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Khan v Garcia confirmed for July 14th

23 May

A few weeks ago, former light welterweight titlist Amir Khan was making his last preparations for his contest with Lamont Peterson, the man who only five months prior tore away his IBF and WBA titles in a dramatic, but controversial showdown in the US capital of Washington D.C. After losing his titles Khan was shellshocked, he was throwing every excuse as to the reason why he lost the contest, now infamous excuses. Who involved in boxing doesn’t know the “man in the hat” story. Khan wanted a rematch with his conquerer and eventually he got it, the date was set for May 19th at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. However, last week Khan got the horrible call that his bout with Peterson was in jeopardy, because Peterson had failed a drugs test. Once again Khan had come up short.

So now after all the fallout of the Peterson problems, Khan has had his wind-down time and can once again start to prepare for a world title contest. Today it has been announced that Amir will challenge unbeaten American Danny Garcia for the WBC light welterweight title. The fight will take place once again in Las Vegas and at the Mandalay Bay resort on July 14th and will be Garcia’s first defence of the title he won in defeating Mexican legend Erik Morales back in March with a convincing twelve round unanimous decision. Should Khan win it will see the Englishmen become a two time world champion and could be his last at the weight before moving up to welterweight.

Despite being unbeaten and the belt holder, in facing Khan, Garcia will be making a big step up in class. Other than defeating a fading Morales, Garcia’s hit list isn’t very impressive. Wins over light welterweight stepping stone Kendall Holt and ageing former champion Nate Campbell do deserve recognition, as well as the split decision victory against former British title holder Ashley Theophane. But one does wonder how he will deal with level of competition. He has never fought someone as fast or as powerful as Khan, but he does have skills of his own. Garcia is a technically very good boxer and throw punches from a variety of positions, at times getting through with power and precision. But like I say he has never faced someone of Khan’s ability.

I can only see this one going one way. Khan will start quick work behind a crisp jab and outbox Garcia on his way to a points victory. Those who have troubled Khan in the past, such as Peterson, have broken Khan down with pressuring offence. Unfortunately I can’t see Garcia doing this. With the help of Freddie Roach, the former champion is learning from his mistakes and developing his style which should make him a far better fighter than he ever would’ve been should he have held on to his title back in December. The one thing which will work in Garcia’s favour is a possibility of ring rust. By the time the two make their way to the ring in July, it would’ve been seven months since Khan’s last competitive twelve rounds, whereas only four for the undefeated American.


What’s next for the newly crowned heavyweight champ?

23 May

Saturday night saw the crowning of the first British heavyweight champion from the great fighting city of Liverpool. David Price’s four round demolition of Norwich’s Sam Sexton in front of his home crowd at Aintree race course maintained the 6 foot 8 big hitters undefeated record and kept him on course to make a big impact on the world stage as he improved his record to 13-0 (11KOs)

The performance from Price was as close to perfection as you could get. He out-jabbed and out-boxed the former Commonwealth title holder and kept his attacks at bay with a tight defence before unloading late in the third to put Sexton on the canvas. A sweet left opened up Sexton to a trademark right from the Liverpudlian which sent his opponent crashing to the deck. The bell saved Sexton from further punishment, however the Norwich fighter came out for the forth looking in good shape. Price was full of confidence after the late knockdown and went straight onto the attack. He once again threw a big right to stumble his opponent before a crisp uppercut sent him staggering into the ropes.  Sexton beat the count only to be finished off expertly by the big man a few moments later a right hook finished him off. There was no way Sexton was getting up from the monster of a shot.

Post fight the newly crowned British and Commonwealth champion said,

“It’s everything I’ve worked towards,” said Price. “This was the first target. It’s done. Now we can look forward. I felt like I boxed the perfect fight. I knew I’d have to be patient, but I’m ready to step up and face the best out there. I won’t rush – I’m not the finished article yet – but I feel I am destined to be a world champion.”

