THERE will never be cases of long-term writer’s block in boxing circles as long as we have the heavyweight division. If the division was a person it would be a drug-addled maniac with a tenuous grip on reality who thinks rubbing their knuckles on your head is great banter. It really is the gift that won’t start giving.
The Atlantic has reported that Andy Ruiz Jnr (33-1, 22 KOs) has agreed in principle to rematch Anthony Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia on December 7. This means that a fight that was announced a fortnight ago, had a press conference that was not attended by either fighter, and caused outraged fans to lose their heads, which is probably the fate that will befall the construction workers if the venue isn’t erected in time, is almost officially done. Almost.
Ruiz has reportedly accepted a revised purse that is said to add almost a few more millions to the £6.5 million that he originally refused to sign off on to bring the latest total to around £8,200,000. Ruiz will also go back on his insistence that the fight takes place in America.
Many boxing fans were up in arms over the idea that the contest could take place in a blood-soaked country with an appalling human rights record that is rife with casual misogyny, violence, homophobia and racism, and is led by a blood-thirsty, money-obsessed, morally corrupt sociopath, but the news that it won’t be taking place in America will no doubt allay those concerns.
Deontay Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) has opened a takeaway in Batley, Yorkshire. There really is very little you can add to that except that he won’t be serving up burgers and chips “To this day, to this DAY!” in the establishment, as he was only on hand to officially open Mr T’s as a guest of its owner, B.A. Baracus.
In a world where it is becoming increasingly difficult to get the big names to pick up the phone it is reassuring to know that Wilder barked out the exclusive news that “Ortiz is definitely happening. I am looking forward to fighting him. After I knock him out I will go to Fury, knock him out and then we will go for a unification” to a group of startled pensioners.
To make matters that bit more surreal, the “Bomb Squad” team members were seated underneath a painting of Joshua. Never change, heavyweight boxing, never change.
I am not making excuses, but this would have been a much better article if I had my ergonomic keyboard, my specially designed ergonomic chair, and the brain of someone witty, well-educated and urbane. Conor McGregor (0-1) knows all about refraining from making excuses, too. The Dubliner has revealed that he made a crucial error when training to fight Floyd Mayweather (50-0, 27 early) in August 2017. Namely, his failure to switch from a team of MMA coaches to a dedicated boxing one.
“We came back from Miami and scheduled a charity boxing bout in my old club,” he told ESPN. “Many people can’t fly to Vegas to come see me fight so I wanted to rekindle my old relationship. It was only when I got back there that I realised how much of a grave error I made in the Mayweather build-up.
“I needed the coaches who taught me how to box in my corner and I realised that instantly when I was down there doing training sessions. I had a good exhibition with a good up-and-coming fighter, Michael McGrane, and we put on a show for the fans. We did four rounds so it was training also for an upcoming bout.”
According to the UFC star and whiskey pedlar this failure to employ a dedicated boxing team is one of the reasons why he lost his debut fight against the then 49-0 pound-for-pound best boxer on the planet. Still, everyone knows that Mayweather struggles with southpaws so the rematch could be so much different if it was to happen.
Andre Ward (32-0, 16 stoppages) recently advised Anthony Yarde (18-0, 17 KOs) to muscle down irrespective of what happens when he meets WBO light-heavyweight holder Sergey Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KOs) in Chelyabinsk, Russia on Saturday night.
“Son of God” also stressed that Yarde has not faced a high enough level of opposition to beat “Krusher”. Ward was responding to Yarde’s trainer-manager Tunde Ajayi’s claim that his fighter has a greater “skill set” than the retired American.
As you would expect given how little he has on his plate this week, Ajayi fired back when he heard Ward’s latest comments. “You can’t discredit or take away what he’s [Ward] achieved in boxing,” was his response when talking to The Telegraph.
“Unbeaten as a professional, the last time he lost a fight was when he was 12 years old, his resume speaks for itself,” he added when outlining Ward’s resume for us. “This started because of what I said about his skillset. A week prior to what I said he said that he’s never seen Anthony Yarde fight.
“And then a week later he comes back and says Kovalev is going to do this and that. That’s a shot fired, because he’s a man who has a lot of people listening to him. I’ll reiterate what I said, he’s a great fighter and I respect him but we’re about to do something at the beginning of Anthony’s career which took him his whole career to do.”
Ward is a two-weight world champion who partially unified at 168 and 175lbs, he also had a glittering amateur career and has now been named as a “great” by Ajayi — that is a full and clean achievement sweep in anyone’s book.
Oh, and both men have weighed in. Kovalez is 174 1/2lbs to Yarde’s 174. A ceremonial weigh-in also took place hours later. I have absolutely no idea what that means.
When the world burns to the ground around us, Kovalev supporters will use their last moments on earth to argue that their man lost to Ward due to being hit with repeated low-blows, which is a nice way to segue into the story doing the rounds about a female amateur boxer, Golden Gloves winner Claire Quinn, who fought off two would-be muggers in Chicago on Sunday morning after being punched to the ground by one of them.
“I just kept throwing my right hand to his balls,” Quinn told Block Club Chicago, presumably after listing Ward as her favourite fighter of all-time, before adding: “There’s no way to sugar coat it.”
The incident took part in Wicker Park; the 26-year-old was hit by one of the muggers and then just started throwing punches until the ordeal was over. Despite hitting her head on the curb during the attack, she went to the Unanimous Boxing Gym as per usual for her morning workout.
Her coach, Miguel Martinez told FOX32 Chicago News that: “Ninety-nine percent of people do not know how to fight. They do not know how to react in a street fight. She’s a trained boxer, she’s been working on these skills for years now, and any time that she gets in that situation, she’s calm, cool, collected, and able to react accordingly so she protected herself very well.”
“I’m a normal-looking girl,” added Quinn. “I’m a normal person. I’m not some jacked-up boxer.”
At the time of writing, Boxing News can neither confirm nor deny that the WBO have installed her at number eight in their men’s middleweight rankings.