#Unbreakable Preview by Paul Ready

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

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

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

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

  

(Photo by Mark Robinson) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Brook’s leg 100% healed?

Is he now vulnerable? How is his mindset?

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

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

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

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

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

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

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@_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?

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.

 

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

#DivideAndConquer Preview by Paul Ready

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Divide & Conquer

Matchroom return to Hull for their first show of 2015. In a definitive night prior to the “civil war” showdown in the summer – headline acts Tommy Coyle and Luke Campbell are both in action.

 

TOMMY COYLE VS MARTIN GETHIN

Boom Boom (20-2: 9KO’s) brimming with confidence after his stunning 2nd round KO of Michael Katisdis in October – faces Gethin (25-6: 11KO’s) in his final hurdle before facing Campbell.

Coyle told IFLTV yesterday that he believes Gethin is a tougher opponent than Campbell – and if he could he’d fight him on Saturday instead. Gethin has won the British title twice and lost to Ammeth Diaz in an IBF title final eliminator – so his experience exceeds Coyle’s to date.

25 yr old Coyle is the first to admit that whilst he will never be technically the most gifted boxer – he compensates that with his heart and pure passion for a “tear-up”. Tommy Coyle doesn’t do dull fights and I don’t expect Saturday to be any different.

What I like about Boom Boom is the average man in the street can relate to him – he’s down to earth, grateful to be doing a profession that he adores and you wouldn’t begrudge him the chance one day to get a crack at a world title.

I fancy a 10th round stoppage for Coyle – but wouldn’t be shocked if both men see the canvas in the process.

 

LUKE CAMPBELL VS LEVIS MORALES

Cool Hand (9-0: 7KO’s) made an emotional decision to return to this card – despite the terminal illness of his father, which he should be given all the credit in the world for. After much soul-searching and consulting with his family, Campbell took the brave decision to fight this Saturday.

Campbell in my eyes has received some unjust criticism this week for his career stagnating and “wasting” a year chasing the Tommy Coyle fight. Many citing fellow 2012 Olympians Felix Verdejo, Vasyl Lomachenko and even Anthony Joshua have progressed quicker since turning professional.  The 27 yr old has taken two periods of absence from boxing for personal reasons and unless you are in the situation yourself – you can’t understand what effect it has had on him.

The fight with Coyle I feel is one that has to happen this summer, as Campbell will be “fast-tracked” towards title shots by the end of 2015 – early 2016. I’d expect him to contest for the British title at some stage before he ascends up a governing body’s rankings.

Nicaraguan Morales (11-1: 4KO’s) fights for the first time in his career outside his home country – and I expect Campbell to stop him within the distance.

 

SAM EGGINGTON VS SHAYNE SINGLETON

This is the one I am really looking forward to – a genuine 50/50 encounter. Eggington (13-2: 7KO’s) has had a whirl-wind few months since his impressive stoppage victory over Denton Vassell in September.

The 21 yr old officially signed with Matchroom in October and then it was announced boxing will be returning to Birmingham in May – with Eggington a headline act.

“This is a massive fight for me,” said Eggington. “Shayne has a title that can open doors for me if I can take it off him. He’s unbeaten but I am very confident that I’ll take his belt. It’s great to have the two fights mapped out for me, if I can beat Shayne then I am sure that the fight in Birmingham on May 9 will be a big one and that’s a massive incentive. I want to put on a great show in Birmingham because that’s my first big hometown show so I want to really impress the fans.

Standing in his way is undefeated Shayne “The Pain” Singleton (20-0: 6KO’s) and the opportunity to win the WBC International Silver Welter title makes the bout even more lucrative for the victor.

I’ve got an Eggington victory by way of a decision.

 

ROCKY FIELDING VS OLEGS FEDOTOVS

 

Rocky Fielding (19-0: 11KO’s) makes his return to the ring on Saturday evening – after 9 months out with a hand injury.

The 27 yr old’s last outing was against Noe Gonzalez last summer and the Liverpudlian is desperate to make up for lost time.

The BBBoC have ordered Fielding to face Paul Smith Jnr for the British Super-Middle title – with purse bids due on 11th March. Bizarrely this was announced recently in fight-week of Smith Jr’s rematch against Arthur Abraham – much to the dismay of champion Smith Jr.

