Bob Arum says a deal for a blockbuster world heavyweight unification fight between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua has finally been agreed.

WBC champion Fury last month stated that he had grown tired of waiting for his next bout amid talks with Joshua's camp.

Joshua told Fury he was ready to fight him "in my back garden [or] your back garden".

A roadmap has been set up by coronavirus restrictions to be eased over the coming months in the United Kingdom, with social distancing rules potentially being lifted on June 21.

That could make an all-British battle a possibility on home soil in June and although Arum could not provide details, Fury's promoter believes an agreement has been reached.

"As far as I'm concerned, all the points have been agreed to," the American told IFL TV. 

"That's what each side has said. Now, we're just scrambling around to get things signed.

"I can say clearly, based on my view of everything, there are no more issues."

Undefeated world champions Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez will meet to decide the undisputed light-welterweight king in Las Vegas on May 22.

Taylor (17-0, 13 KOs) added the WBA belt to his IBF crown when he beat Regis Prograis via majority decision in the thrilling October 2019 World Boxing Super Series final.

The Scottish southpaw made short work of Apinun Khongsong in his first defence, stopping the challenger with a brutal first-round body shot.

American Ramirez (26-0 17 KOs) was, like Taylor, a 2012 Olympian but boasts more experience in the professional ranks.

He consolidated the WBC title by stopping then-WBO ruler Maurice Hooker inside six rounds in July 2019.

A points win over one-time Taylor victim Viktor Postol last August kept those belts in Ramirez's possession and it means all four of the major titles in the division will be on the line when the fighters meet in under three months' time.

"I'm excited it's finalised and over the line," Taylor said. "I can't wait to get in there for the biggest fight of my career.

"Fighting for the undisputed title is something all boxers dream about."

Ramirez added he is confident he can make history for a boxer of Mexican lineage, with undisputed status similarly a target for Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez at super-middleweight this year.

"I look forward to making history by becoming the first boxer of Mexican descent to hold all four major world title belts," he said.

Promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank hailed "a true 50-50 fight" that "the fans and both fighters demanded".

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez will start May's super-middleweight unification showdown "three rounds" to the good, according to WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders.

Canelo will put his WBA and WBC belts on the line against the undefeated Saunders on May 8 after clinically dispatching an over-matched Anvi Yildirim in three rounds in Miami on Saturday.

Saunders was set to face Canelo last May before the coronavirus shutdown intervened and British fighter has already moved to start the pre-fight mind games by suggesting the pound-for-pound Mexican superstar has benefitted from favourable scorecards in the past.

Canelo boxed to a draw and a majority decision win over the course of two thrilling and close bouts with Gennadiy Golovkin.

Back in 2013, when the four-weight champion suffered his only career loss to the great Floyd Mayweather Jr, one judge remarkably scored the fight a draw.

Such instances appear to be at the forefront of Saunders' mind – with good reason given only 14 of his 30 career wins have come by stoppage.

"So long as I make sure everything's on a fair playing field," he told iFL TV.

"To me, money doesn't really matter. Victory matters.

"When someone works all their life to get to where they need to get in life, it's very important that people be fair.

"If I win, give me the decision. If I don't win, I don't win. But as long as it's fair.

"I already know when I go there I'm three rounds down. So I need to make sure everyone's on a fair, even playing field."

Caleb Plant's IBF strap will be the only major prize at 168lbs residing outside of a blockbuster contest.

However, to Saunders, the prospect of defeating a fighter widely recognised as the finest in the sport appeals far more than whatever baubles that might bring.

"This ain't really about nothing but me versus him. Winner v winner, that's what it is," he said.

"We know nobody is unbeatable. Nobody. That's for sure.

"It's going to be a very tough fight and a very hard one. But I wouldn't just be getting in this ring for money or for a chance just to be seen.

"I'm going in there for one reason and one reason only. May 8 can't come quick enough."

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders will clash in a mouth-watering unification bout on May 8, promoter Eddie Hearn announced.

Canelo defended his WBC and WBA middleweight titles via a brutal TKO after just three rounds against Avni Yildirim in Miami on Saturday.

