@jamesdegale1 Exclusive Interview by Paul Ready

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

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

Degale

Elite Boxing:

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

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

James DeGale:

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

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

EB:

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

JG:

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

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

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

EB:

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

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

JG:

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

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

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

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

EB:

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

JG:

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

EB:

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

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

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

JG:

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

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

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

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

EB:

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

JG:

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

EB:

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

JG:

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

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

EB:

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

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

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JG:

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

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

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

EB:

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

JG:

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

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

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

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

EB:

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

JG:

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

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

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

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

I want to be in these massive fights.

EB:

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

JG:

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

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

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

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

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

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How the Boxing landscape lies so far in 2015… by Paul Ready

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Happy New Year to one and all.

To quote Michael Woods of The Sweet Science in America:

“I would like boxing to get to a point where so much of our coverage is not regarding negotiations’ and will they or won’t they conjecture.”

That is a vision that I think we all yearn for in the future of the sport. With that being said, let’s look at how the landscape lies currently – which fights are confirmed and who the big-names have been linked with:

 

Confirmed

17th January – MGM Grand, Las Vegas

Bermaine Stiverne v Deontay Wilder – WBC Heavyweight title.

Leo Santa Cruz v Jesus Ruiz – WBC Super Bantamweight title.

 

24th January – 1st Bank Centre, Colorado

Mike Alvarado v Brandon Rios III – Welterweight.*

*Alvarado recently arrested on weapons charge. Fight could be postponed*

Gilberto Ramirez v Maxim Vlasov – Super Middleweight.

 

31st January – O2 Arena, London

Anthony Joshua v Kevin Johnson – WBC International Heavyweight title.

Kevin Mitchell v Daniel Estrada – WBC Silver Lightweight title.

John Ryder v Les Sherrington – WBO International Middleweight title.

Tyler Goodjohn v John Wayne Hibbert – WBC International Light-Welter title.

Ricky Boylan v Tommy Martin – English Light-Welter title.

 

21st February – Monte Carlo, Monaco

Gennady Golovkin v Martin Murray – WBA Super & WBC Interim titles.

Lee Haskins v Omar Lamiri – EBU Bantamweight title.

Hughie Fury v Andriy Rudenko – Heavyweight.

 

21st February – O2 Arena, Berlin

Arthur Abraham v Paul Smith II – WBO Super-Middle world title.

 

28th February – O2 Arena, London

Tyson Fury v Christian Hammer – WBO International Heavyweight title.

Chris Eubank Jr v Dmitry Chudinov – WBA Interim Middleweight world title.

 

28th February – Odyssey Arena, Belfast

Carl Frampton v Chris Avalos – IBF Super-Bantamweight world title

 

11th April – First Direct Arena, Leeds

Josh Warrington v Dennis Tubieron – WBC Featherweight title eliminator.

Martin J Ward v Maxi Hughes – Super Featherweight.

 

There may be some that I’ve missed and no doubt the above confirmed fights will swell significantly in the coming weeks.

So that covers what is signed & sealed so far, but where are we with the pending super-fights and other big names?

 

Kell Brook

IBF Welterweight champion Brook is due to make his long-awaited comeback after the horrific injury he suffered in Autumn last year.

With an inaugural homecoming in March scheduled – attention turns to who he is likely to face. Names such as Juan Manuel Marquez and Paulie Malignaggi have been linked, but he could end up facing his mandatory challenger Jo Jo Dan.

Amir Khan

After a complete shut-out against Devon Alexander before Christmas, Khan has made no secret in his desire to face Floyd Mayweather Jr in May.

The consensus is he will miss out again and a blockbuster fight at Wembley in the summer against Kell Brook for me appears the most logical and lucrative move.

 

Carl Froch

Strong rumours persist that the fight against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in Las Vegas is signed for 28th March – all we are awaiting is the confirmation.

The fight will be a dual PPV in the UK and in America on HBO. James DeGale is the Cobra’s IBF mandatory and he has had an extension until the end of January to either negotiate with DeGale or vacate – smart money is on the latter.

 

James DeGale

To continue the “dominos-effect” theme in British boxing – DeGale will fight next for the IBF world title, be it against Froch or Andre Dirrell who is next in the rankings.

Promoter Eddie Hearn has openly discussed the possibility of making James DeGale v George Groves II for said belt but whether Dirrell would side step remains to be seen.

Regardless DeGale v Groves II is a must for 2015.

 

George Groves

Similar to DeGale, Groves’ next fight is also for a world title – the WBC belt against champion Anthony Dirrell, brother of Andre…. (try to stay with me!!)

Groves has made no secret in his desire to fight for the WBC belt next, if he was to win a fight with DeGale in a unification bout (should he win of course) would make the rematch even bigger.

 

Ricky Burns

Former two-weight world champion Burns is now back at Lightweight after his last fight was at Light-Welter.

The Rickster has already signed to face a big-name in a rumoured World title fight in America – with confirmation imminent.

 

 

Floyd Mayweather Jr

THE fight we should have had in 2009 but still haven’t – yawn – is “close” to being made.

If I’m honest, I’ll believe it when they are both in the ring – so I will refrain from boring you on it. I doubt it will happen so rumours have been circulating of Mayweather v Cotto II as Cotto’s ongoing talks with Canelo Alvarez appear to be dragging on.

In truth none of us bar Floyd & Al Haymon have any clue who he will fight next.

Miguel Cotto

As above talks are ongoing with Canelo Alvarez’s camp regarding a fight on Cinco De Mayo. Personally I’d love to see that fight – Puerto Rico v Mexico is one of the fiercest rivalries in the sport.

A rematch with Mayweather Jr doesn’t excite me if I’m honest – regardless of having Freddie Roach in his corner.

Gennady Golovkin is now mandatory for his WBC title and that would be monstrous in Autumn.

So as you can see there is plenty happening in the background. This January in boxing feels like the UK football transfer window has a rival with the rumour mill going in to overdrive.

By the end of this month we should know who all the big-hitters are up against.

2015 could truly be spectacular….

 

@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

#CleverlyBellew 2 Undercard by Paul Ready

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

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

 

 

JAMES DEGALE VS MARCO ANTONIO PERIBAN
12 x 3 mins Super Middleweight contest

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

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

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

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

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

 

SCOTT QUIGG VS HIDENORI OTAKE
12 x 3 mins WBA World Super Bantamweight title

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

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

 

JAMIE MCDONNELL VS JAVIER CHACON

12 x 3 mins WBA World Bantamweight title

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

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

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

 

ANTHONY JOSHUA VS MICHAEL SPROTT
10 x 3 mins British Heavyweight title eliminator

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

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

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

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

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

 

CALLUM SMITH VS NIKOLA SJEKLOCA
12 x 3 mins WBC Super Middleweight title official eliminator

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

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

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

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

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

 

GEORGE GROVES VS DENIS DOUGLIN
12 x 3 mins WBC Silver Super Middleweight title

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

VINCENT FEIGENBUTZ VS LORENZO DI GIACOMO 

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

Hype job?

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

 
@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

#BattleLines Review by Paul Ready

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Fantastic atmosphere in Leeds on Saturday evening, it demonstrated that the city still has a real passion for boxing after all these years.

It has been sometime since they have produced a star who has the ability to challenge for world honours.

The likes of Henry Wharton (who lost narrowly on points to Nigel Benn in WBC Super-Middle title bout) being one who immediately springs to mind.

 

Josh Warrington v Davide Dieli

 

Warrington (19-0: 3 KO’s) added the European Featherweight to his mantel-piece alongside the British & Commonwealth belts.

It was a blistering performance from the charged-up 23 yr old; he blew the Italian away in 4 rounds and reminded me of Joe Calzaghe in patches with the volume of punches he threw.

Warrington isn’t renowned for being a big puncher with his modest KO record, but he displayed real spite in his shots that impressed me.

Talk of a future fight with Lee Selby is natural but I feel he needs to defend his existing titles first before making the leap up to world level.

But make no mistake, he is an exciting talent and with the support of that crowd behind him, he will be one to watch in the coming years.

