So it’s 2019, and with that comes new year of expectations for the heavyweight division. I’m expecting that there will be an undisputed heavyweight champion in 2019…at least that’s what I hope. I’ve been retired for almost 15 years, and yet I still remain the last undisputed heavyweight champion. I think it’s long past time we see another undisputed champion in the heavyweight fold. Let’s talk Heavyweight boxing!
The way I see it, at the top of today’s current crop of top heavyweights is Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, and Tyson Fury. Let’s call them the big three. They are at the very top of the division, and then there’s everyone else, who can be interchangeable, yet still dangerous, opponents.
You have Whyte, Parker, Brazeale, Jennings and Ortiz. All of these guys are solid fighters that have the potential to break through with a great fight. However, one major difference is that they aren’t physically built like the big three. Heavyweight bodies have grown bigger, taller and stronger over the years. In order to compete with, or beat any of the big three, these fighters must fight them very smart.
Physically, post modern heavyweights have broken the mold from the days that 6-foot champions ruled the roost. In today’s world, even my 6-5 frame is on the shorter side of the top guys. It’s getting harder and harder for the competition to physically match up with the big three, much like it was during the Klitschko era. The Klitschko’s dominated through a combination of size, strength and skills,which is a tough combination to beat.
There are others who are also rising in the ranks, like Joe Joyce and Daniel Dubois, and Efe Ajagba, but have not really cracked that top tier plateau that’s going to drive pay per view ticket sales at this moment. Keep an eye out for them though.
So let’s take a deeper look at the landscape . As I’ve said before, Anthony Joshua is the man to beat in the division. He has strategically, and through hard work, collected all of the major belts out there, with the exception of the crown jewel, WBC belt, which is held by American, Deontay Wilder.
You also have to realize that Joshua was in this position because these are all the belts that were stripped from Tyson Fury after his episodes with mental health. Don’t forget, Tyson Fury is still “the man who beat the man”, which still makes him the lineal champ, and that does count for something, especially in the eye of the public.
Joshua and his promoter, Eddie Hearn, saw the opportunity to go get those belts after they were stripped from Tyson Fury, and they executed a good plan to do so. I thought this was a very good move on their part. It was an aggressive move, and it showed the world how hungry Joshua was for getting out ahead of the pack and making history.
But like I said at the time, once he becomes a champion, there is no more learning on the job with lower opponents. He’s going to have to start fighting the upper level competition. By becoming a champion, you put a target on your back. When you’re the king, and at top of the mountain, everybody wants to call you out from your throne, and you have to be ready each and every time. It’s the nature of the life.
I think Joshua has done a great job so far with every opponent he’s been placed in front of. He’s gained a lot of valuable experience, and beaten a lot of very good heavyweights, including Wladimir Klitschko, who looked much better against Joshua then he did against Fury.
At Joshua’s trajectory, I expected him to face Wilder in 2018. To my disappointment, those negotiations fell through. I’ve placed a lot of the onus on the “A-Side”, Hearn & Joshua for that fight not happening. During that time, when I heard Joshua saying he was in no rush to face Wilder, and might do so in 2019, 2020 or beyond, of course I was shocked at those comments. I understand that boxing is a business, but as a fan, I want to see the best fight the best, when they’re AT their best.
Now I’m not privy to all of the details, and all of the back and forth between the Joshua and Wilder camps, but based on what I’ve heard, my opinion was that Joshua and Hearn needed to step up their game if this fight was going to happen.
I’ve always said Joshua was the A-Side in a fight with Wilder, and as such, he should be able to name the date & place of their first fight. That being said, Joshua v Wilder is the biggest fight that can be made in the division today, and easily becomes one of the biggest in all of boxing.
I thought it was ludicrous that Hearn started off by offering Wilder a paycheck for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world, instead of a percentage, especially when you consider that they did a 65/35 split with Joseph Parker for a unification bout.
It’s disrespectful to the fraternity of boxing, and the gains we have made getting fighters a larger percentage of what they put their lives on the line, and work so hard for. Too many past fighters, and champions, never came close to earning their proper piece of the pie. The game has since changed and fighters now have the ability to earn their proper share. Lets not turn back the clock to a time where the negotiators are reaping most of the benefits on the backs of the fighters.
I’m not just making a case for Wilder or Joshua’s purse, I’m making a case for ALL fighters who step in the ring. It doesn’t matter who negotiated their contract, at the end of day, the fighters are the only ones who step in the ring, and if things go wrong, are the only ones in the hospital fighting for their lives.
Fighters work long and hard to put themselves into contention for championship opportunities, once you become a champion, of course you should reap the benefits. There is only so much leverage a contender has in earning a shot at the title. When champions meet, there has to be respect, on both sides, for what has been accomplished by each champion.
Event fights are the super fights. They are the ones that seep into the consciousness of the general public. Floyd Mayweather is an astute businessman who knows the value of creating event fights. His bouts with Dela Hoya, Pacquiao and McGregor transcended hardcore boxing fans and brought casual fans out in record numbers.
In all of those fights, Floyd’s opponents made more money than they EVER had in a single fight during their careers. Event fights need two huge names, in their own right, to come together and make it something special. If you notice, Mayweather’s PPV numbers fell off dramatically for his last fight with Andre Berto because Berto‘s name was just not big enough.
Hearn’s attempts to simply give Wilder a paycheck seemed a bit ludicrous for a history making fight, between two undefeated champions, for the UNDISPUTED heavyweight championship of the world. I hate this nonsense argument that a fighter’s previous pay should dictate what they should, or could, earn in a potential event fight.
People have argued that this would be Wilder’s biggest payday ever so he should just take the flat fee since it was many times more than his previous purses. Wilder is the WBC World Heavyweight Champion of the World. He holds the crown jewel in heavyweight boxing. He’s not a contender. That in itself deserves respect and a split. Also keep in mind that this would be Joshua’s highest pay day ever too.
I think, in the event that both, Joshua and Wilder, are able to remain undefeated and face each other for the undisputed title, that the proper splits should be around 60/40 – 55/45 in Joshua’s favour for the first bout and 60/40 for the winner of first bout in a rematch.
The boogeyman in all of this has been Tyson Fury, who is now back on the scene and looking like his old self. His bout with Wilder was a great fight, and even though I thought Fury won the fight, the draw with Wilder has created a huge public interest in a rematch. WilderFury2 has the potential to make both, Wilder and Fury, more than either has ever made in a single fight.
Whatever the case, this leaves Joshua odd man out until we have a winner between Wilder and Fury. It also leaves Joshua and Hearn in a lesser bargaining position with the winner of WilderFury2, which could have been avoided by putting an acceptable deal on the table with Wilder to begin with in 2018.
By not doing so, Hearn and Joshua fumbled their opportunity to maintain full control of the division, and all of its big money, by letting Tyson Fury swoop in and fight Wilder in his own backyard.
Now Team Hearn is doing “everything possible” to make the fight happen at a time when a rematch is of more interest to Wilder and Fury, and could prove to be very lucrative. You can’t tell a man he has no value, then when he goes off to create his own, spout on about how he won’t take your fight now.
With the public interest for a Wilder Fury rematch, and the money that it can make, maybe in the $60m-$90m range, puts Joshua in the waiting game for the winner of the rematch. The winner will be able to go into a fight with Joshua on a much higher split, than what Joshua and Hearn had ever intended to do.
Joshua is the man to beat in the division. He’s a marketers dream and has great looks and personality. All this is great when packaging him as a product, but as a fighter who’s been there, I find it a bit difficult to understand why Joshua wasn’t as pressed to lift that WBC belt from Wilder as he was to get the IBF belt from Charles Martin.
Everybody has the right to be a champion in their own way so I wish him all the best. I just want to see him go after the undisputed title with the same urgency that he did to consolidate all the other belts. Of course boxing is a business, but there was usually no conflict in fighting the best and lining your pockets at the same time. In fact, I’ve found that fighting the best built my legacy, and also did well for my bank account. Fine wine baby!
