Wednesday, October 4
Let it never be said that Josh Warrington trades in hyperbole where it’s not needed. As fight week for his fight with Leigh Wood started to grow older, the pair of them both went through the motions at Wednesday’s open workout.
It is well known that fight week is not the best place to get good quotes from fighters who are often sick of talking and struggling at the weight. Darren Barker and Ali Drew, who were presenting Matchroom’s live show from the workout, found out the hard way as they probed Warrington for some quotes that might get the juices flowing.
“I’d rather be sat at home watching Homes Under the Hammer with my feet up to be honest,” Warrington said when asked about attending the workout. “But it does fast-forward the time. It’s Thursday tomorrow – press conference – which will be the same old rubbish we’ve been saying for weeks and weeks.” Someone hold the back page, we’ve got an exclusive.
Thursday, October 5
In one of those moments that make you feel old, Thursday brought up exactly 10 years since Anthony Joshua made his professional debut. I remember being ringside that night at the packed-out o2 Arena, where the buzz around Joshua was palpable – this genuine shot in the arm for British boxing was here.
I also remember being bemused when he was announced as ‘the future people’s champion’. A decade on, I still haven’t worked that one out. Does it mean nobody liked him then, but would later? Or was it supposed to be the people’s future champion? I’ve genuinely thought about that line ever since. And Emanuele Leo? He never boxed again.
Speaking of puzzling lines, big Frank Smith got back in front of the cameras this week for the first time since his Buildergate Saga. In fact, on Thursday, he appeared on camera alongside Sun journalist Wally Downes Jnr, the man who posted the viral clip – from a Boxing King Media interview – where Smith questioned the opinions of builders. “If it got a million hits from 1,000 followers,” Downes said. “It must have been bad.” Of the response, from builders and just about everyone else, Smith said: “I was going to move to Asia and change my name.”
Friday, October 6
Keeping on the theme of anniversaries, Friday was exactly five years since Callum Johnson dropped Artur Beterbiev with a second-round left hook before he was stopped himself in the fourth of this (literally) up-and-down scrap. All these years on, that knockdown is still used to prove some sort of vulnerability for the 19-0 (19) Russian beast.
In November, Johnson announced his retirement but he has since spoken of a comeback and on Friday, the fifth birthday of arguably his most famous moment, he posted a topless photo on Instagram with the caption ‘fight date soon’.
As we await that comeback, one return that was completed on Friday was that of Sheffield ‘Cannonball’ Liam Cameron. The 32-year-old has been missing since April 2018 – only a few months before Beterbiev-Johnson – when he failed his post-fight urine test after stopping Nicky Jenman in two rounds.
However he failed for a substance found in cocaine – which is anything but a performance enhancing drug by any measure of the phrase – but he was still slapped with a four-year UKAD ban. Without naming names, we know people have been caught with actual PEDs in their system but got away scott free. Cameron did his time, and now he’s back. He beat Robbie Connor on points in Sheffield.
Saturday, October 7
Write off Leigh Wood at your peril. It’s nearly 10 years since he was dropped and stopped by Gavin McDonnell inside six rounds for the British super-bantamweight title. Six years later it was Jazza Dickens who got the better of him, on points, in a 10-rounder at York Hall. Then, 12 months on, Reece Mould had him in real trouble in the third round of their British featherweight title fight before Wood rallied to win – just like he did against Mick Conlan, and when overturning a brutal knockout defeat to exact revenge over Mauricio Lara last year. The guy is a walking rollercoaster.
Saturday was also notable as Matchroom livestreamed the post-fight press conference, where both Wood and the vanquished Josh Warrington sat down either side of Eddie Hearn. It is quite rare that a boxer who loses, especially inside the distance, faces the media at all but to do it at the same time as the winner never happens. Nor does any of it usually take place in front of a live stream but rather a handful of YouTube cameras and one or two dozing journalists already regretting their decision to drive home instead of booking a hotel.
Sunday, October 8,
Big Zurdo Ramirez returned for the first time since he was beaten by Dmitrii Bivol when he did the business against Joe Smith Jr in a 10-round Vegas barnburner on Saturday night, which got Britain’s own Chris Billam-Smith interested the next day.
You see Zurdo and Smith Jr had met at a catchweight of 193lbs, well over light-heavy and half a stone below cruiser and the Mexican victor spoke afterwards of his plan to now move up in a bid to become Mexico’s first ever world champion at the weight. Canelo, of course, won a belt at light-heavy while Andy Ruiz Jnr upset Anthony Joshua for Mexico at heavyweight but nobody has managed it at 200lbs.
CBS, not one for trash talk, responded to the news on the Sabbath by merely Tweeting ‘Vegas anyone?’. The Gentleman has already ticked off one boyhood dream by fighting at the home of AFC Bournemouth and has spoken recently of his desire to do the same in Vegas.
And, while Canelo is clearly running scared of Bournemouth’s finest, Zurdo is the sort of opponent that would fit the bill for Billam-Smith on The Strip. Not to mention the owner of AFC Bournemouth, Bill Foley, also owns the Las Vegas Golden Knights ice hockey team. Pack your bags, lads.
Monday, October 9
MCINTYRE IS FREE
The crazy tale of Brian ‘BoMac’ McIntyre came to its conclusion on Monday as the American trainer received a 20-month suspended sentence over his firearm offences in September.
In one of 2023’s most surprising stories, BoMac had been arrested at Manchester airport as he attempted to fly back to America the day after cornering Chris Eubank Jr against Liam Smith. He had a gun in his luggage.
It looked highly likely that he might get hit with the minimum five-year prison sentence for carrying the weapon but, after a string of character witness, including one from the welterweight kingpin himself Terence Crawford, the judge decided to essentially #FreeBoMac and suspend the sentence for two years.
Great news for him and his family but also Crawford, Eubank and all the other fighters BoMac works with. And also a special mention to court reporter Oliver McManus, a former boxing writer, who kept everyone up to date on the proceedings via Twitter.