Tony Ferguson’s Fate Uncertain after UFC 238 Victory over “Cowboy” Cerrone
By: Jesse Donathan
“El Cucuy” is the boogeyman. A monster that leaves even veteran cowboys shaken in their boots. Tony Ferguson (25-3) defeated Donald Cerrone Saturday night at UFC 238 via TKO doctor’s stoppage. The last time Ferguson lost a fight was May 5, 2012 at UFC on Fox 3 to the always tough Michael Johnson. Since then, “El Cucuy” has been on a remarkable 12-fight winning streak in the organization against some of the best fighters in the division.
According to an October 8, 2017 Washington Post article titled, “UFC 216: Tony Ferguson wins interim lightweight title with submission over Kevin Lee,” author Marissa Payne writes that, “It was Grade A beef coming into this fight between Vegas-odds favorite Ferguson and the underdog Lee.” The Grade A beef, an allusion to the stereotypical bad blood role playing card often played by fighters in the lead up to a fight. It’s a go to move in the fight promotion game to stir interest among fans and give media pundits something to write and talk about.
“In the end,” writes Payne, “It was Ferguson who proved victorious and was crowned the interim lightweight champion with his submission of Lee.”
Traditionally spoken of in condescending terms, the UFC interim title doesn’t hold as much weight as the undisputed belt despite being a legitimate, recognized championship nonetheless. But unfortunately for Ferguson, his run as the interim title holder only lasted a New York minute.
According to an October 2, 2018 MMAFighting.com article titled, “Tony Ferguson on UFC stripping interim title: ‘How do you think I f*cking feel?’,” author Marc Raimondi writes that Ferguson, “Was the UFC’s interim lightweight champion until the belt was taken away following a severe knee injury he sustained prior to a scheduled fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 in April.”
“You shouldn’t strip a champion due to a freak injury that happened during a UFC-obligated media event,” said Ferguson on The MMA Hour in an April 2, 2018 article for MMAFighting.com.
According to the author Dave Doyle, Ferguson reportedly, “Tripped over a heavy production cable in a dark room,” while on set for a FOX television interview. It was a serious injury, one which required immense sacrifice and hard work from Ferguson in order to bounce back, yet Ferguson did so in almost superhuman fashion.
Interestingly enough, ESPN analyst Chael Sonnen is on record as stating that the chord Tony Ferguson tripped over has taken multiple victims out over the course of the years, including one individual who reportedly broke their back and a handful of others to include the UFC’s own heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.
Since capturing the UFC lightweight interim title against Kevin Lee and subsequently being stripped of his belt, Ferguson has rattled off two straight victories including defeating former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis via corner stoppage and now two-division refugee Donald Cerrone via TKO doctor’s stoppage Saturday night.
“Cerrone’s right eye swelled shut,” writes Cindy Boren in her June 9, 2019 Washington Post article titled, “Tony Ferguson beats Donald Cerrone, who made the mistake of blowing his nose.” According to Boren, “He was taken to a hospital afterward with what UFC President Dana White said was a broken right orbital bone.”
Cerrone, a veteran UFC fighter that has fought in both the UFC lightweight and welterweight divisions no doubt was well aware that blowing his nose after a breakage could result in one or both of his eyes swelling shut; thus, forcing the doctors to stop the fight. But with a reported broken orbital bone, a serious and painful injury I don’t think anyone can blame “Cowboy” for giving in to what is likely an irresistible urge to clear your obstructed airway of unpleasantness.
According to a June 7, 2019 mmamania.com article titled, “Dana White won’t commit to Tony Ferguson title shot with UFC 238 win: ‘I can’t say that’s gonna happen’,” author Dan Hiergesell writes that Ferguson is, “not guaranteed the next shot at the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Dustin Poirier,” which is scheduled to go down later this year in September.
The undefeated Nurmagomedov captured the undisputed UFC lightweight title against Al Iaquinta in April of 2018, defeating the spirited Iaquinta by unanimous decision. Nurmagomedov would go on to defend his title against former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor, who no doubt still looms in the lightweight picture; mucking up the waters of what would otherwise be an open and shut case for Tony Ferguson contending for the undisputed belt.
Purely speculative, the UFC would no doubt like to insert McGregor back into a title picture. Which would go a long way in helping McGregor and the UFC to secure a future big money payday in a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the squared circle. But the circumstances have to be right and unfortunately that could mean “El Cucuy” takes a back seat to what brings the most money to the organization as strategy takes precedent over any legitimate claims to the throne.
I don’t think anyone doubts how good Tony Ferguson is. The man has a rightful claim to the UFC lightweight crown, having never lost his interim title in the cage and only being stripped for what in all intents and purposes amounts to an injustice by the UFC. Ferguson should spare no opportunity to remind the public he is uncrowned UFC lightweight champion, because the UFC would otherwise like to quietly brush him under the table as a less marketable, yet incredibly capable fighter that unfortunately has been left on the outside looking in.
Which spells out the ugly truth in the modern day mixed martial arts landscape, the rankings and even the best fighters in the division will take a back seat to marketability and thus profitability every single time. And it doesn’t matter who you are, even the great Tony Ferguson is going to take a number to Conor McGregor when the possibility of a mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather looms just on the horizon should the Irishmen find himself back in the saddle again.
For Ferguson, it’s a catch 22 predicament where by all things right, good and true he should be next in line for the UFC lightweight title. In his way, Mt. McGregor; an almost insurmountable climb. If “El Cucuy” hopes to make an impact on his championship future, Tony Ferguson is going to need to enter WWE mode. Rounding out his mixed martial arts game with the ancient art of promotion in order to keep his name in the headlines and fresh on the minds of mixed martial arts notoriously fickle fans. Ferguson needs to give the UFC a reason to look his way beyond leaving bodies in his wake, and what better way than to remind the public you’re the UFC interim lightweight champion at every waking moment and pick fights with everyone of note.
Tony Harrison Stars as the Grinch Who Stole Victory
By: Kirk Jackson
Leave it to Tony Harrison 28-2 (21 KO’s) to spoil plans for one particular family this holiday season. While the newly crowned WBC junior middleweight champion isn’t a Grinch per say, Harrison certainly ruined the evening of the Charlo twins, capturing his first world title in a well-fought, boxing master-class this past weekend.
Harrison placed together a great game-plan; consistently jabbing, fighting effectively on his back foot, moving offline, moving around the ring effectively controlling the range, distance and feinting effectively.
Harrison’s constant feinting and changing levels kept Jermell Charlo 31-1 (15 KO’s) from getting in position to attack because he had to reset his offense – which negated Charlo from landing combinations. Jermell displayed the tendency to lunge in as opposed to setting up his offense with his jab, or disguising his offense with his jab or even feinting himself. It was in an effect misplaced aggression.
Jermell displayed signs of this same style of attack in his previous bout against Austin Trout and Harrison was able to implement similar elements from Trout’s game-plan to obtain victory against Charlo.
“I showed championship composure. I didn’t have to do much. I used my jab. I used my ring generalship. I kept him at bay. He wound up for big shots and I kept my defense tight. All we worked on was defense,” Harrison said in a post-fight interview with FightHub.
“I got back to my corner after every round and they told me to just keep doing what you’re doing. You’re dictating the pace they said. That’s what champions do. Champions don’t just try to knock people out. That’s all he wanted to do. I dictated it. I used my jab. I dictated the fight. That’s what champions do.”
Harrison’s victory places him in a unique position and potentially causes clutter in the junior middleweight division.
Although Harrison is an elite fighter and proved as much with his recent performance, his fight against Jermell was supposed to be a showcase fight for Charlo twin.
There were plans of a unification bout between Charlo and the current WBA and IBF junior middleweight champion Jarrett Hurd 23-0 (16 KO’s). Now that unification match is in question. Unification may still take place, but Harrison now has the opportunity to play dance partner and exact revenge in the process as he lost to Hurd last year in a fight for the vacant IBF title.
If it’s up to Jermell, he would prefer a rematch to take place and within four months.
“I definitely feel like I won that fight,” Charlo said. “I pulled out way more rounds than he did. But like I said, it’ll be a rematch and I promise you, like I’m gonna train harder, I’m gonna try to train different. I did a great job in training camp. I can’t take nothing away from what me, [trainer] Derrick [James] and everybody else game plan was,” said Jermell in a post-fight interview.
“I hit hard. You know what I mean?,” Charlo said. “I use my power. A lot of people use their skills and use their – I have skills, I have power, I have speed. So just going back in there, regroup and just replaying the fight in my mind, I tried my best to, you know, land that right shot, you know, and just get the night over with. You know what I mean? The check don’t change, so I know how to fight and I’ve done it before and I believe in my power, I still believe in myself. So it’s gonna take just another chance, you know, me getting out there, developing. I’m young. I’m 28-years-old. So, me getting out there again and developing as a fighter, and just growing and learning from that.”
The question remains if Jermell can make the proper adjustments to implement a game-plan allowing greater success in the rematch. Jermell, along with his twin brother Jermall are extremely talented fighters. But with that stated, they struggled over the weekend against tough, game opponents in Tony Harrison and Matt Korobov 28-1 (14 KO’s) respectively.
Can’t fault either twin for their offensive effort regarding aggressiveness and trying to produce a knock-out. The pressure of headlining a big event, may have effected their approach as far as the game-plan they had for their respective opponents. The Charlos want to show they are the best fighters in their respective divisions and they can still accomplish this feat heading into the next year. The Harrison bout threw a wrench in their plans but that’s boxing.
The Premier Boxing Champions event broadcasted on Fox was a showcase event designed and catered to the Charlo twins, in effort to display their talents to a wider audience and to continue the momentum boxing has been building over the past couple of years. More fighters across cable network television, an infusion of young talent ready to take the reigns and carry boxing into the future.
The twins echoed the sentiments of robbery in the aftermath of Jermell’s loss but that may not be the case. Why would the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) go through all that effort to promote the fighter (Jermell) only to have that fighter get screwed on the cards and lose?
Even the commentary team was extremely biased in favor of the Charlo twins that night. Compliments for Harrison and Korobov respectively were far and few. At times, it appeared like the commentary team demonized Harrison for his efforts in spite of a brilliant performance.
And let this be clear, this isn't disrespecting the announcers…I am a fan of some of them. I just don't want to be influenced while I watch a fight.
— Mimi Melendez (@MimiMel0417) December 23, 2018
I re-watched #CharloHarrison with more focus than last night and scored round by round (like a judge). I still scored it the same (close for Charlo) but that's a much closer fight than some people think. Not a robbery! #boxing #PBConFOX #boxeo
— Caryn A. Tate (@carynatate) December 24, 2018
Who truly won can be debated among the viewing audience, as many close fights are. But the biased criticism hurled at Harrison from professional analysts is uncalled for. But I guess that happens when you’re the Grinch.
PBC on Bounce TV Results: Tony Harrison Decisions Ishe Smith, Tabiti KO’s Kayode
By: Bryant Romero
Tony Harrison got a much needed victory to build some momentum in his career as he scored a clear but somehow only a split verdict over the game but outgunned Ishe Smith at the Sam’s Town Hotel in Las Vegas on Friday night. Harrison (27-2, 21 KOs) used his superior size, reach, and punching power to offset the very durable and always tough Ishe Smith as Harrison displayed his jab throughout the fight.
Photo Credit: Chris Farina/Mayweather Promotions
The change in momentum of the fight was in the third round as Harrison scored a knockdown with a clean overhand right that buckled and dropped the former champion. The 27-year-old got the confidence boost he needed as he seemed to run away with the bout thereafter. He hurt Smith on multiple occasions throughout the fight and seemed to be on verge of a stoppage win in some of the later stanzas.
Smith who dropped to (29-10, 12 KOs) with the defeat, showed tremendous toughness by be able to last the distance. However, he had trouble with the length and range of the younger challenger and was limited to only spurts of success has he tried all night to get inside of Harrison’s reach and land devastating punches. Despite getting dropped and stunned in the contest on multiple occasions, one judge had in his favor by the score of 95-94.
Harrison almost made a statement by being very close to being the first to stop Ishe Smith, but it wasn’t to be and settled for the split decision victory. With the win, Harrison moves closer to title contention and perhaps will get opportunity for a title eliminator in his very next bout.
In the co-featured bout Andrew “The Beast” Tabiti kept his undefeated record intact with a knockout win over Lateef Kayode in their scheduled ten round bout. The first five rounds was an ugly hugfest fight as Tabiti (16-0, 13 KOs) spared the audience by ending it with a right uppercut in the sixth round and scoring an impressive knockout victory. Kayode (21-3, 16 KOs) dropped to his knees and was unable to beat the count. With the victory, Tabiti moves closer to title contention in the talented cruiserweight division.
Bellew Defeats Haye Again, Butler and Ryder Win
By: Ste Rowen
At London’s O2 Arena, Tony ‘Bomber’ Bellew once again overcame an early onslaught to defeat David Haye, even more decisively as their first meeting.
From the first bell the ‘Hayemaker’ looked to control the centre of the ring, constantly forcing Bellew back without efficiently cutting off the ring. Much like their 1st bout, Haye’s punching, though more constant, was very wayward. Every time David made a fairly substantial attack, Bellew literally shrugged it off, and prepared himself to counter the next attack. Towards the end of the 2nd round Tony threw his hands up as if to say, ‘Is that all you got?’
It seemed it might be.
Through 3, Bellew looked to control the centre ground. The ‘Bomber’ aimed to fire first in the round and as Haye prowled forward, Bellew countered with the jab and overhand right. Haye seemed to be throwing punches for the sake of it, without any real intent. Yet again, Bellew seemed so far out of reach of the ‘Hayemaker’ and with 20 seconds left of the 3rd, the ‘Bomber’ launched an assault, and a left-right hit the sweet spot to drop the Bermondsey native.
Haye had barely enough time to recover before Bellew was on him again, and the Liverpudlian took full advantage as he dropped the ‘Hayemaker’ yet again with a right hook into the corner of the ring. The bell rang for the end of the 3rd before what might’ve been a 9-minute finisher by Tony Bellew. Haye came out battling in the 4th round, but Bellew continued to look like the superior boxer. The David Haye of old was long gone by now, if not sooner.
With Bellew on the offensive at the end of the 4th round, heading into the 5th, the fight seemed poised. Then with 1:10 left on the clock, Bellew fired off a right-left that brutally dropped Haye yet again, and this time, it signalled the end. Haye rose, but looked shaky, and like any true boxer, Bellew went in for the kill. With less than 60 seconds on the clock, the ‘Bomber’ began to tee off on Haye and the referee had seen enough. Howard Foster stepped in, and called an end to Bellew vs Haye 2, with Tony Bellew emerging the victor once again.
Speaking post-fight, Bellew wasn’t completely clear on who he wanted next,
‘Me and Dillian (Whyte) have had words over the years. Dillian is a good fighter. It’s a hard fight, but it’s a fight for nothing…I’m a walking super series, every fight I’m in is the Super Series.’
‘Usyk, Gassiev, Andre Ward? You name them, I keep beating them. Just give me someone.’
On the undercard…
John Ryder vs Jamie Cox
After stopping Jamie Cox in the 2nd round, John Ryder has laid claimed to being THE super middleweight of Great Britain, despite the Lonsdale belt laying vacant.
Both southpaws came out swinging but both seemed to recognise the task ahead within a couple of minutes of the 1st round. The fight looked even as it headed into the 2nd until, with 2:23 on the clock, Ryder landed, what seemed to be, a routine right hand to the temple of Cox, dropping the former world title challenger, and, as the crowd waited for Cox to rise, the referee counted Ryder’s foe out. Cox tried to rise on number 10 of the 10-count, but that’s always a sure sign of a defeated man; and that’s just how Ian John Lewis saw it, as he waved off the bout.
So now with the likes of, David Brophy, Zach Parker, or even a rematch with Rocky Fielding waiting, John Ryder knows, the next fight is imperative to his progression.
Paul Butler vs Emmanuel Rodriguez
Emmanuel Rodriguez is the new IBF bantamweight champion of the world after a competitive, but ultimately clear 12 round decision victory over former holder of the same belt, Paul Butler.
After Paul Butler weighed in 3lbs over the bantamweight limit, and refused to attempt a 2nd weigh-in, the IBF bantamweight world championship was only on the line for Puerto Rican, Emmanuel Rodriguez, and it seemed ‘Manny’ was taking his anger of Butler’s disregard for the 118-limit, out on him in the 1st round. Rodriguez punished Butler for 3 minutes, knocking down the Liverpudlian twice. The ‘Baby Faced Assassin’ survived through to the 4th, attempting to rally and regain the rounds lost at the start of the fight.
From the 5th though, Rodriguez played both predator and prey, luring Butler in, only to fire off point scoring counters. As the rounds grew on, Rodriguez played with Butler, knowing the IBF belt was within his grasp. The final scorecards came back as, 118-108, 120-106, 120-106.
As comprehensive as those scorecards were though, Rodriguez will know, in a division with such champions as Ryan Burnett, Zolani Tete, and most likely, soon to be WBA ‘Regular’ champ, Naoya Inoue, there should be no easy fights going forward.
Lenroy Thomas vs Joe Joyce
Joe Joyce became the new commonwealth heavyweight champion in just his 4th pro bout with a 2nd round stoppage of Lenroy ‘TNT’ Thomas.
Joyce took the fight to Thomas immediately and though the work wasn’t as precise as the former Olympian would have hoped, it seemed to be having the desired effect, as Lenroy struggled through the 1st round. Right at the end of the first 3 minutes, Joyce dropped his Jamaican foe with a heavy left-hand body shot.
Saved by the bell, ‘TNT’ entered the 2nd round knowing he was in for a rough night. The 2nd followed the 1st as the sheer accumulation of punches from Joyce put the Commonwealth champ down once again. Thomas rose once more, but he was throwing absolutely nothing back by now and it seemed just a matter of time before the ‘Juggernaut’ finished the job.
With less than 30 seconds on the clock of the 2nd, Joyce put Lenroy down with another brutal left hook to the head, and that was that, as the bout was waved off, and Joe Joyce took another massive step towards the biggest honours.
Now, 4-0 (4KOs) and commonwealth heavyweight champion, Joyce was ready to talk up his ambitions post-fight,
‘I wanted to land, and hopefully gave everyone watching a good show…I knew he’d be a tricky opponent…I viewed my range and got to him.’
‘The world’s my oyster…I’d like to challenge for the British title.’
Joshua Buatsi vs Stephane Cuevas
Joshua Buatsi continued his steady rise in the pro ranks with a 5th round stoppage of 8-1-3, Stephane Cuevas.
