Archive | February, 2012

Sunday Sparring

26 Feb

This weekend, boxing fans all around the globe were fortunate to witness four big events from four different countries. World champions Nathan Cleverly, Alexander Povetkin and Adrien Broner successfully defended their titles, Devon Alexander pulled off a massive win to throw his name into ever growing list of high level welterweight contenders and unfortunately Scotland’s Lee McAllister failed in his bid to dethrone unbeaten European light welterweight champion Denis Shafikov.

WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly extended his unbeaten professional record to 24 fights with a shutout victory against the little known American fighter Tommy Karpency. 25 year old Cleverly was making the third defence of his title in his native Wales. It was the first time Cleverly had fought in Wales for three years and he did not disappoint the 5,000 strong crowd at the Motorpoint arena in Cardiff as he provided them with a display of speed and strength to overwhelm the American. At the final bell Cleverly came away with a unanimous decision, with three scores of 120-108. Karpency’s selection as challenger certainly raised many eyebrows. The 26 year old was ranked outside the worlds top 80 at light heavyweight at the making of the fight and his only previous big challenge was a loss to Karo Murat, a previous Cleverly victim. Although he was not on the same level as the world champion, the awkward southpaw certainly made Cleverly work. The Welshman never stopped pressing against Karpency, hurting with a strong body attack. But he was unable to finish off the challenger. Despite the lower level of competition it was good for Cleverly to get more experience under his belt and the successful defence means the young Welshman can look forward to bigger things. Cleverly will make his next defence on April 28th against an unnamed opponent at the Royal Albert Hall, London. Nathan comes back to ring in just under two months. An early return rumoured to be in anticipation of an open air clash and a return to Cardiff in the summer. Cleverly’s promoter Frank Warren has said that he has been in contact with Golden Boy Promotions over a possible unification bout with WBC champion Bernard Hopkins. The 47 year old champion has a tricky defence against Chad Dawson on April 28th and should he come through that Warren is confident he can secure the bout and bring it to the Welsh capital. The bill in Wales also saw the return to the ring of former world champion Enzo Maccarinelli and highly rated former amateur star Frankie Gavin. Both were able to mark their return with TKO wins and hopefully Gavin has put his troubles behind him and should be able to move on to what should be a highly successful career.

In Germany WBA heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin came through a tough defence of his title with a majority decision win over former cruiserweight king Marco Huck. The challenge was Huck’s first fight at heavyweight and he more than proved to be able to mix it with the big boys. Despite starting slowly the Serbian native came on strong in the middle rounds repeatedly troubling the champion with devastating right hands. Povetkin, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist, showed a great deal of heart in the fight and controlled many rounds with a strong jab. However the 32 year old was clearly struggling with the high tempo action and was seen with his mouth wide open, struggling for air. Despite being the aggressor throughout the fight Huck was unable to get the decision and their have been multiple calls for a rematch.

Former WBC and IBF light welterweight champion Devon Alexander was able to put his recent disappointing performances behind him and made a winning start at 147 lbs. Alexander put in a dominant display on the way to outpointing big hitting Argentine Marcos Maidana in his hometown of St.Louis. Maidana who was considered one of the most feared fighters at light welterweight was also making his first challenge at welterweight and was clearly not at home in the bigger weight class and Alexander proved that this time speed definately beats power. The 25 year old American was able use his superior boxing skills to outclass the Argentine, hurting him in the fourth and almost scoring a knockdown in the sixth. Maidana was able to land some good blows but the power never seemed to be fully their as nothing really troubled Alexander. The weight appeared to be a big factor for both fighters performances. In previous bouts Alexander has looked drained and has never been able to put on a performance like this. Welterweight appears to be his right division as he looked bigger and stronger, as well as holding on to the speed and skills he had at 140 lbs. In the other corner Maidana looked far from comfortable at the higher weight, getting tired later on and unable to have the same impact he would at light welterweight. The future is bright for Alexander as he is now in quite possibly the strongest weight in boxing. The list of potential big name opponents is endless and he is in line for a big year. Whereas Maidana is looking to move straight back down to light welterweight, the winner of the Soto-Matthysse bout is rumoured to be the Argentine’s next opponent. The bill at the Scottrade Center also featured confident young American star Adrien Broner putting his unbeaten record and WBO super featherweight title on the line against the 25 year old Californian Eloy Perez. Broner overwhelmed Perez and defeated the challenger with a fourth round KO. Perez may be a technically very good fighter but the 22 year old was simply too big, too fast and too much for him. Broner ended the bout in the fourth landing a straight land which put Perez straight down on the canvas. The Californian made vain attempts to get back to his feet and was clearly in no state to continue. Broner, considered by many to be the next big star of world boxing keeps on putting in quality performances against high level opponents. He is rightly so one of the most feared fighters in the lighter weights and soon he should be moving up to bigger names and tougher challenges. The young fighter has unfortunately brought on himself the reputation of being a very cocky fighter, bringing many comparisons to pound for pound ranked Floyd Mayweather Jr. But it’s not just his personality that brings on comparisons. The 22 year old talent from Cincinnati even fights like Mayweather, with an impenetrable defence and intense speed and reflexes, he is surely a fighter whose name will surely be on everybody’s lips for use to come. 

