The Heist of the Century

  • By Behind The Gloves
  • 31 Aug, 2017

Floyd Mayweather Pulled off the Grandest Heist in Sports History on Saturday Night... And We're Just as Much to Blame as he is.

If you look closely at the above picture, taken in between rounds two and three of his tenth-round TKO of UFC star Conor McGregor, you can just about make out the thoughts of Floyd 'Money' Mayweather:

"I can't believe you all fell for this one..."

Despite McGregor's, ahem, "good start" - in which he arguably "won" the first two rounds of the contest - Mayweather's in-built boxing computer had already calculated the risk factor posed by the unorthodox Irishman: and the results were etched all over his beaming face...

Let's go back in time. It is January of 2016. Less than a month on from his infamous 13-second knockout of long-time UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo, Conor McGregor releases an Instagram post calling out the then-recently retired boxing kingpin Floyd Mayweather:

"Floyd Mayweather, don't ever bring race into my success again. I am an Irishman. My people have been oppressed our entire existence. And still very much are. I understand the feeling of prejudice. It is a feeling that is deep in my blood. In my family's long history of warfare there was a time where just having the name 'McGregor' was punishable by death. Do not ever put me in a bracket like this again. If you want we can organise a fight no problem. I will give you a fair 80/20 split purse in my favour seen as your last fight bombed at every area of revenue. At 27 years of age I now hold the key to this game. The game answers to me now."

The comments followed Mayweather's assertions that McGregor's now-legendary showmanship would have been interpreted as "cocky and arrogant" if it weren't for the colour of his skin. A seemingly flippant remark from Mayweather that was met with full-force by his outlandish MMA counterpart. Needless to say, talk of a proposed fight between the two was a long way from reality. No sane fight fan (who are generally slightly closer to the abyss than most other sports lovers), or even the online boxing odds with William Hill  could have predicted the 'May-Mac' juggernaut that ensued, culminating in their August 26th match-up at T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas.
After 18 months of back-and-forth on social media, Mayweather (right) and McGregor (left) finally squared off in Los Angeles at the first stop of of their World Press Tour.
Despite "retiring" from professional boxing after outclassing former two-time World Welterweight Champion Andre Berto in September of 2015, Mayweather's name was rarely out of the spotlight in the months that followed. First it was then-UFC Women's World Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey, who delivered several verbal barbs at the undefeated boxing icon in a series of highly-provocative interviews. Now, it was the turn of another UFC poster-child in Conor McGregor. In retirement, Mayweather had managed to cast an even larger shadow, filling up column inches across both forms of combat sports.

Apparently happy in his retirement, jet-setting across the globe and counting his many, many millions, Mayweather appeared nonplussed by the constant haranguing. He even claimed on several occasions to not know who Rousey or McGregor was. However, after the meteoric rise of both competitors (a rise that came to a shuddering halt for Rousey soon after), the intrigue for a prospective cross-over fight grew and grew.

Again, let's go back. Floyd Mayweather is sat on the edge of his personalised ring in his purpose-built Las Vegas gym... No, at home in his $15m 'big boy' Las Vegas mansion... No, no, actually, he is flying in one of his three $30m+ private jets... No, actually he's... Ah... You get the picture, right?

Floyd Mayweather is rich. I'm not sure if you knew that? Still, it pays to know before moving on.

After raking in $300m in 36 minutes against Manny Pacquiao in May of 2015, Mayweather shattered all PPV-records and sat atop the Forbes-list for '2015 Highest Paid Athletes'. If that doesn't put a sizeable bullseye on your back - something that, in fairness, Mayweather has had to deal with for the majority of his career - then what will?

As the talk grew-and-grew, there must have been a point in which Mayweather started to do the mathematics: and even for a man not known for his academic-prowess, all of the figures pointed in the right direction: straight to the bank.

Regardless of him poking fun at McGregor in previous interviews (initially referring to him as "Conor Gregor"), there also must have been a point in which the twelve-time World Champion took to a scouting mission. Weighing up the risk-reward factor of facing the trail-blazing McGregor in an unprecedented clash between the two estranged-siblings of combat in boxing and MMA. After all, McGregor had by now become an even bigger star: splitting two heavily-publicised bouts with UFC bad-boy Nate Diaz, before becoming the first simultaneous two-weight World Champion in the promotion's history, adding the Lightweight title to his Featherweight crown by knocking out Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205.
Mayweather earned in excess of £300m in 2015 - topping the Forbes list for 'World's Highest Paid Athlete'. He is set collect another $300m paycheque, following his bout with McGregor on August 26th.
Behind closed doors, Mayweather takes a look at his would-be-opponent...

"... This guy?"

It is something that is all-so-Richard Pryor.

"This guy wants to fight me?"

You can just about envision the look on Mayweather's face, watching in disbelief at McGregor teeing off on unsuspecting wrestlers inside the octagon.