The Ghanaian born light heavyweight, teed off on Cuevas all night, and in the 5th round began to rifle power shots off the head of his French opponent until the referee stepped in and ended the fight. There’s still the obvious signs of an elite amateur, fighting for points rather than for the knockout, but with the quality of output Buatsi displays, that’s hardly a criticism.
Post-fight, Eddie Hearn, Buatsi’s promoter, laid out future plans,
‘On to 10 rounds next…He’ll box on our September show in New York…He’s down to earth, he’s working hard, and the only thing that can stop him, is Joshua Buatsi himself.’
Martin Ward vs James Tennyson
With the Commonwealth and European super featherweight titles on the line, anticipation was high heading into this England vs. Northern Ireland matchup, and it was the green and white army that took it, as James Tennyson stopped Martin Ward in the 5th round of a pulsating fight.
Ward was wearing the yellow and blue of Ukraine, and in the early rounds, the Essex native was displaying the kind of defensive movement Lomachenko would be happy with, but it wasn’t just his defence that was impressive as, at the end of the 2nd round, ‘Wardy’ landed a beautiful left hook to the body that dropped Tennyson. The Irishman rose before the count and came out all guns blazing for the third.
After a blistering, all action 3rd and 4th, Tennyson returned the favour for the 2nd round 10-8, with a knockdown of his own. The Irishman wasted no time in taking advantage of a dazed Ward, dropping his opponent again, forcing the referee to call time on the bout.
Heading into the fight as the underdog, James ‘The Assassin’ Tennyson is now the new, Commonwealth and EBU European super featherweight champion.
Luke Campbell vs Troy James
Luke Campbell returned to the ring for the first time since his competitive split decision loss to WBA world champion, Jorge Linares, with a dominant stoppage in the 5th round of a scheduled 6-round bout against ‘Terrifying’ Troy James.
In complete control from the first bell, Campbell, now 18-2 (14KOs) will be grateful for the rounds considering the length of time he’s been out of the ring (8 months). Speaking after the fight, Campbell had Yvan Mendy, the only other man to have beaten ‘Cool Hand’, firmly in sight for his future 2018 plans.
Bellew vs. Haye Undercard Preview
By: Ste Rowen
With domestic dust ups, commonwealth honours and a world title fight, Bellew vs Haye isn’t the only intriguing bout taking place in London on Saturday.
Photo Credit: Sky Sports Boxing Twitter Account
Paul Butler v Emmanuel Rodriguez
First up is a bout for the vacant IBF world bantamweight title, recently dropped by Ryan Burnett. Paul Butler, 26-1 (14KOs) takes on Puerto Rican, Emmanuel Rodriguez in an attempt to reclaim the belt he previously held in 2014 when he beat Stuart Hall via split decision. Eight months after that fight, Butler had vacated the bantamweight title to fight for the super flyweight version of the IBF. That night, the ‘Baby Faced Assassin’ had his first taste of defeat when he was dominated, and ultimately stopped by South African, and currently WBA ‘Super’ bantamweight champion, Zolani Tete. Butler has rebuilt well since then, with a nine-straight win streak including a unanimous decision victory in a rematch with Stuart Hall, and although he heads into Saturday’s fight as the underdog, speaking to Sky Sports, Paul’s not falling for the hype surrounding Rodriguez,
‘When you watch him, you think he’s a special kid, but go through the rounds, watch his mistakes, there’s loads we’ve picked up on. He goes to his left pretty much every time, he’ll take a step to his right and then he’ll come straight back to his left.’
‘We’ve both got pretty similar styles, we both love a left hook to the body, we both love going head to the body…I know I’ve trained hard and I’m physically well, I’m sparring well. I believe under Joe (Gallagher) I can get in there with anyone and win.’
Emmanuel Rodriguez, 17-0 (12KOs) is yet to go the 12-round distance. The furthest ‘Manny’ has gone is 10 rounds, when he came up against Albert Guevara in 2016, earning a clear victory across all three scorecards. This will also be the first time Rodriguez fights outside of North America, with previous matchups taking place in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and the US. Though on the surface Butler is showing no signs of concern for the momentum ‘Manny’ has gathered, there’s certainly attributes that will worry him. The Puerto Rican may have been taken the distance by Guevara, but he was teeing off variations of the left hand all night, and he’s not limited to his left. His precision of the right-cross has setup the finish against previous opponents.
Zolani Tete’s record going into the Butler fight wasn’t much to look at, and we saw what happened there. Speaking earlier this week, Rodriguez was eager for fight night to come around,
‘It has been a long road to this fight, but I am ready to win my first world championship. Paul Butler is a good fighter, but nothing can stop me…It doesn’t matter that we’re in his backyard, I’ve done everything right getting ready for this and I look forward to bringing the belt back to my beloved country of Puerto Rico.’
Lenroy Thomas v Joe Joyce
The sole heavyweight bout to grace Saturday’s card sees Commonwealth champion, Lenroy Thomas take on 2016 silver medallist, Joe Joyce.
Thomas, 22-4-1 (11KOs) was last seen in his ill-fated rematch with David Allen in March. That night, the two boxers clashed heads in the first round, cutting Allen enough for the fight to be called a technical draw. The Jamaican is yet to defend his commonwealth title since beating Allen in their first fight last year, fighting just once – discounting the Allen rematch – in an 8-round decision victory over 12-2, Ed Fountain, on the Wilder vs Stiverne 2 undercard.
Much like his fellow 2016 Olympians Filip Hrgovic and Tony Yoka, Joyce, 3-0 (3KOs) is being fast tracked through the rankings with previous bouts including a debut stoppage win over 12-3-1 at the time, Ian Lewison and more recently, a 38 second KO of big talking, big framed, but little fight, Donnie Palmer.
John Ryder v Jamie Cox
John Ryder will take on fellow southpaw Jamie Cox in a domestic showdown that’s sure to get the crowd going before the main event.
Ryder’s last outing was his explosive 5th round knockout of Patrick Nielsen on the undercard of Jamie Cox vs George Groves in October, and the Londoner wasn’t too concerned about having to wait so long for this next fight,
‘There was talk of other fights we were looking at, but they didn’t come off, that’s boxing. It was about picking the right fight, rather than going in there against anyone…I think our styles are geared up for a good fight, it’ll be a real treat for the fans.’
Jamie Cox’s Matchroom career hasn’t exactly set alight since making the switch from Frank Warren’s, Queensberry Promotions back in early 2017. Aside from the stoppage defeat to Groves, Cox has fought four times; 16 rounds against very limited opposition, but he recognises the step up in opponent he’ll be taking this weekend,
‘I’m expecting the best John Ryder. I’m looking forward to mixing it with him…He’s ranked across a couple of the governing bodies and it’s my goal to become a world champion. Beating John will open more doors…He likes to come forward and have a go and I’m always up for the fight.’
With Rocky Fielding vacating the British title, a win for either of these two, puts them firmly in place for the next shot at the Lonsdale belt.
Martin Ward v James Tennyson
With the Commonwealth, EBU and WBA ‘International’ super featherweight titles up for grabs, there’s a lot to play for when Martin Ward and James Tennyson enter the ring.
Ward, 19-0-2 (9KOs) has world honours in his sight heading into Saturday,
‘I’ve gone the traditional route and I’m glad I’ve done that…I want to progress to the world stage now. I’ve won everything there is to win and when I beat James, I want to start working towards world level.’
Tennyson, 21-2 (17KOs) who puts the WBA ‘International’ belt on the line, heads into the bout as the underdog but, speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, ‘The Assassin’ believes his time is now,
‘Within the last year I have won an Irish title and the WBA ‘International’ title and won three 50/50 fights by stoppage…Now I’m going onto the biggest stage, and I can’t wait…Ward is quick and sharp and it won’t be easy, but we have our game plan and I’m ready for 12 hard rounds.’
Louis-Galento: A Hype Master Proves He’s More Than Just Hype
Louis-Galento: A Hype Master Proves He’s More Than Just Hype
By: Sean Crose
Tony Galento had some kind of left. Just how powerful was the stocky heavyweight’s power punch? Powerful enough to send the great Joe Louis off his feet. If that isn’t a ringing endorsement, nothing is. Yet Galento isn’t remembered today for that left of his. Rather, he’s better remembered for his nickname, “Two Ton Tony.” If that moniker strikes you as a bit over-the-top then it still serves its purpose. For Galento was a master of hype. A product of Orange, New Jersey. Galento looked more like Edward G Robinson than a prize fighter, and he played his off-center persona to the hilt.
Nutrition? How’s pasta, chicken and plenty of booze sound for a man in training? Ring aura? Galento is said to have avoided bathing before a bout in order to disgust his opponent in the ring. Smack talk? A story claims Galento once heckled iconic comedian Jackie Gleason so endlessly during one stand up performance that Gleason, remembered today for playing “The Honeymooners’” Ralph Kramden, tried sending the fighter “to the moon” (needless to say, things didn’t end well for Gleason that night). Showmanship? Galento once fought a bear. Need more evidence? According to BoxRec: “On May 1, 1931, Galento fought three times and won all three fights. He reportedly drank beer between rounds.”
