Author: Johnston Brown - My two pennies worth

Massive boxing and English football fan from South East London, England

Eddie Hearn: Povetkin deal close

Eddie Hearn has urged Team Wilder to accept their recent offer of fighting Antony Joshua in Britain or risk losing out to Alexander Povetkin.

Hearn has been in discussions with Povetkin’s World of Boxing team about a WBA mandatory challenge in parallel with Wilder’s representatives.

“I don’t like making deadlines because sometimes it gets people’s backs up but at some stage soon we have to make a decision,” said Hearn.

“We are close to closing a deal with Povetkin with (Andrey) Robinsky and World of Boxing and once the deal is closed, there is no Deontay Wilder.

Bary Hearn is currently in New York and is expecting to meet with Shelly Finkel in hope of thrashing out a deal.

“Wilder has had the latest offer from us for the last two weeks which was our improved offer and we are still talking to them and in fact, my dad is out in New York at the moment, and he might meet Shelly today,” Hearn told Sky Sports.

“They have our offer so they have to accept it or move on. It’s not a case of if you don’t accept this offer the fight is dead, we will just fight Povetkin and carry on our negotiations to the next one.

“It has to be the next one, or the one after that. Joshua wants to fight. We’ve got an opportunity to go in September and Josh is keen to fight in that month and if Wilder wants it, it’s there.

“But I do still believe Wilder will take this offer.”

Povetkin’s team are waiting in the wings to strike a deal if Wilder does not accept the latest offer.

“I’ve got a very good relationship with Ryanbinskiy and Vadim and I am very honest with them,” Hearn said.

“They know exactly what’s happening here and they know they can’t stop the Wilder fight but also, we’ve got a situation where they need to know what they’re doing. We are talking at length on the deal and we will reach an agreement for the fight.

“It is a very, very difficult fight, the Povetkin fight. He’s lost once, to Wladimir Klitschko who did everything he could to try and stop him but couldn’t do it.

The Latest Episode of Joshua-Wilder

At the beck end of last week and beginning of this week rumors circulated that mandatory WBA challenger Alexander Povetkin was threatening to call on purse bids for a fight with Anthony Joshua.

Well those rumors seem to have been accurate with the WBA issuing a deadline for both sides to come to an agreement.

Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn made a public statement this week: “We’ve got a situation with Povetkin where probably next week they’ll (WBA) call for purse bids then it takes another two weeks, something like that for the purse bids,” said Hearn.

“I think realistically two weeks is the absolute deadline.

“We’re speaking very frequently, and to be fair to Deontay he understands.

“It’s not like he’s moaning about it. He always felt that he’d have to come to the UK and like I said they made a strong offer,” Hearn added.

“Some of the points, or some of the clauses in that offer weren’t acceptable, some were.

“We could have talked about them but it was just a decision from the team that the first one should be in the UK.

“We want to go in September and that’s either going to be, most likely at this stage, Wilder or Povetkin.

“Both are tough fights. By the end of this week I want to be in a position to know if Wilder wants the fight.”

It does seem that the WBA and Team Povetkin have become impatient – which is very understandable – with the drawn out delay from both camps to get this fight signed.

The unified world heavyweight champion has made it crystal clear that he wants the first fight to take place in the UK. I don’t think many boxing experts or ‘real’ boxing fans would begrudge the Londoner’s stand on this decision especially as he deserves the right to fight for undisputed supremacy on British soil.

After all it is Joshua that has managed to pick up four world titles whereas Wilder has just sat on his WBC title for quite a while now without pushing himself into any unification fights.

Last week Hearn gave the reasons why Joshua wants the first fight in the UK: “One for the fans and two he feels like he’s earned that right.”

As a fellow Londoner that was music to my ears as we have never had an undisputed heavyweight fight on these shores before plus I’m pleased that Joshua is thinking of his fans when it comes to his decision making. Especially when almost 250,000 of them have paid good money to watch his last three fights.

With the deadline looming and Hearn being modest about on-going discussions with Wilders representatives, ‘The Bronze Bomber’ went public with aspirations of moving down to the cruiserweight division: “What’s up boxing world. You know I just been sitting in my car thinking. I been thinking about once I unify the heavyweight division, moving down to the cruiserweight division, taking over that division.

