Welcome, fight fans, to the first-ever ‘Seconds Out’. Every seven days I’ll be looking back at all the hottest news in boxing in a handy, dandy weekly round-up. Simple enough, yes? Right then, let’s lace up our gloves and head to the ring.
Joshua/Fury Closer Than Ever
It’s the fight that everyone wants to see, but it’s the fight that the five controlling boards have gone out of their way to hinder. Joshua/Fury is the biggest ticket in town at the moment yet it seemed that, with all the behind the scenes politics, it’d remain nothing more than a pipe dream. Thankfully Eddie Hearn and Bob Arum are nothing if not persistent and the fight took one step closer to becoming a reality this week when the WBO contacted Oleksandr Usyk to let him know he may have to wait for his mandatory shot at AJ. Surprisingly, Usyk and his camp seem happy to do so as they’ve been in contact with Joe Joyce’s team about fighting for the interim title in the meantime. This is great news as the mandatory challenger was always going to be a thorn in the side of any discussions going forward, but he’s playing the long game here, in my opinion. I’d place money on Joshua dispatching Joyce and after the mega-fight of the century is over, he’ll be in line for a shot at all the belts. It’s the sensible call.
Canelo Álvarez To Face Avni Yildirim
Canelo Álvarez is the best pound for pound boxer in the world today. There’s just no arguing that fact. The Mexican fighter has held all the gold across four different weight classes and is the current Super Middleweight World Champion. The guy is a goddamn badass. So whenever news gets out about his next bout and his next victim, you’re going to sit up and take notice. On Feb. 27, mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim will be next in the firing line in what will be Álvarez’s second fight in as many months. Yildirim isn’t a bum by any stretch of the imagination, with a record of 21-2 and 12 KOs, but he isn’t even in the same zip code as Álvarez, let alone the same class. Unless Álvarez doesn’t take him seriously, the way that Joshua didn’t see Ruiz as a threat in their first fight, then he should easily walk out with the win and set up a fight with Billy Joe Saunders.
Sergey Kovalev Fails Drugs Test, Forces Golden Boy’s Hand
Having just signed a three-fight deal with DAZN for a substantial amount of money, Sergey Kovalev was due to face Bektemir Melikuziev on Jan. 30—right up to the point he failed a drug test for a banned steroid. In a statement, Golden boy promotions said;
The Kovalev vs. Melikuziev boxing event scheduled for January 30 has been cancelled following a positive test for a banned substance (synthetic testosterone) on behalf of Sergey Kovalev through the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA). Upon learning of Kovalev’s adverse finding, the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) determined that they must cancel the event.”
This has to be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard in boxing and, trust me here, that’s saying something. You’re heading into the twilight of your career, but you’ve managed to get picked up for three decent final paydays before you have to call it a day. So what do you do? You juice, get caught, and now have your reputation in tatters and the company who signed you looking for ways to get out of the contract. Kovalev and his camp deny any wrongdoing, but the fact remains that instead of looking forward to having a healthy retirement plan lined up, Kovalev will now spend six months on the sidelines for a first offence before trying to find someone willing to offer him the price of a cup of tea to step in the ring again.
Alexander Povetkin vs. Dillian Whyte II Announced For March
Alexander Povetkin vs. Dillian Whyte II has been announced by Eddie Hearn and Matchroom for Mar. 6, 2021, and, I’ll be honest here, this is one that I’m really looking forward to. Mainly because Dillian Whyte should have never lost the first fight. He had Povetkin right where he wanted him, having already sent him to the canvas twice before the fifth round, and it was only because, I think, he got too overconfident did he allow Povetkin to catch him with one of the sweetest uppercuts I’ve ever seen. I don’t expect Whyte to make the same mistake again and I’ll be glued to Sky Box Office come fight night to watch him emerge victorious. Hopefully.
ShoBox: The New Generation Returned For Its 20th Year
And finally this week, a massive congratulations to ShoBox: The New Generation for turning 20. It was a triumphant birthday celebration as well, as the new series kicked off last Wednesday with a brilliant card, topped off by a fantastic 10 round affair between Yeis Solano and Mykquan Williams. Seriously, if you haven’t seen it, you really need to go watch it when you’ve finished reading this as it was a wonderful balance of technical ability and pure beating the hell out of each other. I won’t ruin the result for you, but both men walked away from the ring looking like a million bucks. So congratulations, you’ve done it once again ShoBox. Here’s to another 20 years.