Welcome to Part 1 of the new Blow by Blow series, where on a weekly basis we will be taking a look back at the boxing news from the past week ensuring you stay up to date. We’ll briefly cover the big news, as well as some things that may have slipped past your radar. Our aim is to help boxing fans remain knowledgable in the sport without having to look in several different places for their updates. So stay tuned at the end of each week to get your fix.
Week ending 3rd May 2020
Live Boxing in Nicaragua
Last Saturday saw the first live fights since the COVID-19 outbreak. Nicaragua’s capital, Managua, played host to what would usually have been an unnoteworthy affair, between little known local boxers. The fight was promoted by Búfalo Boxing Promotions, owned by Rosendo Álvarez. Alvarez being a retired two-division world champion best known for giving the Mexican Strawweight Legend Ricardo Lopez the only draw on an otherwise unblemished 51-0-1 record.
The international press was quick to condemn the event, given that most countries are currently enforcing tight restrictions on social interactions. The Nicaraguan Government and press were quick to defend the promotion, stating that all in attendance had their temperatures checked, had to wear masks, and used alcohol-based disinfectant and that only the boxers and referees were exempt from social distancing guidelines. Also cited was Nicaragua’s low rate of just 14 COVID-19 cases, ignoring the fact that next to no testing has been carried out. By contrast, Nicaragua’s neighbor, Honduras, and Costa Rica have 771 and 719 cases respectively. Only time will tell if Nicaragua’s relaxed attitude is misplaced.
The Eddie Hearn show
Eddie Hearn and Tony Bellew announced they would be starting a new chat show, Talk the Talk, airing every Monday at 6 pm via Matchroom Boxing. I myself enjoy Eddie Hearn’s antics and Tony Bellew is equally entertaining, with both men sure to offer a lot of valuable insight into boxing’s hot topics.
Frank Warren – “It can only be safe when the government says it’s safe”
Frank Warren, speaking on The Lockdown Lowdown with Dev Sahni, outlined his ideas for how to run boxing behind closed doors once the government gives the go-ahead, “It won’t be big events behind closed doors. It will be a certain level”, citing a lack of gate revenue as one reason why big fights might have to wait a little longer. He further expanded “British-title-fight levels to start with”, “we need boxing to be happening, we need to keep the sport going, and for me, that’s very important. There’s no money to be made from us as promoters in doing it. It’s impossible to make money under this scenario”.
If you haven’t seen it already, we highly recommend hopping over to Queensbury Promotion’s YouTube channel. Frank Warren shares his considerable knowledge and shows a metered, cautious, view on how to safely keep the boxing world afloat. It aired on Saturday, March 25th.
Daniel Dubois on the current heavyweight top 3 and his fight with Joe Joyce
Also speaking on The Lockdown Lowdown, Dubois outlined his current training situation, what he thinks of Tyson, Wilder and AJ, and his future in the division. On Joyce he was short and sweet, “I want to get on with it and finish business with Joe, so, let’s get it on”. The interview aired on Tuesday, April 28th.
Queensbury’s latest signing: Middleweight prospect Nathan Heaney
One more bit of news from the Queensbury Team, they recently added the 10-0 Middleweight Nathan Heaney to their roster. Heaney is a solid boxer who has been improving and adding to his levels to his game with each fight. Watch his fight with Tom Stokes to get a feel for what he can do.
Another MMA crossover, this time a serious one?
We can’t seem to avoid crossover fights in boxing these days. While they are entertaining, they rarely offer hardcore fans any quality performances. But recently Francis Ngannou, the UFC’s explosive Heavyweight, got some genuine praise from Joe Joyce. Joyce sparred with Ngannou out in Vegas for his training camp and had this to say, “Phew, Ngannou is STRONG, He’s a very strong guy . . . I’m glad I didn’t get hit with any of those shots cleanly, those were whistling past me . . . if those shots would’ve landed, I would’ve been in trouble”.
That’s high praise from a top-class Heavyweight, he went on to explain that Ngannou could have a chance in the boxing world, “He’d be knocking guys out, mate. It would be exciting to see him.” As usual, we can’t be sure how true this is, but it certainly bodes well for the UFC’s latest crossover candidate.
Freddie Roach, Robert Garcia and Andre Rozier. Valuable insight from the cornermen.
Speaking on From the Corner, Thursday, April 30th, three of boxing’s most renowned trainers sat down for a casual chat about a range of boxing topics, as well as of course covering boxing’s future recovery from the pandemic.
About fighting behind closed doors, Garcia said “like it or not I think it’s something we’re going to have to do. Boxing is going to change.”
On boxer’s fighting in an empty space, Andre Rozier said, “You can’t tell a promoter I don’t have an audience so I can’t fight, that means that the machine is not going to work. You’re going to have to get in the ring. And it’s the new norm for a moment . . . right now to get the ball bouncing, we’re going to have to get in those Arenas. By ourselves.”
Freddie Roach outlined the struggles of his boxers who can’t fight right now, the ones who don’t have millions to fall back on and need to fight regularly in order to keep the lights on. When asked about his advice to his fighters, Roach said, “I do tell them, go out and get a job. I remember when I moved to Las Vegas and turned pro . . . I got a job in the Golden Nugget as a busboy” explaining that that was the job that paid his bills, not his professional fight winnings.
It’s a worthwhile interview with three legends of the sport. Catch it on YouTube, it aired on Wednesday, April 29th.
Big George Foreman thinks Tyson should stay out of the ring
Speaking to World Boxing News on Tuesday, April 28th, Foreman said “Tyson has done enough great things for boxing. No more is needed.” This echoes the thoughts of many pundits and fans who reacted to Mike Tyson’s news that he might start boxing again in exhibition and charity matches.
Deontay Wilder’s first Twitter post since losing to Tyson Fury
Finally, the last in our news round-up for this week. Deontay Wilder posted a slightly bizarre video to Twitter today, March 1st. In the 90 second video, he lauds himself as ‘King’ multiple times, inexplicably overenunciated almost every word as if he was trying to spit on us through our phones, and otherwise spoke in Kanye-like hyperbole.
We’re fans of Wilder, but the video was almost comical in its delivery. It’s made more comical when you see the last tweet before that was from February 22nd, “Ima bout to lay the smackdown on your candy A@$ come Saturday night @Tyson_Fury and this I promise. #BombZquad #TilThisDay”.
We know we haven’t seen the end of Wilder and we genuinely hope he bounces back and gets himself back into more title fights. It might be better to wait until you’re back on the throne and wearing the crown again before you start calling yourself ‘The King’ though.
That concludes our look at this week’s boxing news. We hope you’ve been keeping yourselves entertained and safe at home. For a fight to keep you busy, why not watch a fight from way back in boxing history. On this day, March 1st, in 1975, the legend Roberto Duran KOd Ray Lampkin in a hard-fought match to defend his WBA Lightweight Title for the sixth time. While the footage on YouTube may not be as crystal clear as the fights we’re used to these days, it’s every bit as exciting to watch.