TYRON Zeuge is a wanted man. He’s wanted by Rocky Fielding and he’s wanted by John Ryder. He’s wanted, you sense, by a whole host of super-middleweights eager to get their paws on his WBA ‘regular’ title.
No, it’s not the most prestigious belt to win at 12-stone. Nor does it necessarily mean you are even the best super-middleweight according to the WBA (George Groves currently holds the WBA ‘super’ version). But it’s certainly a launchpad to bigger and better things and Fielding and Ryder, two men who have won big fights domestically and boxed each other in April 2017, are keen to now dip their toes into world-class waters.
“They are definitely both options for Zeuge’s next fight,” Zeuge’s promoter, Nisse Sauerland, told Sky Sports. “We’ve spoken to both already.
“At the moment, a lot of people want to be next in line so there is still plenty to look at.
“We have already spoken to Matchroom Boxing about Fielding and have had conversations with Ryder’s camp.
“I’m sure they would both be more than happy to travel to Germany for a world title opportunity.”
Tyron Zeuge isn’t a bad fighter by any means. He’s 22-0-1 (12) and recently knocked out Isaac Ekpo in two rounds. Let’s not forget, either, that Paul Smith, the last Briton to venture to Germany in the hope of snatching Zeuge’s title, was dominated over 12 rounds.
The 26-year-old might not be a household name but he’s not as ‘regular’ as his peculiar belt would suggest.
It was only last week 23-year-old Isaac Dogboe threatened an early retirement from boxing, and now South African Zolani Tete, a fellow WBO champion, is doing the same.
Tete, the current WBO bantamweight king, is all signed up for the next season of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) but says the size of its eventual prize could be enough to persuade him to call it a day should it land on his lap.
“I don’t want to lie to you, there is lots of money is this series. And if it happens that I win it‚ I may call it quits‚” he told Sowetan Live.
“I know for sure that I will earn the kind of money that will sustain me for the rest of my life.”
Still only 30 years of age, Tete is one of the favourites to win the WBSS bantamweight tournament and in many ways it’s a testament to the quality of the bantamweights involved that he feels his work here will be done should he head back to South Africa with the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
Who’s to argue? Beat Ryan Burnett, beat Emmanuel Rodriguez, and beat the winner of Naoya Inoue vs. Jamie McDonnell (taking place on May 25), and you’ve more than earned your rest.
It’s rare that a fight ends in a draw and is never cleared up with an immediate rematch, but in the case of Badou Jack’s draw with James DeGale, a rematch disappeared because of Jack’s decision to move up a division from super-middleweight to light-heavyweight.
It was a shame, too, because Jack vs. DeGale was a cracking fight, one of the best of 2017, and featured numerous momentum shifts throughout its 12 rounds. It was on a knife edge heading into the last round, a round in which DeGale was hurt and floored, and most were torn as to who ultimately deserved the nod.
In the end, both settled for a draw. What’s more, DeGale has had to settle for the fact Jack has since drifted to light-heavyweight, beating Nathan Cleverly in his division debut last year, and therefore might never get the chance to turn his draw into a win.
Jack, though, set to face WBC light-heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson this Saturday (May 19), isn’t ruling out a second fight with DeGale at some point in the future.
“If he comes up to light-heavyweight, and he continues to win, maybe yeah,” Jack told Sky Sports.
“But I can’t make super-middleweight no more, so if you want to come up, sure. You’ve got to ask him if he wants it.”
Another west Londoner with whom Jack has shared a ring is George Groves, now the WBA super-middleweight champion. Groves, back in September 2015, was expected to run through Jack and lift the WBC version of the title in Las Vegas. But that never happened. Instead, Jack decked Groves in round one and then outworked him to take a close decision and a title many assumed would be going home with the Englishman.
“He’s done good,” said Jack. “I’m not really sure who he has fought. They might not be at the top, top level.
“To have four title shots, and finally win one, that’s a real champion. You take a loss and you can bounce back. That’s what boxing is all about.”
Badou Jack, ladies and gentlemen. A man as classy outside the ring as he is inside the ring.