By: Johnston Brown – BillyCBoxing.com
On Sunday night Joshua/Klitschko: Gloves are off was aired as promos for their heavyweight showdown at Wembley Stadium on April 29 began. This is one of the most eagerly anticipated heavyweight match ups since Tyson/Lewis in 2002 and does not need much exposure. That being said it was a good indication to where these two fighters are mentally.
With recent ‘blast from the past’ on BillyCBoxing, Johnny Nelson asking all the right questions both fighters looked relaxed and acted respectfully. Something that hasn’t happened in recent times with the likes of Whyte/Chisora and Haye/Bellew which angered a lot of the ‘fight fans’ on social media. I on the other hand was pleased that we did not get the usual WWE trash talking BS because this is a real fight that does not need to be hyped in that way.
When asked by Nelson if experience will be a major factor in the fight Joshua responded with “Youth and speed” will give him the advantage which is something that experience can’t stop. Klitschko replied, “Speed kills but you know what kills speed? Anticipation”.
I agree with both statements but for me speed and youth will be the key in this fight, as we have seen in years gone by when Larry Holmes defeated The Great Muhammed Ali, albeit a shell of himself in 1980 and when Mike Tyson knocked out Holmes in 1988. In recent times we saw Tyson Fury beat Klitschko in Germany and on all three occasions youth prevailed.
Joshua did however make an interesting statement, that if he was managing himself he would want another two or three fights before he took on the big six foot six Ukrainian but the fighter in him wants it now 100 per cent. Sensing a bit of doubt Wladimir was quick to add that if it wasn’t for the Fury loss AJ would not be champion and they would not be having this fight.
When Nelson asked Joshua if it would be the end of his career if he lost he said no and hesitated but Klitschko was quick to say, “Don’t even think about”. The old master stepped in to help his young protege, then made it clear, “If you win I will congratulate you, when you lose I will help you”.
Wladimir is quite possibly one of the most educated heavyweight boxers ever along with his brother Vitali, who both hold PhD’s and speak multiple languages. So I found it fascinating to watch ‘Dr Steelhammer’ produce a chess match of the mind, whether he will be able to do that in the ring is another matter?
The one thing I picked up on was the respect that AJ has for the 41 year old, he listened intensely and soaked up every word his challenger had to say. Maybe with his opponent being in his top five heavyweights of all time and the pressure of fighting in front of 90,000 people at Wembley, will overwhelm Joshua? Or has the mastermind of heavyweight boxing played him with mind games?
Personally, I think it’s time for Joshua to finally show the world who the number one heavyweight in the division is and become the unified IBO, IBF and Super WBA champion.
I can see AJ stopping Klitschko within the distance and ringside guest Deontay Wilder stepping in the ring to square up with the young Brit. Then the ‘fight fan’ can get their wish of more WWE gloves are off entertainment.
Turbo Terry needs Crolla
By: Johnston Brown – BillyCBoxing.com
On Saturday night at the Manchester Arena (Formerly M.E.N Arena) ‘Turbo’ Terry Flanagan retained his WBO World Lightweight title against Russian Petr Petrov to go 33-0. It was a comfortable nights work for the Lancashire man against a quick and awkward opponent but is it now time for the 27 year old to step up in class?
After the fight Turbo Terry called out WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares, three weight world champion Mikey Garcia and WBO super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko.
He said, “Crolla was made for him. He doesn’t put more than three punches together. I will go and go again on Linares. I think I’d stop him, I think he’s fragile. I always knew he’d look good against Crolla. He’d already beaten him when not at his best.”
“I want to fight people like Linares, Lomachenko, Garcia – hopefully Frank can make that happen. I’m confident I’d beat anyone at lightweight. I’m big and strong. If I didn’t think I’d win I wouldn’t be asking for these fights.”
On the evidence of Flanagan’s display against Petrov and in this previous title defences I cannot see him beating either of those three. Especially after watching Lomachenko win in outstanding fashion against Jason Sosa, I can see nothing but a conclusive victory for the Ukrainian.
Mikey Garcia would have too much power and would eventually stop Turbo Terry. A fight with Linares would be a little more closer but would the Venezuelan want to travel to England for a third time, I’m not so sure?