Will Paul Smith face Fielding after he has demonstrated he can mix it at world level? I have my reservations – but I can’t see him vacating unless he is offered another big fight.

Smith v Fielding has the makings of a huge fight in Liverpool and one many would love to see.

Watch this space on that.

Fielding is also boxing on 11th April in Leeds as he looks to quickly get back in his groove and remove any “ring-rust”.

 

The rest of the card comprises of Light- Middleweight Tom Knight facing Erick Ochieng, Bradley Saunders and “The Beast” Gamal Yafai both fighting in separate six round contests.

All the action will be broadcast live on SkySports 1 on Saturday evening from 7.30pm.

 

@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

#AbrahamSmith2 #GolovkinMurray Previews by Paul Ready

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So here we are – the first trailblazing weekend of 2015 is virtually upon us.

Two Brits, two separate world-title challenges – buckle up as they are about to get busy!

I did debate putting two separate posts out for each review, but in such a saturated environment I decided to amalgamate two-into-one.

 

Arthur Abraham v Paul Smith Jr – 2 – WBO Super-Middle Title

The wide points victory of “King Arthur” last time round was outrageous.

One of the judges had it 11-1 to Abraham, the other two had it 9-3 which left everyone – myself included flabbergasted.

It was a very close fight, I had it 114-114 a draw and did anticipate the Real Gone Kid to lose on points – with the judges leaning towards the home-fighter.

Hats off to Abraham, he agreed to the rematch – which he didn’t have to do, and on Sunday morning will it be a decision he will live rue?

Smith (35-4: 20KO’s) is buoyant and in a confident mood at his chances:

“He’s saying that I won’t hear the final bell and I’m banking on it myself if I’m honest with you. I don’t want to hear the final bell. I believe I can get him out of there. Smith told SkySports.

“I think he’s old and showing his age and I believe I’ve learnt a hell of a lot from the last fight. There is a lot more I can do from the last fight which I’ve learnt from and I’ve picked up on.

“I’ll be surprised if he’s even watched the last fight. He’s a three-time world champion – it’s not something that he will worry about.

“It’s alright him saying he’s going to knock me out. He said it the last time. He couldn’t do it last time and he won’t do it this time.”

Can Smigga knock-out the German? I would have to say it’s unlikely as the 34 yr old champion has only been stopped once before – by Robert Stieglitz back on 2013.

How can and in my opinion will he win?

Work-rate.

The 32 yr old Liverpudlian needs to out-work and out-hustle the champion. In stages in the first fight, Smith looked like a seasoned title-challenger. The way he took the centre of the ring, was aggressive and applied pressure left me very impressed.

It’s surreal looking back that it was in fact his first world-title shot.

It won’t be an easy nights work for Paul – he will need to be switched on through-out but he can and I genuinely believe will emerge victorious. With Joe Gallagher in his corner, you have confidence that the game-plan devised will be meticulous and leave no-stone-unturned.

Verdict: Smith points victory by 2 rounds.

 

Gennady Golovkin v Martin Murray – WBA Super, Interim WBC Silver Middleweight titles

 

It has been well documented that this is Good Boy’s toughest test to date.

32 yr old Murray (29-1-1: 12 KO’s) is a former two-time world title challenger – drawing with Felix Sturm and losing controversially to Sergio Martinez (who he floored) in Argentina on points.

In both contests there is a valid argument that Murray “beat” both men.

The St Helens native is a legitimate top ten 160lb contender and one who Golovkin (31-0: 28 KO’s) won’t take lightly.

Whilst Murray is naturally the bigger man – he is a huge Middleweight, I do feel that his style is tailor-made for GGG.

Murray technically won’t be able to out-box nor display crisp movement to evade Golovkin’s bombs when unleashed – so he has to meet him in the centre of the ring and fight fire with fire.

I would love to see Murray put Good Boy under immediate duress when the bell sounds, the element of surprise could be absolutely crucial. The danger naturally of doing that to such a ferocious boxer-puncher is the fight could be over within two rounds. The shoot-out approach will win him plenty of plaudits, even in the expected event that he gets stopped.

Plan B for Murray which is less risky – would be to physically impose himself on GGG, make his size count. Perhaps tie the champion up in the clinch, lots of leaning – try to sap the life out of him – which effectively is survival mode!

Whilst I admire Murray’s lack of fear towards Golovkin, it’s very difficult to not see another brutal KO for the champion.

 

Verdict: Golovkin 5th-6th round KO. 

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

#CleverlyBellew2 Review By Paul Ready

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The main event was anti-climatic to say the least – but there were significant positive aspects, let’s look at these in more detail:

 

Scott Quigg v Hidenori Ohtake

Ohtake was as hard as coffin nail and Quigg did find it difficult to break him down. The stoppage never looked likely. Ohtake was beginning to bleed heavily towards the end of the contest – his corner had no intention of dragging him out.

30 fights in and we still don’t know how good Scott Quigg really can be. For me he is still in the shadow of IBF Carl Frampton as the breakout fight eludes him. The Frampton fight financially is enormous and one that already has huge demand to take place.

If politics prevent Frampton v Quigg or Quigg v Leo Santa Cruz from happening it does diminish the options available to him. The man no one speaks of Guillermo Rigondeaux is now under consideration from Quigg’s camp.

El Chacal isn’t a boxer but an artist and watching him needs to be appreciated on mute with opera music playing as you sip a fine red wine.

Rigondeaux as we know is on another planet to any other Super Bantamweight’s – so does Quigg consider moving up 4 lbs to Featherweight?

It could well be an inspired move as there are plenty of huge fights there which should be straight forward to make. Names such as Abner Mares, Evgeny Gradovich, Vasyl Lomachenko, Nicholas Walters – and closer to home Lee Selby and Josh Warrington.

 

James DeGale v Marco Antonio Periban

DeGale stole the show for me – best performance of the night. Discard the fact that Periban was a few lbs overweight the stoppage was not expected.

The left-hook is becoming a potent weapon for chunky and he has wiped out two top ten Super-Middle’s in succession.

Froch is all but signed to face Chavez Jr early 2015 so it DeGale will be fighting for the vacant IBF title. The Cobra has until 31st December to either start negotiations with DeGale or vacate. The likelihood he will face 6ft 2in fellow Southpaw Gilberto Ramirez (30-0: 24KO’s) for the belt.

With an altercation taking place at the weigh-in between Groves’ wife and DeGale’s mother – a rematch between the two after their respective world title shots is necessary. I’d back DeGale to prevail this time.

 

George Groves v Denis Douglin

Similar to the Rebrasse performance last month I felt Groves looked poor yet again. The major difference on this occasion was Saint GG managed to stop his man. Carl Froch spoke in the commentary that he felt Groves has been “Cobra’d” like Lucien Bute and is a shadow of his former self.

Froch did have a point to an extent as Groves does look a yard or two off pace. Trainer Paddy Fitzpatrick feels that the 26 yr is suffering from exhaustion after a hectic 12 months with four fights – two of them being PPV fights with Froch with gruelling media schedules.

It remains to be seen whether the former or latter is true with Groves. Next up will be Undefeated WBC Champion Anthony Dirrell (27-0: 22KO’s) and if he is tired or genuinely shot he will be exposed in brutal fashion.

 

Callum Smith v Nikola Sjekloca

Callum Smith would have learnt more on Saturday than he has in any of his previous fights – having gone 12 rounds for the first time in his career. There were stages when I was on the edge of my seat when those body shots landed and I thought the Montenegrin could cave. Credit to him he didn’t and kept coming forward.

I’m a huge fan of Smith, I do believe has all the attributes to go all the way. The only slight chink I can see in his armour is his lack of head movement and at times he can appear a tad rigid. I’d like to see more lateral movement – but for a guy 6ft 3in I appreciate that is difficult.

Next up will be a final eliminator for the WBC title in Spring with the caveat of facing the winner of George Groves and Anthony Dirrell.

 

Anthony Joshua v Michael Sprott

Veteran Sprott was blown away in the 1st round by Joshua to cap a busy 2014 for the 25 yr old. Next up is Kevin “King Pin” Johnson on 31st January.