 

Ricky Burns v Alexandre Lepelley 

 

“Rickster” (42-4: 11 KO’s) made his bow at Light-Welter with a points victory over Frenchman Lepelley.

Burns received some unjust criticism post-fight from arm-chair fans who believe he is shot; which I feel is harsh.

Yes it wasn’t his most spectacular performance but he got the win which was most important thing. The two-weight former world champion is rebuilding after 2 back to back losses and judging by the ease at which he made weight, I still believe he is better as a Lightweight contender.

With the change of trainer to Tony Sims and relocation during camp to Essex, it will take a few fights together to develop a strong understanding.

I firmly believe the change was for the best and with the assistance of one the country’s top nutritionists, they will have the 31 yr old back in his best condition.

Post-fight he spoke about some great domestic bouts that can be made and from speaking to those who train with Burns, he still has plenty to give the sport.

“Some of the rounds I think I boxed alright,” said Burns. “He was very tough and he could take a good shot, at the end of the fourth round my hands were starting to get sore. I moved up to light-welterweight but I’ve got a few big decisions to make over the next couple of weeks about that but I’m just glad to get back with a win.”

 

Brian Rose made his first outing since his world title defeat to Demetrius Andrade with an impressive first-round stoppage against Ignacio Lucero Fraga.

“The Lion” dropped his foe three times in a victory that will kick-started his journey on the comeback trail.

 

Callum Smith must be sick of hearing his name mentioned this past week. “Mundo” has found his name mentioned in countless interviews/articles in a future domestic fight with fellow Super Middleweight George Groves in 2015.

Groves is now the mandatory challenger for the WBC title which is currently held by Anthony Dirrell.

Smith will fight Nikola Sjeckloca in an eliminator for the WBC title on the Cleverly Bellew 2 undercard.

Sjeckloca is a real test for the 24 yr old having gone the distance with both Arthur Abraham and Sakio Bika in the past 18 mths.

If Smith comes through that, he will be then in line for a final eliminator for the WBC say spring 2015 and then challenge for the title late next year.

The Scouse “body-snatcher” won in a keep busy fight Saturday, scoring a third-round TKO against Rafael Sosa Pintos.

 

Dave Ryan beat Tyrone Nurse in a thrilling fight for the Commonwealth Light-Welter title. Nurse saw the canvas twice which proved to be decisive with Ryan taking a decision.

 

I will leave you with footage of Felix “Diamante” Verdejo, the next great fighter from Puerto Rico. Winning in spectacular fashion Saturday evening with a brutal KO.

 

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

Boxing Update 17/09 by Paul Ready #Mayhem #SaundersEubankJr #ReturnOfTheSaint

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Plenty of news/reviews to get through today so let’s dive straight in…

Mayweather v Maidana 2

Floyd “Money” Mayweather (47-0) beat Marcos “Chino” Maidana (35-5) via a unanimous decision on Saturday evening. It was a comprehensive victory for Money; I gave Maidana 2 rounds (4th & 9th) but we did see two sides to Floyd in this fight.

My first observation was his footwork was the most fluid I have seen from him for years. The introduction of Yoga in to his training regime is clearly reaping its rewards. However I recall him throwing one possibly two meaningful combinations all night, the trademark lower ab jab and right hook were his bread & butter all evening.

Mayweather vs. Maidana 2 Results: Highlights, Future Outlook for Both Fighters

What was most startling to me was the ease at which Maidana’s straight jab was getting through. Chino isn’t renowned for having a crisp jab but on Saturday he had frequent success with it. Many top welterweights would have watched that fight and seen signs that age is steadily catching up with Floyd. But make no mistake, even a Floyd in decline is still significantly better than the rest of the division.

The challenge for Mayweather’s camp is matching him in his remaining two bouts; do they look to conserve the unbeaten record and pit him against perceived easier opposition?

Or do they put him in with Amir Khan, Keith Thurman or shock the boxing world and finally make the Manny Pacquiao fight?

My belief is Pacquiao is unlikely to happen, Khan is a possibility but the hand speed he possesses will trouble Floyd. Keith Thurman would be my personal choice in May 2015 but he is the most dangerous opponent out there currently.

