24/03 – Boxing Update by Paul Ready

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As British Summer Time officially begins in the early hours of Sunday morning, everyone becomes more upbeat.

Longer evenings, beach bodies made at salad bars and of course our glorious sport moves towards the business part of the season. 

  

With Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao finally announced it has yielded a much-needed “double vodka & redbull” to proceedings.

Let’s focus on where we are in the UK.

James DeGale (who I interviewed & spent time with last week) is expecting his IBF world title shot against Andre Dirrell to be announced momentarily.

Warriors Boxing based out of Florida won the purse-bid with an eye-watering $3.1m. Chunky will have to travel to America to make history in May.

Kevin Mitchell off the back of his career-best performance over Daniel Estrada in January has another crack at a world-title against WBC Lightweight champion Jorge Linares.

Matchroom have pulled a masterstroke delivering that fight in Mitchell’s home-town of London – the roof will come off the O2 on the 30th May.

Tony Sims told me a few weeks ago that Kevin Mitchell is the most talented fighter he has ever trained – the 30 yr old does things in camp that you can’t teach.

Mitchell brimming with confidence and I simply cannot wait for that fight.

On the same bill Lee Selby faces IBF Featherweight world champion Evgeny Gradovich.

Selby is the bookies favourite for this fight. I spoke to Selby last month and he was out in Omaha for Gradovich’s last fight. The 28 yr old perceives him as a similar come-forward fighter to Joel Brunker – the Welshman is confident he will break him down and stop him late.

Former two-weight world champion Ricky Burns makes his US debut on 9th May against Omar Figueroa.

Rickster has endured a hellish 12 mths breaking his jaw, losing his world title to Terence Crawford, a long protracted court-case with a former promoter, change of trainer to Tony Sims and culminated with a loss in the first fight under him.

Anything that could have gone wrong for the 31 yr old had. I think it says a great deal about his resolve that he still has that desire to fight – I hope he comes back with a bang.

Anthony Joshua has flown slightly under the radar this year due a back-injury.

The Olympic gold medallist was due to face Kevin “Kingpin” Johnson at the end of January – which has been rescheduled for 30th May – some card that will be!

When Joshua steps in the ring next month in Newcastle against a yet unnamed opponent – it will mark a near six month absence since his last fight.

The 25 yr old was involved in a brief spat on Twitter with former amateur foe Dillian Whyte some weeks back. Whyte who boxed on the recent Carl Frampton and Chris Avalos bill is very keen to face AJ again in the pro-ranks – I hope we get to see that score settled once and for all this summer.

Matchroom Promoter Eddie Hearn is reportedly due to meet Barry McGuigan of Cyclone Promotions tomorrow (Wednesday) morning in London to “thrash-out” a deal for Carl Frampton to face Scott Quigg this summer.

The two Super-Bantamweights have long been affiliated with one-another – all being well we can finally see this match-up in what I anticipate to be THE fight in the UK this year.

Amir Khan seems to be the one man without a date for the summer prom so far. He was stood up again by Floyd Mayweather and unless he moves quick he could be dancing on his own for a while.

Adrien Broner has declared on Twitter & Instagram that he would be keen to face the 28 yr old, but after The Problem was found out at 147lbs against Marcos Maidana – I feel he needs to box a bit longer at 140lbs before moving up naturally.

So who does that leave for Khan?

Timothy Bradley would be a good option but it was challenging enough to get Bob Arum and Al Haymon round the table for Mayweather v Pacquiao. I’m not going to hold my breath on that one.

 

So as you can see, there are fights announced and plenty bubbling in the background.

 

The next few weeks and months will be seductive – time to musk up lads…

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing,net

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@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

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

#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 Undercard by Paul Ready

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So here we are, fight week.

Unless you have been residing under a rock or in the International Space Station orbiting our planet, you would have found it nigh on impossible to avoid the frenzy this weekend.

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Whilst most will tune in to view the main event, we shouldn’t overlook the fights on the under card which contains some of Britain’s biggest and brightest talents.

 

Anthony Joshua v Matt Legg

 

First up is Joshua (5-0: 5KO’s) who faces Matt Legg (7-2: 3KO’s) in a 6 round Heavyweight contest.

Whilst some criticism has been levied at Matchroom for not finding a more attractive opponent for the Olympic Gold Medallist, it is becoming increasingly more challenging to locate willing suitors to face him.

Michael Sprott so I’m told was a strong contender to face Joshua but with him due to face Martin Rogan in New Zealand next week it was a non starter.

 

More important than the opponent is the chance to box on the biggest spectacle in British boxing history, something Joshua cites as bigger than the Olympics.

