Three thoughts and observations from this past weekend of boxing action.
Boxing Belongs in Chicago: This weekends card at the Wintrust Arena appears to have been a success. Both Aleksandr Usyk and Dmitry Bivol were both met with excited fans from the Ukraine and Russia alike the entire week leading up to the fight, and WBC/WBA Super Lightweight champion Jessica McCaskill had butts in the seat and cheering for her as she successfully defended her titles against Erica Anabella Farias.
Historically Chicago is a huge boxing town having held classic bouts such as Gene Tunney vs Jack Dempsey, Sugar Ray Robinson vs Jake Lamotta and Sonny Liston vs Floyd Patterson among numerous others. The city wants and should have more fights taking place there and hopefully this weekend solidified that happening again in the very near future. There’s plenty of interest from all cultural backgrounds to tap into so if you schedule the fights they will come.
Warrington Ready to Unify: With Warrington successfully defending his IBF title for the third time against Sofiane Takoucht in Leeds, hopefully the next step is a unification bout with my personal preference, WBC champion Gary Russell Jr.
To his credit, Warrington let it be known after his win that he is up for the fight with Russell and also mentioned WBA “Regular” Champion Xu Can and Shakur Stevenson who will be fighting for the WBO title next week against Joet Gonzalez as options as well.
All three have the potential to make for great fights but fans have been seeking that big matchup for Gary Russell, and with Leo Santa Cruz and Oscar Valdez moving up, a fight with Warrington makes perfect sense and should avoid the classic pitfalls of a promotional war. Let’s hope we get it next year.
Shingo Wake Upset: In his first fight in nine months, junior featherweight contender Shingo Wake (26-6-2, 18KOs) rated #2 by the WBC and #4 IBF was knocked out in the 3rd round by journeyman Jhunriel Ramonal (16-8-6, 9KOs) of the Philippines on Friday at the Korakuen Arena in Tokyo. Wake had previously stopped Romanal in 3 rounds when they first squared off in 2013.