Fightful Boxing Newsletter (6/20) Table Of Contents:
- Tyson Fury vs. Tom Schwarz, What's Next For Fury? (Page 1)
- Issues With WBSS Cruiserweight Semifinals (Page 2)
- News And Notes Around The World Of Boxing (Page 3)
- Andrew Cancio vs. Alberto Machado 2 Preview (Page 4)
- Predictions For The Second Half Of 2019 (Page 5)
Tyson Fury vs. Tom Schwarz, What's Next For Fury?
Tyson Fury’s long-awaited Top Rank debut finally took place on June 15 in Las Vegas in an event that left many with some questions answered but a lot more left unanswered and will remain as such for several more months.
Perhaps the seemingly-least significant (or least surprising part) was the actual fight itself, which had Fury defeat Tom Schwarz by second-round TKO that looked more like a warm-up session than a fight for the lineal heavyweight championship. Fury barely got hit at all during the five minutes and 54 seconds of in-ring action and showcased some solid head movement and even a hint of his (somewhat) underrated power. But in the end, the fight itself will be remembered as a fun way to end a night in Las Vegas at best and as one of the worst televised main events of the year thus far.
Schwarz couldn’t find any groove offensively, Fury goofed off at times and the lone knockdown of the fight looked like a soft combination from Fury that split Schwarz’s guard to drop him. This looked more like Fury’s 2018 fights against Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta (two completely farcical wastes of time for anyone looking for any boxing that is halfway decent) than the excellent and drama-filled fight against Deontay Wilder last December.
But let’s be perfectly honest. Top Rank never intended to give Fury a tough first fight and wanted to introduce Fury to an American audience that has yet to know of him after his fight against Deontay Wilder last September. Schwarz was brought in to lost to Fury and make him look good in the same way that a pro wrestling company would bring in unassuming and weak-looking enhancement talent to lose in dominant fashion to a big man that is getting a major push.
And in some ways, Fury is no more a pro wrestler than he is a boxer as far as his out-of-the-ring behavior. Even inside the ring he acts more like an entertainer than a boxer at times, from his entrance against Schwarz (dressing up as Apollo Creed from Rocky IV and even having “Living In America” by James Brown as his ring walk music). Combine that with his excellent promo ability (for the most part as he can get carried away sometimes to the point of making people uncomfortable) and you have someone Bob Arum sees a lot of money to be gained from.
Throughout the entire buildup to this fight, Arum has said some very outlandish things regarding Fury and his future as a member of Top Rank that can be best described as hyperbolic in nature. Interestingly enough, Arum had no idea who Schwarz was before the fight was made official. The only reason Schwarz was ever picked as Fury’s opponent was because of three reasons: 1. His size is somewhat comparable to that of Wilder. 2. He has a decent right hand, something that Wilder excels in having. 3. Schwarz is highly ranked by the WBO.
The selling of the fight pretty much relied on putting Schwarz on a higher pedestal than he is based on the aforementioned three reasons and also playing up the chances of Fury losing in the aftermath of Andy Ruiz Jr. beating Anthony Joshua on June 1. Of course, both strategies fell flat on its face once people had more than 10 seconds to think about the matchup and no one really bought Schwarz as a credible opponent for Fury.
Arum also said this fight would attract more new subscribers to ESPN+ than UFC’s inaugural event on the streaming service (which clearly did not happen based on a number of reasons, including the fact that neither ESPN nor Top Rank has said anything about any increase in subscribers) and that a 2020 rematch between Fury and Wilder would do Mayweather-Pacquiao PPV numbers (which will never happen even with the greatest promotion in sports history behind its back). Whether or not Arum was too excited about Fury signing with Top Rank or truly believed the Brit was that big of a draw in the United States, Arum came off as delusional and foolish for making such outrageous predictions of the fight.
As for what’s next for Fury, the current plan is to have him fight again either in late September or early October and Madison Square Garden is one option for a venue. No opponent was discussed for Fury’s next bout, though one can certainly make educated guesses as to who are being considered. Kubrat Pulev, the mandatory challenger to the IBF heavyweight title, is one option given that the two are promotional stablemates.
Regardless of who it will be, Top Rank will present them as a potential challenge to Fury, but we all know that whoever is Fury's next opponent will be brought out to lose and make Fury look good. The end goal is a rematch against Deontay Wilder and Fury losing at this stage would completely derail that.
Issues With WBSS Cruiserweight Semifinals:
One of the strangest world title fights in recent memory ended with Mairis Briedis capturing the WBO cruiserweight title.
Briedis knocked out Krzysztof Glowacki early in the third round to not only win the WBO title but also advance to the World Boxing Super Series finals.
The fight was nothing but controversial as a result of a number of bizarre moments that can only be best summarized as inept refereeing. In the second round, Glowacki hit a punch to the back of Briedis which resulted in Briedis immediately connecting a hard elbow to Glowacki’s chin and knocking him down. Referee Robert Byrd told Glowacki to get back up and to resume fighting. The two kept fighting, but with Glowacki still reeling from the elbow shot, Briedis dropped Glowacki with just seconds remaining in the round.
Glowacki got back up and the round ended but Byrd claimed he never heard the bell and so the two hesitantly continued fighting and Briedis dropped his opponent to the canvas once more. Despite the round already being over and Glowacki going down roughly 10 seconds after the bell sounded, the fight continued. Early in the third round, Briedis took advantage of a clearly hurt Glowacki and landed a series of punches that ended with a right hand that knocked Glowacki out for good, ending his short reign as the WBO champion.
The fight concluded what has been a very unusual past few hours regarding the WBSS semifinals. The WBC title was originally supposed to also be on the line, but the WBC withdrew its sanctioning for this fight as a result of a dispute between it and the WBO in regards to selecting the officials for this fight.
Now Briedis, a two-time cruiserweight champion, will face Dorticos in the finals later this at a venue to be decided as well. The winner would win the unified WBO and WBC cruiserweight champion and the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
The end result of the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight semifinal fight between Briedis and Glowacki has left the entire sport in a state of confusion over the series of events that led to Briedis beating Glowacki.
Glowacki spoke with The Ring through Jacek Szelagowski of Knockout Promotions and confirmed he would try and appeal the decision.
“It is hard to accept such a situation. I would never expect an elbow. I have never fought anyone who would fight like that. I was not interested in acting. I wanted to continue and win this fight with classic boxing. The elbow was really strong and clear to the chin. I did not know what happened. I do not remember a lot after that. I did not hear anything. I was trying to take my chance in a direct war. I am extremely disappointed I am not in the finals. I sacrificed everything to win that title," Glowacki said.
Even if there is a change in the fight result, whether it would be a no contest or a retroactive disqualification win for Glowacki, there's no telling if the cruiserweight finals will change. Kalle Sauerland said the plan is to have the three WBSS finals be main event bouts on their own respective shows running in September, October and November.
As for the other semifinal bout, Yuniel Dorticos advanced to the finals with an impressive outing against Andrew Tabiti
The Cuban fighter scored a vicious right to Tabiti’s chin with less than 30 seconds remaining in the 10th round and knock him out. Dorticos not only becomes the new IBF cruiserweight champion but also advance to the WBSS cruiserweight finals where he will take on Briedis
The fight started off slow with both men barely landing anything. The sixth round was by far the most eventful of the entire bout. An accidental clash of heads left Dorticos with a cut right next to his right eye and there was some fear that he was not able to continue.
Dorticos was given an option to end the fight right then and there and the fight would go to a technical decision, but he decided to keep fighting. Tabiti was also docked a point foe excessive holding and landed a couple of low blows on Dorticos.
