Jamel Herring claims world crown with decision victory

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring completed his Hollywood story, upsetting WBO junior lightweight world champion Masayuki “The Judge” Ito via unanimous decision Saturday evening in front of a sold-out crowd of 2,912 at Osceola Heritage Park.

Herring (20-2, 10 KOs), who prevailed by scores of 116-112 and 118-110 2x, accomplished the dream on Memorial Day weekend in front of a host of active and reserve U.S. Marines.

“I want to dedicate this fight to my daughter, Ariyanah, who passed away from SIDs. Tonight would have been her 10th birthday, and I dedicate this title to her,” said Herring. “Ito was a tough competitor, but I always believed I could win a world title. This is a dream come true, and to do this on Memorial Day weekend makes it even sweeter.”

Ito (25-2-1, 13 KOs), who was making the second defense of his world title, never could quite figure out the southpaw puzzle of Herring.

Ito had some success in the early rounds, but in the end, it was Herring who closed the show stronger.

Said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum: “When we signed Jamel, a lot of people had their doubts, but he showed the heart of a world champion. He’s a true Marine and an American hero. We are so proud of what this young man has accomplished.”

Pedraza back in win column

Former two-division world champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza is on the hunt again.

Pedraza (26-2, 13 KOs) knocked out Mexican veteran Antonio Lozada Jr. in the ninth round to win the vacant WBO Latino lightweight title. Lozada (40-3-1, 24 KOs) had not tasted defeat in nearly six years, while Pedraza rebounded from a game effort in a decision loss to Vasiliy Lomachenko last December.

Pedraza knocked down Lozada with a counter left hand, which spelled the beginning of the end for Lozada, who made his name in March 2018 with a stunning 10th-round knockout of the previously unbeaten Puerto Rican star Felix Verdejo.

“I would like to be world champion again at 135, maybe make a title defense and then move up to 140,” Pedraza said. “Lozada was a tough opponent who came to fight with all of his heart. He was a great test for me, and I passed it with flying colors. I can’t wait to see what is next.”

In other action:

— In a battle for the vacant WBO international junior bantamweight title, Koki Eto (24-4-1, 19 KOs) and Jeyvier Cintron (10-0, 5 KOs) fought to a no-contest after it was determined that a headbutt knocked out Cintron. The Florida State Athletic Commission reversed the initial decision of a first-round knockout for Eto, leaving the title vacant.

— Featherweight Adam Lopez is a contender now. The Glendale, California, native overcame a slow start to knock out Jean Carlos Rivera (15-2, 10 KOs) in the seventh round. Lopez battered Rivera against the ropes with a furious combination to end the sixth. Rivera slumped back to his corner and somehow came out for the seventh. Smelling blood in the water, Lopez (13-1, 6 KOs) pounced, forcing the referee to stop the carnage.

“I started a bit slow, but I listened to my corner and made adjustments,” Lopez said. “I knew he had trouble making weight, so I kept pressing him. I saw my opportunity and took full advantage of it.”

— Middleweight sensation Edgar Berlanga (11-0, 11 KOs) did it again, scoring his 11th straight first-round knockout to begin his career. Gyorgy Varju (7-5, 4 KOs) lasted only 43 seconds, as a right-left combination floored the Hungarian for the count.

“Felix Trinidad called me just before I walked to the ring. That’s all the motivation I needed,” Berlanga said. “I hope I made him proud.”

— It was brief, and it was stunning. Jose Cardenas (17-4, 14 KOs) scored a devastating one-punch knockout over 2016 U.S. Olympian Antonio Vargas (10-1, 4 KOs) at 1:53 of the opening round of a scheduled eight-round bantamweight bout. A right hand put to the point of Vargas’ chin knocked him face-first to the canvas.

 

— Marco Diaz (2-0, 2 KOs) needed only 50 seconds to knock out Edgard Figueroa (3-2, 1 KO) in a scheduled four-round featherweight bout.

