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Eric Armit’s Snips and Snipes

Eric Armit

Eric is well known for his extensive weekly round-up of world boxing results, detailing key action, from the last seven days. Eric also writes weekly snips and snipes. Eric has a vast knowledge and in his spare time he is a boxing supervisor.

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What a great achievement by Tyson Fury to come through all of his troubles and tribulations to triumph. At one time it seemed he had serious mental and physical problems and that his career might be over just when he had reached the pinnacle. He didn’t lose faith when he looked to have been denied a clear victory in their first fight and he then suffered a horrible cut in his next fight but shook that off. He came though all that and crushed Wilder so comprehensively. In addition he did it by taking the fight to Wilder standing in front of Wilder and dominating him. A brilliant and brave switch of tactics against a fighter many were labelling the hardest puncher in the history of the heavyweight division. Wilder was like a playground bully who did not know what to do when someone punched back.

There was also a huge difference in how each fighter handled disappointment. Fury did not make a big fuss over the drawn verdict whereas Wilder is ready to blame everyone but himself for his loss. Firstly it was the outfit he chose to wear into the ring was so heavy it weakened him (that one is straight out of the David Hay’s big toe excuse for his pitiful showing against Wlad Klitschko). If walking that short distance weakened him it casts serious doubt on how hard he trained for a twelve round fight. Next it was a burst ear drum, then the towel should not have been thrown in and then the referee let Fury off with fouls etc. etc. Pitiful!

Reportedly the gate receipts hit $16.9 million exceeding the record for the heavyweight division set previously by Lennox Lewis vs. Evander Holyfield II in 1999 and the PPV buys, although not yet fully confirmed, were said to be between 800,000 and 850,000 a little short of that forecast. Each fighter was guaranteed $25 million plus a share of the PPV sales. The PPV figure is the best since the 1.1 million for the second Saul Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin fight in 2018 and the highest in the heavyweight division since the 2 million for Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson in 2002.

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Wilder is adamant that he will activate the return clause in the contract. He has a standard medical suspension from the Nevada Commission until 23 April which includes a no contact stipulation until after 8 April and it seems end of July might be the earliest date for the their return fight. I just hope that there is no return clause in the contract for the return fight or we could end up with a boxing version of Ground Hog day. And meanwhile Dillian Whyte adds another year to his tenure at the No 1 spot in the WBC rankings and with Anthony Joshua waiting for the winner of Fury vs. Wilder II Whyte is having his own Ground Hog day.

The above figures certainly put into perspective the value of the WBA secondary heavyweight title. The WBA have called for purse bids for champion Manuel Charr vs. Trevor Bryan. It will cost you $15,000 to participate in the bidding and they have set a minimum bid level of $1,000,000. They should be so lucky! Charr has not fought since November 2017 and Bryan since August 2018. I think it must be a typing mistake and they meant to set the minimum level for the purse at $15,000 which seems more realistic and pay people $1,000,000 for showing an interest!

Whilst Fury and Wilder were getting stratospherically high money the guys on the undercard had to settle for something a little more down to earth. Emanuel Navarrete was the next highest earner with $300,000, Gerald Washing got $275,000, Charles Martin $250,000 and then it falls away rapidly with Jeo Santisima getting $25,000 for his challenge to Navarrete, unbeaten Sebastian Fundora on $40,000 and his opponent Daniel Lewis $35,000

According to a number of sources Bob Arum is contemplating selling Top Rank but it is difficult to establish if it’s a case of Arum saying everything is for sale in a general remark not specific to Top Rank although it is claimed that Arum was “courting a similar deal to the one which saw UFC sold to WME-IMG” but I will believe that when it happens as right now Arum is the No 1 man in world boxing and seems to be enjoying himself too much.

Despite the huge attraction that the Fury vs. Wilder fight generated there are some reverse signs out there. Beer company Tecate, which has ploughed sponsorship money into boxing for eleven years has now decided to pull the plug and focus on other sports and events which is a huge blow. In Germany there was a brief ray of sunlight when public broadcasting company ZDF broke its nine year absence from boxing by joining with the regenerated Universum outfit to cover two of the Universum shows. The first show attracted 820,000 viewers which was way below expectation so they have pulled the plug and will once again exit stage left. Not good.

The boxing world is waiting with bated breath for the announcement of who will face Saul Alvarez on 2 May. Both Callum Smith and Billy Joe Saunders have been mentioned but others such as Caleb Plant have ruled themselves out. Jaime Munguia’s name has also come up but being my cynical self what is going on is probably a reverse auction with the lowest bidder getting the chance to fight Alvarez.

Gennady Golovkin’s name has not come up but it would not matter if it did as a shin injury has forced Golovkin to put back the date of his IBF title defence against Kamil Szeremeta to the end of May or early June. Fifth postponement of this one.