"Everyone wants to see it, Floyd."

(In this imaginary encounter, there is always a gofer in-between the television networks (in this case 'Showtime') and the fighter.)

Mayweather watches as another shot from the wide-stanced, clearly-not-boxing-but-striking McGregor wings in at the head of his opponent. He looks incredulous. Shocked, he turns his head slowly...

"How much they gonna pay me?"

The TV executive clears his throat and shuffles on the spot.

... "About $300m, Floyd. Give or take."

*Silence*

It is at this point that we get to the slapstick comedy moment that the incomparable Pryor was best-known for.

*The-entire-population-of-the-gym/mansion/private-jet-look-at-each-other-in-disbelief*

... Then, they all laugh their asses off.
Mayweather fell victim to Hall-of-Fame trash-talker Conor McGregor during a wild build-up, but he would be the last man laughing after producing a dominant, one-sided beating on fight night.
The significance of Mayweather's ring attire as he made his entrance into the T-Mobile Arena was not lost on fans. In particular, the hardcore boxing fraternity (that I consider myself to belong to). Dressed head-to-toe in black, wearing a menacing-looking ski-mask, Mayweather's brazen choice of apparel said one thing only: "I'm here to rob the bank."

It was a less-than-subtle display of his confidence. Of his absolute certainty of what he was about to achieve - or rather already had achieved - in convincing the world to allow this "fight" to take place.

We all should have known better.

I, for one, knew the way the fight would go. However, in a way I am no different to the most ardent McGregor fan. Even those who actually thought he could compete with the greatest boxer of his generation is his professional debut . This contest took place because society allowed it to. Had the fight have been disregarded at the very first mention as what it was, and what it inevitably turned out to be - a gross mismatch - the wheels would have never been put in motion.

How can we blame Mayweather? Here he is, the greatest fighter of the last 20 years - or more - and along comes someone with a ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLAR GUARANTEE TO FIGHT A MAN YET TO SET FOOT IN A PROFESSIONAL BOXING RING. What was he supposed to do? Say "No, thank you."? Protect the sanctity of boxing (a sport that, as much as I love it, is the most sordid, dark and murky sport of them all)?

Floyd Mayweather may have robbed the bank, but it was us who gave him the key to the vault.

As much as anyone, I did my part in helping to fuel this farcical occurrence. The nature of the beast, so to speak, when working as part of the media is to give people what they want to read about. Sure, my fight preview was little more than a blow-by-blow of how McGregor stood no chance whatsoever  of upsetting Floyd Mayweather, yet still: I wrote it, put it out and shared it across social media. I did my part.

When asked by friends and colleagues, I told them McGregor had "zero chance... Floyd Mayweather wins this fight one hundred times out of one hundred... It's a foregone conclusion" - yet still, I ran polls, I asked questions to which I knew the real answer.,I knew in my heart the futility in doing what I was doing: but I did it anyway.

I spoke with bewildered, misguided MMA fans about their hopes for a McGregor victory, all the while placing more and more money on the surest-of-sure-things in sports history. After literally betting everything I had on Mayweather a scandalously-priced 1/4, I sat back with an element of calm. I have never risked more on a sporting event - in both financial terms and that of reputation - and still, had never felt so comfortable.

Mayweather met the significantly larger McGregor in the ring in the first round, pursing his lips as he seemingly sought to repress his laughter. I am quite sure that not even in his wildest dreams, Mayweather thought he would see the day in which he would meet McGregor in the squared circle, but here he was: $100m guarantee in his back pocket, facing a man in his professional boxing debut. Many fans were angered at the concept, but why? We allowed this to happen .
Mayweather will earn an estimated $300m for Saturday's mismatch, and he dressed the part too: making his entrance wearing a ski-mask, akin to that of a bank robber...
McGregor would start the fight on the front-foot, with the 40-year old Mayweather content to take the most risk-free route to victory. crucially, for his many detractors, this did not involve the tiresome accusation of "running".  Mayweather jockeyed and manoeuvred in the opening session, content to let his opponent gallivant forward, wasting his already-limited energy reserve with a series of needless - and, frankly, hilarious - switches in stance. All the while, Mayweather remained composed, that annoying grin still etched across his face, as he stood in the eye of the "storm".

Apparently, the challenge of facing one of the greatest pure-boxers in the history of the sport was not a big enough challenge for the cocksure, egotistical McGregor: he decided to undertake the challenge without a boxing coach. Owen Roddy, McGregor's MMA striking coach, retained his position (despite, y'know, also never having boxed professionally) and the evidence was shockingly clear. It is the equivalent of not only attempting to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, but doing so with a debilitating fear of heights, ably supported by a blind guide.

Yes, McGregor took the middle of the ring. Yes, he arguably "won" the first two rounds. He was able to touch Mayweather with some strikes - notice the differentiation between striking and boxing - but he was never once "winning" the fight. Not in any way, shape or form.

After his "strong start" McGregor took to his corner at the end of the second round, breathing heavily and wearing a mouse under his right eye. For all of his pre-fight promise as the "power-puncher" in the ring, it was the Irishman that seemed to be feeling the sting from his opponent: an opponent that not only hadn't gotten out of first gear, but was yet to even get in the car.

... Then came that smile, and we all knew.
As soon as the bell rang for the third round, Mayweather did as he had promised many in the pre-fight build-up: he came forward.

Sure, he took some strikes - again, notice the difference - as he stalked and strangled McGregor behind a high-guard, but taking shots is the price you pay for walking your opponent down. To do so, you must have two things: a superior boxing IQ (which is a given against virtually every other fighter in the world, let alone a debutant), and also the total lack of consideration for your opponent's punching power. Mayweather had both in spades.

Despite the rallying cry of the uneducated, Mayweather hit the nail on the head at the pre-fight weigh-in when stating: "Weight doesn't win fights. Fighting wins fights."

... And here he was: all 150lbs of him, walking down the 170lbs+ MMA "power-punching" demigod.

It was the simplest way to win the fight and, ironically, the most crowd-pleasing. Win-win for Mayweather: and he won big .

The performance itself was far from his best. It was bereft of the customary artistry we have become used to seeing from Mayweather over the years: simply because it wasn't required. Again, the uneducated point to McGregor's "success" on the punch-stats (y'know, the guy sat ringside counting punches with his own eyes?) as a form of salvation for his plentiful efforts. Had McGregor presented even the slightest of problems to Mayweather from a technical point of view, in all likelihood we would have seen a more defensively astute, fundamentally sound performance. But with the risk-factor so low - zero  - what would be the point? It would have been even more of an insult to fans than what transpired. Hands up, come forward, right hand, repeat . Mayweather boasts one of the sharpest minds in boxing history: the gameplan he came up with required even less thought than some of his cringeworthy pre-fight trash-talking...

"Yeeeaaah!" 

After giving up the early stages, Mayweather laid a sustained beating on McGregor, walking him down with no regard for his fabled "power" before stopping him against the ropes in the 10th round. It was Mayweather's first stoppage victory since 2011.
Of course, Mayweather is not the same fighter he was when he defeated Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez in September 2013 (his last truly great performance), but he has forgotten more than Conor McGregor could ever hope to learn about the sport of boxing.

I don't blame those who felt McGregor might/could/would defeat Floyd Mayweather. I can only chalk that up to ill/non-informed, non-boxing fans (and the pitiful Brendan Schaub). I don't blame Floyd Mayweather, who after plotting and negotiating his way through a carefully-constructed (and, it has to be said, superlative) boxing career, was given the opportunity to literally steal more money from a sport that has already made him a multi-millionaire... and I certainly don't blame Conor McGregor, who after being on unemployment benefit in his native Ireland a mere five years ago was guaranteed $30m (with that figure set to rise considerably after the totting-up of the surely record-breaking PPV & gate) to face a man in Mayweather, in a bout that was of a significantly lower risk to his physical health than stepping into the octagon in 4oz gloves with a man trying to rip his limbs off.

I blame society and I blame myself.

I had always disregarded the notion from some of my fellow-hardcore boxing fans that the bout would "kill boxing", and while I stand by that fact, it is only now that I see what it is they were talking about. This fight should not have happened . It preyed on the sickest part of us as sporting fans. The intense dislike of Mayweather, the seemingly-hypocritical love of McGregor's brash, lavish gregariousness and, of course, tapping into a never-ending market of fans that should've known better.

Floyd Mayweather performed the 'Heist of the Century' on Saturday night.

... We were not victims: we were his accomplices.
Article by: Rob Tebbutt

You can follow Rob on Twitter at: @RobTebbutt
By Behind The Gloves 19 Nov, 2017

Carl Frampton's highly-anticipated return to the squared circle did not go exactly according to plan, with a hard-fought unanimous decision win over Mexico’s Horacio Garcia in front of an adoring hometown crowd at the SSE Arena in Belfast.

After a turbulent 2017, which saw the Northern Irishman suffering his first professional career loss to Leo Santa Cruz - in addition to splitting with long-time trainer Shane McGuigan and undergoing a promotional shake-up – Frampton was able to close out a difficult year on a somewhat positive note, securing victory with slightly generous tallies of 98-93, 97-93 and 96-93 on all three judges’ scorecards. 

Throughout the early rounds, the former super-bantamweight and featherweight titlist was seemingly content to play the cool matador to Garcia’s rampaging bull, picking his opponent off with cute counters complemented by evasive footwork. However, as the fight progressed into the middle rounds, Frampton became increasingly tired in the face of Garcia’s obdurate surges forward, who was at that point growing in confidence and connecting with more frequency. 

The former two-weight world champion then abandoned his previous counterpunching-oriented strategy, and elected to become embroiled in an entertaining slugfest with his opposite number from Guadalajara – with domestic rivals Josh Warrington and Scott Quigg, as well as Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez, seated ringside.

As the thrilling exchanges between the two prompted deafening roars from the Belfast crowd, the consternation pervading the arena was tangible during the seventh round after a slip from an apparently off-balance Frampton was incorrectly deemed a knockdown by referee Victor Laughlin.

Nevertheless, Frampton regained his composure and was ultimately able to see off the characteristically tough Garcia in what was, all things considered, a relatively nip-and-tuck affair.

Meanwhile, super-flyweight Jamie Conlan’s first crack at a world title was unsuccessful as IBF titleholder Jerwin Ancajas simply proved to be too much on the night for the previously undefeated challenger.

A resilient, albeit overmatched Conlan was repeatedly knocked down and pummelled with debilitating shots to the midsection, until referee Steve Gray called a halt to proceedings in the sixth.

There was additional success for Irish fighters on the card, however, as undefeated prospect and former Olympian Paddy Barnes moved to 5-0 after delivering an exquisite body shot to Nicaraguan Elicier Quezada in the sixth-round, claiming both the WBO intercontinental flyweight title and his first stoppage win in the process. 

WBO bantamweight champion Zolani Tete also wowed ringside spectators with a jaw-dropping thunderous one-punch knockout over compatriot Siboniso Gonya in the very first round.

In taking just eleven seconds to dispose of his opponent, the heavy-handed South African reportedly set a new record, and will now undoubtedly be coveting unification fights with the likes of Ryan Burnett and Luis Nery, in order to stake his claim as the best 118-lber in the world.


Report by: Navi Singh

You can follow Navi on Twitter at: @hombre__obscuro

By Behind The Gloves 18 Nov, 2017
Former world champion Anthony Dirrell (31-1-1, 24 KOs) had a successful return to the ring in his hometown as he won a technical decision over Denis Douglin (19-6, 12 KOs) in the main event of a special Friday night edition of Premier Boxing Champions TOE-TO-TOE TUESDAYS on FS1 and BOXEO DE CAMPEONES on FOX Deportes from Dort Federal Credit Union Center in Flint, Michigan.
 
"I wanted to pressure him and test myself," said Dirrell. "He was wearing down and then the head butt came. I told the doctor that my vision was blurry and he decided not to let me continue."
 
The fight was stopped in the sixth round after an accidental clash of heads left Dirrell's left eye badly cut. The ringside physician deemed Dirrell unable to continue and the fight went to the scorecards where Dirrell won a technical decision by scores of 49-46 and 48-47 twice.
 
Fighting in his hometown for the first time since 2011, Dirrell came out fast and appeared to have Douglin in trouble in round one with a flurry of hooks. Douglin was able to survive the round and had successful moments landing left hooks to Dirrell's head.
 
Douglin was aggressive throughout but was unable to stop Dirrell from mounting his own offensive surges. Dirrell scored to the body often and was able to work through any difficult moments.
 
"I was going for the knockout," said Dirrell. "I wanted to get him out of there. I was getting hit and I got frustrated occasionally. I need to stick to the game plan a little better and make sure I'm doing what I want to do in the ring."
 
Dirrell and Douglin continued to trade blows until the decisive clash of heads that led to a premature end of the fight and Dirrell taking home the decision victory.
 
"I'm right there with anyone in this division," said Dirrell. "I was getting ready for a title fight and I hurt my back but I'm ready now. I want to face anyone with a belt or whoever will step up to the challenge."
 
In the co-main event, unbeaten welterweight prospect Jamontay Clark (13-0, 7 KOs) boxed his way to a majority decision victory over Domonique Dolton (19-2-1, 10 KOs) in their eight round bout.
 
Clark used his significant reach advantage and pumped his jab early and often, establishing it in the first round and adding different combinations off of it throughout the contest. Dolton attempted to close down the distance but was unable to land anything that deterred Clark.
 
A clash of heads midway through the fourth round opened up a cut over Clark's right eye and appeared to temporarily re-energize Dolton, who tried to take advantage of the wound. Clark showed toughness in never letting the cut slow him down as he stuck to the game plan and boxed effectively down the stretch.
 
Dolton stalked him throughout the final frames and landed occasionally but it was not enough as Clark took home the decision by scores of 78-74, 77-75 and 76-76.
 
The opening bout of the telecast saw Ryan Karl (15-1, 9 KOs) earn a unanimous decision victory over Kareem Martin (9-2-1, 3 KOs) in an eight round battle of junior welterweight prospects.
 
Martin had success early walking Karl down and landed a powerful looping right hand combined with a left hook midway through the first round that staggered his opponent. Karl set the tone for the fight and shook off the attack and continued to come forward in an exciting opening frame.
 
Karl increased his work rate after the first two rounds, consistently using the jab and throwing right hands mixed in with body shots. Martin stayed in the pocket throughout but was too easy to hit as Karl got the better of much of the action in the middle of the ring.
 
In the final round, Karl seemed to have more left in the tank as he buzzed Martin with a right hand that slowed his opponent and helped him on his way to a unanimous decision by scores of 78-74 twice and 77-75.


Source: Premier Boxing Champions [Press Release]
By Behind The Gloves 17 Nov, 2017

In just over three weeks’ time, boxing fans will be treated to a historic match-up. On December 9th in Madison Square Garden, New York, Vasyl ‘Hi-Tech’ Lomachenko will defend his WBO Super Featherweight title against Guillermo ‘El Chacal’ Rigondeaux; the first time in boxing history that two double Olympic gold medallists have faced each other in the professional ranks. 

The statistics attached to the impending matchup are impressive. Between them in the amateur ranks, the two pugilists went a mind-boggling 871 wins combined to only 13 losses. As professionals, they are multiple world title holders who share a combined record of 26 wins, 18 by way of knockout, with just a single loss. 

In view of the historical nature of the match-up and such figures, one would expect it to be one of the most heavily-hyped fights of the year. From Rigondeaux’s perspective: it has been anything but. 

Within the last 24 hours, Rigondeaux has taken to social media to express his dissatisfaction with what he perceives to be the under-promotion of the fight. Reading between the lines, it is a clear shot being fired at Bob Arum and Top Rank Promotions, the current promoters of Lomachenko and formerly of Rigondeaux, with whom he parted in 2014 in less than amicable circumstances. For Rigondeaux, the turning point was his decisive 2013 victory over the then-WBO Super Bantamweight Champion and '2012 Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year', Nonito Donaire, who he schooled in a fight which was far more one-sided than the scorecards suggested. Rigondeaux claims that Arum and Top Rank never forgave him for extinguishing the lights of one of the brightest stars in their stable. For Arum and Top Rank’s part, Rigondeaux’s defensive style of fighting made him a far more difficult sell to boxing audience, especially in comparison to the all-action style of the defeated 'The Filipino Flash'.

By Behind The Gloves 17 Nov, 2017

Carl Frampton returns to the ring at Belfast’s SSE Arena this Saturday, in what will be his debut under the guidance of new promoter Frank Warren and new trainer Jamie Moore. 'The Jackal' will be eager to close the book on a tumultuous period which saw him lose his WBA featherweight world title and have his homecoming bout cancelled at the eleventh hour, before going on to split from trainer Shane McGuigan and depart Barry McGuigan’s Cyclone promotions: all in the space of seven months.

With both camps remaining tight-lipped regarding the fall-out, little is known as to what triggered the Belfast fighters shock August split from the McGuigans. The news came on the heels of weeks of speculation surrounding Frampton’s future with the promotional outfit, triggered by the fighter's resignation from Cyclone’s board of directors on the 21st of July. 

The Belfast hero will be seeking to return to winning ways in his home city this weekend, having dropping a twelve round decision to Mexican three-weight World Champion Leo Santa Cruz in their Las Vegas rematch in January of this year. The disappointing reverse remains his last trip to the ring. 

In what will be his first non-title contest since April 2014, Frampton will look to unleash ten months of frustration upon featherweight contender Horacio Garcia, who faces the unenviable task of occupying the away corner in-front of a partisan crowd this Saturday. The Mexican enters the contest as a heavy underdog, with his thirty-seven fight record devoid of notable names barring 2012 US Olympian Joseph Diaz, to whom he succumbed to a lop-sided decision victory in December of last year. “Violento”, however, will be looking to seize the opportunity to enter the upper echelons of the 126 pound weight class with a shock-win over one of the division's elite, forcing himself into title contention for 2018.

In Frampton, Garcia will face a fighter who has appeared reinvigorated of late, having rediscovered his love of the sport in working with new trainer Jamie Moore. The former two-weight king joined Moore at his Manchester training base, initially on a trial basis, after his aforementioned split with Shane McGuigan earlier this year. Following a successful inauguration, the Northern Irishman decided he need look no further, and subsequently announced that he would resume his career with the former European 154 pound champ in his corner. In just two short months, fighter and trainer appear to have struck up an almost-instantaneous chemistry, with Frampton making all of the right noises as he bids to make a successful return to the ring.

After piecing together the final parts of his new team in the ensuing weeks - with announcements that he had signed with boxing management outfit MTK as well as Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren - Frampton returns to the sport with a renewed sense of vigour, and will be hoping to recapture the form that made him 'Ring Magazine 2016 Fighter of the Year'.  

The move to the Warren stable opens up the possibility of future domestic clashes with both Josh Warrington and IBF World Featherweight Champion Lee Selby, with the latter scheduled to fight on the veteran promoter's December 9th card at the Copper Box Arena in London.

With a plethora of potential big fights on the horizon - both at home and across the Atlantic - the twenty-nine-year-old will look to put a stacked Featherweight division on notice with an emphatic victory over Horatio Garcia in front of his adoring public this weekend. 

Garcia will be joined at ringside by fellow Guadalajara native Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who will be hoping to see his Golden Boy stable-mate spring an upset victory. Most however, believe that Garcia would require the Mexican superstar to join him in the ring if he is to have a realistic chance of upsetting the local hero.

After proclaiming 2017 to be "the worst year of my career", Frampton has afforded himself every opportunity to ensure 2018 is, in fact, the exact opposite. While one would imagine sterner - and more lucrative - bouts are on the horizon, Frampton will undoubtedly have his eye fixed firmly on Horacio Garcia this weekend. With an adoring fanbase tuning in on an action-packed evening for Belfast boxing, Frampton will be keen to remind observers of the sport as to who the city's top dog is. 

'The Day of The Jackal' is Saturday evening, live on BT Sport and BoxNation...


Article by: Gareth Gonet

You can follow Gareth on Twitter at: @garethgonet

By Behind The Gloves 16 Nov, 2017

Emerging Super Bantamweight prospect Lucien Reid (7-0-0 4 KO's) has said he will challenge for titles at the beginning of 2018, after a ‘slow start’ since turning over in the professional ranks two years ago.

Reid - nicknamed ‘Lethal’ - established himself as a talented amateur, claiming a Senior ABA Elite 54kg title in 2013 and was a finalist at 56kgs the following year. Thus far as a pro, however, for reasons unknown to him, the East Londoner has struggled to gain momentum.

Following nearly one year of inactivity, Reid resumed his career when he returned to the ring to victorious against Michael Mooney in May, before beating Jose Aguilar in September on the undercard of former-stablemate Billy Joe Saunders' WBO World Middleweight title defence against Willie Monroe Jr. 

The 23 year-old looks to continue the reinvigoration process of his career on December 16th at the Brentwood Centre, where he will attempt to improve his record to 8-0 and put on another exciting show for the fans.

"I’ve got no opponent just yet, but I’ll be looking for a more game opponent and I’ll be boxing for titles early next year.” said Reid, in an exclusive interview with Behind The Gloves .

"I know I’m boxing for titles early next year. I’ve spoken to Adam [Booth] and he said when I had come off that long eleven month lay-off it wasn’t the right time to be going into hard fights. He wanted me to get more rounds underneath my belt and learn the trade more as we hadn’t been together that long."

Reid, who parted ways with his former trainer Peter Sims last November, is now - as mentioned previously - under the tutelage of esteemed and highly-respected coach Adam Booth, who he says says is having a massive influence in his corner.

”We’re starting to really bond and I’m really starting to take to the style." he stated. 

"He [Booth] wanted me to get more rounds, and December 16th we want a game opponent who is actually going to give me them: then when I fight for titles, I’ll know where my fitness is at over ten to 12 rounds."

By Behind The Gloves 16 Nov, 2017
Jono Carroll will be out to boost his World ranking when he fights for the vacant IBF Intercontinental Super-Featherweight title on Saturday’s big ‘Frampton Reborn’ fight card at Belfast’s SSE Odyssey Arena.

The undefeated Meath-based Dubliner (14-0) was set to clash with his old rival Declan Geraghty this weekend in a rematch of their dramatic 2014 tussle, which Carroll won via disqualification after a fiery four rounds.

However, Geraghty was forced to pull out of the bout last week due to a hand injury, leaving Carroll in search of a replacement opponent.

Mexican Humberto de Santiago (15-4-1) has answered the call and the pair will clash for the IBF stepping-stone strap and a top-15 world ranking this weekend, live on BT Sport and BoxNation.

“I was gutted to hear Deco pulled out, but I wasn’t too surprised,”  said Carroll on his MTK stablemate and rival. “I never really thought he wanted the fight anyway.”

“But I’m buzzing to get another opponent sorted and to have the intercontinental  title on the line. It’ll help me jump up the rankings and get closer to that ultimate prize. I want a world title and this is just another rung on the ladder I have to climb.”

Limited remaining tickets for Frampton Reborn can be purchased via the SSE Arena Belfast Box Office, www.ssearenabelfast.com  and 028 9073 9074.

Source: Frank Warren PR [Press Release]
By Behind The Gloves 16 Nov, 2017

Throughout the years, boxing has seen many of its best known participants refuse to acknowledge their decline, instead stubbornly opting to remain in the sport well beyond their sell by date: more often ending in disaster than in glory.

Those in the boxing who reside outside of the ropes however, can enjoy a more substantial lifespan than the sports combatants. One such example is British Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren, who after almost forty years in the fight game is enjoying something of a career renaissance; in no small part due to the signing of his exclusive rights deal with broadcasting giant BT sport in November of last year. 

Throughout a stellar promotional career, the Londoner has been a leading player in the UK boxing market, having been responsible for promoting some of the sport’s most illustrious names including Ricky Hatton, Joe Calzaghe and Prince Naseem Hamed. 

Warren would see his high standing in the UK market go largely unchallenged throughout the noughties, with main promotional rival Barry Hearn opting to scale down his involvement in boxing in order to focus on other sporting ventures. 

In 2011, the veteran promoters decision to leave Sky Sports for his own fledgling network BoxNation - coupled with the emergence of promotional upstart Eddie Hearn (son of the aforementioned Barry Hearn) - would bring an abrupt end to the dominance which Warren had enjoyed over the previous decade. The younger Hearn’s meteoric rise within the sport would see an exodus of top names from the Warren stable, including future world champions George Groves, Tony Bellew and James DeGale, all seemingly enticed by the effervescent Hearn’s bold plans for U.K. boxing.

Without the financial backing of a major broadcaster, the next five years would see Warren struggle to deliver major fights for his top fighters, who were failing to garner wider exposure: owing largely to the fact they were plying their trade exclusively on a subscription boxing channel, well beyond the view of the wider sporting public.

Throughout this period, Warren would lose out to Matchroom in the signing of several much sought after prospects, including 2012 Olympic gold medallists Anthony Joshua and Luke Campbell. Warren would also watch from afar as his bitter-rival Hearn accomplished a landmark promotional feat, in selling out Wembley Stadium for the Froch vs Groves rematch in 2014. 

Evidently dismayed at losing his position atop the British boxing industry, the Queensberry boss would continually levy public criticism upon his younger rival at every opportunity. The subsequent discourse between the pair would result in a promotional cold war, akin to that seen across the Atlantic between Oscar De La Hoya and Top Rank supremo Bob Arum. The prospect of major inter-stable fights would resultantly enter the realms of fantasy, where it remains to this day. 

By Behind The Gloves 16 Nov, 2017
Paddy Barnes believes his elite amateur experience will be key when he takes to the ring on Saturday night at the SSE Odyssey Arena.

Belfast native Barnes features on a stacked undercard in support of his friend Carl Frampton, who returns to the ring in a headline featherweight bout against Mexico’s Horacio Garcia, live on BT Sport and BoxNation.

Barnes had hoped to defend his WBO European Flyweight title for the first time on the bill, but complications surrounding potential opponents has led to a change of plan and the three-time Olympian will instead fight for the WBO Intercontinental strap over 10 rounds as he bids to boost his World ranking.

Experienced Nicaraguan Eliecer Quezada(21-6-3) will be the man in the opposite corner and Barnes admits that he faces a tough test in only his fifth professional bout since turning over to the paid game last year.

“I’ve had a look at him [Quezada] and he’s very, very good,” said Barnes. “My original opponent fell through, so that’s changed everything. I was training for a small come-forward fighter and now I’m fighting a taller opponent, so that’s changed a lot.”

Quezada twice defeated compatriot Yader Cardoza, who pushed Jamie Conlan to a split decision last March. That marked Conlan’s last ring outing ahead of his first world-title shot against Filipino IBF Super-Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas on Saturday night.

However, the 30-year-old Barnes – a two-time Olympic medallist and European amateur champion – insists that his amateur pedigree will stand to him this weekend.

“But in the amateurs you’re fighting different styles every day at major tournaments so I’m used to it. I haven’t thought too much about it, I don’t really mind, I’m just looking forward to the fight. I can’t wait, I’m very excited and I’m flying fit, so it should be a good night.”

Barnes is back in action just a few weeks after recording his fourth pro win in Edinburgh when he claimed a six-round points victory over Peruvian Juan Hinostroza.

“That helped me shake off the ring rust coming into this fight,” explained Barnes. “That’ll stand to me. It’s still a bit of a struggle to get the weight down, but I’ve been on a strict diet and I feel sharp and strong and fit.”

Limited remaining tickets for Frampton Reborn can be purchased via the SSE Arena Belfast Box Office, www.ssearenabelfast.com  and 028 9073 9074.

Source: Frank Warren PR
By Behind The Gloves 15 Nov, 2017

 In recent days, former lineal heavyweight champion of the world, Tyson Fury, released a video on social media of his pad workout at the Hatton Gym, as he continues to talk up a boxing comeback in the near future. Fury, of course, has not been seen in the ring since November 2015 when he sensationally dethroned Wladimir Klitschko on a famous night in Düsseldorf, Germany: rendered inactive by a combination of anti-doping and mental health issues. 

In that time, we have been subjected to a painfully predictable and, quite frankly, tiresome trend of Fury vacillating between announcing his permanent retirement from the sport and, alternatively, vowing a comeback to rival Muhammad Ali.

Let me make things clear from the outset: mental illness is a terrible affliction which I would not wish upon anyone. 

In this respect, Fury deserves our full sympathy and well wishes. The racism which he has been subjected to by members of the public on account of his Irish Traveller heritage is despicable and must be condemned unequivocally. Moreover, as a boxing purist, I regard him as a talented and heavily underrated exponent of the sweet science. In fact, I would favour a  mentally focussed  and  in-shape  Fury to outpoint current WBA 'Super' and IBF world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, should the two ever meet in what would be a blockbuster domestic clash. It would, however, seem that we are still a long way away from both presumptions.

By Behind The Gloves 15 Nov, 2017

Unbeaten Irish star John Joe Nevin can’t wait to return to the ring on Friday 24th November and kick-start his career as aims to make 2018 his year.

The 2012 Olympic Silver medallist has his first fight in Britain as a professional at the Tolworth Recreation Centre on the undercard of female World Champion Pink Tyson, alongside Lenny Daws, hot prospect Yusuf Safa and many more.

Nevin is heralded as one of the most decorated amateur boxers ever with an illustrious record that reads: Double Olympian, 2012 Olympic Silver, 2 World Bronze, European and European Union Champion, 15 times All Ireland Champion; a staggering 255 amateur contests - of which 210 were Internationals - with just 15 losses.

The Mullingar ace has had various problems from physical, personal and promotional issues since turning professional, but the 29-year-old has put together a solid eight-fight unbeaten record that has seen him campaign in American and Ireland.

His last fight was on 26th August 2016 at the Sugar House Casino in Philadelphia when he defeated Jesus Lule, winning every round in the six-round contest. He was scheduled to fight in September this year, but medical licensing and opponent issues meant that that it had to be postponed.

However, Nevin is now thrilled to return to London where he celebrated the pinnacle of his amateur career by winning Olympic Silver alongside a standout Irish team that included Michael Conlan, Katie Taylor and Paddy Barnes.

“It’s fantastic to return to London where I’ve had so many amateur fights and great memories, but of course the highlight was lifting silver for myself and the Irish team, that is something I will never ever forget,” Said Nevin.

“The Irish team was packed with so many talented fighters like Michael, Katie and Paddy and they’re all doing amazing in the pros. I’ve had my troubles, but through all of that I’m proud to hold an undefeated record and there is so much ahead of me now,”

“I feel that in a way, the rest has made me stronger and maybe that is for the best. Remember, I had 255 amateur fights with almost all of those at a high level over 20 years and I’ve had no real breaks, so now I feel strong again and I just can’t wait,”

Nevin will step up to super-lightweight and take on Killamarsh’s Lee Connelly over six-rounds at the Tolworth Recreations Centre and then look for some big fights next year."

He added, “I wanted a heavier opponent and to get some more rounds in and I didn’t want someone who was going to tumble over so boxing at super-lightweight is where I see myself being most effective from now on,”

“I’m in the gym every day with my trainer Jim McDonnell, he’s a tremendous coach and along with his sons they form a top team and now it is up to me to become a champion,”

“For now I’m focusing on the 24th November and then looking at a big 2018 when I know some exciting opportunities are going to come my way. Long term the aim is to become a world champion and I believe I can do that.”

Female World Champion Pink Tyson, real name Kallia Kourouni, from Sparta, Greece, headlines the show, promoted by Hennessy Sports in association with Joey Pyle and John Edwards.

Morden’s favourite fighting son, “Lightning” Lenny Daws makes his long awaited return to the ring. Daws looks to return to winning ways as he targets a third shot at the European Super-Lightweight crown and win it for a third time following his close attempt in February this year against Anthony Yigit.

Undefeated Bexleyheath Super-Featherweight prospect Yusuf Safa returns to action following his win on the Hughie Fury-Joseph Parker undercard and aims to target his first professional title shortly.

Two-time Olympian John Joe Nevin from Mullingar, Ireland, has his first in Britain as the supremely talented 28-year-old continues to build on his unbeaten record.

Heading up an exciting undercard will be: Iver Heavyweight Naylor Ball; Mitcham Super-lightweight Cheznie Hawkins; Farnborough’s George Lamport, Camberley Lightweight Jonny Phillips; Chertsey Lightweight Tony Vincent makes his highly-anticipated professional debut and Mitcham Super-lightweightZahayr Al Quahtani.

 

For tickets information, contact Joe Pyle on 07572733339  or John Edwards on 07883317538 .

Doors open at 5:30pm with boxing commencing at 6pm.


Source: Hennessy Sports [Press Release]

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