Love or loath Floyd, you have to admire the man inside the ring and what he has achieved in the sport. He’s one of the best fighters I’ve ever seen. The TBE (The Best Ever) motto is up for debate; I would back Sugar Ray Leonard to have beaten him in a fantasy fight.

The next two fights choices will be fascinating and I expect we will be made to wait until early 2015 to find out who is chosen.

 

29th November – Two big shows, one night

Matchroom and Frank Warren appear to be heading towards a blockbuster clash of boxing on 29th November with cards in Liverpool and London respectively.

Frank Warren has announced “Bad Blood” which is headlined by the rescheduled Dereck Chisora v Tyson Fury 2 fight, with Billy Joe Saunders and Chris Eubank Jr as chief support.

Matchroom are rumoured to be considering this same date to stage Tony Bellew v Nathan Cleverly 2 bout.

Two huge cards; 3 domestic grudge matches between 6 men who can not stand the sight of their opponent – and I’m in New York on holiday!

It’s an evening that will require the need for modern technology; one card on the TV, the other streamed on your tablet.

The Saunders v Eubank Jr fight for me is the most intriguing one. Reading tweets & various articles, opinion is well and truly divided on who will prevail. Some believe Saunders walks through Eubank Jr and it’s the evening he finally gets his comeuppance. Others, myself included feel that Eubank Jr shocks people and beats Saunders in a thrilling fight that has everyone on the edge of their seat.

One thing is for certain that the build-up for those 3 fights is going to explosive; the press-conferences will contain more trash than your local landfill site. The animosity between them will make Froch v Groves look like bum chums. I’m looking forward to the build-up on those fights dare I say more than some of the actual contests themselves.

 

George Groves v Christopher Rebrasse

On the subject of “Saint” George Groves, he makes his return to the ring this Saturday after his brutal knockout by Carl Froch in May. Now promoted by Sauerland Promotions, Saint GG is thrust straight in to a WBC Final Eliminator against durable Frenchman Rebrasse.

Rebrasse (22-2: 6 KO’s) shouldn’t pose a major threat to Groves and I back the Hammersmith man to stop the Frenchman late.

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

 

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:

the_good__the_bad_and_the_ugly_movie_poster_by_designguy89-d6tk60o

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

 

#FrochGroves2 Review by Paul Ready

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I’ve barely caught my breath and just about recovered from my hangover Saturday.

Words evade me to describe the event, no disrespect to anyone who was unfortunate enough to not get a ticket, but as good as it looked on TV it was even better being in the crowd.

The best sporting event I’ve ever been to?

Without question.

To see Wembley lit up and feel the crescendo of noise passing through your body as Froch & Groves descended to the ring was paralysing.

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Stunning picture taken by Kyle Pritchard, son of photographer Russell Pritchard. Talent clearly runs in that family

I’ve always looked back at ancient Rome and often wondered what it would have been like to have watched Gladiators in the Colosseum, to have been a patron having your primeval thirst for blood and violence quenched.

Saturday night, we saw and felt that, minus barbaric killings of course.

Hats off to Sky and Matchroom, they came, saw and conquered.

One hopes it is the sign of things to come, especially with future domestic super-fights in stadiums.

Yes Las Vegas is and will forever be the mecca, the holy city of boxing. But us Brits have given them a huge run for their money.

Any boxer worth his salt would want to box in-front of that audience. We now have calender NFL games played here, why not bring over the biggest names in world boxing?

Imagine seeing Floyd Mayweather Jnr, Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, Canelo Alvarez at Wembley?

The possibilities are endless, the sky is truly the limit and so should the ambitions be of Matchroom/Sky.

I need to watch the fights back fully, I stopped drinking before I entered Wembley as I truly wanted to “drink in” the atmosphere.

 

The main event fully lived up to expectations with a brutal KO from Carl Froch in the 8th round which fully put to bed the George Groves rivalry.

Big shot: Froch landed a massive right hand in the eighth round that knocked the young challenger out

We had our conclusive ending which The Cobra has spoke often about in the build-up to this fight.

