Fightful Boxing Newsletter (6/13/2020): The Uncertain Road To Joshua vs. Fury, Top Rank's Return

Fightful Boxing Newsletter (6/13/2020) Table Of Contents:

  1. Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury Agree To Fight In 2021, But What Does It Mean? (Page 1)
  2. Top Rank Returns With June Shows; June 9 & June 11 Show Reviews (Page 2)
  3. COVID-19 Protocols In The United States & Boxing (Page 3)
  4. Matchroom Boxing’s Schedule And Mansion Fights (page 4)
  5. Dominican Republic Card Canceled (Page 5)
  6. In-Depth Look At Boxing’s Weight Classes: Middleweight (Page 6)
  7. Philly Special Postponed, How It Represents A Larger Problem With Boxing's Return (Page 7)
  8. News And Notes From Around The World Of Boxing (Page 8)
  9. Results From Around The World Of Boxing June 6-12 (Page 9)
  10. Fightful Boxing Rankings (Pages 10-11)
UFC Vegas 44 Results, Live Coverage & Discussion: Jose Aldo Outpoints Rob Font

Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury Agree To Fight In 2021, But What Does It Mean?

Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua could potentially meet in a massive heavyweight fight in 2021 after it was announced that financial terms have been agreed to.

However, for as much excitement this seems to have drawn from the mainstream media regarding the thought of an undisputed heavyweight champion being crowned in the next 18 months, the reality of it is that a lot of it is just lip service and there are many layers to this and some of them are not pretty.

On June 10, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn told Sky Sports Boxing that the financial structure of a two-fight series between the two is in place, but noted that there are plenty of things to go over before any official announcement is made.

Both sides are currently hoping that the first fight is staged in the summer of 2021, but no venue or location has been determined yet. The fight would potentially pit Joshua, the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion, against Fury, the WBC champion, where the winner could become the first heavyweight to hold all four belts at the same time.

"We're making great progress. There is still a lot to overcome. We are looking at venues and dates. It's fair to say [Joshua and Fury] are in agreement regarding the financial terms of the fight. We've been talking to [Fury's management team] MTK, giving them the assurances from Joshua's side that all the details on the structure of the deal is approved from our side. And it is from Fury's side, as well. We're in a good place. It's fair to say that, in principle, both guys have agreed to that fight. Two fights," Hearn said.

Yet, even with the financial terms of the fight, which would crown an undisputed heavyweight champion, seemingly set, there’s still a lot of work to be done.

As explained in past newsletters, the road to an undisputed heavyweight champion isn’t as simple as simply getting both Joshua and Fury to agree to a deal and have them fight in the ring. Both champions also have to deal with mandatories and fights that they previously signed up to do.

Joshua had already signed up to defend his titles against IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev this summer in London, but that fight was postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. By no means, does Hearn’s comments mean that Joshua vs. Pulev is off. Quite the contrary, the fight is still planned to move forward and the current goal is to make sure the fight stays in the United Kingdom, despite interest from countries outside the United Kingdom, such as Croatia and different places in the Middle East. However, with current government regulations to help combat the current coronavirus pandemic, putting that fight in a major football (soccer) stadium with max capacity in the coming months seems to be slowly moving away from being a feasible goal. Instead, the organizers for the fight are looking at small venues to stage the title bout instead of having it done in an empty arena or studio setting.

One would think that after Joshua beats Pulev (if it does happen), then he can focus on Fury, but there is still another mandatory challenger in Oleksandr Usyk, who has the right to challenge for the WBO belt. The timetable for a fight between Joshua and Usyk, something that Usyk was aiming for ever since he moved up to heavyweight, was always inconsistent at best and noncommittal from Joshua’s side at worst. Regardless, WBO President Francisco Valcarcel wrote on Twitter that Usyk should be next before a Joshua vs. Fury fight takes place.

“Love to see WBO unified champion Anthony Joshua fighting WBO former and current WBC champion Tyson Fury for the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, but WBO mandatory should be next,” Valcarcel wrote on Twitter.

Whether or not he means that Usyk comes next right now or next after Pulev or even next after Joshua vs. Fury is unknown, but the WBO has remained adamant for quite some time that Joshua should eventually fight Usyk. The WBO, however, has yet to really enforce such a fight, perhaps believing that the Pulev fight was going to happen soon and then they could order that fight immediately. But with the pandemic going around and issues with travel still present in the United Kingdom and in Europe, it will be tough to secure a Joshua-Usyk fight at this moment.

Usyk is a part of the Matchroom Boxing stable and they could convince Usyk to take other fights in the interim to continue getting acclimated in the heavyweight division and perhaps build his profile some more for the eventual title challenge.

Fury, on the other hand, also has a tricky road up ahead before he can focus on Joshua. Fury still has to deal with the inevitable third fight against Deontay Wilder, something that both sides had also agreed on when the rematch was secured. The fight was originally set to take place this summer before quietly being moved to October, but the trilogy bout was never formally announced.

Despite plenty of people believing that Fury will easily beat Wilder in a similar manner that he did so in their second bout this past February, the fact of the matter is, Wilder is still arguably boxing’s most devastating puncher and is more than capable of knocking Fury out. Although Fury has shown to be capable of neutralizing Wilder’s right hand and expose his biggest flaw (the lack of technical boxing compared to Fury), all Wilder needs is one or two right hands and he could win the third fight.

Even if Fury can get past Wilder, there’s still the matter of the WBC’s mandatory challenger status. Going back to late last year, when the rematch between Wilder and Fury was first announced, there was a problem with what to do with Dillian Whyte, who had been sitting as the top contender to the WBC title for more than a year. The WBC sought to remedy this by both allowing the Wilder vs. Fury rematch happened and also promised Whyte that he will be named the mandatory challenger in February 2021, while giving him the opportunity to fight for the interim WBC title, which he won last summer. After a controversy that saw him fail a drug test and was later cleared of any wrongdoing, Whyte not only retained his interim belt, but also his status as the eventual mandatory challenger for the title.

The problem here is that Whyte is also promoted by Matchroom Boxing and Hearn has already publicly said he’s going to look at making that fight between Fury (or whoever is the WBC champion by next year) and Whyte.

So if we’re looking at the worst case scenario to the road for Joshua vs. Fury, we’re talking Pulev and Usyk as Joshua’s next opponents and for Fury, it’s Wilder and Whyte. To have those fights be made and expect Joshua vs. Fury to happen next summer is unlikely, but not impossible.

Of course, even painting that picture is still roaming in speculation. For as much as certain parties involved in the fight would like to talk about how it’s happening, it’s far from the truth and even those working on making that fight happen, such as Hearn and Frank Warren (Fury’s UK promoter) know that it is still a long road ahead.

"[There's] a lot to overcome in the meantime. We're moving in the right direction. I'm confident that both guys have given their blessing for the fight to go ahead. The point of Fury, Joshua and the teams agreeing to the structure of the deal? The first fight could happen next summer. It will be 2021. There is a big period of time where Whyte should get his shot at the title. That's important to us. The main positive news is that Joshua and Fury have agreed to a two-fight deal, in essence. The most difficult part of any deal is the financial element. I believe we're in a great place where both guys have agreed to what that should be. We have not signed contracts because there are still things to be worked out," Hearn said.

"There is nothing signed and nothing new agreed. We all know it’s going to be a two-fight deal if it happens, we’ve talked about that already. But that’s it! There’s nothing else. It’s a 50/50 deal and a rematch included. That’s been agreed all the way through, from the very start – that’s common sense. Everyone agrees that’s what it’s got to be. But the rest of it? Nothing is agreed. There’s no venue or date or anything. Eddie is just being a talking head. He’s talking about Dillian Whyte? Pick up the phone to Shelly Finkel [Deontay Wilder’s co-manager] and ask him if it’s a done deal. Tyson’s got a contract to fight someone else, so does AJ. Eddie just can’t help himself. We all know the basic terms of the deal. There’s no new information there at all. My reaction to Hearn’s comments is fantastic, we already knew the principle of the deal. We know it’s a 50/50 deal. We know it’ll be a two-fight package, but there’s been no offers made from anywhere – despite signing an NDA with one country. We’ve had no offers from anywhere," Warren said.

