In a new series, published during weekdays on Boxing Social, the incomparable Terry Dooley delivers his unique look at the boxing news.
You could argue that it is all boxing’s own fault — and it is, so argument over — but the clamour to make bizarre fights and, let’s face it, the money that they bring in has crossed over from combat sports to sport in general.
Strongman Hafthor Bjornsson was due to face fellow World’s Strongest Man winner Eddie Hall in an exhibition on September 18 only for Hall to withdraw due to a torn bicep. Most of us are probably thinking: ‘What on earth would I do in that type of situation?’ The Answer: ‘I’ll fight Canadian arm-wrestling legend Devon Larratt instead.’ Yes, that one is now on. The winner gets Sylvester Stallone.
Not only that, but Bjornsson has become the latest person to call out former world heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson, who himself is calling for exhibition fights against Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua. Although “Iron” Mike has reportedly said that the first two fights appeal to him the most as he can find a small measure of redemption in them.
Bjornsson, though, wants to toss a caber into the fire. “If Mike Tyson would want to fight me, I wouldn’t say no,” he told The Sun. “I would be honoured to feel his power.”
This would be a bit of a grudge match, too, as they are set to star in a film called Desert Strike and allegedly have an onscreen fight in that one. If Tyson loses it, he could be prepared to settle the matter off the screen in order to restore some pride.
There is only one major problem with this potential fight, apart from, well, everything, and that is the fact that Bjornsson doesn’t like getting hit, and we all know that Tyson absolutely loves hitting people.
“The first few times when I was about to go spar, I would get nervous because I knew I was going to get punched in the face, it’s not very nice,” he said, much to everyone’s surprise. “The more I do it, the less nervous I get, now it’s more like I’m excited, because I enjoy it. I don’t want to be the guy laying on the floor and that’s my biggest motivation.”
However, fears that this whole Tyson thing could be descending into farce were allayed by the fact that Ryan Kavanagh, the head of boxing channel, or app, or whatever, Triller, has claimed that Tyson is scared of Holyfield. He told Sky Sports that he has been told from people who have been told that the people who told them are reliable that the fight is a no-go.
“We have been told that he is scared to fight Evander,” he said when talking about the man who fought a prime Holyfield twice. “There has been back and forth hoopla, there is a massive payday ready for Mike to fight on Thanksgiving. A massive payday, one of his biggest!”
“But we can’t seem to push it along,” he added. “Now I have heard, from a number of reliable sources, that Mike is too scared. He thinks Evander would knock him out.”
So, it would seem that there will be no triller night for the two old heavyweight rivals.
Australia’s “Blonde Bombshell” Ebanie Bridges (7-1, 3 KOs) went to a bar in Leeds after beating France’s Mailys Gangloff (5-3, 2 KOs) by decision. That is it, that’s the story. Fraser Watson of the Daily Star Online broke the news after the 34-year-old used her social media accounts to tell her followers that she was out and about in the city the following day.
‘Thank you Leeds,’ she Tweeted after the fight. ‘What amazing experience. Thank you for all the love and reception last night. Got the win last night and like usual having to fight through adversity. Busted right hand from the 2nd that just got worse and worse. But it wouldn’t be a Blonde Bomber fight without some drama/injury right.’
The next day, she visited the Brotherhood bar for a few drinks and could be the latest boxer to be added to their wall of boxing legends. ‘Good choice, think we need to get a new canvas up,’ Tweeted the pub’s social media guru when Bridges revealed she had been there for a drink.
Rumours that a long-haired, very smartly dressed man clutching a notepad was barred from entering the bar immediately after her while screaming, “I am the broadsheet media!”, have yet to be neither confirmed nor denied.
WBC heavyweight titlist Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) has told former Manchester United right-back Gary Neville that he will “Throw his titles in the bin” if it means he gets to fight WBA Super World, IBF World, WBO World and IBO holder Anthony Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs).
Speaking on Neville’s Overlap show, the 33-year-old said: “I have never been optimistic about this fight happening. Even when the deal was done, I was never optimistic it and guess what? It never happened.”
“I do think, sooner or later, it has to happen. Even if we go AWOL, throw all the belts in the bin, to fight each other? I would do that, if that makes sense. But I’m not sure he would be willing to do that.”
When Neville pointed out that Joshua claimed he would “smoke” Fury, the “Gypsy King replied: “AJ couldn’t smoke a cigarette, never mind smoke the ‘Gypsy King’. He hasn’t got the minerals to fight a man like me. I said to [Joshua’s promoter] Eddie Hearn the difference between a man like him and a man like me is that he’s a businessman and I’m a fucking Spartan.”
Speaking of Hearn, the promoter out-punched former WBC cruiserweight titlist Tony Bellew on the DAZN punching machine in Leeds on Saturday night. It ended 935-926 for the big-hitting promoter, with DAZN Tweeting: ‘Eddie Hearn just DOMINATED the punch machine challenge.’
It does raise a serious question and that question is this: ‘Hearn Vs Bellew for charity, anyone?’
Hard-hitting Conor Benn (19-0, 12 KOs) beat Adrian Granados (21-9-3, 15 KOs) over 10 on the Leeds show and a former opponent has provided an insight into Benn’s punching power. Matt Bozeat of the Leicester Mercury caught up with Benn’s former opponent Joe Ducker, who had nothing but praise for the 24-year-old.
“People always ask me about Conor Benn and I tell them ‘I’ve never had anyone like him in front of me before,” he said, recounting Benn’s second-round KO win over him in 2016. “I’ve been hit harder, but there was something different about him. His instincts were different. Once he caught me, he didn’t let up. He threw another big shot, then another, then another.”
“I’ve been in with good lads and none of them did that the way Conor did,” he added. “I always thought earlier in his career that people didn’t realise how much he had and he didn’t get enough credit. I hope he goes all the way.”