#Unbreakable Review by Paul Ready

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

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“Lethal” @LucienReidy Exclusive Interview by Paul Ready

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The latest starlet to join Matchroom’s stable is 21 yr old Super-Bantamweight Lucien Reid.

Reid, makes his pro-debut on May 30th at the O2 Arena in London.

The prospect’s amateur career is impressive – he claimed a Senior ABA Elite 54kg title in 2013 and was a finalist at 56kgs the following year.

 

 

Elite Boxing:

Lucien – it’s great to meet you. Tell me, what got you in to boxing as a boy?

 

Lucien Reid:

What got me in to boxing was that me and my brother were having a fight outside my dad’s house. My brother was fighting another guy and to tell you the truth I was a bit scared!

My brother wasn’t throwing the right punches, dad came out and told us both that we need to learn how to defend ourselves – so he took us down to Repton Boxing Club.

Ten years down the line, I’ve signed a professional contract with Matchroom Boxing so it’s gone really well!

 

EB:

So are you saying that prior to that fight happening with your brother, boxing wasn’t really a hobby or sport that interested you?

 

LR:

I was 11 at the time, we initially got in to it for fitness purposes and to defend ourselves. It was never my intention to turn professional. Since then I wanted to be a boxer, I always loved the blood and the sweat, no tears at the age as I was only young. But I’ve done really well so far.

 

EB:

What was the first fight that you remember watching that made you fall in love with the sport?

 

LR:

It was shortly after I had my first competitive fight, I was round a friends house and we watched a Floyd Mayweather fight.

I loved his skill, loved his defence, I loved his movement and that’s what I base my style on. (Peter Sims believes he is similar to Kal Yafai).

My style is based on a lot of movement and a lot of speed & fast reactions.

 

EB:

The Super-Bantamweight division you are entering is really exciting not only domestically but also internationally.

How do you view the division at the moment?

 

LR:

I’m glad I’m in such a great division as all being well there could be some big fights to be made a couple of years down the line.

But I’m looking forward to getting out there, exciting people and letting the big guys in the division know my name.

I want them to know that I will be coming in the next few years to challenge for some titles!

 

EB:

I think everyone shares the sentiment that Guillermo Rigondeaux is the main man in the division. 

Just underneath that you have Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg in the UK. That fight is hopefully going to happen in the summer – how do you see that bout panning out?

 

LR:

Rigondeaux is unbelievable and definitely the best in the division. 

The fight with Frampton and Quigg if it happens is going to be amazing, I really can’t pick between them. It’s a great blend of styles and its a definite 50-50 contest.

The winner of Quigg and Frampton I’d like see face Rigondeaux.

 

EB:

To go back to yourself Lucien, talk me through your amateur career in more detail.

 

LR:

My amateur career started around ten years ago. I boxed for Repton for five years and for West Ham for five years. 

For Repton I got to the NABC Finals and lost by 1 point which was disappointing obviously. In the same year I got to the ABA Juniors Final and I lost by 1 point as well.

I went into the Seniors, I’ve done three Senior Championship’s, first I lost to Reece Bellotti in the Quarter Finals on a close decision.

Second year – 54kgs I went in and beat everybody comfortably winning the ABA’s. In my third year I got to the final at the Liverpool Echo Arena and lost to Qais Ashfaq. Qais is Team GB’s number 1 at that weight, he got a Silver in the Commonwealth games.

 

EB:

You are on the verge of making the transition from amateur to pro under Peter’s guidance.

Outside of this gym, who have you sparred so far?

 

LR:

I haven’t sparred many pro’s prior to coming here. I had sparred Charlie Hoy which was great for me – he has great head movement that helped me develop.

I’ve had loads of trials in Sheffield at Team GB, I had around ten trials over two years. I’ve sparred the top guys in the country there – Charlie Edwards, Jack Bateson, Peter McGrail, Jack Daniels, I’ve sparred loads up there.

 

EB:

You’ve been with Peter now for a month I believe. He’s a massive character isn’t he?

 

LR:

Haha! Yeah he is, but he’s a nice man. I know he wants the best for me.

I can’t wait to make debut on such a big show at the end of May.

