Little by little, combat sports are regaining their place in the sun, especially south of the border, where the UFC and Top Rank have started to present galas of mixed martial arts and boxing, without talk about WWE, which revived its activities a few weeks ago in its Florida studios.
The Canadian Press
What does this mean for Quebec boxers? Many will be in action this summer. Overview of what's to come for boxers from Eye of the Tiger Management and Groupe Yvon Michel.
Eleider Alvarez (25 – 1, 13 K.-O.) c. Joe Smith (25 – 3, 20 K.-O.), 16 July, MGM Grand, Las Vegas
Alvarez and Smith will face off in a playoff fight for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) light heavyweight title abandoned by Saul “Canelo” Alvarez a few weeks after he won it .
Respectively third and fourth contenders, Alvarez and Smith will try to secure a place in the final of this mini-tournament for four to obtain the title. The other semi-final will oppose the first and second contenders, Umar Salamov (25 – 1, 19 K.-O.) and Maksim Vlasov (45 -3, 26 K.-O.). The date of this confrontation remains to be determined.
Kim Clavel (11 – 0.2 K.-O.) c. TBD, July, Las Vegas
Obtaining the Pat-Tillman Prize at the last ESPY Awards Gala is a great calling card for the United States for Clavel, but as its promoter Yvon Michel said, it will only last until his next performance in the ring.
Clavel will get this chance on a map of the American group Top Rank in July, in Las Vegas. Michel could not reveal the name of his opponent on Monday, since the ESPN network, which will present two galas this week, Tuesday and Thursday, must take the opportunity to make this announcement.
We can bet, however, that his North American Boxing Federation (NABF) flyweight title will be at stake.
Marie-Ève Dicaire (17 -0) c. Claressa Shields (10 – 0.2 KO), August , Los Angeles
The unification fight between the champion of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and the American double champion of the World Boxing Council (WBC) and the WBO which was to take place in May in Michigan will finally takes place in August, in Los Angeles.
Dicaire and Shields will also fight for the title of super champion of the World Boxing Association, which decided to participate in the dance by adding this title.
The Quebecer could benefit from the move of this fight: the original site, the Dort Federal Credit Union Center in Flint, was literally in the backyard of Shields.
Artur Beterbiev (15 -0, 15 K.-O.) c. Fanlong Meng (16 – 0, 06 K.-O.), September, to be determined
This one is more difficult to define. We know that the WBC and IBF light heavyweight champion will be at stake in September. Initially, he had to face Meng, his mandatory contender, in March in Quebec. COVID – 19 of course thwarted these plans.
The fight would now take place in September, possibly in Los Angeles. But there it is: the WBC may well allow Beterbiev to make a mandatory defense if it turns out to be too difficult to fight Meng.
What's more, the fight could take place elsewhere.
“It will surely take place in the United States, but if I am asked to organize it in Quebec, I would be ready,” said Michel, who was to present the fight on his map of 28 March.
Jean Pascal (35 – 6-1, 20 K.-O.) c. Badou Jack (22 – 3-3, 13 K.-O.) or Marcus Browne (23 – 1, 16 K.-O.), fall, United States
Greg Leon, Pascal's agent, has assured that his client will fight next fall. Now, against whom? The question remains, but the WBA light heavyweight champion owes revenge as much to Jack as to Browne.
Which will have a chance first? Leon didn't want to get wet. But the fight will take place at “the fall back to school”.
Florida was to host this Pascal combat project, but with the recent increases in COVID cases – 19, Los Angeles or Las Vegas are preferred.
David Lemieux, Arslanbek Makhmudov, Mikaël Zewski, Steven Butler, Erik Bazinyan, Oscar Rivas?
What about these other big names in Quebec boxing? At the moment, they are on hold.
Lemieux recently promised an important announcement on social networks, but could not obtain more details in his case. Butler lost to Japan last December in world championship bouts and is expected to be part of a possible boxing revival in Quebec.
Zewski will fight in Las Vegas in August. Again, ESPN asked Michel not to disclose the name of his opponent. An announcement is expected to be made shortly.
Simon Kean, WBC International Silver heavyweight champion, is expected to return to the ring in September, at a gala presented in the United States. Camille Estephan was unable to announce the name of his opponent at the time of writing, but he says it is a fight that will advance the Trois-Rivières boxer.
As for Rivas, he underwent surgery on one eye in mid-March. He has resumed training and Michel has indicated that he will return to the ring in September.
On the side of Makhmudov and Bazinyan, Estephan had no announcement to make at the moment, but he is still working on a gala project in Quebec for the end of July.
“It would obviously be presented behind closed doors, but the plan that we submitted to the public health authorities was well received: they even congratulated us for our work,” said Estephan.
“We are waiting for the OK from the government, but we are confident, from the way the situation is developing, that a closed-door gala will be possible at the end of July. There would obviously be no world championship, but the support provided by our Punching Grace streaming network still allows us to provide grants that are interesting enough for two NABF championships to be presented there.
“The card is already prepared, but as it has been very difficult negotiations given the exceptional circumstances that we live, I prefer not to disclose anything now. “
On the GYM side, we are working on a gala in Quebec behind closed doors in September. Depending on the outcome of Eleider Alvarez’s fight, he could pay the price for the World Championship final.
“I watch with great interest what is happening elsewhere in the world,” said Michel. The Kronk Gym in Detroit will be hosting closed-door galas. It will be interesting to see what comes out of it.
“I'm also working on transcribing Top Rank events [sur les ondes de RDS] and that gives us a good idea of what events without spectators would look like here. We are working with the Régie [des alcools, des courses et des jeux] and the government to move this file forward. “