FORMER super-middleweight and light-heavyweight king Andre Ward is a busy man at the moment – despite last year’s retirement from boxing – but has heard all about Tony Bellew’s recent exploits and wants to let his Creed co-star know he’s receptive to the idea of a fight at some point in the future.
It just might take a little while, that’s all. Ward, 32-0 (16), has just wrapped up filming on Creed 2 and is now about to start filming on the set of The Contender, a show he will host.
He has, however, revealed he’s been waiting for a call from Bellew’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, ever since Hearn’s former super-middleweight champion Carl Froch avenged his defeat to Mikkel Kessler all the way back in 2013.
“I’ve been blessed,” he said. “I just got off the set of Creed 2. I’m on my way to the set for The Contender.
“I had a great opportunity to host the show. I’m focused on that right now. I wish Tony nothing but the best.
“I’ve been waiting on a phone call from Eddie Hearn since Froch fought Mikkel Kessler for the second time.
“I’ve been waiting for Eddie to pick up the phone and I still haven’t got that phone call.
“For sure, I’m totally in.”
Ward, now 33 years of age, has achieved all there is to achieve as a super-middleweight and a light-heavyweight. He has never fought at cruiserweight, though, and has never before found himself involved in the kind of high-profile arena or stadium fight his brilliance deserves.
If he does fight Bellew this year or next, that will change.
Here’s another fantasy fight that could become a reality: Cecilia Braekhus, boxing’s female world welterweight champion, versus Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino, MMA’s current UFC women’s featherweight champion.
With only two bouts left on her UFC contract, Cyborg is keeping her options open and last weekend decided to attend Braekhus’ fight against Kali Reis wearing a T-shirt promoting a potential 2019 fight with the Norwegian.
— Cris Cyborg #CyborgNation (@criscyborg) May 6, 2018
She then told Yahoo’s Kevin Iole, “Of course, I need time for (boxing) training. I think four to six months training. That would be perfect since I have two fights left in MMA, and then I can focus on boxing. I’m very excited.
“After these fights, I will do a boxing fight. Maybe I’ll come back (to MMA) but not for now. I want to use this time and make more boxing fights. This is my dream.”
Cyborg is a little more advanced in her boxing journey than, say, Conor McGregor. She has previously spent time with Braekhus and has also sparred two-time Olympic gold medallist Claressa Shields.
Not only that, she holds a win over Holly Holm, a former welterweight champion boxer and two-time Ring Magazine ‘Female Fighter of the Year’.
“That is one option, absolutely,” Braekhus told FightHub TV following Saturday’s decision win over Reis.
“I saw (Cyborg’s) fight against Holly Holm, the former number-one pound-for-pound boxer in the world, and she was really giving her competition in the striking game. That kind of tickled me for a fight against Cyborg.
“I know she’s very interested in that. She’s texting me and writing to me. She really wants to do this. If we can get it done, sure. I think it would be a spectacular thing to do.
“I think she’s actually a better striker than McGregor, so I think that would be a much more competitive fight than (Floyd) Mayweather-McGregor.”
There were apparently ‘Shades of Ali’ the night Hughie Fury dropped a 12-round unanimous decision against Joseph Parker last September.
That was the view of his excitable – and quite angry – promoter Mick Hennessy. The more considered view, meanwhile, was that Fury was perhaps unlucky to come up short, but, ultimately, could have done more to show he was in the ascendency.
The biggest knock was that Fury never really made a dent in the New Zealander. He never stood his ground and looked to hurt the WBO champion.
But this, his coach and father Peter Fury suggests, is all about to change.
“It’s fair to say his power has grown,” said Peter, days before Hughie fights Sam Sexton for the British heavyweight title. “He’s holding a lot more in his hands these days. It’ll be nice to some improvements when he gets in there on Saturday (May 12).”
It’s easy to forget Hughie, cousin of Tyson, is still only 23 years of age. But, because of this, there is no rush, no panic or need to rethink the strategy just because he lost to Parker. Instead, they can take their time with him. They can pick people off, get them when the moment is right, and ensure he learns from the mistakes of others.
“If these fights become available, we’ll always take them,” said Peter. “Safe to say, he’d fight for a world title tomorrow if it was available.
“This is not about business or blagging people to get your face on in the Internet. It’s about winning and proving you’re the best. If Hughie can take meaningful fights, that’s all we want.
“God willing we get through this fight and he’s going to have three this year. He’ll be in a world-level fight by the end of the year and hopefully we’ll force our way back to a mandatory position.”
Power in his punches is one thing. Gaining power in the division, however, is another thing altogether. In a division awash with high-profile and loud-mouthed Brits, Hughie Fury will need to start making his voice heard.