I had Groves winning 4-3 on rounds, but the first few were very tight. There was a legitimate argument for either man. I gave them to Groves as he appeared the more slicker of the pair.

The 26 yr old from Hammersmith boxed how I expected; cautious, on the backfoot, plenty of movement but he continued to make fundamental errors defensively.

The left hand was low by his waist, forever inviting the big right-handed shot which is what finished the fight.

Saint GG needs to take stock and learn from this, now managed by Sauerland Promotions fights against WBO Champion Arthur Abraham and Viking warrior Mikkel Kessler are natural opponents being stablemates down the line.

But he needs a few comfortable fights after suffering two consecutive losses.

For Froch he has spoke about realising a boy-hood dream fighting in Las Vegas, Julio Chavez Jnr the mercurial offspring of legendary Julio Chavez Snr is an opponent who has been linked with The Cobra.

If I was Froch, off the back of that performance, I would go for broke and challenge Gennady Golovkin the 160lb beast at 168lbs.

That is a PPV Las Vegas and PPV fight in the UK. Whether Chavez Jnr would sell well on both sides of the Atlantic is up for debate.

 

Anthony Joshua done what was expected, he KO’d Matt Legg with ease. Up next will be a more challenging opponent in Michael Sprott.

Jamie McDonnell KO’d Na Rabchawat in the 10th round. The Thai fighter was tough and took the fight to McDonnell, but he never looked in any real danger of being beat, it was purely a matter of time to grind him down.

Kevin Mitchell beat Ghislain Maduma in what was the most competitive fight of the evening. Maduma was leading on some judges score-cards when he was counted out on his feet in the 11th round. The Canadian had Mitchell on the ropes a few times in the mid rounds landing some big shots. In the 9th, Mitchell began to land some big shots as Maduma was tiring. The 29 yr old could now lose out on facing IBF Champion Miquel Vasquez after coming in 1lb overweight at the check-weigh in on Saturday morning.

James DeGale put in a career-best performance stopping unbeaten Brandon Gonzales inside 4 rounds. Chunky looked fresh, spitful and surprised everyone by stopping the American so quickly.

I backed the 28 yr old to win on points, but he clearly had other intentions executing a world-class combo finishing with a left that he rotated fully into. Despite Virgil Hunter and the corners protests, Gonzales was out on his feet and would have been dropped again should the ref have allowed it to continue.

DeGale could now have a long wait to face Carl Froch as The Cobra has just had 2 back-to-back mandatory challenges against George Groves.

If I was Chunky, I would push for a fight with Sakio Bika, WBC champion as Froch has harbored aspirations to fight in Las Vegas next.

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

#FrochGroves2 Main Event by Paul Ready

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This is my 50th post on this blog, I could not have picked a better fight to preview for this milestone…

 

Whatever happened to Lemar? Anyone know………

I’m sure Keith Thurman is an extra in that video…

 

So the time for talking is done,  no more press conferences or interviews for the fighters which no doubt they are delighted about.

I was present at the weigh-in today and both men looked in ridiculous condition. Froch always sports an 8 pack but Groves for the first time in my memory was ripped.

Wembley Arena was littered with posters carrying the slogan “I am part of history” accompanied with a picture of each fighter competing and their opponent.

The weigh-in was packed, it felt American; big and brash with the addition of a raucous terrace crowd

Mayweather v Canelo “The One” was the real trail-blazer of weigh-ins to create a huge public turnout, designed to really stir and stimulate your senses prior to the main event

Courtesy of IFLTV

A few words were exchanged but the most dramatic thing to occur was heated words between a security guard working for Matchroom and one of Groves’ personal entourage.

I believe this week it has finally dawned on them both the sheer magnitude and spectacle of Saturday 31st May, and the stakes could not be higher.

As a fan, I have no idea what to expect, the atmosphere will be a pure one off you can’t train or mentally prepare yourself for something no one has ever experienced.

Judging by the respective receptions both men received today, I expect the crowd to be 60-40 possibly 70-30 for Groves.

So how will fight go?

It has been the hardest fight to call, few people have a definitive winner, opinions have changed more than Piers Morgan towards Arsene Wenger, minus of course the fickle natured tweets.

I’ve imagined this fight in my head countless times this week, weighed up all possible intangibles and this is what each man needs to do to win.

 

Groves:

George is technically one of the best boxers in the Super Middle-Weight division, he announced himself in the last encounter 6 months ago to the world as an elite fighter. But what does he need to do different?

For me, tighten up defensively is the first thing. On numerous occasions in the first fight, his hands were low making him susceptible to counter-punches. As the 26 yr old began to tire, the hands were fully by his waist as he proceeded to slug with The Cobra before the “stoppage”.

Despite his public proclamations of KO’ing Froch in 3, I will be astounded if he boxes that way. I’m expecting a much tighter encounter from both men.

I expect St GG to box on the back-foot and bank the first 5 rounds at a canter. Getting behind the jab, keeping Froch at range and evading trading.

Where the fight hangs for me delicately in the balance is Groves’ stamina.

He looks in career-best condition, low body-fat and that clearly is a testament to the addition of a conditioning coach purely focused on developing stamina in the latter stages.

If Groves’ petrol light comes on in the 8/9th round, I fear for him.

imagesCANKA7VZ

Froch:

Carl Froch is Ronseal of boxing, he does exactly what he says on the tin.

He is a tough bastard, great chin and even at the ripe age of 36 he is in better shape than most 21 year olds.

The Cobra is guaranteed to still be standing and throwing shots right up until the final bell, he has spoken numerous times that he wishes it was still 15 championship rounds.

I draw comparisons with a group of young boys in the summer still playing football at 9.45pm as the sun is setting, refusing to give-in and let the darkness halt their 5-a-side match.

Froch is the same, he would be in his element left on a pitch black Wembley at midnight punching holes in Groves. Carl is a fantastic fighter, but he is not a boxer in the purest of form.

The Cobra needs to make this into a gritty fight, get Groves in to scrap, make him slug with him in the centre of the ring, I feel it is the only way he can beat him.

The 36 yr old is unable to out-box Groves. He would not have all of a sudden developed slick footwork, a crisp jab and the ability to slip shots.

He needs to stick to what he does best and fight, rather than trying to do something completely out of his comfort zone and end up chasing shadows for 36 minutes.

Having seen footage this week of Froch sparring Chris Eubank Jnr, who I felt in stages man-handled him with speed and combos I’m now convinced he is on the decline.

 

Verdict:

Groves UD

I’m backing Groves to box patiently and with plenty of movement. I expect Froch to come strong in the 10th, but despite weathering a late storm that will draw gasps from the crowd and audience at home, I expect a Unanimous Decision (8 rounds to 4 or 9 rounds to 3) culminating in the crowning of the next British superstar.

But I stress the key is Groves’ discipline and stamina. If he runs out of steam, we will see a brutal late stoppage from Froch.

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

Boxing Update 06/03 – By Paul Ready #FrochGroves2

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With the confirmation of Froch Groves 2 being hosted at Wembley on 31st May which could have up to 80,000 spectators viewing it.

It got me thinking what the largest audiences have been in boxing history, so I decided to do some digging:

The largest paying boxing audience in history was Julio Cesar Chavez vs Greg Haugen in Feb-1993 a reported 132,247 patrons crammed into the Estadio Ezteca, Mexico City, Mexico to witness Julio Cesar Chavez make his tenth defence of his WBC light welterweight title.

Haugen was floored in the opening seconds and was pounded through the fight before Hall of Fame referee Joe Cortez stopped the fight in round five.

The largest European crowd ever to watch a Boxing Match was Max Schmeling vs. Walter Neusel Aug-1938, Over 102.000 spectators were in attendance at Sandbahn Lokstedt, Hamburg, Germany.
Joe Schmeling won with a ninth round KO.

They are audiences that dwarf most football crowds, except Brazil v Uruguay July 16th 1950 which had “only” 199,854 people at the Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro.

Froch v Groves 2

I feel like a fat kid in a sweet shop with a fist full of sweaty pocket-money waiting to book my tickets for this fight.

