MJP: “Wladimir Klitschko recently announced his retirement. What are your thoughts on that?”
DW: “Like I said before: he had everyone guessing what he was going to do. Whether he was going to retire or not. I felt that if he retired, it makes him look good going out on top. It’s good to see the former Champions end their career on top. A lot of guys feel like they can still keep going because as a fighter you build a mentality of “I can still do this” – it’s a different feeling. A lot of people don’t understand that mentality you have as a fighter. But if he would have fought on and lost again, I felt it would’ve harmed his legacy a little bit. As you can see, many of our [former] Champions have continued to fight and lost. People will only remember the last fight you have. No matter what you do in life, they only remember the last thing. So I think it was a good idea for him to do so [retire].”
MJP: “Do you think the outcome would have been the same if he had taken the rematch with Anthony Joshua?”
DW: “I’m not really sure. He [Klitschko] did a wonderful job the first time. In two different times in the fight: he had the fight won. I had him up on the scorecards myself [at the time of the stoppage] but there was two different times where he could’ve got the fight over with, and he didn’t push on the gas. For that reason, we don’t know. A lot of people say yes, a lot of people say no. In my opinion? I really don’t know. But again, I think he made the right decision. He’s definitely a ‘Hall of Famer’ so he’ll go down in history. Now he can start having more time with his family, his kids and stuff like that. He’s going to enjoy his life even more now.”
MJP: “There was a bit of an issue with the WBC: They ordered you to rematch Bermane Stiverne, but you wanted to go ahead and try and move forward with a fight with Luis Ortiz. Now the WBA have ordered Joshua to face Ortiz where does that leave you and Ortiz?”
DW: “ We’re still moving forward. Like I said, no peer pressure. We’re still moving forward. I was just putting out the idea: ‘Hey, it was going to be a megafight on November 11 in Vegas [Joshua vs Klitschko II] and we can still keep that date in Vegas. Let’s do it. The world is screaming for it [Joshua vs Wilder]. I get messages all the time and after a while it’s going to get to the point where it’s in high demand, especially when I’m finished doing what I’m doing, as soon as everything is done and we’re able to announce what’s going on. So we’re still moving forward, and with the Stiverne thing? I’m not really worried about Stiverne. I really think Stiverne needs to fight someone else. After two years, only fighting one time and being dropped by a guy named Derrick Rossy. A lot of my people who were there that I know and they said Stiverne lost too, but it was given to him. I don’t think that’s enough to come back in the ring and fight somebody like me that’s been active. This has been my longest lay-off, but I’m still more active than him [Stiverne]. I still care about fighters. I care about their health and what state boxing can put it in. Especially when you’re dealing with a killer like me. I’m definitely that guy. I am the hardest-hitting Heavyweight in the division. I’m not going to say ‘one of them’ – I’ve got great confidence that I am the hardest-hitting Heavyweight in the division. Stiverne trying to fight me after what I did to him in the first one [fight], putting him in the hospital for several days, gave him a concussion and him pissing blood and him almost losing his life. That’s something serious that should be taken into consideration. We’re going to fight, of course. We’re on the verge of fighting, but I just want him to get more time. I really do. I think that the WBC made a mistake in automatically making him a mandatory after that Povetkin ordeal. I think they really made a mistake and I think they should correct it, because things have got to go on. Things have got to push forward. Nobody wants to see that fight. He’s got this ill will towards me, that he’s just trying to prove himself, but he’s just fighting his own demons, because he knew from the first fight. He claimed that he was ready, but he was really scared and when I got in the ring, I beat the shit out of him. He’s just facing his demons because he talked all of that stuff. When you’re a fighter and you talk so much and you can’t back up what you say, it kind of haunts you a little bit because you wasn’t a man of your word. I think he’s dealing with that and he’s battling with himself, and for that he just needs to pump the breaks and sit back and re-evaluate himself and try and get somebody under his belt before coming to me: because once that fight happens with me and him ‘Oh, boy!’ – That’s all I can say!”
MJP: “Eddie Hearn spoke this morning and he said that he didn’t think a fight between you and Joshua could happen next considering that he [Joshua ] has two mandatories standing in front of you. Do you think that fight is going to happen anytime soon? Or is it going to be a Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather type situation?”
