Tagged in: ibf

Amir Khan and Kell Brook close to secure fight deal set for Feb. 19

Amir Khan and Kell Brook are close to agreeing terms on a long-awaited, and almost forgotten, welterweight fight in Manchester on Feb. 19, according to BOXXER promoter Ben Shalom.

Shalom, the youngest licensed boxing promoter in the U.K., told ESPN the bitter British rivals are at advanced talks to stage a fight that has previously fallen through during negotiations.

“We are aiming for early next year, there are a few details still to confirm and it’s not been easy,” Shalom told ESPN.

“We [BOXXER] want to make a big investment in fights and we’ve got Josh Taylor versus Jack Catterall [Feb. 26] and Chris Eubank versus Liam Williams [date to be confirmed], but this is the biggest.”

Brook (39-3, 27 KOs), 35, from Sheffield, and Khan (34-5, 21 KOs), 34, from Bolton, could not agree terms in 2016 when both welterweights instead stepped up to middleweight for big fights.

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Brook has repeatedly called in vain for Khan to fight him and after recent world title setbacks the rivals are lastly close to agreement.

Shalom is close to matching them in what he has described as boxing’s biggest fight in the U.K. outside of the heavyweight division, which features WBC champion Tyson Fury and former WBA, IBF and WBO champion Anthony Joshua.

“Everyone says it should have happened three or four years ago but people said that about Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao and it still broke records,” Shalom said.

“Brook only fought for a world title last year, and it’s still a huge fight. They are both coming off world title fights, they are both younger than Mayweather and Pacquiao were when they fought each other, and hopefully it will be the biggest fight in the U.K. outside of the heavyweights.

“It’s going to help the sport grow. The U.K. needs this fight. The two of them hate each other and it’s been painful dealing with it, but we are very close.

“Where ever this fights ends up, this is going to be a monster of a fight.”

Both Brook and Khan have suffered defeats in recent fights, and both will have been out of the ring for over a year come fight night.

Brook suffered a broken eye socket in a fifth-round stoppage loss to Gennadiy Golovkin for the WBC and IBF world middleweight titles in 2016 and in his next fight suffered the same injury when he lost the IBF world welterweight title in a fourth defense to Errol Spence in an 11th round knockout.

Brook was stopped in the fourth round by American Terence Crawford, the WBO titleholder, in his last bout a year ago.

Crawford also stopped Khan in six rounds in April 2019, and Khan’s last fight was a four-round non-title stoppage victory over Billy Dib in July 2019. Khan, who will end a two-and-a-half year exile versus Brook, boldly stepped up to middleweight like Brook in 2016, only to get knocked out in the sixth round by the Mexican.

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Promoter — Deal done for Anthony Joshua-Tyson Fury heavyweight title fight

Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn stated a deal for the world heavyweight champion to meet Tyson Fury in an undisputed world heavyweight title fight this year is all but done, with a venue in the Middle East a front-runner to host it.

Joshua defeated Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev last month to keep his IBF, WBO and WBA titles to set up the prospect of a mouth-watering clash with fellow Briton Fury who holds the WBC belt.

“The deal is done, really — without being signed,” Hearn told the Times.

“The financial elements of the deal are done. We’re talking through the broadcast situation, the only thing really now is to paper it. “And when you paper a deal like that, it does go back and forwards 15 times before every single letter is approved on the document.”

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Fury has not fought since beating American Deontay Wilder in their Las Vegas rematch in February to claim the WBC crown.

Fury and Wilder had a rematch clause in their contract but they couldn’t make the fight.

Hearn said Joshua and Fury would face off in two fights — with the first likely to be in the Middle East later this year — and he hoped to bring the rematch back to Britain.

“The Middle East will be aggressive and will be front-runners in this. To stage this fight, you need significant government support. You need someone who is staging this fight as a statement for their country,” Hearn added.

“I’d like it [the rematch] to be [in the United Kingdom]. Where? Millennium Stadium.”

