End of Season review by Paul Ready

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As many fighters and those involved in the boxing industry enjoy a well earned rest with their nearest and dearest, I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on what has been an eventful 2014 thus far:

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The Good

Froch Groves 2 at Wembley watched by a partisan crowd of 80,000. On a night that saw Jamie McDonnell, Kevin Mitchell, Anthony Joshua, James De Gale all in action.The curtains were brought down in spectacular fashion by Carl Froch with a brutal 8th round KO of George Groves.

Darren Barker winning the IBF Middleweight title in August 2013 was for me one of the highlights. The dedication of the victory to his late brother Gary was moving and the celebrations at the end will live long in the memory of those who tuned in.

The thawing of relations between American Promoters Goldenboy and Top Rank potentially is a huge turning point, with both Oscar De La Hoya and Bob Arum back on speaking terms.

Miguel Cotto became the first 4 weight world champion from Puerto Rico when Sergio Martinez retired at the start of the 9th with Cotto capturing the WBC Middleweight title.

Curtis Woodhouse beating Darren Hamilton on points in February to win the Light-Welter British title another dedication to a late relative, this time his father.

Paul Butler winning the IBF Bantamweight title against Stuart Hall in Newcastle last month on points.

2x time Olympic Gold Medallist Vasyl Lomachenko winning the vacant WBO Featherweight title against Gary Russell Jr in only his 3rd professional bout.

Gavin Rees v Gary Buckland in February was arguably the British “Fight of the year” so far, both men threw the kitchen sink, fridge and any other item they could find at each other with Buckland taking a close split decision.

Rees could have quit after but like tough bastard he is, chose not to and opted instead for the rematch. The decision was vindicated with The Rock taking a split decision in his favour.

 

 

The Bad

Inactivity continues to be a concern for me, it is a fighter’s worst enemy.

Andre Ward has fought twice since his 2011 win over Carl Froch, his last outing coming in November 2013.

Mikey Garcia hasn’t fought since January this year in what was intended to be a busy one for the Mexican/American. Expected to be in at least 4 fights, moving up to 140lbs, then possibly 147lbs against Manny Pacquaio in November have been seriously derailed.

Both Ward and Garcia are currently in contract disputes with their respective promoters, neither showing any signs of improving which is worrying.

Ricky Burns’ has had a 2014 to forget so far, with 2 back-to-back defeats against Terence Crawford and Dejan Zlaticanian, something is not right with Burns and his team are determined to resolve it. A move up to 140lbs for me would make sense as he looks drained making 135lbs.

Kevin Mitchell lost out on his IBF mandatory position due to check-weight issues on the day of the Ghaslain Maduma fight. Matchroom are reportedly working on tying up a voluntary defense from Miguel Vazquez in October.

 

The Ugly

In Enzo Maccarnelli’s defeat against Jurgen Brahmer the Welshman inherited a gruesome injury above his right eye that resulted in trainer Gary Lockett pulling him out at the end of the 5th.

Questionable score-cards in America continue to be a frustrating subject. CJ Ross has become a long-standing joke for her scoring of Mayweather v Canelo as a draw. Another ridiculous score was 117-111 on one card of the recent Canelo v Lara bout, it was tight and could have gone either way but never in a million years was it that wide. It is something that will need to be addressed ASAP before a catastrophe occurs and fighter is robbed blind of a title.

Tyson Fury is in hot-water with the British Boxing Board after being hit with a misconduct charge following comments made at the recent Chisora v Fury 2 press conference:

“If you don’t like the station, change the channel bitch.This is my show, I do what I want. This is boxing, it isn’t tap-dancing. If anybody doesn’t like that they shouldn’t be here.

“I’m in fight mode, kill-mode. I don’t apologise, it is what it is.”

Chris Eubank Snr’s comments that his son Chris Jr could beat every boxer in the world between 160-168lbs bar Andre Ward were met with wide ridicule. In his next fight, Chris Sr stood in the middle of the ring between rounds soaking up all the attention. It was embarrassing for his son and he needs to let him be his own man without constantly hogging the limelight.

Danny Garcia has been heavily criticised for cherry picking opponents this year. After his sublime victory against Lucas Matthysse in September, Swift narrowly beat a gritty Maurico Herrera in March and faces unknown Rod Salka in August. I felt after Matthysse the 26 yr old would be thrust to super-fights with Adrien Broner, Marcos Maidana and of course Floyd Mayweather Jnr.

 

So taking all things in to consideration it has been a superb season, plenty of highs, lows and forgetful moments. With the new season right around the corner in August kicked off with Shawn Porter v Kell Brook for the IBF Welter title, the sport could not be in a better place in Britain and I look forward to seeing some huge fights made as we close the year out.

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

 

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Peter Sims – Interview (Part 1) By Paul Ready

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Many cutsman often turn up on fight-night, get paid and go home without fully understanding the man in the corner they are patching up.

Peter Sims is different.

He is different because he dedicates his whole time to the gym.

Not only does he now train 3 fighters, but he spends time around the fighters whose corner he will be in beside brother Tony.

Peter understands what each man is susceptible to for cuts and the best methods to prevent them from occurring.

He is recognised and renowned as one of the best cutsman in the business.

Alongside brother Tony, they are the only brothers in boxing who work together as trainer and cutsman.

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What struck me most about Peter was that he is a real throwback of men of yesteryear.

Born and bred in listening distance of the Bow bells and the home of British boxing; Peter is one of the most genuine guys I’ve met for a long time.

A great host to me in my maiden visit to Simsy’s gym, even though he had Wadi Camacho and Benga Ilyemi beating holes in one another sparring, he constantly checked I was comfortable and catered for.

Whilst we watched Martin Ward and Romeo Romaeo spar in a session that Bruce Lee would have been proud of, we stood there rabbiting away like a pair of old women in a laundrette.

You would learn plenty listening to Peter talk about boxing, I certainly did.

I felt like a boxing boffin sat in the front of the class, all that was absent was a thick pair of glasses and a Granny Smith to give to him.

Elite Boxing:

What made you get in to boxing initially?

Peter Sims:

Well I started boxing when I was 10, me and Tony (Sims, Peter’s brother) were brought up in Bethnal Green. My Junior School was right round the corner from Repton Boxing Club. I remember I walked in to Repton at 10 years of age and started going in there a couple of times a week.

When I was 11 I started boxing for Poplar as an amateur and went on to Stepington St George’s. Tony went over to Fitzroy Lodge.

That was my real introduction to boxing really.

Our family are a good boxing family; our dad won the Force’s Champion as a Middleweight, our uncle Jimmy Davis fought Randolf Turpin who later went on to fight Sugar Ray Robinson.

Boxing has always been in our family.

 

EB:

It sounds like it’s been handed down from generation to generation in the Sims family like a trade..

PS:

Definitely. It’s stemmed from the area that we’ve come from, working class background.

When we left school we went down to Billingsgate fish market, which had Billy Walker, Georgie Walker and loads of other fighters from years ago.

It was the environment we grew up in, you were surrounded by boxing and that’s where it all starts from really.

 

EB:

What has kept you in the sport since then to the present day?

PS:

I came out of the sport for a bit as I had a club out in Spain for a few years. Funnily enough I was training fighters out there for at a gym in Marbella.

I was back and forward from there doing cuts with Tony and his guys when he first started with the likes of Butch Leslie, Dave Stewart and obviously Darren Barker came along in the early years.

Then 8-10 years ago I decided to move back from Spain to England, my children were then old enough to go to Secondary School and then I came back in the gym with Tony.

