#Unbreakable Preview by Paul Ready

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The return of the prodigal of son of The Steel City is upon us. IBF welterweight world champion Ezekiel Brook returns to the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield this coming Saturday – in what is certain to be an emotional night for him.

The 28 yr old achieved a boyhood dream of becoming world champion in America last summer.

The dream shortly became a nightmare when disaster struck as Special K was stabbed in the leg in Spain on holiday & nearly bled to death.

One can only imagine how harrowing and truly terrifying that ordeal was. 

  

(Photo by Mark Robinson) 

 “The attack was unprovoked. One minute we were chatting, the next I was being macheted up. There was blood squirting out of my leg. I could see death, my life flashing in front of me. He stood over me shouting and swearing and I scrambled away.

“All I remember is thinking about my daughter and that I needed to get away from this; there was so much blood, I was covered in it. I really feared for my life.

“Just two weeks before I had been on top of the world in America, winning the world title – not something many men from England have done – and now there I was at the bottom of the ocean. To be a world champion had always been a childhood dream. Had I not been found by paramedics, I would have bled to death.”

Brook amazingly made a full recovery and from speaking first hand to John Ryder who sparred him – Kell was an absolute beast in camp.

I feel that after the attack on Brook, when many believed he may never walk again – let alone box – his win over Shawn Porter has in a warped way received more credit.

If the Porter fight had been Brook’s last in the ring, many now view it as a masterclass performance. To some, it has taken a brutal attack on Special K for him to receive the warranted recognition – which I feel it wrong, but unfortunately that is the way of the world we live in today.

I’m expecting an imposing performance from Brook in-front of a packed home-crowd live on Skysports and beamed across the pond on Showtime.

Michael Buffer confirmed as the MC is really the cherry on the cake.

The world will be watching when Special K steps back through those ropes, many of his peers in the 147lb division will have various questions they will want answered:

Is Brook’s leg 100% healed?

Is he now vulnerable? How is his mindset?

What about the man in the opposite corner this weekend – Jo Jo Dan, who sounds more like a master in Wing Chun than an actual boxer.

The 33 yr old Quebec based Romanian is 34-2: 18 KO’s with two victories over Kevin Bizier and both defeats at the hands of Selcuk Aydin. Dan respects Brook of course, but the Southpaw is confident he can cause an upset – which I can’t see, I think Brook stops him inside 7 rounds. Then attention can and will turn to getting an illustrious name in the Welterweight division over this summer – Keith Thurman would be my top pick.

On a busy card, Gavin McDonnell faces Oleksander Yegorov for the vacant European Super Bantamweight title. Adam Etches faces rugged veteran Sergey Khomistky for the IBF International Middleweight title.

Frankie Gavin makes his bow as a Matchroom fighter against Bogdan Mitic before his crunch fight with South African Chris van Heerdan in May. Fellow Birmingham native and hard-hitting Flyweight Kal Yafai faces Cristopher Rosales.

Stephen Smith, Jordan Gill and Charlie Edwards are all in action in separate 6 round contests.

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

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How good is Good Boy? By Paul Ready @gggboxing @TomLoeffler1 #MexicanStyle

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Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin added another victim to his 18 consecutive KO list. One of the G’s should stand for the Grim Reaper as whenever he steps through the ropes the opposition see black.

Through no fault of his own “Good Boy” has yet to face an elite fighter in the 160lb division. Fear of being battered by the meteorite hitting Kazak the sole reason – and who can blame them.

This guy is good; scary good but is he the best fighter on the planet at 154-168lbs?

This is a hotly discussed subject with the majority agreeing with this statement.

Marco Antonio Rubio (59-7: 51 KO’s) was a man with a reputation of being able to punch but that was put firmly to shame by Golovkin. Not to dilute this stunning performance but Rubio isn’t a top 10 160lb fighter.

Rubio briefly complained the knockout punch was illegal, although television replays clearly contradicted him

A corkscrew left to the forehead in the 2nd round drilled the Mexican to the canvas who took an 8 count but was waved off by the referee. It was evident after the first few exchanges that Rubio didn’t fancy his chances of causing an upset at the sold-out Stub-Hub Arena in Carson, California.

