Category Archives: Blog

May 18, 2018
May 18, 2018
DAZN

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EDDIE HEARN has certainly caused a stir with his deal with DAZN. The early signs are that the eight year billion dollar deal as announced could have a huge impact on the boxing scene. With financial backing seemingly already in place the important work of filling in the names of the fighters who sign up to the deal can now start and it is that element which will decide whether we have a game changer or a false dawn. Until we see the names no one can be sure just how big a deal it is. Obviously there is realisation that Anthony Joshua’s name would give the whole scheme a big boost but there has to be a long term plan to sign or build others to star status.

The World Boxing Super Series did not get all of the top cruisers and super middles but it did put together two sets of top quality contestants and it produced some excellent fights which would not have happened if the WBSS had not made the money available. It has also shown the pitfalls in the way the tournament is structured. With both George Groves and Olek Usyk injured and the two final bouts postponed the tournament has lost some of its impetus. It seems as though there is time for Usyk vs. Murat Gassiev to fit into their schedule but there are doubts about whether Groves can overcome his injury in time to fight Callum Smith. Chris Eubank Jr would be the logical stand in and a Smith vs. Eubank fight would be tough one to pick a winner but with Kalle Sauerland being so much a part of WBSS my fear is that Juergen Brahmer might get slotted in as he had to withdraw from his fight with Smith due to injury and for my money that would devalue the tournament.

The DAZN deal is not in the WBSS format so it will live or die on the names who sign up for the multi-fight deal. As with the WBSS there will be some boxers who are tied to promotional or TV contracts which would preclude them from signing as this is not a knockout tournament but a long term on-going commitment which will require guarantees from and to both parties. A boxer could seriously harm his career if the walks away from a deal with HBO or Showtime only to find his career stagnates but in all honesty in boxing you are only as good as your last fight whether you are with HBO, Showtime or DAZN. The boxers will be saying show us the money and the boxing fans will be saying show us the fighters and only then can we get an idea how all of this will work out but you can be sure HBO and Showtime will not be spectators they will be in there fighting to retain the quality fighters they have and adding more to their rosters.

DAZN

The WBSS have already announced that Ryan Burnett, Emmanuel Rodriguez and Zolani Tete have signed up for the bantamweight tournament with other names to follow but once you get past those three things get very hazy. Jamie McDonnell defends the secondary WBA title against Naoya Inoue and the winner of that would be a natural choice for a fourth contestant. The WBC title is vacant with Frenchman Nordine Oubaali at No 1 and Thai Petch Sor Chitpattana No 2. The WBA No 1 is Filipino Reymart Gaballo and those three are hardly household names. Perhaps unbeaten Jason Moloney might get a call but with Paul Butler and Omar Narvaez both getting beaten recently and veterans such as Stuart Hall and Lee Haskins unlikely to get invites it is difficult to see the bantamweight tournament being as big a success as the cruiser and super middle.

What a great weekend for boxing the past one was. You had the artistry of Vasyl Lomachenko severely tested by Jorge Linares. Because of the decisive nature of the dramatic finish to the fight it is easy to overlook the fact that the scores after nine rounds were 86-84 Lomachenko, 86-84 Linares and 85-85 so it looked as though either man could go on and win but Lomachenko found the punch to end the fight and that is what truly great fighters do. We also had a huge upset as Jamie Munguia came in as a late substitute and destroyed the champion and big odds favourite Sadam Ali which again proved how unpredictable boxing can be and how quickly a fighter can go from unknown to champion inside twelve minutes. Just thought I would throw in that in my voluminous weekly reports Munguia was one of my weekly “One to Watch” as were David Benavidez, Ryan Burnett and Isaac Dogboe (this last bit has been an unpaid advert for my Weekly Reports).

Munguia has not been given much time to enjoy his victory as the WBO have said that negotiations for a defence against No 1 Liam Smith must commence within 30 days. Smith of course had to pull out of his fight against Sadam Ali which gave Munguia his chance.

For Lomachenko a fight with Mikey Garcia would be a big attraction but WBC champion Garcia is scheduled to fight IBF champion Robert Easter in a unification match on 28 July that would put a fight between Lomachenko and Garcia back to the end of the year which may not suit Lomachenko.

