Boxing news: IBF grant exception to allow Andy Ruiz Jr vs Anthony Joshua rematch, winner must face Kubrat Pulev

14 Aug

The Andy Ruiz Jr vs Anthony Joshua rematch will go ahead with all three heavyweight titles on the line.

Ruiz stunned AJ to claim his WBA, IBF and WBO belts on June 1 at MSG, though there was debate over whether he’d be able to hang onto all of them in the aftermath.

Andy Ruiz Jr vs Anthony Joshua II has been announced for December
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Both the IBF and WBO have mandatory challengers due soon, but this will not affect the rematch – which is disputably scheduled for December 7 in Saudi Arabia.

The WBO previously designated Oleksandr Usyk as their challenger, though are happy to allow the rematch to take place first before ordering the winner to face the Ukrainian.

And now the IBF have made a similar decision, with Kubrat Pulev set down as mandatory.

Pulev’s team had attempted to push the governing body to order Ruiz to defend his belt against the Bulgarian now.

Oleksandr Usyk is the WBO heavyweight mandatory challenger
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Kubrat Pulev is the IBF heavyweight mandatory challenger
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As he is contracted to fight Joshua again, this would have likely resulted in the Mexican-American being stripped and Pulev getting a vacant title shot.

In the end, the IBF listened to both parties and agreed to allow Ruiz to rematch AJ, though this does cause a potential dilemma for the winner.

When Ruiz vs Joshua II is all said and done, the WBO will order Usyk to face the winner and the IBF will order Pulev to do the same.

Unless the champion wants to have two fights in one night, it is very possible that he could be forced to vacate one of his titles.

Boxing news: Why Andy Ruiz Jr could be stripped of IBF belt if he fights Anthony Joshua next

27 Jul

Andy Ruiz Jr could be stripped of one of his world titles if his rematch with Anthony Joshua goes ahead.

The Mexican-American boxer shocked the British heavyweight in June when he won with a seventh-round knockout.

Andy Ruiz Jr won the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles
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The victory saW Ruiz take Joshua’s WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles at Madison Square Garden in New York.

An immediate rematch looks likely and promoter Eddie Hearn says it will be ‘finalised very soon’ for December 14 in the UK.

But World Boxing News reports that a spanner has been thrown into the works as Kubrat Pulev is the mandatory IBF challenger.

Kubrat Pulev is the mandatory IBF challenger
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The Bulgarian is back from his ban for kissing a reporter after he completed a sexual harassment prevention course.

If the IBF call for that bout to happen, then it could either push the Joshua rematch, Ruiz could relinquish the belt or he could be stripped of it.

Bob Arum, founder and CEO of Top Rank, which co-promotes Pulev along with Epic Sports said: “We’ve been waiting patiently. The time is now.

“Andy Ruiz has an obligation to fight No1 mandatory IBF contender Kubrat Pulev.”

And Pulev himself added: “I was ready to face Anthony Joshua in November. Now I’m eager to challenge Andy Ruiz.

“I will fight Ruiz anywhere in the world. Let’s make it happen.”

Kubrat Pulev kiss case resolved as boxer has suspension lifted by California Commission

23 Jul

Kubrat Pulev has had his suspension lifted by the California State Athletic Commission and can now reapply for his boxing licence after being sanctioned for kissing a female reporter in March.

The 38-year-old heavyweight kissed Jenifer Ravalo without consent when she was interviewing him following his victory over Bogdan Dinu in Costa Mesa, California.

Pulev accepted the punishment
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In May, the California Commission decided to fine Pulev $2,500 and ordered him to attend a sexual harassment course if he wanted to regain his licence.

Having done this, the Bulgarian returned to the commission on Monday and had his suspension lifted.

He can now successfully apply to have his boxing licence reinstated.

A condition on the ruling, though, was that any similar conduct from Pulev in future would see him receive a permanent ban from fighting in North America.

He apologised to Ravalo once again during the hearing and can now resume his career as IBF mandatory challenger to Andy Ruiz Jr.

