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Tyson Fury Upsets Wladimir Klitschko

Thomas Hauser

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It’s hard to improve on Shakespeare. So let the immortal bard speak to Tyson Fury’s upset of Wladimir Klitschko last night in Dusseldorf, Germany, to claim the heavyweight throne: “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” (Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5)

Those are harsh words. But Klitschko-Fury was a dreadful fight that came on the heels of an embarrassing promotion that showed how far boxing has fallen.

There was a time when the heavyweight championship of the world was the most coveted title in sports. But those days are long gone. Few people other than hardcore boxing fans now know or care who the multiple sanctioning-body champions are.

Within that environment, Wladimir Klitschko offered a safe harbor of sorts.

Klitschko is 6-feet-6-inches tall and fights at between 240 and 249 pounds. Now 39, he has been the dominant heavyweight of the past decade. Prior to facing Fury, Wladimir had amassed a 63-and-3 record with 53 knockouts and been unbeaten over the past eleven years. During that period, he successfully defended his various championship belts eighteen times.

“Anybody can become a champion for one fight,” Klitschko said at a July 21, 2015, press conference in Dusseldorf announcing his title defense against Fury. “It’s really tough to be a champion for a long, long time. It’s challenging. It’s systematic preparation, plan, and experience.”

Fury, age 27, stands close to 6-feet-9-inches tall and has weighed in as high as 270 pounds. Prior to fighting Klitschko, he was unbeaten in 24 bouts with 18 knockouts but had yet to face an elite fighter. The most notable victories on his ledger were two lethargic decision triumphs over Dereck Chisora.

The second Fury-Chisora fight was particularly disheartening. Tyson entered the ring with flab around his waist and looked like a man who’d spent most of training camp eating bangers and mash. It was a dreadful boring encounter. Fury (an orthodox fighter) was content to stand back and jab from a southpaw stance, which he did for most of the night. Chisora came forward and went backward in a straight line without doing much else. After eleven rounds, Dereck got tired of being jabbed in the face and quit.

Fury’s size and reach can be intimidating. But he paws with his jab and brings it back slowly and low, which leaves him vulnerable to righthand counters. He also stands within hitting range too often with his hands down and chin up.

There are times when Fury’s mindset evokes images of the man he was named after: Mike Tyson.

Several years ago in a profile for The Guardian, Donald McRae wrote of the darkness and depression that are constant themes in Fury’s life. His father was a violent man who served time in prison for an assault that cost another man his eye. Among the thoughts that Fury shared with McRae were:

*     “There is a name for what I have where, one minute I’m happy and the next minute I’m sad, like commit-suicide sad. And for no reason; nothing’s changed. One minute I’m over the moon, and the next minute I feel like getting in my car and running it into a wall at a hundred miles an hour. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m messed up. I think I need a psychiatrist because I do believe I’m mentally disturbed. Maybe it was the fact that, when I was a kid, my mother and father were always shouting and screaming and hitting each other. My dad had different women and different kids down the road. My mum had fourteen pregnancies, but only four of us survived. We had a little sister born for a few days and she died. That would affect you.”

*    “I love boxing. I can’t wait for the moment I step into the ring. I feel calm then. It’s like everything has been forgotten. It’s just me and him and we’re going to go at it old school. But after that, it’s back to the reality and feeling angry with life.”

*     “I’m British and Commonwealth champion. I’m doing OK. I’ve got a few quid in the bank. I shouldn’t be upset. But I don’t feel I’ve done any good at all. I thought, when the children were born, it would be a top thing. And when I became English champion, I thought there’d be a great feeling. But no. I thought, ‘Let me win the British title.’ But after I took that off Chisora, there was nothing. At the end of the day, what have I done? I’ve beaten another man up in a fight. I don’t know what I want out of life. What’s the point of it all?”

Klitschko-Fury was originally slated for October 24. Then, on September 25, it was announced that Klitschko had suffered a partially torn tendon in his left calf and the fight was rescheduled November 28.

Fury expressed confidence in the months leading up to the bout. But there was a touch of lunacy in his comments.

At the initial pre-fight press conference in Dusseldorf, Fury addressed Klitschko as follows: “Ich bin Tyson Fury, the sexy meister from the United Kingdom. I’m a unique fighter, one of a kind. There’s never been someone like me before in history. A fighter like me only comes along every one thousand years. It is my mission to rid boxing of you because you’re a boring old man. You have as much charisma as my underpants. Zero. None. You’re a wrinkled old man with a glass chin, and I am going to make that glass explode like a bottle hitting a wall. You’re fucked. I don’t care about money. I don’t care about my legacy or going down in history. I just want to smash your old face, and I don’t give a fuck what anybody thinks because I don’t give a fuck about being a role model. This clit is getting licked on October 24th.”