After being floored in the third round, Turkish challenger Yildirim managed to make it to the bell but his corner through in the towel before the start of the fourth at Hard Rock Stadium, where the gulf in class was evident from the outset.

Following the mismatch, a blockbuster showdown against unbeaten WBO holder and Englishman Saunders (30-0) was confirmed.

"It's Canelo against Saunders — May the 8th — venue announced shortly as he continues to move toward the undisputed championship at 168," Hearn said post-fight on DAZN.

Canelo said: "He's a very difficult fighter. He wants to unify. We want to go for it. We need to go for it.

"People talk whatever, but I'm a very mature fighter. I know how to control myself."

The 30-year-old Canelo is looking to become the first undisputed champion at super-middleweight, with IBF holder Caleb Plant next on the list if he gets past Saunders.

"It hasn't been done," Canelo said of being crowned undisputed champion "I want to make history.

"At 168, no one has done it in the world. I want to make my own history."

There was an electric crowd in attendance for the Canelo-Yildirim contest, with fan capacity capped at 15,000 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Canelo dominated and made his move in the third round – a combination of jabs sending Yildirim to the canvas, and while the latter survived the round, he did not emerge from his corner for the fourth.

"I wanted to have a great fight here," Canelo added. "I needed to knock [him] out, and that's what I did. That's what I had to do."

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez dominated Avni Yildirim, successfully defending his super-middleweight titles via a brutal TKO after just three rounds.

Canelo put his WBC and WBA belts on the line in Miami, where the Mexican star was fighting for just the second time since November 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 30-year-old barely raised a sweat on Saturday – Yildirim's corner waving off the fight before the start of the fourth round after a combination of jabs floored the Turkish challenger in the third.

Canelo improved to 55-1-2 as he looks ahead to a unification bout against WBO holder Billy Joe Saunders on May 8.

Eyebrows were raised when Canelo opted to fight Yildirim (21-3), who last fought in February 2019, and the gulf in class was evident from the outset.

There were a couple of warning shots from Canelo in the opening round as he worked Yildirim's body in front of an electric crowd at Hard Rock Stadium.

Canelo, who stopped Callum Smith in December last year, continued to move well in the second round – light on his feet with a number of quick uppercuts setting the tone.

Yildirim was on the backfoot early in the third, sent to the canvas following a devastating one-two combo from Canelo.

Smelling blood, Canelo went in for the attack as he forced Yildirim against the ropes, but the latter managed to weather the storm as he survived the round.

But after his trainer was heard saying "I'll give you one more round or I'll stop you", Yildirim's fight came to an end before the bell could sound for the start of the fourth.

If Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez fails to defend his WBA and WBC super-middleweight titles against Avni Yildirim, it would amount to an upset of Tyson-Douglas proportions and probably beyond. 

The unheralded Yildirim is the WBC's mandatory challenger despite dropping a technical decision to Anthony Dirrell in his last bout two years ago. 

On his previous venture up to world level in 2017, the 29-year-old was demolished inside three rounds by Chris Eubank Jr. 

Nevertheless, becoming the undisputed champion at 168lbs is the dream for Canelo and, if WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders and IBF ruler Caleb Plant are to be brought to heel by the end of 2021, Yildirim must first be dispatched. 

Remarkably, Canelo would be the first fighter from Mexico to hold all four major belts in a division and this quest for legacy is one he shares with Eddy Reynoso, the trainer who has been by his side throughout a sparkling career. 

The relative lack of jeopardy in the fight means this week in Miami has served as something of a victory lap for Reynoso, the quiet sideman who might already have settled the argument for trainer of the year at this early stage. 

Reynoso, 44, has built a stable that is the envy of many in the sport – a story that can be traced back to the moment a youngster walked into his gym in Guadalajara and changed both their lives.

Fighting families ruling the world

Reynoso enjoyed a brief amateur career but decided against mixing it in the pros, having already been bitten by the training bug. 

He began working alongside his father Chepo when an alliance with another fighting family would prove life-changing. 

A young Canelo came down to the gym with one of his boxing brothers, Rigoberto. He and Reynoso instantly hit it off. 