“This feels like the end of the beginning.”

Frank Maloney, his promoter, added: “David has the best jab since Lennox Lewis as a heavyweight. That was a 10 out of 10 performance. He is a credit to British boxing.”

It is clear that Price has a big future in the division, however it is these next twelve months that are the most important. Price is not quite ready to step up to world level, he certainly has the ability but lacks the experience necessary to challenge for a world crown. But he is running out of options of domestic level opponents. The final test is Tyson Fury, and that fight isn’t happening any time soon. So, who does that leave for Price to defend his Lonsdale belt against? Personally, I would like to see him face Sheffield’s Richard Towers, a fellow big man with an undefeated record and a fantastic KO percentage. Towers next fights on June 16th, in a battle for the EBU title against Michael Wallisch, therefore the timing is perfect to get them together for the end of the summer. After that move Pricey on to bigger fish such as Robert Helenius or possibly an ageing Tomasz Adamek before then stepping up to the big time.

Can Sexton cause an upset or will Price continue his path of destruction?

19 May

So far, like many others just gone, 2012 has proven to be a year where fights just don’t get made. We have had many reasons as to why certain fights have not gone ahead, we seem to be referring to these reasons simply as “boxing politics.” One of the key domestic clashes that the fans have been robbed of, was the mouthwatering heavyweight clash between now former British and Commonwealth champion Tyson Fury and 2008 Olympic Bronze medalist David Price.

Instead this Saturday, the undefeated English champion Price will go in to battle with Norwich’s Same Sexton for the right to carry the British heavyweight title and be the first Liverpudlian to do so. Although Sam Sexton is a skilled fighter, who can offer the 6 foot 9 Olympian a stern test, he does not offer the same unpredictable skill that Fury has.

Price earned his way to a shot at the British title with an emphatic first round KO of veteran domestic challenger, John McDermott. That bout for the English title and a shot at the Lonsdale belt, firmly put Price into the picture as a true potential future world champion. Before the contest, some were questioning whether Price was in fact good enough to challenge Fury and if he would ever live up to his billing as a future world champion. But his one round destruction of McDermott, a fighter who has twice given Fury a run for his money, sent shockwaves through the domestic scene and fans dreaming of the two big men doing battle.

However, “politics” struck again. A deal was never reached, mainly due to TV problems. Fury is Channel 5’s posterboy and if the contest was to be staged on the terrestrial channel, Fury’s promoter Mick Hennessy would have to win the purse bid or make Price an offer he simply couldn’t refuse. But this was never going to happen, Hennessy would never be able to outbid Frank Maloney (Price’s promoter) Maloney has a deal with Sky Sports for his TV rights and would be able to pay Price a far greater fee than the £100,000 offered by Hennessy to fight on Channel 5. So before the purse bids met there deadline, Fury vacated his titles and Sam Sexton was given the opportunity to challenge the Liverpudlian for the British and Commonwealth crowns.

The reason as to why Fury-Price is such a sought after fight is because in one corner you have an unconventional, up and down giant of a fighter who has been a delight to watch in the ring and in the other you have another giant, but this one has skill in abudance, a knockout punch that could shake a mountain and the potential to be the next big thing in the heavyweight division. There is the obvious area rivalry that could draw fans by the thousands. Price is from Liverpool, Fury is from Manchester and the hatred between the two sets of followers will create a deafening atmosphere and a night to remember for boxing fans in Britain.

Unfortunately we may well not see that fight anytime soon. So for tonights action, I honestly can’t see anything other than a Price win. Sexton is a good fighter, he can certainly hold his own with any heavyweight within the domestic scene. The former Commonwealth title holder knows what it takes to win and to win in a hostile atmosphere. But the undefeated Price, is in my honest opinion on another level. When people ask me who I believe to be the next British big name in boxing, I quickly reply David Price. This fight may well go similar to past Price match ups. Sexton is smart enough not to go in all guns blazing like John McDermott did previously and end up in a heap on the canvas in the opener, but he does need to make an early impact and try and unnerve Price. Everything tonight is in the Liverpudlians favor. He has the home crowd, the height and reach advantage and the form going into the contest. This is 100% going to be a Price win and I think we will see a KO between rounds four to six.

