ALAN HUBBARD’S PUNCHLINES – 31.12.15
Anthony Joshua has a couple of New Year predictions which will delight and disappoint British fight fans in equal measure.
The new British and Commonwealth heavyweight champ says his successor in the GB team, big Joe Joyce, can replicate his own 2012 triumph by winning gold in the Rio Olymics net summer.
But on the downside he reckons Wladimir Klitschko will snatch back his world heavyweight titles from new champ Tyson Fury when they meet again in the spring.
In an age of giant heavyweights, at 6ft 6in and 17 stones Joyce is similarly proportioned to Joshua but the south Londoner, as dab a hand with the paintbrush on canvas as he is with his left jab, lacks the same single-punch power.
But Joshua believes his superior boxing skills will see Joyce crowned as Britain’s third Olympic super-heavyweight champion, after Audley Harrison and himself – even though he has yet to qualify for Rio.
“There are two or three opportunities for qualification left and I am sure Joe will make it one way or another,” he assures us. “He is one of the most improved amateurs in the world and has all the qualities to be Olympic champion.
“The way they have schooled him up in Sheffield is brilliant. He’s strong, has good technique and has learned how to box on the inside like a pro.
“He says he will turn professional after Rio and though he will be 30 he can be a force in the division. You never know, we may end up fighting each other.”
Joshua says he would also like to end up fighting Fury for the world title within a year, but can’t be sure that will happen as Tyson may not be champion for that long.
“I hear contracts have been signed for Tyson to fight a return but my gut feeling is that an intelligent man like Klitschko will have absorbed the lessons of their first meeting and won’t make the same mistakes twice. I’d back him to win the re-match.”
Time to sound gong for Khan
Boxing got relatively short shrift on the BBC Sports Personality Awards show despite having more current world champions than any other nation.
And the sport seems fared little in the New Year Honours list announced today.
Belfast’s world super-bantamweight champion Carl Frampton is the only fight figure honoured, with an MBE. Good luck to Carl – but why him and not any of Britain’s other 11 world champions?
Certainly Tyson Fury was not be anticipating the postman’s knock on the door of his Morecambe home with a letter inviting him to Buckingham Palace and a lapel-pinning date with Her Maj.
Yet two of his three most recent predecessors as world heavyweight champions, Lennox Lewis and Frank Bruno, received MBE’s (David Haye is still waiting).
Those in the know will tell you that Fury has blotted his copybook irrevocably with some of his more offensive comments and won’t ever get a gong, despite providing one of Britain’s finest-ever sporting achievements
It also seems that an Olympic medal is valued more highly than a professional world title by the powers-that-be even, as in the case of Anthony Joshua MBE you have a conviction, albeit minor, which can debar an award.
Yet in this respect Fury is as clean as the proverbial whistle.
Most British world champions are honoured – eventually.Terry Spinks had to wait half a century for his MBE though Dick McTaggart, his co-gold medallist at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956, received his almost immediately.
Terry Downes , Britain’s oldest surviving world champion, belatedly received just a token BEM 52 years after winning the world middleweight title.
John H Stracey is another former world champion still waiting as, inexplicably, is Amir Khan, despite his immense work on behalf of charitable causes and in disaster areas around the world.
Tell me, has Frampton, described as a ‘beacon for peace’ in Northern Ireland , actually done more than Khan, who has worked assiduously to foster race relations in this country, to merit an award?
It just doesn’t make sense.
I am not sure if Lord Sebastian Coe, a known fight fan, is still in charge of the sports committee of the Honours List alongside everything else currently on his plate. But he is still a man of influence and it would be good, of he could find a few minutes to blow into someone’s ear in Downing Street to rectify this glaring omission.
I am sure an overdue honour for Khan is a gesture boxing, and the Muslim community would appreciate.
”In a strange way, it’s raised his profile, but I don’t think it’s the issue here. We also have to look on the negative side, it doesn’t reflect well on our sport.”
So says German promoter Kalle Sauerland of David Price after the British heavyweight’s last opponent Erkan Teper was given two-year ban for failing a dope test
The Merseysider suffered a second-round stoppage defeat to Teper when the pair fought for the vacant European heavyweight title in July, but this result has now been changed to a ‘no contest’
The 32-year-old former British and Commonwealth champion had been rebuilding his career following two defeats by Tony Thompson, who protested his innocence after he also failed a drugs test following the rematch win over Price.
It is bad luck on twice-bitten Price who says he is ‘angered and disappointed’ and plans to return to the ring soon.
He may have problems with such a fragile chin but boxing clearly also has increasing problems with doping. A worrying thought to take into the New Year.
I got 2,500 messages on Whatsapp –God kows where they all got my my number.
Billy Joe Saunders is bowled over by the reaction to his world title victory.
After the loss, the first two or three days were difficult, but I understood that it would pass. During this period, I didn’t want to say anything. And then everything fell into place. Additionally, and I will tell you quite honestly, I am pleased that after fight it was Fury’s hand that was raised and not my own. The arena would have booed me if the fight was scored for me. Why do I need that? Getting the loss was better than getting a victory.
Wladimir Klitschko finds solace in defeat.
I get up and enjoy going to the gym. If I was still in the old situation I wouldn’t. I resented getting up and going to train with Adam (Booth). It would be a two-and-a half hour drive and he wouldn’t be there. You think f*** this. But now I show up, I ‘m on time, Shane’s on time. Halfway through my session (Carl) Frampton walks in and I think ‘That f*****s fighting pay-per-view. I should be as well.
George Groves reckons he’s born-again under new trainer Shane McGuigan.
The thing that annoys me the most is actually non-boxing fans who haven’t got a clue and say who they think is best at my weight; they go on what other people say. They’ll go off Sky, so will say Kevin Mitchell, Luke Campbell or Anthony Crolla, but they don’t know boxing. Anyone in boxing knows I’m the best lightweight in the country.
Terry Flanagan induges in a timely and deserved spot of trumpet-blowing.
To think Charles Martin can become heavyweight champion of the world. I can’t believe that. It’s mad, innit?
Anthony Joshua is not alone in deriding the match made between Martin and Vyacheslav Glazkov in Brooklyn on January 16 for the belt the IBF confiscated from Tyson Fury.
Tomorrow: Ring in the New Year with Frank Warren’s Scrapbook