Right now Joshua is a big fish swimming in a little pond. They are using the model that the Klitschko’s had in Germany and applying it to England. I’m not mad at that, but even the Klitschko’s fought in other countries. As a world champion, he has to come out of his comfort zone. I don’t blame him for being leery about coming to America, especially if you go by the bad judges decisions that happen there in so many fights, but at some point, if he wants to achieve a worldwide box office status, he will have to fight in front of audiences outside of the UK. The funny thing is that Joshua may truly be the best of the bunch, but we won’t know until he starts talking sense for the event fights.
I understand that promoters must have a plan mapped out for their fighters, and Eddie has done well by Joshua up to now, but at some point, you gotta stop milking the cow and let it go do what bulls do. It’s also on the fighter to take the bull by the “Hearn,” and say “make this fight!” That’s how legacies are built.
With Wilder Fury 2 happening, Eddie is now scrambling for a viable opponent for Joshua. If Joshua handles his business in April, the winner of Wilder Fury 2 should take on Joshua for the undisputed title. If that doesn’t happen, then we know that it’s just about milking the British fans for as much money as possible, instead of bringing the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world back home to them for the second time in their lifetime. Just that simple.
As for Wilder and Fury, I’m looking forward to the rematch and to see a great fight between two warriors. As a fan, I’m looking forward to seeing how the division gets sorted out, and when we have the emergence of one undisputed champion. I’m hoping the end of 2019, we will have our answers on just who that will be.
I’ve recently heard Eddie Hearn talking about how he doesn’t like what I’ve said in regards to the Wilder negotiations in 2018. In my fighting years, I laced my gloves up in the ring for protection of myself and my opponents. Outside of the ring, there are no gloves. We don’t put pillows on to soften the blow. Eddie needs to put his big boy pants on and understand that criticism and scrutiny are a part of the game. No boxer or promoter is above it. Right or wrong, I’ve had my fair share also. It comes with the territory.
In my career, I created my own path, chose my own destiny, fought for everything I’ve earned, and achieved all I’ve set out for in the sport. In my era, I sought out the best to prove I was the best. So I don’t take it lightly when my hard earned reputation is put in question.
I have no problem speaking my mind, which seems to hurt people’s feelings, but my views are not, and cannot, be swayed by a tv commentating contract, favour for a fellow Brit, jealousy of a new crop of talent, or the opinions of paid keyboard warriors.
I manage my character and everything surrounding Lennox Lewis. (Yep, third person.) There’s no puppet master here. I just call it like I see it, like I always have. For those of you who push this false narrative, I invite you to join me here at my League of Champions Youth Boxing Camp, where, among other things, we teach integrity.
From a vision, to paper, to reality. After breaking ground on this massive project seven months ago, everything is on target for the permanent home of the Lennox Lewis League of Champions in Jamaica. The foundation will run year-round programs to offer world class training facilities to aspiring pugilists.
“Our goals at LOCF are not just to provide recreational boxing clubs, but also to support education and the complete development of the individual. We are very excited to partner with so many wonderful organizations to bring this idea to life” – Mrs. Violet Lewis.
When completed, the two-story Recreation Centre will house the fully equipped Lennox Lewis LOCF boxing gym on the ground floor, with a computer lab, offices and common space for meetings, homework sessions or other small events. Overall, the entire complex will serve some 10,000 residents of Hopewell, Orchard and other neighboring communities. Please support us by visiting locfoundation.org
The Champ in Canada! It is with great pride that we announce the inaugural Lennox Lewis League of Champions Boxing Camp is confirmed to take place in Kitchener, Ontario from July 23rd – 29th 2018, at the Waterloo Boxing Academy. The camp is open for boys and girls, aged 9-17, and will be directed by the homegrown ’88 Olympic Gold medal champion Lennox Lewis and his teammate Silver medalist Egerton Marcus. Rounding out the coaching is Team Undisputed, Mr. Lewis’s personal trainers and coaches.
The camp will take place every day during this period from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and will focus on teaching the youth the art of boxing while developing life skills, focus and conflict resolution skills. There is no cost for the participants to attend camp, and a daily breakfast and lunch are also included.
MAY 15, 2018
The Lion in Jamaica! We are thrilled to announce that the July 2018 Lennox Lewis League of Champions Boxing Camp is confirmed to take place in Hanover, Jamaica from July 7th – 14th and St. Elizabeth August 20th to 25th. The camp is open for boys and girls, aged 9-17, and will be directed by the Junior World Champion, Olympian, three-time Undisputed Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World, Boxing Hall of Fame’s, Mr. Lennox Lewis.
All campers must register by June 15th, 2018 by filling out, and submitting the registration form.
The camp will take place every day during this period from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and will focus on teaching the youth the art of boxing while developing life skills, focus and conflict resolution skills. For our more experienced returning campers, we have exciting new sessions planned by our Undisputed Champion Lennox Lewis supported by Harold “Shadow” Knight, who co-trained Mr. Lewis during his entire Championship reign. There is no cost for the participants to attend camp, and a daily breakfast and lunch are also included.
The Lennox Lewis League of Champions Foundation is pleased to announce that the first LOCF Youth Summer Boxing Camp in Canada will take place this Summer 2018 in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.
The 2018 Kitchener Camp will take place at Waterloo Boxing Academy from July 23rdr to 29th and is open to boys and girls ages 9-17.
Campers will be introduced to the standard LOCF Camp mantras, as well as programs designed to develop their boxing and life skills.
“I am excited to have camp in Kitchener because this is where I first learned the sweet science of boxing. Boxing positively impacted my life and I want to make sure that the kids have the same opportunity and exposure that my amateur coach Arnie Boehm gave to me” said LOCF Chairman Lennox Lewis.
HANOVER, JAMAICA: The Lennox Lewis League of Champions Foundation is pleased to announce the dates of its 2018 Summer Youth Boxing Camps, which will be held in Hanover and St Elizabeth in Jamaica, and for the first time in Canada, in Kitchener, Ontario.
The action starts in Jamaica, at the Hopewell High School in Hanover from July 7-to 14th, starting 7:30 a.m. each day. This camp will be a special development camp focusing on the fundamentals of boxing, but also on life skills such as discipline, conflict resolution and self-confidence. This camp is FREE OF COST, breakfast and lunch are provided, and boys and girls aged 10 to 20 are encouraged to attend.
ST. ELIZABETH, JAMAICA: Next camp will be in Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth, on Jamaica’s South Coast. There, with our partners BREDS, the Treasure Beach Foundation, camp runs from August 20 thru to 25, 2018. This camp is FREE OF COST, runs from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day, breakfast and lunch are provided, and boys and girls aged 9 to 17 are encouraged to attend. Campers who pre-register should also indicate where they live, and whether they will need assistance with transportation to and from camp each day.
In Canada, the Waterloo Boxing Academy in Kitchener, Ontario will be the site of the first LOCF Youth Boxing Camp outside Jamaica. Together with our partners from the Waterloo Boxing Academy LOCF will lead 7 days of camp starting on July 23rrd and ending on the 29th of July.
As usual, Undisputed World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Lennox Lewis will attend each camp, supported by his personal trainers and coaches, Team Undisputed.
Sign up today!
Registration for LOCF Youth Summer Boxing Camps will be open soon, keep visiting www.locfoundation.org or follow the LOCF on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more details.
HOPEWELL, JAMAICA: The renovation of the Orchard Sports Complex in Hanover, Jamaica is well underway, the project is on schedule and on budget.
“So far the lower level of the structure is completed and the 2nd story work is ongoing.”
The Orchard Sports Complex project includes the construction of a two-storey building that will house the Lennox Lewis League of Champions Foundation Jamaica headquarters, a computer lab, a boxing ring, a full boxing gym and a multipurpose room for community events. The full renovation of the Sports Complex will see the basketball, netball and volleyball courts renovated, and the football field resurfaced.
“It’s looking good!” said LOCF Chairman, Lennox Lewis on a visit to the site in February. “I can’t wait for it to be completed so we can start our regular programs,” he added.
The $64 million Orchard Sports Complex renovation project is a partnership initiative of Hanover Charities, Hopewell Jaycees, the Tryall Fund, Round Hill Hotel, the Tryall Staff Club and the LOCF. The complex will serve over 10,000 people from Hopewell and other communities, and will be a model community recreation centers.
