The biggest news from the past week in boxing has obviously been the confirmation of Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua twice in 2021. Here we’ll take a look at other news you may have missed.
Buatsi v Johnson in 2021?
Speaking to Matchroom Boxing, Callum Johnson unofficially confirmed what could be one of the most interesting fights of 2021, “The Buatsi fight is going to happen… It’s the easier fight to make and whether it happens next, or the one after, I believe it will and it’s a good fight that will generate a lot of interest with the British fight fans.”
When Johnson said “It’s the easier fight to make” he was referring to the logistics above all. With the current travel restrictions in place, British boxing has obviously had to look closer to home for matchups. With Buatsi fighting out of Croydon, London, it’s a far easier and safer arrangement for Johnson than traveling with his whole team to another country. Of the top 20 Light-Heavyweights in the world, only Buatsi and Johnson are from the UK. This fight, if it happens, might be a contender for 2021’s fight of the year.
Gill v Bellotti confirmed
Jordan Gill and Reece Bellotti joined Eddie Hearn on Matchroom’s Youtube for a virtual press conference on Saturday. While Hearn hasn’t yet made an official announcement to the press, he said, “Week one of fight camp, you two will be tearing it up on the garden outside, on the lawn”.
Bellotti has been calling for Jordan Gill since October 2018, just four months after he suffered his first career defeat to Ryan Doyle via 5th round TKO. That same month Gill took out Doyle in 7 rounds, looking very impressive the whole time. The call-out from Bellotti was premature then and it might still be too much for him now. In his last five fights, Bellotti has suffered all 3 of his career losses, so he’ll be looking for a big return to form against Gill come fight night.
I see the fight being a competitive one early on, with Gill ultimately stopping Bellotti somewhere around round 6-8.
Guido Viannelo working his way up
The Italian Heavyweight scored a first-round KO as Top Rank brought boxing back to ESPN. Despite his opponent Don Haynesworth looking thoroughly unimpressive, being more out of shape than even most journeymen tend to be, Viannelo put on a solid performance and showed decent technicality.
Viannello, managed by S-Jam Boxing, is Italy’s number one pro Heavyweight and has put together a decent record of 7-0 so far. ‘The Gladiator’, as he’s known, had a lackluster amateur career with a 19-16 record and a World Series Boxing record of 7-5. However, as we know amateur success doesn’t necessarily transfer to the pro game and the same can be said for the opposite. Average amateurs can end up being great pros as the lack of headgear, firmer gloves, and fighting for damage over points make the two disciplines very different. We’ll be keeping an eye on Guido Viannello, he’s got a way to go still, but he looks interesting.
Benn v Theophane?
Conor Benn might be headlining Eddie Hearn’s fight camp against Ashley Theophane. The fight would represent a big jump for Benn who, while the current WBA Continental Welterweight champ, has yet to face anyone with as much talent or ring experience as Theophane.
While Theophane is past his prime at 39, his experience is impressive even for his age. He has a 49-8-1 record, won the British Lightweight title almost a decade ago, challenged Adrien Broner for the WBA Super Light-Welterweight title in 2016, and has been fighting professionally for 17 years. Theophane isn’t a puncher by any means, but his 29% KO ratio highlights the fact that he knows how to win a fight on points. He knows how to fight smart, how to pace himself, how to impress the judges. Theophane’s knowledge of the game is the single biggest challenge for Benn so far. He’s fighting a mind, not a body when this fight happens.
This will be a huge learning fight for Benn, who will need to establish himself physically from the outset. He’ll need to box ugly and take the fight right to Theophane, make him feel each of his 39-years. If the fight goes the distance Theophane will likely take it, as he’s built a long career on decision wins.
Sam Jones: One of the good guys in Boxing
Sam Jones, of S-JAM Boxing, took to Twitter earlier this week to offer his help to businesses struggling as a result of COVID-19. Jones offered free access to his Twitter followers in the form of shoutouts and marketing tweets. While it might seem like a small gesture, given his influence within the community and the number of followers he has it actually represents a valuable asset to a small business. Influencers on any platform with a similar reach to Sam Jones are regularly paid thousands of pounds for single marketing posts or tweets, so Jones going out of his way to offer this to struggling businesses is a nice touch from the boxing manager.
Fury thinks he hits harder than Anthony Joshua
Speaking to Dev Sahni on Youtube, Fury echoed claims from Frank Warren that he hits harder than AJ. Addressing AJ’s better KO ratio of 87% to his own 67% Fury said, “Maybe he’s got like 20 knockouts out of 22 wins or something, yeah? So, I’ve actually got 21 knockouts on my record but the thing is I turned pro at 19 years old, as a child. I was boxing men, he never turned pro until he was like, mid-20s, when he was a full-sized man… If I’d have turned pro at 25-26, I would’ve knocked out all the people that went the distance with me. when I was a young boy.”
Fury also attributed his fewer KOs to the fact that he doesn’t often stand and punch, he moves a lot more and is generally a “slicker boxer”. While we agree with the fact that Joshua plants his feet much more often than Fury, Fury’s claim that he doesn’t have as many KOs because he turned pro “as a child”, doesn’t really hold any weight. For one, Fury was a 6’9″, 261 lbs 19-year-old, fighting men he often outweighed by 50lbs. The other reason is that his KO ratio before he turned 25, is identical to his KO ratio since he turned 25. If Tyson Fury planted his feet more we have no doubt he’d hit very hard, if not equally hard as Joshua, but the fact is that Fury wins fights precisely because he doesn’t plant his feet.
Fury doesn’t see Whyte as a worthy challenge
Fury told Dev Sahni on Youtube, in pretty simple terms, “The answer to Dillian Whyte is, wait in the queue and your time will come when it comes; I’m not really interested in you. If he thinks he’s going to call me a few names on social media and I’m going to turn down a $100 million payday then he’s got a long wait”.
Fury went on to explain why doesn’t want to fight Whyte, even going as far as vacating his WBC title to ensure he can face Joshua after Wilder, “I’m about fighting the biggest fights out there and Wilder-Joshua-Joshua are the biggest fights out there. Dillian Whyte is looking for a pay-day against me and Pulev is looking for a pay-day… These low-profile fighters don’t mean anything to me, I’m after the biggest fights available… Belts are just pieces of leather with pieces of metal on them and they don’t mean anything to me”.
That’s all for our news roundup this week.
If you think we’ve missed anything or want us to explore anything, in particular, let us know in the comments below. Check back in with us every day for more articles and be sure to go back and read our previous stories. We’ve covered everything from potential matchups and rising stars to historic fights and pound for pound greats.
Why not check out last weeks Blow By Blow Part 6