#Unbreakable Review by Paul Ready

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Reporting ringside from Sheffield.

At a choker-block Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, the Steel City welcomed home it’s favourite son – IBF Welterweight Champion Kell Brook (33-0: 23 KO’s.

The whole production had the real ambiance of a big show, a homecoming & celebration of Brook’s fantastic victory back in August.

Michael Buffer introduced the champion as he made his descent to the ring with his synonymous theme song “All Of The Lights” playing – you sensed we were about to witness a demolishing.

Southpaw Jo Jo Dan (34-2: 18 KO’s) was a man that bar the Kevin Bizier victory, I hadn’t seen a great deal of – once the first bell sounded the gulf in class was crystal clear.

Once the 28 yr old champion settled into his groove – the timing & array of shots frequently landed – he made mandatory challenger Dan look very basic.

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Photo by Lawrence Lustig

In the 2nd round Brook put his foot on the accelerator as he dropped the Canadian/Romanian twice – he was merely warming up for the grandstand finish.

There was a legitimate argument for Dan’s team to consider pulling him out in the 3rd as the butchery was relentless.

The 33 yr old somehow survived the 3rd and met the canvas twice more in the 4th – he clearly had nothing left. Dan’s corner themselves agreed he had received sufficient punishment and the challenger retired on his stool at the end of the 4th round.

It was a battering pure and simple. The only slight criticism you could have was that Brook was loading up looking for that Hollywood KO – which would have been fitting for the occasion. Brook is one of my favourite British boxers and I’m looking forward to seeing what and whom is next.

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Photo by Lawrence Lustig

“It was hard today holding it together. I felt this is where I belong. I am sorry I have kept you waiting but I hope you have had a good night. I am back baby.

“What a heart. I caught him with some good clean shots n he kept getting back up. He’s never been stopped and he’s a legitimate World title contender that has never been stopped and I have just taken him out in style.

“You see little bits of greatness but much more to come from me and I will be back out in June in a massive fight.

“Amir Khan, Juan Manuel Marquez, Brandon Rios – those are the sort of names I want. Bring them on. I want to entertain the fans and want them to tell me who they want to see me fight – I think the answer is Amir Khan, and if he’s watching – let’s do it, come and fight me.

“I didn’t think I would ever walk again never mind box again and here I am defending my world title in style. I have been given a second chance. The best is yet to come.”

Brook v Khan is the overwhelming choice for the public and Brook’s camp – but how much does Khan genuinely want the fight?

I think he does but on his own terms. Interestingly I saw Adrien Broner tweet on Sunday that he held a “Facetime” conversation with Khan regarding those two meeting. Broner isn’t a natural Welter for me and a fight with Khan can be made the end of this year.

Brook v Khan, at Old Trafford or Wembley. I feel more confident about that fight happening than Quigg Frampton!

I would like to see Brook v Keith Thurman at some stage this year and with so many top Welterweights based in America – I hope we see Special K over there again in the not too distant future.

 

Frankie Gavin v Bogdan Mitic

Funtime Frankie made his debut for Matchroom in his first fight of 2015. The 29 yr old beat Mitic on points in what was a one-paced encounter.

Gavin’s last fight was back in November against Bradley Skeete – which he won on points in a rather forgetful encounter.

On May 9th Gavin faces the sternest test of his career against South African Chris Van Heerden. Both men have similar records and with the IBF International belt on the line – a shot at Kell Brook could be in the offing further down the line.

Gavin’s ability has never been in doubt but at the age of 29 he will know himself that it’s time to deliver performances that make everyone sit up and take notice – if he is ever to close in on a world title shot.

 

Adam Etches v Sergey Khomitsky

British boxing’s bogeyman Khomitsky struck again when he knocked Etches out cold in the 4th round.

The Ghost added the 24 yr old to his haunted list of Frank Buglioni, Jamie Moore. Nick Blackwell drew with the Belarusian back in October.

