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Watson’s Winners and Losers of the boxing week: Frank Warren, Dillian Whyte, Jake Paul, Bob Arum, more

It was a week of purse bids, postponements and posturing across the boxing landscape.

Tyson Fury and his promoters are winners this week
Tyson Fury and his promoters are winners this week
Photo by Kirsty O’Connor/PA Images via Getty Images


Uncle Frank and Top Rank

A record-breaking winning purse bid of $41,025,000 from Queensbury Promotions — aided by Top Rank — was more than enough to see Frank Warren and Bob Arum land Tyson Fury vs Dillian Whyte this spring.

I don’t tend to enjoy getting too bogged down in the business of the sport, but this signaled a huge statement of intent from the two legendary promoters.

Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing were outbid by a sizable $9 million, meaning the “Gypsy King” and “Bodysnatcher” will take home a guaranteed minimum of $29.5 million and $7.4 million, respectively.

To be honest, everyone wins in this deal, in a fight that nobody was really calling for with any conviction. Eddie Hearn is the only potential loser, but if anything, his interest has only inflated the purse his fighter (Whyte) will receive without having to dip into his own pocket.

Fury is Warren and Arum’s #1 heavyweight and Whyte is Hearn’s #2, so it shouldn’t be a shock at the platform this contest is landing on.

Let’s hope we can get this fight announced and out of the way – it feels like there still may be some hurdles ahead.

Dillian Whyte

After waiting what feels like over four decades for a world title opportunity, Dillian Whyte finally has his shot.

And, a monster $7.4 million pay day to boot — plus a reported $4.1 million allocated to the winner of the fight.

Whyte splits opinion across the boxing landscape, but in a generation where we’ve seen some pretty questionable dudes land title tilts, Whyte is well worth his chance in April.

Whyte is an explosive character that has got under the skin of many of his foes and the build up to his fight with Fury will be one to keep eyes on.

The 115 lb division

I never thought that a pull-out from the electric Juan Francisco Estrada would result in such fantastic news.

After the Mexican struggled to complete his camp for a trilogy with “Chocolatito” due to Covid-19 complications, Estrada was replaced by one of the mini-mavericks of the sport: Julio Cesar Martinez.

Martinez is one of the most exciting guys in the sport and has the style and balls to make super-flyweight as sexy as the bigger weights. “Rey” is moving up from flyweight to take on the legendary Roman Gonzalez in March and us fans – and the division – are the undoubted winners.


The slate

“Wake me up, when January ends,” may not have been Green Day’s song in 2004, but it’s exactly how we’re feeling 31 days into the year.

The January boxing slate is usually pretty bleak, but this year has taken the piss.

I’m not hating on the wins for Robson Conceicao or Illunga Junior Makabu this weekend but the sooner that 2022’s stacked February rolls around the better.

By the lack of goings on this month, I’m surprised a platform didn’t try and sell Friday’s heavyweight purse bids via some sort of pay-per-view.

Mairis Briedis

Last week I delineated a fear of the WBA having a permanent slot in the weekly LOSERS section, but it’s Latvia’s finest cruiserweight who has made it 2-0 after another head-scratching week of Jake Paul chasing.

Mairis Briedis has out-Mairis Briedis-ed himself this week by releasing — what you cool kids know as — a diss track aimed at the YouTuber.

With lyrics such as “it looks like you have little monkey balls,” and “she’s trying to find your nuts like a little squirrel,” it’s pretty hard to tell where the 37-year-old has got his musical inspiration from. Perhaps the Latvian version of a channel called CBeebies which is very popular in the UK?

I’ve spoken with Mairis on a number of occasions he’s a fucking cool dude. I haven’t followed this story closely enough to see whether Paul has bitten yet or whether Briedis is embarrassing himself for no pay-off.

Anyway, see you in week 3, Mairis, when you’ve — ah I dunno — spent $5m on buying the naming rights to a pet store in the U.S that you’ll rename to “Jake Paul’s a Pussy” or something.

Pass me a drink.

Bob Arum

Bob Arum is old — I get that — but age shouldn’t still be wheeled out as an excuse for continuous, engrained backwards thinking.

The IBHOF promoter was speaking to iFLTV this weekend following the Fury-Whyte purse bids, and stated that “people don’t particularly pay attention to the women’s fights” before claiming he didn’t want to be accused of being “anti-women” in sport.

This was a cheap shot at Katie Taylor vs Amanda Serrano — a fight that is due to clash with his own Shakur Stevenson vs Oscar Valdez fight on April 30 — which, regardless of gender, is one of the best match-ups on the 2022 slate to date.

Society and equality will never progress if we can’t champion a fight of this statue without delivering a simultaneous backhander.

The pool of women boxing superstars may be shallower than the mens, but Arum’s comments certainly won’t help turn on the tap.

Lewis Watson is a sports writer from London, UK, and a member of the BWAA. Follow or contact him on Twitter @lewroyscribbles

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