– IT is great to see boxing flourishing again in Belfast. Interim WBO featherweight titlist Carl Frampton is germane to the popularity of boxing in the Northern Irish capital. The real WBO champion, Oscar Valdez, is still recovering from injury and has said it will be early 2019 before he is ready to return. Josh Warrington is the IBF champ, and him against Frampton would be a huge all-British fight. The ranks of the WBO featherweights are a bit threadbare, with Filipino Mark Magsayo, Namibian Sakaria Lukas, another Filipino Genesis Servania and Ukrainian Oleg Malynovskyi filling positions one to four. Good fighters but not exactly star names. You can be sure there is a plan in place for Frampton.
– OF course, Tyson Fury was also on the big Belfast bill at the weekend. A fight between him and Deontay Wilder would be big wherever it is held. I hope the winner goes on to fight Anthony Joshua in 2019 in the richest world heavyweight title fight in the history of boxing, with each boxer probably getting around $50m each. To think the great Joe Louis’ biggest purse was $626,000!
– IT is great to see the heavyweight division right up there in the interest stakes. I thought I might have a look at some of the things going on in the heavyweights right now… How ridiculous can you get? Joshua is fighting Alexander Povetkin on September 22 for the WBA, IBF and WBO titles. The WBA ordered Joshua to fight their No. 1 Povetkin. Since Povetkin is also the No. 1 with the WBO and there is no mandatory IBF challenger, if Joshua beats Povetkin you would think he has fulfilled his mandatory requirements, wouldn’t you? Think again! The WBO have said that if Joshua beats Povetkin they may then want him to fight against another one of their fighters, effectively ordering another mandatory defence. He may not want to but I can see Joshua being forced to relinquish one of his three belts as the sanctioning bodies are never happy sharing titles… The IBF eliminator to fill the mandatory spot in their heavyweight ratings between Kubrat Pulev and Hughie Fury has landed in Sofia, Bulgaria on October 27… The one-year suspension handed out to French heavyweight Tony Yoka for missing three drug test appointments stands. It had been appealed but the appeal was rejected… Charles Martin has his eyes on another shot at the world heavyweight title. He lost the IBF belt when he was knocked out in two rounds by Joshua in 2016. He had a couple of low-level wins last year, with the latest coming in July. He returns from a 13-month layoff against the 17-0 Adam Kownacki on September 8 on the undercard of Danny Garcia versus Shawn Porter in New York… The old saying that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time was proved true with regards to the fight between Trevor Bryan and BJ Flores for the vacant Interim WBA heavyweight bauble. Not one single TV company showed interest, which must be a first for any version of the ‘heavyweight title’… Next up, Manuel Charr versus Fres Oquendo for Charr’s spurious secondary WBA heavy strap. I did hear that some 14-year-old kid was offered the exclusive rights to show it on his smart phone, but he declined as they WBA did not offer him enough. Sounds like a smart kid… Two of Canada’s top heavyweights will clash in Quebec City on October 6 when Simon Kean faces Dillon Carmon… The WBO heavyweight ratings are a joke. The principle behind ratings is supposed to be to rank the best fighters based on the quality of their performances and the opposition they have beaten. That reasoning seems foreign to the WBO. They rate a fighter much higher for winning one of their myriad of joke regional titles than for beating quality opposition. Their No. 4 is Tom Schwarz, a good German prospect who has never faced a rated opponent but has won their Inter-Continental belt. Their No. 7 is Kyotaro Fujimoto, who is their Asia Pacific champion. No. 10 Tyrone Spong, is Latino champion. The list goes on. The scary things is that anyone in the WBO top 15 is automatically eligible to be a challenger to Joshua, but if Eddie Hearn even thought of matching any of these guys with “AJ” they would cart him to the funny farm. To be fair, occasionally all sanctioning bodies play this game to some extent.
– ENOUGH of the heavyweights for now. Oleksandr Usyk versus Tony Bellew is one to savour. There are talks going on but as he showed when winning the WBSS tournament, Usyk has no problem fighting in the other guy’s backyard, so it seem a doable fight to me. Let’s hope so.