Financial terms being agreed to is fine and all, but for a fight like this, there are still a lot of issues still needed to be sorted out. Where is the fight taking place? What would happen if either man loses before they can official make the fight a reality? Would ESPN (which broadcasts shows from Top Rank, who promotes Fury) or DAZN (which Matchroom has a current broadcasting deal with and Joshua has had his last three fights on) handle the U.S. broadcasting duties? These and many more questions need to be answered and they can't be answered at this moment.

Fury went to social media to confirm that there is at least some type of agreement in place for 2021, but that he would have to go through Wilder once more. But the most noteworthy (and to many, most disappointing) part of Fury’s social media post was him mentioning Daniel Kinahan.

“I just got off the phone with Daniel Kinahan and he just informed me that the biggest boxing fight in British boxing history has just been agreed. Two-fight deal. Tyson Fury vs. Anthony Joshua next year. One problem: I got to smash Deontay Wilder’s face right in first and then we’ll go into the Joshua fight next year. The Gypsy King vs. AJ is set for next year,” Fury said.

For those unaware, Kinahan has emerged as a person of interest in the world of boxing in recent weeks, primarily due to notable boxing figures, the biggest one being Bob Arum, endorsing him. The “role” that some have bestowed upon him is that of Fury’s advisor and as someone who is looking to secure big fights in the Middle East.

The story of Kinahan and boxing is a long and troubled one. The High Court in Dublin, Ireland declared Kinahan as a senior figure in the Kinahan Organized Crime Group, an organization that is involved in drug and arms trafficking into Ireland and the United Kingdom.

However, their operations extend beyond the United Kingdom and most of Europe as the Kinaham Group has ties to criminal activity all over the world. The Irish branch of the "wider international" Kinahan Organized Crime Group is the Byrne Organized Crime Group, which is also heavily involved in drug smuggling and arms trafficking.

How does this relate to boxing? Kinahan was the co-founder of MGM (Macklin’s Gym Marbella) alongside former world title challenger and European champion Matthew Macklin. MGM is the group that would later be re-branded as MTK Global years ago.

Sandra Vaughan, CEO of MTK Global, bought out MGM in 2017, a year after a terrible shooting in Dublin, Ireland at the weigh-in before a boxing card. Irish gangsters who were disguised as police arrived at the weigh-ins with Kinahan being the target. In the end, three people were shot and one man died. That man was David Byrne and his brother Liam was actually named a high-ranking member of the Kinahan Organized Crime Group. The assassination attempt was reportedly in response to the 2015 murder of Gary Hutch, who is related to Gerry Hutch, another gangster. The Kinahan and Hutch groups have long been at odds with more than a dozen deaths relating to this blood feud.

After the 2016 shooting, MGM worked hard with its re-branding, quickly distancing themselves from Kinahan and his influence. At first, things didn’t go so well for MTK Global. MTK had a boycott of all media outlets in the Republic of Ireland beginning in February 2018, but that was soon lifted.

The entity then quickly became one of the biggest in the boxing world, managing a number of notable names in the sport, mainly focusing in the United Kingdom. That group includes Tyson Fury, Carl Frampton, Moruti Mthalane, Billy Joe Saunders, Liam Smith, Josh Taylor and more.

However, Kinahan emerged in recent weeks as he was appointed as special advisor to KHK Sports in Bahrain. KHK Sports was founded by Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, a member of the Bahraini royal family.

Shortly after Kinahan was announced as a special advisor to KHK, it was announced that MTK and KHK have entered a partnership which, according to both parties, “will not only focus on large scale events but will see KHK Sports further develop grassroots programmes, including educational academies, amateur programs and career progression opportunities for aspiring athletes in the greater region.”

Kinahan’s connection to both parties led many to rightly believe that he will have a hand in shaping boxing’s future in some way shape or form. This started with the announcement that a pioneering boxing summit will take place this fall with several of boxing’s biggest names outside the ring meeting to discuss the future of the sport.

When the summit was announced, many publicly reacted to the news and there was one common theme when the likes of Bob Arum, Frank Warren, Shelly Finkel, Kalle Sauerland, Badou Jack, Roy Jones Jr. and more discussed the topic: the praising of Kinahan for his work.

It didn’t stop there.

A video posted by MTK featuring Arum discussed how Kinahan was working behind the scenes on securing boxing shows taking place in the Middle East. MTK Global and Top Rank have a working relationship, which means MTK shows have been airing on ESPN platforms, mainly ESPN+, for some time.

“We have been working all year, the past year with MTK. [Due to] our connection with MTK, we have been able to get a whole host of events from MTK and televise them in the United States on ESPN+, which has more than eight million subscribers. That’s been a big success. Our relationship with MTK has been tremendous, particularly with Dan, who was the original founder of MTK and now is still an adviser to them. He is our adviser, in effect, regarding the [Middle] East. He’s lived in the [Middle] East and has very, very good connections. We [went] to Dan the authority to explore opportunities in the [Middle] East on behalf of Top Rank,” Arum said.

MTK, Top Rank and the sport in general has been slowly making its way to the Middle East since 2018. The World Boxing Super Series super middleweight finals took place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and the Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr. rematch also took place in Saudi Arabia, so the region is no stranger to massive boxing events.

The story of Kinahan was largely not covered in the west at first. Perhaps it was lack of knowledge on the subject matter or willful ignorance that caused many to not even mention Kinahan. Jake Donovan of Boxing Scene wrote a tremendous piece on the subject and Kurt Emhoff of The Boxing Esq. Podcast recently had Kieran Cunningham and Ewan MacKenna on to discuss Kinahan that is a must-listen.

But regardless of how one feels, Kinahan’s past troubles and his present involvement with one of the biggest fights that can be made in boxing is worrisome. There was a time when the sport was controlled by the mob and corruption was rampant on seemingly every level imaginable.

While boxing has done a good job (for the most part) in straying away from its dark past, there’s always going to be some element of it that will rear its ugly head in some manner. The fact that Kinahan is being welcomed with such open arms and seemingly no push back should be a bigger deal than it is.

Bringing Kinahan back in this manner puts the sport’s global credibility at risk. This could end in complete disaster or it can end with a new chapter in boxing’s evolution, for better or worse.

Where does the line get drawn? Or has that line been crossed and there’s no going back? There are many questions about this that have yet to be answered and many more that have yet to be asked. It’s up to everyone in the sport to figure out what is best for its future.

If bringing Kinahan to help secure Joshua vs. Fury is worth the potential trouble it could bring, then everyone better hope it does not backfire horribly and if it does, then don’t say it was something that couldn’t have been prevented.

Top Rank Returns With June Shows; June 9 & June 11 Show Reviews

After more than three months, Top Rank returned with boxing shows in the United States, though reactions to the product that was put out there can be best described as mixed.

While many are happy that U.S. boxing is back and certainly understanding of the fact that matchups for the foreseeable future are going to be less than stellar on paper, some still weren’t satisfied with the in-ring action.

The first show, which took place on June 9 the MGM Grand Conference Center Grand Ballroom in Las Vegas, featured mostly one-sided matchups that really didn’t offer any drama whatsoever. The main event was a one-sided beatdown while the most competitive fight on the card ended in a technical decision that the scorecards totally favored the winner.

If the June 9 show’s purpose is to introduce some of Top Rank’s younger stars and have them showcase their talents by completely beating up overmatched opponents, then Top Rank accomplished that in spades. But if there was any thought that the card would be filled with competitive bouts, then those thoughts were completely dashed by the time the first fight finished.

The main event saw WBO featherweight champion Shakur Stevenson fight Puerto Rican Felix Caraballo in a super featherweight bout. Although Caraballo showed heart in taking more than 100 power punches from Stevenson in less than six complete rounds, Caraballo was completely overwhelmed by Stevenson’s pressure, speed and overall boxing ability.

Moreover, the fight was billed as Stevenson “testing the waters” at super featherweight, building up to Stevenson making the permanent jump to that weight class. Although a move to super featherweight is inevitable, that decision hasn’t been made yet, at least not in the days leading up to the fight. Despite the uncertainty of his immediate future, Stevenson has been thinking about a move up in weight for a while. Even when discussing a fight against the champions at super featherweight, Stevenson sees negotiating with them to be easier than a featherweight unification fight against IBF champion Josh Warrington (a fight Stevenson has been clamoring for more than a year).

