So what a slow couple of weeks it has been for boxing fans . Going through the boxing news looking for inspiration to get an opinion piece out has been painful and disheartening and with interviews not booked in until next week things have been slow . So what could i write about ??? I have never really spoken of my devastation of watching Boxnation “The Home of Boxing” die a slow painful death .
BoxNation was launched back in 2011 the brain child of promoter Frank Warren who had the vison of giving the basket case which is boxing a home . Boxing is a sport like no other when it comes to tv deals due to the amount of platforms world wide that like to dabble in the sport . For so many years international fights could only be seen on dodgy streams online or if YouTube would let people upload the fights without infringing there copyright rules , and if you remember the days before the internet international fight were brought to you through Ring Magazine where you could read reports and even build up relationships with fellow readers across the world by answering adverts and exchanging video tapes via post ….. i am stressed just think about that . Warren had the simple but great idea of giving boxing a home , a place where his stable could be on show to a TV audience who would buy into the idea to have a place to watch these fights and some top class fights from around the world which would otherwise go unnoticed . This idea was met with scepticism across the board as this was a pre Anthony Joshua world we lived in and no matter how you dress it up the sport just wasn’t that big in the UK , boxing was a stop off , a gap filler and nobody is going to subscribe to channel dedicated to it was the cry from many across the board , but for a while they were wrong .
I do not like using the phrase ” Casual ” or ” Hardcore ” for two reasons , one is i think to label yourself makes you a wanker and the second reason is a fan through definition is someone that supports the the sport in some way or another and boxing isn’t a big enough sport for fan snobbery . The ” Hardcore ” element bought into the concept right away, enjoying some great small hall shows and even the prestigious amateur team boxing tournament The World Series of Boxing . As Warren started bringing massive international fights , even securing the rights to bring GGG vs Canelo to the UK screens the ” Casuals ” started to buy into the concept as well and BoxNation was must have for boxing fans .
We all knew from the start that this was never going to to be a massive success and take over boxing but BoxNation did hold it’s own and for a while , it even outperformed the super power that is Sky Sports , forcing Sky to try and compete on the International fight stage , something they had never done before unless there was a PPV attached , as time passed even the most avid boxing fan started to wonder how long this could go on as we had it all and in real terms it wasn’t costing to much to have it either .
For months there had been story’s emerging that the BoxNation was struggling but Frank Warren was in talks with BT Sport , another Super Power in UK sports leading to the assumption that BT Sports would take control of BoxNation and the channel would be safe guarded as long as Warren could keep BT Sports happy , but soon after the deal between Warren/BT Sports was agreed things didn’t seem right . In the beginning BT Sport subscribers were told ” Cancel your BoxNation subscription as it is part of your BT subscription now ” which was fine until the same fans were then told that those who get Boxnation through BT will need to fork out for Canelo/GGG what , what was going on ? Was BoxNation a separate entity ? .With the backing of BT Frank could now attract the like of Carl Frampton and Tyson Fury but in the build up to these domestic superstars shows fans didn’t know if the fight would be shown on BoxNation , which you would think can only be right since people are forking out £12 per month for BoxNation ….well no that wasn’t the case . As it turns out guys like Frampton and Fury were not signed on the same deal that included BoxNation having the rights , which in effect cut this small pioneering tv channel loose . So subscribers were left asking ” What am I paying for ?”
It is obvious that Frank Warren has signed BoxNation’s DNR , the channel which kept his credibility through the hard times of playing second fiddle to Eddie Hearn has been cut adrift and i for one am devastated .The effects are already being felt in the UK with massive international fights like Garcia vs Easter Jnr and Kovalev vs Alvarez going untelevised here in the UK in just the past couple of weeks , a couple of years ago we had it all now it’s back to the same old …from where i am sitting BoxNation is all but dead .
Last weekend we had the pleasure of watching one of the best technicians in boxing Mikey Garcia become a unified champion in the 135lbs division when he beat Robert Easter Jnr . I always find the week after a Garcia fight I find myself reeling , replaying some of his actions over in my head , he truly is a joy to watch .
Garcia may be one of the best in the business but surprisingly he is far from the superstar that his his skills deserve . It seems a lot of the usual ever loyal Mexican fanbase just can’t bring themselves to love this man who is proud of his Mexican heritage . I have heard all sorts of reasons for this like the Mexican fanbase lost interest whilst Garcia sat out on two years of boxing trying to get out of deal with with top rank . Another reason I’ve heard is that Garcia doesn’t embrace the Mexican fighting style , he is to much of technician . If there is anybody out there that thinks the latter of these reasons then maybe boxing isn’t the sport for you , but could Garcia be about to make a massive mistake to prove these people wrong ? .
