One month down, eleven to go.
The first 31 days of the year have given us:
— America’s first world heavyweight champ in nine years (Deontay Wilder, in case you hadn’t heard “BOOOOOOOOOOOMB SQUAD!!!” before).
— Unbeaten Asian, Jomthong Chuwatana, taking a step toward the super-featherweight top ten of the WBC. And perilously close to the lips of the cool kids who saw Naoya Inoue first. (Honestly, they did!)
— Leo Santa Cruzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Don’t worry, Haymon will wake him up with a fistful of dollars and a new catchphrase: ‘SAY NO TO RIGO!’
— Brandon Rios giving Mike Alvarado’s shadow a first-class butt whupping.
— Kevin Mitchell reminding us that when his preparation is right, he’s one of the best lightweights in the world. Good luck to him I say. Still got a few of those nine lives left.
So, on to February. A month that occasionally likes to take a leap and is associated with romance, flowers, chocolate and … boxing?
As I write this it’s February 6. So we’ve only got 22 days left. 22 DAYS! THREE WEEKS! What the hell can happen in three weeks? Time to Mark Your Calendar.
Friday, Feb. 6: Sergio Mora vs Abraham Han for the vacant USBA middleweight title. This Mississippi match-up has a three star rating on Boxrec. What am I missing? I joke, I joke, Sergio. Your unrelenting quest to boxing immortality continues. (Erickson Lubin is on the undercard, folks. Check him out.)
Saturday, Feb 7: Richard Commey vs Mikhail Avakyan. No belt on the line, heck this 10 round lightweight fight isn’t even the top of the bill on Sauerland’s latest Nordic Fight Night in Denmark. The unbeaten Commey, from Accra, Ghana, has been struggling of late to get decent match-ups in the UK, where he had hoped to make a name for himself. But Commey is worth keeping an eye on.
Saturday, Feb 7: Dillian Whyte vs Marcelo Luiz Nascimento. An eight-round U.K. heavyweight bout that won’t send shockwaves around the world, regardless if Whyte wins and how. But Dillian is seen by many as the kryptonite to Anthony Joshua. Just keep winning, son. “Let it come to the boil,” as Angelo Dundee once said.
Saturday, Feb 14: Stephen Ormond vs Terry Flanagan for the WBO European lightweight title. Another bug of a belt but the winner of this fight will get a crack at Terence Crawford’s vacated world title at 135lbs. Juan Diaz may be in the other corner. Ormond’s unforgiving aggression against Flanagan’s clever use of the sweet science.
Saturday, Feb 14: Brian Rose v Carson Jones for the vacant WBC international super welterweight title. Swear to God, I’m just going to start typing “for some belt”. I wonder if Eddie Hearn has a special hotline for Jones. A Carson-signal in the sky, perhaps? A must-win for Rose because any dreams of world title glory are done should he lose. Jones? Win or lose, he’ll live to fight another (pay) day. Oh, there’s another batch of ‘Prizefighter’ on the undercard of this Blackpool event. I’m choosing to ignore that fact.
Saturday, Feb 21: Arthur Abrham vs Paul Smith for the WBO World super-middleweight title. Which ‘King’ Arthur will show up for this one I wonder? The 117-111 x2 and 119-09 scorecards from their first fight last September were so bad I just laughed, embarrassed for my sport. The right man won but here’s hoping that the scribbly pieces of paper show numbers that make sense this time in Berlin, should it go the distance. The rebuild of heavyweight David Price continues on the undercard.
Saturday, Feb 21: Gennady Golovkin vs Martin Murray for the (breathe Shaun, breathe) WBA Super World middleweight title, interim WBC World middleweight title and IBO World middleweight title. I thought Macklin would be a test, I didn’t think Stevens would be a test, I laughed at the absurdity of GGG’s match-up with Rubio. So is this the moment when the middleweight bulldozer will face a wall that’s not so easy to knock down? Martin Murray in Monte Carlo should provide the sternest challenge to date. (Keep an eye out for minimumweight world champion, Hekkie Budler, on the undercard.)
Friday, Feb 27: Tony Thompson vs Odlanier Solis for the WBC Continental Americas heavyweight title. Anyone else have a non-alcohol induced hunch that this brawl in Budapest might turn out to be a Fight of the Year candidate? No? Shut up, Shaun? Tumbleweeds? Okay.
Friday, Feb 27: Randy Caballero vs Alberto Guevara for the IBF World bantamweight title. Caballero was so impressive when taking the title from Stuart Hall last year. He looked every inch a champion and a superstar in the making. 2015 could be huge for the 24-year-old.
Saturday, Feb 28: Tyson Fury vs Christian Hammer for the WBO International Heavyweight title. Dmitry Chudinov vs Chris Eubank Jr for the interim WBA World middleweight title. In London. A couple of charismatic characters who in their own unique way can make for compelling television. Fury just needs to keep the W column ticked to get to big bad Wlad or wild Deontay. Eubank Jr’s pride took a massive dent when losing to Billy Joe Saunders last time out.
Saturday, Feb 28: Carl Frampton vs Chris Avalos for the IBF World super bantamweight title. Frampton, Belfast, several thousand mental Framptonites and all on free-to-air TV. Hey now, boxing, stop putting a smile on my face.
If I’ve missed anything then blame the disease that is mannis-fluiss.
I’m back to bed. — Shaun Brown