Anthony Joshua by Paul Ready #GeordieRoar

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

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

  

Photo by Lawrence Lustig

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

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

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

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

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

I think Johnny Nelson of Sky described his situation perfectly: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Photo by Lawrence Lustig 

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

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

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

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

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#StiverneWilder Review by Paul Ready

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So who is next for the newly crowned champion?

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

Marquez can’t weather the Desert Storm… Frampton, Price/Booth By Paul Ready

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Evening,

Belated blog. I’ve been to London, Leeds and Nottingham this week for work and pleasure. Early starts, late finishes. Graft. Feeling baked.

Before we recap last weekend. Who remembers this game from their youth?

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Desert Strike. Mega Drive. Old School.

I thought this was actually called Desert Storm, maybe Bradley’s favourite console game as a boy. Hence this nick-name. But it’s not. My bad. #Awks.

Action packed card at the Thomas & Mack Centre in Vegas, headlined by Tim Bradley v Juan Manuel Marquez. Lets look at the one of the supporting acts:

Lomachenko v Ramirez:

Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko the two-time Olympic Gold Medallist, who is the arguably the greatest amateur of all time. Sporting a 368-1 Amateur record which is jaw-droppingly impressive.

I was expecting big things, 4 horseman of the apocalypse big. He didn’t disappoint.

First observation was that the 25 yr old was making his debut in a 10 rounder against resilient Mexican Jose Ramirez (25-4 15 KO’s).

Who has a debut fight set at 10 rounds? Unheard of. It was never going to go the distance. It could of had a 20 round distance and wouldn’t of made a shred of difference, but it’s the point that 10 rounds was set which is unreal.

20 seconds in when he floored Ramirez, with a superb body shot, you knew you were watching the birth of a future P4P World Champion. He has everything in his locker. He can bang, he can move. Connects with every other punch thrown.

Ramirez proved to be resilient for all of 4 rounds. When he was rocked again with an even better body shot. His theatrical roll was certainly not staged. I felt that from my living room.

Lomachenko is being lined up for a world title bow in his 2nd outing. Against newly crowned Orlando Salido (40-12-2, 28 KOs),

Demonstrates the belief that Top Rank have in him. Big things round the corner for him. He can easily move up to Lightweight, a definite multi-weight World Champion. Might be a tad too soon for a World Title fight for me, could easily go pear shaped.

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Monster

Bradley v Marquez

The forever underrated Timothy Bradley won a tactical master class over 40 yr Juan Manuel Marquez. Bradley, who didn’t drop a round, made Marquez box his fight.

He won on another contentious split decision. Contentious in his favour on this occasion.

How Marquez had won by one judges scoring defies belief. Bradley controlled the fight with ease, and only had to get out of 2nd gear in a handful of exchanges. He stifled Marquez’ power and made him look very much 40 and 10 yrs his elder.

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I backed Marquez before, favouring his counter punching power and heart to steer him to a narrow victory.

Bradley is the American Amir Khan, in the sense that he isn’t rated by the boxing community there.

He isn’t your traditional self assured American boxer like a Floyd or Broner. Nor is he the people’s champion that has a strong following. After this victory he certainly warrants being on the podium in the P4P rankings, but you feel there still is a piece to his jigsaw missing.

A piece that should mirror his boxing brain and undefeated record. He’s been in with the division’s best and always delivered.

I for one hope he isn’t one of Floyd’s remaining 4 opponents as it would be an extremely dull match up. A game of chess would ensue, with neither willing to gamble. He has even adopted the famous Mayweather shoulder roll into his defence.

So it begs the question. Who is next for Bradley? I’d love to see him fight Canelo at a catch weight of say 150. If Canelo doesn’t fight Cotto of course. Bradley has got the frame to make that weight comfortably and it’s a fight for two who have a point to prove. It would be a fascinating encounter.

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The Jackal

Moving closer to home, in Belfast this weekend. We have the maiden event hosted by newly founded Cyclone Promotions, headed by Barry McGuigan. Headlined by Carl Frampton and aptly named “Frampton Comes Alive”, it pits him against relatively unknown Frenchman Jeremy Parodi.

