Something in boxing will never shock up and one of those is the audacity of fighters who will try to tell fans they are the best when they fight no one of note. One such case of this is Scotland's Craig Windsor Jr who recently claimed an EBF title despite failing a drugs test and being banned.
Yes you did read that right, Windsor won a title despite being banned.
Windsor, from Coatbridge the same town as Ricky Burns, was banned earlier this year by the British Board Board of Control (BBBofC). Typically all bans by the BBBofC are carried out through all of the EBU (European Boxing Union), the professional boxing overseers for Europe.
Unfortunately bans put out on "professional boxing" doesn't extend to the realms outside of the EBU, so "unsanctioned" and even "white collar" fighting is allowed as is fighting in bouts sanctioned in a none EBU organisation.
Windsor took advantage of those rules recently when he started his own sanctioning body, the "Professional Boxing Organisation", and under the "Professional Boxing Organisation" he set up his own title, the EBF "European Boxing Foundation".
Soon after setting up those organisations Windsor fought for and won the European Boxing Foundation European title, presumably at Super Middleweight, beating a Mexican.
Yes, a banned boxer beat a Mexican for a European title. And we all thought the WBC were a bunch of clowns!
Unfortunately the story has yet another sub-story as the "European Boxing Federation" claim that Windsor is piggybacking on their name by naming his organisation the "European Boxing Foundation", with both obviously sharing the EBF initials the confusion is simple.
We've got to be honest we'd love to see Windsor in with the true European champion, just to see Windsor getting his head smashed in for taking a crap on our great sport!
A few weeks ago whilst looking at the schedule of up coming bouts we stumbled upon a bout for the ridiculously named "IBF East/West Europe Light Heavyweight title". The title was on the line as Nenad Stankovic of Serbia (East Europe) faced the amusing Hamza Wadera of Sweden (via Uganda) which as far as we're aware is northern Europe.
Whilst we're no problems at all with European titles we've got to merely wonder what an "East/West Europe" title is actually about. We came up with a few ideas but we're actually unsure.
In Japan the country has a rookie of the year competition in which the best rookie fighter from the East of the country fights the best rookie fighter from the West of the country.
Could it be that an "East/West" title was designed to be the European equivalent to the Japanese Rookie title? Or could it possibly be a title for fighters who aren't from central, northern or southern Europe to fight for? Could it be a title to try and just claim a sanctioning fee from those as confused as ourselves?
We've come to the conclusion that we will never really know (nor will we know how a Ugandan fighter who has only fought in Europe a handful of times qualifies for a shot at any "Europe" based title) though our conclusion is that the IBF are taking the title movement to the next, obvious direction.
We here at weirdboxing would like to congratulate the IBF on their announcement of a new series of belts including:
The IBF North/South Europe title
The IBF North/West Europe title
The IBF North/East Europe title
The IBF South/West Europe title
The IBF South/East Europe title
And of course the IBF "only certain parts of Europe but feel free to pay our sanctioning fees and we'll let you fight for it anyway title", sure it's not a catchy title but it'll do for now!
If you've taken a look at the recent rankings published by the WBC you'll likely have spotted a few oddities though the most obvious one concerns former Light Welterweight title holder Amir "King" Khan (27-3, 19) who the WBC have shockingly placed at #2 in the Welterweight division.
Whilst Khan is a big name in the sport and a former WBA "super" and IBF champion at Light Welterweight his ranking here genuinely leaves a lot of question marks regarding the WBC ranking process.
First how has Khan gotten such a high ranking in a division he has never fought at before. The heaviest weight Khan has ever fought 140lbs (dead on the Light Welterweight limit), the highest weight any opponent Khan has ever weighed has been 140lbs (again, dead on the Light Welterweight limit). Had Khan weighed in or above 140 whilst fighting a guy in the low to mid 140's then a ranking (not as high as #2 admittedly) could at least be explained in that he had tested the water there, in a similar way to how Akira Yaegashi was ranked at Flyweight after his victory over Saenmuangloei Kokietgym.
Secondly Khan is now 1-2 in his last 3 bouts with his only win coming against Carlos Molina who himself is nowhere to be found anywhere on the WBC's rankings (which place 40 fighters per division). Molina isn't ranked at Lightweight, Light Wetlerweight or Welterweight (where ironically he has fought).