DW: “It’s definitely not going to be nowhere near a Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao. If that does ever occur, it will be on their behalf and not ours. I have openly stated who I want and I have been calling out these Champions. A lot of people are giving me a hard time about people I’ve fought and stuff like that, but without being real with themselves. They’ve gotta be real with themselves and look at the Heavyweight division overall and say: ‘Who fought who?” – if I haven’t fought nobody, ain’t nobody fought nobody. Fury beat Klitschko, he didn’t get the praise. Joshua’s just now fought Klitschko. Even before then they were still giving him [Joshua] praise and I don’t understand that. I don’t understand that at all. The only thing I do understand is: I’ve been the one that’s been chosen for people to hate on. Which is fine. It’s okay, I accept that responsibility. Because for every black man in America it’s always been hard. No black man that’s been in boxing – or anything – has been praised, and that’s facts. Even back in the day, there’s always been hatred and stuff like that. But I’m the one to accept that responsibility with open arms, so when I do what I said I’m going to do then the laughs are going to be on all of the faces that doubted me. So I can’t wait for the opportunity. I can’t wait for that time to happen. We’re just chilling and relaxing and we’re just going to do what we do. We ain’t going to pressure nothing. Just like I told them: if they want it, they can come to us. We’re not going to keep saying this and saying that. We’re just going to let it go with the flow and after a while it’s going to be in high demand. Then it’s going to happen and we’re going to really see who the man in the division is: and I know for sure who the man in the division is. There’s going to be one Champion, one face, one name: and his name is Deontay Wilder.”
MJP: “Do you think that because you’re 6 foot-seven? You really are big and solid. Because you are as big as you are, it isn’t every day that you’re going to meet somebody of your size, and when you fight you make it look really easy. Do you think that’s because of the size advantage, that people from the outside looking in it looks like ‘Oh, that wasn’t much competition’?”
DW: “ Well, I’m not the biggest. Most of the guys are 6 5”, 6 6”, 6 7”. My height does play as an advantage, the length of my arm does play as an advantage, but if I’m not able to capitalise on all of the things that I have – training hard and being able to understand what I’m doing in the ring, with the IQ that I have in the ring – then all of that goes out of the window. It’s not advantage unless you know how to use it. Just because you’re tall and powerful, that really doesn’t mean nothing. Height and size doesn’t mean a thing really. It’s just a mental thing that people put in their head, like: “Oh, he’s tall” or “he’s long” or “I ain’t got no chance”. In life, you can’t go on worrying about what you have or what you don’t have. You’ve just gotta step up and accept the consequences and do the best you can. And with me: I’m ready. I want to unify. That’s my main thing. I hear a lot of these other guys that try to become Champions and stuff. Okay, that’s easy. I was going that when I was a prospect too: that’s what you’re supposed to do. But as a Champion, I’m calling out other Champions and they are ignoring me, because they know. They know I’m just confident. I’m a guy that’s super confident in my ability and my skills and what I’m able to do. A lot of people can say what they want, they can look on the outside looking in. But at the end of the day, when a fighter steps in the ring it’s a different world when you get in there with me. Many fighters have said it. Many fighters have expressed it themselves. The ones that will tell the truth, will let you know what the deal is. Most of the guys that I have fought, after they fought me, they’ve had little success afterwards because of what I’ve done. Especially the ones that I’ve knocked out crazy: like Szpilka. Szpilka will never be the same. Bermane Stiverne will never be the same fighter. That’s just what it is. I’m just confident. I’m just super confident in what I say I’m going to do. That’s why I talk a lot of sh*t, because I want to back it up. I want to talk so much to the point where I must back it up. It’s going to be if I fail, I lose everything. I want to put myself in that position, because I’m confident. That’s all you need when you’re dealing with combat and war. You’ve gotta be confident in what you’re able to do and go and do what you say you’re going to do: and Deontay Wilder is ready to prove that to the world. I’m ready to bring all of the belts back to America, and put America back on top. But at the same time, I’m going to need America’s help to. In this country we’re too modest, we’re too polite when we’re dealing with other countries and things like that. In America: Americans bash Americans. In other countries, they are for their people. I never understood that. Because if I was from another country, that country would be mine. I would be the man of that country. But being in America, you’ve got all of these American analysts and supposed to be ‘boxing people’, but they bash their own kind. Then they’ll praise the foreigners. They praise the foreigners before they give compliments and praise to their own kind. I never understand that. So when you get a casual boxing fan that doesn’t know nothing about boxing, or just coming into boxing, and they listen to these people because they look up to these people or they see these people as somebody from boxing and they think they should know what they’re talking about, and when they say negative things towards their own countrymen, or he ain’t this or he ain’t this, then that’s what’s instilled in people’s heads. So they’re going to believe what they see without even doing their research. The hard thing about it is people don’t even want to do their research. They don’t want to look up things and find out things for themselves. In this game they always go off of hearsay. The first thing I hear is the first thing I believe. All of these guys like Teddy Atlas put all of this crazy stuff out – certain people believe those things – and these guy are the same guys that have been hating on me from day one since I got into boxing. I gave them no reason. The only I’ve given people is entertainment and knockouts, and that’s what they come to see, so why are all the haters on me? I don’t understand it, but it don’t get to me at all. It’s more heat to the fire, to do what I’ve got to do for any opponent that steps in the ring with me.”