We were all finally put out of our misery on Tuesday this week at 10am with the announcement that Froch v Groves 2 will be hosted at Wembley.

This is a great choice and really THE place to host it.

The atmosphere will be electric and there will be countless column inches dissecting this fight in the coming months.

I have a feeling I will be telling my grandchildren about being at this fight in the future, I just hope we have some massive fights on the undercard to complement it.

I still back Groves to win this; he is too fast and will dominant the jab exchanges.  I will be amazed if this fight goes beyond the 9 rounds we saw in the predecessor last November.

Froch will be looking to blast Groves away in similar fashion to what he did against Lucien Bute; I’m certain the 25 yr old will be mindful of that.

I feel that the only way the 36 yr old will win is by a stoppage as he will struggle to out-box Saint GG.

The first press conference where both fighters will be head to head is next week, which will no doubt be a powder keg.

Will Froch turn up with some hair regrowth treatment for Groves?

Will Groves mock Froch’s nose in some capacity, maybe present him with a Gonzo teddy from Sesame Street?

The war of words that will ensue on the Media Tour will be almost as good as the fight; animosity between fighters really makes it an even bigger build-up.

Bring it on!

Man of Steel, Glasgow

Anthony Joshua put in his best performance so far against Hector Aviva on Saturday night.

Not because he blasted him away in the first round, not because Aviva has been 9 rounds with Dereck Chisora under a year ago.

But because it was his most patient performance to date.

What impressed me the most was how quickly he assumed control of the centre of the ring and got behind his jab before he stopped the Argentinean.

Joshua has been critical of his performance to date and has had some question marks raised against his mobility around the ring.
But this certainly was one that show-cased not only his obvious power, which is glaring to see, but his boxing ability too.

We are forever hearing that Joshua needs to be “stepped-up”, but certainly on the Manchester card which is 19th April, Richard Towers would be good opposition and the Froch v Groves 2 undercard, I would like to see him in with Michael Sprott or Sam Sexton.

A seasoned British veteran like a Sprott or Sexton has been mooted but American Kevin Johnson would be an equally good test too.

Ricky Burns was outclassed as the headliner of Man of Steel against Terence Crawford, losing his WBO Lightweight belt in the process.

Burns fell short against a very impressive Crawford who answered many questions of how good he actually is.

The Scot told Skysports:

“It was a tricky fight in there,” he said. “Very awkward, especially with the switch-hitting. I found it hard to get my shots off.

“The best man won on the night but I’ll be back. First thing I said to Eddie (Hearn, promoter) after the fight was ‘we’ll be chasing for a rematch’. Hopefully, we can get that sorted.

“I took a good body shot in one of the rounds but I managed to recover and I also took a head shot. I have proved I can take it.

“I said beforehand the jaw (which he broke against Joey Beltran in his last fight) might be in the back of my mind but I went out and got on with it, and the better man won on the night.

“He boxed well, good on him. You can see why he’s being touted as the next big thing in America.

“There are some big fights out there here for me as well, but my first choice would be to get a rematch.

“I feel I belong at world level, I think I proved that tonight.

“The weight division is buzzing, at world level, and over here, so there are big fights out there. I’ll be back in the gym in a couple of weeks, raring to go.”

I feel Rickster should avoid a rematch against Crawford as it will only end the same way. A rematch against Raymund Beltran or perhaps facing IBF Champion Miguel Vazquez would be a better option.

The 30 yr old does have perhaps one more title shot in his locker before stepping in to the blender of the British Lightweight scene.

Which moves us on aptly to my next subject; Anthony Crolla v John Murray.

Crolla v Murray

Anthony Crolla and John Murray have agreed to fight in Manchester on April 19th in a huge local derby.

Murray, previously trained by Joe Gallagher (who trains Crolla), adds some further Cayenne Pepper to the occasion.

One is a Man Utd fan, the other a Man City fan; there is a clear mutual respect between both fighters but that will go out the window once they step through those ropes.

It will be a huge fight for both men as they look to progress to a world title fight in the summer.

Happier days at Gallaghers Gym for Murray & Crolla

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingBlog