at the Mayweather Gym has helped Tabiti remain undefeated, served a gradual rise in competition from fellow upstarts (Keith Tapia) and gatekeepers (Lateef Kayode) to former champions (Steve Cunningham) and now the biggest test of his career in Dorticos.
The IBF championship is on the line, and bigger yet is the tourney finale for the Muhammad Ali trophy, which represents something more rare than the cash prize of millions and millions of dollars: the helm of the entire division.
Taylor and Inoue Look to Advance
By: Oliver McManus
Naoya Inoue strolls into Glasgow at the weekend looking to steam-roll past yet another opponent in yet another world title fight. The WBA’s bantamweight world champion shouldn’t be pigeonholed by way of his slim anime-esque figure with the 26 year old possessing nonchalant fight-ending aggression. Punches thrown from the most innocuous of circumstances have his opponents fearing their safety from every angle, shuffle and punch.
That ability to finish bouts with split-second precision has been meticulously showcased throughout his career with just one of his twelve world title fights going the distance. Perhaps the best characterisation of his effortless brilliance came against Jamie McDonnell last year. McDonnell was granted the daunting task of defending the WBA title against Inoue, in the Japanese fighters first fight in the division, and was caught almost immediately by a mini-flurry of punches that dropped him to the canvas. McDonnell managed to find his senses but was shown no mercy and several shellacking shots to the body finished off the contest for good.
Saturday night at the SSE Hydro will see Inoue look to unify world titles for the first time in his career by taking on, IBF champion, Emmanuel Rodriguez. On paper this should be the toughest test since turning professional (in 2012) with his pathway to bantamweight supremacy barely causing Inoue to break a sweat. Eternal legacy is already secured in his homenation but this next stage of his career is about capitalizing on the Western markets – trying to break the UK and the United States. Inoue has already fought on HBO as part of their ‘Super Fly’ series of events, as well as ESPN+ and now Sky Sports, so he’s principally well endeared with the boxing fraternity: all that’s left now is to turn that frightening reputation into global stardom.
His opponent, meanwhile, will look to become the first Puerto Rican champion to unify belts since Miguel Cotto (unless you count Danny Garcia and his heritage) and move a step closer to a homecoming world title fight in the, not too distant, future. The 26 year old’s background is chequered having been held in high regard within his national amateur system but only garnering international success at a ‘youth’ level. In 2010 he received second-degree burns across a majority of his body whilst attempting to set alight a pickup truck and was on the sidelines for ten months.
Since turning professional in 2012, having failed to qualify for the Olympics, Rodriguez set about a fairly unassuming career picking up regional titles from the big governing bodies. Indeed, he was proving to be quite a threat within the South American circuit with knockout after knockout against domestic prizefighters – finishes that came as out-of-the-blue as Inoue’s but against a far diminished level of opposition. The big break for Rodriguez came last May when he fought Paul Butler for the vacant IBF title. Butler looked ragged but Rodriguez looked exceptional as he dropped his opponent twice in the first round and didn’t put a foot wrong in the following eleven to record scorecards of 120-106, 120-106, 118-108.
Suddenly, just like that, the Puerto Rican had announced himself as a major player but, actually, in his last contest (against Jason Moloney) he just couldn’t settle into a regular rhythm and his Australian challenger nipped at his heels throughout. What we have seen, however, is a robust and awkward style that means his opponents struggle to find repeated success in a contest. He’ll need that rugged defense to be as tight as taut rope if he’s going to give himself a foothold for success in the later rounds but, with Inoue in the opposite corner, that’s a big IF he gets into those later rounds.
Hometown hero Josh Taylor remains convinced he will be the first man to defeat, IBF champion, Ivan Baranchyk and claim the first world title of his career in doing so. Taylor, the WBC Silver titleholder, has been a prodigious talent ever since he turned professional in 2015 – following Commonwealth glory – and the southpaw now gets his chance to cement himself on the world stage. Despite being one of few, genuine, big names not to have been snaffled up by Frank Warren or Eddie Hearn he is no stranger to the big scene having sold out the SSE three times already in his career.
In his last fight, against Ryan Martin, the 28 year old was able to ease into the semi-final with a comprehensive schooling. Martin looked sheepish on the night, perhaps daunted by the occasion, and Taylor capitalized with a punch-perfect display. Baranchyk, meanwhile, advanced to this stage of the competition with a gruesome stoppage victory over Anthony Yigit: his Swedish opponent was taking considerable punishment and the contest was stopped with Yigit’s eye ballooning up to the size of a snooker ball.
