WITH confirmed Covid-19 cases rising at an alarming rate and figures like Donald Trump and then Eddie Hearn contracting the virus, we’re now facing the sobering reality that things won’t be anywhere close to normal anytime soon.
As such, plans and hopes for sporting events to allow fans back in have been curtailed – at least here in the UK. However, that doesn’t mean big fights are being pushed back.
Speaking to BT Sport, promoter Frank Warren confirmed that a deal has been reached for unbeaten heavyweights Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce to face off behind closed doors, despite it previously being claimed the fight could only take place with a live audience.
A date and venue are yet to be announced, but this fight would certainly be one of the biggest to happen in the UK since the pandemic struck and is a positive sign for what deals can be struck in these circumstances.
For a while now, there have been rumblings that the third fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder won’t take place this year, despite December 19 being pencilled in as a potential date for it. Warren – who co-promotes Fury – spoke on the issue in the same interview with BT, saying “It [doesn’t] look like it’s going to happen this year. We’ve got to somehow get him [Fury] out. We’re all going to have to put our thinking caps on, put our hands in somebody’s pocket and make it happen.”
Fury has repeatedly said that, regardless if it’s against Wilder or not, he’ll be fighting this year, most likely in December. It remains to be seen how true that is and, if so, what sort of opponent the division leader will land on. It should also be noted he’s still clearly involved with the WWE, having repeatedly used social media to ‘call out’ some of their superstars. He could well be involved in one of their events before the year is out, rather than fight.
Another big heavyweight fight that has reportedly been agreed is Anthony Joshua’s mandatory title defence against Kubrat Pulev, with Hearn telling IFL that terms have been agreed for the fight to take place on December 12.
An announcement is expected this week, and Hearn said the fight will happen with or without fans present – another sign that promoters and broadcasters are pressing ahead with larger events now that it appears fans won’t be allowed back in attendance for a while.
Joshua would be far and away the biggest boxing star to box during this pandemic, and it would admittedly be bizarre to see a man who draws such enormous crowds to fight in front of no fans whatsoever.
In America, however, it was confirmed Gervonta Davis vs Leo Santa Cruz will be the first major card to have fans in attendance when it takes place in Texas on October 31.
Amid worldwide headlines that Conor McGregor and Manny Pacquiao will be fighting each other later this year or early 2021, Mikey Garcia claims that isn’t true, because he’ll be fighting Pacquiao next.
“I’m confident his [McGregor] next fight is Pacquiao. But Pacquiao’s next fight is not McGregor. Before that, Pacquiao’s next fight is with me. And that’s 100 per cent… That’s gonna happen. Watch,” he told FightHype.
I’d be surprised if that’s true, given how much money Pacquiao would likely earn from a McGregor fight, but Garcia seems adamant. We’ll see how this pans out, but I know which fight I’d rather see, and it doesn’t involve an Irishman.
It’s been a while since we’ve heard from super-lightweight Ohara Davies, but after he won the Golden Contract tournament with a points victory over Tyrone McKenna, he gave a brutally honest interview to IFL.
Reflecting on his loss to Josh Taylor, in which he was stopped inside seven rounds back in 2017, Davies admitted that he “quit” against the Scot and purposely turned his back in the fight because he didn’t want it to continue. Davies has gone back and forth in the intervening years over what happened in that fight, though he is now definitively saying that he quit.
It’s extremely rare for a fighter of any age to admit such a thing, even rarer still for a young, active boxer to do so. Whatever you think of Davies – and he’s said some moronic things in the past – he deserves credit for his honesty.
While it remains unclear when Wilder will actually attempt to avenge his defeat to Fury, we now know that he’ll be doing so without veteran Mark Breland in his corner.
Breland was the one who threw the towel in for Wilder against Fury, and was criticised by head trainer Jay Deas for doing so, despite the rest of the boxing world singing his praises for it. A few days later, Wilder stated he understood Breland’s decision and would not be firing him.
Now, just over seven months later, Wilder has gone back on that and removed Breland from his team. Shelly Finkel, Wilder’s co-manager, confirmed the news to BoxingScene.
It’s a bizarre decision, especially so long after the fact. Breland’s move was one of compassion and prevented Wilder from taking further punishment. Finkel also spoke to ESPN, adding that Deas remains head trainer and former Wilder victim Malik Scott will now take a more prominent role in the team.
Finkel also hinted that this decision may not have been based solely on the second Fury fight, and that a rift may have been building over the past few years. Whatever the case, it doesn’t seem like a positive move for Wilder at this stage of his career. That being said, look at what happened when Fury moved from Ben Davison to SugarHill Steward in between his first and second fights with Wilder.