Can Bellew be Kryptonite… Joshua a specimen… How good are our Olympians?

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So here we are…

FINALLY fight week!

With the rescheduled Haye fight, feels like it’s been an eternity since we’ve seen some domestic action.

Fear not fight fans, for your thirst will be quenched like an ice cold beer this forthcoming weekend.

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Definitely my favourite beer currently. Like an upmarket Julian Speroni….

So let’s reflect on this past weekends big match in Canada. Adonis “Superman” Stevenson v Tavoris Cloud for WBC title. I backed Cloud in my last blog. I was mistaken. Not only did Stevenson win, he didn’t drop a round before Cloud was pulled out by his corner in the 8th. He completely dominated him from start to finish.

What impressed and surprised me to a certain extent, was how well Stevenson can box. We all know he can put people to sleep. But what struck me was he looked more composed than I ever expected him to be. Granted I had heard the name before the Dawson fight, but didn’t know a vast amount about him. I had him down as a modern day Clubber Lang, just hurts people… because he can. But he’s mobile, jab, open his opponent up. The resemblance of Lang and Stevenson is uncanny by the way… Lose the facial hair…

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I pity the Bellew…

This was following the recent trend of one sided fights we’ve experienced recently. Stevenson outclassed Cloud for 8 rounds. Pulled out rightly so as his face was cut to shreds. Cloud is no soft touch, Stevenson made him look distinctly average under the Montréal lights.

Tony Bellew, who was ringside for this fight. Is mandatory for WBC belt. With a date already signed by Matchroom and Stevenson camp for 30th November in Quebec/Montreal. I think Bellew deserves his chance as he has worked his socks off. Completely changed his approach to boxing. I remember him being parachuted in to face Cleverley a few years ago. He looked bloated, in terrible shape. And duly lost. Since then he has dedicated himself to the sport. Changed his diet, mentality and is rightly reaping the rewards for this. I fear Stevenson is a class above and he will lose by decision. But as a Brit I wish him all the luck in the world, really do.

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Diehard toffees fan Bellew finally has his world title shot.. Can he be Superman’s kryptonite? Time will tell….

This weekend starts an exciting era for British Heavyweight boxing. For the 1st time in 15 yrs do we have a natural Heavyweight who we can really get excited about. A man who I feel has major cross-over appeal, he can bring British Boxing to the mainstream, attract a new plethora of fans. Off the back of his 2012 Super Heavyweight Olympic Gold Medallist success. Anthony Joshua makes his long awaited debut on the Carpe Diem bill. Which now is a seriously stacked card, with Quigg v Salinas World Title fight, Luke Campbell, Kevin Mitchell, Lee Selby who described Floyd Mayweather as “The American Lee Selby”. Character.

Joshua, you may feel I am over hyping. It’s hard not to get carried away on the crescendo of a Heavyweight Olympic Gold Medallist (Audley Harrison anyone?). In Britain, like America, we CRAVE an exciting Heavyweight prospect. Almost we expect it. We take it for granted. Both countries demand an exciting Heavyweight prospect in their ranks, it’s a given. Like the Italian’s in football, treat Central Defenders as “Demi Gods”, we offer the same to our Heavyweights. It captures the general publics imagination. Not just your casual boxing fans and your hard-core contingency. Within that comes great pressure and expectation to deliver a world title. Small price to pay for god like status surely? Check the below video to see Joshua’s media training session. Size of this guys arms….

As you can see, Joshua is in exceptional shape. As lean as a welter, moves like a middle and punches like a heavyweight. He’s polished in front of the camera, well media trained after his Olympic exploits. Joshua strikes me as a very level headed guy, He is aware that he has it all to do, he’s achieved nothing yet, which is freshening to see in a young athlete. Feet firmly on the ground, focused on the long road ahead. I think it’s going to be a fascinating journey for him. Local lad in Watford, I will definitely go and see him in the flesh in the not too distant future.

Looking at this card, Joshua and Luke Campbell’s 2nd fight, it got me thinking. Thinking of the Beijing Olympics 2008 and how our stars from then are progressing 5 yrs later.

Have they been a success?

Are they underachieving?

Are they knocking on the door for a World Title?

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5 yrs on… Are they where we expected them to be?

Frankie Gavin

17-0, (12 KO’s) “Funtime” Frankie, missed out on his place in the British Olympic team due to not making the weight. He was labelled as our top prospect prior to Beijing due to his strong amateur background. Gold at WAC in Chicago ’07, Gold at Melbourne Commonwealth Games in ’06.  Hailing from Birmingham, 27 yr old Light Welter Gavin won the Lonsdale belt 2 weeks ago outright. Gavin is now looking to make the step up to World level now. Despite his somewhat modest progression since his Beijing heartbreak, you cannot deny his class. I just compare him to Amir Khan from the Olympics in ’04, same weight class. Khan has been there, seen it and got the t-shirt. I feel Gavin hasn’t hit the heights he would have liked to at this stage. It’s a huge 18mths for him which will define his career. He will either be remembered as either a good domestic/European level fighter or someone who has finally fulfilled his potential at world level.

James DeGale

16-15-1, (10 KO’s) Middleweight Gold Medallist  “Chunky” De Gale has changed promoters from Frank Warren to Mick Hennessy in the past 5 yrs. Good record, with only one defeat against him to George Groves.  A fight I watched again a few months ago. It could have easily gone his way, Groves won by the skin of his teeth. Since that defeat I feel that DeGale has somewhat gone backwards since then. Hasn’t fought anyone of any significance and the fact Chris Eubank Jnr has been calling him out suggests that he is still very much a Domestic/European level fighter. DeGale has held the European WBC Super Middleweight title since December 2011. DeGale needs to capture the boxing public’s imagination and fight some dangerous opponents. At 27, I have my reservations whether he can compete at world level and if he truly belongs at boxing’s top table.

Billy Joe Saunders

18-0 (10 KO’s) Middleweight Saunders the youngest of the trio at 24 yrs, for me has made the most progress. Victories this year over undefeated pair John Ryder and Gary O’Sullivan respectively, has put him firmly as the best domestic middleweight below Barker/Murray/Macklin.  Saunders is set to face a yet unnamed opponent on 30th November defending his British and Commonwealth title. Pressure is on Warren to deliver a credible opponent to build on his fantastic 2013. I fully expect Billy Joe to be European champion early next year and having a World Title fight by the end of 2014. He was recognised by the Boxing Writers Club as their Young Boxer of the Year, fully deserved in my book.  Definite one to watch.

So what does the above tell us?

Competing at the Olympics, even winning Gold, doesn’t guarantee you success when you turn pro. You have to show hunger, desire along with the backing of a good promotional team to excel. The above 3 should be examples to Luke Campbell, Anthony Joshua and Anthony Ogogo of how it can go either way. We now can sit back and watch how the next 5 yrs pan out for these 3.

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Bright future? Time will tell….

Another exciting fight which is on the Carpe Diem bill is Scott Quigg v Salinas

Quigg (25 Fights-24 Wins – 0 Losses – 1 Draw 17 KO’s)

Quigg’s rescheduled fight from Haye/Fury bill see’s him fighting for the WBA Super-Bantamweight Title. Quigg who hadn’t fought since November 2012, prior to his 3 round KO of Prado in June. Co headlines the Carpe Diem bill.

He was promoted to WBA “regular” title without having to lace up due to rankings. What I like about Quigg is, he doesn’t want the belt gift wrapped. He has trained and approached this fight as if it’s an actual title match, himself as the challenger. Fantastic attitude to have, putting himself under pressure to deliver. This avoids any complacency creeping in and ensures he will deliver a great performance.

Winning World Title will put him a few steps ahead of his domestic rival Carl Frampton, who has also had an enforced absence due to a perforated eardrum ruled him out of fighting in the summer. It’s a fight that we all want to see, I’d love to see them get in the ring early next year. Then the winner going to face Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux . Who is the standout fighter in that division.

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The fight we all want to see….

One of them is likely to end up facing Kiko Martinez. (Frampton already has KO’d him) who won the IBF title in a surprise victory in the summer against Jonathan Romero.

Promotional politics are the only thing that could stop Frampton v Quigg. One in Warren’s stable, the other in Matchroom. You hope common sense and most importantly money will prevail to get them round the table. I expect this one to rumble on. I’d love to see them fighting numerous times, I can’t imagine there is much between them.

Right guys… That’s all from me this evening… tune in next week for analysis on this weekends card.

I’m off to watch the mighty Arsenal v Napoli.

By Paul Ready

@PaulReady

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