Boxing News At Five | Sep 05 2019

Boxing News at Five: Hearn wants Smith vs. Vargas, as well as Povetkin, in Saudi Arabia, WBC order Edwards vs. Martinez rematch

Liam Smith, Jessie Vargas and Alexander Povetkin could be set for Saudi Arabia trip in December, and Julio Cesar Martinez gets a second chance
Alexander Povetkin
Anthony Joshua & Alexander Povetkin Press Conference  |  Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

ALTHOUGH the main event between WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jnr and Anthony Joshua probably sells itself, promoter Eddie Hearn is working hard on a decent supporting cast to follow the two heavyweights to Saudi Arabia on December 7.

The event is still three months away, of course, but already there is talk of heavyweight contender Alexander Povetkin making an appearance on the card and there is also the possibility top contenders Liam Smith and Jessie Vargas meet at super-welterweight.

Speaking in Diriyah, Hearn told Sky: “Liam Smith against Jessie Vargas is a fight that I’m looking at for this card.

“I think a couple of heavyweight fights. Out here, they’re very excited by the prospect of big heavyweight fights on the card.

“I think [Alexander] Povetkin is a guy they would like to see out here. I would like to see a couple of world championship fights as well.”

Povetkin, of course, was last seen outworking Hughie Fury for 12 rounds on a Matchroom Boxing show on Saturday (August 31). He has appeared in Britain three times in a row now and is probably due a change of scenery sometime soon. He might not have Saudi Arabia in mind when imagining his ideal backdrop but, once he sees his fight purse, I’m sure he will quickly come around to the idea.

Liam Smith
Smith could be set for some Saudi Arabia action (Action Images/Lee Smith)

We knew on Saturday night that the WBC flyweight title fight between Charlie Edwards and Julio Cesar Martinez needed to be played back and done all over again, but the sanctioning body’s president, Mauricio Sulaiman, has now come out and reiterated his intention to get the fight made.

He told World Boxing News: “The fight has to be done again. I feel for Julio Cesar and for Charlie as well, because Charlie Edwards is a warrior who represents the best of the WBC inside and outside of the ring. We have a great relationship with him and his family.

“Julio Cesar was so fantastic that night at the O2 Arena in London. He was ready to become champion, but there’s nothing more sacred than justice. So I feel strongly and I’m convinced that we did the right thing.

“Julio Cesar Martinez has taken it with pride and honour. Charlie Edwards has done so as well. Now it’s just a matter of waiting for the direct rematch and seeing what happens in the ring.”

The one stumbling block in terms of getting the rematch over the line could be Edwards’ difficulty making flyweight and his desire to move to super-flyweight in the near future. Indeed, before learning the result had been overturned, Edwards, dethroned and dispirited, sounded adamant we had seen the last of him as a flyweight.

It would come as a surprise, therefore, to see him now renege on this and rematch someone who gave him plenty of problems before the fight reached its premature and controversial conclusion in the third round.

Martinez, for his part, isn’t looking to wait around. Whether it’s Edwards or someone else for the vacant title, the Mexican wants to get a move on and build on the recent momentum he has generated.

“I am disappointed,” he said, “but I fought the very best I could to the heights of my capacity. I had more than him on the night and I’ll be back with everything I’ve got, possibly at the end of October or in November on a card led by Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in Las Vegas.

“Prior to that, I’ll go back for more altitude training at the Otomi Center, in the mountains above Toluca.”

One gets the sense it’s only a matter of time before the impressive Martinez finds a world title wrapped around his waist. The only question now is whether that title will still be the property of Charlie Edwards when the time comes for a handover.

Charlie Edwards
Julio Cesar Martinez lines up that illegal shot (Action Images/Reuters/Andrew Couldridge)

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