The 40 yr old veteran is beatable with 11 losses on his record – but only Gennady Golovkin has stopped him. Robert Stieglitz’s victory was a controversial cuts stoppage.

Many eyebrows were raised when Khomistky was announced for Etches, but after 18 fights he needed to be tested against a gatekeeper. Unfortunately for Etches he came up too short.

Etches looked wary of Khomistky’s power after the first few exchanges and the over-hand right you sensed was in the mail – about to be signed for.

The right hand that knocked Etches out left many gasps around the arena. When he stopped moving on the canvas, my instant reaction was that he had swallowed his tongue – fortunately this wasn’t the case and he eventually got back to his feet.

In the aftermath many have mentioned John Ryder – who was ringside – as an opponent for Khomistky. I feel the Blackwell fight is a better option for The Gorilla next as it’s for the British title and Khomistky is low-reward opponent.

Etches will need to re-build his career and look to get back in action soon.

 

Gavin McDonnell v Oleksandr Yegorov

McDonnell captured the European title on points in a dogged contest. I credit McDonnell for the victory as he was behind on the scores for me and both men were level going in to the final few rounds.

The 29 yr old is on the coat-tails of Kid Galahad and that would be a massive fight in Yorkshire. I would love to see that on the undercard of Brook’s next fight.

Many people I have spoken to about Galahad have described him as the real-deal & trainer Dominic Ingle rates him very highly.

The Super Bantamweight division domestically is becoming a real jewel in the crown. Carl Frampton, Scott Quigg, Galahad, McDonnell and Gamal Yafai coming in the next few years.

On a packed bill in Sheffield, there were victories for Kal Yafai, Stephen Smith, Jordan Gill, Kyle Yousaf on points and TKO’s for Charlie Edwards and Leigh Wood in the 3rd and 1st round’s respectively.

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

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“Lethal” @LucienReidy Exclusive Interview by Paul Ready

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The latest starlet to join Matchroom’s stable is 21 yr old Super-Bantamweight Lucien Reid.

Reid, makes his pro-debut on May 30th at the O2 Arena in London.

The prospect’s amateur career is impressive – he claimed a Senior ABA Elite 54kg title in 2013 and was a finalist at 56kgs the following year.

 

 

Elite Boxing:

Lucien – it’s great to meet you. Tell me, what got you in to boxing as a boy?

 

Lucien Reid:

What got me in to boxing was that me and my brother were having a fight outside my dad’s house. My brother was fighting another guy and to tell you the truth I was a bit scared!

My brother wasn’t throwing the right punches, dad came out and told us both that we need to learn how to defend ourselves – so he took us down to Repton Boxing Club.

Ten years down the line, I’ve signed a professional contract with Matchroom Boxing so it’s gone really well!

 

EB:

So are you saying that prior to that fight happening with your brother, boxing wasn’t really a hobby or sport that interested you?

 

LR:

I was 11 at the time, we initially got in to it for fitness purposes and to defend ourselves. It was never my intention to turn professional. Since then I wanted to be a boxer, I always loved the blood and the sweat, no tears at the age as I was only young. But I’ve done really well so far.

 

EB:

What was the first fight that you remember watching that made you fall in love with the sport?

 

LR:

It was shortly after I had my first competitive fight, I was round a friends house and we watched a Floyd Mayweather fight.

I loved his skill, loved his defence, I loved his movement and that’s what I base my style on. (Peter Sims believes he is similar to Kal Yafai).

My style is based on a lot of movement and a lot of speed & fast reactions.

 

EB:

The Super-Bantamweight division you are entering is really exciting not only domestically but also internationally.

How do you view the division at the moment?

 

LR:

I’m glad I’m in such a great division as all being well there could be some big fights to be made a couple of years down the line.

But I’m looking forward to getting out there, exciting people and letting the big guys in the division know my name.

I want them to know that I will be coming in the next few years to challenge for some titles!

 

EB:

I think everyone shares the sentiment that Guillermo Rigondeaux is the main man in the division. 

Just underneath that you have Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg in the UK. That fight is hopefully going to happen in the summer – how do you see that bout panning out?

 

LR:

Rigondeaux is unbelievable and definitely the best in the division. 

The fight with Frampton and Quigg if it happens is going to be amazing, I really can’t pick between them. It’s a great blend of styles and its a definite 50-50 contest.

The winner of Quigg and Frampton I’d like see face Rigondeaux.

 

EB:

To go back to yourself Lucien, talk me through your amateur career in more detail.

 

LR:

My amateur career started around ten years ago. I boxed for Repton for five years and for West Ham for five years. 

For Repton I got to the NABC Finals and lost by 1 point which was disappointing obviously. In the same year I got to the ABA Juniors Final and I lost by 1 point as well.

I went into the Seniors, I’ve done three Senior Championship’s, first I lost to Reece Bellotti in the Quarter Finals on a close decision.

Second year – 54kgs I went in and beat everybody comfortably winning the ABA’s. In my third year I got to the final at the Liverpool Echo Arena and lost to Qais Ashfaq. Qais is Team GB’s number 1 at that weight, he got a Silver in the Commonwealth games.

 

EB:

You are on the verge of making the transition from amateur to pro under Peter’s guidance.

Outside of this gym, who have you sparred so far?

 

LR:

I haven’t sparred many pro’s prior to coming here. I had sparred Charlie Hoy which was great for me – he has great head movement that helped me develop.

I’ve had loads of trials in Sheffield at Team GB, I had around ten trials over two years. I’ve sparred the top guys in the country there – Charlie Edwards, Jack Bateson, Peter McGrail, Jack Daniels, I’ve sparred loads up there.

 

EB:

You’ve been with Peter now for a month I believe. He’s a massive character isn’t he?

 

LR:

Haha! Yeah he is, but he’s a nice man. I know he wants the best for me.

I can’t wait to make debut on such a big show at the end of May.

I keen to progress quickly and I feel that I have the best team around me now. The sparring I can get at this gym, Tony Sims’ gym and possibly going up to spar Scott Quigg in the future would be fantastic for my development.

 

EB:

Lucien, it’s it’s been great talking to you. I best let you go and do the rest of your training before Peter comes looking for me!

Is there any final things you wish to add?

 

LR:

Thanks Paul – enjoyed it.

I’d like to thank my mum & dad for putting up with my diet and my moodiness!

A special thanks to my sponsors D&G Glazing, Muscle Food and L&O Meats.

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24/03 – Boxing Update by Paul Ready

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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…

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing,net

#FramptonAvalos Review by Paul Ready #FramptonQuigg

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Carl “The Jackal” Frampton successfully defended his IBF Super-Bantamweight on Saturday – by stopping Chris “The Hitman” Avalos in the 5th round.

It was a technical masterclass from the Ulsterman and he never allowed Avalos the chance to breathe.

The American had never been stopped before – his two previous defeats came by narrow points decisions.

The 28 yr old champion put on a career-best performance – he was spiteful, accurate and defensively compact.

Kiko Martinez was a much tougher opponent – (who I would favour to beat Avalos), but the manner in which he dispatched The Hitman was more impressive.

On recent occasions referee’s have had their fair share of criticism for early stoppages – Howard Foster I felt was perfect with his timing here, so he deserves a rare pat on the back.

“I wanted to teach him some manners,” said Frampton.

“Before the first bell he said: ‘It’s only you and me now.’ He still didn’t show respect afterwards, he was still talking about a rematch as he was leaving. The referee did the right thing, because he could have been seriously injured.”

Frampton demonstrated yet again that he one of the top two Super-Bantamweights in the world – and should he move up to Featherweight in the future, he would no doubt hold his own.