The other big contest of the night see’s the well travelled light welterweight Ashley Theophane look to win the Lonsdale belt outright against Darren Hamilton, who came in as a late replacement for Steve Williams. The 31 year old has been regarded as one of the unsung heroes of the domestic division. A genuine boxing man who has no problem going out of his comfort zone to do what he loves. The experienced Theophane hopes that by securing domestic dominance in his third British title defence, he will finally get his long deserved shot at world glory. However there has been some late drama surrounding the contest. With Williams late pull out due to injury, a new opponent was obviously needed. Reportedly, English and recent Prizefighter champion Adil Anwar was turned down by Theophane as a late replacement. Instead Anwar will continue to fight on the Aintree bill against Dave Ryan, the prize for the winner? A future shot at the British title. Should Anwar get the win, it will be interesting to see if Theophane gives him the fight or chooses to vacate, therefore we will truly see if Theophane is running scared of the young Yorkshireman.


Andre Ward to make ring return

16 May

Unified super middleweight and Super Six champion, Andre Ward, is rumoured to be in advanced stages in negotiations for his long awaited return to the ring, According to Reports suggest that the “Son of God” will return to competitive action on September 8th against newly crowned WBC light heavyweight champion, Chad Dawson, with Atlantic City or Ward’s hometown of Oakland, California as possible venues. According to Ward’s promoter, Dan Goosen, the deal is very close to finalisation, with only the last few details to be confirmed.

Ward, who holds the WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine versions of the super middleweight title, has been out of action since dethroning Britain’s former WBC king Carl Froch in the Super Six final on December 17th last year. In that bout he sustained a hand injury that has kept him away from competing and has led the ever controversial WBC to declare him their “Champion in recess” after failing to make a mandatory defence against Anthony Dirrell. Dirrell was due to challenge for the effectively vacant title against  Nikola Sjekloca, however due to Dirrell suffering multiple injuries in a motorcycle accident last week, that bout is no longer going to happen, resulting in the WBC restoring the rightful champion Ward, as their titlist.

Both fighters promoters have had a sanctioning request approved by the WBC for the September 8th bout, and that the fight will be contested for Ward’s super middleweight crown.

Dawson has campaigned at 175lbs since 2006, the reasoning as to why he has chosen to step back down to challenge for a super middleweight belt is unknown, however should he be victorious “Bad” Chad will be recognised as a two weight world champion and firmly assert himself in the pound for pound rankings. In his last contest, Chad tore away the WBC light heavyweight title from veteran champion Bernard Hopkins in a dominant display. Many had believed he would stay in the division he has fought at for so many years and seek a unification bout, reportedly with Welsh WBO titlist Nathan Cleverly.

However he has chosen this path, and a dangerous path it is. After Ward successfully demolished all comers in the Super Six tournament, including punch perfect displays against our own Carl Froch and previous unified champion Mikkel Kessler, many who had previously doubted the unbeaten fighters championship credentials quickly realised that Ward is truly a deserved champion, and rewarded him with a place amongst the elite within the pound for pound rankings.

Haye v Chisora is on!

8 May

Today, a press conference from Upton Park in East London played host to a press conference that the boxing community awaited with great anticipation. Frank Warren hosted the conference to announce that on July 14th British heavyweights David Haye and Dereck Chisora will in fact be in the ring, standing toe-to-toe and finally settling the differences. But the announcement has caused great stir amongst the general public. Many questioning whether the contest should be taking place.

The bitterness between the two infamously begun back in February, when the two brawled at the post fight press conference of Chisora’s world title defeat to WBC champion Vitali Klitschko. After the events of that fateful night in Munich were brought to the publics attention via the worlds many forms of social media, the condemnation of the two was unanimous. All led with headlines such as “Disgrace” and “Embarrassment” and many felt that the former world champion Haye and world title challenger Chisora should never be allowed near a boxing ring again.

However, the post fight punch up certainly threw up some questions. Who would win should the fight be inside the ring? The question was on everybody’s lips. People involved with boxing, including myself slammed the actions of the heavyweights but at the same time could not wait to see the events unfold.

We fast forward to today and after a weekend of rumours and knowledge of a Frank Warren press conference, it was announced that on July 14th former two weight world champion David Haye and world title challenger Dereck Chisora will be trading blows at West Ham United’s Upton Park.

After the brawl in Munich, Chisora subsequently had his boxing licence suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control, meaning he could not compete on a bill sanctioned by them. Also, after Haye’s July 2011 loss to unified heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko – in which he lost his WBA heavyweight title – he proceeded to retire as always promised when he reached his 31st birthday. So the first question was, how is this fight going ahead? considering the fact that neither holds a BBB of C licence. The fight has infact been sanctioned by the Luxembourg Boxing Federation and will be co-promoted by Team Sauerland and Hayemaker Boxing. The notable absentee their is Chisora’s promoter Frank Warren, whose only involvement in the production of the contest will be his broadcaster airing the fight, BoxNation.

Fortunately today the two boxers were kept separate via a steel fence, but that never stopped the two from exchanging the verbal blows.

“He is the ideal opponent for me,” Haye said. “I am so glad he has got a good chin because if he didn’t have a good chin he would be blasted out in first round. This means I will give him a nice, slow, concussive beating.”

“I tried to knock him out in Munich and this is the opportunity to shut him up.”

To which Chisora angrily replied,

“I don’t like him. David, you need to get style. Your corn rows are out of fashion.

“Talk is cheap now. That was a lucky shot he hit me with in Munich. David: you are winning 1-0 but come July I am coming to whoop your ass.

“Your talk is cheap. You always talk but you don’t deliver in the ring.”

One big area for discussion is how the two will profit heavily from the contest considering the manner in which the hype surrounding it originated. Their behaviour caused massive outcry, the things that were said and the actions of that night in Munich were unacceptable from two who figure heavily in the public eye. They are sportsman who the youth of the country look up to and the example that they have set is unforgivable. In one corner you had Dereck threatening to stab Haye and in the other Haye acted out with bottles and tripods as weapons. Should these people have such financial gain over these atrocities? No. But will it stop thousands of people flocking to the Boleyn Ground to witness the final bell or millions more tuning into BoxNation, once again no.

Whatever happens it is no doubt going to be one of the most talked about boxing events of the year and will hopefully be an incredibly entertaining fight.


Bellew sends a message to the Valleys

30 Apr

Liverpool’s British light heavyweight champion Tony Bellew, sent a strong message to rival Nathan Cleverly with a sensational fifth round knockout against former European title holder Danny McIntosh in the first defence of his lonsdale belt in front of a packed out crowd at the Liverpool Echo Arena.

From the off the 29 year old Bellew was the stronger fighter, using his far superior boxing skills to beat McIntosh to the punch. With each blow landed by Bellew, his army of fans roared, spurring their man on to continue the pressure. On rare occasions McIntosh threatened to hurt the Liverpudlian but found little success, he came in with lazy shots and it was clear that after taking a couple of blows, McIntosh’s heart was not in the fight.

Bellew’s immaculate timing led to him catching ‘Big Mac’ several times, hurting the Norwich man. From as early as the second round, Bellew threatened the stoppage, constantly leaving the challenger on unsteady legs before finally making him touch the canvas in the last moments of the fourth.