Dillian Whyte EXCLUSIVE: ‘Body Snatcher’ ranks top ten heavyweights in the world, including Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua

3 Jul

The heavyweight scene has been blown wide open recently with many of the division’s top fighters competing between May and July.

Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury got their jobs done with knockout victories over Dominic Breazeale and Tom Schwarz, while Anthony Joshua had a far tougher night.

Dillian Whyte has himself ranked as the fourth best heavyweight today
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Andy Ruiz Jr stunned AJ with a seventh-round stoppage in New York and claimed the WBA, IBF and WBO world titles as a result.

Wilder is still the WBC king with Fury holding ‘lineal’ status, though many hungry contenders are chasing hot on their heels.

One of these top challengers is Britain’s Dillian Whyte, who has given us his assessment of the landscape by ranking his top ten heavyweights ahead of his fight with Oscar Rivas on July 20.

You can read his ratings and explanations below…

DILLIAN’S TOP TEN

10. Adam Kownacki (19-0, 15 KOs)

Kownacki’s next fight is against Chris Arreola, he’s a zillion years old. Talk about wheeling out the dead, Jesus Christ.
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9. Alexander Povetkin (34-2, 24 KOs)

Povetkin hasn’t fought since Joshua, has he? And that was a loss. Oscar Rivas has fought since then and Rivas has won.
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8. Oscar Rivas (26-0, 18 KOs)

Rivas should be at eight. He’s a strong guy, undefeated, a come-forward fighter, pressure fighter. He seems to be a danger man, nobody wants to fight him.
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7. Luis Ortiz (31-1, 26 KOs)

I’d put Ortiz at seven. Ortiz fought for the world title and lost it, Joseph Parker fought for it and won it.
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6. Joseph Parker (25-2, 19 KOs)

Parker’s the only one from #6-#10 that’s been world champion so far, and he defended it two times. He’s only had two losses to two top fighters.
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5. Tyson Fury (28-0-1, 20 KOs)

Fury’s gonna be number five. Don’t get me wrong, Tyson Fury’s a great fighter, won world titles, but it’s a funny one because how do you go from Deontay Wilder to fighting Tom Schwarz? How do people justify him being number one heavyweight in the world?
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4. Dillian Whyte (25-1, 18 KOs)

Number four is me. Anthony Joshua beat me. The stats and the numbers will say that he’s higher ranked than me. I’m honest, I’m not a bulls***ter, I’m honest. Facts are facts.
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3. Anthony Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs)

Number three, Joshua. He won four world titles, Olympic gold medallist, this, that and the other. And he beat me. He won world titles which I haven’t won. I have to accept that fact, whether I want to or not. I’m a realist, of course he’s ranked above me.
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2. Deontay Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs)

Number two, Deontay Wilder. He’s a world champion. Simple as that.
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1. Andy Ruiz Jr (33-1, 22 KOs)

Andy Ruiz is number one. The reason I say he’s number one is he’s beaten Joshua and Joshua had four belts. He didn’t just beat him, he knocked him out so he went from being not even in the rankings to number one, this is boxing. But saying that, he lost to Joseph Parker and I beat Parker. Strange isn’t it?
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DIS-HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Oleksandr Usyk (16-0, 12 KOs)

Usyk shouldn’t be anywhere the top ten heavyweights because he ain’t had no fight yet. We don’t know. He was meant to fight Carlos Takam and I think he bottled it. I think he pulled out the fight because he just wasn’t ready for heavyweight.
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Kubrat Pulev (27-1, 14 KOs)

Pulev is just f***ing terrible, man. He looked terrible against Hughie Fury, Fury shouldn’t have even been in the top 15 anyway.

Manchester City star Oleksandr Zinchenko kisses reporter Vlada Sedan on live TV        

8 Jun

Oleksandr Zinchenko kissed a reporter on live TV following Ukraine’s emphatic win over Serbia on Friday.