After that I genuinely believe he is ready for Chisora or Price in the summer – perhaps Tyson Fury late 2015. I like the pace Joshua has been progressed up until now and I firmly believe 2016 will be the year to go for a world title.

Amateur rival Dillian Whyte returning from his two-year ban for consuming a banned substance found in a pre-workout drink. Whyte beat Joshua in 2009 as an amateur and has spoke about wanting the opportunity to fight again after he has eradicated any ring rust. That could be a tantalising match as there is apparently no love lost between the pair.

Joshua is boxing’s answer to The Thing from the Fantastic Four – displays mutant power. My concern is referee’s need to be conscious of his power as he could hospitalise someone, when he lands a combo flush it makes me wince. You can’t delay intervening when a 235lb specimen is unloading – you don’t play boxing as they say.

 

Nathan Cleverly v Tony Bellew

The main event didn’t match the hype or build up. It did descend in to a damp squib. Cleverly appeared to injury his hand in the 2nd and proceeded to jab Bellew for the remainder of the fight. Both men were blowing around the 10th and there is an argument that the build-up drained them.

I think there is an element of that but the Welshman for me isn’t a Cruiserweight and should consider moving back down to Light Heavyweight. He looked strong and athletic at the weight but with it deriving mainly from muscle – the extra oxygen required to sustain it clearly fatigued him.

Bellew was the deserved winner by a long shot as despite being shattered he was actually trading. A world title shot against Marco Huck is next up in 2015 and you can’t argue that the Liverpudlian doesn’t deserve it.

Cleverly yet again has much soul-searching to do.

Does he need to change trainers? Does he even want to continue boxing?

In hindsight privately he must acknowledge that he should have stuck it out with Adam Booth in London rather than choosing to train back home.

I’d like to see Cleverly go back to Light Heavy as he does have the ability to become a contender again. It is very much watch this space with him.

In conclusion the card as whole didn’t live up to expectations – but I look at it like I do when I try out a new curry house.

Sometimes you have a great meal; other times it doesn’t taste as good and you opt to give it miss next time.

This wasn’t a great takeaway but it won’t deter me from trying the next one.

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

Verbal slanging from Cleverly and Bellew today…

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Bitter rivals both predict stoppage wins in Liverpool on Saturday

Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew locked horns once again at today’s press conference – and both men predicted KO wins ahead of their rematch on Saturday at the sold-out Echo Arena in Liverpool, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

The bitter rivals addressed the media next door to the venue where they have met before and will meet again this weekend, and with the pair packing Cruiserweight power on Merseyside this time around, they are both in no doubt that the stakes couldn’t be higher for their long-awaited second clash.

“When you punch you are at your most vulnerable and I only need one punch to land, just one,” said Bellew. “I am technically better than him. He’s not that good, he’s actually pretty poor technically, and I can’t see how he can outbox me. The only thing he has got is that he could outwork me, but like I say, if you just want to work with me and fire shots at me, you’ll be going to sleep. I’m not going to die going down the stretch and if that’s what he is hoping for, he is very, very wrong.”

“There’s an incredible amount riding on this fight,” said Cleverly. “It’s personal between us but I know what will happen to the winner. This fight is a gateway to a World title shot and the chance for me to make that two-weight World champion dream a reality. That rarely happens in boxing, only the best fighters achieve it so for me to go on and do it, that’s what dreams are made of.

“I can’t imagine myself losing and it hasn’t crossed my mind because I am so confident of winning. I cannot allow this guy to beat me. I will meet him, trade with him, break him down and stop him – 2-0.”

Before Cleverly and Bellew renewed hostilities, Super Middleweight foes James DeGale MBE and George Groves encountered their respective opponents on Saturday for the first time.

DeGale faces Mexican danger man Marco Antonio Periban over 12 rounds with the Londoner choosing to take a risky fight despite his mandatory position for the IBF title – a risk the Olympic gold medallist says will pay off.

“A lot of people are saying ‘why are you taking this fight James?’” said DeGale. “The guy is a former World title challenger, he’s boxed Sakio Bika, he’s boxed some good opponents – why are you taking this fight because you’re so close now to a world title?

