Joshua makes Midlands debut on May 9th #Resurrection



Olympic Heavyweight star lands in the second city – Eggington title shot – Rose and Smith return

Anthony Joshua MBE will face Rafael Zumbano Love in his Midlands debut at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham on May 9, live on Sky Sports.

Joshua returned to action in Newcastle on April 4 with a third round stoppage win over American Jason Gavern, and the Olympic Heavyweight gold medal hero will be looking to sharpen his tools in explosive fashion in Birmingham before facing Kevin ‘Kingpin’ Johnson on May 30. Love will provide a stiff test for Joshua, with the durable 6ft 4in challenger going the distance with Shannon Briggs for the NABA heavyweight title in June 2014 and landed the WBC Latino belt and vacant South American title with a first round KO on Saturday.

Joshua’s clash with the former Brazilian Heavyweight champion joins a star-studded line-up with all-action Stourbridge youngster Sam Eggington’s first major title shot as he faces Joseph Lamptey for the vacant Commonwealth Welterweight title vacated by Frankie Gavin.

Birmingham’s Kal Yafai faces Rey Megrino for the WBC silver flyweight title, Blackpool favourite Brian Rose is looking to make quick progress as he moves up to Middleweight and there is a welcome return to action for Liverpool’s Super Middleweight star Callum Smith.

World-rated Middleweight Matthew Macklin boxes in Birmingham for the first time in almost five years as he targets a World title shot, with a shot fellow Irishman Andy Lee on the top of his wish-list and Kal’s unbeaten brother Gamal will continue his rise in the pro ranks.

It’s a huge night of boxing on Sky Sports with the coverage of our big fight night in the second city joined by two massive fights from Hidalgo, Texas as WBA Bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell meets WBO king Tomoki Kameda and former two-weight World champion Ricky Burns tackles unbeaten former Lightweight World champion Omar Figueroa.

“I’m excited to bring Anthony to the Midlands in our first show there for over 13 years,” said Hearn. “It’s a big night for a number of Midlanders as Kal Yafai takes a huge stride towards a World title shot, Matthew Macklin returns to the ring chasing a World title shot later this year and Sam Eggington looks to continue his March in the 147lbs division. There is the long awaited return of Callum Smith from injury and Brian Rose begins his campaign in the Middleweight division.”


Tickets are on sale for May 9 now priced £40, £60 and £100 from and VIP tickets priced at £150 exclusively available from

Anthony Joshua by Paul Ready #GeordieRoar


Anthony Joshua took his record to 11-0: 11KO’s after the stoppage of Jason Gavern – but reading my Twitter timeline many aren’t satisfied.

With Bradley Saunders pulling out of the Newcastle card with injury – Joshua was elevated to headline act.


Photo by Lawrence Lustig

Twitter has been a tsunami of opinions and in his post fight interview with IFL TV, Joshua looked visibly pissed off – something we’ve yet to see.

The pressure and stick AJ received has reached fever pitch, it was only a matter of time before he showed his emotions – I credit him for finally doing so.

Joshua and Matchroom have been slaughtered in the Twitter-sphere for not putting him in with a more dangerous opponent. The guy has just returned from a 5 month lay off due to a stress fracture – so his first fight back was never going to be a top 10 contender.

The arguments many cite is that fellow Olympic Gold Medallists Guillermo Rigondeaux had a world title fight at 9-0, Vasyl Lomachenko had one in his 2nd professional fight – so why should Joshua be any different?

Lomachenko had a 391-1 amateur record; Rigondeaux’s was 374-12; Joshua had 40 odd amateur fights. Experience wise the Watford man is not ready for a world title shot – but within the next 8-9 fights he will be.

I think Johnny Nelson of Sky described his situation perfectly: 

“Joshua’s experience doesn’t yet match his ability”. 

Up until now I do think he has been matched well – but as soon as he lands clean on anyone they fold, his power is ridiculous. I agree however that his ability should see more sterner opponents now put infront of him

Crunch-time for his team is here, they need to keep a cool head and not bow to peer-group pressure.

Up next is Kevin “King-Pin” Johnson, a man who has never been stopped and I expect him to take Joshua in to unchartered terrority of the 6th round.

Dillian Whyte an old foe of the 25 yr old’s from the amateurs is chomping at the bit to fight him – even going as far as to draft a contract that has been sent to Matchroom. I think we get that fight this summer.

After as expected he disposes of Whyte and Johnson – then we see the real Anthony Joshua come to the foray. I expect him to be a mean mother-fucker who wants to hurt people. 

There is a Sonny Liston personality deep down – wait and see. 


Photo by Lawrence Lustig 

I expect him in with David Price, Lucas Browne and Shannon Briggs before 2015 is out and one eye on a 2016 summer showdown with Tyson Fury.

We love a Heavyweight in this country and the next few years are going to be exciting. 

Whether you tune in to support Joshua or watch willing him to be beat – we all know we will all tune in.



@anthonyfjoshua ready for comeback in Newcastle against Gavern



Olympic hero faces US Prizefighter finalist on April 4

Anthony Joshua MBE will face Jason Gavern at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle on April 4, live on Sky Sports.

Joshua is returning to the ring following a back injury and takes on the colourful American over eight rounds as Matchroom Boxing land in the north east with a bang.

The Olympic gold medal hero has blasted out all ten of his professional foes inside three rounds and the 25 year old is itching to get back into the ring after a four month absence.

“I can’t wait to get into the ring in Newcastle,” said Joshua. “It’s been frustrating being out of action but the injury has totally healed up and I will be firing on all cylinders next Saturday.

“Fans in the north east are mad about sport and I am sure it’s going to be a great atmosphere – I plan to put on a show for them.”