On September 23, Fury attended a promotional press conference in London dressed in a Batman costume, called Klitschko “a clown,” and proclaimed, “You fought plenty of peasants. You never fought The King before. You ain’t nothing. Whatever you are, I don’t know. An army sergeant, it looks like it, or a school teacher. You definitely ain’t a fighter. You’re getting knocked out. I can’t wait for this. Please, God, I wish it was this weekend.”

Suffice it to say, it’s hard to imagine Joe Louis or Rocky Marciano wearing a Batman costume to a press conference.

At times, Fury conjured images of the demented killer in a Halloween massacre movie. Other times, he sounded like a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.

On Sunday, November 8, Fury told the Daily Mail, “We live in an evil world. The devil is very strong at the minute, very strong, and I believe the end is near. The Bible tells me the end is near. The world tells me the end is near. Just a short few years, I reckon, away from being finished. There are only three things that need to be accomplished before the devil comes home. One of them is homosexuality being legal in countries. One of them is abortion. And the other one is pedophilia. When I say pedophiles can be made legal, that sounds like crazy talk, doesn’t it? But back in the fifties and early- sixties, for them first two to be made legal would have been looked on as crazy.”

“To be honest with you,” Fury continued, “I know Klitschko is a devil-worshipper. They are involved in bigger circles and stuff like that and they do magic tricks and whatever. You can go on YouTube and watch them playing with magic. God will not let him defeat me.”

Next, Fury told Boxing News, “The only thing I ever regret in life is having sex before marriage. If I could erase, that then my life would be practically perfect. I regret all the filth that you do with people. I must have had sex with over five hundred women, more, I don’t know, I’ve lost count. But it’s pure filth and horribleness. I look at that now as pure disgusting.”

Then Fury added, “My daughter won’t have an education because, our way of life, we don’t need one, especially women. They grow up, they get married, and they look after the man. I’d like to give my son an education rather than being a hustler. I don’t expect my son to follow in my footsteps. I think he’s got to go to school, get a proper education, and go from there.”

For good measure, seventeen days before the fight, Fury posted a video on his Twitter account that showed him head-butting a watermelon in half and intoning, “This is for you, Wlad. I’m coming for you.”

In response, Klitschko declared that Fury had “a brain the size of a walnut” and told him at the press conference in London, “I have got friends from the circus industry. They can give you a job as a clown. Clowns make people laugh. It is their job. And right now, after watching this theater, the screaming, the running and the costumes, it is in your genes.”

And on a September 19 teleconference call, Klitschko opined, “We need to go little bit deeper in Tyson Fury’s issues. There’s a lot of psychological issues here in Tyson Fury’s mind. I think he’s bipolar. He’s not really knowing what he’s going to do next. That speaks to me as a person that is psychologically unstable.”

The fight was contested in the ESPRIT Arena with 50,000 fans in attendance. Fury weighed in at 246.4 pounds, Klitschko at 245.3. Wladimir was a 4-to-1 betting favorite.

It was a stultifyingly, horribly boring fight. Both men fought cautiously. Long stretches of time went by with neither man throwing, let alone landing, a significant punch. Fury fought with his hands down and launched long lazy punches that begged for a righthand counter. But Wladimir seemed content to evade punches rather than throw them.

Both men threw a lot of stay-away-from-me jabs rather than punching with conviction. Fury circled and moved side-to-side for most of the night, which kept Klitschko from setting his feet to punch with power.

In round five, Klitschko was cut under the left eye by an accidental head butt. In round nine, another clash of heads opened a cut on the right side of his forehead. There were rounds that were hard to score for either fighter because Fury did nothing and Klitschko, if such a thing is possible, did sub-nothing.

In round eleven, referee Tony Weeks deducted a point from Fury for punching to the back of the head. Tyson landed a meager 86 punches over the course of twelve rounds, while Wladimir landed 52. Klitschko’s performance seems even more passive in light of the fact that all but eighteen of the punches he landed were jabs and he scored with only four body blows.

HBO commentator Jim Lampley referenced Klitschko’s effort as “a truly dreadful performance.” Fury’s wasn’t much better.

This writer scored the bout 115-113 (seven rounds to four with one even) in favor of Fury. The judges’ scorecards were comparable: 115-112, 115-112, and 116-111.

