Luke Blackledge: “Smith-Skoglund is a 50-50 fight – Skoglund is one hell of a fighter!
Luke Blackledge, the only man to face both Callum Smith (22-0, 17 KOs) and Erik Skoglund (26-0, 12 KOs) in a professional boxing ring, has labeled their super middleweight clash a 50-50 fight and believes the Swedish star could be the dark horse in the tournament. Smith and Skoglund will go head-to-head in the World Boxing Super Series quarter final on September 16 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
Blackledge faced Smtih in Manchester in December 2016 for the British Super Middleweight title, and he boxed Skoglund in Frederikshavn, Denmark back in April 2013 for the WBC Youth Light Heavyweight World title. The 26-year old from Lancashire believes Skoglund is being seriously underestimated and suggests that the winner of this fight can go on to win the whole tournament.
“I went 10 rounds with both Smith and Skoglund. And those were two of the toughest fights of my career,’’ said Blackledge..
“Most British boxing fans won’t be aware of how good Skoglund is, but they definitely will be after this fight. This fight is a genuine 50-50. Everyone is underestimating Skoglund, but let me tell you now… he is one hell of a fighter!
“If Smith doesn’t come with the right game plan, Skoglund will beat him. Whoever has the best game plan on the night will win.
“I really believe the winner of this fight has a good chance to go on and win the whole tournament. My prediction is that the winner of Smith-Skoglund will go on to face George Groves in the final. And what another great fight that would be!’’
On the undercard of the World Boxing Super Series quarter final clash between Smith and Skoglund, Blackledge takes on Derbyshire’s Zach Parker in an official eliminator for the British Super Middleweight Championship, in what promises to be another action-packed contest.
“Preparations have been going absolutely perfectly so far for my fight,’’ says Blackledge. ‘’I’ve been putting my body through hell during training and I’m ready to do the business in Liverpool.
“Parker is a talented young boxer but he really hasn’t fought anyone yet. We’ll find out how good he is on September 16th!’’
WBA Super World Super Middleweight champion George Groves (26-3, 19 KOs) is hungrier than ever and wants to cross off more achievements on his bucket list. First, he has to get pass ‘ballsy’ Jamie Cox (24-0,13 KOs) in a Muhammad Ali Trophy quarter-final clash October 14 at The SSE Arena Wembley in London.
This is Cox’s first big fight – whereas you’ve been there for some time – how important is your experience going to be – and do you think Cox can handle the pressure?
“Experience is very important. You don’t understand it until you got it and even when you got it it’s still difficult to understand. I’m sure it will play a part. Cox has boxed at a high level as an amateur but he’s yet to do it as a pro. Let’s see if he can cope. I’m sure he will be well rehearsed in the build up and well drilled in the gym but putting it together under the spotlight on the biggest stage is always the most difficult task. I’ve been there and done it before, but let’s see if he can.”
Cox talks a good game and appears confident – he says you’ve been over indulging – have you still got the hunger?
“I’ve still got the hunger. I’ve still nowhere near achieved what I set out to achieve as a little kid. I haven’t won enough belts, I haven’t won enough fights, I haven’t made enough money, and until all those and a few other things are crossed off the bucket list, I’m more hungry than ever. I finally know what it feels like to be a World Champion and I don’t plan on surrendering that anytime soon. Now I would like the feeling of winning the Muhammad Ali Trophy.”
How has your training been going?
My training has been going really well. We’ve had plenty of time so we’ve been able to structure a long camp. Everything is on track.
You’ve been improving with every fight since teaming up with Shane McGuigan. Do you expect this to continue? Is there still room for improvement?
“100% I think I’m becoming a better and better fighter. Obviously with the physical experience of training and being in big fights you’re going to improve, but also with Shane’s guidance, I feel that I’ve improved as a fighter. I’m adding more and more to my game. I’m more and more comfortable in various situations. I’ve always been comfortable against southpaws. Cox is the first southpaw I’ve been working towards with Shane McGuigan but we’re on course and we know what we need to do.“
You’ve said you’ve known Jamie a little bit, you roomed together as amateurs, from what you know about him, what do you think his mind set will be going into this fight?
“He’s a competent chap. When I knew him he had a lot of desire. Although his professional record doesn’t suggest any desire because he’s been a pro longer than me and he still hasn’t been in a real fight. He’s had breaks, he’s had injuries, he’s had personal issues. I’m sure now he decided this is his last crack at the whip as a professional boxer he’s going to try to knuckle down and prepare to the best of his abilities. I’m preparing for the best Jamie Cox. He’s fit, he’s strong, he’s aggressive, he’s ballsy, but they are all things I possess as well so I’m sure it will make for a great fight. I certainly feel I have the measure of him and I have a few advantages, which I’m going to reveal on the night.“
Does fighting in London, your hometown, at The SSE Arena Wembley, where you have enjoyed some good nights before, give you an advantage?
It’s lovely for me to fight at Wembley. Wembley is good for me because it is so close to home. I can do every moment of preparation in my own surroundings. I’ll be at my own gym, I can sleep at home in my own bed the night before the fight. All these things will be an added benefit come fight night because for me personally, this is how I do best.
Danish super middleweight star Patrick Nielsen (29-1, 14 KOs) will meet London’s John Ryder (24-4, 12 KOs, 15 KOs) over ten rounds on the undercard of the World Boxing Super Series quarter-final contest between ‘Saint’ George Groves and Jamie Cox on October 14 at The SSE Arena, Wembley in London.
Nielsen, a former World title challenger, has been confirmed as a reserve for the first-round of the inaugural Muhammad Ali Trophy. The 26-year-old from Albertslund, who is currently ranked World number one with the WBA has revealed his excitement to be taking on Ryder in the British boxer’s backyard.
“I’m really looking forward to getting in the ring again,’’ he said. ‘’I’m excited to be facing such a good boxer because a good opponent, like John Ryder, will give me the opportunity to showcase what I’m capable of.
“Ryder is a bit shorter than me and he likes to come forward to fight. He’s not afraid of getting into a brawl, which suits me well. He is going to be one of the toughest opponents of my career, but I still expect to be victorious.
“To beat a guy like him in front of his home fans will be a real the statement I have been hoping to make this year. I just cannot wait to get in there!”
Former WBA International Champion and British title challenger, Ryder, is looking to bounce back after dropping a controversial split decision to Rocky Fielding on April 22, and the 29 year-old Londoner says he is pleased to be involved in yet another 50-50 fight.
“I’ve been fighting on the road quite a lot recently. I’ve been in Glasgow, Manchester and Liverpool; so it will be nice to be at Wembley and get a win in front of my home fans”, said Ryder.
“Nielsen’s been around for a while now, but I haven’t actually seen much of him. I know that he has been well-matched throughout his career. His only loss came against Dmitrii Chudinov, who is a good level fighter.
“This is by no means an easy fight, but I’m not in boxing for easy fights. I’ve been involved in many hard fights and fights that people will remember me for. I can never be accused of ducking people and I have always fought the best.”
“I’m going to push Nielsen all the way, and I think I will beat him. I have boxed the likes of Billy Joe Saunders and other former champions, but Nielsen is the one in front of me this time. I respect him, but come fight night I will be trying to take his head off!”
Ryder and Nielsen provide chief support for the quarter-final clash between WBA Super Champion Groves and domestic rival Cox, and Ryder believes the fans can expect a thrilling encounter between the British pair.
“I think Groves-Cox is a great fight”, said Ryder. “I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Cox yet and we all know how good Groves is, so it will make for a cracking fight. The WBSS looks fantastic. I was a big fan of the Super Six but the WBSS seems to have a much better structure and is easier to follow.’’
Oleksandr “The Cat” Usyk (12-0, 10 KOs), Champion, Kiev, Ukraine
October 14, 2017[A2] – Super Middleweight Quarter-Final:
TO BE CONFIRMED
Super Middleweight Quarter-Finals:
Martin Murray (35-4-1, 16 KOs) will face Arman Torosyan (18-3-1, 15 KOs) on the undercard of the World Boxing Super Series quarter-final contest between Callum Smith and Erik Skoglund on September 16 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
Murray, a former three-time World title challenger, is back at the Echo Arena following an impressive victory over Gabriel Rosado on April 22, and the St. Helens man says he is looking forward to returning to his home venue as he looks to claim a third successive victory since dropping a points decision to the tournament’s number one seed ‘Saint’ George Groves.
‘’I’m buzzing to be back fighting at the Echo Arena,’’ said Murray. ‘’Obviously, I am from St Helens, but in terms of boxing venues, the Echo is my home. The Liverpool fight fans are the best fans in the World and I am just really looking forward to it, I always enjoy fighting in Liverpool.
‘’I had a good win in my last fight and felt good back down at middleweight, but there is nothing there for me at that weight so I decided to take this chance at super middleweight. There are arguments that I could have been a two-weight World Champion with the fights I have had at those weights. But whatever the outcomes, I‘ve proved I can mix it at both weights and that I’m World-class.
‘’I have recently started watching the tapes of Torosyan and he looks like a good fighter, but every time he has stepped-up, and this time he is stepping up with a World-class fighter. He will be game and will come to bring it, but I’m confident to say that it will be a win for me.’’
Torosyan, the Armenian-born German, is coming off the back of a shock knockout victory over Danish prospect Abdul Khattab, and says he is confident of causing another upset when he enters the ring on September 16.