We’ve seen a few rough patches from Taylor since he became professional with him sometimes looking beleaguered but the real learning fight was against Viktor Postol. Postol, criminally written off, refused to wilt in the face of relentless attacks and doubled-down in return with pressure of his own. The Beast from Belarus is reminiscent of, his countryman, Kiryl Relikh in respect of his doggedness and tenacity so is a distinct potential banana skin on Taylor’s record and I expect him to find success. Taylor, you imagine, will have the superior class to keep his head above the choppy waters with the scorecards likely giving him a helping hand.
An “I was there” moment if ever there was one – arguably the scariest fighter on the planet making his UK debut and Scotland’s flag bearer looking to secure the first world title of his career.
WBSS Preview: Taylor vs. Baranchyk, Inoue vs. Rodriguez
By: Michael Kane
The World Boxing Super Series has rolled back into Glasgow this week ahead of arguably the biggest show in the UK so far this year.
The conclusion of the semi-final line up of the super lightweight and bantamweight tournaments takes place at the Hydro Arena in Glasgow.
Prestonpans Josh Taylor (14-0, 12 KOs) will face U.S based Belarussian Ivan Baranchyk (19-0, 12KOs), for the IBF world title which Baranchyk won in the quarter final stage against Anthony Yigit. Taylor progressed to the semi-final after a comprehensive win in Glasgow against American Ryan Martin.
It’s only been a month or so since we knew the fight was definitely set after it seemed Baranchyk wasnt happy with World Boxing Super Series. It does go ahead this Saturday in what will be one of the biggest nights in Scottish boxing history as two world titles fights headline the event.
Taylor has fought several times at the Hydro Arena, from winning Commonwealth Games Gold in 2014 to beating former world champion Viktor Postol last year. With a large expectant home crowd it will be interesting to see how Taylor handles the pressure in his first world title shot and if Baranchyk will handle the red hot atmosphere sure to be created by the Scottish crowd.
The fight could be a close contest and the home support could be crucial to keep Taylor going to the end in a gruelling contest.
🗣️ @JoshTaylorBoxer: "This is the best vs the best!" 🔥
— World Boxing Super Series (@WBSuperSeries) May 17, 2019
The other world title fight will see Puerto Rican, Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-0, 12 KOs) defend his IBF Bantamweight title against Japanese superstar ‘The Monster’ Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15KOs), who will have his WBA regular belt up for grabs.
The press conference on Wednesday would see approximately 80% of the media being made up from Japan showing the popularity of Inoue in his home country.
There has been a bit of animosity between the two camps with a Rodriguez coach pushing Inoue’s father and head coach at the media work out.
This should be the three weight world champion Inoue’s biggest test to date and will be interesting to see how he handles the bigger Rodriguez, who is confident and how Inoue handles fighting away from the home comforts of Japan for the first time.
Rodriguez won his world title when he fought and beat Paul Butler in London last year so has experience of big fights in the UK.
This could be a great fight between two fighters in their prime and a bonus for the Scottish public to see a genuine sporting superstar in Inoue.
World Boxing Super Series will be shown live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the U.S.
— World Boxing Super Series (@WBSuperSeries) May 16, 2019
World Boxing Super Series Semi Finals Results: Prograis Stops Relikh, Donaire Shows Off Power
By: William Holmes
The semi-finals of the World Boxing Super Series was held tonight at the Cajundom in Lafayette, Louisiana. The main event of the evening was between Regis Prograis and Kiryl Relikh in the Super Lightweight Division. The co-main event was between Nonito Donaire and Stephon Young in the Bantamweight Division.
Zolani Tete was originally scheduled to face Donaire, but an injury to his right shoulder forced him to withdraw. Stephen Young stepped in to face Donaire.
The co-main event was between Nonito Donaire (39-5) and Stephen Young (18-1-3) in the semifinals of the WBSS Bantamweight Tournament.
Donaire, the taller fighter, pawed at Young with his jab as he circled towards Donaire right hand. Donaire found a home for his check left hook in the opening round, and did not appear to be bothered by the power of young.
Donaire continued to walk Young down in the second and third rounds, but developed a small mouse under his left eye from some of the shots of Young. Donaire had Young stunned in the third round with a straight right hand.
Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account
Young was backing up for most of the fourth and fifth rounds and had blood coming from his nose from the strong shots of Donaire. Young was able to land some counter punches in the sixth round, but Donaire was landing first most of the time.