"Of course [I’m thinking about a move to super featherweight]. I think the champions at 130 are all decent fighters. I already am thinking about putting myself in the ring [against those fighters]. I am already thinking of fighting with Oscar Valdez, with Miguel Berchelt, Leo Santa Cruz, [Joseph Diaz Jr.], even Jamel Herring if I have to. Yeah, I think that's an easier fight to make than Josh Warrington. With Josh Warrington, there comes a lot of business and politics and the money, stuff like that. Those fights are a lot easier, especially with Valdez and Berchelt because they are with Top Rank. [Joseph] is with Golden Boy but I just fought a Golden Boy fighter in my last fight (a win against Joet Gonzalez last year to win the WBO featherweight title), so I think those fights are a lot easier to make than a Josh Warrington fight," Stevenson told Fightful on a media conference call on June 4.

Despite being put in a primetime slot on a weekday, the broadcast did not produce stellar television viewership and ratings. The card averaged 397,000 viewers and drew a 0.17 rating in the 18-49 demographic, good for 33rd best on cable for the day, and peaked at 609,000 during the main event. In the 18-34 demographic, the card drew a 0.09 rating and in the 25-54 demographic, it drew a 0.18 rating. This was the first Top Rank Boxing card that aired on ESPN since February for the Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury 2 prelims. Those prelims averaged 862,000 viewers and drew a 0.28 rating in the 18-49 demographic. Top Rank also had ESPN shows on January 18 (704,000 viewers/0.26 rating in 18-49 demo) and January 11 (388,000 viewers/a 0.13 rating in 18-49 demo).

It’s not the absolute best number to kick off the summer of boxing Top Rank lined up, but television viewing habits have certainly changed in recent months. News programs covering the coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide protests in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd have started dominating the ratings and viewership figures for different types of programming have fluctuated. Pro wrestling has been hit extremely hard in terms of viewership and like boxing, the shows have been done in venues closed off to the public. Whether it would be the in-ring product or the empty arena aesthetic turning off viewers, the first week showed that demand for boxing is perhaps not quite as high as some had hoped for.

But the first show did present a couple of problems many on social media complained about the broadcast. One, and perhaps most importantly, was the lack of any compelling matchups, which is a legitimate concern. Even if some are understanding that booking the best matchups in a coronavirus-filled world and events with no fans is hard to do, it still won’t change the fact that non-boxing fans aren’t enticed into tuning in to one-sided matchups featuring prospects.

The June 11 show, on the other hand, saw a better in-ring product, but with less star power, ratings were compared to the June 9 card. The June 11 Top Rank on ESPN card, headlined by Jessie Magdaleno vs. Yenifel Vicente in a 128-pound catchweight, averaged 311,000 viewers and drew a 0.09 rating in the 18-49 demographic (80th best on cable for the day).

Based on the viewership numbers for the first week, expect the viewership to stay in the range of around 300,000 viewers. None of the upcoming cards that have been officially announced have a fighter with more star power than Stevenson and any competitive fights that are announced are only known to hardcore fans.

When it comes to the quality of boxing, the June 11 show was far better than the June 9 show, the first fight of the former blowing every single fight of the latter out of the water.

June 9: Top Rank On ESPN Results From MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada:

* Shakur Stevenson defeated Felix Caraballo by TKO, round 6, 1:31: From the start, Stevenson quickly asserted his dominance over Caraballo, outlanding him and making him chase the young champion throughout the ring. Stevenson found plenty of opportunities to land punches, including a right-hand body shot that dropped Caraballo to one knee in the first round. Afterwards, Stevenson was able to keep the pressure going, landing dozens of punches with ease throughout the rest of the fight. Stevenson ended the night with a huge body shot in the sixth round as Caraballo writhed on the canvas in pain for a brief moment from the body shot. Although Stevenson moved up in weight for this fight, his future at super featherweight after this fight is not set in stone. Prior to the fight, Stevenson did tell Fightful that he has already imagined himself facing off against the super featherweight champions of today, but he hasn’t made a decision on where to fight next at this point.

* Jared Anderson defeated Johnnie Langston by TKO, round 3, 1:55: The underlying theme of this fight was the constant reminder that Anderson sparred with WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and there will be plenty of people who will have high expectations of him based on that connection alone. Anderson certainly did not disappoint, attacking Langston's body often in the short bout. Langston hung in there tough throughout the bout, but was mostly relegated to fighting with his back behind the ropes. Langston was hurt often and was stopped standing. Out of the two heavyweight prospects that won on this card, Anderson is the one who’s more developed as a pro today.

* Guido Vianello defeated Don Haynesworth by TKO, round 1, 2:15: Vianello, one of Top Rank’s biggest heavyweight prospects, looked pretty good in this quick fight. Vianello scored a knockdown in the first round. Haynesworth was slow to get up and probably looked good enough to at least finish the round. However, with all the extra precautions being taken, it’s possible that there might be some early stoppages. Vianello has potential, that’s for sure, but the jury is still out on his potential as a pro.

* Quatavious Cash defeated Calvin Metcalf by technical unanimous decision (60-55, 60-54, 59-55): The fight saw a nasty cut on Metcalf's head thanks to an accidental clash of heads be the reason it didn't see six complete rounds. Metcalf at times was the more aggressive boxer, moving forward even when he had blood pouring out of the cut. It wasn't the worst cut in the world, not by a long shot, but any cuts like that in this era is going to be looked at a lot more critically. The fight was called in the sixth round with that round still be scored. The scorecards don't reflect the competitiveness of the fight. Not the best fight you'll ever see, but it wasn't a bad fight. Easily the most competitive bout on the card, but that's a really low bar.

* Robeisy Ramirez defeated Yeuri Andujar by TKO, round 1, 0:54: Not much to this except Ramirez landed a flurry of left-hand punches that dropped Andujar 30 seconds into the fight and again less than a minute into the bout. The big takeaway from this was how much Ramirez seemingly improved after losing his pro debut last year. Certainly there were some people who lost faith in him after losing his debut fight, but it’s not like he’s the first fighter with tremendous potential to start their career with a loss. Henry Armstrong, Bernard Hopkins Juan Manuel Marquez, Rafael Marquez, Benny Leonard, Johnny Nelson and others all started their careers with an 0-1 record and all had great careers afterwards. That’s not to say Ramirez will have that type of career, but there’s a reason why many pegged him as a future world champion.

June 11: Top Rank On ESPN Results From MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada:

* Jessie Magdaleno defeated Yenifel Vicente by DQ, round 10, 1:38: At first, this was either going to be a short fight or a decently exciting fight after Magdaleno scored a knockdown in the first round. Afterwards, it became an absolute mess of a main event. In round four, Vicente hit a low blow on Magdaleno, which forced Magdaleno to flinch and Vicente knocked him down just as referee Robert Byrd tried to put a stop in the action (although Byrd was very late in stopping Vicente from knocking him down). Magdaleno was able to get back up, but the low blows from Vicente continued throughout the entire fight. Vicente tried to be the aggressor for various rounds, but never found a consistent rhythm in attacking the body. Due to the number of low blows, Vicente was docked a total of four points and was dropped twice in the fight, meaning it would take an all-time bad judging job for Vicente to win on the scorecards. At the time of the stoppage, Magdaleno was leading on the scorecards with scores of 87-79, 85-81 and 87-79. After the fight, Magdaleno said he wants to challenge for a featherweight title, specifically mentioning WBC champion Gary Russell Jr. as Magdaleno is the No. 1 contender for that belt. If we’re judging on this performance, I’d favor Russell over Magdaleno, but it should be important to note that this was not Magdaleno’s best performance to date and we would most likely see a better version of Magdaleno should he fight Russell.

* Eric Mondragon and Mike Sanchez fought to a majority draw (39-37 Mondragon, 38-38, 38-38): This fight was certainly dramatic despite it being a four-rounder. Sanchez opened things up with a big left hand that dropped Mondragon to the canvas in the first round. If that wasn't enough, not only did Mondrago get back up, but he actually knocked Sanchez down with a right hand late in the first round. From that point onwards, it was a matter of Mondragon dictating the pace of the fight with his activity, but Sanchez was arguably the better puncher. In the end, a draw is a fair result as neither man was definitively the better boxer.

* Gabriel Muratalla defeated Fernando Robles by TKO, round 1, 2:33: Muratalla was aggressive in the fight, attacking the body with ferocious uppercuts. Robles went to defending his body, but wasn't able to do much and was eventually dropped to the canvas towards the end of the first round thanks to a big right hand that landed on the side of Robles' head. As Robles was making his way to try and beat the 10-count, the referee stopped the fight. One interesting about Muratalla, who moves to 3-0 as a pro with all wins coming by knockout, is that he is actually a preschool teacher.

* Adam Lopez defeated Louie Coria by majority decision (96-94, 96-94, 95-95) to win the NABF featherweight title: By far the best fight of the week and the only one you really need to go out of your way to watch. Coria started the fight dominating Lopez with strong power punches and combinations. Afterwards, Lopez started winning the fight behind the jab and the tide was slowly turning in his favor. However, there was hardly a boring round as the two of them kept attacking each other. There were more than 1,400 punches thrown in the fight, which probably was more than the entirety of the June 9 show. The fight could have easily been called a draw, but there was no issue with naming Lopez the winner. The one nitpick was the way the ring announcer announced the winner, which was him first saying the 95-95 score, then saying 96-94 in favor of Lopez and then 96-94, completely eliminating any drama and suspense by saying Lopez won on the first 96-94 card. Still, this was a case where both fighters’ stock went up regardless of the result. It would be foolish to not have both these guys fight on television in their next time out.

Top Rank announced in the middle of its June 9 show that there will be Top Rank on ESPN cards taking place on June 16, June 18 and June 20 with each card being headlined by a current champion, former champion or top contender.

The June 16 show, taking place in Las Vegas, will feature bantamweight contender Joshua Greer Jr. taking on Mike Plania in the main event. Greer was originally supposed to fight Jason Moloney on a Top Rank card earlier this year but that event was canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The June 18 show, also in Las Vegas, will be headlined by two-division champion Jose Pedraza facing former junior welterweight title challenger Mikkel LesPierre in a 10-round junior welterweight bout.

The June 20 show will actually take place at the TV Azteca Studios in Mexico City, Mexico. That event will be headlined by WBO super bantamweight champion Emanuel Navarrete moving up to featherweight to face Uriel Lopez in a non-title bout.

Below are the full lineup of fights announced by Top Rank

June 16 from Las Vegas:

* Joshua Greer Jr. vs. Mike Plania

* Antonio DeMarco vs. Giovani Santillan

* Nikoloz Sekhniashvili vs. Isiah Jones

* Eddie Vaquez vs. TBA

* Hector Perez vs. Juan Torres

June 18 from Las Vegas:

* Jose Pedraza vs. Mikkel LesPierre

* Gabriel Flores Jr. vs. Josec Ruiz

* David Kaminzky vs. Clay Collard

* Frevian Gonzalez vs. TBA

* Victor Rodriguez vs. Justin Horsley

June 20 from Mexico:

* Emanuel Navarrete vs. Uriel Lopez

* Carlos Ornelas vs. Edwin Palomares

* Sergio Chirino Sanchez vs. Gustavo Alan Pina

* Silvia Torres vs. Edith de Jesus Flores

* Ivan Armando Garcia vs Roberto Palomarez

COVID-19 Protocols In The United States & Boxing:

With boxing in the United States returning, it’s worth noting what steps are being taken in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Top Rank’s shows in Las Vegas are closed to the public, as only essential fight camp members and event staff will be permitted on site. ESPN’s Top Rank play-by-play commentator Joe Tessitore is calling the cards from the ESPN studios in Bristol, Connecticut. Andre Ward, Tim Bradley and Mark Kriegel, will join the broadcast team from their home studios while reporter Bernardo Osuna will be on-location in Las Vegas.

The actual protocols for these shows don’t have anything out of the ordinary. All individuals preparing to enter the venue will be subject to a number of questions, ranging from asking if they’ve had a fever in the last 72 hours that was at or above 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit, to whether or not they have come into contact with someone with COVID-19, if they’ve traveled to any place that is considered high or risk and even if they’ve experienced symptoms such as shortness of breath to coughing to headaches and more within the last 72 hours.

In addition, NSAC Executive Director Bob Bennett was given a Promoters Operational Plan that detailed how promoters would handle their events. Among the things that was in the Promoters Operational Plan are the following:

  • Essential Plan and Summary
  • Visual method to identify personnel who have been tested and cleared to enter the closed event, such as colored wrist bands
  • Contact names and telephone numbers for key personnel
  • Hotel Accommodations for all out of state participants; including officials, fighters, staff, etc.
  • Health and Safety Procedures
  • Detailed plan for all personnel quarantined after COVID-19 Tests (saliva)
  • Athlete/Participants Training/Transportation
  • Trauma Center One Hospital
  • Production Personnel
  • Media rooms
  • Plan for COVID-19 Testing of Personnel After Event
  • Floor Plans/Schematics identifying: training areas; meals; COVID-19 Testing night before or day of weigh-in; quarantine areas for all individuals after testing until results are received; Boxing Ring / Octagon designating all individuals in the event no less than six feet; dressing rooms fighters/team and designated area for Inspectors, media rooms, Emergency Medical Services to include route from closed arena to vehicles, and designated area of security personnel for closed event to the public.

Well, the protocol has already resulted in at least one fighter being removed from a Top Rank card. Mikaela Mayer, the unbeaten super featherweight contender who was fighting Helen Joseph in the co-main event of the June 9 show, tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the bout to be canceled. Mayer made the announcement on social media, adding that she is asymptomatic and quarantined in an off-site location.

However, the protocol may not be perfect and Mayer has already brought up an issue with the testing. Mayer says she believes she should have been retested for a potential false positive, especially since she tested positive for the antibodies in Houston the week before her fight.

According to ESPN, Mayer took another coronavirus test in Denver on June 9, hoping to convince the Nevada State Athletic Commission that her original test was a false positive and is looking to fight at some point this summer. Mayer said the doctor told her she should still be allowed to fight because she wasn't actively sick and a positive test can still occur even if your body is shedding remnants of the virus. However, even if it was a false positive, the reality is that one can never be too and even if it was a false positive, there is still a potential risk. Unlike UFC, Top Rank is doing as many as eight shows in the span of four weeks. The risk of contamination, especially with some states seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, is still present.

Outside of Las Vegas, Chris Zavala was originally supposed to face Edward Vazquez on the June 16 Top Rank on ESPN card from Las Vegas, but Zavala has been pulled from the fight due to testing positive for COVID-19. Zavala's trainer, Manny Robles Jr., told ESPN that Zavala was infected by a sparring partner.

These first shows are important for boxing’s return given that Top Rank is the first major promotion to have boxing shows in the country. Matchroom Boxing, PBC, Golden Boy Promotions and others have yet to officially announce their return but they, as well as other television networks, are already planning to return this summer.

However, it wouldn’t be inaccurate to say that boxing entities are curious to see how Top Rank will handle these first shows. Showtime is already planning to do shows at a sound stage in Studio City, California. Bob Bakish, president and CEO of ViacomCBS, said in the corporation's latest earnings call on May 7 that combat sports’ return at a larger scale is around the corner.

“We, by the way, also look forward to bringing live sports back, and we're going to be one of the first with golf, the nature of golf probably makes that a little bit simpler than some of the other sports. By the way, we set up a sound stage in Radford], the CBS lot to film both boxing and Bellator events, which we're going to use that sound stage to sequentially alternately produce those, albeit with no audience for the moment. So we're going to do some sports stuff around the edges. But yes, look, I like our position,” Bakish said.

Unbeaten boxers Charles Conwell and Isaiah Steen, both of whom were previously set to fight on a ShoBox card in April, have already told Fightful that they’re in the process of fighting on ShoBox in July in Los Angeles. Though there were no more details told to Fightful and those fights have yet to be officially signed, it does stand to reason that those two are among the fighters that could fight in Studio City.

But part of the reason that other states have yet to give the go-ahead for boxing and combat sports to fully return, even in an empty arena/studio show capacity, is because we have yet to fully see whether or not the protocols that are implemented in the one state, Florida, that has allowed pro wrestling and combat sports for several weeks are 100 percent effective.

UFC already had to deal with positive tests for COVID-19 days before its first show in May and the long-term success of this protocol has yet to be seen. But Nevada allowing combat sports to return this month should also give other states a base protocol to work with.

One particular state that is still working hard to figure out its coronavirus protocols and when to allow combat sports to return is Texas.