Fury’s American promoter Bob Arum has stated before that he is “95 per cent confident the fight happens”. Arum said: “I don’t want to make a deadline, but I just can report that everything so far has been going splendidly, and we hope to have a signed document within the next couple of weeks.

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Gennady Golovkin returns to the ring

Once feared, but still revered by many boxing fans, IBF and IBO middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin will be back in the squared circle this Friday versus mandatory challenger Kamil Szeremeta at Seminole Hard Rock and Casino in Hollywood, FL.

Now 38, Golovkin is anxious to get back in the ring.

“I’m ready to fight. I feel great,” said Golovkin Tuesday during a virtual news conference.

Golovkin was last seen in the ring battling Sergey Derevyanchenko. The bout was intense, brutal, and exciting. Golovkin was judged the winner by a close unanimous decision. Many thought the wrong fighter got the nod. I thought Golovkin edged it, but his advanced age became more prominent after the bout.

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As it should. Combining his amateur and professional careers, Golovkin has engaged in close to 450 fights. Ten years ago, fighting in virtual obscurity in Europe, Golovkin captured a title (in Russia) that few respected, and then became something of a folk hero with more belts due to his modest ways and heavy hands.

He was just over 30 when he came to America. Many fighters evaded Golovkin like the plague when he reigned over the middleweight division. He scored 23 straight knockouts and held world titles in the division for eight years.

That was then. This is now.

Szremento, his opponent in a few days, is undefeated in 21 fights, scoring five knockouts. The Polish native earned his shot against Golovkin by stopping Oscar Cortes in two rounds on the undercard of Golovkin versus Derevyanchenko.

“I treat every fight very seriously,” Golovkin said. “At this level, there are no easy fights. Every opponent brings certain challenges.”

A third fight with Alvarez could be on the table next year for Golovkin. Promoter Eddie Hearn has talked of pitting Golovkin against other division champions, Jermall Charlo, and Demetrius Andrade.

Though he’s accomplished a lot in his boxing career, Golovkin is still hungry. “I have not achieved everything I have wanted,” Golovkin said. “I have to win Friday to look into other opportunities.”

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Anthony Joshua dispatches Kubrat Pulev via KO, sets up prospect of Tyson Fury bout

Anthony Joshua returned to ruthless form by dispatching Kubrat Pulev in nine rounds in London on Saturday to set up the prospect of facing Tyson Fury in 2021.

The WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight champion kept his titles by turning on the power switch to drop Pulev twice in the ninth round. It was Joshua’s first knockout victory since his previous performance on home soil, in September 2018.

Pulev crumbled to the canvas under a barrage of right uppercuts and was then finished by a straight right hand.

Floyd Mayweather Jr., the retired former pound-for-pound boxing No. 1, had made the trip from the United States to be among 1,000 present at the SSE Arena and was the first to congratulate Joshua at ringside.

Since halting Alexander Povetkin two years ago, the English boxer lost his titles via a shock knockout to American Andy Ruiz Jr. before regaining them on points a year ago.

This was a much more explosive performance from Joshua than the Ruiz rematch, as Joshua floored tough Pulev twice in Round 3 and twice in Round 9 in front of the first crowd at a professional boxing event in the U.K. since March.

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A second defense in his second reign as world heavyweight clears the way for Joshua to fight either rival world heavyweight champion Fury, his fellow Englishman, or Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk first in 2021.

Fury, regarded as the world No. 1 heavyweight by ESPN after stopping Deontay Wilder for the WBC title in February, would be the preferred choice, but because of mandatory defense obligations, former undisputed world cruiserweight champion Usyk might be the first person in the opposing corner to Joshua in 2021.

“It’s not about the opponent — it’s about who has got the belt, and if that’s Tyson Fury, let it be Tyson Fury,” Joshua said. “It’s one fight at a time, picking them off one by one.”

Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn stated he wants Fury to be Joshua’s next opponent in 2021, despite the obstacles, including legal action Wilder has brought to enforce a third fight with Fury.

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