Usmanee and McGuinness destined for battle, but when?
By Dave Spencer
Photo Herby Whyne/Dani Graham
Perched side by side in the rankings, Canadian undefeated super-featherweights Arash Usmanee, WBA #6 and Logan McGuinness WBA #8 are climbing the same mountain towards an eventual title shot, both are destined to meet each other, it just is a matter of when.
Douggy Berneche, manager for Usmanee (20-0 10KO), is hoping for sooner.
Adam Harris, promoter for McGuinness (18-0-1 9KO), says not yet.
“They’re on a collision course, so an eventual showdown is definitely in the cards,” said Harris.
“I can’t force them to fight Arash,” Berneche told FightNews. “We’re ready for that now; we’re ready for the step up. Every time they have an issue and given a solution, they come up with a new demand. Why don’t they just come out and say they won’t fight Arash.”
Harris countered, “For it to be lost on the undercard of a fight in Montreal, that doesn’t make sense for any of those guys. At the end of the day Logan is taking the position of going after the best possible opponents out there right now, if Arash fits there, then beautiful. I think Arash needs to get a little bit better known in America and abroad right now its and interesting fight but Logan is in the drivers seat, I don’t think it’s something he needs, it’s something Arash needs, he needs a defining fight.”
The wish for Usmanee and his handlers is that the defining fight would become Mcguinness, but along with a recent proposed fight with Jason Litzau also falling through, the Alberta raised fighter is quickly learning that each step up the ladder is becoming increasingly difficult.
“It gets harder and harder,” said Berneche, “Right now it’s very tough, we need good fighters, quality fighters, but those type of fighters cost a lot of money. There’s two ways, either with a promoter or with TV, and the TV comes with a promoter, so right now we’re outside the circle. I’ve contacted lots of promoters and managers, but none of them want their guys to fight Arash, he’s not an Adrian Broner who comes with money It makes it hard to find a good opponent, we want to go forward, I think if we fight Logan it would be an open door for us. It looks though that the McGuinness team doesn’t want this fight, they’re looking for the easy way out. Give him a bit of a challenge, but no, they’re looking for the easy way and they know Arash is not going to be easy, they know that.”
Part of the problem admittedly is Usmanee’s lack of a promoter, but while there have been offers, Berneche isn’t about to sign a blank contract in return for empty promises. “We’ve had three or four offers from U.S. promoters, they talk of minimums and other things, but they won’t guarantee us anything. We answer the same way, if you won’t guarantee us anything, why would we sign with you? I need more than just somebody promising to make some fights.”
As for the fighters themselves, Usmanee is enthusiastic about a possible encounter, “I’m not a guy who goes and calls everybody out,” Usmanee told FightNews. “But this is a fight that I’d like to have; we’re both Canadian and match up well. I definitely would like to fight him.”
McGuinness was more pragmatic in his approach to the question of a possible match-up, “My management are the ones who would be approached for such a fight and if it doesn’t make sense to them, I guess that’s the reason it hasn’t happened yet. We’re both undefeated so it’s going to have to make sense. Hopefully it would be for something big like the number one spot. I have no problem fighting anybody, they come to me with a name and I’ll fight them.”
Berneche feels that the Ontario fighter is hiding behind his promoters, “‘I’ll fight anybody anytime’, it’s easy to say that. If you want to fight somebody, you make these things happen, Logan says he wants to fight everybody everywhere, if that’s the case why doesn’t he go to his manager and say ‘I want to fight Arash’, but he doesn’t say that. Tell your promoter or manager that you want to fight Arash and they will make it happen because Arash wants to fight him.”
While the battle lines have been drawn, it certainly looks right now it is a fight that Canadian fans will have to wait for. Adam Harris sums it up telling FightNews, “The only thing I can tell you is that Logan’s next opponent won’t be Arash."