There was a card in Houston originally set to take place on June 5, the first such card in the United States after the coronavirus pandemic forced the sport of boxing to temporarily suspend events months ago. However, Fightful has learned that the show has since then been rescheduled to July 3.

The decision comes after the Texas Combative Sports Program decided to postpone the show as the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation stated it is continuing to reevaluate when to allow combat sporting events in the state. The TDLR also told Fightful that it has sent recommendations for reopening protocols to the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas and are waiting for Governor Greg Abbott’s decision on when combative sports will be added to the businesses permitted to restart.

It should be noted that a number of combat sporting events are also listed on the Texas Combative Sports website, but those events could potentially be rescheduled as well as there is no firm date on when events can re-start.

The state has allowed promoters to sign up for dates, with the understanding that Abbott and the Strike Force will have final say in when events can actually return. However, when it comes to protocols regarding COVID-19 testing or doing shows closed off to the public, Fightful was told that a number of different scenarios are being explored, but any specific plans that would be used are unknown at this time.

Matchroom Boxing’s Schedule And Mansion Fights:

Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, Matchroom Boxing is taking steps to bring back shows this summer, with one of those steps possibly resulting in fights taking place in promoter Eddie Hearn's backyard, literally.

First reported by the Daily Mail, Hearn is looking to bring back fights this summer by having an outdoor fight facility be built in his mansion.

The British promoter posted a teaser video on the topic, which would have shows be done under the "Matchroom Fight Camp" banner. However, there was no confirmation in the video on if the shows would officially resume there or any dates for Matchroom's return.

Hearn also spoke to the Daily Mail on the matter, saying it would be a financial hit no matter what happens due to the ongoing coronavirus, but views these current plans as a way for Matchroom to avoid losing all of its momentum.

"Financially this will be painful for us but after the momentum we have worked so hard to build over the past 10 years, I'm not going to let boxing just dribble back. While other guys go with arenas and empty studios, ours will look very different. 'Just imagine it. It is summer, the house is all lit up, you can see Canary Wharf in the distance and fireworks are going off. Then over the hill walk Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin for a massive tear up on my lawn. 'World championship boxing in my garden? Oh, go on then,'" Hearn said.

Matchroom Boxing has postponed several of its shows multiple times. Originally, Matchroom Boxing had shows this spring in the United States and United Kingdom, with some of those fights being moved to the summer. The British Boxing Board of Control has previously stated that it hopes to have fights return in July with the first events to be done in empty arenas.

Some of the fights that were postponed from its original fight date were Anthony Joshua vs. Kubrat Pulev for the Unified WBA, WBO and IBF Heavyweight Titles, Dillian Whyte vs. Alexander Povetkin for the Interim WBC Heavyweight Championship, Katie Taylor vs. Amanda Serrano for the Undisputed Lightweight Championship, Terri Harper vs. Natasha Jones for the WBC Super Featherweight Championship.

Hearn had scheduled a boxing card on July 4 that was going to be headlined by Dillian Whyte vs. Alexander Povetkin. In addition, the chief support for that card was going to be a long-awaited fight between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano for the undisputed lightweight championship.

On June 3, Matchroom announced that the fight between Whyte and Povetkin has been canceled. However, this shouldn’t come as a surprise as the fight not taking place on July 4 was something that was already decided or at least in the process of being finalized for weeks now. What is new regarding the upcoming shows that were planned in the coming weeks was the status of the June 27 and July 11 events.

Lee Selby’s IBF lightweight title eliminator against George Kambosos Jr. at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales was moved from July 11 to October 3, while Lewis Ritson vs. Miguel Vazquez at the Utilita Arena Newcastle in England was moved from June 27 to October 17.

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing boxing to be put on hold for a couple of months, that card had to be scrapped, with no definitive date yet to be announced. But in an interview with Boxing Scene, Hearn said those two fights are being planned for either August 8 or 15 as part of a four-week series of fights that are planned to take place at the Matchroom headquarters in Brentwood, Essex. The series of fights is set to tentatively start either on July 18 or 25, concluding with the Whyte vs. Povetkin card.

“I started off thinking July 4, but then you realize that is six weeks away. I appreciate that some people are only going to need a month to get ready, but some people are going to need eight weeks. So I am looking at July 18 or 25 as our start date for the UK Fight Camp," Hearn said.

Boxing events in the United Kingdom are still not happening and the British Boxing Board of Control is hoping to allow events in the coming weeks, starting with shows closed off to fans and the public.

There are still plans to have Anthony Joshua defend his heavyweight titles against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, but it might take place in a small venue.

Hearn spoke with Sky Sports Boxing and discussed the current status of that fight for the unified WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles. Hearn said his current goal is to make sure the fight stays in the United Kingdom, despite interest from countries outside the United Kingdom.

However, with current government regulations to help combat the current coronavirus pandemic, putting that fight in a major football (soccer) stadium with max capacity in the coming months seems to be slowly moving away from being a feasible goal. Instead, Hearn said he’s looking at small venues to stage the fight instead of having it done in an empty arena or studio setting.

“Although I do expect to see crowds back this year, right now, we’re working under the assumption that AJ vs. Pulev will not be to take place in a venue the size of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club [Stadium]. Our absolute priority with AJ vs. Pulev is to stage the fight in the UK. It’s great for sports coming back, businesses coming back. Let’s get the world heavyweight title fight going. Yes, we’ve had interest from the Middle East, the Far East. We’ve yet to receive anything official from Croatia, but I know they’re interested as well. We’d like to do it here and we are looking at venues that are smaller because I think as we open live gates and as the government changes their restrictions and legislations regarding mass gatherings. I do think it will go that way for 500 to 1,000 to 5,000. There is the possibility of staging AJ’s fight in the UK. I don’t think it will take place behind closed doors, but I think if we can get some kind of number together, we can create some type of exclusive event to keep fighting in the UK,” Hearn said.

Dominican Republic Card Canceled:

This weekend was supposed to be another boxing card in a non-U.S. country that would have aired on ESPN Deportes, but the show was canceled at the 11th hour.

A boxing card at Coliseo Carlos ‘Teo’ Cruz in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic that was set to air on ESPN Deportes on May 30 was called off. One would think that a fighter or two may have tested positive for COVID-19, jeopardizing everyone involved with the event, but in actuality, everyone who got tested was shown to be negative.

In reality, the event was called off due to government officials not giving the event the green light to move forward. The decision from above trumped efforts by event promoter Belgica Peña of Shuan Boxing, who has worked tirelessly with local officials along with the WBA who provided the safety protocol for which the event was to follow.

There was an extensive list of measures the promoters had in place for the event. The card was going to feature just six fights with COVID-19 testing being done 72 hours before the show. There were plans to have teams be isolated after being tested and everyone was to wear masks, gloves and surgical shoes.

As for the host venue, the arena was being disinfected and a body thermometer was going to be used on everyone who entered with another medical review taking place on the day show. There was also an acrylic barrier that would have been used for safe passage. Everyone was going to be sanitized upon entering the building and will be disinfected when leaving.

The main event was Norbelto Jimenez vs. Eliezer Aquino for the WBA Fedelatin 115-pound title, co-main event was Luis Salazar vs. Juan Carlos Cordones for WBA Fedecaribe 140-pound title.

This would have been the second boxing event to air on U.S. television after a card in Nicaragua back in April, however, the circumstances between both shows and their respective countries are vastly different.

Nicaragua, a far bigger country in terms of landmass with a population count roughly 35 percent less than the Dominican Republic, has been one of the least affected countries in regards to the coronavirus. When the Nicaraguan show was revealed to be airing on ESPN Deportes, there were less than a dozen confirmed active COVID-19 cases. The Dominican Republic, however, was just shy of 17,000 confirmed cases at the time of the card’s cancelation.

Even if the Dominican Republic had adopted the same protocols as the Nicaraguan show (and there were certainly similar elements between both protocols), there was a far greater risk of contamination and the virus being spread there. Whether or not that was a good enough reason is up to interpretation, but it’s hard to fault the Dominican officials for deciding to not move forward with the show.

