Anthony Joshua: In search of a NEW dance partner

Written By Bakari Simpson: When former heavyweight kingpin Wladimir Klitschko recently retired, he shook up the division. Not that he was as dominant as he had been. Klitschko was coming off two back-to-back loses. Even worse, the subsequent manner in which he lost intensified negatively. Dr. Steelhammer first lost to Tyson Fury by decision. Next, against Anthony Joshua, Klitschko would be defeated by way of knockout.

Being the man that he is, exiting from the sport on such a dominated note did not sit well with Wlad. For some time, Klitschko flirted with the idea of exercising his rematch clause with Joshua. Yet, in the end, Wlad decided to hang up the gloves. This decision to discontinue his fighting career came as joyous news to many.

Anthony Joshua
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 10: Wladimir Klitschko of Ukraine shakes hands with Anthony Joshua of England (L) following the announcement that the pair will fight at Wembley Stadium in April 2017, at Manchester Arena on December 10, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Despite the highly competitive nature of the first bout, few believe that Wlad would claim the rematch. It’s largely believed that Klitschko performed the best he could and still came up short. Therefore, for this section of individuals, staging a rematch would be a colossal waste of time.

However, Wlad’s stepping out-of-the-way opened a floodgate for potential adversaries. Suddenly, Joshua has become the unwitting star of his own personal “Smoking Aces” type minefield. As the WBA, IBO and IBF heavyweight champion of the world Anthony Joshua has major league problems. Ever since he annexed the IBF belt from eclectic Charles Martin, Anthony Joshua has been a pursued man.

Generally, the fans and his supporters see his size, strength and marketability. His fellow heavyweights see a relatively green champion, who’s ripe for the picking.

Leading the pack Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz have repeatedly made this fight wish publicly known. Currently, Deontay Wilder, the WBC heavyweight champion, has the least bargaining power. Despite his poor legal positioning Deontay has regularly challenged AJ via social media outlets. Ortiz has continuously expressed his desire to lace up the gloves with the UK sensation as well.

While Deontay is the odd man out legally speaking, Ortiz stands on much firmer ground. Luis is the mandatory for Joshua’s WBA strap. Kubrat Pulev is the mandatory for Anthony’s IBF belt. The WBA and IBF have both ordered these matches to be made. Obviously, AJ cannot fight two men at once, so there is clarification needed.

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has emerged to give structure to this bubbling situation.

“Obviously we now have to fight Pulev and Ortiz and it’s going to be a tough balancing act. The Pulev mandatory was called some time ago and we already have signed correspondence that if it’s not Klitschko then Pulev must be next. I would say right now the plan is Pulev, Ortiz then if Wilder still has a belt then AJ can relieve him of that next summer. AJ is 100 percent up for fighting Pulev, 100 per cent up for fighting Ortiz and 100 percent up for fighting Wilder and he wants to do it in a way to try and capture all belts. It’s going to be difficult but let me tell you this young man fears no one.” -Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing

All in all this is very promising! One way or another Anthony Joshua is about to be very busy and very challenged. If Hearn’s plan comes to fruition, this time next year Joshua will be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Yet this will be no small task! One cannot assume that Anthony will topple any of these three let alone ALL three. And back-to-back at that? Geez, that’s a rough workload!

Although this proposed task is a daunting one for Joshua it’s also a thrilling one.

For so long the heavyweight division was dormant, now it’s exploding with more action that can be quickly put together. These are good times and I simply can’t wait to hear the next Joshua fight announcement!

Finishing up training earlier… so I’m prepared for later 💥-Anthony Joshua #AJBXNG

Bakari Simpson INSTAGRAM: @s.larry_love FACEBOOK: Bakari Simpson

LISTEN:  Cannon Briggs Comes Clean in Rita Cosby Interview

READ: Hi-Tech TOYS with Miguel Marriaga


Fans Crave! Lomachenko vs Rigondeaux NEXT!

Written By Bakari Simpson: Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KO’s) remained undefeated in his ESPN debut. After another dominate performance over an overmatched opponent, the heat is now on. Scoring a seventh round TKO one would image Vasyl to be relaxed. During the fights build-up, Miguel Marriaga (25-3, 21 KO’s), Vasyl’s opponent, talked all the right stuff. He felt that he was being overlooked but was confident on shaking up the world. If no one else did, Marriaga believed in his own skill set.