Make no mistake about it, Galento was a character. He also really knew how to promote himself. Here’s the thing, though – Galento knew how to fight, as well. This wasn’t just some circus act come to life, this was a real contender who was a danger to any man he faced. And so it was, that on June 28th, 1939, Galento met the great Joe Louis for the heavyweight championship of the world. Unsurprisingly, Galento played up the opportunity to the hilt. “I can lick the bum!” he claimed in classic, over-the-top fashion. No one, though, seems to have thought the man had much of a chance. Why would they have? It was the great Joe Louis he was facing, after all.
The night of the fight, Galento entered the ring, stocky and balding as always. Yet his manner just before the bout exuded the kind of antagonistic confidence that only a master of mind games can exude. During the pre-fight faceoff in the center of the ring, he reached forward and rubbed Louis’ head. Louis, however, remained gunfighter cool. Shenanigans weren’t a part of the man’s makeup – at least not in the ring. And, like all great fighters, the champion knew not to take the bait from a man clearly trying to make him lose the all-important mental battle.
The first round was something of a surprise. The aggressive Jersey slugger had a crouched, awkward style that Louis wasn’t able to figure out. What’s more, Galento was firing that potent left, which was finding a home on his opponent. By the second round, however, Louis found his range and was able to effectively send his stocky foe to the mat. Galento got up, but by the third round it was clear the man’s less than stellar conditioning was starting to get to him. For Galento’s movements had slowed and his awkward style had become choppy. In short, he was no longer as effective as he had been minutes earlier.
Sure enough, from the look on Galento’s beat-up face, it appeared as if the fight were over for all intents and purposes. Then, however, the unbelievable happened. Backed up near the ropes, Galento fired a perfect overhand left perhaps a millisecond after Louis launched his own left to Galento’s body. Louis went down…to the explosively vocal shock of the crowd. Not that Louis was down for long. Indeed, the champion may not have even been on the mat for a full second before he was back on his feet, ready to fight again (he was given no count). Still, Galento had, if only for a moment, backed up the hype.
And, sure enough, Galento was still able to land aggressively and hard afterwards. He was also able to hold Louis behind the head and punch, as he had previously for brief moments before tough guy referee Arthur Donovan would step in and break things up. Still, by the fourth, Louis’ great skill set proved to be too much. Backing his man up, the champion was soon able to make Galento’s head look like a punching bag. Before the round was over, Galento collapsed onto the canvas for the last time after Donovan got in between the two fighters. It wasn’t a single blow that did Galento in, it was the accumulation. Technically speaking, Louis sent his feisty antagonist to the mat without a punch. Indeed, it was the series of Louis’ brutal shots seconds earlier that led to Galento’s odd, delayed-reaction defeat.
After the bout, Louis took a much deserved vacation to Atlantic City. Long after his run-in with Galento, though, the famous champion was still able to recall Galento’s pre-fight antics with clarity. “Tony berated me something terrible before the fight,” he admitted, “He got to me, and I hated him for it. I never hated anybody before. I decided to punish him before I knocked him out.” Some guys simply have a knack for rubbing certain people the wrong way. Others guys actually love doing it. Galento was just one of those guys who loved doing it.
More Boxing History
Underdog Turned Champ
Underdog Turned Champ
By: Iftisaam Khan
Drama. Power. Heart. It had it all.
Causing one of the biggest upsets in the Sport, Tony ‘The Bomber’ Bellew overcame the former WBA heavyweight champ, David Haye in dramatic circumstances at the O2 Arena in a night that was only expected to last a few rounds.
With some putting Haye ahead on points; things took a dramatic turn for the worse as the fighter’s rumoured Achilles injury became apparent in the 6th round.
Despite Haye’s chances been severely hindered, he was able to bring to carry on in true display of courage and heart as he withstood his opponent till his eventual demise in the 11th round after being knocked to the canvas. Throughout the late exchanges Bellew in particular was exhausted as he looked to find the finishing punch but he was able to find the last bit in the tank as he nailed home the victory.
What makes this such as special feat is the fact that the only person who believed he was able to accomplish this feat was Bellew and his team as he moved up to heavyweight for the first time.
Despite the daunting task of sharing the ring with one of the world’s most powerful punchers Bellew took it his stride and was able to defy the bookies who were heavily backing Haye to get the business done. It would have a been interesting to see how Haye would have fared without his injury, perhaps it would have been too much for the Liverpudlian but we will never know.
Taking the attention away from the main event to the other great action in the night saw O’Hara Davies turn his words into actions as he overcame Derry Matthews in a brutal finish with a KO in the third round to end proceedings as well as Matthews career as the 33-year-old called time on his boxing career.
Elsewhere saw the ever-improving Katie Taylor produce one of the best performances on the night as she overcame Monica Gentili in the 5th round. The Irishwoman was in a league of her own as she produced flawless display proving too much for opponent. Although its early days, we are potentially witnessing one of the greatest women’s boxers, so sit back and enjoy.
Adding to the fighters hanging up their gloves tonight was Pauli Malignaggi following his defeat against Brit, Sam Eggington. The American wasn’t able to get complete control over opponent, although he did land some successful shots on his foe he wasn’t able to make them count as Eggington took control of majority of the fight. In the 8th round the ‘Savage’ was able to end proceedings with a devastating hook to body, ending Malignaggi’s hope and ending his career.
Fight Recap: Haye vs. Bellew; Hay Day’s Gone
Fight Recap | Haye – Bellew | Hay Day’s Gone
By: Courtney Riley
Many thought this fight would be a mismatch. Like many observers, I predicted that Haye would bomb out the ‘Bomber’ in emphatic fashion, early. Well, Bellew tore up the script. He ignored the speech monitors and told his own story. He beat the heavy pre-fight favourite, Haye, in an 11-round thriller. They served up a classic; one that is sure to be certified as an unforgettable clash in years to come.
Haye was favoured to blast out the Liverpudlian early. He stalked the smaller Bellew who kept his composure and avoided the urge to be drawn into a shoot-out with the big hitting Haye. The Hayemaker did have some success in landing some of his best shots. He strung together a stinging 4-punch combination that found the target, but Bellew took it well and shook off the cobwebs. Tony stuck to his discipline and weathered the storm.
Few people predicted that the fight would get this far. The stifled voices in Bellew’s camp were very vocal about their plan to drag Haye into deep waters, and they did. They questioned his heart and his appetite to taste leather. Then the in round 6 happened. Haye lost the use of his right leg, and that’s when the tide turned. Bellew pressed forward as Haye was unable to push back. The ‘Bomber’ scored a dubious 7th round knock-down as he marched forward.
Many thought that Haye would gas out by the late rounds, if it was to ever get this far, he didn’t. His injury forced him to hobble through the rounds and Bellew took advantage to rack up the points. It was now a 50-50 fight. The scorecards were evening out and the momentum was truly with Bellew. Haye dismissed any pre-fight questions about his heart and desire by hanging in there. Bellew was walking him down and laying leather on him. Eventually in the the 11th, he forced David up against the ropes and punctuated a combination with a sharp left hook that knocked David through the ropes. The ‘Hayemaker’ valiantly pulled himself back into the ring to beat the count, but his corner threw in the towel. The fight was over. Tony won!… and one can’t help but to admire the job that he did in there.
The fight was a spectacle. It took on a life of its own and tugged on the heart-strings of every observer. Haye’s impatient pressure in the early rounds might have contributed to his injury in the 6th. However, it is Bellew who must take all the plaudits for showing all the discipline and determination in a fight that he had no business winning. Both sides stated their desire for a rematch but one fight might be enough. Like any good ending, this fight has left some questions in the mind. I’ll leave them with you below:
Is it the end for David Haye?
Should Bellew give a rematch?
Will Bellew take on another heavyweight challenge in the form of the unbeaten Deontay Wilder?
Haye- Bellew | Mismatch or Tear Up
Haye – Bellew | Mismatch or Tear Up
By: Courtney Riley
The truth be told, we all love a good fight. That is the reason why boxing is thriving in the UK and the world over. We – the fans – love it, and are prepared to fork out good money to watch it. That is primarily why fights are made and the reason why prize-fighters engage in these pugilistic wars for our entertainment. Haye vs Bellew will be no different. This fight has ignited the excitement of boxing fans across the UK (and around the wider globe). Every fight fan has something to say about it. History, however, has taught us that the ‘big fights’ very rarely live up to their pre-fight hype, but when they do, fans are left with something unforgettable – a certified classic.
Will this fight prove to be a disappointing mismatch or a classic tear up? How do both fighters match up to each other?
Both fighters measure up to a height of 6’3, though Haye will have a 4-inch reach advantage. Bellew has been operating at Light Heavyweight (175lbs) for the vast majority of his career before he moved up to Cruiserweight (200lbs) back in March, 2014. It is at that weight where he truly stepped into his own to become a world champion, and some would say into his prime. On the other hand, Haye is perhaps the best cruiserweight that this country has ever produced. He punctuated that assertion when he knocked out Enzo Maccarinelli back in ’08 to become the unified WBC, WBA, WBO, and Ring Magazine cruiserweight world champ. Some would say that was during David’s prime – almost a decade ago. David has been operating at Heavyweight since 2008 and is more accustomed to fighting bigger men than Bellew. For this fight, Haye weighed in at a muscular 236lbs as opposed to Bellew’s lighter yet more podgy-looking 215lbs.
Edge: Haye – even though both men have similar heights and fairly similar frames, their dynamics are worlds apart. Haye is much more muscular and chiselled compared to his opponent. Bellew’s team should have stipulated a cap on Haye’s weight instead of allowing him to have all the advantages in that department.