— Puerto Rican super featherweight prospect Henry “Moncho” LeBron (9-0, 7 KOs) needed only 2:43 to knock out veteran Luis Ruiz Lizarraga Jr. (6-13-1, 2 KOs). Lizarraga’s corner signaled to the referee to stop the fight.

— Puerto Rican featherweight prospect Orlando Gonzalez (11-0, 8 KOs) made it look easy, knocking out Roxberg Patrick Riley (13-2, 7 KOs) in the third round. Gonzalez ended matters with a right hook. Riley got to his feet but stumbled into the ropes, forcing the referee to stop the fight.

— Steve “So Cold” Nelson improved to 14-0, knocking out Victor Darocha (8-5-1, 6 KOs) in the seventh round of a scheduled eight-round light heavyweight bout.

— Former super flyweight world champion Carlos Cuadras (38-3-1, 27 KOs) rolled to an eight-round unanimous decision over Daniel Lozano (15-7, 11 KOs) in a bantamweight contest. Scores were 80-72 2x and 79-73.

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Haney begins DAZN stint with SUPER KO, Hunter, Hrgovic win early

Undefeated lightweight sensation Devin Haney capped off an action-packed evening of boxing on DAZN from the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, with a stunning seventh-round knockout.

Making his DAZN debut, Haney (22-0, 14 KOs) impressed a raucous crowd with his highlight-reel stoppage of Mexico’s Antonio Moran (24-4, 17 KOs).

In the heavyweight co-feature of the evening, Croatia’s Filip Hrgovic (8-0, 6 KOs) scored a brutal first-round technical knockout against Gregory Corbin (15-2, 9 KOs) of Dallas, Texas. Michael Hunter (17-1, 12 KOs) of Las Vegas kicked off the evening’s main card in dramatic fashion with a scintillating second-round technical knockout victory over Brazil’s Fabio Maldonado (26-3, 25 KOs) to continue his unbeaten streak at heavyweight.

On the preliminary card of the evening, Jessica McCaskill (7-2, 3 KOs) and Anahi Sanchez (19-4, 11 KOs) wowed the Maryland crowd with a thrilling slugfest. McCaskill emerged with a unanimous decision victory to unify the WBA and WBC Women’s World Super Lightweight titles.

Devin Haney

On his performance: “I want to thank God, my dad, Eddie Hearn, my whole team behind me. Coming into this fight, I wanted to make a statement. There were a lot of rumors going around that I didn’t have any punching power and I can’t knock anyone out. But as you see, I can. I went in there and broke my opponent down and then knocked him out.”

On the moment he knew the knockout was possible: “I know I got him hurt with that first shot. My dad always tells me, when you get him hurt go right to the body. So I went to the body and then went over the top. I knew when I landed and saw his facial expression that he was out.”

On his abilities on offense and defense: “All of the above. I am overall a great fighter. I have speed, I have power, I have head movement. Like I said before, I have many tools in the toolbox. It just depends on what I want to bring out that night. I am able to make adjustments the whole fight, too.”

On what he did to neutralize Moran: “Honestly, I don’t think a lot of the guys that I have been fighting actually have more experience than me. I have been in there with world class fighters. They say that sparring doesn’t count but I believe it does. I have put in many rounds with many different world champions so I believe that I have the experience factor.”

Eddie Hearn

On Devin’s performance: “It was unbelievable. Where I come from in England, if we had a star like this, the country would be going mad. So you guys need to get behind Devin Haney because let me tell you, America has a superstar on their hands.

He is 20 years old. He is 22-0. They say he doesn’t carry power but he is taking guys out like that. Jose Pedraza struggled against that guy, a champion who went the distance with Lomachenko.

That was like watching an artist draw a beautiful picture and then at the end just sign his name off and walk away into the night. This is a beautiful, beautiful start. We are so lucky to have him with Matchroom and DAZN.

Devin Haney Promotions is a great team to work with and we are going to enjoy watching him go all the way to the top – winning world titles in different divisions.

