#Unbreakable Review by Paul Ready


Reporting ringside from Sheffield.

At a choker-block Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, the Steel City welcomed home it’s favourite son – IBF Welterweight Champion Kell Brook (33-0: 23 KO’s.

The whole production had the real ambiance of a big show, a homecoming & celebration of Brook’s fantastic victory back in August.

Michael Buffer introduced the champion as he made his descent to the ring with his synonymous theme song “All Of The Lights” playing – you sensed we were about to witness a demolishing.

Southpaw Jo Jo Dan (34-2: 18 KO’s) was a man that bar the Kevin Bizier victory, I hadn’t seen a great deal of – once the first bell sounded the gulf in class was crystal clear.

Once the 28 yr old champion settled into his groove – the timing & array of shots frequently landed – he made mandatory challenger Dan look very basic.


Photo by Lawrence Lustig

In the 2nd round Brook put his foot on the accelerator as he dropped the Canadian/Romanian twice – he was merely warming up for the grandstand finish.

There was a legitimate argument for Dan’s team to consider pulling him out in the 3rd as the butchery was relentless.

The 33 yr old somehow survived the 3rd and met the canvas twice more in the 4th – he clearly had nothing left. Dan’s corner themselves agreed he had received sufficient punishment and the challenger retired on his stool at the end of the 4th round.

It was a battering pure and simple. The only slight criticism you could have was that Brook was loading up looking for that Hollywood KO – which would have been fitting for the occasion. Brook is one of my favourite British boxers and I’m looking forward to seeing what and whom is next.


Photo by Lawrence Lustig

“It was hard today holding it together. I felt this is where I belong. I am sorry I have kept you waiting but I hope you have had a good night. I am back baby.

“What a heart. I caught him with some good clean shots n he kept getting back up. He’s never been stopped and he’s a legitimate World title contender that has never been stopped and I have just taken him out in style.

“You see little bits of greatness but much more to come from me and I will be back out in June in a massive fight.

“Amir Khan, Juan Manuel Marquez, Brandon Rios – those are the sort of names I want. Bring them on. I want to entertain the fans and want them to tell me who they want to see me fight – I think the answer is Amir Khan, and if he’s watching – let’s do it, come and fight me.

“I didn’t think I would ever walk again never mind box again and here I am defending my world title in style. I have been given a second chance. The best is yet to come.”

Brook v Khan is the overwhelming choice for the public and Brook’s camp – but how much does Khan genuinely want the fight?

I think he does but on his own terms. Interestingly I saw Adrien Broner tweet on Sunday that he held a “Facetime” conversation with Khan regarding those two meeting. Broner isn’t a natural Welter for me and a fight with Khan can be made the end of this year.

Brook v Khan, at Old Trafford or Wembley. I feel more confident about that fight happening than Quigg Frampton!

I would like to see Brook v Keith Thurman at some stage this year and with so many top Welterweights based in America – I hope we see Special K over there again in the not too distant future.


Frankie Gavin v Bogdan Mitic

Funtime Frankie made his debut for Matchroom in his first fight of 2015. The 29 yr old beat Mitic on points in what was a one-paced encounter.

Gavin’s last fight was back in November against Bradley Skeete – which he won on points in a rather forgetful encounter.

On May 9th Gavin faces the sternest test of his career against South African Chris Van Heerden. Both men have similar records and with the IBF International belt on the line – a shot at Kell Brook could be in the offing further down the line.

Gavin’s ability has never been in doubt but at the age of 29 he will know himself that it’s time to deliver performances that make everyone sit up and take notice – if he is ever to close in on a world title shot.


Adam Etches v Sergey Khomitsky

British boxing’s bogeyman Khomitsky struck again when he knocked Etches out cold in the 4th round.

The Ghost added the 24 yr old to his haunted list of Frank Buglioni, Jamie Moore. Nick Blackwell drew with the Belarusian back in October.

The 40 yr old veteran is beatable with 11 losses on his record – but only Gennady Golovkin has stopped him. Robert Stieglitz’s victory was a controversial cuts stoppage.

Many eyebrows were raised when Khomistky was announced for Etches, but after 18 fights he needed to be tested against a gatekeeper. Unfortunately for Etches he came up too short.

Etches looked wary of Khomistky’s power after the first few exchanges and the over-hand right you sensed was in the mail – about to be signed for.