‘’I think Murray is a good fighter, but I believe his time is over,’’ said Torosyan, who trains in Berlin alongside Arthur Abraham, the former two-weight World Champion, who inflicted Murray’s third World title defeat. ’’I am in great shape and I think the audience will see a great fight. I would like to thank Martin Murray for accepting me as an opponent, but I will make him regret it.’’
Smith versus Skoglund kicks off the super middleweight bracket of the inaugural Muhammad Ali Trophy, and Murray says he is backing his countryman to progress to semi-finals as he reveals he is a fan of the tournament concept.
‘’I’ve never actually seen Erik Skoglund fight, but I’ve heard quite a bit about him. He is a big guy, and one of my mates has sparred him and said that he is a good fighter. But I really rate Callum Smith, I think he has already made the case for him to be seen as one of the best Super-Middleweights in the World. So I think it is a very good, interesting fight, but I am picking Callum to do it and take the win.
‘’I think the World Boxing Super Series tournament is great. The best super middleweights out there fighting each other. It’s a great competition and really good for the sport.’’
COMOSA AG and MP & Silva are delighted to announce a media rights agreement with 7Sports, the sport business unit of ProSiebenSat.1, to showcase the inaugural 2017/18 season of the World Boxing Super Series and its quest for the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
Millions of fans will be enjoying the action world of class boxing within a 9 months’ time frame offering broadcasters consistency and the opportunity to broadcast the best fighting the best.
7Sports has acquired exclusive German media rights for Germany, Austria and Switzerland from MP & Silva and will cover all Fight Nights of the World Boxing Super Series 2017/18 live. The Fight Nights will be shown in a combination of free-to-air and pay-per-view formats, with the first Quarter-Final fight on 9th September to be shown live on SAT1.
MP & Silva’s CEO, Jochen Lösch: “There has been huge interest from German boxing fans in the build-up to the World Boxing Super Series. I’m very pleased to be able to announce this important deal with 7Sports.”
The World Boxing Super Series will be of particular interest to the German audience this season as the quarter-final line-ups include two German Former World Champions, Marco Huck and Juergen Braehmer. Huck will participate in the tournament’s opening event against Ukrainian Aleksandr Usyk on September 9 in his hometown Berlin. The World Boxing Super Series schedule also includes a quarter-final fight in Stuttgart, when Turkish Avni Yildirim faces Chris Eubank Jr. in Stuttgart October 7.
Roger Lodewick, COMOSA’s Chief Commercial Officer: “We’re thrilled to be bringing the World Boxing Super Series to the German audience, not only by staging multiple fights in Germany, but also by broadcasting all our fights on Germany’s leading media platforms. With this deal, the World Boxing Super Series will have the perfect stage to showcase its excellence and Greatness in the boxers quest for the Muhammad Ali Trophy.”
Zeljko Karajica, CEO von 7Sports: „We are thrilled to broadcast boxing at a Champions League level. 14 all-or-nothing Fights; Where the only thing that counts is finding the number one in each weight class!“
The World Boxing Super Series is a first of its kind annual boxing tournament, and will bring together the ‘best of the best’ fighters to compete at venues around the world for the Muhammad Ali trophy, The Greatest prize In Boxing. A total of 16 elite boxers from two weight classes (Cruiserweight and Super Middleweight) will battle it out on fourteen separate fight nights in a bracket-style elimination tournament – with the winner in each division crowned in May 2018.
A rough and Frenchman will be making the trip across the Atlantic Ocean in an effort to derail the long awaited return of “The Hebrew Hammer” Cletus Seldin, 19-0 16KO’s (Long Island, NY) in the main event of Rockin’ Fights 28 on Thursday, September 28th at The Paramount in Huntington, NY.
|Star Boxing has just announced that the hard punching Jewish knockout prospect will be facing former French Jr. Welterweight Champion Renald Garrido of Paris, France in a bout scheduled for 10 rounds in the Jr. Welterweight division.|
Garrido’s a veteran of over 36 fights with 19 wins (19-15-2 4KO’s). He has some impressive upset wins on his record, particularly when traveling to fight hometown favorites. He has already upset local undefeated fighters Bradley Saunders (in England) and Daouda Sow (in France). Garrido is much better than his record indicates and he has battled tooth and nail with some of the top Jr. Welterweights around the world including Frankie Gavin, Ceferino Rodriguez, and Serhiy Fedchenko. Garrido has never been stopped in his entire career of 36 professional bouts.
Garrido has a similar style to Seldin, as he is known for his aggressiveness and non- stop punching which will make for a highly entertaining bout. Garrido, thrilled to have the chance to topple another top prospect said: “I am the specialist in beating the undefeated no matter which country I fight. Prepare for the arrival of the LION and an anthology brawl”.
The Hebrew Hammer Seldin brings a fervent fan base to The Paramount. They have been clamoring for him to get back in the ring as the all action, power punching Jr. Welterweight never fails to thrill his large contingent of fans.
Seldin, when asked about fighting a former French champ and real tough veteran after a one-year layoff said: “This guy is a real scrapper, his style is just like mine and this is going to be a real scrappy and exciting fight for me and the fans”.
|Cletus Seldin, more commonly known as the ‘Hebrew Hammer’ was laying a path of destruction on his way to a world championship fight until he was derailed by various aliments. “The Hammer” is one of the hardest punchers in the division and has drawn sellout crowds to every fight.
Seldin, inactive since June of 2016 due to various medical issues, is now 100% healthy and is chomping at the bit to get back inside the ring. The former WBC International Silver Super Lightweight Champion will be making his 16th appearance at The Paramount and currently holds a 7 fight knockout streak.
Promoter Joe DeGuardia had these thoughts about the main event “It’s long overdue getting Cletus back in the ring at The Paramount and he certainly has not picked an easy opponent for his return. Garrido can fight and brings it every time he steps into the ring. This will be a sensational battle and you better get your tickets early because there is no doubt in my mind that we will once again sellout The Paramount on September 28th.”
Swedish amateur star Oliver Flodin has signed a long-term promotional contact with Team Sauerland and will make his professional debut on September 30 on the undercard of the European Super Lightweight Championship contest between Anthony Yigit and Sandor Martin at the Solnahallen in Stockholm.
The 21 year-old from Vaggeryd was introduced to combat sports at a young age. Encouraged by his father, he started practicing Taekwondo when he was 4 years old, and was a black belt by the time he was 8.
His talent was then transferred to boxing, where in over 100 amateur fights, he represented the Swedish national team at a number of major tournaments, and won various international and domestic titles including the Swedish elite championships when he was just 16 years old.
Having caught the eye of Europe’s leading boxing promoter, Flodin was invited to Berlin to spar with former two-weight World Champion ‘King’ Arthur Abraham. Here he impressed, subsequently earning himself a place in Team Sauerland’s star-studded stable alongside fellow Swedish fighters Erik Skoglund, Anthony Yigit, Otto Wallin, Mikaela Laurén and Klara Svensson.
‘’It’s a dream come true,’’ he says. ‘’I would like to thank Team Sauerland for this great opportunity. I’m excited to get the chance to fight on big shows and at big arenas. I can’t wait to get started on September 30 at the Solnahallen.
‘’Going to Germany to spar with Arthur Abraham gave me a lot of confidence. I knew I had to be at my best against a World-class fighter and the sparring went well. That proved to me that I was at the level to make it as a professional. There is a lot I want to achieve. I want to win the European title first and then the World.’’
Promoter Nisse Sauerland says he is excited to welcome Flodin to the team and is looking forward to seeing him in action on September 30.
‘’I’m delighted to have secured Oliver’s signature,’’ said Sauerland. ‘’It’s an exciting time for Swedish boxing and we are going to keep on investing and developing the market, and I’m sure Oliver will have a big part to play in this. He comes with a good amateur pedigree, he looked good in camp with Abraham and I’m looking forward to seeing how he fares in his first professional fight.’’
Flodin will be campaigning in the middleweight division. His first fight will be a four-round contest against an as yet unconfirmed opponent. He will be trained by his father Soren and manager Wally Munteanu, and will be sharing his time between Vaggeryd and
Aleksandr Usyk’s trainer Sergey Vatamanyuk talks of great respect about Marco Huck before the Ali Trophy quarter-final clash at the Max Schmeling-Halle in Berlin, September 9.
How do you prepare for the fight against Huck?
“We try to understand what we need in that fight in order to win. We practise some things and we watch videos of Huck’s fights. It will for sure be a good fight for the fans. Huck has defended his title 13 times, ‘Sasha’ is a world champion.
We know that Huck never gives up, he always moves forward and tries to win. We will not underestimate Huck!”
Your fighter is seen as the favourite to win The Muhammad Ali Trophy. Do you agree?
“I don’t like to talk about who is the favourite in this tournament because this is the cruiserweight division and one punch can decide everything. I don’t like to talk about favorites.
But if you don’t believe in victory there is no sense taking part in the World Boxing Super Series. ‘Sasha’ wants to have all the four belts in the cruiserweight division and he wants the Muhammad Ali Trophy. There will be one guy with everything by the end of the tournament and ‘Sasha’ wants to be that guy.”
How is it to train Usyk?
“‘Sasha’ is very smart, he understands what he needs. He trains heard, he listens, he likes to learn. He trains hard in every camp and he tries to grow from fight to fight. If he gets the victory against Huck, we will concentrate on the next fight.”