Fightful Boxing Newsletter (12/6/19): Ruiz vs. Joshua 2 Preview, Deontay Wilder's Future, WBC, More

Fightful Boxing Newsletter (12/6/19) Table Of Contents

1. Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Anthony Joshua 2 Preview (Page 1)

Fury FC 46 Results: 3 Title Fights, Plus UFC Vets Anthony Ivy & Juan Adams Compete!

2. Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury 2 (Page 2)

3. Notable Results From The World Of Boxing (Page 3)

4. News And Notes From The World Of Boxing (Page 4)

5. Status Update On WBC Champions (Page 5)

6. WBO Convention Notes (Page 6)

7. Dillian Whyte Cleared By UKAD (Page 7)

8. Fightful Boxing Rankings (Pages 8-9)

Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Anthony Joshua 2 Preview:

One of boxing’s biggest heavyweight rematches in years, Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Anthony Joshua, is here and its end result will have big ramifications for the division long term.

Six months after their first encounter, Joshua will look to re-capture the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles when the two face off in Saudi Arabia on December 7. DAZN is set to stream the fight in the United States starting at 12 p.m. ET with the main event starting around 4 p.m.

There are several interesting angles to look at this fight. From a mental aspect, it will be interesting to see how Joshua reacts to not only suffering his first pro loss, one that saw him get dropped multiple times and embarrassed in front of a worldwide audience. There’s no telling how he’ll act in the ring as every fighter handles a loss in their own unique way.

One thing that also needs to be noted is the fact that Joshua doesn’t have the pressures of fighting at Madison Square Garden in New York this time around. He’ll be fighting in Saudi Arabia and the atmosphere will certainly be different, but not as tense as the first fight was.

Physically, Joshua has taken time to slim down and is 10 pounds lighter than in the first fight. This came as a result of Joshua focusing a lot more on cardio and sparring for the rematch instead of taking time to focus on building up his body. It certainly is a smart decision in the sense that he’ll be faster and have a little more stamina in the later rounds.

But weight and physical prowess was never an issue as to why Joshua lost the first fight. Joshua got anxious and became desperate to get that knockout win after he dropped Ruiz in the third round. This played right into Ruiz’s hands as Joshua did away with the jab in favor of attacking him up close. Ruiz needed one punch to turn things around and that hook that hurt Joshua later in the round effectively sealed the deal. The punch landed on the side of the head which threw Joshua off balance and a hit like that is not something that the human body can recover in just a minute or so, especially in a fight.

The gameplan for Joshua remains the same as in the first fight. Use the jab to keep Ruiz away from him and constantly be on the move. All Ruiz has to do is pick and choose when to attack on the inside and neutralize Joshua’s reach advantage. If he can get Joshua to trade with him, Ruiz stands a good chance of hurting him again.

The winner of this fight will shape the division for a long time. If Joshua were to come out victorious, there is always the prospect of a rubber match, but with the WBA, WBO and IBF titles back in his possession, there’s a good chance his 2020 is already booked. The IBF will look to order the winner of the fight to face mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev next. If that fight gets made and Joshua retains his title, then the next step would be against Oleksandr Usyk, the former undisputed cruiserweight champion who is being viewed by many as a legitimate threat to the division.

If Ruiz wins, then the future will be much less clear. Obviously, PBC will look to secure a fight between Deontay Wilder and Ruiz for the undisputed championship as soon as possible, but that may be tricky. As previously mentioned, the IBF is looking to have the winner make a mandatory title defense next and they are more than prepared to strip Ruiz of the title if he doesn’t follow through with that. Ruiz could also keep the IBF belt and then later vacate the WBO title as PBC doesn’t really recognize the organization or its champions in most cases. If the WBO title does get vacated, then things would get a little tricky.

In that scenario, Usyk would still get the title shot but against who is the hard part. It could be against Joseph Parker or even Joshua if Joshua remains in the top of the WBO rankings if that fight ever gets ordered.

It’s crazy to think that six months ago, many were looking ahead towards a fight between Joshua and Wilder and now there’s almost no conceivable way to envision that fight. Now, no one is sure if Joshua will even beat Ruiz.

The entire main card, or at least the four fights that are guaranteed to be a part of the DAZN broadcast, consists of nothing but heavyweight bouts. The most intriguing bout on the undercard is a matchup between Alexander Povetkin and Michael Hunter.

Hunter has been riding a huge wave of momentum to become the division’s dark horse contender, winning his last six fights. A win for Hunter would more than likely put him in a position to eventually challenge for the WBA “Regular” heavyweight title that is currently being held by Mahmoud Charr. In the absolute best case scenario, Hunter could be a future opponent for Joshua if he defeats Ruiz.

Other notable fighters on the undercard include Dillian Whyte who is keeping himself busy while he awaits an announcement on what his status with the WBC will be like after he was cleared of any wrongdoing from the UKAD in regards to a failed drug test months ago. Also on the card is Filip Hrgovic, who is one of the fastest-rising prospects at heavyweight and could

Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury 2:

For weeks, Deontay Wilder wanted to prove that he was truly the better boxer between him and Luis Ortiz and knew he only needed one punch to do it. In the main event of a PBC on FOX card from Las Vegas on November 23, Wilder found that one punch just seconds remaining in the seventh round. A right hand that pierced Ortiz's guard and sent him to the canvas ended the bout, giving Wilder his 10th world title defense and a clear path towards a rematch against Tyson Fury.

Throughout the fight, neither man could get more than a couple of punches landed per round but Ortiz was finding some success connecting with the left hook, but couldn't push Wilder to the brink of stopping him like he did in the seventh round of their first fight back in March 2018. It was Wilder who ended things with yet another impressive one-punch knockout.

The fight between Wilder and Fury itself didn't get officially announced, but both sides had stated early 2020 would be the date. Right now, the current plan for the fight is to have it on February 22 with Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Brooklyn as the three likeliest places to host it. Wilder and Fury had their first fight in December 2018 for the WBC title which ended in a split draw but many raved about the second-half theatrics, highlighted by Fury getting back up from a Wilder knockdown in the 12th round and go the distance.

Originally, the idea was to have the rematch in the first half of 2019, but Fury and ESPN opted to give Fury two fights in the United States to further increase his profile in the hopes of maximizing pay-per-view buyrates for the rematch. It’s hard to tell whether or not Fury’s two fights, both of which were on ESPN+, did the job, but his recent work in WWE may have influenced things in his favor if ever so slightly.

Among many boxing fans, the rematch is still a very intriguing one, but there is a train of thought that it has certainly lost a lot of the steam the first fight brought and that both sides waited too long to make the fight happen. Even if they were to have done the rematch immediately, it’s not like it would have done seven figures in terms of pay-per-view buys. Rarely do rematches ever do that much better on the pay-per-view buyrate.

The one exception to the rule was the third fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, which did roughly a million pay-per-view buys more than the second fight. What’s important to note about that is that, in between those two fights, Pacquiao went on to beat Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley. It was impossible for Pacquiao to not be a megastar boxer with that resume in between those two fights. Had that rematch taken place after the second bout, it would not have sold nearly as well as the final product did.

After the first bout last year, Wilder beat Dominic Breazeale and Ortiz while Fury beat Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin, hardly the type of opponents that would elevate the rematch to sell a million pay-per-views (which would have been roughly three times what the first fight sold). The hope here is that with FOX and ESPN joining forces for the promotion and distribution of the pay-per-view, the buyrate will surely skyrocket. It will certainly have a positive effect on it, but right now the ceiling for a boxing pay-per-view in the United States in this day and age is 500,000 buys (Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman in July) and until something shatters that buyrate, expecting anything higher would start looking less and less realistic.

Regardless, from an in-ring standpoint, nothing has changed between the two and what they each have to do to get the win. Fury will have to find a way to avoid getting knocked down multiple times like he did last time. He certainly is a better boxer than Wilder, but Wilder’s power and precision will make it nearly impossible for Fury to not get hit with that right hand for 36 minutes. It’s now gotten to the point where it is not a question of, ‘If Wilder can land that right hand?’ but a question of when it will happen. Wilder has gotten very adept at setting up that right hand over the course of a fight and that was in full display against Ortiz.

Notable Results from The World Of Boxing:

November 30: Queensberry Promotions on ESPN+ from Birmingham, England:

  • John Riel Casimero defeated Zolani Tete by TKO, round 3 to win the WBO bantamweight title
  • Lerrone Richards defeated Lennox Clarke by split decision (116-113, 113-115, 117-112) to win the BBBofC British and Commonwealth super middleweight titles
  • Hamzah Sheeraz defeated Ryan Kelly by TKO, round 6 to win the WBO European junior middleweight title
  • Anthony Cacace defeated Sam Bowen by split decision (115-113, 112-115, 115-113) to win the BBBofC British super featherweight title
  • Chris Jenkins and Liam Taylor fight to a technical draw, Jenkins retains BBBofC British welterweight title
  • Sam Maxwell defeated Connor Parker by TKO, round 7 to retain the WBO European junior welterweight title
  • Shabaz Masoud defeated Stefan Nicolae by points
  • Dennis McCann defeated Stefan Slavchev by TKO, round 2
  • Nathan Heaney defeated Nelson Altamirano by TKO, round 5
  • George Davey defeated Dale Arrowsmith by points
  • Eithan James defeated Daryl Pearce by points
  • River Wilson-Bent defeated Zygimantas Butkevicius by points

November 30: Matchroom Boxing on DAZN from Monte Carlo, Monaco:

