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Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Return of Tyson Fury 



by Eddie Goldman

As I predicted, a face-saving compromise was reached between UK Anti-Doping and the heavyweight fighters Tyson Fury and his cousin Hughie Fury, allowing Tyson to resume his career and Hughie to continue fighting.

They each received a two-year backdated ban for doping, which ended midnight on December 12, 2017, while maintaining their innocence of intentional doping stemming from a positive test for the steroid nandrolone in February 2015. The deal also withdraws the charge that Tyson threw their drug testers out and refused a test in September 2016, with some doubletalk explanation, which is really part of this whole compromise.

Both are free to fight immediately, although Tyson still is massively overweight and out of shape, somewhere north of 300 pounds. But it is expected that Tyson will be re-licensed by the British Boxing Board of Control shortly, since the BBBoC also approved this deal.

No explanation was given as to why it took UK Anti-Doping so long to resolve this case, and why a charge of doping from February 2015 led to no action until June 2016, when the fighters were temporarily suspended. It looks like a combination of incompetence and pandering to the fighters played a role in these delays. The UK Anti-Doping statement also makes no mention of Tyson's positive tests for cocaine, which were conducted by a real anti-doping body, VADA, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association.

Note also that this same UK Anti-Doping was brought in by WADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency, to help the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) get back to a status of compliance with world and Olympic doping rules. I guess that Bozo the Clown was too busy and couldn't also "help" out.

But this deal does seem to close this ugly chapter. It not only lets Tyson resume a regular schedule for boxing and Hughie continue without any ban, but also removes the threat of a lawsuit by these fighters against UK Anti-Doping for screwing them around for so long.

Tyson Fury wasted no time after this deal was announced, taking to Twitter, with a pinned tweet, challenging heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. A fight between these two undefeated fighters, each of whom defeated Wladimir Klitschko, would no doubt be the biggest heavyweight fight of 2018 and in many years.

The full decision of UK Anti-Doping can be read here.

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Monday, December 11, 2017

No Holds Barred: Quit Bitching About Quitting in Boxing 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman discusses the controversy from the ending of Saturday's Vasyl Lomachenko-Guillermo Rigondeaux fight, where Rigondeaux decided not to come out for the seventh round, citing an injury to his left hand. The whole issue of quitting in boxing is discussed and why in this and other cases it should not be opposed. Also discussed are the disgusting attacks on Rigondeaux from some alleged boxing "writers", why the standard of "going out on your shield" is barbaric, the importance of boxing and combat sports for self-defense, and more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is available at Google Play Music.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

You can also listen to No Holds Barred via Stitcher through iOS or Android devices or on the web here.

The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

The Catch Wrestling Alliance, resurrecting and promoting the sport of authentic catch-as-catch-can wrestling. The Catch Wrestling Alliance provides tournaments, seminars, and training as well as education about catch wrestling. Join the movement and keep real wrestling alive. For more information, go to CatchWrestlingAlliance.com.

Skullz Double-End Bags, the perfect bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve timing, distance, and hand and eye coordination. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. For more information, go to SkullzDeBags.com.

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Friday, December 08, 2017

ESPN, Vasyl Lomachenko, and Guillermo Rigondeaux 



by Eddie Goldman

ESPN has put out a press release propagandizing that Saturday's fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux is "the biggest boxing match of the year". This is pretty funny, since it is being held in Madison Square Garden's Theater, which is not even the biggest room in that building, and in whose main arena Miguel Cotto dropped his retirement fight to Sadam Ali just last week.

And, of course, it ignores (and insults) what was really the biggest fight of the year, the April 29 heavyweight classic between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko in front of 90,000 people in London's Wembley Stadium, which broke U.K. pay-per-view records, and was viewed by tens of millions of people around the world.

As for TV, being the biggest fight on U.S. TV this year (since for most American hacks and flacks only America is great for sports and matters) is a possibility, but will be difficult to achieve. So far that honor belongs to the fight between Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia on CBS March 4, which peaked at 5.1 million viewers and averaged 3.1 million viewers. So we shall know the ratings for Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux sometime shortly after the show airs.

What is significant, behind all the cliches, hype, and rubbish, is that for this fight at least, ESPN is providing much support on its various networks and online. The press conference was shown on ESPN3, the weigh-ins will be televised on ESPN2, and Lomachenko, the Top Rank fighter being showcased ahead of Rigondeaux, was on SportsCenter. They also have several supporting preview articles, although expert analysis of this fight is far better in many non-ESPN places.

For some unannounced reason, Teddy Atlas will not be this fight's live blabbermouth. Those positions are being filled by Mark Kriegel and Stephen A. Smith, so expect the commentary to be best experienced with the volume muted.

For U.K. viewers, this fight is on BoxNation, which might provide more professional commentary and analysis.

My preview, "Will Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux Be Arum's Revenge?" can be seen here.

The ESPN press release mentioned above can be seen here.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Will Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux Be Arum's Revenge? 


by Eddie Goldman

(Here is a very slightly edited transcript of the section of the latest edition of the No Holds Barred podcast on the upcoming fight between Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux.)

This coming Saturday, December 9, in Madison Square Garden's small 5000-seat room known as the Theater, and televised in the U.S. on ESPN and in the U.K. on BoxNation, there will be another fight with great appeal to the true believers in boxing, but which also might require a miracle for the scores to be fair and reflect what goes on in the ring, should it, as most expect, go to the judges. That is the showdown between the two double Olympic gold medalists and among the best if not THE best technicians in boxing today, WBO 130-pound champion Vasyl Lomachenko and WBA 122-pound champion Guillermo Rigondeaux.

To get this fight, the older, shorter, and smaller Rigondeaux had to move up two weight classes and fight on a card promoted by Top Rank, the outfit that dumped and trashed him after he decisively outboxed and schooled the talented Nonito Donaire in 2013, whom Top Rank was pushing at the time.

Could this fight end in another fair decision? Will Santa Claus make an appearance in your chimney? Do people even use chimneys anymore? Will Arum and company let Rigondeaux win if he fails to knock out Lomachenko a couple of times? Our colleague Charles Farrell is writing a piece on this, so hopefully it will be posted soon, and make sure to read it when it is up.

Top Rank fled the declining HBO boxing program earlier this year for ESPN, meaning they now have expanded reach for their fights on TV on this regular cable network, and through its app, much more than through the premium network HBO. On Saturday, November 11, the Top Rank boxing show on ESPN in the U.S. got about twice as many viewers as the HBO card on that same night. ESPN's card featured Artur Beterbiev vs. Enrico Köelling for the IBF light heavyweight belt and Jose Ramirez vs. Mike Reed. HBO's card was headlined by Daniel Jacobs vs. Luis Arias. So Top Rank's strategy seems to be working so far, with more evidence coming this week as the Lomachenko-Rigondeaux card goes head-to-head with an HBO live show.

This one is a Golden Boy show, headlined by Miguel Roman facing Orlando Salido, who, not fighting by coincidence on the same day as Lomachenko, handed Lomachenko his only pro loss back in 2014 in Lomachenko's second pro fight. But that will likely not be enough to make this show competitive in the TV ratings department with Lomachenko-Rigondeaux on ESPN.

It is of course within reason that Lomachenko might legitimately defeat Rigondeaux. Lomachenko, though many fighters avoid him, has been more active than Rigondeaux, who has had various fights fall through. This will be Lomachenko's third fight this year, and second for Rigondeaux, but who only fought that one controversial round against Moises Flores in June in a fight which ended after Rigondeaux decked Flores just after the bell and he did not continue. Rigondeaux only fought once in 2016 and 2015, while Lomachenko fought twice in each of those years.

Size and age will matter as well, although Rigondeaux has shown no signs of slowing down in the ring. But he sometimes doesn't have the explosive, eye-catching style which judges usually favor. Lomachenko could be the more active fighter also. Both men are defensive wizards and accurate punchers, and also southpaws. Rigondeaux has underrated power, with the Flores fight and his breaking Jazza Dickens's jaw with one punch in his previous fight being examples. Rigondeaux will certainly need that power against Lomachenko, but unless he is able to connect squarely and visibly, all the factors working against him may result in a Lomachenko victory, disputed or not.

Either way, it appears the working script for this fight is entitled "Arum's Revenge". The unanimous decision for Rigondeaux against Donaire, also in New York, upset both Arum and many tools and fools in the Boxing Writers Association of America (lol). Will they bow to fairness this time, or will there be more of boxing's patented trickeration? We shall find out soon.

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Monday, December 04, 2017

No Holds Barred: How I Crush The December Blues 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman discusses how to crush the December blues, no holds barred style.

Among the topics discussed are how and why for many people December is the most alienating time of the year; the season of flagrant commercialism disguised as holidays; Saturday's Miguel Cotto-Sadam Ali fight at Madison Square Garden; this coming Saturday's Vasyl Lomachenko-Guillermo Rigondeaux fight, also at Madison Square Garden, including a possible decision dripping in trickeration, and why it may be named Arum's Revenge; the ESPN-HBO boxing rivalry; why my interest in wrestling is at a low point this year; the decision expected this week by the International Olympic Committee on whether or not the Russian team will be banned from the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, because of Russia's state-sponsored doping program; the African Diaspora International Film Festival in New York, and documentaries in it about Malcolm X and C.L.R. James, and how James saw the relation between the sport of cricket and politics; my upcoming interview on BET's "The Rundown with Robin Thede"; the growth of Trans Boxing; and more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is available at Google Play Music.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

You can also listen to No Holds Barred via Stitcher through iOS or Android devices or on the web here.

The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

The Catch Wrestling Alliance, resurrecting and promoting the sport of authentic catch-as-catch-can wrestling. The Catch Wrestling Alliance provides tournaments, seminars, and training as well as education about catch wrestling. Join the movement and keep real wrestling alive. For more information, go to CatchWrestlingAlliance.com.

Skullz Double-End Bags, the perfect bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve timing, distance, and hand and eye coordination. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. For more information, go to SkullzDeBags.com.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Everyone Wants Anthony Joshua, But Whom Will He Fight Next? 


by Eddie Goldman

Do not heed the stupefying and foolish tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts, and the scribbling on the bathroom walls. They mean, to quote the Fugs, nothing, nothing, less than nothing.

Boxing is a business first, second, and third. Yes, boxing is a sport, but in this business the sporting aspects are among the most neutered and trampled upon to serve the perceived interests and, of course, profits, of the promoters, including the TV networks, soon to be joined by more and more online and mobile services.

It's a business, and who fights whom next only has to do with what the fans want and plead for to the degree that they can be convinced and/or tricked into parting with their cash. Fights have to be "built up", we are told, by endless mismatches, showcase fights, obscure mandatory challenges, and plainly fixed encounters. That is why there is such organizational chaos and confusion in boxing, with a governance structure easier to manipulate than peeling a banana.

Of late, every day it seems there has been an unending piss stream of challenges, taunts, insults, accusations, and denials. The forcible removal of Wladimir Klitschko from atop the heavyweight division by Tyson Fury in 2015 reignited interest, along with disorder, in it. That order has only been partially restored with Anthony Joshua's dispatching of Klitschko in April of this year to add the WBA "super" title to his IBF strap, followed by the retirement of the 41-year-old former champion.

Yes, Joshua is generally regarded as the best heavyweight today and holds two major belts. But there are holes in his game, seen by his inability to put away Klitschko after a brutal fifth-round knockdown, only to be knocked down hard himself in the sixth almost to the point of losing the fight. Joshua's brilliant comeback and subsequent 11th-round TKO of Klitschko showed his vulnerabilities may not be fatal to his title reign, but they are there to be watched and exploited.

And despite dominating and winning by a tenth-round TKO victory over Carlos Takam in his next fight on October 28, many regarded the ending as being a fast stoppage, and virtually everyone noted that it was a less-than-stellar performance by Joshua.

Joshua, however, remains not only the top heavyweight, but by far its biggest attraction. 90,000 people saw him beat Klitschko in Wembley Stadium in London, and about 78,000 watched him against Takam in Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Sky Sports in the U.K. shows all his fights on pay-per-view, while he is currently contracted to Showtime in the U.S., with HBO waiting to pursue him.

So fighting Joshua, who at 28 years old still has an unblemished record of 20-0 with 20 KOs, even if one loses, would be an enormous payday, perhaps the most in a challenger's professional boxing career.

The idea of heavyweight unification is also an appealing one, both to fans and some of the money guys. But it also involves numerous risks. For example, on two successive weekends Showtime aired the Joshua-Takam fight and the Deontay Wilder-Bermane Stiverne WBC title rematch, billing both as being for THE heavyweight championship of the world. Fewer title holders means fewer title fights, however inflated or bogus those titles may be.

And in the rare instances where unification is achieved, the demands by the rival sanctioning bodies that the champ immediately face their number one mandatory challenger leads to un-unification, as the champion relinquishes one or more belts, as Terence Crawford did after becoming undisputed 140-pound champion, or more belt-stripping than you'll see in a weekend in Las Vegas.

So yes, many of us would love to see Joshua's next series of fights be to unify his WBA "super" and IBF titles with those of WBC champ Deontay Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs) and WBO champ Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KOs). But the end game here for Joshua is thus not unification, since it probably won't last long anyway, but raking in the most money for the longest possible period of time while still being able to remain on top.

And that means, despite all the rubbish, basura, and Scheiße being flung around between the top heavyweights and their flacks, it does not necessarily make business sense for Joshua and his team for those to be his next two fights, with Wilder and Parker.

While Joshua fulfilled his obligation for a mandatory defense of his IBF belt by beating Takam, a late replacement for the injured Kubrat Pulev, Pulev is still the highest ranked contender by the IBF, at number two, as they have no one at number one. At some point Joshua may need to face Pulev to retain the original title he first won in 2016.

Then there is the WBA, which has a "super" champion, meaning a belt holder who has or had more than one of these things, and a "regular" champion, whom they sometimes claim is next in line for the "super" champion. This past weekend Manuel Charr, now 31-4 with 17 KOs, captured the then-vacant WBA "regular" heavyweight title with a unanimous decision win over 40-year-old Russian and now-former WBA number one contender Alexander Ustinov (34-2, 25 KOs). The 33-year-old Charr scored what many felt was an upset win based on his record, which included knockout losses to Alexander Povetkin and Mairis Briedis, who usually fights at cruiserweight and is presently the unbeaten WBC cruiserweight champion.

Charr was next ordered by the WBA to negotiate a fight with Fres Oquendo, who has been inactive snce 2014 but who won a lawsuit against the WBA for failing to give him another title shot. Charr is based in Germany where he usually fights, so perhaps the network there, Sky Sports in Germany, which showed his fight with Ustinov, would televise such a rather farcical bout. Or perhaps Oquendo will find one more reason not to take this fight, opening the door for Charr to face Joshua sometime soon in 2018.

Joshua would be a massive favorite to knock out Charr, but such a fight would be good business, besides fulfilling his need to face a WBA mandatory. While Charr is based in Germany and has a following there, he was born in Lebanon but went to Germany as a refugee at age five. He reportedly vowed to give his belt to Turkish president Erdogan. His victory over Ustinov and winning this belt, although derided in boxing circles, was hailed by some in the Arab world.

