It’s official. Oleksandr Usyk’s exciting victory over Mairis Briedis means 2018 has kicked off, giving fans a nice “Fight of the Year” contender.
For boxing, 2016 was a year we’d all just rather forget. 2017 was a huge improvement. Now it seems this year is lining up several fights for us to salivate over, and this past weekend was a nice way to round out the first month of the year.
While American boxing fans are, for the time being, stuck looking for streams and other ways to watch the World Boxing Super Series, the tournament simply plows forth. Usyk’s win over Briedis was fun to watch, but it also sets up an interesting and likely brutal fight against the winner of Murat Gassiev and Yunier Dorticos to unify three of the division’s belts. So get on that, U.S. TV networks. And preferably before George Groves and Chris Eubank, Jr. meet in mid-February.
HBO had a more pedestrian offering, as Lucas Matthysse had a difficult time with Tewa Kiram’s style through seven rounds in their main event. Then Matthysse very strangely stopped the Thai with a jab in the 8th, though not before a small jar of something-or-other was confiscated from Kiram’s corner. Jorge Linares easily handled Mercito Gesta in the co-feature.
Perhaps the biggest boxing news of the last week, however, was the official announcement of a May rematch between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. Their first fight was a clear highlight of 2017, and the rematch figures to be a similar kind of event.
This week on Knuckles and Gloves Boxing Radio, author and filmmaker Brin-Jonathan Butler joined fight historian Patrick Connor in offering up a recap of the weekend and discussing #CaneloGGG2, Andre Ward’s recent teases at a heavyweight comeback and more.