How is January treating you so far, have you fallen off the “diet” wagon yet?
We have had some fights announced and a retirement in recent weeks, so let’s cover these in the first instance.
Then I will discuss International Match-Ups which are scheduled for the next consecutive weekends.
Let’s dive in like you would on a gooey Chocolate Brownie…
Hmm… That’s tasty…
Former IBF Middleweight World Champion Darren “Dazzling” Barker announced this week his retirement from boxing.
Barker, who lost to Felix Sturm in December, has decided to call it a day with an impending hip operation due to take place.
I’ve written much about Darren over the past few months, but I believe he has made the right choice.
Barker has achieved every boy-hood fan’s dream of winning a World Title and can hold his head high. He has done himself and his family proud.
Dazzler defeated all odds inside and outside of the ring, leading him to reaching the “Promised Land” of becoming World Champion.
Darren has stated numerous times that he has no desire to become a trainer.
I can personally see him working as a pundit on fight nights for SkySports, or as an ambassador for Matchroom Boxing in a Bernard Hopkins-esq role.
Hopkins is an ambassador for Goldenboy Promotions in America, he is the “link” man between the promoter and the fighters. Bernard is a Hall of Fame boxer Stateside and commands instant respect from the stables fighters, young and old.
I feel young pro’s in Britain could learn plenty from Darren, remaining humble, hungry and down-to-earth are key traits to any aspiring World Champion.
I wish him all the best in whatever he decides to do.
Biggest news domestically has been Tyson Fury agreeing to fight on BoxNation.
It appeared that Frank had slightly jumped the gun assuming the deal was signed, when Fury’s camp denied it was agreed at that stage.
Tyson is still a Hennessy fighter, as is cousin Hughie Fury, but they will both fight on BoxNation for say 3 fights this year.
This opens the door immediately to a rematch with Dereck Chisora in the summer, something Warren spoke about hosting in a football stadium.
It should be an intriguing match-up domestically, as they are the top 2 British Heavyweights currently.
I’m choosing to exclude David Haye from this as he is still injured with a shoulder injury, despite posting pictures online of himself back in the gym.
I want to see Fury v Deontay Wilder this year; it is the biggest Heavyweight fight in the world.
Some may scoff at that, but two undefeated fighters, charismatic, some-bodies 0 has got to go!
Providing of course, that Fury beats a yet to be named opponent 15th Feb and Chisora of course in the summer.
The WBC has ordered a final eliminator between Mayweather Promotions Badou Jack (16-0: 11 KO’s) and James DeGale for the mandatory position of the Super Middle-Weight title.
This will be a stern test for DeGale, Jack is rated as one of brightest talents in the Mayweather stable.
The fight is scheduled to take place by June this year. I haven’t seen an abundance of Jack, but I would back DeGale to edge it on a decision.
The winner would then move on to face Sakio Bika who won a split decision last month against Anthony Dirrell.
George Groves was interviewed by IFLTV at a SkySports press conference for recently released movie “Grudge Match”; which features Sylvester Stallone and Robert Di Niro in a box-office boxing match-up.
Groves confirmed that he has held talks with American based Goldenboy Promotions and Top Rank already, with two meetings arranged this week with Boxing king-pin Al Haymon and New York based Lou Di-Bella.
I don’t believe it will be too long until we know who he has signed with.
Imagine if Groves signed with Haymon…
Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport, who promotes Carl Froch told SkySports earlier this week that the rematch between Froch & Groves remains a strong option.
Froch is keen to fight in Las Vegas before he retires, and as mentioned previously, Julio Chavez Jr, Gennady Golovkin and Andre Ward rematch as possible opponents.
Rumours have surfaced this morning of Froch agreeing to fight Andre Ward in Las Vegas on 1st June, but so far just word round the camp-fire.
I will now run through the first few cards that have been announced by Britain’s top two promoters, Matchroom and Frank Warren.
Reloaded, Cardiff Motorpoint Arena – 1st February
European Featherweight title
Lee Selby v Rendall Munroe
Gavin Rees v Gary Buckland
Anthony Joshua v Dorian Darch
Erick Ochieng v Dale Evans
Chris Jenkins v TBC
I for one am looking forward to seeing Lee Selby fight again, Selby is an exciting fighter in and outside of the ring, one that Matchroom have huge hopes for.
I would expect Selby to dispossess Munroe with ease and use a big performance to push him on to World level opposition and a title bout.
Anthony Joshua make’s his long awaited return from injury against Welshman Dorian Darch.
It will be great experience for Joshua to be the “away” fighter in this one, Darch hails from Aberdare and will certainly have the packed crowd on his side.
How will Joshua respond to a booing, baying partisan crowd of Welshman?
I think he will thrive in it.
Gavin Rees will be keen to put a forgetful 2013 behind him, with losses to Anthony Crolla and Adrien Broner respectively.
Rees faces fellow Welshman Gary Buckland, who is stepping up a weight-class and was on the wrong end of my KO of the year against Stephen Smith late 2013.
Chris Jenkins, Light Welterweight winner of Prizefighter, has an opportunity to shine on Skysports again, and move towards establishing himself at 140. Jenkins looked a level above the opposition in that competition, I’m looking forward to seeing him blossom over the next few years.
Copperbox, Stratford, London – 15th February 2014
Last week Frank Warren announced the first card of 2014 that Queensbury Promotions will host.
This will be a solid card that will contain the below fights, including a maiden outing for Tyson and possibly Hughie Fury on BoxNation:
The European Heavyweight Championship
Dereck Chisora v Andriy Rudenko
International Heavyweight Contest
Tyson Fury vs TBC
The WBO European Super-Middleweight Championship
Frank Buglioni v Gaetano Nespro
The Vacant WBA Intercontinental Welterweight Championship
Bradley Skeete v Vivian Harris
Hughie Fury v TBC
Jean Pascal v Lucien Bute – 18th January
We have our first super-fight this Saturday in Montreal Canada, which is rapidly becoming a boxing-mecca with Adonis Stevenson’s exploits last year.
It promises to be an explosive encounter, two fellow countrymen, it could be a Canadian Benn v Eubank.
Bute, who you will recall was battered by Carl Froch in 5 rounds in 2012, has fought just once since then against Denis Grachev later 2012.
He will be looking to weather a “Polar Vortex” of early punches from Pascal who is renowned for explosive starts.
I fear for Bute in this, having had an extended period of inactivity. This coupled with moving up to Light-Heavy, could be too much.
I feel Bute is no longer the same fighter and he could be stopped inside 7 or 8.
Next weekend we see the fights ramp-up significantly; David Price’s comeback in his maiden outing as a Sauerland fighter:
WBO Cruiserweight Championship
Marco Huck v Firat Arslan – 25th January – Stuttgart
David Price v Konstantin Airich – 25th January – Stuttgart
WBO Super-Featherweight Championship
Mikey Garcia v Juan Carlos Burgos – 25th January – Madison Sq Garden, New York
IBF Light-Welter Championship
Lamont Peterson v Jean Dierry – 25th January – Washington DC
Gabriel Rosado v Jermell Charlo – 25th January – Washington DC
Lots to look forward to as we await the return of the big boys!
Ok guys that is your lot from me on this crisp evening.
Have a great weekend and tune in next week.