Podcast: Previewing Top Rank's 2023 kickoff, news of the week
Plus: Birthday tributes to legends George Foreman and Felix Trinidad
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Top Rank kicks off its 2023 ESPN schedule on Saturday night with a heavyweight doubleheader featuring a 50-50 fight between Efe Ajagba and Stephan Shaw and prospect Guido Vianello stepping up against Jonnie Rice. We previewed both fights and also discussed tons of news of the week, paid tribute to a pair of Hall of Famers during their birthday week and also looked back on a big-time unification fight 21 years ago this week. There are some great stories and one small Rafael meltdown. It’s a loaded episode.
Here is what’s on the show (in order):
The IBF rescinding its order that Oleksandr Usyk next make a mandatory defense against Filip Hrgovic because it is not actually up next in the rotation system for mandatories, which clears the path to the Tyson Fury-Usyk fight in the works to be for all four belts.
Matchroom Boxing’s announcement that Leigh Wood will defend the WBA featherweight title against Mauricio Lara and our thoughts on the bout.
The surprising news that Robert Diaz, the longtime Golden Boy Promotions vice president and matchmaker, left the company this week after not having his contract renewed.
Eddie Hearn’s comments that Anthony Joshua will train in the United States instead of England for his return targeted for April 1 and he’ll do so with a new trainer. Thoughts on AJ making another trainer change.
Announcement of the 2022 Boxing Writers Association of America awards and thoughts on the winners.
The disappointment that it appears as though Errol Spence-Keith Thurman will be at junior middleweight instead of Spence defending the unified welterweight title and my rant.
Full preview of the Top Rank card headlined by Ajagba-Shaw with Vianello-Rice as the co-feature. Thoughts on both fights and what they mean for the heavyweight division.
With George Foreman celebrating his 74th birthday this week, a tribute to the legendary former two-time heavyweight champion and his special place in boxing history.
If you have read or followed me you know that Acelino “Popo” Freitas is my all-time favorite fighter not named Arturo Gatti, so I couldn’t let this week’s 21st anniversary of his biggest win against Joel Casamayor to unify junior lightweight titles pass without some memories of the fight and that great era of 130-pounders.
With the great three-division champion Felix Trinidad turning 50 this week, my memories of his career and the joy of covering it.
Listen, rate, subscribe and enjoy!
Ajagba-Shaw photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
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