I was working full-time then doing the conditioning with the fighters, I had other business interests and didn’t want to go to deep in looking after fighters, and it happened by accident that side of it really.

I was quite happy doing the cuts for Tony.

EB:

My perception of a cutsman is one of the toughest jobs on fight night as you have a matter of seconds to work between rounds. What skills have you learnt over the years?

PS:

As much as you follow old school tactics and techniques of the likes of Mick Williamson (former cutsman for Ricky Hatton), you learn from your own experiences.

I know Mick well as he was friends with my father-in-law for years and years.

He was at my father-in-laws funeral. He’s been a friend of my family outside of boxing for 30-40 years.

What has inspired me to get in to cuts being in the gym and around the fighters.

You can learn a lot about the fighter that a lot of cutsman don’t do, they just turn up on the night.

When you are in the gym with them and they get facial injuries, you learn to know about the structure of their face and I believe it’s an important thing.

Some people have got sharp cheekbones and sharp eyebrows, you have to be careful and watch them where they swell up, where their weak points are.

Have they got an injury in sparring that they could take in to a fight?

That is something people don’t know about , but I certainly do.

A lot of cuts people get wearing the headguard, they need to Vaseline the headguard as well as the face.

Many of the fighters don’t want Vaseline on the headguard as it slips.

But it’s very important to keep the headguard supple and greased.

It’s something that I enjoy doing and now I’ve gone on to training fighters in the last couple of years.

 

EB:

To discuss your fighters in more detail, how did you end up training Tyler Goodjohn firstly?

PS:

Well as you know, Tony used to train Tyler. At that time Tony was looking after a number of young fighters like Ryan Taylor and Tyler.

Tyler went in to a fight with Vinny Woolford, basically a journeyman who could wack a bit.

He had a condition called hypoglycemia and even now we have to check his blood sugar levels are ok.

Basically it was caused by bad diet and bad advice by a nutritionist he was using at the time and it resulted in him developing hypoglycemia.

It was brought on by fructose in fruits, but we didn’t know he had that problem at the time.

He went in to the fight with Woolford with that condition, he was gone before the fight really, and he didn’t look the right skin colour.

It was a big defeat for a young kid that turned pro at 18 and won a National Title as an amateur, they had high hopes for him.

Then he boxed Danny Connor for the British Masters and got beat on points and it was a 2nd defeat.

It’s quite common knowledge in our gym that if you get 2 defeats and you are fighting for Masters Titles, you are shown the door.

It’s different if you are competing at European or World Level as you can comeback.

Tony phoned Tyler to come spar Ryan Taylor, and was actually training himself.

After the spar Tyler told me he was really pleased with the instructions I gave him during the spar and that he had never felt that confident in a spar.

He told me he had an upcoming British Masters fight and would I train him for it.

To be honest with you, I was reluctant did I have the time?

I had my hands full with a Recruitment company in Darlington and my Jab Wear (Boxing apparel) business.

I agreed to train him for the fight and go from there.

EB:

From speaking to Tyler you can tell how much he respects you. It may sound cliché but it’s almost like a father son relationship.

He listens & believes in everything you say and you show a lot of confidence in him, providing constructive criticism where necessary.

Off the back of that how did you end up inheriting Wadi Camacho and Benga Ilyemi?

PS:

Benga is the cousin of Anthony Joshua, when Anthony turned pro with Matchroom. Ilyemi went along to the same meeting mentioned he wanted turn pro, he won 2 National Titles as an amateur.

So he came in to the gym, me and Tony spoke about it in-depth, we looked at him. Tony trained him for a session and I trained him for a session. We went away and decided between us that I’m the one that should train him.

I thought to myself at that point, what have I let myself in for, now I’ve now got two of them!

From Ilyemi came Wadi Camacho, Wadi came down to spar Ilyemi before the Conquest fight.

He went in to the Conquest fight, got beat for whatever reasons, then I got a call from Jess( Wadi’s manager) he wasn’t happy with his current stable, he felt I could offer him more.

Wadi is a Southpaw which is always an advantage.

Same thing again, me and Tony spoke about it as Camacho does come with a bit of baggage.

Not being disrespectful to Wadi, at that time I didn’t know him as a person or what his personality was like.

He is tarred with a tag that he is a bit flash and a bit arrogant; he’s actually the complete opposite and a really nice guy.

And that’s how I came about Wadi Camacho.

Wadi is half Spanish as you are probably aware, I can speak fluent Spanish after living out there for a number of years. We speak Spanish to one another in the gym and take the piss out of people who are completely clueless. We are considering doing it in the corner for his next fight, I’m sure Skysports will lap it up!

(During the interview Wadi comes in to talk to Peter in Spanish, I’m sure they were discussing numbers but I could have been the joke and was blissfully unaware!)

 

EB:

As you’ve stated that you and Tony talk in-depth when looking to bring a new fighter onboard like Joshua or a fighter rejoining like Kevin Mitchell, I presume you both discuss is this a feasible move for the gym?

PS:

Well you have to look after the fighters who are already in the gym; you just can’t focus on someone who comes along wanting to join asking:

 “Can you train me”.

You don’t think about them or what they’ve got to offer, your main focus is the existing fighters.

Our gym is the most grounded gym for fighters you will ever go in.

There are no fighters here deluded, if they are; we take it away from them.

Ego gets left at the door before you come in this gym.

There is no ego shit in our gym; you have to be grounded to come in here.

Some fighters don’t like it, and we don’t like them, that is just how it goes.

It’s horses for courses, fighters get out what they put in here.

There is no ego from me and Tony like some gyms, I’ve seen egos being passed down from trainers to their fighters if gives them false sense of belief.

**Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow – where Peter discusses his Jab Wear business, what key attributes they look for in a prospect and the expectations of their fighters**

Tyler Goodjohn – El Tornado By Paul Ready

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Tyler “El Tornado” Goodjohn has already in his 11 years as a fighter encountered various cross roads in his career that would have made many quit boxing.

El Tornado didn’t and displays maturity that far outweighs his 22 yrs; for a young man who turned professional at the tender age of 18, it felt like I was listening to a 28 yr old.

What I found most endearing about Tyler was his passion & hunger to succeed in boxing; the time is nigh for him to prove many doubters wrong.

He for one can’t wait to do so.

When I first approached him to conduct an interview, I knew we would hit it off, Goodjohn is a huge Arsenal fan and his love for the “Gooners” is only surpassed by his one true love; boxing.

You would struggle to dislike Tyler after speaking to him, a genuine guy, big boxing fan and we spoke at a length about various match-ups he would like see.

El Tornado knows that he is 1 fight away from winning his first title and putting himself in the thick of the thriving British Light-Welterweight scene.

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Elite Boxing:

Who or what influenced you to become a boxer?

Tyler Goodjohn:

As a boy I was quite a chunky kid, my parents took me to a boxing club to lose weight. I was 11 and really struggled with it to begin with.

 I lost my first 7 amateur fight, what made it worse was my brother (who is 5 years older) was at the same club and was knocking people out for fun.

Looking back, I think if I was 16-17, my mates might have been telling me to pack it in and do something else.

 Suddenly it just clicked for me and took over his life. I had 70 amateur fights in total and ended up winning the juniors.

The club I was at was really small; we only had 1 punch-bag between 3 of us.

I still speak to my old trainer who is in now in his 70’s and he gives me some tips.

My older brother is still an amateur and whenever I get the time, I go watch his fights and support him.

I wouldn’t be where I am today without my brother being there for me.