Gavern had success in previous outing in England where he defeated Larry Olubamiwo and former World champion James Toney to reach the Prizefighter UK vs. USA Heavyweights final in November 2013, where he was edged out by Michael Sprott. The Florida man provided a test for Joshua’s fellow hot Heavyweight talent from across the pond Deontay Wilder in August, and the American is planning to give Joshua a tough night.

“I’m excited to return to the UK,” said Gavern. “I had a great time in and out of the ring at Prizefighter and the fans were great. Anthony Joshua is a big talent but I’m confident I have the experience and have operated at a much higher level. Either way, we are going to find out plenty about AJ next week in Newcastle.

“I love fighting in the UK and England in particular as the boxing fans are so knowledgeable and passionate about the sport.”

Promoter Eddie Hearn added: “It’s great to see Anthony return from injury and I’m looking forward to seeing him face Jason in Newcastle. It’s a nice test on his return, Gavern has plenty of experience but Anthony has plenty of frustration to let out and north east boxing fans can expect an explosive performance in Newcastle next week.”

Joshua’s clash with Gavern is part of a big night of action in Newcastle where South Shield’s Anthony Nelson faces Dundee’s Jamie Wilson for the vacant Commonwealth Super Flyweight title.

Local favourite Jon-Lewis Dickinson challenges Stephen Simmons for the Scotsman’s WBC International Silver Cruiserweight title, and there’s a family feel on the bill with Jon-Lewis’ brother Travis in action.

Jeff Saunders makes his pro debut and there’s a host of unbeaten local talent on the bill with unbeaten Cruiserweight Simon Vallily, Light Heavyweight Jordan King, plus a debut for Lewis Ritson and a second pro outing for Scotland’s Commonwealth gold medallist Charlie Flynn.

Tickets are on sale now priced £40, £60 and £100 from the Metro Radio Arena at and on 0844 493 6666.

24/03 – Boxing Update by Paul Ready


As British Summer Time officially begins in the early hours of Sunday morning, everyone becomes more upbeat.

Longer evenings, beach bodies made at salad bars and of course our glorious sport moves towards the business part of the season. 


With Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao finally announced it has yielded a much-needed “double vodka & redbull” to proceedings.

Let’s focus on where we are in the UK.

James DeGale (who I interviewed & spent time with last week) is expecting his IBF world title shot against Andre Dirrell to be announced momentarily.

Warriors Boxing based out of Florida won the purse-bid with an eye-watering $3.1m. Chunky will have to travel to America to make history in May.

Kevin Mitchell off the back of his career-best performance over Daniel Estrada in January has another crack at a world-title against WBC Lightweight champion Jorge Linares.

Matchroom have pulled a masterstroke delivering that fight in Mitchell’s home-town of London – the roof will come off the O2 on the 30th May.

Tony Sims told me a few weeks ago that Kevin Mitchell is the most talented fighter he has ever trained – the 30 yr old does things in camp that you can’t teach.

Mitchell brimming with confidence and I simply cannot wait for that fight.

On the same bill Lee Selby faces IBF Featherweight world champion Evgeny Gradovich.

Selby is the bookies favourite for this fight. I spoke to Selby last month and he was out in Omaha for Gradovich’s last fight. The 28 yr old perceives him as a similar come-forward fighter to Joel Brunker – the Welshman is confident he will break him down and stop him late.

Former two-weight world champion Ricky Burns makes his US debut on 9th May against Omar Figueroa.

Rickster has endured a hellish 12 mths breaking his jaw, losing his world title to Terence Crawford, a long protracted court-case with a former promoter, change of trainer to Tony Sims and culminated with a loss in the first fight under him.

Anything that could have gone wrong for the 31 yr old had. I think it says a great deal about his resolve that he still has that desire to fight – I hope he comes back with a bang.

Anthony Joshua has flown slightly under the radar this year due a back-injury.

The Olympic gold medallist was due to face Kevin “Kingpin” Johnson at the end of January – which has been rescheduled for 30th May – some card that will be!

When Joshua steps in the ring next month in Newcastle against a yet unnamed opponent – it will mark a near six month absence since his last fight.

The 25 yr old was involved in a brief spat on Twitter with former amateur foe Dillian Whyte some weeks back. Whyte who boxed on the recent Carl Frampton and Chris Avalos bill is very keen to face AJ again in the pro-ranks – I hope we get to see that score settled once and for all this summer.

Matchroom Promoter Eddie Hearn is reportedly due to meet Barry McGuigan of Cyclone Promotions tomorrow (Wednesday) morning in London to “thrash-out” a deal for Carl Frampton to face Scott Quigg this summer.

The two Super-Bantamweights have long been affiliated with one-another – all being well we can finally see this match-up in what I anticipate to be THE fight in the UK this year.

Amir Khan seems to be the one man without a date for the summer prom so far. He was stood up again by Floyd Mayweather and unless he moves quick he could be dancing on his own for a while.

Adrien Broner has declared on Twitter & Instagram that he would be keen to face the 28 yr old, but after The Problem was found out at 147lbs against Marcos Maidana – I feel he needs to box a bit longer at 140lbs before moving up naturally.

So who does that leave for Khan?

Timothy Bradley would be a good option but it was challenging enough to get Bob Arum and Al Haymon round the table for Mayweather v Pacquiao. I’m not going to hold my breath on that one.


So as you can see, there are fights announced and plenty bubbling in the background.


The next few weeks and months will be seductive – time to musk up lads…





#StiverneWilder Review by Paul Ready


It has been nine long years since an American, Shannon Briggs held the WBO Heavyweight title – 25-30 yrs ago that would have been unheard of.