As if the heavyweight division was not interesting enough we have Wlad Klitschko apparently refusing to rule out a return to the ring. I thought he made an excellent decision in walking away after the loss to Anthony Joshua. It was a great fight to leave as a reminder of your career. There are fights there for him but I hope he does not return. Next month I am going to the International Boxing Hall of fame to see brother Vitali inducted and it would be nice to think that when Wlad has been inactive for the regulation five years it will be his turn.

On the subject of the Hall of Fame I was sorry to read that Nino Benvenuti was ill. He visited the Hall last time I was there and looked as though he had just stepped out of Giorgio Armani advert. What really impressed was that Emile Griffith was also there and was a very ill and frail man. Benvenuti and Griffith fought each other three times in less that twelve months with no quarter asked or given but for every minute of the Hall of Fame visit Benvenuti was beside Griffith supporting and caring for him. Fights such as these two greats shared form a bond and generates a respect that can last their whole lives so get well Nino.

Hughie Fury returned to action last week and looked good in stopping Sam Sexton. To show how ridiculous ratings can be the WBO had Fury No 1 when he lost a majority decision to Joseph Parker. It was close and certainly worth a return. The WBO’s response was to drop Fury in their next month’s ratings from No 1 to No 10 which just seems ridiculous.

Going back to Isaac Dogboe as an indication on how much of a struggle it can be for African fighters to reach the top Dogboe will be anxious to get back in the ring and earn money as soon as he can. His father mortgaged just about everything and even then they also ran up debts to support Dogboe on his way to the title. With no government support and with TV only mildly interested in anything except football it was a struggle but they won the title and now they need to keep the title. I have played it down but Dogboe actually has dual Ghanaian and British citizenship and is a former English amateur champion so Britain can claim a bit of him.

Dogboe is unusual in that he does not hail from the Bukom district of Accra. This slum area on the outskirts of the city has produced some of Ghana’s greatest fighters such as world champions Azumah Nelson, Ike Quartey, Joseph Agbeko, David Kotey, Nana Yaw Konadu and Alfred Kotey. I can remember many years ago when the Tepito district of Mexico City had the same reputation producing fighters such as Carlos Zarate and there were wars every week at the Arena Coliseo but that well seems to have run dry.

After Munguia’s upset victory Roberto Manzanarez will take a big step towards landing a title shot of his own if he can beat Mercito Gesta in Indio on June 14. The 23-year-old Manzanarez was born in Phoenix but has done almost all of his fighting in Mexico. After turning pro at 15 he is 36-1 with 29 wins by KO/TKO. Filipino Gesta, 30, is 31-2-2 and his only losses have been to Miguel Vazquez for the IBF title and Jorge Linares for the WBA title.

Other fights coming up will see Ken Shiro defend his WBC light fly title against Ganigan Lopez in Ota City, Japan on 25 May. Shiro won the title with a disputed majority decision over Lopez in May last year. The McDonnell vs. Inoue fight is on the same card. Two bit players in the heavyweight division Mariusz Wach and Eric Molina clash in Warsaw on the same night. On 26 May David Lemieux returns against Frenchman Karim Achour in Quebec City and in Fresno two super fly champions are in action as Khalid Yafai put his WBA title on the line against David Carmona and Jerwin Ancajas faces fellow-Filipino Jonas Sultan. On 2 June Kevin Lerena defends his IBO cruiser title against Roman Golovashchenko and on 9 June in Los Angeles Leo Santa Cruz defends the WBA feather title against Abner Mares and on the same card Jermell Charlo risks his WBC super welter crown against Austin Trout. In Manchester Tyson Fury returns against a TBA and Terry Flanagan and Maurice Hooker fight for the vacant WBO super light title. Also on 9 June in Leipzig  an all-German fight sees Dominic Boesel (27-1) against Enrico Koelling (25-2) in an excellent EBU light-heavy title fight and the biggie on that night in Las Vegas sees Australian Jeff Horn defend the WBO welter title against Terrence Crawford, The goodies just keep on coming.

May 15, 2018
May 15, 2018
Vasyl Lomachenko

Chris Farina/Top Rank

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I would say it is very premature to speak in terms of all-time greatness with Vasyl Lomachenko. Longevity is certainly a factor in determining who receives this type of label. He is an elite boxer of the current day who has great potential and could certainly achieve monumental things if he stays on the current course but based on all the criteria we use to determining all-time greatness, he is a good ways away from receiving that type of acclaim just yet.

