SAN DIEGO, October 8, 2017 – Just like the weather, boxing falls into its own seasons. While there is boxing somewhere on the planet 24/7/365, in the highest pro ranks boxing peaks in May, and in September.
It’s not only because of big fight cards around the Mexican celebrations around Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence Day. These dates avoid competition with the Super Bowl, most significant pro sports playoffs, and major holidays.
Time now to get back in the ring and put the fans in the seats. It’s been a great year for boxing in 2017 and it will wrap up with several significant fights. Time for Ringside Seat to return from its own brief break to get boxing heads caught up on the latest headlines.
The Show Must Go On: After the WBC pulled its sanction for the fight, Luis Ortiz of Cuba was tossed as an opponent for heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder due to testing positive for a prohibited substance under VADA. Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) will still fight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on November 4, facing a familiar foe: former champion Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs). It’s not the fight everyone got excited about it, but at least we’re getting these men in the ring.
Stiverne was Wilder’s originally mandatory challenger, but he accepted a step-aside payment of $675,000 (wouldn’t you?) so Wilder could make the fight with Ortiz. Stiverne then agreed to fight American Dominic Breazeale on the undercard. With Ortiz out, Stiverne is back in.
Ortiz was the third Wilder opponent in a row to fail pre-fight drug testing. It’s an awful coincidence, but nothing more. People somehow implicating Wilder need to get a grip. It’s not in Wilder’s best interests to miss the chance to remind fans who he is before he gets covered in ring rust. While another opponent such as Britain’s Dillian Whyte might have been a better choice, Stiverne isn’t a horrible choice. Stiverne is the only opponent to ever go the distance with Wilder. Wilder can answer some questions by stopping Stiverne in a statement win. The fight will air on Showtime Boxing in the U.S.
Eubank Jr. advances in World Boxing Super Series: Britain’s Chris Eubank Jr. knocked out Avni Yildirim of Turkey in the third round to advance to the semi-finals in the super middleweight tournament of the World Boxing Super Series Saturday in Stuttgart, Germany. Eubank (26-1, 20 KOs) retained his IBO super-middleweight title.
Eubank Jr. will face the winner of the semi-final between WBA Super Champion George Groves and Jamie Cox, who fight in London on October 14.
“I’m here to dominate,” said Eubank Jr. “I’m sending a message out there that I’m coming. George Groves, get through your next fight so we can give the boxing fans what they want to see.”
Yildirim (16-1, 10 KOs), who had been undefeated before the loss, lacked experience and had faced limited opposition. Fellow Brit Callum Smith is set for the other semi-final, awaiting the winner of Juergen Braehmer (48-3, 35 KOs) of Germany and Rob Brant (22-0, 15 KOs) of the U.S. in Schwerin, Germany on October 27.
In the cruiserweight edition of the tournament, only one more quarter final bout remains. Oleksander Usyk of Ukraine and Mairis Breidis of Latvia won their quarter finals with ease. Yunier Dorticos of Cuba (22-0, 21 KOs) won with surprising ease, blasting Dmitri Kudryashov of Russia (21-2, 21 KOs) with a highlight reel knockout in the second round, and now and awaits the winner of the October 21 bout between IBF champion Murat Gassiev of Russia (24-0. 17 KOs) and former champion Krzysztof Wlodarczyk of Poland (53-3-1, 37 KOs). Gassiev trains with Abel Sanchez at The Summit in Southern California.
Fall fight schedule filling in: Tricks and treats up for grabs in these upcoming cards worthy putting on your personal schedule.
October 14: Six of the world’s best junior middleweights, five Americans and a Cuban born U.S. resident, line up for a Showtime tripleheader with three titles on the line from the Barclays Center in New York. While all these bouts could produce fireworks for fans, the best bet is the fight between Charlo and rising star Lubin, who’s still just 21 year old:
Erislandy Lara vs. Terrell Gausha, for Lara’s WBA junior middleweight title
Jermell Charlo vs. Erickson Lubin, for Charlo’s WBC junior middleweight title
Jarrett Hurd vs. Austin Trout, 12 rounds, for Hurd’s IBF junior middleweight title
Earlier the same afternoon, featherweight Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares are in action in Southern California at the StubHub Center on Fox Sports – but not against each other. It’s a disappointment, but assuming both come away with wins, let’s see these two tango in a rematch soon.
October 28: The world’s top heavyweight, Anthony Joshua of Great Britain, defends his IBF and WBA titles against Kubrat Pulev. On the undercard, Kahlid Yafai puts his WBA junior bantamweight title on the line against Sho Ishida of Japan. Also on the card, rising women’s star Katie Taylor of Ireland attempts to win her first professional title against WBA lightweight champion Anahi Esther Sanchez of Argentina, a ten round bout.
November 11: Middleweight Daniel Jacobs makes his Matchroom Boxing debut on HBO Boxing against Luis Arias; on the undercard, one of the most entertaining personalities in boxing, undefeated American heavyweight Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller, fights 12 rounds against Polish veteran Maruisz Wach. If you’ve never seen Big Baby in action, get ready for some fun.
November 25: Light heavyweight Sergey Kovalev returns to the ring against Ukraine’s Vyacheslav Shabranskyy at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. The undercard is still in the planning, but expect to see Kovalev’s Main Events stablemate Sullivan Barrera, plus a junior lightweight bout between Jason Sosa and the always entertaining Robinson Castellanos. The winner will likely get a shot at champion Jezreel Corrales, setting up a Corrales vs. Castellanos rematch. Although Corrales got the decision, many observers including this writer believe Castellanos won.
December brings the Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux bout on December 9; an anticipated super featherweight war between Miguel Berchelt and Orlando Salido; and the first title defense for Australian Jeff Horn, who won a controversial decision over Manny Pacquiao.
Fire consumes historic Kronk Gym: As reported in the The Detroit News, the original Kronk Gym in Detroit was destroyed by a fire of “suspicious origin” Saturday night. Founded by the late Emanuel Steward, the Kronk Gym was at the center of Detroit boxing for decades. Steward trained 41 world champions at the original Kronk Gym building, a who’s who of the sport including heavyweights Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko, and middleweight Tommy Hearns. Hearns visiting to see the damage, telling the Detroit Free Press, “What this building brought for me was a chance at life. I got a chance to become somebody out of this building right here. To see it like this is pitiful — it’s really pitiful.” Steward died in 2012; his nephew Javan Sugarhill Steward runs the relocated Kronk Gym which is still training 15 amateur and professional boxers.
If you’re not familiar with the Kronk Gym legacy, read the excellent, comprehensive history on the Kronk Gym website, well worth your time.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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