The MGM Grand in Las Vegas too has experienced a long absence since it hosted a Heavyweight title bout – the last championship fight was a hungry Mike Tyson snacking on Evander Holyfield’s ear – some 18 yrs ago.

I must admit like many I did back the Haitian born Bermaine “B Ware” Stiverne to win, citing Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder’s lack of experience – how wrong I was.

The Tuscaloosan put on a jabbing clinic that Larry Holmes would have been proud of and nullified any threat from the WBC champion. The pre-fight talk was around who was going to land first and at the end of the second round it appeared that Stiverne was about to fold.

B Ware’s legs buckled as the 29 yr old landed a “bomb” that left the champion wobbling – resulting in a rugby/NFL take-down that floored both men after the bell sounded.

The Bronze Bomber never looked back and accelerated in to the lead on the cards as he entered uncharted territory; seeing the fifth round. As he waned towards the championship rounds, the fight was destined to go the distance with Wilder taking a majority decision – what were the odds??

“I think I answered a lot of questions tonight,” Wilder said.

“I already knew it. We knew we could go 12 rounds. We knew we could take a punch. We knew we could give it. All the hard word is done in camp.”

Whilst I was impressed with Wilder’s patience and notably his jab, I couldn’t help but feel his boxing ability has many holes that a top heavyweight would exposure. I don’t recall him throwing one meaningful body-shot, he swings erratically when he connects, which leaves him wide-open for a counter-punch.

For such a slender heavyweight (Stiverne weighed in 20lbs heavier) I would expect much slicker footwork & lateral movement, but how can you develop your ring-craft if you have nailed all of your 32 opponents inside four-rounds?

I’m pleased for Wilder as American Heavyweight boxing desperately needed a new poster-boy – crowned on Muhammed Ali’s 73rd birthday no-less. The All Access preview show documented the adversity the Bronze-Bomber has faced with his daughter’s health – I’m not ashamed to say tugged at my fellow parental instinct; the champion has secured her financial future.

For Stiverne, the 36 yr old will take sometime to reflect & regroup after a gruelling camp that commenced in August:

“It wasn’t my night,” Stiverne told Showtime’s Jim Gray after the fight.

“I felt 100 percent before the fight but once I got in the ring I couldn’t cut the ring, I couldn’t move my head like I usually do.  What can I say?  Congrats to him.

So who is next for the newly crowned champion?

The likelihood being “Uncle Al” Haymon will move Deontay from ShowTime to his newly created PBC – (Premier Boxing Champions) schedule on NBC Sport and have at least one gimme outing as WBC champion.

Wilder never the shy & retiring type made no secret about who he wanted next:


‘I want Fury next, then Wladimir Klitschko for all the other titles by the end of this year. 

‘Me and Tyson would be one helluva fight. We’re both big punchers and entertainers. 

‘I would love to do it in the UK, where I’ve always enjoyed my visits. No problem for me.’


The UK is where the future of Heavyweight boxing is at – fights against Tyson Fury, David Price, Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte in the future can and will be huge. Not forgetting his former sparring partner David Haye – should he return of course.

I think he should give a unification fight with “Dr Steelhammer” Wladimir Klitschko a wide berth for the remainder of this year at the very least. The Ukrainian is King and the young Lions coming through have some way to go before they can consider dethroning him.


Heavyweight boxing has finally awoken from its deep sleep, it is showered, dressed and currently posing in the mirror with some sunglasses on before it steps outside….




@PeterJSims1 “A champion is a contender that never gave up”


Elite Boxing:

I’m here today with Peter “The Pirate” Sims and his rum!

2014 has been a good year for yourself – you’ve taken some extra fighters on and you are now back at your spiritual home in Hainault.

Firstly from your perspective, how has the year been for you when you reflect back?


Peter Sims:

It’s been alright Paul. As me and you just discussed – we’ve had some ups and some downs in the gym.

It started off on a down with the Wadi Camacho fight against Stephen Simmons, with Wadi getting stopped in the last round with a 1:54 to go. That wasn’t the best start to the year. For Tyler he won the English Light-Welter title at his second attempt, signed for Matchroom and the fight earlier last year against Tyrone Nurse he got beat.

So there has been some ups and downs.




In my opinion the Wadi fight with Simmons the build-up took a lot mentally out of him. You had the confrontation at the first press conference, then the Simmons injury and when it eventually came to the fight he perhaps had mentally exhausted himself.

Similar to what happened with Tony Bellew and Nathan Cleverly recently but on a different scale.



There is no excuses for the outcome of the fight. I don’t think it helped the fight being put off the first time. We went to Lanzarote for the training camp and the day before we were due to go Simmons had to pull out due to a costal cartilage injury in his rib. So that took a bit of spice out of the fight.

Then we had to wait – Wadi had a fight at York Hall in-between. When the fight did eventually happen it did go the way I wanted to as I wanted Wadi to spoil the war really. I wanted him to get on his back-foot, use his long reach and jab – then look to land a big shot in the middle to late rounds.

Unfortunately he got caught as a I said and that’s boxing, that’s life. It has been a massive defining point in his career now.



You could hear you telling him that on Sky. At the end of the 9th beginning of the 10th you said:

“This round will define will career”



I did tell him that. “This round will define your career and your life.” In both aspects; your boxing career and financially in your life. Unfortunately has nearly proven to be so. He has another half bite of the cherry with the Craig Kennedy fiasco up in Wales. We are looking to get him back on track really.



I do wish Wadi the best going in to 2015. With the news of him becoming a father it should give him extra impetus and more desire in his career.

Moving on to Tyler, he went in to the fight with Tyrone Nurse with various injuries. That fight didn’t go to plan but credit to Tyler he went back in the gym, worked his socks off and got his reward winning the English Light-Welter belt..