But there still begs the question, how do you beat him? Outside of landing one single knockout blow, defeating Loma is going to be a monumental task for any fighter today. It would seem to me that it takes one of two kinds of fighters to beat him.

Vasyl Lomachenko

Assuming they could stay on track with a very disciplined game plan, it seems it would take a relentless but intelligent and aggressive fighter to make Loma extremely uncomfortable. Someone who could back him up while taking hard shots in return. A fighter who can let his hands go on the inside with constant moving of their head. Someone disciplined enough to not get bothered by the quick bursts and the elusiveness.

Think Roberto Duran beating Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980.

The other opponent who could conceivably beat him would be one who would be patient and sharp enough to stay at a distance and force Loma to come forward and leave himself vulnerable to the same types of counter-punches he likes to take advantage of opponents with. Someone with the speed and elusiveness of their own to force him to lead more than counter

Think Roy Jones and James Toney in 1994.

For John Scully’s full column don’t miss this week’s issue of Boxing News magazine

May 15, 2018
May 15, 2018
David Haye

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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I was really pleased to be ringside to watch Hughie Fury win the British heavyweight title against Sam Sexton on Saturday because I’m very close with Peter [Fury] and Hughie.  Obviously, they were very disappointed with the controversial decision against Joseph Parker; that wasn’t the most exciting fight and if Hughie had used his right hand more then he could have beaten Parker. Parker couldn’t cope with Hughie’s movement and if he’d just had a bit more devilment he’d already be a world champion. But he will have learned so much from that experience because you don’t know you’re world class until you actually perform at that level. He’ll have been a better fighter overnight after the Parker fight because he’ll have realised he was actually at that level.

He just toyed with Sexton and took him out very efficiently. I did think he could stop Sexton, I thought maybe any time after the sixth round, but to stop him the way he did I thought was very impressive. He made a big statement, not just domestically but internationally. He’s just 23 years old and he’s improving all the time. He’s also such a humble lad, is so disciplined and he lives the life. I’ve got plenty of time for Hughie. He might not be as exciting as Mike Tyson but he has world class ability, no doubt about it.

Talking about heavyweights, I was a bit surprised that David Haye got beat by Tony Bellew again because I thought there was still something left. Even Bellew admitted afterwards he wasn’t in the same league as the Haye of a few years ago. A David Haye who’s even 60-80% of his top ability should beat Bellew, who’s really a blown-up light-heavyweight. But take nothing away from Tony, he did a number on Haye. For me, Haye has been cheating the public and he’s had a payday. He should retire now because anything he does from now on is just hype. If he does want to get in a ring again then it should be for the WWE, or something, but not a boxing ring.

David’s really just been a celebrity fighter for the last few years and his sell-by date went a couple of years ago. His body can’t cope with it. We’ve talked about Hughie Fury who absolutely lives the life, whereas Haye wants to party and be a celebrity, and this game will find you out if that’s the life you’ve been leading. David is a fantastic specimen but you can never tell a book by its cover. There was nothing in the tank, nothing under the bonnet.

David Haye

I promoted David for half a dozen fights on the BBC, and we won the European title with him at cruiserweight, and then him and Adam Booth wanted to do something on their own, and that’s what they did.  David obviously went on to win the cruiserweight world title against Jean Marc Mormeck, which was a fantastic achievement and he showed plenty of bottle in that fight, which is something he does have. He still has heavy hands, but his legs and mobility have gone. When we had him though it was exciting times; not the easiest people to do business with, but he was an exciting TV fighter.

May 14, 2018
May 14, 2018
vasyl lomachenko vs Jorge Linares fight time

Mikey Williams/Top Rank

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  1. Mikey Garcia

After Vasyl Lomachenko captured the WBA lightweight title, his promoter Bob Arum said the Ukrainian will return to action in August and will stay at 135lbs. Garcia is the current WBC lightweight champion and regarded as a pound-for-pound contender. Undefeated in 38 contests and a four-weight world champion, Garcia could be Lomachenko’s toughest test. Garcia’s size and power would make for a thrilling encounter with the speed and movement of Lomachenko. The undefeated American has stated his interest in the match-up before and “High-Tech” returned fire accepting a potential challenge. Possible barriers could prevent this showdown as Garcia has a long standing rivalry with Top Rank which saw him take a two-year lay-off from the ring in protest while it also looks like IBF champion Robert Easter Jr is poised to challenge the four-weight champion in a unification bout set for July.

