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The Chin Check - Volume X


We’re back!


It’s kinda like the off-season here for UK boxing so as good as this column is, I felt it was necessary to let the news build up a little before I offered up another serving. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that.


Billy Joe Saunders is fighting! I hear the collective cheers all around. Finally one of Britain’s most talented fighters is going to get back in the ring. It will have been ten months since BJS last fought by time he faces Willie Monroe Jnr on September 16th. It’s terrible that Saunders’ career has been allowed to stall so badly but hopefully if he can negotiate victory here then even bigger fights will materialise. Monroe is a good boxer but Saunders, on his best night, should have a little too much for his American opponent. Will the winner of Canelo-Golovkin be next? I think Saunders should aim for the stars although I’d like to see him a little more active first. He recently changed trainer again, now working with Dominic Ingle, and I’d like to see that partnership develop before stepping up to the very elite level.


David Haye has confirmed he will be returning in December, just in time for Tony Bellew to start ramping up a new war of words. Anyone bored yet? I mean come off it, who really cares? These two men spewed garbage in the run up to the first fight, practically declared their love for one another after but now they hate each other again? I commended Bellew for winning the first fight but I have zero interest in a second, especially if we now have to pretend they never hugged it out afterward. This is purely money orientated and absolutely nothing else. Bellew said he wanted Joseph Parker, Deontay Wilder and Andre Ward but we all knew where this path was heading. I hope they at least make the undercard interesting.


Talking of David Haye, last week he announced a television deal with Dave to broadcast five live shows a year for his stable. It’s great to see boxing on more platforms and I at least give credit where it due here. The signing of Olympic Heavyweight Silver Medalist, Joe Joyce is a very exciting proposition indeed and I look forward to watching his career unfold. I watched Joyce in 2014 at the Commonwealth Games and I truly believe he has the tools to make waves in the HW division.


Credit where it is due also for Chris Eubank Jnr. I’m not the biggest fan of the way he conducts himself but he completely dominated Arthur Abraham last Saturday, booking his spot in the World Boxing Super Series at the same time. I think Eubank has talent, no doubt, but we still don’t know if he is of the elite calibre that his father constantly tells us that he is. The WBSS will certainly tell us everything we need to know about Eubank, who faces the unbeaten Avni Yildirim later this year. There is potential for a meeting with George Groves in January, should Groves manage to defeat Jamie Cox, and then we will really find out if Eubank has what it takes.


Talking of the World Boxing Super Series, it was announced today that Callum Smith will kick the tournament off against Erik Skoglund on September 16th in Liverpool. Smith opted out of a shot at the WBC Super Middle crown in order to pursue this tournament and Skoglund will provide a stern first test. Skoglund is undefeated in 26 and will come into the fight believing he can pull off an "upset" over one of the favourites for the whole competition. This is a huge stage for Smith to show what he can do, I am a big fan of his and I’m glad to see him finally getting his chance after his career stagnated slightly whilst treading water for his shot.


I’d like to offer out my condolences to Lee & Andrew Selby on the passing of their mother last week. Lee showed incredible heart, bravery and mental toughness to still go ahead with his IBF Title defense on Saturday night and his performance was pretty much punch perfect. Selby is a phenomenal boxer, he wastes very little, and in the aftermath of the fight he once again reiterated his desire to face Carl Frampton later this year. Frampton is back next week in Belfast and should he win that one then I see no reason whatsoever as to why that bout cannot materialise sometime in the fall. It is a huge fight for UK boxing and one that the fans would love to see.


Rumors continue to swirl that we could be seeing Anthony Crolla-Ricky Burns later this year. Both fighters have made it known on social media that they are game and Eddie Hearn confirmed negotiations are ongoing. It is a fight I would have preferred to see 12-18 months ago but I understand that it still holds plenty of interest. For both men this would be a real "crossroads/last chance saloon" kind of meeting with the winner potentially getting one last crack at the world scene whilst the loser would have to stare retirement in the face. It’s a 50-50 fight for sure, more so now than before, and wherever they choose to stage the fight it is a guaranteed sell-out.


WBA Super Flyweight Champ, Kal Yafai has an opponent for his next title defense, a date has yet to be set. Yafai is set to meet undefeated, mandatory challenger Sho Ishida later this year and this will be a real test of Yafai’s ability. Ishida is four inches taller and has a much longer reach than Yafai so the Birmingham fighter will need to be at his very best against this tricky proposition. Yafai is a real talent, though, and I think he could go on to achieve great things in the sport.


I’ve seen a lot of abuse for Ohara Davies online over the last couple of weeks. Don’t get me wrong I’ve been outspoken about Davies’ antics and behaviour, I find him disrespectful at times, but one thing I will not take away from him was his willingness to step up and face Josh Taylor in the first place. I look at the countless weight divisions in boxing and even at a domestic level there are so many potentially show stealing fights but nobody is willing to step in with another "prospect" because the unbeaten record is so protected nowadays. See as a fight fan I love to see a 50-50 fight and there is absolutely nothing wrong with putting it on the line at an early stage of your career, everyone can recover from a loss. Hopefully more boxers will take a leaf out of Davies & Taylor’s book by stepping up to the plate early doors in order to prove themselves. Going the ABC route to a world title, knocking off a binman or two will not prepare you for the best fighters in world.


The British Boxing Board put out orders last week for a British Light Heavyweight title fight between champ, Frank Buglioni and Commonwealth beltholder, Callum Johnson. They also ordered Anthony Yarde and Hosea Burton to meet in a final eliminator to face the winner of the aforementioned 175lbs title fight. Both of those fights are mouthwatering and any combination of the two would get me excited. These are the exact kind of domestic fights I have been talking about, as fight fans this is what we want to see. Sure all four have world title aspirations but prove you’re the best at British level first and move on from there.


Turn Back Time:



This week’s "Turn Back Time" follows on from what I’ve been saying about brilliant domestic dust-ups. July 16th 2011 and Kevin Mitchell went toe to toe with John Murray, this was a tremendous fight. Mitchell had been out of the ring for over a year following his knockout defeat to Michael Katisidis in front of his home fans and there were many who believed that the big hitting Murray would do exactly the same to him. Murray entered the fight undefeated and saw Mitchell as a stepping stone to his own world title dreams. Murray certainly started the better and perhaps it was Mitchell’s inactivity or the nightmares of his first loss that allowed the Manchester fight to seize control. But Mitchell was a very talented boxer-puncher and he started to work his way into the fight and really punished Murray in the midstages. This was a great example of two men giving it their all in order to push on to bigger and better things. It was a bloody war, the action ebbed and flowed, but in the end it was a huge left hook from Mitchell that dropped Murray in the eighth. Both Murray’s eyes were swollen and cut as he beat the count but he was there for the taking and the referee stepped in soon after Mitchell continued his onslaught.


It’s a quiet weekend on the UK scene for boxing peeps so enjoy a relaxing one and I’ll catch you on the flip.



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