Fight News: Wilder-Fury fever, Holloway's bright idea, Coronavirus hits ONE and MORE
All the latest combat news from around the fight world.
Heavyweight boxing is back in the spotlight this week as Vegas and the world prepare for Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury’s imminent rematch. The follow up to Total Combat’s 2018 Fight of the Year couldn’t be more hotly anticipated, and a little extra heat has just been added.
Fury’s promoter Frank Warren has confirmed that there is another rematch clause in the contracts for this fight:
The loser has 30 days to call on the rematch and that has to be accepted.
So while a third fight is far from a done deal, if the second is as good as the first, we could be getting a trilogy.
Should that third fight happen it could well be one of the last times we see Tyson Fury in the ring. The lineal heavyweight champion spoke to Ariel Helwani this week and floated the idea of retiring once his contract with ESPN is complete.
I've got three fights left on my contract with ESPN. And after that, I will seriously think about walking away.
Fury has a reputation for being both honest and unpredictable, so there is no way to tell what his plans may be. Either way, catching what may be one of the final fights of the singular heavyweight’s career is yet another reason to tune in this weekend.
In the UFC, light heavyweight Jan Blachowicz put himself in line for a shot at Jon Jones’ belt with a first round knockout of Corey Anderson at UFC Fight Night 167. It was a definitive end to a strange and controversial event.
Two of the fights on the main card ended in disqualifications. First Rodrigo Vargas was disqualified for kneeing Brok Weaver while downed.
Then Michel Pereira beat a bizarrely inactive Diego Sanchez for two rounds before landing an illegal knee which cut Sanchez. The fight was called off and Sanchez took a DQ victory.
UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has become the first combat athlete to be awarded New Zealand’s Sportsman of the Year award, known as the Halberg Award.
During his acceptance speech Adesanya paid respect to New Zealand’s rich history of combat athletes, including Ray Sefo and Joseph Parker. He also called out New Zealand’s tall poppy syndrome and highlighted how important combat is to Kiwi culture.
Kiwis, we love a good one out, we love a good fight. This is part of the culture. If a fight broke out right now what would you do? You would ignore me and watch the fight.
Former featherweight champion Max Holloway has had a brilliant idea while watching the NBA all star game, floating that the UFC hold a similar event during International Fight Week.
“What's our versions of dunk contest and 3 point contest?” Holloway asked on Twitter. “What skills challenges can we do? Celebrity BJJ matches?”
He followed up by suggesting a cardio challenge pitting Tony Ferguson, Colby Covington and himself against each other on treadmills to see who puked first. Tony Ferguson immediately responded that he was keen. We’re onboard too.
And ONE Championship’s planned event in Singapore on February 28 has had some changes forced upon it by the coronavirus. Due to the current health crisis the event will now be staged in a closed arena without spectators.
My team and I felt the right thing to do was to offer full refunds to all the fans who bought tickets for the stadium event, but to continue with the show. — ONE CEO Chattri Sityodtong.
The card, headlined by two muay thai championship fights featuring Stamp Fairtex rematching Janet Todd and Sam-A Gaiyanghadao defending against Rocky Ogden, will still be broadcast on the ONE app and YouTube.
And our Hero of the Week is muay thai referee Sittachai Ineiad for going above and beyond in his efforts to protect fighters.
When Cambodian So Sovarathana knocked out Thailand’s Neymar with a perfect right elbow, Ineiad was on hand to protect the unconscious fighter from further head trauma.
The reaction time, commitment, and acrobatic prowess puts all other refs to shame.
It’s time for the Herb Deans and Robert Byrds of the world to step their game up.
Scott Holtzman and Jim Miller’s three round smashfest took Fight of the Night honours at UFC Fight Night 167. Jan Blachowicz putting Corey Anderson’s chin through his chest and Daniel Rodriguez almost tearing Tim Means’ head off won them performance bonuses.
In the boxing, Caleb Plant put on a show for his hometown fans, beating Vincent Feigenbutz from pillar to post. With Plant easily taking every round, the ref stepped in in the tenth to stop the massacre.