London buses

WE might still be waiting to hear about the fighters – or even the weights – involved when Matchroom and Queensberry go head-to-head in Riyadh on June 1 in Saudi but Eddie Hearn revealed that they are already in discussions about holding a second edition of the format in London in September.

Hearn, speaking on the Matchroom Youtube channel, also gave an update on Anthony Joshua. “No decision will be made before the Fury-Usyk fight. Because I’m still a big believer that if Fury wins that fight, His Excellency [Turki Alalshikh] will do everything he can, regardless of the two-fight deal, to make what is the biggest fight in the history of the sport.”

Meanwhile, 57-year-old Mike Tyson, still more than 18 weeks out from his Netflix fight with Jake Paul, posted a clip on his Instagram of him looking impressive on the pads. “It’s day one,” he said with his shirt off. “The fun has just begun.”

Meanwhile, big Martin Bakole decided to upload a clip of him  knocking off the headguard of Joe Joyce in a sparring session. More on that tomorrow.

Postponed yet again

CAN I shock you? Well Josh Taylor against Jack Catterall has been postponed again. The news broke on Thursday that an injury to Taylor meant that they would not be fighting on April 27 as planned.

They were supposed to meet for the second time way back in March of last year, only for a foot injury to Taylor to postpone that fight. Now, here we are a full year later, with another postponement on our hands. Thankfully, Matchroom confirmed that the pair would now be meeting just a month later, on May 25, at the same arena. Rejoice.

And, re Joyce, his former manager Sam Jones saw the clip Bakole posted on Wednesday and, on Thursday, posted his own footage from a spar between the Juggernaut and Bakole. Only in this one, from a different session, Bakole appears in some discomfort on his knees, reaching for a sick bucket.

The Week caught up with featherweight Ray Ford about his memorable win over Otabek Kholmatov. But despite the incredible circumstances of victory, there was no big celebration for Ford. In fact, he did not even have a shower. He just went to the hospital and got stitched up and drove himself the four hours back to his home in New Jersey.

Ray Ford celebrates stopping Otabek Kholmatov at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, NY on March 2, 2024 (Ed Mulholland/Matchroom)

Sixes and sevens

THE day began with Mauricio Sulaiman, the President of the WBC, calling for no fewer than six ringside judges at the undisputed heavyweight fight between Fury and Usyk, with two on each side of the ring where there are no broadcast cameras.

It was reported by Boxing Scene that Sulaiman has already petitioned the other major sanctioning bodies to approve the idea in time for one of the biggest fights of the generation. He has also had to ask Fury and Usyk for their approval too. Unsurprisingly, at the time of writing, absolutely none of the above have cosigned what seems like something straight out of leftfield for such a significant fight.

On Friday, it was also the weigh-in for Frank Warren’s latest Magnificent Seven show, this time in Birmingham. Joe Joyce, fresh from the back-and-forth with Bakole, tipped the scales at a career-high of 286 1/2lbs, which was five pounds heavier than he was in the unsuccessful rematch with Zhilei Zhang in September and a whopping 30 more than he was when he faced the Chinese puncher for the first time 11 months back.

Saturday night fever

SATURDAY provided a fresh twist in the Ryan Garcia story as he took to social media to declare he is suing the New York State Athletic Commission for defamation after he said they are ‘trying to challenge me for a mental evaluation’ ahead of his fight in Brooklyn against Devin Haney next month. The Week does not claim to be a psychologist but it does not sound like a bad idea.

Across the pond, and although it was the early hours of Sunday morning by the time they had finished, British middleweights Nathan Heaney and Brad Pauls served up a Fight of the Year contender in Birmingham.

Meanwhile the earlier return of Joe Joyce was notable for the corner work of former heavyweight Richard Towers, who nearly guided his charge Kash Ali through the whole 10 rounds only for a stoppage to come just seven seconds from the end. But Towers’ performance sent Twitter into a spin and was even mentioned by the TNT broadcast team due to some of his colourful language in between rounds, which included labelling his own fighter a ‘fucking pussy’, which has to be a first.

Joyce finishes Ali (James Chance/Getty Images)

Mum’s the word

FROM one heavyweight return to another as Dillian Whyte, everyone’s favourite Irishman, boxed for the first time since November 2022 following a failed drugs test and subsequent clearance by ‘an investigation’.

Whyte was supposed to box Anthony Joshua in a rematch in August of last year only for adverse analytical findings in a VADA test to result in a cancellation. But in Castlebar, Ireland, Whyte made his comeback against Christian Hammer.

In a fight not available to view via television, stream or anything else in the UK, Whyte forced the 27-11 German into retirement at the end of the third round and was clearly aggrieved by the low-key ending. “He’s a coward,” Whyte told Seconds Out afterwards. “Nobody should ever pay him to step in the ring again, he’s a coward. I just wanted to fight, to beat someone up. I have been going through a lot of tough, tough times. I nearly lost my family and myself in this time. .”

When asked if he hopes to get a rematch with Tyson Fury, he added: “I’d fight my own mother. My mother has got a good punch though. I’ll fight anyone. I want another seven or eight fights.”

Primal scream

Amazon Prime must be wondering what on earth they were thinking getting into boxing as the first ever PBC on Prime event lost its headline fight on Monday.

With just 12 days to go until the scheduled show at the T-Mobile Arena, it was widely reported that Tim Tszyu’s opponent, Keith Thurman, would be unable to fight due to sustaining a bicep injury. It means that the American, riddled by problems even when at his peak, has now boxed literally ‘One Time’ in the past five years.

At first it looked as though the injury would mean the whole show would get canned but it was a case of sameday delivery from Amazon Prime as they quickly boxed up a Plan B and dropkicked it through the living room window in the form of Sebastian Fundora. The towering southpaw was already due to appear on the card but he will now face Tszyu at the top of the bill.

However, to say he’s well equipped for the role of an opponent for Tszyu, in a pay-per-view event, is questionable at best. In his last fight, last April, he was knocked cold by Brian Mendoza.

Josh is on the board

IN probably the most surprising news of the week, on Tuesday it was announced that Josh Warrington has joined the board of directors at Steve Wood’s VIP Boxing Promotions.

Warrington has been named Head of Boxing at the company, which was founded by Wood back in 1996, while he has been joined on the board by two new investors which they hope will make ‘VIP into promotional heavyweights and take their events to the world stage.’

One of the investors, who have brought ‘significant financial investment’ is Shan Selvendran, the owner and CEO of fried chicken connoisseurs Morleys, which, like VIP Boxing, also specialises in regular batterings. Wood and his brand have been mainstays on the small hall circuit but could this be the start of their rise towards the big promoters? Perhaps Morleys can give them wings.

Warrington, as it happens, has not boxed since he was stopped by Leigh Wood, no relation to Steve, back in October and we still await confirmation of their expected rematch.

Finally, the WBO confirmed that the winner of Tszyu-Fundora will have just five days to start negotiations with new 154lb mandatory challenger Terence Crawford or risk being stripped.