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Nick Webb: It’s how you come back that shows who you are

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.”

Nick Webb defeats Dorian Darch in his comeback fight

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.”

Webb and Allen embrace after their fight

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.

Seconds out…

Joel McIntyre: I’ve never been so ready for anything in my life

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 laidback 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.”

Joel McIntyre working hard in training

“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 

Seconds out…

Sam Smith: I believe I can win this tournament

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.

“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.” Sam Smith

“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

Seconds out…

John McCallum: I’m technically better and more superior then everyone else in the tournament

Scottish Light-Heavyweight ‘Johnboy’ John McCallum (11-1) heads into the Ultimate Boxxer 2 with an air of confidence that has an aura of conviction. 

The former successful amateur that came out of the same gym as Ricky Burns in the Barn Boxing Club in Coatbridge, Scotland has the belief that he will be victorious in this gruelling tournament which is taking place at the O2 Indigo in London on November 2nd.

Talkin Boxing with Billy C asked the Edinburgh 175-pounder what separates him from the other seven fighters in this competition:

“I just believe that I’m technically better and more superior then everyone else in the tournament.” Said McCallum

“I believe that even with the lack in professional training I have had I am still better, far better then everyone and I’m much more determined and hungry for it.

“When I’m motivated and fit I don’t believe there is anyone in the country that can come close to me. Regardless of their style, I can adapt to all these guys. I’ve had enough amateur fights and I’ve boxed loads of different styles so there’s no one in this tournament that’s any better than me.

“People talk about Dec Spelman and Joel McIntyre being the favourites but I would happily fight them first. I would fight the two of them and then whoever else was left in the final. I believe their styles are made for me.”

Preparations for the 3, three’s – as McCallum likes to phrase it – are completely different compared to a training camp based on longer distances. The 29-year-old gave us a little insight into his training regime:

“Specifically, I’m training for three rounds explosive. Instead of trying to pace myself for 8, 10 or 12 rounds I’m coming out three rounds explosive. I’ll rest for 5 or 10 minutes and then I’ll go another three rounds explosively. When your fighting three rounds there’s lactic acid build-up in-between fights so that ‘something that I’m aware of and will prepare for.

“I always come out right from the start, so I think it’s suited to my style. I’m sparing different styles, amateurs, pro’s, southpaw’s and short stocky fighters.”

John McCallum’s only loss came controversially against ex-footballer come boxer Leon McKenzie in an Eliminator for the Super-Middleweight British title. Looking back on that loss to McKenzie we asked what experience McCallum had gained and if he had matured as a fighter:

“Definitely, I have matured as a fighter and as a person since that fight. There was a clash of heads that I think the ref thought was a punch and my eye eventually closed. The guys I had in my corner where not professional boxing trainers, so it was inexperience on my part by not having a professional set-up. We felt that I was ahead on the scorecards so even if the fight was stopped I would have won.”

“It is what it is and it’s just a part of history and making me a better fighter.” John McCallum on McKenzie defeat. 

There was no love lost between the two in the build-up to the fight, so it was surprising to here that ‘Johnboy’ had added McKenzie to his coaching team. We asked how that come about;

“Leon messaged me on Social Media and we started talking, what he was saying made a lot of sense. He ended up phoning me while I was on holiday in Spain, we had a good long chat and that was that.

“He brings a professional mindset, obviously he was very successful football and in boxing. He also has good experience from his Dad who was also really good boxer.”

It’s been a turbulent couple of years for McCallum who has had his career derailed due to a torn rotator cuff but after surgery the Scottish fan favourite says his “shoulder is starting to feel stronger everyday”.

With the current British Champion Callum Johnson traveling to America to fight IBF Light-Heavyweight Champion Artur Beterbiev this weekend we asked McCallum what inspiration he can take from his former Scottish stablemate from the amateurs, after his long injury lay-off:

“He’s a good boxer that won gold at the Commonwealth Games. Callum’s a nice guy, when he came back he won the British and now he’s fighting for a world title in America. There’s my motivation and there is someone that I want to try and emulate.”