The one-sided roasting that everyone anticipated came true on fight night. Loma outclassed, out-hustled and outperformed Miguel in every way. After rising from the canvas twice Marriaga surrendered on the stool after the seventh. The satisfying TKO victory should at least have brought Vasyl Lomachenko a brief hiatus and moment of relaxation. This is far from the case.

Most believed Vasyl Lomachenko would not only win, but he would dominate. True, he did do what he was supposed to do, but now the bloodthirsty fans in the coliseum want more. And they want it now. Having labeled himself as one of the premiere gladiators in the game, the ticket buyers crave visual substantiation. Luckily for boxing devotees, there is no lack of enthralling showdowns to be made.

Vasyl Lomachenko Rigondeaux
Vasyl Lomachenko outworks and overwhelms Miguel Marriaga on ESPN.

Out of the numerous bouts that can be constructed, Guillermo Rigondeaux seems to lead the pack. This is not so surprising. Their names have been closely linked for just a hair less than four years now. From the end of 2013 to the end of 2015 the two fistic standouts dominated in neighboring divisions. Rigo terrorized at super bantamweight, while Hi-Tech dazzled his foes at featherweight. Despite Vasyl Lomachenko moving up to super featherweight their names have remained linked ever since. Now, this long time dream match has been injected with new life.

Over the past few months Team Rigondeaux has adopted the Shannon Briggs method of obtaining a fight. If the opponent you want won’t fight, shame them and destroy any semblance of mental peace they have! In both scenarios, Briggs and Rigo, they have masterfully used social media to advance their agenda.

The big knock on Rigondeaux is he is supposed to be boring. Well, I can promise you his Instagram account is not! El Chacal and his team have developed and utilize a hilarious comic book themed series of memes. The clever posts take shots at Vasyl and his entire team. Although, Vasyl Lomachenko and his promotional team of Top Rank down play the belittling campaign they feel the effects.

All one has to do is visit Vasyl’s social media pages and look at the comment section. The drums are beating heavy for this fight! The fans are working themselves into lather for this rumble. Furthermore the trite excuse of ‘Rigo is boring’ is old and flavorless. The funny thing is, on paper, Rigo is taking all the major chances. He is older, risking his “0” and has to jumped up in weight to face the larger man. Even with all these formidable handicaps the match remains unsigned. And it seems that Team Lomachenko is the reason for this.

Vasyl began his professional career professing otherworldly goals. He wanted to fight for titles at breakneck speed. Vasyl claimed he wanted to cement his name in the glorious history of boxing’s lore. The ambitious Ukrainian vowed to do this by vanquishing the most superior rivals available. Yet, after all of this tough talk, Loma doesn’t seem to want to touch Rigo with a ten foot pole. It’s all very curious and somewhat disturbing. Lets just hope that, in regards to Guillermo, Vasyl’s actions and words fall into greater alignment.

Time will tell if Rigo is the next to get a crack at Vasyl.

The momentum of the moment and will of people appear to be pushing for it.

What do you think?

Bakari Simpson INSTAGRAM: @s.larry_love FACEBOOK: Bakari Simpson

LISTEN:  Cannon Briggs Comes Clean in Rita Cosby Interview

READ: Hi-Tech TOYS with Miguel Marriaga

Vasyl Lomachenko TOYS with Miguel Marriaga TKO7

Written By Bakari Simpson:  Well folks, there is very little significant news to report here. Prior to the ESPN main event many throughout the industry expressed their belief the bout was a mismatch. Vasyl Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KO’s) is regularly regarded as one of the best in the business, while Miguel Marriaga (25-3, 21 KO’s) is not. Even worse, Marriaga was coming in off a loss. Despite these legitimate issues the fight was signed, sealed and delivered.

The wholly one-sided seven round strafing to follow was exactly what was prophesied. Before the subdued Californian audience Marriaga essentially just shelled up and ran all night.

