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Snips and Snipes 19 May 2022: One World Champion in Each Division in Boxing is an Impossible Dream

“To Dream the Impossible Dream”. Those are the opening words of the song “The Impossible Dream (the Quest)” from the Broadway Musical Man of La Mancha. I guess for hard core boxing fans that “dream” would be to have only one champion in each division. A true world champion not a sanctioning body champion which is the most that the majority of “champions” can claim to be today.

The truth is that only one champion in each division would be a nightmare situation for anyone promoting boxing. Only seventeen champions to be shared out between all of the different promoters, Cable, TV, Streaming outlets etc. it would be a disaster for those who had not collard a champion. Most of those outlets have been glad to be able to show a “world” title fight in their weekly schedules. In fact they rely on it. A major show without a title fight-or two or three-is inconceivable.

Imagine how unfair it would be if they had to sell a fight solely on the basis of the competitive quality of the fight and not on the “designer” label of some spurious title. However let’s be honest. No matter how much a fan might say he yearns for just one champion he will gladly embrace a fighter as a champion if it is one he is a fan off or one from his home town.

So how close are we to the impossible dream? Right now, ignoring secondary, interim, Gold, Silver etc. there are only two fighters holding all four titles of the major sanctioning bodies in their division Saul Alvarez at super middleweight and, after last weekend, Jermall Charlo at super welterweight. There are forty-two who hold one or more sanctioning body titles. There are four divisions: heavyweight, welterweight, lightweight, and super bantamweight where the titles are split between only two fighters. The heavyweight division would be unified if Tyson Fury and Olek Usyk fought each other but if Fury stuck by his decision to retire the WBC would not recognise Usyk as champion-there is no sanction fee in that-so we will again end up with two title holders at heavyweight.

I have left the super lightweights out as that is the division that illustrates that one champion in each division is the impossible dream. Josh Taylor held all four titles but of course he was in the impossible position of having four different mandatory challengers so he was always going to be stripped by one of the four bodies. The WBA stripped him for not moving to set up a defence against their No 1 and interim champion Alberto Puello.

That picture of four different mandatory challengers will undermine every effort to get to one champion in each division at best it will make the “one champion” a temporary illusion with the sanctioning bodies elbowing each other aside to see who can throw cold water on our hopes. Like a dream we will awake to the reality that money laughs at idealism.

Going back to Josh Taylor. You would have thought that the WBA might have come up with a match between Puello-rated No 27 by BoxRec-and Ismael Barroso- their No 2 inactive for almost sixteen months. No that is too simple. Instead they are going to invite the representatives of Puello, Barroso, Ohara Davies, Sandor Martin, Regis Prograis and Batyr Akhmedov to come and sit before them and they will each be given fifteen minutes to argue the case for their man to be the new champion!!!A debating society. Madness and stupidity! It is not fighting ability that will determine the next champion but the representative with the slickest spiel. It conjures up visions of Fury and Usyk sitting on either side of a table. Fury saying “I lead with a left jab” Usyk “I counter with a right” Fury “I get you with an uppercut” and Usyk “I land a left hook” and then three judges deciding who won the round.

Since I am on the subject of the Worst Boxing Association (also known as Don King’s lap dogs) I see that dishonest manipulation is still their stock in trade. This month in at No 15 in their heavyweight ratings comes Dacarree Scott. Never heard of him? Not surprising as he has had only seven fights and is rated No 126 by Box Rec. His first six opponents have fourteen wins between them and were all four and six round fights. On January he won a split decision over Ahmed Hefney (rated No 176 by Box Rec). The 37-year-old Hefney was 60lbs lighter than Scott who is 5’10” and weighed 276 lbs. Never mind that Scott has never fought anyone who could even reach the level of mediocrity, never mind that he jumps into the ratings although not fighting since January, never mind that his being rated makes a mockery of the multiple pages in the WBA rules about how they are going to rate fighters never mind that at 5’10” he weighs in at 276 lbs/125kgs/19st 7lbs so is more likely to float like a hippo an sting like a flea. He is promoted by Don King and that trumps all. I feel truly sorry for the many honest people in the WBA who have to live with such crude dishonesty at the top.

The WBO cancelled their approval of the fight between Zach Parker and Demetrius Andrade for their vacant interim super middleweight title. Frank Warren won the purse bidding but then Andrade’s team advised that their man had suffered an injury and would be out for four months. They retuned Warren’s $366,810 purse bid deposit being 20% of his $1,834,050 successful bid. The WBO are hoping that Saul Alvarez will defend their title in the third fight against Gennady Golovkin so they have their eyes very much on that.

A return fight between Katie Taylor and Amada Serrano might face a delay. Serrano was given concessions for two fights-Miriam Gutierrez and Taylor. With those over she has said she feels there will now be pressure on her to defend her featherweight titles or lose them so she will see how things develop but a return with Taylor would be another huge event for Female boxing.
It was interesting to see Chinese heavyweight 40-year-old Junlong Zhang return to the ring with a win in Canada. The “Dragon King” built a record of 18-0 in China before disappearing from the scene in 2017. He moved to Canada and had settled there. After his wife died he built a gym and is now continuing his career.
Boxing seems to be breaking out all over the place. Recently there have been shows in Albania, the Congo, Togo and Vietnam and of most interest Cuban boxers being allowed to turn professional. I will not get too excited as I can remember that Zou Shiming and Vijender Singh were going to be the fighters that would open the Chinese and Indian markets to boxing. I am still waiting for that.

Former European super lightweight champion Anthony Yigit returned to the ring in Colombia with a win. There is now talk of an interesting fight against Jeremias Ponce in Germany. Argentinian Ponce stopped Lewis Ritson in ten rounds in June last year.
The EBU have called for purse offers for an attractive clash at super welter. The EU champion 21-2 Jama Saidi is to defend against unbeaten French hope 15-0 Souleymane Cissokho with purse offers by 12 July. The EBU had called for purse offers for the return between Dane Enoch Poulsen and Frenchman Franck Petitjean but an injury to Poulsen has put that back to June. Zambian-born Poulsen won their fight for the vacant title in April but Petitjean’s team protested as the referee stopped the fight in mid round to allow Poulsen’s team to treat an arm injury suffered by Poulsen.

Some publicity drums being beaten over Otto Wallin fighting Rydell Booker on 26 May in Michigan. A win over the 41-year-old Booker who is 0-3-1 in his last four fights is not going to excite many and his only rating currently is No 10 with the WBC so he will have to take some stiffer fights to get any kind of seat at the heavyweight table.

A couple of weeks back I went along to an amateur show in Dundee. It was a match between a St Francis Amateur Boxing Club in Dundee and a team from Wales. It featured bouts from schoolboy to international level. It was full of entertainment, passion and sportsmanship. Tears from some of the youngest losers and unbridled joy from the winners. There were young boxers there hardly in their teens switching guards and dancing with their hands down and it was interesting to see how the skills tightened and developed as the ages of the fighters increased and their understanding of the skills developed. A very enjoyable night. It struck me that nearly every world star of boxing today probably took their first steps in boxing in shows such as these so support the amateur clubs in your area as that is where the stars of tomorrow will come from.

About the Author

Born in Scotland, Eric Armit started working with Boxing News magazine in the UK in the late 1960’s initially doing records for their Boxing News Annual and compiling World, European and Commonwealth ratings for the magazine. He wrote his first feature article for Boxing News in 1973 and wrote a “World Scene” weekly column for the magazine from the late 1970’s until 2004. Armit wrote a monthly column for Boxing Digest in the USA and contributed pieces to magazines in Mexico, Italy, Australia, Spain, Argentina and other countries. Armit now writes a Weekly Report covering every major fight around the world and a bi-weekly Snips & Snipes column plus occasional general interest articles with these being taken up by boxing sites around the world. He was a member of the inaugural WBC Ratings Committee and a technical advisor to the EBU Ratings Committee and was consulted by John McCain’s research team when they were drafting the Ali Act. He is a Director and former Chairman of the Commonwealth Boxing Council. Armit has been nominated to the International Boxing Hall of Fame the past two years (2019 and 2020) to which he said, “Being on the list is an unbelievably huge honour.”

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

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