News And Notes From The World Of Boxing For The Week (12/21)

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

News And Notes From Around The World Of Boxing

UFC Champ Aljamain Sterling's Neck Surgery Timeline: "It's Not Going To Be Nine Months"

United Kingdom

1. A massive fight between British prospects Lawrence Okolie and Isaac Chamberlain has been confirmed. The fight will take place at the O2 Arena in London on February 3. Other fights confirmed for the February 2 card include Reece Belloti vs. Ben Jones for the Commonwealth (British Empire) featherweight title and Ted Cheeseman vs. Carson Jones. Light heavyweight prospect Joshua Buatsi is scheduled to fight on the undercard.

2. British middleweight champion Tommy Langford will defend his title against Jack Arnfield in Blackpool on February 10 after promoter Steve Wood won the purse bid. As for who the winner will have to face next, Mark Heffron and Liam Cameron have been ordered to fight in a final eliminator. That fight has been ordered to go through purse bids and the fight must take place by the end of April.

3. According to a recent news notice by the British Boxing Board of Control, Ted Cheeseman has withdrawn from a vacant British super welterweight title fight against James Metcalf. Joe Pigford has been ordered to fight Asinia Byfield in an official eliminator.

4. After starting his pro career with an impressive 6-0 record, Daniel Dubois had a chance to fight for the vacant English heavyweight title. The BBBofC revealed Dubois has withdrawn from a fight against Nick Webb for the title. Webb has now been ordered to fight WBC international Silver champion Nathan Gorman.

5. Ryan Walsh will defend his British featherweight title against Isaac Lowe on February 17 at the Manchester Arena. That fight will be a part of the undercard to the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight semifinal and WBA/IBO unification bout between George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr.

United States:

1. Promoters Lou DiBella, representing Richard Commey and Tom Brown, representing Alejandro Luna made a deal for the IBF lightweight title elimination bout that will produce the mandatory challenger for the world title held by Robert Easter Jr. They notified the IBF of the deal on December 19, meaning they won’t need to go to a purse bid next week. The bout likely will take place on February 10 on the undercard of the fight between IBF junior welterweight champion Sergey Lipinets and Mikey Garcia. Per the IBF’s order, the fight was supposed to take place by January 30 but the promoters have requested a brief extension to February 10, which is likely to be granted.

2. After losing to Tony Bellew and missing out on a cruiserweight world championship, BJ Flores is right now looking at some big names in the United Kingdom as potential opponents. Flores spoke to Michael Woods and said rising prospect Daniel Dubois and heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte are a couple of names he's interested in fighting in the future.

Mexico:

1. It appears that the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Nacho Beristain relationship has ended with Chavez's former trainer Joe Goossen telling Boxingscene.com that he is now training Chavez Jr. Goossen trained with the former world champion when Chavez Jr. was stopped by Andrzej Fonfara in nine rounds back in 2015.

2. Zanfer Promotions CEO Fernando Beltran is working diligently to have Manny Pacquiao have his next fight take place in Mexico. Nothing is confirmed and talks are preliminary at this point, but Beltran said he'll do everything in his power to make that possible. Pacquiao has fought some of the biggest names in Mexican boxing, including Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez, but none of those fights ever took place in Mexico.

Other Notes:

1. Since lightweight contender Felix Verdejo was taken out of the WBO's No. 1 spot at 135 pounds, it was a matter of time before the governing body would comment on the matter. WBO President Francisco Valcarcel said the following on Verdejo's lost mandatory challenger status: "Verdejo has to rebuild his career and return again. He was number one for a very long time and could have fought for the title, he never did it and now he has to rebuild his career," Valcarcel said.

2. Former WBO heavyweight title challenger Andy Ruiz will make his return to the ring on the ESPN boxing card in Corpus Christi, Texas on February 2, enlisting the services of well-known strength and conditioning coach Angel "Memo" Heredia. At this moment, no opponent has been decided for Ruiz. Ruiz suffered his first loss last December when he barely lost to Joseph Parker with the then-vacant WBO title on the line and hasn't fought since.

3. The vacant WBO junior welterweight world title fight ordered between Terry Flanagan who vacated his WBO lightweight title in October in order to move up in weight, and Maurice Hooker is close to being finalized, Roc Nation Sports promoter Dino Duva told ESPN earlier this week. Duva said he and Flanagan's promoter Frank Warren are finalizing terms for the fight to take place on April 14 in the United Kingdom.

4. Erik Skoglund has awoken from his medically induced coma after suffering a brain injury during training. Sauerland Promotions released a statement on their website.

"Erik Skoglund is awake and responsive having been brought out of his medically induced coma. With the swelling to his brain sufficiently reduced, doctors began the process of waking Erik last night and have so far been pleased with the results. He has shown a number of positive signs. He is now breathing on his own, with the help of a ventilator, and is responding to instructions. Although he remains in intensive care, the most critical and life threatening stages of his recovery are now behind him. Over the coming days, Erik will undergo a series of examinations, which will reveal what effect his injuries will have on his future. We would like to thank everyone for their continued messages of support, and ask that everyone continue to respect the privacy of Erik and his family during this time. Team Sauerland will provide a further update on Erik's condition when possible."

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