In response Lomachenko followed him around the ring, threw an obscene amount of pitty-pat punches and clowned throughout the night. As if Vasyl Lomachenko knew his outgunned opponent had no options, Hi-Tech tried to provide the entertainment for both of them. Vasyl Lomachenko would repeatedly pat Miguel on the head, invite him to the corner and dance a jig in spots. None of the humiliation tactics resulted in a more aggressive Marriaga. Toward the end of the third and seventh rounds Marriaga was put on the canvas. Both were flash knockdowns. Yet, flash knockdown or not, they seemed to take a mental toll on Miguel.

Vasyl Lomachenko
Vasyl Lomachenko got off first with his punches pushing Miguel Marriaga back.

After the end of the seventh round Miguel realized there was little that he could do to change the tempo of the fight. A mentally defeated, and physically outclassed, Marriaga quit on the stool.

Along with the one-sided action the audience got radically biased and one-sided commentary. Throughout the entire broadcast commentators Teddy Atlas, Tim Bradley and Joe Tessitore endlessly sang Vasyl’s praises. Let them tell it, Vasyl could fight a bear covered in honey and emerge without a scratch.

Honestly speaking, Loma is a monster in the ring and truly is one of the best in the game. However, the way that these three gratuitously smothered Vasyl in accolades got very old, very fast.

There were a number of reasons why the commentary was grating, but the most egregious was lack of honesty. In order to deify Vasyl the commentators had to conspicuously forget a whole bunch of other names. The trio went on and on about how feared Vasyl was, and how hard it was to find him worthy opponents. However, as future opponents, they never once mentioned: Guillermo Rigondeaux, Miguel Berchelt, Gervonta Davis, Orlando Salido, Mikey Garcia or Terrence Crawford. So yeah, if you ignore these men, then its true, Vasyl has little competition to choose from! If you remember these fighters, then once defeated Lomachenko’s dominance is extremely challenged.

To make matters worse, Rigo has been on an intense Shannon Briggs-like campaign to secure a fight with Loma. The undefeated Cuban dynamo has been relentless on social media for the last several months. This story line got zero on air attention.

Utilizing more traditional tactics undefeated Mikey Garcia made it his business to run into Vasyl face-to-face. After Mikey’s splendid performance against Adrien Broner, Vasyl made disparaging comments that Garcia didn’t care for. As a result Mikey made a point to meet Vasyl when both were doing interviews at a common location. This confrontation took place at an ESPN facility, last week. Yet, once again, on this subject, the ESPN commentators were as quiet as Helen Keller in timeout.

It is true; Vasyl is a colossal talent and great fun to watch. However, we don’t need to fake the funk to talk about the versatile boxer. Especially, when the biased banter comes at the expense of other outstanding fighters. Placed in there against Marriaga Vasyl Lomachenko shined like everybody thought he would. Congrats to Lomachenko!

Yet, make no mistake, Vasyl Lomachenko still has loads to prove if he wants to validate his dominance. Loma currently is starring two potential unification bouts, and a Rigo grudge match, square in the face. There is absolutely no reason why Vasyl’s next bout isn’t one that we all dying to see. If he is as good as they say, now is the time to show and prove.

Can’t wait to see who he fights next!

Bakari Simpson INSTAGRAM: @s.larry_love FACEBOOK: Bakari Simpson

LISTEN:  Cannon Briggs Comes Clean in Rita Cosby Interview

Shannon Briggs WANTS Alexander Povetkin; RUSSIA

Written By Bakari Simpson:  In a recent radio interview on the Rita Cosby Show Shannon “The Cannon” Briggs (66-6-1, 53 KO’s) covered a great many topics. The candid inquiry dealt with his recent PED’s suspension, his arduous upbringing and future plans. When on the topic of his upcoming endeavors, Shannon Briggs explained that he was in negotiations to fight Alexander “Russian Vityaz” Povetkin (32-1, 23 KO’s). If everything comes to fruition, Shannon Briggs is hopeful they will the two will tangle in November or December.