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‘The Eagle’ takes flight

24 Feb

Boxing, like any sport is many things. It’s a form of entertainment for the fans who want to see their heroes do great things. To see them achieve their dreams and put on amazing performances in doing so. Few can forget the early morning of June 5th 2005, watching Ricky Hatton put on the performance of a lifetime at the packed out M.E.N arena in Hatton’s hometown of Manchester. That morning he did what was considered miraculous in dethroning then ranked one of the pound for pound best in the world, In Kosta Tsyzu. 22,000 people watched as Tsyzu failed to emerge from his corner for the twelfth round and handed Hatton the victory. Sending the Mancunian and his legion of fans into mass celebration. Hatton fought a long career to get to that stage. He battled his way to the top and earned his glory.

Erick ‘The Eagle’ Ochieng is in the early stages of that journey to the summit of world boxing. But he already has started to lay the foundations of both entertaining and achieving. On the 28th January 2012, ‘The Eagle’ put on a performance against liverpool’s Nick Quigley that is already being considered as a domestic fight of the year contender. That win earned Erick the vacant English light middleweight championship, a title that many fighters would be proud to have on their record. But Erick insist’s we have only witnessed the beginning. The confident young fighter born in Kenya and raised in London says, “I’m already a world champion, you just don’t know it yet.”

On Monday 20th February, I had the pleasure to speak to the English champion at his home gym, the TRAD TKO in Canning Town, East London. Where he spoke to me about the past, the present and the title filled future.

In the early stages of a boxers career, getting to that first title can be a nervous period. When you get there it’s a relief to finally be an established champion, but it can make you much hungrier for more, as ‘The Eagle’ explained, “I feel good, you know I feel great to be a champion. But this is just a stepping stone, bigger and greater things are coming. I will be a world champion, you just don’t know it yet.” He continues, “I was never worried about not getting to a title, I was always confident,”

The win against Quigley was Ochieng’s first ten round fight. Some fighters can struggle with conditioning coming into a fight where the distance has been increased. As the fight goes into unknown stages a boxer can tire and lack the skill and power they would show over a short distance. I asked Erick how he felt with the increase in rounds, he said, “I train hard, I go for long sparring, six rounds, eight rounds. I took my training very seriously because Quigley is a very good fighter. He had the reach advantage and he came in with a high pressure attack, hoping for me to crumble.” I asked him if Quigley’s high pressure attack was indeed expected or if tactics had to be changed. He said filled with confidence, ” I can fight anywhere in the ring, back foot, front foot. Put me on the ropes and i’ll win. He came at me with his game plan and I used that to beat him. He came forward and I made him pay,” He continues, “My plan was to break him down, outwork him, land cleaner and take him out late on. Make him miss and make him pay.”

Although Erick’s main focus is obviously his own progression, he still keeps a close eye on the competition. I asked him about big upcoming bouts in his weight class. On the 31st March, British champion Brian Rose makes his first defence against Max Maxwell. The only man to ever beat Rose. However ‘The Eagle’ believes Maxwell’s win was in fact a fluke, “Rose is gonna win, last time Maxwell got lucky with a right hand. Rose has got good boxing skills and a strong jab.” The other big bout is a British title eliminator Between Matthew Hall and Sam Webb, this bout taking place on March 16th on the undercard of the Groves-Anderson rematch. “The best man is gonna win, Sam Webb is a good boxer, but I know i’m better. I sparred Webb when he was the British champion and if you walked into the gym , you wouldn’t know who the champ was.”

Although the talented Ochieng is the English champ, he unfortunately does not hold a perfect record. In March of last year Erick lost a controversial points decision to Luke Robinson. Late in proceedings the six round scheduled fight was dropped to four rounds, upsetting the champ’s preparations. “If that fight had been a six rounder, I would have won. We had prepared for six rounds, we were doing eight round sparring. I’m a long distance fighter and he is a quick, strong starter. He came out aggressive, but I kept my composure, landed the cleaner and better quality shots. But the referee scored it on aggression rather than quality.” Erick insist’s that the record isn’t a big deal for him though, ” Records are for DJ’s,” he say’s jokingly, “I was relived in a way, because it takes away the pressure. I’m glad it came early in my career, because I was able to learn from it. I don’t regret it, I got stronger from it,” he explains, “Some of the best fighters lost, ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard, Muhammaed Ali, ‘Sugar’ Ray Robinson.” However although the decision in the ring was contentious, ‘The Eagle’ explains their were distractions outside, ” There was a lot of distraction, I had sold a lot of tickets to friends. The day of the fight I had them calling me, asking me where’s the venue? what times it start? and it took away some focus.” Where Brian Rose is taking on Max Maxwell in an attempt to avenge the only loss on his record, Erick insist’s that this isn’t something he would plan to do in future, “I wanna focus on going forward. If he is in my way to the top i’ll fight him again, but i’m not gonna go around looking for him,” he continues, “there’s no point in going back, i’m moving on to greater stuff.”

The domestic light middleweight division is very competitive at the moment. The British title is regularly changing hands and there is a long line of fighters waiting for there shot at the lonsdale belt. With the Hall-Webb eliminator, it is unknown when ‘The Eagle’ will get his shot. But he is confident in his trainer/manager Brain Lawrence and his promoter Eddie Hearn on giving him that opportunity, he explains “I got the best coach in the business, I got the best manager in the business, I have no doubt they’ll get me that shot. It’s a great year, it’s ‘The Eagles’ year, without doubt i’ll get my shot and i’ll win that title. It’s just a matter of time.” If the path to the lonsdale belt is blocked, Erick is open to the possibility of a challenge for another domestic honour. The Commonwealth title is currently held by unbeaten 25 year old Jamie Cox, who since coming out with a victory in a highly disputed points victory against Odobai Sai in September 2011, has been away from the ring. “I’ve sparred him before, I sparred him for the fight with Sai. He was going into a big fight and I was just coming back, and it was a competitive session,” he continues, “I’ll fight anyone, I’m not scared of anyone and if I do meet him he’s gonna get beat. I’ve got great options at the moment, defend the English, challenge for the British, the Commonwealth. I trust my promoters to get me the right fight and i’ll be ready. I’ve got to focus on being the best I can be and beating whatever Eddie puts in front of me.”

Ochieng’s promoter Eddie Hearn is the pioneer of the Prizefighter tournament, recently Erick’s former fellow English champion Adil Anwar, decided to vacate his title to challenge for the Prizefighter trophy and the £32,000 prize money. He came out successful and that has spearheaded him to a potential shot against British light welterweight champion Ashley Theophane. However ‘The Eagle’ acknowledges the success the tournament can bring, but insists at this time it’s not his thing. “The tournament that Quigley got to the final of but lost to Robert Lloyd Taylor, was actually offered to me to compete in. But I turned it down because of the fight with Rose, which unfortunately fell through. But it’s not something I would go for because I got my title and I want to move onwards. Prizefighter is something that will always be there to go back to, but right now I want what’s in front of me.”

After all the talk about matters inside the ring, I begin to focus on whats outside. The training background, the story and how it has shaped the champion. Some boxers go back and forth between trainers. Amir Khan originally started with highly respected trainer Oliver Harrison, before a brief spell with Jorge Rubio and finally settling with multiple time trainer of the year winner Freddie Roach. Ochieng has been with his trainer/manager Brian Lawrence ever since he set out into the paid ranks, and ‘The Eagle’ speaks very highly of the man in his corner. “He is very old school, he’s very experienced. He’s gone on to train many champions, such as Ian Napa. He’s got the right experience and the right connections to take me forward,” he goes on to say, “This feels right, I believe it’s God’s will that i’m here and if something comes between me and Brian, i’ll pray for it to stay strong.” The 24 year old moved to London from Kenya when he was 12 years old. Growing up in inner city London can sometimes lead people down the wrong path, the temptation for trouble can sometimes be to much. Many former and current fighters who have had a similar life to Erick have accredited boxing with helping them stay straight when coming through their teenage years. Erick is one of the same who see boxing as the thing that kept him away from trouble. “Boxing does great things, I used to be a bad boy. I was known as a good right hand on the streets, I would see something I liked and I was taking it.” He continues, “when I used to live in Tottenham, a friend and I went had a go on someones pads and I liked it. We would then do this every saturday, in the front garden, back garden. We lived only a few minutes from the Haringey ABC, I went there with a friend one day and met one of the coaches, he told me I had talent, I had ability.” Erick, who is a strong believer in God thanks the church for giving him the focus to go back to Haringey ABC, “I remember being at church, and they were saying to use your talents for good, use your ability. And it came like a light. That guy said I had a talent, so I went back and started training.” Erick also insist that his “bad boy” past helped him to learn his skills in the ring, “I thought I was the baddest guy in the gym, until I started sparring,” he continues, “I was getting hit and I was getting mad, the more I got hit, the madder I got. Boxing helped me with self control, I took a step back and though why was i getting hit. Because I was getting upset, I was getting hungry, I needed to stay calm and relax. This helped me to keep my discipline on the street, I learnt to walk away, not to fight. In a sense boxing helped toturn my life around, it helped me keep my faith in christ, it helped me change my thinking, my lifestyle. Boxing helped me with my discipline and young people need their discipline.”

Erick’s ambition like most professional fighters is to reach that world title. The light middleweight division is strong on a world level at the moment. Big title fights have recently been made between Mayweather-Cotto and Alvarez-Mosley, but the level of high competition is what keeps ‘The Eagle’ going. “The level of competition is very high, but it makes me train harder, work harder and it keeps me more motivated. It’s just a matter of time before I reach that level.” Even though his dreams are high, he doesn’t forget his roots, “I want to win the title and I want to take it to Kenya, I want to defend it in Kenya. That will be massive for them.” The 24 year old is full of confidence, he believes in his ability and knows that he will reach that summit.

Last of all, Erick ‘The Eagle’ Ochieng wishes to thank his supporters, his sponsors at Addison Lee, King apparel, Boxfit and Glen insurance.  “Thanks for all the support and God bless.”

British boxing still has class

20 Feb

Since Friday the actions of two of our leading professionals have plunged British boxing into darkness. David Haye and Dereck Chisora’s disgraceful performance at the post fight press conference of Chisora’s failed world title challenge, not to forget Chisora’s pre fight display, have been an embarrassment for the sport. Their controversial actions in the last 72 hours have unfortunately overshadowed some good that has been done this weekend. Because of the world title challenge in Germany, few knew there were in fact two other big fights taking place Saturday night.

Ulsterman Brian Magee travelled to Denmark to make the first defence of his interim WBA super middleweight title. Following his loss to IBF champion Lucian Bute, Magee was looking to get back on track and make the journey back to challenge for a world title. Magee was able to successfully defend his title against Rudy Markussen in what was considered to be a tricky defence, The big hitter had one his last four bouts, all coming by knockout. The fight was split down the middle before the start of the fifth, when late in the round Magee ducked a right from Markussen and unloaded a vicious left to the the ribs of the Dane, putting him down, wincing with pain. Markussen could not answer the count and Magee had returned with back to back victories.

Brian Magee has long been the nearly man in the super middleweight division. For years he fought in the shadow of British world champions Joe Calzaghe and now Carl Froch. Magee has long been a world level fighter but has never got the exposure and opportunity his talent deserves. A former British and Commonwealth title holder Magee has unfortunately seemed to fall short whenever he gets a step up in class. Few know that last year, Magee had unfortunately failed in a brave attempt to dethrone IBF super middleweight king Lucian Bute, some other defeats have come to world title holders Carl Froch and Robin Reid. However despite coming off the back off the TKO loss to the unbeaten champ, Magee got another shot. In July the Ulsterman once again journeyed across the world to Costa Rica to fight Jamie Barboza for the interim WBA title. Magee was able to claw his career back from the brink with a dominant unanimous decision points victory against the Costa Rican. Now with a breath of new life in him, Magee is looking to once again challenge for the biggest prize in boxing. By holding the interim belt it keeps Magee in line to challenge for full world honours and he has kept anything but quiet about his ambitions, he hopes to face the victor of the bout between WBO belt holder Robert Stieglitz and former unified world champion Mikkel Kessler.

Whilst the majority of the entertainment in Germany came outside the ring. All the entertainment in Rotherham rightly came inside the ring. Super bantamweights Kid Galahad and former world title challenger Jason Booth put on a performance that was worthy of Las Vegas. The bout screened live on Channel 5 was non-stop action from the opening bell. Former British and Commonwealth champion Booth was looking to get back to winning ways after two straight losses, he came up against another unbeaten new kid on the block in Kid Galahad. The undefeated Galahad was 10-0 coming into this fight and was looking to make a statement to put his name into the mix of what is currently, a highly competitive domestic division. The 21 year old Sheffield fighter has been in the shadows of fellow undefeated super bantam prospects, British champion Scott Quigg and Commonwealth champion Carl Frampton. The 12 round contest went back and fourth, the tricky experienced Booth was able to put Galahad on the canvas in the first with a smart overhand left. But unfortunately that is the best Booth had in what was a fantastic display by the Sheffield fighter. Despite being on the wrong side of the scorecards, Booth never stopped giving his all. Proving once again he is a warrior of the sport. But his brave display could not match the slick combinations of Galahad who came out with the unanimous decision. What was wonderful to see was the mutual respect of both fighters. Not at one point was Booth bitter about the loss, he was instantly the first to congratulate Galahad hugging him at the final bell. It was fantastic to see a fighter so gracious in defeat. Next up for Galahad may well be a challenge for the European belt against the dangerous Kiko Martinez. Unfortunately for Booth with only one win in five the 34 year old may well be considering retirement.

It’s not all doom and gloom. It’s great to show that the disgraceful actions of two stupid individuals should not shame British boxing. It is a great year for the sport. It’s been many a year since we have had so many prospects coming through the ranks to challenge the old heads in the domestic division. As well as having more and more getting the world title opportunities they deserve. It is up to the fans to not let Haye and Chisora’s actions ruin this country’s great boxing name.

A champion in the ring. A disgrace outside of it – Chisora’s controversy overshadows brave challenge.