It was clear to see when I was here how hard he works – he was hardly out of breath.

The Ricky Boylan fight was one of the best I saw live last year.



Going back to the Nurse fight, we make no excuses but no one wanted to fight him. He was injured as is well documented but we took the fight.

Tyrone Nurse kept his word as before we fought him and I’d like to make a point for this as a lot of people don’t understand or take it on board – before we took we had a gentleman’s agreement that the winner would vacate the belt.

Nurse done what he said when he won which was decent of him and he kept his half of the bargain. We told him we had injuries before and they agreed to vacate if he won. A lot of people have claimed that they had mandatory positions and they let Tyler fight for the English against Boylan. Perhaps in the eyes of the British Boxing Board of Control others were mandatory but the gentleman’s agreement got us the Boylan fight.

Tyler done all that was asked of him against Boylan, switching tactics and he got a bad cut on the eyelid – he came out victorious and we are very proud of him as he deserved that.

My problem with Tyler is holding him back as he trains like a lunatic. I have to hold him back and monitor his runs so he doesn’t peak too early. I’ll say go do a 6 mile run and he’ll go do a 9 mile one!

That’s the sort of kid he is – he’s a pleasure to have in the gym.

He just loves a fight that kid. I’ve only ever seen two people in the gym like that; Tyler and Lee Purdy as they both love a fight. He doesn’t care about getting beat, he’s like a Mexican in a way as he just wants a scrap and he has nothing to lose but his pride.

As long as he keeps his pride and he does himself justice in a tear up. He’d rather come out of a fight battered and bruised than come out victorious by running away.

When Tyler wins the WBC International he will get a top 30 world ranking so we’d like to be in that place but he wants to go for the British Title and fulfill his dream. These WBC Silver’s and International’s are all well and good but he wants the domestic titles – the British or Commonwealth belts.

Let’s get the (John) Hibbert fight out-of-the-way first then we can focus on that.



Ben Hall is someone who you have taken on last year. A young fighter who already I can see has much more confidence in himself. When I first came down he seemed in awe of the stars of the gym; Ricky Burns, Kevin Mitchell, John Ryder and Anthony Joshua.

Physically Ben looks bigger, fitter than when he first joined. What kind of change and transition have you seen from him since he joined?



I’ve had Ben three months and he’s had 3 fights. He had two fights on Steve Goodwin bills and he had a fight on October 11th on the Matchroom O2 bill. It took three fights for me to get what was going on with him.

One thing he does as he’s a puncher is load-up on shots, secondly we discovered that he holds his breath and no one has ever told him any different. I couldn’t work out why he was getting so tired – it was a combination of nerves and adrenalin – he held his breath when he punched.

This made him take massive gasps of oxygen then holding – it was like fighting underwater. He’s a different kid from that now. I’ve loosened him up now, he was very stiff, very tight. Every shot had to be a big shot, he thought he could KO people with his jab.

In my opinion the kid is an absolute talent and go beyond domestic level – he has such fast hands, unbelievable power.

Ben has been sparring with John Ryder and John commented the other day: “He can properly punch that kid.”

Wait till he fills out to a proper Light-Middle, he’s only 21 and by the time he is 23-24 he will be a force in the Light-Middle division.



Jimmy Cooper is the other fighter you have and he’s got a busy start to 2015.



Yeah little Jimmy Cooper, it’s been a slow process with him, getting his licence done. He’s boxing on 25th February on a dinner show, nice and relaxed, no pressure of selling tickets or anything like that. Then 28th March he’s on a Steve Goodwin show in Portsmouth – he’s from Southampton.



Is it easy for Jimmy to travel up and train with you during the week?



He comes up and stays with Mark Seltzer’s at his house with Ricky Burns, he’s got a three bedroom house so he pays rent and that.

We are going away on 6th January, me, Tyler, Ben, Jimmy and we’re going out to the MGM Marbella Gym for sparing and a 12 day training camp prior to O2 bill.

Looking forward to getting away with them as the weather has been atrocious here recently.



With your stable now larger, I bet you’ve got some funny stories from the boys in camp?



Ben Hall has me in fits everyday. He’s a funny geezer. Ben is always on sun beds now, he’s got this thing about them. I bought him some moisturizer the other day – he came in the gym and he was orange!

But he hadn’t washed his hands and was an absolute classic! We always have a laugh in our gym every other day.

I’m just waiting to do the New Year’s general knowledge quiz, it’s 10 questions. We done one last year with Tony’s guys as well and I think Kevin Mitchell got 4 out of 10 he was the lowest. We have a great laugh doing that.

Ben has taken Tyler’s nickname of “The Log” as he’s thick as a plank.



Peter just wanted to thank you for all the access and introductions you’ve given me this year. I really appreciate it and look forward to catching up with you early this year.



Cheers Paul, thanks for the rum mate – been a pleasure.




Elite Boxing Awards 2014 by Paul Ready


In what has been a memorable year for British Boxing with new world champions and blockbuster events.

Let’s look at who & what has stood out for me this calendar year:

UK Fighter of the Year

Kell Brook

Yes I can hear the anti-Sky and anti-Matchroom brigade chortling in to their pot noodles watching Boxnation in their parents’ living room – but for me Brook deserves this.

Carl Frampton ran him a very close second but Brook having gone out to California and snatching the IBF title from the claws of Shawn Porter edged it.

Coupled with all the stick and adversity the 28 yr old has had to endure – it made the win even more bittersweet for me.

Runner up: Carl Frampton

The Jackal graduated in 2014 by becoming the IBF Super Bantamweight world champion with a one-sided victory over former foe Kiko Martinez.


