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Will the ‘Marination’ of Tyson Fury Backfire (and other Heavyweight Notes)

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  • Will the ‘Marination’ of Tyson Fury Backfire (and other Heavyweight Notes)

    Click image for larger version  Name:	tysonfury2711.jpg Views:	1 Size:	112.9 KB ID:	12449

    By Arne K. Lang

    When Bob Arum and his comrades at ESPN poached Tyson Fury from Showtime, they did it in the belief that Fury was better served by having his rematch with Deontay Wilder “marinate” for a while. Until that day comes, Fury, for his part, would prime the pump with one or more interim bouts.

    We wouldn’t be surprised if this backfires.

    Styles make fights, goes the old saying, and, in hindsight, Fury vs. Wilder was the perfect pairing for producing a fight that was competitive, entertaining, and replete with drama.

    So, here’s the question: Would Tyson Fury be better served by engaging Deontay Wilder in an immediate rematch in which he comes out on the short end of a close call in another entertaining tiff, or would he be better served by taking an interim bout in which he defeats an opponent of modest skill in a dull fight?

    A fight fan who tweets under the handle “The Fringe Contender” asked this question in a roundabout way, raising a point that seems to have gotten lost in all the hand-wringing over the stalled rematch: “I think Tyson Fury and others have forgotten how dreadfully boring his fights against, well anyone but Wilder are. Almost worse than boring. Who knows, he might actually drive his market value and high public perception down by having the interim fight. Lol.”

    Speculation as to Tyson Fury’s next opponent has centered around Kubrat Pulev and Oscar Rivas, both of whom have ties to Arum’s Top Rank organization. But Pulev is seemingly out of the running as he has a fight scheduled on March 23 against defective Bogdan Dinu.

    The venue for Pulev-Dinu is The Hanger at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, California, heretofore a venue for mixed boxing and MMA low-budget cards cobbled together by promoter Roy Engelbrecht, a longtime fixture on the Southern California boxing scene.

    - - - -

    Four heavyweights of note were in action this past weekend, most notably Luis Ortiz who won a lopsided 10-round decision over German-Romanian invader Christian Hammer in the chief undercard bout on the Castano-Lara card at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

    How one judges Ortiz’s performance depends on whether one sees the glass half full or half empty. If one was seeing Ortiz for the first time, one likely wondered if this was the same guy who has been routinely identified as the most avoided heavyweight in boxing.

    While acknowledging that this was a hard fight, Ortiz gave himself a high grade. “Every heavyweight out there should know that I still have it at 40-years-old,” said Ortiz. “Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, I’m ready.”

    It’s interesting that Ortiz referenced himself as being 40 when his 40th birthday was ostensibly four weeks away. Other athletes from Cuba have been unmasked as older than their listed age and it has long been speculated that “King Kong” is one of them.

    No matter how one rates Ortiz’s showing, his performance may redound to his credit in so far as securing a big money match. As a frequent TSS contributor notes, Christian Hammer, a durable fighter with a solid chin, was the perfect opponent if the intent was to make Ortiz look vulnerable.


    In Magdeburg, Germany, German heavyweights Agit Kabayel and Tom Schwarz kept their undefeated records intact. Kabayel, who is of Kurdish descent, out-boxed Andriy Rudenko to retain his version of the European heavyweight title. Schwarz blew away Kristijan Krstacic in the second round.

    Schwarz (24-0, 16 KOs) was fighting in his hometown. He drew a softie in 38-year-old Krstacic whose 17-1 record going in was forged against a motley cache of opponents. Schwarz had him on the canvas three times before the referee intervened.

    Kabayel, now 19-0, was extended the distance, but his Ukrainian adversary, Rudenko, was 32-3 going in and had never been stopped. Kabayel's next opponent figures to be Swedish southpaw Otto Wallin who is also undefeated (20-0).

    In a round robin tournament between Kabayel, Schwarz, and Wallin, there would be no clear-cut-favorite. They range in age from 24 to 28, in height from six-foot-three to six-foot-five-and-a-half, and each carries about 240 pounds. History informs us, however, that white European heavyweights not named Klitschko have low ceilings so it’s doubtful that any of them would pose a serious threat to the likes of Anthony Joshua.