Bellew calls himself the ‘Bomber’. It is a fitting moniker for a man who can truly bang; a man who holds bombs in both fists, and that’s Bellew. He stopped Mukabu to win his world title and he bombed out Flores in his first title defence. Even though he is looking to be a lot more powerful since his step up to cruiserweight, will he be able to carry that power up to heavyweight? Haye is a banger. No doubts. No debate. He made the towering 7-foot-2 – 320-pound giant Nikolay Valuev lean to one side like the monument in Pisa from a left hook in their heavyweight WBA world title clash. To boast further, he has also stopped 26 of his 28 victims. Everything indicates that Haye packs a serious punch.
Edge: Haye – Bellew has had 13 stoppages in his 20 wins at light-heavyweight and it seems that he is punching harder since his move up to cruiserweight. Haye, however, has been consistently crunching on his opponents like breakfast cereal since he turned professional back in 2002.
Haye was rapid at cruiserweight – foot and hand-speed, both. His speed was one of his key attributes that enabled him to dominate the division. That dominance, however, was near enough a decade ago. He is still very quick as a heavyweight but is he as fast as he was as a cruiser? Bellew is a cruiserweight and is accustomed to sharing the ring with faster men than those who operate at heavyweight. He is not a fast cruiserweight by any stretch but he is faster than most heavies.
Edge: Haye (slightly) – he is explosive and is perhaps the fastest elite-level heavyweight on the planet. Bellew himself has stated that he believes that Haye is the fastest single puncher at heavyweight in the world.
Neither fighter is a technical operator in the classical sense. Bellew has a tendency to fight with his chin up, while looping in with his shots. In boxing 101, that’s a total ‘no no’. He’s been proved to be hittable in the past and this the kind of fight where he can’t afford to be getting tagged by the heavy-handed Haye. Haye’s technique is all wrong, but it grants him his unique style. He fights with his hands low in a fairly wide stance. He depends more on his athleticism than his technique in a way that is slightly reminiscent of the legendary Roy Jones Jr. of years gone by.
Edge: Haye – even though Haye is not technically any better than Bellew in terms of boxing ability. His athleticism (reflexes, agility and speed) will compensate for the areas where he is found lacking.
Haye can be hurt. He has been stopped at cruiserweight in the past. He has also been hurt on several occasions at that weight. He is an elusive fighter when he is fully in his stride however, so Bellew will have a tough task trying to hurt what he can’t see. Bellew has been stopped, bruised and hurt at cruiserweight as well. But none of his opponents were quite as heavy-handed as Haye. The prospects are not very appealing for Tony in this area.
Bellew is a man on-form. He is still flying high from his world title triumph over Makabu and from his emphatic stoppage victory over BJ Flores. He has been fighting regularly against good competition for the past 5 years which will stand him in good stead. On the flip-side, Haye has had only one competitive fight in the last five years – his stoppage victory over Derick Chisora back in 2012.
Edge: Even – there are too many unknowns about how much Haye will have left in the tank at 36 years old. There are questions about his desire and his motivation but none of those can be quantified. Bellew is as stubborn as a bull and will fight hard as long as he is physically able. That makes for a good fight for however long it will last.
Emphatic early stoppage for Haye in what will prove to be an entertaining mismatch.
Haye vs. Bellew: Beneath the Bluster
Haye vs. Bellew: Beneath the Bluster
By: Matt O’Brien
“Of course, to try to learn from boxers was a quintessentially comic quest. Boxers were liars. Champions were great liars. They had to be. Once you knew what they thought, you could hit them. So their personalities became masterpieces of concealment.” – Norman Mailer, The Fight.
David Haye is a self-confessed play boy from south London who enjoys partying it up in Miami and posing on yachts in his spare time; Tony Bellew is a straight-talking, proud Liverpudlian and consummate family man. It would be an understatement to say they are different characters. What they share is a competitive zeal that has taken them both to professional world title honours and helped set up a meeting inside a 20ft ring on Saturday night at London’s O2 Arena in front of thousands of baying spectators.
It is an acrimonious clash of personalities that has threatened to boil over and breach even the outlandish standards of decency the sport of boxing routinely sets for itself. It is also a curious enough blend of styles and career trajectories to warrant the wider exposure the event has garnered. Whatever else happens prior to the combatants stepping through the ropes, the fight itself is unlikely to disappoint as a fistic spectacle. Both men can punch very hard, both men want to lay hurt on the other, both men have suffered stoppage defeats in their careers, and yet both have gotten off the canvas to come back and score sensational knockout victories in one of their most important fights. Drama is not something likely to be lacking once the talking stops and the trade in leather begins.
In the lead up to the bout, Haye has talked – as so many fighters do – of being rejuvenated, of feeling “better than ever”, and describing the 36-year-old, post-shoulder surgery version of himself that has seen less than nine minutes of ring time in the last five years as “Hayemaker 2.0”.
“You’re gonna see the end of Hayefaker 2 and the beginning of Hayefaker point 3 – it’s like the bleeding Die Hard movies over here, thinks he’s bleeding John McClane, this clown,” quipped Bellew at the final pre-fight press conference on Thursday. “You live in a fairy tale world,” he had said earlier, shaking his head in disdain at the thought of the Londoner’s glamourous lifestyle.
For his part, Haye resorted to the more unseemly remarks that have characterised much of his behaviour in the build up. “I’m legally allowed to do as much damage to him as I can inflict in 36 minutes with 10oz gloves on,” warned the former WBA heavyweight and unified cruiserweight champion. “Make sure your little rat coach doesn’t throw the towel in to try to save you for another day – there’s not gonna be another day for you. This is the last day for you. This is it. Enjoy your last couple of days. That’s it. It’s over.”
Statements of this kind have led to a backlash in some sections of the media, with Haye being viewed as having needlessly crossed the line between engaging in pre-fight psychological warfare and bringing the sport into disrepute. It is unlikely that he will escape the aftermath of the bout without a serious dressing down from the British Boxing Board of Control – although they previously refused to sanction his fight with Dereck Chisora in 2012, only to discover that they had no power to prevent the boxers from competing on UK soil under the auspices of the Luxembourg Boxing Federation. How seriously they will attempt to reprimand him for his comments this time remains to be seen; it is clear from the spite in Haye’s rhetoric though that the straight-talking scouser has succeeded in getting well and truly under his skin.
Is that likely to make a difference to the outcome of the fight? Not really – at least not in Bellew’s favour, anyway. If anything, publicly labelling Haye as “that bitch from Bermondsey” and then persistently questioning his character seems to have provided the former champ with an extra level of motivation. He looked ripped and in fantastic shape on the scales on Friday afternoon, and while Haye has never lacked an impressive physique, more worryingly for Bellew he appeared leaner than in his previous two outings, despite still weighing 224 ½ pounds. Bellew, the former light-heavyweight, predictably came in much lighter at 213 ½, while sporting a far less admirable midsection.
Of course, no one has ever won a boxing match based on looks, but it is nevertheless hard to escape the conclusion that the current WBC cruiserweight champion will be seriously outgunned come fight night. “He’s coming to a gun fight with a floppy dildo in his hand” was one of the more crass descriptions thrown out by the south Londoner regarding his rival in the past week.
And yet, beneath all the bluster and the machismo, both men betrayed the fact that, in their own way, they carry traces of doubt into the contest with them.
For the Hayemaker, this was more about the limitations that his older, more shopworn body poses for him than of the dangers of his opponent. “I’m 36 years of age now. In the past, I could get away with three, four hours sleep a night and still bang out two hard sessions – can’t do that anymore. I need a good nine, ten hours sleep if I’m gonna push two hard sessions out,” admitted Haye.
Later, asked point blank by Sky’s head of boxing Adam Smith whether he was “totally injury free,” it was possible to detect the slightest hesitation before he responded: “Yes. Yes. As much as any other fighter is before they get in the ring… there’s no punches restricted, there’s no movement restricted, I can throw whatever combination I want.” The words sounded suspiciously like he was trying to convince himself that he would be problem-free, despite whatever minor ailments he was carrrying.
As for the Bomber, he was more open about the enormity of the task his adversary presents. “I’ve gotta stick to a gameplan and I’ve gotta be clever in there, because you cannot go in there and give the opportunities to David Haye within them first few rounds. It just can’t be given to him, ‘cause he will take it and the fight will be over instantly.”
The “clever” Bellew gameplan would presumably therefore involve avoiding exchanges early and dragging out the contest for as long as possible in order to take advantage of Haye’s perceived lack of stamina, and then begin to turn things in his favour as the bigger man tires and finally burns out. It’s a strategy that has proven successful before. In 2004, an exhausted Haye was stopped by Carl Thompson, after unleashing a barrage early on but failing to get his more experienced foe out of the fight. Lacking a Plan B or enough energy in reserve to hold off his surging assailant, he was rescued by his corner in the fifth round.
While the strategy may be a sound one, the chance of Bellew being able to pull it off is incredibly slim. The likeable Liverpudlian certainly talks a good game, and his insistence that he is prepared to win “by any means necesarry” should be taken at face value. The problem though lies not with his commitment to the task, but rather his ability to avoid presenting David Haye with an opportunity to do damage in those first few rounds. The Hayemaker is not just the bigger man and a seriously heavy hitter – he also happens to be a very accurate, fast puncher, an extremely skilled boxer and a tremendous finisher. My feeling is that he is bound to land something significant at some point within the first three rounds, and once he does, he possesses the killer instinct to let his hands go and get Bellew straight out of the fight.