In-Depth Look At Boxing’s Weight Classes: Middleweight:

Middleweight:

Current Beltholders:

  • Canelo Alvarez: WBA “Super”
  • Ryota Murata: WBA “Regular”
  • Jermall Charlo: WBC
  • Gennadiy Golovkin: IBF
  • Demetrius Andrade: WBO

Contenders:

  • Jaime Munguia
  • Sergiy Derevyanchenko
  • Chris Eubank Jr.
  • Jeff Horn
  • Liam Smith
  • Kamil Szeremeta
  • Kanat Islam

Prospects On The Rise/Fringe Contenders:

  • Edgar Berlanga
  • Esquiva Falcao
  • Meiirim Nursultanov
  • Nikita Ababiy
  • Connor Coyle
  • Magomed Madiev
  • Ronald Ellis
  • Kazuto Takesako
  • Fiodor Czerkasyzn
  • Janibek Alimkhanuly

One Fighter To Watch Out For:

  • Sergiy Derevyanchenko

For years, the middleweight division presented arguably the most attractive fight in boxing, which was Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennadiy Golovkin. After two very good fights on pay-per-view, some still clamor for a trilogy fight and given that both fight under lucrative deals with DAZN, it seemed like a third fight was inevitable.

However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Although there had been some discussion regarding making a third fight, mainly from DAZN reportedly pushing for that fight hard, Alvarez’s camp seems uninterested in that fight. Throughout their time with DAZN, it seemed like the fight was closer to falling through than it was ever being made.

So assuming a third fight between Alvarez and Golovkin is never made, where does the division go from here? While many peg Alvarez as the middleweight division’s top dog, the reality is that Alvarez hasn’t fought since May 2019 when he defeated Daniel Jacobs and with reports that his next fight is being targeted at super middleweight, one has to wonder what the division’s future will be in a couple of years.

Even though Golovkin is still one of the middleweight division’s elite, the reality is a new wave of stars and fighters are quickly finding their way into the conversation of best middleweight. Sergiy Derevyanchenko, while titleless, has a legitimate claim to beating Golovkin in their excellent fight back in October 2019 for the IBF title. After two very close fights against Golovkin and Jacobs, it almost seems like it's a matter of time before he finally captures world championship gold.

But what about the other titleholders? Where do they stand?

Well for starters, WBC champion Jermall Charlo and WBO champion Demetrius Andrade seem to be the two odd men out when it comes to getting that one career-defining fight against a true megastar of the sport.

Charlo had previously won the interim WBC title and the right to fight Alvarez for the WBC world title, but after a baffling decision from the sanctioning to create a WBC Franchise label and give it to Alvarez, Charlo was elevated to being the full champion unceremoniously. Even though a fight against Alvarez never seemed to be set in stone, Alvarez being named WBC Franchise Champion eliminated practically every reason to fight for Charlo. Since then, Charlo had a decent, if not unspectacular performance against Brandon Adams, followed by a much better performance against Dennis Hogan. But with Charlo fighting on PBC platforms and the rest of the champions on DAZN, giving Charlo a unification bout would be a very tall order to pull off.

Meanwhile, Andrade can’t get big fights with the fighters on the platform he’s a part of. Despite being one of DAZN’s top middleweights, all Andrade can muster up in terms of opponents are guys like Maciej Sulecki and Artur Akavov. Those names aren’t terrible, but it’s not going to draw the attention of someone like Golovkin and Alvarez.

The natural choice here would be to pit Andrade and Charlo together to unify both belts, but even that fight doesn’t seem like it will ever happen. Barring some type of negotiating miracle, it doesn’t look good for the future of both men holding the title. However, Andrade does have one potentially solid fight over the horizon: Jaime Munguia.

The unbeaten Mexican power puncher, whose rise to stardom was almost literally an overnight success, has shown immense promise with his tremendous power, but after a near two-year run as the WBO junior middleweight champion, opinions on his success as a middleweight has certainly been mixed to say the least.

Regardless, Munguia’s first title shot seems like it could be against Andrade, whether it would be now or down the road. Munguia presents a rare opportunity for Andrade to really be able to showcase his talents against an upper echelon middleweight. Whereas Andrade’s past opponents could barely push him past his first gear, Munguia’s power alone will certainly make this a very intriguing matchup.

Moving to the land of the rising sun, Ryota Murata is perhaps the oddest of all men in a division that seems to be filled with them. Murata is in a very rare position of being a top 10 middleweight who holds a title (despite his WBA “Regular” title not being considered a world title by many who aren’t his promoters, the WBA or anyone who is a part of his team), and also not even come up on anyone’s radar.

It’s not for a lack of ability. At his best, Murata is a top five middleweight, but fighting out of Japan and having little relevance in the United States, where the division is centered on, is certainly a bit of a hindrance. Murata was briefly linked to a fight with Alvarez for this past May in Japan which would have been an incredible and unique event that boxing seems to lack to produce nowadays it seems. Now, that fight seems to be dead in the water, even after boxing resumes.

With no major superstars lining up for a fight against Murata, he too seems destined for a title run against contenders that are just outside the top 10.

Speaking of the contenders, there are quite a few that are interesting to look at when it comes to their future. One such contender is Chris Eubank Jr., who holds the WBA’s interim middleweight title (that fact alone is example No. 3,482 as to why people don’t take the WBA world title seriously anymore). Eubank’s career seems to have been rejuvenated with a solid 2019 that saw him retire James DeGale and then pick up a win over Matt Korobov (who got hurt early in their fight). Eubank is certainly one of the best athletes in the division with good raw potential, but barely any polish whatsoever and in a division with plenty of great power punchers or savvy, technical pugilists, raw potential alone isn’t going to score wins against the division’s elite.

Liam Smith, on the other hand, has worked his way up to almost the top of the contender’s list with three straight wins after losing his WBO junior middleweight title to Munguia. With Smith firmly planted in Eddie Hearn’s marvel of middleweights, he seems to be next in line to fight Andrade and should definitely give something Andrade’s past opponents couldn’t provide: a halfway decent challenge that surely won’t leave audiences dissatisfied.

As for the future of the division, there’s plenty of excitement to go around. Perhaps the most exciting middleweight prospect is Puerto Rican slugger Edgar Berlanga, who not only has won every fight by KO, but has done so in the first round. While it’s incredibly easy to get lost in Berlanga’s short outings, the real question is seeing how he’ll respond when (God forbids) he has to fight past the first round.

Other prospects are perhaps a little more well-rounded, such as Kazakh fighters Janibek Alimkhanuly and Meiirim Nursultanov, who not only benefit from having incredible amateur pedigrees, but also have fought seemingly tougher competition in their short careers. Although a lot of these prospects won’t be seeing a world title shot for another few years, they will be setting the stage for what the mid 2020s to the early 2030s will provide in terms of middleweight prowess.

So who could stand out among the non-Alvarez/Golovkin bunch at 160 pounds? Right now that seems to be Derevyanchenko, who is now reportedly in talks to fight Alvarez, but that fight could take place at 168 pounds.

Well if not Derevyanchenko, then who else? Andrade and Charlo have the talent to end up in the middleweight top three, but their title reigns have been somewhat lackluster. Munguia has the youth to stay at this division to get better for years to come, but with the hype and promise he brings to the table, he’ll likely get pushed towards the world title picture sooner rather than later. With new coach Erik Morales training him, there’s a wild card factor when it comes to his development.

If we’re speaking frankly for a minute here, Munguia appears to be the type that, at this stage of his career, needs not only some more seasoning, but shows that he is capable of reaching that next level as a boxer. Throughout his 154-pound title run, Munguia showed plenty of sizzle, but little substance against a variety of opponents.

Sure, Munguia dominated a lot of his fights, but did we really see him make significant strides as a boxer each time out? I’d argue no, but that still doesn’t take away from his potential. IF he can be properly developed, Munguia may yet be able to rekindle the joy and excitement many saw in him when he decimated Sadam Ali on HBO back in May 2018. Will he, or anyone else for that matter, ever reach Alvarez or Golovkin’s level? Perhaps not, but there is a lot left to be determined and the division could still be one to follow even after Alvarez leaves the middleweights for good and Golovkin hangs up his gloves and retires in a couple of years.

Philly Special Postponed, How It Represents A Larger Problem With Boxing's Return:

The Philly Special, which was one of the most highly-anticipated club shows in the United States in quite some time, has officially been postponed.

Organized by Michelle "Raging Babe" Rosado, the event meant to showcase the best young fighters from Philadelphia, was originally supposed to take place in March, but was postponed to June by the pandemic. However, with lockdown measures in place and states still not fully opened, it was not possible to do the show at the time.