"We are like family. Working with Eddy and Chepo has been a great experience," the boxer told Ring Magazine in 2016. "They've taught me discipline, hard work, respect and loyalty." 

That loyalty came through its defining test in the aftermath of Canelo finding himself on the receiving end of a Floyd Mayweather masterclass in 2013. 

The temptation might have been to ditch his little-known cornerman after being outclassed by Mayweather and seek out one of the sport's bigger names. For Canelo it was not even a consideration. 

In 13 fights since that sole career defeat, the 30-year-old has won titles at light-middleweight, middleweight, super-middleweight and light-heavyweight, counting Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, Daniel Jacobs and Callum Smith among his victims. 

There was also the small matter of a pair of blockbusters against middleweight king Gennadiy Golovkin. The first of two instant classics was called a draw, with Canelo edging the second on the scorecards. 

A formidable blend of blistering body shots, slick combinations, miserly defence and impeccable head movement and counter-punching placed Canelo at the top of the boxing world, also making Reynoso a man in demand. 

Grooming Garcia for greatness

Despite racing to a record of 16-0 at only 20 years of age, Ryan Garcia decided he needed a change after an unconvincing win over Carlos Morales. 

Already identified as a future star of the sport by promoter Oscar de la Hoya and a huge hit with the Instagram crowd, Garcia needed a little substance to go with the obvious style. 

"I've had a few meetings with Ryan, and he comes off as very disciplined, very happy and dedicated," said Reynoso after his appointment to head up Team Garcia. 

"But he's a fighter who needs to work on how to go forward, how to go backward, his defence and counterpunching. He has some boxing bad habits we need to take away." 

Not much to go at then? 

Four victories followed in quick time, with Garcia's dynamite left hook – already something of a Reynoso stable trademark – flattening each of Romero Duno and Francisco Fonseca within a round. 

That set up an intriguing crossroads showdown with London 2012 gold medal winner and two-time world title challenger Luke Campbell on January 2. 

When the Briton caught Garcia flush on the jaw and decked him in round two, sceptics were ready to unload on a hype job and an Instagram fighter. 

Such verdicts had to be torn up, however, as the youngster raged against adversity to stop Campbell with a brutal body shot in the seventh.

It was a highlight reel knockout of technical precision as Garcia feinted his favourite shot upstairs before turning the left hook into Campbell's ribs. It was a stoppage that an elated Canelo was seen mimicking during dressing room celebrations afterwards. 

Operating in the white-hot lightweight division, 'King Ry' is riding the crest of a wave, with Gervonta Davis, Devin Haney and maybe even Teofimo Lopez in his sights.

Adding value to Valdez

Six months prior to Garcia's move, undefeated featherweight champion Oscar Valdez claimed a March 2018 victory that was also not altogether satisfactory, although in far more painful circumstances. 

A brutal battle with Scott Quigg, who failed to make weight, saw Valdez keep his WBO belt at the cost of a badly broken jaw. For his trouble, former super-bantamweight champ Quigg was bloodied by eye damage and a broken nose. 

There are only so many wars a fighter can realistically subject themselves to over the course of a career and, once on the mend, Valdez also decided to turn to Reynoso. 

A couple of low-key defences followed before he vacated the WBO belt and faced up to claims he was ducking rising star Shakur Stevenson. 

Valdez, 30, had seen his star dwindle to such an extent that he was an almost a 4-1 betting underdog last weekend when he faced WBC champion and compatriot Miguel Berchelt in Las Vegas. 

Oscar had a different screenplay in mind as he dropped Berchelt in both the fourth and ninth rounds, eventually closing the show with an explosive KO in the 10th. Of course, it was the left hook. 

"There's nothing better in life than proving people wrong," Valdez said. "I have a list of people who doubted me. My idols doubted me. Boxing analysts doubted me. 

"They said Berchelt was going to knock me out. I have a message to everybody: Don't let anyone tell you what you can and can't do." 

Heavyweights on notice

Another man seeking to prove the doubters wrong with Reynoso's esteemed help is former unified heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. 

Ruiz has not fought since arriving in Saudi Arabia rotund and rudderless for his rematch against Anthony Joshua, who racked up a landslide December 2019 points win over the man who had left him dazed and confused in New York six months earlier. 