“I’m starting the show but hopefully one day I’ll be headlining. I hope to start the night off with a bang. I’ve got a domestic fighter who’s coming to give it a go. He’ll be trying to catch me so may the best man win.”

With the opportunity for him to not only box in-front of 80,000 the exposure he will receive being shown on HBO Boxing Stateside will do wonders for his growing his profile.

 

Jamie McDonnell v Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat

 

Former IBF Bantamweight World Champion McDonnell (23-2: 10KO’s) faces Na Rachawat (52-2: 34KO’s) from Thailand for the vacant WBA Regular title.

Na Rachawat has boxed his whole career in Thailand and I’ve heard he is an aggressive, come-forward pressure fighter.

My concern with him as an unknown quantity is the level of opponents he has faced.

Let’s hope he is more a Daniel Brizuela (who gave Tommy Coyle a life & death fight) than a Mikheil Avakyani (who boxed like Mr Bean and Kevin Mitchell could have dealt with in his sleep)


“You can expect the best of me. I want to put in the best performance I have ever done, especially in front of all these people,” he told the Ringside Toe 2 Toe podcast.

“When I win a world title back, it’s a stepping stone. I want to unify this division before I move up, so it all happens on the 31st at Wembley.”

Kevin Mitchell v Ghislain Maduma

Kevin “Mighty” Mitchell (37-2: 27KO’s) faces Maduma (16-0:10KO’s) in an IBF final eliminator on Saturday night.

29yr old Mitchell will be have a huge fan-base present on Saturday evening as he bids to make it 3rd time lucky on the World title trail.

Having lost to Australian Michael Katsidis and now stable-mate Ricky Burns, some would argue that this is Mitchell’s last chance to realise a boy-hood dream of becoming world champion.

Having spoken to people around The Hammer, he is more focused and determined than ever before. The penny has well and truly dropped for him, he knows this is his time, the chance to showcase to the world what he is capable of.

Mentally & physically he is in the shape of his life, you only had to see the zip and snap in his punches yesterday at the open work-out.

Mitchell is living the life of an elite athlete now, taking his nutrition and boxing much more seriously.

Inheriting the “senior” fighter status in the gym since rejoining Tony Sims last summer, he has the bit between his teeth and I’m looking forward to seeing a sparkling performance from him in his home-town Saturday night.

Mitchell told Sky Sports News:

“It’s a great opportunity for me. It’s a world title eliminator and after this I’ve got Vazquez in my sight. What a platform to do it on – it’s the biggest show in history

“I’ve put my whole year into this training. I’ve made my comeback properly, training solidly for a year and having regular fights for Eddie Hearn with Tony Sims, who’s been working wonders with me in the gym.

“I’ve been sparring the likes of Martin Ward, Ricky Burns. It’s been going brilliantly. All the boys like Anthony Joshua are alongside me in the gym. I’m flying for this fight.

“Everyone’s buzzing. We’re happy. You’ve got to work hard in this game and working alongside other athletes like that shows you how hard you have to train. We’re all working harder to get faster times and it’s great.

“I’ve seen quite a few fights of Maduma’s and he likes doing things his own way. He’s got fast hands and I imagine he’ll be very fit for this fight but if it has to be a war, that’s how it will be.

“I’ve been in a few wars. I’ve been beaten in two but I wasn’t prepared for them. Trust me, when I’m prepared the way I’m prepared now, I’m ready for whoever it has to be.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime crowd. I don’t think we’ll ever see it again. I said to Anthony Joshua a couple of months back that the only person who could get this kind of crowd again would be him in a few years’ time for titles at world level.”

Supporting the main-event and with one eye on the victor is James DeGale, another local lad who like Mitchell is a whisker away from a World title shot.

James DeGale v Brandon Gonzales

DeGale (18-1: 12KO’s) faces the toughest test in his career against undefeated American Gonzales (18-0: 10KO’s)

Gonzales trained by Virgil Hunter regularly spars with Andre Ward and isn’t travelling to London to sit on an open-top-bus with his bum bag taking pictures of Buckingham Palace.

They are coming to win and DeGale needs to deliver…. massively.

Having boxed in small arena’s in Lakeside predominantly, “Chunky” feels he is returning to stage where he belongs.

He would admit himself that since the narrow defeat to Groves, his profile reduced dramatically and the move to Matchroom has been long-overdue.

Initially focused on the WBC path and a showdown with Sakio Bika, he has now wisely pursued the IBF route as a fight against Froch or Groves rematch would fill Phones4U Arena in Manchester or the O2 with ease.

“Flawless” hasn’t knocked an opponent out since 2010 and I fully expect him to take the fight to DeGale for the full 12 rounds.