The main event of the card was going to be Philly fighgers Stevie Ortiz vs. Damon Allen for Ortiz’s’s state lightweight title and the vacant USBC lightweight title.

Rosado wrote on social media on June 3 that the IMPACT Network was going to televise the event as part of a "trial" run and was going to pay for anything for the card. The show was almost sold out and the event had a good amount of momentum and online chatter. Although some would think that doing the show in front of no fans in a studio setting would be a good way to salvage the show, the unfortunate part is that it would be a huge money loss and with big financial backing and no television deal, it was not feasible.

Greg Sirb, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission, is expected to issue guidance on Monday, June 15, and Rosado has dates on hold every month through the end of 2020.

"This is a tough time to be a promoter who depends on the live gate. Promotional companies that have television deals are able to put on shows with no fans. The middle-class promoters, those of us who need people in seats to make the events work financially, we're out in the cold, temporarily," Rosado said.

One thing that I've addressed in the past when it comes to boxing's return will be the lack of club shows for the foreseeable future. Rosado's issues with putting together a club show are also issues that a lot of promoters and boxing entities that aren't Top Rank, Matchroom, Golden Boy Promotions, PBC, Mayweather Promotions and Queensberry Promotions are facing.

Many people don't realize that part of what has kept boxing so strong are these types of shows, where boxers hone their craft and have a chance to showcase their talents, even if the audience is small.

In fact, it's hard to envision many fighters having stellar careers if it wasn't for club shows. Just to give a very recent example, Felix Caraballo, who fought Shakur Stevenson in the main event of the June 9 Top Rank on ESPN card, was a club fighter his entire career, fighting out of Puerto Rico. Not everyone can fight on the undercards of big main events and that's where club fighting comes into play.

The pandemic has affected many in the sport of boxing, but non-major promoters and club-level fighters have been hit especially hard. With no events running, some might even be tempted to leave the boxing business for good just to be able to find a way to support themselves. There are a lot of good people that are going to struggle mightily in the next few months, even if some promoters are running shows.

So, if there's perhaps a lesson in all this, is that supporters of the sport should do everything they can to support local boxers and non-major promoters. They are just as vital to the sport's future as any of these promoters with massive television deals, if not more vital.

Hopefully Rosado can make the Philly Special event down the road and if it does happen, that there will be plenty of support from everyone in boxing.

News And Notes From Around The World Of Boxing:

- Credit to Asian Boxing for being on top of what’s been happening with boxing in Japan. The Japan Boxing Commission and the Japan Pro Boxing Association held a meeting recently to discuss what can be done to bring back the sport of boxing in Japan. The hope is to have boxing shows start in July, although that is yet to be set in stone, given the unpredictable nature of the coronavirus pandemic. When shows do return, however, there will be no fans allowed in the arena and media such as camera crew might not be allowed to be ringside. Instead, they would be filming from a faraway angle, such as the balcony at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. Once it is deemed acceptable to have fans back in arenas, shows at first will only be able to sell enough tickets to fill up to one-third of the venue’s capacity to allow social distancing, a set-up that is similar to how Nicaragua ran a show in April. Before bouts those involved will need to have a health report done before a bout and may not be allowed to compete if they have a high temperature. There will also need to be an agreement between the promoter and a local hospital, with that extending to having an ambulance deployed as well. Interestingly enough, the commissions won’t enforce the 32-round rule for shows, which means that boxing cards must have a minimum of 32 scheduled rounds for that show. If a card has more than eight fights, there will be a request to split that into multiple cards.

- In a move that shouldn’t surprise anyone, the WBC has reinstated Franchon Crews-Dezurn as its super middleweight champion after Alejandra Jimenez, who originally won a title fight against her in January, failed a drug test months ago. The move comes more than two months after the WBO had done the same thing in regards to its title, so the fact that the WBC took twice as long to do the same is odd. In addition, the WBC has suspended Jimenez nine months retroactive to the date of the failed drug test, meaning that the WBC suspension will end on October 10, plus a full year probation after the suspension with additional random drug testing during that time. Although Jimenez will not be fined due to the global economic issues as a result of the coronavirus pandemic but if she were to fail any drug tests or is even suspected to be doing any banned substances during the probation, the WBC said it could suspend her indefinitely. Jimenez originally won the bout against Crews-Dezurn by split decision (97-93, 93-97, 98-92) to capture the WBO and WBC titles as part of a DAZN card that was headlined by Jaime Munguia's middleweight debut against Gary "Spike" O'Sullivan. But soon after, news of Jimenez failing a drug test was revealed. It was later revealed that the banned substance was the anabolic steroid stanozolol.

- MTK Global announced that, starting in July, MTK Fight Night events will return with one show per month and will be broadcast on ESPN+ in association with Top Rank. The initial events will be held behind closed doors under the British Boxing Board of Control's jurisdiction.

- MTK Global has announced the signing of highly-rated Kazakh amateur star Talgat Shaiken as he turns professional.

- Undefeated Chilean featherweight prospect Junior Cruzat and current OPBF Silver super middleweight titleholder Mose Auimatagi have signed managerial deals with Australian manager Tony Tolj of Dragon Fire Boxing.

- Former flyweight titleholder Charlie Edwards has signed a multi-fight promotional deal with Queensberry Promotions, joining his brother Sunny Edwards. Edwards has not fought since a WBC flyweight title defense against Julio Cesar Martinez back in August 2019. Originally, Edwards lost the fight, and the title, by third-round KO but the fight result was overturned to a no contest after replays showed Martinez hit Edwards after going down. Regardless of the change in result and Edwards retaining his title, he eventually vacated the belt to move up to super flyweight. Although his feet are firmly planted in the 115-pound division now, Edwards adds that he has his sights on a potential run at bantamweight. However, he does note that he wouldn't be gunning for the bantamweight division's titleholders immediately if and when he decides to go up to that weight class. “The next fight is likely to be a gauge to see where I’m at regarding my best weight. The main thing is keeping my world ranking at super-flyweight for now. I look at the bantamweight champions. I’m not deluded and say, ‘I’m world level’ at that weight because that would be stupid. If I go to bantamweight I won’t be rushing to get in with world level fighters. It will be building up over a few fights," Edwards said.

- The Assembly of the World Boxing Association voted Gilberto Jesus Mendoza to remain as the WBA President for the period of 2020-2025. Following the proposal of the election process in accordance with the end of the present 2015-2020 term of office, the full assembly agreed to exhaust the statutory limits and re-elect Gilberto Jesus Mendoza by acclamation. Since no additional nominations were made for the position, the members were called to vote and unanimously elected Mendoza for a new term. The 10 voting members agreed to conduct the vote online were Renzo Bagnariol, from Nicaragua, Gustavo Padilla, from Panama, Carlos Chávez, from Venezuela, Shivana Inalsingh, from Trinidad and Tobago, George Martínez, from Canada, Mariana Borissova, from Bulgaria, Francisco Piña, from Colombia, Julio Quintero, from Venezuela and Luis Pabón, from Puerto Rico.

- The fight between Giemel Magramo and Junto Nakatani for the vacant WBO flyweight title has been one that could never seem to have a definitive date. The fight was originally supposed to take place in Japan in April, but the pandemic forced the fight to be delayed to June, then July 4, which would have still made it the first world title fight back at the time, but now potential travel issues have caused the fight to be delayed yet again. Liza Elorde, the wife of Magramo’s promoter Johnny Elorde, tells The Ring that the venue is still expected to be Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan. She says promoter Akihiko Honda of Teikan Promotions says there won’t be any fans in attendance with coverage only being on television.

- Boxing Scene reports that a fight between Thomas Dulorme and Jamal James for what the report describes is a vacant version of the WBA welterweight title will take place July 20 and FOX is expected to televise the bout from a studio setting in the Los Angeles area. Originally, the two were supposed to face off for the interim WBA welterweight title in the main event of a PBC on FOX card from Minneapolis on April 11, with the co-main event is David Morrell Jr. vs. Lennox Allen for the interim WBA super middleweight title.

- Walter Matthysse Jr., son of former boxer Walter Matthysse and former secondary welterweight titlist Lucas Matthysse, has signed a co-promotional deal with Tello Box and Sampson Boxing.