Whilst Khan's loss to Lamont Peterson is highly questioned (with Peterson having tested positive for a banned substance in the build up the a rematch) his 4th round TKO loss to Danny Garcia isn't up for question at all. In fact not only is Khan 1-2 in his last 3 bouts but he is without a notable win in over 18 months (since stopping Zab Judah in July 2011).
Whilst it's fair enough that the WBC don't rank champions from other organisations. They also don't rank (for various reasons) any of Manny Pacquiao (medical), Kell Brook, Mike Jones, Victor Ortiz (medical), Keith Thurman, Anton Novikov (legal) or Ruslan Provodnikov (amongst others). Which is part if the reason their rankings in the division are so bizarre, though it still doesn't excuse them for ranking Khan so highly.
We love the silly belts here at weirdboxing as they give us so much to look at and laugh at. The newest of these silly belts is the WBO "Fighter of the Decade" title which we will see for the first (but hopefully not the last) time tonight as Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez do battle over it.
As we all know this will be the fourth meeting between Marquez and Pacquiao after the 3 previous contests all went to razor thin decisions (2 in favour of Pacquiao and 1 a draw). It's fair to say that after 36 rounds not much separates "The Pacman" and "Dinamita", in fact many will tell you it's just the 4 knockdowns (all by Pacquiao) that has put Pacquiao 2-0-1 against Marquez.
So what do we "like" about the WBO "Fighter of the Decade" title? Well for a start we are less than 30% into the decade! Yes it's not even 2013 yet but that doesn't stop the WBO from declaring a fighter of the decade. It's unfair to call them out on that though because lets be honest they've never had a fighter of the decade title for the the 90's or the 00's so they are simply making up for lost time!
Hopefully all the organisations follow suit then in the coming years we could have a "WBC Emeritus Fighter of the Decade title" a "WBA Super Fighter of the Decade title" and we could even have Fighter of the Decade Unification bouts and interim Fighter of the Decade titles!
Just imagine in 2022 having a 49 year old Juan Manuel Marquez coming out of retirement to face the next WBO Fighter of the Decade title holder to win the fighter of the 20 year title! I know I can't wait!
Hopefully Francisco "Paco" Varcarcel is reading this and realises I'm on to a good idea! We need more titles in this sport. If the WBO want to offer an "Overweight writing world title" I'm happy to go up for it against "Fat" Dan Rafael, I'd quite like to call myself a "boxing world champion"!
Everyone in boxing knows that the WBA have a bizarre policy of handing out title like candy. They, as we all know, love to have a regular champion at every weight as well as an interim champion at many weights, along side a Super Champion in a number of divisions and even the odd champion in Recess. I also seem to remember a few years ago they also had a "Unified Champion" in Yuriorkis Gamboa (who had unified his WBA title with the IBF's title)). In theory that means that the WBA could have 5 titles in any weight.
A little bit of research shows that the WBA currently has 2 or more champions in 10 divisions:
Heavyweight-Super Champion Wladimir Klitschko, Regular Champion Alexander Povetkin
Super Middleweight-Super Champion Andre Ward, Regular Champion Brian Magee and interim champion Stanyslav Kashtanov
Middleweight-Regular Champion Gennady Golovkin, Interim Champion Martin Murray
Light Middleweight-Super Champion Floyd Mayweather, Regular Champion Austin Trout
Welterweight-Regular Champion Paul Malignaggi, Interim Champion Diego Gabriel Chaves
Light Welterweight-Super Champion Danny Garcia, Regular Champion Khabib Allakhverdiev
Super Bantamweight-Regular Champion Guillermo Rigondeaux, Interim Chmapion Scott Quigg
Bantamweight-Super Champion Anselmo Moreno, Regular Champion Koki Kameda
Flyweight-Super Champion Brian Viloria, Interim Champion Juan Carlos Reveco
Light Flyweight-Regular Champion Roman Gonzalez, Interim Champion Alberto Rossel
Of course as you can see Featherweight is one of the few divisions with just 1 WBA champion (Super Champion Chris John). This coming weekend all that changes as the WBA have both their vacant Regular and their "vacant" interim titles up for grabs as the sanctioning fees start to roll in once again!