  • Alexander Besputin defeated Radzhab Butaev by unanimous decision (116-112, 116-112, 116-112) to win the WBA "Regular" welterweight title
  • Cecilia Braekhus defeated Victoria Noelia Bustos by unanimous decision (99-91, 98-92, 98-92) to retain the Undisputed WBA, WBO, WBC, IBF and IBO Female welterweight titles
  • Joe Cordina defeated Mario Enrique Tinoco by unanimous decision (98-92, 96-94, 98-92) to win the WBA Continental super featherweight title
  • Zhilei Zhang defeated Andriy Rudenko by unanimous decision (99-91, 98-92, 97-93) to win the the WBO Oriental heavyweight title
  • Victoire Piteau defeated Raphaelle Lachaume by RTD, round 3
  • Thulasi Tharumalingam defeated Alexander Benidze by unanimous decision (58-55, 57-56, 57-56)
  • Nayan Deslion defeated Jose Domingo Peireira Mendoca by TKO, round 3
  • Amateur bout: Hugo Micallef defeated Petar Cetinic by points (30-27)

November 30: Top Rank on ESPN+ from Las Vegas, Nevada:

  • Oscar Valdez defeated Adam Lopez by TKO, round 7
  • Carl Frampton defeated Tyler McCreary by unanimous decision (100-88, 100-88, 100-88)
  • Patrick Teixeira defeated Carlos Adames by unanimous decision (114-113, 114-113, 116-111) to win the Interim WBO junior middleweight title
  • Arnold Barboza Jr. William Silva by KO, round 5 to retain the Junior NABF junior welterweight title
  • Andy Hiraoka defeated Rogelio Casarez by TKO, round 2
  • Larry Gomez defeated Brian Mendoza by split decision (77-75, 75-77, 77-75)
  • Guido Vianello defeated Colby Madison by KO, round 1
  • Jared Anderson defeated Stephen Kirnon by TKO, round 1
  • Xander Zayas defeated Virgel Windfield by KO, round 1

November 23: PBC On FOX PPV From Las Vegas, Nevada:

  • Deontay Wilder defeated Luis Ortiz by KO, round 7 to retain the WBC heavyweight title
  • Leo Santa Cruz defeated Miguel Flores by unanimous decision (117-110, 117-110, 115-112) to win the WBA "Super" super featherweight title
  • Brandon Figueroa and Miguel Flores fight to a split draw (112-116, 114-114, 115-113), Figueroa retains the WBA "Regular" super bantamweight title
  • Eduardo Ramirez defeated Leduan Barthelemy by TKO, round 4

November 23: Matchroom Boxing From Liverpool, England:

  • Callum Smith defeated John Ryder by unanimous decision (117-111, 116-112, 116-112) to retain the WBA “Super,” Ring Magazine and WBC Diamond super middleweight titles
  • Chris Billam-Smith defeated Craig Glover by TKO, round 5, 1:45 to win the Commonwealth cruiserweight title
  • Anthony Fowler defeated Harry Scarff by unanimous decision (98-91, 98-91, 98-91) to win the WBA International junior middleweight title
  • Thomas Whittaker-Hart defeated Josip Perkovic by RSC, round 5, 1:26
  • Sean Dodd defeated Tom Farrell by majority technical decision (38-38, 39-37, 39-38) after four rounds in a British junior welterweight title eliminator

November 23: Golden Boy Promotions from Indio, California:

  • Rene Alvarado defeated Andrew Cancio by TKO, round 7 to win the WBA "Regular" super featherweight title
  • Xu Can defeated Manny Robles III by unanimous decision (120-108, 119-109, 118-110) to retain the WBA "Regular" featherweight title
  • Rashidi Ellis defeated Eddie Gomez by unanimous decision (100-90, 100-90, 99-91)
  • Victor Morales Jr. defeated Diuhl Olguin by unanimous decision (80-72, 80-72, 80-72)

News And Notes From Around The World Of Boxing:

United States:

The International Boxing Hall of Fame Class of 2020 has been announced with the three inductees coming from the modern division (Bernard Hopkins, Juan Manuel Marquez and Shane Mosley) being a surprise to no one.

  • Bernard Hopkins
  • Juan Manuel Marquez
  • Shane Mosley
  • Kathy Duva
  • Lou DiBella
  • Dan Goossen
  • Christy Martin
  • Lucia Rijker
  • Bernard Fernandez
  • Thomas Hauser
  • Frank Erne
  • Paddy Ryan
  • Barbara Buttrick

Some notable snubs from this year’s ballot included Carl Froch, Timothy Bradley and Ivan Calderon and all three have a strong enough case to get inducted, but they will face a very tough road ahead, especially in next year’s ballot. Aside from those three, next year’s ballot will include Floyd Mayweather Jr., Wladimir Klitschko, Andre Ward, Miguel Cotto, James Toney, Sergio Martinez and more.