– STICKING with the cruisers, Denis Lebedev is set to face Hinzi Altunkaya in Chelyabinsk, Russia on September 7. Even the heavyweights are in less of a mess. The WBA have a ‘Super’ champion in Usyk. A secondary champion in Beibut Shumenov and an Interim champion in Arsen Goulamirian. Now their ‘champion in recess’ has climbed out of the cupboard there is no title left for him. Perhaps they could make him the secondary ‘Super’ champion, or the secondary secondary champion, or the Interim Interim champion!
– THE fight for the vacant IBF middleweight title between Daniel Jacobs and Sergey Derevyanchenko is finally set for October 27. It had been put back to November 10 to allow further negotiations between promoters Eddie Hearn and Lou DiBella, but they came to a private deal and it was changed to the original date.
– BOXING NEWS recently did a piece on an unlicensed show in Aberdeen featuring former WBC heavyweight title challenger Danny Williams, famous for knocking out Mike Tyson 14 years ago, and local fighter Lee McAllister, a former Commonwealth champion at lightweight and super-lightweight. The ‘unlicensed’ tag within the British boxing terminology means that it was not under the control of the BBBofC, who would never have countenanced this. Williams was licensed by the Czech Republic, the fight was for the WBO (German version) heavyweight title and ‘commissioned’ by the British and Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA). Again, nothing to do with the BBBofC. I won’t even bother mentioning the result of this ‘fight’. Suffice to say that the 45-year-old Williams weighed 260lbs and McAllister was said to be four stone (56lbs) lighter (204lbs). The last registered weight for McAllister when fighting with a BBBofC licence was a career-heavy 146lbs, which meant he was carrying an additional 58lbs into this fight. Since he had not grown another leg, the additional weight was mainly around his waist. Naturally the fight drew a storm of fully justified scorn and criticism.
– JAIME MUNGUIA is a busy man. His next fight is reported to be a WBO super-welter title defence against Canadian Brandon Cook on the undercard of Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez II. The card will also feature Roman Gonzalez against Moises Fuentes. Gary O’Sullivan is scheduled to box on the show, too. One rumour is that he might be up against David Lemieux, which would be a great fight if it happens.
– JOSE RAMIREZ’S defence of his WBC super-light title in Fresno on September 14 has an interesting undercard building, with Maxim Dadashev versus Antonio DeMarco. With so many super-lights tied into the WBSS, it might be a chance for the winner of that undercard bout to land a world title fight.
– YOU win some, you lose some. That could almost describe recent purse bids and Top Rank. They won the bidding for Maurice Hooker’s defence of his WBO super-light title against their fighter, Alex Saucedo. Top Rank’s bid beat Matchroom’s, and it looks like it will go on in Oklahoma City, Saucedo’s home base, on November 16 or 17. The second case was much more complicated over the bidding for Ryota Murata’s defence of the secondary WBA middleweight strap against Rob Brant. I guess my lead in is not quite correct, as you can’t lose if you never entered the race. There was only one bid for the fight, from Greg Cohen, as neither Top Rank nor Japan’s Akihiro Honda offer a bid. For some reason of their own, the WBA had decided that the purse would be split 50-50, which did not help the situation. Top Rank and Honda both saw it as a stupid move by the WBA in calling for bids for a fight against Brant, which was of no interest and dubious validity, and Top Rank and Honda had already agreed between themselves to put Murata on a show in Las Vegas on October 20 in a big fight against unbeaten Top Rank fighter Jason Quigley. This would be a much better fight that could lead to a clash with the winner of Golovkin and Alvarez. The WBA are in a mess. If they don’t honour the bid process you can be sure Cohen will sue, and if they strip Murata they lose a sanctioning fee and incur the wrath of two of the most powerful promoters in the business. Cohen has already said he is aiming to put on the Murata-Brant fight on October 27. We await further developments.
– MARCOS MAIDANA has launched a new promoting outfit down in Argentina. Its name is 31KO Sudamerican Boxing, and 31 just happens to be the number of fights Maidana won by KO or stoppage.
– YET another new promoter has appeared as 19-year-old lightweight Devin Haney has formed his own promotion company, making him probably the youngest promoter in boxing history. He will face Juan Carlos Burgos in Temecula on September 28.
– GAVIN McDONNELL will get another world title shot when he challenges Daniel Roman in Chicago on October 6 for the WBA super-bantam title. McDonnell lost a majority decision to Rey Vargas for the vacant WBC belt in February last year, but has rebounded well with impressive wins over Gamal Yafai and Stuart Hall.