I fancy DeGale to outbox Gonzales down the stretch and take a split decision.

“He surrounds himself with good talented people like Amir Khan and Andre Ward, is trained by a good trainer in Virgil Hunter so I’m up against it but training camp has gone great.

“I’m injury free, mentally on point and as Eddie Hearn says, I’ve got my mojo back. I’m feeling nice and I’m ready to do it.

“I needed the right person to push me there and shouts to Eddie and Matchroom Sports with Team Chunky. We’re doing it big and I just can’t wait for Saturday night. It’s going to be a hell of a show so whoever’s got tickets, fasten your seatbelts.

 

**Tune in Friday for my breakdown of the main event…. Do not miss it!**

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

Boxing Update 09/04 By Paul Ready

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Plenty to cover this week, so I will refrain from too much waffle or going off on a tandem.

Pacquiao/Bradley 2

The redemption rematch I’ve billed this, for Bradley to seek personal and public redemption against the victory he was given, that never was.

Pacquiao won the first fight comfortably but was denied the W by some questionable scoring by the now infamous CJ Ross; who subsequently lost her job after further outrageous scoring in the Mayweather-Canelo bout September 2013.

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Much has changed for both Pac Man and Desert Storm since that fateful night in summer of 2012.

The 35 yr old congressman was knocked out in the most brutal of fashion by long-term nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez late that year.

The most vicious single punch KO I’ve ever seen which culminated in a prolonged absence from the ring for Manny to take stock of his career.

Pacquiao returned late 2013 against hard-hitting and fruitful talking Brandon Rios in the gambling mecca that is Macau.

In a near-shut out victory, talk swiftly accelerated towards a rematch against Bradley this year.

Since the “victory” over Pacquiao, the 30 yr old has embarked on a different, more challenging journey inside the ring, that has made him the clear number 2 P4P fighter at 147lbs in the world.

Winning Fight of the Year 2013 against Ruslan Provodnikov, a former sparring partner of Pac Man, Bradley displayed traits that we never knew he had in him.

Make no mistake, he was in the trenches, stuck in quick-sand with grenades thrown at him left, right and centre and he survived.

Desert Storm earned respect from the boxing world for being able to turn the tide against the Siberian Rocky and win.

Coupled with a one-sided points victory over Marquez last autumn, Bradley will enter the fight with Manny on a more even plateau.

The caveat for Bradley is not only to wear socks this time (Bradley didn’t have any last time and he said was the main reason he struggled) but to not assume that Pacquiao is finished.

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*The only occasion you should not wear socks with footwear is when sporting loafers*

Granted, this isn’t the Manny of old, certainly not the same who demolished Miguel Cotto like a homeless person eating a meal in the Salvation Army. But there is plenty of fight in the Filipino yet.

That being said, in light of Bradley’s recent performances I feel he is reaching his peak as Pacquiao is on the descent.

Bradley by split decision, but minus the controversy this time.

James DeGale

James DeGale will be unveiled as a Matchroom fighter tomorrow lunchtime. “Chunky” ended a 2 Year promotional agreement with Hennessy Sports this weekend.

Hennessy released a statement today advising that they are seeking legal proceedings against DeGale as the existing deal had years to run.
Now I could be one of the minority here, but I do feel for Mick Hennessy a tad.

The 28 yr old was vocal publicly at a sense of frustration that his career wasn’t progressing at the pace he desired.

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Everything had appeared to finally fall in to place as he had become mandatory challenger for the WBC Super Middle title and scheduled in a final eliminator for the IBF title, to face the winner of Carl Froch and George Groves who fight on 31st May.

For 2008 Gold Medallist it gives him an opportunity to fight on SkySports and for the top stable in the UK, something that he you can tell he craves.

DeGale is a shoe-in to be on the Froch Groves 2 bill, possibly facing American Brandon Gonzalez (18-0-1: 10KO’s) in a final eliminator for the IBF.

Carl Frampton

The Jackal took under 5 minutes to flatten Cazares last Friday night.

Once Cazares was knocked down and felt the power Frampton possessed, he simply didn’t want it enough.

The crushing left that ended the contest was a shot setting up the big finale according to trainer Shane McGuigan in the post-fight press conference.

If that right hand that followed the left would have connected, they may have had to brought the smelling salts out.

You can pull out the “I don’t understand English” card, but after he admitted he was dazed, and not clear on the count he was given.

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Cyclone Promotions now head to America to broker a deal to bring WBC Super-Bantam champion Leo Santa-Cruz to the Jackal’s Den in Belfast.