There are 3 roads for The Jackal to now go down now:

Leo Santa Cruz:

The 26 yr old WBC champion is more guarded than Nevada State Route 375 – also know as Extraterrestrial Highway as it leads to Area 51. Rumour has it should you drive up this highway you are greeted by US military who ask you to turn-around.

In Santa-Cruz’s case, despite his public proclamations that he wants Frampton/Quigg/Rigondeaux his advisor Al Haymon won’t let him near one of them.

Guillermo Rigondeaux:

This path is a long walk off a short cliff. Despite looking poor in his recent fight in Japan – (the Cuban was dropped twice in the 7th) I still feel the 34 yr old is the best in the division.

Rigondeaux is that good that I laugh when I see him box – as I don’t know how else to react. He is technically ridiculous. If Frampton was to face him next year, he would have a better chance of being victorious.

Scott Quigg:

This path is littered with fallen trees – various political obstacles that will need to be overcome before we get this blockbuster. But it feels like the right place and the right time for both men to finally get it on.

WBA Regular Champion and domestic rival Scott Quigg came in to the ring for the post-fight interview – on his own – which displayed some serious ‘nads.

I felt for the Bury man, he took some stick from Frampton promoter & manager Barry McGuigan on “not being the real champion here” which you could see pissed Quigg off – but he kept his composure when he spoke.

“I would love it, I think Scott would too,” Frampton told ITV1.

“A summer showdown between the two of us is a huge fight. But Scott needs to remember who the real world champion is.

“I would leave Belfast if I had to, maybe somewhere neutral, it doesn’t matter to me.

“It’s the biggest fight in the UK at the minute – Amir Khan v Kell Brook possibly – but this one has been brewing a lot longer. It’s a huge domestic showdown.”

Quigg told ITV1:

“This fight is big not because of him and not because of me. It’s the full package. The British public want the fight.

“He draws the crowd in Ireland, we draw the crowd in Britain. It doesn’t matter where the fight – wherever holds the most, put the fight on.

What is apparent is that both camps want the fight – and want it next.

The obstacles are between the promoters and which broadcaster to use. Frampton a previous stable member of Matchroom – left along with manager Barry and trainer Shane McGuigan when Barry set up “Cyclone Promotions”.

Quigg is promoted by Matchroom and that’s where ego’s become an issue.

It’s safe to say there isn’t any love-lost between McGuigan Snr and Quigg’s promoter Eddie Hearn – but if that gets in the way of this fight not happening, then they are both accountable.

If Mayweather v Pacquiao can be made with Bob Arum and Mayweather despising each other for a decade – then ANY fight is possible.

The broadcaster issue is one that should be presented to both men in negotiations.

Do you want to make as much money as possible?

Fight on Sky.

Do you want to fight in-front of the biggest televised audience – but for less money?

Fight on ITV.

What is the motivator here? Get rich or get the fight made?

Both? Ok…

It’s an interesting conundrum and one that I believe can be settled in a two-fight deal.

Have the first fight on ITV, if Quigg has to accept 40-60% split and the fight is in London or Belfast – then do it. He is confident that he has Frampton’s number so that isn’t a bad deal.

Should Quigg win of course – then the rematch is on his terms, on Sky PPV and both men make a killing.

But Barry and Eddie – in the unlikely event you are reading this – please, just put your differences to one side and let’s have this monster of a fight.

Steve Kim of UCN Live in America referred to this fight as the UK’s version of Erik Morales v Marco Antonio Barrera 1.

If it maintains half the action and pace of that fight then we are all in for a treat.

Cyclone and Matchroom…. over to you.

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

#FramptonAvalos Preview by Paul Ready @CWMCyclonePromo

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In the week of the 20th anniversary of Nigel Benn v Gerald McClellan, which was broadcast on ITV – British boxing returns to it’s “home channel”.

McGuigan who was part of the broadcast panel on that tragic night of 25th February 1995 – returns this time as manager and promoter of IBF Super-Bantamweight world champion Carl “The Jackal” Frampton.

The Clones Cyclone is no stranger to boxing on terrestrial TV – he won the WBA world featherweight title against Eusebio Pedroza back on 8th June 1985, that was viewed by 20 million people on BBC1.

Frampton (19-0: 13KO’s) – who turned 28 last Saturday – makes his first mandatory defence since snatching the title from Kiko Martinez in September last year.

The man in the opposite corner is American Chris “The Hitman” Avalos (25-2: 19KO’s) – trash-talker and a guy who has knocked out as many men as The Jackal has fought, Carl cannot afford to overlook him. Frampton however is confident that his style will make viewers watch in their droves and join his already swelling following.

Frampton told BBC Sport:

“If I turn up, I’ll win the fight, simple as that,” predicted Frampton, ahead of his first title defence.

“I want to keep on winning and look explosive in every single contest. He’s cocky but I’ll knock that out of him.”

“I had to take a bit of a break after injuring my hand in the Kiko fight and having to train over Christmas wasn’t nice,” said Frampton.

“I’d have preferred a complete rest but it’s one of those things that had to be done.

“I don’t know if Avalos is any better than Martinez but I’ll go in there expecting a tough fight. Kiko is a very good fighter and I dealt with him quite easily and Avalos is a good fighter as well.

“It’ll be an exciting fight while it lasts but I’m the biggest punching super-bantamweight in the world so it’s not rocket science what’s going to happen.

Stylistically I feel Avalos is tailor-made for Frampton – who will come forward swinging and allow The Jackal to box off the back-foot and catch him flush. It promises to be an explosive encounter from the first bell.

The Hitman, 25 yrs old has no qualms with fighting in Belfast in-front of a partisan crowd and doesn’t rate the champions power:

“The fans can expect a great fight. They will get a war if Frampton stands and fights and doesn’t run the way he likes to run,” Avalos said.

“Hopefully he will not stand off and run around like a little fairy. But we will have to wait and see.”

“I have fought stronger fighters than Frampton and I do not see anything special about him, nothing special,” he added.

“I have everything. I like my chin. I have been hit hard, but I have never been shook.

“I have never been dropped, and thank God for that.

“I have a strong chin and power, which is a lethal mix.”

I’m going for a Frampton 8th-9th round stoppage – but Avalos will bring it to him throughout.

Interestingly domestic rival and WBA regular champion Scott Quigg (30-0: 22KO’s) will be ringside to watch the fight on Saturday – that will no doubt fuel the flames of a blockbuster summer showdown.

On a packed under-card which will be shown on ITV4 from 7.30pm which contains exciting Heavyweight prospect Dillian Whyte; Middleweight prospect Conrad Cummings;Welterweights Denton Vassell and Paddy Gallagher; Super Featherweight Anthony Cacace and Featherweight Marco McCullough.

Attention then turns at 10.50pm to ITV for the main event – which won’t disappoint.

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

Elite Boxing Awards 2014 by Paul Ready

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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.

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

#CleverlyBellew2 Review By Paul Ready

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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.

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

#MartinezFrampton2 #FramptonQuigg… by Paul Ready

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Let me throw some numbers at you before we discuss Saturday’s sizzling performance from Carl “The Jackal” Frampton:

  • 29 yrs ago his mentor Barry McGuigan was world champion.
  • 25 yrs old the age of his trainer Shane McGuigan; 2 year’s Frampton’s junior.
  • 16,000 fans watched in the purpose-built Titantic Quarter venue.
  • Frampton had 125 Amateur fights, 114 wins, 11 defeats; two-weight Irish champion; European silver medal 2007; 12 international medals.
  • 3 yrs ago Brian Magee was the last world champion from Belfast, he held the Interim WBA Super-Middleweight title. Prior to that 19 yrs ago Wayne McCullough was the last man from Belfast to win a world title fight, capturing the WBC Bantamweight title.
  • Frampton became the 3rd current British IBF belt holder alongside Super-Middle champion Carl Froch and Welterweight champion Kell Brook.

