News And Notes From The World Of Boxing For The Week!

This excerpt first appeared in this week's issue of the Fightful Boxing Newsletter, which releases each Thursday morning at Fightful.com

North America:

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1. WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson has had a lengthy reign as champion and his next fight could be announced soon, but it may not be against mandatory challenger Eleider Alvarez. Reports indicate that Alvarez has signed a step-aside deal, similar to how WBC heavyweight mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne signed a step-aside deal to allow heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder take a voluntary defense first. It appears that Stevenson will fight former WBA light heavyweight champion Badou Jack who vacated his belt on the premise that he would getting a big fight next.

2. Regarding a potential Stevenson vs. Jack fight for the WBC title, there could be complications with this step-aside deal. The WBC is launching an investigation due to the fact Stevenson has ignored his mandatory challengers for the majority of the past four years. Alvarez has been the mandatory challenger since 2015 and the WBC ordered Stevenson to fight then-unified champion Sergey Kovalev in 2013, but the order was pretty much ignored.

3. Nearly a year after winning a comeback fight in Trenton, New Jersey, former world champion Zab Judah is now working as a nursing assistant. Judah has been working at an adult day care facility during the day and helps teach a class at night. This doesn’t mean Judah has retired from boxing. He may not have fought since January, but he still aims to compete in high-profile matches, according to what he said earlier this year.

Asia:

1. A rare New Year's Day card from Japan has been announced and it is one that's set to get a lot of attention in Japan, with at least two interesting debuts. One of those debuts will be of Koki Kameda's new protege Joe Vlog, who was one of Kameda's opponents in 2017's special Abema TV event which saw the former three-weight world champion take on a number of non-boxing opponents. Of the opponents that Kameda faced Vlog was the only one to last the distance with Kameda and it seemed like Kameda was impressed with the YouTube star enough, at least impressed enough to take him under his wing and train him ahead of his professional debut. Prior to facing Kameda, Vlog was pretty much known just as a YouTube celebrity with almost a million subscribers. The other debutant will be Kyosuke Kameda, the cousin of Koki, Daiki and Tomoki Kameda. The newest member of the Kameda boxing family will be up against domestic foe Shinnosuke Kimoto.

2. It's not often you get to hear news regarding WBO Oriental & Asia Pacific super middleweight Vijender Singh, who will defend his titles against African champion Ernest Amuzu in Jaipur on December 23. Singh made some interesting comments regarding doping problems in his native India. Singh told the Hindustan Times that some sports, such as weightlifting and boxing are suffering drug problems at the grassroots level, which he believes will hurt the country's future in the long run.

“Since a large number of them are taking performance enhancing drugs to win medals in low key competitions, it’s worrying factor. It will kill potential talent,” Singh said.

3. The International Boxing Federation has given formal sanction approval for the IBF super bantamweight eliminator fight for the mandatory spot between #3 Terence ' TJ' Doheny and #7 Mike Tawatchai. The bout is scheduled for December 20 at the Suanlum Night Bazaar in Bangkok, Thailand. Doheny was initially scheduled to fight Evgeny Gradovich, the former featherweight world champion of the International Boxing Federation, on December 15 in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Gradovich withdrew from the contest with his promoter citing an issue with the boxer's eyes, which are reportedly bad enough that Gradovich could be sent to retirement.

4. China's Dancing Sports, an organization at the forefront of sports development in China, and Manny Pacquiao recently inked a comprehensive agreement to develop and promote professional boxing in China. Dancing Sports president Vincent Zhou and Pacquiao signed the agreement in an elaborate ceremony on December 2 at the Diaoyutai Hotel in Beijing which was attended by Chinese dignitaries and representatives from the Chinese media. Part of the agreement was the establishment of the Manny Pacquiao International Boxing Academy (PIBA) in China envisioned to become an instrument to attract, train and develop Chinese world class boxers and to regularly promote professional boxing matches all over China.

United Kingdom:

1. With James DeGale set to return to the ring and defend his IBF super middleweight title, he's already looking ahead and thinking of possible opponents for his fight in 2018. With the World Boxing Super Series' super middleweight tournament still set to continue all the way through May, DeGale will need to look outside of the tournament for a fight and has stated that he would like to face WBC champion David Benavidez sometime in March or in April. The winner of that unification fight will then get a chance to further unify titles with the winner of the WBSS, who will likely be holding the WBA "super," WBC Diamond and IBO championships.

2. The 2018 season of the World Series of Boxing won’t start for another several months, but Team GB, the British Lionhearts, are getting their travel schedule ready and they will have their group stage matches take place outside of London. The Lionhearts will have their first group stage match against the Croatian Knights at the Gateshead Leisure Centre on February 16, 2018, followed by the second match against Italia Thunder at The Auditorium at Echo Arena in Liverpool on March 2, 2018 and conclude against the France Fighting Roosters at Newport Leisure Centre on April 14, 2018 The World Series of Boxing is a global team boxing competition developed by the International Boxing Association (AIBA), made-up of 11 teams who compete in a league format in three regional groups. It bridges the gap between Olympic and professional boxing and participants compete without vests or headguards over five three-minute rounds using the 10-point-must scoring system.

3. Former welterweight world champion Kell Brook will return to the ring as a super welterweight. Promoter Eddie Hearn announced Brook will return at the Sheffield Arena on March 3, 2018, with the fight likely to be screened exclusively live on Sky Sports Box Office. No opponent has been named for the fight and no guarantee that Brook will get a world title fight in his first fight since losing his welterweight world title against Errol Spence Jr. back in May.

4. The rematch between David Haye and Tony Bellew has been rescheduled. The fight will take place at the Copper Box Arena on May 5. If the Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin fight also takes place on May 5, then it gives fan a full day of major fights taking place on that day. Haye vs. Bellew 2 would take place in the afternoon for those in the United States, leaving the evening open for Canelo vs. Golovkin 2. The fight was originally supposed to take place in December, but Haye suffered an injury with only weeks remaining before the fight, forcing the fight to get scrapped and postponed.

Mexico:

1. WBC junior lightweight champion Miguel Berchelt looks to be ready to defend his title in February. According to Zanfer Promotions head Fernando Beltran, a February date in Mexico, likely in either Cancun or Merida, Yucatan, is being looked at Berchelt’s next title defense. The object of Berchelt’s 2018 campaign is to have him face the winner of Orlando Salido vs. Mickey Roman fight on December 9 on HBO.

2. It's no secret that Gennday Golovkin is extremely popular in Canelo Alvarez's native country of Mexico. Although the eventual rematch between the two boxers has no venue, Golovkin has thrown around the possibility of the rematch taking place in Mexico's Azteca Stadium. It's highly unlikely the fight takes place there, but if it does, there is actually a strong likelihood that fight will have one of the largest attendance numbers in sporting history. Given the magnitude between the two fighters, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that the fight could attract between 90,000-120,000 people. The Azteca Stadium boxing attendance record was the 1993 clash between Julio Cesar Chavez and Greg Haugen, which reportedly had an attendance number of 132,247.

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