Author: Johnston Brown - My two pennies worth

Massive boxing and English football fan from South East London, England.

Boxit: Fight or No-Fight Deal?

With Brexit negotiations still ongoing as we head towards the 29 March deadline the Heavyweight Division seems determined to follow the path of a complex and uncertain future of a deal or no-deal agreement.

If you thought Brexit was complicated enough than Boxit will leave your mind boggling and your love for heavyweight boxing declining as each day passes.

Last week’s announcement of Anthony Joshua defending his IBF, WBO & WBA World Heavyweight titles against Jarrell Miller at Madison Square Garden in New York City was underwhelming but the news of Tyson Fury signing, what is believed to be a 5-fight deal with ESPN, has left us feeling even more disappointed.

You can’t begrudge Fury for signing a deal that will see him pocket an estimated £80m and £16m a fight but the addition of another network and promoter in Top Rank’s, Bob Arum is a cause for concern when it comes to negotiating the big fights. It has been well documented that Arum and Deontay Wilder’s promoter Al Haymon do not see eye-to-eye, which could affect those long drawn out hours at the negotiating table.

We can only hope that the promoter rivalry will be put to on-side for the benefit of the sport but what of the network rivalry between Showtime and ESPN? Well, thankfully that may not be a stumbling block after all with Wilder publicly stating;

“I’m a free agent, I can fight anyone, I don’t necessarily have to fight on the networks that I’m on, I can fight anywhere.”

Question is can we trust all parties involved to leave their egos at the door and be as transparent when getting this deal done? We will have to wait and see.

At least WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman believes the fight is still doable after ordering the Wilder-Fury rematch, he told journalist Gareth Davies;

“In the next few days we will get the current position from both sides (Fury & Wilder) and if there is an amicable agreement to make the fight, we will make a ruling from our committee.”

In theory there isn’t as many obstacles in the way as first thought but it’s further away than it was last week which has sent social media into a Boxit frenzy. Many have seen this latest deal as a disaster that will ruin the sport and turn our new casual fan away from boxing. It’s a valid point but sometimes our impulsive reactions to breaking news can also affect boxing’s newcomers in the same way so the benefit of time and perception is needed in boxing and in life.

Fury has increased his value after picking himself up off the canvas in the twelfth-round last year, so ESPN have ceased their opportunity to get a piece of the heavyweight pie because the division is the best it’s been since the 90’s and currently generating millions.

Therefore, the chances of rematch on ESPN and BT Sport in the United States is still a very strong possibility with Fury having bigger bargaining chips than he had previously. If Team-Fury were being completely transparent than they would even have to admit that the Lineal title status is not enough to secure a bigger percentage of the pot especially when they know deep down, it remains vacant.

Looking at the bigger picture beyond the Fury-Wilder rematch, negotiations are going to be very difficult. Joshua with Sky Sports and Eddie Hearn; Fury with BT Sport, ESPN, Frank Warren and Arum while Wilder is with Haymon and Finkle.

Although Hearn would prefer AJ to fight on DAZN he is not affiliated to that network so maybe a deal could be agreed with Fury at some stage? For instance, they fight on one network in the UK (Sky) and the other in the US (ESPN) with a rematch clause that does the reversal? That is of course if Hearn and Warren can put their differences to one-side for the greater good of their fighters and us fans?

Common sense and logic will prevail, but unfortunately greed and jealousy will always be present, which isn’t too different from the politics in Britain.

Boxit: Fight or no-fight deal? I’m none the wiser but will remain optimistic

@JohnnoSE23 Sounds out…

Anthony Joshua – The Manchester City of Boxing

As we wait for the official announcement of the underwhelming matchup between Anthony Joshua and Jarrell Miller this week it’s hard not to think of what might have been.

Eddie Hearn has done a great job with the “Manchester City” of boxing, Joshua but a fight in the states against the overly sized American with a big mouth Miller is not good enough, even if it does give Joshua more exposer to an American audience.

The unified heavyweight world champion did have other credible opponents beyond Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder and in my opinion, Miller was not one of them.

Although ‘Baby’ Miller does somehow feature quite highly in the rankings it’s guys like Dillian Whyte, Kubrat Pulev (IBF Mandatory) or Luis Ortiz who would have been a more plausible defense on British soil even in a smaller venue.

Hearn should take huge credit for guiding ‘AJ’ to supersonic superstardom, but that status does come with its own complications. Manchester City of the Premier League are one of, if not the richest football clubs in the world today with their endless pot of money. When City step into the transfer market they almost always overpay on transfer fees, players wages and most irritatingly of all a player’s agents’ percentage.

I’m sure it drives Manager Pep Guardiola barmy with the mind-boggling amounts of money these agents squeeze out of his club but that’s the nature of the business. If Pep identifies a target, then the club will battle tooth and nail to get that player even if they must pay well over the odds.

Hearn and Joshua are now in the Man City business and fighters like Whyte deserved to be compensated handsomely after he produced the goods last year and at the back end of 2017. The rematch clause may have been a stumbling block but let’s face it, it’s all gone tits up! I’m sure an extra few million could have completed that deal even with a poor rematch clause in place.

The same goes for Wilder and Fury, most of us with common sense will see a 50/50 split as unjust considering that Joshua holds three of the four major titles but if you don’t pay over the odds these guys will price themselves out. A few straps of gold are not enough these days as money talks and in turn creates legacies, like it or lump it.

Even someone like Fury who recently gave his earnings from the Wilder fight to charity would demand a hefty sum. Frank Warren will not just roll over and accept small change just like a football agent wouldn’t for one of his players joining a mega rich club like Man City. He will try and squeeze as much dough out of Hearn as he possibly can.

Fans do not care about how much money a fighter is getting or percentage splits we just want to see the best fight the best. The only money we give a monkeys about is the money we have to pay to watch our favourite fighters.

No matter what side of the fence you sit on we can all agree on one thing, we all want to see these fights so we can finally see who best heavyweight is. And I’m not taking about fighting each other once, we want to see Joshua, Whyte, Fury and Wilder battle it out a couple of times and let’s see who comes out on top!

@JohnnoSE23 Seconds out…

Spanish Matador Sergio Garcia retains his EBU European Title

This Saturday night at the O2 Arena, Greenwich, London, EBU European Super Welterweight Champion Sergio Garcia (29-0, 13KOs) produced a performance that can only be compared to a matador slaughtering a bull in a bullring.

Hometown fighter Ted Cheeseman was hoping to impress on the big stage in front of a decent sized crowd but it was the excellent Garcia that stole the limelight.

From the very first bell the Spaniard was on the ascendancy with a high punch volume in a frantic three minutes.

Garcia continued this ferocious pace throughout the fight showing great footwork and an impressive variety of shots which Cheeseman was either unable to respond to or his game-plan wasn’t working?

By round six the fan favourite was getting desperate and more tired than the champ who landed with a beautifully timed right hand.

The 23-year-old was starting to look dejected and needed a spark which came in the eighth round. An excellent right, left and uppercut combination looked to finally have rocked Garcia but the Cantabrian finished the round strong.

It was brave and ballsy from Cheeseman but from this point on Garcia was comfortable, fluid and relaxed in every round, even when he did get caught. It was almost matador-like as he mixed up his shot beautifully before moving out of danger.

In the last couple of rounds the British champion showed unbelievable courage in hope for landing one big shot, even though the fight was up. El Niño just continued with the Pasadoble dance before allowing his bull to walk off disheveled and in disarray.

Sometimes world rankings can be deceiving but the 26-year-olds eleventh spot really is granted. The European champion will be remembered for the beating he dished out on Cheeseman and with Sergio Martínez behind him it won’t be long before he is given a World title shot.

Young Ted Cheeseman should not feel ashamed with his performance and he will learn more from this defeat than any of his other victories. The Millwall fan needs to go back the to the drawing board and defend his British title with the plan of winning it outright.

There are plenty of domestic bouts out there with fighters like Anthony Fowler, Scott Fitzgerald, Jason Welborn and Sam Eggington to name just a few. These British rivalries will be the perfect experience for such a young, tough, brave and skilful fighter like Cheeseman.

On the undercard Light-Heavyweight Craig ‘Spider’ Richards stopped Jake Ball in the third round of a scheduled 10.

Lawrence Okolie also stopped Tamas Lodi in three while Felix Cash and Fabio Wardley finished off Rasheed Abolaji and Morgan Dessaux in one.

@JohnnoSE23 Seconds out…

The ‘Big Cheese’ of Europe?

Recently crowned British Super Welterweight Champion Ted Cheeseman (15-0, 9KOs) will be taking a calculated but educated risk this Saturday night when he attempts to dethrone the EBU European title holder Sergio Garcia (28-0, 13Kos) at the O2 Arena in Greenwich, London, England.

With just 15 professional fights to his name and at the tender age of just 23, Cheeseman could have decided to take a more domestic route with the aim of capturing the Lonsdale belt outright. Instead ‘The Big Cheese’ has opted to establish himself on the European stage against a tricky opponent.

Not many will know much about Garcia outside of Spain but he does have the former middleweight superstar Sergio Martinez behind him, which will give him some valuable knowledge and experience in his corner.

Spain’s number one at 154-pounds has fought 28 times without defeat and calculated a total of 176 rounds with a 46% knockout ratio. The 26-year-old from Cantabria, in the north of Spain, stands at 5’ 11” and has a combined opponent record of 268-291-36.

El Nino, is the first ever Cantabrian to be a European titlist after picking up the strap last year against Frenchman Maxime Beaussire in his hometown. Zakaria Attou was the initial champion but he had to pull out 8-days before the fight due to a cut in sparring. It was a one sided dominant display by Garcia but Beaussire was game enough to force the fight to the judges scorecards.

British ranked No.3 Ted Cheeseman had an excellent 2018 recording victories over Carson Jones, Paul Upton and Asinia Byfield. The Bermondsey-puncher has a combined opponent record of 181-105-13 in just 15 fights, giving away almost 100 rounds of experience to his Spanish opponent, totalling only 79 but has a 60% knockout ratio.

Whether the extra rounds will prove pivotal only time will tell but Garcia is fighting on foreign soil for the first time in his career and has fought the lesser opposition.

This will be the first time both fighters have headlined in an area this big so it might be a case of who has the mental toughness to deal with the atmosphere and occasion rather than the physical battle. Team-Cheeseman would do well to tap into another hot potential in Lewis Ritson for guidance and advice after he allowed his European dream to slip away last year on his showcase night.

Garcia is here to establish himself in front of a British audience and goes into the fight as the underdog even though he is the champion. This really is a risky move by Cheeseman but his experience from last year should give him the edge.

The young Londoner has a bit of everything, he can box clever on the outside and mix it up in close quarters plus he’s showed a solid chin against decent opposition.

As long as Cheeseman doesn’t look beyond Garcia and underestimate the champion which I don’t think he will, I’m going for the Millwall favourite to produce a career best performance and end the fight by stoppage in between rounds 8 and 10.

Also on the bill we have an intriguing match-up in the Light-Heavyweight division between Craig Richards (13-1, 7KOs) and Jake Ball (12-1, 9KOs). There’s been a bit of needle in the build-up so expect fireworks for the potential fight of the night.

The rest of the undercard features Lawrence Okolie, Felix Cash, Scott Fitzgerald and much more.

Enjoy the fights!! Seconds out…

Not the People’s Champion & Fights No Hoper Lower Level Opponents

Modern day society has an uncomfortable knack of elevating their idols to hasty levels before promptly bursting their bubble with as much pleasure as they did watching them grow. We live in an unforgiving and throw away world that love to see successful athletes fail.

Believe it or not things haven’t changed that much compared to days gone-by, although it was the shady but somehow respected writers that would spread their poison back then. Today we can read and listen to several different opinions from guys that are less knowledgeable on the sport of boxing but have enough of a social following to exploit our younger generation and naive listeners.

Back in the late 1950’s going into a defining era of heavyweight boxing – the 1960’s – WBC champion Floyd Patterson was being guided by Cus D’Amato. Sonny Liston was being avoided and denied his opportunity of a title shot because he was as dangerous in the ring as he was perceived in life. After a long wait Liston finally got his chance and he demolished the heavyweight darling, Patterson in successive first round knockouts.

Moving into the end of the 60’s Jimmy Ellis held the relatively newly formed WBA version of the heavyweight strap; his trainer Angelo Dundee did his best to avoid WBC champion Joe Frazier but after a couple of years Ellis was forced to step-up to the plate and was eventually blown away within 4-rounds.

Both fights took a while to agree and all fighters involved suffered from public criticism which can be compared with today’s era, although the shocking material that was printed back than makes social media look like a tea party with the Queen.

AJ and Hearn out of favour…

In the summer of 2012 Anthony Joshua picked up a gold medal for Team GB and was automatically accepted with open arms not only by the boxing community but by a proud nation. The now unified heavyweight champion was as articulate and professional 6-years ago as he is today, without the guidance of Matchroom boxing’s Eddie Hearn.

Promoters across Britain and overseas vigorously fought for his signature with the hope that he would someday become the new face of boxing. In the end it was of course the confident and brash Essex bloke that managed to knock him bandy and capture his most significant signing.

So, 22-fights and 21-knockouts later what has changed so dramatically that has turned fans against Joshua? Is it because the Londoner hasn’t managed to get a unification with Wilder or agree a fight with Fury? I’m sure most anti-Joshua and Hearn fans would allude to that very reason but that is nothing more than smoke screen as the proof is in the résumé which speaks for itself, or does it?

Established promoters and Ex-Pros impact opinions…

Respected promoter Bob Arum recently made a bizarre statement that Joshua has fought “no hopers.” Granted Charles Martin was easy pickings, but it was only his fifteenth professional fight and to call Breazeale, Parker, Whyte and Povetkin no hopers is odd considering they all feature in the world’s top 10 and that’s without mentioning Klitschko, so you must question his judgement.

Another established name in the boxing business is the former undisputed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis who has been open with his views in a recent blog on his League of Champions website – which is a good read by the way – Lewis continues to point the finger towards Joshua & Hearn for not agreeing terms with Team-Wilder. Here’s some snippets from his blog:

“Once he [Joshua] becomes a champion, there is no more learning on the job with lower opponents. He’s going to have to start fighting the upper level competition. By becoming a champion, you put a target on your back. When you’re the king, and at top of the mountain, everybody wants to call you out from your throne, and you have to be ready each and every time. It’s the nature of the life.

“I find it a bit difficult to understand why Joshua wasn’t as pressed to lift that WBC belt from Wilder as he was to get the IBF belt from Charles Martin.”

Lewis continued, “Based on what I’ve heard, my opinion was that Joshua and Hearn needed to step up their game if this fight was going to happen.”

This is just an opinion of a respected ex-pro not factual in any shape or form but the problem is when established promoters or ex-pros say certain things about a specific fighter telling only one side of the story, than certain “Paid keyboard warriors” – in Lewis’ own words – will try to convince the less knowledgeable that Joshua has been fighting at a lower level than Wilder and Fury. Why does he not make any comparison with the level that Wilder has fought at since winning the “Crown Jewel, WBC belt.”

I completely agree that these big fights need to happen but Wilder has had that target on his back a lot longer than Joshua and has been able to defend his title against average opponents. Why didn’t his team try and unify against Charles Martin or Joseph Parker. The reason is because Martin wanted too much money so why didn’t they up their game?

Lewis disagreed with the flat fee offer last year, calling it “nonsense” before going on to say:

“Wilder is the WBC World Heavyweight Champion of the World. He holds the crown jewel in heavyweight boxing. He’s not a contender.

“I think, in the event that both, Joshua and Wilder, are able to remain undefeated and face each other for the undisputed title, that the proper splits should be around 60/40 – 55/45 in Joshua’s favour for the first bout and 60/40 for the winner of first bout in a rematch.”

Trouble is Wilder has already stated that he will not take anything less than 50/50 now, which sort of puts this theory to bed. Also, if Tyson does repeat or improve on his performance against Wilder than the American won’t have any bargaining chips left once he loses his title. He will have to accept whatever dosh is offered to him as a contender. Lewis calls AJ the “A side”, which is correct as he is the unified champion so what happens when Fury or Wilder say 50/50 or no fight? Who do you blame than?

Successful, too quickly?

The problem with Joshua is success has been his downfall. He has probably over achieved so fans expect that bar to be raised every time he steps into the ring, whether that be his performance or opponent. What Joshua has accomplished in such a short space of time with a professional manner, a polished demeanour and role model for our young aspiring fighters isn’t enough to keep all the fans and journalists on side because the world is obsessed with finding a bit of dirt on someone.

A successful story doesn’t sell as much as a disastrous one. Take Tyson Fury for example, he was the man that reached the pinnacle of his career when he became the king of the heavyweight division. It was an amazing and defining night in Düsseldorf for the Manchester man, but he crumbled into chaos.

The People’s Champion?

Thankfully Fury has since turned his life around dramatically and been a good advocate for mental health awareness. What Tyson has done with his life has been nothing short of exceptional but for Frank Warren to go as far as calling him the ‘People’s Champion’ is little far-fetched. For all the great things Fury has done for mental health he cannot be excused for his outrageous remarks about a true ‘People’s Champion’ in Jessica Ennis-Hill, or for his extreme homophobic and anti-Semitic opinions.

Ok, so it was a few years ago and people do change for the better but while Fury was testing positive for PED’s, snorting cocaine to combat his depression, and falling out of nightclubs, Joshua was training hard with the hope of replicating what Fury had achieved. The self-proclaimed ‘Gypsy King’ was the target for big Josh and he made sacrifices to get himself into the position he is in today.

Boxing was booming before AJ came onto the scene but he has elevated the sport to titanic proportions and he deserves a lot more respect than he’s getting. Maybe he should beat up his misses, take some steroids, threaten to kill someone in the ring or prance around on social media flashing his millions while dropping a few racial slurs, then repent all his sins and finally be accepted as a man of the people?

Boxing has a long History…

All I’m saying is don’t allow others to sway your judgement, be open-minded and do your own research as the chances are you will probably discover it’s all a load of old codswallop.

Dig deep into the history of this great noble sport by picking up a few books instead of watching endless brainwashing videos on YouTube. The history is endless and you will learn something new everyday.

After gazing into my crystal ball…

With Fury-Wilder 2 set after the WBC ordered a rematch, AJ will need to find an alternative opponent. Rumours are surfacing that Jarrell Miller is the front runner for a fight in the States, which I’m not keen on personally and it won’t keep the haters quiet.

On the other hand, I can see Joshua-Whyte at Wembley with Usyk-Povetkin as the co-main event. These 2-fights on the same night would be a huge statement by Hearn and would bring the fans swarming to England’s National Stadium as well as keeping the doubters on the shelf for a short while at least.

19 Fights to Shape 2019 on a Domestic and International Level

After another successful year of boxing in 2018 there is a sense of optimism for the year ahead among boxing fans that 2019 might just be the year that the top fighters finally step up and fight each other.

Here is a run-down of 19 fights that would shape 2019 into a great year domestically and internationally:

Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21KOs) vs Deontay Wilder (40-0-1, 39Kos): 

Heavyweight kingpin Anthony Joshua taking on WBC champion Deontay Wilder is the biggest fight in boxing now. With all the shenanigans that went on last year this fight lost a bit of sparkle as disgruntled fans started to lose faith. Surely both sides can let bygones be bygones and finally allow this titanic battle to commence for the right to be recognized as the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World.

Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21KOs) vs Tyson Fury (27-0-1, 19KOs):

If undisputed can’t be delivered, then the next big fight in the Heavyweight division is AJ verses Tyson Fury. This would be the biggest Heavyweight fight in Britain since Lennox Lewis beat Frank Bruno in 1993. There is even a case to be made that this fight is bigger than that and would in fact be ranked higher than any other British fight in history! A huge claim indeed but this really is a fight of epic proportions and should be the signed this year if all else fails.

Tyson Fury (27-0-1, 19KOs) vs Deontay Wilder (40-0-1, 39Kos) – REMATCH:

After the first controversial matchup between Fury and Wilder a rematch should probably take president over any other. If both feel it necessary to tango again then the winner will be in pole position to face Joshua at the back end of the year.

Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21KOs) vs Dillian Whyte (25-1, 18KOs):

If Fury and Wilder do choose a rematch as their first option, then that leaves the unified world champion without a dance partner. In an ideal world the obvious choice would be Dillian Whyte. Wembley is booked and ready to go for the third encounter between two guys that have had a turbulent history. Ideally Joshua-Whyte and Wilder-Fury 2 in the first half of the year with the winners fighting each other at the end of the year for boxing’s biggest prize, although rematch agreements could end up scarpering this master plan.

Daniel Dubois (9-0, 8KOs) vs Nathan Gorman (15-0, 11KOs):

On the domestic scene a fight between two up and coming Heavyweights Dubois and Gorman is starting to heat up. They have understandably been kept apart by Frank Warren but it’s inevitable that sooner or later they will collide so why not this year?

Dmitry Bivol (15-0, 11KOs) vs Artur Beterbiev (13-0, 13KOs):

The WBA Light Heavyweight champion Bivol is a clear talent but is missing that signature fight that he craves. His Russian compatriot and IBF title holder Beterbiev was one of the most avoided fighters in 2018. There is no better time for both guys to establish themselves as the divisions Numero uno. How about from Russia with Love in Moscow?

Joshua Buatsi (9-0, 7KOs) vs Anthony Yarde (17-0, 16KOs):

Here’s another domestic tear-up that will give you the giddies. Olympic bronze medalist in 2016 ‘JB’ has looked impressive with every fight in the pros but needs a tasty and significant opponent. ‘The Beast’ as Yarde likes to be known opted against the big fights turning down Kovalev and Beterbiev last year. If Yarde wants to prove himself then Buatsi would be the perfect fit.

Callum Johnson (17-1, 12KOs) vs Joshua Buatsi (9-0, 7KOs):

Buatsi expressed his desire to fight Yarde last year but the BBBofC are reportedly ready to sanction British Champion Callum ‘The One’ Johnson against Buatsi. If the rumour is correct and the Scottish puncher decides to defend his title, then hold on to your hats fight fans as this one could be an absolute banger!

Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34KOs) vs Saul Alverez (51-1-2, 35KOs) 3:

Many will question if a trilogy between ‘Triple G’ and Canelo is worth stomaching again. Certainly not if they produce another 12-rounds like the 24 we have already witnessed but more to do with the obscene judging. If they do decide to do it again then let’s just hope that this fight isn’t over shadowed with controversy.

Callum Smith (25-0, 18KOs) vs Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34KOs):

If Golovkin he is made to wait, then why not take a step up in the 168-pound division and take on WBA Super Middleweight Champion and Muhammed Ali Trophy winner Callum Smith. The pull of a 50,000 strong Anfield, Liverpool crowd would be appealing for the summer. Triple G has already proven that he is willing to come to England, where as Canelo would demand Vegas.

Billy Joe Saunders (27-0, 13KOs) vs Daniel Jacobs (35-2, 29KOs):

In 2017 Saunders produced a superb performance against David Lemieux on December 16 which should have been the catalyst to push on last year. Instead, a failed drugs test and loss of the WBO Middleweight title has left the 29-year-old in no man’s land. If anyone could give Saunders a lifeline, it would be someone like Jacobs who is keen to prove he is the number one challenger to Triple G and Canelo.

Jarret Hurd (23-0, 16KOs) vs Jaime Munguia (31-0, 26KOs):

WBA ‘Super’ Light Middleweight champ Hurd and WBO holder Munguia were both impressive last year. Many would argue the two best at 154-pounds so what about a unification? Come fight night this would look more like a super middleweight showdown but who cares as this has the markings of a real barnstormer of a bout.

Anthony Fowler (9-0, 8KOs) vs Ted Cheeseman (15-0, 9KOs):

Both Light Middleweights had good years in 2018 and have since been engaged in a social media spat. Londoner Cheeseman has been in the pro game for 2-years longer, but Fowler is the more decorated amateur which makes this an even-steven fight. The Liverpudlian needs to get past Scott Fitzgerald in March first but if he is successful then how about a summer showdown against the British Champion. The ‘Big Cheese’ is a massive Millwall fan so why not headline at The Den in front of 20-15 thousand?

Johnny Garton (23-1-1, 10KOs) vs Conor Benn (13-0, 9KOs):

From one Millwall fan to another, British Welterweight Champion Garton who was in one of the fights of the year in 2018 against Gary Corcoran. ‘The Pexican’ is in fine form since his solitary defeat to Sam Eggington back in 2014 and has shot up the rakings. Josh Kelly was a name that has been mentioned but for pure excitement why not Essex-boy Conor Benn? This would be a contender for domestic fight of the year in a 2019 bloodbath, if it was to happen. Make this a co-main event with Cheeseman-Fowler and we have a brilliant night of boxing, mark my words.

Terrence Crawford (34-0, 25KOs) vs Errol Spence Jr (24-0, 21KOs):

What an unbelievable fight this would be and one that would generate as much money as it would publicity. WBO Welterweight champion Crawford is many boxing observers pound-for-pound number one or at least in the top 3. Spence Jr had a quiet year for a fighter of his standards but starts off 2019 against world-class operator Mikey Garcia in March. This fight should happen at the end of the year but the murmurs of “let it marinade” might put this on ice for another year.

Amir Khan (33-4, 20KOs) vs Kell Brook (38-2, 26KOs):

This will not be the first time this fight has cropped up on many fans wish list, but we are always let down and made to wait. Optimism was in the air when Khan signed with Eddie Hearn but once again we are still no closer to getting what the British public want. Rumor has it that the 32-year-old will fight Crawford instead of Brook early this year. Hearn has since snapped up the signature of former British Light Middleweight World champion Liam Smith with maybe a fight with Brook in-mind. Khan-Brook may still happen later in the year otherwise this fight is dead in the water, that is if it isn’t already.

Vasiliy Lomachenko (12-1, 9KOs) vs Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30KOs):

Ever heard of a saying, “Chance will be a fine thing”? Well, that expression couldn’t be any more fitting when dreaming of Loma and Garcia sharing the same ring at Lightweight. It would be an absolute pleasure watching these two technicians work inside the squared circle. Outside of the Heavyweights this epic bout would be the next big thing. The Ukrainian is running out of opponents to face but you can’t blame Garcia for wanting to challenge himself against not only a guy who is 2-weights above but also against an excellent fighter in Spence Jr. If the current WBC Champion can pull off an upset at 147-pounds, then he may never come back down to 135 leaving all hopes of a fight with Loma in shatters. Where chances are fine there is always hope as “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible”?

Josh Warrington (28-0, 6KOs) vs Oscar Valdez (24-0, 19KOs):

There is a number of excellent fighters in the Featherweight division with three world class talents in Valdez, Santa Cruz and Russell Jr but a new star was born last year in Warrington. For a long time Frampton, Quigg and Selby were considered to be Britain’s best but after a super 2018 the ‘Leeds Warrior’ has jumped into the number one spot in the U.K. Warrington would be a tough out for all three of the top guys but imagine the new IBF champion squaring off against the Mexican. Both will want to engage in a toe to toe battle making this one a little more appetising.

Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-4-1, 41KOs) vs Jerwin Ancajas (30-1-2, 20KOs):

WBC Super Flyweight holder Rungvisai against the IBF Champion Ancajas would be a terrific battle of the little men. With 85 fights and 61 knockouts between them this would be a terrific unification fight that has all the ingredients needed to be one of the fights of the year.

Other fights that just miss the list;

Gervonta Davis vs Miguel Berchelt, Santa Cruz vs Russell Jr, Eleider Alvarez vs Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Oleksandr Usyk against any of the top Heavyweights.

Of course these are just my opinions with many more other fights that would also make this year a great one. Boxing is booming right now and we already have the World Boxing Super Series, semifinals to look forward to which could top the lot!

Happy New Year Boxing Fans!

Jordan Smith signs with JE Promotions

Maidstone’s newest professional boxer Jordan Smith has put pen to paper to sign a three-year management contract with Joe Elfidh of JE Promotions.

The 21-year-old middleweight joins fellow Maidstone welterweight Lenny Fuller, unbeaten in four fights, and will be trained by Lee Page at the Invicta Gym in Sheerness.

The 160-pounder has been very active on many of the local unlicensed boxing shows, winning eight of his 12 fights, and has turned down the chance to fight for titles to turn pro instead.

Smith said, “I boxed on WBU, UKBC, KBO shows, MBC charity shows and more. I actually had two title shots coming up but pulled out of them both to turn professional with JE Promotions instead.”

Smith experienced his first fight aged 16 when previously boxing for amateur clubs Westry ABC and Brompton ABC but left boxing for a short time to concentrate on another dangerous sport – motorbike racing on Grass track and Speedway.

Since deciding on turning over, the youngster has experienced a baptism of fire sparring with undefeated Lenny Fuller.

“Yeah, he’s a tough kid,” laughed Smith. “There’s no point lying about that! Hes got a bright future ahead of him, and sparring with him has shown me the skill level in the pros is on a much higher level, I mean it’s a completely differentgame, but I’ve got good trainer and good team around me, so I’ve got this, no worries.

“This is exactly where I wanted to get to and when I got the opportunity, I snatched it up. I got enough of a following from the unlicensed and some sponsors helping me out in CGMO Groundworks; W.C & R.A Caudwell; Decals Lab and Shady Custom Tattoos.

JE Promotions have an event coming up on February 23 at Mote Park, which stablemate Fuller is scheduled to fight on, but Smith will most likely make his pro bow on the next Maidstone show in May.

Manager Joe Elfidh commented on his newest signing, “He messaged me on Facebook, so I met with him and told him how the pro game works. He was really keen, so I asked Lee Page to have a look at him, who has done good work with Lenny Fuller, and he told me that he’s a good kid and, at just 21, he’ll only improve. Lee had him training for just a couple of weeks and he turned up on time every day, handled himself in sparring and showed dedication.

He lost a couple in the unlicensed but now he’s with an established trainer and a good team with Lenny Fuller as a regular sparring partner, so I’ve got high hopes for this kid.”

Follow JE Promotions on Twitter: @JE_Promotions

For tickets to the next show, visit JE Promotions’ FB Page or call 07883 943 994

JE Promotions would like to thank Kent Trade FramesCampbell NutritionSwerve CityBasement159RoofDec1ClickPrint Shiatsu Shane Tierney Photography LakingPainting & Decorating Protect and Patrol Invicta Gym and PR Manager Tim Rickson

2018 – End of Year Awards

2018 has delivered another exhilarating year of boxing and there have been several moments that will be etched into the history of this fantastic sport. Being an Englishman I will give you my picks for Fighter of the Year, Fight of the Year, Round of the Year, knockout of the Year and Promoter of the Year on the British and International scene.

BRITISH FIGHTER OF THE YEAR

Shortlist

Super Middleweight John Ryder surprised many in May when he knocked out Jamie Cox in the second round on the Bellew-Haye undercard. The Londoner then went on to headline at the Copper Box Arena in London and defeat Andrey Sirotkin in a WBA final eliminator.

Cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie picked-up Commonwealth and British titles with wins over Isaac Chamberlain in February, Luke Watkins in June and Matty Askin in September. Granted two of the three fights were absolute stinkers but the 26-year-old has now established himself as the number one Cruiserweight in Britain.

Liverpudlian Callum Smith won the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) semi-final against late replacement Nieky Holzken in February before becoming the WBA Super Middleweight Champion and Muhammed Ali Trophy winner in September. ‘Mundo’ stopped former champion George Groves in the seventh-round in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Dillian Whyte has had three very impressive wins this year. A brutal knockout of Lucas Browne in March was followed by a unanimous decision victory over Joseph Parker in the summer. The Londoner finished off the year with another stunning knockout of Dereck Chisora.

Unified Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua added the WBO version to his collection of world titles with a comprehensive points victory over Joseph Parker in Cardiff before becoming the first man to stop Russian Alexander Povetkin in front of 90,000 at Wembley Stadium.

It would be wrong of me not to mention Tyson Fury who only returned to the ring 6-months ago when he defeated Sefer Seferi in June and then Francesco Pianeta in August. The self-proclaimed ‘Gypsy King’ picked himself up off the canvas twice and hold Deontay Wilder to a very controversial draw. Because the big man only got a draw he just misses out on the award so yet another controversial loss.

Winner

Excellent achievements by all six contenders but my British Fighter of the Year must go to the IBF World Featherweight Champion Josh Warrington. ‘The Leeds Warrior’ has quite simply had a brilliant year and has not only cemented himself as the best in Britain but also one of the world’s best. Victories over Lee Selby at his beloved Elland Road, Leeds in May was followed by an outstanding performance against Irishman Carl Frampton. A terrific 2019 will be in store for the 28-year-old as he takes on the next chapter of his career against the likes of Oscar Valdez, Leo Santa Cruz or Gary Russell Jr.

INTERNATIONAL FIGHTER OF THE YEAR

Shortlist

Before I run down my shortlist special mentions must go to Heavyweight Michael Hunter and Terrence Crawford. Hunter had a terrific year defeating Iago Kiladze, Martin Bakole and Alexander Ustinov while Crawford won the WBO title off Jeff Horn and stopped Jose Benavidez Jr in the twelfth and final round with a wonderful uppercut.

Super Lightweight Regis Prograis has fought three times this year with a two-round destruction of Julius Indongo in March followed by a TKO win over Juan Jose Velasco. It was his impressive win over Terry Flanagan in the quarter-finals of the WBSS that put the icing on the cake of great year.

Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue became a three-weight world champion in May when he stopped former WBA Bantamweight Champion Jamie McDonnell in round-one before brutally knocking out Juan Carlos Payano in less than 2-minutes which gets my vote for Knockout of the Year. ‘Monster’ really is a superstar and his mouth-watering WBSS semi-final against Emmanuel Rodriguez is not one to be missed in 2019.

From one superstar to another Vasiliy Lomachenko who is either number one or two in most people’s pound-for-pound list. The Ukrainian produced a fine performance against Jorge Linares stopping the Venezuelan in the tenth with a wonderful body shot. Many were critical of his victory over Jose Pedraza in December but once again ‘Hi-Tech’ outclassed his opponent even if he wasn’t at his usual dominate self.

WBO World Super Lightweight champion Maurice Hooker has had a brilliant year with impressive victories over two undefeated fighters in Terry Flanagan and Alex Saucedo. The man from Dallas, Texas captured the vacant title when he outpointed Flanagan in Manchester before rising off the canvas to stop Saucedo in the seventh round and retrain his strap.

Winner

Without question the International Fighter of the Year can only go to one man and that is of course Oleksandr Usyk. The Ukrainian became the undisputed Cruiserweight champion and first ever Muhammad Ali trophy winner after victories against Mairis Briedis in Latvia and Murat Gassiev in Russia. The 31-year-old finished off 2018 with another comprehensive victory on foreign soil when he brutally knocked out Tony Bellew in the eighth round to cement his place as one of the best pound-for-pounders in the world.

BRITISH FIGHT OF THE YEAR

Shortlist

Tommy Langford vs Jason Welborn 1&2 – The British Middleweight title seems to bring the best out of our boxers and these 24-rounds exemplified this in the ‘Battle of the Baggies’. Their first encounter was not televised in May, but it was one hell of a fight. Langford was down in the second and cut in the third while Welborn suffered a perforated eardrum, check out YouTube for 12 excellent rounds. The second installment was just as good as the first with Langford hitting the canvas on two separate occasions but somehow managed to restore his senses and make the final bell. Both fights went Welborn’s way by split decision.

Dillian Whyte vs Dereck Chisora 2 – After the barnstormer of a fight in 2016 it was only right that these two got to tango again. The rematch was just as good as the first but this time there was no doubt who won. With ‘Delboy’ up on two of the judges’ scorecards going into the eleventh, Whyte dipped and threw his trademark left hook that put a concussive end to the bout.

Josh Warrington vs Lee Selby – The British boxing boom flexed its muscles with another football stadium bout but this time at Elland Road, Leeds United. Selby decided to take a risk against underdog Josh Warrington only to be outclassed and outfought over twelve relentless rounds of boxing. The home-crowd favorite and Leeds United fanatic produced a dominant display to capture the IBF World Featherweight title.

Johnny Garton vs Gary Corcoran – Another British title on the line – this time in the Welterweight division – Garton and Corcoran produced a bloody, throw-back encounter that would have made the grim reaper wince. It was the man from Peckham in South-East London, known as ‘The Pexican’ for his love of Mexican fighters, that got the stoppage in the eleventh-round.

Winner

Josh Warrington vs Carl Frampton – ‘The Leeds Warrior’ should think about changing his nickname to ‘Underdog’ because once again he produced the goods in another classic encounter but this time in Manchester against Irishman Frampton. From the moment that first bell rang the 28-year-old Yorkshireman was relentless with his pressure but clever with his work. Frampton was soundly beaten but he played a major part in this highly entertaining match-up that gets my vote for British Fight of the Year.

INTERNATIONAL FIGHT OF THE YEAR

2017 was one of the best years of boxing in 20 years but 2018 may well have surpassed that with so many excellent fights. Before I divulge my shortlist and winner I must make notable references to a list of fights that had me on the edge of my seat this year:

George Groves defeating Chris Eubank Jr; Deontay Wilder’s win over Luis Ortiz; Oscar Valdez against Scott Quigg; Jarrett Hurd’s win over Erislandy Lara; Isaac Dogboe against Jessie Magdaleno which gets my Upset of the Year, Adonis Stevenson and Badou Jack produced a classic draw; Terrence Crawford was victorious in two very good fights against Jeff Horn and Jose Benavidez Jr; Shawn Porter won the vacant WBC title against Danny Garcia; Callum Smith against George Groves; Anthony Joshua becoming the first man to stop Alexander Povetkin; Oleksandr Usyk’s clinical destruction of Tony Bellew and lastly Alex Saucedo’s win over Leonardo Zappavigna before his loss to Maurice Hooker.

Shortlist

Anthony Joshua vs Joseph Parker – Some may raise an eyebrow at this pick as the fight itself was a bit of a drab affair but this fight held huge significantance in the Heavyweight division. Two undefeated fighters battling it out to become the unified heavyweight champion in front of thousands in attendance and millions watching around the world. Another big night for Matchroom Boxing, spearheaded by Eddie Hearn who gets my Promoter of the Year award. Granted it never quite lived up to its billing but nevertheless it was a fascinating watch.

Saul Alverez vs Gennady Golovkin 2 – A fight that will be remembered for many years to come as two of the best in the world produced another epic night in Las Vegas. Once again judging cast a shadow over what was a great example of what this noble sport is all about. The highest level of boxing was produced by both men and that must not be forgotten.

Dillian Whyte vs Joseph Parker – Parker may look back on 2018 as a year to forget but the fact he appears on this shortlist twice shows the fine margins of this sport. Whyte-Parker was gripping from start to finish especially in those last 2-rounds where Parker almost won by stoppage. Everyone talks about Joshua, Fury and Wilder but do not overlook these two guys who will add extra vigour to a once again booming heavyweight division.

Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder – Many will choose this fight as their Fight/ Event of the year but for me it only gets Round of the Year. It really was edge of your seat viewing for the full twelve rounds but without the last round drama it would have been a Fury victory by split decision. Amazing last round that will never be forgotten.

Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Jorge Linares – One of the most beautiful sights in boxing this year came in the tenth-round of this epic encounter. The way Loma targeted the head before landing a devastating shot to Linares’ body was poetry in motion. The rest of the fight wasn’t bad either.

Murat Gassiev vs Yuniel Dorticos – This WBSS Cruiserweight Semi-Final served up a ‘Sochi Stunner’. It was a close fight right up until the stoppage in a memorable twelfth round. Dorticos seemed to be impenetrable as he ate every shot the Russian threw at him. Eventually the Cuban-native succumbed to Gassiev‘s power in the final round and after being knocked down twice he was halted with seconds to spare as he fell a third time.

WINNER

Miguel Berchelt vs Miguel Roman – Being a fan of an old fashioned slugfest the ‘Battle of the Miguel’s’ is a fight I could watch over and over again which makes this my Fight of the Year. It was non-stop action from start to finish but in the end the class came through as Berchelt stopped Roman in round-nine. Quite simply a ‘Marvellous Mexican-war’

What another year of boxing! If we continue in this direction we will have another outstanding year in 2019!

JE Promotions reveal ‘Unleashed’ card in Maidstone

JE Promotions announce exciting nine-fight card in Maidstone, Kent, England.

English title contender Grant Dennis leads the line-up on February 23 at Mote Park, Maidstone, alongside six unbeaten prospects.

Former Southern Area middleweight champion Grant ‘Go-Getter’ Dennis (12-1) returns to the ring eager to get back to title contention after the 35-year-old from Chatham suffered his sole career defeat in December 2017 when he lost on points to Elliott Matthews (19-0-1) for the English middleweight championship at the York Hall, a fight that he still feels he was hard done by on the scorecards.

Middleweight Grant ‘Go-Getter’ Dennis (12-1, 2KOs) on the comeback trail

Despite calling for the rematch, it hasn’t materialised and neither have any other title fights since, so the frustrated fighter took out his anger on fellow English title contender Harry Matthews (15-32-2) with a first-round knockout within the first minute of their October 13 meeting at the York Hall. Dennis registered just the second KO of his career having only fought three weeks prior at The Brentwood Centre, notching up a points win over Nicaraguan Miguel Aguilar (11-48-1).

The Kent puncher spent the first half of the year nursing an injury but managed to squeeze in two victories to finish 2018 on and will take the momentum into the New Year, desperate to force a mandatory position for a major title, especially now he is ranked just outside of the top 10 in Britain.

Also on the bill, ‘The Main Man’ from Maidstone Lenny Fuller raced to 4-0 in a short space of time between his May debut and his last fight in November.

The 24-year-old middleweight has won all four contests on points and plans to continue his busy schedule into 2019, starting with his fifth pro contest in February.

Former Team GB member Luke Gibb improved his record to 4-1 with his first fight back since his sole career defeat last February when challenging for the British Challenge belt against Lewis Ritson sparring partner Jordan “Baby J” Ellison (9-12).

The Bexleyheath boxer became only the second person to ever drop Blackburn’s Naheem Chaudry (0-28) when a short uppercut landed heavily in the fourth and final round of their October 6 four-round fight.

‘Gibbo’s’ pressure-fighting, skill and aggression make for exciting spectacles and the size of his fan base reflects the excitement he brings. He will be looking to get back in contention for British Challenge belt in early 2019.

Unbeaten super-featherweight prospect Jack Raines (5-0), 26 from Sittingbourne, is knocking on the door for a Southern Area title shot, which will next be contested on March 9 at York Hall between unbeaten Londoner Liam Dillon (8-0) and former challenger David Birmingham (8-3). Raines, trained by John Cole in Longfield, Kent, will have his eye on the winner of that clash.

Welterweight Danny Barrett (1-0), 26 from Stoke in Kent, defeated Slovakian opponent, Rudolf Durica (1-20), on his debut on May 12 on the JE Promotions’ ‘Young Guns’ card at Mote Hall, Maidstone.

A Haringey Box Cup gold medallist, who began his combat journey as a kick-boxer, is trained by Paul Wiffen in Rochester.

Three-time Southern Area title Martin Hillman (11-6) has experienced heartbreak in his last four title fights – three for the Southern Area strap and one for the British Challenge belt – but has unwavering ambitions to finally become an Area champion in 2019.

He registered a win last October to bounce back from his latest defeat to Southern Area super-bantamweight champion Duane Winters (9-1), where a single point denied him the chance to cause an upset from the away corner.

Light-heavyweight Paul ‘Bomber’ Brown (3-0), 29 from Margate, has won every round of his professional career so far with wins over Chessington’s Richard Harrison (3-31) last October, Darren Snow (5-23-1) in May and Scott Hillman (0-24) on his debut in February.

The southpaw, who was an ABA Southern Counties champion, will take part in another four-rounder on the anniversary of his pro bow.

Featherweight Jack Budge also increased his record 3-0 in his second appearance under the JE Promotions banner, having had his debut under Chris Sanigar in 2016 when working as an apprentice jockey in Lambourn, Berkshire.

The 24-year-old featherweight from Hoo benefitted from sparring with British flyweight champ Andrew Selby, Commonwealth super-bantamweight titlist Ashley Lane before returning home to Kent to sign with JE Promotions.

Super-middleweight Danny ‘The Real Deal’ Shannon (3-7-1) fights out of the home corner for the first time in his four-and-a-half-year career in his bid to win British Challenge belt in 2019.

The 27-year-old from Chatham was JE Promotions’ first ever signing way back in 2014 and now trains with Ray Askew and Sam Latham at the Invicta Gym in Sheerness.

Joe Elfidh commented on his ninth event at Mote Park, “The shows are getting bigger and better, and lads are all improving on their records. This is all about matching them in good fights to set them up for title fights in 2019. Most of the boxers are either at title level already or just need a test to get them in contention. 2019 is going to be a big year for JE Promotions and this show in February will be the one to kick it all off!”

Follow JE Promotions on Twitter: @JE_Promotions

For tickets to the next show, visit JE Promotions’ FB Page or call 07883 943 994

JE Promotions would like to thank Kent Trade FramesCampbell NutritionSwerve CityBasement159RoofDec1ClickPrintShiatsu ShaneTierney PhotographyLaking Painting & DecoratingInvicta Gym and PR Manager Tim Rickson

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