The right hand that knocked Etches out left many gasps around the arena. When he stopped moving on the canvas, my instant reaction was that he had swallowed his tongue – fortunately this wasn’t the case and he eventually got back to his feet.

In the aftermath many have mentioned John Ryder – who was ringside – as an opponent for Khomistky. I feel the Blackwell fight is a better option for The Gorilla next as it’s for the British title and Khomistky is low-reward opponent.

Etches will need to re-build his career and look to get back in action soon.


Gavin McDonnell v Oleksandr Yegorov

McDonnell captured the European title on points in a dogged contest. I credit McDonnell for the victory as he was behind on the scores for me and both men were level going in to the final few rounds.

The 29 yr old is on the coat-tails of Kid Galahad and that would be a massive fight in Yorkshire. I would love to see that on the undercard of Brook’s next fight.

Many people I have spoken to about Galahad have described him as the real-deal & trainer Dominic Ingle rates him very highly.

The Super Bantamweight division domestically is becoming a real jewel in the crown. Carl Frampton, Scott Quigg, Galahad, McDonnell and Gamal Yafai coming in the next few years.

On a packed bill in Sheffield, there were victories for Kal Yafai, Stephen Smith, Jordan Gill, Kyle Yousaf on points and TKO’s for Charlie Edwards and Leigh Wood in the 3rd and 1st round’s respectively.






#Unbreakable Preview by Paul Ready


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

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

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

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


(Photo by Mark Robinson) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Brook’s leg 100% healed?

Is he now vulnerable? How is his mindset?

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

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

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

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

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




@_John_Ryder_ Exclusive Interview by Paul Ready


Elite Boxing:

John, firstly thanks for your time. Just watched you sparring two different guys this morning, you look in great shape. 

Last time we saw you in action was your impressive KO of Billi Godoy in January.

Have you watched the fight back since and what did you make of your performance?

IMG_3640 (1)


John Ryder:

I’ve got it taped on my Sky box at home and I’ve watched it to round three so far.

Do you know what it was a bit one paced, slow and monotonous. I think I started good 1st round, 2nd round I went out I caught him with a good left hand and he seemed to change tactics – adapted and went on the back-foot. 

That took me out of my comfort zone a bit as I like to box a bit and fight on the back-foot – but that’s something to work on. I will watch it in time and right the wrongs.



I think it was a difficult opponent to prepare for as not to sound like a broken record – it was another late change of opponent for you.

I suspect you had a slightly disruptive camp as a consequence, but let’s to dwell on that – you went out there and got the win.

Godoy was tough, he was a spoiler and had no interest in attempting to engage with you. Despite all of that you did knock him out and I think you should get credit for that.



Yeah definitely. I’d be doing a lot of research on Les Sherrington on the lead up to the fight – then Tony (Sims) text me and told me Billi Godoy was now the opponent. I then looked at him and thought it would be a good match – in the previous fights I’ve seen he was non-stop punching and moving forward – which is perfect for me.

But like I say I caught him in the 2nd with a good shot, he closed up and retreated which was frustrating.

In the end the outcome was a good one and I got the win.



I know you said you haven’t watched the fight back yet – but a sentiment shared by a lot of people is that you received some unfair criticism post-fight on social network and from some of the media.

I’m sure you are your own worst critic but what is your response to that and is there anything you’d like to get off your chest about it?



Not really. Listen – people are always going to criticise, if I do something fantastic there will be knockers.

I think certain criticism was a bit harsh at the time. There was a lot read in to the criticism from Glenn McCroy (Skysports) but Glenn sent me a message the day after and explained – he has my best interests at heart.

Glenn wants me to do well and he knows what I’m capable of, it might not have come across well but you’ve got to respect the man. He was fighting for titles when I was a kid – he’s been around the game for a while so you’ve got to respect his opinion.



In terms of yourself and your future plans. You are expected to be out within the next 2 months – any news on who?



Potentially I was told April 25th at O2, but now with the DeGale purse bids being won elsewhere – I don’t know if that show will go on or not.

I’ve been training a good few weeks now and I feel I already have a good level of fitness. I want to continue to build on that & get my weight down gradually – so I will be ready whenever it comes.



You’ve recently comeback from Fuerteventura where you were there for ten days sparring with IBF Welterweight Champion Kell Brook.

Tell me how that experience was for you?



It was fantastic. I’d sparred Kell two years ago before he was due to fight Devon Alexander and he was different this time – you can see the champ’s mentality taking over.

He was different gravy – much more spite in his punches. Kell wanted to hurt me and take my head off!

He didn’t take my head off though or manage to knock me out – but he tried and fair play to him!

There are a lot of fighters that don’t try to take your head off and take their foot of the gas – he doesn’t and he is high intensity.

That’s where you learn the trade. Kell is a fantastic puncher and so natural. Certain things he done I asked him to try pick his brains and he just replies:

“I don’t know how I do it – it’s just natural!” 

What a talent.



You sparred Andy Lee WBO Middleweight world champion end of last year and now Kell.

Surely you must reflect on those two experiences where you held your own and say “I’m not too far away from that level?!”



Yeah there’s a difference between holding my own and wanting to push on – I’ve still got a way to go.

I think that the way to go isn’t in my ability – it’s in my mindset and belief, if there is anything I lack maybe it’s a lack of self-belief.

That’s something to work on and adapt and just keep trying.



John finally if we look at 2015 for you – where would you like to be in December and what are your aspirations?



It would be lovely to be on the verge of a world title – be it the WBO or another governing body. If I keep winning it’s not something out of my reach.

I think it’s a realistic goal so I’m going to keep working towards that.





@JoJoDan1: “I will take @SpecialKBrook crown on March 28th”




Jo Jo confident of taking Sheffield star’s title


Jo Jo Dan has told Kell Brook that his reign as IBF World Welterweight title will end on March 28 at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield in ‘Unbreakable’ presented by FX World, live on Sky Sports.


Mandatory number one challenger Dan travels to the Steel City as Brook’s first opponent for the belt he won in style in California against Shawn Porter in August.


Brook is looking to land a major fight in the summer as he looks to stamp his authority on the lucrative 147lb division – but the 31 year old Canada-based Romanian has other ideas.


“Kell has not fought anyone like me,” said Dan. “I believe in myself and I don’t think he can bring anything I can’t deal with on fight night.


“I am on schedule with my work and I will be in top shape on March 28. I saw his last fight where he won the World Title and it was a great performance, but I just let my team study him in depth and come up with a winning strategy.


“I want us to put together a super fight for all boxing fans. We both train and aim for the win, so the fans should expect fireworks.


“I have waited a long time to get a World Title shot so I am determined to take advantage of this opportunity. My prediction for the fight is simple – Jo Jo Dan becomes the new IBF Welterweight World champion.”


Dan’s clash with Brook is part of a huge night of boxing in Sheffield as local favourite Adam Etches defends his IBF International Middleweight title against Sergey Khomitsky and Gavin McDonnell continues his fairy tale story challenging Ukrainian Oleksander Yegorov for the vacant European Super Bantamweight title.


Frankie Gavin makes his Sky Sports return as he prepares for his crunch clash with Chris van Heerden on May 9 in Birmingham and former World Bantamweight king Anselmo Moreno makes his UK debut against Wales’ Robbie Turley. Kal Yafai continues his march towards a World title and GB Podium squad member Charlie Edwards fights for the second time in the paid ranks on the bill.


Tickets are on sale priced £40, £60, £80, £100 and £150 available from the Motorpoint Arena on 0114 2565656 and atwww.motorpointarenasheffield.co.uk. VIP tickets at £250 are exclusively available from Matchroom Boxing atwww.matchroomboxing.com.

@SpecialKBrook returns on March 28th… Opponent named on Thursday 22nd Jan



Sheffield star set for homecoming bout

Kell Brook will make the first defence of his IBF World Welterweight title on March 28 at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield.

The Sheffield star ripped the belt away from Shawn Porter in Los Angeles in August with a career-best performance and will make his hotly anticipated first defence against an opponent to be named at a press conference on Thursday (January 22).

Tickets will go on sale to Matchroom Fight Pass members at midday on Thursday from www.matchroomboxing.compriced at £40, £60, £80, £100 and £150 and £250 for VIP tickets.

Tickets go on general sale at midday the following day (January 23) with tickets priced £40, £60, £80, £100 and £150 available from the Motorpoint Arena on 0114 2565656 and at www.motorpointarenasheffield.co.uk. VIP tickets at £250 are exclusively available from Matchroom Boxing at www.matchroomboxing.com

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


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:



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….