  1. Raymundo Beltran

If Arum is true to his word and Lomachenko is to remain at lightweight for an August showdown, Raymundo Beltran could be the most logical opponent if Garcia is occupied elsewhere. Beltran holds the WBO version of the lightweight title having beaten Paulus Moses over 12 rounds in February. The contest would act as Lomachenko’s first unification bout and with Beltran having a record of 35-7-1 at the age of 37 Arum and “High-Tech” will more than fancy their chances. Lomachenko previously held the WBO world title at featherweight and junior-lightweight so the Ukrainian will be keen to add to his tally.

  1. Manny Pacquiao

Despite Manny Pacquiao already having a WBA ‘regular’ welterweight world title match-up with Lucas Matthysse on July 15, a rumoured showdown between these two Top Rank stars has been brewing for some time. A large part of the talks have stemmed from promoter Arum who is keen to make the fight happen. Arum has previously stated a winter fight between the two is a possibility, but with Pacquiao campaigning at 147lbs and Lomachenko just moving up to lightweight the bout looks likely to take place at 140lbs. Pacquiao has been Arum’s most prized possession for the last decade. However Lomachenko is a rising star, this fight would likely be the passing of a torch.

Vasyl Lomachenko

  1. Gervonta Davis

Current WBA super-featherweight Gervonta “Tank” Davis is 20-0 at age just 23. Promoted by former five-weight world champion Floyd Mayweather, Davis looks set to become one of boxing’s rising stars. A showdown between Lomachenko and Davis has been talked about but with the two at different stages of their career talks have never really escalated. Mayweather has previously stated he wants “Tank” to fight the Ukrainian. Despite all signs hinting at the undefeated Lomachenko continuing to campaign at lightweight or above, Arum cited after his win against Linares the size advantage in favour of Venezuelan was a problem, meaning a drop back down in weight can’t be ruled out just yet.

  1. Jorge Linares

Despite a seemingly slow start Linares dropped Lomachenko for the first time in his career at the end of round six. The Venezuelan rallied until he was stopped via a body shot in the 10th round to end the contest. However the scorecards were split with one judge having Lomachenko ahead, one in favour of Linares and the other a draw. The fight was entertaining for the fans and acted as Lomachenko’s toughest test to date. After the bout in a post-fight interview Lomachenko stated he would welcome a rematch with Linares with the Ukrainian possibly wanting to win a return leg more convincingly. Linares claimed he believed the contest was stopped prematurely and would likely fancy take confidence from the closely competed fight.

May 13, 2018
May 13, 2018
Vasyl Lomachenko

Mikey Williams/Top Rank

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WE knew Vasyl Lomachenko was good. Frankly we’ve known he was good for the last decade, when he was boxer of the tournament at the Beijing Olympic Games. He was outstanding when he won his second Olympic gold medal in 2012, at a second weight. In 11 fights he became a two-weight professional world champion, an extraordinary feat. He also showed admirable ambition, challenging for a WBO crown in just his second contest, which he actually lost to Orlando Salido.

He’s gone to a new, extraordinary level since then. On Saturday he beat Jorge Linares, who was probably the best lightweight in the world, to become a three-weight world champion, in his 12th pro bout and his first at 135lbs.

The calibre of Linares, the thrilling nature of the fight – Lomachenko was put down, rose and took out the Venezuelan, all within 10 rounds of excitement, power and tremendous skill demonstrated by both – all confirm this as a remarkable achievement.

Vasyl Lomachenko

But this will also be seen as the night Lomachenko became an attraction. He’s now one of the (few) must-watch fighters in the sport. He was headlining at New York’s historic Madison Square Garden, in front of a crowd of 10,000 who revelled in seeeing the Ukrainian’s prowess.

Linares’ part in the occasion needs to be respected. He brought out the best in Lomachenko. The Ukrainian needed to be operating at his highest level to win. Linares’ hands were fast, his tactics clever and his power clear to see. He was capable of hurting Lomachenko and, for a brief moment, he did.

But the Ukrainian, and new WBA world champion, overcame all that. His footwork, the speed of it, the overall spacial awareness was wonderful to see. He moved his body so well, making his head hard for Linares to tag with jabs while Lomachenko worried him with feints and his lead right hand. The Ukrainian varied his approached, from moving deftly on the outside to going forward and breaking open Linares’ defences. It was a fight that lived up to expectations and then some.

In fact, it was a fight so good, who wouldn’t want to see it again? Linares could reunite with former trainer Ismael Salas to re-ignite interest and who knows what new levels he might be able to bring out of Lomachenko? Whatever’s next, over the coming years, we’re going to find out just how good Vasyl Lomachenko really is.

May 13, 2018
May 13, 2018
Vasyl Lomachenko vs Jorge Linares

Mikey Williams/Top Rank

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WITH Vasyl Lomachenko vs Jorge Linares at Madison Square Garden in New York, a thrilling fight is in prospect. Lomachenko, a two-time Olympic gold medallist, is already a two-weight professional world champion, in only 11 pro contests.

He steps up to lightweight and goes straight in with WBA champion Jorge Linares, quite possibly the best in the division. Both are superbly skilled and dangerous. Sit back and enjoy the duel.

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May 10, 2018
May 10, 2018
Vasyl Lomachenko vs Jorge Linares

Mickey Williams/Top Rank

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  1. Will Jorge Linares quit?

As well as “High-Tech,” Vasyl Lomachenko has also earned the nickname ‘No Mas-Chenko’ as the Ukrainian has seen his last four opponents quit on their stool refusing to participate for the remainder of the fight. Jamaican Nicholas Walters started off the trend in November 2016 and since then Miguel Marriaga, Jason Sosa and most recently Guillermo Rigondeaux have all failed to hear the final bell on their own accord after experiencing the brilliance of Lomachenko. Linares however is tough. The Venezuelan was trailing to Brit Kevin Mitchell after ten rounds in 2015 but the ever resilient Linares kept on coming and forced a stoppage with two rounds to go. His only losses have come by way of knockout and he has never given in.

Linares has never been in with someone like Lomachenko before, but could he be the first boxer in four contests to last the full 12 rounds with the Ukrainian?

  1. Will Lomachenko adapt to the weight?

The fight is taking place at lightweight for Linares’ WBA world title, a weight Lomachenko is yet to compete at as a professional. Debuting at featherweight in 2013, the Ukrainian would go on to win the WBO version of the world title at 126lbs, later moving up to junior-lightweight where he defeated Román Martínez in 2016 to become a two-weight world champion. Lomachenko is moving up in weight for the third time in five years, whereas Linares has spent the last eight years competing at 135lbs. Linares has flirted at the possibility of testing himself at super-lightweight before while Lomachenko seemingly looks to fight at weights which he is naturally smaller but relies on boxing skill rather than size.

But will this jump in weight be too much for Lomachenko?

  1. Who will have the fastest hands?

Lomachenko is renowned for fast feet and exquisite movement. Linares has made a name for himself with his dazzling hand speed and combinations. Lomachenko’s exceptional footwork seems to overshadow the speed of his hands. The Ukrainian mixes up his attacks from head to body in quick time, effectively teeing up his opponents with deft touches before unloading a powerful uppercut or hook. Linares opts for blistering speed on the front foot, always throwing in bunches which has seen him stop 27 opponents.

Will Lomachenko’s quick sequences of shots or Linares’ electric combination punching catch the eye more?

Vasyl Lomachenko vs Jorge Linares

  1. How will Linares perform under a new trainer?

Linares has spent the last third of his professional career under the guidance of Cuban trainer Ismael Salas. Salas guided Linares to his WBC lightweight title win in 2014 against Javier Prieto and the pair later added the WBA version to their collection. However, following Salas’ commitment to training David Haye in the UK for his rematch against Tony Bellew, Linares was not willing to re-locate from his usual Las-Vegas camp and subsequently dropped the Cuban as his trainer. Linares’ younger brother Carlos, along with Rudy Hernandez will lead his corner.

How will Linares perform without Salas in arguably his toughest challenge to date?

  1. Where will the winner go?

Lomachenko seems to have no intentions of moving up the weight divisions though the footwork and boxing ability of ‘High-Tech’ could enable him to take inspiration from Pacquiao and become a multi-weight world champion. Lomachenko’s promoter Bob Arum has stated the Ukrainian could go as high as welterweight and with marquee names ranging from 130-147lbs including the likes of Mikey Garcia, Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr there could be mega-fights for the current WBO junior-lightweight champion. Linares on the other hand has been continually linked with a showdown with Garcia, with both men holding a title at lightweight these two could finally meet.

Will the winner of this super-fight opt to stay at the weight or move up?