They say we make better judgments with the benefit of time and reflection so just how good was the fight between Tyson Fury (27-0-1, 19Kos) and Deontay Wilder 40-0-1, 39KOs) and how has this fight impacted on the landscape Heavyweight boxing?
At first sight and with emotions high sometimes our views can be obscured by others, especially from television pundits, journalists and comments on social media from other respected ex-professionals.
One thing that the majority can agree on is the outrageous scorecard of 115-111 in Wilder’s favour that Mexican judge Alejandro Rochin handed in at the end of the fight. Even with the two knockdowns and a few close rounds going the American’s way it’s still hard to fathom a scorecard that wide? Of course, this isn’t the first time a big fight has ended in controversy and it won’t be the last.
Trouble is once again boxing has come under scrutiny after shameful judging with a wider audience watching on in attendance. To keep the integrity of this great noble art intact and the new fans interested then boxing’s hierarchy will need to be proactive by investing time and resources into re-educating judges for future bouts.
Granted scoring fights are subjective to the eyes of the beholder but Alejandro Rochin’s scorecard was dreadful and he should be demoted back to the lower level fights until he can prove his worth again or quite simply relieved of his duties. On the other hand, Englishmen Phil Edwards who scored the fight a draw can make a decent argument, although even that card was hard to understand.
So, what of the fight itself? Some have gone as far as calling it a classic, one for the ages or even the greatest fight in recent history. A little farfetched to call it a classic but grippling, edge of your seat stuff. Not really a top-quality contest but the action was super to watch, especially the last round.
For the most part it was an eight rounded dominate display from a very good Tyson Fury but definitely not the best Fury. It was better than the drab encounter most of us predicted so maybe in hindsight that’s why it’s been given a little more over-hype due to the surprise.
With the WWE style last round recovery from the self-proclaimed ‘Gypsy King’ when we all thought he was finished, to then complete the round so dominantly was nothing short of great poetic boxing drama that may well have saved the show. A round to remember that’s for sure.
Up until that crazy last round it was always absorbing viewing, but it wasn’t this amazing even fight that some want to make us believe. After watching the fight, a second and third time that is clear to see.
So where does that leave Wilder and Fury in the Heavyweight division? To say they should now be considered the two best in the division is nothing short of ludicrous. The ‘Bronze Bomber’ was outclassed by a fighter that wasn’t even at his best so what does that say about Wilder? If they do go ahead with the rematch – which is what should happen – then an improved and fitter Fury does the same but next time he won’t get caught.
Is Fury a level above everyone in the division because he is more than likely to defeat Wilder by a landslide if they tango again? Or is Wilder overrated with power just as big as the next hard hitting Heavyweight? The temptation is to go with the latter.
Everybody knows you’re as good as your last fight and let’s face it Wilder was nothing short of awful. If anyone is going to beat the main man with all the other belts, then that man will be Tyson Fury. That being said, Anthony Joshua is 22-0 with 21 knockouts, is younger and improving in every fight.
Where was Wilder in his 22nd fight? Defeating Jesse Oltmanns in 2012 and still fighting 8-rounders after turning pro in 2008.
In Fury’s 22nd fight he beat Joey Abell in 2014 after also turning pro in 2008. But the Manchester native was still a young man and had picked-up the British and Commonwealth titles in 2011 after defeating an undefeated Dereck Chisora.
What Anthony Joshua has achieved in five-years is in complete contrast to what Wilder and Fury did at that stage in their careers.
In 22-fights he is already a unified champion beating a poor Charles Martin to win the IBF strap, stopping Wladimir Klitschko to win the IBO & WBA Super titles & added the WBO version against Joseph Parker earlier this year. And all that was achieved via the domestic route with wins against Dillian Whyte for the British title and Gary Cornish for the Commonwealth.
None of these records actually mean much right now but it does show that he dodges knowone and his ability has got him to this high level a lot quicker. It will also be a huge asset and leave him better prepared for when the next big fight comes knocking.
Since the Wilder-Fury fight there has been an ugly rumour circling on social media that Big Josh has dropped down the food chain. Once again the public are being fed the kool-aid here as numbers do not lie. Joshua is the number one in Heavyweight boxing right now but Fury and Wilder have definitely increased their stock and closed the gap. The second fight will do better numbers but Joshua will continue to sell-out our national stadium even if he fought the local piss-head.
If Tyson Fury can stay mentally strong outside of the ring then he should come through the second fight against Wilder. Joshua will have to settle for another domestic tear-up with Dillian Whyte, take on the Cruiserweight king Usyk or find an alternative.
However this drama unfolds we must remember that the Heavyweight Division seems to be entering another golden age that we have missed for so long. Bring it on!!
Nick Webb, Rohan Date and George Lamport all representing Guildford City Gym on December 15.
British Warrior Boxing’s festive fight card, titled ‘Christmas Carnage’, on December 15 at the York Hall features a trinity of talent from Guildford City Gym – heavyweight Nick Webb (13-1); unbeaten Irishman Rohan Date (6-0-1, 5KOs); and 21-year-old George Lamport (6-0).
Chertsey heavyweight Nick Webb (13-1), 31, blasted his way back from defeat to David Allen (13-4-2) at the O2 Arena last August with a conclusive second-round demolition of dangerman Dorian Darch (12-7-1) on September 29 at Bracknell Leisure Centre.
He rushes back to the ring yet again, looking to get a second ‘learning fight’ in, in what is a planned rebuild process to get back to title contention – his sole career loss to Allen was a British title eliminator.
He said, “Looking to get back in the title mix next year so looking to get some rounds in. We’re looking at opponents now, hopefully I’ll get someone that’s durable and don’t get stopped much, the kind of guy that can go the rounds.”
Undefeated Irishman Rohan Date (6-0-1, 5KOs), who resides in Dubai, has his eighth pro bout, which he had hoped would be an eight-rounder so he could challenge for the BUI or Irish welterweight title next year.
Instead, the seven-time Irish national amateur champion will be pitted in a six-rounder against an opponent yet to be confirmed.
In his last outing the 25-year-old defeated Dutch national champion Innocent Anyanwu (25-38-3, 15KOs) via a second-round stoppage on October 27 in Southsea to bring his record up to seven bouts unbeaten with five KOs, one result ending in a draw with fellow unbeaten super-lightweight Wes Smith (3-0-1) from Cornwall.
Date was a standout amateur and won the World Golden Gloves in 2013.
Farnborough super-welterweight George Lamport (6-0), 21-years-old, will look to build upon his first ever stoppage win last September.
Lamport stopped unbeaten Reading-based Austrian Konrad Stempstowski (8-0) in the fourth-round of their scheduled six-rounder.
The Guildford City Gym teammates enjoy close working relationships, they all fought together on September 29 in Bracknall, each one walking away with a KO win, and they share the card again on December 15, hoping for similar success.
Report by Tim Rickson.
For more information, please contact: @TimRickson
Undisputed Cruiserweight King Oleksandr Usyk (16-0, 12KOs) has signalled his intentions to relinquish all his titles and move up to the heavyweight division but can the slick southpaw make an impact?
There have been some Cruiserweights that have made the transition to Heavyweight but very few are successful. David Haye was the last fighter to make the move up and win a World title but the greatest of them all was Evander Holyfield. The American is universally recognized as the greatest fighter in the history of the cruiserweight division and was the first boxer to unify all the straps in 1988.
The WBO version wasn’t considered as significant in the 1980’s so Usyk now holds the record of becoming the first boxer in history to hold all four major world championships at once after his win over Murat Gassiev in Russia.
It took the Ukrainian only 15-fights to achieve this amazing feat which was three fights fewer then Holyfield. You could argue that Holyfield was 6-years younger and faced tougher opposition but that is because we have the benefit of perspective on where those fighters stood over the course of history.
Holyfield defeated Hall of Famer Dwight Muhammad Qawi (twice) winning the WBA title in their second bout, Olympic Gold medallist Henry Tilman, former champions Ricky Parkey & Ossie ‘Jaws’ Ocasio and Carlos DeLeon to unify the Division.
Over time we will reflect on what Usyk has achieved in the Cruiserweight Division and have a better understanding. Russian Gassiev is only 25-years-old and has a lot of good years ahead of him and Marco Huck will already go down as one of the best at 200 lbs. Krzysztof Glowacki and Mairis Briedis are former world champions who may well retain a title next year and Tony Bellew is also a former WBC champion himself.
One thing that Usyk does have over Holyfield is an ability to fight overseas and defeat the best his division had to offer which cannot and should not be sniffed at. Winning and retaining World titles in Poland, America, Germany, Latvia, Russia and England is a fantastic accomplishment that is very rare in the business today.
We can study and compare records from yesteryear against the current crop of fighters we have today until the sun comes up but unfortunately, we will always produce different theories and answers. Therefore, boxing fans cannot make accurate judgments on a fighter’s career until time has passed.
One thing we do know for sure is heavyweights in the late 80’s and early 90’s were a lot smaller than today’s. So, without discrediting what a legend like Holyfield did the transition from the 200 lb division to fight as a heavyweight was easier back then. It took the 6’ 2” Holyfield just 2-years to become the first man in history to become undisputed champion in two weight classes, which would be nothing short of incredible if Usyk was to follow suite.
For the 31-year-old to repeat such a feat he would need to bide his time like Holyfield did. Let’s face it who would have thought that ‘Busta’ Douglas would have knocked out Mike Tyson to pick up all the titles? Credit to team Holyfield for managing to secure the opportunity to become unified champ against James Douglas rather than Mike Tyson.
A similar opening may come for Usyk to pick up a World title, like for instance if Anthony Joshua was unable to fulfil one his mandatory obligations he would be stripped by one of the governing bodies. If such a situation was to arise Usyk needs to be able to take full advantage.
In the meantime, fights against the smaller opponents of the division like American Bryant Jennings or Marco Huck who has once again moved back into the heavyweight division rather than call it a day on his career. But if Team Usyk are feeling confident then Russian Alexander Povetkin would be ideal preparation. Not only is Povetkin the perfect size and height, he would also be a very credible opponent. With Eddie Hearn now involved in guiding Usyk’s career a victory over the 39-year-old would probably catapult the Ukrainian into a position to fight in a title eliminator.
Further down the line fights against New Zealander Joseph Parker or Englishman Dillian Whyte could set-up a possible clash with Anthony Joshua if victorious. The other champion Deontay Wilder is indeed considered smaller in weight then these guys but his 6’ 7” frame would present a problem that Usyk has never faced before.
If the man from Kiev is adamant on moving through the division at a fast pace then he would need to make sure he is careful about how much weight he carries. Usyk does have an excellent team behind him that do have advanced knowledge in sports science, so they will know what assets he will lose with the extra weight gain. The last thing Team Usyk would want to do is take away his ability to move around the ring as freely as he does.
Mental strength is clearly another one of Usyk’s prized assets so making sure he doesn’t feel sluggish physically will keep his brain sharpe. The Cruiserweight King seems to enjoy figuring out a way to win when faced with problem solving and that strength alone will cause enormous problems for the monsters of the division.
Usyk will now go down in history along side Holyfield at Cruiserweight but the chances of him coming close to what Holyfield achieved at Heavyweight is very unlikely. Not because he’s not good enough but more because of father-time. At 31, he can still achieve great things but he will have to be moved along quickly which could end up being his downfall.
After researching the current crop of Heavyweights that are champions, contenders or future prospects here is a list of their average weight in their last 5 professional fights and thei recorded height;
Oleksandr Usyk: 200 lbs 6’ 2”
Marco Huck: 220 lbs 6’ 2”
Alexander Povetkin: 225 lbs 6’ 2”
Deontay Wilder: 225 lbs 6’ 7”
Bryant Jennings: 228 lbs 6’ 3”
Otto Wallin: 231 lbs 6’ 5”
Hughie Fury: 234 lbs 6’ 6”
Daniel Dubois: 238 lbs 6’ 6”
Tony Yoka: 240 lbs 6’ 7”
Luiz Ortiz: 241 lbs 6’ 4”
Carlos Takam: 242 lbs 6’ 1”
Joseph Parker: 249 lbs 6’ 3”
Charles Martin: 247 lbs 6’ 5”
Kubrat Pulev: 249 lbs 6’ 4”
Anthony Joshua: 248 lbs 6’ 6”
Dillian Whyte: 253 lbs 6’ 4”
Dereck Chisora: 253 lbs 6’ 1”
Nathan Gorman 253 lbs 6’ 3”
Joe Joyce: 254 lbs 6’ 6”
Adam Kownacki: 257 lbs 6’ 3”
Dominic Breazeale 257 lbs 6’ 7”
Tyson Fury: 261 lbs 6’ 9”
300 + pounds
Jarrell Miller: 300 lbs 6’ 4”
Oleksandr Usyk (16-0, 12KOs) shattered the Tony Bellew (30-3-1, 20KOs) fairytale with a thunderous left hand in the eighth round in Manchester to retain his Undisputed crown and cement his place as one of the best pound for pound fighters in the World today.
It was always going to be a mammoth task for the Merseysider who acquitted himself well in the early exchanges.
Before the stoppage two of the three judges at ringside had ‘The Bomber’ up on the scorecards with the other having it even but in the end it was Usyk’s class that prevailed.
It was a cagey first round that was difficult to score as neither fighter really landed anything of notice.
In a much better second it was Bellew who found his range quicker, tagging the Ukrainian to the head and body with pot shots. Usyk did up his game after Bellew antagonised him with a minute left in the round.
With the fight starting to hot up the champ forced Bellew back from a distance for much of the third round although, it was the home fighter that kept catching Usyk with right handed pot shots.
Early in the fourth it was the Ukrainian maestro who was beginning to find his range and caught Bellew with a big left hand that made him dip his knees. Bellew spent most of the round with his back agaisnt the ropes but did connect with his trademark left hook that forced Usyk to retreat.
Once again it was the slick southpaw from Kiev who was on the front foot for most of the fifth but was getting countered by Bellew a little to often. Midway through the round a fast left handed warning shot from the Cruiserweight King landed on Bellews chin. The challenger did end the round strongly with a few right hands while continuing to counter the Usyk jab.
The sixth was going pretty much the same way as the fifth until Usyk landed a big left hand right on the bell that wobbled Bellew.
Usyk sensed blood in the seventh as Bellew was clearly still a bit dazed from the last round and starting to feel the pace of the fight. The 31-year-old was slowly creeping through the gears and getting better while Bellew was heading the other way.
In the eighth and final round Usyk showed his class with some beautiful footwork and shots from different angles. Bellew was trying to load up with big shots to find some space but he could not stop the Ukrainian from coming forward.
Every jab and left cross was hitting the target with Bellew in all sorts of trouble. An initial left hand buzzed Bellew before a right hand jab set-up a looping left cross which put the Liverpudlian out for the count.
Unfortunately for Bellew he was unable to prove the doubters wrong again but Oleksandr Usyk is a special talent that ended the night with a wonderful finish.
There is absolutely no shame in defeat to Usyk but Bellew needed to throw more then pot shots if he was ever going to put a real dent in Usyk’s arsenal.
Tony Bellew deserves a lot of credit for not only taking the fight against a World class operator but also for causing Usyk problems in the earlier rounds. If this really is his last fight and he does retire then he can look back on a successful career were he achieved more than he ever thought possible.
Good Luck Bellew and enjoy your Birthday cake milkshake with your son in retirement!
This Saturday night at the Manchester Arena Undisputed Cruiserweight World Champion Oleksandr Usyk (15-0, 11KOs) puts all his titles on the line against the WBC ‘emeritus’ Champion Tony Bellew (30-2-1, 20KOs).
Ukrainian Usyk is considered by many as one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world right now after picking up every major Cruiserweight world title and becoming the first ever winner of the Muhammad Ali Trophy.
A few eye brows were raised when Usyk called out Englishman Bellew after producing a master class performance against Murat Gassiev in the final of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) earlier in the year.
Bellew has never been one to turn down opportunities like this and decided to come out of retirement for one last hurrah. The Merseysider is coming off the back of two career best victories against David Haye in the Heavyweight division so is confident he has all the tools to overcome the very talented Usyk.
Once again, the 35-year-old will go into the fight as the underdog like he was against knockout artist Ilunga Makabu and Haye twice. Bellew thrives off adversity and has an incredible desire to prove everybody wrong which does make him dangerous but Usyk is a formidable challenge that just might be a step to far.
Olympic gold medallist Usyk may only be 15-fights into his professional career but had an impressive amateur record winning every major honour possible. The Kiev maestro has an excellent combined opponent record of 325-62-8, since turning pro 5-years ago.
What makes the 31-year-old unique is his ability to win major World titles against tough opposition in their own backyards. Usyk won the WBO strap in Poland against undefeated Krzysztof Glowacki before retaining his title against Michael Hunter in the US and Marco Huck in Germany. He then added the WBC title against Mairis Briedis in Latvia and finally became the first boxer in history to hold all four major world championships at Cruiserweight with a win over Gassiev in Russia. Be rest assured that Usyk will not freeze on another big night on his travels to England, the county where he picked up his gold medal in 2012.
If this fight was run through Alex Pierpaoli’s ‘Title Bout Computer Game’ 100 times, then Usyk would win 90% of the time but this isn’t a game this is for real and when it comes to the crunch Bellew continues to defy the odds.
It’s incredible to think that 5-years ago to the month, Bellew was stopped for the first time in his career at 175lbs against Adonis Stevenson while Usyk was making his pro debut. Since then ‘The Bomber’ has moved up to Cruiserweight, avenged his first pro loss to Nathan Cleverly and won the WBC strap.
In an eleven-year career Bellew has raked up a combined opponent record of 604-317-29. The extra pounds in the higher divisions clearly suites the Evertonian who is currently 8-0 at Cruiser and 2-0 at Heavyweight.
Usyk is a slick southpaw that will look to work behind his right-hand jab before throwing shots from different angles to the head and body. The Champ has excellent footwork which makes him elusive but not impossible to hit so it’s important that Bellew doesn’t allow him to establish a rhythm behind his 4-inch reach advantage, otherwise it could be a long and painful night for the Englishman.
Against Gassiev the Ukrainian was almost untouchable and barely gave away a minute, let alone a round. The Russian was unfairly criticised in that final who was dealt a boxing clinic in front of his home crowd. A mirror performance will undoubtedly see Usyk win comfortably against Bellew.
Trainer David Coldwell and Bellew will have studied Usyk’s bouts but the one fight that can give them confidence is the WBSS semi-final against Briedis. The Latvian was able to demonstrate a blueprint that Bellew could follow in Manchester.
Coldwell was a former fighter that came out of the late great Brenden Ingle gym and was a switch-hitter himself as a fighter so has the knowledge of figuring out how to close the gap on Usyk’s southpaw style. Even Bellew admitted that he would not entertain a fight with a southpaw before he linked up with Coldwell. Briedis manged to overcome the awkward style by tagging Usyk with combos to the head and body. Bellew must combine a mixture of shots by varying his line of attack.
One of Bellew’s prized assets is the left hook so landing counter shots would allow the big scouser to set up his honey-punch which he will be hoping he can land flush on the whiskers of Usyk. The most effective way to beat a guy like Usyk is variation with counter punches and Bellew does have enough ring craft to find his range and establish his own rhythm.
The only way I can see Bellew winning this fight is if he can catch Usyk early enough to disrupt his rhythm, but the chances are slim. When Usyk is in the mood like he was against Gassiev it’s difficult to give the Everton-mad football fan a chance of glory. If Bellew faces a Briedis version and does get close enough to off-load that ‘dirty’ left-hook, then he has more of a chance. These guys are going to be 200lb plus by the time they enter the ring on Saturday, so one shot can change the whole complexion of the fight.
There is absolutely no doubt that this is a mammoth task for Bellew. A victory against Uysk would go down as one of the greatest upsets by a British fighter since Ricky Hatton’s win over Kostya Tszyu, which of course was also in Manchester.
I am a fan of Bellew and I hope he can prove everyone wrong again, but I can only see one winner in the Manchester Arena this Weekend and that man will be Oleksandr Usyk by a unanimous decision.
I will leave you with a quote by Dereck Trotter: “He who dares wins, he who hesitates….don’t”. Bonjour!
Exciting young English Super-Welterweight Ted Cheeseman (15-0, 9KOs) demonstrated why he is one of the best young fighters in the country with an impressive win over Asinia Byfield (14-2, 6KOs) on Saturday night at the Copper Box Arena, London.
At the tender age of just 23, Cheeseman picked up the vacant British Title with a comprehensive victory against slick operator Byfield. Two judges scored the bout 117-111 with the third scoring it a little wider at 117-110.
John Ryder’s seventh round knockout of Andrey Sirotkin was the main event of the evening but there was more interest in the domestic tear-up between Cheeseman and ‘The Ghost’. The war of words on social media plus a highly entertaining press conference spat added a bit of spice to an already intriguing match-up.
It was the Bermondsey bomber that produced the goods once again, like he did against seasoned pro Carson Jones in his previous fight. The ‘Big Cheese’ walked through Byfield’s punches time and again while sustaining a high level of work rate and punch output to win unanimously.
Question is what is the next step of this young protégée?
A first defence of the British title will surely be the first point of call so how about Scott Fitzgerald (11-0, 8KOs) from Preston. The 26-year-old is yet to be tested and may fancy a step up in class.
Although ‘Fitzy’ would be a decent opponent for Cheeseman the British boxing fans are calling out for Anthony Fowler (8-0, 7KOs). The Merseysider only just turned professional on May 2017 and is still relatively inexperienced but does have an excellent amateur background.
Both are under the management and guidance of Eddie Hearn, so this would not be a hard fight to make. The only stumbling block would be Hearn himself who may want to let this potential match-up build momentum first. There is no doubt both fighters want it but in today’s boxing climate that is not enough to get a fight signed.
If not Fowler, then maybe a more experienced fighter like Birmingham boy Sam Eggington (23-5, 15KOs). Not only would ‘The Savage’ be a difficult challenge but he to likes to fight on the front foot which would make this a fascinating duel and a potential ‘fight of the year’ contender.
Eggington is a former European Champion and has been competing at that level for the last couple of years so he may see Cheeseman as a risk not worth taking. But with high risk comes great reward and the Brummie has shown he will fight anybody.
Three days before Christmas Day on the Frampton-Warrington undercard Liam Williams (18-2-1, 13KOs) takes on undefeated James Metcalf (18-0, 10 KOs). The winner will probably want to push on for world honours, but the loser will look to re-build so a bout against the new British Champion might be the right fit in 2019.
In my opinion, the Londoner is not yet ready for a Liam Smith (26-2-1, 14KOs) or a Kell Brook (37-2, 26KOs) so if he did want to move away from the domestic scene and look for an opponent ranked higher in the world rankings then maybe Magomed Kurbanov (15-0, 11KOs) could be an option. Not many fans will have heard of the dangerous Russian but be assured this would be a very tough contest for Cheeseman.
Alternatively, fellow Russian compatriot Ismail Lliev (11-0-1, 3KOs) or Irishman Dennis Hogan (27-1-1, 7KOs) who resides in Australia would both good very good learning fights.
The new Lord Lonsdale belt holder looks ahead of schedule so finding the right dance partner will be a difficult assignment. You don’t want to move him along too quickly, although I’m sure he will probably tell you that he’s ready for Brook now.
This feller not only possesses skills beyond his years but he has also shown a solid chin. That being said he has a lot to learn and getting whacked too many times in the swede will eventually take its toll so he definitely needs to address that issue.
Being so young, eager to learn and with a very good coach on Tony Sims the future looks rosey for the Millwall footie fan.
You can catch the young lion at the Millwall vs Bolton Wanderers game on November 24th parading his 154lb British strap. If Cheeseman can keep on progressing at this rate it won’t be long before we see him fighting in front of the 20,000 fans at The Den, maybe even with British Welterweight champion Johnny Garton on the same card.
English Heavyweight Nick Webb (13-1, 11KOs) discussed his second-round destruction over Dorian Darch (12-8-1, 1KO) and a “lesson learned” against Dave Allen plus his plans for the rest of this year with Talkin Boxing with Billy C.
On September 29 at a leisure centre in Berkshire, the just turned 31-year-old made a quick return to the ring when he stopped Welshman Dorian Darch in just two-rounds.
It was the perfect response after a first career defeat to Dave Allen just 2-months ago on the Whyte-Parker undercard:
“The biggest thing for me was not to get caught by any over hand rights” Webb said with a chuckle.
The aim was to: “Not get caught with anything, work easy and get him out of there.”
A combination and a perfectly timed liver shot sucked the wind out of Darch who was in no fit state to continue:
“That was my honey-punch. I’ve had a few injuries and lost strength in my arm, so it was good to get back to hitting and hurting with it again.”
As Webb already alluded to, the over-hand right was the shot that he was caught with against Allen. It’s a punch that the Chertsey heavyweight has already made adjustments to avoid in the future. Webb approached the Darch fight with a slightly different philosophy and even switched to southpaw:
“I was keeping my left arm up in orthodox, but southpaw is something that we’ve been working on in the gym, which gives me a lot more confidence when using it. I’ve never really used it in a fight before, but I feel pretty good in the southpaw position now. It’s just another string to my bow and another problem for my opponent.”
It was from switch-hitting that created the space for Webb to finish Darch off:
“I think I confused him a bit by turning to southpaw. As soon as he tried to put on some pressure, I switch back to orthodox and let a combination go and hurt him.
“The big thing that I learnt from my last fight is that I can’t just go in a thousand percent, throwing two hundred punches a round. I need to take my time, choose my punches and work behind the jab, then every now and then you’ve got to take a risk.”
During the defeat to Dave Allen, the surrey-puncher was tagged with a few looping right-hands so were there any alarm bells ringing:
“No, that was the problem as I got caught with them I thought I can take these all-day long. I didn’t think anything of it, I thought I’m not worried about his power or that big shot. But then obviously he caught me in the right place and I’ve gone down.
“That’s a big lesson learned for me, to not take my opponent too lightly and take unnecessary shots, boxing is about hitting and not getting hit.”
Heavyweight boxing is one of the most exciting divisions in the world because of its unpredictability which is one thing Webb will not take for granted now, after being in complete control he lost because of one big shot. As the Englishman said recently, ‘he pulled that shot out of his ass’:
“I say that, but he was looking for it and it wasn’t a lucky shot as he was trying to go for it. But, with the power he threw it at and how it came out of nowhere, that’s why I say he pulled it out of his ass. It was a magic shot for him.”
Both took the fight at short notice, which shows you the type of guy’s they are. Not many heavyweights in the top 10 domestically would take a risk like that, especially a fighter that was undefeated like Webb was at the time. In hindsight, maybe Webb rushed back:
“I was heavy, inactive, coming out of an operation and I wasn’t even sparring, just a bit of pad work and straight in for the fight. Nothing prepares you more than sparring. I could come out with a million and one excuses but at the end of the day he beat me with the best shot and he won, so end of.”
A single defeat will not define Webb’s career, if anything it will help him correct his mistakes and make him a better fighter. The big feller was still in positive mood:
“At lot of people just think about me as a brawler who comes with big punches, but I was able to box a bit and show that part of my game to, I just got caught,” Said Webb while taking his afternoon run.
“Out of all the great heavyweights, they have all had a loss in their career and it’s how you come back that shows who you are. It’s a big learning curve for me and one that I’m going to take in my stride and just keep coming back stronger and stronger.”
After a very frustrating 2017 due to injuries and fights falling through the 6’5″ heavyweight has already clocked up more fights this year than the whole of the last. The English title was a strong possibility against one of the young proteges but that never materialized for whatever reason:
“I went through a year of my career trying to fight these guys. Me and Nathan Gorman for example, had a match for the English title but he’s team kept turning it down so did [Daniel] Dubois’ team, so I wasted a year of my career waiting on them fights and I never got any of them. Then when I did come back, I got a win on Matchroom, got engaged, got injured and then I came back and fought Dave Allen.
“Last year was a big waste of my time and I’m very annoyed. All these boys are trying to keep their ‘O’ so are fighting journeymen or has-beens. I think we are at a stage now where you’re going to start seeing all the heavyweights start meeting each other because there is nowhere else to go, so it will be interesting.”
One fight that would be very interesting would be the rekindle with amateur foe Joe Joyce who was always a thorn in Webb’s side during a successful amateur career that ended with a record of 21 wins in 27 fights. I’m sure Webb would like to set the record straight and have a crack at Joyce in the pros, if that opportunity came about:
“He’s definitely a guy that I need another rematch with. He’s doing big things at the minute in America and good luck to him, but I want to meet him at some point in my career.
“I need to get my revenge against Allen in a rematch first and then nothing can hold me back when moving on to someone like Joe Joyce.”
So, what is the plan for the rest of the year:
“I’ve fought for a British eliminator and came up short, so now I’ve got to reassess”, said Webb.
“For me, it’s a build-up fight against a journeyman or the polish guy [Kamil Sokolowski] that beat my stablemate Naylor [Ball] so I wouldn’t mind getting revenge for him. Then obviously I’ve got my eye on that rematch. I just need to do what I did before, be lighter, in better shape and don’t take him for granted.”
Where does Webb see himself in the year 2020:
“In 2020, I would have been British champion and be fighting for a world title.”
You can follow Nick Webb on Twitter and Instagram @itsanickting
Thank you, Nick, for taking the time to speak with me on behalf of Billy C Boxing and we hope to have you back soon. We would like to wish you the very best for the rest of this year and beyond – looking forward to seeing you in action again very soon,
Don’t forget to watch the Talkin Boxing with Billy C TV & Radio Program.
English Light-Heavyweight Joel ‘El Toro’ McIntyre (17-2, 3KOs) has the most experience within the professional ranks going into the Ultimate Boxxer 2 at the O2 indigo in London on November 2nd and he gave Talkin Boxing with Billy C a touching insight into his personal life and career aspirations in a recent interview.
After 11-straight victories in the pro game McIntyre lost for the first time to Miles Shinkwin for the Southern Area title before gaining revenge 2-years later to win the English Light-Heavyweight title on home turf. For a lot of boxers making their way through the ranks winning the English title is a massive achievement but for the Portsmouth-based fighter is was more then that;
“As you can imagine it was perfect, it was lovely to even the score. It was huge for me personally because of everything that had gone on in the recent weeks leading up to the fight.
“I was very close to my granddad and when I was in training he died,” McIntyre openly admitted.
“One of the last words I said to him was, ‘I won by the way, I won my English title’, even though I hadn’t. I was trying to get a response out of him and it worked he was beaming.
“There was big pressure on me after what I had promised him so I performed better and had more urgency compared to the first fight. I’m a pretty laid–back character so I didn’t quite understand how important the big fights were. I was training like a machine, but I couldn’t get in the right head space. I had the inspiration to do it in that second fight.