Meet @irishlightning2 previously trained by Freddie Roach & sparred Manny Pacquiao


Elite Boxing:

Dean – great to meet you firstly down here. For people who don’t know you how would you describe yourself and your career so far?


Dean Byrne:

I’m a mad Irishman!

No I’d describe myself as a globe-trotter. I’ve been over in Australia, won a couple of titles in my first fights as a professional and went on from there. I then went to America and worked with the best trainer in the world Freddie Roach, he managed me, trained me and I sparred with Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan and Victor Ortiz.

I’ve comeback to the UK as my son Deano was born and I couldn’t do the long distance thing. I missed him too much.

I made my pro debut in Australia – I won Australian Light-Welter title and a couple of minor titles before that. Then I went to America and went 6-0, Freddie Roach seen me & had me spar a couple of his guys then said to me; “We’ll keep you here.”

I had 6 fights out there undefeated, it was a great learning experience – been in and mixed it with the best. I could have got a lot more fights but it’s the luck of the draw. I came back to England, I was 15-0 and I signed with Frank Warren – I learnt the business more and unfortunately had a couple of losses – it was up and down really.

I was in & out of the ring when I signed with Frank – I was fighting once a year. I took a fight at 24 hrs notice and had my first defeat after losing too much weight. My career has never really got going really.

I took a fight in 2012 after two weeks back in the gym against Carson Jones – we all know he gave Kell Brook one of his toughest fights of his career and I got a draw with him. That fight I took at 3 days notice and done that.



So it no doubt made you wonder what you could achieve with a solid training camp and preparation?



Exactly. Everyone saw the fight and the stats proved that I won (against Jones) but that’s boxing. You take the good with the bad. I’ve never had the good unfortunately!

I’m living and learning – I’ve got the boxing bug back and as you’ve seen me this week I’ve been running hills and doing circuits with Peter Sims. It was really hard but I’m determined to get fit and train with this great bunch of lads here.



As a youngster growing up who was your idol?



I used to love Prince Naseem and imitate him. I’d put my hands down, have the tassels on my shorts and give it the biggun. Steve Collins was a warrior and World Champion himself and I used to look up to him growing up.

Today it’s Floyd Mayweather – everyone loves how skillful he is. Of course Pacquiao is someone I admire as I’ve seen his work ethic and how hard he’s driven and how hard he trains. I picked up so much from him.

I’m just looking forward to this year, I’ve got the boxing bug and you’ve got it yourself Paul with your writing and you’re not even training!

It doesn’t matter how you get it – you are just drawn to it.

I was running Christmas day and I have all the experience I just need the regular activity this year.

I haven’t fought for eight months so I need to spar first as the ring time is important. I think a couple of weeks but Peter will tell me.



Dean thanks for your time, best of luck on the comeback trail and I’m looking forward to seeing you in the ring.



Cheers mate – I think that’s the longest interview I’ve ever done! Enjoyed it.






Elite Boxing Awards 2014 by Paul Ready


In what has been a memorable year for British Boxing with new world champions and blockbuster events.

Let’s look at who & what has stood out for me this calendar year:

UK Fighter of the Year

Kell Brook

Yes I can hear the anti-Sky and anti-Matchroom brigade chortling in to their pot noodles watching Boxnation in their parents’ living room – but for me Brook deserves this.

Carl Frampton ran him a very close second but Brook having gone out to California and snatching the IBF title from the claws of Shawn Porter edged it.

Coupled with all the stick and adversity the 28 yr old has had to endure – it made the win even more bittersweet for me.

Runner up: Carl Frampton

The Jackal graduated in 2014 by becoming the IBF Super Bantamweight world champion with a one-sided victory over former foe Kiko Martinez.


Overseas Fighter of the Year

Terence Crawford

Was Crawford hype or the real deal?

It was a question on everyone’s lips prior to the Ricky Burns fight. The 27 yr old put that to bed in emphatic fashion – dethroning the Scot in his own backyard.

Victories over Yuriorkis Gamboa and Raymund Beltran cemented his status as THE man in the Lightweight division. With his huge frame he can and will move up to Light-Welter becoming a multi-weight world champion.