The eyes of the boxing world are on whether Joshua and Tyson Fury will meet in their anticipated undisputed clash this year, leaving Ruiz to plot a path back to the top away from the limelight. 

"He's lost about 20 pounds and he also has more muscle," Reynoso told Behind the Gloves this week. "He's not as fat as he was before. He can move his hips a lot better and that helps him move around in the ring. 

"I'd love to see him fight Joshua again. With good training I think he could beat him. He's already beaten him. It just takes a little bit of discipline and a good training camp." 

Proving the doubters wrong using the guidance of one of the sharpest minds in the sport today? Canelo, Garcia and Valdez can tell Ruiz plenty about that in the gym, all while under the watchful eye of Reynoso. 

Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez makes the first appearance in what is hoped will be a far busier year on Saturday, defending his super-middleweight titles against Avni Yildirim in Miami. 

The coronavirus pandemic put paid to many best-laid plans for 2020, though Canelo was still able to squeeze in one outing before the end, putting on another emphatic demonstration of his skills against Callum Smith last December. 

Smith was deemed the best around at the 168-pound limit. He had won the World Boxing Super Series - his coronation coming after a stoppage triumph over George Groves - and was 27-0, while had a considerable height and reach advantage over the Mexican for their in-ring meeting at the Alamodome in San Antonio. 

However, the British boxer simply became the latest opponent to find out just how good Alvarez truly is. A lopsided triumph on the scorecards secured the WBA and WBC belts, as well as enhancing an already impressive CV. 

He is far from done just yet, either. A unification clash with WBO holder Billy Joe Saunders is seemingly lined up for May, while a third episode in the long-running saga with Gennadiy Golovkin could yet happen before the end of 2021 - though don't hold your breath on that one. 

First, though, he must make sure he deals with Yildirim. The Turkish fighter is the mandatory challenger with the WBC and is a hurdle that should not be overlooked, even if the two defeats in his career raise questions over whether he may be out of his depth at the home of the Miami Dolphins. 

To Canelo's credit, he has never been a fighter to look too far beyond the next man put in front of him. The target is clear: clean up in the division and become the undisputed champion. 

"It's important for me and Eddy [Reynoso, his trainer] because very few people have achieved becoming undisputed champions," he said in the build-up. "That's a short-term goal for us. To win all the titles at 168 pounds. 

"Obviously, no Mexican has ever done it. So that's our short-term goal, to keep making history. And that's what we want. Eddy and I have always wanted the best. And we want to keep making history." 


RECENT HISTORY 

Canelo dispelled any potential concerns against his decision to face a bigger man in Smith at the super-middleweight limit, though the latter was hampered in their bout by an arm injury.

Still, Smith was suitably impressed by what he faced that night, telling Sky Sports a month after his first loss: "I don't think anyone beats him. He may only lose if he keeps going up in weight but he's put a stop to that. His defence is just too good."

Yildirim was actually beaten last time out, his attempt to win the vacant WBC belt cut short in February 2019 following a clash of heads in the seventh round that left Anthony Dirrell with a nasty cut. The action was eventually stopped in the 10th, Dirrell named the winner via split decision. 

His other loss came in October 2017, when he was stopped inside three rounds by Chris Eubank Jr in Stuttgart.


TALE OF THE TAPE 

SAUL ALVAREZ
Age: 30
Height: 5ft 8ins (173cm) 
Weight: 167.6 lbs
Reach: 70.5ins  
Professional record: 54-1-2 (36 KOs) 

AVNI YILDIRIM
Age: 29
Height: 5ft 11.5ins (182cm) 
Weight: 167.6 lbs
Reach: 70ins  
Professional record: 21-2 (12 KOs) 

Saul '@Canelo' Alvarez is in elite Mexican company  pic.twitter.com/t6mgshtBsg

— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) February 26, 2021 THE UNDERCARD 

Matchroom's Miami offering includes a further glimpse at Zhang Zhilei, the unbeaten heavyweight prospect last seen knocking out Devin Vargas. Jerry Forrest is his opponent this time - the American southpaw has suffered four defeats, though went the distance last time out before losing on points to world-title challenger Carlos Takam.