Overseas Fighter of the Year

Terence Crawford

Was Crawford hype or the real deal?

It was a question on everyone’s lips prior to the Ricky Burns fight. The 27 yr old put that to bed in emphatic fashion – dethroning the Scot in his own backyard.

Victories over Yuriorkis Gamboa and Raymund Beltran cemented his status as THE man in the Lightweight division. With his huge frame he can and will move up to Light-Welter becoming a multi-weight world champion.

Runner up: Miguel Cotto

Cotto became the first 4 weight Puerto Rican world champion by beating Sergio Martinez in the summer.  The 34 yr old is in the midst of an indian summer in his career since linking up with Freddie Roach in 2013.


UK Fight of The Year

Tommy Coyle v Daniel Brizuela

A fight that saw eight knock-downs in total, each man dropped four times. Coyle appeared beaten in the 6th after a crippling body shot from the Argentinian – but the Hull man displayed some real grit and determination to rise to his feet.

The 25 yr old stopped Brizuela in the 12th with the referee waving off the contest. A real edge of your seat scrap that I could happily watch over and over again.

Runner-up: Tyler Goodjohn v Ricky Boylan


Overseas Fight Of The Year

Terence Crawford v Yuriorkis Gamboa

Crawford’s first title defence in his hometown of Omaha is one that he won’t forget in a hurry for a variety of reasons.

Gamboa started the brighter of the two taking the first four rounds – Crawford then dropped the Cuban in the 5th, 8th and twice in the 9th before it was stopped.

The height difference was telling as Crawford eventually kept the 33 yr old at range but Gamboa never stopped applying the pressure – true to his Cuban heritage.


UK KO of the Year

Carl Froch v George Groves 2

The setting was a post-war record-breaking crowd at the national stadium of 80,000 which I was proudly part of.

A conclusive punch ended a rematch that had captured everyone’s imagination.

As soon as it landed and Groves hit the deck I knew it was over. Brutal, unrelenting and it remains to be seen whether Saint GG will ever be the same.

Runner-up: Tommy Coyle v Michael Katsidis

Veteran Katsidis jumped on Coyle from the outset and was eager to catch an early flight home. Coyle flattened the Aussie in the 2nd with a huge counter-punch that sent him crashing to the ground – like a tree in a forest.


Overseas KO of The Year

Felix Verdejo v Sergio Villaneuva

The 2012 Olympic Bronze medallist nearly decapitated Villaneuva with a right-hook in the 3rd round. It was a sickening shot that immediately halted the contest and further enhanced the Puerto Rican’s growing reputation.

Runner-up: Nicholas Walters v Vic Darchinyan

Jamaican Walter’s was one of the break-out stars of 2014 with impressive stoppages over Nonito Donaire and Vic Darchinyan.

The Darchinyan KO was that rapid it needed to be appreciated on slow motion replay.


UK Trainer of the Year

Joe Gallagher

In another successful year for Gallagher’s Gym in Manchester with all their leading names make significant statements over the past 12mths. Paul Smith Jr took Arthur Abraham to the wire in Germany for the WBO Super-Middleweight title. Callum Smith continued his ascendancy towards a world title with some impressive victories. Scott Quigg remains undefeated as he chases the biggest names in the Super-Bantamweight division. Liam & Stephen Smith continue their paths towards world titles.

Anthony Crolla who last night suffered horrific injuries stopping a burglary in his neighborhood is perhaps Gallagher’s biggest success story of 2014.

Crolla had signed to face Richar Abril in January for the WBA Lightweight prior to his injury and his progression since his defeat to Derry Mathews has been staggering. The fight against John Murray was one of the very best we saw domestically and you hope his title shot will still be present – should he make a full recovery.

Runner up: Shane McGuigan

The 26 yr old steered his 27 yr old charge Carl Frampton to the IBF title this year. Shane is destined for a long and successful career as a trainer. Displaying  a modern mindset regarding diet, strength and conditioning – McGuigan has a boxing aptitude that far outweighs his years.


Overseas Trainer of the Year

Freddie Roach

Roach has prolonged the careers of two future Hall of Fame fighters in Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto over the past 12mths. Pacquiao after he was knocked out cold by Juan Manuel Marquez many expected him to ponder retirement and focus on politics.

The Filipino has reignited the flame with an impressive one-sided victory over Tim Bradley early 2014 which paid homage to that.

Cotto became a four weight world champion and adjusted his style cutting the ring off more & spending less time on the ropes. Those tweaks saw him overpower Martinez in the summer.

Runner up: Abel Sanchez

Sanchez has worked wonders with Gennady Golovkin making him the most avoided man in boxing. The power was always evident with GGG but Sanchez has taught him how to box and his footwork is now one of his greatest assets.


UK Prospect of the Year

Anthony Joshua

Olympic Gold Medallist Joshua’s progression since turning pro late 2013 has been frightening. Fast forward 12 mths and there are already calls for him to be thrown in with the divisions very best. Credit to the team around him, they have a patient plan and refuse to deviate from it. Standing at 10-0: 10 KO’s facing the likes of David Price and Dereck Chisora are real possibilities in 2015.

The question is can they live with his power?

Overseas Prospect of the Year

Felix Verdejo

21 yr old Verdejo is 16-0: 12 KO’s and for me looks unbelievable. With 7 fights in 2014 and 6 KO’s – his team are in a similar position to Joshua’s camp where they are running out of “tests” for him. It is only a matter of before he faces the big boys and I expect a title shot in the second half of 2015.




Tony Sims on Joshua, Ryder, Mitchell & Burns by Paul Ready


Elite Boxing:

Tony you’ve got a busy night on the 31st with (Anthony) Joshua, (John) Ryder, (Kevin) Mitchell and O’Hara Davies on the bill.