The WBC have ordered him to fight Zaur Abdullaev in a title eliminator to fight the winner of Lomachenko vs. Campbell. Devin wants to fight them all – Teofimo Lopez, another guy called Gervonta Davis, Ryan Garcia. These are the super-fights that Devin Haney will be in over the next few years. If it’s Maryland, if it’s Las Vegas, if it’s the Bay Area. The whole United States needs to get behind this guy. He is a superstar.”

Filip Hrgovic

On his quick performance: “Greg Corbin is a really good fighter. Thank you to him for taking on this challenge. It is an honor for me to box in this great country and arena. Thank you to all the fans who came out here. You didn’t have time to see the best Hrgovic. I look forward to big fights, strong opponents and to give the U.S. really good fights.”

On facing Joe Joyce next: “I told Eddie Hearn I will fight anyone, anywhere, anytime in the heavyweight division.”

Michael Hunter

On his performance: “You know, I just tried to use my quickness, my speed and my ability. I knew I had the agile footwork over him so I just wanted to use that to be impressive.”

On his power remaining while fighting at heavyweight: “It is the heart where I win at. I run them down. We are all over 200 pounds, but the difference is that I just have a bigger heart than everyone else.”

On fighting Anthony Joshua and what’s next: “I would love that fight at any time. Any mandatory, anytime, really. I will take any fight anytime. I am here to stay and I will take on anyone. I want to fight Joshua next. He is the cash cow and it’s an easy fight to make, we are both on Matchroom and DAZN. It should be easy to make that next. I’d like to fight Dillian Whyte if I couldn’t get AJ next.”

Jessica McCaskill

On her performance: “It was for sure nonstop. I got punched in the throat so excuse my voice. But Anahi has great accuracy and solid power. She sure wasn’t afraid to fight and mix it up. The scorecards were a little drastic and I don’t like when that happens to me when I go somewhere else so respect to Anahi.”

On a possible rematch: “I have to talk to Eddie Hearn and my manager about that. But like I said, it was a great fight, she is a great fighter and I enjoy a good challenge.”

Anahi Sanchez

On the scorecards: “I don’t think the judges gave me any love on the scorecards. I was getting hit low, I was getting headbutted but I didn’t get any love from the judges or the referees.”

12-Round Lightweight Fight @ 135 lbs.
Devin Haney (22-0, 14 KOs) defeats Antonio Moran (24-4, 17 KOs) by KO at 2:32 of Round 7.

10-Round Heavyweight Fight
Filip Hrgovic (8-0, 6 KOs) defeats Gregory Corbin (15-2, 9 KOs) by TKO at 1:00 of Round 1.

10-Round Heavyweight Fight
Michael Hunter (17-1, 12 KOs) defeats Fabio Maldonado (26-3, 25 KOs) by TKO at 1:45 of Round 2.

10-Round Super Lightweight Championship Unification Fight
Jessica McCaskill (7-2, 3 KOs) defeats Anahi Sanchez by unanimous decision.
(99-91, 98-92, 96-94)

Boxing on DAZN returns next Saturday when undefeated global superstar Anthony Joshua defends his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO World Heavyweight titles against dangerous challenger Andy Ruiz, Jr. Joshua’s United States debut on June 1 will take place under the bright lights at Madison Square Garden with action kicking off at 5:30 p.m. ET.

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Hughie Fury blasts out Chris Norrad in two, Manchester results

Former World Heavyweight title challenger Hughie Fury halted the previously undefeated Chris Norrad inside two rounds at the Victoria Warehouse, Manchester, last night to put himself back on track towards a world title shot.

The Manchester star looked in sensational shape in his first fight back since his loss to Kubrat Pulev last October and knew that he had to put on a solid performance for the fans and viewers on Channel 5.

Fury took command from the start and was the aggressor as he landed with sharp jabs and unloaded with hard power punches to Norrad’s head and body, midway in the first round he landed with a hard right to the back of Noarrad’s head that hurt the Canadian.