In Jamaica the exciting Nicholas Walters (21-0, 17) faces Daulis Prescott (26-1, 19) for the full version of the title. This bout, see's the WBA's #1 ranked fighter facing the #5 ranked fighter in what promises to be a thoroughly engaging bout. The very same night around 4000 miles away we see talented Dominican Javier Fortuna (20-0-0-1, 15) facing unbeaten Irishman Patrick Hyland (27-0, 12) for the vacant interim WBA Featherweight title. This bout sees the WBA's #2 and #6 ranked fighters facing off for the interim title.
Whilst both of these are interesting bouts (as would be fights involving the WBA's #3 and #4 contenders Gary Russell Jr and Claudio Marrero) I just can't understand why we are having them on the same night. Why not have them as an eliminator and try to force 3 great fights out of this instead of just 2? Oh sorry I forgot the key words here, "sanctioning fees".
The WBO have long been seen as a bit of a joke organisation with weird rankings, poor champions and some bizarre decisions. In recent years however, thanks to the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Wladimir Klitschko, Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez the WBO has become a bit of a genuine fixture on the world scene and has started to become more and more accepted as a genuine world title.
Sadly however the WBO have found a way to take 1 step forward, 2 steps backwards time and time again. The most recent example of their "2-steps back" is their November rankings in which they rank Scottish fighter and former WBO Featherweight champion Scott Harrison (27-2-2, 15) as their #11 at Featherweight.
Usually I'd have no problems with a former champion being ranked at a weight where they held a world title just 3 fights back (and never lost their belt in the ring). However things with Harrison aren't that straight forward. Last time Harrison held his world title may have only been 3 fights back, but that was over 6 years ago, and last time out Harrison weighed in well above the Featherweight limit, 145lbs. In fact in Harrison's two most recent fights he weight in at 134.75 and 145, the lightest of those being only a smidge inside the Lightweight limit.
Whilst I know we all make mistakes (something Harrison has done regularly away from the ring) the WBO's mistake here is simply laughable. I'm not sure if they expect Harrison to chop off his legs to face their Featherweight champion (Orlando Salido-what a fight that would have been if Harrison was near his prime), or have slipped him in their rankings as a way to allow him to fight for a title at 135lbs (against fellow Scot Ricky Burns), but whatever it is it's certainly suspect and more than a little bit "weird".
We all love to rip the rankings of the various organisations to pieces, lets be honest it's often more interesting than watching a Miguel Vazquez fight (oooh burn!) but sometimes they do get it right and we need to be fair and give credit where it's due. So in the interest of fairness Let me just congratulate the WBC on having some very good rankings.
For example the
WBC rank Denver Cuello #1 (Minimumweight) a very, very deserved ranking for one of the real danger men at 105lbs. Like wise they also rank Kazuo Ioka at #1 (Light Flyweight) following his move from 105lbs where he had to vacate the WBC belt. Unsurprisingly Bernard Hopkins (Light Heavyweight) is also the #1 ranked fighter having recently held the WBC world title in that division (though I do expect him to fall swiftly if he doesn't fight again in the next few months) and quite deservedly Erislandy Lara is #1 at Light Middleweight. I don't think too many fight fans would complain at any of those rankings.
With that said however I do need to remember that this is weirdboxing.info
and not http://suljosblog.com, I'm not here to be nice to the WBC and in fact I'm only here to be fair. I've been fair and pointed out the WBC do have some good rankings...so on the flip of that, I'm now going to point out some of their ludicrous #1 contenders (after all, I like fairness!).
At Heavyweight the WBC have Chris Arreola (35-2, 30) at #1. I like Arreola, he's great for weird boxing due to his memorable interviews and his unique personality, however he is a man who's beaten no one of note since erm...er...Chazz Witherspoon? Arreola will be fighting the WBC's #2 ranked fighter Bermane Stiverne (22-1-1, 20) in a WBC Eliminator later this year and whilst I do love the look of that bout, I need to ask how either man got his ranking.
At Cruiserweight the WBC have veteran
Giacobbe Fragomeni (29-3-2, 12) at #1 and fellow Italian old man Silvio Branco (62-10-3, 37) at #2. Now I like the fact these two are #1 and #2 they drew last time out showing that they are about on level pegging with one another. However Fragomeni is now 3-2-2 in his last 7 (including 0-2-1 in WBC world title bouts) and Branco has barely fought at Cruiserweight having started his career around Middleweight. Someone one from the Mafia helping the Italian pair here?
Below Light Heavyweight we get into the realm of "who?" with Super Middleweight Nikola Sjekloca (25-0, 7) who's best win appears to be over Khoren Gevor-who at the time was banned after hitting referee Manfred Kuechler just months earlier. Likewise at Middleweight we have Argentinian Billi Facundo Godoy (26-1, 13), who was oddly upset after the rankings came out by the unranked Sergio Jose Sanders (20-9-2, 11). Lets see what happens there over the coming weeks!
The WBC's stupid rankings were of course shown up last weekend when their #1 Welterweight Thomas Dulorme (16-1, 12) was stopped in 7 by hard hitting Argentinian Luis Carlos Abregu (34-1, 28). Going into this bout Dulorme had beaten nobody for his ranking, Abregu, whilst with out big wins himself had only lost to Timothy Bradley and had beaten a number of "credible" opponents. It'll be interesting again here to see how far Dulorme falls and how far Abregu climbs when the next rankings come out in November.
We then get another case of "who?" with
Light Welterweight Prawet Singwangcha (48-3-2, 27). Singwancha maybe known by some as "the guy who drew with Jose Cotto" but that is pretty his only claim to fame other than losing to Jose Alfaro in his following fight. Since the Cotto and Alfaro fights Singwangcha has vanished into relative obscurity back in Thailand piling up a number of wins against limited opponents.
Things do, thankfully get better at Lightweight where Nihito Arakawa (23-1-1, 15) is ranked #1 and whilst he may not be as well known as someone like Gavin Rees (37-1-1, 18) he is a deserving top ranked fighter. Arakawa will be fighting in an Eliminator with the #2 ranked Daniel Estrada (29-2-1, 22) in what on paper should be a great bout. I certainly can't argue with this bout.
Super Featherweight is much like Lightweight with the WBC having a deserving #1 in
Sergio Thompson (25-2, 23) who is perhaps a little over-looked though is a very dangerous guy at 130lbs. The story doing the rounds is that Thompson is favoured for a bout with current champion Gamaliel Diaz (37-9-2, 17) who took the WBC title from Takahiro Ao earlier this week.
After having really good #1 ranked fighters at both Lightweight and Super Featherweight we then get Thai Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (44-0, 27) who has really faced no one of note, however on November 9th Piriyapinyo will fight for the WBA "super" title at Featherweight against Chris John (47-0-2, 22). Whilst 91-0-2 (47) looks great for a combined record, it's hard to get excited about that bout.
Thankfully the WBC have some common sense and have
Victor Terrazas (35-2-1, 21) as their Super Bantamweight #1. Whilst Terrazas is probably best known in the UK for losing to Rendall Munroe, he has since bounced back with 9 wins including victories over Nehomar Cermeno and Fernando Montiel. Solid wins have been rewarded here.
Sadly the WBC then go a bit weird and have
Hugo Cazares (37-7-2, 26) as their #1 Bantamweight, despite the fact he's never fought between 115 and 118 and actually fought all the way up at 122 last time out. I really like Cazares, he's always fun to watch, however this ranking does seem a little bit "off" with not only the fact he's never fought at the weight, but he's also never won a WBC "world" title at any weight.
Despite not agreeing with
Carlos Cuadras (26-0, 22) being the #1 guy at Super Flyweight, I can understand where the WBC are coming from here. Cuadras is an exciting and popular Mexican and he's the "Silver" belt holder however I'd personally have slightly down the rankings due to his competition (or rather lack of).
Thankfully as mentioned much earlier on the WBC have got it right at both Minimumweight and Light Flyweight, though it's also worth noting that their Flyweight #1,
Edgar Sosa (47-7, 28) is also a worthy top ranking fighter.
These are the October rankings so don't be shocked when they change massively in the next few days. At least 2 of the current "#1" fighters should have lost their ranking though it will interesting to see what happens to the men who beat them.
I will admit that Geography isn't my strong point. In fact it's fair to say that Geography was one of my weakest subjects at school, however I'm pretty such that France isn't part of South America, this however didn't prevent Frenchman Johann Duhaupas (28-1, 17) from becoming the "South American" Heavyweight champion in 2011 in a bout that was odd for a number of reasons.
As part of a mega Panamanian card, that was headlined by Hernan Marquez's memorable first bout against Luis Concepcion, Duhaupas faced Bolivian (no Mike Tyson jokes, thank you!) Saul Farah (41-15-3, 35) for the, aforementioned, South American title.
Whilst it's odd enough to have a Frenchman fighting for a South American title that wasn't the only odd feature of this bout. The amount of rounds was also odd with the bout scheduled for only 9 rounds, every other bout for the title, in it's history (dating back to 1919) has been for 10, 12 or 15 rounds.
In the actual fight it's self Duhaupas got off to an amazing start, dropping Farah in the opening round, before dropping him again the following round to record a 2nd round TKO win and become the first ever European "South American Heavyweight Champion".
Interestingly Duhaupas never defended the title, and this coming weekend the vacant title will be fought for in Brazil as Romildo Dos Santos (5-0, 5) faces Jose Antonio Fausto (2-0, 1) for the belt in an All Brazilian affair.
If you follow current events you may be well aware that China is starting to irritate a number of it's neighbours due to various border disputes as they attempt to show they are the new global super power. If you read the news stories it appears that their targets are only other Asian countries, however the WBO seem to recognise China's reach as going as far afield as the Bahamas, New Zealand and the USA.
In 2010 the WBO created the "WBO China Zone Heavyweight title" (I'm not making this up sadly). The first bout for this title saw Chinese fighter Jiang Hang defeat Russian
Egor Eliseev for the belt. Whilst I'm not sure what Eliseev was doing fighting for the title I completely understand Jiang Hang fighting for the belt, and have no real issue with him winning the title. Since then however the title has made little to no sense.
In 2011 the title was made vacant and allowed American born Kiwi Chauncy Welliver to fight American veteran Rob Calloway for the title. Yes, an American v a New Zealander fighting for the China Zone title, someone failed geography somewhere (I'm not saying it wasn't me, but I don't think it was me this time). That bout saw Welliver winning a decision over Calloway to claim the title.
An amazing 8 months after winning the title Welliver was to make his first title defense, this time against American based Bahamian Sherman "The Tank" Williams. Yeah don't ask how a fighter from New Zealand can defend a China Zone title against a guy from the Bahama's because I've not a clue either. Surprisingly Williams defeated Welliver (by 12 round majority decision) to claim the title and we now have the bizarre situation of a fighter from the Caribbean.
What makes this story even more interesting is the fact China has been handing out a number of loans to the Caribbean countries (as noted in this article from the New York Times)...Maybe China really are hoping to extend their boarders this far after all despite fact there is some 8000+ miles between the two places!
I never really understood the idea of "Youth" titles though I had always assumed they were to be fought for by two...well...youngsters, however it seems that that, is not always the case and that age is just presumable a number.
Earlier this evening Mexican youngster Gilberto Ramirez Sanchez (23-0, 19) defended his WBC Youth Middleweight title against Colombian veteran Richard Gutierrez (26-10-1-1, 16). The 21 year Ramirez Sanchez has now made 6 defenses of this title and I think we're all willing to accept that he's a "youth", at least in terms of boxing. His opponents however will struggle to be called "youths".
The first title defense for Ramirez Sanchez was just over a year ago as he beat Oney Valdez, Valdez was 36. The second defense was against just months later and came against Amilcar Edgardo Funes Melian, Melian was more youthful than Valdez but was 29. Colombian Samuel Miller was 32, Costa Rican Jaime Barboza was 33, and Gutierrez was 34. (Note-I've not got an age for Isaac Mendez, the only other title defense for Ramirez Sanchez).
Now, like I said, I accept Ramirez Sanchez is a "youth" however how are men well into their 30's considered youths? What exactly does the WBC term as a "youth"? And why isn't Ramirez Sanchez (who is admittedly one of my favourite prospects) facing other youth fighters? The Middleweight division is full of youth with fighters like Billy Joe Saunders, Alex Theran, John Ryder, Chris Eubank Jr, Demetrius Andrade, Marcos Reyes and Dominik Britsch (just to name a few)...so why are old men managing to fight for a "Youth" title that really should be fought for between guys like those I've just name?
Come on WBC if you're going to have a youth title at least keep it to the youths!