Beat To The Punch Ep21

I was joined the line by Nathan Dowie and Riku to speak about all this weeks big boxing news including Jamel Herring picks up a World Title, Hughie Fury and will he ever fulfil his early potential . We also spoke about AJ/Ruiz as well as all the rest of the goings on in the Heavyweight Division.

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Top Heavyweight Fights Now Further Away Than Ever

Top Heavyweight Fights Now Further Away Than Ever

Hope is a dangerous thing. We hear all the time from a political class who promise us the world and time after time they fail to deliver but we still choose to continuously self harm with hope because there is no alternative. Boxing is now a place where hope is not a desirable trait.

Back in December the world was treated to one of the best Heavyweight fights in years when Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder locked horns in the ring for the WBC Heavyweight Crown. The fight ended in a draw but it far exceeded the expectations of most fight fans beforehand. Since then boxing fans have been left wanting to see it all over again, living in hope that this would be one of the few times common sense would prevail in boxing. News broke this week that dashed all of our hopes not only of seeing this rematch but there is now a very strong chance that the top three fighters in the division will not meet in the ring for the foreseeable future.

The Heavyweight landscape is already a minefield of party allegiances but with the latest news that Tyson Fury has now nailed his colours to the ESPN/Top Rank mast in a big money multi fight deal, it has made an already complicated situation ……Well all the more complicated. This is not due to the fighters themselves but the money men and powerhouse platforms behind them.As i sit here writing this I still live in hope. I hope ESPN and Showtime pull together for the good of the sport. I hope Bob Arum and Al Haymon can now finally bury their hatchet and work together to bring fans another great night of Heavyweightboxing. I hope that Eddie Hearn, Al Haymon and Bob Arum do what’s right and leave the path open for their respective fighters to finally get in the ring and fight it out and see who is No1 in the division, after all that what all boxing fans want. The sad reality is that what boxing fans want and what boxing fans get is two very different things, we are now further away from any of these big fights happening than we ever have been.

What Do We Want ? …The Biggest Fights …When Do We Want Them?…..NOW!


Like most of you reading this I am from working class stock. I was brought up in a rough housing scheme (council estate) in the poverty stricken town of Paisley. Like most working class families I had it installed in me at an early age that you need to work hard to get anywhere in life, to avoid the temptations that are everywhere which can so easily derail persons journey through. In every town, in every City, in every country around the world their are people just trying to get ahead in life. Now as we all know chasing the dream is an endless, thankless task, which usually see’s our dreams diminish. As we get older we move the goal posts closer, we let the world beat a sense of realism into us and as the Richard Ashcroft say’s “Your a slave to the money then you die”. To escape the mundane regimented routine of life we turn to sports. As children this is where so many of our outlandish dreams begin and stay with us throughout our lives. We become emotionally invested in sport, we feel like our team/player is an extension of ourselves, we literally get our enjoyment seeing other people live out their dreams, or tales that is what i thought a fans job was.

Boxing is a very unique sport in the way that fights are made. Unlike most other sports boxing doesn’t have a seasonal structure, the sport does not live by anyones schedule. There is no one figure head of the sport, there is no god. We put our faith in promoters and managers to put on the best fights, the fights the fans want to see but all too often we are being let down badly, and better still their are some who applaud it.

The past week has felt a little bit like Groundhog Day as we found out Team Fury had knocked back a derisory offer from Eddie Hearn to make the biggest fight in boxing Fury vs Joshua, a story that is becoming all too familiar when talking bout Hearn. Fury and his team have demanded a 50/50 split which once again has split fans down the middle but I for one am not falling into these murky waters again. I don’t think it is outrageous to suggest that Fury/Joshua will be the highest grossing fight in British boxing history. The fan fair and media frenzy in the build up to this fight would be like nothing we have ever seen before, it would break all UK PPV records, it would pack out 90,000 inside Wembley and with both having such big followings the atmosphere in the arena would be unique. Every major brand in the world would want its logo attached somewhere to this fight. Just thinking of how much money this fight will generate really does make the mind boggle. With all this in mind am I the only one that finds absurd that this fight is not happening due to a dispute over money.

All too often I see on social media boxing fans argue over who deserves what. I see tweets daily by fans who are all too happy that fights have not been made because they think a fighter is over valuing himself. I see tweets by fans who would rather see fights not happen because they believe so firmly that the A-side boxer should call all the shots. Greed is the most detrimental thing to boxing. There are times when greed robs fans of the best fights at the right time, there are times when greed robs fighters of the biggest night of their lives and most importantly greed is slowly killing the sport. In todays world boxing is nowhere near as powerful as it once was as people can get their blood lust elsewhere like the UFC. Whilst boxing has spent decades shooting itself in the foot time and time again. UFC has given it’s fight fans the best fights possible time after time which has its popularity soar.