In the second, Fury was on the front foot again and asserted his power and halfway through the round two big right hands dropped Norrad, up at the referees count of nine he was still hurt and it was waved off at 1:51.

Afterwards, Fury thanked his team of father and trainer Peter and renown strength and conditioner Kerry Kayes for transforming his diet and training, he said “I felt a lot strong and a lot fitter and I’m ready now to fight anyone. All the experience I’ve had including the losses is all experience, I’m young and making me the final article for the future.”

On the undercard, female sensation Savannah “The Silent Assassin” Marshall demolished Borislava Goranova – who had not been stopped in nearly seven years – in the first round with a hard left hook to the body that flattened the Bulgarian. The WBA Intercontinental Super-Middleweight Champion from Hartlepool continues to close in on a mega-showdown against undisputed World Champion Claressa Shields.

In his first fight in the UK in for five and half years, exciting super-featherweight title contender Alex Dilmaghani became the first man to stop the tough Czech Martin Parlagi in the eighth round. Dilmaghani credited his time in the hard gyms of Mexico that have turned him into a pressure fighter and he’ll now look to drop down to featherweight and face one of the leading domestic names.

Standout amateur and pro-debutant Michael Hennessy Jr. made a great start to his career when he outpointed 33-fight veteran Adam Grabiec. The Seven Oaks hot prospect – son of promoter Mick Hennessy – passed the traditional four rounds entry for a pro debut and opted for the harder six-rounds.

 

FULL FIGHT CARD RESULTS

10 x 3 International Heavyweight Contest

Hughie Fury WKO2 (Time 1:51) Chris Norrad

10 x 3 International Super Featherweight Contest

Alex Dilmaghani WTKO8 (Time 0:44) Martin Parlagi

6 x 2 International Super Middleweight Contest

Savannah Marshall WKO1 (Time 1:11) Borislava Goranova

6×3 Middleweight Contest

Michael Hennessy Jr WPTS6 (60-55) Adam Grabiec

6×3 Featherweight Contest

Marcel Braithwaite WPTS6 (60-54) Jake Pollard

6×3 Super Lightweight Contest

Kane Gardner LPTS4 (37-38) Des Newton

4×3 Welterweight Contest

Jake James WTD3 (30-27) Lee Hallett
Referee halts fight on doctors advice in 3rd round after Hallett cut above left eye in 2nd from a head clash

4×3 Welterweight Contest

Connor Lynch WPTS4 (40-36) Dylan Draper

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Anthony Joshua v Andy Ruiz Jr. undercard almost finalized for June 1

The undercard for Anthony Joshua’s American debut has all-but been confirmed with just over a week to spare.

In the latest and final addition, Joshua Buatsi will also fight in America for the first time as a professional.

Buatsi defends his WBA International Light-Heavyweight title against Marco Antonio Periban at Madison Square Garden on Saturday June 1.

The fight is live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports Box Office in the UK.

Buatsi (10-0, 8 KOs) stopped Liam Conroy in three rounds to claim the vacant British 175lbs title last time out at London’s Copper Box Arena, dropping the former English champion twice in the third round to force another impressive early stoppage.

The 2016 Olympic bronze medallist landed his WBA crown with brutal first round KO of Andrejs Pokumeiko in July last year before defending the title twice against Tony Averlant and Renold Quinlan – both fights ending in explosive first round knockouts.

Next up for the fast-rising Croydon star is Mexico’s Marco Antonio Periban (25-4-1, 16 KOs), a former opponent of former two-weight World Champion Badou Jack, IBF Super-Middleweight king James DeGale and World title challenger Avni Yildrim.

“I’m excited to be in the United states for the first time,” said Buatsi. “There is so much history here with this venue, the greats have fought here.

“To be able to say I’ve boxed at Maddison Square Garden this early in my career is an honour. I’ve had a great camp in Miami. I can’t wait to get started and put on a fantastic performance for all the fans.”

“As Britain takes over the Mecca of boxing next week in NY, it’s only right that one of our biggest rising stars gets the chance to shine,” said promoter Eddie Hearn.

“Joshua Buatsi has been sensational since turning professional and next week gets the chance to make his US debut on the biggest stage of all.

“We expect a tough challenge from Periban who will have big support at the arena from the Mexican fans hoping Andy Ruiz can make history for his country.

“Periban has mixed in great company and this is the perfect test for Josh as he closes in at shot at the World title. Next week is going to be special in so many ways, I can’t wait!”

Buatsi and Periban clash on a huge night of action at MSG where Anthony Johua’s World title defence against Andy Ruiz Jr.

It is supported by Irish sensation Katie Taylor clashing with Delfine Persoon for the undisputed Women’s World Lightweight championship.

Callum Smith defending his WBA World ‘Super’, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Super-Middleweight titles against Hassan N’Dam.

Josh Kelly making his US debut as he defends his WBA International Welterweight title against Philadelphia’s Ray Robinson.4

Finally, Chris Algieri defending his WBO International title against Britain’s Tommy Coyle in a crunch Super-Lightweight showdown.


TICKETS

Tickets for the huge night of World title action in New York are on sale now via Madison Square Garden and StubHub (www.stubhub.com)

Furthermore, tickets can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office. All Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008) and online at www.ticketmaster.com or www.MSG.com.

Official Ticket and Travel Packages, including the opportunity to travel on the Official Charter Plane, are available to purchase via Sportsworld (www.sportsworld.co.uk). Prices start at £1,095. Reserve your seat today.

Tickets are priced, $106, $156, $206, $306, $406, $506, $756, $1,006, $1,256 and $2,506. Plus applicable booking fees.

Wheelchair seats, companion seats, aisle seats and Assistive Listening Devices are available to purchase by calling 212-465-6034.

FULL JOSHUA V RUIZ BILL

12 – heavyweight

Anthony Joshua v Andy Ruiz Jr

International Boxing Federation World Heavyweight Title
International Boxing Organization World Heavyweight Title
World Boxing Association Super World Heavyweight Title
World Boxing Organisation World Heavyweight Title

10×2 – lightweight

Katie Taylor v Delfine Persoon

International Boxing Federation World Female Lightweight Title
WBA World Female Lightweight Title
WBC World Female Lightweight Title
WBO World Female Lightweight Title

12 – super middleweight

Callum Smith v Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam

World Boxing Association Super World Super Middleweight Title

12 – super lightweight

Chris Algieri v Tommy Coyle

10 – welterweight

Josh Kelly v Ray Robinson

10 – light heavyweight

Joshua Buatsi v Marco Periban

4 – middleweight

Austin Williams v Quadeer Jenkins

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Hughie Fury outlines ambitions to emulate cousin Tyson, win world title

Hughie Fury

Hughie Fury marks his return to the ring against Chris Norrad of Canada on May 25 at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse.

The 24-year-old heavyweight laces the gloves up for the first time since tasting a unanimous points defeat to Kubrat Pulev in October. Fury has vowed to be better than ever.

A one-time world title challenger, the cousin of Tyson Fury is excited to be back in action in his hometown.. Fury is looking forward to his road to redemption.

Fury said, “I can’t wait to get back into the ring in my home city of Manchester, I’ve missed fighting there and you can’t beat home support. It’s back to the drawing board, I know what I’ve got to do.

“The ambition to become World Champion is still burning fiercer than ever inside me. I believe that I will get there,” said Fury.

“It all starts again on the 25th May when I take on the unbeaten Norrad from Canada. It’s a crucial fight for me live on Channel 5 with millions watching.

“I know that a knockout performance will get the ball rolling again.”

Trainer and father, Peter Fury added: “This is Hughie’s opportunity to show that he’s back and means business.

“We’ve been working very hard in the gym since the Pulev fight and we’re ready to go again.

“We need Hughie back to his best like he was against Sexton to really get his feet back on the comeback trail. He’s banging on the door for a world title shot.”


HENNESSY

Promoter Mick Hennessy believes Fury, who was defeated in a close-fought contest by Joseph Parker in his only world title challenge, has all the tools to get back into world contention.

“It’s great to have Hughie back on the road towards the world title. I believe that he can be one of the very best heavyweights in the division.

“He has the tools, ability and youth on his side to become World Champion. He’s got an unbeaten fighter in Norrad in front of him and he’ll be coming over here up for the challenge.

“Norrad is looking to cause an upset in defeating Hughie on his return.”

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The pitfalls and politics of becoming undisputed heavyweight champion

Wilder Fury Joshua

Anthony Joshua wants all the heavyweight belts, but holding on to all four major titles is now more difficult than ever.

Top division boxing is stronger now than it has been at any other point in the past 20 years.

In Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, boxing’s flagship division finally has a top trio. They are comparable to Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, who competed for titles in the late 1990s.

There’s one problem, though. They aren’t fighting each other. According to Betway, the odds on any of the three battling each other this year are not the best.

When Joshua – the WBA, WBO and IBF champion – defends his belts against Andy Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden on 1 June, much of the focus will be on a bout that isn’t even happening.

A meeting with WBC champion Wilder would provide Joshua – who is the heavy favourite in the boxing betting to beat Ruiz – a chance to fulfil his long-term goal of becoming the undisputed world champion.

Chasing the final belt has proven extremely difficult for the 2012 Olympic gold medallist, though.

That’s because there are now more obstacles involved in winning multiple titles. Plus organising mega-fights than ever before.

For a fight between Joshua and Wilder to be made, their respective promoters must come to an agreement.

Negotiations between Eddie Hearn and Shelley Finkel – who manages Wilder – have become public and personal over the past two years. Hearn referred derogatively to his counterpart as ‘Shirley Winkle’ on several occasions.

It’s quite common for long-held grudges between promoters who have often been in the sport for decades to jeopardise fights.

The financial benefits of staging a contest – namely a greater share of pay-per-view and ticket revenue, and the ability to secure sponsorship deals on top of that – are a clear incentive for promoters to do all they can to hold the rights.

They also decide where the fight will be staged, the size of the ring and even minor details like which fighter will take which dressing room.

But boxing agent Tim Rickson, whose clients include former British and Commonwealth middleweight champion Tommy Langford, says promoters unwilling to cede ground to their rivals can also get in the way of their own fighters’ interests.

“It’s business, but a lot of ego comes into it as well,” says Rickson, who is also the editor of British Boxing News.

“That power play comes into it where they’re trying to be the biggest promoter with the biggest backing and the biggest fanbase.“Often the fighter is willing but then sometimes the conflicting promoters’ interests – and now the bigger problem, which is the TV broadcast deals – can result in the fight not being made.”

Indeed, the broadcast boom has created another obstacle for these super-fights to overcome.

There’s more money available than ever before for boxers who sign exclusive deals with broadcast companies.

In February 2019, Tyson Fury signed a five-fight, £80m American broadcasting contract with ESPN. Fury followed in the footsteps of Joshua and Wilder, who have similarly valuable deals with DAZN and Showtime, respectively.

With the big three now all tied up with separate stations, negotiations look close to unworkable.

“It’s so fragmented. It’s just going to be extremely difficult to bring any of those three together,” Rickson says.

“If you’re ESPN and you’ve put £80m into a fighter, you’re not going to let him have a rematch with Deontay Wilder on Showtime.

“Will ESPN say they will step down to let Showtime put it on, or vice versa? No.

“They both want the fight, they have both paid for the fight, they both deserve the fight. They aren’t going to give up their rights to profit from it.”

Rival broadcasters have occasionally found common ground in the past.

When Floyd Mayweather fought Manny Pacquiao in 2015, for example, HBO and Showtime aired the bout as a joint production – the first collaboration between the networks since 2002.

The protracted negotiations pushed that fight back five years later than when it should have taken place, though.

Pacquiao had lost twice since talks first began in 2009, meaning his one-sided defeat to Mayweather failed to answer the question of which fighter was greater at their best.

That is always the risk with super-fights. The sheer scope of negotiations that must take place can push the event further and further down the line, until its relevancy is lessened.There’s incentive for promoters to keep their fighters away from dangerous opponents for as long as possible, too.

Allowing the hype around a fight to build only increases its financial potential, and allows fighters like Joshua and Wilder, for example, to remain undefeated for longer.

That latter point is more important now than ever, as defeats are more damaging than they were in the past.

MAYWEATHER

It’s what Rickson refers to as “the Mayweather effect”.

“I think Floyd Mayweather is to blame in an indirect way,” he says.

“There’s this new influx of casual boxing fans who only get up for the big fights and aren’t really purists.

“When a fighter gets a loss on his record he is now almost dismissed, which is absolutely nonsensical to a hardcore fan.

“It’s that Mayweather effect – promoters don’t want their fighters to take a loss because they could be dismissed and lose a big following, which would result in fewer tickets sold and fewer pay-per-views.”

Delaying big fights brings a couple of risks into play, though.

The first is mandatory challengers.

Sanctioning bodies can rule that their top-ranked challengers have earned a shot at the title, forcing a champion like Joshua to defend one of his belts, rather than go fighting for a new one.

Put these defences off, and the champion will be stripped.


LUCK

The second is sheer dumb luck.

You simply can’t legislate for injuries, or opponents failing drug tests that force them out of fights.

That’s something Joshua and Hearn have had to deal with in just the past couple of months, with Jarrell Miller – who was meant to be the opponent on 1 June – testing positive for three banned substances and being replaced by Ruiz.

There’s also the chance that the opponent they have been eyeing for months will lose before a deal is done, a fate Joshua nearly suffered in December 2018 when Wilder scraped a draw against Tyson Fury.

Should Wilder’s rematch with Fury go ahead before Joshua gets his hands on the WBC champion, there’s a good chance it will be the Gypsy King – not Wilder – that he must beat to win that final belt.

That would require Hearn to negotiate with British rival Frank Warren, with whom he is even less likely to strike a deal than Finkel.

Or, Joshua could lose on 1 June, leaving Ruiz as the man with three belts, chasing the fourth.

Surely not.

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Conor McGregor claims Floyd Mayweather was ‘easy’ until mid-fight switch

Conor McGregor has admitted he would relish another chance to take on Floyd Mayweather.

The ‘Notorious’ also believes if a rematch was to happen then he would avenge his defeat to the American.

Despite the referee intervening in the 10th round, McGregor believes he was ‘whooping’ Mayweather before a change-up in styles changed momentum.

Analyzing his fight with Mayweather in 2017, which generated over 4 million PPV buys, McGregor said: “Floyd Mayweather is known for his Philly shell defense style of fighting. He has one arm tucked under and another under his chin, he deflects shots with his shoulder,” he told Tony Robbins.

“He’s a back footed fighter, and that’s what I prepared for. Because that’s what I had seen from him.

“Then, when I went into the fight, I was whooping him in the early rounds. I actually went back to my corner after the first round and said ‘this is easy’.

“Then he had to switch up his style, and you’ve got to respect that, he switched to the Mexican boxing style.

“The Mexican boxing style is where you put your elbows in tight and walk forward with heavy pressure. He never fought like that in his entire career.”

McGregor also stated he was expecting Mayweather to return the favor by fighting him in the Octagon.


MMA REMATCH

“Originally the promise was that I fought him on his terms, and he then fought me on my terms.

“I haven’t heard from him since. We’ll see what happens. I would love another go in the boxing ring, to see what happens.

“I know he’s not going to come into my game. But I would love to rematch him under boxing rules again. I have that knowledge and my sparring partners coming forward with that style and see where we go.

“I believe I would win. Actually, there I go again with that fake humbleness. I know I would win.”

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