Boxing News At Five

Boxing News at Five: Mayweather could beat up some more Japanese kickboxers, Andy Ruiz Jnr tells Tyson Fury his WBO belt is going nowhere

Andy Ruiz boxing media
Robles with Ruiz in happier times Action Images/Reuters/Andrew Couldridge
Floyd Mayweather launches his TMT brand in Tokyo, Japan, and Andy Ruiz Jnr tells Tyson Fury to keep his mitts off his WBO heavyweight title

IT was bad enough first time around, but Floyd Mayweather appears set for further exhibition boxing matches in Japan against overmatched young kickboxers and mixed martial artists.

Rejoice.

Not content with banking a reported £7 million for knocking out kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa on December 31, Mayweather, 42, has now launched his TMT (The Money Team) in the far east and suggested farcical exhibition bouts could be the way to go.

“Of course, we took the TMT brand and made it worldwide and not just kept it in the States,” Mayweather said at a press conference in Tokyo on Wednesday night.

“We believe TMT Tokyo can be huge. We’ve been speaking about having more exhibitions over here in Japan. Not just myself, but also some other fighters under the Mayweather promotions banner.”

Though a Mayweather exhibition bout wouldn’t fly in the States (then again, Conor McGregor…), there seems an appetite for them in Japan. Mayweather, too, has an appetite for them, and who can blame him? If reports are correct, the former multi-weight world champion earned £52,000-per-second for his one-round demolition of Nasukawa last year, a figure as staggering as the result was inevitable.

Expect Badou Jack and Gervonta Davis, two boxers competing under the Mayweather Promotions banner, to get in on some of that exhibition action in the coming months. Unlike Mayweather, they have active professional careers, but, like their boss, they also have bills to pay and mouths to feed and a love of easy fights and crisp American dollars.

Floyd Mayweather
Mayweather messed about with a Japanese kickboxer to celebrate New Year’s Eve 2018

If Andy Ruiz Jnr says you’re not fighting for his WBO world heavyweight title, guess what? You’re not fighting for his WBO world heavyweight title.

Tyson Fury, ever the outspoken troublemaker, had teased the possibility of a WBO heavyweight title being on the line when he fights unknown German Tom Schwarz in Las Vegas this Saturday (June 15). However, Ruiz, owner of said belt, has assured Fury this will not be the case and, in light of his exploits on June 1 against Anthony Joshua, his comments trump whatever Fury says at this stage.

“I’m hearing now that it could be on the line on Saturday night,” Fury had initially said. “That’s inside information so maybe I shouldn’t have said that. There is a chance. It’s highly doable, so I’ve been told, so maybe it’ll be for the WBO championship as well.”

Ruiz, though, reckons Fury is wrong and says he will travel to the WBO’s headquarters in Puerto Rico next month to discuss the situation with Francisco ‘Paco’ Varcarcel, the sanctioning body’s president. “I’m actually going to Puerto Rico with Paco in July so we’re going to talk and all that,” Ruiz told Fino Boxing. “But, no, I don’t think that’s true.”

Common sense, one would hope, is going to prevail and Ruiz will be allowed to keep every one of the three titles (WBA, IBF and WBO) he ripped from Joshua’s grasp in Madison Square Garden, New York.

The irony here, of course, is that Fury found himself stripped of all the heavyweight titles he won back in 2015 when beating Wladimir Klitschko in Germany. Regrettably, what should have been his defining night, his launchpad to subsequent title defences and life-changing paydays, evaporated before his eyes and instead led to two and a half years away from the ring, at least one failed performance-enhancing drug test, and various other issues from which, thankfully, he was able to recover.

It’s up to Ruiz now to avoid making the same mistakes. Because, if he can, there is plenty of money to be made as world heavyweight champion, chiefly a potential $50 million payday for rematching Joshua in the UK. And even if Joshua’s team baulk at that asking price, Ruiz will still make plenty defending his belts – including the WBO version – in a rematch in America or Mexico.  

“I will be doing the rematch and it might be in November or December,” he said. “We’re still in negotiations to see if it’s going to be here in the United States but we’re trying to fight to make the fight in Mexico.

“So I’m really excited for that, for all the Mexican people can be there, all my people. It really doesn’t matter if it’s here or Mexico. I’m still willing to get it on.”

Unlike Joshua, Fury and Deontay Wilder, the WBC champion, Andy Ruiz answered the call, said yes, and went out and grabbed it. For that we should let the man eat (within reason). For that we should let the man have his moment. More importantly, for shaking up something in danger of going stale, the sanctioning bodies should let the man keep what’s his.

Andy Ruiz
Andy Ruiz Jnr, the WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight champion, is winning at life

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