Boxing: Regan keen to contest title deeds

Harry Mullan says that the returning Welshman has much to fight for this week

WINNING a world title used to be an uncomplicated process. You had the fight, collected your nice plastic belt, went home to field the invitations from Celebrity Squares and Question of Sport, and prayed that the bimbo you pulled that night in Stringfellows wouldn't turn up in next week's News Of The World to tell lurid tales of "Nights of passion with my gentle giant".

Times have changed, even if the bimbos have not. On Saturday in Cardiff International Arena, boxing's complicated championship picture will be muddled even further when the Welshman Robbie Regan and the Colombian Jorge Julio contest the World Boxing Organisation bantamweight title which, astonishingly, they each claim to hold. Regan won it first, outpointing Daniel Jiminez in Cardiff in April 1996. It was a sweet victory for the 29-year-old, whose previous title bid (for the WBO flyweight title) had ended in an embarrassingly one-sided defeat. But instead of being the start of the best years of his boxing life, it turned out to be the last time he was seen in a ring.

He developed a kidney condition which threatened to end his career, and while the WBO were initially sympathetic and did not insist that he either defend the title or relinquish it, they eventually ran out of patience when, after 15 months, there was still no sign of Regan returning to action.

They informed promoters that the title was now vacant, and sanctioned a match between Julio - who was the mandatory contender - and Oscar Maldonado of Mexico, which took place at the Los Angeles Forum on 28 July 1997. The WBO president, Francisco Valcarcel, and the chairman of the championships committee, Luis Batista Salas, were both present at ringside to lend their authority to the fight, which Julio won on points.

The promoter Antonio Curtis paid the WBO the nominal sanctioning fees for a world- title fight, and insisted: "When we paid the fees, we did so with the idea that this was for the vacant WBO title. When money changed hands, that consummated the deal." The fight was billed as a world-title match and announced as such, and when Julio won he was presented with a championship belt.

Back in Britain, however, Regan's promoter Frank Warren - a figure of immense importance to the WBO - protested that Regan had not relinquished the title or been stripped of it, and would indeed be ready to fight again by the end of 1997. The WBO, showing fancy footwork which their fighters might envy, back-tracked and said the California fight had actually been for the "interim" title.

It was the first time they had downgraded the status of a fight retrospectively since an unforgettable night in 1993 when a preliminary brawler, Tim Tomashek, was hauled out of the arena bar to fight Tommy Morrison for the WBO heavyweight title after Morrison's original opponent, Mike Williams, had fled with an attack of nerves. Tomashek survived into the fifth round, but the storm of criticism was so intense that a few days later the WBO was forced to announce that the fight had not, after all, involved Morrison's title.

This time, sanity of a sort has prevailed with the Regan and Julio camps agreeing to a quick settlement of the dispute. It is unlikely to be decided in the Welshman's favour, though. Julio is a former World Boxing Association bantamweight champion with just one loss in nearly 40 fights, and has been boxing regularly while Regan suffered and fretted in enforced inactivity. Had Regan been allowed a few warm-ups to get the feel of the ring again he might have had a better chance, but as it is he will do well to last the full 12 rounds with the hard- hitting Colombian.

The outlook is brighter for another Welshman, Joe Calzaghe, who makes the first defence of his WBO super- middleweight title on the same show. He meets the substitute opponent Branco Sobot, a Croatian southpaw who has done his previous fighting as a middleweight. He is tough and competent, taking Hassine Cherifi the distance in a good fight for the European title a year ago, but Calzaghe's form in beating Chris Eubank to become champion was so impressive that defeat at this level is inconceivable.

More ambitious tests await Calzaghe, including a possible summer match with Robin Reid, recently dethroned as World Boxing Council champion by the South African veteran Sugar Boy Malinga. The fight will be worth considerably less than it would have been before Reid's shock defeat in December, but will still offer a useful indication of the Welshman's true potential.

Reid had always looked the better long-term prospect in the early days of their respective careers but his limitations were painfully exposed by the 42-year-old Malinga, and he needs a short cut back to championship status.

Unlike so many recent matches which political considerations have blocked, this one will be easy to make: Warren manages them both, and will keep the title in the family whatever the result.

News
people

Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando

Sport
Kim Sears is reported to have directed abuse at Berdych
tennis
News
news

Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck

News
Gywneth Paltrow proposed that women seek out a special herbal steam-treatment service
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Arts and Entertainment
tv

First full-length look is finally here

Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
Tax now accounts for ‘nearly 80%’ of the price of a bottle of whisky
news

Arts and Entertainment
Peppa Pig wearing her golden boots
film

"Oink! Oink! Hee hee hee!" First interview with the big-screen star

Life and Style
tech

Biohacking group hopes technology will lead people to think about even more dystopian uses

Arts and Entertainment
film
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Film director Martin Scorsese
film
News
news

The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Regional Gas Installation Manager - South East England

£36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Regional Gas Installation Manager is r...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service and Breakdown Engineer - South East

£29000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Service and Brea...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...

Recruitment Genius: Engineering Manager - Alconbury

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for an Engineering M...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee