In a new series, published during weekdays on Boxing Social, the incomparable Terry Dooley delivers his unique look at the boxing news.
Sam Maxwell’s decision to drop his studies and take up boxing full-time instead paid dividends on when he won the British and Commonwealth 140lbs titles by beating Akeem Ennis-Brown in Birmingham back in August. After doing the business, the former Business and Sport student proposed to his girlfriend, Sascha, and he has told David Prentice of the Liverpool Echo that he wants to move on to bigger things.
Maxwell is named after his mother, Samantha, and he had to ask her permission to switch from university to boxing to pursue his dream of a world title. “I begged my mum to let me quit Uni,” he said.
“I said, ‘If you let me quit Uni I will make boxing work’. And she backed me. I’d boxed for England twice at that point but I couldn’t have dreamed where it would take me. I joined The Solly (Salisbury ABC) and, within a year, I’d won everything like I promised I would.”
The fighter’s father died when he was eight, so it was his mother who nurtured and supported his boxing career in the early days, a career that he hopes will continue to kick on in the form of a fight announcement for either later this year or early in 2022 so he can build on the Ennis-Brown win. “My mum would take me to the gym,” he said.
“I don’t drive so she’d take me to my 7am runs with Georgie Vaughan. She keeps me positive and makes me feel like I can beat anyone. When I was young, she used to over compensate for how good I am!”
“I’m still waiting to hear what opportunities are out there but I’m British and Commonwealth champion now and ranked top 10 in the world,” he added. “Josh Taylor is fighting Jack Catterall at the end of this year and because he’s dominated this division he could move up and might vacate some belts, so there could be opportunities next year for a world title shot or a world title eliminator — and I could be in there.”
Tyson Fury’s win over Deontay Wilder means that the heavyweight baton has now been passed to Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua, who will rematch next year, and we can only hope that the winner takes Fury on down the line with all the titles on show.
Alexander Krassyuk, Usyk’s promoter, is certainly optimistic that this will be the case. “It will be after Usyk defeats AJ in the rematch,” he said (quotes C/O the Manchester Evening News).
“He was [impressed with Fury’s performance]. And he was impressed with how the boxers fought without showing boxing skills. They were trying to badly hurt each other.”
Shelly Finkel has told The Sun that, despite recent defeats for both men, Wilder-Joshua is still an exciting fight in prospect and one that could be made somewhere down the line. For now, though, Wilder is taking a breather after his punishing loss to Fury, but Finkel expects his fighter to make his way back to the top of the division.
“It’s early and we have to get through Usyk and Joshua and see a couple of other possibilities,” he said. “It’s a massive fight, no matter what happens in the Joshua-Usyk fight. And I’m not sure that Usyk, even with his great skills, will be able to deal with the size of Fury.
“Did I watch the fight? Yes I did. Was I absolutely wounded that he won? Yes I was. I was hoping Joshua could win the fight, but he couldn’t — and that’s none of my business. I don’t like picking on people who are down and probably at their lowest point and probably mentally unstable and unwell with a big loss after such a long reign. Usyk did his job, he had to do what he had to do, and that’s that, and Joshua has got to do what he has got to do.”
“He [Wilder] started out great; the first round he won the round obviously on all three cards and he was following the game plan,” he added when talking about Fury-Wilder III. “But then, when certain things happened in the third round, he had to change it but even with that, if you look later on he caught Fury a couple of times flush.
“But due to him not having his legs under him, he didn’t have the normal Deontay power. It was a show of his determination and his no-quit attitude, many other fighters probably would have quit during that fight. He’s sore but he was OK, he was home yesterday. He’s healing and at this point, if everything is OK, after the hand surgery he’ll probably look to enter the ring mid next year, like April or May.”
Main image: Sam Maxwell. Photo: Queensberry Promotions.