19 Feb

Last night in Germany Dereck Chisora failed in his bid to become a world champion as WBC heavyweight title holder Vitali Klitschko came  out on top with a unanimous points decision. The whole event has been marred by controversy and has unfortunately taken the spotlight away from what was a very brave challenge in the ring. Vitali was pushed for the whole twelve rounds and was given his toughest test since his return to the ring in 2008. After all the controversy in the pre fight build up, much was expected from the world heavyweight title fight at the Olympiahalle, Munich. Former British champion Dereck ‘Del Boy’ Chisora was taking a massive step up in class to challenge WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, many fight pundits predicted an easy night for the 40 year old Ukrainian. Klitschko had not been defeated since returning to the ring in 2008 after a four year retirement due to injury problems. Since returning him and brother Wladimir have gone on to control the domestic division, beating away all challengers to control all versions of the heavyweight titles. Other than another British fighter in David Haye, team Klitschko have not been offered a proper test. But in Chisora they were given something they have not seen before. A controversial, loud mouthed, do whatever he likes kind of opponent. Rather than another old has been trying to get a last payday against the best in the world. Chisora certainly came to upset the odds and rip away the world title.

Much of the pre fight was dominated by talk of how long Chisora would last, what kind of challenge he would honestly put up. Myself I believed that in order to give himself a chance, Chisora would have to throw away the rule book and take any chance he gets to upset Vitali. He did exactly that. At the weigh in, on Friday. Chisora clearly layed down his challenge by slapping the WBC champion right across the face. A dirty un-proffesional move entirely. But this was expected, Chisora had previously kissed an opponent during a face off and the colourful character was certain to pull off another stunt similar to that. On fight night the overwhelming opinion of Chisora was low. Many branding him a disgrace to the sport. Justifiably the WBC proceeded  to fine ‘Del Boy’ a percentage of his fight takings. A number that is not fully known. A lot of pundits considered the act suicide. In previous bouts Klitschko would choose to work on his opponents over the distance, many felt now he would simply choose to punish the Finchley fighter and embarrass him with an early end to his world title challenge.

Chisora came in to the ring at the Olympiahalle to boos ringing around the arena from the 13,000 strong pro Klitschko crowd. He made his way in unfazed wearing quite possibly the best ring outfit i’ve seen. ‘Del Boy’ and his tudor style ring attire was a testament to his patriotism and the one part of him that oozes class. Vitali came to ring in a grand entrance that was almost the exact copy of Wladimir’s in his victory over David Haye. The Ukrainian was focused and it was clear he meant business. Wanting to punish ‘Del Boy’ for his insult. As he entered the ring he instantly had Dereck in his face trying to throw the champ out of his rhythm. The tension between the two was off the scale. To fire the situation up more than it already was Chisora proceeded to spit water in the face of Vitali’s brother Wladimir. The act probably coming from a frustration built up after Wladimir twice ducked away from a defence against ‘Del Boy’,  But nothing justifies the horrible act to spit on a fellow professional.

Klitschko started the much stronger fighter taking the opening three rounds and he was rarely tested. Chisora was attempting to walk the bigger man down with a high pressure attack, swinging big rights and lefts. Trying to scare the Ukrainian and disrupt his “robotic” style. Vitali simply kept his distance with a strong jab, following up with the easy straight right. Vitali was clean, not wasting energy with too many shots and landing effectively when he was needed to. Every time a power punch landed the crowd rose to cheer on their man. This never effected the challenger as he continued to pressurise Klitschko and keep him working on the back foot. In the fourth Chisora started to have more success, by jabbing to the body and following it up with some stinging right hooks to the ribs of the Ukrainian, Chisora started to mark the champ. Klitschko was kept busy ‘Del Boy’ never let him stand still, always pressing. But VItali was keen to pick his shots wisely while Chisora came in with wild swings attempting to hurt the big man. Dereck started to have greater success in the middle rounds. The big body attack and constant pressure may have started to show on the 40 year old Klitschko. The Ukrainian started to breathe hard, his mouth open in attempts to increase the air flow. Despite the Italian referees best efforts to split them up, Chisora was able to break through the strong defence and get inside, but at times the hard work to get through seemed in vain as the fight took it’s toll. Chisora didn’t let his hands go at the right opportunity and missed out on a great chance. In the later rounds, we saw a great deal of clinching from the champ. The danger posed by the younger Chisora may had made Klitschko think twice and change his tactics. The tiredness of the champ continued to show as it allowed Chisora openings in which he landed some solid shots occasionally unsteadying Klitschko. Unfortunately at the close the massive effort shown by the Finchley fighter just wasn’t enough. The clean effective work from Vitali in the opening and close of the bout unfortunately left ‘Del Boy’ with a mountain to climb, he had to do the impossible and KO the Ukrainian. At the final bell, there was a mutual respect. All involved new the result before the scorecards were announced. A unanimous points decision was the verdict from the three judges and Chisora rightly so applauded the victor. Vitali had been tested, it was nowhere near his best performance but he did enough. He is still the champion. But that isn’t where the action in the ring ended. Vitali and Wladimir clearly upset with Chisora’ pre fight actions confronted the Brit and the group fought a war of words before Chisora’s promoter Frank Warren jumping in to split the two. The performance from Chisora was a career best, he fought hard, he fought well. The tactics worked well but on the night there just simply wasn’t enough. Vitali is right to be considered as the best heavyweight around. He may not have boxed his best but he still got the win. After the performance from Klitschko some have said he is sliding. That the age is taking it’s toll. Yes, he did start to tire like i haven’t seen before. But was this due to the opponents high work rate.

It is a shame that the night will not be remembered for the action inside of the ring. The controversial actions of ‘Del Boy’ before the bout don’t come close to what happened after. During the post fight press conference the atmosphere took a sour turn. Former world heavyweight champion David Haye put on a performance of his own that night. Earlier on their had been a heated exchange between Haye and Klitschko manager Bernd Boente that led to Boente calling security on Haye. The former champion once again decided to make an appearance. Once again Haye and Boente clashed, which led Chisora to get involved. What followed may well shame British boxing for years. After another fierce war of words between the two British heavyweights, Chisora made his way into the press pit to confront Haye. With his entourage behind him Chisora squared up to David. Moments later the former world champion through a right hand to Chisora and a melee ensued. Both were on the floor, cameras and journalist were being crashed into. Members of both teams were trying to pull away the boxers but the trouble continued. As Haye grabbed a camera tripod and swung it round his head, he mistakingly caught his manager and trainer Adam Booth on the head, drawing blood. After the two were broken apart, Chisora continued to march at Haye, at one point he appeared to have a bottle in hand. He himself was accusing Haye of attempting to bottle him. When it all came to a close, Chisora continued to threaten Haye “I’m going to shoot him, I’m going to find him and physically burn him.” Booth and Chisora ended it all with a firm discussion. Booth demanded to know who hit him whilst Chisora attempted to clean away the blood. As Booth left the building to go find a fleeing Haye, he said to team Klitschko manager Boente “You’re a liar and a bitch,” he continued “Vitali, your a great fighter, but your manager is an embarrassment to the sport. Well done on the win.” This has definitely not the end of this. The whole time the Klitschko brothers watched on with cheek to cheek smiles, they proved they are just sheer class and rose above the confrontation.

As I said previously, the whole event post fight is a disgrace. To have two of your top athletes acting so appallingly. The night will be forever marred by these actions. Chisora had gone some way to redeeming his previous actions with an inspired performance in the ring and then proceeded to bring himself back down. How on earth was Chisora even allowed to get that far? Why did Frank Warren not get involved and save his fighter from himself? Did Warren want it to happen? People I know not to be boxing fans, but still sports fans now want this fight to happen. Warren wanted this to happen. All he saw was pounds signs the whole time and honestly I believe much of the blame needs to go down to him along with the two boxers. It’s a scene that nobody involved in the sport wants to see again. The fighting should take place in the ring, nowhere else.

Fight Preview – ‘Del Boy’ to shock the world?

18 Feb

Tonight we see Dereck ‘Del Boy’ Chisora travel into the lions den that is the Olympiahalle, Munich to challenge for the WBC heavyweight championship. The one man standing in his way is ‘Dr.Ironfist’ Vitali Klistschko. The Ukrainian Klitschko has held the WBC crown since 2008 and hasn’t suffered defeat since our own former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis stopped ‘Dr.Ironfist’ in six rounds. Everything is stacked against the Finchley fighter and his goal to be a world champion. He is giving away six inches in height and six inches in reach.  It’s in Klitschko territory and Chisora knows very well about home advantage when fighting in Europe. Can ‘Del Boy’ pull of the miraculous? Can ‘Del Boy’ shock the world?

Since turning professional in 2007, Dereck Chisora smashed his way through a fairly weak domestic heavyweight division. He quickly made his way to a British title challenge in only his thirteenth fight. The champion at the time was Danny Williams. However Danny was far beyond his best days, the days when he pulled off a shock result to KO Mike Tyson. ‘Del Boy’ was able to break down the experience of Williams and tear away the title in just two rounds. After a successful defence against Sam Sexton, Chisora was lined up with the most unlikely of challenges. After then WBA heavyweight champion David Haye was unable to secure a bout with unified world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, ‘Del Boy’ was more than happy to fill the void left by the ‘Hayemaker’. It was all set or Chisora to challenge for the biggest prize in the sport, only for his dream to be torn away, just like the abdominal muscle of Wladimir Klitschko. The bout was postponed after Wladimir suffered the injury only three days prior to the bout in Germany. It was rescheduled only for Wladimir to once again pull out. But this time not because of injury. This time it was to face then WBA champion David Haye. Rather than challenge for the world title, Chisora was left to defend his lonsdale belt against risky challenger Tyson Fury. What resulted was a severely poor performance from Chisora. Judging by his weight on the night, it is doubtful ‘Del Boy’ was taking the challenger seriously. Tyson Fury put in an incredible performance the bout on his way to a unanimous points victory and Chisora was left with nothing. He had gone from world title challenger to domestic wilderness.

After his performance against Fury, ‘Del Boy’ was very fortunate and got a shot at undefeated Finish fighter Robert Helenius for the vacant European heavyweight title. The challenge was, like tonight’s action, in Helenius’s home country. Despite dominating the bout ‘Del Boy’ was on the end of a horrible decision. Helenius took the title and maintained his unbeaten record with a split decision victory. The decision was highly controversial, many pundits believed Chisora had won the bout and deserved the decision. Even though Helenius got the win, he dropped down in some rankings. On the back of this brave performance and partially due to a lack of challengers in the heavyweight division. Chisora was given his chance again as Wladimir’s brother, Vitali agreed to defend his WBC crown against the Finchley fighter. The Ukrainian heavyweight is widely believed to be the better of the two brothers. His record of 43-2-0 (40KOs) is phenomenal. To take ‘Dr. Ironfist’ twelve rounds could be considered a victory in itself. Since coming out of a four year retirement in 2008 he has torn his way through the competition. Although the standard of the competition may not be the same as in his previous reign. Very few are giving Dereck much of a chance. Vitali’s immense power and class inside the ring make him the firm favourite. If Chisora is to win, he needs to get the tactics perfect and give the performance of his life. He has a slim chance of winning. Vitali is now 40 years old, he hasn’t been tested in recent bouts because the competition simply isn’t there. There is a possibility that the youthful Chisora could simply charge through an ageing Vitali in the early rounds. Klitschko likes to control a fight and by attacking him and taking him out of his comfort zone, there is a possibility Chisora could take him out of his rhythm. At the press conference yesterday, many people were expecting the colourful Chisora to pull some kind of stunt. Similar to what he has done in the past. During the face off ‘Del Boy’ slapped Vitali across the face, sparking outrage amongst the Ukranian and his camp. Now the move is absolutely disgraceful on a personal level, it’s completely unprofessional. However it is exactly what Chisora needs to do. Upset the bigger man, take him out of control and take him off focus. What Chisora did at the press conference was very smart. Although he has been fined £50,000 by the WBC, the amount of publicity it has brought for the fight could benefit Chisora in the future in many ways. 

In my personal opinion, I believe Vitali to be simply to powerful for Chisora. He is a simple fighter who does exactly what he needs to win. He knows his strengths and he knows how to use them. With his height he can keep Chisora away with a strong jab and follow it up with the straight right. Chisora has a good chin, he can take a hit. But Vitali will break him down to win via late stoppage. Chisora has a chance. It’s a slim chance, but he could pull off the upset.

Somebody’s 0 has gotta go – Rios v Gamboa set for April 14th

17 Feb

Today it has been announced that the undefeated former WBA lightweight champion ‘Bam Bam’ Brandon Rios (29-0-1, 22KOs), will once again attempt to push his body to make the 135 lbs limit to challenge Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa (21-0, 16 KOs) for the vacant WBA title. Rios hit a low point in his eight year professional career as he lost the title back in Decemeber on the scales. After failing to make weight for his defence against Manchester’s John Murray, Rios was stripped of his title. After agreements between both camps were made, the fight went ahead.In the action Rios came off the better, his far greater weight advantage on fight night and superior punching power took its toll on a brave Murray as he was stopped in the eleventh round. Rios’s weight issues made it highly unlikely he would ever venture back to lightweight.

Gamboa is also required to make drastic weight changes for the bout against the former WBA lightweight champion. The 2004 Olympic gold medalist is a former WBA and IBF featherweight world champion, and was considered by many to be the number one in the world at the weight. Although he has previously campaigned at super featherweight, that was back in 2008. It is a worry as to how the Cuban will cope with the strain it will take to gain the weight and what effect it will have on his performance. Will he have the same explosive speed an accuracy as he did at 126 lbs. Rios will also be a huge step up in class for Gamboa. Although he has fought world title holders before in Solis, Salido and Ponce De Leon, he has never faced anyone who can hit like Rios. The American trained by Ring magazine trainer of the year Robert Garcia has won 11 in a row, 10 coming by way of knockout. Although considered to be the underdog Yurorkis is not a nothing fighter. Gamboa was a wanted man by many opponents. Considered to be one of the big rising talents in the world the Cuban had options to face WBO super featherweight champion and fellow future star Adrien Broner and also super bantamweight titleist Nonito Donaire had expressed interest to face Gamboa. The former champion could have decided to stay at featherweight and face fellow featherweight dominators Juan Manuel Lopez or Chris John.

It will no doubt it be a firecracker of a fight. It is unpredictable how it will play out. Will Rios once again lose on the scales. Could Gamboa use his talent to derail the bigger man in his quest for global supremacy. What we know is that on April 14th Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas. Someones 0 has gotta go.

Next step for ‘Canelo’

15 Feb

WBC light middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez enjoyed a break out year in 2011. The 21 year old Mexican star fought four times last year successfully winning and defending the light middleweight belt against dangerous opposition. Opposition he took out with class. Three of those bouts ending in TKO’s with Alvarez displaying a clinical level of power and accuracy to defeat Rhodes, Gomez and Cintron. The victories over world ranked challengers catapulted Alvarez into the limelight. Already a star in his native Mexico, the world is now taking notice. Up next for ‘Canelo’ is former three weight world champion ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley. The fight will take place May 5th on the undercard of the clash between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Alvarez’s light middleweight rival Miguel Cotto. This is surely to be Mosley’s last chance at glory. Should he lose, it will mean the Californian has gone four fights without victory, and retirement must be a consideration for the 40 year old ring legend. Should ‘Canelo’ win it will be the biggest scalp of his career by far and will set the Mexican up for a 2012 that could see the unbeaten fighters stock skyrocket.

‘Canelo’ whose nickname comes from the Spanish word for cinnamon (due to his bright red hair) has been boxing now since 2005, turning professional at the tender age of 15. Despite reaching the professional ranks at such so young, the world champion still managed to get a number of amateur bouts under his belt. The undefeated star has managed to reach forty fights in six years as a professional averaging seven fights a year, a phenomenal amount. You’d find it difficult to find another prospect who has such experience under their belt. But up until 2009 the Mexican had been matched very well enabling him to get through the early years of his career fairly unscathed. One draw in his fifth fight the only blemish on his pro record. It wasn’t until 2010 he was given a true test with wins against former world champions Carlos Baldomir and Lovemore N’dou. However after two years of challenging at the top, the world champion is still criticised that he has fought nobody and doesn’t deserve his position at the summit of the 154 lbs division. But in truth for someone like Alvarez it cannot be easy to secure certain fights. Not many top level boxers will want to put it all on the line against a 21 year old Mexican who has been destroying all put in front of him. Last year he defeated British welterweight Matthew Hatton for the WBC light middleweight belt. Hatton stepped up in weight in order to challenge for the belt, when few others would.

Former three weight world champion ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley will be lining up against ‘Canelo’ for the Mexican’s fourth defence of his WBC crown. ‘Sugar’ has endured a tough few years. After a career rejuvenating performance against Antonio Margarito to win the WBA ‘super’ welterweight championship. Mosley was lined up to head back to the big time. After the TKO win against Mexican Margarito, a fighter who had never previously been stopped, Mosley was rewarded with a super fight against long time rival Floyd Mayweather. Unfortunately other than one big right in the right in the second round, he rarely troubled ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd. Since then Mosley has dropped back down the pecking order, remaining fairly inactive since the May 2010 clash. A draw with Sergio Mora and a one sided loss to pound for pound king Manny Pacquaio were the only outings for the former world champion. Despite a disappointing few years for Mosley he still wants to chase after that dream and refuses to be considered a stepping stone, insisting he is still dangerous at world level. Even though in the fight with Pacquaio he offered very little to cause the Filipino any problems, he still packs a mighty punch at the age of forty and can offer Alvarez a real test to his perfect record.

Surprisingly the fight has so far been met with mixed reception from fans. Some consider that despite Mosley’s past glories, the bout is a horrible mismatch and that ‘Canelo’ will simply brush aside the former champion. They believe that Mosley whose speed has left him in his  old age cannot offer Alvarez a decent fight. However some have thought different. Some fight fans think that Mosley has put the last two years behind him and is realistic about coming back to the big time. They have said that he isn’t searching for one last payday and is ready to once again shock the world with a KO of the Mexican star.

2012 is a big year for ‘Canelo’. He has already been linked with fights against some of the world’s other big names. Before Cotto was named  as Mayweathers opponent, it was widely believed Alvarez was going to be the fighter to face the WBC welterweight champ. He already has massive support in his native Mexico, becoming a national celebrity due to both his ability in the ring and interestingly his distinct hair colour. Should he overcome Mosley a host of names will surely be in the running to challenge ‘Canelo’. The light middleweight division is incredibly strong at the present time, with WBA champion Miguel Cotto and IBF champion Cornelius Bundrage putting on great performances their is great potential for unification bouts. Not to forget the many challengers in line hungry for their shot, fighters such as the powerful James Kirkland and fellow undefeated American Vanes Martirosyan. The 32-0 fighter Martirosyan recently recorded a third round TKO victory over Troy Lowry on the Chavez Jr. – Rubio undercard, and he currently holds the WBC silver championship and surely would be next in line to challenge ‘Canaelo’ in a clash of unbeaten boxers.

Another Mexican who has been touted as a potential future opponent for Alvarez is WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. The contest would be massive for Mexico as both are massive stars in their home country and would no doubt be a fantastic clash of styles in what is once again be a clash between undefeated boxers. But with Chavez Jr. weight issues the match up looks unlikely to be any time soon. It is hard to see how Chavez Jr. can continue fighting at middleweight and a move up to super middleweight is surely an option.

May 5th is building up to be one of the biggest events in the boxing calendar. Recently the middleweight clash between Peter Quillin v Winky Wright has been added to the line up meaning that now there is three perfect records and two world titles going only the line. It is surely going to be a night of incredible action.