If we can discuss Mitchell firstly – I recently watched the Daniel Estrada v Omar Figueroa fight back and Estrada was competitive up until he was overpowered late.

What does Kevin need to do different in this fight compared to his last?


Tony Sims:

Kevin reads a fight really well – he’s got a great boxing brain on him.

As you say Estrada is a good fighter, he’s a Mexican fighter – they are all tough. He’s tall, throws long straight shots, when you come inside he throws the hooks and uppercuts up.

Kevin has got to be on his game – it could be a Final Eliminator for him but I don’t think Estrada is as good as Maduma. I really rated Maduma and Kevin overcome him – as long as Kevin is in shape for this fight and he’s on his game I know he can beat any Lightweight in the world.



I think the key thing for Kevin is to have a caveat in front of him to perform at his best.

When will you hear if it’s a Final Eliminator for him with the WBC Silver on the line?


The WBC convention is next week and we should know then. The WBC Silver is currently vacant as the Figueroa is champion in recess due to a cut sustained against Estrada not having healed yet. So what they are doing is an Interim title between Jorge Linares and Javier Prieto with Kevin and Estrada in an eliminator for the title.

If Kevin wins he will face the winner of Linares and Prieto.



If we can discuss John Ryder now – Eddie (Hearn) alluded to Jorge Sebastian Heiland as an opponent who is almost signed. 

Are you now at a stage where you want any fighter in the top 10 of the governing bodies?



We’ll take whatever Eddie can provide us with really. John is ranked number ten in the WBO now – so he is a top ten fighter in the world. He’s now done his apprenticeship, he’s done his learning now it’s about moving up to a world title for him.

He had that fight with Billy Joe Saunders who some people believe he won – other believe Ryder won. I personally think it was a draw. I’ve watched it again and again and scored it a draw.

If you look at that fight as a benchmark with Billy Joe who is now number one with the WBO and mandatory for the title once Andy Lee & Matt Korobov have fought for it.

There is nothing between Ryder & Billy Joe. I believe Ryder has come on since then – he’s developed more as a man, he’s punching harder and at the age of 26 he is probably entering the prime of his career.

These fights now Sebastian Heiland are the type of fights we need now to see where he actually is. Ryder has been out sparring Andy Lee for 2 weeks, he sparred Macklin before the Heiland fight, sparred loads with Darren Barker previously. He has had top sparring and in my eyes now he is ready to go – I want him to move through the ratings now.

Sebastian Heiland has got a good rating – he has just beaten Macklin and everyone knows him over here. I don’t believe that was Matthew Macklin in that fight, it was a shadow of him. You are talking about 2 yrs ago I think Macklin would have stopped Heiland as he was different class. Every fighter has his day and Matthew has had his.



Moving on to Anthony Joshua – from your perspective as his trainer & manager is he a nightmare to match?

I admire the job that has been done with him so far and he has been progressed sensibly.

If he beats Kevin Johnson comfortably will you be then looking at Price, Chisora etc?



It’s difficult to say that as Kevin Johnson has been the distance with Klitschko, Fury and Chisora – he is a clever fighter who survives the rounds. Even though he lost to those guys on wide points decisions I think the benchmark will be if he takes Johnson out.

Now if he boxes Johnson and wins every round like the others did we know he still has a lot to learn. That will be good for him as it’s 12 rounds in the bank.

If he knocks Johnson out then you are seeing a guy do something to a good fighter that no one else has – in only his 11th fight.

What I don’t want to is put him in to a fight experience-wise he isn’t ready for. At the end of the day I know he won Olympic Gold Medal but he only had 40 odd amateur and ten professional fights.

Everyone wants to see Anthony in with the best fight now but he’s not ready and he knows he’s not ready. But he will be ready – in another 12-18mths he will be ready to go in with anyone.



So you think after 18-20 fights he will be ready for anyone?



Exactly. I don’t think there will be anyone else to fight then. I think we would have gone through the best opponents we can get at that stage of his career.

With Chisora, Price & Fury they are all massive fights as we haven’t had that in this country before with so many top Heavyweights.



I did see Dillian Whyte in here earlier and he’s back from his ban. Is that something you could see further down the line?  


He’s got to rebuild his career as he’s just come back. He’s not in our sights currently and Anthony is further ahead currently.



Final question Tony – Ricky Burns, after his last fight being a victory and a much-needed confidence boost for him.

Is he going to stay at Light-Welter or move back down to Lightweight?



He’s going to drop back down to Lightweight. We got a dietician in and it’s the first time he has ever used one. He made the last fight at 10st 1lb he come in at 9st 13lbs.

If he eats correctly and at the right time with the right calories in him he makes Lightweight comfortably.

He made Lightweight before as he’s always done from a young age dropping weight late, when you get older your metabolism slows down and your diet needs to change as well.

You’ve got to realise he was Super-Feather before and you will see him making it easy with the dietician.

Eddie is in the process of making a big fight for him we will announce it when it’s confirmed. We are looking at early March for that.



Tony – thanks for your time and I’ll catch up with you soon.



Cheers Paul.




#CleverlyBellew2 Review By Paul Ready


The main event was anti-climatic to say the least – but there were significant positive aspects, let’s look at these in more detail:


Scott Quigg v Hidenori Ohtake

Ohtake was as hard as coffin nail and Quigg did find it difficult to break him down. The stoppage never looked likely. Ohtake was beginning to bleed heavily towards the end of the contest – his corner had no intention of dragging him out.

30 fights in and we still don’t know how good Scott Quigg really can be. For me he is still in the shadow of IBF Carl Frampton as the breakout fight eludes him. The Frampton fight financially is enormous and one that already has huge demand to take place.