The most glaring aspect of this bout is the fact that both have recently been caught using PED’s. Alexander was caught twice, back-to-back, using PED’s in his native Russian homeland. Briggs had his last fight with Fres Oquendo canceled after being busted. Oddly enough, their cheating ways undoubtedly are providing the unofficial storyline for the potential fight. We have Alexander “Da Juiceman” Povetkin (aye!) versus Shannon “The Illicit Inhaler” Briggs, no doubt in Russia. Then what are we supposed to do with the winner? How much credit should they be given for the victory? Are we to assume they were clean when all is said and done?

This bout would be messier than a stroke victim eating a sloppy Joe on a plane taking off.

Aside from all the past shady dealings the fight does retains elements of interest. Briggs is past long in the tooth, but the old man can still hit really, really hard. Povetkin has proven to be dirty as Pig-pen getting a mud facial, but the Russian has undeniable boxing skills. A win for Briggs would hold more weight though. If Shannon cleanly bested the younger, stronger and probably ‘roided-up’ Povetkin it’d be massively impressive. It would definitely prove that Shannon has something substantial left in the tank. A Povetkin victory would more than likely mean he simply avoided getting hit clean.

Nevertheless, one must ask themselves, after they fight each other, who would want to fight them? These two are becoming the breathing definition of, “more trouble than they’re worth.” A fight with Povetkin at this point implies cheating. Who wants that noise? On the other hand, any heavyweight that signs up to fight Shannon Briggs also signs up for his media machine. Just ask Wladimir and David Haye, having Briggs on your tail is no fun! To be ensnared in these doping controversies during the back nine of their boxing careers is horrible timing. Yet, these are the beds they made for themselves. No point in crying about it now.

Shannon Briggs vs Alexander Povektin
Alexander Povektin WBC eliminator fight with Bermane Stiverne was abruptly cancelled after Povetkin failed a second drug test in 2016.

Their backs have been pressed to the wall with precious time ticking away.

Neither of these tarnished men is ready to walk away from the sport. So, caught in this unsavory position, Shannon Briggs and Povetkin recognized the other as having a common dilemma. Together they hope to change their luck and public perceptions. Only time will tell how it goes, so until then, we’ll just have to wait for further developments.

A trainer brought it into my life, and [I was] taking advice from trainers…And I’m no dummy. Again, like I said, the responsibility is all mine. I’m an asthmatic. I was born an asthmatic and again, I’m taking things to possibly enhance my breathing, which is wrong.”

Shannon Briggs

Bakari Simpson INSTAGRAM: @s.larry_love FACEBOOK: Bakari Simpson

LISTEN:  Cannon Briggs Comes Clean in Rita Cosby Interview

Amir Khan, Wife, Anthony Joshua SUSPECTED Love Triangle

Written By Bakari Simpson:  Geez, this is messy. It would appear that husband and wife, Amir Khan and Faryal Makhdoom, are publicly squabbling again. Last year the two aired some of their internal family beef via Twitter. Faryal expressed that the family made her feel ostracized and alienated. Khan essentially confirmed this by telling both sides to work together. This past Friday Amir revealed that the days of reconciliation are at an end. The message was once again transmitted via his Twitter account.

Amir Khan
SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 19: Boxer Amir Khan speaks to media during a visit to Fight Label who make his shorts on February 19, 2015 in Sheffield, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

Amir Khan announced that they would be getting divorce only after accusing his wife of infidelity. Opting not to stop there, Amir Khan went even further by ousting the supposed perpetrator. King Khan accused none other than IBF, WBA and IBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua of being the culprit. In response Joshua quickly denounced all involvement.

The good-natured behemoth replied by posting the humorous song “It wasn’t me.” The once popular song, made by reggae artist Shaggy, revolves around a man denying his infidelity. The funny thing though, is in the song the guy WAS guilty of infidelity!

In the end, the whole scenario feels like the recent Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna public fall out. Due to hurt feelings caused by abandonment and believing himself to have been conned Rob grabbed his phone. With the powerful device in his hands Rob began simping with ferocity. Thinking himself to be slandering Blac Chyna he did little more than reveal himself to be a first-rate sucka. Rob accused Chyna of cheating, stealing and be an underhanded individual. In the end he would even air some of her nude pictures. It was all very sad and pathetic.

Khan is following in those same simpin’ steps with precision.