The end came in the seventh round when Donaire landed a vicious left hook that sent Young crashing to the mat and unable to continue.
Nonito Donaire wins by knockout at 2:37 of the seventh round.
The main event was between Regis Prograis (23-0) and Kiryl Relikh (23-2) in the semifinals of the WBSS Super Lightweight Tournament..
Prograis, a southpaw, showed good upper body movement in the opening round and forced Relikh to miss most of his combinations. Prograis connected with a hard left to the body that caused Relikh to turn around and get cracked with another shot as he went down.
Relikh was able to get up survive the opening round.
Prograis continued his assault on Relikh and wasn’t phased by his power in the second. Prograis opened up a cut on the bridge of Relikh’s nose during the second, but was stung with a punch by Relikh after the the ringside bell signaled the end of the round.
Photo Credit: World Boxing Super Series Twitter Account
Prograis looked recovered by the third round and pummeled Relikh in the third and fourth rounds. Relikh’s attempts at combinations hit nothing but air as Prograis upper body movement made him a very elusive target.
Prograis dominated the fifth round, and when Relikh walked back to his corner he was warned that they may stop the fight if he didn’t show more.
Prograis opened up the sixth round with a straight left followed up with some thudding shots to the body that hard Relikh hurt again. A few more thudding power shots forced Relikh’s corner to follow through with their warnings and stop the fight.
Regis Prograis wins with an impressive TKO at 1:36 of the sixth round.
WBSS2 News: Diaz Quells Fears of Baranchyk Dropout
By: Ste Rowen
Pedro Diaz, famed trainer of IBF super-lightweight champion and World Boxing Super Series semi-finalist Ivan Baranchyk, reassured fans of his fighter’s status in the tournament when he spoke in a press release on Friday,
‘‘The preparations are going really excellent…Baranchyk is a very dedicated athlete and is going through a very good camp with good sparring partners.’’
Despite multiple reports from ESPN of the Belarussian deciding to move on from the tournament over a pay dispute, the WBSS announced a date and location (18th May at the SSE Hydro, Glasgow) for the bout vs. Josh Taylor, which will also be the date and venue for Naoya Inoue’s bantamweight semi vs. another IBF champion, Emmanuel Rodriguez.
Diaz went on to say,
‘‘Some boxers are tired when the weekend comes but not Baranchyk. He is unstoppable. His only focus is his training and his future.
Taylor is a great boxer, he is one of the best in the division and he has a good team around him, but we are very confident, and people will see why he is called The Beast.
We are not going for the KO. We always aim to win all twelve rounds and we know Baranchyk can keep every round a very high pace.’’
The second super-lightweight semi-final between Regis Prograis and Kiryl Relikh is set for 27th April in the US, with the venue to be confirmed. The bantamweight final four bout between Nonito Donaire and Zolani Tete will also be on the April card.
Draw the Battle Lines: America vs. UK in the Super Middleweight Division
By: Ste Rowen
Ever since the inception of the super-middleweight division, American and British boxers have dominated it’s rankings and outstanding bouts. From Sugar Ray Leonard to Andre Ward, Joe Calzaghe to Callum Smith, super-middle has been one of the great divisions for boxers on either side of the Atlantic, and although we never got James Toney vs. Benn or Chris Eubank the final year of the teens, the 10’s, the tenties? Whatever the proper name for this decade is, it could be about to signal the biggest conflict between the US and Great Britain since the 1700’s.
After the roaring success of the World Boxing Super Series which concluded last September, there was a worry that the division might hit a lull in excitement. Worry no more. Where 2018 was the year of the cruiserweights, or more specifically, the year of Usyk, 2019 is set to be the year of the 168lbers.
Caleb Plant was the first to make his mark on the division this year when, thirteen days into 2019, the Tennessee-native dominated IBF champion, Jose Uzcategui, dropping him twice en route to a comfortable twelve-round decision. He joined titlists Callum Smith (WBC & Ring) as well as then WBO champ, Gilberto Ramirez.
Despite conflicting reports it appears Ramirez has vacated and is making the move up to light-heavyweight which has opened the door for another Brit to enter the title scene. At the time of writing, Billy Joe Saunders will fight Shefat Isufi in April for the WBO 168lb belt.
If Saunders wins, as is expected he will enter the super-middle scene just after his past adversary, Chris Eubank Jr pulled off a career-best performance to defeat former world title holder, James DeGale.
