In a new series, published during weekdays on Boxing Social, the incomparable Terry Dooley delivers his unique look at the boxing news.
Naturally, all the talk from the weekend has been about where Anthony Joshua goes next after losing his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles to Oleksandr Usyk at The Tottenham Stadium on Saturday night, but one thing seems certain and that is that a fight with domestic rival Tyson Fury seems all but dead in the water even if Fury retains his WBC belt against Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas on October 9th and Joshua regroups.
Frank Warren has told BBC Sport that Joshua’s losses to Andy Ruiz Jr. and now Usyk were damaging, but it is the nature of Saturday’s decision defeat that has led Warren to claim that Joshua should forget about Fury. “If it did happen, what would Tyson have done to him?” he asked.
“It wouldn’t have gone 12 rounds. Tyson would have destroyed him. The unification fight was there, such a big fight. Heart-breaking. Usyk is a good fighter, he boxed extremely well. But Joshua is so vulnerable. He’s been like that for ages. I thought Joshua would be too big for Usyk, but I knew if he was there at the end, then he’s been outboxed. Usyk nearly had him over at the end.
“How can he be getting out-jabbed by Usyk?” he continued. “I was shocked at that. Even if he was to beat Usyk, what is Tyson Fury going to do to Joshua? You’d have your house on Tyson beating him.”
There is lots of Joshua news out there today, the overwhelming amount of it negative, but a friend and fighter has come out and told The Sun on Sunday’s Ben Griffiths that “AJ” turned his life around. Nadir Ibrahim is only 17, but he was there on Saturday night and has revealed the extent to which Joshua has helped him out already as he seeks to channel his energy into boxing after getting into trouble at home and at school.
Nadir was working out at the same London-based gym as Joshua, and after hearing his story the former unified heavyweight title-holder was quick to offer advice as well as sponsorship. “I owe so much to Josh,” said Ibrahim. “He’s been like a father figure to me. There is no doubting that without his support I’d be dead or in prison.
“He told me when he was 17 or 18 he got caught up in crime and he was nearly kicked out of home. He said he was getting into trouble with the police and generally breaking the rules. But it was boxing that sorted him out and got him out of that place. He’s the best role model I could have and being the only person he sponsors is so humbling.
“My dad left home when I was young. I was getting into trouble at school and at home. I was going through a bad stage and my mum was having problems. I felt I couldn’t tell anyone, so going to the gym to box was my only escape.
“The bosses at the gym asked why I was in there every day. They said, ‘You need to be at school’, so I explained to them what was happening. I spoke to Sean Murphy, Josh’s old coach and he spoke to Josh. One day Josh took me into a separate room and sat me down. The way he looked at me and spoke to me, he could understand exactly where I was coming from…After that we got a real bond together. He gives me a weekly allowance.”
The fallout from the Joshua fight is a blessing in disguise for Campbell Hatton, who moved to 4-0 after being given a very dubious decision in his six-round fight against Spain’sSonni Martinez. With the best will in the world, it was hard for anyone to make a case for the 20-year-old winning more than a round, let alone the fight yet it will slip under the radar given what happened at the top of the bill.
Step forward referee Marcus McDonnell, who had it 58-57 for Ricky Hatton’s son. As someone who has spent a lot of time at small hall shows, a score with this margin, with a drawn round thrown in, smacks of the early rounds going to Martinez only for panic to set in when Hatton failed to improve. Obviously, we have not seen the scorecard, but, generally, a card like this tends to indicate that the house fighter was given a gift in order to keep their momentum going.
It is a shame for Hatton, he has experienced a backlash despite the fact he did not score the fight himself. “I’m not happy at all, I’m better than that,” he said. “It’s a big occasion with big pressure. There are positives and definitely negatives.”
It is time for someone to do Hatton a favour by putting him on smaller, off-TV shows that he can learn his trade away from so many prying eyes. The fact he was higher up the bill than former Super middleweight titlist Callum Smith was also an insult to the more experienced fighter. It is time to change the formula.
While arguments rage about the Paul brothers, Jake and Logan, and their involvement in boxing, they have received some heavyweight backing from former two-time heavyweight world Champion George Foreman, who has told the Sunday Express that they are here to stay.
“They’ve got something that every fighter wishes they had. That is that they’re popular. It doesn’t matter how good you are, if you’re not popular it doesn’t matter. These guys are the ones to reckon with. They are boxing right now.”
The 72-year-old added: “I think, let the good times roll. You can’t turn back the clock and wish it was like this back then because it wasn’t. These guys are taking over boxing.”