It seems no one wants to fight in the eliminators for the WBO and WBC light heavyweight titles. The WBO selected Umar Salamov and Max Vlasov but since neither fighter has shown any interest they are threatening to nominate two other fighters and Gilberto Ramirez has refused to face Eleider Alvarez for the WBC because he is trying to get out of his contract with Top Rank who won the bidding for the fight. The WBC are replacing Ramirez with Joe Smith Jr. Not sure where the WBO might go but I would not be surprised to see Anthony Yarde’s name crop up as Frank Warren has a good working relationship with the WBO.

There has been a delay in the court hearing of the civil case between Felix Trinidad and the Banco Popular. The judge had asked both parties to agree the proposals and evidence they will present in the case by 15 February. That did not happen so now they are both under strict orders to do that by the end of this week. In the case the Banco Popular is making a claim against a $22 million line of credit they extended to Trinidad. The former champion lost most of his money when the Puerto Rican government bonds his money was invested in nose dived and his worth reportedly dropped from $27 million to $1.6 million. If he loses the case then he could lose everything-car, house, and boxing trophies-the lot.

The corona virus is having an impact on boxing. The Japanese Boxing Commission has cancelled all boxing shows scheduled for March and cancellations are also happening in Italy right now and I guess other countries may soon take similar steps.

It has been a rocky time for boxing in South Africa. National heavyweight champion Ruann Visser has been handed a four year ban by the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS). Visser tested positive for the anabolic steroid Stanozolol after winning the South African title with a victory over Osborn Machimana in 2018. Visser successfully challenged an initial ban citing doubts over the chain of custody of his urine sample and an independent panel in South Africa gave Visser the ‘benefit of the doubt’. However the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) appealed that outcome. Visser’s legal team went to the Federal Courts in Switzerland but they were unable to prevent the case from being heard at CAS and CAS handed down the ban which prevents Visser from competing, training or sparring in any organised boxing environment and also from participation in any other support which highlights how disgustingly lenient the treatment was of Jarrell Miller who tested positive for three banned substances and is expected to return to action soon only a year after giving those positive tests.

The other boxer in the news down there is former IBO champion Tommy Oosthuizen who was arrested for alleged assault with intent to cause grievous body harm and is in police custody. In 2018 he was sentenced to 18 months for dealing in drugs and with his past has actions and current troubles has effectively flushed his career down the toilet.

It has not been a good week for boxers from Eastern Europe either. Sergey Kovalev gets arrested for driving under the influence and because of visa problems Kubrat Pulev gets deported instead of watching the Fury vs. Wilder fight. Oh and of course Adrien Broner gets thrown out for acting like Adrien Broner!

It was interesting to see that Henry Tillman was in Charles Martin’s corner at the weekend. Tillman’s two claims to fame are that he beat Mike Tyson in the final of the US Olympic Trials for the 1984 Olympics and that he then went on the win the gold medal in Los Angeles. He had a shot at the WBC cruiser title in 1987 but lost to Evander Holyfield.

Talk is that John Ryder will tackle Daniel Jacobs at the end of May and Jorge Linares vs. Ryan Garcia is set for 11 July. A loss there would probably be the end of the line for Linares. Jeff Horn vs. Tim Tszyu will be a huge fight in Australia. It is scheduled for 22 April but not sure of the venue yet. With Horn having reversed his loss to Michael Zerafa and Tszyu 15-0 with good domestic wins over Dwight Ritchie and Jack Brubaker it sells itself as a fight. At 32 it’s a fight Horn can’t afford to lose and one that Tszyu seems confident he will win.

Otto Wallin was trying to talk up a fight with Tyson Fury arguing that he gave Fury a tough time in September. Don’t hold your breath Otto.  He was to have fought Leroy Browne in Las Vegas on 28 March but has had to pull out with an injury and has been replaced by unbeaten Russian Apti Davtaev. Also on the card Luis Nery takes on unbeaten fellow-Mexican Aaron Alameda in a WBC eliminator at super bantamweight

Jason Moloney is having to settle for the bridesmaid spot. With WBO No 1 Guillermo Rigondeaux now the holder of the WBA secondary title after beating No 2 Liborio Solis No 3 Moloney would have hoped to move into the mandatory position but instead he has to settle for a place on the undercard to Naoya Inoue vs. John Riel Casimero on 25 April in Las Vegas. There is some good news for the Australian as he will face Joshua Greer who is WBO No 1 so a victory would put Moloney in a mandatory challenger slot.

Francesco Patera was to have defended his European lightweight title against veteran Devis Boschiero but instead the Belgian has relinquished the title and their fight in Verona on 27 March will be for the vacant interim WBA title. It will now be former champion Edis “Prince” Tatli vs. Italian Luca Ceglia for the vacant European title in May.

It will be just a six round bout on a mixed pro/amateur Card in France on Saturday night but I will be cheering for 10-0 Daniel Blenda Dos Santos. After a deprived and delinquent childhood which led to three and a half years in prison he studied hard came out with a diploma in management got married and is rebuilding his life through boxing. Best of luck Daniel.

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