In a new series, published during weekdays on Boxing Social, the incomparable Terry Dooley delivers his unique look at the boxing news.
Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn is expecting a rough, tough night for his fighter Anthony Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) on Saturday when the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO champion defends his belts against Oleksandr Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Hearn has told the PA news agency that this will be the Londoner’s hardest fight to date and an edge-of-the-seat experience for his fans due to the challenger’s skills and desire. “I’m very nervous, which is great — I want to be nervous because I then know it’s a real fight,” he said.
“This is probably AJ’s toughest ever fight and I think he’s going to prove to the world how good he is. He’s ready for this fight but it’s the ultimate challenge with someone that’s very strong mentally. Mentally, it will be draining, he’s going to have to think a lot, there will be a lot of feints from both men and reactions are going to be key.
“I just can’t wait to watch it unfold, it’s a real, real high-end heavyweight fight. AJ’s got to break him down, beat him up and hopefully take him out. He knows how tough this fight is, he wants to prove to the world that he’s the best heavyweight in the world.”
Hearn has every reason to be optimistic, though, after revealing that Joshua has signed a new long-term deal with Matchroom that will take him through to the end of his career. Hearn has stated that this does not necessarily mean that the heavyweight will automatically move over to DAZN, which will be welcomed by Sky, who are showing Saturday’s fight on PPV in the UK and hope to still showcase Joshua’s contests.
“People presume because of the deal that we’ll bring him over to DAZN,” stated Hearn. “At the end of the day, we’ll make the right decision for Anthony Joshua, not a decision that will benefit Matchroom.”
Usyk has been as relaxed as ever throughout the build-up and told multiple outlets that he is unwinding by watching the BBC TV showPeaky Blinders in the days leading up the fight. “I am watching a British drama series, Peaky Blinders,” he said.
“It’s a cool and emotional drama and it’s like real life — that’s how it feels for me. It is the way a family should function, protecting and standing up for each other. And the boss Thomas Shelby looks very cool in the way he dresses.”
Amateur boxing gyms need as much support as they can get so it was nice to hear that Southwick’s North Star ABC has been handed £3,000 from a woman who moved away from the area four decades ago yet still cares enough about it to support the local boxing club.
Elaine Gibson saw a Facebook page that the club had posted as part of a fundraising drive to get a new minibus so she made the donation and sent them a letter of support. The 69-year-old now lives in Bristol yet has not forgotten where she came from and the gesture was greatly appreciated by Danny Hopper, the club’s Head Coach, who told Sam Johnson of the Sunderland Echo that the donation came out of the blue.
“I was shocked when I opened the letter from Elaine,” he explained. “I expected about £100 maximum, which would have been an amazing amount, so you can imagine how much £3,000 meant.”
“Having a mini bus will mean everything for the club,” he added. “Hiring a bus costs an absolute fortune and we’ve had to be relying on others to get kids to fights. It’ll be great to now travel all together across the UK.”
Campbell Hatton, Ricky Hatton’s son, will fight Sonni Martinez (2-4) on the Joshua-Usyk undercard. Hatton (3-0) was due to fight Spain’sIzan Dura but will now meet the Uruguay-born, Spain-based Martinez instead as he seeks to secure his first stoppage win as a professional in front of a huge crowd.
Liam Goddard (8-0, 2 early) celebrated Friday’s Southern Area welterweight title win over Justin Menzie (now 5-5-1, 1 stoppage) with a romantic trip to Paris this week and used the idyllic setting of the Eiffel Tower to propose to his partner Kimberly Page.
“I’d been planning this since November last year but because of Covid we’d never actually been able to do it,” he said when speaking to theNorwich Evening News. “But I knew she always wanted to be proposed to in Paris, so would probably be happy to wait. Winning my fight and the belt on Friday was amazing, but I’ve not really been thinking about that since — I’ll start thinking about it again when I get home but this was far better.”
And for Miss Page, it was well worth the wait (she said “Yes”, by the way). “It was such a fairy-tale dream to get engaged in Paris,” she said. “I did have my suspicions, but he said he was just trying to find the perfect spot for a photograph.
“I sometimes get into trouble because I get too excited about things, but I just tried not to get my hopes up too much so I wasn’t disappointed, but when he told me we were going to Paris I did wonder.”
The couple have got a five-year-old son and are planning on moving into their new home so it will be all go both inside and outside of the ring for Goddard over the next year or so.