An ironically cliched headline in the "Arab News", Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper, read: "Refugee 'Rocky' becomes first Arab heavyweight champ".

Note that Joshua has stated his desire to gain popularity and fight in many countries and regions, including in the Middle East, and often spends his holiday time in Dubai. A fight with Charr should not only be a decisive win in the ring, but also outside the ring in establishing his presence in Germany and the Arab world.

In several Arab countries there has been growing and serious interest in hosting boxing events as of late. The World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight finals are scheduled to take place next year in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The semifinals have four unbeaten champion fighters, with WBA champion Yunier Dorticos (22-0, 21 KOs) taking on IBF champion Murat Gassiev (25-0, 18 KOs) in one semi-final, and WBO champ Oleksandr Usyk (13-0, 11 KOs) facing the aforementioned WBC champ Mairis Briedis (23-0, 18 KOs) in the other. So whoever is matched up in the finals, it is bound to be a major world boxing event in Saudi Arabia.

And perhaps of lesser significance for now, the launch of KHK Boxing was just announced in Bahrain. This is being sponsored by the 28-year-old Shaikh Khalid Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, a leading sports organizer who already has an MMA promotion there, and is a member of the ruling family in this monarchy. So the time is right for Anthony Joshua to venture into the Arab world.

And what was the urgency of Joshua fighting Wilder and Parker right away again?

Many fans, particularly in America, may end up being disappointed by the opponents chosen by Joshua in 2018, especially if he does not take these two consecutive unification fights. There is no urgency for Joshua to face Wilder, who does not draw that well either in arenas or on TV in the U.S., or Parker, now based in the U.K., but whose last fight, against Hughie Fury, was a YouTube pay-per-view. Wilder and Parker need Joshua far, far more than he needs them, if he needs them at all.

Wilder may want to fight Joshua next year, a possibility which should not be entirely ruled out, but if it doesn't happen, expect him to remain protected and face someone eminently beatable like WBC number two Dominic Breazeale. The WBC number one contender is Dillian Whyte, but Wilder's handlers know too much to risk a mega-payday with Joshua, whenever it may come, by facing someone like Whyte, who himself may get a shot at some belt or another.

Parker also has his WBO duties to fulfill, and his next mandatory may become an interesting one. The current WBO number one challenger is Christian Hammer, but he has a stiff test when he faces Alexander Povetkin, back from his drug suspensions, December 15 in Russia for the WBO international title, and, more importantly, their number one ranking. If Povetkin wins and becomes the WBO mandatory for Parker, and if Parker fails to get that big payday versus Joshua, he may have to face Povetkin this year, in a fight where Povetkin will surely be heavily favored unless he keeps testing dirty. And if Povetkin wins, a Joshua-Povetkin unification fight would be far more lucrative that a Joshua-Parker fight, and could open up even more doors for Joshua around the world.

But Parker, who turns 26 in January and is the youngest of these heavyweight belt holders, has other perhaps more appealing options than facing Joshua or the Hammer-Povetkin winner. Parker is from New Zealand and is predominantly of Samoan descent. The 38-year-old Lucas Browne, still unbeaten at 25-0 with 22 KOs, is from Australia, and is back in action following his own drug test problems. A Parker-Browne fight would be a smash hit in their region of the world as well as one which is far less dangerous for Parker than a clash with Joshua. Browne has also reportedly been in talks to fight Dillian Whyte in February, so where the dominoes fall for next year's heavyweight lineup should be known soon.

For the U.K., a mega-fight for Joshua would be with Tyson Fury, who supposedly will finally have his long-delayed hearing with U.K. Anti-Doping in December. It is absurd that this body has taken so long to adjudicate Fury's failed drug tests from 2015 and 2016. Fury remains suspended and unlicensed, and has not fought for two years, although his own well-documented physical and mental problems have been key to his departure from the ring as well. And Fury also has been charged with throwing out the dope testers when they came to collect a sample from him last year.

