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September 19, 2018
September 19, 2018
David Benavidez

Rosie Cohe/Showtime

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A urine sample taken from WBC world super-middleweight champion David Benavidez has come back dirty, it was announced today.

The positive test was for the banned substance benzoylecgonin, an ingredient in cocaine, and Benavidez, unlike many others who find themselves in a similar situation, has been refreshingly open about his career misstep.

“I would like to sincerely apologize to the WBC for my actions,” he said on Tuesday. “I am embarrassed to have this happen. And to my all my fans that I lost the respect of, I know a lot of people won’t see me the same, but I am young and it was a mistake on my behalf.”

Benavidez, 20-0 (17), was expected to defend his WBC 168-pound title against Anthony Dirrell later in the year, but this latest twist has now thrown any such plans into jeopardy. He might avoid a ban on account of the drug being recreational. A fine, however, will probably be unavoidable.

Interestingly, while he has the option of having a B sample tested, his admission, as welcome as it is, would suggest the 21-year-old isn’t about to fight the failed test too forcefully, nor cobble together some far-fetched excuse as to why the substance was found in his system.

Honesty. A rare thing in this day and age.

David benavidez

Though he’s 39 years of age and 43 bouts deep into his pro career, Kevin Johnson still talks with the enthusiasm of a man half his age and can still have even the most cynical of listeners believing he means what he says.

Kevin Johnson has always talked the talk. Occasionally, he has walked the walk, too, performing admirably, upsetting prospects, and boxing behind a left jab as snappy as any in the heavyweight division. In the past, he has been considered good enough – or suitable enough – to share a ring with Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, Kubrat Pulev and Vitali Klitschko, from whom he attempted to snatch the WBC world heavyweight title.

But that was a long time ago. Nine years ago, in fact. Today, Johnson is gearing up for a fight against Daniel Dubois, an eight-bout novice, on October 6, and knows, at this advanced stage of his career, he’s being brought over to England for one reason and one reason only: Dubois, a London knockout machine, needs a recognisable face on his KO highlight reel.

Daniel Dubois predicts Anthony Joshua vs Deontay Wilder

“He’s made a good start,” said Johnson, who has lost seven of his last ten fights. “But it’s a big transition to make, especially for a heavyweight. There is always a danger that they haven’t seen what an experienced, veteran fighter can bring to them.

“Let’s see what happens when he steps into that ring against me. He’s going to feel the pressure and how does he react to that? You only know whether you can cope with going up levels once you’re in them.

“It’s a hard business, and many young prospects have faltered because they find they can’t make the next step. He doesn’t know he will make it. He can’t know.”

It’s funny. Compared to the stuff Johnson used to say when on the cusp of fighting British heavyweights, these latest quotes sound almost reserved, cautious, perhaps even uncertain. Gone are the boasts and the rhymes of fights gone by; gone is the confidence that at times bordered on delusion but had you wondering all the same.

Maybe Kevin Johnson has seen something in Daniel Dubois and knows it’s best to keep schtum. Or maybe Kevin Johnson, last seen in the UK getting beaten inside two rounds by Joshua, is all grown up.

Kevin Johnson-Anthony Joshua

September 19, 2018
September 19, 2018
David Price

Action Images

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WHEN Cedric Boswell fought Alexander Povetkin in December 2011, the fight became a story of two right hands.

One of them, the one Boswell possessed, was thrown only sporadically and generated shooting pains whenever used, while the other, the one belonging to Povetkin, helped bring about an end to the fight in round eight.

More importantly, Povetkin’s right hand, according to Boswell, is good enough, sneaky enough and powerful enough to cause Anthony Joshua a world of trouble this Saturday (September 22) at Wembley Stadium.

“Povetkin has a sneaky overhand right that he catches a lot of taller guys with,” Boswell told Boxing News. “I don’t think Joshua has the best chin. He doesn’t have a terrible chin, but you can see he’s vulnerable sometimes when he gets hit.

“If Povetkin can land that overhand right hook, this crazy shot he throws really well, Joshua needs to be careful. He needs to look out for that shot.

“I think Joshua is one of the best heavyweights out there right now but Povetkin is going to be a tough fight for him. He throws tricky shots.

“I don’t want it to sound like sour grapes but before I fought Povetkin I tore my rotator cuff and had to have surgery. I fought him two months after the surgery. I wasn’t in the best shape. I couldn’t really throw my right hand.”

Dropped and stopped in round eight, Boswell puts the defeat, his second and last as a pro, down to exhaustion more than anything else. He wasn’t hurt, he says, at least not until the end, and rates Povetkin’s power highly but not as highly as other men with whom he shared a ring during a 17-year pro career.