If politics prevent Frampton v Quigg or Quigg v Leo Santa Cruz from happening it does diminish the options available to him. The man no one speaks of Guillermo Rigondeaux is now under consideration from Quigg’s camp.

El Chacal isn’t a boxer but an artist and watching him needs to be appreciated on mute with opera music playing as you sip a fine red wine.

Rigondeaux as we know is on another planet to any other Super Bantamweight’s – so does Quigg consider moving up 4 lbs to Featherweight?

It could well be an inspired move as there are plenty of huge fights there which should be straight forward to make. Names such as Abner Mares, Evgeny Gradovich, Vasyl Lomachenko, Nicholas Walters – and closer to home Lee Selby and Josh Warrington.


James DeGale v Marco Antonio Periban

DeGale stole the show for me – best performance of the night. Discard the fact that Periban was a few lbs overweight the stoppage was not expected.

The left-hook is becoming a potent weapon for chunky and he has wiped out two top ten Super-Middle’s in succession.

Froch is all but signed to face Chavez Jr early 2015 so it DeGale will be fighting for the vacant IBF title. The Cobra has until 31st December to either start negotiations with DeGale or vacate. The likelihood he will face 6ft 2in fellow Southpaw Gilberto Ramirez (30-0: 24KO’s) for the belt.

With an altercation taking place at the weigh-in between Groves’ wife and DeGale’s mother – a rematch between the two after their respective world title shots is necessary. I’d back DeGale to prevail this time.


George Groves v Denis Douglin

Similar to the Rebrasse performance last month I felt Groves looked poor yet again. The major difference on this occasion was Saint GG managed to stop his man. Carl Froch spoke in the commentary that he felt Groves has been “Cobra’d” like Lucien Bute and is a shadow of his former self.

Froch did have a point to an extent as Groves does look a yard or two off pace. Trainer Paddy Fitzpatrick feels that the 26 yr is suffering from exhaustion after a hectic 12 months with four fights – two of them being PPV fights with Froch with gruelling media schedules.

It remains to be seen whether the former or latter is true with Groves. Next up will be Undefeated WBC Champion Anthony Dirrell (27-0: 22KO’s) and if he is tired or genuinely shot he will be exposed in brutal fashion.


Callum Smith v Nikola Sjekloca

Callum Smith would have learnt more on Saturday than he has in any of his previous fights – having gone 12 rounds for the first time in his career. There were stages when I was on the edge of my seat when those body shots landed and I thought the Montenegrin could cave. Credit to him he didn’t and kept coming forward.

I’m a huge fan of Smith, I do believe has all the attributes to go all the way. The only slight chink I can see in his armour is his lack of head movement and at times he can appear a tad rigid. I’d like to see more lateral movement – but for a guy 6ft 3in I appreciate that is difficult.

Next up will be a final eliminator for the WBC title in Spring with the caveat of facing the winner of George Groves and Anthony Dirrell.


Anthony Joshua v Michael Sprott

Veteran Sprott was blown away in the 1st round by Joshua to cap a busy 2014 for the 25 yr old. Next up is Kevin “King Pin” Johnson on 31st January.

After that I genuinely believe he is ready for Chisora or Price in the summer – perhaps Tyson Fury late 2015. I like the pace Joshua has been progressed up until now and I firmly believe 2016 will be the year to go for a world title.

Amateur rival Dillian Whyte returning from his two-year ban for consuming a banned substance found in a pre-workout drink. Whyte beat Joshua in 2009 as an amateur and has spoke about wanting the opportunity to fight again after he has eradicated any ring rust. That could be a tantalising match as there is apparently no love lost between the pair.

Joshua is boxing’s answer to The Thing from the Fantastic Four – displays mutant power. My concern is referee’s need to be conscious of his power as he could hospitalise someone, when he lands a combo flush it makes me wince. You can’t delay intervening when a 235lb specimen is unloading – you don’t play boxing as they say.


Nathan Cleverly v Tony Bellew

The main event didn’t match the hype or build up. It did descend in to a damp squib. Cleverly appeared to injury his hand in the 2nd and proceeded to jab Bellew for the remainder of the fight. Both men were blowing around the 10th and there is an argument that the build-up drained them.

I think there is an element of that but the Welshman for me isn’t a Cruiserweight and should consider moving back down to Light Heavyweight. He looked strong and athletic at the weight but with it deriving mainly from muscle – the extra oxygen required to sustain it clearly fatigued him.

Bellew was the deserved winner by a long shot as despite being shattered he was actually trading. A world title shot against Marco Huck is next up in 2015 and you can’t argue that the Liverpudlian doesn’t deserve it.

Cleverly yet again has much soul-searching to do.

Does he need to change trainers? Does he even want to continue boxing?

In hindsight privately he must acknowledge that he should have stuck it out with Adam Booth in London rather than choosing to train back home.

I’d like to see Cleverly go back to Light Heavy as he does have the ability to become a contender again. It is very much watch this space with him.

In conclusion the card as whole didn’t live up to expectations – but I look at it like I do when I try out a new curry house.

Sometimes you have a great meal; other times it doesn’t taste as good and you opt to give it miss next time.

This wasn’t a great takeaway but it won’t deter me from trying the next one.



#CleverlyBellew 2 Undercard by Paul Ready


Fight night fast approaching and one of the busiest bills for some time, my first wonder was how these will all be squeezed in on one night.

With a fascinating Super-Middleweight sub-plot to the main event, let’s look at the fights in more detail:



12 x 3 mins Super Middleweight contest

IBF mandatory challenger DeGale (19-1: 13 KO’s) could end up fighting for a vacant title in the New Year. Champion Carl Froch has faced two back to back mandatory challenges from George Groves and is lukewarm to the prospect of a third.