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What a performance, what a night. The atmosphere looked electric and Belfast turned out in the droves for it’s favourite son.

Frampton, 27, put in a career-best performance against former foe Kiko Martinez and duly snatched the belt off the well-travelled Spaniard. The Jackal’s slick footwork was so telling in this fight; Martinez stalked Frampton round the ring like a jilted-ex following an old flame. There only ever looked one winner for me as the Tiger Bay native rocked the Spaniard in the 5th with a huge right and duly dropping him to the canvas.

Martinez, 28, knew he had to go for broke with a knockout to stand any chance of retaining his belt. Despite mid-rounds surge from him, if there was ever going to be a stoppage, it would have come from the Irishman.

An explosive finale in the 12th ensued with Martinez unsteady on his feet. When the final bell sounded, the raucous crowd cheered, Team Frampton embraced as they awaited their fate.

Two verdicts of 119-108 and one of 118-111 crowned a new IBF Super-Bantamweight world champion. Immediately discussion turned to who is next for Frampton. Abner Mares & Leo Santa Cruz both tweeted that they would be willing to fight him; the former offering to come down in weight.

Irishman Gary Hyde the manager of Super-Bantamweight king Guillermo Rigondeaux was in the crowd. With the greatest respect to Frampton, I don’t think he will want any part of that fight. Financially there isn’t anything in it and technically it is a fight The Jackal is highly unlikely to win.

We all know who we want to see him face next; Scott Quigg.
It’s the biggest fight both commercially and technically for either man. Quigg, 25, fights this Saturday at the Phones4U Arena in Manchester against Stephane Jamoye.
In the post-fight interview with Boxnation, the first shells were fired by Team Frampton to Quigg and promoter Eddie Hearn:

“I’ll fight him in Manchester, I’ll fight him anywhere. What Eddie Hearn (Quigg’s promoter) needs to remember is I’m the one with the legitimate belt.”
“I’m the one who brings the fans,” added Frampton, while his manager Barry McGuigan said: “Scott Quigg will draw 800 people in Bury. We had to build an arena to fit in all Carl Frampton’s fans.”

The legitimate belt dig relates to Quigg holding the “Regular” WBA belt, with Rigondeaux holding the “Super” WBA belt.
I hope that ego’s don’t get in the way of allowing this fight to happen; Frampton by the sounds of it wants a larger split, Quigg proposing a 50-50. What I admire about both men is their willingness to fight in the other’s backyard.

If I’m honest I do feel that through no fault of his own Quigg still has something to prove at the elite level. I know from speaking to Eddie Hearn that Matchroom approached Santa Cruz to face Quigg. He was willing to go over there to face him on the Mayweather Maidana 2 undercard for it only to fall on deaf ears.

I feel it is very much “watch this space” on this Frampton v Quigg. I fear talks will be long and protracted. Matchroom’s surprise link-up with Top Rank and Chris Avalos who is mandatory for the IBF within 90 days adds another individual in to the equation.

Three’s a crowd? We will see….

 

@PaulReady
@EliteBoxingNet
http://www.eliteboxing.net

@RickyBoylan1 Interview.. #MomentOfTruth by Paul Ready

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Elite Boxing:

Here with Ricky Boylan post-press conference, you and I spoke at the Matchroom BBQ it has been a frustrating time for yourself injury-wise of late. You’ve got a couple of fights now back-to-back lined up, how do you feel?

 

Ricky Boylan:

Definitely! I’m on the George Groves under-card on the 20th September at Wembley Arena, just a 6-rounder to get a few rounds under my belt as i’ve been out for a while. Then I have 11th October against Tyler (Goodjohn).

 

EB:

The Light-Welter division domestically is thriving. It’s full of young fighters at a similar level, all vying to make that step-up to English, British title and hopefully beyond.