There has been the threat of a lawsuit by Fury for these delays and his not being allowed to fight without even a hearing for so long, which potentially could bankrupt the hapless U.K. Anti-Doping if he wins it. But expect some sort of compromise, where everyone agrees that his suspension has been fulfilled by time served, or maybe with just a short extension, while he tries to get in shape to fight once more. If Fury can shed some of his 300-plus-pounds, and stay sober and clean long enough to climb into the ring, it would make far more business sense for Joshua to face him in 2018 than either Wilder or Parker. Such a fight could easily smash U.K. pay-per-view and attendance records, even if Joshua ends up smashing the obese and inactive Fury in the ring.

Plus, it was announced just a few days ago that Fury had signed an advisory deal with the fast-growing management company MTK Global, which already works with his pal, WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders, and the popular Carl Frampton. This indeed is another sign that Tyson Fury is very likely coming back soon.

So don't be shocked if in 2018 Joshua faces Charr, Fury, and/or Pulev. Unification can always come later.

Also do not expect Joshua to take a risky fight with the unbeaten Luis Ortiz, assuming he even is going to fight at a high level again. But if one or more of these belts becomes available, Ortiz just might get a title shot somewhere, and just might win, before preparing to pass the torch to someone two decades younger than him.

While Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller has worked his way into the mix, being rated number 5 by the IBF, 3 by the WBO, and 7 by the WBA, he will still need to raise his profile to get a major title shot. His listless win over Mariusz Wach in his HBO debut November 11 did not help his cause, as this entire show, headlined by Daniel Jacobs, was also a dud both in the TV ratings and at the box office.

Of course, you can just toss the boxing rankings in the trash when the money is right for an important and highly profitable fight. But it usually does help with the hype, marketing, and trickeration to build up such a fight if some more-than-unknown belt is on the line.

So whom will Anthony Joshua face in 2018, between his choices of Manuel Charr, Kubrat Pulev, Deontay Wilder, Joseph Parker, Tyson Fury, and maybe someone else? Whomever brings in the most pounds, dollars, euros, and rubles, that's who.

(Photo credits: Anthony Joshua and Robert Joshua, Esther Lin/Showtime. Deontay Wilder-Bermane Stiverne 2, Tom Casino/Showtime. Tyson Fury, MTK. Joseph Parker, Hennessy Sports. Dillian Whyte and Anthony Joshua, Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom Boxing. Manuel Charr, WBA. Luis Ortiz, Eddie Goldman/No Holds Barred.)

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

No Holds Barred: Jade Magnus Ogunnaike on Athletes and Activism Month 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Jade Magnus Ogunnaike, co-director of the organizing department at Color of Change.

Color of Change is the largest online racial justice organization in the U.S.

To support the growing number of athletes in the U.S. who are part of a movement calling for racial justice and an end to police violence, they have designated November as Athletes and Activism Month.

We spoke with Jade Magnus Ogunnaike by phone Monday.

Much of what is currently being done has been inspired by former San Francisco 49ers' quarterback Colin Kaepernick. In August 2016, he began protesting against police brutality and racist police killings of Black people during the pre-game playing of the American national anthem before NFL games by taking a knee instead of standing. While no NFL team has signed Kaepernick this season, leading to a lawsuit charging collusion of the NFL owners against him, his protest has spread, with numerous other NFL players, athletes from other sports, and non-athletes likewise either kneeling or sitting during the playing of that song.

"Last year, when Colin Kaepernick initially took a knee, that was the jumping off point for a new era of athletes and activism," she said.

"And since that happened, we've seen a groundswell of activism, both local, national, and all sports, from tennis to basketball to football, of athletes really taking a stand, and taking a stand against white supremacy.

"So this month, we decided to celebrate November as Athletes and Activism Month, especially because the NFL Players Coalition asked Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, to designate November as a month of racial equity and criminal justice reform. Because Roger Goodell did not implement that, Color of Change took up the charge, and we have a lot of things going on this month in celebration of Athletes and Activism."

