By Declan Taylor
Wednesday, 22 November
FAST AND FURIOUS
Wednesday was a big day for Big John Fury, who admitted a decline in his most feted son, Tyson, while also revealing another of his offspring is ‘in talks’ to fight Roy Jones. When not headbutting perspex or advertising mushroom oil on Instagram, Papa Fury is often the most outspoken of his fighting family these days and says what he sees when it comes to Tyson. This time, he suggested that the world heavyweight champion could have done with ‘a bit more time’ ahead of the February 17 date for the Oleksandr Usyk fight. Fury also suggested his son had shown signs of decline across his last three fights. On the subject of decline, Fury also revealed that his young son Tommy, who beat Youtube man KSI in October, is now in discussions about an exhibition fight with 54-year-old Roy Jones, a man more than twice his age. Over in the US, the public workouts for Saturday night’s Las Vegas humdinger took place with David Benavidez, one half of the main event, suggesting he will become a legend in the sport before he’s done.
The good news is that should set him up for a clash with Tommy Fury in around 25 years’ time. Thursday, 23 November
TEN YEARS ON
As Thanksgiving was celebrated across America, in the UK, boxing fans remembered the night Carl Froch, George Groves and Howard Foster combined to serve up a feast of British boxing laced with controversy. To mark the occasion, me and Groves sat down and watched the whole fight and it still hurts the beaten man a decade on. Was rewatching it a cathartic exercise though? “No,” he said. “I could have done without it.” Over in Ireland, the final press conference ahead of Katie Taylor’s rematch with Chantelle Cameron took place. Taylor described Saturday’s clash as ‘must-win’ and insisted it will be ‘a completely different fight from the last time,’ when Cameron won a majority decision at the 3Arena.
But while Taylor and Cameron, the undercard fighters and Eddie Hearn did their best to publicize the event, it began to pale into insignificance as widespread riots kicked off in Dublin after a disturbing knife attack outside a school in the city centre. The riots went on into the night as shops were looted, police cars were torched and protestors clashed with gardai. Friday, 24 November
By Friday morning, Eddie Hearn was on Irish breakfast television, insisting that he did not think Conor McGregor, a sponsor of Taylor’s initial fight with Cameron, would be attending the event. The question came following some Tweets from McGregor, described as ‘incendiary’, regarding the previous night’s riots. Later in the day, both Taylor and Cameron made weight successfully, but in Las Vegas, Jermall Charlo blew his 163lb catchweight by 3.4lbs and then, amazingly, weighed in even heavier – at 166.6lbs, when he weighed in for a second attempt shortly afterwards.
Meanwhile, as weirdos elbow-dropped each other in their pursuit of discounted TVs in the Black Friday sales, there was all sorts of value for money in the evening’s boxing. Frank Warren put on a solid show at York Hall where Mark Chamberlain stopped Artjoms Ramlavs in the 10th and final round of their entertaining scrap. Meanwhile, over in northern France and very much under the radar, Luton’s Tysie Gallagher challenged highly rated Segolene Lefebvre for her WBO super-bantamweight title at the Hippodrome Municipal, Douai. Gallagher dropped a majority decision to the champion but proved herself to be world level over their 10 twos, in the same division as her compatriot Ellie Scotney. Conor McGregor and Eddie Hearn (James Chance/Getty Images)
Saturday, 25 November
Katie Taylor secured the biggest win of her career thanks to a majority decision against Chantelle Cameron in Dublin while David Benavidez crushed Demetrius Andrade on a hefty night of professional boxing on either side of the Atlantic. But Saturday was a big day in the unpaid code too, and that was without any punches being thrown at all. That was because the inaugural congress for the newly formed World Boxing took place in Frankfurt and the first president was elected via a vote between the 26 member countries in attendance. Boris van der Vorst, who you might remember as the man who controversially failed in his bid to land the top job at the International Boxing Association (formerly AIBA), was the man selected as he secured 63 per cent of the votes, holding off competition from Elise Seignolle from USA Boxing. With the International Olympic Committee and IBA still firmly in dispute and seemingly heading for the Supreme Court, it appears that World Boxing could be our only hope of keeping the sport at the Games in the long run. The election of their first president means they have now established an Executive Board who can get serious with their plans.
Sunday, 26 November
It was the early hours of Sunday morning when Jermall Charlo, not long after his points victory over Jose Benavidez Jnr, produced some heartbreaking quotes about his twin brother Jermell. The pair used to be thick as thieves and would never leave each other’s side but Jermell did not attend the show at the Mandalay Bay. “And if y’all talk to my twin brother,” Jermall told the reporters in attendance. “Tell him I love him. “And tell him I won the fight and, you know, y’all call him for me or whatever, hit him up. He not answering my calls or whatever.”
The victory over Benavidez was the bigger twin’s first fight in nearly 30 months due to a well-documented mental health battle and he also suggested that the lay-off was one of the factors in his weigh-in debacle. “I misjudged the weigh-in,” he said. “In 32 fights I’ve never come close to missing weight. I’ve always been professional. I’ll take that one for the team, I had a lot of things going on but no excuses. Two years off, my body was just like ‘you know what, I’m going to stay right here’.”
Monday, 27 November
IT’S ON, OR IS IT?
As Cyber Monday ticked over into the evening, it was a website that broke the biggest story of the day. The Mail Online claimed that Chris Eubank Jnr’s long-awaited and controversial fight with Conor Benn ‘IS ON’ with a February 3 date at Tottenham Hotspur set to be finalized this week. However, the situation with the British Boxing Board of Control remains about as clear as mud, with the report suggesting that Matchroom have requested the Board sanction the fight despite their ongoing pursuit of an appeal against the National Anti-Doping Panel’s decision to lift Benn’s suspension earlier this year. And if reading that gives you a headache I can only apologize. What could happen instead, it is suggested, is that the ‘parties might opt to take the controversial step of proceeding with licenses from a different authority’ which would mean the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium might see some European action this season after all. Around the same time the story dropped, Benn also posted a picture of him in conversation with Billy Joe Saunders with the caption ‘the blueprint’, presumably in reference to the Hatfield man’s 2014 victory over Eubank and nothing to do with Jay-Z’s seminal 2001 studio album of the same name.
Tuesday, 28 November
Mauricio Sulaiman, El Presidente of the WBC, was doing the rounds on Tuesday and in one interview he revealed some major news for the make-up of the heavyweight division in 2024. Firstly he said that his organization have already approved the contracted rematch between Tyson Fury, their current champion, and Oleksandr Usyk. The pair will fight for the first time on February 17 in Saudi Arabia and now the WBC have confirmed they will not call a mandatory or therefore strip Fury before he has had a chance to fight in the rematch too. Instead, Sulaiman said, the WBC are working on ensuring any spring clash between Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua is a final eliminator for their title. Joshua will face Otto Wallin in Riyadh on December 23 while Deontay Wilder fights Joseph Parker on the same bill. Should they both win, a money-spinning showdown in March or April has been mooted and now Sulaiman…