- Japanese amateur star Rentaro Kimura, who had a 72-16 record in the unpaid ranks, is planning to turn pro in July, but that all of that depends on whether or not the Japanese Boxing Commission plans on sanctioning fight cards by that point.

- Amateur standout John Hedges has signed a multi-fight deal with Matchroom Boxing. Hedges previously made the decision to turn pro in April and will compete at super middleweight. No date for his pro debut was announced.

- Split-T Management has signed amateur standout Javier Martinez. Martinez is a five-time National Champion, the number-one ranked fighter at 165 pounds in the USA Boxing Rankings and the winner of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

Results From Around The World Of Boxing (June 6-12):

*Credit to Boxrec for the results.

June 6, 2020: Never Surrender MMA Gym, Abilene, Kansas, USA

  • Desmond Jarmon defeated Mike Fowler by TKO, round 4, 0:46
  • Shawn Simpson defeated Dakota Laster by TKO, round 1, 1:18
  • Antonio Woods defeated Jessy Ebrecht by TKO, round 2, 0:24
  • super middleChris Thompson defeatedBrandon Wright by unanimous decision
  • Arturo Moreno defeated Kynndale Prather by majority decision
  • super middleJack Freriks defeated Richard Smith by unanimous decision
  • Andre Marquez defeated Antwan Robertson by KO, round 1, 1:19
  • Luis Velasquez defeated Dalton Treaster by RTD, round 1, 3:00

June 6, 2020: Road Boxing Gym, Siheung, South Korea:

  • Min Hyuk Jang defeated Chul Hyun Lim by TKO, round 1, 1:28
  • Hee Sub Shin defeated Jeong Min Kim by majority decision (39-38, 38-37, 38-38
  • Young Bin Choi defeated Kirill Belov by TKO, round 1, 1:59
  • Han Bin Kim defeated Joon Suk Lee by majority decision (38-38, 39-38, 39-38)

June 6, 2020: Shindo Gymnasium, Namyangju, South Korea:

  • Hyun Jin Kim and Man Suk Lee fight to a unanimous draw (57-57, 57-57, 57-57
  • Joon Sun Lee defeated Tae Yang Oh by unanimous decision (40-36, 40-37, 39-37)
  • Min Oh Kim defeated Min Gyun Shin by technical decision, round 3 (30-27, 29-28, 30-28)
  • Won Hyung Yoon and Han Kyoo Park fight to a majority draw (39-38, 38-38, 38-38)
  • Seung Ho Jun defeated Young Yoon Ahn by TKO, round 4, 1:55
  • Woo Hyun Ma defeated Young Ji Kim by RTD, round 3

June 6, 2020: Tarimbaro, Michoacán de Ocampo, Mexico:

  • Carlos Molina defeated Michi Munoz by RTD, round 5, 3:00
  • Alejandro Davila defeated Nestor Fernando Garcia by KO, round 9, 0:53
  • Juan Sergio Torres Perez defeated Luis Acuna Rojas by unanimous decision (77-72, 80-71, 80-71)
  • Denilson Jair Valtierra defeated Aurelio Hernandez by unanimous decision (78-74, 77-75, 79-73)

June 6, 2020: SECA Studio, Beijing, China:

  • Tumaerbieke Nuerbieke defeated Run Ang Du by unanimous decision (40-37, 40-36, 40-36)
  • Changyuan Yan defeated Wulamu Tulake by unanimous decision (39-34, 38-35, 38-35)
  • Jie Lv defeated Shuo Xing by unanimous decision (39-37, 39-37, 39-37)
  • Zhenyu Guo defeated Linkai Wang by TKO, round 2, 1:56

June 7, 2020: Star Boxing Club, Pocheon, South Korea:

  • Hwang Kook Je defeated Suk Hwan Yuh by TKO, round 3, 2:47
  • Yoo Chan Lee defeated Woon Han by TKO, round 1, 1:43
  • Geon Kim and Kyung Min Lee fought to a majority draw (39-38, 38-38, 38-38)
  • Sang Don Wang defeated Sung Hun Kim by unanimous decision (39-37, 39-37, 39-37)
  • Chul Woo Yoon defeated Tae Woong Ahn by TKO, round 2
  • Yang Ji Kim defeated Joon Suk Lee by TKO, round 2, 1:40
  • Nicholas Ray Perez defeated Sung Wook Yoon by unanimous decision (39-37, 40-36, 40-36)

June 7, 2020: SECA Studio, Beijing, China:

  • Huanran Li defeated Shichao Gao by unanimous decision (60-54, 59-55, 59-55)
  • Yuanchen Xu defeated Wenhao Guo by unanimous decision (39-37, 40-36, 40-36)
  • Shaoyan Chen defeated Yuxiang Ying by TKO, round 1, 1:42

June 12, 2020: Palac w Konarach, Konary, Poland

  • Mariusz Wach defeated Kevin Johnson by unanimous decision (98-92, 99-91, 97-93) to win the Republic of Poland International Heavyweight Title
  • Ewa Piatkowska defeated Karina Kopinska by unanimous decision (58-56, 58-56, 59-55)
  • Serhii Huk defeated Damian Lawniczakby TKO, round 2, 2:57
  • Hubert Benkowski defeated Maciej Wazny by unanimous decision (39-37, 39-37, 39-37)
  • Maksim Vislaukh defeated Krzysztof Rogowski by TKO, round 2, 2:38
  • Sebastian Rembecki defeated Radoslaw Chojnowski by majority decision (40-36, 40-36, 38-38)
  • Jakub Laskowski defeated Marcin Ficner by unanimous decision (39-37, 40-36, 40-36)

June 12: Havelstudios, Berlin, Germany

  • Jack Culcay defeated Howard Cospolite by unanimous decision (116-112, 117-111, 118-110) to retain the WBO International Junior Middleweight Title
  • Marten Arsumanjan defeated Bjoern Schicke by TKO, round 7 to win the EBU European Union Middleweight Title
  • Vincenzo Gualtieri defeated Alexander Pavlov by majority decision (96-95, 96-94, 95-95) to win theGermany BDB Middleweight Title
  • Thomas Piccirillo defeated Adam Amkhadov by unanimous decision
  • Jama Saidi defeated Jay Spencer by unanimous decision
  • Artur Mann defeated Rad Rashid by KO, round 3, 0:38
  • Haro Matevosyan and Said Rahimi fought to a no contest

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. Errol Spence Jr.
  9. Manny Pacquiao
  10. Gennadiy Golovkin

Heavyweight

  1. Tyson Fury
  2. Anthony Joshua
  3. Deontay Wilder
  4. Oleksandr Usyk
  5. Dillian Whyte
  6. Andy Ruiz Jr.
  7. Joseph Parker
  8. Luis Ortiz
  9. Kubrat Pulev
  10. Michael Hunter

Cruiserweight

  1. Mairis Briedis
  2. Yuniel Dorticos
  3. Ilunga Makabu
  4. Krzysztof Glowacki
  5. Kevin Lerena
  6. Arsen Goulamirian
  7. Thabisu Mchunu
  8. Lawrence Okolie
  9. Noel Gevor
  10. Michael Cieslak

Light heavyweight

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

Super middleweight

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

Middleweight

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

Junior middleweight

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

Welterweight

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

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. Jose Zepeda
  10. Viktor Postol

Lightweight

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

Super featherweight

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

Featherweight

  1. Josh Warrington
  2. Gary Russell Jr.
  3. Shakur Stevenson
  4. Xu Can
  5. TJ Doheny
  6. Tugstsogt Nyambayar
  7. Kid Galahad
  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. John Riel Casimero
  3. Nonito Donaire
  4. Nordine Oubaali
  5. Guillermo Rigondeaux
  6. Zolani Tete
  7. Emmanuel Rodriguez
  8. Juan Carlos Payano
  9. Jason Moloney
  10. Richard Espinoza

Super Flyweight

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

Flyweight

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

Light flyweight/Minimumweight

  1. Wanheng Menayothin
  2. Hiroto Kyoguchi
  3. Kenshiro Teraji
  4. Elwin Soto
  5. Carlos Canizales
  6. Pedro Taduran
  7. Hekkie Budler
  8. Wilfredo Mendez
  9. Felix Alvarado
  10. Knockout CP Freshmart
Get exclusive pro wrestling content on Fightful Select, our premium news service! Click here to learn more.
From The Web