There is no doubt Flanagan has a lot of talent and deserves a big fight but for now I think a match up with Anthony ‘Million Dollar’ Crolla would make more sense, financially and professionally.
This fight would generate huge publicity, not only for the Manchester faithful but also the British public. After watching Flanagan v Petrov and both Linares v Crolla fights, I think it is clear to see that ‘Million Dollar’ has more of a fan base and Flanagan needs him more than he thinks. It would be the biggest fight in Manchester between these two Mancunians that went to the same school!
The biggest stumbling block would be the sketchy relationship between Frank Warren and Eddie Hearn. Although Eddie has said that he would welcome the fight to be broadcast onBoxnation instead of Sky Sports Warren does not seem interested. I just hope that Warren doesn’t let his issues with Hearn and Sky prevent an all British dust up be blocked.
The co-main event in Manchester saw Liam Smith get rewarded a stoppage win against Liam Williams. In an unfortunate clash of heads in round nine, Williams’ coach Gary Lockett called the contest off with his fighter’s right eye completely closed. The Welshman was ahead on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage but Liam Smith will not be awarded the WBO super-welterweight title as he did not make weight.
Elsewhere on the night, double Olympic champion Nicola Adams cruised to a professional debut win against Argentine Virginia Carcamo.
Heavyweight Daniel Dubois also made his professional debut by knocking out last minute replacement Marcus Kelly.
Other results in Manchester:
Super lightweight Jack Catterall 18-0(10KOs) bt Martin Gethin 28-9-1(12KOs) by TKO
Middleweight ‘Jimmy’ Killrain Kelly 21-1(8KOs) bt Rick Godding 23-2-1(3KOs) on PTS
One to look out for is super featherweight Zelfa Barrett 16-0(10Kos) bt Ross Jameson 2-9-1(0KOs) by TKO
Super welterweight James Metcalf 15-0(7KOs) bt Jason Ball 9-24-1(5KOs) by RTD
Mark Heffron 15-0(13KOs) bt Achillies Szabo 19-16(8KOs) by TKO
Super welterweight Mason Cartwright 9-0-1(2KOs) bt Sam Omidi 4-5-2(0KOs) by KO
Cruiserweight Jordan Thompson 6-0(5KOs) bt Jevgenijis Andrejevs 10-81-3(4KOs) by TKO
Super bantamweight Paul Butler 24-1(13KOs) bt Carlos Ruben Dario Ruiz 21-10(10KOs) by TKO
Le Boxing Crunch
By: Johnston Brown – BillyCBoxing.com
There is nothing glamorous about York Hall but it’s gritty presence is the heartbeat of the current boom in British boxing. I spent the evening in the famous boxing venue that provides young prospects with their right of passage into the sports bigger leagues.
World Series of Boxing is the perfect stepping stone for those rising stars who want to build a reputation and this old fashioned venue is the perfect place to build it.
On a lovely spring evening in east London the tie labelled “Le Boxing Crunch” saw the British Lionhearts extended their lead at the top of Group B by two points over their French opponents who remain in second place above Italia Thunder.
One of the rising stars of the British Lionhearts team Galal Yafai kick started proceedings with a unanimous victory over young Spaniard Martin Molina.
The 24 year old from Birmingham dominated from the outset, connecting with some heavy shots to the head in the first couple of rounds. Molina put on a gritty performance throughout but went down twice in the third and fourth with two spiteful body shots. Light flyweight, Yafai moves to 5-1 with a confident display while Molina loses for the first time to go 1-1. All three judges scored it 50:44
In the Middleweight Division Frenchmen Nizar Trimech improved his record to 2-0 when he defeated Zoltan Harcsa, who suffered his first loss and goes 1-1. The Hungarian boxed well behind his jab and always looked dangerous on the counter but Trimech continued to be the aggressor and take the centre of the ring.
Both fighters were hurt in an excellent fourth round but with the scores even going into the fifth it was Trimech who prevailed for the Fighting Roosters; 49:46, 47:48, 45:50
The best performance of the night went to Bantamweight Peter McGrail (3-3) who put on a real classy display against Samuel Kistohurry (1-1). The 20 year old scouser won the opening round but lost the second when he got caught too frequently. The youngster showed his World Series of Boxing experience by adjusting his style in the last three rounds. Instead of moving in straight lines he spun his opponent time and time again and picked his shots superbly to secure the victory. All three judges scored the fight 49:46
In the fourth fight Conor Loftus now 2-0, who moved down to light welterweight for the new season claimed a victory over one of the best in the weight class, Hassan Amzile (2-1) to claim victory for the British Lionhearts. Two judges scored it 48:47 and one 49:46 all in Loftus favour.
The last bout of the evening was a bloody encounter between the two teams’ Croatian draft picks. The Roosters’ Alen Babic (1-1) got the better of Josip Bepo Filipi (5-3) in the heavyweight category by unanimous decision 49:46, 49:46, 45:50.
Congratulations to the British Lionhearts, who had already been confirmed as quarter-finalist before their match up with the France Fighting Roosters on a good 3-2 victory.
Linares: Like a fine wine
By: Johnston Brown – BillyCBoxing.com
Jorge Linares defended his WBA Lightweight and Ring Magazine titles with a comprehensive victory over Anthony Crolla at the Manchester Arena. The Venezuelan was in full control of the fight and showed why he is considered one of the best in his Division. Like a fine wine the 31 year old just seems to get better and better with age.
The Mancunian crowd was in full voice as they sang Anthony Crolla’s name in a deafening atmosphere, after a rousing rendition of Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline. When the first bell rang and there was an air of expectation that revenge was on the cards and not a repeat from the first encounter. Like when Hatton beat Kostya Tszyu in the same venue and when Froch put on a vintage performance against Lucian Bute. Unfortunately for Crolla that was not the case, instead we witnessed a master class from the three weight world champion El Niño de Oro (Golden Boy).
The first round was very tentative from both fighters, Linares was trying to find his range and Crolla was working the body well. Crolla shades the first three but from the second round on, it was Linares who really started to find his groove.
Every time Crolla tried to get close Linares would come back with spiteful combinations that forced the Manchurian back. The left uppercut and over hand right were most effective in the third and fourth rounds as the champ started to establish a lead.
In rounds five and six Crolla continued to bounce around in a hungry fashion but the sharpness and devastating hand speed from the Venezuelan was just too much for valiant challenger, who now had a cut to contend with at the end of the sixth.
Then in the seventh the 30 year old was caught with a thudding uppercut that stunned Crolla and placed him on his backside. To his credit he managed survive the onslaught and make it to the end of the round.
After the knockdown in the last round, his cut getting worse and way behind on the scorecards the Mancunian managed to produce his two best rounds in eight and nine. Weather that was because Linares wanted to reserve his energy or he was starting to feel the pace I’m not sure but credit to Crolla for continuing to make a fight if it.
Linares then restored order in rounds ten and eleven as he continued to throw spiteful shots into the body and head. Being the wrong side of 30 you could forgive the champ for taking his foot off the gas but age is just number as he continued his relentless pursuit.
It looked like Crolla’s seconds were going to pull their fighter out at the end of the eleventh, as Joe Gallagher asked ref Howard Forster to call it a night. But Crolla pleaded with his corner to let him play out the final round, which he did.
All three judges had the fight 118-109, all in favour of Jorge Linares. I had it 117-110 to ‘El Niño de Oro’
Once again Linares conquered in Britain, the first time he knocked out Kevin Mitchell at the O2 in London and now in Manchester for the second time in front of 15,000 adoring Crolla fans. This guy is the real deal and deserves his wish to fight in Vegas next against Micky Garcia in what would be a terrific fight for the Lightweight Division.
Speaking through a translator, Linares says Crolla has “big balls” for lasting the 12 rounds tonight. Plenty of thanks to the team and to the Manchester crowd.
After the fight Crolla said, “He’s a fantastic fighter, I’m just sorry I couldn’t do it for you tonight. I believe I can come again. I’m just going to go away, spend time with family, friends, then sit down and take it from there. I lost to the better man. I’m just really sorry.”
Middleweight Jack Arnfield 24-2(6KOs) W Brian Rose 29-5-1(8KOs) 12 Rd UD
Middleweight Jason Welborn 21-6(7KOs) W Marcus Morrison 14-1(14KOs) 10 Rd UD
Lightweight Katie Taylor 4-0(2KOs) W Mileno Koleva 9-8-1(3KOs) 8 Rd UD
Super Featherweight Martin Joseph Ward 17-0-2(8KOs) W Maxi Hughes 16-3-2(2KOs) 12 Rd UD
Light Heavyweight Karel Horejsek 8-7-2(7KOs) W Rd 1 TKO Tomi Tatham 11-2(5KOs)
Light Heavyweight Hosea Burton 19-1(9KOs) W Tamas Kozma 5-3-2(2KOs) 8 Rd PTS
Middleweight Ben Sheedy 6-0(2KOs) W Rob Brown 2-5(1KOs) 6 Rd PTS
Super Bantamweight Sean McGoldrick 1-0 W Brett Fidoe 7-36-2(5KOs) 4 Rd PTS
Cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie 1-0(1KO) W Rd 1 TKO Geoffrey Cave 0-3
*Okolie is one to look out for in the future
The ‘Mecca’ of British Boxing
By: Johnston Brown – BillyCBoxing
Built in 1929, it was opened by the Duke of York and initially used as Turkish Baths and is now a Grade II listed building. York Hall nearly met its grim reaper in 2004 when Tower Hamlets Council planned to demolish it. After public outrage and a successful protest a 15 year deal was made with Greenwich Leisure, which brought in a multi-million pound face lift and the spiritual home of British boxing was saved. Since then the historic venue has once again become the ‘Mecca’ of British Boxing and will continue to churn out the future stars of today.
The East London venue is steeped with a colourful boxing history and was rightly voted as one of six best places in the world to watch live boxing. Recent ‘Blast from the Pasts’ on BillyCBoxing.com, Nigel Benn and Johnny Nelson both fought at the famous venue in 1988 and 1990 respectively. Boxing Hall of Famers Lennox Lewis and Joe Calzaghe both recorded early knock out victories right at the beginning of their glamorous careers. Other Great British fighters that have also toddled on the Hall’s canvas include MBE’s Ricky Hatton and Carl Froch plus overseas legends Edwin Rosario and Frankie Randall fought a terrific ten rounder while Tim Witherspoon and Johnny Tapia have also made cameo appearances.
In recent times, current IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua fought his third professional fight against Croat Hrboje Kisicek with Michael Watson and Larry Holmes ringside. I remember the former heavyweight champion giving young AJ advice after his fight, as the star struck champ took in every word. Former featherweight champion Carl Frampton also laced up in the legendary hall in his twelfth professional fight and second appearance when he defended his Commonwealth Super-Bantamweight title.
On Friday night York Hall hosted the first instalment of Matchroom Boxing’s Nextgen series that was broadcast live on Sky Sports and Facebook. The new format will showcase their young prospects and give them the opportunity to headline events, like the aforementioned fighters once did before them. The 1,200 capacity venue were in full voice with the overlooking balconies looming over the fighters as they produced some excellent fights for those in attendance and watching at home. James DeGale was among those watching in the crowd, another current champ that graced the Hall’s ring when he outpointed Shawn Porter in the England v USA international tournament in 2007.
British Boxing rival Boxnation aired for the first time at York Hall in 2011 when Liam Walsh, who takes on Gervonta Davis on May 20 at London’s Copper Box Arena, beat Paul Appleby for the Commonwealth Super-Featherweight title, which got voted the British Fight of the Year. Boxnation is a major supporter of World Series Boxing and show all the live action on their channel which in effect gives their young stars a chance of exposer to the public. This year the East London venue is the rightful home to the British Lionhearts and I will be in attendance for their second encounter with the France Fighting Roosters on April 6.
This venue is already legendary but with these young prospects continuing to shine bright, the shady old lady will continue to enhance its unique reputation. Thankfully, York Hall survived the scare of closure 14 years ago, it managed to beat the count and live to fight another day.