2016 Olympians: Team Great Britain Report Card
By: Oliver McManus
The pinnacle showcase of standout talent, every four years, the Olympic Games are designed to be a celebration of the elite. Emphasis on ‘designed’, you’ll notice, with recent editions being overshadowed by dodgy judging decisions, incompetent governance from the AIBA and a whole host of other dogged issued – to such an extent the sport may not feature in Tokyo next year.
Put politics to one side and each Olympic cycle brings forward flourishing prospects, many of whom will seek to replicate their success as a professional. The old adage goes that ‘a great amateur doesn’t necessarily make a great professional and vice versa’ which is true enough but let’s delve into it and take a look at what came next for Great Britain’s Rio 2016 boxers –and yes, weights are referring to their Olympic categories!
Galal Yafai – Light Flyweight
Yafai, the younger brother of Khalid and Gamal, went over to Rio at the young age of 23 having secured his place with a comfortable win over Samuel Carmona Heredia in the qualifiers. Once in Brazil the draw immediately looked difficult with Joahnys Argilagos – the World Amateur Champion from 2015 – his second round opponent. Yafai put in a good display against Argilagos, a prodigious Cuban, but lost out by 2 rounds to 1.
Since then the Birmingham fighter has shown a really impressive maturity, taking on that Olympic experience, to win Silver at the 2017 European Championships and Gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games – boxing well and working the angles throughout. Now aged 26, Yafai has built on his solid early foundations and has sought to move up to 52 kg over the last year – he’ll be in pole position to represent Team GB next year and will, surely, have plenty of promotional offers in the aftermath.
Nicola Adams – Flyweight
One half of Team GB’s female contingent in Rio, Nicola Adams strolled through the flyweight division to secure her second Olympic Gold medal before turning her attention towards the professional ranks. The distinguished amateur – 12 major medals, all told – signed terms with Frank Warren and made her debut in April 2017 against Virginia Carcamo.
5 fights in a year and a half represents frustration for Adams who, initially, had hoped to be a world champion by the end of 2018. Varying reasons were responsible for her periods of inactivity – none her own fault – but the Lioness from Leeds has looked the real deal throughout her professional career. Last time out, in October, Adams faced Isabel Millan for the interim WBO world title in a contest where she failed to capitalize on her vast technical superiority.
As fast as she has risen up the ratings, you could easily argue that the calibre of opposition hasn’t fully allowed her to showcase the full range of her ability. Almost inadvertently leading to the foot coming off the gas – and let’s be clear, that’s understandable. Luckily for Adams – who turned 36 in October – Arely Mucino will provide the first world title opportunity, in March, with full WBO honours on the line. After that it’ll be a case of unification, then domination.
Muhammad Ali – Flyweight
Born in 1996, Muhammad Ali was a regular with the GB Lionhearts in the World Series of Boxing prior to competing at the Rio Olympics. Possessing all the desirable attributes to attain success, the 20 year old looked visibly under-experienced in his first round bout against, eventual Silver medallist, Yoel Finol.
Ali tested positive for Trenbolone in April 2017 and was suspended by AIBA until May 2019. The 22 year old is said to be targeting a place in Tokyo but, given the firm anti-doping stance taken by those at the helm AND Galal Yafai stepping up in weight, it seems an unlikely endeavour.
Qais Ashfaq – Bantamweight
Another one of those to have come through the WSB programme, Ashfaq lost his first fight at the Olympics against Chatchai Butdee. Eager to turn professional, Ashfaq initially signed with Hayemaker Ringstar in the Summer of 2017 in a move that stalled – Eddie Hearn came along in early 2018 and, since then, the 25 year old has racked up four fights in quick succession.
A Commonwealth and European Championships Silver Medallist, Ashfaq beholds pedigree and has adapted with consummate ease over the first 12 months. An eye-catching knockout against, game, Jay Carney ensured the year ended in style and was a sign of the speed and power that Ashfaq holds at super bantamweight.
Incredibly likeable and with plenty of time on his hands, there’s plenty still to come from the feisty southpaw.
Joe Cordina – Lightweight
2015’s European Amateur Champion, the Welshman reached the Round of 16 in Rio before signing with Eddie Hearn – seemingly the go-to man for post-Olympic euphoria – in 2017. It’s fair to say that the 27 year old made an immediate impression with his first four fights ending inside the distance. The fourth, a first round stoppage over Jamie Speight, particularly notable for the punishing style in which he despatched with such an experienced counterpart.
Six fights in eight months set the initial tempo but Cordina was limited to just two outings over the course of 2018. That’s not to say he wasn’t mightily impressive in those outings and, indeed, he comprehensively out-pointed Sean Dodd in August to add the Commonwealth title to his WBA International strap.
Training with Tony Sims, Cordina has looked immaculate thus far with a maturity beyond his years. Certainly capable of flashy, eye-catching work it is always pleasing to see him revert back to his, equally adept, jab. For me, a wonderfully well-rounded fighter who should be in line for a massive 2019.
Pat McCormack – Light Welterweight
One of only two boxers who represented Great Britain in Rio to stick around as part of the GB set-up in Sheffield, Pat McCormack has stepped up to Welterweight and is likely our representative in Tokyo. Only 23 years of age, the Sunderland sensation has already been to an Olympics, won two Silver medals at the European Championships and a Gold at the Gold Coast Commonwealth in 2018 – talk about setting the bar high! In all seriousness, McCormack should easily surpass the Round of 16 – where he lost narrowly in Brazil – and be a hot-tip for medal contention.
Josh Kelly – Welterweight
A 24 year old at the heart of a North East revolution – pivotal, alongside Lewis Ritson, in a resurgence of love for the sport. Only twice, though, has Kelly fought on North East soil with the unrelenting flamboyance reaching all four corners of the United Kingdom.
Kelly has partnered up with Adam Booth to produce some electric results, no less so than the seven round pummelling of Kris George in June. Offensively supreme, I would suggest that more variation is required and, indeed, the fundamentals of boxing to be displayed more frequently when Kelly takes a step up in level.
Having said that it doesn’t really matter at this stage of Kelly’s career because he’s getting the job done and he’s doing it in merciless fashion. With a keen eye on the punishing the body of his opponent, Kelly swings in hooks with venomous intent and does so with pace and precision – enough to sicken anyone.
Defensive fragilities but, offensively, nightmarishly unconventional.
Anthony Fowler – Middleweight
The man who divides opinion across my Twitter feed, the mere mention of his name seems to stir spirits. Whatever you think of him, Fowler has made an unblemished start to his career at super-welterweight with nine wins, eight of those coming by knockout. Against Ryan Toms and Craig O’Brien, Fowler took out back to back domestic fighters – O’Brien the Irish Champion, Toms a two-time Southern Area kingpin – as he mercilessly targeted the body of his opponents, finishing the job with show-reel combinations.
Confident in his own ability, the Liverpudlian has continually looked imperious and relaxed over the course of his professional career without ever, really, having to click into second gear. A real centre-of-the-ring fighter who controls the tempo of the bout, Fowler is a real hot talent emerging out of Merseyside.
A much-discussed contest with Scott Fitzgerald awaits on March 30th before the 27 year old turns his attention towards, European and British Champion, Ted Cheeseman. It’s nice to see Fowler wanting to prove himself domestically in a sport where, far too often, reputations are forged through regional rainbow belts.
Savannah Marshall – Middleweight
The only boxer to have defeat Claressa Shields, that contest in the amateurs, Savannah Marshall may well be on a collision course with the American as a professional. The 27 year old from County Durham signed a professional deal with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and debuted on the undercard of Mayweather-McGregor. A glimpse of the big time to, surely, whet the appetite.
Four bouts have followed over the course of 2018 – three in the United Kingdom and one out in Bulgaria – with Marshall collecting the WBA Inter-Continental belt whilst on foreign soil. Marshall has shown a dangerous finishing instinct with three stoppages inside the distance – all occurring in the second round – with the Silent Assassin establishing a firm left jab along the way.
Generally quite outside of the ring, it’s the skill inside the ring that makes noise for Marshall and it’s a crescendo that’s yet to reach its peak.
Joshua Buatsi – Light Heavyweight
For me, Buatsi is the cream of this particular crop – the fighter with the most natural ability and highest ceiling to reach. That’s no discredit to any of the other guys, either, all of whom seem certain to achieve good things in the sport but Buatsi is, in my humble opinion, something else. Entering the pro ranks with an Olympic Bronze medal was always going to place him on a slightly higher pedestal and, boy, has he delivered.
Calm and composed, Buatsi’s nerves seem unshakeable with the 25 year old’s natural ability coming through when fighting up close. It’s really enjoyable to watch the patience that Buatsi shows before finding an opening and then compare that with his instant burst of aggression when the moment is right. Much like Fowler and Kelly, Buatsi has hammered away at the body of his opponents with vast success.
Against Andrejs Pokumeiko (a late replacement for Ricky Summers), Tony Averlant and Renold Quinlan, Buatsi has blitzed through his counterparts with successive first round knockouts – make what you will of the opponent calibre, Buatsi gets in the ring and does the job in destructive fashion. Indeed I’m of the opinion that Buatsi is the best British light-heavyweight – better than Callum Johnson and Anthony Yarde.
Lawrence Okolie – Heavyweight
Okolie has carved himself the most materialistic success of all the 2016 Olympians with the British, Commonwealth and WBA Continental belts all, at one stage, gracing the shoulder of the Hackney hammer (new nickname alert). Standing mountainously tall at 6 ft 5 inches, the cruiserweight breezed past the cannon-fodder placed in front of him over his first seven bouts – Blaise Mendouo the only opponent to hear the final bell.
Then came Isaac Chamberlain, Luke Watkins and Matty Askin – Okolie’s trio of contests over 2018 – three domestic rivals in fights that could all have ignited into something special. Except none of them did. Quite the opposite, they were relatively forgettable. I won’t, however, join the merry brigade in writing off his fight aesthetics – he’s shown he’s adaptable and I’m confident that 2019 will be a turning stone.
All but Askin have been dropped en route to defeat, a clear demonstration of his punch power. Guided by Eddie Hearn and Anthony Joshua, you can have no doubt in your mind that Okolie is on the right path for success but the question for me is, can he become a genuine big show headliner?
Joe Joyce – Super Heavyweight
Years past without the heavyweight phenom making the transition into professional boxing – people were of the opinion he had, perhaps, left it too late. Rio granted him a Silver medal which should have, in a fair world, been Gold. The softly-spoken giant inked a deal with Hayemaker Boxing and smashed his way into domestic contention with a beatdown of Ian Lewison.
Then came the waiting game, Rudolf Jozic and Donnie Palmer were both exploited before the Commonwealth title came a-knocking with Lenroy Thomas on the other side of the door. That fight was over with in double-quick fashion, as were contests with Ivica Bacurin, Iago Kiladze and Joe Hanks.
Criticism has been levelled at him for a visually slow and ponderous fighting style with Joyce not having forced the pace of a contest, as of yet, despite opportunities arising. Not that I suspect him or his team will be fazed by this, Joyce is getting the job done and has looked untroubled in doing so.
The 33 year old faces Bermane Stiverne on February 23rd with the British fighter looking to move 8 and 0 and force his way closer to a world title challenge.
12 boxers represented Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the 2016 Olympics, nine turned professional and have since forged a combined record of 64-0. Who , then , has impressed you the most since Rio 2016 and who’s left you feeling a little deflated?
Davis Pagan: The Nicest Boxer in Britain
By: Oliver McManus
Davis Pagan is known as “the nicest boxer in Britain” but he’s not just a humble man, he’s also a fantastically talented fighter with an 8-1 record as a super-welterweight; his one career loss was a fluke to Sonny Whiting and was avenged a mere three months later.
Aged just 27, the Basildon resident has been a pro for just over two years and is looking to consolidate on some solid foundations thus far and turn 2018 into his biggest fighting year yet – anyway, here’s what he had to say;
So you’ve been a pro since April 2016, 9 fights so far, how would you assess your career to date?
I believe I have had a successful start to my career despite a minor blip which I avenged soon after but I’ve already headlined a small show and boxed abroad and I’m very proud of all my friends and family who always turn out in force to support me! Each fight experience is one I’ll never forget thanks to everybody’s support!
And you’ve already been out in the ring this year, how often do you want to fight over the course of 2018?
I like to keep busy as I learn every fight so the more fights I can fit in the more on my way to be a more complete fighter so as long as everybody still interested in coming to support it’ll be possible to get out 4 more times this year.
I want to ask you about your fight with Andrei Dolhozhyieu, in Finland, how did that opportunity come about?
My stablemate Juho Haapoja who was European Cruiserweight champion at the time was headlining a show in his hometown in Finland so he managed to get me on with him which I’m very grateful for and also very thankful to all the Finnish people involved for making me feel so welcome.
Now you’re an MTK fighter, how influential has that link-up been?
I’m not an MTK signed fighter (oops, sorry) but I have good links with them getting me on their shows my manager Dereck and MTK cooperate well so really appreciative to get on the shows which are growing to be a huge platform for fighters.
I’m always interested, as a boxer, when you’re injured how do you maintain motivation to get back and fight?
I’ve been injured a few times including now and it does get you down and you end up feeling a bit lost but I try and keep positive and adapt my training methods to accommodate the injury, it’s more of a mental battle as I feel I’m losing opportunities to fight, but I’m a firm believer in everything for a reason.
Let’s talk about something a bit different, your Winston Churchill tattoo, just what was behind that?
I’m very patriotic and a proud Englishman so what better what way to show that than have one of the greatest British icons on me (laughs) – I’m very interested in British history and love how he rallied Britain in times of hardship, we also share the same birthday too.
Now , I’ve been told you’re the nicest boxer in Britain, is that true?
Hahaha!! Who told you that!? Don’t tell my future opponents! I heard people say it about me a few times but I bet my wife would say otherwise whilst I’m dieting and coming up to a fight! I always treat people how I’d like to be treated so maybe it comes from that?
And finally mate, what’s next for you? Any goals over the next 12 months?
I just want to keep busy and gain experience but before 2018 is over I want to be having a belt of some description around my waist!
There you are then, not just a nice guy but a bloody good boxer – Davis Pagan has proven himself in the ring, no less so than in his revenge victory over Sonny Whiting in which he displayed a boxing intelligence lacking in many; the super welterweight was last out at the beginning of March with an emphatic points victory over, durable, Andrei Hramyka; for the rest of 2018 and, indeed, Pagan’s career we will just have to wait and see what gets delivered.
Crolla and Burns set for “Battle of Britain”
By: Thomas B Nicholls
British Lightweight stars Anthony Crolla and Ricky Burns are set to do battle at a packed Manchester Arena on October 7th.
Matchroom chief Eddie Hearn announced the bout earlier this week and Sky Sports will broadcast the crossroads clash.
Both Crolla & Burns have been relieved of their world titles in 2017 and with their careers in jeopardy, it’s a simple “must win” for both men.
48 fight veteran Scot, Ricky Burns was convincingly beaten in his unification fight with Julius Indongo back in April, the Namibian southpaw outclassed Burns with a slick performance and is now set to tackle P4P star Terence Crawford.
Similarly, Mancunian Crolla lost his rematch with Jorge Linares in March as he had no answer for the Venezuelan’s s elite and elusive fighting style. Linares is now set to defend his world honours against British Olympian Luke Campbell at the end of September.
Burns will no doubt be backed by the partisan “Tartan Army” as he bids to find his former glory. Burns is Scotland’s first and only three-weight world champion and at 34, he knows he must win if his career is to get back on track.
Burns said “It’s going to be a great fight, there was a lot of talk in recent weeks, the response we got was unbelievable. People want to see it and now the deal is done I’m looking forward to it.”
“It doesn’t bother me where I fight, there will be a good crowd coming down from Scotland. It’s a fight the fans have been getting up for and I’m sure they will turn up in their numbers.
“When I held world titles at super-featherweight and lightweight, Crolla’s name was always mentioned but it never happened.
“He’s a great guy and a great fighter, I don’t think you’ll get much trash talk in the build-up. The best man will win on the night.”
Bookmakers SkyBet have installed Crolla as the pre-fight favourite, perhaps favouring the youthfulness of the Manchester man. Both fighters will be desperate for the win as a defeat could determine the end of their career.
Speaking of the importance of the fight, Crolla said “All I want to do is be involved in big fights and Ricky Burns is a three-weight world champion. I’ve got a lot of respect for him. He’s a great fighter and only lost to the very best.”
“I’m looking forward to going to battle and putting on a display for the fans. Camp started a few weeks ago and I’m in a good place. “It’s at a good time for both of us. A win puts us back in the mix for titles. I’m not going to say the loser has nowhere to go, but it’s going to be a tough road back. We’re both coming off losing our world titles and the incentive is to win the fight and get back in the frame.”
Despite there being no title on the line, this has the foundations to be a fight for the ages. Both men conduct themselves impeccably outside of the ring and there was little trash talking in the press conference, it’s clear to see that their energy will be channelled in to resurrecting /prolonging their careers.
If I was to give my prediction, for whatever it’s worth, I predict Ricky Burns the victor in a barnstorming 12 round war.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Golovkin, Canelo, McGregor, Mayweather, Shields, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 18th to July 25th covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
HBO Sports 24/7 Canelo/Golovkin Debuts August 26th
HBO Sports’ groundbreaking “24/7” reality franchise, which has captured 18 Sports Emmy® Awards, will return for its 23rd multi-part boxing installment with 24/7 CANELO/GOLOVKIN, it was announced today by Rick Bernstein, executive producer, HBO Sports. The two-part behind-the-scenes series follows two elite fighters – Canelo Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin – as they prepare for their middleweight championship megafight title showdown Saturday, Sept. 16 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
24/7 CANELO/GOLOVKIN debuts SATURDAY, AUG. 26 (midnight-12:30 a.m. ET/PT), immediately following the previously announced “World Championship Boxing” doubleheader that begins at 9:45 p.m. (ET/PT).
The show will also be available on HBO On Demand, HBO NOW, HBO GO and affiliate portals.
“The boxing world has eagerly anticipated this middleweight showdown between two of the best fighters and biggest stars in the sport,” said Bernstein. “We now get to present them and their preparations for this long-awaited encounter in the ring.”
Episode two of 24/7 CANELO/GOLOVKIN debuts one week before the high-stakes bout, on Saturday, Sept. 9 (1:00-1:30 a.m. ET/PT), immediately following the “HBO Boxing After Dark” tripleheader that begins at 10:15 p.m. (ET/PT).
24/7 CANELO/GOLOVKIN will provide exclusive behind-the-scenes access, along with in-depth interviews, as the fighters gear up in Southern California for their Las Vegas collision in the ring. Both men rank high on many pound-for-pound lists and have been dominant in the middleweight division.
Canelo Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs), of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, is again holding camp with renowned trainer Eddy Reynoso. The 27-year-old phenom is coming off a dominant victory over fellow countryman Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in May and is on a seven-bout winning streak that has reinforced his elite standing in the middleweight ranks. His drawing power as the sport’s top pay-per-view attraction has been demonstrated both at the box office and in pay-per-view performance.
Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs), from Karaganda, Kazakhstan, now living in Los Angeles, is training with the acclaimed Abel Sanchez. The undefeated 35-year-old has compiled an extraordinary knockout-to-win ratio of 89%, while only three of his fights have gone past the eighth round and only one has lasted the full 12 rounds. Golovkin’s dramatic ring style has transformed him into one of the sport’s brightest stars in a few short years and he has sold out arenas from New York to California.
Canelo’s fourth “24/7” appearance and Golovkin’s second, 24/7 CANELO/GOLVKIN is the latest installment of the acclaimed franchise that began in 2007. Among the most-honored sports series on TV, it was called “a masterfully entertaining reality show” by ESPN The Magazine.
“Canelo vs. Golovkin” will take place at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 8:00 p.m. (ET)/5:00 p.m. (PT), and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®.
The executive producer of 24/7 CANELO/GOLOVKIN is Rick Bernstein; senior producers, Dave Harmon and Bentley Weiner; producers, Harley Glantz, Abtin Motia and Christine Wilt; writer, Aaron Cohen. Liev Schreiber narrates.
Mayweather/McGregor Ticket Market Following Monday’s Online Sale
The PPV Price is $89.95 for SD or $99.95 for HD. Most experts see this reaching similar buyrate numbers to Mayweather/Pacquiao (4 million+ buys)
Face value of tickets range from $500-$10,000 and went on-sale Monday July 24. However, secondary market tickets are seeing up to a 400% premium on face value and currently range from $2,145-$20,000. POST ON-SALE: After Monday’s on-sale there was an increase of about 7% (36 tickets) listed on the secondary market, bringing the current total to about 500 listed on the secondary market. The 500 tickets available is just 2.5% of T-Mobile Arena’s capacity, so secondary prices aren’t likely to drop significantly between now and the fight.
Average price actually rose from $6,256 on Monday morning to $7,190 (15%) by Monday evening, but the cheapest seat fell from $2,500 to $2,145 (-14%) in the same time frame.(https://www.tiqiq.com/fight/c onor-mcgregor-tickets/conor-mc gregor-vs-floyd-mayweather-jr- -08-26-2017/4035147264396)
If all PPV targets are hit, Mayweather could make $400 million and McGregor $127 million (https://www.forbes.com/sites/ brianmazique/2017/06/16/the-es timated-purses-for-floyd-maywe ather-vs-conor-mcgregor-fight- are-staggering/#47d12d423d00)
Mayweather is favored to win the fight with 1/6 odds, but the most popular bet is currently for McGregor at 11/2 odds. (https://www.oddschecker.com/ boxing/floyd-mayweather-jr-v- conor-mcgregor/winner)
This is by far the most expensive combat sports event we’ve tracked in terms of average price.
Average price for Mayweather/Pacquiao at the same time range (approx. 5 weeks out) was $5,312. So tickets dropped on average 9% leading up to the fight.
Some other notes:
According to Priceline.com, a Vegas 4-Star hotel on the night of the fight will cost a minimum of $135. By comparison, rates are as low as $68 the Saturday beforehand (Aug 19), marking a 98% premium on hotels during fight weekend.
The undercard is currently scheduled to consist of only boxing matches, no MMA.
McGregor is the more active of the two on Social Media, and has over 26 million followers between Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Mayweather’s social media accounts are more geared towards his line of products, yet he eclipses McGregor by over 10 million followers across the same social platforms.
Both McGregor & Mayweather are WWE fans and WWE officials are trying to secure one or both to make an appearance on an episode on WWE Raw in the weeks leading up to the fight. Fun Fact: Floyd Mayweather competed in a semi-main event match at Wrestlemania 24 defeating “The Big Show” Paul Wight by knockout. Wight is billed as 7 feet tall and 383 pounds.
Chivas Fight Club Launches with Boxer Gennady “GGG” Golovkin
Chivas Regal, the world’s first luxury whisky, is aiming to inspire a new generation while making a positive impact on the lives of others by introducing The Chivas® Fight Club. This initiative extends to every individual with a fighting spirit from communities nationwide and is centered on boxing in partnership with Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. Gennady is boxing’s unified WBC, WBA, IBF, IBO middleweight champion of the world, who personifies the Chivas spirit of shared success and dedication, both in and out of the ring.
“This movement is special to Chivas as it brings to life our core values, embracing the mixture of cultures and importance of shared success, as every person has a unique battle they fight with passion, gloves on and off,” said Shefali Murdia, Brand Director for Chivas Regal, Pernod Ricard USA. “Like the Chivas brothers, Gennady comes from humble beginnings and has allowed his dreams to push him to where he is today, all while staying true to his values and Winning the Right Way.”
The Kazakhstan-born fighter began his boxing career at an early age and immediately demonstrated his diligent work ethic, representing his home country at the 2004 Summer Olympics, where he won a middleweight silver medal. The fighter now boasts the top knockout ratio in middleweight championship history, an impressive 89.8 percent. Golovkin enters the ring as the face of The Chivas® Fight Club campaign, a nationwide effort promoting the unique fighter within every individual, offering exclusive access to activities, events and content for those who enter
“The Chivas Fight Club stands for the things that I believe in and represents the heart and soul of the fighter in all of us,” Golovkin said. “When I wrap my hands, I do it for my family. I owe my courage to them and also my success. That’s why I fight.”
All consumers and fans are invited to join The Chivas® Fight Club by sharing what they are fighting for by using the hashtag #FightForIt on social media. Those who join the club will be entered into sweepstakes for a chance to see Golovkin’s upcoming bout on September 16th against Canelo Alvarez, and gain exclusive entry into watch parties and boxing workout classes. Chivas® Fight Club members will also receive inspiration to “Fight for It” with exclusive boxing content, interviews, videos, behind-the-scenes photos, calendar of upcoming Chivas Regal boxing events, and more. Additional program incentives will continue to be rolled out following the campaign launch.
For more information on the Chivas Fight Club and Chivas Regal visit www.ChivasFightClub.com.
All British Quarter Final Clash for Muhammad Ali Trophy Between WBA World Champion Groves and Cox at the SSE Arena, Wembley on October 14th in London
The first domestic showdown of the World Boxing Super Series is scheduled for October 14th when top seeded super middleweight George Groves (26-3, 19 KOs) puts his WBA World title on the line against his undefeated countryman Jamie Cox (23-0, 13 KOs) in a ‘Battle of Britain’ at The SSE Arena, Wembley in London, United Kingdom.
Groves, the 29 year-old from Hammersmith, London, claimed the WBA strap with a sensational sixth-round stoppage victory over Fedor Chudinov on May 27th at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, and will make his maiden defence in this quarter-final clash with Cox, whom the ‘Saint’ selected as his first round opponent at the live Draft Gala on July 8th at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.
‘‘I’m really looking forward to getting started,’’ said Groves. ‘’It’s great to have a date set so early to give you something to strive for. I’m already in the gym plugging away and I’ve got plenty of time to prepare. The SSE Arena, Wembley Arena has always been a happy hunting ground for me. I‘ve had many good nights there, and I’m looking forward to fighting there again on October 14th. It’s my first World title defence, my first fight in the World Boxing Super Series, an all-British affair and hopefully something everyone is going to be excited about.
‘’I’m happy with my choice of opponent. I know there are no easy fights in this tournament and there are no easy fights at World level, but Jamie is the guy I know the most about. I know about his background, I know how he trains, I know who he trains with, but most importantly, I know the things you need in this tournament, such as composure and experience at the highest level, he’s lacking. I’ve got them in abundance, but he’s brand new, he’s a total novice. I don’t think he’s even headlined his own show yet and he’s getting flung in the deep end with me. This is a big pressure fight for him and I think he’ll struggle to cope.’’
Looking to secure his semi-final spot, Cox, the unbeaten 30 year-old contender from Swindon, Wiltshire, is confident he can dethrone his domestic rival and move a step closer to claiming The Greatest Prize in boxing, the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
‘’I’m really excited for this fight,’’ said the 30 year-old southpaw. ‘’To win a World title on the way to fighting for the Muhammad Ali Trophy would be a huge honour. I’m glad George picked me. I was prepared for anyone but I was hoping for a UK fight so I can’t wait. George is a tough opponent. He has some good attributes but I’m prepared to shock everyone. This is what I’ve been working towards all my career, and to be a part of something this big is amazing. Now I’m here, I’m ready to capitalise on it and win my first World title and progress to the semi-finals.’’
Roberto Dalmiglio, Comosa´s Head of Management Board, believes the World Boxing Super Series has delivered on its pledge of bringing together the best boxers in the world, and is expecting a memorable fight on October 14th. ‘’The World Boxing Super Series promised to pit the best against the best, and I believe we he have delivered on that promise,’’ said Dalmiglio. ‘’All our quarter-final fights are stacked with talent, and George Groves versus Jamie Cox is no exception. The SSE Arena, Wembley will play host to a fantastic night of boxing.”
Comosa`s Chief Boxing Officer, Kalle Sauerland is predicting a fan friendly affair from the domestic foes. ‘’This is a going to be a great fight for the fans,’’ said Sauerland. ‘’Domestic dust ups always bring with them an added excitement and intensity, and here, we have a British World Champion against an undefeated British challenger, it doesn’t get any better than that!’’
In the World Boxing Super Series, 16 elite fighters – eight super-middleweights and eight cruiserweights – will battle it out in a bracket-style elimination tournament. In both divisions, there will be four quarter-finals (September / October 2017), two semi-finals (early 2018) and one final (May 2018), making for a total of 14 high-class fights.
Ticket details for the World Boxing Super Series’ quarter-final bout between George Groves and Jamie Cox on October 14th at The SSE Arena, Wembley in London will be announced shortly.
WBC Champion Nikki Adler Hard at Work to Defend Her Belt Against Claressa Shields on ShoBox
German WBC Super Middleweight World Champion Nikki Adler is hard at work for her Friday, August 4 title defense against two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa “T-Rex” Shields.
Adler (16-0, 9 KOs) will make the third defense of her WBC 168-pound title, and try to add the IBF Super Middleweight belt to her collection, against Flint, Michigan’s Shields (3-0, 1 KO) in the 10-round main event of Salita Promotions’ “BATTLE OF THE BEST” event at MGM Grand Detroit and Televised live on ShoBox: The New Generation (10;30 p.m. ET/PT)
In the night’s televised co-main, junior welterweight KO artist Bakhtiyar “Bakha Bullet” Eyubov (13-0, 11 KOs) will face undefeated prospect Sonny “Pretty Boi” Fredrickson (17-0, 11 KOs) over 10-rounds and to open the telecast, world-ranked super bantamweight Vladimir Tikhonov (16-0, 9 KOs) of Russia will face Texas slugger Jesse Angel Hernandez (8-1, 6 KOs) over eight rounds.
Tickets for the event promoted by Salita Promotions are on sale now and are priced at $350, $250, $125 and $60. They will be available at www.ticketmaster.com.
Adler says the only adjustment to fighting in the North America for the first time is to improve her English. And if she’s concerned about facing Shields, the only American to capture back-to-back boxing gold medals at the Olympic Games, she’s not showing it. She hasn’t even watched tape of Shields’ meteoric three-fight professional career. In fact, Adler and trainer Rene Friese are asking Americans not to take it personally when their hero falters against her.
How is training going?
It is going great! I work hard and I am very focused. My trainer is very satisfied with me and my progress. We entered training camp a few weeks ago, already had great tough sparring and I will be very well prepared to defend what’s mine: the green belt.
Did you prepare any differently for this fight compared to your others?
Yes, but it has nothing to do with Claressa. At the beginning of the year, I changed my trainer who brought me and my boxing skills to a new incredible level. I am better, faster and stronger. This feels amazing!
What do you think of Shields as a fighter?
To be honest, I’ve never watched her fight, but I am sure Claressa is a fighter from the bottom of her heart. So am I. This will create magic moments on August 4.
Does it make any difference to fight in North America for the first time?
Yes, because I need to improve my English. I speak German and Croatian fluently and will do my very best to thank Claressa personally for a great fight and to tell her without any translator that she can be proud that she took the challenge and one day she will be a champion too – maybe at middleweight.
What would a victory over Claressa Shields mean to you?
How do you feel about the recent resurgence of women’s boxing?
Our fight announcement rocked the media, the fans and lot of other boxers who want to be a part of the event. It is great to see and it will get better. But, just a warning, America needs to be strong when I take my belts back home to Germany. I said it once before and I will say it again and again: The higher the quality, the more attractive is the fight for the fans. The state of woman’s boxing needs tough woman like Claressa and me who are not afraid of a challenge.
How does it feel to be fighting on Showtime and in front of the world?
It is the biggest woman’s boxing fight in 2017. Winning is the only thing I’m concerned with.
What can the fans in Detroit and on television expect to see from you?
Fans will see a fit fighter, they can expect a tough puncher and, finally, a dominating reigning champion.
Showtime Sports to Present Three Seperate Live Boxing Presentations on July 29th
SHOWTIME Sports will offer three separate boxing presentations on Saturday, July 29, delivering two digital live streams preceding the evening’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING televised doubleheader. The digital-only offerings will be available on Facebook Live and YouTube prior to the live SHOWTIME® telecast at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, as the network continues its unrivaled commitment to boxing.
The full day of high-stakes boxing will begin at approximately 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT with streaming coverage from Belfast, Ireland as 2016 Fighter of the Year Carl Frampton makes his long-awaited homecoming. The former two-division titlist Frampton (23-1, 14 KOs) will face once-beaten Andres Gutierrez (35-1-1, 25 KOs) in a 12-round featherweight bout, his first since splitting a par of slugfests with three-division world titlist Leo Santa Cruz. Coverage of Frampton vs. Gutierrez will be provided by Channel 5, a television station in Northern Ireland.
SHOWTIME Sports will then deliver live coverage from Barclays Center in Brooklyn beginning at 7:15 p.m. ET/4:15 p.m. PT with “SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Prelims”. The two-fight live stream will feature former world title challenger Gerald Washington (18-1-1, 12 KOs) against Brooklyn native Jarrell Miller (18-0-1, 16 KOs), plus the U.S. debut of female boxing star and Irish Olympic Gold Medalist Katie Taylor (5-0, 3 KOs). Hall of Famer Barry Tompkins will call the live streaming fights from Brooklyn alongside former world champion Daniel Jacobs.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Prelims and Frampton vs. Gutierrez will be available to U.S. audiences only.
The July 29 SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast is headlined by a blockbuster matchup between two of boxing’s biggest stars as three-division world champion Mikey Garcia moves up to 140 pounds to face four-division champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner. Televised coverage begins live on SHOWTIME at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT as unbeaten former world champion Jermall Charlo returns to face Jorge Sebastian Heiland in a middleweight world title eliminator. The event is presented by Premier Boxing Champions from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Prelims is an extension of SHOWTIME BOXING on SHOWTIME EXTREME, which is the first premium television series to offer live undercard coverage. Both offerings provide bonus bouts to viewers at home, delivering an experience that was previously available only to fans in arena. Via SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Prelims, viewers are afforded the unique opportunity to interact with the boxing community during the event in real time.
SHOWTIME Sports also will live stream the Broner vs. Garcia final press conference on Thursday and the official weigh-in on Friday across digital platforms, including Facebook Live and YouTube.
WBA/IBF World Heavyweight Championship Round by Round Results: Joshua Stops Klitschko in Instant Classic
WBA/IBF World Heavyweight Championship Round by Round Results: Joshua Stops Klitschko in Instant Classic
By: William Holmes
Wembley Stadium in London, England was the host site for tonight’s highly anticipated heavyweight title fight between Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua.
Showtime televised the bout live from England and HBO televised the replay on the same day.
Photo Credit: Sky Sports
For the first time in twelve years Wladimir Klitschko was the underdog in a fight. The crowd at Wembley Stadium was lively, loud, and ready for a good fight.
Wladimir Klitschko entered the ring first as the challenger underneath a backdrop of 90,000 cell phone lights. Anthony Joshua entered second to a loud and boisterous crowd.
Nataliya Klitschko performed the Ukranian national anthem and Louisa Johnson sung the British National Anthem.
Anthony Joshua (18-0) and Wladimir Klitschko (64-4) fought to unify the WBA and IBF titles.
Klitschko comes forward with a range finding jab while Sohua keeps his hands high and looks for a counter. Joshua lands a check left hook to the chin of Klitschko. Joshua is short with a two punch combination. Joshua lands a good jab to the body. Klitschko throws a left hook that’s partially blocked. Klitschko is keeping at a safe distance from the power shots of Joshua. Klitschko lands a good quick jab. Joshua lands a left hook to the body. Joshua lands a short jab. Joshua lands a good right to the body of Klitschko. Joshua lands a left to the body and has a follow up right partially blocked. Klitschko lands a good stiff jab. Klitschko lands a reaching jab.
Klitschko lands a sharp straight right hand on the chin of Joshua. Joshua lands a short jab and misses with a two punch combination. Joshua lands a quick jab. Klitschko looks light on his feet. Klitschko snaps out a
quick jab. Joshua lands a short jab and punches the shoulder of Klitschko. Joshua lands a clean right hand to the chin of Klitschko. Joshua sticks a jab in the chest of Klitschko. Klitschko misses with a straight counter right. Joshua misses with a lead left hook. Close round.
10-9 Klitschko; 19-19
Joshua is short with several shots and gets a little wild. Joshua misses with another hard straight right. Klitschko misses high with a right cross. Joshua barely misses a huge uppercut and then lands a few hooks to the body. Klitschko clinches when Joshua gets in tight. Joshua is short with a double jab. Joshua misses a left hook and a two punch combination. Klitschko lands a lead left hook. Joshua lands a god jab to the nose of Klitschko.
10-9 Joshua; 29-28 Joshua
Klitschko lands a stinging straight right hand and follows it up with another straight right. Joshua lands a hook to the body of Klitschko. Klitschko lands two jabs to the face of Joshua. Joshua lands a sharp straight right hand. Joshua lands a jab to the body of Klitschko. Klitschko misses with a lead left hook and a straight right cross. Joshua lands a right to the body of Klitschko. Joshua lands a quick jab and later follows with a counter right hook. Joshua lands a stiff jab. Close round.
10-9 Joshua; 39-37 Joshua
Joshua comes out firing and lands several hard punches and combinations. Klitschko tries to hold on and looks a little wobbly. Joshua lands a hard combination including a stiff uppercut and Klitschko goes down. Klitschko has a mouse underneath his eye. Joshua comes forward and lands a left hook. Klitschko trying to hang on and survive. Klitschko misses a wild right hook. Klitschko has a bad cut over his left eye. Klitschko misses with a wild left hook. Klitschko lands a straight right to the chin of Joshua. Joshua looks tired. Klitschko lands a straight right and a left hook. Klitschko lands a straight right followed by a left hook. Klitschko lands a right uppercut and Joshua looks hurt. Klitschko lands a two punch combination on Joshua. Both guys look exhausted and are holding on. Klitschko lands a right cross and Joshua holds on. Klitschko lands a hard right uppercut and a left hook. Great round, Klitschko was coming on strong late.
10-8 Joshua; 49-45 Joshua
Both boxers look alert after the hellacious fifth round. Klitschko lands a good right hand on Joshua. Klitschko misses a wild left hook. Joshua spit out his mouthpiece and the fight is briefly stopped. Klitschko lands a jab and Joshua lands a right hook to the body. Klitschko lands a thunderous straight right hand and Joshua goes down! Joshua gets up before the count of ten. Joshua looks badly hurt. Klitschko misses a wild left hook. Klitschko lands two short right hooks. Klitschko presses Joshua back to the corner and lands a hook and a right cross. Klitschko misses a wild left hook. Klitschko lands a short jab. Another quick jab lands for Klitschko. Joshua holds on. Joshua lands a short jab. Great round.
10-8 Klitschko; 57-55 Joshua
Both boxers look alert at the start of the seventh round. Klitschko pressing forward though and looks a little more awake. Klitschko lands a sharp jab and is controlling the action. Klitschko lands a left hook to the head of Joshua. Klitschko looks patient. Klitschko lands a good jab. Klitschko lands another jab. Joshua is jawing at Klitschko. Klitschko misses with a sweeping left hook. Klitschko lands a short left hook. Klitschko lands another jab. Klitschko misses with a straight right and Joshua holds on. Klitschko bangs a left hook off the high guard of Joshua. Joshua lands a hook to the body.
10-9 Klitschko; 66-65 Joshua
Joshua didn’t take a lot of damage in the last round, but has never gone past the seventh before today. Klitschko lands two punches out of three while coming forward. Klitschko lands a reaching jab. Klitschko misses a missle of a straight right hand. Joshua comes forward with a double jab but touches air. Klitschko misses with another wild right. Joshua barely misses a straight right hand. Klitschko lands two jabs. Klitschko lands another jab. Joshua lands a jab but Klitschko answers with a stiff jab. Joshua throws a hook to the body and then ties up. Klitschko lands another jab. The pace favors Klitschko.
10-9 Klitschko; 75-75
Klitschko lands a right hook upstsairs and Joshua lands two hooks to the body of Klitschko. Klitschko lands a short left hook but eats two more body shots. They tied up after Klitschko throws two jabs. Klitschko lands a jab but Joshua lands a short left hook. Joshua lands a hard left jab and follows it with a short right hook. Joshua misses a lead left hook. Klitschko lands a quick jab on Joshua. Joshua lands a hard shot to the body. Klitschko is controlling the distance but appears a little hesitant to throw. Joshua lands a short right hand and two hooks to the body.
10-9 Joshua; 85-84 Joshua
Joshua opens up with a two punch combination. Joshua is short with a right cross to the body. Joshua gets tagged with a quick jab. Joshua digs a hook into the body of Klitschko. Joshua lands a short inside uppercut. Joshua throws a two punch combination upstairs and clips Klitschko. Joshua lands a hook to the body of Klitschko. Klitschko lands a good jab. Klitschko misses with a straight right. Joshua lands a jab upstairs. Joshua lands another short jab on Klitschko. Klitschko’s right hand is not finding it’s target. Klitschko lands a good straight right hand. Klitschko lands another good straight right as the round comes to an end. Could have scored it for either boxer.
10-9 Klitschko; 94-94
Joshua comes out firing and has Klitschko looking a little wobbly. Joshua is throwing bombs at Klitschko. Joshua throws a reaching jab. Klitschko lands a quick jab. Klitschko lands a straight right and Klitschko looks like he’s in bad shape. Joshua lands a straight right on Klitschko . Joshua lands a short left hook. Joshua lands a thunderous right uppercut on Klitschko and follows it with a left hook. Klitschko is wobbly and gets up before the count of ten. Josha tags Klitschko with another combination and Klitschko goes down again. Klitschko looks like he’s badly hurt. Joshua is chasing Klitschko around the ring and is firing off punches before the referee jumps in and stops the fight.
Anthony Joshua Wins Thriller by TKO at 2:25 of the eleventh round.
WBA/IBF Heavyweight Title Fight Preview: Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko
WBA/IBF Heavyweight Title Fight Preview: Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko
By: William Holmes
On Saturday afternoon one of the biggest heavyweight bouts in recent memory will take place at the famous Wembley Stadium in London, England.
This is such a major event that Wembley Stadium is expecting a record setting crowd of 90,000 fans in attendance. It is so big that Showtime will air the fight live at 4:15 p.m. live while HBO will televise the replay at 11:00 p.m. on same day tape delay.
It’s rare to see two of the biggest broadcasters of boxing agreeing to televise the same fight.
Photo Credit: Esther Lin/Showtime
Both boxers appear to realize the magnitude of the vent at the most recent press conference. Joshua stated, “ Even though this is such a great event, I always try to strip it down to what it really is and just focus that it’s just me and this man coming to blows and the best man will win. I’m not only prepared physically but mentally as well for any battle.”
Klitschko recognizes that many count him out as an old faded champion and stated, “ Can you imagine my next opponent is going to fight a guy whose age is exactly the number of how long he has been in boxing- 27 years? Can you image that? It’s a pretty amazing task. Is it a degradation that I’m actually a challenger and underdog in this fight after 27 years in the sport? I don’t think so. I think it’s great”.
This is a huge bout, and will help determine if Anthony Joshua is the current kingpin of the heavyweight division and the reign of Klitschko is over, or if Klitschko’s time at the top is still ongoing.
The following is a preview of Saturday’s heavyweight title fight.
Anthony Joshua (18-0) vs. Wladimir Klitschko (64-4); WBA/IBF Heavyweight Title
This bout is between the next great big thing in the heavyweight division and a man who reigned over the heavyweight division from 2000-2015.
Both Joshua and Klitschko obtained the highest accolade one could achieve as an amateur boxer. Klitschko won the Gold Medal in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games for the Ukraine in the super heavyweight division and Joshua won the Gold Medal in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games for Great Britain in the super heavyweight division.
Both Joshua and Klitschko are very large heavyweights. Both stand at 6’6” and Joshua will have a slight one inch reach advantage, but both men have a reach of over 80”.
Klitschko’s age is his biggest liability. He’s forty one years old and is fourteen years older than Joshua. Joshua’s biggest liability is his relative lack of experience in big fights. He’s only fought eighteen times and has never faced an opponent the caliber of Klitschko.
Klitschko’s inactivity may also hurt him. He fought zero times in 2016, partially due to a calf injury, and only fought twice in 2015. Joshua on the other hand has been very active and fought five times in 2015 and three times in 2016.
Klitschko has been absolutely dominant the past decade and has defeated almost every big name in the heavyweight division in that time frame. He has defeated the likes of Bryant Jennings, Kubrat Pulev, Alexander Povetkin, Mariusz Wach, Tony Thompson, David Haye, Samuel Peter, Eddie Chambers, Ruslan Chagaev, Hasim Rahman, Sultan Ibragimov, Lamon Brewster, Calvin Brock, and Chris Byrd.
Joshua doesn’t have the extensive list of defeated contenders on his resume as Klitschko, but he has still defeated some very good opponents. He has defeated the likes of Eric Molina, Dominic Breazeale, Charles Martin, Dillian Whyte, Gary Cornish, and Kevin Johnson.
Joshua has the clear edge in power as he has stopped every single opponent he has faced as a professional. Klitschko has stopped fifty three of his opponents but has been stopped three times in his career.
Klitschko’s two biggest concerns appear to be fighting a tall boxer as was evident in his fight with Tyson Fury, and fighting a hard puncher as evident in his three knockout losses.
Joshua is just as tall as Klitschko and has plenty of power.
Don’t forget Joshua will be fighting in front of his countrymen.
All signs point to Anthony Joshua winning on Saturday and ushering in a new era of heavyweight boxing.
Why Joshua-Klitshcko Looks To Be A Superfight Done Right
Why Joshua-Klitshcko Looks To Be A Superfight Done Right
By: Sean Crose
One of the downsides of boxing is that you never know just how good a given match will turn out. Hagler-Hearns was magnificent. Pacquiao-Clottey, not so much. If there’s one thing that burns fans and non-fans alike, however it’s a superfight that falls flat. The highly lucrative, widely panned Mayweather-Pacquiao fiasco of 2015 is a prime example of a superfight done wrong. This month’s Joshua-Klitshcko heavyweight title matchup, the first true superfight since May-Pac, on the other hand, appears to be done right. Why? Because those involved look to have firmly grasped the four basic concepts that go into making a superfight effective.
ONE: THAT PROMOTERS RECOGNIZE WHAT BOXING IS WHEN IT’S AT ITS BEST
Boxing, at its best, answers a simple question of who would win in a fight. Could Leonard come back and best Hagler? Could Holyfield possibly best Mike Tyson? Could Ali beat the ferocious young George Foreman? These are the sorts of questions that draw in lots of eyeballs, lots of buzz and, yes, lots of money. A great many people, millions perhaps, want to know who would win in a fight between old lion Wladimir Klitschko and rising star Anthony Joshua. At this point, it seems close to one hundred thousand individuals will even be seeing Joshua-Klitshcko live and in person. Why? Because this contest is a tough one to call walking in.
TWO: THAT FANS FEEL THERE’S AN ACTUAL CHANCE THAT BOTH FIGHTERS CAN WIN
If a Conor McGregor-Floyd Mayweather boxing match ever goes down, it will be a massive event on a global scale. It will never, however, be a superfight. That’s because no one with an ounce of objectivity feels McGregor has much of a chance of winning. There’s no real question involved in the scenario. It’s all just spectacle. Look at it another way: Tyson-Douglas was a fight for the ages, but it was no superfight. Why? Because no one gave Douglas a chance of winning (well, I did, actually, but that’s for another time). It was simply to be another televised beatdown for Iron Mike. The suspense, then, came during the bout, rather than before it. There’s a reason that classic match wasn’t aired on PPV. Joshua-Klitshcko, on the other hand, could obviously go either way, hence, the suspense and excitement in the leadup to the opening bell.
THREE: THAT THE FIGHTERS INVOLVED ACTUALLY BELONG IN A SUPERFIGHT
Canelo Alvarez can fill Cowboys Stadium with as many fans as he wants – he won’t be engaged in a superfight so long as he’s throwing down with the likes of Liam Smith. Same goes for Manny Pacquiao fighting in Australia. His battle with Jeff Horn will be enormous in the land down under, but everywhere else? Not so much. Liam Smith may someday blast his way to superstardom. And who knows? Horn may stun Pacquiao. At the moment, however, neither opponent warrants a superfight, no matter who he battles. Needless to say, both on-the-rise Joshua, and Klitschko, the long time former heavyweight king, have backgrounds that warrant a match of superfight proportions.
FOUR: THAT THE EVENT IS PROMOTED PROPERLY
While no one can deny that the Mayweather-Pacquiao bout was a superfight, it certainly wasn’t an effective one. Why? Well, because it marinated…and marinated…and marinated….for just about half a decade. I love marinaded meat myself, but after a few hours, I begin to lose my appetite. Furthermore, the entire affair was an over-powered money vacum. I’ll never forget Bob Arum’s flippant dismissal of the boxing media in the lead up to the bout. He didn’t need run of the mill fight writers anymore, he needed journalists fresh from the top of Mount Olympus. Bye-bye ringside reporter, hello Merideth Vieria! And people wonder why non-boxing fans were so grossly disappointed with how Mayweather-Pacquiao turned out. They were listening to and reading the words of people who knew absolutely nothing about the sport. Joshua-Klitshcko, on the other hand, was made as quickly as possible, considering the seriousness of the nature and the popularity of the players involved. What’s more, one suspects the goal here is to please boxing fans and non-fans alike. Too bad it won’t air live on network television in the states. It would be nothing but good for the sport.
British Boxing |The Year Ahead
British Boxing |The Year Ahead
By Courtney Riley
2016 was the year of the British Boxing Boom. The country’s fighting men have re-stamped the Great back into Britain, and we should all be proud. The year ended with Britain boasting world champions in 10 out of the 17 available weight-divisions; and a total of 12 current world titleholders – the most champions of any other nation on the planet. We saw some classic fights and we witnessed history. Northern Ireland’s 2-weight world champion, Carl Frampton, was awarded ESPN’s Fighter of the Year. The fifth-round of the heavyweight tear-up between London rivals Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora was recognised as the Round of the Year by ESPN; and Scotland’s Ricky Burn made history by becoming the first of his countrymen to have won world titles in 3 different weight divisions. 2016 was a brilliant year, so what is 2017 going to offer?
Here are 5 confirmed fights for the first half of the year (in order of date):
1.James Degale vs Badou Jack (January 14th)
Degale has not fought on Britain’s shores since November, 2014. Since then, he has won the vacant IBF super-middleweight world title across the pond and will remain there for his unification-fight against WBC title-holder, Badou Jack. This is a relevant fight and a great way to kick off the year’s fight calendar.
2.Carl Frampton vs Leo Santa Cruz II (January 28th)
These two provided an unforgettable featherweight contest last July which saw the Northern-Irishman come out on top against his tough Mexican rival to become a 2-weight world champion. The closely fought battle was quite the spectacle and fans are rightly excited to see their rematch later this month.
3.Chris Eubank Jr vs Renold Quinland (February 4th)
This fight makes the list because fans see it as a bit of a farce. Eubank Jr has had a decent 2016 in the ring where he fought a couple of decent domestic level fighters. He angered fans outside of it when negotiations for his fight with boxing’s boogieman Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin fell through. Many blamed Eubanks and his team. This led to one of biggest fights last year when the valiant Kell Brook stepped into the lion’s den and was ultimately stopped by the US-based Kazakh. Brook gained kudos and Eubank lost face. Now, he is returning in a pay-per-view fight against an opponent that no-one as ever heard of. A recent poll by a popular boxing magazine showed that 85% of the British public said they would not watch the fight, much less pay for it. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.
3.David Haye vs Tony Bellew (March 4th)
Following a 3 year hiatus, Haye made his return to the ring last January in a year that saw him punch leather in to the faces of 3 overmatched opponents. Tony Bellew, for his part, has had a year to remember. We saw him mixing with Hollywood royalty on the big screen in the Rocky spin-off, Creed, as well as realising his dream to become a world champion at cruiserweight in front of a sell-out home crowd. Now he has decided to move up in weigh to challenge the Hayemaker in a match that has the causals buzzing.
4. Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko (April 29th)
Joshua claimed a world title after blasting out the unworthy champion, Charles Martin, in April last year. He returned twice that year to defend his belt against more underwhelming opponents. Now he is looking to step up in rank by taking on the former chief, Wladimir Klitschko, in the spring. Joshua will be looking to add the first worthy name to his résumé while the old ex- champ, though long in the tooth, will be looking to prove that he still has a bite.
5. Amir Khan vs Kell Brook (still negotiating)
This fight has been boiling over for far too long. It risks fizzling out into nothingness like countless number of ‘what if’ fights that fans tend to agonise over. Both men are coming off knockout losses to much bigger opposition and have grown their stocks as a result. Who would not like to see two elite fighters who have no love for one another duke it out for the nation’s recognition in the ring, while in the prime or their lives? 2017… Let’s have it!
What Happens If Liam Smith Stuns The World?
What Happens If Liam Smith Stuns The World?
By: Sean Crose
Most people don’t think it will happen and chances are you don’t either, but since nothing is guaranteed in boxing it’s worth asking what the implications might be if Liam Smith stuns the world on Saturday when he faces Canelo Alvarez in Texas. I know, I know, since avoiding Gennady Golovkin, Canelo has decided to take fights that are safe bets…at least that seems to be the consensus among a large number of fans. This is boxing, though, where surprises are forever in the air. In the ring, each fighter is only one shot away from defeat. That’s an indisputable fact.
So, accepting the fact that Canelo should by all expectations use his experience, strength, skill and perhaps size, to cruise to a win on Saturday night, let’s ask what happens if Smith, the current WBO super welterweight champ, stuns the world. First and foremost, Canelo’s reputation would take a serious hit. Giving up a middleweight belt in order to avoid Golovkin would seem like nothing in light of a Smith victory. This wouldn’t be Marquez knocking out Pacquiao. This would be more like Douglas-Tyson, where a man casual fans were unaware of stepped right up and took out a legit star.
Make no mistake about it, Canelo would no longer have to worry about Golovkin – fairly or not, no one would again think he ever stood a modicum of a chance. He’d also be at risk of losing a hard earned legacy. Opponents like Cotto, Mosley and Khan, all of who Canelo bested, would be brought up less than Smith, who few would have heard of before team Canelo supposedly picked him as an “easy opponent.” That would be too bad, of course, but people remember Napoleon for Waterloo more than any other battle. Human nature is human nature.
Still, it’s worth keeping in mind that Canelo would most certainly get a rematch. It’s also worth keeping in mind that Smith might be far better than many believe he is. Sure enough, it’s a safe bet that Canelo could start to pick up the pieces of his career sooner rather than later should he be shocked this weekend. It’s worth wondering, though, if he would ever again be seen as “the face of boxing,” as he reportedly is at the moment. One more quick thing: A Smith victory would further add to the banner era of British boxing the world is now witnessing. First Fury defeats Klitschko, then Smith defeats Canelo?
Great Britain indeed.
British Boxers Leading the Way
British Boxers Leading the Way
By: Jordan Seward
Is boxing under British rule? British boxing is soaring in the professional and the amateur game. 12 World champions and Nine boxers qualified for Rio 2016 so far, with more places up for grabs.
Nicola Adams, Galal Yafai, Muhammad Ali – fortunate name, Joshua Buatsi, Lawrence Okolie and Joe Joyce all booked their place by winning gold medals at the European Continental Qualification Event in Samsun, Turkey. Qais Ashfag and Joe Cordina qualified with silver medals and Antony Fowler picked up a bronze medal.
The largest GB boxing team at the Olympics was back in 2012, when ten boxers (seven men, three women) qualified for the home Games. The women have a chance to add to the nine already qualified at the World Championships in Kazakhstan in May – four places are available in each weight class. The men will have two more opportunities to make it to Rio at qualification events in June (Baku, Azerbaijan) and July (location to be confirmed) when eight more places at both light-welterweight and welterweight are up for grabs. With nine qualified already and several places still available, there’s every chance Team GB will have its largest team ever at an Olympics this year in Rio.
By law of probability, the more competitors there are, the greater the opportunity is to win more medals. At the London Games, Team GB’s boxing team won five medals – Nicola Adams, Anthony Joshua and Luke Campbell all picked up gold medals while Fred Evans won a silver and Anthony Ogogo took home the bronze. Despite the ludicrous inclusion of professionals in Olympic boxing – which undermines the hard work put in by amateurs, Team GB are hopeful of surpassing the medal tally from 2012. Historically, Cuba have produced the best amateurs, but Britain has taken over the baton in recent years. Team GB won the most medals in 2012 which is confirmation of that. Over the last ten years or so, Britain have produced some wonderful amateurs, some of who have gone on to prosper in the professional game.
One of the latest to do so is Anthony Joshua (16-0). He made a seamless transition from the amateurs to the professional ranks, and the fact he is the current IBF World heavyweight champion after just 16 fights, is testament to that. Another hero from 2012, Luke Campbell (13-1), is thriving in the professionals and is currently the Commonwealth lightweight champion. Campbell did come unstuck two fights ago, losing his WBC International lightweight belt to Yvan Mendy. But he remains a great prospect who is tipped for future success.
There has been no point in history where Britain have boasted so many world champions. 2007 was the last time Britain had an even comparable amount of world champions, then there were six, which indicates how far British boxing has come. Featherweight Stephen Smith missed out on the opportunity to become Britain’s 13th world champion when he lost his world title fight with Jose Pedraza. But Silver medallist at the 2004 Beijing Games, Amir Khan, fights for the WBC middleweight title on May 7 and Tony Bellew fights for the vacant WBC cruiserweight title on the 29 May, so the number of British world champions may well rise to greater heights.
In the early 1900s America dominated the sport, after English colonists bought boxing to the shores of America. The achievements of Jack Dempsey in 1919-26 resulted in personal financial prosperity. He was the first person to produce $1 million and $2 million gates in the sports history. This made him an icon and encouraged working-class youths around the nation to take up the sport in hope they would earn vast amounts of money. This made boxing one of the few sports that actually flourished during the Great Depression. Since the 1950s boxing in the states has been dominated by Puerto Rican, Mexican American and African American fighters. This is evident in the sport today with fighters like Leo Santa Cruz and Miguel Cotto. But there has been a slight change in the balance with the huge improvement of British fighters.
The history of British champions is not a rich one. Instead of having several champions at once, great boxing talent was few and far between. Although there were some great British world champions, such as; Terry Downes; John H Stracey; Charlie Magri; Terry Marsh; Nigel Benn; Chris Eubank; Frank Bruno and Lennox Lewis.
Boxers from certain nations and continents have a certain representation and view. The South American and Mexican fighters are well known for their durability, the American fighters are well known for their swagger and slick technical skills. What are British fighters known for, what is a stereo-typically British fighter? Now’s the time to start thinking about that because Britain are on the rise and have boxers at amateur and professional level that posses a lot of talent. America currently have eight world champions, the closest amount to Britain, so is boxing under the reign of the British?
For a British boxer, this is the prime-time, with four world sanctioning bodies and 17 weight divisions there is more chance than ever to accomplish the dream and capture a world title. A plethora of money has been invested into British boxing and there are more television channels showing boxing, more fans are attending and watching fights and more boxers are joining the professional game.
Boxing is in a good place as a whole. The major thing for the sport that has helped increase the popularity is the renaissance of the heavyweight division. Boxing has another Brit to thank for that. The heavyweight division was in a deep, dark abyss before Tyson Fury dethroned Wladimir Klitschko. The win not only exploded the division into life, but it got people talking about heavyweight boxing again. The convention that the heavyweight world title is the greatest prize in sport was well gone, with the likes of Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman and Rocky Marciano as a distant memory. But dare I say it is on route back to re-establishing this common viewpoint once again.
This is a golden age for boxing. No doubt. Audiences in the US have doubled over the last decade and there is more boxing on now than ever before. With strong broadcasting rivalries between Matchroom and Sky and Box Nation, it’s never hard to find a great fight on the box. With plenty of amazing upcoming fighters and fights to be seen it should continue this way. From a patriotic stance, why not enjoy it when you’re at the top, the sport is great again and British fighters sit at the top of the pile, long may it continue.
Britain’s Amateur pedigree
The 30-year-old will certainly be aiming for a medal in Brazil after qualifying. The Londoner outpointed Magomedrasul Majidov – the last person to beat Anthony Joshua to confirm his spot at Rio 2016. After the victory, he performed a trademark back-flip and this could become a familiar sight.
If the caliber of his brothers are anything to go by, we can expect big things from Galal. The southpaw’s selection was somewhat of a surprise due to his inexperience but he proved his worth by qualifying. Both his brothers, Khalid and Gamal have both turned professional and are undefeated in their careers so far – (18-0) and (9-0).
The MBE is the first women to win an Olympic boxing title and she will be eager to retain her crown at the Rio Olympics. The 33-year-old is a national hero and is one of the most decorated amateurs in the sport.
British world champions
(36-0) The undefeated IBF welterweight champion of the world is a special fighter. After defeating Shawn Porter to capture the world title the special one has won three easy mandatories and is on the prowl for a huge fight. His next fight will tell us all we need to know about Kell Brook and with Eddie Hearn as his promoter and some huge names in the division, we can expect an explosive fight next.
One of Britain’s best. The Jackal is undefeated (22-0) and holds the IBF super-bantamweight title. The titlist took the WBA world title of rival Scott Quigg in their domestic showdown back in in February, but has been subsequently stripped of it after refusing to face their mandatory. The Northern Irishman has a massive following and his next fight against Leo Santa Cruz up at featherweight will show the world if he really is one of the best in the business.
He needed to be mentioned. The Rings fighter of the year will be fighting Wladimir Klitschko in a rematch on July 9. After a long break Fury is back and has said he still has the motivation to go on and become one of the greats. Time will tell if that last statement becomes true but right now he is one of Britain’s many great world champions.