Sherdog’s Weekend Boxing Preview

By James Kinneen Sep 21, 2018

Note for cheap people: You can sign up for DAZN’s free one-month trial to watch the Anthony Joshua fight for free, however you must cancel by Day 30 of the free month, or you will be charged $9.95 every month you don’t cancel the service. Also, if you didn’t buy the GGG-Canelo fight last weekend, HBO will be re-airing the fight on Saturday at 10:05 p.m. ET.

What: Jon Fernandez vs. O'Shaquie Foster, Lightweights

When: Sept. 21
How to Watch: Showtime 9:45 p.m. ET
Why You Should Care: To see whether Jon Fernandez will make Spain learn to love boxing, or remind them why they don’t.

The Spanish hate boxing and think it’s evil. That’s not hyperbole, it is the conclusion that a Guardian reporter investigating what he initially considered a strange apathy the European nation has to a sport beloved by so many Latin American nations, was forced to realize. Yes, while he assumed the Spanish didn’t care about boxing the same way the USA doesn’t care about soccer, he instead found that the Spanish consider boxing evil, and that the “Spanish Association of Pediatricians” don’t like the idea of children participating in any form of martial arts. But, before you get the idea that the Spanish are simply at the forefront of the ongoing CTE debate, you should know it’s not brain doctors decrying kids getting hit in the head, it’s psychologists.

Yes, the same country that considers people stabbing exhausted bulls to death a “sport” has an association of pediatricians that declared “This fashion for getting boys into contact sports is worrying. They don’t know how to manage violence and it could generate more violence. Minors should not see nor practice boxing. Even if a boy is hitting a bag, it’s still an act of violence.” Yes, they think hitting a punching bag is an act of violence.

So, what does that mean for a perpetrator of violence like Jon Fernandez? While the most successful boxer from Spain recently was Kiko Martinez, who went on to fight guys like Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz, Fernandez looks up to and has a “protégé” relationship with Argentinean middleweight great Sergio Martinez. But while “Maravilla” was a slick boxer, Fernandez is a vicious knockout puncher who has beaten all sixteen of his opponents and knocked at all but two.

O’Shaquie Foster has never been stopped in 15 fights, having won 13 bouts but lost two decisions. So, an opponent like Foster will be a great barometer for how much of a power puncher Fernandez is. A love of violence is universal and knows no borders. So, while other fighters may not have caught on in Spain, if Jon Fernandez has the power to put opponents like Oshaquie Foster to sleep, he will make himself famous in his home country no matter what any psychologists think. And Spanish kids who’ve never seen a heavy bag will come to know what real pugilistic violence looks like.

What: Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin, Heavyweights

When: Sept. 22
How to Watch: DAZN 4:30 p.m. ET
Why You Should Care: Because it’s the best heavyweight in the world facing a fellow Olympic gold medalist whose one loss was to a guaranteed first ballot hall-of-famer.

People are not paying enough attention to this fight. They really aren’t. Whether it is because last weekend’s GGG-Canelo rematch took place in Las Vegas and captured all the boxing-related headlines the mainstream sports media could muster, because start up streaming service DAZN hasn’t gotten their marketing campaigns in order the same way HBO and Showtime have, or because people are sick of Joshua fighting anybody not named Deontay Wilder, this fight is not capturing the public’s attention in the way that it should. Which is a shame, because it is a great matchup.

Alexander Povetkin is the 2004 Olympic gold medalist in the Super-heavyweight division, 34-1 with 24 knockouts as a pro, and has only lost a decision to Wladimir Klitschko in 2013. His issues have not been in the ring, they’ve been with PED’s. Povetkin had fights with Deontay Wilder and Bermaine Stiverne cancelled after testing positive for banned substances, and critics have been quick to argue that he did not look like the same fighter when he returned from those suspensions.

Anthony Joshua on the other hand has all the buzz of the boxing world surrounding him. He won the gold medal at super-heavyweight at the 2012 Olympics, beat Klitschko as a pro, and has knocked out every opponent he has faced except for New Zealand’s Joseph Parker in his most recent fight. Joshua is already a huge star and is being setup for a superfight against the winner of the Deontay Wilder-Anthony Joshua matchup. But this fight could ruin all of that.

Anthony Joshua would be a fool to look past Alexander Povetkin, and boxing fans would be fools to look past this fight.

What: Yvan Mendy vs. Luke Campbell, Lightweights

When: Sept. 22
How to Watch: DAZN 4:30 PM ET
Why You Should Care: Because you’ve probably heard of Luke Campbell and never heard of Yvan Mendy, and that could motivate Mendy into a dynamic performance.

You’ve probably heard of Luke Campbell. The 2012 British Olympic gold medalist became well known among boxing fans for his 2017 loss to Jorge Linares; a razor thin split decision that led to Campbell’s skills and heart being applauded, as the young man got a shot at the WBA lightweight title and got to headline an HBO card. But Yvan Mendy didn’t see a young, talented and courageous fighter looking to make the most out of a big opportunity. He saw politics and privilege.

See, Mendy beat Luke Campbell in 2015, and has yet to lose since. But, a Senegalese-Frenchman with four losses on his record doesn’t sell the same way a white Englishman who listened to “God Save the Queen” on top of an Olympic podium does, so Campbell got the opportunity Mendy didn’t. And that doesn’t sit well with Mendy.

This week he declared “I do feel a bit frustrated that I haven’t had a world title opportunity yet. He (Campbell) lost to me and yet he was able to fight Linares for the world title! So that does leave me a bit of frustrated.”

Mendy plans to convert this frustration into a knockout, and if he does that against Luke Campbell, his background won’t matter for his future opportunities.

What: Matty Askin vs. Lawrence Okolie, Cruiserweights

When: Sept. 22
How to Watch: DAZN 4:30 PM ET
Why You Should Care: To see unabashed “savagery” from a very unsavage guy.

When you read Lawrence Okolie’s quotes about his upcoming bout with Matty Askin, you would think Okolie is an angry monster devoid of empathy, raging at the world like a post-prison Mike Tyson. When asked about his advantages in the fight, he has said “I have the athleticism, fitness, stamina and savagery” before going on to say that “In the later rounds, if this fight goes that far, you'll see I'm the stronger and I'll break him down in savage fashion.”

But Lawrence Okolie is not a savage who wants to eat your children, he’s a former fat kid who lives with his mom, likes to play Clue, and felt bad for the firsst opponent he ever knocked out. Yes, Okolie used to be bullied frequently, because as a teenager he weighed 266 pounds and worked at McDonalds. Sick of that life, he joined a boxing gym, lost the weight and quickly found that he was very good at the sport. He quickly became a British Olympian, and as a pro is 9-0 with seven knockouts.

Fellow Brit Matty Askin is 23-3-1 and has won his last five fights in a row. He will likely be the underdog in this fight, but a win over a former Olympian and good friend of Anthony Joshua would put him on the map. But, if he slips up in any way he could end up on the receiving end of a “savage” knockout. And if that’s the case, it won’t make him feel better that Okolie feels bad about it.


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