Chess Not Checkers: Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor Fight Preview

  • By Behind The Gloves
  • 25 Aug, 2017

Just one day from their August 26th showdown, 'Behind The Gloves' staff writer Rob Tebbutt previews Mayweather vs McGregor...

Floyd Mayweather squares off against Conor McGregor this Saturday at T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, in a bout that has cast an ominous shadow over the world of combat sports.

It is a contest that has divided public opinion like no other. The fight’s detractors – of which there are many – deride the match-up as little more than a money grab from two of sports most marketable figures. Billed as ‘The Money Fight’, its outlandish garishness has only been topped by the, at times, vulgar volatility of its build-up.

After partaking in an almost unprecedented media tour, tackling four major cities in four days, the Mayweather-McGregor “circus” broke down the door to the homes of viewers and thrust itself (quite literally in the case of the gyrating McGregor) into the conscience of the paying public. Playing to crowds in excess of 10,000 – for a press conference – the two serial trash-talkers took turns to gain the psychological upper hand, amidst a chorus of cheers and vitriol from their respective camps.

After seemingly being caught unaware during the now-infamous ‘mic-gate’ debacle of the opening presser in Los Angeles, McGregor responded in Toronto with a blistering verbal assault that raised excitement levels among fans to fever pitch. The silver-tongued, unashamedly cocksure Irishman produced one of the most iconic pre-fight barrages in sports history as he took aim at Mayweather, his team and – much to everyone’s surprise, not least the man himself – Showtime executive Stephen Espinoza. It was a performance in public speaking akin to that of twisted stand-up comedian rather than of a fighter. McGregor possessed the underlying menace of a man seemingly intent of not only embarrassing his opponent, but also convincing the seemingly-unbelieving world of his belief in his ability. Even those who claimed not to be interested in the very public slanging-match between the two multi-millionaires had been turned by the savage eloquence of McGregor. Interest levels had been piqued.
McGregor dazzled during an electric Toronto press conference, but the 'May-Mac World Tour' would take a dark turn the following night in New York.

However, such as has been the case with many high-octane build-ups, there would come a point soon after where the jokes stopped being funny. A plateau had been reached in Toronto and there was only one way to go. 

The following evening saw crowds turned out in their droves to witness a performance labelled “as bad as it can get” by UFC President Dana White at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. McGregor, draped in a polar bear fur coat, addressed earlier accusations of racism from Team Mayweather with an ill-advised “black from the belly-button down” gag. It was a shockingly insensitive comment that bombed harder than his former-opponent Jose Aldo in their UFC World Featherweight title fight. At this moment, the ever-so-slightly softened stance of boxing’s hardcore reverted to type. The “show” was lambasted for its poor taste and calls of bringing the sport into disrepute grew louder and more vociferous from a discontented audience.

The gruelling tour came to an end in London the following evening in-front of 10,000 fans at Wembley Arena. The two respective camps were on their best behaviour – or as close to it as possible – and the show did no more self-destructive damage than the previous instalment. Despite the macabre tone of the New York leg, the old mantra that no press is bad press still showed to be true. Rightly or wrongly, people were talking. For Mayweather and McGregor, their entire careers as pay-per-view fighters has been built on a foundation of pushing boundaries, overstepping the mark and garnering a reaction from their audiences: sometimes good, more often bad. This was no exception.

Mayweather and McGregor's World Tour came to an end in-front of a raucous crowd in London... But after some close-to-the-knuckle incidents, did the tour help or hinder the bout?

But what of the fight itself? While it isn’t common to begin a fight preview with a blow-by-blow account of the press tour, it has to be said that there is nothing common about this fight. It is as unusual an event that has taken place in all of sports. Boxing, in its simplest form, is a competition between two men who enter the ring and punch each other until one man surrenders. It is that simplicity – and that alone – that has somehow led to a fight being made between a man who is undefeated in a 21-year career and another who is yet to undertake a single professional bout.

While it is impossible not to be impressed with Conor McGregor’s meteoric rise the top of the Mixed Martial Arts world, it is beggars belief that some feel he will be able to not only compete, but actually beat Floyd Mayweather – or any top contender for that matter – in a boxing ring. The talented southpaw striker has blitzed his opposition inside the octagon in eye-catching fashion, leading him to becoming one of the most marketable fighters in combat sports history. His brashness and egotism has catapulted both himself and his sport into the forefront of the global market, helping to drive pay-per-view sales and revenue by astronomical numbers in the process. McGregor has made a career out of achieving the seemingly impossible: but this time it’s a step too far.