On this card we have some of those in the mix, talk me through where you feel you are currently in the division?

 

RB:

To be fair the top 10 of the Light-Welterweights in Britain is brilliant. As you said we’ve all got similar experience, similar fights and we’re all going to be competing against one another in the next 6 months.

I’ve got Tyler Goodjohn next for the English, I’ll get him out the way. Then John Wayne Hibbert next, defend against him then I think Tommy Martin is in an eliminator for the English so I’m not too sure what will happen then.

I think I’m two or three fights away from fighting for the British, providing of course that I come through the 11th October. I’m looking forward to it, there is going to be some great fights ahead.

 

EB:

I agree. The recent Hull card that has been announced has some cracking fights on it, personally I think this one is better.

Your fight with Tyler, John Ryder’s fight, Anthony Joshua fighting for his first title and Lee Selby v Joel Brunker.

What I like almost as much as the contest itself between you and Tyler is the large fan-bases you both have.

 

RB:

My fight with Tyler has go SO much attention; from people that to be fair don’t normally come to my tickets. I’m getting orders for £10, £20 tickets here and there from random people.

I know Tyler does a lot of tickets, so it will be an amazing atmosphere on the night.

 

EB:

With your next fight a matter of weeks away, how has the training camp been going?

 

RB:

I’ve been in camp about 8 weeks ago now, I started earlier due to my injury. 3 weeks I’m on the Wembley show, then another 3 weeks I fight Tyler and I want to be out again before the end of the year.

It’s gone really well, I’ve had some great sparring with (Carl) Frampton at McGuigan’s, Johnny Garton in my gym, Ben Jones, Thomas Jarvis, George Keen. I’ve been really fortunate with who I’ve sparred against.

 

EB:

With Frampton fighting Kiko Martinez this Saturday for the IBF Super-Bantamweight title, how did he look to you?

 

RB:

He’s a bit smaller than me and to have sparred with him was great as he’s going to be a world champion. We’ve done lots of rounds together.

It raises the pace of the spar, the littler guys work quicker. I’ve sparred loads of different types of styles so it’s been great experience for me which is all good.

 

EB:

Thanks for your time Ricky and all the best for 20th September and of course on 11th October.

 

RB:

Thanks mate, appreciated.

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

@EddieHearn Fighter Update By Paul Ready

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Having attended the Matchroom end of season BBQ today, I managed to catch up with Eddie Hearn post-press conference to get an update on a variety of his fighters and possible future match-ups.

 

Elite Boxing:

Thanks for your time Eddie, if we can discuss Ricky Burns initially; naturally a very disappointing result a few weeks ago and he’s taken some time out to spend with his family.

For you personally you mentioned the possibility of him fighting outside of Glasgow to release some pressure, Tommy Coyle spoke earlier about the match-ups in the Lightweight division that can be made in house, what is next for Ricky?

 

Eddie Hearn:

I think firstly what we need to do with Ricky Burns is find out what the problem is because he’s training in particular the last fight better than ever, he sparred better than ever, he got in the ring and looked terrible.

I think it is two-fold; one is the weight and the other is the confidence, expectation and pressure.

He sparred at 10st 3/4oz looking great; strong and powerful then he fights at 9st 9oz and he looks like a shell.

So when he gets back we’ve got this nutritional guy we work with Advanced Nutrition who is doing all this analysis on his body to see if he can make 9st 9oz and I’m not sure he can.

So perhaps we look at 10st (140lbs)

Maybe we box him at 9st 11/12oz September 13th in a 10 rounder, in a relatively easy fight which will be a confidence booster. He needs that and needs to look good.

I like the fight with Tommy Coyle, he can move to Light Welterweight. I like the fight with Scott Harrison. There’s loads of fights out there for him at 140, it’s just frustrating that I don’t know what the answer is at the moment, I want to find it and I don’t want to give up on him because he looked great in that camp.

EB:

From seeing Ricky in the gym and speaking to the guys down there, they all were impressed with how good he looked and gelled so quickly with the others.

I think people were a tad harsh to suggest he should finish working with Tony Sims, it’s a relationship I’d like to see them both persevere with.

 

EH:

I think so. It’s difficult as they were so confident it was going to a great performance, everyone was so buoyant and then were asking; “What happened there?”

The answer was he got caught cold, he didn’t listen and it took him 3 or 4 rounds to recover.

I thought he won the back-end of the fight, if there was a few more rounds he would have nicked it.

 

EB:

If we discuss the Super-Middleweight division. Excluding Froch and DeGale you’ve got Callum Smith and Rocky Fielding potentially heading towards one another.

Would you look to avoid what happened with Groves and DeGale by slinging them in together so early?

 

EH:

Someone asked me on Twitter the other day;

“Why don’t you just make Callum Smith v Rocky?”

It’s got to be the right time.

Callum Smith without putting too much pressure on him looks like a phenomenon in the division, he is massive for a Super Middleweight. He’s level headed, he’s got a nice fight against Vladine Biosse and Rocky has a tough fight on Saturday against Noe Gonzalez.

Fielding against either Smith (Callum or Paul) is a big fight for Liverpool it would be good to try and make it.

 

EB:

Is the WBC route the way you are looking to go?

 

EH:

I think so, they were the one’s who took a shine to him initially and made a beeline for him. He’s already number 15 in the rankings we are already looking at the WBC Silver belt potentially for September.

We keep stepping him up and he keeps doing the same thing, if he keeps going, keeps going, keeps going he’s going to find himself there in 12mths.

I hope he is in a difficult fight where he gets cut, he’s under it; but maybe he is just that good, I don’t know. I appreciate he isn’t world level yet but everything that is being asked of him he is delivering very quickly.

 

EB:

Moving on to Wadi Camacho, I thought he started well against Simmons but it was another disappointing result in the end.

 

EH:

He boxed ok, I thought they were both disappointing because the talked the talk of doing this & that with neither of them doing a lot of it.

A lot of it was nerves and pressure, they both semi-froze, I had Wadi a round up. If Simmons would have done what he did in the 10th earlier in the fight he would have had more success.

But Wadi couldn’t hold on, perhaps British title is his level and we can grab a belt. He’s had a decent pay-day and having a rest now we can see what he wants to do with his career.

 

EB:

Scott Quigg when are we expected to see him out and who will the opponent be?

 

EH:

He will be out on September 13th at the Phones4U Arena alongside Crolla and obviously we want Santa Cruz.

I don’t think Santa Cruz fancies Quigg and I don’t think he fancied the Frampton fight either really. They definitely tried to make that. We will go there (to America) 100%, so we are just trying to find a big-name opponent and waiting for the Frampton fight as it’s the one everyone wants to see.

Fingers crossed Frampton beats Martinez again which I think he will.

 

EB:

So you could be in a situation where Brook beats Porter then faces Amir Khan and would you look at two separate PPV fights towards the end of the year with Quigg v Frampton as well?

 

EH:

I don’t feel like Frampton v Quigg is yet, the rematch might be. I would look to do a two-fight deal because they both would be world champions and it makes sense if the first fight is a great fight which I think it is.

Brook v Khan is a PPV fight, it’s a huge fight, it’s a stadium fight and does huge numbers. So there is a lot of fights on the cusp which you would have seen today so it’s going to be a lot of fun.

 

EB:

Finally Eddie if we discuss Anthony Crolla is the target Abril?

 

EH:

Yeah he is the target, it’s really frustrating as we were really close a few months ago and he’s got some legal issues at the moment that is really difficult.

Lots of different people popping up;

“Oh I’m here” etc so we are starting to run out of time. We need to make sure Anthony is in a big fight we are looking at a number of other options currently.

 

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net