There are two undefeated super-middleweights on duty before the main event, Diego Pacheco and Alexis Espino taking on Rodolfo Gomez Jr and Ashton Sykes respectively. 

Look out for Keyshawn Davis too, as he prepares to make his professional debut. After the COVID-19 crisis forced a delay to Tokyo 2020, he opted not to wait for a chance at Olympic gold in Japan this year and instead is stepping into the paid ranks.


WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY... 

Canelo expects a typically aggressive approach from his opponent: "I always want to be perfect, I always want to do things right inside the ring and this isn't any exception. I always try to be patient, but it depends on what Yildirim tries to do – he's going to try and rip my head off. So it's going to depends on what's going to do."

The subject of fervent support in his homeland, Yildirim said he was ready for the toughest assignment in boxing: "I'm feeling good, I'm ready for tomorrow. It's showtime, baby. I've waited a long time for the first, it's my time."

Promoter Eddie Hearn on the headline act: "I've been around the sport for 34 years and I do feel like a fan boy around Canelo Alvarez because he's the best fighter I've ever seen up close."

Jamel Herring will defend his WBO super-featherweight world title against Carl Frampton on April 3 after their long-delayed bout found a new home in Dubai.

Northern Ireland's Frampton (28 wins, two defeats) has previously won world honours at super-bantamweight and featherweight and is aiming to become only the fourth fighter in history from the UK to reign across three weight classes.

He would also be the first three-division world champion from the island of Ireland, although the 34-year-old's shot at history has been delayed several times.

Herring (22-2) and Frampton were set to face off in London this Saturday but the challenger requested a delay after the recurrence of hand problems.

A change of date means a new location in The Rotunda at Caesars Palace Bluewaters, with promoter Bob Arum telling The Athletic last week that he expected fans to be allowed in attendance. The bout would have taken place behind closed doors in the UK due to coronavirus restrictions.

Herring v Frampton was first mooted in late 2019, with the global pandemic initially halting plans before Herring suffered a scratched cornea during a disqualification victory over Jonathan Oquendo last September.

Tyson Fury intends to fight twice in 2021 having grown tired of waiting for his next bout amid talks with Anthony Joshua.

WBC heavyweight champion Fury was last in action in February 2020 when he beat Deontay Wilder in a rematch after the 2018 draw between the pair.

A trilogy fight against Wilder was due to follow, but the coronavirus pandemic delayed plans and the clash fell through when no date was agreed for last year.

Fury has since been consumed with discussion of a long-awaited unification bout against Joshua.

The 32-year-old remains concerned by the lack of progress in negotiations and is determined simply to get back in the ring, regardless of the opponent.

"It was just a big mess-up," Fury told ESPN of the Wilder trilogy. "I should have boxed, because I've been so inactive. I've been out for over a year.

"By the time I fight again, looking at maybe June if this Joshua fight happens, that will be a year and six months out of the ring, which is not ideal preparation for any super-fight.

"If that fight doesn't happen this summer, it's got to happen sooner or later.

"But Top Rank has to give me two fights this year. I will fight two times on ESPN. I don't care who it is.

"If it's not Joshua, we're looking to fight in April or early May and the end of the year. If it is Joshua, then June and the end of the year. Bang, bang. So, 2021 is looking bright."

On facing Joshua, he added: "They've had a full year to try and make this fight happen.

"Since the last Wilder fight, even before the Wilder fight, they were talking about a fight potentially between me and Joshua.

"They've had a full year to make something happen, and it hasn't happened as of yet. It is what it is. We're no further forward today than we were a year ago.

"The way [the pandemic] is at the moment, I don't think [negotiations have] got much to do with the fighters.

"It's to do with the venue, date, place, site fees. It's to do with everything but the fight itself."

Anthony Joshua has no concerns over where his undisputed heavyweight showdown against Tyson Fury might be staged – boasting he is ready to fight "in my back garden [or] your back garden".

Talks between the camps of WBC heavyweight champion Fury and Joshua, who holds the WBA, WBO and IBF versions, are progressing with a view to sealing potentially the richest bout in boxing history.

Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn told Sky Sports earlier this month that only "minor details" needed to be ironed out after both camps had swapped draft contracts.

The developing COVID-19 situation means a variety of locations are being considered as hosts, with a fight in the UK in the middle of this year appearing a long-shot.

Hearn has listed Saudi Arabia, the United States, Qatar, Dubai, Singapore and China as possible destinations, but Joshua told Sky News he has no preference.

"Any option. Home turf, Middle East, my back garden, your back garden. I don't mind where it is," he said.

"I'm just ready to fight. I want that belt. I want to compete with Fury so all options are open to me.

"[The pandemic] is getting close to things being normal. We're working on a date for around June.

"So if Tyson is serious, which I think he is, he'll know where to come and find the boss.

"I'm ready. I'm really looking forward to competition - all I want to do is fight, fight, fight."

Joshua, who secured a dominant ninth-round triumph over Kubrat Pulev in December, and his manager Freddie Cunningham have both claimed positive developments in the talks with Fury's team this week.

"I try not to do too much teasing. I had a catch-up with 258 Management, the great team I've been working with since I turned professional," the 31-year-old added.

"They have been working in negotiations. They updated my promotional team, they updated me."

Fury became a two-time heavyweight champion when he demolished Deontay Wilder to claim the WBC crown 12 months ago.

Wilder's apparent desire to activate a rematch clause could yet scupper Joshua v Fury, although the American has behaved erratically since his first career loss and Hearn has been told by Fury's representatives that his option "isn't going to be an issue".

Joshua's mandatory for the WBO title is due, although the sanctioning body have ruled fellow Briton Joe Joyce will fight former unified cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk in an interim bout, with the winner to face whoever prevails between Joshua and Fury.

Mexican super-featherweight boxer Miguel Berchelt has been released from hospital following his vicious knockout at the hands of Oscar Valdez.

Promoters Top Rank confirmed the 29-year-old's CT scan had come back clear, allaying fears after Berchelt lost his WBC belt in brutal fashion.

Valdez dethroned his compatriot at the MGM Grand on Saturday, flooring Berchelt with devastating left hook in the final second of the 10th round.

Having knocked down Berchelt twice earlier in the fight, Valdez finally landed the decisive blow to leave his opponent lying unconscious on the canvas for a few tense moments in Las Vegas.

Top Rank posted a picture of the pair in the ring after the fight showing a groggy Berchelt sat on a stool with Valdez kneeling in front of him, the two touching gloves.

The caption read: "In the end, the respect between these two was at the core of what made this fight so special."

It added: "Per reports from the hospital, Miguel Berchelt's CT scan was clear, and he has been released."

Oscar Valdez upset Miguel Berchelt with a brutal knockout to become the WBC super featherweight champion.

Valdez (29-0) dethroned Berchelt at MGM Grand, where he floored his fellow Mexican with a devastating left hook in the final second of the 10th round on Saturday.

Having knocked down Berchelt (38-2) twice earlier in the fight, Valdez landed the vicious blow in the 10th as his opponent laid unconscious on the canvas for a few tense moments in Las Vegas.

"There's nothing better in life than proving people wrong. I had a list of people who doubted me. My idols doubted me. Boxing analysts doubted me," Valdez said.

"They said Miguel Berchelt was gonna knock me out. But I got a message to tell everybody: Don't let nobody tell you what you can can and can't do.

"Always work hard and be disciplined in life. Try to do your best, stay disciplined, and never let anyone tell you you can't do something. Prove them wrong."

Valdez – now a two-time world champion having previously enjoyed a reign as WBO featherweight champion for nearly three years – added: "It wasn't easy training in a pandemic, but try to go for your dreams.

"Always train hard, do your best, try to always be number one. Nothing's impossible. My team was a big part of this."

Carl Frampton's bid to become a three-weight world champion against Jamel Herring has been postponed after the Northern Ireland boxer suffered a hand injury.

Frampton (28 wins, two defeats) was set to challenge Herring (22-2) on February 27 in London, in an attempt to add the American's WBO super-featherweight title to the previous successes at super-bantamweight and featherweight.