We discussed their activities both online and offline for Athletes and Activism Month; how these are protests "against systematic oppression of Black folks" and not against the American flag or military members; how many athletes are in a precarious position which prevents them from joining these protests; how the U.S. Department of Defense began paying millions of dollars to sports leagues like the NFL to play the national anthem with the athletes on the field and stage patriotic displays; the attacks on Black journalists such as Jemele Hill of ESPN and others in the media who have supported these protests; the role of athletes in combat sports such as boxing and MMA; what people can do to support these activities, and much more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is available at Google Play Music.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

You can also listen to No Holds Barred via Stitcher through iOS or Android devices or on the web here.

The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

The Catch Wrestling Alliance, resurrecting and promoting the sport of authentic catch-as-catch-can wrestling. The Catch Wrestling Alliance provides tournaments, seminars, and training as well as education about catch wrestling. Join the movement and keep real wrestling alive. For more information, go to CatchWrestlingAlliance.com.

Skullz Double-End Bags, the perfect bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve timing, distance, and hand and eye coordination. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. For more information, go to SkullzDeBags.com.

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

No Holds Barred: Jens Sejer Andersen on Russian Doping Scandal, Credible Leadership for Sport, and Play the Game 2017 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with Jens Sejer Andersen, the international director of Play the Game.

Play the Game is an international conference and communication initiative aiming to strengthen the ethical foundation of sport and promote democracy, transparency, and freedom of expression in sport.

Their biannual international conference, Play the Game 2017, will take place 26-30 November at the Van der Valk Hotel Eindhoven in Eindhoven, Netherlands. This is THE major world event advocating sport reform. The programme for the conference so far can be seen here.

Many sessions will be live-streamed and/or recorded for later viewing. Speakers and panelists will include academics, journalists, sports officials, athletes, and other sports stakeholders.

Featured among the many topics will be discussion of the ongoing Russian state-sponsored doping scandals. Among the speakers and panelists will be:

Professor Richard H. McLaren, who led the investigation and issued reports for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) which documented state-sponsored doping in Russia in sport; David Howman, chairman of the Athletics Integrity of the IAAF and former director-general of WADA; Craig Reedie, the current president of WADA; IOC member Richard Pound, who was the first president of WADA; Travis Tygart, CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA); journalist Hajo Seppelt, who has played a key role exposing these doping scandals; journalists Jens Weinreich and Declan Hill, who have played key roles in exposing corruption and match-fixing in international football and other sports; Brendan Schwab, executive director of the World Players Association, UNI Global Union; and numerous others.

Among the many panels and sessions will be one entitled "Martial Arts: The need for joint regulation". Organized by Sport&Society from the Netherlands and Sport&Society from Belgium, the panel seeks to examine issues related to the failure of self-regulation in the "Full Contact Martial Arts and Combat Sports (FCMACS)" and the issues of regulation by governments. Speakers will include Marloes Coenen, the former Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion who retired as an MMA fighter earlier this year, and Michal Buchel of the International Sambo Federation (FIAS), as well as academics and sports officials from Belgium and the Netherlands.

We spoke with Jens Sejer Andersen by Skype Wednesday.

"Personally, also, although I shouldn't be surprised after watching international sports politics for 20 years now, I can't help becoming surprised by the day about how all these things are developing," he said.

"And I think one of the reasons that they are developing is simply that sport does not have a credible leadership.

"As long as the people on top, at the top, the helmet of these organizations, remain, if not the same individuals then the same family of individuals, as they also like to call themselves, then we will not see a real honest, radical change, and chances are that the skeletons will keep on dropping out of the closet. And the closet holds more skeletons that you would believe when you just take a look at them."