“He has decent power,” said Boswell, 35-2 (26). “I only had one-arm and was pretty much winded and tired. He didn’t knock me out because he hurt me. He stopped me because I was tired.

“Does he have devastating power? No. He has solid power, he throws good punches, good combinations, and has effective short punches when he’s in close.

“He has a great chance of beating Joshua. People are sleeping on him. He’s very dangerous.”

As well as respectable power and a sneaky right hand, it’s Povetkin’s toughness, Boswell believes, that will give him a shot at the upset this weekend in London. Toughness, after all, helped the Russian hear the final bell against Wladimir Klitschko in 2013.

“He’s as tough as a box of nails,” recalled Boswell. “You’re not going to break his will. You’re going to have to properly beat him to win the fight. He showed that when he fought Klitschko. Klitschko was a much better fighter when Povetkin fought him than he was when Joshua fought him. He hit him with everything and Povetkin didn’t quit.”

Winning and not quitting are two very different things, of course. It’s true, few expect Alexander Povetkin to quit on Saturday night inside a football stadium. But even fewer expect him to win.

Alexander Povetkin

September 18, 2018
September 18, 2018
Anthony Joshua (Action Images_Andrew Couldridge)

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ANTHONY JOSHUA has been knocking out opponents since 2013 when he turned professional. The Olympic gold medal winner has made powerful punching his signature in the sport of kings. During his short, yet successful career, Joshua has posted a 21-0 record. Twenty of those 21 wins have been by knockout or technical knockout.

The English boxing heavyweight has unified three of the four major world boxing titles for his weight division. His next fight is on the horizon against Alexander Povetkin in September at Wembley Stadium. The WBA Super Heavyweight, IBF Heavyweight, WBO Heavyweight, and IBO Heavyweight titles will be on the line when the two gladiators take to the ring. Based on Joshua’s track record, it may be a quick night with another knockout.

Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko – 29th April 2017

Anthony Joshua

Contrary to the boring fight against Parker, Joshua battled Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium in a title unification bout. The two went at it in front of 90,000 fans, which set a post-World War II attendance record. The night was filled with drama. Although the fight’s ending wasn’t an emphatic Joshua knockout of an opponent, he battered Klitschko into oblivion. It was Klitschko’s muscle memory that kept him coming back for more punishment. Joshua won by T.K.O. in the 11, unifying the titles. A massive promo at William Hill has been set up for this particular match, signifying how important it was.

Joshua vs. Dillian Whyte – 12th December 2015

Anthony Joshua

When Joshua and Dillian Whyte met in London at the O2 Arena, the two had plenty of hate between them. Whyte pushed Joshua early as he connected with a left hook that left Joshua on Dream Street. However, Joshua recovered and fought back against his hated rival. By the seventh, Joshua was in firm control and delivered an uppercut knockout punch to win the fight. It was the first professional fight in which Joshua went more than three rounds.

Joshua vs. Raphael Zumbano Love – 9th May 2015

Anthony Joshua

Earlier in the year, Joshua battled Raphael Zumbano Love in Birmingham, England. No belt was on the line, but Joshua still battered his opponent. Love was completely overmatched when the two stepped into the ring that night and it didn’t take long for him to feel the canvas on the back of his skull. Love spent much of the fight covering up. When Joshua found an opening in the second round, it was lights out.

Joshua vs. Dennis Bakhtov – 11th October 2014

Anthony Joshua

Joshua took on Dennis Bakhtov at the O2 Arena for the vacant WBC International Heavyweight title. The veteran Bakhtov was up against it that night as the much younger Joshua was hungry for his first gold belt. Joshua delivered a strong showing early and knocked out the Russia 1:00 into the second round.

Joshua vs. Emanuele Leo – 5th October 2013

Anthony Joshua

Joshua spent 2:47 completely brutalising Emanuele Leo in the British boxer’s first ever professional fight. Held at the O2 Arena in London, Leo couldn’t even make it a full round before the fight was called via T.K.O. Joshua’s power overwhelmed the Italian at it set him on the path of destruction that he has been on ever since. It wouldn’t be until Joshua’s 15th fight that he went deeper than three rounds in a professional bout. Poor Leo didn’t have a chance and neither has many of Joshua’s subsequent opponents.

His next fight might be against the American Wilder. is expecting the odds to come out soon. Do not miss the fight, it promises to be one of the top sport moments of the year.

September 18, 2018
September 18, 2018
Alexander Povetkin

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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ALEXANDER POVETKIN will become Anthony Joshua’s latest challenger when he fights the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion on Saturday at Wembley Stadium.

Here, Press Association Sport explores five things about the 39-year-old Russian.

Another golden great

Anthony Joshua v Alexander Povetkin – Press Conference – Wembley Stadium
Alexander Povetkin has an Olympic gold medal (John Walton/PA)

Like Joshua, Povetkin is an Olympic gold medallist. He became the super-heavyweight champion at the 2004 Games in Athens and, like Joshua, when he fought Carlos Takam — in October 2014 — he won via a 10th-round stoppage.

Cashing in

Anthony Joshua v Wladimir Klitschko – Wembley Stadium
Wladimir Klitschko is the only man to beat Povetkin in a pro fight (Nick Potts/PA)

He also became Russia’s highest-paid fighter when, in 2013, the winning purse bid for his clash with Wladimir Klitschko was a remarkable $23,233,330 (£17,841,489). He was dropped four times before he lost via a unanimous decision; that defeat remains the only one he has experienced as a professional.

PED issues in the past

Olympics Drugs Test
Povetkin served a ban (Johnny Green/PA)

He twice tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2016, costing him fights with reigning WBC champion Deontay Wilder and former champion Bermane Stiverne. He had tested positive for meldonium, and served a ban with the sanctioning body, who also fined him $250,000 (£191,966).

A fighter with a kick

Boxing – Principality Stadium
Povetkin does not just impress in the ring (Nick Potts/PA)

Povetkin is also an accomplished kick-boxer. He won the world junior title in 1997, the world senior title in 1999, and the European title in 2000.

Pals with Putin

Salisbury incident
Vladimir Putin and Alexander Povetkin are friends (Nick Potts/PA)

As an amateur, Povetkin trained alongside Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, who has a black belt in judo, and they remain friends. He lost only seven of his 132 amateur fights, and avenged each of those defeats.

September 18, 2018
September 18, 2018
top five fights

Mikey Williams/Top Rank

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FRENCHMAN Yvan Mendy has won seven fights on the bounce since taking Luke Campbell’s undefeated record in 2015 and therefore resents the idea that he’s merely a barometer of the Hull man’s progress – and improvements – this Saturday (September 22) at Wembley Stadium.

He goes further than that, too. With a WBC silver belt, and a number one ranking with that organisation, Mendy feels he has been worthy of a world title shot for some time now.

“I do feel a bit frustrated that I haven’t had a world title opportunity yet,” said the 33-year-old. “He (Campbell) lost to me and yet he was able to fight Linares for the world title. So that does leave me a bit of frustrated.

“You do suffer being a boxer in France. It’s a cultural thing. In England, boxing is a part of the culture. Over here, it just isn’t. I’ve often said to myself if I were English I’d already be world champion; or at least I would have had the chance to fight for it.

“At the moment I feel like I’m unbeaten because I haven’t lost for so long. Mentally, I have forgotten about my defeats and in my mind when I go in the ring I feel undefeated. I feel as strong as ever.”

Campbell, the man Mendy beat three years ago, received his shot at a version of the world title last year, when losing a decision against WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares. That fight, rather than a bone of contention, is all the evidence Mendy, 40-4-1 (19), needs ahead of his rematch this weekend.

“I haven’t watched him too much since the last fight,” he said. “I did see the fight against Jorge Linares, but I think that was the only one. He fought very well against Linares. It was close. He was up on one of the scorecards, so he is a good boxer and he has progressed.

“I don’t necessarily see it as a big advantage the fact that I won the first fight, simply because it has been three years since that and we change, all of us. After three years, we forget about a loss. I don’t think mentally it will play on his mind because a lot of things happen in that time.

“For me, it’s important to win by knockout to make a statement. I’m not here for the sake of it. I’m ready to win this. I want a nice victory.”

Saturday’s intended story-line will see Campbell, three years better, much improved, righting a wrong from earlier in his career and giving Mendy a boxing lesson. That’s how it’s being approached; that’s why Mendy has been brought back again. But, of course, just as Mendy upset some major plans last time, he seems more than capable of doing the same at Wembley.

Should that happen, he knows what might be next.

“The winner should get a shot at the champion Mikey García, but we will see if he stays at lightweight,” said Mendy.

“I’ve been waiting for the chance for a while. It’s one of the best weight classes in boxing; it’s very attractive. In each organisation the champion is a big name at lightweight. There’s a lot of high-level boxers operating at 135lbs and I’ll show that I belong at the top when I beat Campbell again.”

Luke Campbell

It’s being reported that WBA world lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko will look to unify his belt against WBO world lightweight champion Jose Pedraza at New York’s Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on December 8, live on ESPN.

First mooted for December 1, it is believed promoters Top Rank are keen to gain a ratings boost from ESPN’s Heisman Trophy presentation a week later and have therefore decided on December 8 instead.

The fight will be Lomachenko’s first since he rallied back from a flash knockdown to dazzle against Jorge Linares in May. Expected to fight again in the summer, this plan was unfortunately scuppered due to an injury Lomachenko, 11-1 (9), picked up during that WBA title bout.

Pedraza, meanwhile, scored the win of his career when dropping and defeating Ray Beltran in August to lift his current world title. It was Pedraza’s third victory since losing to Gervonta Davis in January 2017 and exemplified how the talented 29-year-old has improved and matured as a lightweight.

Now 25-1 (12), he would seem as ready as he’s ever going to be – indeed, as ready as anybody can expect to be – to try and solve the puzzle that is Vasyl Lomachenko.

Vasyl Lomachenko

September 18, 2018
September 18, 2018
Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury

Chris Roberts/Frank Warren

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THE first press conference for the WBC heavyweight fight between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury will take place on Monday, promoter Frank Warren has said.

Press Association Sport understands that a United States venue will this week be revealed for December 1 or 8, having been under negotiation since Wilder travelled to Belfast to watch Fury outpoint Francesco Pianeta last month.

Las Vegas remains the likeliest destination, and Warren told IFL TV: “It’s been about deciding what venue it will go to. It’s not an issue because it’s a nice problem, it’s who is going to put up the most money.

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The answer to everyone’s questions!

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“We’ve got a press conference next Monday, Wilder will be in town, and that will be the start of the (promotional) tour.

“We do London, then we go to New York, then on to Los Angeles.

“You get the usual things with judges, depending on where it is going to take place. If you go to Las Vegas they want to appoint all the officials; we don’t particularly want that.

“We want the officials agreed between the two parties, and they should be as neutral as possible. That is one of the things we have been working on.”

Confirmation of the Fury-Wilder fight details appear likely to come when Warren’s rivals Matchroom are concluding the promotion of Saturday’s bout between WBA, WBO and IBF champion Anthony Joshua and Russian Alexander Povetkin.

Responding to suggestions he is accepting the Wilder fight to cash out on his reputation, the 30-year-old Fury said on social media: “I wouldn’t lose a fight for £100million, let alone the few million I’m going to get for fighting Wilder. It’s not about money for me.”

September 18, 2018
September 18, 2018
Billy Joe Saunders

Action Images/Peter Cziborra

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BILLY JOE SAUNDERS has been charged with misconduct by the British Boxing Board of Control after the emergence of video footage in which he appears to offer a woman drugs.

Images filmed from inside the WBO world middleweight champion’s car show him speaking to a woman through the passenger window.

Saunders offers £150 worth of drugs to the woman to perform a sex act.

He then asks her to punch a passer-by, which she does, before the boxer drives off.

The British Boxing Board of Control will stage a hearing next week to investigate the incident, for which Saunders has apologised on social media.

A day for the hearing is yet to be set by the British Boxing Board of Control, but their general secretary Robert Smith has confirmed that there could be wide ranging sanctions if the charge is upheld.

“Billy Joe Saunders has been charged with misconduct,” Smith told Press Association Sport. “We’re in the process of organising the hearing for next week.”

The 29-year-old Saunders, who is due to defend his title against Demetrius Andrade in Boston on October 20, could be suspended, have his licence withdrawn, or be fined.

He has regardless also described the incident as an ill-judged joke, writing on social media: “(I) apologise to everybody who’s took offence, totally in the wrong, can’t do anything but be sorry. ‘Banter when wrong’. Apologies once again.”

A statement released by Nottinghamshire Police described the footage as “sickening”, and an investigation is to be launched into the “number of offences” seen.

“A woman is offered drugs in exchange for committing an act of violence, and potentially committing a sex act in public,” a Nottinghamshire Police spokesperson told Press Association Sport.

“Officers will be looking to identify and speak to all of those who feature in this sickening video, and a full investigation will be carried out into the number of offences that have been captured on film, including the offer to supply Class A drugs, aiding and abetting an assault, assault and public order offences.”

The incident is the latest to undermine Saunders’ reputation. Last December he produced a career-best performance that was considered among the finest by any Briton fighting overseas, to outpoint David Lemieux in Canada, but he was then criticised for withdrawing from another fight with Martin Murray through injury and has since been inactive.

In Belfast last month he was also chased out of a restaurant, having allegedly thrown chicken at WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, who is scheduled to fight his friend Tyson Fury.