Runner up: Miguel Cotto

Cotto became the first 4 weight Puerto Rican world champion by beating Sergio Martinez in the summer.  The 34 yr old is in the midst of an indian summer in his career since linking up with Freddie Roach in 2013.


UK Fight of The Year

Tommy Coyle v Daniel Brizuela

A fight that saw eight knock-downs in total, each man dropped four times. Coyle appeared beaten in the 6th after a crippling body shot from the Argentinian – but the Hull man displayed some real grit and determination to rise to his feet.

The 25 yr old stopped Brizuela in the 12th with the referee waving off the contest. A real edge of your seat scrap that I could happily watch over and over again.

Runner-up: Tyler Goodjohn v Ricky Boylan


Overseas Fight Of The Year

Terence Crawford v Yuriorkis Gamboa

Crawford’s first title defence in his hometown of Omaha is one that he won’t forget in a hurry for a variety of reasons.

Gamboa started the brighter of the two taking the first four rounds – Crawford then dropped the Cuban in the 5th, 8th and twice in the 9th before it was stopped.

The height difference was telling as Crawford eventually kept the 33 yr old at range but Gamboa never stopped applying the pressure – true to his Cuban heritage.


UK KO of the Year

Carl Froch v George Groves 2

The setting was a post-war record-breaking crowd at the national stadium of 80,000 which I was proudly part of.

A conclusive punch ended a rematch that had captured everyone’s imagination.

As soon as it landed and Groves hit the deck I knew it was over. Brutal, unrelenting and it remains to be seen whether Saint GG will ever be the same.

Runner-up: Tommy Coyle v Michael Katsidis

Veteran Katsidis jumped on Coyle from the outset and was eager to catch an early flight home. Coyle flattened the Aussie in the 2nd with a huge counter-punch that sent him crashing to the ground – like a tree in a forest.


Overseas KO of The Year

Felix Verdejo v Sergio Villaneuva

The 2012 Olympic Bronze medallist nearly decapitated Villaneuva with a right-hook in the 3rd round. It was a sickening shot that immediately halted the contest and further enhanced the Puerto Rican’s growing reputation.

Runner-up: Nicholas Walters v Vic Darchinyan

Jamaican Walter’s was one of the break-out stars of 2014 with impressive stoppages over Nonito Donaire and Vic Darchinyan.

The Darchinyan KO was that rapid it needed to be appreciated on slow motion replay.


UK Trainer of the Year

Joe Gallagher

In another successful year for Gallagher’s Gym in Manchester with all their leading names make significant statements over the past 12mths. Paul Smith Jr took Arthur Abraham to the wire in Germany for the WBO Super-Middleweight title. Callum Smith continued his ascendancy towards a world title with some impressive victories. Scott Quigg remains undefeated as he chases the biggest names in the Super-Bantamweight division. Liam & Stephen Smith continue their paths towards world titles.

Anthony Crolla who last night suffered horrific injuries stopping a burglary in his neighborhood is perhaps Gallagher’s biggest success story of 2014.

Crolla had signed to face Richar Abril in January for the WBA Lightweight prior to his injury and his progression since his defeat to Derry Mathews has been staggering. The fight against John Murray was one of the very best we saw domestically and you hope his title shot will still be present – should he make a full recovery.

Runner up: Shane McGuigan

The 26 yr old steered his 27 yr old charge Carl Frampton to the IBF title this year. Shane is destined for a long and successful career as a trainer. Displaying  a modern mindset regarding diet, strength and conditioning – McGuigan has a boxing aptitude that far outweighs his years.


Overseas Trainer of the Year

Freddie Roach

Roach has prolonged the careers of two future Hall of Fame fighters in Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto over the past 12mths. Pacquiao after he was knocked out cold by Juan Manuel Marquez many expected him to ponder retirement and focus on politics.

The Filipino has reignited the flame with an impressive one-sided victory over Tim Bradley early 2014 which paid homage to that.

Cotto became a four weight world champion and adjusted his style cutting the ring off more & spending less time on the ropes. Those tweaks saw him overpower Martinez in the summer.

Runner up: Abel Sanchez

Sanchez has worked wonders with Gennady Golovkin making him the most avoided man in boxing. The power was always evident with GGG but Sanchez has taught him how to box and his footwork is now one of his greatest assets.


