Boxing News At Five

Boxing News at Five: Vargas questions Khan’s chin, Lewis backs Fury to “rise to the occasion” against Wilder, and Inoue fights Payano on October 7

Amir Khan Samuel Vargas
Action Images/Craig Brough
Samuel Vargas says Amir Khan is ready to be knocked out, Lennox Lewis tells us not to write off Tyson Fury, and Naoya Inoue gets a home WBSS fixture

DESPITE possessing a professional record starved of standout wins, Samuel Vargas, the man set to oppose Amir Khan on September 8 in Birmingham, talks a really good fight.

Listen to him for long enough and you’ll come away thinking the fight, the next in Khan’s comeback, is a foregone conclusion. Better yet, you’ll believe all Vargas, 29-3-2 (14), has to do is glance the chin of the former Olympic silver medallist and two-time word champion and that, for Khan, will be all she wrote.

“If I touch him on the chin, he’s going down,” Vargas, born in Colombia, based in Canada, said today. “That’s a guarantee. I’m sure it’s going to be a hostile territory, but I’ll impose my will on him. He’s an old man. He’s been hurt before and he’s been stopped many times.

“I just have to land one punch on his chin – left or right hand. His feet will go all over the place, and if he’s still there I’ll hit him again and again. It’s there; everyone knows it’s there.

“If he’s expecting another 39-second blowout then he’s going to be in for a big shock. He’s been stopped really badly a couple of times, so we know it’s always there and we have 36 minutes to do it.

“Genetically, we’re not supposed to receive that much punishment and get back up. Your body can only take so much before it gives out. Maybe this is the fight for him. He’s older, he’s received a lot of punishment, he’s got a lot of mileage on him, so I just have to go out there and expose him.”

It’s hard to argue with the science behind Vargas’ latest boast. Certainly, there’s a direct correlation between the punishment a fighter has received – the stoppage defeats inflicted upon them – and the likelihood of them being knocked out in the future.

However, given Vargas’ own inexperience at the top level, as well as Khan’s rapid hands and feet, the idea of landing one punch on the sweet spot, at this stage, is probably easier said than done.

Amir Khan

Before going 10 rounds with Francesco Pianeta on Saturday night, many people appeared to give Tyson Fury, the former world heavyweight champion, at least a 50/50 chance of dethroning WBC heavyweight king Deontay Wilder in December.

But then the fight happened, Fury’s latest in his comeback, and all of a sudden fans fled the bandwagon, made their way towards Wilder’s, and criticised the Englishman for not getting rid of Pianeta inside schedule.

They doubted his chances. They said he hadn’t accumulated enough competitive rounds in preparation for Wilder. They felt it was a bad idea.

Lennox Lewis, however, is one man who refuses to rule out the possibility of Fury becoming WBC champion by the end of 2018. Not only that, given his status as a former undisputed world heavyweight champion, Lewis is someone you want on your side; someone whose opinion carries far greater weight than most.

“Tyson Fury’s surprised me in the past,” Lewis told talkSPORT. “I didn’t think he was going to do that well against Wladimir and he did better than expected.

“Certain fighters, they rise to the occasion and he seems like one of those fighters.

“He may have a couple of fights to kind of warm him up to the aspect of jumping in the ring to a big fight, but he always shows up for the big fights.”

You can argue the merits of tune-up opponents Francesco Pianeta and Sefer Serferi all you like. But it’s tougher to argue with Lennox Lewis.

Tyson Fury

The only thing scarier than fighting Naoya Inoue, otherwise known as ‘The Monster’, is fighting Naoya Inoue in his native Japan.

By now, knocking out opponents in his home country has become routine fun for Naoya; fifteen of his sixteen pro fights have taken place in Japan, and only two of his opponents, David Carmona and Ryoichi Taguchi, managed to last the distance.

His next fight, set for October 7 against Juan Carlos Payano, 20-1 (9), is a quarter-final bout in the World Boxing Super Series’ (WBSS) bantamweight tournament. That, too, will go down in Japan, it was announced today.

“I didn’t expect to fight the first bout here, but I wish Japanese fans will watch and appreciate my performance at the big Yokohama Arena,” Inoue, 16-0 (14), said at a press conference announcing the date and location.

“Payano is a skilful speedster with good experience, and it may be a technical fight. I’d like to fight with patience and finally catch up with him to score a knockout victory.”

Twenty-five-year-old Inoue, the number two seed in the WBSS tournament, has opened as an early favourite to lift the Muhammad Ali trophy. He was last seen dispatching Britain’s Jamie McDonnell inside the first round and has quickly garnered a reputation as a fearsome puncher to head and body.

Few, for these reasons, will be keen to fight him. Even fewer will be keen to do so in Japan.

Naoya Inoue

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