Loyal to a fault, McGregor has prepared to face the best boxer of his generation without installing a specialist boxing coach. His MMA striking coach Owen Roddy, who has led McGregor to becoming a two-weight World Champion in the UFC, has been tasked with implementing the game-plan devised by McGregor and his head coach John Kavanagh. It is a move that has drawn harsh criticism from pundits and fans-alike, with McGregor seemingly unaware of the innate difference between the two concepts of striking and boxing. McGregor has faced further ridicule at the release of his training videos, including an unorthodox technique for warming-up his shoulders which drew further ire from the boxing community.

McGregor (centre) has kept faith with his long-time MMA coaches John Kavanagh (left) and Owen Roddy (right) ahead of his professional boxing debut.

For all of his undoubted skill inside the octagon, McGregor’s style is one that is unlikely to transcend into a successful boxing career. He is a fluid, flamboyant fighter with an excellent control of distance: but only against mixed martial artists unable to capitalise on the glaring errors he is making. On Saturday evening, he will step into the ring for the first time against one of the greatest pure boxers of all-time. McGregor, a debutant, simply does not have – and has not had – enough time to tailor his striking abilities to be even remotely competitive against a competent twelve-round fighter: let alone a bona fide all-time great in Mayweather.

Much talk has been made of McGregor’s power. It is my belief that the most significant contributing factor in this “fight” is not “ if Conor can land on Floyd”, but rather “ when Floyd lands on Conor”. Despite a career plagued with hand injuries and a safety-first fighting style, Mayweather’s boxing acumen and skill is of such a high level that he is able to pick and choose his spots to land against fellow-elite level boxers: against a routine novice like McGregor, it will be child’s play.

While he no longer carries the same punching power that saw him blast through competition earlier in his career, several of his most recent opponents will attest to the fact that Mayweather hits hard enough . He has caught – and hurt – rugged, come-forward fighters such as Argentinean banger Marcos Maidana and Mexican superstar ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in recent bouts. It is not necessarily the power of Mayweather, but the precision, accuracy and nigh-on perfect punch selection that will see him able to tag McGregor cleanly and consistently throughout the contest.

Conor McGregor has never been hit by a professional boxer, and that, I believe is the most significant asterisk attached to this bout.

Mayweather was imperious in defeating Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez in their September 2013 WBA/WBC World Super Welterweight title bout.

Most expect McGregor to force the pace in the early stages as he seeks to score the most unlikely of stoppages. The 29-year-old McGregor has himself cut his initial four-round knockout promise in half, proclaiming he will end the fight inside two rounds. While he has no chance whatsoever of out-boxing and out-scoring the imperious Mayweather over the full twelve round distance – a distance McGregor has yet to complete, and will attempt to in his first fight (!?) – I would argue that an attempt to end the fight early will undoubtedly play into the natural counter-punching Mayweather’s hands. In short, McGregor runs a significant risk of being knocked out himself should he force the action in the opening rounds and stands even less chance of trying to outbox Mayweather: What choice remains? 

Conventional (lack of) wisdom from some fans expecting Mayweather to “run” from McGregor are also wide of the mark. The allegation of Mayweather as a “runner” is one tossed at him by those who, frankly, are unaware of the nuances of the sweet science. He is a defensive master. Utilising his unparalleled ring IQ first and foremost as a way of out-manoeuvring his opponents. Mayweather is a master chess-player facing a man who has yet to step away from the checkers board. Should McGregor come out firing as many expect, the inevitable check-mate will come sooner than anticipated.

It is a fight that is almost impossible to produce an all-encompassing preview due to the hideously apparent one-sided nature of the contest. Looking at the fight in black-and-white: Floyd Mayweather has faced 22 current or former World Champions in 49 professional bouts. He has defeated them all. He has held twelve World titles in five separate weight classes. He has never been officially knocked down in a professional boxing ring. Ever.

McGregor has never stepped into a professional boxing ring.  Ever.
One of the greatest defensive fighters of all-time, Mayweather has historically produced his best performances against aggressive, come-forward opponents.

Regardless of the outcome on Saturday 26th August, it is unarguable that McGregor has already “won”. His ascent to the top of the Mixed Martial Arts world is unparalleled. From collecting benefits in his home country of Ireland a mere five years ago, to being a part of the richest prize-fight in combat sports history – in his debut no less. However extraordinary that story may be, there comes a limit to how much even the most idyllic of sports fans can believe: this is it.

