WERE the lineal heavyweight championship an actual belt with rankings, there would be calls for it to be stripped from Tyson Fury if a potential fight against former IBF titleholder Charles Martin in September becomes a reality.
However, because it isn’t an actual belt, and because there aren’t rankings, Fury can essentially do as he pleases and fight whoever he fancies fighting. This freedom, according to his US promoter Bob Arum, could lead to Martin, an American finished inside two rounds by Anthony Joshua three years ago, get the nod ahead of other more viable contenders.
“It’s a real possibility,” Arum confirmed to Barbershop Conversations. “Al (Haymon) is talking to Charles Martin about the fight and it looks like that could come together.
“Martin would be a credible opponent for Fury.”
Martin might be a former IBF champion, but he only won that belt – vacant at the time – because Vyacheslav Glazkov hurt his knee during their 2016 fight and was unable to continue. Martin then lost the belt in his very first defence, the one against Joshua for which he was handsomely paid, before disappearing into the wilderness for 12 months.
Since then, the Missouri southpaw, to his credit, has dusted himself down and given it another go, fighting five times in the last two years. And though he lost a 10-round decision to undefeated Pole Adam Kownacki a year ago, Martin has rebounded with a disqualification win over Gregory Corbin, also unbeaten, and a fourth-round stoppage of Daniel Martz, both of which make him more than deserving of a shot at the lineal heavyweight championship of the world. (No, of course they don’t.)
WBO light-heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev may have landed himself in hot water after it was claimed he was removed from a Los Angeles flight for ‘kissing and throwing money’ at a female passenger.
The outspoken Russian, no stranger to controversy, is due to defend his title against Britain’s Anthony Yarde in Russia on August 24 but must first win one or two fights before that date.
According to The Athletic, the 36-year-old allegedly kissed the passenger in question, grabbed her hand and threw money at her, causing the woman to flee the plane in tears.
A Broward County Sheriff’s Office’s report written at the airport on July 15 claimed the woman felt ‘uncomfortable and not safe’, leading the captain to order Kovalev to be removed from the flight.
Upon leaving, and having not been arrested, Kovalev boarded another flight at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to Los Angeles that same day.
But that’s not the Russian’s only issue ahead of the Yarde title defence. On August 1, he is due to attend a hearing pertaining to another allegation from a separate woman. This one centres on an accusation that Kovalev punched a woman and kicked her dog when she refused his advances. Kovalev has pleaded not guilty to charges of felony assault but, if found guilty, could face up to four years in prison.
Hardly ideal preparation ahead of what could be a tricky defence on August 24.