Tyson Fury’s WBC championship future hangs in the balance, Otto Wallin is waiting to pick up the scraps, the next fighter in a legendary lineage targets the UK and a Mexican superstar hints at the impossible. Just another week in the world of professional boxing. Here are five boxing stories you might have missed.
Will WBC Demand A Furious Farewell?
WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman has confirmed that his organization will press heavyweight champion into a decision about his future. ‘The Gypsy King’ insists he has retired from boxing, and thus the future of the WBC belt around his waist comes into question.
“The WBC will be communicating with Tyson Fury and his promoters about his future plans in the coming week.”, Sulaiman told Sky Sports. “If he decides to withdraw the WBC will fully support him. It is our dream to see fighters retire with such greatness.”
There is a precedent for such support. Vitali Klitschko retired as WBC heavyweight champion in 2005. The governing body allotted him a “champion emeritus” designation, meaning he would automatically receive a title shot upon his return from him. He took up this option when defeating Samuel Peter for the title upon his 2008 return from him. If Fury is walking away, it seems likely WBC will put measures in place to ease his path to a return should he change his mind.
Otto Wallin Wants Deontay Wilder In Vacant Title Match
The WBC have not yet made their ruling on Fury, but 23-1 Swede Otto Wallin has already thrown his hat into the ring to fight for the vacant belt.
It’s quite an audacious shout considering the tall southpaw is only ranked 11th in the latest WBC heavyweight list. His trainer of him, Dmitry Salita, says his charge of him would relish a meeting with current number one Deontay Wilder. “If Tyson vacates the title, Otto is more than ready to fight Wilder for the title.”
It’s an admirable sentiment, but there are others far ahead of the former Fury foe in the queue. While Joe Joyce and Joseph Parker look set to fight each other, Wilder facing Andy Ruiz Jr, Frank Sanchez or Filip Hrgovic at this point would be far more attractive.
Nico Ali Walsh Wants To Follow In Grandad’s UK Footsteps
Muhammad Ali’s grandson, 5-0 prospect Nico Ali Walsh, wants to follow in the footsteps of ‘The Greatest’ and fight in the UK. Speaking to The Sportsman, ‘The Legend Lives On’ said “I have a mental goal. The UK is number one above all places in the world, because my grandfather loved the UK and they loved him. You have to see me fight in the UK”
Ali Walsh’s promoter, Bob Arum, echoed these sentiments while recalling his own past with the elder Ali in the same interview. Ali meant so much to boxing in the UK. I was privileged to be part of so many of his fights with him in the UK. I can’t wait to bring Nico over there to fight before the greatest fans in the world. There’s great fans here in the United States, but there’s nothing like the boxing fans in the United Kingdom.”
‘Canelo’ vs. Usyk Couldn’t Happen… Could It?
A fight that wasn’t on anybody’s radar could be set to happen, as Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and the camp of Oleksandr Usyk hinted at a mega-fight this week.
The Mexican asked about the possibility of meeting Usyk at a catchweight of 201lbs, which would allow the Ukrainian’s unified heavyweight titles to be on the line. “As a fighter, I don’t care; I fight whoever, anybody.” came the response. Not a ringing endorsement, but certainly not a denial.
Usyk’s camp certainly seems keen. The manager of’ The Cat’, Egis Klimas said the following when asked about the heavyweight title showdown. “Be our guest, Usyk will make cruiserweight for this one, but let Canelo concentrate on Bivol for now.” Nobody is saying too much on this one, but the fact neither side has dismissed it out of hand is interesting. Watch this space.
Paul Butler Becomes WBO Bantamweight Champion
After two canceled title fights with John Riel Casimero, Ellesmere Port’s Paul Butler has finally been elevated to the status of WBO champion.
The former IBF titlist was supposed to meet stripped champion Casimero last December, before the Filipino withdrew at the weigh-in due to gastritis. Their rescheduled bout fell apart due to a medical guideline violation for Casimero last month. Butler went on to win the WBO interim title against late replacement Jonas Sultan.
The WBO held a vote to decide the future of their two bantamweight champions. The delegates unanimously decided that Butler should be elevated to full championship status. A happy ending to the 33-year-old’s order.