Next year’s ballot will more than likely have the trio of Mayweather, Klitschko and Ward in with Mayweather being a guarantee at this point. Klitschko effectively was the heavyweight division’s top man for the better part of a decade until losses to Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua ended his career. Ward, like Mayweather, retired undefeated and arguably the top pound-for-pound fighter at his peak. It’s not so much that guys like Cotto, Toney, Froch and Bradley don’t have a case to be in the Hall of Fame, but it’s incredibly hard to put their respective resumes against the aforementioned three and make a convincing case that they deserve to be in the Hall of Fame ahead of those guys.

Only Cotto has perhaps the best chance to disrupt the projected class of Mayweather, Klitschko and Ward thanks to his success in winning titles in four different weight classes. The one sticking point in Cotto’s career is that, against the three biggest names of his career (Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and Canelo Cotto), he has lost all three of them. Still, that one low point in Cotto’s career definitely should not overshadow what is objectively a Hall of Fame career. Cotto was a major draw in New York, an effective pay-per-view sell and has been a part of several memorable fights and owns wins against the likes of Martinez, Mosley, Zab Judah, Antonio Margarito, and more.

- Just days after losing his WBA "Regular" super featherweight title to Rene Alvarado, Andrew Cancio has been released from his promotional deal with Golden Boy Promotions.

- Former WBO junior welterweight champion Maurice Hooker will fight Pedro Campa on the December 20 Matchroom Boxing card in Phoenix, Arizona.

- Top Rank announced multiple fights for their upcoming shows on December 14 in New York City and January 11, 2020 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

December 14:

  • Edgar Berlanga vs. Cesar Nunez
  • Josue Vargas vs. Noel Murphy
  • Steve Nelson vs. Cem Kilic: NABO super middleweight title
  • Julian Rodriguez vs. Manuel Mendez
  • George Kambosos Jr. vs. Mickey Bey

January 11, 2020:

  • Rob Brant vs. Habib Ahmed
  • Joseph Adorno vs. Hector Garcia
  • Jeremy Adorno vs. Artrimus Sartor
  • Chris Thomas vs. Samir Barbosa
  • Shinard Bunch vs. Dennis Okoth
  • Sonny Conto vs. TBA
  • Xander Zayas vs. Antonio Duarte

United Kingdom:

- Liam Williams and Alantez Fox will face off in a WBO junior middleweight title eliminator on the December 21 Queensberry Promotions show at the Copper Box Arena in London. The winner will become the mandatory challenger to Demetrius Andrade’s title and if Williams wins, it sets the stage for an extremely rare fight between an Eddie Hearn-promoted fighter (Andrade) and a Frank Warren-promoted fighter (Williams). Also on the undercard of that event is Tommy Fury, who is related to former unified heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, facing an opponent to be named at a later date as well as Sunny Edwards facing Marcel Braithwaite for the vacant BBBofC British super flyweight title.

- Rising British star Joe Joyce will take on Marco Huck for the EBU European heavyweight title on January 11 in Hannover, Germany.

- The EBU have named Tommy McCarthy as the mandatory challenger for Lawrence Okolie's EBU European cruiserweight title.

Japan:

- Former amateur standout Yusuke Mine, who has the potential to win a Japanese national title and perhaps contend for an OPBF title in 2020, will take on former OPBF flyweight titleholder Ardin Diale in Mine’s third pro fight on the December 22 show at the Sumiyoshi Ward Center in Osaka, Japan in an eight-round super flyweight bout. The show will be headlined by Yuki Strong Kobayashi vs. Ki Chang Go for the WBO Asia Pacific bantamweight title.

- Hiroaki Teshigawara will defend his OPBF super bantamweight title against Shohei Kawashima on the December 12 Korakuen Hall show. Teshigawara is perhaps the best under-the-radar fighter at 122 pounds today and skills-wise, could fight for a world title tomorrow and be a tough out for any of the champions. A win, especially one in convincing fashion, could propel Teshigawara into a world title fight next year.

Other News And Notes:

- The WBA ordered Besputin to face mandatory challenger Yordenis Ugas with a deadline of January 2, 2020 to get a fight deal done or else a purse bid order will be issued. The WBA added the fight must be carried out before March 29, 2020. Besputin won the then-vacant title on November 30 with a unanimous decision win over Radzhab Butaev on a Matchroom Boxing show in Monaco that was streamed on DAZN. Besputin won the bout with scores of 116-112 across the board on all three judges' scorecards.

- WBC Female super flyweight champion Lupita Martinez will defend her title against Debani Balderas on December 14 in Mexico.

Status Update On Every WBC Champion:

The WBC has given yet another update on the status of every world male championship and not much has changed from the previous update, save for a few divisions whose title situations are much clearer now.

Heavyweight (Champion: Deontay Wilder): Wilder vs. Tyson Fury is all but officially announced for next February, but Dillian Whyte's situation with the UKAD is still being investigated. Whyte tested positive for a banned substance right before a fight against Oscar Rivas for the interim heavyweight title, but because the positive test result didn't get revealed until after Whyte defeated Rivas, it leaves the WBC in a sticky situation. The UKAD is notorious for taking an absurd amount of time to resolve certain drug investigations, taking months, if not years, before they get resolved. If it does get resolved at some point and Whyte is cleared of any wrongdoing or at the very least serves a suspension, he will remain the WBC interim champion and be the mandatory challenger for 2021.