Ukraine beat Serbia 5-0 in a Euro 2020 qualifier with the Manchester City left-back starring in a midfield role.

Oleksandr Zinchenko nailed down a regular starting spot in Pep Guardiola’s side in the latter stages of last season
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There was initial outrage on social media when Zinchenko kissed Vlada Sedan at the end of his post-match interview.

Heavyweight boxer Kubrat Pulev was fined, banned and ordered to take sexual harassment prevention classes after kissing reporter Jennifer Ravalo without her consent in March.

However, Zinchenko and Sedan are close friends and have been pictured together in the past.

The 22-year-old played a crucial role in Manchester City’s historic treble-winning season and was able to keep a fit-again Benjamin Mendy out of the team.

 

Reports have claimed Zinchenko is in line for a new contract as a reward for his fine end-of-season form.

City have been linked with a big-money move for Leicester and England left-back Ben Chilwell, but Zinchenko’s improved performances could see Pep Guardiola prioritise other signings.

The former Ufa defender opted against a move to Wolves after a £16million fee had been agreed last summer, a decision which has paid off with Premier League, Carabao Cup and FA Cup winners’ medals.

What next for the heavyweight division after Anthony Joshua’s shock defeat? Oleksandr Usyk, Dillian Whyte and Deontay Wilder lie in wait

4 Jun

It was supposed to be a dream debut in America, a chance to prove to the world who the best heavyweight on the planet truly was.

But Anthony Joshua’s world was given a seismic shock by a Mexican earthquake which has drastically altered the landscape of the division.

As Andy Ruiz Jr jumped for joy in the ring at Madison Square Garden, the impact began to ripple across the globe.

Andy Ruiz Jr sends Anthony Joshua to the canvas for the first time in New York
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Dazed and confused, Joshua looked lost after being battered to oblivion inside seven rounds in New York and relinquished his world heavyweight titles.

Before taking the defeat like a true champion and congratulating the underdog, the Brit knelt on the canvas in a state of complete despair.

It was supposed to be simple; beat Ruiz and hone in on becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

However, that was before the Mexican detonated a left-hook onto the 29-year-old’s chiselled jaw in the third round on Saturday night.

Ruiz Jr is the first Mexican world heavyweight champion in the history of the sport
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So what next for Joshua and the rest of the division?

Deontay Wilder has already outlined his next two fights – rematches with Luis Ortiz and Tyson Fury, while Fury himself fights in Las Vegas against Tom Schwarz on June 15th.

But those fights were agreed before Joshua’s shock defeat, given it was almost inconceivable the Olympic Gold medallist could be thumped into submission by a 6″2 self-proclaimed Snickers lover.

Below, talkSPORT.com has analysed what could happen to boxing’s glamour division over the coming months.

THE REMATCH

Perhaps the most logical decision, a rematch between Joshua and Ruiz Jr was talked about instantly by Matchroom Boxing director Eddie Hearn in the aftermath of Joshua’s destruction.

“The rematch takes precedence over the belts,’ Hearn said in the early hours of Sunday morning. “The next mandatory is the WBO, and I’ve already spoken to Paco Valcarcel (WBO president), who would have no issues with the rematch.

“The rematch, every belt will be on the line.

“Andy has the chance to defend his titles and go on in fights with Wilder and Fury, but for us, AJ will want to win his belts back, but he’ll want to beat Andy Ruiz. I believe every one of those belts will be on the line.”

Eddie Hearn will be desperate for Joshua to get his world titles back
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However, as with many decisions in boxing, it is not as simple as it seems.

THE IBF SCENARIO

Although a rematch clause was inserted into Ruiz Jr’s contract, the Mexican is already facing the possibility of being stripped by the IBF.

Should he agree to a rematch with the Brit as opposed to fighting mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, the governing body could strip the newly-crowned champion of his belt.

Pulev has now regained his position as IBF mandatory challenger and is expected to be called soon
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Despite just winning the title, the IBF have a precedent of doing this in past. In 2015, after beating Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf, Tyson Fury was forced to vacate the IBF heavyweight crown less than two weeks after winning it.

