IT has started. It was always going to after recent events. After years of UK-based pundits and fans alike pooh-poohing commissions across Europe and the world — “You can’t get a decision in Germany…they only score on aggression in Vegas…don’t get me started on Italy” — the rest of the world has taken a look at so-called “British stoppages”, where the ref jumps in early, some shambolic scorecards, and the recent debacle over the Dillian Whyte situation and decreed that the UK is no longer the self-declared epicentre of fair play.
Bob Arum is the latest trade figure to go all in on our promoters and, in a new wrinkle, the grand old Boxing Board of Control, once seen across the world as a bastion of integrity — a creaking, fuddy-duddy and in some areas not fit for purpose one, but still.
“The Bobfather” has told Barbershop Conversations that promoter Eddie Hearn and the BBBoC had a duty to tell Oscar Rivas (26-1, 18 KOs) that Dillian Whyte (26-1, 18 KOs) had failed a doping test only to be cleared to fight by an “independent panel”.
The veteran also fumed about the gloves switch that took place just before the contest. Then he paused for breath and went in on referee Victor Loughlin for “Breaking it up every 20 seconds and warning him [Rivas]” after the visitor floored Whyte in round nine.
Arum, though, was especially scathing about the Board and its set-up, even claiming that he is worried about bringing Vasyl Lomachenko (13-1, 10 early) over to fight Luke Campbell (20-2, 16 stoppages) at London’s O2 Arena at the end of this month.
“They turned this into a seedy business, and for the BBBofC, they had such a sterling reputation, for them to do something like this is a disgrace,” he raged. “And why am I so upset? Because I’m in boxing firstly, and secondly I’ve got Lomachenko going over to fight on August 31. These guys are going to figure out ways to screw Lomachenko, but Lomachenko is so good that you can’t beat him.”
Granted, this is Mr. “Yesterday I was lying, today I’m telling the truth” we are dealing with here yet it is increasingly hard to argue against a point he made about the Board being in thrall to the most powerful promoters, rather than vice versa.
“The fact that they had him go in with a fighter that tested dirty,” he said, explaining what he believes was the worst aspect of a fight and night mired in controversy. “I think the fact that it was unfair competition by giving the other fighter the edge. I think you’re making it a no contest, but you’ve got to pay damages for that.”
He added: “The British Boxing Board of Control, they’re supported by promoters, but they take the place of a commission. That would be like a state commission.”
At this point we can point out that the Board has some of the most stringent safety measures in the world, ones that they introduced of their own accord. However, there is no point having these procedures in place if a contest like this goes ahead with collusion from the UKAD despite an A test having an adverse finding.
The Board and the UKAD have now dropped the ball in high-profile cases with the Furys, Tyson and Hughie, and now Whyte involved. Fighters who all wield a certain amount of clout or are represented by people who do. People who seek to defend the BBBoC may point to Arum’s many misdeeds, but you cannot really knock his thinking in this instance.
There was shocking news about a former fighter overnight when Carlos Baldomir was convicted of continued sexual abuse of a minor, with reports identifying his victim as his daughter. According to these reports the abuse began when she was seven and continued for two years.
Child abusers do not always get sentences that are appropriate for their crimes. Argentina does not seem to have that problem, though, as he has been jailed for 18 years. The prosecution asked for 20 years; the defence, predictably, called the sentence “excessive”. It isn’t, it should be a longer stretch; however, judges are bound by sentencing guidelines the world over and have to apply them.
The only comfort in this grim case is that at 48, and as long as his stretch isn’t halved or cut by the three years that he has already spent in custody, the former WBC welterweight holder will be an old man if and when he gets out. Still, the child he has abused now faces a life sentence because of the actions of a man she should have been able to trust. I hope she lives a full life while her abuser sits in a jail cell reflecting on his crimes.
The Furys not named Tyson continue to work with Matchroom as Peter Fury-trained prospect Savannah Marshall (6-0, 4 early) has signed a deal with the promotional outfit. “I couldn’t be happier to announce I’m teaming up with Matchroom Boxing and Sky Sports, alongside my team mate Hughie Fury and many other great fighters,” said Marshall via a press release.
Eddie Hearn added, “As a pro she has been faultless and is almost ready to take her shot at a world title. There are some great fights out there for her, particularly Claressa Shields, who she defeated as an amateur. Claressa has been a driving force behind the women’s game and a rematch between the two would be great to watch.”
The tug-of-war going on between IBF World, WBA Super World, WBO and IBO holder Andy Ruiz Jr.(33-1, 22 KOs) and Anthony Joshua’s team has almost been as absorbing as the fight that took place between the two at Madison Square Garden in June.
Ruiz has once again reiterated that he will not take the rematch here in the UK during a podcast with Joe Rogan’s MMA Show. Hearn insists that it won’t take place in America. As per usual, rumours have also circulated that it will land in Dubai, with Hearn stating that Ruiz will be “told” where it will take place in the next day or two. Has any other semi-unified holder been treated almost as an afterthought by the team that he vanquished fairly and squarely?
In the meantime, Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) has welcomed Hughie Fury (23-2, 13 KOs) into the fold and, according to Hearn, is “fascinated” by the August 31 showdown between Fury and former WBA holder Alexander Povetkin on the Loma-Campbell undercard.
“Anthony boxed Povetkin so knows it is a dangerous fight but we know Hughie can move, and be slick, and be elusive,” stated Hearn.
“Hughie will have to come through fire in this fight to win but, if he does, the rewards are huge. It is a great gamble. It was never our intention to put Fury into a fight like this but it appeared. The opportunity arose, and he and Peter [Fury’s father] took it.”