    Lou DiBella, the former Senior Vice President of HBO Sports, is a busy beaver. He was the lead promoter for Saturday’s event at Barclays Center and on that same day an edition of his Broadway Boxing Series unfolded in Columbus, Ohio. (It figured that DiBella’s series would travel well. As the late, great R & B singer Wilson Pickett informed us, there’s a Broadway in every town and, yes, that includes Columbus, Ohio; we checked.)

    In the main go of DiBella’s Columbus show, Junior Fa improved to 17-0 (10) with a first round stoppage of French import Newfel Ouatah. The fight was a travesty. Ouatah brought a 16-2 record but had defeated only four men with winning records and he was out of his league. Fa scored four knockdowns before the referee pulled the plug.

    Travesty or not, it was a nice win for Fa who had several spotty performances last year that DiBella attributed to a health issue (anemia) that has since been remedied.

    Fa, who carries 255 pounds on a six-foot-two frame, is on a collision course with fellow Kiwi and former amateur rival Joseph Parker. They split four fights as amateurs. When they eventually meet – assuming no intervening complications – it will be a huge fight in New Zealand and throughout Polynesia. Junior Fa’s roots are in Tonga, Parker’s in Samoa, and the two island nations have a longstanding rivalry that continues today on the rugby pitch.

    True, relations are now cordial, due in part to the fact that so many Tongans and Samoans share a common religion (Latter Day Saints), but a big inter-ethnic boxing match has a way of re-opening old sores.

    - - -

    Switching gears, there’s an early frontrunner for Trainer of the Year.

    “It says a lot about Buddy McGirt, as a trainer and tonight as a cornerman to have such an instant impact on a fighter. Particularly having had only one training camp with the fighter who doesn’t even share the same language as him,” tweeted the writer of the "Laceupboxing" blog after Sergey Kovalev recaptured his WBO world light heavyweight title with a unanimous decision over Eleider Alvarez on Feb. 2 in Frisco, Texas.

    Heading into the fight, Kovalev’s persona was that of a slugger with stamina issues. At age 35, it figured that his best days were behind him. But “Krusher” comprehensively out-boxed Alvarez and finished strong. CompuBox credited him with throwing 816 punches.

    McGirt boxed professionally from 1982 to 1997, finishing with a record of 73-6-1. He will be formally inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in June and if he were to be named Trainer of the Year for 2019 he would be a two-time honoree. The Boxing Writers Association of America conferred this award on him in 2002.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

  • #2
    I like the idea of Fury fighting Rivas. Top Rank may see that as too risky though for Fury's first fight. Keep these two other heavyweights in mind...Trevor Bryan and Andrey Fedosov. No promotional issues and fighters with good records with some career momentum. But each flawed enough where Fury can not only not bore us but probably score a knockout.

    As a side, Banner Promotions, who promotes Fedosov, put out a press release yesterday regarding Fedosov and his desire for a big fight. They mentioned Adam Kownacki (a fight I mentioned I'd like to see at the start of the year) but I also think that was sent with the intent of getting Fedosov's name out there for a potential Fury fight.

    I watched the fights for Kayabel, Schwarz and Fa. Kayabel impressed me. He has some decent skills and at 26 still some upside. He almost got Rudenko, who is extremely durable, out of there in the 6th with a series of body shots and took all the fight out of Rudenko down the stretch.

    Junior Fa is raw but did take care of business. Another heavyweight who fought on that card to monitor is Hemi Ahio (13-0, 9 KO's) No amateur fights and very raw. Needs to be moved slowly. But there is some serious potential. He is athletic, has quick hands and heavy handed type of power. Keep an eye on him.


    • Kid Blast
      Kid Blast commented
      Editing a comment
      Fury will slaughter Rivas. Mark my words. But not Whyte. Very dangerous.

  • #3
    It won't be made official until tomorrow but social media rumors have pinned Tyson Fury's next opponent as Tom Schwarz (mentioned in the article above). It makes sense. Schwarz is undefeated but limited, much more limited than Oscar Rivas whom team Fury reportedly turned down as an opponent.

    Speaking of Rivas, he will probably fight on that undercard against a lower level opponent. Kubrat Pulev, who fights tomorrow, has been mentioned as a future opponent for Rivas later in the year on ESPN should they each be successful in their next fights. There is amateur history between Pulev and Rivas.