UK Prospect of the Year

Anthony Joshua

Olympic Gold Medallist Joshua’s progression since turning pro late 2013 has been frightening. Fast forward 12 mths and there are already calls for him to be thrown in with the divisions very best. Credit to the team around him, they have a patient plan and refuse to deviate from it. Standing at 10-0: 10 KO’s facing the likes of David Price and Dereck Chisora are real possibilities in 2015.

The question is can they live with his power?

Overseas Prospect of the Year

Felix Verdejo

21 yr old Verdejo is 16-0: 12 KO’s and for me looks unbelievable. With 7 fights in 2014 and 6 KO’s – his team are in a similar position to Joshua’s camp where they are running out of “tests” for him. It is only a matter of before he faces the big boys and I expect a title shot in the second half of 2015.





@EddieHearn on Mitchell, Ryder, Joshua and Al Haymon meeting by Paul Ready


Elite Boxing:

Another big card on the horizon early next year.

Start with Kevin Mitchell firstly – Estrada v Figueroa was a good fight so what can we expect when Kevin faces Estrada?


Eddie Hearn:

Figueroa won most rounds don’t get me wrong, one round Estrada hurt him. Figueroa is a quality fighter.

It’s a perfect fight for Kevin, I’m so disappointed that he didn’t get the IBF title shot – that’s his mistake (Mitchell was over the check-weight limit on the day of the fight) that he has to live with. I think he would have beaten Miquel Vazquez too.

But now we look at Estrada, win that get the silver title and they should make that a Final Eliminator next week at the WBC convention when we lobby it – I think he will get it.

Kevin is ranked 4/5 Estrada is 4/5 it’s a natural fight and a really good fight.



John Ryder looks set for the Heiland fight….



They like the fight as it doesn’t look like they will get the WBC Final Eliminator so I’ve suggested for them to come over and fight John.

John and Tony are both looking really to fight anyone which is really refreshing. I don’t think there is one Middleweight I could suggest that they would say no to.

I just think with Heiland for the victory over Macklin and his position within the WBC is absolutely perfect.



Anthony Joshua confirmed to face Kevin Johnson as the headline.

If he knocks him out after that you are looking to get him out in Newcastle next year – is Chisora or Price next, I appreciate Chisora might be tricky to make with politics.



Chisora is a good fight for him. Let’s be honest Joshua gets him out of there so quickly compared to Tyson Fury. But he’s just doing his own thing.

People talk about the Fury fight as people want to see it – in time it will be massive.

Johnson was right in the presser with this being a 10 week camp for him will suit him better. This isn’t Kevin Johnson fighting on 2 weeks notice – he will come in and have a go and it will be a great night.



What I like most about this fight is the vocal nature of Johnson towards Joshua which is something up until now he hasn’t experienced.



Exactly. That is why it’s great for Joshua as there will be times when he doesn’t know what to say back. You nearly got it in the presser when Johnson suggested making a bet on a KO.

Normally they are Eastern European who don’t even talk English! So it’s good and a perfect fight for him.



So you’ve been out in LA recently meeting Al Haymon – what is he actually like?

I had visions of him sat down with the Watson brothers fanning him with a giant feather and Sam Watson feeding him grapes.



He’s great. We had a couple of hours together and it was fascinating – the landscape over there is changing all the time.

We were talking about Froch v Chavez Jr, Brook v Khan, talking about us doing stuff in America – it was a general chit chat really that was great.

It’s obviously a huge market over there.



I’m sure he pays close attention to what you are doing over here and the size of the crowds etc.



He knows exactly what is going on over here as well so there is plenty of stuff for us to do together.



Do you think Brook v Khan could be strengthened by Canelo Alvarez moving to HBO and publicly declaring he wants to fight in May & September on the two big Mexican dates. Which could nullify the interest in Mayweather v Khan on ShowTime.

For Mayweather it is either Pacquiao or he gets hammered on PPV by HBO.



Yeah definitely. If Khan doesn’t get Mayweather then he has to fight Kell Brook. I don’t believe he will get Mayweather. Simple as that.

We will see. We will be out there on the 13th December (Khan v Alexander) if he gets the win it’s great for Khan to be back on Sky and hopefully we can make Brook v Khan fight for May or June.



Would you consider taking Joshua over to Las Vegas to box on the Froch v Chavez Jr undercard?


Yeah definitely. He is going to box as much as possible. As long as his body holds up he will be out all the time.