In the fifth round, Bellew looked to continue the slick work he had so far provided for the fans. However he was caught by a clash of heads, which left him momentarily fazed. But the slow stream of blood coming down the left side of the champs face sent a shockwave through his system and he honed in for the kill. With a dip of the shoulder and a swing of the right, Bellew caught McIntosh flush on the chin sending the former European champ to the floor. Instantly the referee waved the bout off, he was clearly never getting up from the hammer blow, sending Bellew into wild celebrations.

The night proved to be a wonderful return to ring action for Tony ‘The Bomber’ Bellew. For six months Bellew wanted to end the frustration of coming off his first professional loss. In his world title shot against long time rival Nathan Cleverly, Bellew put on a clinical performance to do enough to dethrone the WBO champ, but he went home without the decision and without the belt. However Bellew has since not got the rematch he desired. Despite being promised a second crack at the Welshman, Bellew is still waiting. Instead he has had to watch ‘Clev’ make a low profile defence against American Tommy Karpency and soon to come another against Robin Krasniqi.

Post fight Bellew spoke with Sky Sports.

“We had to make a statement tonight. Hopefully that was a big performance,”

“The guy in the Valleys (Cleverly) doesn’t want to fight me. We agreed to have a rematch – an immediate rematch – if anything was close. I was promised it, but I wasn’t given it. Promises were broken.

“I want that fight. I’ll fight him tomorrow. I’ll go to Wales to fight him, I’ll fight him in his garden.”

Bellew, who is a promotional free agent, may look to sign with a promoter in order to help him secure his shot at Cleverly or another title holder. In his interview with Sky Sports, Bellew spoke of levels, saying he never new his level. Clearly he belongs with the elite. With his consistently improving boxing skill and raw KO power, Bellew deserves to hold a world title. Who he may sign with is a mystery. The fight with McIntosh was promoted by up and coming promoter Dave Coldwell with help from Matchroom to provide the television rights. Matchroom’s presence at the contest led their head of boxing Eddie Hearn being in Liverpool. Post fight Eddie seemed to be circling and has since been singing ‘The Bomber’s praises. In the last few years Matchroom and Eddie Hearn have become forces to be reckoned with, Signing up some of the country’s most exciting young and established fighters and providing them with both big nights and big opportunities. With his ambition to rule the boxing world, could Tony Bellew be the next to join the ranks?

McDonnell vacates to step up

23 Apr

Bantamweight Jamie McDonnell has vacated his European title in order to step up in class and challenge at the highest level. McDonnell, who also holds the British and Commonwealth titles, is to next take on former two weight world champion Hugo Cazares. The bout with Cazares has been made a WBC title eliminator and the contest is due to go to purse bids. McDonnell is coming off a stunning second round KO of former world title challenger, Ivan Pozo. The contest was McDonnell’s fourth defence of his EBU crown and after conquering the bantamweight division domestically is now finally time for the 26 year old to step up to the elite.

Mexican Cazares has held the WBO light flyweight and WBA super flyweight titles, but has only fought once since losing the 115 lbs title to Tomonobu Shimizu in August last year, a seventh round TKO win against Adan Garcia in November. The win against Garcia was the 34 year old Mexican’s only bout at Bantamweight and it will be interesting to see how he deals with McDonnell, a younger seasoned campaigner at the weight.

McDonnell’s decision to vacate has allowed Bristol’s super flyweight king Lee Haskins to also step up in both fight level and weight to challenge for McDonnell’s old bantamweight title. Haskin’s and McDonnell are no strangers to each other. The two shared a ring back in 2008 and the Bristolian on that occasion came out the stronger man, defeating Jamie over eight rounds and taking the bout on points.

Haskins will face Belgium’s Stephane Jamoye for the vacant European title. Jamoye is also a former McDonnell foe, losing to the Doncaster fighter back in 2011. Jamoye on that occasion lost by majority decision to McDonnell and i’m sure he is anxious to return to the ring to challenge or the EBU title once again. The bout is to go to purse bids with a deadline of May 21st set.