Joe Joyce is set for a heavyweight showdown with a division veteran, Amir Khan versus Kell Brook is, fingers crossed, heading for February and there could be a spanner in the works ahead of Canelo’s cruiserweight debut. Here are five stories you might have missed across a busy week in the world of boxing...
Joe Joyce In Early Negotiations With Kubrat Pulev
With Antony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk on course for a rematch and Dillian Whyte still pushing his mandatory status for a shot at Tyson Fury’s WBC strap, the heavyweight titles look wrapped up until at least early 2022.
Joe Joyce then, who is eager for his own world title shot, has turned his attention to two-time heavyweight world challenger Kubrat Pulev in the interim, with early negotiations between the two believed to have already begun.
Pulev, 40, is set to take on UFC icon Frank Mir in a new boxing/MMA crossover sport called ‘Combat Triad’ this weekend. The Bulgarian’s last boxing match proper was a ninth round stoppage defeat at the hands of Joshua in December 2020. There are certainly worse boxers than Pulev out there for ‘the Juggernaut’ to entertain himself with while he waits for a world title opportunity.
Amir Khan vs Kell Brook Set For February?
It might be arriving more than five years too late but Amir Khan and Kell Brook look set to finally meet in the ring, with reports suggesting the pair might finally settle their differences in Manchester on February 19.
Despite some claims that the contracts have already been signed, there are still some minor issues to iron out, although the purse split, usually the most contentious of contractual issues, is believed to have been agreed. The fight is expected to be a pay-per-view event.
Khan last fought in July 2019, stopping Billy Dib inside four rounds in Jeddah. Brook on the other hand last fought 12 months ago, suffering a stoppage loss to pound-for-pound star Terence Crawford.
Things Get Heated Between John Fury And Jake Paul
Jake Paul might be scheduled to face Tommy Fury in his latest bid to shake up the boxing world, but if the YouTuber isn’t careful he might find himself face-to-face with the 22-year-old’s dad, John, instead.
Things got a little heated between Paul and the elder Fury at Thursday’s press conference promoting the December 18 showdown in Tampa, Florida. Paul attended the conference via a screen while the Furys, including Tyson, were seated on-stage. It didn’t take long for John Fury to take his ire out on the American.
“I thought I was ugly and needed a bolt through my neck to look like Frankenstein, but he beats me tenfold,” John said. “Look at that jawline, my God. It’s a good thing you’ve got a beard on there, Paul, leave it on because Tommy definitely can’t miss that with either hand and you’re gonna find that out shortly.”
“I’ll tell you what it is, you wouldn’t like to meet the old man. You can thank your lucky stars I’m banned from your country, because I get you I’d slap you. You wouldn’t be man enough to stand in the presence of me. I’d put you over my knee and spank you like a five-year-old kid.”
Spanner In The Works Ahead Of Canelo vs Makabu
Pound-for-pound superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s proposed cruiserweight clash with WBC champion Ilunga Makabu might have hit a snag.
The Mexican’s trainer Eddy Reynoso requested and received clearance from the WBC for his charge to take on Makabu for the chance to win a world title in a fifth weight class. However, mandatory challenger Thabiso Mchunu, who has held the ‘Silver’ belt since 2019 and won a final eliminator in March, believes it is he who should be fighting Makabu next and is refusing to step aside.
“We won’t take step-aside money; we want to fight Ilunga and win the WBC title,” Makabu’s trainer Sean Smith told Sowetan LIVE.
“Canelo wants to fight Makabu in May – between that Makabu must settle the score with Thabiso. We are in the gym but obviously Thabiso needs to know exactly what is happening.
“Makabu has a mandatory defence signed with Mchunu. I will make immediate communication. They recorded a January date for the fight but their promoter said that he won’t be ready for January 8. I will immediately address this issue.”
Mike Tyson Set To Become Malawi’s Cannabis Ambassador
Legendary heavyweight Mike Tyson has been invited by Malawi’s agricultural minister to become the East African nation’s official ambassador for its cannabis crop.
Lobin Low sent a letter to the man once regarded as ‘the Baddest Man on the Planet’ inviting him to take up the role, stating that marijuana’s legalisation in Malawi had created new opportunities.
"Malawi may not go it alone as the industry is complex [and requires] collaboration. I would therefore like to appoint you, Mr Mike Tyson, as Malawi's Cannabis Branch ambassador," Mr Lowe wrote.
Tyson, who has also invested in a cannabis ranch in the US, has previously said smoking the drug helped improve his mental health and turn his life around.