Author's Note: This was written before Whyte was cleared by the UKAD.

Cruiserweight (Title Vacant): After the WBC previously approved Ilunga Makabu vs. Krzysztof Glowacki for the vacant championship, Glowacki told the organization that he is unavailable, presumably because he will fight for the vacant WBO title at some point in 2020. Normally, the next-highest ranked contender would get the title shot and that would be No. 3 ranked Kevin Lerena. However, Lerena also said he is unavailable to fight Makabu. As such, the WBC approved a potential fight between Makabu Krzysztof Wlodarczyk but there is no word on if the fight will actually happen.

Light Heavyweight (Champion: Artur Beterbiev): Beterbiev, who also holds the IBF title, is set to fight IBF mandatory challenger Meng Fanlong next. As such, Jean Pascal vs. Badou Jack for the WBA "Regular" title, taking place in Atlanta on December 28 has also been approved as a WBC title eliminator.

Super Middleweight (Champion: David Benavidez): Benavidez will fight Avni Yildirim next after Yildirim was cleared of any wrongdoing after a positive drug test for DHCMT/methylclostebol. was ruled to have been a result of being exposed to a substance during muscular inflammation therapy he received in Germany. WBA "Super" champion Callum Smith, who also holds the WBC Diamond title, will be the mandatory challenger after that fight happens and the winner gets a voluntary defense out of the way.

Middleweight (Champion: Jermall Charlo): Charlo will defend his title against Dennis Hogan on December 7 in Brooklyn. Two weeks after that fight, the WBC will address the mandatory challenger situation as it relates to the Charlo-Hogan winner and former world champion Daniel Jacobs.

Junior Middleweight (Champion: Tony Harrison): Harrison will face Jermell Charlo on December 21 and a final eliminator between Erickson Lubin and Sergio Garcia has been approved by the WBC. Nothing about this has changed from the WBC Convention, but the fact that this ruling remains intact likely means that the fight could potentially end up on a PBC card in early 2020. PBC firmly believes Lubin is a future star and given the fact that the 154-pound division is highly unpredictable, one could come to the conclusion that Lubin could very well end up winning a world title in 2020.

Welterweight (Champion: Errol Spence Jr.): The WBC is waiting for Spence's official medical clearance after his car accident a while back. The understanding here is that once Spence is cleared, he'll fight Danny Garcia next, likely on pay-per-view, and then make his IBF mandatory title defense next as Spence also holds that title. The current mandatory challenger for the IBF is Kudratillo Abdukakhorov, which would make this an extremely difficult, or even impossible, sell as a pay-per-view main event. So from a business standpoint, putting that fight on FOX television makes far more sense.

Junior Welterweight (Champion: Jose Ramirez): Ramirez will defend his title against mandatory challenger Viktor Postol in China on February 2. Afterwards, Ramirez is expected to defend his title against Jack Catterall, the mandatory challenger for the WBO title that Ramirez also holds.

Lightweight (Champion: Devin Haney): No word on when Haney will fight again, but it is believed that a fight between him and Javier Fortuna is next after Fortuna won a title eliminator against Jesus Cuellar on November 2.

Super Featherweight (Champion: Miguel Berchelt): Although Oscar Valdez was supposed to fight Andres Gutierrez in a title eliminator on November 2, but Gutierrez came in at an almost unbelievable 11 pounds over the limit. The WBC then approved Adam Lopez as a suitable replacement to maintain this fight as a title eliminator. Valdez defeated Lopez and now must fight Miguel Berchelt next.

Featherweight (Champion: Gary Russell Jr.): Russell was ordered to fight mandatory challenger and IBO titleholder Tugstsogt Nyambayar next, but there is still no official word on when that fight is happening.

Super Bantamweight (Champion: Rey Vargas): Vargas is currently eligible to make a voluntary title defense after defeating mandatory challenger Tomoki Kameda on July 13.

Bantamweight (Champion: Nordine Oubaali): After Luis Nery, previously the mandatory challenger to the title, failed to make weight for his fight against Emmanuel Rodriguez back in November, the WBC stated it will decide on the mandatory challenger situation in the near future, but Nery won't be fighting for the WBC bantamweight next and probably ever.

Super Flyweight (Champion: Juan Francisco Estrada): Estrada is expected to fight WBA champion Kal Yafai in a title unification in January. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai is approved as the mandatory challenger to the title. Estrada and Sor Rungvisai had their thrilling first bout in 2018 that has been universally praised by the boxing community and the rematch, even as it failed to meet expectations, was still a solid bout. Estrada had always entertained the possibility of granting Sor Rungvisai a rubber match, but noted that he wanted to fight the other top names at 115 pounds beforehand.