What boxing installed in me from a young age was determination not to fail. It’s something that now is transferable in every aspect of my life.

I hate failing at anything.

EB:

Who was your favourite fighter growing up and what fighters currently do you watch?

TG:

I would have to say Muhammed Ali; I loved his charisma and boxing style.

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve watched “When We Were Kings” (Based on Rumble in Jungle; Ali v Foreman in Zaire, Africa 1974).

Mike Tyson was another I loved watching as a boy.

Modern day fighters, I’m a big fan of Floyd Mayweather Jnr, I have huge respect for his style. He isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but defensively he is flawless.

At Simsy’s gym I’m in awe of Kevin Mitchell and previously Darren Barker, basically any fighters who have competed at world level, sparring with those guys is a big step up.

What is even more amazing about Mayweather is that he not only competes at World Level but he makes those he face look average, Floyd truly dominates them, you can’t get near him.

EB:

In December 2013 you had your 3rd fight with Danny Connor, tell me about the win and reflect back on the saga?

TG:

I honestly felt that I had done enough to win the 2nd fight.

I spoke to dad after the Danny Connor loss and he wanted me take over the family farm business.

I told him and mum that I’ve got to be selfish, I knew I wasn’t finished in boxing and had plenty more to give.

They supported my decision which I thank them for.

In the build up to the 3rd fight, I’m not ashamed to say that I suffered a few sleepless nights going over and over how it would pan out.

I was being slated for being farmer on Twitter, which didn’t bother me. I’m proud of my roots and rather than let it get to me, I made a joke of myself.

My family was apprehensive for him to do it, as they felt I was being a bit disrespectful to dad’s line of work.

But when I explained, they understood.

I’ve worked on the farm in-between fights; dealing with pigs and cows was my down time!

Winning that fight felt like a title to me, I was over the moon to finally put that issue to bed.

I’d like to thank the Fen Army, my supporters that come to my fights. You’ve been great for me.

 

EB:

Your surprise loss to Vinny Woolford in 2011, what happened & how did you learn from it?

TG:

Firstly I wasn’t in the best shape before. I was suffering from hypoglycemia, and kept it to myself. Looking back, this was a really naive move on my part to not mention it to anyone.

I was undefeated at the time and felt that I would comfortably win; I fully underestimated the extent of my health at that time.

I felt completely shot in that fight and was easily picked off by Vinny. No disrespect to him, but I wouldn’t of lost if I was at in my normal fighting condition.

I spent 4 months in hospital afterwards which was punishment enough.

This was a massive learning experience for me and it taught me to always be upfront with my condition to my trainer.

EB:

When you are in training camps, what do you do in your down time?

TG:

I moved down to Essex, from Ely to be closer to the gym. You will probably think I’m boring but I really don’t do anything exciting outside of boxing.

I tend to watch films and catch-up with friends when possible.

The feeling I get when I’ve left the gym after a huge session is the best feeling ever, you ask any true fighter they will tell you the same.

I had 2 hand injuries last year, that kept me out for 4 months off and had ended up having an operation.

My hand was in a cast, I initially thought it would be great as i’ve never really had much time off. After a very short period I was climbing the walls to get back in the gym.

I couldn’t even go home and help out dad on the family farm to take my mind off it.

I love boxing, and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

Most boxers would agree that they are mad to do this sport. But building up to fight night and the buzz you get when you win, you can’t describe it. It makes all the hard-work and sacrifice worthwhile.

I’m so focused to succeed in boxing.

When I go out with mates on the rare occasions and they are drinking, people come up to me and say:

“You must be having a terrible time Ty?!”

I smile at them and think to myself;

“Are you joking mate? You will be out drinking every weekend for the majority of your life. I’ve only got a short period of time in boxing and I intend to make the most of it. I’ve got the best job in the world!”

EB:

I’m sure you’ve got some great stories from your time in camp; do you have any in particular you wish to share?

TG:

I’ve just come back from Lanzarote with Wadi Camacho and Peter Sims where we had a training camp. Loads of high-altitude runs, real hard graft.

Wadi has a catch phrase “Yeah Buddy”,  when we were out there he had a bet with a British sparring partner we brought over that if he won in sparring, the other guy would get Yeah Buddy tattooed on him.

Fair play to the guy, he was from Devon and really game in the ring. Wadi won and the guy agreed to get the tattoo.

Wadi is half Spanish and can speak it, so when we went to the tattoo parlour, he spoke in Spanish to the tattooist and told him to put “Yeah Buddy #TeamCamacho” on his lower back.

Hilarious haha.

EB:

You’ve touched upon Simsy’s gym just there, you were previously trained by Tony and now by his brother Peter, give me an overview of your time there and the change in trainers…

TG:

I was with Tony Sims from 16/17 up until the 2nd Danny Connor fight.

Tony spoke to me after the loss and said that he didn’t feel he I would make it to British or European Level.

I respected his honesty and we decided to go our separate ways, no hard feelings.

I then trained myself, and got in to a position to have a British Masters fight.

Ryan Taylor text me one day to come spar against him Simsy’s. 

Peter was down there, we had always got on well and he offered to do the corner for me in the spar with Ryan.

Afterwards, Peter spoke to me and said:

“You aren’t finished yet, you’ve got much more to give”.

Peter agreed to be in my corner for the British Masters fight and we agreed to speak after about what was next.

I ended up winning the British masters and relationship went from there.

I would be the first to admit that I sometimes need to have an arm round me to get the best performance from me.

We get on so well and really clicked together, I’m going to watch the football round his shortly (Arsenal v Bayern)

I can’t thank Peter enough for what he has done for me; for example he paid for the hand operation last year privately. I really appreciate everything he does.

I get on well with Tony still; Tony helped me out this week when Peter wasn’t around.

I have great respect for Tony and what he has achieved in the sport.

EB:

You are currently ranked 16th on BoxRec in the British Light-Welter division.

Your next opponent Tyrone Nurse is ranked 9th, with a British title and the opportunity to “gate-crash” the top 10 is at stake.

In a red-hot domestic division that contains Darren Hamilton, Curtis Woodhouse, Chris Jenkins, Tom Stalker to name a few; what would the win mean to you and your future goals in boxing?

TG:

After the Danny Connor fight, I took some-time out for the festive period. But since then, I’ve already been training for 6 weeks, I respect Tyrone, but I know I will beat him.

I spoke to Darren Barker on the phone a few weeks ago and he told me that winning the British Title for him, ranks as one of his greatest achievements. That has inspired me even more to win.

I’m going to win that belt so I can take it home and show it to my parents.

I feel in great shape and my preparation has been first class. I’ve been sparring with Martin Ward recently, and I know this is my moment to shine.

I think it is a great division, I’m looking forward to seeing Hamilton v Woodhouse this weekend but I’m focused on my next fight first and foremost. Then I will look to some big fights domestically.

EB:

Tyler, just want to say it has been a pleasure talking to you. I wish you all the very best in your British Title fight in April

TG:

Thanks mate, likewise.

 

You can follow Tyler on Twitter at @tornadotyler.

Tyler Goodjohn is fighting for Matchroom Boxing at the Phones 4 U Arena in Manchester on Saturday 19th April 2014, for tickets please contact him.

He is currently looking for sponsors to add to his growing portfolio so if you are interested please get in touch.

 

Article written by Paul Ready

@EliteBoxingBlog @PaulReady

Dazzling Darren… Interview By Paul Ready

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The rain was pelting down on my car wind-screen; it was 4.52pm as I sat at a set of traffic lights on my way home from work. I decided that listening to Adrian Durham of Talksport going in to yet another tirade about Arsenal was getting some-what tiresome. I changed the station to Radio 1, “Katy Perry – Roar” was playing; not my brand of brandy and immediately switched over to Kiss 100.