Finally I wanted to mention Callum Smith. I know people moaned about that performance as he didn’t stop him but it was a great 12 rounds in the bank.


Exactly. He was a tough guy who Callum nearly stopped mid-way through. It was a great learning fight and he will move on to a Final Eliminator in the summer.

The WBC have taken him under his wing and the fights will be bubbling away early 2015 – they are looking to move him forward.


I would back Callum against Groves should they meet.


100% especially at the moment with Groves’ recent performances.





@EddieHearn on Ryder, Boylan v Goodjohn, Bellew Cleverly 2, Brook v Khan, Mitchell


Elite Boxing:

Eddie, another great card has been announced by yourselves. I think fight-wise this one does shade the Hull card.

In the press conference you alluded to Tony Sims and John Ryder looking at a number of top fighters in the Middleweight division, could you mention who else was looked at?


Eddie Hearn:

He (Tony ) was mentioning everyone in the Middleweight division basically.

You know, he was saying; “John is ready to step-up now”. He was calling out people, going down the rankings saying; “He’ll fight him, he’ll fight him.”

In the end I thought of the Khomistky fight and thought you know what, he’s got the profile as he sparked (Frank) Buglioni out and the response to that fight has been really good. Most people have gone “fucking hell!” you know. But it’s a great fight and there is no reason why Ryder can’t win the fight, but it’s definitely a 50/50 fight.

Khomistsky lost recently to Stieglitz in a really close fight. You look at (Robert) Stieglitz and Ryder, Stieglitz is a former world champion and Ryder lost for the British. Styles make fights and Ryder v Khomistky is a great fight.



Another fight on the card is (Ricky) Boylan v (Tyler) Goodjohn it has been amusing for us all to watch unfold on Twitter.



To be honest with you and no disrespect to those guys, but at English level they do make for great fights. The atmosphere will be great. Boylan will do 500 tickets, Goodjohn will do 300-400 it’s fantastic.

That division (Light-Welter) is really good domestically; you’ve got John Wayne Hibbert here, Tyrone Nurse, Willie Limond, Chris Jenkins, Tommy Martin; it’s a really good division especially in London.



I agree. On a different note, did you see the recent pictures of Amir Khan looking overweight on holiday?



I couldn’t believe it. I think I’m in better shape than him at the moment!

Obviously he’s enjoying some down time, but I understand he’s fighting on December 6th, he’ll probably start his camp soon. If he wins, then Kell (Brook) wins also on December 6th they can both fight each other soon.



How are talks for that fight progressing?



It’s early stages. I think everyone realises that there is a lot of money to be made, they both would like the fight to happen.

So really over the next couple of weeks a priority is to secure the December 6th opponent for Kell then trying to make that fight asap.



Would you side-step the Khan fight for Brook in the unlikely event that an opportunity to face Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather presents itself?



In a way I think so, but financially there is more money in fighting Khan for both people than for the Mayweather fight.

It is definitely an easier fight than facing Mayweather. I think Khan will need to look at Brook and he probably thinks that is an easier fight than Pacquiao or Mayweather. But Khan has always wanted the Mayweather fight.

When Brook beats Khan, he can go on and fight those two; if Khan was to lose to Brook, where does he go from there?



Tony Bellew and Nathan Cleverly, I’ve seen a few tweets in recent days regarding whether that is still going ahead in December, could you clear that subject up?



We are looking at having that on the Brook 6th December card. We looked at November 29th in Liverpool but it’s a big fight, should Cleverly have to go back to Liverpool again (to face Bellew)?

Nathan likes the idea of a neutral venue and in Sheffield we have the opportunity to do it.

I’m seeing Tony on Tuesday so hopefully that can be all agreed.



Kevin Mitchell, I know the (Miguel) Vasquez has moved further away since he has signed with Al Haymon, do you have any update on him?



He’s supposed to be the mandatory challenger (IBF Lightweight) but now he’s not. He was due to be on the O2 card, he has a few niggles injury-wise but he will now box before the end of the year. 

It’s frustrating as that would have been the big one for him. But now we’ve got to try find another way.



Finally Eddie on to Lee Selby v Joel Brunker, another great fight. If he wins, with regards to facing IBF champion (Evgeny) Gradovich, when would you look to make that?



He had a mandatory. He’ll have a voluntary around the same time as Selby and we will look for that fight to take place in February.