Last Saturday, Eubank dominated DeGale across twelve rounds. It was very reminiscent of Plant’s performance vs. Uzcategui. Chris dropped DeGale twice en route to a unanimous decision win, which turned out to be a little too close on the official scorecards – Howard Foster, it’s time to call it a day – But despite the cards, the IBO champion’s performance and general fighting style and intrigue means nobody will forget him when talking about the biggest fights that can be made in the division.
A couple of hours after Eubank pulled off the slight upset over British rival, DeGale, brother of a former DeGale opponent, Anthony Dirrell was announcing himself back into view with a split – and slightly controversial – decision win over Avni Yildrim.
The curious career of Dirrell continues. His only pro-defeat has come at the hands of Badou Jack back in 2015, and despite proving himself to be just above fringe level multiple times, including a 1st round KO of former champion, Caleb Truax; inactivity has seriously hampered the Michigan boxer. But with the top 10 looking as it currently does, it’s gonna be difficult to find a fight that won’t define the top super-middleweight’s careers.
So let’s assume that Ramirez has moved up to light-heavy and Billy Joe Saunders will fight and win the vacated WBO – sorry Shefat. I’ll publicly apologize if you beat Saunders in April – then the 168lb scene is set to draw it’s battle-lines in a dysfunctional US vs. UK way.
On one side of the Atlantic: Caleb Plant, the unbeaten IBF champion; alongside Anthony Dirrell, WBC titlist with just one defeat on his record and almost forgotten.
On the other we have: Callum Smith, WBA and Ring king, arguably the only man who has a legitimate claim to being #1 in the division; Then Chris Eubank Jr, holder of the minor IBO belt but more importantly the victor over DeGale; and Billy Joe Saunders, the unproven entity at 168 but it feels safe to assume he’ll fit in nicely considering his style of technical boxing.
But don’t forget the US wildcard: former WBC champion, David Benavidez lurking in the background, itching to gain back his title and claim supremacy. David at just 22-years old lost his belt outside the ring and based on the evidence of his past performances, a switched-on Benavidez is a world class fighter.
In the 90’s the division was on the verge of a Roy Jones Jr/Toney/Benn/Eubank round robin that never occurred. When you look at the world champions and challengers right now, it will be just as much of a disappointment in two years if we’re not talking about the Smith/Plant/Eubank/Dirrell/Saunders/Benavidez wars of 2019.
Somebody give Kalle Sauerland a call for a WBSS Super-Middleweight 2 ASAP.
The Super Bowl of Boxing 2019
By: Kirk Jackson
Super Bowl came and went and it was a lackluster affair. But nonetheless, the Super Bowl year-in and year-out is a huge spectacle; attracting enormous audiences world-wide and is considered the premier singular event across sports.
Boxing is different, as the sport lacks a singular event defining the season. As a year-long sport, there are instances where some fights hold greater significance comparably to another. The significance measured by different variables to be referenced later.
These highly important bouts can be referred to as Super Bowl-esque in nature. In years past, various boxing greats carried the mantle that would be considered the “Super Bowl of boxing.”
Greats like Mike Tyson and Oscar De La Hoya, although they engaged in multiple high profile bouts more than once a year while relatively active in their respective primes.
In recent years, the prize fighter holding the mantle was Floyd Mayweather and in today’s era, the crown rests upon the cinnamon colored hair of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
The previous two years featured Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin as boxing’s Super Bowl with both encounters taking place in September respectively.
What would be considered as the boxing Super Bowl event for 2019?
Realistically, we could compose Super Bowl match-ups for each individual division. But we’ll keep it short as condensed while analyzing potential bouts for this year. Although the framework determining the Super Bowl match-up in the NFL differs from shaping the Super Bowl like match-up for boxing, the most important variables are used while concocting the decision.
Boxing’s Super Bowl associates the combination of popularity, importance (as far as world rankly standings, championships, historic relevance) financial significance and cultural impact.
It’s important to note, as boxing is year-round and lacks an off season so to speak, potential Boxing-Bowl bouts may manifest as the year progresses. Preferences and requests may change. But for time being as of midway through February of 2019…
The heavyweight division is alive and thriving. Historically, heavyweights are typically considered biggest match-ups within the sport with the winner earning distinction as the “Baddest man on the planet” would be determined in these modern day fantasy fights.