The ongoing problem for Golvokin (31-0: 28KO’s) and his team is the need to pay over the odds to get an elite fighter to face him. Winning the WBC Interim title was an inspired chess-move as he is now mandatory challenger for Miguel Cotto.

The 32 yr old has proved beyond doubt that no contender in the world can live with his power beyond the first few rounds.

Is there any man out there who can halt this meteorite landing and wiping out the world?

Golovkin is for me P4P the most concussive puncher in world boxing – in any weight-class. That is not up for debate; it’s a fact.

I like most was very impressed with him the weekend. The guy can not only bang, but he can box and is improving rapidly. His footwork and the manner in which he cuts the ring-off cornering his prey is one of his strongest assets.

I’ve been a huge Miguel Cotto fan for years and I am one of Canelo Alvarez’ but neither man gets near him for me. The only man I can see beating Triple G within 154-168lbs is Andre “Son of God” Ward.

I exchanged tweets & texts with fans and fighters yesterday and it appears I am in the minority with that sentiment!

I can see Ward beating Golovkin only if he adopts spoiler tactics – and gets VERY lucky. Ward would have to box in a similar fashion as he did against Carl Froch – utilising his stinging jab, hooks, plenty of lateral movement. Son Of God would have to box on the back-foot as he would struggle to bully Golovkin – despite the clear weight-advantage he would possess.

If Ward gets clipped by a Golovkin uppercut he would meet the canvas.

Can he keep Good Boy at bay for 12 rounds?

It would be some feat if so. But he is the only man I can see with a chance of defeating him.

Tom Loeffler of K2 promotions who represents Triple G spoke to about his next opponents:

“There’s nobody at 160 pounds that can go 12 rounds with Gennady,” “A Chavez Jr fight is a pay-per-view fight. Canelo is definitely a pay-per-view fight. A Cotto fight is a pay-per-view fight. Carl Froch in the UK is a big name. We would fight him. Gennady would have no problems fighting Carl Froch at 168 in the UK. Mikkel Kessler, he’s another guy at 168. There are so many options now, especially with HBO’s support. It will definitely be wide open in 2015.”

Carl Froch won’t fight Golovkin even if it is HBO PPV; as it is a high-risk, low reward fight for a man in the Winter of his career. It pains me to type that as that would be a modern day Gatti v Ward contest.

The Cobra a man who shy’s away from no-one in his heart of hearts would know his chances of beating him would be slim.

Chavez Jr is a Unicorn, a mythical creature that is never seen. He declined the opportunity of facing Golovkin in the summer and I doubt he will be rushing to face him now.

A fight in Monte Carlo against a top 10 fighter early 2015 was discussed post-fight by Loeffler as the next move. Canelo Alvarez and Miguel Cotto are due to square-off on Cinco De Mayo next year. The winner surely has to face Good Boy late 2015.

The opposition are running out of excuses and as his popularity grows on the West Coast so will the HBO bucket of cash. The Staples Arena in Los Angeles will no doubt host his next fight there.

So how good is Good Boy?

VERY fucking Good!

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

Boxing Update 04/08 by Paul Ready

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Hopkins v Kovalev

On Friday Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins (55-6: 32 KO’s) agreed to fight Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (25-0: 23 KO’s) on 8th November in a Light-Heavyweight unification bout.

Kovalev, 31 who knocked out Blake Caparello on Saturday evening is one of the most avoided fighters in world boxing.

Sporting a 90% KO record, the Russian’s 175lb rival Adonis “Superman” Stevenson (24-1: 20KO’s) has done everything in his power to avoid facing Krusher. Stevenson signed with boxing’s Wizard of Oz advisor Al Haymon last year and moved broadcaster from HBO to ShowTime in the process.

I have to tilt my hat and credit Hopkins who at the ripe age of 49 has in his own words “not ran away from the fight but ran to it”. The Alien is from an era when the best fought the best and with negotiations only taking  24 hours it makes you wonder what the whole “Cold War” fuss has been about.

I really hope this is a defining moment.

Hopkins’ last fight on HBO was against then highly rated Tavoris Cloud who joined Kelly Pavlik in having BHop take their “0”.

Kovalev will enter this fight as the favourite, and could be the first man to KO Hopkins. I wouldn’t be shocked if The Alien made me eat my words and continues to defy father-time.

Without question he is one of the greatest fighters of his generation. Not remotely camera-shy and his interview with Steve Bunce in a caravan where he loses his rag ranks as one of the most amusing I have ever seen.

I simply can not wait for this fight!

 

Civic Centre, Wolverhampton

“Funtime” Frankie Gavin (19-1: 12KO’s)  suffered a career-first defeat against veteran Leonard Bundu (31-0-2: 11KO’s) in Wolverhampton on Friday night.

Bundu, 39, made his experience count and Gavin, 28, bar a late rally didn’t look at his best. Southpaw Gavin was floored in the 6th by a crippling body-shot and the fight could have easily been stopped in the 8th. Bundu took a decision

“I’m gutted,” Gavin stated afterwards. “I thought I won it and even Bundu told me I’d won. I haven’t lost a fight in nine years as an amateur or pro so it’s hard to take.

“But hopefully he’ll vacate the belt and fight for a world title and I can rebuild and fight for the European again.”

 

Heavyweight Lucas “Big Daddy” Browne (21-0: 18KO’s) beat Andriy Rudenko (24-1: 16KO’s) via a unanimous decision on the undercard.

Rudenko was Browne’s toughest opponent to date,  both men slugged on numerous occasions and the Australian always looked the likely victor.

Big Daddy won the WBA Inter-Continetal crown and his promoter Ricky Hatton is eyeing up Ruslan Chagaev next.

 

Commonwealth Games

 

Commonwealth Games 2014: Glasgow boxing success augurs well for Team GB with Olympics two years away

(Left to right) England’s Qais Ashfaq, Sam Maxwell, Joe Joyce, Nicola Adams, Scott Fitzgerald, Anthony Fowler and Savannah Marshall

The Commonwealth Games has picked up where the 2012 Olympics left off with gold medals galore for boxing. The England team picked up 7, Wales with 3 and 1 for Scotland.

The GB amateur boxing squad based of the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield are churning out some exciting talent and it’s hard to not look to the future with great hope and anticipation.

 

Callum Smith & Luke Campbell 

Super-Middleweight Callum Smith (12-0: 9 KO’s) and Lightweight Luke Campbell (6-0: 4KO’s) make their American bows on the Porter v Brook under card.

This is music to my ears as I’m a huge advocate in getting our top talents on cards Stateside as soon as logistically possible.

Giving these fighters exposure early to the American cards will ensure that when their world title shot comes they don’t freeze.

I’ve lost count of how many fighters in the past have had to go over to America, never popped their cherry and when they had to deliver in a World title shot they didn’t.

Now I’m not saying the lack of exposure was why they failed; maybe they simply weren’t good enough. But if you aren’t good enough and you freeze, you are in for a very short night.

By building their profile in America early and with Matchroom in particular planning to crack the market promoting shows in the future, it will create more British world champions with huge profiles worldwide.

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

 

Boxing Update 03/07 by Paul Ready

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This week in July 1921 – Jack Dempsey KO’d George S Carpentier in 4 for heavyweight boxing title 1st million dollar gate ($1.7m) boxing match. I’d love to know what modern day equivalent value of that million dollars would be. Last weekend proved to be a disappointing one for Ricky Burns in Glasgow, but before I discuss that card let’s look firstly at the man who took his WBO Lightweight title away from him; Terence Crawford in Omaha, Nebraska.   Crawford v Gamboa Terence Crawford (24-0: 17 KO’s) stopped Cuban Yuriokis Gamboa (23-1: 16KO’s) in the 9th round of a cracking fight Saturday evening. Crawford, 26, made his first defence of his WBO title in his hometown of Omaha Nebraska, which ended a 42 year exile of championship boxing in the state since Joe Frazier defended his heavyweight title against Nebraska’s-own Ron Stander in 1972. Crawford hadn’t fought in his Omaha since 2011 demonstrated that there is really no place like home by announcing himself as a world-class fighter. Gamboa started quick winning the first few rounds until Crawford took over boxing beautifully from the 5th dropping the cuban with a great left. Terence-Crawford_Farina Other knockdowns followed in the 8th before finally the ref waved the fight off in the 9th with two minutes remaining. “I told Gamboa he picked the wrong fighter and the wrong city and I was right,” Crawford said. “I never felt any danger in the fight.” “It means a lot,” Crawford said of his long-awaited homecoming fight. “This is what they’ve been waiting on since I turned pro.” Crawford is now the main man at 135lbs and talk of a move up to 140lbs is natural progression in the near future.   He Who Dares, Glasgow Burns v Zlaticanin Ricky Burns lost to Dejan Zlaticanin on points Saturday evening and as he failed to recover from a shock 1st round knockdown. The 31 yr old had to come from behind against a big punching Montenegrin and despite a late rally from the Scot, it unfortunately wasn’t enough. Burns now will be taking some much needed time off with his family to reflect on this defeat. I would like to see him continue working with Tony Sims, you can’t instantly dismiss the foundations they have laid in the past 11 weeks as a complete failure, the relationship is in it’s infantry and needs time to develop. Burns is perhaps too “long in the tooth” to make drastic changes to his style at this stage of his career, only a few minor adjustments need to be made for me and the key in all of this is his desire to continue. Promoter Eddie Hearn spoke to Skysports post-fight; “He’s devastated, he had a nightmare start. I thought it was a very close fight and could have gone either way, without the start and a couple of rounds to get over that, I thought it was fairly even.  “He’s got to go away and we will look for a big domestic fight, if that is what Ricky wants. It will be too raw now for Ricky to decide what he wants.”   Simmons v Camacho Steve Simmons stopped Wadi Camacho in the 12th round of their hotly anticipated grudge match. “Macho Man” was winning on the scorecards when a late surge from the Scot in the 11th and then in the stoppage in 12th retained the WBC Cruiserweight Silver title. Camacho boxed well, got behind the jab & displayed composure from the outset. Credit must be given to trainer Peter Sims for the training camp & change in mentality he has made Wadi adopt. You have to congratulate Simmons for finishing strong when in the mid-rounds he looked physically shot to bits. Chasing: Simmons settled his grudge match with Camacho in Glasgow The 28 yr old Southpaw frustrated Simmons early on and had to contend with various headbutts throughout, one which was noticed by the ref and resulted in a warning for Simmons. It was great to see both men at the end “bury the hatchet” and agree to put their differences aside. It wasn’t the barnstormer we had hoped for, but often grudge matches rarely are as both fighters tend to be even more cautious with punches than box gung-ho. Limond v Woodhouse Willie Limond made it 3rd time lucky in his pursuit for the British Title by beating Curtis Woodhouse convincingly. Limond floored Woodhouse twice to win on points and can look forward to facing English Champion Tyrone Nurse in the foreseeable future.   Kell Brook The date and venue have finally been announced; Kell Brook will FINALLY face Shawn Porter for the IBF Welterweight title at the StubHub Arena (Formerly the Home Depot Centre) in Carson, California on the 16th August. On the same bill we see a rematch of the December 2013 bout between Sakio Bika and Anthony Dirrell for the WBC Super-Middleweight title. For Brook it will be almost exactly 12 months to the day (17th August 2013) when Darren Barker beat Daniel Geale to lift the IBF Middleweight title in Atlantic City. Let’s hope it proves to be a lucky omen for Brook….   @PaulReady @EliteBoxingNet http://www.eliteboxing.net

#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.

photo (2)

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

Rise Up & DC Armory Review.. by Paul Ready

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

Rise Up, Manchester

 

Tyrone Nurse v Tyler Goodjohn

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

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

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

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

 

Callum Smith v Francois Bastient

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Scott Quigg v Tshifhiwa Munyai

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Anthony Crolla v Martin Murray

 

The battle of Manchester certainly lived up to its billing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

DC Armory, Washington

Shawn Porter v Paulie Malignaggi

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Bernard Hopkins v Beibut Shumenov

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 “I would love to do that,” he said.

 “But let me get past Stevenson first.”

 

This weekend we have the below fights:

 

Stub Hub Arena, Carson, California

 

Keith Thurman v Julio Diaz

Interim WBA Welter Title

Lucas Matthysse v John Molina

Vacant WBC Continental Americas Light-Welter Title

Omar Figueroa v Jerry Belmontes

WBC Lightweight Title

 

@EliteBoxingNet

@PaulReady

Boxing Update 16/04 by Paul Ready

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Pacquiao/Bradley 2

Manny Pacquiao surprised many on Saturday evening, myself including by defeating Timothy Bradley on points.

Pacquiao rolled back the clock, displaying rapid hand-speed, slick footwork to defeat the narrow favourite Bradley.

This isn’t the Pac Man of old and it’s apparent he has made clear adjustments in light of the Marquez defeat to ensure he can still box at optimum level.

Desert Storm was poor by his standards and Joel Diaz spoke post-fight stating that Bradley had injured his calf-muscle which would account for his lack of mobility in the contest.

More entertaining than the fight was Top Rank promoter Bob Arum’s rant at the MGM Grand over the advertising of Mayweather v Maidana “The Moment” which takes places on May 3rd.

Pacquiao Bradley 2 was sponsored by Mexican beer Tecate, Mayweather sponsored by Corona to add some further animosity on the subject.

Post-fight Arum was vocal again stating that fans should boycott buying The Moment PPV and tickets to the bout, to “force” Mayweather’s hand in facing Pacquiao.

When questioned by British Journalist Gareth Davies on Floyd, Pacquiao looked over at Arum before answering like a young-child to a disciplinarian dad and gave a rehearsed response.

The fight is highly unlikely to happen, so attention will turn to the winner of Marquez v Alvarado for the 35 yr old, likely to Marquez v Pacquiao V… yawn.

 

 

Copperbox, London

In a challenging evening for Frank Warren fighters, both Tony Conquest and starlet Frank Buglioni lost on Saturday evening.

Conquest (13-2:  5KO’s) was knocked out by Ovil McKenzie in the fifth round and subsequently lost the Commonwealth Cruiserweight title in the process.

McKenzie was knocked down in the 3rd and 5th after taking some huge shots.

Frank “WiseGuy” Buglioni surrendered his Super-Middle WBO European title to Sergey Khomitsky with the fight being stopped in the 6th.

Buglioni’s corner called a halt to the contest to prevent the prospect from taking any further punishment. I was disappointed that the ref didn’t stop the fight before as he was taking too many clean shots without responding.

Enfield Independent: Frank Buglioni and Sergey Khomitsky go toe-to-toe. Picture: Will Cornelious

You have to credit Buglioni for demonstrating a granite chin, he absorbed some severe punishment from the Belarusian who took Martin Murray the distance in December.

Whilst it is a significant setback for the Enfield man, he has time on his side to come back and regroup.

Performance of the night belonged to Welterweight Bradley Skeete with a 7th round TKO against Giuseppe Loriga to retain the WBA Intercontinental title.

Skeete picked the experienced Loriga apart over the duration and took his undefeated record to 16-0.

Super-Middle Chris Eubank Jnr extended his unbeaten record to 14-0 winning via a comfortable stoppage against Hungarian Sandor Micsko.

Eubank Jnr with the shadow of his father ever lurking, barely got out of 2nd gear. He has received much criticism for mimicking his father too much, almost on the scale of Jaden Smith imitating his father Will Smith.

What is apparent is that Eubank Jnr possesses some real talent, a clear athlete who can box on the inside and out. I would like to see him really tested, perhaps against Billy-Joe Saunders, should Saunders move up to 168lbs.

Saunders has called out Eubank Jnr on Twitter and it is a fight that can be made easily by Warren.

Until a real test is presented against Eubank Jnr, I will reserve my judgement on him. He spars with George Groves holding his own and allegedly cracked a rib of Nathan Cleverly so the power is undoubtedly there.

 

Rise Up, Phones 4u Arena, Manchester

Scott Quigg has had a late change of opponent in the headline show for this bout, he will now defend the WBA Super-Bantamweight title against Tshifhiwa Munya as opposed to Nehomar Cermeno who has experienced visa problems.

Quigg needs to put on a startling performance and I really hope we see him against Kiko Martinez or another top Super-Bantamweight fighter as I feel he is somewhat treading water currently.

The 25yr old has been extremely active since joining Matchroom from Hatton Promotions, but I do feel the time is nigh for him to fight in America or bring a unification bout to Manchester.

On a stacked card, we have Anthony Crolla and John Murray in an all Manchester bout that will separate the crowd on who to support.

Utd fan v City fan, Joe Gallagher fighter v ex-Joe Gallagher fighter, both men should despise one another, but they don’t.

There is a genuine friendship between them, but this will be put to one-side on Saturday night as they contest for the WBO Intercontinental Lightweight title.

Tyler Goodjohn faces Tyrone Nurse for the vacant English Light-Welter title, El Tornado to some may start off as the under-dog against the higher-ranked Nurse for this bout.

Having seen Goodjohn train and spar personally first-hand, I would write him off at your peril as he is exceptionally game for this career-defining fight.

I fancy Goodjohn to stop Nurse late.

Josh Warrington is in action for the Commonwealth Featherweight title against former World title challenger and warhorse Rendall Munroe.

I’m excited to see Callum Smith returns to the ring finally following injury. Smith is one of my favourite prospects in the country and has the tools to go all the way.

Give it 18mths and he could be in the mix of the Froch, Groves and DeGale drama.

 

International

To continue the boxing freight train of fights we have to spectate, the attention turns this weekend to the DC Armory in Washington for the below card.

Kell Brook will no doubt be paying particular attention to the Shawn Porter v Paulie Malignaggi fight.

Bernard Hopkins v Beibut Shumenov

THE IBF AND WBA SUPER WORLD LIGHT-HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIPS

Peter Quillin v Lukas Konechy

THE WBO WORLD MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP

Shawn Porter v Paulie Malignaggi

THE IBF WORLD WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP

 

 

@EliteBoxingNet

@PaulReady

Limerick Lee’s limelight… by Paul Ready

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Middleweight Andy Lee is one of two (alongside Amir Khan) British/Irish boxers who arguably have a bigger profile Stateside than in the UK.

For me he is one the most under-rated fighters based on these shores.

Larry Merchant of HBO once described Lee as “looking like 10 million dollars” in the ring.

LeeMcEwan_Bailey_3

Sporting a (31-2: 22 KO’s) record the 29 yr old has boxed the lions share of his career in America having relocated there in the mid-2000’s to work with Hall of Fame trainer Emmanuel Steward at the fabled Kronk gym, Detroit.

Lee displays a CV that most boxers would be proud of, but until now the one thing has alluded him; a world title.

The Irishman was due to face 160lb monster Gennady “GGG” Golvokin on April 26th in New York for the WBA title.
This was cancelled due to the passing of Golovkin’s father and as of yet this hasn’t been rescheduled with GGG understandably taking some time out to be with his family.

Since the defeat to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in 2012, rangey southpaw Lee has been on a 3 fight unbeaten streak with the last outing being on the Froch Groves undercard in November last year.

This Saturday he faces Frenchman Frank Haroche in Esbjerg Denmark on a Sauerland Brothers show.

Lee is also scheduled to fight in Cardiff on 17th May against a yet unnamed opponent.

Trainer Adam Booth has spoke of Lee being a more natural Light-Middleweight and the probability of the Macklin fight to IFLTV recently:

Should Lee fight at that weight, there are some huge match-ups on the horizon and a genuine chance to secure a well deserved world title.

To rattle off some potential opposition for the Irishman at 154lbs look no further than; Canelo Alvarez, Erislandy Lara, Austin Trout, Miguel Cotto (should he come back down after the Sergio Martinez fight) Demetrius Andrade and of course Floyd Mayweather Jnr who holds the WBC Light-Middleweight title.

Not to mention Englishman Brian Rose who faces Andrade in the summer of the WBO Light-Middle title.

The much debated all Irish affair with Matthew Macklin is still a strong possibility and one I would love to see.

The time is nearly here for Lee to show the world and especially the UK what he is truly made of.

@EliteBoxingNet
@PaulReady

Boxing Update 26/03 by Paul Ready

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Some interesting facts there, most notably the first one.

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

Amazing how backward the world was nearly 100 years ago!

 

Brian Rose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Amir Khan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

International 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

@EliteBoxingBlog

@PaulReady