Even if Joshua did knock his wife off, why is Amir Khan telling the world about it? Whatever his rationale is Khan is adamant about informing the public of the play-by-play. He has made numerous videos on the subject. Khan even made it a point to mention that his phone had not been hacked, everything was legit. In his mind the infidelity was real and Amir wanted the world to know in real-time.

All in all, this is a sad scenario. At the very least Amir Khan and his wife are dissolving their marriage in a very public and embarrassing way. At the very worst AJ did backdoor Amir’s wife and now Khan made it all front-page news. Again, I was not there, so I can’t say either way. Yet, no matter how you slice it, it’s an ugly scene. Let’s hope that cooler, and quieter, heads can prevail so that they can discontinue their union as discretely as possible.

But oh boy, this is messy!

Bakari Simpson INSTAGRAM: @s.larry_love FACEBOOK: Bakari Simpson

LISTEN: Shannon Briggs Comes Clean in Rita Cosby Interview

Claressa Shields DESTROYS Nikki Adler to win titles

Written By Bakari Simpson: Although she was the far more professionally experienced fighter, Nikki Adler was no match for Claressa Shields. The two women met for combat in the MGM Grand Detroit. After five rounds of pummeling and general abuse referee Michael Griffin waved off the massacre. When Shields was deemed the victor she claimed Adler’s WBC super-middleweight strap along with the vacant IBF strap.

In all actuality there was very little ‘fighting’ to report. Essentially Claressa bum-rushed Adler, punched her in the mouth and stole her fighting heart frightfully speed. Hell, Nikki officially landed ZERO punches in the first and fifth rounds. Much like her prior opponent, LeBlanc, Shield’s speed, power and aggression left Adler no other option but retreat. In front of her home audience, family and friends Claressa beat Adler from pillar to post.

In fact the most resistance that Shields received was from WBO and WBC middleweight champion Christina Hammer (21-0, 9 KO’s). Hammer was in the house and expressed her desire to step in the squared-circle with Claressa. Ideally the fight can be put together soon.

Claressa Shields blasts Nikki Adler on Showtime Boxing. PHOTO CREDIT: Trappfotos/Showtime

After the uncompetitive match was waved off Shields expressed how happy she was with her win. T-Rex even went to so far to say that this victory felt better than winning both of her Olympic gold medals.

“And just getting the TKO, it makes me really happy because I really don’t get ‘em in the pros. I just started and people was saying I’m gonna knock people out and stuff. And then I knock out the world champ, who’s 16-0, with nine knockouts…I could definitely say I’m more happier now. Maybe it’s because I’m on TV, I’m getting paid some money, all my family and my friends are here, and I’m in Detroit, 45 minutes from my hometown. It just feels good to win, also to win when you’re the underdog. So I’m overjoyed and I’m happy.” -Claressa Shields

At the moment Claressa Shields is on top of the world. By winning back to back gold she has achieved what no other American man or woman has. She was the first female to headline a major television fight card. Claressa is unofficially the face of women’s boxing and now she has two major belts. By virtually any marker of success T-Rex is doing exceptionally well.

Let’s sit back and watch what this determined young woman does next!

Bakari Simpson INSTAGRAM: @s.larry_love FACEBOOK: Bakari Simpson

LISTEN: Shannon Briggs Comes Clean in Rita Cosby Interview

Shannon Briggs ADMITS taking Performance Enhancing Drug

Written By Bakari Simpson:  When sitting in a comfortable theater seat with popcorn in hand, the movies make life delightfully simple. The entire cinematic universe of the silver screen is routinely reduced to good versus bad. The hero’s wear bright colors, save the day and get the girl. Villains wear black, obsessively plot world domination and are unreasonably horny & evil because they never get the girl. When the spectator alights from the theater, there is rarely any emotional confusion. The ‘just’ were validated and the ‘vile’ were punished. It is all very simple. Shannon Briggs nicknamed “The Cannon” is not a simple man.

In a recent radio interview, Briggs was very candid when discussing a number of sensitive subjects. The dialogue took place on The Rita Cosby Show. One of the premiere topics covered was that of Shannon’s recent suspension for PED’s. When confronted with a direct question Briggs owned up to consciously using a performance-enhancing drug.