“I mean there’s never been a heavyweight champion ever go down in weight. I mean just for the fun of it! Just take over the cruiserweight division while maintaining the heavyweight division. What you guys think?”

History suggests that Wilder may well be biting off more than he can chew; look no further than when Roy Jones Jr tried it back in 2013 against Antonio Tarver. I’m guessing this is just another one of his publicity stunts that defers public attention away from the elephant in the room – Anthony Joshua.

While the boxing world were discussing if the American could actually fight under the 200lb weight limit Povetkin was quietly speaking in Moscow about his chances of facing Joshua. The 38-year-old said: “I am the mandatory challenger for the WBA world champion’s belt, which currently belongs to Joshua.

“It is unclear when and where this fight will happen as everything depends on our promoters. However, I believe the fight is more likely to be held in Great Britain this autumn.

“I will begin with my training sessions, when the exact date of the bout is announced,” added the Russian.

The shenanigans of team Wilder seem to only ignite his fans who believe every word that comes out of the repulsive WBC champion’s mouth which at times can be very frustrating.

Just my two pennies worth but I am completely in agreement with the main man Billy C that Joshua verse Wilder will not happen this year. Don’t get me wrong I hope that I’m wrong as I want to see the fight just as much as the next fan.

I can’t help but envision Wilder stalling until Joshua has no choice but to take the Povetkin fight. Once it’s publically announced Wilder will jump straight onto social media and tell the world how Joshua has ducked him.

Johnson up for Beterbiev Challenge

IBF light-heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (12-0, 12KOs) is probably one of the most avoided fighters in boxing today.

The 33-year-old has been left frustrated with none of the top light-heavys willing to step up to the plate and face the Canada-based champion.

Normally British fighters are willing to take an opportunity of fighting for a world title in a heart beat but even our domestic No.1 Anthony Yarde (15-0, 14KOs) recently turned down the Russian.

Team Beterbiev and the IBF have been urgently seeking an opponent but have constantly hit a brick wall. In the end they decided to offer the British and Commonwealth champion Callum Johnson (17-0, 12KOs) the chance of fighting Beterbiev and the Englishman jumped at the chance of fighting the 175lb recking machine. Johnson said: “These opportunities don’t come around every day and, when my promoter Eddie Hearn showed me the letter from the IBF offering the fight, I jumped at it. 

“I’m in the game to be in the biggest and best fights possible. I’ve dreamt of winning a world title since I was a kid so I’m not going to turn down this chance because he [Beterbiev] is this apparent beast. I believe I am a beast as well and can beat him.”

Johnson, also 33, was almost a forgotten force due to his inactivity but produced his best performance to date when he knocked out Frank Buglioni in the first round earlier this year.

The Commonwealth gold medalist is no mug and should not be taken lightly but he will be facing another devastating puncher in Beterbiev.

Johnson continued: “I’ve boxed big, ferocious, Russians before in the amateurs and I know how they fight and what they do. I know they might not be as big and bad as Beterbiev but you have to be in it to win it and I’m confident I can beat anyone on my day.

“I know a lot about him, we was in the amateurs at the same time, I used to watch him and he’s always been the force that he is.

“At the same time, we’re all human, I don’t fear any man so all the talk of how big and strong he is, his power, it’s all very well and good, but at the end of the day, he’s human. I don’t fear him.”

Although discussions are still ongoing with September being earmarked the Boston-man has no fear traveling overseas to take on the Russian knockout artist. He said: “After my last win, I did initially want a European title shot, but suddenly I got this chance of a lifetime and I didn’t ever consider not taking it.

“I’m not totally sure of the current situation, I think Beterbiev may have a few promotional problems that need to be settled first.

“I’m just training and waiting for a date. They’ve spoke about September but it could be later on in the year, I leave that down to the team.

“I’d like to get a fight in before but it all depends on how negotiations go, when it takes place and what my team think the best thing to do is.

“Having boxed in the USA and Canada many times as an amateur, it’s not something brand new for me, I’ve been there and done it.”

WBSS – Who will join the Fantastic Four

With the official announcement of four world champion bantamweights joining the World Boxing Super Series for the second season I take a look at the other possible participants.

The 118lb division is blessed with four very special fighters and the WBSS organisers have managed to pull off an absolute blinder as us Londoners like to say.

Northern Irishman Ryan Burnett (19-0, 9KOs) is the WBA ‘super’ champion and Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue (16-0, 14KOs) picked up the second version of that strap when he stopped Jamie McDonnell on Friday night. Both fighters have signed up to compete in the 8-man tournament which also includes Puerto Rican IBF holder Emmanuel Rodriguez (18-0 12KOs) and South African WBO champ Zolani Tete (27-3, 21KOs).

Together they have a combined record of 80 wins and 3 defeats with 56 knockouts plus they hold three out of the five major world titles.

The other title holders

The first names that spring to mind when assessing who may join the fantastic four is Frenchman Nordine Oubaali (14-0, 11KOs) and Thailand’s Tassana Sanpattan (46-0, 31KOs) who fight for the vacant WBC strap on June 23.

Sanpattren may look dangerous on paper but he has a more padded record than Deontay Wilder. Ideally the winner should be entering the tourney and I’m tipping Oubaali over the Taiwanese fighter to pick up the vacant title and join the series.

The fifth and final version is the IBO world title that is held by Michael Dasmarinas (28-2, 19KOs) of the Philippines. The 25-year-old defeated Karim Guerfi in April to capture the belt. He is scheduled to fight in September against an unannounced opponent which could be an indication that he wants to throw his hat into the mix with the WBSS due to start in September.

The contenders

Two fighters that have already expressed their desire to enter are Filipino Mark John Yap (29-12, 14KOs) and undefeated Ozzy Jason Moloney (17-0, 14KOs).

Yap is a 29-year-old that calls himself ‘The Journeyman’ and hasn’t been beaten since 2014. His career looked to be sizzling out three years ago with a record of (19-12) but has since turned a corner. He is undefeated in 10 and has placed himself high in the ranking with the WBC and IBF.

Following the Filipino’s last victory in Tokyo, Japan he said: “I deserve a slot in the tournament, this is my chance to become a world champion”

Jason Moloney produced an impressive performance against Kohei Kono in his last outing when he stopped the Japanese veteran in the sixth round. The only other fighter to have stopped Kono in his 46 bouts was Inoue.

Team Moloney which is spearheaded by the colourful character of Tony Tolj have been vocal about wanting to participate in the WBSS. After the win against Kono the 27-year-old said: “I believe I’m the best bantamweight in the world and these are the types of fights I need to prove it.”

Return of the former King

Another possibility is the third Filipino on this list and that is Nonito Donaire (38-5, 24KOs) who was recently beaten by Carl Frampton at featherweight.

At the ripe age of 35, Donaire is not ready to retire and is discussing the possibility of dropping back down a couple of weight classes although it will be the veterans body that will have the final say. The last thing we all want to see is Donaire looking severely weight drained and getting dusted by one of the young stars.

The former world champion in four weight classes may feel the chance of another shot at retaining the No.1 status he once had in the bantamweight division to good to turn down.

Promoter of ‘The Filipino Flash’ Richard Schaefer said in a recent interview: “One thing that seems to be very clear, he doesn’t really belong at 126lbs, he just doesn’t have the power to hurt at 126lbs, like he does at 122 and particularly 118. We actually are discussing for Nonito potentially going back down to 118 and maybe give it another run there and see where it goes.”

Outsiders

Of course there are other highly ranked fighters that could find themselves offered the chance to compete against the fantastic four.

Injuries have delayed another young Japanese fighter in Takuma Inoue (11-0, 3KOs). The 22-year-old my decide to wait a bit longer before jumping into the deep end.

Undefeated South African Mzuvukile Magwaca (20-0-3, 11KOs) is another option or Juan Carlos Payano (20-1, 9KOs) of the Dominican Republic. The 34-year-old was the WBA ‘super’ and IBO champion in 2016 when defeated Rau’shee Warren (16-2, 4KOs). The American then won the rematch before losing to Zhanat Zhakiyanov (27-2, 18KOs) of the Kazakhstan in his first defence last year. All four could potentially be offered the chance to enter the WBSS.

My choices

If I were Comosa AG then my first point of call would be to secure the signature of the WBC and IBO world champions. To have all belt holders in the competition would be a huge achievement with the potential winner becoming an undisputed world champion as well as lifting the Muhammed Ali trophy.

With two slots remaining I would see how realistic it would be for Donaire to compete at the 118lb weight limit. If at all possible he would be an absolute must. Next in line would be Moloney or Yap with Warren and ‘Double Z’ my alternative options.

In an ideal world the best eight in my opinion would be Inoue (WBA), Tete (WBO), Burnett (WBA ‘super’), Rodriguez (IBF), Oubaali/Sanpatten (WBC), Dasmarinas (IBO), Donaire and Moloney.

George Groves WILL compete in the WBSS final against Callum Smith

World Boxing Super Series organisers, Comosa AG, have finally seen sense and agreed to allow George Groves (28-3, 20KOs) to participate in the super-middleweight final against Callum Smith (24-0, 17KOs) following a successful fitness test.

The all British final was put into jeopardy due to a dislocated shoulder that Groves suffered during his victory over Chris Eubank Jr in February. Chief Boxing Officer Kalle Sauerland was looking at alternative opponents to replace the WBA champion with Eubank Jr the favorite to fill in for the 30-year-old.

“We are waiting for the final discussions and reports from George before we know whether he will be able to make the timeline of the final,” Sauerland said.

“If we need a replacement then I would look for a solution from within the tournament so Eubank Jr is a name that would come up.”

Thankfully Groves was able to prove that he is medically fit to compete in the final which was originally set for this up and coming weekend, June 2 at the Manchester Arena.

“George Groves keeps his place in World Boxing Super Series final,” reported Chris McKenna of the Daily Star.

“They were ready to put in Chris Eubank Jr who started training for a June date but Groves’ team fought to keep him in and he’s proven his fitness.

“Date and venue tbc later today.”

Rumor has it that the venue should remain the same with the final taking place later in the summer.

This really is excellent news for the tournament which has been a revelation for boxing as a whole. The super-middleweight’s have lived up to their expectations and produced great excitement for our viewing pleasure, although surprisingly it has been the cruiserweight’s that have really caught the public’s attention. Both 8-man tournaments have been a success though and I’m sure season 2 will be even better.

Kal Yafai impresses on American debut

Kal Yafai (24-0, 15KOs) put in an impressive performance on his American debut when he stopped Mexican David Carmona (21-6-5, 9KOs) in seven rounds to retain his WBA world super-flyweight title at the Save Mart Arena in California.

The Birmingham star was so desperate to impress the American fans that he neglected his usual outside style with a more aggressive approach.

Straight from the off Yafai was on the front foot connecting with his jab and pushing his opponent back. A left hand caught Carmona on the top of the head which sent him down to the canvas.

Uncharacteristically Kal became reckless in an attempt to finish off the Mexican and ended up walking onto a big left hook that severely buzzed him. With almost half the round left Yafai was swinging wildly leaving himself wide open for Carmona counters.

The champion managed to clear his head in the second round but remained in close quarters while exchanging shots with the challenger.

Yafai produced a dominant third round and was incorrectly scored a second knockdown in the fourth by referee Raul Caiz Sr. The Englishman clearly pushed Carmona down.

The fifth was one of the most bizarre rounds of boxing I’ve see in a while. Yafai put Carmona down for the third time with a beautiful three punch combination. With 10 seconds left in the round the Mexican was down again by what looked like a low blow.

After a time out the referee scored it a second knockdown in the round but deducted a point off Yafai for hitting Carmona when he was already down.

Two more ferocious rounds followed which Kal Yafai got the better of before Carmona’s corner decided to pull their man out of the flight.

The Brummie will be pleased that he caught the attention of the American public and is eager to fight again in the states.

After playing second fiddle to headline act and IBF champion Jerwin Ancajas I’m sure Kal will be looking to share a ring with the Philippine next.

Ancajas did manage to pick up a win by unanimous decision in a less than eventful fight against fellow countryman Jonas Sultan.

Hopefully the next stop will be Ancajas verses Yafai for a unification fight later in the year in what would be a high quality contest in a deep super-flyweight division.

Special Talent Inoue becomes a 3-weight World Champion

Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue (16-0, 14KOs) captured the WBA bantamweight title in empathetic style when he stopped Jamie McDonnell (29-3-1, 13KOs) in the first round.

The 25-year-old became a three-weight world champion in only his sixteenth professional fight in front of an overjoyed home crowd in Tokyo.

McDonnell was in deep and it was always going to take something out of the ordinary to beat such a special talent. The Englishman was confident of causing an upset but after looking clearly weight drained and facing such a formidable fighter the writing was on the wall.

Inoue took his time and waited for an opening before catching McDonnell high on the top of the head with a looping left hook. The former champion staggered briefly but found himself on the floor for the first time after a trademark left hook to the body.

With McDonnell clearly in trouble the ‘Monster’ sensed blood and went in for the kill. With a barrage of punches to the head and body McDonnell fell to the canvas for the second and last time as referee Luis Pabon waved the fight off.

This kid from Kanagawa, Japan picked up his third world title in 16 fights while absolutely destroying a seasoned pro in two-minutes. Maybe if McDonnell wasn’t clearly weight-drained then the fight could have gone further but that would have only delayed the inevitable.

This is not the end for Jamie McDonnell who is still only 32-years-old and has time to assess his options. He struggled badly to make weight so maybe look at the 122lb division for a comeback fight on home soil.

WBSS

Naoya Inoue will now join the World Boxing Super Series to challenge himself against the best in the division. I’m sure the organisers will seed the four world champions with the likelihood of a mouth watering semi-final.

After this performance I would place Inoue as the favourite but he will be taking on other special talents.

IBF title holder Emmanuel Rodriguez from Puerto Rico recently produced a boxing clinic against Paul Butler. Northern Irishman Ryan Burnett is the WBA ‘super’ champion although he was a unified title holder after defeating Zhanat Zhakiyanov last year. Lastly we have the oldest of the four South African Zolani Tete who has the WBO strap.

I don’t care who fights who I’m just pleased that they will fight each other which is good for the division and good for boxing.

McDonnell v Inoue – Breakdown and Predications

WBA bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell (29-2-1, 13KOs) defends his title for the seventh time against the hard hitting Naoya Inoue (15-0, 13KOs) in Tokyo, Japan.

McDonnell has been searching for a big name his whole career and they don’t come much bigger than the ‘Monster’. Japan’s superstar may have only fought 15 professional fights but he is already a two-weight world champion and is considered by many boxing experts as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world today.

Inoue is only 25-years-old and is hoping he can dethrone the Doncaster-born champion in his bantamweight debut. If successful the former light-flyweight and super-flyweight world champion will enter the bantamweights World Boxing Super Series that includes Ryan Burnett, Zolani Tete and Emmanuel Rodriguez.

Of course McDonnell will have something to say about that and brings more experience to the table. When the 32-year-old won his world title back in 2013 Inoue had only been in 3 professional bouts but he was crowned the 108lb world champion in his sixth and super-flyweight champ in his eighth pro fight.

Make no bones about it McDonnell is in deep against a very special talent and will have to produce the performance of his life and hope Inoue has an off night if he is to be successful.

Breakdown

The British No.2 has fought 245 rounds in 33 bouts with a knockout ratio of 33% and a combined opponent record of 527-248-29.

This will be the third time the Yorkshire man has faced Japanese opposition after outpointing Tomoki Kameda in back to back victories. He also recorded impressive wins against Mexican Julio Ceja and Thailand’s Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat.

Jamie has fought in France, America (twice) and Monaco (twice) so he is not afraid to travel but fighting in Japan is a different kettle of fish. Trainer David Coldwell decided to settle in Dubai before travelling to Tokyo so that McDonnell can acclimatize to the weather and time difference gradually.

Having to step into the ring with Inoue is hard enough let alone having the added diversion of settling into a completely different environment altogether.

The Japanese sensation has stopped 13 of his 15 opponents notching up an 83% knockout ratio while accumulating 91 rounds and has a combined opponent record of 355-59-22.

Inoue has recorded excellent wins against Japan’s Ryoichi Taguchi, Mexicans Adrian Hernandez and David Carmona plus Argentinian Omar Andres Narvaez and American Antonio Nieves. Even more impressive was the way Inoue dispatched Frenchman Yoan Boyeaux inside 3-rounds in his last outing.

Prediction

The world bantamweight No.1 gives away 4-inches in height and reach against the world champion. Inoue has not fought anyone this tall before so his team identified Brummie featherweight Raza Hamza as the perfect sparring partner in preparation for McDonnell.

Even though the Englishman does fight small he will still have a clear height advantage so Inoue will have to make slight adjustments to his aggressive style. That being said the Japanese fighter has power in both hands when throwing those looping shots like we saw in the first round against Boyeaux.

Inoue does not waste his punches and is very patient while he stalks his opponents around the ring, almost Golovkin-like. If he doesn’t take you out with head shots then his brutal body attacks will. No doubt Inoue has power at the 115lb division so the extra 3-pounds will not make any difference in my opinion.

McDonnell will have to stay on the outside using his jab to maintain his distance while throwing punches in bunches when on the inside. Timing and footwork will be the key if he is to be successful. His fitness has never been in question so he will be able to sustain a high level of work rate as he always does in every fight. Inoue is heavy handed but McDonnell has never been stopped which shows a solid chin.

As a British boxing fan I do hope that McDonnell can produce the upset of all upsets and defeat the dangerous Inoue. Unfortunately I can see only one winner and that is Inoue by stoppage. If McDonnell can hear the final bell that would be an achievement in itself.

Not only do I predict Inoue to win on Friday night I also believe this kid will become a unified bantamweight champion and Mohammed Ali trophy winner come 2019. If you didn’t know about this guy then you will do very soon as I’m tipping Naoya Inoue to become one of the biggest stars in world boxing.

I hate heavyweight boxing. It’s full of cowards – Dillian Whyte

A frustrated Dillian Whyte (23-1, 17KOs) pulled no punches when expressing his hatred towards the rest of the heavyweight division.

The South-Londoner has been waiting patiently since his brutal knockout victory against Lucas Browne back in March for an opponent to be announced.

Originally the 28-year-old was hoping the WBC would make him a mandatory challenger to Deontay Wilder. Unfortunately the governing body went back on their word and instead elevated Dominic Breazeale. Since then Whyte has had two more mandatory options, fight Kubrat Pulev for the IBF or Luis Ortiz for the WBC.

With July 28 already pencilled in at the O2 Arena under the big tent he was hoping that Pulev would be his next opponent. Frustrated at the lack communication Whyte said:

“Pulev doesn’t want to fight. He gets in these positions to fight mandatories, or gets in these eliminators and doesn’t want to fight.

“I think he was hoping that, I said I was going to go for (Luis) Ortiz, and then he could fight (Alexander) Dimitrenko, which was the next one down.

“He’s just wasting time, it’s a straightforward fight, the winner gets a crack at the big apple. I’m up for the fight, he says he’s up for the fight. He said I’m the perfect opponent for him. Well for some reason, him and [promoter] Kalle (Sauerland) are taking long.

“I hate heavyweight boxing. It’s full of cowards.”

To be perfectly honest I completely agree with the Brixton Bomber. If the rest of the heavyweight division took a leaf out of his book then we would have more fights with the best fighting the best.

Whyte continued, “Well the purse bid is this Thursday, so regardless either way, we’ll find out in the next couple of days what’s going on, or whether Pulev is man enough to take the fight or not.

“Hopefully we can reach some sort of deal, and get it arranged, and get it done, because the date is already pencilled in, July 28.”

Dillian Whyte is a throw back fighter in terms of his attitude. All he wants to do is fight and boxing politics is something that bewilders the British heavyweight. The ‘Bodysnatcher’ has been jumping from one governing body to another in hope of getting a fair crack at a world title.

“The IBF seem to be quite strict with their mandatories,” said Whyte. “I’m still pursuing the WBC route, but there seems to be some sort of nonsense going on there, so everything is up in the air at the minute.

“I’m just waiting to see what’s going on with the WBC. Hopefully the WBC order me to fight Breazeale in a final eliminator.”

Billy C and Sal ‘Rocky’ Cenicola always praise fighters that want to fight and believe in the old process of challengers fighting challengers to then become the next in line for a world title shot. Well we have a man in Whyte that will fight anyone and is willing to fight Breazeale, Pulev, Ortiz or Povetkin but none of these are as committed to the cause as Whyte.

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