We could be getting a sequel to 2019’s Fight of the Year, Francis Ngannou is eyeing up Tyson Fury and we learned a little bit more about Amir Khan and Kell Brook’s Great British bust-up next month. Here are five boxing stories you might have missed…
Naoya Inoue vs Nonito Donaire Rematch In The Works
Naoya Inoue and Nonito Donaire could face each other once again with the latter’s promoter insisting he’s willing to ‘exhaust every resource’ to get the bantamweight unification made. Some reports suggest the rematch could happen in Japan in April.
The pair fought an absolute barnstormer two years ago at the Super Arena in Saitama as part of the World Boxing Super Series final, which saw hometown hero Inoue edge out Donaire via unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards. The fight was much tougher than many expected for Inoue, with the aging Donaire giving the Monster his toughest test in the ring to date.
“This is definitely a fight we would love to do and Nonito would love to have it as well. We don’t have a problem going to Japan. Donaire has the balls to go into the lion's den again. This is one of the biggest fights you can make in the sport,” Richard Schaefer told BoxingScene.com.
“I can’t speak on behalf of Inoue, but I know that’s the fight he wants as well. I’ve always believed that when there is a big fight to be made, you make it – and this is a big fight. I am going to exhaust every resource and will not leave any stone unturned to pull off this fight. This is what Nonito and the fight fans want. We as a sport need to deliver it. I believe we’ll get it done.”
Shakur Stevenson vs Oscar Valdez Heading For April
Inoue vs Donaire isn’t the only mouth-watering showdown set to take place in April, either. Shakur Stevenson and Oscar Valdez are also set to meet this spring in a super-featherweight unification bout.
This fight looked like it might happen last year, with Stevenson publicly lobbying for the fight following Valdez’s brutal knockout win over Miguel Berchelt in February, which saw the Mexican clinch the WBC strap. However, Stevenson eventually elected to fight WBO title-holder Jamel Herring in October instead, which he won via a 10th round TKO.
Valdez last fought in August, just weeks after testing positive for the performance-enhancing drug phentermine. Despite the adverse findings, his bout with Robson Conceicao went ahead as planned, although Valdez looked poor and was somewhat fortuitous to leave Tucson with a controversial unanimous decision.
Francis Ngannou: “I Want Tyson Fury Next”
UFC Heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou takes part in what Dana White is calling the biggest heavyweight MMA fight of all-time against Cyril Gane at UFC 270 this weekend, but that hasn’t stopped the Cameroonian UFC star from looking ahead to a dream showdown with boxing’s Tyson Fury in the future.
When asked who he’d like to face next, should he beat Gane in California, between a title defence against Jon Jones or a crossover bout with the Gypsy King, Ngannou told a press conference, "If you give me the two options, I would choose fighting Tyson Fury.
"After fighting Stipe [Miocic], the Jon Jones fight was on the table, but it seems like nobody really cares about it, so I don't know.
"And also, we don't even know what is the position of Jon Jones right now. I'm not planning my life based on that. I will plan my life based on the facts."
When asked about how he fare against boxing’s lineal heavyweight champion, the Predator responded, "I think sometimes professional fighters can underestimate MMA fighters, but I also think everyone has an opinion.
"Somebody will say I will easily beat him [Fury], somebody will say he will easily beat me, somebody will see an equal fight - that's the fight business. It's opinion."
Brook Confirms Rematch Clause For Battle Of Britain With Khan
We’ve had to wait quite some time to see Kell Brook and Amir Khan do battle with one another, but we could see the two bitter domestic rivals go head-to-head again once the feud is settled in Manchester on February 19, with Brook confirming there will be a rematch clause in the fight’s contract.
"I believe there is a rematch clause and I'm not sure that he'll want to take that rematch clause or not with what I want to do to him in this fight," Brook told Sky Sports News.
“I think there's going to be fireworks and as soon as that bell rings, I'm going to be marching out and I'm coming straight for him. He's going to want to do the same and there's going to be speed, there's going to be power and there's going to be everything you want to see in a boxing match in this fight."
Joseph Parker Claims He Would Never Fight ‘Brother’ Tyson Fury
It will be a big year ahead for former WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker as he looks to maneuver himself into a world title opportunity once again, but one man he definitely won’t be fighting is WBC, Ring Magazine and lineal champion Tyson Fury.
The 30-year-old was mentioned as a possible opponent for the Gypsy King by Top Rank chief Bob Arum, should a deal between Fury and Dillian Whyte not be reached, but the Kiwi says he will seek another route to become world champion.
“We have a great relationship. He treats me like a younger brother, his whole family looks after me. I’ve based myself here in Morecambe now. I’ve stayed in his house, I’m using his gym. I think I’ll never fight him. I’ll let him do his thing and fight everyone else," Parker told TalkSport.
"I’ll try to go another path and do my best to win the other belts if I can.”
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