Willie Monroe Jr is prepared to make Billy Joe Saunders pay for shouting his mouth off.

  • By Behind The Gloves
  • 13 Sep, 2017

The two southpaws battle it out for Billy Joe’s WBO middleweight crown at London’s Copper Box Arena on Saturday night, live on BT Sport and BoxNation.

Saunders has been shooting from the lip in the build-up, questioning the manner of Monroe’s loss against Gennady Golovkin in May 2015.

“Billy Joe is a good fighter, but his talking is going to make his ass whipping worse,” warned 30-year-old Monroe Jr.

Since losing in six rounds to GGG, American Monroe Jr has bounced back with points wins against John Thompson and Gabe Rosado.

Although he was very competitive against Golovkin, Saunders says Monroe Jr went down too easy under pressure.

Monroe Jr, who has won 21 of his 23 professional contests defended his performance and said: “That was 2015. This is 2017. I’m not here to dwell on the past.

“I gave a good account of myself, but at that moment he may have been too big of a moment for me.

“The moment shook me up more than the fight. When you step into an arena and you have 15,000 fans and 14,990 are for the guy you’re fighting. 

“That moment can shake you up. I’m human. I’ve always been humble.

“I’ve had a 12 week camp for Billy Joe, but I only got six weeks notice for Golovkin and I also had  Thompson and Rosado I had short camps.

“I never had big backers and money guys in my corner to make things happen. So when a shot like that come up you take it.

“Billy Joe has had a great promoter like Frank Warren in his corner. All the fights have been in his own back yard. He hasn’t had to go into a lion’s den with all these screaming fans against him.”

Billy Joe Saunders defends his WBO Middleweight World title against Willie Monroe Jr in the evening's main event; Ilford Light-Heavyweight Anthony Yarde takes on Norbert Nemesapati for the WBO Intercontinental and European belts and teenage Heavyweight sensation Daniel Dubois takes on AJ Carter for the Vacant Southern Area strap in only his fifth contest

Some of the very best up-and-coming prospects in the country including Welling Super-Featherweight Archie Sharp; Ilford Super-Bantamweight Lucien Reid; Fulham Super-Middleweight Zak Chelli and Erith Flyweight Jake Pettit feature. Ilford Welterweight Hamza Sheeraz, Tamworth Light-Heavyweight Ryan Hatton and Ilford Super-Middleweight Umar Sadiq all make their highly-anticipated pro debuts.

Tickets for Saunders vs. Monroe Jr priced at £40, £50, £70, £100, £150, £200 and £250 (VIP/Hospitality) are available from:




By Behind The Gloves 20 Oct, 2017
The sound of “Marching on Together" - the famous anthem of Leeds United FC - will once again greet the arrival of hometown-hero Josh Warrington (25-0-0, 5 KO’s) as he takes to the ring this Saturday, in a world title final eliminator against Denmark’s Dennis Ceylan (18-0-2, 8 KO’s).

The bout will be the twenty-six-year-old's second under the guidance promoter Frank Warren, with whom he joined forces in December of last year following his abrupt departure from Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Sport.

The Leeds fighter has come of age over the past few years, having first appeared on a Matchroom show in the away corner against Hull’s Samir Mouneimne in November of 2013, in which he would stun the hometown crowd with a twelfth round TKO victory to capture the vacant Commonwealth title. Following his title triumph on Humberside, Warrington appeared on the undercard of Scott Quigg vs. Thsifhiwa Munyai at the Manchester Arena, dispatching seasoned campaigner Rendall Munroe, with the former European champion’s corner pulling their man out of the contest after seven one-sided rounds.

The Yorkshire fighter’s success under the Matchroom banner would see televised boxing return to Leeds for his next bout, where he would defend his Commonwealth strap against Belfast’s Martin Lindsay, with the vacant British title also on the line. A raucous atmosphere inside a packed First Direct Arena - coupled with a comprehensive points win for the home fighter - prompted Matchroom supremo Eddie Hearn to secure the signature of the popular featherweight on a five fight deal. The association would see Warrington continue to turn out in-front of his fervent hometown support, clocking up wins over a steadily increasing calibre of opposition, including Australia’s Joel Brunker and former Guillermo Rigondeaux opponent Hisashi Amagasa. Before closing out his time at Matchroom, Warrington also secured an impressive ninth round stoppage of former World title challenger Patrick Hyland in July of last year.

The expiration of his Matchroom contract and discord over career direction between Eddie Hearn and manager Steve Wood, saw 'The Leeds Warrior' sign with Hearn’s promotional rival Frank Warren in December 2016, after Warren announced a partnership with sports broadcasting powerhouse BT Sport the previous month.

Warrington debuted on the channel in May, with a hard-fought decision victory over former IBF World Super Bantamweight World Champion Kiko Martinez. Following the win, Warrington secured a top five ranking with the IBF, setting up this weekend’s final eliminator match-up. With the winner set to be installed as mandatory challenger to Welshman Lee Selby's World title, Warrington will have one eye on a huge domestic clash with the Barry slickster. Ceylan, however, will be hoping to spoil the party and earn a title shot of his own in 2018.

The contest will be the Ceylan’s first outside of Scandinavia, although the Dane has faced British opposition in his previous two bouts - capturing the vacant European title against Norfolk’s Ryan Walsh via split decision in late 2016, before defending against Isaac Lowe in March of this year. The Lowe fight would end in anti-climactic circumstances, following an accidental clash of heads in the fourth stanza after a period of good pressure from the Lancastrian. With the hometown fighter deemed unable to continue due to a cut above his left eye, the contest was ruled a technical draw: much to the disappointment of the challenger and those inside the Ceres Arena.

'The Menace' was then scheduled to face Sheffield’s Kid Galahad on the undercard of Chris Eubank Jr vs. Arthur Abraham in July ,before testing positive for cocaine just weeks out from the bout. The failed test would result in the twenty-eight-year-old being removed from the bill and stripped of his EBU Featherweight title.

Having escaped a ban, Ceylan will seek boxing redemption in this Saturday’s IBF final eliminator bout at Leeds’ First Direct Arena. The bout promises to present an intriguing clash of styles: with the orthodox European skills of Ceylan promising to blend well with local hero Warrington's relentless work-rate, creating an entertaining spectacle for the ever-rambunctious Leeds faithful.

The contest will culminate what should be an entertaining night of prize-fighting, featuring emerging talent in the form of the undefeated Zelfa 'Brown Flash' Barrett (18-0-0, 11 KO's) and the highly-touted Jack Catterall (18-0-0, 10 KO's) who faces his toughest challenge to date in British Super Lightweight Champion Tyrone Nurse (35-2-2, 7 KO's).

The majority in attendance however will be there for one man: Josh Warrington.

Catch the action live on BT Sport 1 from 8:30pm, this Saturday - 21st October.

Article by: Gareth Gonet

You can follow Gareth on Twitter at: @garethgonet
By Behind The Gloves 20 Oct, 2017
British fight fans will witness Heavyweight ‘Juggernaut’ Joe Joyce make his highly anticipated professional debut on Friday night against durable Ian Lewison (12- 3- 1, 8 KO's) in a scheduled 10 round fight at Indigo at The 02, live on channel Dave from 9pm. 

It’s a rarity for a debutant to be thrown into such a tough opening fight but it’s clear Hayemaker Ringstar - the partnership between David Haye and promoter Richard Schaefer - are looking to fast track last year’s Olympic silver medallist. This fight is an opportunity for him to make a statement in the Heavyweight division and jump the queue into frame for major titles.

Lewison, 36, despite previous periods of inactivity will present a stern test for his fellow South London counterpart. Lewison last stepped into the ring one year ago to the challenge for the British Heavyweight Title but suffered the third reverse and only stoppage of his career to Dillian Whyte.

An indication into the risk factor of this opponent choice from the Joyce team is that Whyte, now on the fringes of challenging for a world title, fought Lewison in his 20th professional contest in contrast to Joyce who’ll look to hit the ground running. Whilst Lewison isn’t the yardstick of an elite fighter many will watch with keen interest to see how Joyce copes with potential banana skin ‘Lay Em Out’ Lewison.

At 32 Joyce has left it late to turn to the paid ranks, but having finally been persuaded, he has little time to wait around with settling in fights. An impressive win on Friday would see Joyce leapfrog a list of names in the rankings and it wouldn’t be too long before titles such as the English, British and Commonwealth are on the horizon.

Whilst the professional experience lays on the side of Lewison, Joyce was a highly decorated amateur ending that run at last year’s Olympics when he was on the unfortunate end of a contentious decision which saw him miss out on gold. However, he won gold at the 2014 Commonwealth games in Glasgow, gold at the 2015 European Games, bronze in the 2015 World Amateur Championship and 2013 European Amateur Championships. 

Whilst Lewison’s 50% KO ratio suggests he’ll be in with a chance, the superior skill set of Joyce is expected to prevail on the night and many anticipate an exciting stoppage. Elsewhere on the card, John O’Donnell (32-2-0, 11 KO's) will look to make a first successful defence of his English Welterweight title against Berkshire fighter Tamuka Mucha.

Making his boxing debut for 'Hayemaker Ringstar' is MMA (Bellator) sensation and 10-time World Kickboxing Champion Michael ‘Venom’ Page. Page, 30, will be hoping to transfer the same show-stopping style we’ve seen in the MMA-world into the boxing ring.