It has been reported this week that Showtime are planning a Garcia vs Spence PPV in December, a fight that Mikey has been shouting for . This fight could be suicide for Garcia as it would see him have to jump up TWO weight divisions from 135lbs to 147lbs , not to mention that Spence is massive at 147lbs , a crazy fight choice especially when there is a better fight at his own weight waiting to be made .
If you asked any boxing fan to name three fights they would want to see , Garcia vs Lomachenko will be on that list . This is a fight that would bring two styles together with two master craftsmen come together in there prime . Yes there is the full Top Rank issue who promote Loma but I’m confident that both could come to an agreement . This is also a fight that at long last would get Mikey Garcia the recognition from the boxing world he deserves .
Just when you thought that boxing was becoming predictable the news broke that Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder are in advanced talks to make a fight for later this year , in a move that would leave the big money man and unified champion Anthony Joshua in the unusual position of being locked out of one of the biggest heavyweight fights in this era . Now right from the start I will say this story has broke from two of the most unreliable sources in boxing , Tyson Fury and Frank Warren but the reports coming out of the US is that this is more than just hot air.
It is no secret that Deontay Wilder was infuriated by how negotiations went when trying to secure a fight with Anthony Joshua for all the titles . I have listened to guys like Lance Pugmire of the LA Times say they would not be surprised if AJ/Wilder never happened and that’s what came to my mind when this news broke , Is this an attempt to cut AJ out altogether ? . There is no doubt that the biggest fight financially in the division is against AJ but the next biggest fight financially is Fury/Wilder, A fight that would provide career high payday’s for both .
This could also be a case of Team Wilder showing AJ they have other options , which might bring Hearn back to the table with the instructions from Joshua to get the fight made , which i have to admit is a real possibility .
But what if this all comes off for Fury/Wilder , where does that leave AJ ? . Well the AJ extremists will have you believe that AJ doesn’t need either , and in a way they are right as he could sell out a stadium if he was fighting me ,but these people don’t understand the sport of boxing . AJ needs competition to create a legacy and this fight would leave him rummaging through the bones of the division looking for a top fight . Chances are that Wilder would insist on a rematch clause so potentially he and Fury could be occupied for the next year .
I will go back to what i said at the start and admit this could be all hot air or a ploy to get Hearn and AJ back to the table . In a way i want this fight to come off , I want boxers to see that if a massive fight is there to be made you don’t mess around with it , you don’t play with your food ,you don’t treat fans with utter contempt and put the fight off until your advisers give you the okay .
On Saturday we all watched a show that had come for so much criticism . Yes we expected Whyte vs Parker to be a well matched fight but the rest of the card was looking a bit weak . Well on Saturday took chief support Derek Chisora vs Carlos Takam took the opportunity to take this event by storm and put on a fantastic fight , which by the end of it made Eddie Hearn look a genius .
Set up as the co-main and some people’s preferred fight of the night was Derek Chisora vs Carlos Takam in what promised to be an all out war , and a war is exactly what we got . This fight caught fire right from the off with Takam going straight to work on Chisora . It was hard to tell from the start if Takam was forcing Chisora to the ropes or Chisora was wanting to fight there , but for nearly two rounds of the fight the both boxers never left that two meter square bit of canvas in the corner . Takam was really unloading and you could tell Chisora was hurt , but by using all his experience never looked like he would go down . As the fight went on we seen Chisora throw in little burst during the rounds catching Takam to the body and the head before waving Takam in , inviting him to throw a large volume of punches . I don’t know if Chisora had noticed Takam slow down but from around the fourth round this fight turned into an absolute war . Every time Takam would land two to three punches Chisora had an answer for them off the ropes , to some it may have looked lazy from the Chisora but I actually think he was managing his gas tank , he knew he couldn’t throw at the same rate as Takam so why try . Takam was outboxing Chisora but at no point was Chisora out of this fight . Both guys seemed to be easy targets to hit as the fight went on , both traded bombs as they seemed to throw any notion of defence out of the ring . You really couldn’t take your eyes off of this , it really was fascinating and it got the ending it deserved when Derek Chisora caught Takam with a big looping right hand over the top after a nice feint to the body which sent Takam to sleep . A bit of an upset in some peoples eyes but this was the night that Derek Chisora showed he still has something to 9offer the heavyweight division .
It’s scary to think that Derek Chisora’s name is once again being linked with some of the big names at the very top of the division . Time after time we all right Chisora off , we say he’s shot or that there is many miles on the clock but this performance proves that when this guy is motivated he has the tools to cause anyone problems . Dillian Whyte also scored an impressive win on Saturday putting him in the conversation for a world title shot ……..to think most people i talk to had Chisora beating Whyte in there epic battle, it could have been Delboy in position for another world title shot .
So it’s another big fight weekend as we all get ready to see the next instalment of “Dillian Whyte’s road to AJ” as he gets ready to face former world champion Joseph Parker at the O2 Arena in London . Since this fight was announced i have to admit i thought ” Well Done Eddie Hearn ” as this will be the biggest test Whyte has faced since his loss the Anthony Joshua , and this may well be the fight that earns him a second shot AJ .
I have to admit that i have never been a big fan of Whyte .I never really rated him as he has yet to master the most basic boxing fundamentals . He doesn’t have a jab , a tool that is usually imperative if you want to operate at the top level .He has very poor footwork and far to often stands square on and flat footed , but what does that say about Whyte as nobody has been able to punish him for these flaw’s since the AJ fight , that cant just be luck can it ? . It’s not all doom and gloom infact far from it when talking about Dillian Whyte .Whyte is one of these fighters who has the ability to drag his opponents into a dog fight , and that’s where he excels as a boxer . Whyte’s biggest asset is those looping shots he throws that come over the top of his opponents guard , which can become a great equaliser when fighting a more skilful boxer . These shots may look a little unorthodox but they are effective as opponents don’t see them coming . There is also no doubting Whyte can take a shot which i think he will use to advantage , he will let Parker land in order to get his own shots off .
Former WBO World Champion Joseph Parker is coming off a points loss to Anthony Joshua after a very poor performance from Parker , something i have to admit is becoming more and more common when talking about the Kiwi heavyweight . I have seen Parker three or four time’s and i am yet to see what all the fuss is about . I thought he struggled against Carlos Takam , he went to the wire with an out of shape Andy Ruiz and he pretty much gave up his world title to AJ without a whimper , a world title he was lucky to have after Hughie Fury danced rings round him all night . Yes i do know Parker has superb hand speed but let’s be honest here , he doesn’t use it to good effect . One thing Parker does have a quick nice jab which will cause Whyte all sorts of problems and he is mobile enough to just outbox Whyte if he can stay disciplined , for me that’s the key to victory for him .
I’ve went over this one a few times in my head . Jospeh Parker has all the tools to win this fight comfortably if he just works off his jab , for me there is doubt that Parker is the more skilful fighter of these two . Whyte has one mission when he enters that ring and that’s to drag Parker into a dog fight , if he can I believe there is every chance he beats Parker , and i think that’s exactly what Whyte will do .
There is a dangerous presedent about to be set this weekend when Sky Box Office show there latest Pay Per View event . Dillian Whyte will take on his biggest challenge to date when he fights Joseph Parker , which in the grand scheme of thing will be a nothing fight , a fight that will have a few trinket belts up for grabs which are designed for guys to climb the rankings and when you consider Whyte pulled out of a Final Eliminator with Pulev which would have led the winner to Anthony Joshua its all a little bizarre . The Dillian Whyte vs Kubrat Pulev fight looked all set to go until Matchroom lost out on the purse bids which seen them do what is now becoming known as a ” Matchroom Special ” and pull Whyte out of the fight to make this one , but on the other side of that Eddie Hearn has already promised sky he will be collecting your PPV money so what else could he do other than take HIS OWN fighter out of a final eliminator for a world title …..well apart from make better bid and secure the rights for Pulev/Whyte ofcourse .
Now don’t get me wrong i really like this fight and both styles should matchup quite well but for this to be a PPV worthy it had to take the 1990’s Don King approach . In the 90’s when PPV was becoming more and more common King would stack his undercards , some events having three or more good close world title fights on the undercard . Now i am not saying this events needs multiple world title fights to make it worthy but it needed to be stacked with good close fights between names of relative importance , what we are being served up with this weekend reminds me of a line in the movie Goodfellas : you want top fights on PPV …..Fuck You Pay Me ……You want stacked undercards ?……Fuck You Pay Me ……whats that ? you think this could have been made on regular Sky Sports ……Fuck You Pay Me .
When it comes to the comercial phenomenon that is Anthony Joshua i can completely understand why he is a box office fighter regardless of opponent or undercard , i get it , but what has either Whyte or Parker done in boxing that makes this a PPV event ? I seen an overweight Andy Ruiz take Parker right to the wire in New Zealand , i seen a shot Derek Chisora beat Dillian Whyte regardless of what the judges said . Are we now in a era of boxing where landing punch on AJ or going the distance is enough to make you PPV ? . People go out and earn there wages so have no place in telling them how and where to spend it but if you want to watch the boxing this weekend but don’t think its value for money drop me a DM on twitter or Facebook and i will put you intouch with someone who will get you a better deal .
Well it has took a while to get here but finally it is fight week for the World Boxing Super Series Cruiserweight Final in Russia between Oleksandr Usyk and Murat Gassiev . This will be the first time in ten years that the Cruiserweight division has seen a lineal champion . On Saturday night we will be treated to what may be the best fight of this year as there is very little to choose between these two elite level operators . You can take all the talk about splits and money that so often stops fights like this happening , this fight is what boxing is all about .
Oleksandr Usyk is one of my favourite fighters to watch . Another product of the Ukrainian Boxing system this guy brings a little bit of Vasyl Lomachenko style to the big boy weights and i for one love it . Like Lomachenko , Usyk has been fast tracked due to his extensive experience as an top level amateur which has seen him have to learn on the job at times but each time he has found a way to win . Usyk’s big most valuable asset is his hi intensity work rate , he doesn’t just come forward but he comes in from the sides , constantly looking to back opponents up waiting for that moment where there concentration lapses and he can pounce . Most of Usyk’s work comes off the jab which disguises where his attack will come from , a technique that does seem to be a work in progress but one that the Ukrainian is close to mastering . Usyk proved in his last fight in the semi final against Mairus Briedis in Latvia that even when things aren’t working he can go to war and win , something that he may need to draw on come Saturday . Up until Usyk fought Briedis we hadn’t really seen him tested , and nobody ever really knows how someone will react when they are dragged into a battle . In that fight i thought Briedis was unlucky , he just fell short of the mark and showed Usyk can be very naive falling for the traps that Briedis had set and time and time agains Usyk walked on to big shots , something Usyk Cannot afford to do this weekend or it will be goodnight .
Gassiev is someone who has benefited massively from the WBSS with his success in the tournament bringing him to front and centre in the division that is stacked with talent . Gassiev has a very fan friendly style as this boy can bang . In his last outing in the WBSS semi final he fought Doriticos , another top level Cruiserweight who gave Gassiev all sorts of problems early in the fight . I honestly thought Doriticos was on his way to a well earned victory after the first four rounds but Gassiev like any true elite level boxer showed what it takes to turn from a valiant loser into a gallant winner . That night Gassiev had every excuse to ditch his original game plan as he was being caught on the way in time and time again but he didn’t , he knew Doriticos would slow down the longer the fight went on . As the early freshness faded from Doriticos , he slowed that of a half second and Gassiev could get to work , landing the harder more punishing shots that gradually breaking Doriticos down . That night I couldn’t help but acknowledge that Gassiev must have the upmost confidence in his corner , to have the confidence to stick with a gameplan that didn’t look to be working the first quarter of the fight and make the slight adjustments shows his class . Gassiev isn’t the kind of technician Usyk is but that’s not to say Gassiev doesn’t have skills . A bit like like Usyk , Gassiev does his best work on the front foot , prodding , punching and breaking opponents down . Gassiev i really good at countering his opponents just as they launch an attack , and with Gassiev’s power that is a danger for anybody .
This fight doesn’t just have the potential to be the best fight of this year , it has the potential to be the best fight for years top come , that is how highly i rate both these guys . Across all social media and boxing press everybody seems split as to how this fight will go . I think if Usyk makes the same mistakes he made against Briedis he will be stopped , he must show more patience and maybe not try and iniciante every exchange as that’s is when he will be vulnerable . Gassiev cannot go into this fight thinking Usyk will slow down like Doriticos , as i said before Usyk’s gas tank is his biggest asset . I can see this one going the distance with heart stopping moments for both sets of fans . I can see both guys having to dig deep and survive at points . From the start of the WBSS i have said Usyk will win the tournament and my pick hasn’t changed , but i do think it will be a lot closer than i first anticipated .