I keen to progress quickly and I feel that I have the best team around me now. The sparring I can get at this gym, Tony Sims’ gym and possibly going up to spar Scott Quigg in the future would be fantastic for my development.

 

EB:

Lucien, it’s it’s been great talking to you. I best let you go and do the rest of your training before Peter comes looking for me!

Is there any final things you wish to add?

 

LR:

Thanks Paul – enjoyed it.

I’d like to thank my mum & dad for putting up with my diet and my moodiness!

A special thanks to my sponsors D&G Glazing, Muscle Food and L&O Meats.

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Unbreakable Preview by Paul Ready

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

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

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

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

  

(Photo by Mark Robinson) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Brook’s leg 100% healed?

Is he now vulnerable? How is his mindset?

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

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

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

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

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

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

@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

@_John_Ryder_ Exclusive Interview by Paul Ready

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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?

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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.

 

EB:

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.

 

JR:

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.

 

EB:

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?

 

JR:

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.

 

EB:

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

 

JR:

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.

 

EB:

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?

 

JR:

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.

 

EB:

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?!”

 

JR:

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.

 

EB:

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

 

JR:

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.

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

#DivideAndConquer review by Paul Ready

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Reporting ringside at the Ice Arena, Hull.

In a night that contained many “trade” fights – it proved to be a dramatic and entertaining night at the Ice Arena.

 

Shayne Singleton v Sam Eggington

Sam “The Savage” Eggington produced a stunning performance on Saturday evening – by stopping the previously undefeated Shayne Singleton. After the impressive victory over Denton Vassell, The Savage continued his rapid rise.

21 yr old Eggington carries serious power in his both hands and he won’t have many domestic Welterweight’s queuing up to face him after this performance. Peter Sims told me some time ago that The Savage was one to watch and is a real puncher – Peter always has an eye for talent – as does Chairman of Matchroom Barry Hearn who has made no secret that Eggington is a personal favourite of his.

25 yr old Singleton was floored in the 2nd by a left-hand – as he tried to stand and trade with the powerful Stourbridge native.

I did expect Singleton to try to box more after that, but he continued to stand and exchange with Eggington – which was proving to be a naive tactic.

Two brutal knock-downs ensued in the 5th and it was suffice for the referee to wave the contest off – and not a moment too soon.

Egginton captured the WBC International Silver title and can look forward to a first defence in his home city of Birmingham in May.

 

Rocky Fielding v Oleg Fedotovs

 

Rocky Fielding capped his comeback fight after injury with a points decision over Latvian journeyman Fedotovs.

The 27 yr old looked jaded and very rusty after a 9 month lay-off due to a hand injury – on the evidence of this performance he needs a few more outings before a sterner test is made.

Fielding is mandatory challenger for the British title currently held by Paul Smith Jr – who was working as a pundit for Sky on Saturday. I feel that Fielding is a level below Smith Jr and I don’t see much merit in that fight for the champion.

Smith Jr after two world title defeats to Arthur Abraham has shown that he is competing above domestic level – thus making the chance of facing fellow Liverpudlian Fielding slim. I can see Smith Jr vacating and allowing younger brother Callum to face Rocky – as he will be confident the Lonsdale belt remains in the family.

Fielding like Callum Smith is well ranked with other governing bodies and it’s a fight many would like to see in the coming months.

 

Luke Campbell v Levis Morales

 

Cool Hand stopped Nicaraguan Morales inside 3 rounds of his 8 round contest – his first fight since his sizzling performance over Daniel Brizuela in October.

I rate Campbell massively, he boxed beautifully and didn’t waste a shot. The sheer accuracy and compose he displays – even against much lesser opposition strengthens the general consensus that he can swim with the domestic big boys.

Ability-wise I believe Campbell is the 2nd best in the UK – with Kevin Mitchell currently the Dean of the British Lightweight scene. Mitchell with a career-best performance in January, notably put Daniel Estrada’s title chances in to liquidation.

One final hurdle awaits Cool Hand and post-fight promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed he aims to have him out again on 25th April at the O2 – against a Gary Sykes/Martin Gethin level opponent.

The winner of Tommy Coyle v Luke Campbell will be thrust in to title eliminators later this year – so much more than being Hull’s “top dog” is at stake.

 

Tommy Coyle v Martin Gethin

 

He doesn’t like to make it easy for himself does he?

Boom Boom Coyle and his corner must have feared the worst when he was flattened in the 2nd – by a carbon-copy left thrown by Derry Mathews – with Coyle somehow getting back to his feet.

Once up, he looked like a rabbit stuck at a headlights as he was bobbing on his feet and clearly dazed but he boxed on. The Quiet Man Gethin sensed he could upset the apple-cart and proceeded to rock the 25yr old with further shots. Coyle’s trainer Jamie Moore had the towel in his hand and was ready to throw it – only to be restrained by corner-man Nigel Travis.

Coyle cleared his head and began to box using much more lateral movement. I gave him the 3rd and 4th rounds without a moment’s hesitation.

At the end of the 4th, Gethin’s corner beckoned the referee over to advise he had perforated his eardrum and the 31yr old could no longer continue. I felt this was a shame as the fight had all the makings of a good scrap – which Coyle had gained momentum on and would have emerged victorious.

“Sorry it was a short night but let’s all look forward to the summer showdown with Luke Campbell,” he told Sky Sports.

“I love fighting. I love getting in this ring. I’d have loved going 12 rounds tonight – or more. I can look forward to Luke Campbell though. I think I am going to knock him out. He’s my mate and I will be after.”

Hull has it’s summer showdown between both men and it’s one that will split the city right down the middle.

Coyle has earnt an overdue rest as he won’t box again before he faces Campbell.

Bradley Saunders and Gamal Yafai were victorious with 2 respective stoppage victories. Erick Ochieng who I had beating Tom Knight by 2 rounds – frustratingly for him was scored a draw.

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

#FramptonAvalos Review by Paul Ready #FramptonQuigg

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Carl “The Jackal” Frampton successfully defended his IBF Super-Bantamweight on Saturday – by stopping Chris “The Hitman” Avalos in the 5th round.

It was a technical masterclass from the Ulsterman and he never allowed Avalos the chance to breathe.

The American had never been stopped before – his two previous defeats came by narrow points decisions.

The 28 yr old champion put on a career-best performance – he was spiteful, accurate and defensively compact.

Kiko Martinez was a much tougher opponent – (who I would favour to beat Avalos), but the manner in which he dispatched The Hitman was more impressive.

On recent occasions referee’s have had their fair share of criticism for early stoppages – Howard Foster I felt was perfect with his timing here, so he deserves a rare pat on the back.

“I wanted to teach him some manners,” said Frampton.

“Before the first bell he said: ‘It’s only you and me now.’ He still didn’t show respect afterwards, he was still talking about a rematch as he was leaving. The referee did the right thing, because he could have been seriously injured.”

Frampton demonstrated yet again that he one of the top two Super-Bantamweights in the world – and should he move up to Featherweight in the future, he would no doubt hold his own.

There are 3 roads for The Jackal to now go down now:

Leo Santa Cruz:

The 26 yr old WBC champion is more guarded than Nevada State Route 375 – also know as Extraterrestrial Highway as it leads to Area 51. Rumour has it should you drive up this highway you are greeted by US military who ask you to turn-around.

In Santa-Cruz’s case, despite his public proclamations that he wants Frampton/Quigg/Rigondeaux his advisor Al Haymon won’t let him near one of them.

Guillermo Rigondeaux:

This path is a long walk off a short cliff. Despite looking poor in his recent fight in Japan – (the Cuban was dropped twice in the 7th) I still feel the 34 yr old is the best in the division.

Rigondeaux is that good that I laugh when I see him box – as I don’t know how else to react. He is technically ridiculous. If Frampton was to face him next year, he would have a better chance of being victorious.

Scott Quigg:

This path is littered with fallen trees – various political obstacles that will need to be overcome before we get this blockbuster. But it feels like the right place and the right time for both men to finally get it on.

WBA Regular Champion and domestic rival Scott Quigg came in to the ring for the post-fight interview – on his own – which displayed some serious ‘nads.

I felt for the Bury man, he took some stick from Frampton promoter & manager Barry McGuigan on “not being the real champion here” which you could see pissed Quigg off – but he kept his composure when he spoke.

“I would love it, I think Scott would too,” Frampton told ITV1.

“A summer showdown between the two of us is a huge fight. But Scott needs to remember who the real world champion is.

“I would leave Belfast if I had to, maybe somewhere neutral, it doesn’t matter to me.

“It’s the biggest fight in the UK at the minute – Amir Khan v Kell Brook possibly – but this one has been brewing a lot longer. It’s a huge domestic showdown.”

Quigg told ITV1:

“This fight is big not because of him and not because of me. It’s the full package. The British public want the fight.

“He draws the crowd in Ireland, we draw the crowd in Britain. It doesn’t matter where the fight – wherever holds the most, put the fight on.

What is apparent is that both camps want the fight – and want it next.

The obstacles are between the promoters and which broadcaster to use. Frampton a previous stable member of Matchroom – left along with manager Barry and trainer Shane McGuigan when Barry set up “Cyclone Promotions”.

Quigg is promoted by Matchroom and that’s where ego’s become an issue.

It’s safe to say there isn’t any love-lost between McGuigan Snr and Quigg’s promoter Eddie Hearn – but if that gets in the way of this fight not happening, then they are both accountable.

If Mayweather v Pacquiao can be made with Bob Arum and Mayweather despising each other for a decade – then ANY fight is possible.

The broadcaster issue is one that should be presented to both men in negotiations.

Do you want to make as much money as possible?

Fight on Sky.

Do you want to fight in-front of the biggest televised audience – but for less money?

Fight on ITV.

What is the motivator here? Get rich or get the fight made?

Both? Ok…

It’s an interesting conundrum and one that I believe can be settled in a two-fight deal.

Have the first fight on ITV, if Quigg has to accept 40-60% split and the fight is in London or Belfast – then do it. He is confident that he has Frampton’s number so that isn’t a bad deal.

Should Quigg win of course – then the rematch is on his terms, on Sky PPV and both men make a killing.

But Barry and Eddie – in the unlikely event you are reading this – please, just put your differences to one side and let’s have this monster of a fight.

Steve Kim of UCN Live in America referred to this fight as the UK’s version of Erik Morales v Marco Antonio Barrera 1.

If it maintains half the action and pace of that fight then we are all in for a treat.

Cyclone and Matchroom…. over to you.

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

@iam_yafai Exclusive Interview by Paul Ready

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Kal Yafai

I caught up with 25 yr old Super Flyweight contender Kal Yafai today. I was impressed by the maturity when he spoke and the sheer depth of his boxing knowledge.

2015 is a big year for Kal – boxing returning to Birmingham after 22 year absence by Matchroom as he “cuts the ring off” on his world title shot.

 

Kal – firstly thanks for your time. I want to get your thoughts on boxing returning to Birmingham and how you feel about it?

It’s massive. We’ve been waiting for a long time to come back home. I’ve boxed all over the country – I made my debut in Sheffield, boxed in Dublin and London. The closest I’ve got to home was headlining in Wolverhampton on Prizefighter – which was good, but it’s not home. My family and everyone I know is buzzing about. The demand I’ve had for tickets is huge – they are flying out the door!

 

Birmingham is a real hot-bed of talent now with yourself, brother Gamal, Frankie Gavin and young Sam Eggington coming through. It will be great to see boxing rebuilt there again in large venues. The gold at the end of the rainbow would be for you to box at St Andrews (Birmingham City’s ground) one day.

Definitely. That would be a dream one day to box there.

 

In reflection of 2014 – with regards to your progression & how active you have been – are you satisfied? 

To start the year I wasn’t active and I didn’t fight until the May. But the quality of the fights after made up for it. I won the Commonwealth and IBF Inter-Continental.

But I’ve needed the rounds and experience – which I got in November against Everth Briceno (Kal went 12 rounds for the first time in his career). He was a tough Nicaraguan and it was a great experience for me.

I coped with the distance well and answered any questions people had over whether I can last 12 rounds.

Briceno lost to Leo Santa Cruz in the 11th to a soft decision I thought – so that gives you an indication of the level I’m mixing at.

 

What are your goals and aspirations for 2015?

Today or tomorrow I’m sitting down with my trainer and Eddie Hearn to discuss our options – we have loads of routes we can go. There are opportunities in WBC and WBA, we could look at Flyweight too.

I’m confident that I will be world champion this time next year. (Kal is currently ranked #12 in the IBF.)

I’m boxing on the Kell Brook undercard on 28th March and obviously in Birmingham on 9th May.

I’m one of the hardest worker’s there are, you ask anyone who knows or has trained with me. You get out what you put in and I’m willing to put some serious work in – to get to where I want to be.

I’d love to box in America at some point; I think they would love my style. The jab is “God In Boxing”, once that jab connects and through the middle it’s a sickening punch, as they have to reset themselves. It’s very hard to counter. It’s something I’ve worked on.

I love America and I was travelling all over there and Mexico before Christmas, I can’t wait to fight there one day.

 

What would you say has been your best performance to date and why?

I’d have to say the Briceno one as it was a good performance, I could have upped the performance and gone through the gears. I dropped him 3 times and he survived. I learnt a lot by going 12 rounds. My hands were absolutely killing me in that fight and you have to go through the pain to succeed.

I do lots of hand strengthening to conserve them and I spend half hour to do that when training.

 

Who was your favourite fighter as a boy?

Sugar Ray Robinson was a fighter I loved watching. Sugar Ray Robinson was for me the greatest of all time.

Naseem Hamed was a hero growing when up to me and my family as he was Yemeni like us. Pernell Whitaker was a defensive master and Wilfred Benitez were two others I have huge respect for.

This might be a weird one I’d say Larry Holmes was a great too and the speed of his jab was unreal. I think I’ve modelled my jab on him in some way.

 

What is THE song or album currently on in your training camp?

Music at the moment – my missus downloads any album I want as she’s good at that!

Big Sean and Kid Ink are my two current favourite albums.

 

Finally Kal, you have some serious boxing talent in the Yafai family – with yourself and brother Gamal and Galal. You could be the Smith brothers of Birmingham.

It must be tough for your mum to see three of her sons fight?

My youngest brother Galal is a Light Fly, he’s a strong guy.  Stylistically very different to me and Gamal – he’s an allusive Southpaw and very tricky.

I think he’s training for ABA’s currently and he has all the ability in the world and is a natural boxer.

My mum gets to as many fights as she can but she does have her hands full (the Yafai family consists of 5 boys and 2 girls!)

It’s funny as mum feels bad for the guys we fight – but I explain to her that they are trying to rip our heads off and they certainly won’t feel any remorse towards us!

 

Kal – been a pleasure talking to you today. I’m hoping to be at Hull in a few weeks and no doubt you will be there supporting Gamal – so look forward to catching up then.

 

Nice one Paul – see you then!

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

@LeeSelby126 Exclusive Interview by Paul Ready

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Lee – thanks for giving me some of your time.

Firstly want to congratulation you on the birth of your daughter – welcome to the club! How is father-hood treating you so far and how has it changed you?

I’ve taken to it quite naturally. It’s really nice. I’m much more hungry now and as I’ve got two mouths to feed. I want to give her the best life possible – all the luxuries I unfortunately didn’t have as a child. She will have the best life possible.

How is the new gym in Bristol, what’s it like compared to Empire? (Which has recently closed)

The new gym is great, it’s much more modern. I do miss the old one with all the memories. If I’m honest it doesn’t feel like a boxing gym just yet – it doesn’t have a smell of old one, but give it time and it will. I was actually down there today sparring today against Lee Haskins.

What song have you had on repeat for your camp?

There is one song on repeat in my car that I can’t remember – that’s going to bug me now!

Juicy by Biggie Smalls is one I regularly have on repeat.

What do you expect from Gradovich and how do you see the fight going?

I went out Omaha and watched his last fight. Similar to Brunker, he’s a come forward and aggressive fighter – technically much better than Brunker.

Gradovich is an established fighter and champion with 4 defences of his IBF title. But he doesn’t have super speed, nor is a concussive puncher.

I see the fight going the same way as the Brunker one – I’ll break him down and stop him late!

 

How highly do you rate Robert Garcia as a coach?

Garcia is one of the best coaches in the world and has a great stable. I always watch Ellie Seckbach’s videos in his gym.  Gradovich spars top guys regularly but Robert doesn’t get in the ring for him.

I hope they underestimate me as I will shock them big time. I’ve gone out to LA, had no respect before I sparred guys. After I got in there and beat them up, they are all raving about me wanting pictures.

This will be the same.

 

How long until we get an official announcement of when you will fight Gradovich for IBF?

Negotiations were due up last Saturday. There has been a 7 day extension applied by Top Rank & Matchroom. I should know by this Saturday.

I know as much as you do!

I’ve heard of rumours of O2 end of April, Cardiff, America or even Russia.

A ring is a ring at the end of the day,  if I have to go to Russia, i’ll be even more determined to get a stoppage – as if it’s close they would favour Gradovich.

 

Lee, final question – do you have any words for your loyal supporters?

 

I want to thank all my fans for the constant support. You guys have backed me from day one. I’m going to take my chance where ever it ends up being and do it for you.

 

Thanks for your time Lee, look forward to catching up again soon.

 

Cheers Paul, anytime mate.

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

@PeterJSims1 “A champion is a contender that never gave up”

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Elite Boxing:

I’m here today with Peter “The Pirate” Sims and his rum!

2014 has been a good year for yourself – you’ve taken some extra fighters on and you are now back at your spiritual home in Hainault.

Firstly from your perspective, how has the year been for you when you reflect back?

 

Peter Sims:

It’s been alright Paul. As me and you just discussed – we’ve had some ups and some downs in the gym.

It started off on a down with the Wadi Camacho fight against Stephen Simmons, with Wadi getting stopped in the last round with a 1:54 to go. That wasn’t the best start to the year. For Tyler he won the English Light-Welter title at his second attempt, signed for Matchroom and the fight earlier last year against Tyrone Nurse he got beat.

So there has been some ups and downs.

 

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EB:

In my opinion the Wadi fight with Simmons the build-up took a lot mentally out of him. You had the confrontation at the first press conference, then the Simmons injury and when it eventually came to the fight he perhaps had mentally exhausted himself.

Similar to what happened with Tony Bellew and Nathan Cleverly recently but on a different scale.

 

PS:

There is no excuses for the outcome of the fight. I don’t think it helped the fight being put off the first time. We went to Lanzarote for the training camp and the day before we were due to go Simmons had to pull out due to a costal cartilage injury in his rib. So that took a bit of spice out of the fight.

Then we had to wait – Wadi had a fight at York Hall in-between. When the fight did eventually happen it did go the way I wanted to as I wanted Wadi to spoil the war really. I wanted him to get on his back-foot, use his long reach and jab – then look to land a big shot in the middle to late rounds.

Unfortunately he got caught as a I said and that’s boxing, that’s life. It has been a massive defining point in his career now.

 

EB:

You could hear you telling him that on Sky. At the end of the 9th beginning of the 10th you said:

“This round will define will career”

 

PS:

I did tell him that. “This round will define your career and your life.” In both aspects; your boxing career and financially in your life. Unfortunately has nearly proven to be so. He has another half bite of the cherry with the Craig Kennedy fiasco up in Wales. We are looking to get him back on track really.

 

EB:

I do wish Wadi the best going in to 2015. With the news of him becoming a father it should give him extra impetus and more desire in his career.

Moving on to Tyler, he went in to the fight with Tyrone Nurse with various injuries. That fight didn’t go to plan but credit to Tyler he went back in the gym, worked his socks off and got his reward winning the English Light-Welter belt..

It was clear to see when I was here how hard he works – he was hardly out of breath.

The Ricky Boylan fight was one of the best I saw live last year.

 

PS:

Going back to the Nurse fight, we make no excuses but no one wanted to fight him. He was injured as is well documented but we took the fight.

Tyrone Nurse kept his word as before we fought him and I’d like to make a point for this as a lot of people don’t understand or take it on board – before we took we had a gentleman’s agreement that the winner would vacate the belt.

Nurse done what he said when he won which was decent of him and he kept his half of the bargain. We told him we had injuries before and they agreed to vacate if he won. A lot of people have claimed that they had mandatory positions and they let Tyler fight for the English against Boylan. Perhaps in the eyes of the British Boxing Board of Control others were mandatory but the gentleman’s agreement got us the Boylan fight.

