By Scott Gilfoid: Well, heavyweights Anthony Joshua (14-0, 14 KOs) and Dillian Whyte (16-0, 13 KOs) weighed in today for their contest this Saturday night at the O2 Arena in London, UK. I must say I think Whyte was the bigger guy in terms of mass than the taller 6’6” Joshua. Whyte weighed in at a solid 247lbs and looked in great shape at 6’3”. For his part, Joshua came in a little leaner than he had in past fights in weighing in at 245lbs, which 5 pounds lighter than his last fight in September against Gary Cornish.
It doesn’t matter though. Joshua still looked too muscular. He doesn’t appear to have the normal boxer body that you see on fighters. Joshua’s body looks more like a bodybuilder’s type of body, and I believe that’s going to hurt him on Saturday night when/if Whyte takes Joshua past the 3rd round. Joshua has only fought 3 rounds or less as a pro his entire 2-year pro career. As an amateur, Joshua has obviously fought 3 to 4 rounds.
During the today’s face-off between Whyte and Joshua, Whyte turned with his back to Joshua instead of turning to face him. Joshua then ran around Whyte in order to do the face-off. The two fighters stood real close together and you could see that the size difference really wasn’t that much. Whyte clearly is the bigger guy in terms of mass. Joshua is just taller with a lot more useless muscle.
What was interesting was how Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn stood real close behind them, as if he was the one looking to get the attention. At one point, Whyte turned around and shot Hearn a dirty look. It’s hard to know what Whyte was thinking when he looked at Hearn, but my guess is he didn’t like Hearn putting his face right up there near him and he wanted him to back off so that he could breathe freely.
In other weights on the card, #10 WBA Kevin Mitchell (39-3, 18 KOs) weighed in at 134.5lbs for his fight against #2 WBA unbeaten knockout artist Ismael Barroso (18-0, 17 KOs). For his part, the 32-year-old Barroso weighed in at 134.5lbs as well. Mitchell and Barroso will be fighting for the interim lightweight title. You can make a strong argument that Mitchell is the last one who deserves to be fighting for the WBA interim 135lb strap, given that he was knocked out by WBC lightweight champion Jorge Linares in the 10th round in his last fight in May.
Getting knocked out in his last fight should have kept Mitchell from fighting for the WBA interim strap, you would think, but the World Boxing Association sanctioned the Mitchell-Barroso fight anyway. I must say it is more than a little off putting that Mitchell is getting a chance to fight for the interim WBA strap off the back of a loss rather than a victory. It’s like he’s being rewarded for losing. I don’t understand it. If this was another sport, Mitchell would be in the back of the line, but in boxing he gets another immediate shot. What the heck is that all about?
Cruiserweight Tony Bellew (25-2-1, 16 KOs) weighed in at 199lbs for his contest against Mateusz Masternak (36-3, 26 KOs) for the vacant EBU cruiserweight title. Masternak weighed in at 199.4.bs. Bellew is saying this is his toughest fight thus far at cruiserweight, and he sees the fight as a 50-50 affair.
The thing is Masternak isn’t one of the major players at the very top of the cruiserweight division. He’s just a guy that was recently beaten twice by some of the fringe contenders in Johnny Muller and Youri Kayembre Kalenga. I have no idea why Bellew isn’t at least fighting those guys. I mean, you would think that would be the logical fight for Bellew to take, because he’s been flapping his gums left and right about how he sees himself as one of the best fighters in the cruiserweight division. If Bellew is the best, then what the heck is he doing fighting Masternak then? Why isn’t Bellew fighting the actual best guys like Olesandr Usyk. I’m just saying.
#1 WBA middleweight contender Chris Eubank Jr. (20-1, 15 KOs) weighed in at 159.75lbs after initially weighing in at 160.25lbs for his first weigh-in attempt for his WBA 160lb eliminator bout against #6 WBA Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (22-1, 15 KOs). For his part, O’Sullivan weighed in at 159.5lbs. The winner of the Eubank Jr. vs. O’Sullivan fight will become the mandatory challenger to WBA “regular” middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs.
Eubank Jr’s father Chris Eubank Sr. kind of stole the spotlight from Eubank Jr. by going into a dance on the stage. It was a very strange dance, and I’m still trying to figure out what Eubank Sr. was trying to accomplish by doing the dance. It was Eubank Jr’s moment, not his own, and the emphasis should have been on Eubank Jr. instead of his father. I’m just saying.
Paulie Malignaggi (34-7, 7 KOs) weighed in at 146.5lbs for his fight against Italy’s Antonio Moscatiello (20-2, 14 KOs) in a fight for the vacant EBU welterweight title. Moscatiello initially weighed in at 147.25lbs, but was then able to get down to 147lbs after losing the remaining .25lbs. It’s thought by many boxing fans that the main reason why the 35-year-old Malignaggi was added to the card is because Hearn wants to match him against his fighter IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook in 2016. If that’s going to happen, then Malignaggi will need a top 15 ranking by one of the four sanctioning bodies.
You have to imagine that if Malignaggi defeats the little known Moscatiello, he’ll get a top 15 ranking, and we’ll then see a Brook vs. Malignaggi fight at some point in 2016. I can’t say I’m particularly interested in seeing Brook face Malignaggi, but it’s pretty much par for the course for Brook, because he’s been facing opposition like Malignaggi his entire career, so I think it would be the usual for him.
Official weights for the card:
Chris Eubank Jr 160.25 vs. Gary O’Sullivan 159.5
Kevin Mitchell 134.5 vs. Ismael Barroso 134.5
Anthony Joshua 245 vs. Dillian Whyte 247
Tony Bellew 199 vs. Mateusz Masternak 199.4
Chris Eubank Jr 160.25 vs. Gary O’Sullivan 159.5
Paul Malignaggi 146.5 vs. Antonio Moscatiello 147.25