MJP: “Do you think that like Floyd Mayweather, he could be the best boxer in his division of our time, and yet he still will never get credit. Do you feel like that’s the same boat you’re in? You feel like you can dominate, but – for whatever reason – people have made their mind up about you?”
DW: “Oh, yeah. Definitely. That’s definitely me. You know, Evander Holyfield dealt with the same thing when he was coming up until he beat Mike Tyson – and even after that. But that’s just being a black man in America: let’s just face it. That’s being a black man in America. It’s never been easy for a black man in America, and it never will be until things change. People sometimes don’t want to see the black man that’s doing positive things win. We’re too strong. We’re naturally strong, we’re mentally strong. A lot of people feel that if we get too much praise we’ll end up taking over. People are scared. People are scared of black people rising because of the strength that we may have. I accept it. Like I said, it’s fuel to my fire. They ain’t doing nothing but helping me out in the long run, because I don’t take no offence. I’m too dark to take offence. My skin is too much. With that being said, it’s only motivation. It only lights my fire. There’s a lot of fake people around. There’s a lot of fake people in boxing that will be in your face, but the next minute come in with your rival or will like certain things about them, and then will be in your face and talk about ‘You’re going to beat his ass, this and that’. We see it all. I’ve got eyes everywhere. Ears everywhere. Just because I don’t approach a person or say nothing to them, doesn’t necessarily mean nothing. Doesn’t necessarily mean that I don’t know, but I know. There’s a lot of fake people around, that’s why I stay to myself, I stay close to my team and the people that have been with me from day one and the guys that are with me for sure. Because it’s hard. It’s already hard. You don’t have no support from some of these people, they’d rather bash you, they’d rather hate on you. They want to see you fall before you even gain anything. Which is okay, because the Bible says ‘Those that come last, shall come first’ – and I’m in the last of those that will come first.”
MJP: “Deontay you’ve proven a lot. You’ve proven that you need to be in with the big guys – we’d love to see you fight, obviously, Anthony Joshua – but I wanted to know, how far long in negotiations were you with Luis Ortiz? Or was it just all rumours floating around?”
DW: “Oh, no. This isn’t rumours. This is real. This is real. I want Luis Ortiz. Luis Ortiz is considered the Bogeyman of boxing. He’s considered one of the most avoided guys in boxing, which I don’t understand why. Even back in the time when they brought up about me and Luis Ortiz, I had no interest in fighting Luis Ortiz because I knew Luis Ortiz was doping. I knew this. I’m 2-0. When I say a man is doping: they’re doping. I’m not in this sport to dodge nobody or duck. I dare anyone to put ‘fear’ or ‘being scared of somebody’ under my name.”
MJP: “Do you feel like he still is? Or you feel like he isn’t now, which is why you are open to fighting him?”