“Storm Queen – Look Right Through” began playing and it instantly reminded me of Darren Barker and his entrance music against Felix Sturm in December 2013.

I had the pleasure of speaking to Darren last night for just over an hour, it felt like a matter of minutes. We spoke about his career, friends, family and boxers past & present, Darren has seen some of the very best British and American boxers of all time fight in the flesh, I’m sure we could have spoken for even longer as he is a huge fan of the sport, now more than ever before.

What struck me immediately about Darren is how humble and down-to earth he is. For a guy who has reached the “holy-grail” in boxing and became IBF-Middleweight World Champion, he has no ego, no airs or graces and certainly no diva tendencies.

The conversation was relaxed; it was reminiscent of occasions I’ve been first introduced to a friend of a friend in a bar on a night out.  You find common ground between you, be it sport, children, work. This instinctively put me at ease.

After an initial discussion between us both about football, (Chelsea mainly as Darren is a big fan) to “break the ice”; the formal aspect of the interview began:

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Elite Boxing:

Family businesses are often electricians, painters and decorators by trade, handed down from generation to generation. The Barker’s “trade” was boxing, what made you want to continue the family tradition?

Darren Barker:

My dad pure and simple. The most important thing to me as a youngster and throughout my career was making my dad proud. I could have won convincingly and it wouldn’t have mattered if he wasn’t happy with my performance. Dad’s opinion mattered the most to me after every fight more than anything. He was the biggest influence on me through-out and I always sought his advice and guidance.

EB:

Growing up who was your idol and what was the very first fight you remember watching?

DB:

Mike Tyson was my idol growing up. Dad used to take me to theatre’s in London to watch Tyson’s fights as we didn’t have Sky at home in those days. I absolutely loved his aggressive style and approach to fights. Which may seem odd to some as he is the polar opposite to me as a boxer. I saw myself as more technical, picking my punches and patient. I also was a big fan of Nigel Benn and was there at the Gerald McClelland fight.

EB:

Tell me how you met Tony Sims, and the transition from amateurs to professional boxing?

DB:

I first met Tony when I joined Repton Boxing Club whilst an amateur. Tony was the reason I made the transition from amateur to pro and he backed me from day 1.

I couldn’t have achieved what I did in boxing without him by my side. I can’t speak highly enough of him and we could talk for hours about what impact he has had on me.

I’m gutted to not see Tony every day in the gym now I’ve retired, but we speak on the phone regularly and he is someone I know will be in my life forever as a friend.

When I first became pro, the main shock to me was fighting fully grown men. Journeymen who were putting food on the table for their family. They were strong, aggressive and driven to provide for their loved ones. It took me some time to get used to having no head-gear as well. The whole experience was a huge culture shock. But I loved it.

Winning the National Title even now ranks as a great achievement to me. I would have been content with just that. Never in a million years did I believe I would be World Champion one day.

EB:

My perception of Tony Sims’ gym and the fighters there is that you guys all have a great team spirit; you look out for one another. You were in Lee Purdy’s corner for the Devon Alexander fight. As the senior fighter of the gym, I bet you have a few good stories to share from your time there?

DB:

Haha. Yeah we did have a great laugh there. Proud to say as you said being the senior fighter there, I was a big wind up merchant. One of my trademark pranks was putting Tiger Balm in the boys’ pants when they left them in the changing room.

The best prank I’ve done was to Tyler Goodjohn who was about to spar Lee Purdy. I said to Tony to make sure Ty was laced up so he couldn’t do anything. I had his gum-shield and was fitted so he needed help putting it in and taking it out. I filled it up with “Arse-blaster” Hot Sauce and whacked it in his mouth. He was in a world of pan, his face bright red and was jumping around all over the place.

EB:

I’m sure you’ve seen the news in the past week that the IBF has ordered a rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves, as a fan how do you feel about seeing a rematch and who wins?

DB:

I’m as excited as everyone to see the rematch; it is going to be a great spectacle for British boxing. It’s a really tough one to call. Britain needs these nights and we are all in for a treat, don’t blink for a second.

EB:

What albums/music is on your IPod playlist currently?

DB:

I listen to absolutely everything, currently enjoying John Mayer, Hip Hop. I tend to put it on shuffle and just let it play.

EB:

What TV shows/Box sets are you watching currently?

DB:

I haven’t watched much TV recently as I’ve been so busy. But when I do or if it’s on, I will always watch “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, love that. “Entourage”, “Sopranos”,” Only Fools and Horses” some other favourites of mine.

One thing I have been watching is “Being Mike Tyson”, which is really moving stuff.

EB:

When was the last time you were star struck?

DB:

Meeting my idol Mike Tyson as a boy even to this day that is the most star struck I’ve ever been. I went and saw him train at Grosvenor House Hotel, London. Had my picture taken with him, we had a chat and was in genuine awe of him.

I have banter with Dad now about Ali and Tyson who would have won. If ever I want to wind him up, I just have to drop in to conversation that Tyson would have beaten Ali, and he goes in to one.

EB:

Going back to your love of Chelsea FC; I recall seeing pictures of you on Twitter out in Munich 2012, what was it like being out there and seeing them lift the trophy in dramatic style?

DB:

That was the 2nd best night of my life; only Scarlett (Darren’s Daughter) being born tops it.

It was my 30th Birthday that night and hands down the best celebration I’ve ever had for any birthday. I went out there in a Mini-Bus full of mates; we drove there and back, 12 hours each way. Great crack. I was lucky enough to go to the Chelsea FC after-party, held the trophy, had a medal round my neck, and met all the players. I had pictures with John Terry and Frank Lampard. What a night!

EB:

You touched upon your daughter Scarlett there, tell me how you felt becoming a father and the shift in your priorities as a fighter and man?

DB:

When Scarlett was born, I felt like I had truly become a man then. My life had extra impetus. In the gym, my training became more focussed and I was driven to succeed to provide her the best life possible.

I became the man in the opposite corner of the ring I faced as a young pro. I had to provide for my family, put food on the table, and keep a roof over our head.

EB:

Good luck to any future boyfriend’s when she is older, meeting your girlfriend’s dad for the first time is bad enough, let alone one who is a former World Champion boxer, doesn’t get more daunting!

DB:

Yeah, haha. I’m already working on my stare and sharpening some tools for when she is older, don’t you worry!

EB:

Let’s discuss the other lady in your life; your fiancée Gemma. How has she supported you throughout your career and is there any plans for you to make her Mrs Barker in the foreseeable future?

DB:

I think the plan with Gemma now will be to have some more children. Scarlett needs a little brother or sister to play with before we think about marriage.

Gemma has been there for me from the start, when we lost Gary to where I am now. She has supported me throughout my career. It has been an emotional rollercoaster for us all. I’m not ashamed to say that she does wear the trousers in the relationship, I’m happy to go along with whatever she wants within reason. I just want a quiet stress-free life at home!

EB:

I think most men can relate to that, having a stress-free home life!

One thing I have to complement you on is your style; rarely do I see you poorly dressed. Always wearing a blazer or a 3 piece-whistle (suit).

The press conference for Barker v Sturm fight for example, you, Felix Sturm and Eddie Hearn wouldn’t have looked out of place in a GQ photoshoot.

DB:

Haha. Nice of you to say mate. I wouldn’t say that I spend loads on casual clothes. But I do love a 3-piece whistle. I’m lucky to have some lovely suits and know a few good tailors. That is one thing I do like to spend a bit on as they last.

EB:

Backing to boxing, tell me about why you signed with Matchroom Boxing from Hennessy Sports, your relationship with Eddie Hearn and your main sponsor Elite Scaffolding?

DB:

I felt at that time I needed to make some progression in my career. I was eternally grateful to Mick Hennessy for everything he done for me up until that point in my career. I haven’t spoken to Mick for some time, but I like to thank him for what he done in the early days.

Joining Matchroom has proved to be a career-defining move for me. When I first sat down with Eddie and Barry Hearn, I knew it was the right place for me. We hit it off from day one and I’ve achieved beyond my wildest dreams with Eddie and Matchroom.

Eddie is someone who I am good mates with now and will be for the rest of my days. We speak daily on the phone and I have another friend for life there.

Luke Chandler (Elite Scaffolding) has helped me financially with sponsorship and my personal life. He has provided me with emotional support throughout and has never once asked or expected anything from me.

He is another good mate and I’ve been so lucky to have him, he won’t even let me buy him lunch, he gets the hump if I ever try to pay!

I’m so grateful to have had Luke, Tony and Eddie in my life as they will be 3 close mates of mine forever, I’ve been so lucky to have a great family and team around me.

EB:

Another friendship I’ve seen you develop over the years is with Joe Calzaghe, not ashamed to say my favourite British boxer of all time, what influence and advice has he given you?

DB:

I got to know Joe when he lived in London and we have lots in common as men outside the ring.

Joe has been there, seen it and done it in the ring. I look up to him. He was another idol of mine growing up and coming through as a young boxer. He has been a great mate and mentor.

He has supported me in the real dark days when I was close to retiring a few years back.

I remember being at Joe’s house in Cardiff, and I was on a real downer, telling him that I’ve had enough and I’m going to pack it in for good.

 Joe grabbed me and said “I guarantee you will win a World Title, don’t you dare give up” He believed in me in that dark hour of my life.

When I won the IBF title and saw him for the first time, I will never forget seeing Joe across the hotel, he cupped his hands and shouted out loud: “ANNNND NEEEEWWWW!” came over, gave me a hug and said “I told you so”.

Great boxer and an even better guy.

EB:

Who is the hardest sparring partner you’ve had and what prospects in the gym have you seen you have impressed you the most?

DB:

I sparred with Mikkel Kessler a few years ago and when he landed you really knew about him. Massive power.

Prospects wise I think Luke Campbell and Anthony Joshua are the two stand-outs for me.

Joshua is a tough, tough guy. He has the lot and will win the World Title, they both will.

EB:

Campbell reminds me of De La Hoya with his movement and I could see him being a multi-weight champion as he has the frame to move up.

DB:

Good shout that, great speed & feet and has the body to fill out.

EB:

Internationally, what boxers do you enjoying watching?

DB:

Floyd MayweatherJnr is one of my favourite fighters currently, I was there when he fought Cotto and he was different class.

Golovkin, Gamboa and Rigondeaux are all top talents that I like watching.

EB:

Back to yourself Darren and your fight against Sergio Martinez. I watched this back the other day and you were dictating the first 6 rounds, you broke his nose in the 4th, and later lost in the 11th. How did you find the step up on to the world stage for that fight?

DB:

Obviously disappointing to have lost that fight. But it was great experience; it proved to me that I can compete at World Level. I still keep in touch with Sergio now, top guy. I came up short against him, but it gave me more belief in my ability.

EB:

After that fight, you came close to retiring, what made you change your mind?

DB:

I had my first hip operation and it was a real tough time for me. It was a mental rollercoaster that stage. Do I continue? And I decided yes for Scarlett, Gemma, my family and my friends.

I was determined to get back in the gym and work towards my 2nd world title shot.

EB:

It took just under two years and two 4th round TKO’s against Kerry Hope and Simone Rotolo respectively to put you back as a mandatory challenger for a World title, this time the IBF Title against Daniel Geale. Looking back on that life-changing night in Atlantic City, how do you feel?

DB:

I achieved the ultimate goal and realised my dream of becoming a World Champion. The fight took a lot out of me physically and emotionally. It meant everything to me and everyone around me.

I was so determined to win that belt; nothing was going to stop me. I knew it was my moment.

EB:

My favourite part outside of Michael Buffer saying “And Newwww” and the emotion and celebration in the ring after the announcement was your post-fight interview with Max Kellerman of HBO.

Kellerman asked you:

“Who is next? Quillin? Macklin? Golovkin?”

You simply responded:

“To be honest, I just want to get home and see my daughter”.

DB:

Haha, thanks mate. It’s true. Just wanted to be home with her and the belt.

EB:

Felix Sturm in December, your first title defence, how was the preparation for that and more importantly, how is the hip now?

DB:

My hip went before the fight in sparring, so there was a bit of panic and worry before the fight. Would the hip hold? But despite that, I felt that I still had enough to beat Sturm.

Gutted to have lost, the purse for the fight was career best and in a way I wish I earnt that for the Geale fight as I might have considered retiring then. But I couldn’t not take the fight, regardless of my hip.

The hip is still causing me some pain. I’m doing some work in the gym to support it. Some light weight training, etc. Important for me to stay in shape, especially so I can fit in to my whistles!

I still need an operation, but if I’m honest I’m putting it off.

EB:

I’ve got respect for Sturm, he displayed plenty of class in the after-math of the fight, and he was fighting for a big TV deal in Germany. But there was no gloating and he had some kind words for you?

DB:

Felix is a gentleman and we’ve spoke on Twitter, he spoke well of me and I’m appreciative of that, good luck to him and I wish him the best in his career.

EB:

You’ll be delighted to know this is my final question, and you can enjoy the rest of your evening. What is next for Darren Barker?

DB:

At this stage, I can’t see myself as a trainer. I wouldn’t rule it out in the future, but it’s not on my mind currently. I’m working for Sky Sports on Saturday in Cardiff for the Matchroom show so you will see me doing more of that no doubt. I have investments in properties and a few other things happening behind the scenes. But regardless, I’m keen to remain in the sport in some capacity.

EB:

I’d personally like to see you become Matchroom’s Boxing Ambassador, similar to what Bernard Hopkins’ is for GoldenBoy. A “go-between” the fighters and press. They will all look up to you based on your achievements in the sport, and you are an example to them of how to never give up on your dreams.

DB:

That could be an option for the future too; we shall see what happens mate!

EB:

Darren, just like to say, thanks for your time. Been a pleasure talking to you and as a boxing fan, enjoyed your rollercoaster ride. I wish you the best of luck in what-ever you decide to do.

DB:

Thanks Paul, anytime. Been great chatting.

 

@EliteBoxingBlog

@PaulReady

 

You can follow Darren Barker on Twitter at @DarrenBarker82

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boxing Update 16/01… By Paul Ready

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Evening,

How is January treating you so far, have you fallen off the “diet” wagon yet?

#Cake

We have had some fights announced and a retirement in recent weeks, so let’s cover these in the first instance.

Then I will discuss International Match-Ups which are scheduled for the next consecutive weekends.

Let’s dive in like you would on a gooey Chocolate Brownie…

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Hmm… That’s tasty…

Darren Barker

Former IBF Middleweight World Champion Darren “Dazzling” Barker announced this week his retirement from boxing.
Barker, who lost to Felix Sturm in December, has decided to call it a day with an impending hip operation due to take place.

I’ve written much about Darren over the past few months, but I believe he has made the right choice.

Barker has achieved every boy-hood fan’s dream of winning a World Title and can hold his head high. He has done himself and his family proud.

Dazzler defeated all odds inside and outside of the ring, leading him to reaching the “Promised Land” of becoming World Champion.

Darren has stated numerous times that he has no desire to become a trainer.

I can personally see him working as a pundit on fight nights for SkySports, or as an ambassador for Matchroom Boxing in a Bernard Hopkins-esq role.

Hopkins is an ambassador for Goldenboy Promotions in America, he is the “link” man between the promoter and the fighters. Bernard is a Hall of Fame boxer Stateside and commands instant respect from the stables fighters, young and old.

I feel young pro’s in Britain could learn plenty from Darren, remaining humble, hungry and down-to-earth are key traits to any aspiring World Champion.

I wish him all the best in whatever he decides to do.

Tyson Fury

Biggest news domestically has been Tyson Fury agreeing to fight on BoxNation.

It appeared that Frank had slightly jumped the gun assuming the deal was signed, when Fury’s camp denied it was agreed at that stage.

Tyson is still a Hennessy fighter, as is cousin Hughie Fury, but they will both fight on BoxNation for say 3 fights this year.

This opens the door immediately to a rematch with Dereck Chisora in the summer, something Warren spoke about hosting in a football stadium.

It should be an intriguing match-up domestically, as they are the top 2 British Heavyweights currently.

I’m choosing to exclude David Haye from this as he is still injured with a shoulder injury, despite posting pictures online of himself back in the gym.

I want to see Fury v Deontay Wilder this year; it is the biggest Heavyweight fight in the world.

Some may scoff at that, but two undefeated fighters, charismatic, some-bodies 0 has got to go!

Providing of course, that Fury beats a yet to be named opponent 15th Feb and Chisora of course in the summer.

James DeGale

The WBC has ordered a final eliminator between Mayweather Promotions Badou Jack (16-0: 11 KO’s) and James DeGale for the mandatory position of the Super Middle-Weight title.

This will be a stern test for DeGale, Jack is rated as one of brightest talents in the Mayweather stable.

The fight is scheduled to take place by June this year. I haven’t seen an abundance of Jack, but I would back DeGale to edge it on a decision.

The winner would then move on to face Sakio Bika who won a split decision last month against Anthony Dirrell.

George Groves

George Groves was interviewed by IFLTV at a SkySports press conference for recently released movie “Grudge Match”; which features Sylvester Stallone and Robert Di Niro in a box-office boxing match-up.

Groves confirmed that he has held talks with American based Goldenboy Promotions and Top Rank already, with two meetings arranged this week with Boxing king-pin Al Haymon and New York based Lou Di-Bella.

I don’t believe it will be too long until we know who he has signed with.

Imagine if Groves signed with Haymon…

Wow!

Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport, who promotes Carl Froch told SkySports earlier this week that the rematch between Froch & Groves remains a strong option.

Froch is keen to fight in Las Vegas before he retires, and as mentioned previously, Julio Chavez Jr, Gennady Golovkin and Andre Ward rematch as possible opponents.

Rumours have surfaced this morning of Froch agreeing to fight Andre Ward in Las Vegas on 1st June, but so far just word round the camp-fire.

I will now run through the first few cards that have been announced by Britain’s top two promoters, Matchroom and Frank Warren.

Reloaded, Cardiff Motorpoint Arena – 1st February

European Featherweight title

Lee Selby v Rendall Munroe

Gavin Rees v Gary Buckland

Anthony Joshua v Dorian Darch

Erick Ochieng v Dale Evans

Chris Jenkins v TBC

I for one am looking forward to seeing Lee Selby fight again, Selby is an exciting fighter in and outside of the ring, one that Matchroom have huge hopes for.

I would expect Selby to dispossess Munroe with ease and use a big performance to push him on to World level opposition and a title bout.

Anthony Joshua make’s his long awaited return from injury against Welshman Dorian Darch.

It will be great experience for Joshua to be the “away” fighter in this one, Darch hails from Aberdare and will certainly have the packed crowd on his side.

How will Joshua respond to a booing, baying partisan crowd of Welshman?

I think he will thrive in it.

Gavin Rees will be keen to put a forgetful 2013 behind him, with losses to Anthony Crolla and Adrien Broner respectively.
Rees faces fellow Welshman Gary Buckland, who is stepping up a weight-class and was on the wrong end of my KO of the year against Stephen Smith late 2013.

Chris Jenkins, Light Welterweight winner of Prizefighter, has an opportunity to shine on Skysports again, and move towards establishing himself at 140. Jenkins looked a level above the opposition in that competition, I’m looking forward to seeing him blossom over the next few years.

Copperbox, Stratford, London – 15th February 2014

Last week Frank Warren announced the first card of 2014 that Queensbury Promotions will host.

This will be a solid card that will contain the below fights, including a maiden outing for Tyson and possibly Hughie Fury on BoxNation:

The European Heavyweight Championship

Dereck Chisora v Andriy Rudenko

International Heavyweight Contest

Tyson Fury vs TBC

The WBO European Super-Middleweight Championship

Frank Buglioni v Gaetano Nespro

The Vacant WBA Intercontinental Welterweight Championship

Bradley Skeete v Vivian Harris

Hughie Fury v TBC

International News:

Jean Pascal v Lucien Bute – 18th January

We have our first super-fight this Saturday in Montreal Canada, which is rapidly becoming a boxing-mecca with Adonis Stevenson’s exploits last year.

It promises to be an explosive encounter, two fellow countrymen, it could be a Canadian Benn v Eubank.

Bute, who you will recall was battered by Carl Froch in 5 rounds in 2012, has fought just once since then against Denis Grachev later 2012.

He will be looking to weather a “Polar Vortex” of early punches from Pascal who is renowned for explosive starts.

I fear for Bute in this, having had an extended period of inactivity. This coupled with moving up to Light-Heavy, could be too much.

I feel Bute is no longer the same fighter and he could be stopped inside 7 or 8.

Next weekend we see the fights ramp-up significantly; David Price’s comeback in his maiden outing as a Sauerland fighter:

WBO Cruiserweight Championship

Marco Huck v Firat Arslan – 25th January – Stuttgart

David Price v Konstantin Airich – 25th January – Stuttgart

WBO Super-Featherweight Championship

Mikey Garcia v Juan Carlos Burgos – 25th January – Madison Sq Garden, New York

IBF Light-Welter Championship

Lamont Peterson v Jean Dierry – 25th January – Washington DC

Gabriel Rosado v Jermell Charlo – 25th January – Washington DC

Lots to look forward to as we await the return of the big boys!

Ok guys that is your lot from me on this crisp evening.

Have a great weekend and tune in next week.

Cheers
Paul

@EliteBoxingBlog
@PaulReady

Elite Boxing 2013 Awards

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

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

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

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Let’s get stuck in….

UK Prospect of The Year

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

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

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

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

UK Fight of the Year:

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

International Fight of The Year:

Bradley v Provodnikov

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

UK Trainer of the Year:
Joe Gallagher

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

Robert Garcia

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

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

International Fighter of The Year
Adonis Stevenson

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

Floyd Mayweather Jr

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

British Knockout of the Year:

Steven Smith v Gary Buckland

International Knockout of the Year
Adonis Stevenson v Chad Dawson

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

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

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

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

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

Regards

Paul

@EliteBoxingBlog
@PaulReady

Barker, Brooklyn Boys & Broner… By Paul Ready

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Evening
I had a crazy day & night last Saturday, ended up ruining one of my favourite shirts spilling red wine all over it.

