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.

Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices