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Snips and Snipes 30 May 2019: The Heavyweight Waltz


PhilBoxing.com





Take your partners for the heavyweight waltz. Everyone on the floor now sitting around hoping for a Prince Charming to sweep you off your feet. No wallflowers here-well except for Fres Oquendo who has been sitting in the corner by himself for so long (last fight July 2014 and he is WBA No 3) he is covered in cobwebs and looks like Miss Haversham from Great Expectations. Those already with dance partners include Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz on Saturday followed by Tyson Fury vs. Tom Schwarz who according to the WBO is the third best heavyweight in the world, one position ahead of Fury. I think it is really stands for Weird Bewildered and Obtuse. I am assured that Schwarz will not be wearing lederhosen and slapping his thighs or anything else during the dance. There is Tony Yoka vs. Tyrone Spong on 13 July with Yoka celebrating almost a year under suspension by the doping test board in France and without a fight since June 2018 during which time he has gone from No 39 to No 13 in the WBC ratings. He should be a lively dancer after all he has skipped three tests. An intriguing match will see Joe Joyce face his sternest test when he meets Bryant Jennings on July 13. Once again Dillian Whyte has to prove he should get a title fight even though he has been rated No 1 by the WBC for 18 months. He must think he entered some form of marathon hurdles race. His next hurdle will be dangerous Oscar Rivas 20 July but before he even starts his waltz with Rivas the WBC have said that all then has to do to get a title shot is beat Tyson Fury! There is Manuel Charr vs. Trevor Bryan date and venue to be advised. That advance warning is an act of kindness which will allow you to be somewhere else doing something else that night. The winner well be the mandatory challenger to Anthony Joshua and Charr already has the achieved one of the main qualifications to fight Joshua i.e. a positive drugs test. Deontay Wilder meets Luis Ortiz again with 26 September the suggested date. No criticism of that one Ortiz deserves a return. Looking to the stars of the future Daniel Dubois and Nathan Gorman clash in an outstanding battle of unbeaten prospects on 13 July. I haven?t mentioned Kubrat Pulev as he may have kissed his chance goodbye.

It looks as though there will be boxing at the 2020 Olympics but the International Olympic Committee has recommended that the AIBA be suspended so if there is boxing it will not be under the banner of the AIBA. One AIBA executive committee member has talked about setting up a fund to clear the reported $16 million debt of the AIBA but just where that money was coming from was not clear. In the past the path to an Olympic boxing berth has been set out and dictated by the AIBA so it is not clear just what the qualification process will be. The WBA have offered to take on that role which horrifies me as they stumble from one disaster to another. My best advice to the IOC would be the same as a joke I heard. A woman is watching a DVD and screaming and screaming ?don?t go there, don?t go there?. When her husband asks her what she is watching shell tells him it?s a DVD of their wedding and she has got the part where she is standing outside the church. So IOC-WBA-don?t go there please.



The WBSS cruiser tournament comes to life again on 15 June in Riga where local hero Mairis Breidis takes on Krzys Glowacki and Yuniel Dorticos clashes with Andrew Tabiti. No ?real? titles left for these guys so Breidis and Glowacki will fight for the interim WBO title and the WBC Diamond title. They haven?t got a title for Dorticos and Tabiti to fight for but I am sure they will either find or invent one. They are two competitive matches but I can?t get too excited about the fight and I feel it was a bad decision to go with the cruisers for a second time.

Kevin Lerena will make the fourth defence of his IBO cruiser title in South Africa on 8 June against Czech Vasil Ducar. The 6?3? Czech is unbeaten but seems to lack the experience to give Lerena problems. The IBO have Ducar at No 28 in their ratings but they don?t have a rule about only top 15 fighters being eligible to fight for their title. They tend to look at the fight itself and decide if it is a reasonable match.
The British invasion of the USA is on-going. When Demetrius Andrade defends his WBO middleweight title against Pole Maciej Sulecki in providence on 29 June Brit Khalid Yafai will put his WBA fly title on the line against his No 1 challenger Norberto Jimenez. It must frustrate Yafai that he cannot get into career defining fights against Juan Francisco Estrada, Srisaket, Roman Gonzalez or Jerwin Ancajas.

Erislandy Lara must be similarly frustrated. The Cuban gets a fight against Alvarez-but brother Ramon and not Saul. That fight is planned for 31 August. Lara is No 2 with the WBA but with champion Julian Williams having just won the title and Brian Castano to defend the secondary against Gold champion Michel Soro Lara is at the back of the queue.

Fellow-Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux has had better luck. He is matched with Julio Ceja and the winner of their fight in Las Vegas on 23 June will guarantee himself a shot at WBC champion Rey Vargas unless of course Vargas loses his title to WBC interim champion Tomoki Kameda in Carson on 13 July.



Thinking of Rigondeaux It is strange that Cuba has been one of if not the dominant force in amateur boxing but has produced so few professional stars in recent years. Certainly the ban on Cubans fighting professional has effected them but even Rigondeaux, Yuriorkis Gamboa and Lara whilst outstanding amateurs have hardly set the world alight.

Two British fighters will be featuring in European title fights with both having to travel. Belfast?s Paul Hyland (20-1) will challenge lightweight champion Francesco Patera in Milan on 28 June and Robbie Davies (18-1) will defend the super lightweight title against Sandor Martin in Barcelona on 27 July. Two tough assignments. Hyland will be the underdog after the way that Patera outboxed unbeaten Lewis Ritson to win the title and Davis will be fighting in the home city of the former champion 34-2 Martin. More quality title fights from the EBU.

The circus comes back to town. It is bad enough that we have Conor McGregor trying to drum up interest in a second Floyd Mayweather fight but now we have Amir Khan possibly picking up $5 or $6 million for fighting a martial arts contestant in Saudi Arabia on a Pakistan vs. India set of events. If the fight does come off it will be under boxing rules but a farce is a farce under any rules.

The two losses suffered by Isaac Dogboe were a huge blow to boxing fans in Ghana. They will be holding their collective breath that Richard Commey does not drop the IBF lightweight title against Ray Beltran in Temecula on 28 June. Commey will be making the first defence of the title and will start as favourite but Beltran has won 8 of his last 9 fights. He lost his WBO title to Jose Pedraza in August last year but rebounded with a win over unbeaten Hiroki Okada and is a battler.

There was talk of Sergio Martinez fighting Julio Cesar Chavez Jr but now the focus has switched to Chavez fighting former IBF super middle champion Jose Uzcategui under Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman on 20 July but nothing confirmer yet.



There has already been a film of the life of Roberto Duran and next month there will a documentary entitled ?I am Duran?. It covers the life of one of the greatest boxer of all time from when he was sleeping on the streets with rarely enough to eat to filling stadiums and winning titles. Participants in the documentary will include Oscar De La Hoya, Mike Tyson and Robert De Niro and of course Sugar Ray Leonard. They fought each other three times and now are very good friends with Duran happy to say he calls Leonard his brother. Mutual respect has long since erased any enmity which ever existed two great fighters.

If you wonder if I was being too harsh in warning the IOC to steer clear of the WBA you only have to look at the disgraceful way they do their ratings. Last week Peruvian Ricardo Astuvilca went into a fight rated their No 2 minimumweight. He had a 19-0 record so that does not look too disgraceful. However he first entered their ratings in 2014 having won eleven fights against opponents with combined records of 8-22, Before his fight last weekend he had progressed to 19 wins with his 19 victims having amassed just 18 wins between them and that is the WBA?s idea of a man justified to be No 2 in the world. Absolute rubbish! They have made a mockery of any criteria for an honest assessment or valuation of a fighter which is what ratings are supposed to be about. - and they want to organise Olympic boxing. The AIBA are bad but just because you are up to your ass in alligators it doesn?t mean the snake pit is a good alternative.

Boxing has sure changed. I never thought I would see the day when there would be a professional show in Ho Chi Min City and places such as Taiwan and Macao would be staging major fights. When Zou Shiming turned pro in 2013 you could count the number of professional boxers active in China on one hand. There are now 322 active boxers there and the number will continue to grow.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eric Armit.


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