Flyweight (Title Vacant): Julio Cesar Martinez and Cristofer Rosales will fight for the vacant belt on December 20 in Phoenix, Arizona on DAZN. A final eliminator between Junto Nakatani and McWilliams Arroyo has been approved but that fight has yet to be made.

Light Flyweight (Champion: Ken Shiro): Shiro's planned unification bout against IBF champion Felix Alvarado, planned for December 23, was canceled due to Alvarado withdrawing from the fight because of lung issues. Now, Shiro will face Randy Petalcorin on that same date.

Minimumweight (Champion: Wanheng Menayothin): No word on Menayothin's future after he defeated mandatory challenger Simpiwe Koncko in October.

WBO Convention Notes:

The annual WBO Convention just wrapped up in Tokyo, Japan and perhaps the two biggest questions heading in as far as title situations are concerned have been answered.

One, which was expected, was the formal announcement that Jaime Munguia has vacated the junior middleweight title and Patrick Teixeira has been elevated to full champion after winning the interim belt on November 30 when he defeated Carlos Adames.

Munguia vacating the title was expected given that he was always set to move up to middleweight, where there will be plenty of big fights for him waiting on DAZN. The question was always going to be who will usurp him as champion.

With Teixeira now the sole champion, the WBO has moved forward with an order to have him fight former WBA “Regular” titleholder Brian Castano. Though on paper the fight will be a solid one, getting the fight to be made won’t be easy. Teixeira fights for Golden Boy Promotions and PBC will handle Castano’s side in the negotiations with the idea of putting the bout on Showtime or Fox Sports. It’s interesting to see PBC try and get the WBO title given PBC’s and FOX’s long stance on not acknowledging the WBO’s existence and its champions. But this move will give PBC a potential monopoly on the division. After all, every other world champion at junior middleweight fights for the brand and in theory, adding the WBO title would ensure a potential path to crowning an undisputed champion at that weight class.

The other big question was going to be the future of Canelo Alvarez, who won the WBO light heavyweight title in early November. DAZN also has the WBO middleweight champion in Demetrius Andrade and the WBO super middleweight champion in Billy Joe Saunders, both of whom have long been linked to a potential clash with Alvarez.

At the convention, the WBO did rule that Saunders must defend his title against a mandatory challenger next. That hasn’t been determined as Zach Parker and Rohan Murdock are set to face off in January in a title eliminator, but Alvarez can theoretically sneak his way into fight Saunders immediately after the WBO named Alvarez the “Super” champion.

Unlike the WBA’s “Super” champion which ultimately serves as a way for the organization to weasel out another sanctioning fee by adding a second world title in one weight class, the WBO’s version is different. Rather than the WBO adding another championship, the “Super” champion is simply an honor granted to him that allows him the ability to vacate the title and become the mandatory challenger for the next weight up or down. In other words, if Alvarez vacates the WBO light heavyweight title, then he can petition the WBO for him to become the mandatory challenger for either the organization’s super middleweight or cruiserweight titles.

Though this is far from a confirmation of Alvarez’s next fight, it does provide a clue as to what weight class he could fight at next. Going back down to middleweight so soon after fighting at light heavyweight might not be possible for him. Mikey Garcia spent five weeks building up his body from a lightweight to a welterweight to prepare for the Errol Spence Jr. fight this past March and in doing so, he essentially shut down the idea of coming back down to lightweight immediately without putting himself in some type of health risk. It might as well be the same for Alvarez as the drop from light heavyweight to middleweight (a 15-pound loss) is steeper than the drop from welterweight to lightweight (a 12-pound loss).

A fight between Alvarez and Saunders would be perfect for a Cinco de Mayo card in Las Vegas. It’s a fight that Alvarez can go and try to become an actual four-division champion (if you’re in the camp that’s not counting the WBA “Regular” super middleweight title he won back in December 2018 as very few even consider that an actual world title) while giving Saunders the big fight he’s been hoping to secure for the past few years.

Dillian Whyte Cleared By UKAD:

Dillian Whyte, who could have been in line to fight Deontay Wilder for the WBC heavyweight title in the first half of 2020, has now been cleared of any and all wrongdoing after the UK Anti-Doping Agency concluded that a failed drug test from months ago tested positive for metabolites.

The issue that came from this was the timing of it all. The positive test result was revealed shortly after Whyte defeated Oscar Rivas in July in an interim WBC heavyweight title fight that also served as a title eliminator. That win seemed to have guaranteed Whyte a title shot, possibly within 12 months, but that was no longer the case.

The UKAD ultimately ruled that the amounts found in his system were similar to that found in contaminated supplements and that he did not take any steroids. With him cleared, all that’s left is to see what the WBC will rule regarding the matter. Previously, the WBC said that if the matter were to be resolved, then Whyte would be named the mandatory challenger in February 2021, but Matchroom Boxing, the company that promotes Whyte, will surely look to have the WBC give Whyte an immediate shot at the title. It will more than likely fail as Wilder is set to face off against Tyson Fury in February.

Below is the full statement:

UK Anti-Doping and the professional boxer, Dillian Whyte, can today jointly confirm that Mr Whyte was charged with an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) earlier this year, but that this charge has now been withdrawn.

The charge was brought after a sample provided by Mr Whyte on 20 June 2019 indicated the presence of two metabolites of a steroid. UKAD initiated an investigation with which Mr Whyte cooperated fully. UKAD has accepted the explanation provided by Mr Whyte and, in accordance with the UK Anti-Doping Rules, the charge against Mr Whyte has been withdrawn.

This would ordinarily mean that UKAD would not make any public statement, in accordance with the applicable confidentiality rules to which UKAD is subject. However, since certain confidential information relating to this matter (including the fact of the initial charge) has unfortunately made its way into the public domain, UKAD and Mr Whyte have agreed to take the unusual step of releasing the following limited information to put an end to speculation concerning Mr Whyte’s status.

Case Details:

In respect of Mr Whyte's drug testing results, the following points are relevant:

There is nothing in Mr Whyte's longitudinal urinary profile to suggest that he has used steroids.

The levels of the metabolites found in Mr Whyte's 20 June 2019 sample were extremely low.

Mr Whyte had provided a urine sample to VADA on 17 June 2019, i.e. 3 days before his 20 June 2019 sample, which was tested by a WADA-accredited laboratory and which returned a negative result, including for the metabolites in question.

Mr Whyte provided several other doping control samples to UKAD and VADA between 20 June and 20 July 2019 (i.e. the date of his fight with Oscar Rivas) – all of which also tested negative.

In light of the above points, the trace amounts of metabolites found in the 20 June 2019 sample are consistent with an isolated contamination event, and they are not suggestive of doping.

Having rigorously scrutinised and investigated the detailed factual and scientific evidence provided by Mr Whyte, UKAD is satisfied that the presence of the very low amounts of metabolites in his 20 June 2019 sample was not caused by any fault, negligence or wrongdoing on Mr Whyte’s part and, given the circumstances, could not have affected the fight between Mr Whyte and Mr Rivas on 20 July 2019. Indeed, prior to that fight, an independent tribunal considered a number of the above factors before deciding to permit Mr Whyte to participate. Following that preliminary ruling, UKAD continued its investigation and Mr Whyte provided further evidence in his defence, which has culminated in UKAD’s decision to withdraw the charge.

Mr Whyte acknowledges that, based on the test results reported to UKAD relating to his 20 June 2019 sample, UKAD acted in accordance with the UK Anti-Doping Rules by issuing the initial charge and in the conduct of its investigation.

Pursuant to the terms of the UK National Anti-Doping Policy, UKAD must always act in the interests of justice and not solely for the purpose of obtaining determinations adverse to athletes. In the present case, UKAD considers that means that the appropriate course of action is for the charge against Mr Whyte to be withdrawn and does so in accordance with the relevant anti-doping rules.

The British Boxing Board of Control, having delegated responsibility for anti-doping matters to UKAD, has been informed of the resolution of these proceedings against Mr Whyte.

Note: The UK Anti-Doping Rules place restrictions on reporting information relating to ongoing anti-doping proceedings including that UKAD will not comment publicly on the specific facts of a pending case (except in response to public comments attributed to a charged athlete or his/her representatives). For that reason, UKAD has not previously been able to comment publicly in respect of the charge brought against Mr Whyte. Since the charge against Mr Whyte has been withdrawn, neither UKAD nor Mr Whyte intend to make any further public comment in respect of this matter, in accordance with the confidentiality provisions of the UK Anti-Doping Rules. Any public comments made by anyone other than UKAD or Mr Whyte will not be made on the basis of an understanding of the full facts.

Fightful Boxing Rankings:

The Fightful Boxing Rankings are compiled by lead boxing writer Carlos Toro.

Pound-for-pound

  1. Naoya Inoue
  2. Canelo Alvarez
  3. Vasiliy Lomachenko
  4. Terence Crawford
  5. Oleksandr Usyk
  6. Juan Francisco Estrada
  7. Artur Beterbiev
  8. Gennadiy Golovkin
  9. Errol Spence Jr.
  10. Kosei Tanaka

Heavyweight

  1. Tyson Fury
  2. Deontay Wilder
  3. Andy Ruiz Jr.
  4. Anthony Joshua
  5. Dillian Whyte
  6. Luis Ortiz
  7. Kubrat Pulev
  8. Oscar Rivas
  9. Adam Kownacki
  10. Michael Hunter