There is a three-angled equation at the top of the division, hopefully finds some form of resolution at some point this year. With each possible pairing, leading to a fan-flustered, attention absorbing, block-buster event. In spite of what Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn believes, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury are stars and share the stage with unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
Deontay Wilder 40-0-1 (39 KO’s) vs. Anthony Joshua 22-0 (21 KO’s): The heavyweight bout everyone has been asking for since 2018 but unfortunately, the two sides have yet to reach an agreement.
Joshua, recently agreed to fight Jarrell Miller 23-0-1 (20 KO’s) June 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. Wilder is negotiating with Fury to stage their highly-anticipated rematch.
Regarding Joshua and Wilder, its two fighters arguably in their prime, they’re undefeated world champions, Olympic medalists (Wilder-Bronze medal winner), (Joshua-Gold medal winner), they’re knock-out artists and there is the United States vs. United Kingdom sports rivalry at stake. Based on the clash of styles, this matchup virtually guarantees fireworks and many observers believe the fight will not go the full distance.
Tyson Fury 27-0-1 (19 KO’s) vs. Anthony Joshua 22-0 (21 KO’s): The England exclusive match-up features undefeated champions with bragging rights also at stake. Fury is the legitimate Lineal heavyweight champion (Fury beat the man who beat the man). Joshua and his contingent of followers believe he is the legitimate heavyweight champion amongst his contemporaries – Fury and Wilder.
Deontay Wilder 40-0-1 (39 KO’s) vs. Tyson Fury II 27-0-1 (19 KO’s): The first fight was epic, leaving many questions about each fighter and the future of the division progressing forward. The rematch should quell most inquiries and depending on the result, prompt a lucrative third fight to cap the potential trilogy.
History reflects the smaller guys can put on quite the event as well. As aforementioned, Mayweather, Alvarez and De La Hoya are prime examples. Sticking with the theme of prominent welterweights, let’s examine the current welterweight picture.
Errol Spence 24-0 (21 KO’s) vs. Mikey Garcia 39-0 (30 KO’s): Considered by many the “Boogeyman” at 147 lbs., Errol “The Truth” Spence occupies quite a few tantalizing options as a strong Super Bowl pick for this year.
Regarding the theme of football and the NFL it’s fitting, the fighter with football aspirations growing up in Desoto, Texas, is slated to headline a huge Pay-Per-View event at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas next month.
Spence headlines the event against top five pound-for-pound fighter Mikey Garcia 39-0 (30 KO’s). Although Garcia is undefeated, the three-division champion is regarded as the huge underdog. In spite of the challenges, this bout is considered of great significance in the boxing world and there is great expectation to draw huge numbers.
Mikey Garcia 39-0 (30 KO’s) vs. Manny Pacquiao 61-7-2 (39 KO’s): A curveball into the mix is if Garcia upsets Spence, creating a massive chain reaction within the welterweight division. For Garcia, a myriad of potential fights would be on the table but perhaps the most lucrative features against the likes of Keith Thurman or more notably Manny Pacquiao.
Even Thurman believes Garcia vs. Pacquiao (should Mikey win) is a must. “I do believe that if Mikey Garcia beats Errol Spence Jr. on March 16, then Pacquiao-Garcia is a must for the sport of boxing,” said Thurman.
“That’s my opinion. Why not take the momentum of this lighter guy who, if he beats Spence, is the new Manny Pacquiao? But I don’t think Mikey wins. I’ve known him since the amateurs and he’s a great fighter. But we have weight classes for a reason.”
Manny Pacquiao 61-7-2 (39 KO’s) vs. Keith Thurman 29-0 (22 KO’s): Leave it to “One-Time,” he would definitely like a shot at the future hall of famer from the Philippines.
“I want to fight Manny Pacquiao,” Thurman told Premier Boxing Champions in an interview after his victory over Josesito Lopez last month. “Imagine what Pacquiao-Thurman is going to look like? He looked well at the age of 40. He looked strong. By the way Broner was fighting, he was respecting the power. Pacquiao-Thurman is a good fight. And when’s the last time Pacquiao fought an undefeated fighter?
“I’m hoping to hear some words from Team Pacquiao,” said Thurman. “We both fought early this year and I’d be willing to negotiate a fight for anytime he deems fit; summer, after the summer, September, October. I think it would be a great fight for the sport. Let’s make it happen.”
For Pacquiao’s part, it appears he is more than willing to face Thurman if he can’t secure the golden ticket rematch against Floyd Mayweather. However, current IBF welterweight champion Spence does not care to see Thurman vs. Pacquiao.
