TYSON FURY will not fight Oleksandr Usyk next time – it's official. Steve Kim was one of the first to break the news that Usyk's team had walked away from negotiations due to disagreements over a rematch clause. Alex Krassyuk, Usyk's promoter, joined Frank Warren on talkSPORT at one point and despite the pair agreeing to give negotiations one last go, they still couldn't get the fight over the line.
There were countless interviews across a large number of outlets with various people involved in the negotiations – to the point where you would have to sacrifice a serious chunk of your free time just to keep up to date with everything. Of course, most people won't and therefore only get part of the story.
And in reality, history doesn't matter. Not many people care about the percentage splits of rematch purses that couldn't be agreed upon, or the pointless deadlines thrown in by the sanctioning bodies. All that matters is that the fight is not on.
All we have instead is Warren and Krassyuk putting the blame on the opposite side. It's sad to see. No one involved walks away from this with an improved reputation, and they only have themselves to blame. Firstly because they couldn't get a fight to happen but secondly because they couldn't help airing so many of the details of these negotiations publicly, whether it was on social media via Fury and Usyk themselves or through the various the other interviews conducted throughout the process.
Given the importance of the canceled fight, we now have to endure soundbites from pretty much everyone in boxing because they will inevitably be asked about it, whether it's Eddie Hearn saying “I told you so” or Tim Bradley simply putting laid the blame at Fury's feet in an interview with ESPN.
It will be interesting to see how many boxing and sports shops look at the big picture in the wake of yet another boxing failure. Instead of focusing solely on the individuals involved in this circumstance, it's worth examining the systems – or lack thereof – in place that make it so easy for superfights like this to simply never happen. It's easy to fire questions at those involved or to seek the opinions of other prominent names, but the harder question we should all be asking is: if the best aren't going to fight the best, what's the point of the sport?
This weekend, Anthony Joshua looks to rebuild himself after back-to-back losses to Usyk when he faces American Jermaine Franklin. Ahead of fight week, there hasn't been much press about the fight, which appears to be a conscious choice on Joshua's part. One piece of news we got though, courtesy of Mail Online, is that Franklin has filed a lawsuit against Salita Promotions.
It's not the best way to go into fight week in the biggest competition of your life. The mood is, unsurprisingly, centered around money and contract disputes. That puts Franklin at an even greater disadvantage going into this fight with Joshua, because it's a distraction he just doesn't need right now.
Following his 170th and final fight, ID Boxing released a short film about legendary British journeyman Lewis van Poetsch, directed by Jamie Yuan. It's about 10 minutes long and really enjoyable. It's almost impossible to dislike van Poetsch and this documentary shows why: he's incredibly self-aware and has an almost unwaveringly positive outlook on boxing, despite losing most of the times he stepped into the ring.
What's fascinating about documentaries like this and others that have come before it are the insights it provides into the skill required to be a successful journeyman. The film was made before Van Poetsch's 150th fight, so it is more of an examination of his role as a journeyman rather than a retrospective of his career.
It takes an underrated skill level to fight so regularly while minimizing damage but not just getting dominated every outing. Before Tommy Fury's fight against Jake Paul a few weeks ago, there was a lot of talk about Fury's level of opposition heading into the fight. His opponents, with their losing records, were unfairly called “cab drivers” and dismissed as having no skill whatsoever. Even in this short 10-minute film, that notion is dismissed – journeymen provide an important service and it's not something just anyone can do.
Lawrence Okolie's move to Sky Sports and BOXXER came with its fair share of attention and discourse, including barbs exchanged in the media between Okolie and Hearn, his former promoter. The new partnership with Sky kicked off last weekend with Okolie's pedestrian win over David Light in Manchester. It certainly wasn't the performance Okolie or Sky were hoping for, but a win is a win. And kudos to Sky for not trying to dress up what was a lackluster main event.
Unfortunately UK fans missed out on being able to see David Benavidez's win over Caleb Plant in the US as it was not picked up by a single broadcaster. This isn't the first time a major international card has fallen through the cracks, and unfortunately it won't be the last.
TalkSPORT listeners will also have been treated to a heated exchange between Hearn and presenter Simon Jordan, who had previously “challenged” the promoter to come on his show and answer his questions. Jordan doesn't shy away from making his opinions known and he does occasionally raise some interesting points about boxing, but he also often comes across as overly belligerent. There was some of this chat that seemed like it was looking for some kind of “gotcha” moment to catch Hearn. In the end there wasn't much substance to it and you'd have been better off tuning into Hearn's appearance on Capital FM, which was much more enjoyable.
Boxing on the box:
Harlem Eubank-Christian Uruzquieta
Coverage begins at 10 p.m
Anthony Joshua-Jermaine Franklin
Coverage begins at 7:00 p.m
Robeisy Ramirez-Isaac Dogboe
Sky Sports Action
Coverage begins at 01:00
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