DW: “Well, time has passed, he’s even had a couple of fights. He’s with Al Haymon as well and they’ve been doing a great job. As you can see with my previous opponents that’s been testing me, the thing about me when dealing with other fighters: they know the risk. They know how serious I am. I’m like this untold story, of this man, this legendary myth of me having this tremendous power that ‘if I touch you I’ll f**king kill you type of power’. When you’re listening to war stories, and not only just listening, but you see it for yourself? Like any fighter that was in Brooklyn when I knocked Szpilka out, they already got it in their head. Why do you think Povetkin did what they did? Because they know that this man [Wilder] has got power and it’s real: and he can take you out at any given time. Look at the fight with [Gerald] Washington. A lot of people didn’t know my strategy. People will try and say anything. You can’t lose a round, you’ve gotta knock somebody out. You can’t just beat them or it wasn’t a good fight or you barely won. It’s a lose/lose situation that I’m in. You just can’t please people. It’s a lose/lose situation. With the Washington fight, I did what I wanted. I gave him the confidence the ability to think that he was in there with me. Boxing is a patient game. It’s an IQ that you must have. I wasn’t getting touched like that. It was easy. I don’t even breathe. The thing about me, I don’t get tired. Even if it may look it, I’m not tired. I’m enjoying myself in that ring. I actually enjoy myself fighting. I love it. It’s a therapy for me. With that being said, I just can’t wait. I can’t wait. Because once everything comes to pass, I’m fighting people that they want to see me fight – because everybody I fight there’s always going to be something, because of the form and the fashion that I do it in. I train my ass off to do what I do! Nothing is easy. The hard part is the camp. That’s the hard part. When I get in the fight, I want it look easy. That’s what people have a problem with, because I’ve done it so easily and I’ve knocked all of these guys out senseless. I don’t just knock you out: it’s the fashion that I knock you out. You don’t know whether you might spaz out, you may get knocked out and look like you’re dead, you’re probably going to go to the hospital, you have all of these knots on your head: you might even lose your life when you’re dealing with somebody like me. That’s just what I bring to the game. I’m dangerous. I’m a dangerous fighter, so I understand why these other Champions don’t want to fight me yet. I understand it. Then it makes me look like I don’t want to fight nobody, or this and that. Which is fine, because in my career I had nothing to do with some of these guys testing positive for drugs or backing out of the fight and stuff like that. But still, people don’t care. They just want to make it seem like I don’t want to fight. Some people just try to get under your skin and say what they want to say, but I tell them ‘keep talking’ because there’s going to be a time where I always say that you’re going to look stupid trying to make excuses for my success. And I mean that.”
MJP: “You and Anthony Joshua are the two heaviest handed fighters in the Heavyweight division. Do you see that fight going the distance? Do you think that you could be the first to knock out Anthony Joshua?”
DW: “That fight [with Joshua] would not go the distance. That fight would not go the distance. It would be too much to prove, it’d be too much on the line. Both guys would be eager and so fired up to win. Both of us want the knockout. I think with that fight, that’s the only way that fight would be properly finished is if either one of us get knocked out: and I’m confident that I’ll be the one knocking him [Joshua] out. To be honest, I like Joshua. I like what he’s doing in his country. I think it’s a beautiful thing, because he’s a fighter. With him being a fighter, we’re all in the same family. He’s a fighter, I’m a fighter and everybody else is a fighter. If one fighter is winning around the world, everybody is winning. At the end of the day, people are talking and that’s what we want. When nobody is talking, then it’ll be a problem. It’ll be a dead sport. Nobody would be talking. He’s winning and his country supports him fully and that’s a beautiful thing: I love it. And he’s a black man, so I love it. But there’s going to be a time when he’s going to have to face this black man over here in America [Wilder] and I’m going to overshadow some dreams, and it will be a knockout. This is what I’m confident about. But I don’t think Joshua is confident in himself facing me though. I really don’t.”
MJP: “With you both being Champions, who would be the ‘A’ side and who would be the ‘B’ side [in negotiations]?”
DW: “It all depends. I bring a lot to the table, whether people want to admit it or not. Of course he has the other belts, because of the opportunities that have been given to him. If you look at his resume, he ain’t fought nobody but one person. I been calling Klitschko out a year, two years ago and what did Klitschko tell me? ‘I need to fight somebody else… I need to have another name on my record…’ – but he goes and fights Joshua, who didn’t have nobody on his resume. But his country still praises him for that. Like I said, there’s been a lot of ducking and dodging so a lot of things ain’t been my fault. I can understand if I backed out of fights or if I didn’t accept fights if something came up: but these fights have not happened because of my opponents. Because of the other guy. It’s never been about me, it’s never been about my team. It’s been about the other side. So with that being said, definitely 50-50. Definitely. At the end of the day, I want all of the belts and I will get all of the belts no matter how it may happen. He doesn’t bring no much more excitement than I bring. So it’s definitely 50-50.”
MJP: “What message do you have for Anthony Joshua? I know there’s ‘Deontay Wilder’ and ‘The Bronze Bomber’ – What does ‘The Bronze Bomber’ have to say to Anthony Joshua?”
DW: “‘The Bronze Bomber’ is just plain and simple: don’t wait, make the date. I don’t blame Joshua, I don’t blame you [Joshua]: I blame Eddie Hearn. Because Eddie knows what’s going to happen. Eddie sees all of his fighters and he doesn’t want to get rid of the cash cow yet. I understand, but there’s going to be a time where there’s going to be no dodging, no ducking, there’s going to be no way around it. This fight must happen. It’s gonna happen. There’s no way around it, and when it does happen: be ready.”
TO LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW PLEASE CLICK BELOW:
Interview by: Michelle Joy Phelps
You can follow Michelle on Twitter at: @MichellePhelps
Transcript by: Rob Tebbutt
You can also follow Rob on Twitter at: @Rob Tebbutt
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'.
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
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."
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.
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.
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.
Doors open at 5:30pm with boxing commencing at 6pm.
Source: Hennessy Sports [Press Release]
Top Rank on ESPN will kick off its 2018 season with a sensational Super Bowl weekend world championship event. GILBERTO "Zurdo" RAMÍREZ , Mexico's super middleweight champion with the matinee idol looks, defending his world title. Ramírez (36-0, 24 KOs), from Mazatlan, Mexico, will make his third defense of his World Boxing Organization (WBO) super middleweight title against Top-Five world-rated contender HABIB "Wild Hurricane" AHMED (22-0, 17 KOs) from Accra, Ghana. The fight will take place on Saturday, February 3,at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, TX, and will be televised live and exclusively at 10:30 p.m. EST on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and stream live on the ESPN App.
Ramírez and Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum will announce the fight at a press conference on Thursday, November 16,at 11 a.m. CST, in the Henry Garrett Ballroom C, located inside the American Bank Center(1901 North Shoreline Blvd., Corpus Christie, TX 78401).
Promoted by Top Rank ®, in association with Zapari Boxing Promotions, ticketsto the Ramírez-Ahmed world championship event will go on sale This Thursday, November 16,at 10 a.m. CST-- the perfect fistivus holiday gift for your favorite boxing fan! Priced at $152, $102, $62, $42, and $27, including facility fees, tickets may be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com , at the American Bank Center Box Office, Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT, or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000.
"Gilberto Ramirez has proven that he is the best of the super middleweights All you have to do is look at his world championship victories against Arthur Abraham and Jesse Hart," said Arum. "Gilberto has quickly become the face of boxing on both sides of the border.
“Habib Ahmed is an undefeated fighter with a good knockout record. He is fighting outside of his home country for the first time and that makes him a very dangerous fighter,’ said Ramírez. “He knows that he has a great opportunity in front of him. I’m going to train even harder than for my last title defense. I think this will be a very good fight. My world title and our undefeated records will be on the line. I’m very motivated and focused on defending and retaining my title for the third time against a good opponent. I want to show the world why I’m the champion in the super middleweight division.”
“I have an important message for Gilberto Ramirez,” said Ahmed. “I am coming to America to take your title. I am going for the knockout. All of Ghana and all of my fans are going to be so proud, so happy. This is the opportunity I always wanted. I am taking Ramirez’s title with me to my homeland.”
Ramírez, a two-fisted super middleweight wrecking machine, made history in the co-main event to the Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley welterweight pay-per-view on April 9, 2016, when he became México's first fighter to win a super middleweight world title. Entering the fight as the top world-rated contender, Ramirez gave a virtuoso performance over the defending WBO champion Arthur Abraham, a-three-time world champion in his own right.. All three judges scored it as a 120-108 blitzkrieg. "I took him to Méxican boxing school," a jubilant Ramírez boasted as he put on the world championship belt . A sensational young champion, Ramírez had been scheduled to make his first title defense in July 2016, but a training camp injury to his right hand followed by surgery and rest sidelined him for the remainder of the year. He returned to the ring on April 22, winning a unanimous decision over Top-10 contender and one-time world title challenger Max "Tiger" Bursak and followed that up with another impressive unanimous decision victory, this time over undefeated No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger Jesse "Hard Work" Hart on September 22.
A former Ghanaian super middleweight champion, Ahmed has won eight of his last nine fights by knockout, including the six-bout victory-by-knockout streak he is currently enjoying. In his most recent fight, on March 17, Ahmed stopped Philip Kotey in the 11th round to capture the vacant WBO Africa super middleweight title. This will not only be Ahmed's U.S. debut, it will be his first professional fight outside his native Ghana.
For more information visit: www.toprank.com , www.espn.com/boxing ; Facebook: facebook.com/trboxing , facebook.com/trboxeo , facebook.com/espndeportes ; Twitter: twitter.com/trboxing , twitter.com/trboxeo , @ESPN @ESPNBoxeo
Source: Top Rank [Press Release]