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25 JULY 2017

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The Chin Check - Volume VIII


By Steven Bateson

 

Happy Thursday evening boxateers, it was a quiet week last week but coming at you like Cleopatra this week with a fresh dose of news and my own personal views.

 

Last weekend we had a couple of barnburners in Belfast and if you still haven’t seen them yet then quite frankly what have you been doing. Jono Carroll & John Quigley served up a classic for the IBF European Super Featherweight Championship whilst Paddy Barnes-Silvio Olteanu for the WBO Euro Flyweight belt was an edge of the seat affair. I love the city of Belfast and the atmosphere created for these shows is off the scale, it seems to bring an extra edge from the fighters. Frank Warren, Eddie Hearn please make sure we keep getting live shows from the Irish capital because very few rival them.

 

Commiserations to Paul Smith on his unsuccessful WBA Super Middleweight Championship challenge. Tyron Zeuge was underestimated by many and he proved himself a worthy champion whilst Smith’s credentials as an elite performer have to be dismissed. At 34 years of age he looked far short of his previous performances and one has to wonder if there is anything left; at the very best he could be a domestic level fighter.

 

I’ve got a plethora of Heavyweight news to swing your way this week, the giants weren’t happy at their lack of mention in last week’s column so they decided to make some moves over the last seven days. Everybody wants a mention in the Chin Check.

 

First off I’m hearing on the grapevine that Tony Bellew-David Haye II could be announced within the next 7-10 days. Now this isn’t going to be Rocky-Apollo the re-match, I hardly even doubt it will be as good as Sly vs Tarver in Rocky Balboa but someone assures me there is a big public calling for it. Who do they poll for this? Bellew and Haye’s bank managers? Because I haven’t spoken to a single boxing fan who wants to see these two dance again. Is there question marks over the first fight? I guess so, given Haye’s injury, but what is to be gained in reality? Bellew is just looking for a big payday and a win for Haye still means nothing in this division, this may just pip Mayweather-McGregor for the post pointless fight going.

 

Apparently Wladimir Klitschko is now only "50-50" on taking the Anthony Joshua re-match, that is according to his manager and confidant; Bernd Boente. I don’t actually know if Wladimir’s head has re-entered the atmosphere since that uppercut so it is understandable that a decision hasn’t been made but we’d all like to know one way or another. Whether I think Kubrat Pulev is good enough to beat Joshua or not I have full sympathy for him as he is forced to just wait in the wings whilst Wlad decides whether he wants to go one last time.

 

Anthony Joshua certainly is a man in demand and the desire to face him seems to have drawn the ire of WBC Champ, Deontay Wilder this week. Wilder made it known on Twitter that he reached out to Eddie Hearn at the WBC convention to get him the unification fight in the UK but instead Hearn has offered him Dillian Whyte and a guaranteed $3 million. Wilder has demanded $7m for the fight and I think he needs a lobotomy if he thinks that is happening. Wilder should take the money for the Whyte defense, make a statement, and then demand the Joshua showdown for even more money. Given that Wilder made $900,000 for his last defense against Gerald Washingon you have to wonder why on earth he’d turn down three times that to face Whyte. Whyte and Wilder have now traded barbs on social media and I’d wager that this one will go down eventually.

 

Andre Ward, fresh off his second victory over Sergey Kovalev at the weekend, has expressed his desire to move to Heavyweight and potentially face Anthony Joshua. Ward obviously has dreams of emulating Roy Jones Jnr by capturing Heavyweight glory but I’d think his chances of winning a strap would be better served by targeting Joseph Parker. There is no doubt that Ward is a far superior technical boxer to Joshua but size and strength would be a ridiculous mismatch, it could end very badly indeed.

 

Hughie Fury is back. Today it was announced he’ll compete on July 8th in a warm up to his expected world title challenge in September. Fury was scheduled to face Joseph Parker in May but was forced to withdraw through injury but has remained mandatory challenger to the WBO belt. I’ve said before I’m still on the fence with Hughie, his level of competition has told us very little so far, but I’ll be fully behind him should he land that world title tilt later in the year.

 

Full credit to Frank Warren & Boxnation for securing the rights to the Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez fight on September 16th. It is a huge coup and definitely caused a stir with the UK press conference for the bout on Monday. This fight has all the makings of an all-time classic, a throwback to the great fights of years gone by, and I’m delighted we’ll have chance to watch here in the UK. I’ve heard this will be "PPV" on an already "PPV Channel" so if anybody can answer how on earth that will work please let me know; I am but a simple journalist with little understanding of these complicated matters.

 

Billy Joe Saunders interrupted the press conference, they have to keep him relevant somehow, and once again called out the winner. I mean that is all very well and good, I’d love to see a unified champion, but please Billy fight someone with a pulse before you call out the cream of the crop. Frank Warren claimed BJS would make a defense in the UK on the same night and names like Daniel Jacobs and David Lemieux have been mooted, but at this rate I wouldn’t be surprised if I get the call (I can make 160 if I lay off the jam teacakes).

 

Rumours are swirling that Terry Flanagan-Felix Verdejo will be announced for Flanagan’s WBO Lightweight belt in September. That is one hell of a fight and will be a real test of both men’s elite calibre. Verdejo carries a lot of hype and from what I have seen is very talented, but he has never fought an accomplished technician like Flanagan. Flanagan does not get the recognition he deserves in the 135lbs division but a win in this one would go a long way to changing that.

 

Kell Brook’s eye surgery has been declared a "success" and the former IBF Welterweight Champion says he wants to fight again before the "end of 2017". I’m delighted for Kell but wonder whether he should postpone the comeback until next year, his last two fights have been extremely grueling on his body. I’m no doctor, that you should be thankful of, but two broken eye sockets have got to be a severe cause for concern. I like Kell, he’s very talented, and if he does return then it has to be at 154lbs but I just hope he’s doesn’t jeopardise his health.

 

Tommy Langford and Jack Arnfield have been ordered to fight for Langford’s British Middleweight Championship. Purse bids are due in July and the contest needs to happen before October. Langford was KO’d last time out against Avtandil Khurtsidze in a WBO eliminator whilst Arnfield is on a five fight win streak.

 

The WBA have ordered a re-match between Jamie McDonnell & Liborio Solis for the Regular Bantamweight belt. McDonnell was awarded an extremely controversial split decision last November, he definitely lost there is no two ways about it, and the WBA have taken eight months in order to decide their next step. The re-match should have been ordered within weeks and this all could have been cleared up by now but clearly the governing bodies know best. Paul Butler had been talking up a fight with McDonnell, it was rumoured an agreement was close, but that won’t be happening now if McDonnell wants to remain a world champion.

 

The most exciting news of my weeks was the announcement that Natasha Jonas has turned professional with Matchroom and will make her debut tomorrow night in Newcastle. The Olympian is another great addition to women’s boxing and is another inspirational role model for young ladies looking to get into the sport. Yes I’m waxing lyrical and I may have a soft spot for Natasha, she’s my fellow Scouser as well, but I do believe she’s going to have a very good career. Jonas vs Katie Taylor anyone? That would sell in Liverpool or Ireland and I have no doubts that Eddie Hearn will have that potential fight in the back of his mind.

 

The rest of the NXTGEN card in Newcastle, live on Sky Sports tomorrow night, will feature Bradley Saunders, Josh Kelly, Marcus Morrison & Anthony Fowler as well as several other promising prospects.

 

Fowler & Kelly are definitely the two to watch, both possess the quality to rise the ranks quickly and shouldn’t be left treading water for long. Not everyone wants to watch these kinds of cards, they prefer the high profile events, but I’m covering this bill for Seconds Out and I can’t wait to see the next generation of British Boxing in action. Plus did I mention Natasha Jonas will be there? Just making sure!

 

Having trouble picking winning lottery numbers? Just can’t seem to win a bet? Do you lie awake at night questioning the meaning of life? Have no fear my fellow fight fans because I have the answer to all your problems, Chris Eubank Snr. Snr claims he knows exactly how to beat Floyd Mayweather and he may just share his knowledge with Conor McGregor. I mean if the guy is carrying that kind of knowledge around with him then god knows what else he may know, seems to be he is an untapped resource and I need that kind of enlightenment in my life.

 

"Turn back time"

 

It is now that time of the show (I know it isn’t a show but I envisage myself on a sofa like Steve Bunce has whilst presenting this) where we take a look back in time at this week from years gone by. We are looking at any great performances or fights involving UK fighters and this week was an easy one:

 

 

The final fight of Lennox Lewis’ Hall of Fame career came on June 21st 2003 when he defended his WBC, IBO & Ring Heavyweight Titles against Vitali Klitschko. And what a fight it was! Still one of the best scraps in the Heavyweight division as Lewis survives the onslaught of the young Klitschko before stopping him on cuts after six rounds. Lewis was down on points at the time but was coming on strong and I believe he would have stopped Vitali before the twelve were out. Check out the uppercut he lands on Vitali in round six, it is brutal, but somehow Klitschko just absorbs it. Lennox Lewis does not get the credit he deserves, for me he is top 3 in the ATG stakes at Heavyweight, and this bout alone proves just how good we was. At this point he was way best his best and he still had enough to defeat a man that went on to co-dominate the division for ten years after this.

 

Thanks for reading guys and I’ll catch you all again next week. Have a great weekend




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