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SNIPS AND SNIPES 12 August 2022: Arum Douses Cold Water on Tyson Fury Return

I have reached a stage in life (over 21) where I can’t even remember if I have a memory so I can’t remember if anything I remember is real or not! Into that category goes a story about Bob Arum. Many years ago reportedly Bob gave a press conference regarding a fight and then at a second press conference for the same fight he totally contradicted himself. When a reporter complained that the information was now so different to that at the previous conference Bob was reported as saying-yesterday I was lying today I am telling the truth! I would suggest that might be anicdotal but I can’t spell anecdotal.

What brought it to mind was Arum suggesting that no one should pay any attention to Tyson Fury now saying - again - he is going to retire and indeed why should we? Just a couple of days ago Fury was announcing he was going to fight Derek Chisora for a third time. When they fought in 2011 Fury won a wide unanimous decision. When they fought in 2014 Fury won on a tenth round retirement. Chisora is now 38 and is still eight inches smaller and they define madness as doing the same thing over and over and expecting to get a different outcome each time. The only reason I would have for putting up with a third fight is that it would give Chisora the golden handshake his “fight anyone” approach over his fifteen-year-career deserves. One way or another we should soon find out whether Fury was “misleading us” when he said he wanted to fight Chisora and is telling the truth when he says he is retiring or is it that he hates that Usyk vs. Joshua has pushed him out of the news. Oh-by the way happy thirty-fourth birthday Tyson.

The sanction bodies seem to be flexing their muscles with the WBA ordering Dmitry Bivol to defend their light-heavyweight title against Gilberto Ramirez and adding pressure by setting a quick date-21 August for purse bids. There was talk of Bivol defending against Joshua Buatsi but with Artur Beterbiev holding the other three versions of the title and a return with Saul Alvarez a long way off Bivol may not have many options right now. As for Buatsi the EBU had called for bids for Buatsi to fight Callum Johnson for the vacant European title and Buatsi relinquished his role as co-challenger on the day the bids were due. With spots 1 and 2 in the IBF rankings vacant then Buatsi at No 3 is the highest rated challenger-he can’t be No 1 or 2 because he has not beaten a rated fighter-but he can get to No 3 without beating a rated fighter! He is No 3 with the WBC and the WBO so he has options.

On ratings, one of the most ridiculous pronouncements on the subject was Mauricio Sulaiman stating that Jake Paul would have been rated in the WBC Top 40 cruiserweight rankings if he had beaten Hasim Rahman Jr in their now cancelled fight. BoxRec rates Paul No 694 which reflects the fact that he has never fought a fighter who had any pro experience. Rahman is No 218 with BoxRec having been stopped in five rounds by James McKenzie Morrison in his last fight. So if beating No 218, who had been stopped in his last fight, merits a rating then I feel the WBC rating Committee might need their rating guidelines updated as they currently read:
6.5 Ratings Eligibility.
(a) To be eligible to appear in the WBC ratings, a boxer should:
i. have defeated or drawn with a rated boxer;
ii. be an Olympic medallist or have won important amateur tournaments;
iii. had a successful career in Muay Thai or other combat sports; or
iv. by special circumstance, be recommended by an affiliated federation.

But then I seriously doubt whether Mr Sulaiman consulted with his Ratings Committee before this pronunciation. Perhaps he needs to add to their rating criteria:

vi adding him gets us plenty of publicity

He would then have to draw up a table illustrating the relationship between the size of someone’s social media following and rating position that entitles him to.

On the up side, and there is plenty of upside in boxing right now. We have Usyk vs. Joshua II, on 17 September Saul Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin III, Errol Spence vs. Terence Crawford hopefully for November, Naoya Inoue vs. Paul Butler being discussed, Chris Eubank Jr vs. Conor Benn on 8 October, Joe Joyce vs. Joseph Parker a great heavyweight match, Leo Santa Cruz vs. Leigh Wood who will fight each other as an agreement was made prior to the bid opening , 23 September Shakur Stevenson vs. Robson Conceicao, 4 September Luis Ortiz vs. Andy Ruiz, Deontay Wilder returning 15 October vs. Robert Helenius and lots of others out there.

With regard to Alvarez vs. Golovkin I can imagine the fight publicist holding his head in his hands as Golovkin makes a point of saying he is 40-year-old and near retirement. Too much honesty Gennady you need to ramp up the confrontational stuff. You are supposed to be selling the fight not appealing for a pension.
Eubank must want the Benn fight badly. He has tied himself into a very strict weight limit with heavy penalty of $100,000 for every 1lbs he comes in comes in over 157lbs, a weight he has never fought at as a pro but only 3lbs lower than his weight for his last fight against Liam Williams in February when he was 160lbs. Benn was 144 ½ lbs for his first pro fight and his heaviest has been 148 ½ lbs and he was 146 ½ lbs for his last fight in April although he should not be weight-weakened he will be very much the smaller man. With so much family history involved it promises to be explosive-and that’s just at the weigh-in.

