Finding diamonds in the rough: Ed Levine interview

Chris Glover
15/01/2020 10:43pm

Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

IBO President Ed Levine discusses IBO business in 2020,  reviews 2019, talks Golovkin, Joshua, Williams and more...

IBO President Ed Levine is excited about the progression for the boxing world as a whole. With more money than ever being spent in the sport through major events and by broadcasters alike, it's a great time to be a professional boxer and Levine s is determined for the IBO to remain at the forefront of the sport and help fighters achieve their goals within the sweet science.

2019 saw some mega fights and mega-events in boxing. Fights such as Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr cultivated mass interest from all over the globe, while bouts such as Williams vs Hurd and Golovkin vs Derevyanchenko delighted the boxing purists.

Levine, who heads up the IBO from its base in Coral Gables, Florida, gave his review of 2019 as a whole.

"2019 was a fantastic year for boxing and boxing fans," he said. "We got to see some fantastic contests such as Golovkin vs Derevyanchenko which I believe was voted as fight of the year by many independent sources. The boxing world saw some absolutely mega-events such as Joshua v Ruiz 1 and 2 with the latter being in Saudi Arabia.

"Also, Julian 'J-Rock' Williams becoming IBO world champion in a great fight with Jarrett Hurd was a fantastic event to be a part of and we are delighted to be working with the big promotions the world over.

"2019 was also a massive year for women's boxing. The Queen of boxing Cecilia Braekhus continued her dominance of the welterweight division which we are delighted to support and also seeing Terri Harper become IBO world champion and looking to set the world on fire. She now has a massive unification fight coming up and the possibilities of fighting in the United States so I'm delighted that we have helped her to get into these fights. Terri's story is what we pride ourselves on at the IBO.

"I love finding rough diamonds in boxing ready to be polished and secrets waiting for recognition. They normally come from places such as South Africa with world-class champions like Kevin Lerena, and Central Europe, but we found one right on our doorstep this year in the USA, Stephen Fulton Jr. He is a very special young man and I have no doubt that he will unify the super bantamweight division in 2020. He is a top talent.

“2020 is set to start with a bang for the IBO,” Levine continued. “We have an explosive start as we are part of the two big PBC events in Philadelphia and Brooklyn, with Julian Williams and Stephen Fulton Jr making title defences. I believe these two will continue to be in exciting and marquee fights throughout the year.

"I am really excited to see the continued development of fighters such as Fulton Jr and Kevin Lerena who is a really top quality operator at cruiserweight. We love discovering and giving exposure to future world champions, so I am excited to see what fighters emerge from all different parts of the globe in 2020.

"Of course I am excited for the IBO to continue to be a part of the careers of Anthony Joshua and Gennady Golovkin. These two are two very special, once in a generation fighters, and I'm sure the pair will be in massive events for years to come, and we are very grateful to be a part of these events. These pair will likely continue to be in big unification fights in 2020 and like all lovers of boxing, I love to see IBO champions in big unification clashes."

Levine also discussed some other IBO champions who had success in 2019. "Sebastian Formella had a fantastic win against Thulani Mbenge and he will look to make a big splash in the welterweight division in 2020. This was a really high-quality contest which we were delighted to be a part of and we expect some top quality fights from Formella in 2020.

"Dominic Boesel had a fantastic fight with Sven Forling in the latter stages in 2019 and it was a quality fight that fight fans really enjoyed. I'm expecting Boesel to be in unification clashes in 2020 and for him to really push for big fights against some of the other champions in 2020.

"Finally, I am very excited about the continuing development of women's boxing on a global scale. Terri Harper is set for a unification fight in early 2020, Cecilia Braekhus is still ruling the women's division with an iron fist, and to see some potential mega fights within women's boxing is something I am thrilled that the IBO will be a part of."