We also discussed more on this conference; the growth of its influence parallel with the growth and exposure of the myriad scandals and negative shift in public opinion regarding world sport; the various possible scenarios of how the IOC will or will not deal with the continued non-compliance of Russia's anti-doping agency (RUSADA) with WADA, with the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, Korea, set to take place in February, and the 2018 FIFA World Cup scheduled to take place in Russia in June and July; issues that are more focused on U.S. sport such as the "Take A Knee" protests by athletes and supporters against racist police killing and brutality; and much more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is available at Google Play Music.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

You can also listen to No Holds Barred via Stitcher through iOS or Android devices or on the web here.

The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

The Catch Wrestling Alliance, resurrecting and promoting the sport of authentic catch-as-catch-can wrestling. The Catch Wrestling Alliance provides tournaments, seminars, and training as well as education about catch wrestling. Join the movement and keep real wrestling alive. For more information, go to CatchWrestlingAlliance.com.

Skullz Double-End Bags, the perfect bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve timing, distance, and hand and eye coordination. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. For more information, go to SkullzDeBags.com.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Doubles HBO Boxing's Viewers Saturday Night 


by Eddie Goldman

They finally did it. Top Rank boxing on ESPN in the U.S. this past Saturday, November 11, got about twice as many viewers as the HBO card. ESPN's card featured Artur Beterbiev vs. Enrico Köelling for the IBF light heavyweight belt and Jose Ramirez vs. Mike Reed. HBO's card was headlined by Daniel Jacobs vs. Luis Arias.

According to the Nielsen ratings listed on ShowBuzzDaily, the ESPN show averaged 1,487,000 viewers. The HBO card had its highest segment during the Jacob-Arias fight, averaging 706,000 viewers.

Top Rank stopped working with HBO earlier this year and signed an exclusive four-year deal with ESPN. According to a report by Bill King on Sports Business Journal, this Top Rank-ESPN deal is "a four-year rights deal that a source familiar with the negotiations valued at eight figures annually."

The figure of 1,487,000 would make it the fifth-most watched boxing show on U.S. broadcast or cable this year, and the second-highest on cable, only behind the July 2 Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn fight on ESPN with 2,810,000 viewers.

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Thursday, November 09, 2017

No Holds Barred: Nola Hanson on Trans Boxing New York City 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Nola Hanson of Trans Boxing New York City.

Trans Boxing New York City is a collective committed to providing trans and gender nonconforming people with the resources and support necessary to fully participate in the sport and culture of boxing.

We spoke with Nola Hanson by phone Wednesday.

"We have been holding beginners' boxing classes in Brooklyn since mid-summer," they said.

These classes are held at Red Planet Muay Thai at 105 Ralph Avenue, and take place every Thursday from 6:30 to 7:30 PM.

"And we are now expanding to Manhattan."

Beginning Saturday, November 11, there will be weekly classes held at the Overthrow Boxing Club at 9 Bleecker Street, from 4 to 5 PM.

Trans Boxing New York City "was set up because I just noticed that there wasn't a trans or queer boxing class or space really at all in the entire city. And it was something that I thought was really needed, and, so I wanted to see if we could get something started."

We discussed the need for safe places for transgender and gender nonconforming to train in boxing and to learn self-defense, the rash of crimes and murders aimed in particular at trans women of color, the history of the Overthrow Boxing Club and why it is a good place for these classes, the importance of having experienced trainers like Muay Thai trainer and former professional fighter Mario Marin, and much more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is available at Google Play Music.

Also, No Holds Barred is available through iTunes.

You can also listen to No Holds Barred via Stitcher through iOS or Android devices or on the web here.

The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

The Catch Wrestling Alliance, resurrecting and promoting the sport of authentic catch-as-catch-can wrestling. The Catch Wrestling Alliance provides tournaments, seminars, and training as well as education about catch wrestling. Join the movement and keep real wrestling alive. For more information, go to CatchWrestlingAlliance.com.

Skullz Double-End Bags, the perfect bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve timing, distance, and hand and eye coordination. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. For more information, go to SkullzDeBags.com.

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