Also making his highly anticipated professional debut is Scotland’s decorated amateur Willy ‘Braveheart’ Hutchinson. The 19-year-old made history at last year’s AIBA World Youth Championships when he became the country’s first ever world youth boxing gold medallist. Hutchinson, who won Middleweight gold, will compete at Light Heavyweight as he embarks on his journey.

Hayemaker Ringstar Fight Night will be live on Dave from 9pm Friday

Hayemaker Ringstar Fight Night is taking place at Indigo, 02 on Friday. Tickets are still available and can be purchased from www.02.co.uk

Article by: Isaiah Benjamin

You can follow Isaiah on Twitter at: @Mr_IsaiahG
By Behind The Gloves 20 Oct, 2017

This Saturday, reigning IBF World Cruiserweight Champion, Murat ‘Iron’ Gassiev, will mark his entrance into the World Boxing Super Series tournament with his first title defence against two-time former Cruiserweight World Champion Krzysztof Wlodarczyk who will be trying to reclaim the strap he held between 2006 and 2007. It’s yet another quality WBSS cruiserweight matchup between two proven commodities in the division; one a rising star, the other at the tail-end of his career. 

Russian native Murat Gassiev is part of the current crop of knockout artists originating from the former Soviet Union headed by arguably the most feared boxer on the planet, Gennady Golovkin, a man who Gassiev regards as a friend and mentor. The two men both train out of The Summit in Big Bear, California, under the tutelage of renowned trainer Abel Sanchez who has such confidence in Gassiev’s abilities that he has labelled him his ‘next Golovkin’. High praise to live up to, but so far Gassiev has delivered the goods. He is unbeaten in twenty four fights with seventeen knockouts and produced the best performance of his career in his last fight to prevail over a battle-hardened champion in Denis Lebedev, dropping his countryman in the fifth with a sickening bodyshot and landing the harder punches on route to a split decision victory. Lebedev was a big step-up in competition for Gassiev and he proved he belonged at that level, displaying impressive mental and physical toughness against a hard-hitting veteran who just would not give up. Though he won the Lebedev fight, it was a very competitive affair, showcasing his strengths as well as his vulnerabilities. Gassiev only recently turned twenty four years of age, so he is a baby in boxing terms. It would seem he has plenty of time to learn and patch up his shortcomings.

The same cannot be said of Krzysztof Wlodarczyk. At thirty six years of age, the Pole has been a fixture of the cruiserweight division for over a decade. He won and lost the IBF title in two fights with Steve Cunningham, being the beneficiary of a dubious hometown decision in the first. He grabbed the vacant WBC title in 2010 by stopping Giacobbe Fragomeni, whom he had previously fought to a split draw for the same belt, then looked fairly ordinary in dreary defences against Jason Robinson, Francisco Palacios twice and Danny Green. His 2013 title defence against 2008 Olympic gold medallist Rakhim Chakhkiev proved anything but. The heavy-handed Russian gave Wlodarczyk a terrible battering in the early rounds, including a third round knockdown, and the man known as ‘Diablo’ seemed destined for a stoppage loss. However, showing incredible grit and determination, he soaked up the punishment and came charging back to floor a gassed-out Chakhkiev in the sixth, twice more in the seventh and finally in the eighth when the referee had seen enough and halted the fight. It was a incredible fight-of-the-year style comeback and once which perhaps earned Wlodarczyk his stripes as a champion. It perhaps also took something permanently from him. After a pointless third fight against Fragomeni, he lost his title to Grigory Drozd, no spring chicken himself. It was not remotely competitive. Drozd dropped Wlodarzcyk once, hurt him numerous times and shut him out on the scorecards. Wlodarczyk has won four fights since, all against lesser opposition. In his last fight, he struggled to get past light-punching prospect Noel Gevor, winning via split decision.

Gassiev, it must be said, is an entirely different animal to Gevor. He is without doubt one of the hardest punchers in a division full of them. Tales of his power abound among sparring partners who have compared it favourably with heavyweights. Poor Jordan Shimmell found this out for himself at first hand, no pun intended, when a mighty Gassiev left hook left him out cold on the canvas for an alarming two minutes. The man from Vladikavkaz is strong as an ox, applies relentless pressure and is a brutal body puncher, as he demonstrated in the Lebedev fight. As befitting his alias, he also takes a good shot. Lebedev was, for portions of their fight, clearly outboxing Gassiev but couldn’t deter him from coming forward despite landing significant leather. Isiah Thomas also outboxed him in the first two rounds of their fight which ended prematurely when a punch from Gassiev after the bell had sounded to end round three left Thomas in no condition to continue. Gassiev is still perfecting the art of cutting off the ring a la Golovkin and can be outworked while in pursuit of landing something big. The question is whether Wlodarzcyk is the man to do it for a full twelve rounds. Diablo is a boxer-puncher at heart and at his very best it is conceivable that he could have outpointed Gassiev over the distance. He will have little choice here but to try; a war like the one he waged against Chakhkiev would be plainly suicidal.

Wlodarczyk will try and show the heart that was on display against Chakhkiev and has seen him finish every fight as a professional on his feet. But he will come short, by some distance. We could end up watching a repeat of Gassiev-Lebedev, the only difference being that I think Wlodarczyk has much less in the tank at this stage of his career than Lebedev did when he faced Gassiev. Facing a much younger and fresher man, the timing is all wrong for him. The most likely scenario is that he gets broken down to a mid-to-late rounds stoppage, though there is a chance that his guile and toughness may see him hear the final bell. Either way, Gassiev will end the fight with his hand raised and march on to a WBSS semi-final showdown with Yunier Dorticos who impressively dispensed with Dmitry Kudryashov in his opening bout of the tournament. It will be a tough stylistic matchup for the talented, but still-raw Russian.

Article by: Paul Lam

You can follow Paul on Twitter at: @PaulTheWallLam

By Behind The Gloves 20 Oct, 2017

James Tennyson says he’s on the cusp of major fights as he defends his WBA International Super-Featherweight title against Darren Traynor at the SSE Arena in Belfast on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports. 

Tennyson defends the strap for the first time against Traynor, and a win could see him improve on his number five rating with the WBA.

The WBA Super king Jezreel Corrales defends his title on the same night in upstate New York against unbeaten Puerto Rican Alberto Machado, rated one spot higher than Tennyson by the governing body.

Tennyson has his immediate sights set on the weekend’s work with the Scot and then could target British and Commonwealth champion Martin J. Ward, but with such a healthy ranking, he’s open to a World title shot.

“I’ve started to be more aware of those in the World rankings now,” said Tennyson. “I’m currently fifth with the WBA which I didn’t really expect but if the opportunity comes I’m going to take it. It’s the pinnacle and if you don’t take the risks, you may not reap the rewards.

“It’s very exciting to be in the mix. I haven’t looked too deep into it. Who knows what may happen, but if the Champion is looking down the rankings I may be in with a shout of a voluntary shot or further down the line it’ll be down to me and my team to force the issue and eventually be in a position where they will have to fight me.

“I’d love to get my hands on the British title. I lost out down at Featherweight but I want to keep developing and capturing more belts moving forward.”

Traynor comes to Belfast with plans of his own though and would also like to get a crack at the British title. The Aberdeen man took on Ryan Walsh for the Featherweight version in January 2016 and Tennyson followed him three months later – with Walsh winning both fights in the fifth round.

Traynor has since landed the Scottish Area title at Lightweight before dropping back down to face Tennyson, who admits he hasn’t seen much of the challenger for the title he won after forcing Ryan Doyle to retire after six rounds here in June. 

“In all honesty I don’t know that much about Traynor,” said Tennyson. “He’s sharp with quick hands. I’m going in there with a bit of an open mind but we’ll see what he brings on the night.

“My team have been struggling to find some recent footage of him since the Walsh defeat. I don’t worry about that side of the game, I just focus on myself and listen to what they are telling me in training. We’ll work him out on the night as the fight unfolds.

“The weight is all good, I’m looking forward to getting the show on the road. I’ve got itchy knuckles for sure. I want to get in there, enjoy myself and perform.

“Last time the atmosphere was unreal. I think they sold nearer enough the equivalent of all the tickets last time in just a week or two so it makes for an even better night.

“Doyle started fast and faded away which is what we were expecting, so the game plan worked. Fair play to him, he took it on a couple of days’ notice but I was definitely getting through to him as the fight went on.

“The power comes naturally. I do my strength and conditioning on the side but it’s just continued to develop since the amateurs all the way through to the pros.

“Belfast boxing is booming. It’s full of competitive talent. To be a part of it is fantastic. The fans are unreal.”

Tennyson’s clash with Traynor is part of an historic night of action in Belfast as hometown star Ryan Burnett clashes with Zhanat Zhakiyanov in a unification battle for the IBF and WBA Super World Bantamweight titles.

Paul Hyland Jnr defends his IBF European Lightweight title against Stephen Ormond, Burnett’s Adam Booth gym mate Josh Kelly fights for the fourth time in the paid ranks, as is his Team GB Rio Olympic teammate Anthony Fowler.

A host of local and Irish talents appear on the bill with Cruiserweight Tommy McCarthy, Super-Lightweight Tyrone McKenna, Lightweights Joe Fitzpatrick and Gary Cully and Super-Featherweight Feargal McCrory.

Tickets are on sale now priced at £33, £44, £65 and £105 from the SSE Arena Belfast at www.ssearenabelfast.com  (ticket price includes inside charge)    

VIP tickets priced at £150 are exclusively available from  http://www.matchroomboxing.com/

Face value tickets for October 21 are also be available from  http://www.stubhub.co.uk/matchroom-boxing-tickets/  . StubHub is the official ticket partner and marketplace of Matchroom Boxing and Anthony Joshua.

By Behind The Gloves 20 Oct, 2017
This Friday night, David Haye will be making a return to the promotional field when he oversees a free-to-air fight card featuring marquee signing Joe Joyce, the 2016 Olympic Super Heavyweight silver medalist.

Hayemaker Ringstar, a newly formed colloborative endeavour between Haye and veteran Richard Schaefer, hosts it's first major show since it's inception at the Indigo venue inside London's 02 Arena, as part of a deal with broadcasting network Dave.

The signing of Joe Joyce - who was, by all accounts, a prodigious talent on the amateur scene - is certainly illustrative of Hayemaker Ringstar's aspirations to become a major player in British boxing, alongside the likes of Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing and Frank Warren's Queensbury Promotions.

At the age of 32, and with significant amateur pedigree and multiple accolades already under his belt, it appears Joe Joyce is being fast-tracked from his first professional opponent: Brixton's Ian "Lay-'Em-Out" Lewison.

Bereft of the kind of disproportionately losing record that has become typical for opponents of debuting prospects, Ian Lewison is tangibly resolved to show everybody watching why he is more than just an opponent for a decorated amateur making his professional debut.

Lewison's last outing was a tenth-round stoppage defeat to Dillian Whyte in a British heavyweight title fight. Nevertheless, he remains perenially dangerous, with considerable punching power in either hand, as promoter David Haye acknowledged in an interview with Behind The Gloves .

"He [Lewison] is a seasoned campaigner, definitely not to be underestimated," Haye said. "I know he's got power in either hand. Early doors, he's very dangerous."

If Joe Joyce can emphatically prevail over a fighter of Lewison's calibre and experience in his first pro fight, it definitely makes a huge statement to the rest of the division, including his rival countrymen.

Also on the card making their respective professional boxing debuts are mixed martial-artist and kickboxer Michael "Venom" Page, in addition to highly touted Scottish prospect Willy Hutchinson.

MVP, according to Haye, is an unconventional, unique, dynamic fighter who will undergo a seamless transition from MMA to boxing.

"He's a very awkward style. He does some crazy things in a boxing ring, which even I can't physically do. He throws punches which I've never seen before. He's one of these freaky people who have just got it. He's a natural combatant. He somehow manages to throw the most awkward punches. I've never seen anything like it."

Hutchinson, who has attained numerous accolades in the amateur ranks, describes himself as the 'greatest amateur Scotland has ever produced' and hopes to emulate, if not surpass, the accomplishments of Ricky Burns and Ken Buchanan.

"Bags of heart, bags of talent. He has every ingredient required to be a champion. Keep an eye on this kid. He's gonna be something very special."

John O'Donnell also defends his English welterweight title against Tamuka Mucha in what should transpire to be an enjoyable Friday night card, broadcasted live on free-to-air channel Dave.

... Don't miss it!

Hayemaker Ringstar Fight Night will be live on Dave from 9pm Friday

Hayemaker Ringstar Fight Night is taking place at Indigo, 02 on Friday. Tickets are still available and can be purchased from www.02.co.uk

Article by: Navi Singh

You can follow Navi on Twitter at: @hombre__obscuro
By Behind The Gloves 18 Oct, 2017

Ricky Hatton plans to ruin old charge Ryan Burnett’s big night with the perfect game plan for Zhanat Zhakiyanov to unify the Bantamweight division when they clash for the IBF and WBA Super titles at the SSE Arena in Belfast on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports. 

Hatton brings Zhakiyanov to Belfast in an historic unification battle that sees the Manchester legend in the opposite corner to the man he introduced to the paid ranks.

The IBF king turned pro with Hatton in 2012 but a stuttering start to his career saw him leave the ‘Hitman’ in 2014 after just four pro fights and team up with Adam Booth.

Hatton has admitted that Belfast was right to move onto pastures new and was proud to see the 25 year old claim the IBF crown – but warns that he will have his hands full against the WBA Super king Zhakiyanov.

“I knew 100 per cent that Ryan had the ability to go all the way when I was training him,” said Hatton. “I was having a lot of problems at the time, I wasn’t in a good place at all, and Ryan felt the training was better elsewhere.

“I wasn’t the trainer I am today. I understand why he left. There are no hard feelings. The Ricky Hatton of today is in a miles better place than the Ricky Hatton back then.

“I text him before his World Title fight with Haskins to say good luck and text him straight after to say congratulations. I think the world of Ryan and his family. He’s a great lad and a wonderful talent but I don’t think he’s going to beat us on the night.

“Ryan’s done everything asked of him so far but he’s going to have to show more than his talent in this one. If he doesn’t nail Zhanat to the canvas in the first few rounds he’s in for a very tough night. But if he doesn’t put Zhanat over in the first few then goes on to win, I’ll be the first one to shake his hand.

“They’ve sparred together and he probably just edged the sessions with those big gloves and head guard but times and circumstances change. Ryan’s in for a heap load of trouble once that bell goes.”

Zhakiyanov was the man in trouble early in his World title clash with Rau’shee Warren in February, hitting the canvas twice in the opening round in Ohio. The hometown star was unable to put the visitor away though and Zhakiyanov recovered and pulled away from Warren to rip the WBA Super strap from him via split decision – a proud night for Hatton and one he feels will serve them well against Burnett.

“He was never going to beat Warren on just boxing ability alone,” said Hatton. “He was going to beat him with a lot of heart and will to win the World Title. We had a good game plan overall but he made fundamental mistakes in the first round. I told him not to stand off Warren because he’ll ping you and what happened – he stood off and ended up on his arse. He can’t start the same against Ryan with all his skill.

“He’s learnt lessons from it and come away with a World title. He went to Ohio in Warren’s backyard to take his belt and this time he goes into Ryan’s backyard so it’s nothing new to him and the experience will help.

“He’s never looked better to be honest with you. I know you hear trainers say that a lot, but he has never looked this good. He couldn’t be any sharper.

“He’s got an extra bit of ambition and determination for this one. There’s always been that bit of rivalry between the two. The fact he used to share a gym with Ryan and spar with him at the same weight.

“Ryan hasn’t fought anyone as good as who Zhanat has been in with. He’s beat Karim Guerfi for the European who is a very, very good fighter – potential World class. Rau’shee Warren is an absolutely outstanding fighter. As good as Lee Haskins and Ryan Farrag are, they aren’t big power houses who can pack a huge punch.”

Zhakiyanov’s clash with Burnett tops a huge night of boxing in Belfast as Paul Hyland Jnr defends his IBF European Lightweight title against Stephen Ormond and James Tennyson puts his WBA International Super-Featherweight title against Darren Traynor.

Burnett’s Adam Booth gym mate Josh Kelly fights for the fourth time in the paid ranks, as is his Team GB Rio Olympic teammate Anthony Fowler.

A host of local and Irish talents appear on the bill with Cruiserweight Tommy McCarthy, Super-Lightweight Tyrone McKenna, Lightweights Joe Fitzpatrick and Gary Cully and Super-Featherweight Feargal McCrory.

Tickets are on sale now priced at £33, £44, £65 and £105 from the SSE Arena Belfast at  www.ssearenabelfast.com  (ticket price includes inside charge)

VIP tickets priced at £150 are exclusively available from  http://www.matchroomboxing.com/

Face value tickets for October 21 are also be available from  http://www.stubhub.co.uk/matchroom-boxing-tickets/  . StubHub is the official ticket partner and marketplace of Matchroom Boxing and Anthony Joshua.

By Behind The Gloves 18 Oct, 2017

Paul Hyland Jnr believes beating Stephen Ormond in style will prove he’s ready for the British Lightweight title as they clash at the SSE Arena on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports.

Hyland Jnr puts his IBF European strap on the line for the first time against the experienced Dubliner, and the champion says this is his first big test in his 17th pro outing.

The 27 year old won the belt in fine fashion in June, blasting Adam Dingsdale away inside the opening round in the Arena where he faces Ormond in three days.

Lewis Ritson wrestled the British crown from Robbie Barrett in Manchester earlier in the month and the Newcastle talent was promptly snapped up by promoter Eddie Hearn. ‘Hylo’ wants to put on an impressive display in front of the Matchroom boss to get to the front of the queue to face Ritson next year.

“Next year I’d love to fight for the British title,” said Hyland. “I’m in the top ten in Britain now and I know Matchroom have just signed Lewis who had a good win over Barrett. I feel like he wouldn’t be able to push me back as easy so it would make for a cracking fight.

“He’s definitely my toughest opponent to date. I respect what he’s done and am expecting a tough fight but it’s my time to take over now.

“He’s had an up and down couple of years but there’s no doubt he’s boxed at a higher level than I have at present. It’s a good measuring stick for me to get in and see where I am at.

“Everything has gone well. I’ve done some great strength and condition work for this camp. I’m feeling fit, strong and sharp for this one.

“I wasn’t expecting the fight to finish so early against Dingsdale. The game plan was to push him back early and show him he was in for a tough night from the start. But I just caught him, I knew as soon as I hit him he was in trouble. His legs and eyes were gone and I just jumped on him.

“I’ve done a proper programme this time with a friend of mine who is qualified. I can feel my power and strength improving. It’s very specialist. It’s all going to plan so far and I’m excited to get in there and test it all out.

“It’ll be a cracking atmosphere in the arena. I have sold a lot more tickets than last time. The Dublin fans for Ormond will be vocal too.”

Hyland’s clash with Ormond is part of an historic night of action in Belfast as hometown star Ryan Burnett clashes with Zhanat Zhakiyanov in a unification battle for the IBF And WBA Super World Bantamweight titles.

James Tennyson puts his WBA International Super-Featherweight title against Darren Traynor, Burnett’s Adam Booth gym mate Josh Kelly fights for the fourth time in the paid ranks, as is his Team GB Rio Olympic teammate Anthony Fowler.

A host of local and Irish talents appear on the bill with Cruiserweight Tommy McCarthy, Super-Lightweight Tyrone McKenna, Lightweights Joe Fitzpatrick and Gary Cully and Super-Featherweight Feargal McCrory.

Tickets are on sale now priced at £33, £44, £65 and £105 from the SSE Arena Belfast at www.ssearenabelfast.com  (ticket price includes inside charge)

VIP tickets priced at £150 are exclusively available from  http://www.matchroomboxing.com/

Face value tickets for October 21 are also be available from  http://www.stubhub.co.uk/matchroom-boxing-tickets/  . StubHub is the official ticket partner and marketplace of Matchroom Boxing and Anthony Joshua.

By Behind The Gloves 18 Oct, 2017
Just months after claiming the IBF World Bantamweight title, Ryan Burnett will attempt to add another belt to his collection, as he prepares to take on WBA ‘Super’ Champion Zhanat Zhakiyanov in Belfast on this weekend live on SkySports.

In just his 17th fight, Burnett claimed the IBF strap at the SSE Arena in June with a one-sided performance over Bristol's Lee Haskins, flooring the champion twice on the way to a dominant victory which was incorrectly scored as a split decision.

One judge caused confusion following the announcement of the scorecard, after mixing up the two fighters - before the verdict was later corrected and deemed a unanimous point’s victory in Burnett’s favour.

Ulsterman Burnett hopes to become the only unified Champion in the Bantamweight division, as he attempts to dethrone the teak-tough Zhakiyanov, who in February survived two first-round knockdowns to claim the WBA 'Super' belt from American Rau'shee Warren in the American’s hometown.

The two fighters are no strangers to each other, having previously sparred together when both under the tutelage of British boxing legend Ricky Hatton. Burnett would later leave Hatton to sign with with Matchroom Boxing, and is now trained by Adam Booth in 2015.

Kazakh banger Zhakiyanov has already proven himself away from home and will enter the ring in Burnett’s hometown of Belfast in-front of a raucous, hostile crowd as he attempts to upset the Northern Irish fighter’s quest for boxing history.

Article by: Emmily Jane

You can follow Emmily on Twitter at: @emmily_jane
By Behind The Gloves 18 Oct, 2017

Within the last 48 hours, boxing has been hit by the news that Anthony Joshua’s world title defence against IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev has been called off due to an injury suffered by the latter in sparring. 

Joshua will instead defend his title on October 28 against Cameroonian-French boxer Carlos Takam. He figures to be a decent replacement opponent. Takam is ranked number number 3 behind Pulev by the IBF. Despite the short-notice, he has been in training since the announcement of Joshua-Pulev as Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn made a deal with Takam’s team for him to be on standby in the event of Pulev withdrawing. This will be Takam’s first shot at a world title and, at thirty six years of age, possibly his last as well. Expect him to come motivated and in good shape.  

Takam was a decent amateur, representing Cameroon at the 2004 Olympics in Athens where he was eliminated in the round of 16. He joined the paid ranks the following year and has gone on to carve out a solid pro-career. He experienced an early career reversal in 2009 against then-unbeaten Gregory Tony who has since suffered 7 losses while being relegated to journeyman status. Eleven wins on the trot then followed against uninspiring opposition, including badly-faded versions of Frans Botha and Michael Grant, before a still largely-unknown Takam faced Cuban Mike Perez on HBO in 2014. Perez entered the fight as the favourite, on the back of a punishing win against Magomed Abdusalamov; a fight which ended in tragedy as Abdusalamov suffered severe brain injuries which forced his retirement from the sport and left him permanently handicapped. The physical and mental toll of the fight and its fall-out clearly had an effect on Perez, as he did not look like himself in the ring against Takam and was fortunate to escape with a draw. Were it not for some dubious scorecards, it would have been the best win of Takam’s career on paper. The fight did however bring him to the attention of the boxing world as a legitimate heavyweight contender. He followed up with an easy win against another old-timer in Tony Thompson, claiming the WBC Silver Heavyweight trinket, before facing former titleholder Alexander Povetkin in Moscow. In a very competitive fight, Takam outboxed Povetkin in the early rounds to build a lead on the scorecards only for Povetkin to come charging back in the middle rounds before dropping Takam hard in the ninth and knocking him out cold in the tenth. After rebuilding with three wins against journeymen, Takam was brought in to face an up-and-coming Joseph Parker in New Zealand. He figured to be the best opponent of the Parker’s career and he gave the Kiwi hometown hero all he could handle en route to a close points loss.

