@jamesdegale1 Exclusive Interview by Paul Ready

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I caught up with 2008 Olympic Gold Medallist James DeGale MBE today in camp as he prepares for his date with destiny – Chunky (20-1: 14 KO’s) aims to make history by becoming the first British gold medallist to become a world champion.

At the age of 29, James makes his first attempt at capturing a world title when he faces American Andre Dirrell (24-1: 16 KO’s) for the vacant IBF Super-Middleweight title.

Degale

Elite Boxing:

James, you looked really sharp just then – much more mobility as you moved.

You clearly have overcome your injury problems, how are you feeling at the moment?

James DeGale:

I feel extremely good, extremely fit – you just seen me then do four rounds, 12 minutes each round and you saw how hard I worked.

It was high intensity, a lot of work-rate and constantly thinking. I’ve got James Mac in the Southpaw stance working his jab – with some technique work, at the same time Jim was giving me graft on the pads. I’m feeling good man, training is going well – I’ve been training for the past 7-8 weeks so I’m super fit already, I’m just waiting for that date now!

EB:

I guess it’s difficult for you to be able to know when to “peak” with training until you get that confirmation of the date?

JG:

Of course – I’m just waiting for that date. It’s about how the training works around that date.

If the fight is in five weeks I can go flat-out again – if it’s eight weeks I’m going to have a week off or something as I don’t want to burn out.

As Jim says: “You can never burn out, but you can under-rest”. Which is true – you can never over-train, but you can under-rest.

EB:

I’ve watched some footage of Dirrell this week – he’s a Southpaw and he comes in with that left jab that then becomes a hook and followed by an uppercut.

So from your perspective, are you expecting him to “put it on you early”?

JG:

I don’t know – looking at his last couple of fights he’s been holding the centre of the ring more and trying to get his opponent out of there – instead of getting through it and winning on points.

Where as year’s ago in 2009 when he boxed (Carl) Froch and (Arthur) Abraham he was a negative fighter wasn’t he – he used his feet a lot & was willing just to win and look good.

His last couple of fights against (Derek) Edwards and others he’s looked solid, punching a lot harder – wanting to get his opponent out of there. 

I’m not too sure what to expect, but we’ve got everything covered man.

EB:

Well you’ve got the ability to box on the back-foot if needs be – inviting him to come on.

JG:

Do you know what – I’m going over there (to America) and I’m looking to take the title away from him – I’m not looking at a points victory – I want to go and put on a good show and win it convincingly.

EB:

It’s been a difficult few years for you and I was impressed with how you conducted yourself prior to you coming to Matchroom. 

You were perceived in the public as a bit of a villain in the early days and now you are liked.

Non-hardcore friends of mine even mention how they have a different opinion of you now!

JG:

Things are changing big time now. It’s crazy the amount of support I get on Twitter now or from the man on the street – it’s mad!

It’s really nice now. When I came back from the Olympics I was a normal 22 yr old boy from Harlesden – it felt like I was shoved in the limelight a little bit and I didn’t know how to take it.

Obviously I’m a confident young boy anyway and I’m not afraid to tell people how good I am – maybe I played it a bit wrong.

I’m 29 yrs old now and mature, I’ve been a professional for 7 years now – the way you think matures and changes.

EB:

Even when you were with Mick Hennessy and were boxing at the Glow in Bluewater, back then I was impressed with how humble you were – your sole focus was on yourself and not calling anyone else out.

JG:

I had to be humble where I was boxing at that time, it was tough.

EB:

I remember a fight against Dyah Davis for example – that was a tough and frustrating fight for you.

JG:

Yeah Dyah Davis – that was tough, I was injured – actually that was horrible!

Even when I was in there I knew in myself I should be getting rid of these people. I just couldn’t do it, I couldn’t land or get my shots off – it was so, so frustrating.

EB:

Looking at the rest of the Super-Middleweight division, you’ve got Andre Ward who has comeback and of course Jimmy won’t allow you to look beyond this fight but there are some massive names out there.

Ward, Froch still floating around, Golovkin if he moves up etc.

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JG:

If I get this world title, there are some massive fights – obviously domestically Carl Froch and the George Groves rematch.

Worldwide there is Ward – two Olympic gold medallists. Can you imagine that? The skill levels will be crazy.

Golovkin potentially coming up, there are SO many big fights out there; I’m looking forward to it!

EB:

Weight-wise in the future, could you see yourself moving up to Light-Heavy as you have the frame for it?

JG:

Yeah maybe in the future. The Light Heavyweight division at the moment is extremely tough with Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson. 

But I’m in boxing for the big fights and the fights that the people want me to be in.

I agree that I’m big enough for Light-Heavy. If the people want me to go up after I’ve won a world title and mix with those guys, I’m willing to do that.

That division is on fire currently with Stevenson and Kovalev – it’s a wicked division.

EB:

From your perspective winning the world title is your goal – do you want to unify the division?

JG:

Yeah, let’s go through the champions; I win the IBF title, who else have you got?

Arthur Abraham (WBO) – will he fight me though? Eddie Hearn works closely with the Sauerland’s so hopefully we can get that on, it could happen.

Then you’ve got Andre Ward – come on, that’s a massive fight. You could bill that as just “GOLD”, two Olympic gold medallists, same weights – it would be fantastic.

Who else have you got as champion, Anthony Dirrell (WBC) – Andre’s brother, all these fights can happen.

I want to be in these massive fights.

EB:

Final question James – you mentioned earlier to me that you should hear a concrete date next week on when the Dirrell fight will happen?

JG:

So next week they would have had 14 days when it got announced that they (Warriors) won the purse bid – it’s been 9 days already.

On Tuesday (24th March) it has to be signed, sealed and delivered.

Really I should be hearing something tomorrow (Friday). They’ve got to send the contract, we’ve got to have a look over it and send it back. 

So I should know tomorrow and get it announced in the next week.

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

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Rise Up & DC Armory Review.. by Paul Ready

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Happy St Georges Day one and all, today should be a public holiday for me!

Rise Up, Manchester

 

Tyrone Nurse v Tyler Goodjohn

Firstly, I was very disappointed like many to not see this fight on the red button prior to the 7.30pm “Go-Live” on Skysports.

Nurse won in a great fight capturing the vacant English Light-Welter title in the process, despite a valiant effort from Goodjohn.

Credit to Nurse, he boxed superbly from what I have read. Next for him, will be progression up the ranks and a future fight for the British Title.

For Goodjohn, it is time to regroup and go again after some time off, but he should take credit from his performance and was hailed by trainer Peter Sims in the aftermath, he will undoubtedly return.

 

Callum Smith v Francois Bastient

Undefeated Smith, billed as one of the most exciting prospects in World Boxing disposed of Frenchman Bastient with ease.

“Mundo” returned to the ring after an enforced 6 mth absence due to hand injury, finished Bastient off with delivery of yet another brutal body-shot.

If Smith was a Mortal Kombat character, the body-shot would definitely be his finishing move.

Bastient had clearly done his homework on Smith, having his elbows tight to his chest in anticipation of forthcoming blows. But the attempts to protect his body proved to be futile as he walked on to one in the 3rd, which he never recovered from.

I like Smith, he is a modest guy and the hype that surrounds him is certainly justified, what is refreshing to see is he is almost embarrassed by the attention received.

Next up for Callum is Tobias Webb in Cardiff next month, which will provide the necessary “step-up” in development.

Elder brother Paul Smith, the current British Super Middleweight spoke about aspirations of challenging Arthur Abraham for the WBO World Title, and would consider vacating the Lonsdale belt only for Callum.

On the subject of Paul Smith and Jamie Moore as pundits for Sky, I thoroughly enjoy listening to the pair of them.  It is refreshing to see an existing fighter and trainer on the panel alongside the team.

Both men raise some valid points and in my eyes are boxing’s answer to Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher.

 

Scott Quigg v Tshifhiwa Munyai

 

Scott Quigg continued his impressive form on Saturday by blasting late replacement Munyai away in 2 rounds.

Munyai who replaced Nehomar Cermeno was fortunately in the UK, fit and ready to step in at the 11th hour.

I didn’t get drawn in to the furore surrounding Munyai having an iota of a chance in causing an upset.

Quigg got the job done in emphatic fashion, the 1st knockdown in the 2nd i’m certain was streamed on the slow-motion video on the iPhone.

The manner Munyai hung in the air for a good few seconds then collapsing on the canvas wouldn’t of looked out place in a James Bond movie.

The 25yr old smelt blood and vented a flurry of punches that Howard Foster intervened on and halted the contest.

“After a performance like that, it’s got to be big fights,” he told Sky Sports News.

“We want unification fights, Leo Santa Cruz, Kiko Martinez, and obviously there is the Carl Frampton fight.

“They are the fights I want to be in and that’s what I’m looking towards in the future.

“It’s all coming together now. I’ve got to keep my feet on the ground, keep dedicated, keep focused and hopefully I can keep getting the wins and unify the division.”

The above mentioned adversaries are the exact opponents I expect to see Quigg in with, time to bed-in as a World Champion has passed, the public will demand unification fights for him here-on in.

I still favour Frampton against Quigg, although the gap between the pair of them is increasingly becoming narrower.

I expect much more social media tennis-tweets between both camps, but they should just get together and get it done.

Frampton has 1 more fight left of his 3 fight deal with BoxNation so if Santa Cruz does take his mandatory shot in the next few months, expect to see Quigg v Frampton late 2014.

For Quigg, I would like to see hunt-down the Kiko Martinez fight next; the stage would then be set for a monster 3 belt unification bout in Manchester/Belfast.

 

Anthony Crolla v Martin Murray

 

The battle of Manchester certainly lived up to its billing.

As expected favourite Murray flew out of the blocks, taking an early advantage over Crolla, demonstrating aggression and tenacity winning the early rounds.

The 29 yr old began to tire and fade as we approached the 5th, with Crolla creeping back in by winning the jab exchanges and winning key rounds.

A rally from Murray gave him the 7th by landing more stinging shots, Million Dollar took the 8th by peppering the double-jab and out-hustling his foe.

The Machine’s eye swelled in the 9th, with the petrol light fully illuminated, it was only a matter of time before Murray stuttered and ground to a halt down the stretch.

Crolla absorbed the noise pollution from the crowd like a catalytic converter, he transferred this into renewable energy to stop Murray in the 10th.

“It was even tougher than I expected,” Crolla told Sky Sports. 

“No matter how tough that looked, me and John were the luckiest men in this arena.

“I prepared for this fight like no other; John put the fear of god into me. I remember how tough those sparring sessions were and I knew I had to keep a cool head in a hot kitchen.

The 27 yr old is no longer playing knock-down ginger at the door of the world Lightweight scene pursuing a title shot.

A future fight with Simsy’s gym pair of Ricky Burns or Kevin Mitchell is another huge domestic bout in the future.

Burns & Mitchell for me are a level above Crolla at this stage, 1 a former world champion, the other a title challenger.

It’s great to see the British Lightweight scene being the talk of the town, coupled with Luke Campbell accelerating in the slip-stream; further titles will grace Blighty Boxing.

 

DC Armory, Washington

Shawn Porter v Paulie Malignaggi

 

Shawn “Showtime” Porter retained his IBF title in a voluntary defence against Paulie Malignaggi.

Porter battered Malignaggi in a performance that will send shivers down the spine of the 147lb division.

“Future Legend” Paulie, who was sent to hospital in the after-math of the fight as a precaution, will no doubt seriously consider retirement in-light of this crushing defeat.

No mercy was displayed by the 26 yr old from Ohio as he became only the 3rd man to stop Malignaggi after Ricky Hatton and Amir Khan.

Next up for Porter is a mandatory defence against Kell Brook in the summer, the Sheffield man is in for the toughest test of his career.

Based on this performance, Showtime will be the favourite, Special K will have to finally deliver his potential on the world-stage.

Richard Schaefer of GoldenBoy is taking the fight with Brook as a given, talking up the probability of a show-down with Floyd Mayweather Jnr in the future.

“Clearly he’s one of the best welterweights now and I think a threat to everyone after you’ve seen what he’s done with Devon Alexander, another wonderful fighter, and following that up with Paulie Malignaggi. It’s the hottest weight class.”

“We’ll discuss it with team Porter and why not? Me as a fan, after we’ve seen what he’s done with Devon, who is an outstanding boxer, and what he’s done with Paulie, who is an outstanding boxer and Floyd is the best boxer from a boxing point of view.

“I’d love to see the match-up with someone as young, as aggressive, as relentless as Shawn Porter.”

 

Bernard Hopkins v Beibut Shumenov

 

The 49 yr old self-proclaimed Alien, became the oldest boxer to unify world titles by snatching the WBA Light-Heavy belt to keep the IBF title company.

Hopkins beat a man who is young enough to be his son via a split decision to add another chapter to an already glittering career.

The Philly native has spoke about a desire to also face Floyd Mayweather Jnr at Middleweight after he has “dealt” with Adonis Stevenson.

Superman Stevenson now boxing on Showtime is the next logical opponent for Hopkins.

 

“After I become the undisputed light-heavyweight champion of the world, if there was one big fight out there, I know what I would call it — 50-50,” said Hopkins.

 “He wants to pass Marciano. He wants to get to 50 and I [will be] 50. That would be huge.”

 “I would love to do that,” he said.

 “But let me get past Stevenson first.”

 

This weekend we have the below fights:

 

Stub Hub Arena, Carson, California

 

Keith Thurman v Julio Diaz

Interim WBA Welter Title

Lucas Matthysse v John Molina

Vacant WBC Continental Americas Light-Welter Title

Omar Figueroa v Jerry Belmontes

WBC Lightweight Title

 

@EliteBoxingNet

@PaulReady

Boxing Update 26/03 by Paul Ready

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It has been relatively quiet last weekend and this forthcoming one with a self-imposed “half-term” of the 2014 Boxing season.

 

 

Let’s recap the main talking points of the past week, but before we do so I wanted to mention some key milestones that happened this week in history:

 

25th March 1916—Women are allowed to attend a boxing match for the first time in the United States, provided they bring sandwiches for all in attendance.

25th March 1958 – Sugar Ray Robinson had become the first boxer to win a divisional world championship five times.

26th March 1974  George Foreman TKOs Ken Norton in 2 for the Heavyweight boxing title in Caracas, Venezuela.

26th March 1992 – Mike Tyson sentenced to 10 years for rape of Desiree Washington.

25th March 1995 – Mike Tyson released from jail after serving 3 years.

 

Some interesting facts there, most notably the first one.

Can you imagine stewards asking female patrons at a boxing event by the entrance if they have brought a sufficient amount of cucumber and tuna sandwiches for everyone?

Amazing how backward the world was nearly 100 years ago!

 

Brian Rose

Rose has been announced as an opponent to fight Demetrius Andrade for the WBO Light-Middleweight title of the world on 14th June in America.

The venue has yet to be confirmed, but likely to be on the East coast, Atlantic City my bet.

The Lion became mandatory challenger by beating Javier Maciel of Argentina in October last year.

The proposition of the man from the bright lights of Blackpool becoming World Champion and would be another fairytale story to add to British boxing history.

Providence born Andrade, 26, has a 100% record; 20-0 (13 KO’s) displaying a 65% KO record and a fine amateur record.

“Boo-Boo” won the belt on a split decision late last year against Vanes Martirosyan.

Rose will be a dark horse in this encounter and will fancy his chances of an upset against arguably one of the boxing’s more enervated champions.

 

“It’s a dream come true for me and something that I have wanted since I starting boxing at the age of nine,” said Rose.

“We’re not going over there to make up the numbers. I’m bringing that belt back to the UK.

“Andrade is, no doubt, a world-class fighter. He’s got the title and an impressive amateur pedigree. But I’ve got experience on my side; I’ve had more fights and more 12-rounders.

“I’ve been in with better and tougher opponents so this fight doesn’t and won’t faze me.”

 

Amir Khan

Khan has confirmed he will face Luis Collazo as chief support on “The Moment” on May 3rd.

The Moment isn’t the latest rom-com that stars Ashton Kutcher/Zac Efron/Channing Tatum but in-fact the title given to Mayweather v Maidana card at the MGM Grand Casino, Las Vegas.

Collazo (35-5: 18 KO’s) will be King Khan’s opportunity to get his ears wet at 147lbs after making the decision to step up from 140lbs.

A hard-hitting southpaw, Collazo is an ideal opponent for the 27yr old to see how he fares as a Welterweight.

The 32 yr old from Brooklyn put himself firmly in the shop window by knocking out boxer turned actor Victor Ortiz at the end of January this year.

Coupled with signing with power-broker Al Haymon, it has been a great 2014 so far for Collazo.

You may recall he lost to Ricky Hatton back in 2006 on points and the only other blotches on his copy-book were against Shane Mosely, Andre Berto and Freddy Hernandez.

Collazo is what is often referred to as a “gate-keeper” in boxing. He is the type of foe Khan should beat, (albeit perhaps with a few scares)

If King Khan doesn’t win in comfortable fashion on the most high-profile of shows in the calendar, then he will struggle to make a serious impact at this weight.

I’m backing Khan to stop Collazo in 7-8 rounds, his rapid hand-speed should be enough to see him walk away with the W.

The key thing for him, and I sound like a broken record saying it, is for the 27 yr old to follow and execute the game-plan.

Don’t get sucked in to a war with Collazo as he will knock you down at some stage, focus on your footwork and abstain from taking shots on the chin.

 

“You’ll see a different fighter – better, more skilled, patient and smarter,” said Bolton-born Khan.

“I can’t wait to get back in there and cause some hurt.”

“I think the fight with Mayweather will happen one day but I’m not rushing and it will happen when I’m ready,” said Khan.

 

International 

This weekend Sergey Kovalev faces Cedric Agnew at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City for the WBO Light-Heavy world title.

The Krusher who snatched the title away from Nathan Cleverly last summer and blew Ismayl Sillah with arguably one of the KO’s of 2013, makes his first bow in 2014.

 

With the news this week of division rival Adonis Stevenson declining to re-negotiate his current deal with HBO, rival broadcaster Showtime announced it had secured the Stevenson v Andrzej Fonfara on May 24th.

Showtime Sports’ executive vice president and general manager Stephen Espinoza said the deal is for the Fonfara fight, but added,

“There is a structure which allows us to continue for multiple fights beyond that.”

“Both Adonis and Bernard have business they need to take care of, but, yes, that is a fight we would be interested in doing,” Espinoza said.

IBF light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins faces WBA champion Beibut Shumenov on April 19 in Washington, D.C.

 If “The Alien” wins, it brings the Stevenson fight closer, should the latter prevail of course over Fonfara.

 

The Alien v Superman, now THAT is a title for a PPV fight!

 

Tune in next week for my pre-fight build up of Frampton Comes Alive in Belfast and Welterweight Prizefighter at York Hall.

The show is headlined by John “The Gorilla” Ryder who faces Jez Wilson in a British Middleweight title eliminator fight; with Ricky Boylan making his debut as a Matchroom fighter on show too.

 

@EliteBoxingBlog

@PaulReady

Elite Boxing 2013 Awards

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Eve of Christmas Eve, last few days at work for some. I’ve been in holiday mode since 1st December.
So we have come to the end of the Boxing season for 2013 and without question, the most exciting in my memory, 2014 has some big shoes to fill.

I’ve spent some time to say the least deciding on the below, some pick themselves; others needed some thought and serious consideration.

Firstly a special thanks to my unofficial sponsors of the awards Night Nurse and Nurofen.

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Let’s get stuck in….

UK Prospect of The Year

Nominees:
Anthony Joshua
Luke Campbell
Callum Smith
Winner: Callum Smith

To put it simply, I think Callum Smith is not only the most talented Smith brother; he is the most exciting British prospect on these shores. He has absolutely everything in his locker. Tall, rangey, good feet, can bang and had scored one of the best domestic KO’s with a sickening body shot against Ruben Acosta in October.
Smith who has sparred with Carl Froch since his amateur days, cites the experience as invaluable.
Massive 2014 beckons for the Liverpudlian Super Middleweight, a fight against James DeGale late 2014 and I would love to see him against George Groves in a few years time.

International Prospect of The Year
Vasyl Lomachenko
Errol Spence Jr
Oscar Valdez
Winner: Errol Spence Jr

Strong argument for Lomachenko, but he has only had 1 professional fight so far. Texan Southpaw Spence, competed at London 2012 at Welterweight, reaching the Quarter Finals. Currently at 9-0 ( 7 KO’s), Spence is seriously slick boxer, patient, picks his punches well. It’s easy to get carried away, but he looks special. Appears to be no ego with this guy either yet, one hopes he stays humble as the victories and women pile up.
Spence Jr became a somewhat overnight sensation for allegedly knocking Adrien Broner down in sparring and giving Floyd Mayweather a black eye whilst training at Mayweather Gym earlier this year. Spence Jr received a black eye himself, in what some described as the toughest sparring Mayweather has had for some years. Mayweather then proceeded to eject Spence Jr immediately from the gym in disgust, for him to only invite him back later that day.

UK Fight of the Year:

Froch v Groves
This was one that picked itself, the best fight I have seen for years. It certainly was one of the most memorable for a number of reasons. Star was born and announced on the World Stage in George Groves. Carl Froch became a villain in one post fight interview. Groves was cheered out of the ring, Froch booed. They had completely switched roles of hero & villain from before the fight. I can smugly sit here and say that I backed Groves, along with a handful of friends. Froch struggles against fighters younger, quicker than him. Ward who took him to school, Dirrell; Froch was very fortunate to beat.
The conclusion and end of the fight still causes outrage to most, myself included. I hope and pray we see this again next year as Groves disposes of him like a used condom in a matter of rounds!
I want to give a special mention to Carl Frampton for his devastating victory over Kiko Martinez in early 2013. Martinez as we now know is IBF Super Bantamweight champion and proves that Frampton deserves to be sat at boxing’s big table. 2014 is a huge year for him.

International Fight of The Year:

Bradley v Provodnikov

This was a complete barnstormer, Bradley had to dig seriously deep against a then unknown fighter in Ruslan Provodnikov. Bradley threw his traditional counter punching style completely out of the window. He proceeded to stand toe to toe and trade, nearly being knocked out in the 1st two rounds where he looked distinctly average.
What impressed me about this fight were Bradley’s survival instincts. The majority of the division at 147lbs would have been knocked out, they certainly wouldn’t have gone the distance with the Russian.
Bradley admitted at the end of the bout to Max Kellerman of HBO that he was concussed in the 2nd round, and doesn’t remember the majority of the fight. This makes the win even more remarkable in my eyes.

UK Trainer of the Year:
Joe Gallagher

Fantastic year for Gallagher’s Gym, despite the stick Scott Quigg has received in some quarters for being “handed” the WBA Super Bantamweight title, as opposed to winning it off a champion. Quigg has fought 3 times in 5 months, to put a forgetful 2012 behind him. With Gallagher in his corner, this has got him to where he is today, on the cusp of some huge unification fights. The stable has had a hugely successful 12 mths. I’m sure I read that they have 11/12 Area/British/European/World Titles between them.
Stable consists of the following fighters Scott Quigg, Anthony Crolla, Liam, Steven, Paul and Callum Smith, Scotty Cardle, Calum Johnson and arguably the boxing hub of the UK.
International Trainer of the Year 2013

Robert Garcia

Garcia has transformed and orchestrated Marcos Maidana’s world class win over Adrien Broner last weekend to become world champion. Brother Mikey Garcia became WBO Super Featherweight champion, Evgeny Gradovich aka The Mexican Russian won the IBF Featherweight title. He trained Brandon Rios against Manny Pacquiao, Nonito Donaire against Rigondeaux.
Garcia is a student of the game having fought himself and being a former world champion, displays a meticulous boxing brain, preparing his fighters for every eventuality. No stone is left unturned and I expect more to come from the Oxnard, California gym next year.

UK Fighter of The Year
Darren Barker
Now this may raise some eyebrows, but I don’t care. For this man to win the IBF Middleweight world title, regardless of losing it this month was a remarkable achievement to say the least.
Darren would be the first to admit that not beyond his wildest dreams he felt he would ever become a world champion in his career, but he did it.
A man who has faced every adversity in and out of the ring, and conquered them, I feel this warrants him being my fighter of the year.
Special mention to George Groves he beat Carl Froch like he was his daddy. Fully deserves to be World Champion and I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever he will be next year. Any fighter at 168 with a belt beware as Groves is coming.

International Fighter of The Year
Adonis Stevenson

Adonis is somewhat late bloomer on the world stage, exploded in stunning fashion by flattening Chad Dawson in round 1 this summer to win the WBC Light Heavy title. He proceeded to fight twice more this calendar year, beating Tavoris Cloud convincingly and battering Tony Bellew the end of last month.
I want him against Kovalev, and I want it now!!
Special Achievement Award

Floyd Mayweather Jr

You simply can’t forget Floyd when giving out awards. Two PPV fights this year, “The One” against Canelo becoming the highest grossing fight ever.
The Showtime presentation of the boxing match pulled in nearly $150 million in domestic PPV revenue. The still undefeated Mayweather’s win soundly beats the previous $136 million record set by his match-up against Oscar De La Hoya back on May 24, 2007. The fight had 2.2 million PPV buys.
Taking the financials out of the equation, the sheer nature of Floyd’s victories is more impressive than the money. At 37, Mayweather still displays the same hunger and work ethic of a 19yr old prospect and has somehow defied physics by becoming even quicker. He took Canelo and Robert Guerrero to school in both contests.
For my final section, sponsored by Nurofen Ibrupofen Liquid Capsules “Hit pain, where it hurts”… words are simply not necessary; you can just watch and wince…

British Knockout of the Year:

Steven Smith v Gary Buckland

International Knockout of the Year
Adonis Stevenson v Chad Dawson

So this concludes my awards in what has been a memorable year in not only world boxing, but domestically too. Boxing feels exciting; there is a buzz in the air.
I have friends & work colleagues who I would class as casual fans slowly becoming fully fledged fans. It’s like the resurgence of a cult, minus the mass suicide and pyramid style pay scheme; everyone wants to be part of it.

The more the merrier I say, it can only be good for the sport if more people are watching and taking a serious vested interest in it and going to shows, supporting our fighters, travelling abroad etc.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for reading my ramblings and opinions over the past few months; constant support from everyone I know personally is greatly appreciated.

Tune in around this time next week for my Forecast of 2014 and fights we MUST have made.

Merry Christmas and come on you Red’s tonight against Chelsea!

Regards

Paul

@EliteBoxingBlog
@PaulReady

Bellew..Barker..Battle of Brooklyn & The Cuban.. By Paul Ready

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Evening,

chili-pepper-hot-scale-11
I’ve been struck by man/bird/swine flu, so I bought myself a box of the world’s hottest chilli powders as anecdote; Ghost, Butch T (sounds hard), Moruga and Bhut Jolokia.

I intend to launch one of these in a curry later this evening, if it doesn’t make me sweat it out, I’m hoping Butch T beats it out.

Two big weekends of boxing coming up, home and abroad, but before we get in to that, let’s discuss Tony Bellew from the weekend just gone:

Stevenson v Bellew

Adonis Stevenson beat Tony Bellew in a 6th round TKO, to retain his WBC Light Heavyweight title. For me, the most exciting thing was the weigh in where it kicked off massively. Bellew touched heads with Stevenson at the face off and all hell broke loose.

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Guy in the middle looks like he has shit his pants

Stevenson was carried away by his entourage calling Bellew:

“A bum, you can’t fight, you’re getting knocked out” etc.

Back to the fight, Bellew was completely outclassed by Stevenson who seriously impressed me with his boxing ability. He proceeded to carry on where he left off against Tavoris Cloud by showing a tight defence and exerting some real power when he unloaded.

“He said I’m a dwarf, and the dwarf knocked him out,” said 36-year-old Stevenson, who was giving up four inches in height and five years in age to the 6ft 3in Bellew.
“I told him, when he’s going to feel my power, I’m going to drop him out.”

That he certainly did when he ended the fight with a huge left that rocked Bellew completely off balance, Stevenson steamed in with a melee of punches which the ref jumped straight in and called a halt to the encounter. Well timed stoppage and no controversy in Canada.

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I take my hat off to Bellew for going out there; he has apparently had stick off BRITISH fans on twitter which I find pretty disgusting. No matter how you think they will fare in these match ups, you have to support your own.

Stevenson was always going to win this one, but I wouldn’t insult a man who has endured a gruelling 12wk camp for the shot of a lifetime, he deserves respect.
For Bellew, he is considering moving up to Cruiserweight for his next move, arch nemesis Nathan Cleverly is now operating there, so could have a big domestic rematch.
For Stevenson, he has called out Froch and Hopkins on behalf of Canada, for their victories over Bute and Pascal. Two easy fights for him in my eyes, as he stops them both well within the distance.
One man he seemed apparent to distance himself from fighting is unbeaten Russian Sergey Kovalev (23-0-1, 21 KO’s) in a Light Weight unification match up.
I for one don’t blame him.
Kovalev is a complete beast; he ate Nathan Cleverly in the summer like a homeless person consuming a meal at the Salvation Army and dropped a Hiroshima style nuke on Ismayl Sillakh in round 2 on the undercard. Check out the 2nd knockdown, he doesn’t fuck around!

Money talks as they say and HBO will demand that fight happens in Spring 2014, it is one I cannot wait to see.
This weekend, we have IBF Middleweight World Champ “Dazzling” Darren Barker, facing his mandatory challenger, veteran Felix Sturm in Stuttgart on Saturday evening.

Barker v Sturm

Darren Barker (26-1: 16 KO’s) makes his first defence of the IBF Middleweight title against Felix Sturm (38-3-2: 17 KO’s) in Stuttgart on December 7th.

Barker, 31 has agreed a career high purse of £700k/$1.1m to fight in Germany against veteran Sturm, 34.
This, from my perspective is admirable from a newly crowned champion and you simply can’t turn that kind of money down simply because you are the “away” fighter.

Matchroom who represent Barker have ensured there is no favouritism to the home fighter by appointing neutral judges. This is a smart move considering recent questionable scoring in Mayweather v Canelo and Bradley v Marquez.

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More like a GQ photo-shoot than a press conference…

In addition, they have inserted a rematch clause which would take place in London if they felt the need to activate it, if he does lose on a contentious decision.

Sturm, has spent the lion’s share of his career fighting in Germany and Europe, only venturing to the USA once to fight Oscar De La Hoya in 2004,losing on a unanimous decision in Las Vegas.

Other notable opponents on his CV are Brits Martin Murray, Matthew Macklin, Daniel Geale.

Murray, Sturm drew with; Macklin, won a split decision and Geale he lost on a split decision, his 1st defeat in 6 years.

Geale, we all know well as he is the man Barker beat in August to win his 1st World title in dramatic fashion.

It was a fight that captured the imagination of not only your hardcore boxing contingency, but even the general public as well.
I will give you an example.

I was up myself doing a shift feeding my then 2 week older daughter. My girlfriend, who to be fair to her is no sport fan whatsoever, was utterly mesmerised by the end of the fight.

It was truly heart rendering and you can see how much it meant to Barker and his camp.

All in tears once they heard “And NEW!!!”, you would of had to go far to find a dry eye in the arena.

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It felt lost a bit on HBO’s Max Kellerman, perhaps he thought it was another overrated Brit celebrating a win. But I’m certain he now knows what it meant to them.

Barker dedicated the victory to his late brother Gary, who died tragically in a car accident 7 years ago.

In the aftermath of the fight, Darren swore he saw his brother in the ring when he was knocked down by Geale:

“I saw Gary as clear as day. It was vivid, so vivid. He was there. I know it sounds like a movie script, but I saw my brother. He told me to get up.”
In this fight, I can only see one winner.

Barker.

Why you ask?

Momentum.

The Geale victory in face of defeat will have given him new found hunger to have a gruelling camp and push himself to be in the best shape possible.

Amazing what winning a world title will do to a man. Barker will be reluctant to surrender a belt that he has spent his whole career to date working towards acquiring.

Blood, sweat, tears and tragedy he has experienced.

Sturm I feel is in the Winter of his career, he will still pose a serious threat that Barker won’t take lightly, but I envisage a Barker stoppage around round 8-10.

Stateside, we have the Battle of Brooklyn between Paulie Malignaggi and Zab Judah:
Malignaggi v Judah

Paulie Malignaggi (32-5, 7 KO’s) faces Zab Judah (42-8, 29 KO’s) at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn on Saturday evening.

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What is a local, fierce derby from a geographical perspective, we have two guys who are “home boys” according to Judah and have both spoke very candidly about one another.

Shame really, but I think it reflects on where they both are in their respective careers; Malignaggi coming off a loss to Adrien Broner in the summer and thus losing his WBA Welterweight title, Judah, losing to Danny Garcia at Jnr Welter.

No shame on either defeat for the Brooklyn boys, Broner a multi-weight world champion, Garcia the main man at 140lbs.

What it does represent is an opportunity for each of them to display they are not in twilight of their career, and let’s face it, provide a good pay day in front of a packed home crowd.

I’d favour Malignaggi over the distance due to speed and appearing the busier fighter, but Judah can bang, so don’t be surprised if he gets a late stoppage.

There is a knats cock between them.
Rigondeaux v Agbeko

Super Bantamweight Kingpin Guillermo Rigondeaux faces Joseph Agbeko at Boardwalk Hall on Saturday night, for the WBA and WBO super bantamweight titles.

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This is the Cuban’s 1st fight since his dismantling of Nonito Donaire earlier this year, which was a pure boxing lesson for any aspiring young fighter and one to send shivers down the spine of young starlets such as Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton.

For Agbeko, it’s his first outing since 2011, he is a former two-time world champion, used to be a steady fighter.

But this is easy money for Rigondeaux, like being on call for an hour on a Monday morning, spending the rest of the day at home. I fully expect Agbeko French kissing the canvas within 3 rounds.

The problem Rigondeaux has is who to face next, at 33 he is at the peak of his powers, Donaire rematch, Martinez, Frampton & Quigg other possible opponents.

I’ll be amazed if Team Frampton or Quigg want that fight just yet, they need to come armed with two belts first.

I’d love to see the winner of Frampton/Quigg in with him this time next year/early 2015.

Let’s see something different, make him box on the backfoot. Put him under the cosh, Donaire did have him on the deck remember.

Can he beat a hungry 25yr old superstar in the making?
Right,

That’s your lot from me.
I’m off to try these chilli’s, cue the ring of fire!

Have a good weekend and catch you next week.

Paul

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingBlog

Froch/Groves fall out.. Bellew..Rock The Box II… by Paul Ready

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Much has been written, read and said on Froch/Groves fall out.

Should we have a rematch?

Will Froch bottle it?

Will pressure from Promoter/HBO push Froch into a Ward, Golovkin & Chavez Jnr rematch?

Who will promote Groves?

Froch will be looking at the end now and securing his family’s financial future.
Groves, career defining next few moves.

Loads of questions and they will all remain unanswered I would imagine until the dust settles in the New Year.

I’m still in shock about the whole thing, after 5 days on.
More at Froch and the way he has behaved since.
Hero to villain in one night and undone any fan base he had accumulated outside of Nottingham.

It is going to be an interesting outcome.
I’m more bothered about Groves and that he gets himself a rematch or World Title shot against a Stieglitz or Bika next at the very least.

But my fear is he could be shafted.

Shafted in a male prison cell at 11pm sense.

Not pretty, and completely undeserved.

If I was Groves, I would head over to America with his family. Go with Paddy Fitzpatrick, train at Wildcard, Mayweather’s Gym, Virgil Hunter’s gym, Garcia’s Gym.

Use this time to build on his growing profile.

Groves could spar with Ward, Dawson, Hopkins, Stevenson, the experience will be invaluable.

He has plenty of options on the best route to take, and I have no doubt in my mind he will take his time and decide what is best for him.

Moving on to this weekend, we have Tony Bellew’s 2nd WBC Light-Heavyweight world title shot in Quebec, Canada against Adonis “Superman” Stevenson.

Stevenson v Bellew

Stevenson has had a terrific 2013, from shocking the boxing world with a 1st round TKO of Chad Dawson in the summer, to a 7th round KO of Tavoris Cloud in September.

Bellew, is another mandatory challenger and one who will pose a different threat to Stevenson.

The Bomber has a 4 inch height advantage and a 2 inch reach over the Superman, which could prove to be decisive.
I’m expecting Bellew to use these to his advantage from the outset, keeping Stevenson at bay with the jab, not allowing him to get on the inside and chop away at the body.

Bellew needs to keep a cool head and not get sucked in to trading on the inside with the hard hitting Canadian Southpaw, it could be an early night otherwise.

Let’s not get carried away, this is a mountain of a match up for Bellew. Stevenson is chasing “Fighter of the Year” award, and knocks people out for fun.

But at 36, how much more does he have in the tank?

When you think of fighters 36 yrs old+; Hopkins and Mayweather spring to mind, you have to adapt your boxing style as you age.
Stevenson simply won’t be able to continue as a high pressure, power puncher indefinitely.
Father time will catch up with him sooner or later so I wouldn’t be completely shocked if Bellew does the business out there.

He will need to show much more than he has in the two Isaac Chilemba fights, but I like his new found attitude and as a fellow Brit he gets my full support.

Closer to home, Saturday night sees a Frank Warren promotions card at the Copperbox in London “Rock The Box II”
Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora against Ondrej Pala for the The WBO and Vacant WBA International Heavyweight Championship.

Chisora seems to have chilled out a fair bit since the Haye/Klitschko matches, but I won’t speak to soon as I can see him in with David Price next year, and fully expect that to be ramped up!

In addition we have highly rated, undefeated Super Middleweight Frank Buglioni v Stepan Horvath for The Vacant WBO European Super Middleweight Title and finally Bradley Skeete v Colin Lynes for The English Welterweight Championship.

As a recent subscriber, I’ve got allot of time for BoxNation. I know it has had its critics being an additional £10 a month to your Sky/Virgin bill, but it offers great value for money. It is the place to be for the big American fights and as a boxing fan; you can’t avoid to miss those. Broner v Maidana in the next few weeks I’m really looking forward.

Right

Short and sweet.

I’m off to eat.

Catch you guys next week

@PaulReady
@EliteBoxingBlog

Mikey impressive.. Prizefighter.. Donaire & Ward By Paul Ready

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Evening,

We are entering the sexy season for boxing now, fights coming thick and fast.

F*ck the festive season for now, if I see another John Lewis, M&S, Coca Cola advert, my TV is going out the window.

Far too early for me!

Although, I’m still staring at this picture and so are you….

Admit it…

It’s ok…take your time…

Let’s crack on with a look at the past weekends exploits in the ring.

Garcia v Martinez

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Mikey Garcia stopped Rocky Martinez in the 8th round in Corpus Christi, Texas on Saturday night.

In doing so, Garcia won the WBO Junior Lightweight title and was the 1st man to knockdown & stop Puerto Rican Martinez in his career. After suffering a knockdown from a flash punch on the button in the 2nd, this served as a shot of espresso to Garcia.

From then on we witnessed the usual high pressure, aggressive streak that we have come to expect from the Californian.

The body shot that crumpled Martinez in the 8th like a screwed up ball of paper, was for me better than Callum Smith’s recent body shot KO. Mikey caught him with an absolute a peach of a left hook to the lower abdomen, you knew the fight was over, no question, Martinez gasped for breath like he was drowning.

Garcia was stripped of his featherweight title in June, when he failed to make weight for a defence against Juan Manuel Lopez. This provided redemption to him and a clear indicator that he should be fighting at a bigger weight.

Next up could be Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa (23-0: 16 KO’s), which would provide a stern test for him. Outside of that match up, there aren’t many fights in this division to whet the appetite.

What Garcia now needs to do is capture the imagination of the rapidly growing fan base he has acquired. Lomachenko v Garcia, for example would be a cracker, they would smash the shit out of each other for however long it lasted. But I would like to see that grow over a few years in to a PPV fight. In reality I can’t imagine Top Rank being so bold making it next year, expect that in 2015/16.

Personally, I’d like to see Garcia move up further, to Lightweight and compete there. Alongside the Brit Pack; Ricky Burns, Kevin Mitchell, Anthony Crolla, Gavin Rees, Luke Campbell, fellow American Terence Crawford (who has been announced as Burn’s WBO mandatory) and Miguel Vasquez.

Donaire v Darchinyan

Nonito Donaire (32-2: 21 KO’s) stopped Vic Darchinyan (39-6: 28 KO’s) on the same card in Texas. Darchinyan wanted to avenge the loss that cost him the IBF flyweight title previously. He was floored twice in the eighth round in a hard earned victory that perhaps, one could argue Darchinyan was leading up until that point. I had Darchinyan leading until then.

Donaire connected on more than half of his power punches. He had surgery on his right shoulder after his most recent fight, a loss by decision to Guillermo Rigondeaux.

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“Vic hit me hard and it felt like he broke my jaw earlier in the fight and all I was thinking was, `I’m going to lose,” Donaire said. “But I continued fighting and found an opportunity to land a great shot.”

This is what great fighters do, in the face of adversity they manage to pull something out of the bag to win when on the night, they don’t deserve to it.

For Donaire, he will want to avenge the Rigondeaux defeat naturally next, but I would like to see him face Carl Frampton.

That would be a mouth watering match up; they have both exchanged a few tweets to the tune of meeting in the ring at some point. It would prove to be a big step up in class for Frampton and one that he would have a genuine opportunity of winning.

This isn’t the same Donaire from years gone by, the Donaire who beat Manuel Vargas in 2010.

The Flash looks slightly off pace, probably down to the surgery in the summer, less mobile, an ideal time for Frampton to put himself in the shop window and face a top P4P Super Bantamweight.

Forget Quigg for now or a Martinez rematch, regardless of the IBF title.

Cyclone Promotions, make the call!!

Boxing this week, we have a treat on Thursday night from York Hall with Heavyweight Prizefighter. UK v USA, Ryder Cup style. Michael Sprott the main man for the UK and Hall of Famer James Toney for the Americans.

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Always an enjoyable watch these, Toney is an absolute legend in the sport, 3 weight world champion, fought at Middle right through to Heavyweight, avoided by Eubank and Benn in the 90’s, beaten Holyfield, lost to Roy Jones Jr.

My concern for him is at 45 yrs of age, after 88 Fights, “Lights Out” has taken far too many punches, listening to him speak on Ringside was tough viewing to understand the slurred speech. You never want to see anyone hurt in the sport, but he needs to think about calling it a day sooner rather than later, if not for him, for the family.

But Boxing is a like a drug addiction, it’s hard to resist and walk away. Hence why we see so many fighters having comebacks.

Toney was & still is a big character in and outside of the ring, I remember seeing a clip of him on Jonathan Ross via satellite sat next to Mickey Rourke in the mid 90’s. Benn and Eubank were on the show and the trash talking from Toney was superb, Benn bit and had a pipe back, but deep down, he knew his place.

When I first watched this, I actually though it was Kat from Red Dwarf sat there not Benn, absolute spit of him!

I fancy Toney or Sprott to do the business and win the whole thing.

On the same card we have Anthony Joshua’s 3rd outing against Croatian Hrvoje Kisicek, in-between the Semi Finals of the contest, looking forward to the next step forward for The Don.

Moving on to the weekend, we have the long awaited return of P4P number 2 in the World;

Andre “Son of God” Ward, THE man in the 168lb division.

I look at Ward with a small sense of envy, same school year as me, same height, weight.

One of us is a (possible) future P4P Boxing Writer, the other an undefeated World Champion who has faced the very best before he hits 30.

Showtime Championship Boxing: Andre Ward vs Sakio Bika - November 27, 2010

Could have been me….

Maybe not.

Ward who relinquished the WBC title in May, over an inability to face a mandatory challenger. SOG cited a shoulder injury, but couldn’t evidence it when challenged by the board, all got very messy.

He faces undefeated Edwin Rodriguez (24-0: 16 KO’s) in Ontario, California on Saturday night. It is an opportunity for Ward to exorcise some demons, and shake off ring rust, having not fought for 14 mths since a 10th round TKO of Chad Dawson.

Ward as we know is an efficient counter puncher, somewhat dull to the mainstream fans, the hardcore contingency appreciates the tactical approach he adopts.

The fact remains, there is no real blue print to defeating him.

Froch tried to trade with him, and was embarrassed in the process. Danced around The Cobra, slipping shots and unloading combos.

For Ward, he is rapidly running out of credible opposition to face. Golovkin should step up to 168 for me and face him, although I would fancy Ward on a decision.

A possible rematch with Froch could be on the cards, should he come through Groves of course, which isn’t guaranteed.

Maybe Adonis Stevenson/Bernard Hopkins at a catchweight?

Time will tell, feel free to leave some comments who you would like to see Ward fight next year??

Right ladies.

That is your lot from me.

I’m off to watch “The Gloves Are Off – Middleweights” that I recorded.

Catch you next week.

Paul

@EliteBoxingBlog

@PaulReady

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

2 Greatest Of All Time…. Polar opposites…. By Paul Ready

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Happy Friday Eve!

How is everyone?

Good I hope.

Found out today that a manager at work has thought my name was Jason for the past 3 months!

“Jason, can you close that window there”

Superb!

Clearly I’m that memorable.

My colleagues naturally were in stitches. Proceeding to call me it for the remainder of the day. It’s going to stick… I can feel it..

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Did she mistake me for a young Jason Orange? I’ll take that….

I’ve been intending to write about Sugar Ray Robinson for a few weeks. But this week Johnny Greaves was brought to my attention by a good friend of mine. Felt it only fitting if I gave him a mention too in the same blog.

Before we get on to that, let’s discuss this weekend’s upcoming action. No Haye v Fury fight, (which has now been rescheduled for 8th February.)

Adonis “Superman” Stevenson v Tavoris Cloud WBC Light Middleweight title fight in Montreal. Winner faces mandatory Tony Bellew later this year.

Stevenson (22 Fights, 21 Wins, 18 KO’s, 1 Loss) with home advantage after his brutal 1st KO of Chad Dawson earlier this year.

Sponsored by Night Nurse, Horlicks and Dreams……

This was Stevenson’s 8th straight win since his defeat to Darnell Boone 3 yrs ago. Stevenson has knocked out every one of his last 8 opponents. Monster puncher.

Ex IBF World Champion Cloud (25 fights, 24 Wins,  19 KO’s, 1 Loss) who impressively held the belt for 4 and a half years from 2008-2013. Lost earlier this year to “The Executioner” B Hop, in a unanimous decision. We have two fighters who can clearly “bang”. I hope this is the fight Garcia v Matthyse should have been, with a stoppage within 5-6 rounds. If I was betting money on this, I’d probably shade Cloud. He’s faced better opposition in his career to date. You don’t go the distance with B Hop if you can’t fight.

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Chess Master B Hop still a modern day tactician…

B Hop is a future Hall of Famer, so no shame in losing to him.

The man who is Mr Hall of Fame, The Greatest to ever lace up his gloves. No, not Rocky Marciano, Not even Muhammed Ali…

But Sugar Ray Robinson….

“He boxed as though he were playing the violin.”

– Sportswriter Barney Nagler

“To be a champ you have to believe in yourself when no one else will.”

– Sugar Ray Robinson

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Sugar Ray Robinson – Greatest Of All Time….

Born Walker Smith on 3rd May 1921 in Georgia. He moved to Harlem, New York with his mother upon his parents separating.

It was Harlem, where he first went to a boxing club. Aged 14 he tried to enter an U16 competition. In order to make himself eligible he borrowed a friend Ray Robinson’s AAU membership card. His boxing style was described as “sweet as sugar” by future manager George Gainsford. The name Sugar Ray Robinson was born.

Robinson made his debut in October 1940, at Lightweight, winning via a 7th round KO. He went on to fight 5 more times that year, That’s unheard of these days. Even for debutants.

Robinson’s prominent rivalry with Jake LaMotta, they faced each other 6 times, Robinson winning 5, losing only 1. Robinson had a 16lb weight disadvantage against LaMotta, this made his victories even more impressive. He was 40-0 until defeated by LaMotta.

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“I fought Sugar Ray so often, I almost got diabetes,”

– Jake LaMotta

Probably a few of you reading this thinking; “Wow.. sure.. impressive, but how is he better than Ali?”

200 Fights

173 Wins

108 Wins by KO

19 Losses

“The king, the master, my idol”

– Muhammed Ali

He won 90 fights and drew 2 after losing to LaMotta.

Robinson was as flamboyant as he was talented. Famous for his sharp outfits, Pink Flamingo Cadillac he drove around Harlem. Aptly called by him “The Hope Diamond of Harlem”

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Only a brother could pull off that car and outfit.. Salute..

He inspired a generation of young Black Americans, finding their feet in the world. Dealing with vicious racial oppression, trying to fit in. This was way before Ali refused to fight in the Vietnam war. He was the shepherd to the sheep. Muhammed Ali, Floyd Mayweather Sr and Roger Mayweather all regard him as the greatest ever. The latter two, even better than their son/nephew Floyd. I’m certain Floyd is desperate to finish his career undefeated so he can be mentioned in the same breath as Sugar Ray.

Sugar Ray took his entourage, a prototype for what is now commonplace among celebrity athletes, on his travels abroad. It included his trainer, golf pro, nutritionist, manicurist, driver, and, of course, Roger the barber.

Robinson was one of the first African Americans to establish himself as a star outside sports. He was an integral part of the New York social scene in the 1940s and 1950s.His glamorous restaurant, Sugar Ray’s, hosted stars such as Frank Sinatra, Jackie Gleason, Nat “King” Cole, Joe Louis, and Lena Horne among others.

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When I finally get my time machine working… I’m going back to the ’50’s to hang out with the Ratpack

Robinson was described as the “perfect” boxer. Flawless. Only came unstuck against heavier opponents and when father time took it’s toll.

Tall and rangy for a welterweight, he used his physical gifts to his advantage. Excellent footwork allowed him to position himself to launch two-fisted attacks from multiple angles. His stiff jab frequently morphed into a lead left hook that was delivered with exceptional torque. His overhand right, although often launched from distance, covered that distance rapidly and frequently with concussive impact. Threw blistering combinations with bad intentions and deployed a legendary repertoire of punches that he threw with almost balletic fluidity.

“Robinson could deliver a knockout blow going backward”

– Bert Sugar

The word legend is often overused in this day and age. We can safely say, Sugar Ray was one in every sense of the word. In and out of the ring. I could write blogs for the rest of my days on him. Fascinating character.

Which moves us on to the final point of my blog. The other G.O.A.T of boxing. Albeit, not as world renown as Sugar Ray. Ladies and Gentleman, may I present… Mr Johnny Greaves, the greatest journeyman of all time.

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Greaves from East Ham, 34 yrs old. 3 wins, 96 losses. Has his final fight this weekend at York Hall. Before he finally, 90 fights too late retires.

I’m more speechless about that than I am about Sugar Ray…

2nd thoughts…

No I’m not…

But seriously, a friend, relative, partner, somebody, ANYBODY! Should long ago pulled him to one side and said;

“Johnny, this isn’t working, let’s go paint some fences”

How this guy hasn’t suffered from brain damage is unbelievable. You never want to see anyone badly hurt, disabled due to the sport. You think of the impact it has on their families, friends.

I remember watching a 24/7 episode some years ago of a Pacquiao fight. There was a guy who spars with everyone. Latino guy, seemed really normal. Was never going to make it as a fighter. He was simply flown all over the place by Roach and battered for 12-15 rounds daily. They showed his wife and daughter, I genuinely felt for them!

Had to search high and low for info on “our Johnny”. So I will love you and leave you with the attached article, written earlier this year by British Boxers.co.uk

http://www.britishboxers.co.uk/2013/02/johnny-greaves-ive-nearly-reached-my.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BritishBoxersBoxingNewsReviewsLinksRankingsWwwbritishboxerscouk+(British+Boxing+Website+-++www.britishboxers.co.uk)

My daughter has finally settled after a good 4 hours of solid crying for no reason, so I’m off to grab some grub before she wakes up for feeding.

Tune in next week for build up to the “Carpe Diem” bill on October 5th. Quigg title shot, Joshua debut and Luke Campbell will have his next outing.

Cheers

Jason… I mean Paul.

@PaulReady