It might not last long then, but the fans should get what they paid for: two big men engaging in an exciting fight with a conclusive ending. And hopefully, once the battle is over, temperatures have cooled, mutual respect has been earned and the fighters no longer need to conceal their innermost anxieties for fear of weakness, they can again conduct themselves in a manner more becoming of the great sport they represent.
PBC on Fox Results: Breazeale, Hurd, and Deontay Wilder Win by Stoppage
PBC on Fox Results: Breazeale, Hurd, and Deontay Wilder Win by Stoppage
By: William Holmes
Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions series was televised live from the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.
Two world title fights were televised tonight as Deontay Wilder defended his WBC World Heavyweight Title against challenger Gerald Washington, and Tony Harrison faced Jarrett Hurd for the vacant IBF Junior Middleweight Title.
This was the third straight fight that Wilder fought in Birmingham, Alabama.
The opening bout of the night was between Izuagbe Ugonoh (17-0) and Dominic Breazeale (17-1) in the heavyweight division.
Ugonoh was giving up several inches in height to Breazeale, but looked like he was in incredible shape.
Ugonoh circled Breazeale in the opening round and attacked the body with an occasional combination to the head. Breazeale seemed bothered by the speed of Ugonoh early on.
Ugonoh continued with the good body work in the third round and Breazeale was missing wildly with his punches. Breazeale had difficulty catching up to Ugonoh, and when he did he was hit with a low blow. Ugonoh ended the second round with a good two punch combination.
The third round was action packed and Breazeale turned the tide of the fight in his favor with a right hand that sent Ugonoh to the mat. Ugonoh was able to get back to his feet and survive an onslaught from Breazeale; before answering back with hard thudding right hands that had Breazeale wobbly on his feet. Both boxers were throwing and landing heavy blows as the third round came to an end.
Breazeale pressed the pace in the fourth round and was walking Ugonoh down early on. Ugonoh was able to hurt Breazeale with a right hand to the temple that sent Breazeale falling forward in a failed attempt to hold onto Ugonoh. Breazeale was wobbly when he got back to his feet but was able to survive the round.
Breazeale was recovered by the beginning of the third round and landed two heavy straight right hands to the temple of Ugonoh that forced him to take a knee. Ugonoh looked badly shaken when he got to his feet and was met with several more hard right hands to the temple that sent him crashing outside the ring.
The referee had seen enough and jumped in to stop the fight at 0:50 of the fifth round.
Breazeale showed incredible heart in a highly entertaining fight to get the TKO victory.
The next bout was between Tony Harrison (24-1) and Jarrett Hurd (19-0) for the IBF Junior Middleweight Title.
The opening round was a feeling out round with both boxers throwing their jab in an attempt to find their range. Harrison did look like he had the quicker hands and wider variety of punches.
Hurd was chasing Harrison in the second round and was eating a steady stream of jabs. Hurd kept up the pressure in the third round but Harrison landed several good counters and check left hooks.
Harrison continued to display the quicker hands in the fourth round while Hurd appeared to do little but walk into the jabs of Harrison. Hurd was able to land a good right uppercut in the fifth round but was still out landed by his opponent.
Harrison picked up the pace again in the sixth round and at one point hard Hurd hurt and backed into a corner; but Hurd turned the tide of the fight back in his favor in the seventh round when he had Harrison badly hurt with good body shots and chopping right hooks.
Hurd kept up the pressure in the eighth round and appeared to be physically hurting Harrison with every punch that he landed. Hurd finally scored a thudding knockdown in the ninth round when he connected with a clean straight right hand that sent him crashing backwards to the mat.
Harrison got back up at the count of nine, but spit out his mouthpiece as the referee was talking with him. The referee immediately waived off the fight, despite the protest of Tony Harrison.
Jarrett Hurd wins by TKO at 2:24 of the ninth round.
The main event was between Deontay Wilder (37-0) and Gerald Washington (18-01) for the WBC Heavyweight Title.
Washington established his jab in the opening round and was causing Wilder some problems early on. Wilder was not used to facing boxers as tall as Washington and he had difficulty finding his openings in the second round and at times was moving backwards.
Washington landed some heavy body shots in the third round and was able to avoid the power shots of Wilder and had a good round. Washington was able to land some combinations in the fourth round and it looked like he had Wilder confused.
Wilder opened up the fifth round with a long reaching jab and a looping left hook, before he cracked a straight right hand to the head of Washington that sent him falling backwards on his butt onto the mat.
Washington was able to get up at the count of eight, but Wilder unloaded several hard shots to the head of a cowering Washington before the referee waived the fight off.
Deontay Wilder retains his WBC Heavyweight Title with a TKO victory at 1:45 of the fifth round.
After the fight, Deontay Wilder acknowledged the presence of WBO Heavyweight Champion Joseph Parker and stated he’s ready to fight him next and unify the titles.
PBC on Fox Preview: Tony Harrison vs. Jarrett Hurd, Deontay Wilder vs. Gerald Washington
PBC on Fox Preview: Tony Harrison vs. Jarrett Hurd, Deontay Wilder vs. Gerald Washington
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder will return to his home state at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama to defend his title against top rated and unbeaten heavyweight contender Gerald Washington live on the Fox network.
The co-main event of the night will be between Jarrett Hurd and Tony Harrison for the IBF Junior Middleweight Title. Fox Sports 1 will also feature some of the undercard bouts, which include a heavyweight fight between Dominic Breazeale and Izuagbe Ugonoh as well as rising prospect Caleb Plant.
The following is a preview of the two title fights set to be televised on Saturday night.
Tony Harrison (24-1) vs. Jarrett Hurd (19-0); IBF Junior Middleweight Title
The first world title fight to be televised will be a very competitive one and is a tough bout to pick.
Harrison and Hurd have very similar physical characteristics. Surprisingly, both boxers are 6’1” tall and both fighters have a reach of 76 ½”. Both boxers are also the same age and are in the midst of their athletic prime at twenty six years old.
Harrison, a Detroit, Michigan native, has a slight edge in amateur experience and success and comes from a boxing family. Both his Father Ali Salaam and Grandfather Henry Hank competed professionally with moderate to good success as a boxer. Harrison was also previously trained by the late, great, Emmanuel Steward.
Both boxers have also been very active in the past two years. Harrison fought two times in 2016 and four times in 2015. Hurd fought three times in 2015 and twice in 2016.
Hurd has never tasted defeat. He has defeated the likes of Ionut Dan Ion, Oscar Molina, Frank Galarza, and Jeff Lentz. He has won his past five fights by knockout.
Harrison has defeated the likes of Siarhei Rabchanka, Fernando Guerrero, Antwone Smith, Tyrone Brunson, Bronco McKart, and Grady Brewer. His lone loss was to Willie Nelson.
This is a tough bout to pick, but when Harrison fought someone at the level of Jarret Hurd he came up short. Hurd’s power is at least equal to that of Willie Nelson, and Harrison’s confidence may not be where it’s needed to defeat someone like Jarrett Hurd since his knockout loss.
This writer has to give Jarrett Hurd a slight edge over Tony Harrison.
Deontay Wilder (37-0) vs. Gerald Washington (18-0-1); WBC Heavyweight Title
Deontay Wilder was originally scheduled to fight Andrzej Wawrzyk, and received heavy criticism for his choice of opponents, but that bout was cancelled due to Wawrzyk failing a pre-fight drug test.
Gerald Washington was chosen as a replacement opponent despite the fact other well known heavyweights such as Louis Ortiz offered to fight Wilder as a replacement.
Wilder is three years younger than his opponent and will have a one inch height advantage and a one inch reach advantage. Wilder also has a much deeper amateur background. Wilder won the bronze medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics for the United States. Washington has no amateur accomplishments to speak of. However, Washington does have an athletic background as he played tight end and defense end for the University of Southern California and played on the practice squad for the Seattle Seahawks and the Buffalo Bills.
Washington started boxing late and made his pro debut at the age of thirty. He has stopped twelve of his opponents. Wilder has stopped thirty six of his opponents and the only man to last all twelve rounds with him was former world title holder Bermane Stiverne. Wilder has stopped four of his past five opponents while Washington has only stopped two of his past five opponents.
Both boxers have been fairly active recently. Washington fought twice in 2016 and in 2015. Wilder fought three times in 2015 and twice in 2016.
Wilder clearly has the better professional resume. He has beaten the likes of Chris Arreola, Artur Szpilka, Johan Suhaupas, Eric Molina, Bermane Stiverne, Malik Scott, and Siarhei Liakhovich. Washington has defeated the likes of Ray Austin and Eddie Chambers and had a controversial draw with Amir Mansour.
Washington is a tremendous athlete, but he is not on the level of World Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder. Wilder is fighting in front of his hometown fans and will likely put on another exciting stoppage victory for them to enjoy.
Getting Ready for Hurd vs. Harrison: An Interview with “Swift” Jarrett Hurd.
Getting Ready for Hurd vs. Harrison: An Interview with “Swift” Jarrett Hurd.
By Eric Lunger
Next Saturday night at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama, “Swift” Jarrett Hurd (19-0, 13 KO’s) will face Tony Harrison (24-1, 20KO’s) in aSuper Welterweight IBF title eliminator bout. Scheduled as the co-main event on the Wilder vs. Washington PBC card on FOX, this is Hurd’s biggest test and his biggest opportunity. Hailing from Accokeek, Maryland, Hurd began boxing at age 15, turned pro at 19, and has his sights set on a world title this year. An exciting and dynamic fighter, Jarrett Hurd is also a serious student of the sport.
Yesterday, in an exclusive interview with boxinginsider.com, Jarrett and his long time trainer, Ernesto Rodriguez, looked back on Jarrett’s last three fights and looked forward to the Tony Harrison show down. Here’s what Jarrett and Ernesto had to say:
Boxinginsider.com: The Frank Galarza fight in November of 2015 was your first ten rounder – you caught Galarza with two really huge uppercuts. Did you all expect him to be vulnerable to that punch or was that a mid-fight adjustment?
Jarrett Hurd: Well, it’s really the way we threw the upper cut. Galarza was used to the basic jab and, right after, the right hand, and after that, the hook. We tried to switch it up, after the jab, or we may lead with the right hand, and bring the uppercut underneath. So, it was the way we switched up the combination. He maybe shoots his left hand up to block the first right, but I come up underneath with the uppercut, and it catches him off guard every time.
Boxing Insider: Your next big fight was Oscar Molina on the Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter undercard in June of 2016. Would you characterize that as your breakout fight? How do you see that in your progression?
JH: I would say that Frank Galarza was my breakout fight, but the Oscar Molina fight was the icing on the cake, letting the people know I was the real deal. The Molina fight was [important for] not only the performance I put on, but it was on one of the biggest cards of 2016, Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter – I was on the big stage, under the big lights, opening up for those guys. And the performance I put on let everyone know I was ready for the big time.
Boxing Insider: Did you take any lessons away from the Molina fight, going ten rounds with a former Olympian and a guy who was 13-0 at the time?
JH: Yes, most definitely. We knew the first couple of rounds were going to be competitive because Molina was an Olympian. Going in into the fight, I wanted to work off the jab – that’s what my trainer taught me – we wanted to beat him from the outside. The fight would have been more technical that way. So, going into the fourth round, we wanted to make it a closer fight. Many guys think, because I am tall and rangy that I don’t have a good inside game, but now they know. I switched the game plan up into close quarters and showed him a whole different style.
From that fight I learned, basically, to adjust and switch a game plan between fights and during fights.
Boxing Insider: Did you think you were going to get a stoppage during the tenth round? What were your emotions like when the referee stopped the bout?
JH: You know, he survived the whole fight, so going into the tenth I didn’t really think I was going to stop him. I knew it was the last round and I wanted to pick it up. In the process of picking up [the pace] I got the stoppage. Not only did I fight a great fight throughout the ten rounds, I actually closed the show, so that was a plus for me.
Boxing Insider: I was in Philly for the Jo Jo Dan fight this past November; how would you evaluate your performance in that bout?
JH: Out of my three ten-round fights, I felt that Jo Jo Dan was not my best performance. It wasn’t because I didn’t have a big uppercut or a highlight knockdown, or anything like that, it was I think that I allowed myself to perform at his level. You know, because he didn’t have power and because I wasn’t afraid of his power, I kind of got lazy on my defense.
Boxing Insider: Were you prepared for the amount of in-fighting that he did? He wasn’t head-butting, but he did lead with his head and tried to push you around.
JH: Yeah, he was trying to use some veteran tactics. As I said, it was more that his power didn’t do much. I was not watching out for little things. I went to my corner, and they said: hey, you’re not moving your head. He didn’t have much power, but you don’t want to get hit with unnecessary punches. So that’s when I started boxing a little more.
Boxing Insider: That brings us to Tony Harrison, February 25th, the co-main event on FOX and Sky in England, so this is a big arena. But you’ve fought at Barclays in Brooklyn, Hard Rock in Vegas, the Prudential Center in Newark — what’s it like going on this kind of big stage, or are you just focused on your job?
JH: I’m just focused on the job, you know. Maybe the first two fights, Galarza and Molina, it was kind of exciting to get under the lights. But now it’s second nature. When it’s time to go out there and fight, I don’t let it affect me. I get nervous and butterflies, just because I want to go out and perform, not because of the crowd I’m in front of.
Boxing Insider: This next question is for Ernesto. How much do you game plan for a specific opponent, or do you say “here are Jarrett’s strengths, and he has to beat us?” Where is the balance there?
Ernesto Rodriguez: Well, the way I look at it, styles make fights. The style of a fighter will determine the adjustment for us, how easy or how difficult a fight will be and what adjustments we need to make. Like it was for Galarza, I saw a lot of mistakes that he made, like leaning in after throwing his right hand. We worked on that uppercut in the gym, specifically for that counterpunch. We knew that Molina was an Olympian, that he was aggressive and would come in, and that same uppercut he threw in the first round — we worked on that in the gym, you know, and it set the tone. For Jo Jo Dan, a southpaw, we worked on counterpunches. And now, for Tony Harrison, he’s a fighter that fights on his front foot, puts a lot of weight on his punches coming forward. In my opinion, he is tailor-made for counter punches from Jarrett, [we’ll] let him run into punches. A lot of people expect this to be a very difficult fight, but in my opinion, in won’t be.
Boxing Insider: It suits Jarrett’s style, in your view?
ER: Right. He is tailor-made for Jarrett to maneuver and be patient, and to set the tone and stop him.
Boxing Insider: Jarrett, as you said, you’re a big guy, 6’ 1’’ and rangy, what’s the process of making weight like for you?
Jarrett Hurd: Weight is never a problem. As a matter of fact, I’ve always come in under weight. I usually make the weight the day before the weigh-in, and we usually don’t work out the day of the weigh-in.
Boxing Insider: What is it like in that last hour before a bout, when you are back stage with your team? Are you guys getting focused, are you talking, are you loose? What is going through your mind and what’s happening back there?
JH: We are warming up and they [my team] are always in my ear, motivating me. They are telling me, you’ve put in all this work. The phrase we always use is: don’t leave no stones unturned. We feel like we’ve put in all the work we were supposed to in the camp, we did all the things that were necessary, so going out there, we have no doubts, no second guessing. We’ve done everything right. So they [my team] are just motivating me, but also making sure I’m relaxed and ready to go out there and fight.
Ernesto Rodriguez: We always pray before we go out.
Jarrett Hurd: Most definitely, we always say a prayer.
Boxing Insider: Obviously you don’t look past anyone in this business, but what are your goals for the year?
JH: Well, win the title! Every boxer’s dream and I know this year, its coming. When you turn professional, you know, you’ve seen your idols win world titles, and that’s something I want to do. To win world titles and to leave this sport with my health, those are the two things I want to do.
Best 10 Boxing Fights of 2016
Best 10 Boxing Fights of 2016
By: Jordan Seward
With the new year approaching it’s time to reflect on the best boxing action of 2016, so in no particular order….
Orlando Salido vs Francisco Vargas
The two Mexicans treated us to a classic right up to the final bell for Vargas’ (23-0-2) WBC World Super Featherweight title. Vargas, coming off the back of Fight of the Year for 2015 faced a true, steely warrior in the 36-year-old Salido (43-13-4). It was a back-and-fourth slug fest between two champions who don’t know when to quit. In the end the pair couldn’t be separated and the judges correctly scored it a draw.
Tony Bellew vs Ilunga Makabu
The real life rocky story that saw Bellew (28-2-1) finally crowned a world champion. Just after starring in the new rocky film ‘The Bomber’ got his third bite at the cherry facing a dangerous and feared Congolese who had chalked up 18 knockouts in 19 fights. A packed crowed inside his beloved Everton football club’s stadium were stunned when Makabu (19-2) sent Bellew rolling over at the end of the first. The Everton man climbed off the canvas Balboa esque and rallied to stop Makabu in the third with a flourish of heavy punches to claim the vacant WBC World Cruiserweight strap.
Dillian Whyte vs Dereck Chisora
This one had it all. Filled with controversy from the start these two Heavyweights threw everything but the kitchen sink. A table was thrown though. At a press conference. Which, as a result meant the British title wasn’t on the line. But after all the talk, the bad mouthing and the attempted scrapping Whyte (20-1) and Chisora (26-7) done it properly in the ring and fought out a clean and action-packed-12-rounder. Both men were rocked and absorbed a lot of punishment, but Whyte’s superior stamina was just about enough to nick it for him on the judges’ scorecard by split decision.
Keith Thurman vs Shawn Porter
Thurman (27-0) was getting in the ring with probably the best opponent he’s faced. The only man to previously have defeated Porter (26-2-1) was Kell Brook, but, in a fierce competitive fight, Thurman successfully defended his WBA World Welterweight title dishing out Porter’s second loss of his career with a 115-113 unanimous decision. Although the announcement was greeted by booing, the stats suggested Thurman deservedly had his hand raised at the end, landing 43.6% of his punches while his opponent made 35.6%.
Andre Ward vs Sergey Kovalev
The fight that everyone scored differently. It was a fight we all wanted as soon as Ward made the jump up from Super-Middleweight. The defensive suave of Ward (31-0) met the aggressive power of ‘The Krusher’ (30-1-1) at the T-Mobile Arena, in Las Vegas. The American, fighting on home turf, was put down in the second round for only the second time in his illustrious career. But Ward, as Ward does, after falling behind on the cards managed to take the second half of the fight and claim Kovalev’s WBO, IBF and WBA Super World Light Heavyweight titles by unanimous decision.