The second half of the fight saw Dorticos be more confident and pressed the action forward on Tabiti. The fight ended near the conclusion of the 10th round when Dorticos landed a 1-2 combination that had Dorticos land a right hand to the point of Tabiti’s chin, knocking him out immediately.
Although a spot in the WBSS finals was already huge stakes in this fight, the stakes were raised significantly just hours before the fight took place. WBSS officials announced that Aleksandr Usyk vacated the IBF title, the last of his four world titles at 200 pounds, and that the vacant belt would be on the line for this matchup.
Dorticos is now a two-time world champion, having held the WBA title. Dorticos was also in last year’s WBSS cruiserweight tournament, but lost in the semifinals when he was stopped in the final round by Murat Gassiev.
News And Notes Around The World Of Boxing:
There are some unsubstantiated rumors circulating social media that former world champions Lee Selby and Adrien Broner could face each other in the future. Though that seems to be a really strange matchup and something hard to envision, it actually might be a worthwhile watch. At this point in Broner’s career, he’s essentially entered gatekeeper status. He’s only one once in four fights since 2017 and that was a split decision against Adrian Granados where Broner wasn’t even the clear winner. Selby could be getting a very nice payday by facing Broner and beating could legitimize him in some people’s eyes in the United States, but that fight would only happen in the U.S. Whether or not this fight will happen is an entirely different question and I doubt that it will ever happen.
If there’s any reason to watch boxing on June 21 that isn’t the DAZN card in California, it’s the main event of the ShoBox: The New Generation card on Showtime. The real big attraction is unbeaten prospect Sebastian Fundora, who stands at a gargantuan 6’7” and fights at 154 pounds. It’s an unreal sight to behold in boxing, but he is actually a credible prospect to watch out for. I expect viewership for this card to be slightly better than past cards due to the sheer number of people who are extremely curious to seeing this heavyweight-sized junior middleweight in action.
Chad Dawson is returning to the ring later this month when he takes on 15-5-2 fighter Quintin Rankin on June 29 at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut. This will be Dawson’s first fight in two years and it will be shown Fight Night Live on Facebook. I don’t know how long this run will go for Dawson, but don’t be surprised if he goes on a minor run and somehow gets himself a potential light heavyweight title shot based on his resume and name recognition alone. The same happened with Jean Pascal, who came out of retirement, won one fight and then got himself a shot at Dmitry Bivol’s WBA light heavyweight world title last August in Atlantic City.
According to a report from Boxing Scene, former featherweight champion Carl Frampton’s Top Rank debut is set to take place in Philadelphia on August 10. Frampton’s debut, against an opponent yet to be named, would headline a Top Rank on ESPN+ card at the Liacouras Center. If you’re a little confused by this seemingly-strange combination, it’s because Frampton, as with many Frank Warren-promoted fighters, signed deals to have Top Rank be their American promoters and when Frampton joined Top Rank, the plan would be to immediately build towards a showdown against WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez. While on paper that all sounds good, it’s no guarantee that a Valdez-Frampton fight happens. Given how Valdez has stated that he could soon move up to super featherweight and is focused on a unification fight with IBF titleholder Josh Warrington, Frampton’s title aspirations will solely depend on what happens with Valdez. Even if there is a scenario in which Valdez vacates the belt, Frampton wouldn’t the next man up to fight for the title. In fact, he wouldn’t be the first Top Rank fighter to fight for the belt. That would be Shakur Stevenson, promoted by Top Rank, followed by Joet Gonzalez, promoted by Golden Boy Promotions. Depending on who Frampton beats and what the WBO ratings committee shapes up, Valdez vacating his world title could mean a potential Stevenson vs. Frampton showdown which would be a very interesting fight, but a somewhat easy one for Top Rank to make.
Matchroom Boxing Italy has announced a show in Rome taking place in Rome. The company’s July 11 show on DAZN will take place at the Stadio Nicola Pietrangeli in Rome and will feature a number of regional title bouts. One title bout will have Fabio Turchi defend his WBC International cruiserweight title for the first time against British fighter Tommy McCarthy. Turchi won the WBC International title in his last fight back in April when he knocked out Sami Enbom in less than 90 seconds. Also on the card is a WBC International Silver middleweight title bout will have former world title challenger Emanuele Blandamura face Marcus Morrison. Blandamura unsuccessfully challenged for the WBA "Regular" middleweight title in 2018 when he was stopped by Ryota Murata in Japan. Since then, Blandamura has won two straight fights, both of them taking place in Italy. Morrison is on a four-fight win streak since losing an eight-round fight against Alistair Warren back in 2018. Lastly, Serhiy Demchenko will face Hakim Zoulikha for the vacant EBU European Union light heavyweight title. The two faced off in 2017 with Demchenko winning the bout by technical decision after five rounds. Demchenko once held the title and has won his last two fights, both taking place in December 2018. Zoulikha also held the European Union title and has faced the likes of Robin Krasniqi and Sullivan Barrera throughout his career.
Andrew Cancio vs. Alberto Machado 2 Preview:
DAZN returns to the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino on June 21 with another Golden Boy Promotions card headlined by one of the better rematches of 2019 thus far.
In the main event, Andrew Cancio and Alberto Machado will face off once again for the WBA super featherweight belt in a rematch of their February 2019 bout. The first fight was a short, yet explosive one that saw both men get dropped. Cancio managed to get back up and eventually knock Machado out to pull off one of the biggest surprises of 2019 thus far and win his first world title. Now Machado is looking to redeem himself and is hoping to cap off his run at 130 pounds by becoming a two-time WBA titleholder.
Also on the card is the return of WBO light flyweight champion Angel Acosta as he defends his belt against Elwin Soto. Acosta sports one of boxing's most impressive knockout ratios with every win coming by knockout. Acosta has been looking for bigger fights at 108 pounds and a win over Soto might not be labeled as anything big, but it could push Acosta into potential unification bouts with the other world champions.
Tale of the Tape:
Andrew Cancio vs. Alberto Machado 2:
Record: 20-4-2 (15 KO)
Notable Opponents: Alberto Machado, Joseph Diaz Jr., Ronny Rios, Rene Alvarado
Titles Won: WBA Super Featherweight Title
Record: 21-1 (17 KO)
Notable Opponents: Andrew Cancio, Jezreel Corrales
Titles Won: WBA Super Featherweight Title
Angel Acosta vs. Elwin Soto:
Record: 20-1 (20 KO)
Notable Opponents: Kosei Tanaka, Ganigan Lopez, Carlos Buitrago
Titles Won: WBO Light Flyweight Title
Record: 14-1 (10 KO)
Notable Opponents: N/A
Titles Won: N/A
Predictions For The Second Half Of 2019:
Anthony Joshua becomes the unified heavyweight world champion once again after beating Andy Ruiz Jr. in the United Kingdom in one of the more disappointing main events of 2019: I say this as someone who was in complete utter shock and on the edge of my seat watching the first fight the two had earlier this month. I’m not understating how great or significant the first fight was (still being discussed to this day and even my significant other, who never watches boxing, still talks about). Ruiz absolutely deserved to win the WBA, WBO and IBF titles, but let’s also not understate how uncharacteristically bad Joshua looked and performed at Madison Square Garden. Maybe it’s the nerves of fighting overseas for the first time or something, but Joshua did not look good in this fight. I expect Joshua to not only regroup and refocus, but also go to the advantages he does have: his size and length. When the two meet up (at Wembley Stadium in late November), I believe Joshua will stand back and use the jab to outbox Ruiz and move around the ring and avoid Ruiz’s hard punches. It won’t look pretty and the fight will go the distance in an ugly fight that is similar to Joshua’s win over Joseph Parker in March 2018. People will sour on the fight and on Joshua, but it won’t matter as Joshua is back on top.