After the decision was announced, Fury grabbed a microphone in ring center, accepted the victory “in the mighty name of Jesus,” and sang Don’t Want To Miss A Thing, which he dedicated to his wife.

Thomas Hauser can be reached by email at thauser@rcn.com. His most recent book – A Hurting Sport: An Inside Look at Another Year in Boxing – was published by the University of Arkansas Press.

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Season 2 of the World Boxing Super Series Concludes on Saturday in Munich

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PRESS RELEASE: The hotly-anticipated World Boxing Super Series Season II Cruiserweight Final between Mairis Briedis and Yuniel Dorticos takes place behind-closed-doors in a film studio at Plazamedia Broadcasting Center in Munich, Germany on Saturday, 26 September. On the line: The Muhammad Ali Trophy, IBF World Title, and vacant Ring Magazine 200 lbs belt.

The final will be shown live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports in the UK.

“A final for the Muhammad Ali Trophy has proved to be something extraordinary. We have seen that it brings out the best in boxers which reflects the DNA of our tournament as to deliver and continue to deliver boxing at its very best to fans of the sport,” said Andreas Benz, CEO of Comosa, the event organizer.

“Plazamedia is a phenomenal solution, the studios are providing a controlled environment which is of huge benefit to us and the production team to keep everyone safe while also putting on a great show.

“At the same time, we have done everything to secure fair conditions for both teams, and to ensure they remain healthy and isolated until the action starts.”

Mairis Briedis, tournament No. 1 seed, qualified for the final through wins over Noel Mikaelian (UD) and Krzysztof Glowacki (TKO3), while Dorticos, No. 2 seed conquered Mateusz Masternak (UD) and Andrew Tabiti (KO10) to enter the 200 lbs decider.

“We are very happy about the announcement of the final,” said Latvia’s Mairis Briedis. “I love the fact that it will be in Munich as it reminds me of every time I went to train with the Klitschko brothers in Germany and the flights were always via Munich. Those are some great memories of the time spent with them there.”

Said Miami-based Cuban, Yuniel ‘The KO Doctor’ Dorticos, IBF World Cruiserweight Champion: “To all my fans worldwide, In Europe and especially in Munich, Germany: I am super happy the World Boxing Super Series final will take place in Munich, Germany, and I will see you all on Saturday, September 26th. The KO Doctor is back and ready to prescribe another dose of pain and take the Muhammad Ali Trophy back to Miami.”

Kalle Sauerland, Chief Boxing Officer of the WBSS, said: “On 26 September we will not only crown the best cruiserweight on the planet but also send a sign to the world that boxing is back with the first major transatlantic championship bout between the undisputed number one and two in their division.

The final is not only about honour and glory, but cementing a legacy. The winner will become a member of an exclusive ‘Ali Trophy Winner Club’ that includes Oleksandr Usyk, Callum Smith, Naoya Inoue and Josh Taylor. It doesn’t get much bigger in boxing, and we expect Briedis and Dorticos to have an absolute barnstormer!”

The Muhammad Ali Trophy was created by the late world-renowned artist Silvio Gazzaniga who also designed the iconic FIFA World Cup Trophy.

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 106: Return of LA Boxing, Josh Taylor, Charlos and More

David A. Avila

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 106: Return of LA Boxing, Josh Taylor, Charlos and More

Let’s call this week the Big Build Up.

Back in the 1920s to the 1950s the City of Angels was known as the place where Humphrey Bogart lived and played characters out of Raymond Chandler’s novels. Books like the “Big Sleep” and “Lady in a Lake” were made into movies based in Los Angeles.

Well, here we are back where boxing thrives, people or not.

Los Angeles kicks off the big boxing week starting with a televised fight card that features home grown featherweight Vic Pasillas at the Microsoft Theater in the downtown area. Fox Sports 1 will televise the Premier Boxing Championship card on Wednesday, Sept. 23.

Pasillas (15-0,8 KOs) faces Dominican fighter Ranfis Encarnacion (17-0, 13 KOs) in the co-main event at a fan-less event that begins a crowded week of boxing as we near the end of 2020.

“Coming out on top against Encarnación is going to catapult me into some big fights at featherweight. The division is wide open and I know with hard work I can take it over,” said Pasillas who is originally from Los Angeles. “This is by far the most important fight of my career. I’m coming with everything I got, because I know this is the turning point that will lead to bigger and better fights. I am ready to bring an exciting fight to the fans and get my hand raised in victory.”

Both Pasillas and Encarnacion are undefeated and unknown to most of the boxing world. A win changes everything especially when it’s difficult to even stage a boxing card.

Promoters are anxious to get their fighters in the ring by any means necessary.

On Thursday in Biloxi, Mississippi, super lightweight Michael Williams Jr. meets Thomas Miller in the headline attraction of a boxing card that will be streamed by UFC Fight Pass.

On Friday in southern Mexico, Serhii Bohachuk (17-0, 17 KOs) meets Alejandro Davila (21-1-2, 8 KOs) in Merida, Yucatan. No word if it will be streamed. The super welterweight from Ukraine has a 17-fight knockout streak and has become a main attraction in Hollywood, California for 360 Promotions.

“Serhii has become one of the most talked about rising stars in boxing,” said Tom Loeffler, promoter of 360 Promotions. “Boxing fans are excited to see if he can continue his knockout streak against Alejandro Davila, the toughest opponent he’s faced. He’s been training very hard with Manny Robles for this fight and if victorious, we’re certain there will be bigger opportunities for him in the near future.”

These are all tasty appetizers for the big buffet coming on Saturday.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Saturday morning, especially if you live in the California area, ESPN+ will showcase the IBF, WBA super lightweight world title fight between champion Josh Taylor (16-0, 12 KOs) and Apinun Khongsong (16-0, 13 KOs) in London. It will be streamed live on Sept. 26, Saturday morning, starting at 11 a.m PST.

This is an important match for Taylor (pictured on the left) who needs a win to nail down a unification clash with Jose Carlos Ramirez the WBC and WBO titlist. If Scotland’s Taylor emerges victorious the super lightweight clash will be one of the top fights of the year.

And if that fight happens to take place, then that winner more than likely meets WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford.

But first things first. Taylor needs to defeat Thailand’s Khongsong on Saturday.

“I didn’t want a warm-up fight, so getting straight back in there against my mandatory challenger is great, as it’s kept me fully focused. I want big fights in my career, so this is an important fight with my belts on the line,” said Taylor.

Charlos Pay-per-view

The Charlos brothers asked for it and they got it.

Long have the brothers from Houston, Texas asked for a pay-per-view fight card and it never seemed possible until now. The Charlos will headline a pay-per-view double-header on Saturday via Showtime.

Beginning at 4 p.m PT/ 7 p.m. ET the Showtime pay-per-view card begins with three top notch bouts:

WBO bantamweight titlist John Riel Casimero (29-4) vs Ghana’s Duke Micah (24-0, 19 KOs).

WBA super bantamweight titlist Brandon Figueroa (20-0-1, 15 KOs) vs Damien Vazquez (15-1-1, 8 KOs).

WBC middleweight titlist Jermall Charlo (30-0, 22 KOs) v Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-2, 10 KOs).

Charlo was not impressed with Derevyanchenko’s performances against Daniel Jacobs and Gennady Golovkin because both were losses. He expects to dominate.

Derevyanchenko says he’s ready for Charlo.

“Golovkin is a very different fighter than Charlo, but Jacobs is similar stylistically, so that’s something I’ll be used to,” said Derevyanchenko. “This training camp has been very similar to camps for my previous fights though. We just brought in different sparring partners for this one. We’re using fighters who can show us what Charlo will bring to the ring.”

After a 30-minute intermission the second half of the boxing card begins.

Former bantamweight world champion Luis Nery (30-0, 24 KOs) moves up in weight to face Aaron Alameda (25-0, 13 KOs) for the vacant WBC super bantamweight world title. Both fighters are from Mexico.

Former super bantamweight titlists Danny Roman (27-3-1) and Juan Carlos Payano (21-3) meet in a 12-round bout.

In the grand finale WBC super welterweight titlist Jermell Charlo (33-1, 17 KOs) challenges IBF and WBA super welterweight titlist Jeison Rosario (20-1-1, 14 KOs) in a fight for all three belts.

“We lions,” said Charlo.

It’s a very big week for boxing that begins on Wednesday and ends Saturday.

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The Return of Wednesday Boxing Evokes Memories of a Golden Era

Arne K. Lang

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There’s a Wednesday card on the boxing docket this week. The card, which features several undefeated up-and-comers of the sort usually found on Showtime’s developmental series, “ShoBox: The New Generation,” will play out at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and air on Fox Sports 1.

Not to be out-done, “ShoBox” is returning. The long-running series, which suspended operations in March in obeisance to COVID-19 restrictions, returns on Oct. 7 with a show emanating from Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Casino. The contestants in the main go of the four-fight card, Charles Conwell and Wendy Toussaint, have identical 12-0 records.

