The Week: Another twist in the Conor Benn saga, Ryder gets Munguia, and Serrano vacates

By Declan Taylor
Wednesday, November 29

THE new week kicked off with, rejoice, yet another twist in the Conor Benn saga. This time, after months of Eddie Hearn stating that he wants Benn against Chris Eubank Jnr to be under the auspices of the British Boxing Board of Control, it was confirmed that the Board have rejected the application for a license. Make no mistake, these are barmy times for British boxing considering this is a case that first came to the public’s attention more than 13 months ago and there is still no clear resolution. What is becoming abundantly clear, however, is that Benn and Eubank are almost certainly going to punch each other in the face at some point next year. “February 3rd at Tottenham,” promoter Eddie Hearn said. Meanwhile, another fight fell by the wayside on Wednesday due to an apparent lack of the required paperwork as ‘Visa delays’ meant that the scheduled fight between Hackey’s Ohara Davies and the 40-year-old Venezuelan man Ismael Barroso, which had been scheduled for Saturday, had to be postponed. “Slight delay, thanks to the USA embassy for working quickly and efficiently to issue me a Visa to travel to to Box,” Davies said. “I’ll be collecting the passport this week and the rescheduled fight with Barosso will be announced within the next few days – Big up the US.”

Thursday, November 30 KING RY ME A RIVER

IT’S Ryan Garcia fight week in Houston and he was a problem for his Golden Boy promoters as he used his final press conference to call out both Bernard Hopkins and Oscar De La Hoya publicly. “Bernard Hopkins doesn’t decide if I continue boxing after this fight.” he said. “Nobody was telling him when to stop boxing.” It continued: “They’re backing this guy to beat me,” he said of Saturday’s opponent Oscar Duarte. “[Bernard] said he calls out bullshit and lies but – man – last time I checked he said he’d never lose to a white boy then Joe Smith Jnr knocked him out of the ring. Last time I checked, Joe Smith Jnr was white. So… they be lying.” At just 25, Garcia has some story arc already; Insta-tastic social media whizz to genuine contender via open and honest struggles with mental health issues. Now he’s returned from his first career defeat as boxing’s enfant terrible. You just have to love it. Wednesday was also a big news days for one of Garcia’s amateur opponents, Devin Haney, who confirmed he has now vacated all his remaining titles ahead of his 140lb clash with Regis Prograis on December 9. He says his plan is to beat Prograis and then win some hardware at 147lbs too but the money in a Garcia fight might be too good to turn down. Ryan Garcia (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Friday, December 1 MONSTER MANDATORY

ON Friday, The Week caught up with WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman who is back in Mexico City following a recent trip to Uzbekistan for his organisation’s annual convention. There was much to discuss, but in the wake of David Benavidez’s big win over Demetrius Andrade, I asked whether the Mexican Monster (Benavidez, not Sulaiman) would now be officially called as Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s mandatory, with the Cinco de Mayo slot still unfilled. I’m paraphrasing, but the short answer was ‘no’. Don’t hold your breath for that one. Instead Benavidez has suggested a dance with Jermall Charlo, who just beat up his older brother Jose. I’d watch it. In the evening, Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions were back in Bethnal Green for one of their Friday belters at York Hall. This time, new signing Gavin Gwynne managed to stave off a spirited effort from 47-year-old (that’s four-seven) Emiliano Marsili to win the European lightweight title when the Italian had to retire with an injured shoulder after eight rounds. Earlier, Moses Itauma made it 7-0 (5) for 2023 by blitzing Michal Boloz, who went 10 with Mariusz Wach in October, in just 61 seconds. Saturday, December 2 THRILLER

IT is easy to be cynical when you work in boxing but Jordan Gill’s underdog victory and proceeding interview was proof, if needed, that when it’s good, this really is the greatest sport in the world. Gill revealed in the interview that he had decided to commit suicide after hitting rock bottom in the wake of his 2022 defeat to Kiko Martinez and following a separation from his wife. He said he went to a field, drank a litre of vodka and was in the process of doing so when somebody saved him. Since that night six months ago, he has picked himself up and worked his way back into the position from which he was able to spring one of the biggest surprises of the year. In truth, the fight and the result might seem totally inconsequential given what he has already had to handle but victory under such circumstances should be a totem to all those struggling. There’s always a way back. “I’ve changed my life,” he said. “I’ve got my own gym. I’ve turned my life around. If you’re thinking ‘what am I doing with my life?’ You can do it, you can make a change. Just have that belief in yourself. Nobody believed I could do this, but I did and that’s all that mattered.”


AFTER action-packed Saturdays at the fights, Sundays can be slow news days at The Week Towers but there was a solid announcement this time around as it was confirmed that Jaime Munguia and John Ryder will clash on January 27 in Phoenix Arizona. Both men boxed only once in 2023, with Munguia beating Sergey Derevyanchenko in June while John Ryder lost on points to Canelo a month earlier. They had both hoped to have been out at least once more before the end of the year but they will now have to put a line through their Christmas plans, hold the roast potatoes and stay off the sherry with their January date rubber-stamped. Meanwhile, during an interview with Seconds Out, Eddie Hearn ‘revealed’ what happened when he and Jarrell Miller came face-to-face at last month’s press conference to announce the December 23 card in Saudi Arabia, on which Big Baby is facing Daniel Dubois. Hearn said Miller approached him and said ‘oh you’re scared now’ following much social media back-and-forth over the past few years. Hearn also suggested that Miller told him that next time he’s in New York he will have someone ‘pull up on him’ to which Hearn replied: “go f\*\*k yourself”. On the Sabbath, no less.

Monday, December 4 SKY’S THE LIMIT

THERE was an interesting press release on Monday from Sky Sports who hailed a ‘landmark day’ for the company after securing the rights for ‘at least 215 live Premier League games’ as part of a new four-year deal. ‘But this is a boxing magazine!’ I hear you cry. In amongst the deluge of fanfare there were a few pertinent points from a boxing perspective. Firstly, this is massive news for Sky but it would have come at a colossal expense, who knows what departments might get pillaged to fund it. It was also a concern for those of a boxing persuasion to notice at the bottom of the article, there were bullet points for all the other sports on the network, emboldened with a brief blurb about their coverage. Formula 1, cricket, women’s football, golf, tennis, rugby league were all included here but boxing was tagged on the very bottom miscellaneous bullet. In fact, the only mention of the sport in this entire celebration of the broadcaster’s might were three words: ‘year-round boxing’. The other take-home from this announcement was that it means, once again, there will be no Premier League football on DAZN, which is a concern when it comes to the idea of the casual British sports fan ever bothering to even download it, much less pay for it.

Tuesday, December 5 WB-SEE YA

THIS rainy old December Tuesday emerged as a momentous day for women’s boxing as Amanda Serrano officially vacated her WBC featherweight title because of the organisation’s refusal to sanction women’s fights over three minutes instead of two. The iconic Puerto Rican took part in the first ever women’s boxing contest over 12-threes in Orlando…

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