“The simple answer is that I want to box the best that I can. Fighting Periban and beating him – I’m going to get some credit after. I don’t have to take this fight, I could have taken a routine eight-rounder against a journeyman but I told Eddie Hearn ‘I don’t want that, get me someone I’m going to get credit for after’.

“This guy is going to come to fight but the better the opposition the better I’ll box. I’m really, really looking forward to it and I can’t wait to be in the ring again. This is a massive show, massive night of boxing in a brilliant city, a sold-out venue and live on Sky Sports Box Office so I can’t wait.”

Groves is in the same boat as DeGale as he meets the ‘Momma’s Boy’ while he waits on his shot at WBC champion Anthony Dirrell.

“This fight is a risky one if it doesn’t go to plan,” said Groves. “I would lose my mandatory shot, but I feel it was more important to keep the momentum going from the last fight.

“I’m looking forward to boxing well and getting more rounds banked ahead of my World title challenge.

“The Dirrell fight should take place before the end of March. That would be perfect for me. It would allow me to have a little break over December and to work on different things in the gym. Then come January, it would be full steam ahead.”

Cleverly and Bellew’s rematch tops a huge night of action in Liverpool live on Sky Sports Box Office.

There are a pair of WBA World title bouts as Bury star Scott Quigg defends his Super Bantamweight title against Hidenori Othake and Jamie McDonnell defends his Bantamweight strap against Javier Chacon.

Three of Britain’s best Super Middleweights are in action as James DeGale MBE faces Marco Antonio Periban, Callum Smith tackles Nikola Sjekloca in a WBC World title eliminator and George Groves takes on Denis Douglin.

Olympic Heavyweight hero Anthony Joshua MBE takes on Michael Sprott in a British title eliminator, Matchroom Boxing’s newest signing Bradley Saunders aims to extend his unbeaten run in the Light Welterweight division while German KO star Vincent Feigenbutz makes his UK debut.

Cleverly v Bellew II is exclusively live on Sky Sports Box Office on 22 November with George Groves, Anthony Joshua and James DeGale also on the bill. skysports.com/cleverlybellew.

#CleverlyBellew2 Main Event by Paul Ready

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We are at that stage in fight week when the glare of the spot-light is beginning to become tiresome and eyes look weary. There are only so many interviews you can give on the same subject before your patience wears thin.

1 more press-conference remains and the weigh-in before the fists do the talking – all pre-talk is then rendered redundant.

Tony Bellew has a perception of being a passionate man; one who wears his heart on his sleeve and isn’t afraid to speak his mind – be it eloquently or vitriolic. But this week The Bomber appears as relaxed as a man in the departure lounge heading on holiday.

My fear for the 31 yr old was that he would get consumed by his own emotions and exhaust himself before his hands were wrapped.

So far, this hasn’t happened – but there is still time.

Nathan Cleverly appears even more relaxed displaying an air of assertion that it’s not if he will win; but when.

The concern for Cleverly is the mental effect the crushing stoppage to Sergey Kovalev has had on him, with the Welshman openly admitting that he did consider retirement in the aftermath. He strikes me as a deep thinker and I wonder if he is perhaps still to this day suffering in silence.

Cleverly turned pro as a 147lb Welterweight and has grown physically over the years in to a 200lb Cruiserweight. That’s a whopping 53lb increase with no sign of any visceral fat – the Welshman’s shoulders and back absorbing much of the weight.

“A lot of people have him as the favourite because he’s the naturally bigger guy,” said Cleverly. “He is heavy handed, apparently, so they think that is too much of a jump for me and it is a big jump. I’m up against it but I am confident. I know my own body, I know what I can do. Mentally and physically, I know my limits and I know that I can beat this guy at Cruiserweight. I feel comfortable, strong, sharp and fit. I’ll beat this guy.

“I’ve got too many strengths and I’ll bring everything I’ve learned from the lighter divisions up to Cruiserweight. I’ll bring the speed, I’ll bring the stamina. He can bring his power – I’ve already tested it and I’ve taken it with ease. It will be no different at Cruiserweight.”

Bellew was a 200lb Heavyweight amateur and to the surprise of many he turned pro as a 175lb Light-Heavyweight. His struggles with the Light-Heavy limit have been well documented and The Bomber’s punch-power has increased significantly.