A rumoured £500,000 is on the table to try entice “Teremoto” to the Emerald Isle.

Santa Cruz a ShowTime and Al Haymon fighter will push for the fight to be Stateside and most likely Las Vegas.

But you have to question how quick he will want to face the Ulsterman his mandatory challenger.
I could see that fight taking place the end of the year, with a tune-up beforehand.

Manager Barry McGuigan spoke about fighting Abner Mares or Jhonny Gonzalez in the foreseeable future, both currently operate at Featherweight so either Frampton would need to go up or they come down.

Prizefighter

Firstly want to say what a great night of boxing that was, edge of your seat excitement.

When you are personally going to a sporting event, be it football or boxing, you always hope you are in for a memorable occasion.

This was definitely one of those.
John Ryder, Ricky Boylan and Wadi Camacho all looked impressive in their fights.

Ryder and Boylan had to “sing for their supper” respectively by displaying patience breaking down their tough opposition.

I was impressed with the followings both fighters have, half the crowd at York Hall were supporting both fighters.

For Ryder it’s two wins on the bounce after the Saunders defeat and gives him a British title shot.

Wadi Camacho made light work of Toni Visic with a 4th round TKO.
Machoman won his first fight under the guidance of new trainer Peter Sims.

From observing Sims and Camacho in close quarters, you can already see they have built up a strong rapport which will stand them in good stead against Stephen Simmons in June.

Johnny Coyle won a thrilling Prizefighter Welterweights outpointing Wales’ former European lightweight champion Jason Cook and Stourbridge’s Sam Eggington before meeting Belfast’s Paddy Gallagher in the one-night tournament final.

The night was nearly overshadowed by Eric Ochieng being stretched out of the ring after his quarter-final victory over finalist Paddy Gallagher.

The Eagle spoke later that evening confirming he is fine and fainted due to the heat of the venue and exhaustion.

The heat was ridiculous in there, you had to walk towards the main entrance to get some cold air and that was just the spectators.

Ochieng is usually a Light-Middle so perhaps boiling down to 147lbs was a contributing factor.

20 yr old Coyle the youngest winner of the contest and certainly has an effulgent future ahead of him.

With only 4 fights in the bank beforehand and now £32,000 better off I’m sure this is the aperitif for Coyle’s boxing career.

 

As we progress on to this forthcoming weekends events, we return to the Copperbox Arena in London for the below fighters in the Frank Warren stable:

Copperbox, London (Saturday 12th April)

Frank Buglioni v Sergey Khomitsky

WBO European Super Middleweight Title

Tony Conquest v Ovill McKenzie

Commonwealth Cruiserweight Championship

Bradley Skeete v Giuseppe Loriga

WBA Intercontinental Welterweight Championship

Esberg, Denmark (Saturday 12th April)

David Price v Ondrej Pala

Andy Lee v Frank Horta

On a final note, those observant of you or one’s still awake, I’ve changed my twitter name from @EliteBoxingBlog to @EliteBoxingNet.

Reason for this is two-fold, 1) It reads better 2) I’ve purchased the domain http://www.eliteboxing.net which is less of a mouthful than the wordpress URL.

@EliteBoxingNet

@PaulReady

Boxing Update 16/01… By Paul Ready

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Evening,

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

#Cake

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

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

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

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Hmm… That’s tasty…

Darren Barker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tyson Fury

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

James DeGale

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

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

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

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

George Groves

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

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

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

Imagine if Groves signed with Haymon…

Wow!

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

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

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

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

Reloaded, Cardiff Motorpoint Arena – 1st February

European Featherweight title

Lee Selby v Rendall Munroe

Gavin Rees v Gary Buckland

Anthony Joshua v Dorian Darch

Erick Ochieng v Dale Evans

Chris Jenkins v TBC

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

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

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

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

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

I think he will thrive in it.

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

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

Copperbox, Stratford, London – 15th February 2014

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

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

The European Heavyweight Championship

Dereck Chisora v Andriy Rudenko

International Heavyweight Contest

Tyson Fury vs TBC

The WBO European Super-Middleweight Championship

Frank Buglioni v Gaetano Nespro

The Vacant WBA Intercontinental Welterweight Championship

Bradley Skeete v Vivian Harris

Hughie Fury v TBC

International News:

Jean Pascal v Lucien Bute – 18th January

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WBO Cruiserweight Championship

Marco Huck v Firat Arslan – 25th January – Stuttgart

David Price v Konstantin Airich – 25th January – Stuttgart

WBO Super-Featherweight Championship

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

IBF Light-Welter Championship

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend and tune in next week.

Cheers
Paul

@EliteBoxingBlog
@PaulReady

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