Boxing is littered with stories of broke former pro’s that didn’t get their fair share of the pot and are now potless. Boxers put their lives at risk every time they step in the right for a fight, these guys are literally risking it all and should be rewarded for it, no one is disputing that. Where the full thing leaves a sour taste in my mouth is I cannot support multi millionaires arguing over a couple of million pounds when their is tens of millions on the table. What I cannot do is support the biggest and best fights not being made. Once again boxing fans are being taken for granted that’s why this should never be applauded, just like in every professional sport the fans are the life blood that keeps the sport going, We are King.

Steven Donnell

AJ’s US Damage Control Was More Damaging

AJ’s US Damage Control Was More Damaging

We have all been in that near intolarable position when we have been completely caught off guard. A time when a situation has you completely rattled and searching your brain to find you a way out. Now anyone who has found themselves in this position will tell you it is your immediate reaction that will make or break how you recover from it. Some take it in their stride never really letting anyone know the panic and dismay hidden behind their poker face whilst others get flustered, ramble maybe even get a little embarrassed as the situation gets the better of them. This week we  seen Anthony Joshua may have just found himself in one of the afore mentioned kind of situations.

In the crazy world of boxing the top fighters may only fight three times per year so it is imperative that fans are kept entertained in the long spells between fights. With the help of technology and fans thirst for instant information we have created a kind of WWE type soap opera which keeps fans in the loop and entertained. The emergence of personalities like Eddie Hearn has seen boxing revitalised in the UK. Hearn is a master at exploiting social media and instant news outlets in a way that no other promoter can, but over the past few months we have seen Hearn take a few L’s in the boxing the media with his lies leaving poor old AJ in a tough position.

Anyone who has seen a deposition on TV or a police interview tape will know once something has been recorded it cannot be taken back. We have all seen a courtroom drama where a witness or a suspect may say something which contradicts a previous statement, this is usually the final nail in the coffin in the movies where the the tower of lies come crashing down. In boxing terms it isn’t the the final nail in the coffin, it’s much worse for a promoter, it means fans will now scrutinise every word you say on the situation past, present and future and that’s something no salesman wants.

For the last year the AJ/Wilder saga has played out in the boxing media. At the start it was entertaining seeing all these big characters go at it on a daily basis but as it became clear that no fight was not forthcoming it became more of an annoyance trying to keep up with the who said what. The more time past the more it seemed to me that Eddie Hearn was on the back foot starting with him banning Wilder from entering the ring to call out AJ after Joshua had beaten Parker, then we had him shouting about proof of funds when Wilders team made an offer of $50m after Joshua had publicly demanded that sum. Team Wilder played their ace card when they agreed to fight former unified champion Tyson Fury. Once announced Hearn said the fight would not happen, he said it would be a snooze fest and as it turned out he was wrong on both accounts. Wilder vs Fury was a great fight and ended up doing well commercially and will more than likely do even bigger numbers in the rematch which looks like it could happen next year, leaving AJ locked out.

This week we have seen Anthony Joshua appear on US TV in an attempt to regain the initiative in the AJ/Wilder saga, but with one hand tied behind his back I think he failed miserably. The problem Anthony Joshua had was that his team have made so many contradictory claims in the past that he didn’t really have anywhere to go. For the first time I thought AJ looked frustrated and a little out of depth. In the interview when talking about a unification with fellow Brit Tyson Fury, Joshua says he has never heard anybody talk about being lineal champion and that people when starting out wanted to be IBO,WBA,IBF,WBO and WBC Champion, which is a bizarre statement to make especially when he used the IBO title to discredit the Lineal title. He also said something along the lines that they had booked Wembley for the Wilder fight, but again that just isn’t true as only a couple of months ago Team AJ set a deadline for Wilder to sign to fight AJ at Wembley, the deadline was BEFORE Wilder fought Fury in the biggest fight of his a career.

I have to admit I did feel sympathy for AJ as his trip to the US seemed like a forced attempt at damage control for the AJ brand. He came across very transparent on US TV and it looked to me like his team that have turned him into a superstar have really let him down on this instance. Where could Joshua go after the countless Eddie Hearn IFL interviews with different claims and counter claims each week. What could he say that wouldn’t see him dig an even bigger hole and be dragged into the abyss of contradictions. I have said time and time again that I have no doubt that Anthony Joshua the man, the fighter wants to fight the best. The problem AJ has is that he is commodity with many shareholders who are not willing to risk there asset in a fight…..not yet anyway.

Steven Donnell 

@DjayBoxingBlog