As BT Sport continued their run of weekly shows, this week they drafted in Tyson Fury to sit ringside and provide his unique take on proceedings for the broadcast. Unsurprisingly, it turned out to be a smart move.
Before the action kicked off, Fury stood alongside David Haye (2m apart, of course) – and, later, promoter Frank Warren – for an interesting interview with Steve Bunce, looking back on his rematch win over Deontay Wilder and contemplating on a potential fight with Anthony Joshua.
After revealing that he devised the game plan for his rematch with Wilder moments after hitting the canvas in the final round of their first fight – noting that Wilder seemed uncomfortable when backed up – his attention was turned to Joshua.
“If Wilder’s not happening, let’s do Joshua in December,” he said of the prospect of his mooted trilogy fight with Wilder potentially not happening this year.
“Why not? It’s a boxing match, let’s get it on. I’m ready to go. I could fight him in that ring tonight. I’ll still kick his ass any time of the day. Doesn’t matter anyway.
“Hopefully they’d grow a pair and want to fight the Gypsy King.”
Now, it’s no shock to hear Fury talking smack about one of his rivals but his comments, when put in context alongside numerous others he’s made about Joshua on social media and in interviews over the past week, seem to mark a gear-shift in his pursuit of the fight.
Questioning another fighter’s willingness to take a bout is one of the oldest tricks in the book, and Fury and Joshua have obviously been circling each other for a while now, but there does seem to be an increase in the intensity of their verbal sparring. Or maybe lockdown has finally gotten the better of me, I honestly don’t know.
Joshua, for his part, also spoke of his desire to fight Fury, saying that he wants to “break his head” and claimed he’d stop Tyson inside six rounds while appearing on Sky’s ‘A League Of Their Own’.
Obviously these traded barbs don’t mean much if there aren’t meaningful talks between their respective teams taking place behind the scenes, but it’s a clear statement of intent from both men.
With the WBC mandatory hurdle recently being removed by Alexander Povetkin’s left hand, we could be looking at a path to the biggest fight in boxing next year. If so, all this talk will serve to make the fight even bigger. If it doesn’t happen, it’ll just make it more of a disappointment.
The actual boxing on the BT Sport show was decent – the scrap between Sam Maxwell and Joe Hughes was fantastic – though Daniel Dubois’ two-round demolition job in the main event came under fire online for being too much of a mismatch.
Obviously, Dubois was levels above his opponent – who, it should be remembered, was a late replacement – but this was never seriously billed as a stern test, more a stepping stone toward a mouth-watering clash with Joe Joyce. For that reason, perhaps it shouldn’t have been the main event of this card though, on the other hand, that’s precisely why it was top billing; to further promote that future fight.
Either way, it seems harsh to slam Dubois and Warren for fights like this when he’s got a genuine 50-50 lined up against Joyce and when you consider how young he still is.
After going around the houses several times, Canelo Alvarez and his team appear to be back where they were a few months ago; deciding between Billy Joe Saunders and Callum Smith for Canelo’s next fight.
BoxingScene reports that the two Brits are once again the leading option for Alvarez, who now hopes to fight in November, though it could end up being December. Saunders had previously taken himself out of the running for a September fight, but is now understood to be available for later in the year.
Outside of Golovkin, or a ballsy run at leading light-heavyweights, these are two of the best options for Canelo, so it’s encouraging to see it could be one of them next. Plus, neither one of them are Avni Yildirim or Anthony Dirrell.
According to The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger, Kell Brook has been offered $1.5m to challenge WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford in November. It’s an interesting fight and an excellent offer for Brook who, as of late, has struggled to pin down big fights and had even contemplated retirement.
The concern is the weight. Brook is a huge welter and has spoken at length about his struggles to make the 147lb limit. To do so again for a fight against someone as talented and dangerous as Crawford is a significant risk – though, admittedly, one that comes with even more significant rewards should he win.
Speaking of weight, despite losing his 168lb title on the scales David Benavidez apparently intends to stay at super-middleweight. His promoter, Sampson Lewkowicz, wrote to the WBC and claimed that Benavidez has sought advice from physicians who assured him he can still safely make 168lbs and that the coronavirus pandemic was the main reason he missed weight for his last fight. How they came to that conclusion, we’ll never know.
Lewkowicz is requesting Benavidez be reinstated in the WBC rankings to get a title eliminator so that he can attempt to, once again, win back the title. That seems fair enough, so long as he has to defeat at least a couple of top contenders to earn a crack at the title.
Donald McRae penned an in-depth look into boxing in the bubble for The Guardian after he spent a weekend observing the recent Channel 5 card from the inside. It’s a fascinating piece written by one of sport journalism’s finest, highlighting the bizarre measures fighters now need to go through in the days and hours before a fight.