Tyler done all that was asked of him against Boylan, switching tactics and he got a bad cut on the eyelid – he came out victorious and we are very proud of him as he deserved that.

My problem with Tyler is holding him back as he trains like a lunatic. I have to hold him back and monitor his runs so he doesn’t peak too early. I’ll say go do a 6 mile run and he’ll go do a 9 mile one!

That’s the sort of kid he is – he’s a pleasure to have in the gym.

He just loves a fight that kid. I’ve only ever seen two people in the gym like that; Tyler and Lee Purdy as they both love a fight. He doesn’t care about getting beat, he’s like a Mexican in a way as he just wants a scrap and he has nothing to lose but his pride.

As long as he keeps his pride and he does himself justice in a tear up. He’d rather come out of a fight battered and bruised than come out victorious by running away.

When Tyler wins the WBC International he will get a top 30 world ranking so we’d like to be in that place but he wants to go for the British Title and fulfill his dream. These WBC Silver’s and International’s are all well and good but he wants the domestic titles – the British or Commonwealth belts.

Let’s get the (John) Hibbert fight out-of-the-way first then we can focus on that.

 

EB:

Ben Hall is someone who you have taken on last year. A young fighter who already I can see has much more confidence in himself. When I first came down he seemed in awe of the stars of the gym; Ricky Burns, Kevin Mitchell, John Ryder and Anthony Joshua.

Physically Ben looks bigger, fitter than when he first joined. What kind of change and transition have you seen from him since he joined?

 

PS:

I’ve had Ben three months and he’s had 3 fights. He had two fights on Steve Goodwin bills and he had a fight on October 11th on the Matchroom O2 bill. It took three fights for me to get what was going on with him.

One thing he does as he’s a puncher is load-up on shots, secondly we discovered that he holds his breath and no one has ever told him any different. I couldn’t work out why he was getting so tired – it was a combination of nerves and adrenalin – he held his breath when he punched.

This made him take massive gasps of oxygen then holding – it was like fighting underwater. He’s a different kid from that now. I’ve loosened him up now, he was very stiff, very tight. Every shot had to be a big shot, he thought he could KO people with his jab.

In my opinion the kid is an absolute talent and go beyond domestic level – he has such fast hands, unbelievable power.

Ben has been sparring with John Ryder and John commented the other day: “He can properly punch that kid.”

Wait till he fills out to a proper Light-Middle, he’s only 21 and by the time he is 23-24 he will be a force in the Light-Middle division.

 

EB:

Jimmy Cooper is the other fighter you have and he’s got a busy start to 2015.

 

PS:

Yeah little Jimmy Cooper, it’s been a slow process with him, getting his licence done. He’s boxing on 25th February on a dinner show, nice and relaxed, no pressure of selling tickets or anything like that. Then 28th March he’s on a Steve Goodwin show in Portsmouth – he’s from Southampton.

 

EB:

Is it easy for Jimmy to travel up and train with you during the week?

 

PS:

He comes up and stays with Mark Seltzer’s at his house with Ricky Burns, he’s got a three bedroom house so he pays rent and that.

We are going away on 6th January, me, Tyler, Ben, Jimmy and we’re going out to the MGM Marbella Gym for sparing and a 12 day training camp prior to O2 bill.

Looking forward to getting away with them as the weather has been atrocious here recently.

 

EB:

With your stable now larger, I bet you’ve got some funny stories from the boys in camp?

 

PS:

Ben Hall has me in fits everyday. He’s a funny geezer. Ben is always on sun beds now, he’s got this thing about them. I bought him some moisturizer the other day – he came in the gym and he was orange!

But he hadn’t washed his hands and was an absolute classic! We always have a laugh in our gym every other day.

I’m just waiting to do the New Year’s general knowledge quiz, it’s 10 questions. We done one last year with Tony’s guys as well and I think Kevin Mitchell got 4 out of 10 he was the lowest. We have a great laugh doing that.

Ben has taken Tyler’s nickname of “The Log” as he’s thick as a plank.

 

EB:

Peter just wanted to thank you for all the access and introductions you’ve given me this year. I really appreciate it and look forward to catching up with you early this year.

 

PS:

Cheers Paul, thanks for the rum mate – been a pleasure.

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net