“I will admit to that. Yes, I did. I take full responsibility for what I did and I’m looking forward to addressing it not only in this conversation, but anytime it’s asked. I did take a performance-enhancement thing.

“And again, I apologize for those who feel that I hurt them. And I do – I do feel it because a lot of my fans, my friends and followers were looking forward to me fighting and becoming heavyweight champion for the third time, the first champion to do it in three different decades. So again, I feel sorrow for that. And again, I’m trying to make it better by staying focused, coming back and letting people know that I was down, but I’m not out.” ~Shannon Briggs

On the one hand, the Brooklyn native maintained that the usage was directly linked to his asthma. The bulky boxer has been plague with the ailment since his youth. However, on the other hand, Briggs in no way shied away from the fact that he was wrong to do so.

There is a two-fold tragedy in Shannon’s botched test. Firstly, his age of 46 makes him a very unlikely candidate to claim a major heavyweight title. Well, his age was supposed to have prevented that awesome feat. Nevertheless, the unveiling of Briggs failed test came on the eve of a title fight with Fres Oquendo. The sullied results rendered Briggs ineligible to fight for the belt. The second rationale rests upon the social media movement that Briggs created.

At this late point in his professional career, Shannon had become something of an inspirational character.

The Cannon has had an up and down career, but has claimed the heavyweight title twice. Throughout it all Shannon remained a hard-hitting guy with an excess amount of character. During this last stint in the professional ranks, Briggs has begun the “Let’s Go Champ!” movement. In addition, it was through this vehicle that he obtains more traction for his career. Yet, more than a tool to garner him more attention the Lets Go Champ! movement is ultra-positive. Shannon was encouraging all sects of people to chase their dreams and not settle for less. Shannon Briggs himself came up with the slogan when he realized his depression was getting the best of him.

The Cannon rededicated himself to the sport, lost nearly 200 pounds and injected himself back into the heavyweight scene. The entire process was masterful, entertaining and definitely inspirational. This is why Briggs underhanded tactics, for so many, comes as such surprising and devastating news. Hopefully, Shannon can salvage something out of this situation and create a positive result.

Shannon Briggs
Shannon Briggs was set to face Fres Oquendo before failing a mandatory drug test.

It would not be the first time that the Brooklyn boxer was force to show and prove.

For those in the know, Briggs has had quite a remarkable existence. The hardships of this cold world aligned themselves with Shannon very early in life. While still in the days of his adolescence, Shannon found himself battered by grim street realities. His father exited from his life by way of the penal system; his mother was rendered null and void by a heroin addiction. Sheltered by no parents a homeless Briggs would fend for himself from the age of 13 to 19.

Thankfully, Shannon Briggs would discover boxing and this provided his chaotic emotions a healthy outlet.

Unfortunately, Shannon Briggs finds himself ensnared in another hectic situation, and once again he means to use boxing as an escape. In an effort to prove his sincerity Shannon conducted, the Rita Cosby interview and openly admitted to his drug use. Of course, there will be countless who scoff at the effort but not all. Actually, this writer can’t think of any other active fighter who openly and conclusively admitted to using PED’s. For whatever reason that was refreshing.

In the end, Shannon Briggs is a complicated case study. The old cheat is unlikely to become champion but remains undeniably charismatic and intriguing. Despite his foul play, it’s hard not to admit I am rooting for Briggs to end on the highest high possible. Unlike formulaic movie scripts Shannon is no easily classified construct. The Cannon has suffered, lost and rebounded from some tremendous tragedies making him admirable and relatable. The Cannon has also lied and tried cheat the system making him somewhat a villain in the sport. Yet, who amongst us can say we have not strayed from some sacred path?

If his apology and remorse are genuine it is difficult not to feel a soft post for Briggs.

Not quite a hero, nor full-fledged a villain, Shannon ‘The Cannon’ Briggs is just not a simple man.

Whatever tomorrow may hold let’s just wish him the best….

Lets Go Champ!

Bakari Simpson INSTAGRAM: @s.larry_love FACEBOOK: Bakari Simpson

LISTEN: Rita Cosby Interview


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