It’s a fight that Frampton should win at a canter. I’ll be staggered if he doesn’t stop him inside 4.

Interestingly the mind games have already began against domestic rival Scott Quigg and ex promoter Eddie Hearn.

It was leaked on Twitter and later confirmed on camera that Matchroom have made an offer to Cyclone for a Quigg v Frampton match up in March 2014.

The timing is very convenient in my eyes, it’s the week before his fight to Parodi. After a long absence since earlier this year, Frampton needs to be 100% focused on the task in hand.

Are they aiming to unsettle him, make Frampton take his eye off the guy in front? Absolutely.

Frampton and his camp don’t suffer fools gladly and can see what stunt they are trying to pull.

Making the below quotes on the timing of the leak and a fair assessment of Quigg’s last fight:

“I thought Salinas won the fight by a round but they both looked very ordinary. The Cuban only lost the fight because he became lazy in the later rounds,” Frampton told the Belfast Newsletter.

“He could have won every round if he had continued to use his jab and I thought his tactics at the end of the fight were very strange. I think we all saw what Quigg has to offer on Saturday night and I think I could take him out in three rounds. He was wobbled on Saturday night by a couple of jabs and because of that he was too nervous to throw shots,” he added.

Quigg’s camp talked about facing IBF World champion Kiko Martinez, a fighter the undefeated Frampton has back in his sights, after the bout, but the European ring king believes that would prove a bad move.

“Kiko would blow him out of the water. He would destroy him.

“Quigg looked ordinary on Saturday night and hopefully we can meet in the future,” added Frampton.

I love that. This has a soap opera all over it. Love rat, jilted ex, new boyfriend.

Brilliant.

I’d have to back Frampton in 1st half of the fight as I believe his is technically a better fighter. Quigg possibly 2nd half of the fight on points. But he’d have to come out of the blocks Usain Bolt style against Frampton, as the fight could be over in 6 if he boxes like he did against Salinas.

Regardless, I hope this develops in to a real rivalry that spans a trilogy of fights, like Marquez v Pacquaio and a genuine animosity towards one another.

British boxing needs that. Bad blood sells. I’d go as far as to say I would prefer to see that fight than Brook v Khan. I really would.

My final point this week is David Price. The Liverpudlian Heavyweight who was much lauded as our next great Heavyweight, lost two shocking defeats to Tony Thompson this year.

He has surprisingly appointed “The Dark Lord” Adam Booth as his new trainer, which has surprised many people, myself included.

Firstly, for Price it’s a superb move. Gives him a much needed confidence boost, and having the best British trainer in his corner.

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Plenty to ponder…

A man who is renowned for his conditioning of his fighters, meticulous almost OCD approach to devising a game plan to defeat his man’s’ opponent.

For Booth, he has nothing to lose. If he turns Price around, it’s his finest achievement to date. If he fails, Price was already finished.

Price looked mentally and physically shot to shit in his 2nd fight to Thompson. He gave up, wasn’t returning any punches.

You have to question what mind-set Price is in. How much does he want it? Is he still hungry?

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He must be to a certain extent, or has displayed a sufficient amount to convince Booth to be in his corner.

You know that Booth will have him fitter than he ever has been. Sparring with Haye will do him the world of good, he’ll learn more than fighting many in that division.

I just have reservations of his boxing ability at the highest level.

Price is fortunate that he is in an era where we have a limited number credible Heavyweights. It is improving mind.You have the Klitschko’s, Haye, Fury, Wilder and Joshua in the future. Winning a title is still a strong possibility for Price.

With Booth I’d fancy him against anyone outside of the above list. So good luck to the guy and lets all get behind him.

Right, that’s your lot from me tonight. Need to get an early night in.

Tune in next week.

Cheers

Paul

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingBlog

Can Bellew be Kryptonite… Joshua a specimen… How good are our Olympians?

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So here we are…

FINALLY fight week!

With the rescheduled Haye fight, feels like it’s been an eternity since we’ve seen some domestic action.

Fear not fight fans, for your thirst will be quenched like an ice cold beer this forthcoming weekend.

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Definitely my favourite beer currently. Like an upmarket Julian Speroni….

So let’s reflect on this past weekends big match in Canada. Adonis “Superman” Stevenson v Tavoris Cloud for WBC title. I backed Cloud in my last blog. I was mistaken. Not only did Stevenson win, he didn’t drop a round before Cloud was pulled out by his corner in the 8th. He completely dominated him from start to finish.

What impressed and surprised me to a certain extent, was how well Stevenson can box. We all know he can put people to sleep. But what struck me was he looked more composed than I ever expected him to be. Granted I had heard the name before the Dawson fight, but didn’t know a vast amount about him. I had him down as a modern day Clubber Lang, just hurts people… because he can. But he’s mobile, jab, open his opponent up. The resemblance of Lang and Stevenson is uncanny by the way… Lose the facial hair…

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I pity the Bellew…

This was following the recent trend of one sided fights we’ve experienced recently. Stevenson outclassed Cloud for 8 rounds. Pulled out rightly so as his face was cut to shreds. Cloud is no soft touch, Stevenson made him look distinctly average under the Montréal lights.

Tony Bellew, who was ringside for this fight. Is mandatory for WBC belt. With a date already signed by Matchroom and Stevenson camp for 30th November in Quebec/Montreal. I think Bellew deserves his chance as he has worked his socks off. Completely changed his approach to boxing. I remember him being parachuted in to face Cleverley a few years ago. He looked bloated, in terrible shape. And duly lost. Since then he has dedicated himself to the sport. Changed his diet, mentality and is rightly reaping the rewards for this. I fear Stevenson is a class above and he will lose by decision. But as a Brit I wish him all the luck in the world, really do.

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Diehard toffees fan Bellew finally has his world title shot.. Can he be Superman’s kryptonite? Time will tell….

This weekend starts an exciting era for British Heavyweight boxing. For the 1st time in 15 yrs do we have a natural Heavyweight who we can really get excited about. A man who I feel has major cross-over appeal, he can bring British Boxing to the mainstream, attract a new plethora of fans. Off the back of his 2012 Super Heavyweight Olympic Gold Medallist success. Anthony Joshua makes his long awaited debut on the Carpe Diem bill. Which now is a seriously stacked card, with Quigg v Salinas World Title fight, Luke Campbell, Kevin Mitchell, Lee Selby who described Floyd Mayweather as “The American Lee Selby”. Character.

Joshua, you may feel I am over hyping. It’s hard not to get carried away on the crescendo of a Heavyweight Olympic Gold Medallist (Audley Harrison anyone?). In Britain, like America, we CRAVE an exciting Heavyweight prospect. Almost we expect it. We take it for granted. Both countries demand an exciting Heavyweight prospect in their ranks, it’s a given. Like the Italian’s in football, treat Central Defenders as “Demi Gods”, we offer the same to our Heavyweights. It captures the general publics imagination. Not just your casual boxing fans and your hard-core contingency. Within that comes great pressure and expectation to deliver a world title. Small price to pay for god like status surely? Check the below video to see Joshua’s media training session. Size of this guys arms….

As you can see, Joshua is in exceptional shape. As lean as a welter, moves like a middle and punches like a heavyweight. He’s polished in front of the camera, well media trained after his Olympic exploits. Joshua strikes me as a very level headed guy, He is aware that he has it all to do, he’s achieved nothing yet, which is freshening to see in a young athlete. Feet firmly on the ground, focused on the long road ahead. I think it’s going to be a fascinating journey for him. Local lad in Watford, I will definitely go and see him in the flesh in the not too distant future.

Looking at this card, Joshua and Luke Campbell’s 2nd fight, it got me thinking. Thinking of the Beijing Olympics 2008 and how our stars from then are progressing 5 yrs later.

Have they been a success?

Are they underachieving?

Are they knocking on the door for a World Title?

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5 yrs on… Are they where we expected them to be?

Frankie Gavin

17-0, (12 KO’s) “Funtime” Frankie, missed out on his place in the British Olympic team due to not making the weight. He was labelled as our top prospect prior to Beijing due to his strong amateur background. Gold at WAC in Chicago ’07, Gold at Melbourne Commonwealth Games in ’06.  Hailing from Birmingham, 27 yr old Light Welter Gavin won the Lonsdale belt 2 weeks ago outright. Gavin is now looking to make the step up to World level now. Despite his somewhat modest progression since his Beijing heartbreak, you cannot deny his class. I just compare him to Amir Khan from the Olympics in ’04, same weight class. Khan has been there, seen it and got the t-shirt. I feel Gavin hasn’t hit the heights he would have liked to at this stage. It’s a huge 18mths for him which will define his career. He will either be remembered as either a good domestic/European level fighter or someone who has finally fulfilled his potential at world level.

James DeGale

16-15-1, (10 KO’s) Middleweight Gold Medallist  “Chunky” De Gale has changed promoters from Frank Warren to Mick Hennessy in the past 5 yrs. Good record, with only one defeat against him to George Groves.  A fight I watched again a few months ago. It could have easily gone his way, Groves won by the skin of his teeth. Since that defeat I feel that DeGale has somewhat gone backwards since then. Hasn’t fought anyone of any significance and the fact Chris Eubank Jnr has been calling him out suggests that he is still very much a Domestic/European level fighter. DeGale has held the European WBC Super Middleweight title since December 2011. DeGale needs to capture the boxing public’s imagination and fight some dangerous opponents. At 27, I have my reservations whether he can compete at world level and if he truly belongs at boxing’s top table.

Billy Joe Saunders

18-0 (10 KO’s) Middleweight Saunders the youngest of the trio at 24 yrs, for me has made the most progress. Victories this year over undefeated pair John Ryder and Gary O’Sullivan respectively, has put him firmly as the best domestic middleweight below Barker/Murray/Macklin.  Saunders is set to face a yet unnamed opponent on 30th November defending his British and Commonwealth title. Pressure is on Warren to deliver a credible opponent to build on his fantastic 2013. I fully expect Billy Joe to be European champion early next year and having a World Title fight by the end of 2014. He was recognised by the Boxing Writers Club as their Young Boxer of the Year, fully deserved in my book.  Definite one to watch.

So what does the above tell us?

Competing at the Olympics, even winning Gold, doesn’t guarantee you success when you turn pro. You have to show hunger, desire along with the backing of a good promotional team to excel. The above 3 should be examples to Luke Campbell, Anthony Joshua and Anthony Ogogo of how it can go either way. We now can sit back and watch how the next 5 yrs pan out for these 3.

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Bright future? Time will tell….

Another exciting fight which is on the Carpe Diem bill is Scott Quigg v Salinas

Quigg (25 Fights-24 Wins – 0 Losses – 1 Draw 17 KO’s)

Quigg’s rescheduled fight from Haye/Fury bill see’s him fighting for the WBA Super-Bantamweight Title. Quigg who hadn’t fought since November 2012, prior to his 3 round KO of Prado in June. Co headlines the Carpe Diem bill.

He was promoted to WBA “regular” title without having to lace up due to rankings. What I like about Quigg is, he doesn’t want the belt gift wrapped. He has trained and approached this fight as if it’s an actual title match, himself as the challenger. Fantastic attitude to have, putting himself under pressure to deliver. This avoids any complacency creeping in and ensures he will deliver a great performance.

Winning World Title will put him a few steps ahead of his domestic rival Carl Frampton, who has also had an enforced absence due to a perforated eardrum ruled him out of fighting in the summer. It’s a fight that we all want to see, I’d love to see them get in the ring early next year. Then the winner going to face Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux . Who is the standout fighter in that division.

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The fight we all want to see….

One of them is likely to end up facing Kiko Martinez. (Frampton already has KO’d him) who won the IBF title in a surprise victory in the summer against Jonathan Romero.

Promotional politics are the only thing that could stop Frampton v Quigg. One in Warren’s stable, the other in Matchroom. You hope common sense and most importantly money will prevail to get them round the table. I expect this one to rumble on. I’d love to see them fighting numerous times, I can’t imagine there is much between them.

Right guys… That’s all from me this evening… tune in next week for analysis on this weekends card.

I’m off to watch the mighty Arsenal v Napoli.

By Paul Ready

@PaulReady