It would have been nice to add Juan Francisco Estrada vs. Roman Gonzalez III but madness and muddle surrounds that. Estrada held the WBA super flyweight title and was ordered to defend against Joshua Franco the holder of the WBA secondary title. The purse bidding in April resulted in just one bid and that from Franco’s promoter Golden Boy for $120,000. The WBA set a date for the fight to take place-but no fight happened and a new date was set for 20 August. The WBC then threatened to strip Estrada of his Franchise title if he went ahead with the WBA title fight. Not much of a threat to take away a “title” he can’t defend.
Meanwhile since there are specific WBA rules regarding how soon a fight must be held post the fight award the WBA stripped Estrada who will now take part in a non-title fight and hopefully face Gonzalez later in the year but there is talk of Gonzalez challenging the real WBC champion Jesse Rodriguez as well.

I pointed out in a previous column that unified titles are hated by the sanctioning bodies. Their respective egos make sharing anathema to them. The belt holder will find himself unable to meet the demands of the four separate bodies and either be stripped or be forced to relinquish. Josh Taylor started the year with all four belts and now he is down to two having vacated the WBA title in April and the WBC last month. The IBF have called for bids for his defence against Jeremiah Ponce on 23 August and he fulfilled his WBO obligation in his win over No 1 challenger Jack Catterall in February –but all four belts. It was nice while it lasted Josh.

Both Jorge Linares and Acelino Freitas are in the news. It was felt that former three-division title holder Linares at 36 might retire after his stoppage loss against Zaur Abdullaev in February but he is back in the gym determined to continue. Two-division title holder Freitas, 46, has not fought since November 2017 but he has been bitten by the bug again and in the circus the sport has become his opponent for his return will be MMA fighter Jose Landi-Jons who has never been in a boxing match.
The WBC Bridgerweight division is still limping along with title holder Oscar Rivas defending against Pole Lukasz Rozanski in Cali, Colombia 15 October.

A positive test will often result in a fight being postponed or cancelled or having the result subsequently changed- but it is usually because one of the fighters tested positive. At the European middleweight title fight in France in June between champion Matteo Signani and Anderson Prestot it was the doctor in attendance who tested positive-for COVID-19! As a result there was no anti-doping control but Prestot’s win stood with the EBU ordering a return.

This week (August 12) is a day for remembering the great Salvador Sanchez. Mexican Sanchez died in a motor accident in 1982 at the age of 23. After an early career loss and a draw he then won his next 24 fights including winning the WBC featherweight title and making nine defences defeating opponents such as Danny Lopez, Ruben Castillo, Juan Laporte, Roberto Castanon, Wilfredo Gomez, Pat Cowdell and in his final fight Azumah Nelson. He had a 44-1-1 record with 32 wins by KO/TKO. All the signs were that Sanchez could go on to become one of the greatest fighters Mexico has ever produced. Such a tragedy. RIP Sal.

There’s no doubt that having been a boxer can help when you move up to more official roles outside the ring. The Vice-President of the Ukrainian Professional Boxing League is Alina Shaternikova who was both a European and IBF Female title holder in her career so is certainly qualified. Just a word of warning if Alina is supervising a fight in your area do not under any condition argue over any ruling she might give. Not only does she have a wealth of experience but some Box Rec photos of Alina showed her handling with practised ease a very serious looking automatic rifle and a look that tells you she is willing to fight for the freedom of her country-I offer my respect and much genuine admiration Alina.

Boxing can make you feel old if even all you are doing is writing about it. Every year in Japan they have a nation-wide Rookie Tournament for new entries to boxing and the Rookie Tournament has been a proving ground for many top professionals over the years. In this year’s East Japan section Taishin Isothani won through to the National semi-finals with a third round kayo. Isothani is the grandson of Koichi Wajima one of the past stars of Japanese boxing. In 1971 Koichi won the WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine titles-all that were available in his day-and made a habit of losing and regaining titles before retiring in 1977 with a 31-6-1 record avenging three of his defeats and losing and regaining titles three times. I followed Wajima’s career faithfully fight by fight on some scruffy index cards-and now his grandson is a pro. They say time marches on but on reading about Isothani I felt time had just kicked me in the …… well you know what I mean.

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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