By Declan Taylor

Wednesday, February 14


As forgetful partners up and down the country queued for last-minute flowers and chocolates late on Valentines Day, a story broke that claimed Manchester United’s all-time leading goalscorer, Wayne Rooney, was considering a boxing match.

Rooney, who is unemployed after he was sacked as manager of Birmingham City after just 15 games in charge, is a big boxing fan and used to train at an amateur club in Liverpool as a kid. And it was suggested in the piece, by Drogheda story-getter Chris McKenna, that Misfits have been in touch with Rooney about a potential outing on one of their shows. Let’s hope it goes better than his last bout that ended up on camera – against Phil Bardsley (google it).

Meanwhile, once the hefty pile of anonymous cards had been opened and filed, The Week got an update from Frank Warren on the much-discussed Anthony Yarde against Joshua Buatsi fight. “They both want it and we’ve been talking about it so now we have to get it over the line,” Warren said. “It will be in the summer. This fight might happen before Beterbiev-Bivol. First we have to get the deal done.  It definitely will not end up on the undercard in Saudi.”

Thursday, February 15


On Thursday it was finally confirmed that 27 months and one day after their first fight Jack Catterall and Josh Taylor will run it back.

The result of their first fight, at the SSE Arena in Glasgow, when Taylor won on a split, is one of the most controversial decisions in recent British history and talk of a rematch has been going on pretty much ever since.

Taylor had 16 months out of the ring but returned with a defeat to Teofimo Lopez in New York in June of last year. Catterall, meanwhile, signed with Matchroom and has boxed and won twice since that night in Glasgow.

And on Thursday Matchroom announced that the pair will meet at the Leeds Arena on April 27 atop a bill titled ‘Hate Runs Deep’ which will be broadcast on subscription DAZN, not pay-per-view. Happy days.

On the subject of all-British fights, it was also confirmed on Thursday that Sol Dacres will defend his English heavyweight title against David Adeleye in Birmingham on April 16. The winner must then face make his first defence against rising star Moses Itauma in their next fight.

Elsewhere, Rooney confirmed that Misfits have been in touch about a potential fight but he insisted he is currently focusing on getting back into management. With that being said, he will probably fight before the end of the summer, then.

Friday, February 16


There were Friday night fights galore as both Matchroom and Top Rank staged big shows. At the Theatre at Madison Square Garden, O’Shaquie Foster edged out Abraham Nova on a split while in Oaxaca, in Matchroom’s latest Mexican sojourn, Sive Nontshinga stopped Adrian Curiel in 10 to exact revenge and regain his IBF light flyweight title.

But this was a night to remember – or not – for promoter Eddie Hearn for another reason as he shed blood before a punch at his show had even been thrown. That is because he tuned it to watch Matchroom fighter Eduardo ‘Sugar’Nunez take on Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov in Tajikistan.

And, when Nunez stopped Rakhimov in the 11th round, Hearn jumped up out of his seat and cracked his head open on an ornamental terracotta pot hanging from the ceiling. Hearn’s trusty sidekick and Matchroom CEO Frank Smith was on hand to film the aftermath with blood all over the floor and a towel pressed to his boss’ head. “Let’s go Sugar Nunez,” he cried.

Meanwhile, before Friday was out, the promoter of David Benavidez, Sampson Lewkowicz, painfully ruled out the chances of his client facing Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in 2024 during an interview with Probox. “His legacy will be stained,” he said. “Because he did not face the best at this time which is Benavidez.” the good news, Rooney might be up for it.

Saturday, February 17


This was the day that was supposed to end with a new undisputed heavyweight champion but instead we were left with a Saturday watching the final of the Masked Singer. Appropriate really, given Tyson Fury would probably never have been cut if (spoiler alert) he had been wearing a huge papier mache Piranha head like the eventual winner.

One fight that has not been postponed (yet) is the one between Edgar Berlanga and Paddy McCrory, which is scheduled for this time next week at the Caribe Royal in Orlando. So The Week thought it was only right to check in with Berlanga to see how life is for the man who once had a record of 16-0 with all 16 coming in the first round. He is now without a knockout in over three years.

“For all of those knockouts, I wasn’t thinking I had to do it in the first round, they were just coming naturally,” he said. “I don’t feel pressure to get the KO now but I just feel that certain fans think I’m a bum or a hype job because I’m not knocking nobody out no more.” Funnily enough, that’s exactly what the winner of the Masked Singer said, too.

Sunday, February 18


Sunday turned out to be a miserable day for all the 45-year-olds out there hoping to box at the Olympic Games as the International Olympic Committee rejected an attempt by Manny Pacquiao, who probably owns the planet’s fastest 45-year-old hands, from competing in Paris.

Pacquiao, who has not boxed since losing to Yordenis Ugas in August 2021, had hoped to make a fairytale return to the sport and clinch boxing gold for the Philippines. However, the IOC decided that they would not raise the current age limit of 40 to accommodate the all time multi-weight great, or anyone else for that matter.

Elsewhere, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman took a trip to the world famous Repton Boxing Club in London’s east end and called for another major rule change. Sulaiman has suggested that we need ‘five or six’ ringside judges when Tyson Fury fights Oleksandr Usyk for all the heavyweight belts in May. “That’s the only intention to make sure there’s no controversy,” he said. “Now we have the biggest fight in 25 years in the heavyweight division. So we have to try to do our best.”

Like Pacquaio on the podium, I think we can all safely file that under: “Not gonna happen.”

Manny Pacquiao (Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)

Monday, February 19


Monday brought us something else for that category as Eddie Hearn confirmed that Conor Benn against Gervonta Davis is Not Gonna Happen, after the American turned down his offer for a summer showdown. The idea was fun while it lasted but the confirmation from Hearn was far from surprising. He also revealed that Danny Garcia has now emerged as a more likely opponent.

The Matchroom boss was speaking at the first of two launch press conferences to officially announce Taylor-Catterall 2. This one was in Edinburgh and Taylor was backed by a noisy crowd as the pair went back and forth on the top table.

“I just don’t like this guy,” Taylor responded. “I can’t wait to smash his brains in, well what brains he’s got.” Catterall responded: “You can’t see straight, you daft bastard.”

They also posed for their first head-to-head photo of the promotion but it lasted less than a second and Taylor performed an incredibly retro double nipple squeeze on Catterall, who replied by grabbing Taylor round the throat. The Scottish southpaw then clipped his opponent with something of a left hand as the pair were pulled apart.

Tuesday, February 20


As Taylor and Catterall went at it for a second day running, Danny Garcia opened up on the chances of fighting Conor Benn. “That makes great sense,” he told YSM Sports Media. “He wants to fight a big name. Garcia vs. Benn. There ain’t no bigger fight than fighting Danny Garcia. So, I would love that fight…  that’s a fight that I would love at 154, not at 147.”

Meanwhile, The Week checked in with Boxxer supremo Ben Shalom to get an update on a number of loose ends in his stable. Firstly, whether or not Adam Azim will take on Dalton Smith next or relinquish the European title and go another route. Shalom confirmed that Azim might not face Smith next but it should happen this year.

He also confirmed that Chris Billam-Smith’s rematch with Richard Riakporhe should be officially announced, with date and venue, by next week with an outdoor venue still a possibility. Lastly, Boxxer are planning an April homecoming show for Lauren Price in Cardiff and a similar one for Ben Whittaker in Wolverhampton should he come through his March 31st outing unscathed. It is likely, Shalom said, that Tyler Denny will defend his European title against Felix Cash on that bill in Wolves, too.