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez signs a multi-fight deal with ESPN and Top Rank to eventually build up to a fight with Jerwin Ancajas: Chocolatito has been MIA since September 2018 when he looked in rare form, stopping Moises Fuentes in five rounds in Las Vegas. Top Rank currently has IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas on its roster and aside from Andrew Moloney, no notable super flyweights on its roster. Ancajas’ title reign has been largely unspectacular, but he did raise his stock significantly with his last win, a seventh-round knockout win over Ryuichi Funai. Now Chocolatito has an American promoter in Tom Loeffler which would mean a relatively easy signing for Matchroom Boxing and DAZN. But Chocolatito is also affiliated with Akihiko Honda from Teiken Promotions, who have a working relationship with Top Rank. Unless DAZN offers big money for Chocolatito, I expect Top Rank to surprise people and sign Gonzalez in the hopes of making Ancajas vs. Gonzalez down the road for a big ESPN main event.
Golden Boy Promotions and Matchroom Boxing will co-promote a card that will be nothing but inter-promotional fights between the two companies: Now this idea was thrown around in the immediate aftermath of Canelo Alvarez’s win over Daniel Jacobs this past May in Las Vegas. The idea does seem plausible if you really think about it. Both companies have shown willingness to work with one another and have broadcast deals with DAZN. Since Canelo’s two fights on DAZN were against Matchroom fighters, and given that Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn also has several potential opponents for Alvarez on his roster, having a Canelo fight headline such a card would be interesting. But if that were to prove to be too tough, both companies have multiple big fights in play. Perhaps no fight would be more fit to headline such a show without Canelo is a potential IBF super featherweight title bout between titleholder Tevin Farmer (Matchroom) and Joseph Diaz Jr. (Golden Boy). Regardless of how it is constructed, the idea is interesting enough to do sometime in the fall or early winter.
Wanheng Menayothin will lose for the first time in his pro career, breaking boxing’s longest active win streak: Believe me, this pains me a lot writing this as I am definitely on Team Menayothin. For those unaware, Menayothin is the current WBC minimumweight champion and currently sports a 53-0 in the pro ranks. Already he has a better record than Rocky Marciano and Floyd Mayweather Jr. and many (jokingly) call Menayothin the best boxer ever (much to the anger of Mayweather fans who don’t realize it’s a joke). But when you peel back the impressive record, all you get are uninspired performances and downright boring fights as of late from Menayothin. That’s not to say he hasn’t looked good in his recent fights because he’s dominated pretty much everyone in his entire reign, but something doesn’t seem to click when it comes to Menayothin. The biggest fight at minimumweight is a long overdue bout with WBA champion Knockout CP Freshmart, but at this point, it’ll be one of those fights that people clamor for and never get. In a year that has seen plenty of upsets, I predict Menayothin’s title reign and perfect record will come to an end.
Gary Russell Jr. will move up in weight and sign with Top Rank Boxing to fight Miguel Berchelt: Now this prediction might have been more bold had this piece been written at the start of 2019, but it still is worth exploring. Russell, the current WBC featherweight champion, has been looking for a fight against WBA champion Leo Santa Cruz and given that both fight under the PBC banner, it seemed to be an easy fight to make right? Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. A fight that has been built up for more than a year will likely no longer happen for a couple of reasons. First off, Russell is a free agent and able to sign with any company or entity he so desires. Secondly, Russell has stated that he would be willing to move up in weight and if he does so, it would be to fight Berchelt, the WBC super featherweight champion. Berchelt has fought multiple times on Top Rank and ESPN and a Berchelt-Russell fight would be a very solid and exciting one. It’s no guarantee that this will happen, however, as Russell is also open to returning to PBC. Given the number of top fighters at featherweight and super featherweight on Top Rank’s roster in one way or another, it’s hard to not see Russell taking the plunge and face new challenges as he turned 31 years old earlier this month.