Like Ruiz, Fury was an underdog and had a rematch clause written into his contract. So what does that mean for that belt?

If the IBF belt were to be vacated, Pulev is likely to face the German Agi Kabayel. Then there is the situation with the WBO belt…

ENTER USYK

Oleksandr Usyk was the undisputed cruiserweight champion and is now moving up to heavyweight
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Like the IBF, the WBO governing body are expected to call their mandatory challenger in September.

Should Ruiz decide to vacate that belt to pursue the Joshua rematch, the No.1 ranked fighter is Dillian Whyte. Provided the Brit can get through his clash with Oscar Rivas on July 20, he could well be in a position to finally challenge for a world title (albeit a vacant one).

But lurking in the shadows like an python stalking its prey is Oleksandr Usyk, the cruiserweight king who wiped out every contender in the division in their own back yard in the space of just TWO years. After holding the WBO belt at the lower weight class, the Ukrainian is expected to be called as the WBO No 1 ranked fighter.

With both Whyte and Usyk signed to Matchroom, a fight in the winter could be easy to make and would surely sell out a stadium in the UK.

Dillian Whyte will face Oscar Rivas on July 20
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There is a chance Joshua’s rematch could supersede a mandatory being called and potentially seeing all the belts cast into the wilderness as they were back in 2015.

According to the WBO rules: “if requested by a super champion who has lost his title and who wishes to fight for the title again, the championship committee may designate the super champion as the mandatory challenger”.

However, there is a scenario which could mean Whyte, Usyk and Joshua miss out all together.

HAYMON’S INFLUENCE

While Usyk poses the mot immediate danger to the heavyweight division, the power and influence of the mysterious Al Haymon must also be taken into consideration.

Andy Ruiz is represented by the boxing mogul, as is WBC champion Deontay Wilder. As mentioned before, the Bronze Bomber confirmed his next two fights would be against Ortiz and Fury.

Deontay Wilder retained his WBC title with a win over Breazeale last month
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But the chance to crown an undisputed champion, whilst also locking Joshua and Eddie Hearn out of title contention, could prove too good an opportunity for ShowTime, Al Haymon and Shelly Finkel (Wilder’s manager) to pass up.

Although there would undoubtedly be legal ramifications given the contracts in place, crowning an undisputed champion would add some calm to what is quickly becoming the most frenetic division in the sport.

While it remains to be seen what happens next, there is no denying the ride will be entertaining.

Anthony Joshua next fight: Eddie Hearn names Dillian Whyte, Kubrat Pulev and Oleksandr Usyk as potential opponents after Deontay Wilder vs Luis Ortiz announcement

29 May

Anthony Joshua again looks set to miss out on a mega fight next time out, with Deontay Wilder confirming he has other plans.

The American announced on Tuesday night that he will be rematching Luis Ortiz later this year – and thus is out of the running for a bout with AJ.

Anthony Joshua is promoted by Eddie Hearn

Meanwhile, Tyson Fury also looks to be tied up with his lucrative ESPN deal.

Reacting to the news, AJ’s promoter Eddie Hearn told iFL TV: “Joshua goes on ESPN yesterday and says, ‘I’ll sit down with you after my fight and we’ll do a deal.’

“And he goes, ‘S***. How can we look okay out of this? Oh yeah, I’ve signed a deal to fight Ortiz everybody.’

“What? That morning? It’s embarrassing, that’s what it is…

Dillian Whyte is demanding a world title shot after a series of impressive performances 
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“Stop talking about Wilder, he’s a waste of time. They don’t want the fight, he’s talked into doing something else.

“He’s not his own boss, he don’t make his own decisions, let him do what he’s been talked into.

“When he becomes available, after he’s fought Ortiz, after he’s fought [Adam] Kownacki, then I guess we’ll try again.”