The work is scheduled for completion by November 2018. We are excitedly waiting!
HOPEWELL, Jamaica: The renovation of the Orchard Sports Complex in Hopewell, Hanover has officially begun!
On Thursday, November 9, 2017, representatives of the renovation project’s sponsors: Hanover Charities, Hopewell Jaycees, the Tryall Fund, Round Hill Hotel, the Tryall Staff Club and the LOCF all grabbed shovels and dug in, breaking ground on the $64 million initiative.
The building phase of the project will last about one year, and will include construction of a multipurpose community and recreation centre, the rehabilitation of the basketball, netball and volleyball courts, and the resurfacing of the football field. When completed, the two-story Recreation Centre will house the fully equipped Lennox Lewis LOCF boxing gym on the ground floor, with a computer lab, offices and common space for meetings, homework sessions or other small events.
LOCF Jamaica will be based at the center, which will also be the permanent home of the summer and Christmas boxing camps in western Jamaica. This will allow the foundation to run year-round programs, and specifically, to offer world class training facilities to aspiring pugilists. Overall, the entire complex will serve some 10,000 residents of Hopewell, Orchard and other neighboring communities.
Importantly, said LOCF Co-Founder and CEO Violet Lewis, the centre would be equipped to serve both academic and athletic endeavors.
“Our goals at LOCF are not just to provide recreational boxing clubs, but also to support education and the complete development of the individual. We are very excited to partner with so many wonderful organizations to bring this idea to life,” Mrs. Lewis said.
LOCF Chairman Lennox Lewis said he was looking forward to the opportunities Orchard would bring to the community and to Jamaica.
“This new centre will allow us to continue in our mission of building the Next Generation of Champions physically and mentally, and its going to be the best of its kind in Jamaica,” the former World Heavyweight Champion said.
The December 2017 Lennox Lewis League of Champions Boxing Camp is confirmed to take place in Saint James, Jamaica from December 16th – 22nd. The camp is open for boys and girls, aged 9-23, and will be overseen by retired Undisputed Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Lennox Lewis.
All campers MUST register by November 30th, 2017 by filling out, and submitting the Registration form.
The camp, which will take place every day during this period from 7:30am until 4:30 pm, will focus on teaching the youth boxing fundamentals, in addition to, focus, discipline, and conflict resolution skills, among others. Breakfast and Lunch will be served daily and there is NO COST for the participants to attend.
Hanover Charities in partnership with the Junior Chamber International Hopewell & the Lennox Lewis League of Champions will break ground to create a new sports complex and community/ homework centre in Hopewell. The Orchard Sports Complex and Community Centre will benefit and improve the lives of more than 10,000 residents in Hopewell and surrounding areas.
The construction of the new sports complex is one of the largest investments to be undertaken by Hanover Charities with a value of more than JA$55 million. The charity, in the past has helped by funding several upgrades including fencing the football field, painting the bleachers and resurfacing of the basketball and netball courts. As one of the main drivers offering financial and ongoing support, chair of Hanover Charities, Katrin Casserly, noted that “ This joint project is most important and necessary in that it shows our commitment to our children and developing youth who need the support in order to grow to their fullest potential”.
The facility, which will be developed by Grayson Construction with Maffessanti Builders who graciously provided complimentary architectural drawings, is expected to be completed in November 2018. The sports facility will consist of a community centre, football field, basketball and netball courts, homework centre, computer room and the Lennox Lewis League of Champion’s boxing ring/gym. With over two decades since the last renovation of the Orchard Sports Complex, community members especially children and youth are overjoyed at the promise of a new and improved facility.
President of the Junior Chamber of International Hopewell, Shane Reid, expressed that his group of young volunteers will manage the homework centre as well as book the facility for functions and all matches to be held at the sports complex. As a result of the generous donations from local corporations such as Jamaica National, the Tryall Club and Round Hill Hotel owners and community, the facility once completed will undoubtedly revive community spirit and rapport.
The groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for November 9 at Orchard Sports Complex in Hopewell.