Carl Frampton vs Leo Santa Cruz
After unifying his IBF super-bantamweight title by outpointing Scott Quigg, the Northern Irishmen capped off his impressive year by adding Leo Santa Cruz’s (32-1-1) WBA Super World Featherweight belt. ‘The Jackal’ (23-0) jumped up a weight division and battled it out with the Mexican champion in an absolute barn burner. After a hard and punishing 12 rounds it went to the judges’ scorecards and Frampton, was given the nod. Now, just for us, they’re doing it all again at the MGM Grand on the 28th January. Not a bad way to start the new year.
Hosea Burton vs Frank Buglioni
Words were exchanged between the pair in what was a heated build up to this Light-Heavyweight contest for the British title. But when the fighting started it quickly turned in to a very watchable and enjoyable scrap. Both Burton (18-1) and Buglioni (19-2-1) continuously plowed forwards, in attempts to assert their dominance. They were both taking serious damage and in the twelfth-round Burton’s chickens came home to roost. The 28-year-old was slowing down and deserved to hear the final bell but with just one minute left in the bout Buglioni landed some hurtful blows and the ref waved it off.
Thomas Williams Jr. vs Edwin Rodriguez
A fiery, hard fought contest… while it lasted. At the StubHub Center, on the undercard of Andre Berto’s knockout win against Victor Ortiz, Rodriguez, (28-2) displayed courage, grit, determination, and, a chin. In this two-rounder, it was Williams Jr (20-2) who was landing the more powerful and hurtful shots but a number of times Rodriguez remained upright and proudly came firing back. In the end, it took a monster left hook to knock the resolute 31-year-old out.
Gennady Golovkin vs Kell Brook
As far as unexpected fights go, this one took the biscuit. You couldn’t have called it. This was not a fight many had in mind, but, when it was made it was all the talk. The IBF World Welterweight champion, Brook, jumped up two weight division to face the feared Middleweight kingpin at the O2 Arena. Looking in great shape and as confident as ever the Englishman made a great start to the fight. However, as the fight went on we began to realise Brook wouldn’t be making history as Golovkin’s power started to take its toll and Brook’s trainer, Dominic Ingle threw in the towel stopping proceedings in the fifth round.
Anthony Crolla vs Ismael Barroso
After prizing away the WBA World Lightweight title from Darleys Perez in their second meeting, Crolla, (31-5-3)made his first defence against the man who, effectively, sent world title challenger Kevin Mitchell into retirement. As expected, the Venezuelan (19-1-2) started strong and, typical of a Joe Gallagher fighter, Crolla did not. He absorbed some early punishment and probably lost the first five rounds. It became clear after six though, that Crolla’s tactics were spot on, as the challenger noticeably began to tire. He had thrown all he had and was on empty, Crolla seized his chance and overwhelmed his opponent, eventually stopping him in the seventh.
David Haye vs Tony Bellew? There Is Only One Winner I’m Afraid
David Haye vs Tony Bellew? There Is Only One Winner I’m Afraid
By: Oz Ozkaya
Hats off to Tony Bellew. No, really. His camp has been extremely smart and effective in the way that they’ve redefined him as a fighter, and then subsequently by moving him up to Cruiserweight after the humiliating defeat he suffered at the hands of Adonis Stevenson in Quebec, Canada, back in November 2013. Almost 3 years later, and after avenging his only other loss to Nathan Cleverly before going on to win the WBC Cruiserweight title (his first), Bellew is now in a position to make a serious name for himself, as well as some serious cash with a potential match up against David ‘Haymaker’ Haye now in the pipeline.
At present, Bellew is on an 8 fight undefeated streak where 6 of those victories have come by a way of knockout. Credit to Bellew, his career record at (28-2-1) and his recent stunning defence against BJ Flores make him look like an extremely solid bet going forward. At 33 though, he, like David Haye (36), is coming to the latter stages of his career. Still, that isn’t to say that neither of them could defy the laws of physics, reinvent their styles and become a Bernard Hopkins or an Evander Holyfield.
“I’m not going to go back down to a less-glamorous division than the one I’m in now for a loud-mouthed guy like him,” said Haye when asked about the possibility of fighting Bellew in the future. However, Bellew would much rather face Haye at cruiserweight, despite his promoter Eddie Hearn believing that if the right money is on the table then Bellew would step up no doubt. It doesn’t surprise me to here Hearn talk in such a way, particularly as both of these men have been longing for a big pay day for quite some time. Bellew did, however, manage to sell out Goodison Park in Liverpool earlier on this year when he emphatically knocked out Illungu Makabu after 3 rounds for his current WBC world title.
Regardless of the weight issue, the fight is still undoubtedly going to happen. Firstly, Haye is yet to name an opponent for his next match and with Shannon Briggs chasing him halfway across the country, to no great avail it must be said, it would appear obvious that he has been waiting for an opportunity like Bellew to come along. After his last two mediocre showdowns, where he fought opponents that nobody had ever even heard of, it would be fair to assume Haye’s loyal fans are long overdue a decent fight with a credible opponent. “A proper David Haye comeback,” some would be quick to add.
Secondly, can either of them realistically make better money anywhere else at this current moment in time? For David Haye, possibly. For Tony Bellew, no. In short, neither Cruiserweight champions Lebedev (WBA & IBF champion) and Usyk (WBO champion) hold big a enough name to be thrown into a paper view fight with Bellew. Well, maybe to a certain extent they do but not quite to the numbers that a fight with Haye would garner. We love an all-British affair over here!
For Haye, there are evidently bigger fights out there, but it seems apparent that he doesn’t believe he is ready for them just quite yet. In Haye’s mind, he knows that one more loss to a good opponent is going to be curtains for him. If he fights and beats Bellew, that sustains his career for another 6 months and keeps people guessing about his ability. This may not do him much in the divisional rankings, but in terms of stock, absolutely. Haye could have fought Wilder, Joshua, Ortiz, Browne or even the up and coming undefeated New Zealander, Joseph Parker by now if he had sought after those opportunities. However, he has been very steady. Maybe he shouldn’t be fighting, after all, he did say the Dr’s told him his shoulder was too bad to fight with after he bailed on, what were, two eagerly anticipated Tyson Fury fights.
Thirdly, and most crucially, the panache and intuition of Match Room promoter Eddie Hearn mean that he especially is definitely not going to be the one to pass up on such an opportunity. So much so, in fact, that he has already “opportunistically” booked March 4th, 2017 as a Sky Box Office date and claims Bellew-Haye would be a huge fight. Talking to the mirror.co.uk Hearn said: “Haye will be driving home [after the Bellew fight]maybe thinking ‘that’s a big fight’ as he looks on Twitter after what happened tonight, but he may want a belt instead. It would do monster business on pay-per-view. I think Tony would do it at heavyweight. I think he would look at fighting Haye rather than ‘I’ll move up and be a two-weight world champion’.” From this perspective it looks like Eddie has got all his angles covered, it will just be down to Haye’s team getting together, agreeing on figures and signing the deal that’s put in front of them.
The one thing that does throw the potential fight into doubt though is the discarded Tyson Fury’s belts after he was taken ill last week, and subsequently suspended following his cocaine shame. With Haye ranking rather highly on one of those divisional charts, there is a likelihood he may be placed in an eliminator for a future match up regarding one of the world title belts.
Back to last Saturday night, just before he got slightly over-excited in his victorious mode and started haranguing Haye who was stood at Ringside, Bellew actually produced a pretty good performance that many thought he wasn’t actually capable of. He wanted to make sure that a lot of critics and myself alike knew that he meant business. With almost a stone the difference between himself and Haye, the onus is going to be on Bellew to get into the better physical shape, as Haye will undoubtedly be the heaviest and hardest opponent he has ever before thought. With Bellew undeniably being slower and slightly less powerful than Haye, it may be up to him to find a way of bulking efficiently. Haye has much more class, experience and technique so will easily pick him off for 12 rounds if needs be.
The best way for Bellew to approach the fight with Haye will most likely have to start on the investment in camp and sparring partners. It’s an old cliché that ‘figths are won and lost in camps’ so on that advice if Bellew can get the right men in, then this will most definitely play to his advantage come that assumed fight night which is now well and truly looking likely. “I could probably beat Bellew with one punch,” said Haye, who had at first praised Bellew’s performance in the post-fight Sky interview. “I’m a heavyweight and when I hit him he will stay hit. He has no idea and he thinks that being a proper heavyweight is just about putting on a few pounds.” Haye would not be able to safely lose enough weight to fight for his old title at under 200 pounds, and that would mean Bellew coming up in weight, which only adds to Haye’s natural advantages. Only time will tell of course.
So, until that date, we shall have to wait to see what the stipulations are, where the fight is going to be and in what kind of shape they are both in come fight night. I think Haye would most likely punish him in the middle to later rounds, before going on to claim a TKO or Knockout in the closing rounds. Bellew will be most dangerous early on, as he has proved in his last two fights. It won’t be a repeat of the Chisora fight for Haye, though, and that is because largely Bellew is much more defiant, has similar height and a similar reach to that of Haye. He should be able to jab effectively and make Haye work for the victory. Nevertheless, with Haye not having really fought a “competitive” fight for (what will be) over 4 years at the time of this assumed fight, I think it is safe to say Bellew has at least some chance.