Trio of strong matches support Joshua v Parker

By J.B. Smithers

Even in these heady times of sell out stadiums, monstrous pay-per-views and a host of channels clamouring to show boxing in the UK, there remain critics of the manner with which this demand is created and served.

Increasingly, to the fringes of the swell of goodwill on which Anthony Joshua rides, there remain voices who point to a weakness in the undercards on these Matchroom events and the sense hype, and the desire to feed the ‘event-crowd’ beast, is overwhelming the need for value and legitimate supporting match-ups.

In short, if Joshua is on, the hipster hardcore – they used to be called anoraks when the world was inside a forum rather than on social media – believe too many viewers are interested only in Joshua knocking someone over and are not unduly concerned by the merits of a featherweight clash at 6.25pm. Hardcore fans don’t like that type of ‘casual’ fandom you see. Sometimes, I wonder if they like boxing at all. Certainly, whether they like that so many others like it too. Hardcore fans would, if boxing were a band, always prefer the ‘earlier acoustic stuff’.

I digress. Despite my cynicism, it is refreshing, particularly given Eddie Hearn’s sense that it was necessary to over pay Joseph Parker relative to his true commercial appeal, to contemplate a much stronger selection of undercard features for the event on March 31st in Cardiff. Continue reading “Trio of strong matches support Joshua v Parker”

Joshua set for 20th straight stoppage success against Takam

Anthony ‘AJ’ Joshua had been busy preparing for a mandatory defence of his IBF and WBA heavyweight titles against Bulgarian challenger Kubrat Pulev but that fight was scrapped just two weeks before fight night in Wales. An untimely injury to the visiting challenger has forced  ‘AJ’ to alter his preparations for a last-minute replacement, in the form of French Cameroonian puncher, Carlos Takam.   Continue reading “Joshua set for 20th straight stoppage success against Takam”

Takam or leave him; Pulev pulls, Carlos steps in for Joshua bout

Photo credit: Johann Walter Bantz

Such is the enormity of Anthony Joshua fights these days that the withdrawal of Bulgarian heavyweight Kubrat Pulev just two weeks before fight night was never likely to derail the promotion or force a postponement. To recreate the logistics committed to October 28th, within the confines of a packed pay-per-view schedule and Christmas expenditure looming would have been close to impossible.

French Cameroonian Carlos Takam steps from the shadows and two routine encounters in 2017 to save the show. One assumes he had rivals for the post, even at late notice, but the most obvious choice of Dillian Whyte, who appears on the undercard and brings some renown following his first bash at Joshua, will be saved for another day. Continue reading “Takam or leave him; Pulev pulls, Carlos steps in for Joshua bout”

Boxing: Laugh or cry, matchmaking with the Klitschkos

As a boxing traditionalist, the Klitschko brothers prove something of a troublesome enigma to me. Resplendent though they are at the top of the heavyweight mountain, their individual and collective resumes feature nothing but a procession of mediocrity – some of whom the physically gifted Ukrainians have conspired to lose to. But I cannot always count defeats against them, as an advocate of risk taking, defeats are the inevitable byproduct are they not? Risk? What risk? You see, for every argument I make against them, there is objective counsel to the contrary. News Sam Peter may replace the perpetually injured Alexander Povetkin in the Wladimir Klitschko’s September 11th defence yet more evidence to pour over. Do we laugh or cry, empathise or chastise? Continue reading “Boxing: Laugh or cry, matchmaking with the Klitschkos”

Can the heavyweight contender list be clarified this month?

povetkin2Those desperate to rekindle interest in the talent bereaved heavyweight division will hope the next three weekends herald the emergence of a new consensus contender for the division’s sibling kings. Since the departure of Lennox Lewis, and the three year retirement of the more rugged Klitschko, the division has waited for either a charismatic young puncher to appear or for the more fluid, but less stout Klitschko to stamp his authority on the troubled weight class. Fans gravitated toward Samuel Peter for a while, then had their heads turned by Alexander Povetkin swift ascension, fell in line behind David Haye’s march from Cruiserweight or, for the visually impaired who fail to see the molasses around his waist, fell in love with Cristobal Arreola in their quest to find an antidote to the soporific Ukrainians.

Continue reading “Can the heavyweight contender list be clarified this month?”

Save the last dance for me; Haye’s search for a partner drifts on

They say, whoever they are, that in matters of the heart the chase is all part of the thrill. I’m not sure whether the notion could be extended to finding 250-pound men with a glint in their eye, I suppose it depends on your proclivities. However, David Haye’s quest to find a “top-10” heavyweight contender to knockout, as he assumes he will, in November has proven about as easy as platting fog. It began with rumours of Hasim Rahman or Andrew Golota but is now much further down the heavyweight barrel. Continue reading “Save the last dance for me; Haye’s search for a partner drifts on”

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