Let’s face it, there’s f-all going on at the moment. There are no UK shows taking place until the 16th and boxing news is thin on the ground, but although pickings may be slim for fight fans, Schadenfreude fans can still enjoy this time of year. They can scroll through social media pages, imbibe all the misguided, probably drunken posts about 2016 being ‘my year’ while acknowledging that for pretty much everyone typing those words through a haze of seasonal euphoria, it won’t be.
While we wait for something, anything, to really happen following the Christmas break, we can use the breathing space to briefly look at what the future will bring for some of Britain’s current crop of leading fighters. Can we pierce the bullshit and hype? Can we peer into the mists of time? Turley on Tuesday has analysed every possible variable, spending several days burning incense and using hallucinogenic moss to convene with the ghosts of the future. Here is your definitive guide…
First up, Tyson Fury, who else? The gypsy colossus reached a pinnacle of sporting accomplishment last year, yet was still called a ‘dickhead’ by Clive Myrie of the BBC live on air and roundly lambasted across the public sphere. I can now reveal that his close-knit team plan to launch an ingenious charm offensive which will see young Tyson take elocution and comportment lessons before making a series of carefully scripted TV appearances. Expect him to show up on Celebrity Masterchef in April, wearing a floral apron and preparing elaborate Tofu dishes while humming baroque chamber music. After rendering a delicately balanced crème broulee for dessert and sensing his moment of vindication he will pre-empt the judges, kiss Lloyd Grossman full on the lips and skip from the studio, heading straight into training camp for the Klitschko rematch. Upon emerging victorious by thunderous knockout he will be stripped of his remaining titles for minor rule infringements before being whipped naked through the streets of Aylesbury by a hate-filled, self-righteous mob of lesbians deeply offended by the cut of his trousers.
David Haye, he of the increasingly stone-age hairstyle and apparent total disregard for public opinion, claims to want nothing more than a fight with Fury, despite failing to show up for exactly such a thing twice before. Undeniably the world’s best cruiserweight a few years ago, he makes his barely anticipated heavyweight comeback on a show with high end ticket prices and no TV coverage (as yet). How has the 3 year hiatus affected his elite level credentials? The one guarantee is that his contest with Aussie beefcake, Mark De Mori on January 16th won’t tell us that. Nietzsche once wrote that a man of character will have the same experiences over and over and so, of course, it is written in fate that Haye will spark out De Mori, talk himself into a bout with one of the big boys, make a pigs ear of it, earn shedloads of cash and piss everybody off. Again.
Amir Khan or Amir Khan’t, who the hell knows? The chinny whirlwind from Bolton has spent the best part of the last three years doing very little. He wasted a great deal of time talking up a fight with Floyd Mayweather, which didn’t happen and has now spent slightly less time talking up a fight with Manny Pacquiao, which didn’t happen. Cocooned in celebrity and sliding even further into self-delusion Amir will weigh up his options then spend 2016 chasing a proper career-definer with Wolverine, from X-Men. “We’ve spoken to Mr Xavier at the X-Men institute and Wolverine has stated we’re definitely in his plans.” Virgil Hunter will confirm in his laconic drawl. “It’s either us or another movie showdown with Sabretooth. We know what the public want to see. The metal-claws-coming-out-of-his-fingers thing has worked for him for a long time and we respect that, but everyone knows how quick Amir’s hands are. We’re just waiting on the contracts.”
Meanwhile the upward trajectory of corporate juggernaut Anthony Joshua will be temporarily slowed when his expected pay-per-view bonanza with Dereck Chisora is cancelled. Chisora will pull out a week before with a wrist injury, but fans desperate to throw £16.99 at the exciting TV people who tell them to will be mollified by the velvety response of smooth-Essex-demigod, Eddie Hearn. Hearn will descend a golden ladder surrounded by virgins playing harps to give an interview to IFL TV. “Yes Anthony’s original opponent has withdrawn but all my PPVs provide value for money. Of course the show will remain on Sky Box Office. It’s the only way to put a night like this together. It’s gonna be great for the fans and great for British boxing. Now look into my eyes. Are you feeling it? We are excited to announce that Anthony will now be facing a side of lamb.” As Eddie smoulders, like a brylcreemed otter, a multitude of credit cards are instinctively removed from wallets. “The half-sheep carcass is unbeaten and very tough” he will continue “and will be well propped-up in the corner. And if that’s not enough bang for your buck, on a packed undercard we’ve got Kevin Mitchell fighting his demons and some of the Smith brothers in speedos doing the Charleston.”
The announcement will be retweeted 83 million times by fans sending naked pictures of themselves to Eddie in the mail. One man in Glasgow who dares to publicly question the situation will mysteriously wash up dead on the banks of the Clyde. Predictably the show will achieve record buys.
And finally by July, I can tell you that everyone’s favourite governing body the WBA, will decide that ‘Super’ champion is not enough of an accolade and will introduce a new strand, the ‘Ultra-Mega-Disco’ champion to stand alongside the three other world titles it already sanctions at each weight. “We’ve got bored of inventing excuses for this” a Hispanic spokesman will say, with unexpected candour, “we just get a kick out of making money by fucking with everyone’s heads.” Despite that, the rush to become the first ultra-mega-disco champion will be frantic after tasteful promo pictures are released showing the cubic-zirconium studded, pink and turquoise leatherette belt being modelled by a shirtless Vladimir Putin riding a bear. All the colours and bare flesh and shiny things drive the online community berserk. ‘Dat shit is sikkkk’ Twitter users write, in chorus. The pic goes viral.
My last book ‘Journeymen, the other side of the boxing business’ has been longlisted for the William Hill Sports book of the year award and named one of the sports books of the year by The Guardian. It is still available from all usual outlets.