The evening came to a fantastic crescendo as I performed a Dirty Dancing esq lift on a few people on a packed dance floor.

They each had the full 25m run up too to boot, had I drank a few more, I couldn’t of caught a cold in a phone box.

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That is all I can remember.

I know how to have a good time.

Busy weekend of boxing, so many fights to watch, and loads to analyse so will condense this as much as possible.

Where to start, and it has to be in Germany:
Barker v Sturm

Darren Barker lost his IBF Middleweight World Title to Felix Sturm in Stuttgart on Saturday evening.

Absolutely gutted for Darren, really am.

He never got really going from the outset, Sturm steamed in and was surprisingly aggressive in the 1st round, The German could smell blood.

I read that Barker didn’t look comfortable on the pads before and certainly a guy who has unfortunately been cursed with countless injuries throughout his career was out of luck when his hip went.

I’ve seen interviews with the Dazzler, and he has said that his conditioning consists of swimming as he can’t simply run.

This isn’t Ledley King we are discussing playing football, it’s a boxer, trying to move, trade, have a tight defence, mentally stay sharp and having that to contend with is incredible.

Sturm took advantage of the situation knocking Darren down, Barker signalled to Tony Sims that his hip had gone; he knew his belt was moments from being snatched from him.

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The fight ended after a barrage of punches from Sturm and Sims’ reluctantly threw the towel in.

Barker protested initially, but after a short period of time he knew it was the right decision by a man he regards as his best friend.

Sims always has and always will have his best interests at heart.

For Barker, now is the time for no rash decisions, he needs to forget boxing for the time being.

Enjoy the festive period with friends and family. Go on a few benders, hey, go crazy and eat takeaways for 2 weeks. Really needs to let his hair down and relax, as only then he can take an informed, concise decision on his future.

My personal feeling is that the above will be well needed, but will not make a difference. I feel the injuries; emotional rollercoaster he has been on has left him drained mentally and physically. Perhaps he no longer has the sufficient drive to continue to compete and go again. Only he can answer that.

Barker will forever he will be itched in folklore as a World Champion in one of the most glamorous boxing divisions, he deserves that and no one can take that away from him.

Sturm who was fighting for not only to become a 4 time world champion but to secure a highly lucrative TV deal in Germany had it all to lose had he lost to Barker. Credit to the German, he was hungry, showed great determination and aggression. Sturm fully deserved the victory and what a great guy, genuinely humble and I wish him well in that division.

Sturm’s 4 fingers flashing at the end was reminiscent of Andrey Arshavin after bagging his 4th goal at Anfield some years ago.

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Martin Murray has called him out for a rematch which would be a cracking encounter.
I hope we see more of Sturm as you could have a Euro Fantastic Four between those two, and the two Irish boys Macklin & Lee, who are mooted to fight one another on St Patrick’s Day in 2014.

Malignaggi v Judah

We had the battle of Brooklyn between two childhood pals Paulie Malignaggi and Zab Judah.

Malignaggi won this comfortably for me by landing 230 of 607 punches thrown, including 122 of 376 jabs according to CompuBox.

For Judah, this was the third loss in four fights (losing to Danny Garcia also at Barclay’s Centre earlier this year) certainly time for him to call it a day in my eyes.

He is a five-time champion within the light welterweight and welterweight divisions, fought everyone, never dodged an opponent, pure fearless fighter.

Respect.

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But similar to Barker, he must question what direction he can and truly wants to go in. When it has gone, it’s gone and nothing more painful to watch than a fighter who is past it.

Malignaggi, is now an Al Haymon fighter, someone who he loathed and openly criticised before the Broner fight in the summer. It may be a surprisingly move to many, myself included initially.

But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.

Signing with Al Haymon for Paulie makes perfect financial sense at this stage of his career, he will be placed in big match ups made by the match making Don . Within that come all the financial rewards and trappings that the huge stable he represents has. Expect to see Malignaggi cashing that cheque in 2014 before he retires to become a full time pundit, which he is exceptional at by the way.

Alexander v Porter

On the same card we saw Devon Alexander lose his IBF Welterweight title to Shawn “Showtime” Porter via unanimous decision.

Porter, who if I’m honest hasn’t seen a great deal of, looked like a world beater, or Devon looked shit scared.

Maybe it was a bit of both!

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Alexander was bashed around the ring with some giant shots, rocked constantly, I thought the fight would finish inside two. Alexander showed his best horse impression as he attempted to gallop out of the way of the oncoming bombs with jelly legs of a child that has just learnt to walk.

He simply didn’t look like he wanted it enough at the end of every round, Devon sat on his stall like a broken man, ignoring his corners’ instructions, and he wanted to be out of there, day dreaming of being tucked up in his St Louis’ onesie with a cup of cocoa and the Kardashian’s on TV.

As a new world champion, Showtime Porter has 6 months before he has to face mandatory Kell Brook.

So I’m told, existing champions have 90 days to agree a fight with the mandatory, so I expect to see Porter having a “tune up” beforehand. I believe boxing is the winner as Porter v Brook is a much better fight than Brook v Alexander, both will come to fight, should be a good scrap!

To this weekend, we have a stacked card at Excel courtesy of Matchroom Boxing.
With a total of 16 fights featuring Kevin Mitchell, Lee Purdy, Jamie McDonnell, Martin Murray, Anthony Ogogo, Paul Smith, Martin Ward, Kal Yafai, Erick Ochieng, Wadi Camacho, Ben Ileyemi, promises to be a big end to a great year for the Brentwood based promoter.
We learnt that this week that they have agreed terms with Top Rank and HBO for a mandatory defence between Ricky Burns and Terence Crawford in February. Top Rank agreed for the fight to be staged in Scotland, despite the ridiculous scoring of the Beltran fight.
I doubt we will get to points in that one, it’s sink or swim for Burns as if he doesn’t put the undefeated Crawford away early, he will get knocked out as I think he is the real deal from what I have seen.

Burns has been lucky in his past two fights with Beltran and Gonzalez, the latter who was winning and actually quit on his stall at the end of the 9th, refusing to come out for the 10th citing a hand injury despite being 3 rounds + ahead. I feel the 3rd time, his lucky will run out.

Broner v Maidana

In Texas on Saturday evening, we have the 1st defence of WBA Welterweight title of Adrien “The Problem” Broner which he won in unconvincing style.

This is a massive fight for Broner, make no mistake about it.

Maidana isn’t a world beater, but he is the type of guy you have to beat before you get those PPV super-fights.

The Argentinean has stopped 31 out of 37 opponents and will push Broner all the way, he isn’t a Malignaggi or Rees who will roll over for him.

Well, Malignaggi didn’t, but you get the picture.
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Broner needs to start backing up his claims of being the next boxing superstar as up until now it has been only hot air.

How good is Adrien Broner?

Sunday morning we will have a better indication of where he truly is.

If he wins this, then he is certainly someone we, the boxing public should take a bit more seriously.

Lose and he is another overhyped, overweight motor mouth.

He has talent that is apparent to even the casual fan, it’s his attitude that I have huge questions marks over.

I want to see him really tested, starting with Saturday night.

I want Maidana to bully him, get him in the trenches, and see if he can box, trade without losing his head.

Next year the quality of opposition needs to be seriously ramped up.

I’m talking Broner v Garcia, Broner v Pacquiao, Broner v Canelo, Broner v Bradley.

Pacquiao isn’t contractually obliged to fight on HBO, so how about that next summer?