With no-love- lost between them, The Bomber’s hatred for his adversary runs as deep as the River Mersey.

Bellew stuck a bandage on a poster of Cleverly’s head Tuesday at his open workout – writing “Fraud” across it.

“He says one thing and then does another so I’m just letting it be known. Instead of the bandana saying what it usually says I think it’s better saying something suitable from now on. That’s the most truthful word I can use about him. Bellew said to Skysports.

“One minute he’s retiring, one minute he’s the best athlete in the world, one minute he can’t be knocked out and in the next phrase he says: ‘If he hits me, he is the stronger man and can knock me out and someone’s got to go.’

“He contradicts himself constantly so he’s just a strange cat to be real and that’s the fact of the matter”

So how will the fight pan out?

If there is to be a KO it will come from Bellew – but underestimate Cleverly’s chin at your peril – he can take a punch and the country will be glued to the screen when he takes his first. I expect Bellew to be in the shape of his life; Dave Coldwell formerly of Team Hayemaker will have The Bomber in peak condition. Cleverly is the better natural athlete and you can bet your house on him being at optimum level for Saturday.

Cleverly I favour should the fight go beyond the half-way stage. With his Calzaghe trained DNA, you can guarantee endurance and a high volume of punches being thrown. He is no cotton-wool puncher himself and should Bellew tire down the stretch, a stoppage from The Welshman won’t be a huge shock.

A genuine 50-50 match with the caveat of a World Title shot for the victor.

Could this be the makeover the division perceived as the ugly sister in America needs to finally get to the prom?

 

@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net

#CleverlyBellew 2 Undercard by Paul Ready

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Fight night fast approaching and one of the busiest bills for some time, my first wonder was how these will all be squeezed in on one night.

With a fascinating Super-Middleweight sub-plot to the main event, let’s look at the fights in more detail:

 

 

JAMES DEGALE VS MARCO ANTONIO PERIBAN
12 x 3 mins Super Middleweight contest

IBF mandatory challenger DeGale (19-1: 13 KO’s) could end up fighting for a vacant title in the New Year. Champion Carl Froch has faced two back to back mandatory challenges from George Groves and is lukewarm to the prospect of a third.

The Cobra wants to fulfill a live-long ambition of headlining a Las Vegas card against an illustrious name – with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr mooted as the man in the frame. DeGale he feels Froch is “dodging” him but I disagree.

The 28 yr old won in emphatic fashion in May with a career-best performance stopping Brandon Gonzalez in-front of a packed Wembley Stadium. The level DeGale is now operating at there is no such thing as an easy opponent and that is evident with the fight against Mexican Periban (20-2-1: 13 KO’s) this Saturday.

Periban is a live, aggressive opponent and not a man to take lightly. With only 2 blotches on his copybook in the form of losses to J’Leon Love and Sakio Bika both on points. The Love defeat I felt was a robbery as he was gone in the fifth, the ref spared the American a career-first defeat.

Chunky needs to win; and win well – if he is to have any chance to charm the Cobra in to dancing with him. I expect DeGale to look sizzling and take a unanimous points decision.

 

SCOTT QUIGG VS HIDENORI OTAKE
12 x 3 mins WBA World Super Bantamweight title

I feel sorry for Quigg, the fights he craves Leo Santa Cruz, Carl Frampton don’t appear to be any closer to fruition. Up next on Saturday is Otake who is a replacement for the injured Shingo Wake, who damaged his ankle. Wake was allegedly photographed running on it shortly after.

Otake (22-1: 9 KO’s) hasn’t boxed out of Japan before but is ranked #3 with the IBF and #9 with the WBO. A credible opponent for Quigg, but anything other than a mid to late stoppage for the 26 yr old would be a huge shock.

 

JAMIE MCDONNELL VS JAVIER CHACON

12 x 3 mins WBA World Bantamweight title

New father McDonnell (24-0: 11KO’s) make his first defence of his WBA Bantamweight title against relatively unknown Javier Chacon. Chacon tackled Super champion Anselmo Moreno earlier in the year, taking the Panamanian the distance, and the Argentine replaces Walberto Ramos on the bill after the Columbian had visa complications.

The caveat for the 28 yr old McDonnell with a win is a Las Vegas unification bout with Tomoki Kameda WBO champion early 2015.

Kameda (31-0: 19 KO’s) is the youngest of a famous Japanese family-fighting-trio and regarded as the top fighter at 118lbs. Should McDonnell as expected get past Chacon, he will face Kameda as a huge underdog – but he will relish the opportunity to test himself against the very best.

 

ANTHONY JOSHUA VS MICHAEL SPROTT
10 x 3 mins British Heavyweight title eliminator

Sprott (47-22: 17 KO’s) is Joshua’s 10th opponent, and I expect his most ruthless and spiteful performance to date. I was there at the O2 spitting distance from where AJ battered Denis Bakhtov last month and few would have blamed Sprott not fancying it.

Credit to the 39 yr old when asked by promoter Eddie Hearn if he still wants the fight he responded by saying;

“Of course I do, I’m going to knock him out.”

What impressed me most with the 25 yr old Watford man is his nasty streak that has evolved – all great fighters have that in their locker. If Sprott goes more than 3 rounds I will be amazed.

With speculation rife that charismatic Kevin Johnson is already signed to face Joshua in January, I feel he is only 2 fights away from facing Dereck Chisora or David Price in a blockbuster Heavyweight showdown.

 

CALLUM SMITH VS NIKOLA SJEKLOCA
12 x 3 mins WBC Super Middleweight title official eliminator

Three is a crowd as they say and that definitely is the case with Callum Smith in the Groves & DeGale saga. Smith (14-0: 11KO’s) is the elephant in the room that prior to Ringside last month neither man wanted to acknowledge.

He is the real deal – from people I speak to within the industry I’ve yet to encounter anyone who doesn’t rave about him.

What I feel is a masterstroke is that the 24 yr old is now in an eliminator for the WBC on Saturday with the likelihood of a fight with George Groves growing ever closer.

Smith’s camp fancy their chances against Groves. They have sparred together and Callum more than held his own allegedly knocking Groves down a few times. Whilst rumours are always rife from sparring and elements do need to be taken with a pinch of salt, there is a genuine feeling that Groves peaked against Froch in the first fight and is vulnerable.

First Mundo needs to navigate past Sjekloca (28-2: 8KO’s) a former world title challenger with 2 defeats coming against Arthur Abraham and Sakio Bika. I expect it to be a stern test for Callum but one I feel he will grind out down the stretch taking a late stoppage or point’s decision.

 

GEORGE GROVES VS DENIS DOUGLIN
12 x 3 mins WBC Silver Super Middleweight title

Saint George(20-2: 15KO’s) faces American “Mama’s Boy” Denis Douglin.

Douglin (17-3: 10KO’s) is famously trained by his mother and has lost to Jermell Charlo and Jose Angel Rodriguez.  I don’t expect Douglin to trouble the 26 yr old from Hammersmith a great deal – but if the recent Rebrasse fight is anything to go by he could make this look harder than it actually is.

Like most I did feel that Groves’ performance flattered Rebrasse and he looked very gaunt at the weigh-in. With lucrative domestic fights at 168lbs with Callum Smith and a rematch with James Degale, a move up to Light-Heavy will be postponed for a few years.

The rivalry with DeGale goes back to when both men were amateurs at Dale Youth – both vying for the “top boy” status in the club. For me it is the bitterest rivalry in British boxing – even surpassing Tony Bellew & Nathan Cleverly and Kell Brook’s with Amir Khan.

If both Groves and DeGale can secure World titles it would make for a huge rematch – but Callum Smith is also in the mix!

Watch this space over the next 12-18mths as we are in-line for some great fights in the UK.

 

VINCENT FEIGENBUTZ VS LORENZO DI GIACOMO 

The dark horse in the 168lb division is in the shape of German teenager Vincent Feigenbutz. The 19 yr old is built like a tank and has knocked out 15 of his 16 opponents so far.

Hype job?

I don’t think so. I’m looking forward to watching him accelerate in the slipstream of the 3 Brits over the next coming years.

 
@PaulReady

@EliteBoxingNet

http://www.eliteboxing.net