GRANTED, of all the things cancelled by the coronavirus in the coming months, a British and European heavyweight title fight between Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce will rank somewhere lower down the list of importance.

Yet, be that is may, it was one of the better fights announced in the first quarter of 2020 and during a silly season of heavyweight fights pushed on pay-per-view platforms it was arguably the best of the lot. Which is why it is disappointing it will no longer take place when it was supposed to take place – April 11 – and that we will have to wait until July 11, coronavirus pending, to see the pair put their undefeated records on the line.

An official statement from Queensberry Promotions: “Our ‘Seek and Destroy’ event headlined by Daniel Dubois vs. Joe Joyce on April 11th at London’s O2 Arena has now been rescheduled to Saturday July 11th, still at the O2 Arena. Tickets will remain valid for the new date. However, people who cannot attend the new date can obtain a refund from their original point of purchase.

“WBA and IBF 140-pound champion Josh Taylor’s homecoming, scheduled for May 2nd at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, will no longer take place on this date. Refunds are available from the point of purchase. We are currently working with the SSE Hydro, Top Rank and MTK Global to identify a suitable alternative date to reschedule the event for the Scottish fans.”

Josh Taylor
Josh Taylor’s next fight has also been scrapped (Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing)

Controversial Mexican Alejandra Jimenez has been stripped of the WBO super-middleweight title she won against Franchon Crews-Dezurn on January 11 following a failed Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) test for the anabolic steroid eztanozolol. The belt has been returned to Crews-Dezurn, the former champion.

The WBO’s ruling on the matter stated: “Both Ms. Jimenez and Ms. Crews-Dezurn enrolled in the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency program (VADA), whereby they were subject to testing. For Ms. Jimenez, the VADA test confirmed the presence of the anabolic steroid Eztanozolol in said participant who was the subject to one or more specimens collected and analyzed on January 10th 2020, to detect usage of performance-enhancing drugs. The use or consumption of said substance is prohibited and, therefore, all interested parties, including the WBO, were duly notified.

“Accordingly, these circumstances triggered the WBO Regulations [and] Jimenez was granted due process through an official letter whereby she was advised through her official promoter, of the underlying facts, possible violations, and applicable procedure to challenge why the WBO World Championship Committee should not vacate the title in light of her actions.

 “Ms. Jimenez was granted a ten (10) day period to respond and warned that failure to comply would constitute a waiver of any other right thereto and with the Committee having the right to issue any further ruling deem necessary, helpful or convenient to accomplish the purposes, policies, and intent of the WBO regulations. Ms. Jimenez’s promoter acknowledged receipt of the show cause letter, but no other further response or evidence whatsoever was forwarded to this Committee.

 “Conversely, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) Commission […] determined that as a result of Ms. Jimenez’s adverse finding, the official bout result of a split decision win for Jimenez be changed to a “No Decision” and issued a suspension for Jimenez until April 11th 2020.

“This ruling triggered the Committee by issuing a second notice to Ms. Jimenez and advising said participant that the WBO must adhere and abide by the local boxing commission with jurisdiction over the bout, its ruling and determinations. Therefore, Ms. Jimenez was granted a final five (5) day timeframe to provide any supporting evidence in her defense as to why we should not declare the title vacant.

“On both occasions, Ms. Jimenez failed to comply with this Committee’s orders [but she] filed two email communications with no reliable, credible, or relevant supporting evidence in her defense, rather unfounded averments and allegations unsupported in the record. Lastly, Ms. Jimenez requested advice as to the procedure for an appeal with the Texas Commission and a hearing with the WBO, albeit the time frame for any possible challenge to this Committee’s ruling had elapsed. In light of these events, Ms. Franchon Crews-Dezurn requested that as result of the local boxing commission nullifying the official bout result to a No Decision, Ms. Crews-Dezurn should be reinstated as champion.”

So there you have it. In short, Jimenez was caught out, her fight is now a No Contest, and Crews-Dezurn, the boxer who produced a clean drug sample, is back in her rightful place as world champion. In a world of uncertainty, we at least have some clarity and good news on this front.