It just so happens that Oct. 7 is also a Wednesday. And these upcoming Wednesday shows transported this reporter back to his boyhood when boxing was a fixture on radio and television on Wednesday nights. The Wednesday series sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon beer ran from 1950 to 1960, airing the first five years on CBS and then on ABC.

Fights were all over the TV dial during the 1950s, not that there was much competition. The Big Three — NBC, CBS, and ABC — ruled the airwaves with DuMont a very distant fourth and cable television well off into the future. (For a time, the short-lived DuMont network aired boxing shows on Mondays.)

When televisions first came out, they were a big-ticket item. In 1948, RCA’s cheapest model sold for $395. That’s the equivalent of $10,400 today. By 1954, the cost of the least expensive model had declined to $189 and it came in a bigger box, with a 17-inch screen compared with the 13-inch screen that was standard six years earlier.

With the cost of the coveted contraption beyond the means of many wage earners, saloonkeepers cashed in. Boxing fans flocked to the neighborhood tavern to get their boxing fix. The saloonkeeper could write off his television sets on his taxes as a business expense.

Those were the days, and I date myself, when every town had a TV repair shop and the repairman, like the family doctor, made house calls.

The Wednesday Night Fights were a spin-off of the Friday Night Fights on NBC. The matchmaker for both series (through 1958) was the International Boxing Club which was headquartered at Madison Square Garden. The president of the IBC was James D. Norris (who would come to be seen as a puppet for mobster Frankie Carbo, but that’s a story for another day).

James D. Norris inherited a vast fortune from his father, Canadian businessman James E. Norris. The elder Norris was a big wheel in the sport of hockey and had a financial interest in the arenas that housed NHL teams in Chicago, Detroit, and St. Louis. He made these arenas available to his son and the Wednesday fight cards moved around, unlike the Friday fights which were pinned to Madison Square Garden.

Both series would eventually venture out at times into virgin territory, but the Wednesday series was the trailblazer. The first nationally televised boxing show from the West Coast was a Wednesday affair. Jimmy Carter defended his world lightweight title against LA fan favorite Art Aragon, the original Golden Boy, at the Olympic Auditorium on Nov. 14, 1951. Aragon had upset Carter in a non-title fight 11 weeks earlier, but Carter took him to school in the rematch, winning a lopsided decision.

The Friday boxing series, which took the name “Gillette Cavalcade of Sports,” would come to be more fondly remembered, but once the TV became a living room staple, which happened fast, the Wednesday series drew higher ratings. This was predictable as more folks stayed home on Wednesday nights than on Friday nights. And although the Friday series had a larger budget, some of the most important fights of the era were staged on Wednesdays.

One of the highlights of the 1951 season was Ezzard Charles’ world heavyweight title defense against Jersey Joe Walcott at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field. It was Walcott’s fifth crack at the title and he was considered ancient at age 37, but he avenged his two previous losses to Charles with a thunderous one-punch knockout.

Carmen Basilio appeared in The Ring magazine Fight of the Year in five consecutive years (1955-1959). The first two — his second meeting with Tony DeMarco and his second meeting with Johnny Saxton – were televised on a Wednesday.

Although he would be quickly forgotten, the Wednesday series brought Bob Satterfield a cult following because of his unpredictability. He certainly left an impression on octogenarian boxing writer Ted Sares who recently named Satterfield his all-time favorite fighter.

To conjure up a portrait of Satterfield, think Deontay Wilder and then fix Wilder with a glass jaw. Satterfield, whose best weight was about 182 pounds, was a murderous puncher, but during his career he was stopped 13 times.

LA’s Clarence Henry and Pittsburgh’s Bob Baker were ranked #3 in the heavyweight division when they ventured to Chicago to tangle with Satterfield, Henry in 1952 and Baker the following year. Henry knocked out Satterfield in the opening round. Satterfield hit the canvas so hard, said a ringside reporter, the resin dust flew up.

The Satterfield-Baker fight would also end in the opening round. Baker out-weighed Satterfield by 34 pounds, but Satterfield flattened him. Later on, in a non-Wednesday fight, Satterfield knocked out Cleveland “Big Cat” Williams in the third round. Williams, 33-1 heading in, was the larger man by 25 pounds.

One bet on or against Bob Satterfield at one’s own peril.

The Wednesday Night Fights had a nice run before the series was cancelled and supplanted in its time slot by “The Naked City,” a critically acclaimed police drama series. Perhaps the return of boxing on Wednesdays augurs well for another mid-week boxing series, but we won’t hold our breath.

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