Takam is a legitimate contender, but that speaks more to the weakness of the contemporary heavyweight division than it does to his level of talent. He is a solid operator in the ring, doing everything fairly well, but nothing outstandingly. Ironically, he possesses a style that harks back to the Golden Age of heavyweight boxing. He utilises the crab guard, a la Ken Norton and before him Archie Moore, comes forward and smothers his opponent with a high-volume attack, mixing it up well with hooks to the head and body. He is physically strong and boasts respectable power in addition to a good engine for a heavyweight, something which was curiously absent in the late rounds against Parker in which he seemed to take his foot off the gas and give away a fight which was very much up for grabs. He is also a durable and determined foe blessed with a reliable chin; a necessity considering his fighting style. The devastating stoppage loss to Povetkin is somewhat of an aberration; in hindsight there are serious questions which must be raised over the circumstances of this loss due to Povetkin’s history of PED use. In his fight against Parker, Takam took some good shots from a big puncher and took them well. In Joshua, he will face a similarly younger, fresher and bigger man, but one who hits even harder and is a superior boxer to boot.

It has been stated by Eddie Hearn that, having prepared for Pulev’s height and style, Joshua now faces a difficult challenge in adjusting to the short, squat Takam and the contrasting style he will bring to the ring. Indeed, the contrast between Pulev’s patient, stand-up boxer style and Takam’s come-forward, smothering style could not be greater. However, while the former had the potential to give Joshua fits, Takam’s style is tailor-made for him. The Cameroonian will have to deal with a reach disadvantage and an even more significant height disadvantage. The prospect of walking through Joshua’s heavy artillery to get on the inside where he does his best work is a daunting task. Should he get there, he may not find much joy either. Against a much shorter man on the inside, the uppercut is an effective weapon. Joshua throws a quite simply devastating uppercut; just ask Dillian Whyte. It would not be a surprise to see a similar outcome in this fight. 

Styles make fights and while we won’t get to see Joshua face what would undoubtedly have been a difficult stylistic test against Pulev, we will get a far more entertaining fight on October 28, albeit less competitive. Takam will be game and will come forward as he always does, but he will be outgunned. Expect Joshua to put on a show and stop the brave Cameroonian by brutal knockout before the middle rounds are over.

Article by: Paul Lam

You can follow Paul on Twitter at: @PaulTheWallLam

By Behind The Gloves 18 Oct, 2017
It has been announced that the remaining cruiserweight fights of the World Boxing Super Series tournament (the last quarter-final notwithstanding) will be taking place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The reclusive, oil-rich kingdom - which enforces a total alcohol ban coupled with a modest dress code - has hosted numerous professional wrestling events in recent years.

This startling revelation has come about as a result of an agreement between the organisers of the tournament and a company named Sela Sports, and exemplifies boxing's growing popularity throughout the Middle East and the Gulf region in particular.

Indeed, the United Arab Emirates was previously considered as a possible location for a lucrative showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan, in addition to the now-lapsed heavyweight rematch between Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko.

Correspondingly, the last cruiserweight quarter-final between IBF champion Murat Gassiev and Polish mandatory challenger Krysztof Wlodarcyzk will be taking place in Newark, New Jersey.

New Jersey is home to a sizeable Polish-American population and it is expected that seasoned veteran and erstwhile champion Wlodarcyzk will receive vociferous support from the majority of the crowd inside the Prudential Center on October 21st.

Gassiev, a native of the troubled region of Ossetia, now fights out of Abel Sanchez's Summit Gym in Big Bear, California - where he regularly trains alongside middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.

Like his Kazakhstani counterpart, Gassiev is an undefeated pressure fighter and a devastating body puncher to boot. Considered by many to be the tournament's dark horse, Gassiev claimed the IBF title in his last outing against countryman Denis Lebedev, where he scored a knockdown on route to a split-decision victory.

The winner of this quarter-final bout will face the undefeated Cuban Yunier Dorticos; the WBA "regular" champion who is aptly nicknamed the 'K.O. Doctor' with an impressive record of 22 wins, all but one inside the distance.

Dorticos advanced to the tournament's semi-final stages with a chilling second-round knockout over Dimitry Kudryashov last month at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Article by: Navi Singh

You can follow Navi on Twitter at: @hombre_obscuro
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