Errol Spence 24-0 (21 KO’s) vs. Keith Thurman 29-0 (22 KO’s):
Two big questions loom over this potential match-up; WHEN and IF they’ll ever enter the same ring, same event, to fight each other. Thurman boasts about never being afraid to let his hands or his “0” go and Spence has been itching to snatch Thurman’s “0” for quite some time now.
Errol Spence 24-0 (21 KO’s) vs. Terence Crawford 34-0 (25 KO’s): Outside of Wilder vs. Joshua this is probably the most demanded fight boxing fans want to see as it features the two best fighters in the deepest division in boxing.
This welterweight fantasy (hopeful reality) match-up potentially has historic implications like Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Thomas Hearns, Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao and Felix Trinidad vs. Oscar De La Hoya. Interesting tidbit, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum had his hand in all of these fights with the exception of Leonard vs. Hearns (Arum promoted their 1989 rematch).
Also regarding Spence, he may occupy the slot sharing the main stage in the near future with another Super Bowl participant, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. As long as Alvarez is fighting a decent opponent, he’ll always be considered in the hunt for top event of boxing.
Saul Alvarez 51-1-2 (35 KO’s) vs. Daniel Jacobs 35-2 (29 KO’s): The unification bout against IBF middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs is highly anticipated and on paper a 50-50 fight.
— Daniel Jacobs (@DanielJacobsTKO) February 11, 2019
Alvarez established his east coast fanbase fighting at Madison Square Garden for the first time this past December against Rocky Fielding 27-2 (15 KO’s). Although a fellow titlist at a lower weight class, Jacobs is a whole different caliber of fighter and should push Alvarez to his limit.
The Brooklynite Jacobs successfully defeated cancer, arguably bested long reigning middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin and aims to defeat Alvarez in Las Vegas this upcoming May.
Saul Alvarez 51-1-2- (35 KO’s) vs. Gennady Golovkin 38-1-1 (34 KO’s): The fighter affectionately referred to as “Triple G” would presumably like to bet the third time is the charm against Mexican rival Alvarez.
Although currently slated to face “The Miracle Man” Daniel Jacobs (former Golovkin opponent), Alvarez may close the year out strong by facing Golovkin for a third time, in attempts to take care of some unfinished business.
The unfinished business from Alvarez’s perspective blooms in the form of exterminating Golovkin via stoppage to leave an exclamation point and properly cap off their trilogy. While Golovkin aims to at the very least even the score to 1-1-1 and a nice payday doesn’t hurt.
We’re only halfway through February so the potential picks may change. Who’s your Boxing Super Bowl pick?
World Boxing Super Series add Inoue v Rodriguez to Glasgow card
By: Michael Kane
The World Boxing Super Series have announced Japanese superstar Naoya Inoue will face Puerto Rican, Emmanuel Rodriguez in Glasgow, Scotland.
The bout will take place on May 18 at the SSE Arena on the same card as local hero Josh Taylor takes on IBF Super Lightweight champion Ivan Baranchyk. Both bouts are semi finals in their respective weight classes.
Inoue (17-0, 15 KOs) opened up this season’s WBSS in spectacular fashion, knocking out Juan Carlos Payano in 70 seconds of the first round in their quarter final tie in Japan.
There was an expectation that Inoue would have another home tie, with WBSS having secured a Japanese TV deal to show his fights so the announcement that he will travel to Scotland has come some what as a surprise. The news has already gone down well with Scottish fans and fans across the rest of the UK, with social media buzzing at the news.
Rodriguez (19-0, 12 KOs) retained his IBF title in a tough quarter final bout against Australian, Jason Moloney, winning by split decision back in October in Orlando, Florida.
In a WBSS press release both fighters gave their initial reaction
“My destiny is to win the prestigious Ali Trophy and prove I am the best bantamweight in the world,” said Inoue. “I cannot wait to box in the United Kingdom in front of their loud fans and I will show them a ‘Monster’ performance!”
“I have been waiting for this moment my entire life,” said Rodriguez. “I always wanted to fight the best, and now I am fighting a boxer considered the best by the boxing reporters and fans. That’s great motivation for me, my team, and Puerto Rico, We got this.
“I am going to get the victory. Puerto Rico will shine in Scotland and I am confident of going all the way and take home the Ali Trophy.”