Mayweather will totally and completely dominate Conor McGregor before knocking him out. It is the only thing as obvious as the scale of the mismatch. Mayweather’s understanding of the fine details of boxing is something that even the greatest fighters in history have failed to master. Primed as a fighter under the tutelage of his father Floyd Sr. and Uncle Roger Mayweather, his boxing education began from the first day he was brought into the world. He is a true boxing thoroughbred, raised to become one of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport. To believe anything other than a Floyd Mayweather victory – and a resounding one at that – would be to discredit boxing altogether.

A win for Conor McGregor over Floyd Mayweather would not only represent the biggest upset in the history of boxing – that much is painfully obvious – it would be the biggest upset in the history of sport.

Tennis and Badminton. Rugby and American Football. Chess and Checkers… Mayweather and McGregor.

Article by: Rob Tebbutt

You can follow Rob on Twitter at: @RobTebbutt

By Behind The Gloves 23 Jan, 2018

Over 70,000 tickets have been sold for the World Heavyweight title unification clash between Anthony Joshua MBE and Joseph Parker at Principality Stadium in Cardiff on March 31, live on Sky Sports Box Office – and a limited number of tickets will go on sale on Monday January 29. 

Joshua and Parker clash for the IBF, WBA Super and WBO World titles on an historic night of boxing in Wales, and after going on sale at midday today only a limited number of £300 and £600 tickets remain available for sale from the official ticketing partner,  www.StubHub.co.uk   

A number of production holds priced at £40, £60 and £80 go on sale at  www.StubHub.co.uk  from midday on Monday January 29.

Coach packages are on sale via www.seetickets.com  with various pick up/drop off locations available throughout the UK.

For accessibility and wheelchair tickets – please contact the Principality Stadium via 02920 822432.

Official hospitality packages are available to purchase directly from Principality Stadium Experience. Both private suite and premium lounge packages are available to purchase, with prices starting from £450 per person + VAT. For further information please call the team on 02920 822 413.

Official Hospitality packages are also available via Sportsworld via www.sportsworld.co.uk  or by calling 0208 9712966

Authorities are strongly advising fans to allow plenty of time to get into both Cardiff and Principality Stadium and to plan their travel before purchasing a ticket. Details can be found via the Information tab at:  http://www.principalitystadium.wales/events/v/joshua-v-parker-2018-03-31


Source: Matchroom Boxing [Press Release]

By Behind The Gloves 23 Jan, 2018
Frank Warren is delighted to confirm that contracts have been signed for the IBF World Featherweight Championship between World Champion Lee Selby and the IBF Mandatory Challenger Josh Warrington. The fight will be shown live and exclusive on BT Sport and BoxNation on Saturday May 19.
 
Leeds hero Warrington (26-0, 6 KO’s) brought the blockbuster all-British showdown closer to reality by stopping previously unbeaten Dane Dennis Ceylan in a Final Eliminator clash at the First Direct Arena back in October.
 
A former English, Commonwealth, British, EBU European and current WBC International Featherweight Champion, Warrington is now determined to join the Featherweight elite by becoming Leeds’ first ever World Champion.
 
The Yorkshire warrior will be aiming to go one step further than Leeds native Crawford Ashley who challenged for the WBA Super-Middleweight and Light-Heavyweight World Titles in the 1990s.
 
Welshman Selby (26-1, 9 KO’s) claimed the IBF Featherweight crown against Russia’s Evgeny Gradovich at the 02 Arena in May 2015 and has subsequently made four successful defences of the title, the most recent being against Eduardo Ramirez at the Copper Box Arena in December.
 
The Barry stylist and Warrington have been embroiled in a long-running hateful social media spat, with Selby accusing the Yorkshireman of ‘bottling’ an opportunity to face him in 2016. But now the bitter rivals will settle their feud once and for all in the first ever World Title fight to be held in Leeds.

Both men know there is potentially a greater prize on offer than the belt itself, with victory in May likely to provide a passport towards a summertime showdown with former two-weight World Champion and Frank Warren stablemate Carl Frampton MBE.
 
“Let’s see what Josh is made of,” stated Selby on his mandatory date being set. “He’s done everything that has been asked of him so far. He’s picked up my vacated titles and beat a lot of my past opponents. To his credit, he’s earned his position as my Mandatory Challenger and deserves his shot.
 
“If Josh comes steaming out like he has done in the past that will just play into my hands as I’ll pick him off like I have done with numerous past opponents. If he opts to box on the back foot I definitely can’t see him outboxing me. In fact, there’s no way I can see him beating me.
 
“The plan is to beat Warrington and then go over to Belfast and beat Frampton too. If I beat Frampton then the World is my oyster. This is a huge year for me and by the end of it I’ll prove to everyone that I’m the number one featherweight in the UK.”
 
As far as Warrington is concerned, the winner on the night will be sporting the colours of Leeds United as he represents his city on what he is sure will be a history-making occasion.
 
“By winning this fight, not only do I get my hands on a World Title, but it’s a chance to show everyone that I’m the best featherweight in the UK and propel myself onto the World level,” insisted the 27-year-old.
 
“For the past three or four years our names have always been mentioned together. He’s always been that one step ahead of me and everyone has always looked at him as the number one Featherweight in the UK, but that will change on May 19.
 
“It’s going to be an entertaining fight for the fans but there’s only going to be one winner and that’s me. He’s not a perfect fighter or a polished fighter, he’s got a lot of weak points and I’m going to exploit them.
 
“The city of Leeds has been craving a World Champion for years and on May 19 I’m going to make history. I’m going to give absolutely everything to achieve my dream - I’m grabbing this opportunity with both hands.”
 
Promoter Frank Warren added: “This is a fight that has all the ingredients of a classic. It’s the one that we have all been waiting for. There really is no love lost between these two and on May 19 they finally get to settle their feud.
 
“This is a fan friendly fight and guaranteed to entertain those in attendance and watching at home. Whether the relentless volume punching of Josh can unhinge the stylish probing of Lee, we’ll have to wait and see. Josh has been working towards this fight his whole life and has the chance to achieve his boyhood dream in his home city.
 
“Josh forced the issue by becoming Lee’s mandatory challenger and this is the shot he has been waiting for. It is a fight and an event that I’m really excited about, the atmosphere on the night will be worth the admission money alone!”
 
“This announcement comes hot on the heels of news of the all-British WBO Middleweight World Title fight between Billy Joe Saunders and Martin Murray in April. Ourselves and BT Sport are committed to staging and televising the very best domestic fights, and in Selby vs. Warrington and Saunders vs. Murray we are doing so.”

Venue and ticket details will be announced at a press conference in Leeds next week.


Source: Frank Warren PR [Press Release]
By Behind The Gloves 23 Jan, 2018
Assassin Boxing Ireland and Red Corner Promotions are delighted to announce that an agreement has been reached with TG4 as we put pen to paper on a broadcast partnership for the live coverage of our show 'Ireland's Last Man Standing' on March 3rd  at The National Stadium.

This marks the return of professional boxing to a terrestrial station in Ireland in almost a decade.

The explosive competition will see 8 boxers pitted against each other, where each contestant will look to progress through the quarter final, semi final and final over 3 round bouts.

With a sensational €50,000 prize fund on offer, with a severe emphasis on the winner taking a large chunk of the money. Further monetised incentives are to be offered for knockouts, to ensure an entertaining evening for those watching at home and in the arena.

The historic National Stadium, is expected to sell out, and have a full capacity, which will add another dynamic with the atmosphere expected to be electric.

Also on the night there will be an Irish title fight between Jay Byrne and Craig O Brien as the two Dubliners clash. Paddy McDonagh who recently beat Steve Collins Jr in emphatic fashion is back as he faces David Bailey in a mandatory Irish light-heavyweight title defence.

Along with that there will be a full undercard featuring some of Ireland’s premier prospects including Dylan Moran, Leinster strength & conditioning coach Cillian Reardon & Victor Rabei.

Speaking at the announcement, Kaz Evans from Assassin Boxing Ireland said, ‘it is an honour to bring professional boxing back to terrestrial television. I am looking forward to Irish boxers getting the exposure they deserve. This has been a long time coming and the entire team would like to thank TG4’.

Red Corner Promotion’s Jonathan Graham added, ‘This represents a watershed moment for Irish professional boxing. It is a real game changer. Current boxers & now prospective professionals alike know where to come if they want terrestrial television exposure. All credit to TG4 for coming on board. They are a perfect fit in terms of garnering maximum exposure for fighters & shows alike’.

Head of Sport for TG4 Rónán Ó Coisdelbha concluded by expressing his ‘delight to be back in professional boxing. TG4 have a proud tradition in Irish boxing. We are excited by the idea, the concept & look forward to the future together’.

Tickets are available from Tickets.ie


Source: Assassins Boxing [Press Release]
By Behind The Gloves 21 Jan, 2018
Errol Spence Jr. retained his IBF World welterweight title with a thoroughly dominant eighth round stoppage of Lamont Peterson at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

The undefeated Texan star was in full-control throughout, dominating Peterson from the opening bell behind a solid southpaw jab and a trademark body assault. Former two-weight World champion Peterson was barely in the contest, unable to mount any substantial offense, and resorting to a high guard in an attempt to survive against the fearsome young champion.