Cruiserweight

  1. Beibut Shumenov
  2. Mairis Briedis
  3. Yuniel Dorticos
  4. Krzysztof Glowacki
  5. Kevin Lerena
  6. Ilunga Makabu
  7. Firat Arslan
  8. Marco Huck
  9. Lawrence Okolie
  10. Thabiso Mchunu

Light heavyweight

  1. Artur Beterbiev
  2. Canelo Alvarez
  3. Dmitry Bivol
  4. Gilberto Ramirez
  5. Oleksandr Gvozdyk
  6. Sergey Kovalev
  7. Jean Pascal
  8. Eleider Alvarez
  9. Marcus Browne
  10. Badou Jack
  11. Jesse Hart

Super middleweight

  1. Callum Smith
  2. Caleb Plant
  3. David Benavidez
  4. Billy Joe Saunders
  5. John Ryder
  6. Anthony Dirrell
  7. Chris Eubank Jr.
  8. Avni Yildirim
  9. Caleb Truax
  10. Vladimir Shishkin

Middleweight

  1. Canelo Alvarez
  2. Gennadiy Golovkin
  3. Demetrius Andrade
  4. Daniel Jacobs
  5. Sergiy Derevyanchenko
  6. Jermall Charlo
  7. Ryota Murata
  8. Matt Korobov
  9. Kamil Szeremeta
  10. Jeff Horn

Junior middleweight

  1. Julian Williams
  2. Jarrett Hurd
  3. Tony Harrison
  4. Erislandy Lara
  5. Brian Castano
  6. Jermell Charlo
  7. Liam Smith
  8. Michel Soro
  9. Sergio Garcia
  10. Patrick Teixeira

Welterweight

  1. Terrence Crawford
  2. Errol Spence Jr.
  3. Manny Pacquiao
  4. Shawn Porter
  5. Danny Garcia
  6. Keith Thurman
  7. Mikey Garcia
  8. Sergey Lipinets
  9. David Avanesyan
  10. Yordenis Ugas

The rest of the rankings are in the next page.

Junior welterweight

  1. Regis Prograis
  2. Jose Ramirez
  3. Josh Taylor
  4. Ivan Baranchyk
  5. Maurice Hooker
  6. Kiryl Relikh
  7. Jack Catterall
  8. Jono Carroll
  9. Viktor Postol
  10. Jose Zepeda

Lightweight

  1. Vasiliy Lomachenko
  2. Teofimo Lopez
  3. Richard Commey
  4. Robert Easter Jr.
  5. Devin Haney
  6. Luke Campbell
  7. Anthony Crolla
  8. Rances Barthelemy
  9. Zaur Abdullaev
  10. Javier Fortuna

Super featherweight

  1. Miguel Berchelt
  2. Leo Santa Cruz
  3. Tevin Farmer
  4. Jamel Herring
  5. Oscar Valdez
  6. Carl Frampton
  7. Rene Alvarado
  8. Andrew Cancio
  9. Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov

  10. Joseph Diaz Jr.

Featherweight

  1. Leo Santa Cruz
  2. Josh Warrington
  3. Gary Russell Jr.
  4. Shakur Stevenson
  5. Carl Frampton
  6. Can Xu
  7. Tugstsogt Nyambayar
  8. Joet Gonzalez
  9. Jessie Magdaleno
  10. Jhack Tepora

Super bantamweight

  1. Daniel Roman
  2. Emanuel Navarrete
  3. Rey Vargas
  4. Guillermo Rigondeaux
  5. Brandon Figueroa
  6. Isaac Dogboe
  7. TJ Doheny​​​​​​
  8. Ryosuke Iwasa
  9. Stephen Fulton
  10. Tomoki Kameda

Bantamweight

  1. Naoya Inoue
  2. Luis Nery
  3. Nonito Donaire
  4. Zolani Tete
  5. Nordine Oubaali
  6. John Riel Casimero
  7. Emmanuel Rodriguez
  8. Juan Carlos Payano
  9. Richard Espinoza
  10. Jason Moloney

Super Flyweight

  1. Juan Francisco Estrada
  2. Roman Gonzalez
  3. Donnie Nietes
  4. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
  5. Jerwin Ancajas
  6. Kal Yafai
  7. Kazuto Ioka
  8. Aston Palicte
  9. Carlos Cuadras
  10. Andrew Moloney

Flyweight

  1. Kosei Tanaka
  2. Artem Dalakian
  3. Moruti Mthalane
  4. Julio Cesar Martinez
  5. Charlie Edwards
  6. Ryoichi Taguchi
  7. Daigo Higa
  8. Cristofer Rosales
  9. Junto Nakatani
  10. Wulan Tuolehazi

Light flyweight/Minimumweight

  1. Wanheng Menayothin
  2. Hiroto Kyoguchi
  3. Ken Shiro
  4. Elwin Soto
  5. Carlos Canizales
  6. Pedro Taduran
  7. Hekkie Budler
  8. Wilfredo Mendez
  9. Felix Alvarado
  10. Knockout CP Freshmart
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