Let’s see how good this guy really is, is he the heir to Money Mayweather?

3 weight world champion at 24?

This means nothing so far for me, so I’m sorry, it won’t wash just yet.

You want to be a GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) Adrien, 2014 is the time for you, Goldenboy and Al Haymon to do it!
Right.

That’s me.

I’m off to watch the Masterchef Final

Note to self, never watch a cookery show if you are hungry

Catch you next week
@EliteBoxingBlog
@PaulReady

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

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Evening,

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

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

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

Stevenson v Bellew

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

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Guy in the middle looks like he has shit his pants

Stevenson was carried away by his entourage calling Bellew:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Barker v Sturm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Barker.

Why you ask?

Momentum.

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

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

Blood, sweat, tears and tragedy he has experienced.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is a knats cock between them.
Rigondeaux v Agbeko

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a good weekend and catch you next week.

Paul

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingBlog

Cold nights draw in… Boxing ramps up… By Paul Ready

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Cold nights drawing in. Can only mean 2 things, Strictly Come Dancing and X Factor…

STOP

ANY reality TV is the bane of my life,  don’t get me started on TOWIE or any of those ghastly programmes with cast thicker than pig shit…

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Not for me Bruno… Not for me…

I had a glance at forthcoming calendar for Autumn/Winter, Q4 if you’re in work mode still.  Barring the box office contests of Haye v Fury, Froch v Groves (latter sold out in under 20 mins). We have an absolute FEAST of fights, which I’m now going to list along with a brief synopsis of them shortly.  Some say Boxing is a dying, fans departing in their droves to MMA. Boxing is very much on the ascendency in the UK and across the pond in US. Which for me is a testament to the tireless work, and match making of Goldenboy and now Matchroom flying the flag in the UK. We have a lot to thank Eddie Hearn for, best thing to happen to British boxing for 20 yrs. he’s a guy who polarises opinion, I know people who think he’s a “Fat Mark Wright”, “wide boy” promoter. I think he’s a breath of fresh air, I really do. Young guy, early 30’s, someone I feel I can relate to despite his obvious wealth.  But he’s making big fights, managed Froch through Super 6, signed Anthony Joshua and Luke Campbell.  He is THE promoter on these shores, has the best stable of fighters; Groves, Barker, Burns, Brook, Selby to name a handful. We have moved away from having a sole big promoter in Frank Warren, which can be only healthy for the sport in our country.

article-0-18910AF2000005DC-198_634x358  Eddie Hearn = saviour of British Boxing?

Hearn is making Matchroom the British Goldenboy, and despite criticism that he only signs established stars, notably poached from Warren!  I for one am fascinated to watch him develop and turn Campbell and Joshua in to World Champions. They have the best platform in Skysports to do so. Hearn is halfway through his deal he signed with Sky. Despite a few average cards, 1 of Darren Barker’s at Wembley sticks in the memory, he’s delivered. Like any job, you have certain targets to hit, he has gone over and beyond.

So… Let’s the discuss these forthcoming fights, some “Juicy Lucy’s”

Juicy Lucy, was a phrase used by a festively plump Northern chap I worked with called Paul, many moons ago. He defined a Juicy Lucy as the best sales leads available. I no longer work there, nor in sales. Universal phrase that can be applied in many aspects of life… i know you are thinking now about using it… Go ahead, don’t be shy!

Let’s get back to the good stuff…

Autumn Calendar

Ryder v Saunders (21/09)

Well matched pair fighting this Saturday on Box Nation, should be a cracker!

Woodhouse v Mathews (21/09)

Ex footballer Curtis Woodhouse, the troll hunter. Famously turned up at a twitter trolls street, threatening to knock on every door until he found him. He’s fighting Derry Mathews, who scored the best KO I’ve seen this year against Tommy Coyle in July. They headline the action in Liverpool this Saturday.

Haye v Fury (28/09)

I’m looking forward to this one, I’ve been disappointed by the lack of trash talking from Haye on this. Maybe he is being reserved after Chisora scrap in Germany. Maybe he is saving it for the actual fight. I will give you my verdict on how I expect this one to go in my blog next week. In the meantime, check out the below link to whet your appetite.

Quigg/Salinas (28/09)

Chief support on the above card, I’ll discuss this in next weeks blog also.

Stevenson v Cloud (28/09)

Chad Dawson was steamrolled by big hitting Stevenson, who’s experiencing an Indian Summer in his career. Winner faces mandatory Tony Bellew late November/early December.

Joshua Debut (05/10)

Guy is going to be a monster, never have I seen a natural Heavyweight so cut! So much so that I actually tweeted that to him and he RT’d it. I’ve made it… #YouHaveNeverMadeIt. Olympic Gold Medallist 2012. We need to be patient with him and his progress. He won’t ever share a ring with Haye unfortunately.  

Marquez v Bradley (10/05)

Bradley had a low key win over Provodnikov in March. Prior to that he beat Pacquiao on a very suspect decision. Marquez, also beat Pacquiao in stellar style with a brutal KO last year.

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Will Bradley be licking the canvas like Pacquaio?

Frampton v Parodi (19/10)

Frampton’s delayed return to the ring due to injury. His 1st outing since leaving Matchroom for rival Frank Warren. Now co-promoted with newly founded Cyclone Promotions, headed up by manager Barry McGuigan, trained by his son Shane. I’m going to be honest, I know NOTHING about Parodi, did have a brief look online. He’s probably a Parody account of a boxer.

Hopkins v Murat (26/10)

Peter Pan of boxing Bernard Hopkins faces Murat. Murat, German/Armenian descent has been in with Cleverly and lost.

Brook v Senchenko (26/10)

After finally getting the Carson Jones monkey off his back. Brook who’s had a torrid 12 mths with injury, 2 postponements of his IBF title shot at Alexander. Faces former World Champion Senchenko, who famously ended Hatton’s career for the 2nd time last year. Brook needs to go out and blast this guy in style, make people really sit up, take notice. I had high hopes for him in the red hot Welter division. But he needs to excite me with a KO. Still mandatory for IBF, so if Khan beats Alexander in December, that will be PPV next year.

Pacquiao v Rios (23/11)

Pacquiao’s return to the ring after his defeat to Marquez. Faces starlet Brandon Rios, trained by Robert Garcia. Who I rate highly as an upcoming coach. How hungry is Pacquiao to box? Not very in my eyes, one eye on his political career, this could be another banana skin for him.

Froch v Groves (23/11)

This one takes me back to when I 1st fell in love with boxing as a boy. The days of the Super Middleweight domestic dustups of early/mid 90’s. I fancied Groves to beat Froch in this, until I got wind of the unconfirmed rumours that he has split with long term trainer, tactical genius, Adam Booth. AKA The Dark Lord. No idea if it’s true. But unless Groves has Roger Mayweather or Freddie Roach in his corner. I can see Froch beating him by stoppage or points.

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Parted ways? The big loser could be Groves before career defining fight.

Fights TBC

Broner v Maidana (Dec TBC)

Khan v Alexander (Dec TBC)

Barker v Sturm (Nov/Dec TBC)

Bellew v Stevenson/Cloud (Dec TBC)

No doubt there are others I’ve missed, but for me the above are the fights that matter. There will be others announced in the interim I’m certain. But I for one, can not remember an end to the year like it ever. I love my football, but I will be spending a lot of my time over the coming months enjoying the above contests.

So is Boxing dead? NO CHANCE!

Tune in next week for a Surgeon esq dissection of the Haye v Fury fight & card.

I’m off for a shish….

Laters

Paul

@PaulReady