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Tyson Fury Upsets Wladimir Klitschko

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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.

WATCH RELATED VIDEOS ON BOXINGCHANNEL.TV

Thomas Hauser is the author of 52 books. In 2005, he was honored by the Boxing Writers Association of America, which bestowed the Nat Fleischer Award for career excellence in boxing journalism upon him. He was the first Internet writer ever to receive that award. In 2019, Hauser was chosen for boxing's highest honor: induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Lennox Lewis has observed, “A hundred years from now, if people want to learn about boxing in this era, they’ll read Thomas Hauser.”

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Avila Perspective, Chap, 263: Regis Prograis and Devin Haney target San Francisco

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Avila Perspective, Chap, 263: Regis Prograis and Devin Haney target San Francisco

Back in the 60s San Francisco was home to Flower Children, free love and open concerts.

Not today.

Now it’s more cauliflower ears, gentrification and professional fighting.

Welcome to San Francisco and welcome to the battle between WBC super lightweight titlist Regis Prograis (29-1, 24 KOs) and former undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney (30-0, 15 KOs) on Saturday Dec. 9, at the Chase Center.

DAZN pay-per-view will stream the Matchroom Boxing card that includes Ebanie Bridges versus Miyo Yoshida.

It’s been a long time since San Francisco hosted a big-time event like this. Back in the 1890s until the 1950s the Golden Gate city was a leader in prize fighting. Gentleman Jim Corbett, Abe Attell, and Willie Ritchie, among others, were world champions from the city back more than 100 years ago.

I even have a relative who lived and fought in San Francisco from 1915 to 1930 among other cities. It’s good to see the bay city back hosting pugilism.

Prograis and Haney are kind of throwback fighters.

The challenger Haney has that classic smooth boxing style that kind of reminds me of the great Sugar Ray Robinson. He doesn’t have that shocking power that enabled Robinson to dominate the welterweight and middleweight divisions during the 40s and 50s, but he’s smooth.

The champion Prograis hails from New Orleans and kind of reminds me of Aaron Pryor, a beast of the super lightweight division during his heyday in the 70s and 80s. Who can forget Pryor and Alexis Arguello’s two epic battles? Today’s champion has some of those fierce qualities of Pryor.

Mix them together and what will we get?

Prograis, 34, has been put on the back-burner for years after losing a very close battle to Scotland’s Josh Taylor in 2019. No other world titlist wanted to risk facing the native of New Orleans who left due to Hurricane Katrina. He’s fast, fearless, has a good jaw and cracks hard.

“I’m going to hurt that boy,” says Prograis with dead seriousness.

Haney, 25, was born in San Francisco and lived across the bridge in Oakland until the age of 14 when he moved to Las Vegas. Due to his age, he began his pro career in Mexico. Ten of his pro fights took place in cantinas, small arenas and gymnasiums against unknown but dangerous fighters. When he turned 18, he ventured back home and has remained undefeated with his blend of stylistic boxing and athleticism.

“Regis is going to be trying to knock me out and that’s exactly what I need him to be trying to do,” said Haney who seeks to add a super lightweight division title to his resume. “I’m going to be stronger and faster than ever. I’m going to dominate him.”

Throughout the media week, Haney and crew have been badgering and taunting the current champion Prograis. Is that a good idea?

“I’m going to hurt that boy,” Prograis reiterated.

Amanda abandons WBC

Puerto Rico’s Amanda Serrano, the undisputed featherweight world champion tossed aside the WBC featherweight title because the organization refuses to budge on its two-minute rounds for women’s boxing.

“If a sanctioning body doesn’t want to give me and my fellow fighters the choice to fight the same as the men, then I will not be fighting for that sanctioning body,” the seven-division world champion stated.

“The WBC has refused to evolve the sport for equality. So I am relinquishing their title,” said Serrano, the first ever undisputed featherweight world champion.

How many other WBC titlists will follow her lead?

Already Mikaela Mayer has asked for three-minute rounds in her upcoming match with Natasha Jonas. Both publicly said they want three-minute rounds. Will the promoter for BOXXER fulfill their request?

So far, it’s really only been the WBC and various promoters who keep women at two-minute rounds.

Serrano has lit the match.

La Cobra in Long Beach

Super flyweight contender Adelaida “La Cobra” Ruiz (14-0-1) and Mexico’s Mayela Perez (19-26-4) meet eight rounds at Thunder Studios in Long Beach, Calif. on Saturday Dec. 9. The Los Angeles fighter is one of the best kept secrets in pro boxing.

Ruiz is one of those fighters that the elite vividly know about her abilities and take a pass. She is the interim super flyweight titlist, which means she is the top ranked super flyweight without a world title.

PBC on Amazon

Premier Boxing Champions with its abundance of stars such as Jermell Charlo, David Benavidez and Errol Spence Jr. just signed a multi-year deal with Amazon Prime Video to feature its more than 150 fighters on the media platform, it was announced on Thursday, Dec. 7.

Showtime announced last month that it was ending its broadcasts of boxing this year. It had been 37 years and included some of the most historic fights ever witnessed. That has ended.

Amazon stated it will be streaming boxing in 2024.

Fights to Watch

Sat. DAZN pay-per-view 5 p.m. Regis Prograis (29-1) vs Devin Haney (30-0); Ebanie Bridges (9-1) vs Miyo Yoshida (16-4); Andy Cruz (1-0) vs Jovanni Straffon (26-5-1).

Sat. ESPN 7 p.m. Robeisy Ramirez (13-1) vs Rafael Espinosa (21-0).

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Seasons Beatings from Philly where Local Fighters of Note are in Action This Weekend

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Seasons Beatings from Philly where Local Fighters of Note are in Action This Weekend

Tomorrow night (Friday, Dec. 8) begins a nice stretch of live boxing in the Philadelphia area after a relatively quiet fall schedule. These shows will wrap a bow on the 2023 fight schedule for the Delaware Valley with a slate of shows already scheduled for the early part of the upcoming new year.

This sudden boom, well overdue, is good for the Delaware Valley, for its fighters and its fight fans. So, while these shows aren’t large-scale, they are a great way for fight fans to learn about fighters they may see competing on those larger shows in the future.

Let’s look at what exactly fans are in for with the final shows of 2023.

Friday, December 8th – Wind Creek Events Center, Bethlehem, PA (Kings Promotions)

Jesse Hart (29-3) vs. Jeyson Minda (14-7-1) tops a massive 11-fight card. For years now, Marshall Kauffman’s Kings Promotions has put on successful shows in the Philadelphia region. Not only do they hit the mark from a commercial standpoint, but his shows always have entertaining fights where the result could go either way and this show should be no different.

Jesse Hart (pictured with Jarrett Hurd) finds himself somewhat in limbo in the sport. Staying active and keeping his tools sharp is crucial for Hart to continue to keep his name out there and work his way back into the rankings.

A powerful fighter who often finds himself in engaging battles, Hart’s three defeats happened against only two fighters — Gilberto Ramirez (twice) and Joe Smith, both former world champions. Since his last setback in 2020, Hart has won three fights on the local scene while enduring some setbacks outside of the ring due to hand injuries. Released from his contract with Top Rank, Hart finds himself in the position where his name and pedigree (he’s the son of former middleweight standout Eugene “Cyclone” Hart) coupled with a string of quality victories could open the door to another crack at a marquee name in the super middleweight or light heavyweight division.

Former super welterweight king Jarrett Hurd (24-3) takes on Tyi Edmonds (14-5). In his most recent fight back in March, Hurd returned to the ring after a long absence and was shockingly stopped in the tenth round by Armando Resendiz.  Against Edmonds, Hurd looks to prove that he still has elite-level abilities as he too tries to work his way back to the top. A much-needed victory would start that process while a third defeat in a row, especially if it’s physically taxing, would all but mark the end of having his name mentioned anywhere near the division’s best.

Julian Gonzalez (11-0-1) is a talented Kings Promotions fighter who packs a punch, especially for a super featherweight. The 22-year-old Reading, PA native continues his growth against Texas journeyman Juan Antonio Lopez (17-15-1). If successful, Gonzalez will set himself up for a bright 2024 that should see him face quality fringe contenders as well as other prospects which will lead to bigger fights down the road.

Saturday, December 9th – Showboat Hotel, Atlantic City, NJ (Champions Sports and Entertainment)

Philadelphia fan favorite Joey “The Tank” Dawejko (26-10-4, 14 KOs) is staying busy in the twilight of his career. He’s 3-0 thus far in 2023 which includes two exciting victories over Colby Madison (their first fight, a bruising tiff, will most likely be the 2023 Philadelphia Fight of the Year). On Saturday he returns to the ring to defend his WBC USA heavyweight title in an 8-round battle vs. Jesse Bryan (21-7-2, 16 KOs) of Jefferson City, Missouri. This fight headlines a nine-bout show by CSE which is trying to revive boxing on the boardwalk.

