THE following is a conversation between myself – a hardcore boxing fan – and a casual boxing fan.
Casual fan: “I see Jermall Charlo is now the WBC middleweight champion. What happened to Canelo Alvarez?”
Me: “He got elevated to WBC Franchise champion.”
Casual fan: “What’s that?”
Me: “A sort of super elite champion.”
Casual fan: “So Charlo isn’t really the champ?”
Me: “You could say that.”
Casual fan: “What’s the point of that?”
Me: “Err, I really don’t know.”
Enough said.
Tom O’Toole

WHEN I left England for America 20 years ago, Cumbria had a good amateur scene but no professional scene. I’m currently back in Barrow at the moment visiting my family. Since I’ve been back, Liam Conroy has been involved in one of the best fights of 2019 in Belfast. I’ve also been to see Ross Cooksey, Michael McGoldrick and Ryan Watson box in Bolton while I’ve been back [see page 33]. All four men gave incredible accounts of themselves and the support they received was rabid. What makes this remarkable is the fact that these pugilists are from Barrow, which happens to be one of the most isolated towns in England. They work their days on the docks in a naval shipyard, then drive a three-hour round trip to Preston for training. A couple of the lads’ partners have just had babies, yet they still show up to training every day. That’s the level of their dedication to the noble art. Well done, lads. Mike Hills

I THOUGHT I would wait for the dust to settle before commenting on last month’s Madison Square Garden upset. Firstly, I believe that Anthony Joshua thoroughly underestimated the threat that Andy Ruiz Jnr posed. From the outside, it looked almost like a knock-over job and, probably subconsciously, it seems to me that “AJ” approached it as such. Now to the fight. From the third round onwards it was clear to me that Joshua was gun-shy. He was terrified to throw anything noteworthy as he knew that he would be countered. Ruiz was brilliant and Joshua was pretty awful. It’s as simple as that. For Joshua to win the rematch, I would recommend bringing the fight to the UK and boxing as he did against Joseph Parker. Basically he will have to ‘win boring’, as I don’t think that he will be able to cope with the speed should he allow Ruiz to get anywhere approaching close. One thing that has annoyed me slightly is the comparisons to Lennox Lewis’ losses against Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman. Yes, Joshua can take something from Lewis’ application and attitude in righting those wrongs, but the comparisons end there in my opinion. In football terms, if Lewis is Manchester City, then Joshua is probably his hometown club of Watford. Mark Bambury