“Being an English boy I wanted to be champion of my country so it was massive”. said a chuffed McIntyre.
In two highly entertaining fights with Shinkwin the rubber match had been signed for December 1st at the historic York Hall before ‘El Toro’ decided to enter the Ultimate Boxxer 2 tournament. But will the fight still go ahead as planned?
“It’s signed whether I win, lose or draw in the Ultimate Boxxer. I’ve only got winning on my mind with all these fights and I’m very focused. My career has been very stop, start and I’ve been pro for nearly 10-years so to fight twice in a month is perfect.”
The only other defeat on the 30-year-old’s record came against Liam Conroy last year and he would definitely like to avenge that loss to:
“That’s got to happen. I’m a fighter and I’m a boxer but I’m fighter first and a man before that. As a man I’ve been beaten by another man. In the nicest possible way if it doesn’t happen in the ring it would have to happen in someone’s front garden.
“I’m not going to be chasing him around or wait by the phone, I’m literally going to carry on as normal. I want it to happen but if it never happens, it never happens, career wise it’s just one of them things.
“I had never heard of him before, hence why my head wasn’t really in the game but we agreed the voluntary. In hindsight I probably shouldn’t have taken the fight with everything that had happened that year in my personal life. I wasn’t taking a great deal out of it myself apart from the fact he was my voluntary. It was a mistake in my camp, but we have ironed out all these mistakes and got rid of the bad eggs.”
Being ranked in the top 100 in the world and top 10 in Britain, we were intrigued to know what draws the former English Champion to Ultimate Boxxer 2:
“It’s a massive platform and a decent little venue. I’ve been to the O2 Arena before and I’ve also gone to the Indigo to watch boxing, it’s a great little venue.
“It’s going to be live TV [Channel 5 Spike] with a lot of faces there so it’s a hell of an opportunity to get in and amongst it. Right now, I’m just chomping at the bit to get in that ring. I’ve been training solid for half of this year again as I’ve had fights fall through so I’m slipping down the rankings. Although Ultimate Boxxer might not push me up the rankings, it will definitely get me noticed. It’s an entertainment business at the end of the day.”
With the success that McIntyre has had already, we asked if he feels any added pressure going into Ultimate Boxxer 2 being one of the favorites?
“Not extra pressure but people may well expect something from me. Frankly, it doesn’t matter who expects what, I know what I’ve got to do. I’ve got to get in there and make a real statement. I’ve never been so ready for anything in my life.”
The Pompey native will be a major coupe for any of the other seven fighters that are involved and, no doubt will up their game if drawn against him so is there anyone that he would like to fight on the night:
“I’ve got no preferences. There’s a quarter, a semi and a final and the best men will get through. There is no easy route as the man you meet in the final will deserve to be there as much as the other guy.”
Joel McIntyre is eager to get under way and just wants to get on with it now so would welcome the chance to be on first in this grueling Light-Heavyweight competition:
“Since my amateur days I’ve always wanted to be on first because I’ve got to the point where I’ve trained, I’ve arrived and I’ve weighed in so there is nothing else I want to do other then fight immediately. If I could literally walk into that arena and fight straight away then that’s what I would do. There is no other reason why I want to be in that place. I’m not a spectator, I’m not there to get pi**ed up, I’m just there to do a job and get in that ring.”
Training for a tournament like Ultimate Boxxer is different to preparing for just one opponent so every fighter needs a slightly different approach. McIntyre gave us an insight into this sparring methods and how he will prepare in-between fights:
“I sparred three different fighters in one night. I sparred three rounds with one kid, two rounds on the pads, sparred another three rounds with another kid, back on the pads and then finished off with another three rounds with the last guy.
“They were all different fighters, we had a slippery southpaw with a shoulder roll, a kid that was 6’7″ who was very hard to pin down and a young lad who was very solid. The last guy had heavy hands and threw punches constantly without giving me any time. It was perfect.”
“I’ve got Dan Iaciofano as my strength and conditioning coach, he is a top man that knows his stuff so whatever he has me doing we will be optimizing in-between fights. That’s going to be the hardest bit keeping the right level between fights. The plan is to hit and not get hit.”
So, 3 victories in 1 night will make Joel McIntyre the Ultimate Boxxer champion. We wanted to know how winning the golden robe and prize money would compare to winning the English title?
“By the time you get to that final you’re going to have been in deep so there will be some raw emotions when given that golden robe,” said McIntyre.
“The mad thing about winning the English title was the feeling of relief more then anything. The whole grief from my granddad’s passing was on hold while I was training so I had a massive relief of emotion. Maybe they’re going to be similar, it’ll be interesting to find out.”
Talkin Boxing with Billy C would like to thank Joel for taking the time out of his busy schedule to speak with us. We hope to have ‘El Toro’ back on BillyCBoxing soon. Good Luck!
Please follow the former English Light- Heavyweight champ on @yaakamcintyre
With only 4-weeks to go until the first bell is sounded for the Ultimate Boxxer 2 at the O2 Indigo in London, Talkin Boxing with Billy C caught up with Swindon’s ‘Sniper’ Sam Smith (5-1, 1KO) to discuss his chances of winning the coveted golden robe and prize money.
