Archive | January, 2012

Mitchell set for February 10th

31 Jan

After Stephen Ormand pulled out of his clash with Kevin Mitchell on February 10th at Bethnal Green’s York Hall, Promoter Frank Warren was left with the daunting task of finding an opponent for the lightweight star. Not an easy task considering that Mitchell needs a challenge that can truly test his abilities in anticipation of a big year for the London fighter. Mitchell fights in a division which is full of promise for British fight fans, a summer showdown with WBO champion Ricky Burns has been talked about since both fighters had high profile wins at the end of 2011. With both fighters being promoted by Warren the fight should be a relatively easy one to make. Burns makes his first defence of the WBO title on March 10th against former world champion Paulus Moses. Burns won the WBO strap in defeating Mitchell conquerer Michael Katsidis in November of last year.

Today it was announced that Ormand’s replacement for the Febraury clash will be the relatively unknown Felix Lora. The fighter who hails from the Dominican Republic has a somewhat unimpressive record of 14-8-5 (8KOs) the only names of note being Amir Khan victim Martin Kristjansen and current light welterweight star Devon Alexander. Now in my honest opinion this isn’t what Mitchell really needs, I mean yes he will clearly dominate the unknown fighter and be able to display his skills for the public, but whilst Burns is being matched up against a world ranked lightweight fighter in Moses, he gets Lora.

Fortunately for Warren, because of Mitchell’s big name in British boxing and the talent packed undercard featuring unbeaten prospects Frank Buglioni, Billy Morgan and the pro debut of Bradley Saunders the show has sold out far in advance. Otherwise this many tickets may have gone unsold. It’s a big year for Kevin Mitchell, after well documented problems he should hopefully continue his journey to the summit of boxing and land a world title. The lightweight division is full of big fights, with some of the most talented fighters both domestic and internationally.

Berto – Ortiz II postponed

31 Jan

The highly anticipated rematch between former welterweight champions Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz has been postponed. On Monday morning Berto suffered an arm injury during sparring, after an MRI scan later in the day the injury was confirmed as a ruptured left bicep, he is expected to undergo surgery today. According to Berto’s trainer the injury was suffered when Berto threw a hook to the head of sparring partner Tureano Johnson. At this moment there is no estimated date for when the fight will take place.

Their first fight which took place in April of last year, was considered by many to be one of the best fights of 2011. The contest which resulted in a unanimous decision for Ortiz was non-stop action from start to finish, containing multiple knockdowns for both fighters and Ortiz being deducted a point in the tenth for an illegal punch.

Ortiz who celebrates his 25th birthday today spoke of his disappointment about the postponement “Disappointed isn’t even the best word to describe how I feel right now. I got home, and my manager is like, ‘guess what? I don’t know how to tell you this, so I’m just going to to ahead and tell you that your fight has been postponed or cancelled,'” said Ortiz.

“I’m going to go on a 10-mile run on the morning of my 25th birthday,” he added,  “That’s just how angry I am.”

Ortiz did understand the situation and showed his sympathy, “It’s just one of those things, man,” said Ortiz,”It can happen to anyone, and I wish him a quick and speedy recovery.”

The fight had great meaning to both fighters, Berto gave up his IBF title in order to make the fight happen. The Miami fighter is desperate to avenge the only loss of his professional career and once again have his name considered with the worlds elite. Ortiz himself will want to get back to winning ways after his controversial loss to Floyd Mayweather, and what’s best than to once again beat the man considered the best at 147lbs other than ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd and Manny Pacquiao. It is rumoured that with the postponement Ortiz may be added to the list of potential opponents for Floyd Mayweather and his May 5th bout, a fight that Ortiz will now doubt grab with both hands.

“I’m open to fighting Floyd. I’m definitely ready, bro. First fight was just one of those things where stuff happens, you know?” said Ortiz. “But this time, I’ll keep it clean. No craziness. Other than that, let’s dance once again.”

Sunday Sparring

29 Jan

Britain can finally add another name to the list of world champions. After a disappointing end to 2011 with both Amir Khan and Carl Froch losing their titles over in the states, we found ourselves with Nathan Cleverley as our sole world champion. However we did still have both Brian Magee and Ricky Burns as interim champions with the WBA and WBO respectively. This week after WBO lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez finally announced he was not to fight at 135lbs again, Scotland’s Ricky Burns was promoted to full champion making the man from Coatbridge a two weight world champion. It was great news for Ricky, who after having a fantastic 2011 with two defences of his WBO super featherweight championship, decided to vacate the title in order to step up to lightweight. In November he proved he could be a success at the weight with a dominant display against Aussie Michael Katsidis for the WBO interim belt. This could be the beginning of what is a massive year with the Scot, he makes the first defence of his title against Paulus Moses on March 10th in Glasgow. On Thursday Ricky spoke to Sky Sports.

“When I beat Katsidis I felt like a world champion anyway, but this makes it all real and I’m thrilled with the news that I’m now the official full world champion,” said the 28-year-old.

“It’s a great feeling, but now it’s back to reality and training hard for what will be a tough title defence against Moses in my Scottish homecoming on March 10th. For the last 10 years I’ve been grafting away in my career, but in the last couple of years it has really taken off with me beating Martinez and then beating a great warrior like Katsidis to put me up with the best in the world.”

Congratulations to Ricky nobody deserves it more. Hopefully it will be the first of many for British boxers in 2012.

During the week, British super middleweight champion George Groves spoke to the media in anticipation of his March 16th defence against Kenny Anderson. However questions put to George mostly focused around the future for the super middleweight star, with a fight against former WBC champion Carl Froch being rumoured. “A fight with Froch would be a big British fight and that’s what gets people really excited, but he is not interested in fighting me,” Groves said.

“I’ve got no doubt about that and I am not going to insult him by calling him out, he probably wants to win back a world title first. Maybe a fight could happen a year or two down the line. I’d love the challenge but there is no rush. It’s easy to get carried away but I have to concentrate on what’s in hand for me now.” The undefeated fighter knows to make sure his full focus in on the Scot, in their previous bout Anderson troubled Groves and he knows this time he’ll want to get the win. He said: “He will be frustrated that his claim to fame is that he knocked me down but didn’t win. That will be burning inside him but I am looking forward to showing people this is how I should have done it the first time.” Should Groves get passed Anderson British fight fans are expecting to see Groves – DeGale 2 in a rematch of their May 2011 clash. Groves will be hoping to add DeGales European belt to his collection and the final piece of domestic dominance.

James DeGale has also been making headlines of his own this week, on Friday a statement was released via his solicitors that the 2008 Olympic gold medalist was to split from long time promoter Frank Warren. The current European super middleweight champion said “I think it is time for both of us to move on.” However Warren was quick to put an end to the rumours by announcing “This is not true, James DeGale is in fact under contract until 14 April 2013.” The 24 year old from Harlesden, London has recently been very under the radar after his majority decision loss to domestic rival George Groves, unusual for a fighter known for making sure his voice is always heard. He has not featured in a bout since winning the European title against Piotr Wilczewski back in October.

And finally a date has been set for the rematch between WBC light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson. The pair are to face off again onApril 28th at the Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City. Their previous bout ended in controversy when Dawson threw Hopkins to the canvas resulting in the 47 year old damaging his shoulder and rendering him unable to continue. But rather than calling the fight a no contest, the referee proceeded to count out ‘The Executioner’ giving Dawson the win and the title. However this result was quickly overturned by the WBC who did call the fight a no contest and return the title to Hopkins. It is rumoured that the bill could also feature a return to the ring for Michael Katsidis as he challenges WBC lightweight title holder Antonio DeMarco. The Mexican won the title on the undercard of the first Hopkins – Dawson clash at the Staples Centre, Los Angeles. The 11th round stoppage of Jorge Linares was widely considered one of the fights of 2011.

‘The Jackal’ strikes

29 Jan

Carl Frampton continued to impress with a clinical display last night at York Hall. The knockout win over Scotland’s Kris Hughes meant ‘The Jackal’ extends his unbeaten run to 12-0 (8KOs). A lot is expected of the Belfast fighter, and with the win last night he is going about the right way of living up to those expectations. Frampton was top of the bill in Bethnal Green and despite his opponent being highly ranked domestically, many believed that there was only ever going to be one winner.

Coming to the ring Frampton looked incredibly focused, Not once did he take his eye of his opponent despite their being a tremendous atmosphere inside York Hall. Nothing broke that focus. In the opening round the tall Hughes made good attempts to establish the jab in hope to take the centre of the ring. Frampton showed his defensive ability with good movement, coming out of the first unscathed and occasionally hurting Hughes with some vicious hits to both head and body. The second showed more of the same, with Frampton once again testing Hughes with skilled combinations, right hand leads and lefts to the body having great affect. The Scot was struggling to make an impression on Carl, the tactics so far working very well and taking the opening two rounds. Rounds three, four and five went the same way as the previous, Hughes seemed to be showing far to much respect for Frampton and not making much attempt to get into the fight. Frampton taking his time, slipping the jab enabling him to pick his shots well and mark up the face of Hughes, it was hard to see where he was going to pick up any points and a shut out victory was on the cards. Into the sixth and Frampton seemed to be wanting to end the fight soon and in style, backing the Scot into the corner and unleashing the combinations. Finally into the seventh and Hughes came out firing off shots to little success. Frampton however had his success, after Hughes misses with a left uppercut, Frampton landed a powerful overhand right directly onto the chin of Hughes sending him flying to the canvas. Kris just about got up from the count but was clearly on unsteady legs and the referee made the right decision to stop it straight away. After what was a fight thoroughly dominated by Frampton the majority were hoping for a stylish finish and thats what it was. He showed great technique throughout the seven rounds, picking his shots very wisely. The movement was quality and defences very tight not allowing the Scot to land punches. He capped of a clinical performance with the perfect knockout blow.

Post fight Frampton was happy with his performance. “He was very very tough, he took a lot of hard shots from the start,” he told Sky Sports. “After about two rounds I was sinking some body shots into him but he stood up to it well. It took something spectacular to get rid of him and I’m happy with the performance. I was going to take my time and up the pace when I felt like it and I trained very hard for this and knew I could do 12 rounds flat out. I threw the right hand a few seconds before that just missed, I decided to throw it again and it was a perfect shot, I don’t think anyone would have stood up to that.”

Manager Barry McGuigan and Promoter Eddie Hearn also spoke with Adam Smith “He’s doing a great job, We’re bringing him long at the right pace with good quality sparring partners. Shane and Gerry have done a fantastic job with him, building the foundation.” McGuigan added ” It’s mostly about getting the right fights and that’s were this man comes in (Hearn) We’re looking at Madison Square Garden on the 17th March.”  The big question that many were expecting was whats next. Fights with both Rendall Munroe and British champion Scott Quigg rumoured there is a lot to come. Eddie Hearn added “We want all those people, we want the big fights.” he continued ” Barry will steer the ship and we’ll make it happen. People can talk about the fights, but if they wanna fight we’ll take the challenge. They can talk about it, but will they get in the ring it’s another story.”

Without doubt the fight of the night was the English light middleweight title fight between Eric Ochieng and Nick Quigley. From first bell it was a toe to toe war with punches being thrown nonstop. Ultimately the contest ended with Quigley’s corner throwing in the towel ten seconds into the ninth round and Ochieng being crowned the new English champ. Next up could be a meeting with lonsdale belt holder Bryan Rose, if not there a plenty of fighters who could give Ochieng a stern test in what is a highly entertaining domestic division.

On the night there were points win for debutant Cruiserweight Wadi Camacho and Light heavyweight contender Andreas Evangelou as well as knockout victories for middleweight prospect John Ryder and Lightweight Ryan Taylor. Ryder is being touted as a future opponent for 2008 Olympian Billy Joe Saunders and the undefeated middleweight would definitely provide a stern test. Taylor came through a tricky contest with the colourful ‘Rockin’ Robin Deacon. The four round contest full of knockdowns was stopped in the third when Deacon was put down for the third time in the fight (second in the round) and seemed to be on unsteady legs. One of the talking points of the night was the continuing comeback of former world champion Robin Reid who took out southern area champion Daniel Cadman in five with a sensational punch right hook.

Ultimately it was a fantastic night of boxing and the night billed ‘The Next Generation’ surely did throw up some names he could be ones to watch. We also saw Frampton continue his so far excellent run with a stunning knockout. However the big fight which is surely up and coming is the British title fight with Scott Quigg and in my honest opinion, the fight will be too soon at this moment. Frampton needs a step up in opponent to ready him for the British king. The end of 2012 or early 2013 may be the right time, next i’d like to see him fight the winner of Jason Booth v Kid Galahad. Now that would be an important test for the Ulsterman.

Fight preview – The ‘Jackal’ senses his prey

26 Jan

This weekend see’s the return of Commonwealth super bantamweight fighter Carl ‘The Jackal’ Frampton, as he headlines Saturday nights Matchroom bill “The Next Generation” at York Hall, Bethnal Green. Carl comes up against Scotland’s Kris Hughes in the first defence of the title he won back in September with a clinical KO of Australian Mark Quon. With his manager Barry McGuigan (former world featherweight champion) singing the praises of his young fighter, a lot is expected from the man from Belfast and future fights with British champ Scott Quigg and European champ Kiko Martinez are already being discussed, it is now up to Carl to prove himself with an inch perfect performance against the potentially dangerous Hughes.

Since turning professional in 2009, Carl has torn through the domestic super bantamweight division. His display of simple boxing intelligence and skill combined with great power has enabled him to establish a flawless record of 11-0 (7KOs). However although his ability has been thoroughly praised throughout boxing, the lack of high quality opponents has been criticised. But as many say you can only fight what is put in front of you. Carl has a great relationship with his team, for any boxer the people around you are like a family. McGuigan and renowned trainer Gerry Storey are carefully plotting the rise of the young fighter, and they have no doubt that they have a future world champion on their hands. Their are many names at super bantamweight which can help prepare Carl for a clash of the undefeated at the end of the year with British champ Scott Quigg.

On Saturday Carl faces Kris Hughes, who after a six year professional career has built a respectable 15 – 1 – 0 record, however with only 1 knockout it is doubtful that he will cause Frampton big problems. Kris is very tall for a super bantamweight, standing at 5ft 11ins he carries a 6 inch height advantage over Frampton and no doubtably will try to use this to his advantage, the likelihood is due to his lack of power his best chance at beating Frampton is to outwork the Belfast man. I’m predicting that Carl is going to get past the jab and work to the body, use his power to wear down Hughes most likely resulting in a stoppage between rounds 7-10.

In my honest opinion, like Barry McGuigan I rate Carl very highly i think that he will in future be challenging for that world title. However the division is very strong domestically, Their are names such as Booth and Munroe who can give Frampton a very tough night. But these  are kind of fights that will set him up for the challenges ahead. I think as much as would like to see Quigg v Frampton, Quigg is far ahead of Carl at this current time and there is only one winner. He has already claimed the scalp of Booth and whilst Frampton is still building, Quigg is on his way to winning the Lonsdale belt outright. We have already seen the downfall of Rico Ramos after he was thrown into the big fights sooner than he was ready and I would hate to see that happen to Frampton.

Remember Saturday 12RoundsNews will be at York Hall for the fight and will be providing round by round commentary of the main event, and updates of the full undercard via our twitter account @12RoundsNews.

Macklin – Murray – Barker… It’s never that simple.

24 Jan

At this moment in time, boxing fans are very blessed. Throughout the weight classes their are potential match-ups which could all go on to be fight of the year contenders, both domestically and internationally. Now because of what is known as boxing politics and the constant problems that are brought about because of the many promotional stables and the governing bodies who run our sport. We find ourselves left guessing, almost imagining how these bouts would unfold. For two years now, the world has been waiting for Manny Pacquiao v Floyd Mayweather. Yet we are still no closer to seeing the best v the best.

On Thursday nights Sky Sports gives us the pleasure of entertainment that is ringside. On the first show of the new year, Host’s Johnny Nelson and Adam Smith asked regular guests Boxing News editor Tris Dixon and boxing historian Bob Mee what fights they would like to see both domestically and internationally. Now Bob threw in a very good shout for a domestic clash, or should i say three.

Last year was a big year for the Middleweight division, especially for us British fight fans. For years the duo of Darren Barker and Matthew Macklin have claimed to be the best in both Britain and Europe, however due to injuries and simply different boxing paths the two have never faced off. This year the two middleweights both made their mark on the world stage, with Macklin losing a highly disputed points decision to WBA champ Felix Sturm and Barker also losing to Sergio Martinez via eleventh round KO despite giving the middleweight king a very difficult night in Atlantic City. Both fighters did themselves proud to say the least. Macklin’s dominance over a fighter who had held a world title since 2003 and in his home country was phenomenal. In the eyes of many including myself he won that fight, no doubt about it. Whilst the two were making the headlines with their performances overseas, it allowed a third British middleweight hopeful to emerge, Martin Murray. Martin was able to string together key wins on the road to the British and Commonwealth titles, eventually like the others he landed his world title shot against Macklin’s conquerer Felix Sturm. Once again Sturm was tested to the furthest of his abilities, and Murray left with his undefeated record intact but no world championship as he gained a highly respected draw. Once again Sturm was highly fortunate to hold on to his crown. Murray showed up with a flawless technical performance and thanks to trainer Oliver Harrison, the tactics were spot on. But it seems the only way to win in Germany is to knock the guy down for that 10 count.

Back to Bob Mee’s list of domestic fights for 2012, to sum it up. Matthew Macklin v Martin Murray, Darren Barker v Matthew Macklin and Darren Barker v Martin Murray. Now to my knowledge has their ever been such a potential event such as this. It’s simply brilliant, to finally end the arguments, the what if’s? For years fight fans have wanted to see Macklin v Barker, and now to add a third name to the party is simply spine tingling and it would undoubtably get the boxing worlds attention.

But as i mentioned earlier there are the issues known as boxing politics. If only it was as simple as the best fighting the best. Macklin is already scheduled to fight Sergio Martinez, March 17th at Madison Square Garden, therefore taking him out of the equation till at least the summer. But so far Both Murray and Barker are to announce their comeback fights. If rumours are to be believed we could be seeing the first stage of a domestic triple header. Today on Twitter there were statements coming from Eddie Hearn (Barker’s promoter) regarding a clash in the spring. Reportedly one offer has already been turned down, and the new offer is still in negotiation. Murray himself took to his personal website to release a statement.

“I read the news from Eddie Hearn about the offer to fight Darren barker. This is a fight I’d love to make. This offer came after weeks and weeks of my fantastic team, Hatton Promotions, chasing Eddie Hearn and Matchroom to make this fight. My team have offered them a lot more money for Darren to fight me (more than they offered me to fight him) and a date in April. My matchmaker Richard Poxon got a response more or less saying take it or leave it; I was in the office with Richard Poxon and Ricky Hatton when his reply came, and this isn’t the response of a team that wants the fight to happen. They don’t want this fight and that’s no disrespect to Darren, because I respect him, but I’m extremely confident I’ll beat him. I would love to fight Darren and so would the British public. But like Macklin vs. Barker, it never happened and I’m concerned this won’t happen too. My hopes are still that Felix Sturm will fight me again, but I’m not holding my breath…

This would make a fantastic fight for fight fans and it really is down to Matchroom and Darren to make this happen.”

All i can say is should everything go to plan, were in for a treat. So come on people, Let’s get it on.

Miguel Cotto and that infamous pound for pound list

23 Jan

Last night I found myself, like many sat in front of the television and with it being a Sunday, there wasn’t much on. So I turn to my Sky+ and see Miguel Cotto v Antonio Margarito. Naturally like any boxing fan it was straight on. Now in Cotto’s 10th round TKO of Margarito, he showed such character, to face a man who had previously beat him in a fight in which the Mexican more than likely cheated by fighting with loaded gloves. Cotto’s performance in that fight was a display of both technical and tactical brilliance, the Puerto Rican dominated Margarito from the off with inch perfect punch combinations. Cotto’s hand speed and accuracy broke through Margarito’s defence in no time and as he unloaded his signature left hook to the right eye of Margarito, he caused extensive damage and successfully shut it completely, resulting in both fight doctors issuing that he was in no state to continue.

After watching the fight, it got me thinking how Cotto is ranked amongst the world elite. So I checked up Ringtv.com and went straight to the rankings section. To no surprise at the top of the light middleweight category, you find Miguel Cotto and his fight record of 37 – 2 – 0 (30 KOs) Considering that record, 37 wins with 30 of them inside the distance, not many fighters can boast such a fine record. The only blemishes those two losses. Well one was Antonio Margerito, a loss Cotto has more than avenged. The other loss coming from current pound for pound the best fighter in the world Manny Pacquaio. The next section i had to look into was to see how Cotto is ranked on the same pound for pound list, to my shock he isn’t. I find myself asking how. How can a boxer who is a three weight world champion (undefeated at both light welterweight and light middleweight,) a boxer who carries that phenomenal record and a boxer who has the scalps of other fighters such as Zab Judah, Shane Mosely, Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito to name but a few, not considered one of the 10 best fighters in the world. Now consider other fighters on that list, Timothy Bradley who campaigns at light welterweight, Juan Manuel Marquez, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquaio all who fight at Welterweight. Now in my personal opinion Cotto v Bradley at light welterweight, I’d have Cotto with a stoppage, all day everyday. The other fighters, well he gave Pacquaio a close call, Marquez I reckon would be a very similar fight to the Pacquiao one, possibly a Cotto points win. The only boxer on that list within the same weight divisions who would thoroughly dominate Cotto is Mayweather. The other question, could Cotto have a future at middleweight, that then throws Sergio Martinez into the mix. There is no doubt in my mind that Cotto would give ‘Maravilla’ one of the toughest fights of his career, and as Martinez is ageing I reckon thats another Cotto victory. So what do Ringtv.com look for when they compile the pound for pound list and how do they look past Miguel Angel Cotto.

Miguel has been in the news a lot recently. Rumours of his next fight are daily headlines, potential opponents including Floyd Mayweather and future star Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. Details were reaching the media that Cotto v Pacquaio 2 was to be finalised today, only for that to be stated as only in early negotiations. There is no doubt that Cotto has improved considerably since the 2009 TKO loss to Pacquaio. His defence is far sharper and he now thinks to pick the right shots rather than simply power through opponents, He seems to have regained focus with the Margarito fight, something he has lacked in the past, i use the Clottey fight as that example. So would he be able to this time dethrone the pound for pound king should they meet June 9th, I think there’s a very good chance.