“This amazing match-up highlights the vision of the World Boxing Super Series,“ said Kalle Sauerland, Comosa’s Chief Boxing Officer.
“Two unbeaten World Champions, two sublime athletes, are putting everything on the line for a place in the final of the World Boxing Super Series where the Ali Trophy awaits the winner. It doesn’t get bigger than this.”
Top Rank Loads Up Alvarez-Kovalev II Card On Super Bowl Weekend
By Jake Donovan
Cognizant of its placement on the eve of Super Bowl Sunday, the Top Rank staff have made significant additions to its super Saturday night of boxing.
A February 2 date long reserved for the light heavyweight title fight rematch between Eleider Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev has now turned into a live quadrupleheader spanning ESPN and its streaming platform ESPN+.
Alvarez-Kovalev II will now headline the ESPN+ portion of the evening (12:00am ET). That portion of the loaded card from The Star in Frisco, Texas will be accompanied by the quick return of unbeaten lightweight Teofimo Lopez, who is fresh off of a highlight reel 1st round knockout of Mason Menard earlier this month in New York City.
An opponent has yet to be announced for Lopez. Sources with knowledge of the show have informed BoxingInsider.com that it will be a step up in class, as the 2016 Honduras Olympian and fast-moving prospect is eager to transition to rising contender.
“I took over my last show, and I am going to do it again,” Lopez (11-0, 9KOs) said. “‘The Takeover’ is coming to Texas, and I can’t wait to get back in the ring.”
Preceding the livestream will be the awaited ring return of unbeaten featherweight Oscar Valdez. Sidelined while recovering from injuries sustained in an ESPN-aired 12-round win over Scott Quigg in March, the two-time Olympian for Mexico returns in a title defense versus unbeaten Carmine Tommasone, who represented Italy in the 2016 Rio Olymnpics.
The bout will headline a live doubleheader on ESPN (10:00pm ET). In chief support to Valdez’ return comes a vacant lightweight title fight between Ghana’s Richard Commey and Russia’s Isa Chaniev.
Moving the Alvarez-Kovalev rematch to ESPN’s live-streaming service was undoubtedly motivated by a desire to boost subscriptions. Top Rank and ESPN continue to search for the proper balance in what will air live on ESPN’s flagship network and what to dedicate exclusively to its subscription-based streaming service.
This particular show will actually provide the best of both worlds. With the ESPN linear platform preceded by ESPN+ live coverage of the preliminary undercard action (7:00 pm-10:00pm ET), boxing fans will get seven hours of live boxing between the services, including three title fights and the latest step in the career of a blue-chip prospect.
“It’s Super Saturday, and by syncing the ESPN linear and ESPN+ platforms for one night, fans have an incredible opportunity to watch a stacked show with many of the world’s best fighters and rising superstars,” said Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank in a statement released through the company’s press office in announcing the full show on Wednesday.
The addition of Valdez (24-0, 19KOs) comes in the wake of the decision to forego a planned January 12 showcase in his adopted hometown of Tucson, Arizona. He was originally due to face Spain’s Andoni Gago, but issues in getting a travel visa in time along with other unbuttoned issues with the remaining undercard prompted an outright cancellation.
It gives Valdez an additional three weeks to further enhance his craft under new trainer Eddy Reynoso, while also providing an upgrade in competition.
“The fans can expect the same Oscar Valdez as far as being an aggressive and exciting fighter,” said Valdez, who looks to make the fifth defense of his featherweight title. “They are also going to see a different side that nobody has seen, which is the boxing skills that I also have and that I’m perfecting and learning with my new trainer, Eddy Reynoso.”
Tommasone (19-0, 5KOs) has yet to make his full mark in the pro ranks. However, the unbeaten featherweight is in the history books as becoming the first pro boxer to participate in—and win—an Olympic boxing match, doing so in 2016 while representing his native Italy.
The 2016 Rio Olympics marked the first year in which pro boxers were able to participate in competition previously limited to amateur boxers. Tommasone joined former flyweight titlist Amnat Ruenroeng (Thailand) and Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (representing his native Cameroon, but who lives in France) as the three to break ground, winning his opening round bout before being sent home in the Round of 16 by Cuba’s Lazaro Alvarez, who went on to capture the Bronze medal.
Tomassone—who was 15-0 prior to his 2016 Rio tour—has since won four bouts in his return to pro competition. All have come versus non-descript competition, as he steps way up in class while fighting outside of Italy as a pro for the first time in his eight-year career.
Still, he comes with greater appeal than Valdez’ originally selected opponent—not to mention it’s a great opportunity for Top Rank to showcase one of its brightest young stars for the third time on ESPN, the latest coming on a busy sports weekend.
“It will be great to see our little warrior, Oscar Valdez, back in action on Feb. 2 after his full recovery from a broken jaw and a courageous victory over Quigg,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Oscar always brings thrills and excitement to his fights.”
The ESPN-televised co-feature figures to serve as the perfect primer.
Ghana’s Commey (27-2, 24 KOs) has patiently waited for his crack at a lightweight title, which he originally believed would come versus Mikey Garcia. Those plans fell apart, however, after the unbeaten pound-for-pound entrant vacated his title in favor of a high-profile showdown versus unbeaten welterweight titlist Errol Spence.
The move left Commey as the highest-rated contender in his pursuit of winning a title on his second try. His previous effort came in a hard-fought split decision loss to Robert Easter Jr. in their Sept. ’16 vacant title fight, which was followed by an equally heartbreaking narrow defeat at the hands of Denis Shafikov just three months later.
Three straight wins have followed, including a six-round destruction of previously unbeaten Alejandro Luna this past March to earn his place as the mandatory challenger.
“When I started working with Richard in September 2016, our plan was to give him another chance to fulfill his dream of becoming a world champion,”said Lou DiBella , Commey’s promoter. “While Chaniev is a very tough Russian fighter, I’m confident that Richard has the skills, punching power and the mental toughness to come out victorious.”
DiBella’s efforts have not at all been lost on his lightweight client.
“I know how hard it is for Ghanaian fighters to get promoted by the top promoters, but Lou has consistently shown that if he thinks you’re the man, then he will be the man for you,” said Commey, who last fought in August in a 2nd round knockout of journeyman Yardley Cruz in Long Island, New York. “He has shown this by the investment DiBella Entertainment has put in me and by getting me this shot at the title and securing it in the United States.”
While it won’t be Commey’s first stateside appearance, his opponent stamps his passport for his first world title fight.
Chaniev (13-1, 6 KOs) has fought exclusively in Eastern Europe as he travels to the U.S. for the first time as a pro. The 26-year old Russian lightweight earned his place in the title mix after a strong showing in his career-best win, outpointing former titlist Ismael Barroso in his most recent bout this past May.
“I have the biggest motivation ever to win, and there is no other result that will satisfy me,” Chaniev said. “On Feb. 2, I will demonstrate all my skills and hard preparation. Some people don’t think I will win, but they will be shocked.”
Alvarez to Unify Super Middleweight Division in 2019?
By: Daniel Smith
Alvarez, to unify Super Middleweight division 2019?
Last night at the Garden, Canelo Alvarez was razor sharp, formidable and devastatingly accurate as he peppered Rocky Fielding with a torrent pounding and punishing body shots to force the stoppage within three rounds of boxing.
Photo Credit: DAZN Twitter Account
Fielding struggled to ignite the engine, let alone move out of first gear as Canelo smothered, suffocated and obliterated the Liverpudlian’s offence and game-plan by deploying his brutal artillery throughout the rounds.
Meticulously targeting and thudding away at Fielding’s long, skinny flank; dishing-out lightning-bolt shots to the liver, one after the other, relentlessly zapping the former WBA champion into submission without even breaking a sweat. Incidently, whether it’s Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua, a sickening shot to the liver ultimately instructs the body to take a knee, no matter how big, bulky or solidly conformed you are – so no discredit to Rocky in that regard.
Although it was the Mexican who stepped up a weight-class; it certainly seemed as though Rocky Fielding was the one who’d brought a knife to gun fight, as every attack and combination he fired-out seemed fruitless.
So what’s next for the cinnamon-haired, super middleweight smasher? After skillfully bulldozing through the division’s WBA champion with such ease and cool; could Canelo continue on his 168lb division ascent and lay down the gauntlet for a clash with the WBA and WBSS champion, Callum Smith? A fight with Smith would be a an electrifying clash, an enticing prospect with another belt to add his collection, but ultimately, it would be a gruelling night’s work for the now, three weight-class champion.
There may be other fish to fry in the division such as WBO Gilberto Ramirez, IBF Jose Uzcategui and WBC David Benavidez. Or, alternatively, he could have a third dance with GGG which I’m sure would rake-in the fans and financial spoils.
Who knows? But one thing’s certain – 2019 will be explosive.