The bout is now expected to take place in late March, with a date and venue set to be confirmed in due course.

"I've got a bit of a twinge to my hand. Nothing serious, thankfully," Frampton said on his Inside Fighting YouTube channel, before confirming the problem was ligament damage but not a fracture to the right hand he broke during his November 2019 victory over Tyler McCreary.

"I've had to stop sparring but I will resume sparring again next week."

If he manages to overcome Herring, Frampton would become only the fourth UK fighter to reign across three weight classes and the first from the island of Ireland.

"I would have gone into this fight with my hand the way it is, but I would have had less of a chance of winning," the 33-year-old explained.

"If I rest and do what the specialist has told me I will be 100 per cent ready and prepared to win this fight.

"I can't afford to go into this fight half fit. I need to be at my very best. I'm glad that this has been pushed back a little bit."

Frampton has been beset by hand problems over recent years.

He went into the McCreary bout with a broken left hand, having been forced to pull out of a scheduled showdown with Emmanuel Dominguez three months earlier when a seven-foot ornamental pillar fell on him in a Philadelphia hotel lobby and fractured his fifth metacarpal.

"I've had hand problems for as long as I can remember, nothing really major but over the past six years there's always a little niggle," Frampton told Stats Perform News in an interview to preview the Herring bout last week.

"There's a plate and seven screws in my left hand and there's just one screw – the surgeon described it as like a corkscrew – in my right hand."

Herring and Frampton's clash had already been delayed twice, initially by the coronavirus pandemic and then when the 35-year-old champion suffered a scratched cornea during a disqualification victory over Jonathan Oquendo last September.

Eddie Hearn hopes to finalise details for the "biggest fight in boxing" between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury in a fortnight.

WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion Joshua and WBC champion Fury are due to do battle in a blockbuster bout this year.

A date and venue have not been disclosed for the all-British showdown, but Joshua visited his promoter Hearn on Wednesday to discuss terms.

The United States, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are among the countries where the first of two fights between the English duo could be staged.

Hearn is optimistic that all will be revealed in the near future.

The Matchroom Boxing boss told Sky Sports: "I hate saying two weeks, but two weeks [for the details to be confirmed]. 

"We're on the verge now of getting this fight done. We want to make sure the ink is dry, and then we'll go out and finalise the site details.

"I'm going to keep quiet for now, which probably won't last for too long, but in the meantime [I'm] working hard to finalise what is the absolute biggest fight in boxing."

He added: "Contracts have been backwards and forwards. Only minor details to be resolved on both ends. We're in a good place.

"AJ was in the office yesterday with us. We had a good meeting to finalise our side of stuff."

Former world heavyweight champion and Olympic Games gold medallist Leon Spinks died at the age of 67, according to a statement from his management.

Spinks – who conquered legendary boxer Muhammad Ali in 1978 to claim the WBC and WBC titles before losing a rematch later that year – died following a battle with cancer on Friday.

The American, a gold medal winner at the 1976 Montreal Games, finished his professional boxing career with a 26-17 record – including three draws and 14 knockouts.

"At the time of his passing his wife Brenda Glur Spinks was by his side. Due to COVID restrictions, only a few close friends and other family were present," The Firm PR said in a widely-circulated statement on Saturday.

"His final fight was fought with the same skill, grace and grit that had carried him through so many lifetime challenges.

"Leon fought his battle with numerous illnesses resiliently, never losing his trademark smile. Showing true Spinks determination, he never threw in the towel."

Spinks, who made his professional debut in 1977, created history when he upstaged Ali by split decision in Las Vegas in 1978.

He won the world heavyweight belt in just his eighth professional fight – the shortest time in history – after outboxing the ageing Ali.

Spinks was the only man to take a title from Ali, though he was stripped of the belt by the WBC for refusing to defend it against Ken Norton, having instead agreed to a rematch with his legendary countryman.

Ali won the second fight via unanimous decision.

Spinks had title bouts against Larry Holmes (1981) and Dwight Muhammad Qawi (1986 at cruiserweight) but lost both before retiring in 1995.

 

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