After being dropped to the canvas by a left hand to the temple in the fifth round, Peterson fought back bravely, surviving the ensuing onslaught and making it through to the end of the round. However, following a further barrage from Spence, Barry Hunter - longtime trainer of Peterson - read his man the riot act after the sixth round, threatening to stop the fight in the midst of Spence's dominance.

Despite a relatively low-key seventh round, the writing was on the wall for the D.C. native. Now sporting a badly swollen face, Peterson survived the seventh round, but after once again finding himself unable to make a dent in Spence, he was saved further punishment by his trainer one second into the eighth round.

The performance from Spence will enhance his already glowing reputation as one of the top fighters in the sport, and he made no secret in his wish for a unification with WBA/WBC World welterweight champion Keith Thurman in his post-fight interview.

Showcasing a snappy jab and murderous body-punching, Spence has laid down an early marker in 2018 that the rest of the divisional elite will have to follow. For Peterson, he was simply unable to deal with the freshness and relentless - yet measured - assault from 'The Truth'.
By Behind The Gloves 21 Jan, 2018
Marcus Browne def. Francy Ntetu via TKO1

Light heavyweight contender 'Sir' Marcus Browne (21-0-0, 16 KO's) continued his ascent up the 175lbs rankings with a blistering first round stoppage victory over Francy Ntetu (17-2-0, 4 KO's).

The unbeaten New Yorker wasted little time in securing his first victory of the year, landing a short left hand from his southpaw stance that dropped Ntetu heavily against the ropes. To his credit, Ntetu dragged himself gamely to his feet, but never truly recovered from the knockdown, and was defenceless when met with the follow up barrage from the Browne.

After taking a series of unanswered blows in the corner, Ntetu was spared further punishment by referee Arthur Mercante Jr., who stepped in to call a halt to proceedings at 2:15 of the opening round.

Browne moves on in impressive fashion, and in holding a lofty ranking with each of the governing bodies, can expect to challenge for a World title at some stage in 2018.


Robert Easter Jr. def. Javier Fortuna via SD12

IBF World lightweight champion Robert Easter Jr. eked past the game Javier Fortuna to successfully defend his title and remain undefeated.

The performance was far from convincing on the part of the champion however, as he struggled to come to terms with Fortuna's unpredictable, awkward style. Fortuna, who was unable to challenge for the title after failing to make the 135lbs weight limit, was deducted a point in the second round for rabbit punches, which, ultimately, would come back to haunt him on the judges scorecards.

The bout was littered with close rounds, with Easter forcing the pace on the front foot while his opponent sought to walk him on to shots on the inside. Fortuna almost reaped the rewards for his gameplan, after a solid left hand in the fourth round seemed to hurt Easter. However, he was unable to capitalise, with Easter using his height and reach well to recover at the beginning of the next session.

Despite enjoying significant physical advantages over his opponent, Easter was dragged into close quarters by his opponent, and was caught regularly with southpaw left hands when fighting on the inside. After less than convincing performances against Richard Commey and Denis Shafikov, Easter once again failed to impress against Fortuna, with many feeling he was somewhat fortunate to come away with the victory.

On the other hand, Fortuna will leave the bout with his reputation arguably enhanced, after producing a gritty performance, despite ultimately coming up short. While the Dominican fighter was able to force the champion into fighting his fight for periods of the contest, he will perhaps regret his lack of activity in areas, in which he allowed Easter to control the tempo for large sections.

With scorecards of 114-113, 113-114 & 115-112, Easter secured the split decision victory and will move on with his undefeated record intact as he seeks to challenge the elite men in the lightweight division later in 2018. However, it must be said, a significant improvement will be required if the Ohio-native is to stand any chance against the likes of WBC champion Mikey Garcia and WBA & 'Ring' Magazine beltholder Jorge Linares.

Behind The Gloves [Rob Tebbutt] Scorecard: 114-113 Easter
By Behind The Gloves 20 Jan, 2018

It was announced last week that Canada-based Colombian Eleider Alvarez, who has held the status of mandatory challenger to WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson for more than two years, has withdrawn from the purse bid for a WBC interim world title fight against Ukrainian contender Oleksandr Gvozdyk. 

The situation is currently under the consideration of the WBC but it is hard to see any other outcome than Alvarez losing his mandatory status. It seems a bizarre decision on the part of Alvarez and his team at first sight. Winning the WBC interim title would not only have reaffirmed his mandatory status but have brought the promise of a more favourable purse split against the full champion. 

Alvarez’s promoter, Yvon Michel, has countered that his fighter has already fought three final title eliminators and that they see no logical reasons to fight a fourth. Based on this fact alone, some sympathy is due for the Colombian contender, but the truth - as always - seems to be the case in boxing, is more complicated than first meets the eye.

The predicament is merely the subplot to one of the most disappointing title reigns in recent years. Adonis Stevenson punched his way to stardom in 2013 when he obliterated Chad Dawson to capture the WBC light heavyweight title. He followed up by becoming the first man to stop former titlist Tavouris Cloud and then capped the year by smashing mandatory challenger Tony Bellew in six rounds, earning plaudits for his performances and the 'Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year' title. 

By Behind The Gloves 19 Jan, 2018
Hall of Fame Promoter Frank Warren will stage a double World Title card on Saturday 14th April featuring Billy Joe Saunders’ defence of his WBO World Middleweight Championship against domestic rival Martin Murray, alongside Terry Flanagan’schallenge for the vacant WBO World Super Lightweight title against unbeaten American Maurice Hooker. The card will be broadcast live in the UK on BT Sport and BoxNation.
 
Saunders, fresh from a 12 round masterclass against David Lemieux in the Canadian’s home town, returns to the UK to face long-time rival Martin Murray. Saunders’ career best performance in Canada has seen him risen to be considered by many the top active boxer in the UK and the Hatfield man is looking for 2018 to be the biggest year of his career.
 
Murray is the final hurdle for Saunders in obtaining a complete domestic whitewash of British and Irish Middleweights that already includes Andy Lee, Chris Eubank Jr, Spike O’Sullivan, John Ryder and Nick Blackwell.  Should Saunders overcome Murray on the 14th April it is likely to clear the path for a blockbuster showdown for all the World Middleweight Titles against the winner of the highly anticipated rematch between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez.
 
Saunders said:  ‘ Martin Murray is a good fighter and I have got the greatest of respect for him. But he’s in the way of what I’m aiming for this year and that is to become Undisputed Middleweight World Champion. He’s coming try and win my world title and I’m sure it’s going to be a good fight!’
 
Murray who many felt did enough to become a Middleweight World Champion against both Sergio Martinez and Felix Sturm, only to be undone by the judges’ scorecards, is coming off a big win against Gabriel Rosado and will be out looking to scupper Saunders’ plans of facing Golovkin or Canelo and grab that blockbuster undisputed World title showdown for himself.
 
The St. Helen’s man said,  ‘ I rate Billy Joe as a fighter, he’s one of slickest out there and he is coming off of a great win and will be very confident. But I’m very confident, this is my time to become World Champion, as it’s the only thing I have left to do.
 
I’ve fought everyone and in my opinion at Middleweight I have only one genuine loss which is against Gennady Golovkin who is the best out there.
 
I don’t count Martinez or Sturm as genuine losses because of the scorecards. But this time around, in my first World Title fight at home, as we are both British fighters fighting on home soil, I know the best man on the night will get the win and leave the arena as World Champion.’
 
In the other World Title clash on the card, unbeaten former WBO World Lightweight Champion Terry Flanagan faces unbeaten American Maurice Hooker for the WBO World Super Lightweight Championship, in his first contest at the weight. Flanagan had defended his 135 lb World Title 5 times before relinquishing the belt to move to Super Lightweight, a more comfortable weight class for his stature.
 
Flanagan said:  ‘Hooker is a very good unbeaten fighter, he fights on the back foot and looks to catch you from distance. However I’m very confident I’ll be able to deal with anything he throws at me to become a two-weight World Champion. Winning this fight will prove I’m a legitimate 140lb fighter I’ll be looking to unify the belts later in the year.
 
Whilst undefeated American Maurice Hooker said:  ‘I’m looking forward to coming to the UK to fight Flanagan and to become World Champion. We are both undefeated fighters and I’m sure it’s going to be a fantastic fight!
 
Details of the venue that will stage the event, the full announcement press conference and ticket information will all follow next week.


Source: Frank Warren PR [Press Release]
By Behind The Gloves 19 Jan, 2018

Errol Spence Jr (22-0-0, 19 KO's) will make the first defence of his IBF World welterweight championship this Saturday, when he faces former two-weight World champion Lamont Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KO's) at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn.

The bout is Spence's first since his ripped the title away from Kell Brook in an eleventh round stoppage, after travelling to Brook's home city of Sheffield in April 2017. 

Spence's opponent, 33-year-old Lamont Peterson, presents an intriguing challenge to the unbeaten Texan, having held the unified WBA and IBF light welterweight titles in 2011, and the WBA welterweight title in 2017. Peterson is also coming off a significant lay-off, with his last bout coming almost a year ago when facing David Avanesyan in February of last year. 

Many believe that while Peterson represents a solid test for Spence, he will have to produce a new career-best performance to pull off the upset. For Spence, he will seek to recapture the momentum gained from capturing the title, and set up a potentially exciting 2018 in the welterweight division. With Peterson suffering just one stoppage loss in his 39-fight ledger, against power-punching Lucas Matthysse, the fight presents an opportunity for the champion to make a statement to his rivals.

"My goal is to unify the welterweight division in 2018, but this fight is a true test and Lamont Peterson is a veteran that I definitely will not overlook." said Spence. 

"I sparred him in the amateurs and I know what he brings to the table. I have to get through him to achieve my goals and that is what I plan on doing on Saturday night."

Peterson has shown the ability to mix things up throughout his 13-year career, showcasing slick boxing skills in a contentious loss to Danny Garcia, while showing a more rugged, pressure-fighting style against Amir Khan in the D.C. native's marquee career victory in 2013. It remains to be seen what game plan Peterson will put into practice against Spence, who has looked irresistible in his unblemished foray as a professional.

"This is a fight I wanted and as I said before when I became a welterweight, I want to fight the best and make the fights that people want to see." said Peterson.

"I'm ready to give it my all and give the fans a great show."

With a blockbuster all-American clash against unified champion Keith 'One Time' Thurman long-mooted, Spence has no room for slip-ups against a tricky customer in Peterson. However, 'The Truth' will enter the bout as a heavy favourite, as he looks to lay down a marker in the 147lbs division.

After vacating his WBA World welterweight title in order to face Spence, Peterson has taken a sizeable leap of faith, and will be hoping that his experience will serve him well against the young champion. Spence is yet to complete a full twelve round championship bout - a feat Peterson has achieved no less than seven times - and will have to be wary against a very live underdog.

By Behind The Gloves 18 Jan, 2018

The hate between Dillian Whyte and Lucas Browne is real – but both men say that there’s more than pride on the line when they clash for Whyte’s WBC Silver Heavyweight title at The O2 in London on March 24, live on Sky Sports. 

The Heavyweight rivals came face-to-face at a press conference in central London today and left the media in no doubt that there is plenty of true venom behind their fierce social media spats are as they traded barbs before a face-off that ended in a frosty handshake.

That tense show of respect reflected the high stakes in the fight, with Whyte ranked number one in the WBC and former WBA champion Browne hunting a route to becoming a two-time champion – the pair will renew hostilities in two months’ time knowing the winner is in a prime spot to fight for a World crown this year.  

“I hope I can fight for a World title this year,” said Whyte. “Sky Sports and Matchroom are behind me and now it's my time to shine. If I can put on a good show in front of a good crowd at The O2 then they can't deny me.

“I'm highly ranked in all the governing bodies and I think I could become mandatory in two of them, so this is a fight with a top contender against an undefeated former World champion - so you have to say that win this, I deserve a World title shot.

“He's a solid fighter and he's got KO power. Any big guy can chin anyone at any time, but he's just got power. A lot of people are in boxing because they are big men - not because they have skill or heart - they're just physically big and over-powering smaller fighters.

“The guy is a bully and calls himself 'an enforcer' so you have to deal with that in a head-on way. Robert Helenius wasn't like that, he was cool, so I was cool, but Lucas has stepped to me in a demeaning way that I don't like, I take that personally and I'm not going to let it slide. He's giving it the big one because he's got insecurities. This is my city, he's in my backyard, and I'm not going to let him take liberties with me.

“You can't intimidate me. I've been right at the bottom and I've risen up, so nothing fazes me and I'm not scared of anything, especially not Lucas Browne. I'm more scared of my Mum than him.

“Of course, I want the rematch with Anthony Joshua, but the fight with Deontay Wilder would make the AJ fight even bigger if I had the WBC belt. I'm always going to want the Joshua fight because we have history and we keep winning then the fight is inevitable, but there's more to this sport for just fighting for pride, it's business, and the fights have to fit my strategy. If you win a World title, you go down in history as a Heavyweight World Champion, it’s the biggest accolade in sport and that can never be taken from you.”

“The build-up will be spicy and fun, but I think it's going to a great fight and all that matters is winning on March 24,” said Browne. “He calls me a ‘bully’ – well I'm going to show him what a ‘bully’ can do. I made my points today, I'm coming to fight, not for a payday or to roll over, I want his belt and I want to be a World champion again.

“I asked him if he was going to shake my hand and he did - I'm a gentleman. I still hate the guy and want to smash his face in at The O2, but man to man, this is a sport and we should respect each other for fighting.

“I don't like judges' decisions - it's not good for me to have my life and my career in the hands of three people outside the ring. If I KO someone - there's no argument, that's what I like.

“We're both at the point in our careers where we need to put in a big performance to stake a claim to fight for a World title, that's going to make me put it all on the line, and I think it'll do the same for him.”

Tickets for Whyte vs. Browne at The O2 in London are on sale now priced £40, £60 and £100 from   www.theO2.co.uk . VIP tickets priced £200 are exclusively available from   www.matchroomboxing.com

Face value tickets for March 24 are available from   http://www.stubhub.co.uk/matchroom-boxing-tickets/   . StubHub is the official ticket partner and marketplace of Matchroom Boxing and Anthony Joshua.


Source: Matchroom Boxing [Press Release]

By Behind The Gloves 18 Jan, 2018

Cyclone Promotions are delighted to announce that exciting contender Josh Taylor (11-0-0) will face Mexico's former two-weight world champion Humberto Soto (66-9-2) at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow on March 3rd. The exciting Super Lightweight showdown will be screened live and exclusively on Channel 5 and is proudly sponsored by Maxi-Nutrition, Ladbrokes and Voltarol.


TICKETS FOR  ‘SCOTLAND’S FINEST’  – TAYLOR vs SOTO AT THE SSE HYDRO IN GLASGOW ON SATURDAY MARCH 3rd ARE NOW ON SALE NOW –  PRICED £40, £60, AND VIP INNER RINGSIDE AT £125 + BOOKING FEES, AND AVAILABLE FROM  WWW.TICKETMASTER.CO.UK  OR CALL 0844 844 0444.

 

Josh Taylor has established himself as one of the best Super Lightweights in world boxing, having become the first man to stop former long-reigning IBF world champion Miguel Vazquez last time out in Edinburgh. The 27-year-old is ranked highly by the WBC, IBF and WBO and is fast closing in on a World Title shot. First, though, Taylor must overcome his toughest test to date against Soto on Saturday March 3rd at the magnificent setting of the SSE Hydro in Glasgow.

This huge night of championship boxing on March 3rd is entitled ‘Scotland’s Finest’ and will indeed feature the brightest lights in Scottish professional boxing on a stacked undercard.

Cyclone’s undefeated Jason Easton (11-0-0)will feature as chief support on the bill on March 3rd. The IBO Inter-Continental super-lightweight champion will box Sunderland’s Glenn Foot (21-3-0) for the vacant Commonwealth Super Lightweight championship, and this intriguing bout has ‘Fight of the Night’ written all over it. The all-action Easton has his hands full against former Prizefighter champion Foot, who also recently held the English title. 

Glasgow’s 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Charlie Flynn (10-0-1) will make his eleventh appearance as a professional on the big SSE Hydro bill on March 3rd. The undefeated Lightweight will box in a six-round contest against an opponent to be named shortly.

Scotland’s former amateur star Lee McGregor (2-0-0) makes his third start as a professional on March 3rd when he features in an eight-round contest on the undercard.

Undefeated IBO World Lightweight championChantelle Cameron (5-0-0) will make her first defence of her belt against an opponent to be named shortly. The talented Northampton star will be looking to build on her title-winning performance in December when she stopped Brazil’s Viviane Obenauf.

Airdrie based Congolese Heavyweight sensationMartin Bakole (10-0-0) will box for the sixth time in the UK as a professional. The IBO Continental champion will look to build on his impressive first-round stoppage of Belgium’s Ali Baghouz last time out in Edinburgh with another solid win on March 3rd.

Elsewhere on the card, Glasgow’s undefeated Scottish Super Bantamweight champion Joe Ham will feature in a six-round contest and Edinburgh’s undefeated prospect Iain Trottermakes his sixth start as a professional on the big bill.


TICKETS FOR  ‘SCOTLAND’S FINEST’  – TAYLOR vs SOTO AT THE SSE HYDRO IN GLASGOW ON SATURDAY MARCH 3rd ARE NOW ON SALE NOW –  PRICED £40, £60, AND VIP INNER RINGSIDE AT £125 + BOOKING FEES, AND AVAILABLE FROM  WWW.TICKETMASTER.CO.UK  OR CALL 0844 844 0444.


The scene is set for a huge night of championship boxing on March 3rd in Glasgow, headlined by an action-packed encounter between two world-class Super Lightweight boxers in Josh Taylor and Humberto Soto, with the winner moving one step closer to a world title shot.

You can follow all of the build-up on our twitter handle - @CyclonePromo; and/or our Facebook page -  www.facebook.com/CyclonePromotions

Doors will open at 5pm at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow on March 3rd with boxing starting at 5.30pm.


Source: Cyclone Promotions [Press Release]

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