In the co-main, Glassboro, NJ native Derrick Webster (29-4-1) will take on the always durable Cleotis Pendarvis (22-19-2) in an 8-round battle of super middleweights.

Liverpool, NY super lightweight Bryce Mills (13-1, 4 KO) looks to add to his 7-fight winning streak when he battles the durable Tackie Annan (15-10) in a fight scheduled for six rounds. Mills has continued to grow his fan base in the northeast by taking part in action-packed fights from the opening bell. His fans tend to travel well and Saturday looks to be no different as a large contingent of his fans are expected to turn up in Atlantic City to support their young charge. It also helps that Mills, like Dawejko, has teamed up with Hall-of-Fame promoter J. Russell Peltz to help guide his professional career.

Edward Donovan (7-0), a super welterweight prospect from Limerick, Ireland, puts his undefeated record on the line when he battles tough Jetter Burgos (6-1, 5 KO) from the Bronx, NY. Puerto Rican lightweight Joey Borrero (11-1, 9 KO), along with super middleweight prospect Cali Box (2-0) from Franklin Township, NJ, will appear in separate fights.

Date TBD– 2300 Arena, Philadelphia, PA (R&B Promotions)

Tevin Farmer (32-5-1) and Patrick Okine (21-6-2) were slated to meet in the main event last Friday, Dec. 1, on a show at the always-fun 2300 Arena. At the last minute, the show was postponed. An e-mail announcing the unfortunate postponement stated that the show would be rescheduled soon. While a new date has yet to be locked in, all signs point toward the show coming to fruition at the close of 2023 or early in 2024.

A former IBF world super featherweight champion, Tevin Farmer was set to make his third appearance of 2023 as he continues to shake off the ring rust that formed after a much-needed break and continue his push toward becoming a two-time world title-holder. It’s crazy to think, but it’s already been more than three full years since Farmer lost his title to Jojo Diaz in January of 2020.

Farmer, who had a late start in the sport, turned pro without the glitz and glamour that accompanies a highly decorated amateur, but fought his way to the top, beating the odds to achieve his life’s dream of championship glory. His break from the sport following his defeat to Diaz was needed to reenergize him from both a physical and mental standpoint.

In Okine he will find himself in the ring with a sturdy opponent that has faced some of the top contenders in and around the lightweight division. “I wanted Tevin [Farmer] to stay active and keep sharpening his tools and Okine provides that opportunity for him,” stated Alex Barbosa, the promoter/matchmaker. “Okine is always tough and comes to win, which is just what Tevin needs at this point of his career.”

With the lightweight division having had a changing of the guard at the top in terms of the championships, Farmer, 33, just may get that second chance at the top of the mountain. And if he continues to stay active while racking up solid victories, it may come sooner rather than later.

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The IBHOF Class of 2024 includes Ricky Hatton, Michael Moorer, and Ivan Calderon

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The IBHOF Class of 2024 includes Ricky Hatton, Michael Moorer, and Ivan Calderon

The International Boxing Hall of Fame and Museum in Canastota, New York, has unveiled its newest class of inductees. The Class of 2024 includes Ricky “The Hitman” HattonMichael “Double M” MoorerIvan “Iron Boy” Calderon and Diego “Chico” Corrales (posthumous) in the men’s Modern category; Jane “The Fleetwood Assassin” Couch and “La Guerrera” Ana Maria Torres in the Women’s modern category; trainer Kenny Adams, manager Jackie Kallen, and publicist Fred Sternburg in the Non-Participant category; journalist Wallace Matthews and broadcaster Nick Charles (posthumous) in the Observer category; Luis Angel Firpo (posthumous) in the Old Timer category and Theresa Kibby (posthumous) in the women’s Trailblazer category.

The inductees will be formally enshrined during the annual Hall of Fame Induction Weekend. The 2024 event, a four-day jamboree, commences on Thursday, June 6.

The IBHOF is located at Exit 34 of the New York Thruway. Hours of operation are Monday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Biographies on the Class of 2024 can be found on www.ibhof.com

Fred Sternburg was previously honored with the Marvin Kohn Good Guy Award by the Boxing Writers Association of America, an honor bestowed upon him in 2004. Rick Folstad interviewed Sternburg for a story that appeared on these pages in December of 2005.

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