Sam Smith was a decorated amateur winning 3 national titles plus the golden gloves in 2007 before finishing with a record of 33 wins in 47 fights. Since turning pro in 2015 the Guildford-puncher has clocked up 31 rounds in 6 fights under the guidance of manager and coach Paddy Fitzpatrick.
With the experience of almost 50 amateur fights under his belt, the Ultimate Boxxer format mirrors the amateurs perfectly which will give the Swindon-based fighter every chance of success on the night.
“I’ve only been a pro for about 3-years this December so I’m still adapting to the pros.” Said Smith.
“I’m still quite amateur but I’m quick with my feet so this opportunity with Ultimate Boxxer and the three, 3’s definitely suits my style.”
Sniper’s only defeat came against the more experienced Kirk Garvey who was 10-1 at the time but also had a lot of amateur fights before taking the plunge into the professional game. Although Smith did put the Londoner down in the first round it was his inexperience as a pro that allowed Garvey back into the fight.
“I was up against a good operator in Kirk Garvey and I knew we were up against it.” Smith concluded.
“It was only my fifth fight so getting in there and getting 10-rounds was obviously a big step up for me in a final eliminator for the Southern-Area title. I learnt a lot in that fight especially after dropping him in the first round and then trying to take him out of there but fair play to him he weathered the storm and came back strong. Looking back on it now I’d have gone back to my boxing and got back behind my jab.
“It was very, very early when I dropped him in roughly the first minute and I thought I had him. I was surprised how often I was hitting him. After dropping him I thought I was going to be in total control but it turned out the other way round, he was in control. It was weird how it happened as I actually went back to my corner worse off then him.”
That lack of experience definitely played it’s part in the defeat against Garvey but this is the sort of fight will only increase Smith’s chances in Ultimate Boxxer II as next time he will be more patient and will wait for the openings rather than force it. ‘Sniper’ identified his mistakes:
“I blew myself out completely, how I made it to seven rounds the way I felt I don’t know, it was just my heart that got me through it. I was spent, the tank was empty, it’s nothing to do with conditioning it’s just one of them things that you can’t prepare for.”
Standing at 6’4″ Smith is the second tallest competitor in the tournament behind Shakan Pitters but Smith has not been given ‘Sniper’ as his nickname for nothing:
“Sniper comes from my range and my jab. Admitted Smith
“Our idea is to always fight behind the jab, whether I’m moving forward or boxing on the back foot which is the key to everything. It all depends on what type of opponent we have in front of us and what sort of style they will bring to the table but I think sometimes the jab is all you need. Especially over these three, 3’s, it’s all about outwitting the person and out thinking them while using that jab and that’s why I believe I can win this tournament.”
The 25-year-old has a top class coach in Paddy Fitzpatrick but has also sparred with world class operators and former world champions which is invaluable experience. We asked Smith just how valuable Paddy will be on the night and what sparring with big names has been like:
“It’s good having that much of experience in my corner to guide me through but especially day in and day out in training I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve been up there [Paddy Fitzpatrick gym] for 4-years this January. I’m still learning with every session and I think it’s a great thing to have.
“When I first started off at Paddy’s gym I was sparring George Groves and then Nathan Cleverly in the same week so it was a great experience. They were always showing and helping me out with new things. It was the same with Enzo Maccarinelli, I’ve spared with him and he’s always helped me out.
“I’ve done loads and loads of rounds with Luke [Watkins]. He’s a strong big punching Cruiserweight who is athletic as well. I’ve sparred with all sorts, super-middle’s for the speed and cruiser‘s for the power. I’ve got through so much sparring in the gym.”
Sam gave us a little insight into his current training regime as he prepare’s for the most important night of this career to date:
“It’s been very intense, plenty of sparring and a lot of sprint work plus using the wattbike. Training 6 times a week, twice a day and work is grueling but in the end it will be worth it.
“I started training about 5 weeks ago but I’ve kept ticking over throughout the summer. I’m in good shape now and I don’t struggle to make the 175lb weight. I’ll be comfortable making the weight, I’m one of those fighters that prefer training at my weight rather than boiling down on the day or the night before, I don’t need to dry out. That’s my way of doing it but everyone is different.”
For Smith, the Ultimate Boxxer 2 offer came about in July when his coach Paddy Fitzpatrick informed him about the tournament, which was an offer that was too good to turn down and one that he “Grabbed it with both hands.”
There are a few rivalries within the Ultimate Boxxer 2 so we were curious to know if there is a fighter that Smith would like to face:
“It doesn’t make a difference to me, they got 2 arms and 2 legs. I know other guys like to know who their fighting before but for me a fights a fight, whoever it is.”
With Ultimate boxer 2 only weeks away we asked the 175-pounder what it would mean to him if he were to win the tournament and where he see’s himself after:
“Ultimate Boxxer obviously gets my name out there. You get a lot more fans and exposure plus sponsorship as well, which we all need in this game. After that I would look to go for the Southern Area title or even an English title. That is the route I want to go but Ultimate Boxxer 2 will provide a platform for that.
“To win would be great, I’ll take the family away and then get back at it in January. The grind never stops in this sport that’s for sure!”
Talkin Boxing with Billy C would like to thank Sam for taking the time out of his busy schedule to speak with us. We hope to have Sam back on BillyCBoxing soon. Good Luck!
If you would like tickets for the event and would like to follow Sam on Twitter @SniperSamSmith