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Boxing News & Notes for 6/26: Harrison, Green return, fight announcements, and Ward-Smith aftermath

Ward ponders weight following victory over Smith. Andre Ward is unsure of which weight class he will compete following Saturday’s ninth-round TKO win over Paul Smith. The Smith bout was fought at a catchweight limit of 172 lbs.; three shy of the full Light Heavyweight limit while hovering four above Super Middleweight, where Ward plowed through the very best the weight class could offer including Mikkel Kessler, Carl Froch, Sakio Bika, and Arthur Abraham over a four year span. “Just to be clear, I have not made an official decision about the weight class I’ll be fighting in. Still resting, will speak to my team soon,” Ward stated via his official Twitter account.

Joe Gallagher recommends retirement for frazzled Paul Smith. “He’s got a good job on Sky (Sports), he’s gone out with the best and he’s had an Indian summer with his last three fights. There’s lot for him on the other side of ropes, he’s a good pundit, knows his boxing and he’s been in the sport along time” said the 32-year-old Liverpudlian’s trainer when speaking to the Liverpool Echo. Smith has lost three straight fights, two of which were hard-fought encounters with WBO titlist Arthur Abraham, his latest by ninth-round TKO against Andre Ward on Saturday night.

Operation America is a go. Marco Huck will make his voyage across the Atlantic on August 14th in a bout that will be only his third outside of Germany. The Serbian-born Huck has successfully defended his WBO Crusierweight title thirteen times since winning it in a twelve-round brawl with Argentina’s Victor Emilio Ramirez in 2009. What he hasn’t done is defend it outside of his home turf. He will have a chance later this summer in Newark, New Jersey. His opponent, 24-0 Krzysztof Glowacki, has defeated veterans Nuri Seferi, Thierry Karl, and Ismail Abdoul to break through as a contender, and to earn a title bout; one which will be staged in front of Newark’s considerably large Polish abode. Glowacki may be able to gather some support from the local crowd, but this is an unprecedented challenge for him fighting on such a massive stage in an attempt to vanquish the hard-hitting champion during his impeccable reign.

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Fujimoto out, Tupou in for Joseph Parker. Kyotaro Fujimoto pulled out of his bout with Joseph Parker about as soon as he returned the contract. Second thoughts, or whatever it may have been that caused the cancellation of this bout, the undefeated Kiwi Heavyweight won’t be quick to give up his August 1st date in Invercargill. Parker will now box 32-year-old Bowie Tupou, who has won three straight fights since a pair of defeats against Bryant Jennings and Malik Scott in the United States. Parker stands as a much taller task than 11-4-2 Hunter Sam, against whom Tupou could only earn a split decision win in a bout for the WBO Africa title in March. That, and a line of exceedingly gaudy trinkets including the OBPF, PABA, and WBO Oriental Heavyweight title will be up for grabs in this bout.

Green, 42, returns against Kovacs, wants Mundine rematch. Whether his motive be money or enmity, or simply the rush of being in the ring, former IBO Crusierweight and WBA Light Heavyweight champion Danny Green is set to make his return to boxing on August 19th in Melbourne, Australia against Slovakian Tamas Kovacs. Kovacs, a career Light Heavyweight, meets Green at an 86 kg. catchweight having won three straight fights. With that said, he lost a third-round knockout against Beibut Shumenov in his only bout outside of Slovakia, Hungary, or Germany, making his 26-1 professional record observably turgid. Green, with a victory, looks to face bitter rival Anthony Mundine in the near future. A twelve-round defeat to the 40-year-old came over nine years ago, but, different to Gatti and Ward in every aspect, these two have never stopped hating each other since that fateful night so long ago.

Harrison returns on August 15th. Scott Harrison has yet to be licensed by the BBBofC. As far as that body is concerned, there are legal matters pending and he may be extradited to Spain to serve out a four-year sentence stemming from a 2007 incident. But there is always a loophole, and, in this case, the Malta Boxing Commission (MBC) is on his side, and the controversial sanctioning body has granted him a license to compete in professional boxing again. His return comes on August 15th at the Lagoon Leisure Centre and Paisley, Scotland against an opponent soon to be announced. For more insight into Harrison’s life and tribulations, see James Tonks’ interview with Scott Harrison.

Shumenov-Flores added to PBC calender. After a series of postponements, a fight long awaited if only by its belligerents has been set for July 25th. Shumenov is 31, and Flores 36 years of age, both have received title shots and only Shumenov held a version of a title. He kept his WBA Light Heavyweight title, one which he took in disputed fashion against Gabriel Campillo, by boxing dilatory match-ups against journeymen fighters William Joppy, Danny Santiago, and Enrique Ornelas. After a fifty-one month reign, Shumenov faced Bernard Hopkins in a bid to unify the titles; failing miserably but somehow winning the fight on one of three judges’ scorecards; it was still a split decision loss. Flores, on the other hand, is best known for losing a fight for the often disregarded IBO Crusierweight title against Danny Green in 2010. He hasn’t fought in a significant bout since, but has taken up work as a commentator on the very network Shumenov-Flores will be broadcast — NBC Sports Network.

Warrington-Brunker set for September. Josh Warrington will look to keep his unbeaten record intact and the Commonwealth title in his hands when he faces Joel Brunker of Australia on September 5th in Leeds. Brunker has won all but one of his thirty career bouts; his lone loss coming against Welshman Lee Selby by ninth round technical knockout.

Fonfara-Cleverly set for Autumn date. An official date has not been established, but it has been announced by Matchroom Sport that Nathan Cleverly will look to get back into the mix at Light Heavyweight against a top ten contender in Andrzej Fonfara. Fonfara, 27, went the distance with Adonis Stevenson in May 2014, even managing a knockdown, albeit at a point in the fight where one wasn’t enough. He’s proven to be one of the top contenders at 175 lbs. since then, defeating Doudou Ngumbu and Mexican boxing prodigy Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in consecutive bouts. Cleverly looks to recover from a defeat to Tony Bellew at Cruiserweight and reappear with some semblance of a world class contender. He certainly didn’t look the part against Bellew, and definitely not fifteen months prior, when he was starched in four rounds by Sergey Kovalev. A win here could connote a better future for either man; both currently lost in the heap of contenders and would-bes in their weight class. The date and location for this contest will be announced soon.

Brook-Rios coming soon? Rumors have circulated through boxing websites and local publications regarding a Welterweight fight between IBF titlist Kell Brook and all-action slugger Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios. The date in play is September 12th, according to Sky Sports and Boxingscene.com. Rios, 29, hasn’t signed his portion of the contract, according to a report by World Boxing News, and a formal announcement has yet to come from Matchroom Sport (promoter of Brook) or Top Rank Boxing (Rios), so this bout is not to be considered official at this time. Rios, 29, recently scored a third-round TKO over Mike Alvarado in their rubber-match. Brook is coming off of a sixth-round TKO win over Frankie Gavin, his domestic rival, in what was his second defense of the IBF Welterweight title.

Former WBC Lightweight champion Jim Watt suffered a terrible loss on Wednesday when his daughter, 38-year-old Michelle Watt, is believed to have taken her own life at a home she shared with her husband and daughter. Michelle was the second of three children born to Jim and wife, Margaret Watt. Third-born Jim Watt Jr. lost his life in a road traffic accident in October 1995 when he was only 17. First-born Andrew, 45, survives. We at Ringnews24 send our condolences to the Watt family as they mourn this unfortunate loss.

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