The Cobra wants to fulfill a live-long ambition of headlining a Las Vegas card against an illustrious name – with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr mooted as the man in the frame. DeGale he feels Froch is “dodging” him but I disagree.

The 28 yr old won in emphatic fashion in May with a career-best performance stopping Brandon Gonzalez in-front of a packed Wembley Stadium. The level DeGale is now operating at there is no such thing as an easy opponent and that is evident with the fight against Mexican Periban (20-2-1: 13 KO’s) this Saturday.

Periban is a live, aggressive opponent and not a man to take lightly. With only 2 blotches on his copybook in the form of losses to J’Leon Love and Sakio Bika both on points. The Love defeat I felt was a robbery as he was gone in the fifth, the ref spared the American a career-first defeat.

Chunky needs to win; and win well – if he is to have any chance to charm the Cobra in to dancing with him. I expect DeGale to look sizzling and take a unanimous points decision.


12 x 3 mins WBA World Super Bantamweight title

I feel sorry for Quigg, the fights he craves Leo Santa Cruz, Carl Frampton don’t appear to be any closer to fruition. Up next on Saturday is Otake who is a replacement for the injured Shingo Wake, who damaged his ankle. Wake was allegedly photographed running on it shortly after.

Otake (22-1: 9 KO’s) hasn’t boxed out of Japan before but is ranked #3 with the IBF and #9 with the WBO. A credible opponent for Quigg, but anything other than a mid to late stoppage for the 26 yr old would be a huge shock.



12 x 3 mins WBA World Bantamweight title

New father McDonnell (24-0: 11KO’s) make his first defence of his WBA Bantamweight title against relatively unknown Javier Chacon. Chacon tackled Super champion Anselmo Moreno earlier in the year, taking the Panamanian the distance, and the Argentine replaces Walberto Ramos on the bill after the Columbian had visa complications.

The caveat for the 28 yr old McDonnell with a win is a Las Vegas unification bout with Tomoki Kameda WBO champion early 2015.

Kameda (31-0: 19 KO’s) is the youngest of a famous Japanese family-fighting-trio and regarded as the top fighter at 118lbs. Should McDonnell as expected get past Chacon, he will face Kameda as a huge underdog – but he will relish the opportunity to test himself against the very best.


10 x 3 mins British Heavyweight title eliminator

Sprott (47-22: 17 KO’s) is Joshua’s 10th opponent, and I expect his most ruthless and spiteful performance to date. I was there at the O2 spitting distance from where AJ battered Denis Bakhtov last month and few would have blamed Sprott not fancying it.

Credit to the 39 yr old when asked by promoter Eddie Hearn if he still wants the fight he responded by saying;

“Of course I do, I’m going to knock him out.”

What impressed me most with the 25 yr old Watford man is his nasty streak that has evolved – all great fighters have that in their locker. If Sprott goes more than 3 rounds I will be amazed.

With speculation rife that charismatic Kevin Johnson is already signed to face Joshua in January, I feel he is only 2 fights away from facing Dereck Chisora or David Price in a blockbuster Heavyweight showdown.


12 x 3 mins WBC Super Middleweight title official eliminator

Three is a crowd as they say and that definitely is the case with Callum Smith in the Groves & DeGale saga. Smith (14-0: 11KO’s) is the elephant in the room that prior to Ringside last month neither man wanted to acknowledge.

He is the real deal – from people I speak to within the industry I’ve yet to encounter anyone who doesn’t rave about him.

What I feel is a masterstroke is that the 24 yr old is now in an eliminator for the WBC on Saturday with the likelihood of a fight with George Groves growing ever closer.

Smith’s camp fancy their chances against Groves. They have sparred together and Callum more than held his own allegedly knocking Groves down a few times. Whilst rumours are always rife from sparring and elements do need to be taken with a pinch of salt, there is a genuine feeling that Groves peaked against Froch in the first fight and is vulnerable.

First Mundo needs to navigate past Sjekloca (28-2: 8KO’s) a former world title challenger with 2 defeats coming against Arthur Abraham and Sakio Bika. I expect it to be a stern test for Callum but one I feel he will grind out down the stretch taking a late stoppage or point’s decision.


12 x 3 mins WBC Silver Super Middleweight title

Saint George(20-2: 15KO’s) faces American “Mama’s Boy” Denis Douglin.

Douglin (17-3: 10KO’s) is famously trained by his mother and has lost to Jermell Charlo and Jose Angel Rodriguez.  I don’t expect Douglin to trouble the 26 yr old from Hammersmith a great deal – but if the recent Rebrasse fight is anything to go by he could make this look harder than it actually is.

Like most I did feel that Groves’ performance flattered Rebrasse and he looked very gaunt at the weigh-in. With lucrative domestic fights at 168lbs with Callum Smith and a rematch with James Degale, a move up to Light-Heavy will be postponed for a few years.

The rivalry with DeGale goes back to when both men were amateurs at Dale Youth – both vying for the “top boy” status in the club. For me it is the bitterest rivalry in British boxing – even surpassing Tony Bellew & Nathan Cleverly and Kell Brook’s with Amir Khan.

If both Groves and DeGale can secure World titles it would make for a huge rematch – but Callum Smith is also in the mix!

Watch this space over the next 12-18mths as we are in-line for some great fights in the UK.



The dark horse in the 168lb division is in the shape of German teenager Vincent Feigenbutz. The 19 yr old is built like a tank and has knocked out 15 of his 16 opponents so far.

Hype job?

I don’t think so. I’m looking forward to watching him accelerate in the slipstream of the 3 Brits over the next coming years.