By Steve Kim Updated on June 03, 2024

Queensberry Ruled in Saudi Arabia

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It was a long and eventful card from the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which was capped off by Zhilei Zhang's fifth round stoppage of Deontay Wilder. From top-to-bottom this was an entertaining slate of fights that saw world titles change hands, and an upset or two.

Frank Warren's stable skunked the roster of boxers that was brought in by Eddie Hearn. 

Here are some thoughts on what took place...

-- Should this be the swan song for 'the Bronze Bomber', Wilder will walk away from the sport with a mark of 43-4-1 (42 KOs) but having lost four of his last five bouts. Outside of his victory over Robert Helenius, he has been conclusively defeated in every other bout since the beginning of 2020. 

Once one of the most feared punchers in the sport, Wilder is now seemingly gun shy, and looked very hesitant to let his vaunted right hand go. From the very beginning of this bout he was tentative as he backed up from the much larger Chinese southpaw, and was eventually struck with a right hook that hastened his downfall.

BRUTAL KO | Zhilei Zhang vs. Deontay Wilder Highlights (Queensberry vs. Matchroom - Riyadh Season)

Zhang, who was coming off a close loss to Joseph Parker, is now right back in the mix of a title shot in the heavyweight division. As for Wilder, it says here that he should walk off into the sunset. While there is some heated debate on whether Wilder is either an overachiever, or vastly overrated, it says here -- both can be true.

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Taking up the sport at age 20, Wilder was able to win a spot on the U.S. Olympic team, where he captured a bronze medal. Then after some careful matchmaking in the beginning of his pro career, he was able to capture the WBC heavyweight title. Admittedly, Wilder didn't exactly face the strongest group of contenders, but made 10 successful defenses of the green belt.

Then he engaged in a memorable trilogy with Tyson Fury, and was able to bank tens of millions in the process. This is called 'prizefighting', right? By all accounts, this was a successful career. 

His cult-like following was overzealous in their praise of Wilder, who was fortunate to be in a weak era of big men. There was a time when they believed he would've been too much for the likes of Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson. But eventually, his deficiencies were impossible to hide as he faced a higher class of heavyweights that fully exposed his blind spots.

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But to his credit, Wilder did bring some life onto the American heavyweight scene, and was a part of some memorable nights. He was fun and flawed, dangerous and vulnerable. When he fought, you wanted to tune in.

For that, he should be appreciated.

-- OK, who wrote off Daniel Dubois after he was stopped by Joe Joyce in November of 2020? In the immediate aftermath of that defeat, many questioned Dubois' constitution when he was counted out after suffering a broken left orbital bone in what was a close fight. Yeah, some unfairly branded him a quitter.

Then last summer, he was halted by Oleksandr Usyk in nine rounds (after he had floored Usyk with a borderline low-blow/body shot earlier in the bout).

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As he came into this weekend's bout versus the undefeated Filip Hrgovic, Dubois was the decided underdog. This bout was for the IBF interim heavyweight title (which could soon be vacated by Usyk). Early on, Hrgovic landed one right hand after another, but Dubois remained unbowed. He just kept coming, and soon he was using his ramrod jab to break down Hrgorvic.

HIGHLIGHTS | Daniel Dubois vs. Filip Hrgovic (Queensberry vs. Matchroom 5v5 - Riyadh Season) 

Hrgovic was cut and bloodied, and then visibly fading. Dubois stunned Hrgovic at the end of the seventh. In the next round, the fight would be stopped by the ringside physician because of the cuts over both Hrgovic's eyes.

Dubois is not a perfect fighter, but he has been forged through fire. With this victory, he may now get a crack at Anthony Joshua in September.

-- Originally the headline bout on this card was supposed to be the battle for the undisputed light heavyweight championship between Dmitry Bivol and Artur Beterbiev. But as Beterbiev pulled out with a training injury, Malik Zinad, was put in his place against Bivol.

Believe it or not, even though Bivol scored a rare KO victory, he actually had some issues with Zinad's awkward, herky-jerky movements. In-between scoring a knockdown in the first, and then the eventually stoppage in round six, Zinad had pockets of success, and he seemed to be getting under the normally mild-mannered Bivol.

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But alas, Bivol closed out the show. And then in the immediate aftermath, Turki Alalshikh announced that Bivol-Beterbiev will be staged on October 12. As for Zinad, he showed enough that 'His Excellency' invited him back for another fight in the fall. So you could say he won in losing. 

-- Just my opinion, but I thought Raymond Ford closed well down the stretch, and did enough to eke out a victory over Nick Ball to retain his WBA featherweight strap. But it was 'the Wrecking' Ball who won a razor thin split decision by the scores of 115-113, 113-115, and 115-113. So that's about as close as you can get.


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There's no argument from me. This was a legitimately close fight that could've gone either way. I'm not sure all that much was lost for Ford given that he made it clear that he was moving up to 130. So he basically lost a belt he wasn't going to keep, regardless. But with this belt, Ford was able to make a few bucks on this high-profile card, and in his last two bouts he established himself as good television.

-- Look out for middleweight contender, Hamzah Sheeraz, who dispatched Austin Williams in 11 rounds. Early on, the speed and quickness gave Sheeraz some issues. He was hit with a straight left down the middle that rocked him back on his heels. But as Sheeraz got behind his jab, he started to methodically break down Williams.

Sheeraz's power and offensive arsenal took over steadily. While Williams would land the occasional salvo, he was steadily getting beat into what looked to be an inevitable knockout. Williams was floored late in the 10th, and then halted in the 11th. 

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Sheeraz, is an impressive young fighter, but you wonder at age 25, how much longer can he make that 160-pound limit without it hampering his performance? But this is a welcome addition to what is largely a mediocre middleweight division. He is currently ranked number seven at 160 by Ring Magazine.

-- This pay-per-view card kicked off with a light heavyweight clash between the experienced Craig Richards and Willy Hutchinson. This bout that was controlled early on by Hutchinson, who built a big early lead. Richards had some moments late, as Hutchinson (who had never gone longer than seven rounds) started to fade noticeably.

But Richards was never able to push Hutchinson over the cliff. After 12 rounds it was the fiery Hutchinson who came out on top by the tallies of 117-111, 116-112 and 119-109.

HIGHLIGHTS | Willy Hutchinson vs. Craig Richards (Queensberry vs. Matchroom 5v5 - Riyadh Season)








About Author
Queensberry Ruled in Saudi Arabia
  • Hosted 'the Main Event' on KIEV 870, and then later XTRA AM1150 ( a three hour show devoted to boxing) from 1996 to 1999.
  • Joined one of the first boxing websites, 'House of Boxing' in 1999, and then later became one of the founders of Maxboxing, that started in 2001, till his departure in 2014.
  • From 2014 to 2018, he was the lead columnist for
  • Was a boxing reporter for from 2018 to 2020.
  • He has written for Ring Magazine, International Boxing Digest and Boxing News.
  • Is the co-host of 'the 3 Knockdown Rule' with Mario Lopez, which has become of the most popular boxing podcasts the past several years.
  • Steve has also served as an announcer and analyst for RingTV, Thompson Boxing, 360 Promotions and CBS Sports Network.