Anthony Joshua was initially due to face Kubrat Pulev in 2017, however Pulev pulled out with an injury

When asked if Joshua could now turn his attention to a seemingly unlikely fight with Fury later this year, Hearn replied: “A little bit yeah, we have to take care of our mandatories as well.

“WBO mandatory, IBF mandatory. The WBO haven’t ruled yet, but we have a WBO mandatory due, it could be [Usyk].

“We have an IBF mandatory due in Pulev. We’ve got maybe even a Dillian Whyte fight we just jump into in November.

“If Joshua’s not on his game, he won’t beat Ruiz and then we’re rematching Ruiz!”

Oleksandr Usyk left the cruiserweight division as undisputed champion

Kubrat Pulev fined and banned over reporter kiss incident, must take sexual harassment classes to regain licence

15 May

Kubrat Pulev must take sexual harassment prevention classes in order to return to boxing after being suspended for kissing a female reporter in March.

The heavyweight, 38, kissed Jennifer Ravalo without consent when she was interviewing him following his victory over Romania’s Bogdan Dinu in Costa Mesa, California.

Pulev must take sexual harassment prevention classes before he will be allowed to fight again
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The California State Athletic Commission has ordered Pulev to pay a $2,500 fine, and he has also been told to attend sexual harassment prevention classes before he can fight again in North America.

Should he complete the suggested course and meet the other conditions by July 22, he can then successfully apply to have his boxing licence reinstated.

Pulev apologised to Ravalo during Tuesday’s hearing with the commission.

In the event of him resuming his career, he will regain his place as IBF mandatory challenger to unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.

Anthony Joshua next fight: Eddie Hearn says Dillian Whyte can ‘100 per cent’ step in if he’s ready; names Luis Ortiz as first choice opponent after Jarrell Miller fails drugs test

17 Apr

Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has declared that Luis Ortiz is their first choice replacement opponent for June 1 in New York.

Dillian Whyte has also thrown his hat into the ring, a move Hearn ‘100 per cent’ welcomed, although he doubts Whyte will be ready in time.

Anthony Joshua was planning to make his US debut against Jarrell Miller on June 1 in New York

A stand-in is needed due to the fact original opponent Jarrell Miller failed a drugs test for GW1516 (a metabolic modulator also known as cardarine and endurobol), throwing the bout into serious doubt.

As a result, Joshua’s team are now looking for possible alternatives, with Hearn giving a rundown of the top contenders to iFL TV.

You can read what he said for each fighter below.

Luis Ortiz

Hearn: “Love that fight, love that fight. That is an ideal scenario. That is a big fight. I know his team, spoke to them. My feeling from them was: he won’t be ready. I disagree with them… Yes [he’s first choice]. That was the first name he [Joshua] gave me last night.”

Dillian Whyte

Hearn: “I saw on talkSPORT. If Dillian Whyte wants to fight Joshua in June. 100 per cent. But he ain’t gonna be ready for June 1. If he is and there’s a serious conversation, we’ll talk on that, but he’s training for July.”

Manuel Charr

Hearn: “I saw Manuel Charr says we’re in negotiations. We’re not. He sent me a text saying, ‘I’ll accept the fight.’ He’s WBA ‘regular’ champion. He’s on a list of eight who I would say are at least registering in the mind to look at and consider.”

Adam Kownacki

Hearn: “Yes [he’s on the list].”

Joe Joyce

Hearn: “I don’t look at Joe Joyce as like a heavyweight world championship contender yet. I think he’s a really good fighter. He’s not registering in my mind as like an Ortiz, a Kownacki, even a Charr.”

Michael Hunter

Hearn: “A lot of people are talking about Michael Hunter. We’ve signed him as well. Michael Hunter is actually a trick fight for AJ. Smaller, American. Good fighter, coming off two good wins, one loss in his career to Usyk.”

Kubrat Pulev

Hearn: “Pulev we like as well. I know he’s got a few issues.”

You can watch the full iFL TV interview with Eddie Hearn below.