With Ultimate Boxxer 2 the focus for Team McCallum they don’t want to look beyond but we wanted to know what’s the ambition and what is a successful career for the Scottish Light-Heavyweight:

“My ambition is to win the Ultimate Boxxer live on channel 5 and after that I want the Lord Londsdale belt. Hopefully Callum Johnson will win that World title and he’s going to vacate the Lord Londsdale belt anyway, so I could fight a Frank Buglioni or whoever else is in line.

“I want to win the British and test myself at that level, then like any other boxer move on to the European. You never know I might get a shot at someone like Callum for a world title?

“I get motivated by big fights, like Ultimate Boxxer which is starting to get a bit of life back in me. After the Ultimate Boxxer, I want British title fights against big names. That’s the motivation that makes me get up in the morning and, go running and go to the gym after work. The bigger the fight the more motivated I will be.”

We have just over 4-weeks until the first bell sounds at the O2 Indigo and preparations are at an advanced stage so what would winning the golden robe and prize money mean to John Mccallum?

“It would be a great achievement and good to put on my CV. I can pay off a bit of my mortgage with the prize money. I believe it’s my time to win it. I’ve only had one slip up in my career and that was due to not having a professional set-up.

“I now understand the game a bit better, I’m a bit older and wiser and understand how to cut weight better, I believe that I’m going to be too much for anyone on the night.”

If you want tickets for the Ultimate Boxxer 2 then contact John McCallum via Instagram at @Johnmccallumjnr

You can also follow @JohnMcCallumBox on Twitter.

A special mention to sponsors F Cunningham Surfacing, A Cunningham Tarmacadam & Surface Dressing Specialits & K&S Walker Electrical that are currently supporting the Scotsman.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank John McCallum for taking the time to speak with me on behalf of Talkin Boxing with Billy C TV & Radio Program. Good luck and we hope to have you back on BillyCBoxing soon.

Seconds out…

Darrel Church – I am going to make sure there is no stone left unturned

Chelmsford’s light-heavyweight ‘Dazzling’ Darrel Church (7-2-1, 1KO) will compete in the second installment of Ultimate Boxxer at the O2 Indigo, London on November 2nd.

The 29-year-old is ready to embark on the toughest challenge of his career so far and was kind enough to take some time out of his busy training schedule to speak with us at Talkin Boxing with Billy C.

We asked Darrel about his stoppage defeat to Jordan Joseph (7-2-1, 1KO) who ironically will also be participating in Ultimate Boxxer II.

“I was doing really well until the doctor obviously stopped it.” said a clearly gutted Church.

“Sometimes I wish I had got chinned rather than have the fight stopped the way it was. Its quite hard to take but when he put me down he hit me on the back of the head anyway.

“I got up and was a little bit dazed but it weren’t until I watched the footage back that I actually noticed he got me at the back of the head. At the time I got up carried on.”

With the fight still in the balance it was stopped in the eighth round due to Church sustaining damage to his left eye;

“It was only when I returned to my corner I couldn’t see out of my left eye. My trainer was looking at it and didn’t want me to carry on. But after another round and it being looked at for a second time my trainer asked the Doctor to take a look. I would rather have a trainer like that rather than making me carry on but obviously as a fighter you do want to carry on.”

There is clearly unfinished business for the Essex puncher who is scheduled in for a rematch against Joseph in December but would also welcome a fight in between during the Ultimate Boxxer, Church said:

“It was scheduled in because the main thing I wanted was a rematch. I have been trying to get that ever since that fight. Then when I was away on holiday Steve Goodwin called me up and told me that the Ultimate Boxxer want to do a Light-Heavyweight tournament and how do I feel about taking part. I obviously snapped it straight up.

“He [Steve Goodwin] told me that Jordan Joseph was going to be taking part as well. If we do fight each other at the tournament it will be strange but all my fans obviously want me to go against him because of what happened before. That’s definitely something that I want to do but I think we will be sick of each other by the end of the year.”

Darrel Church stopped Rikke Askew in one round: “I’d been working on my power and just got him out of there.”

A first round knockout of Rikke Askew under co-promotion Hayemaker shows that the 175-pounder is really starting to establish is power. We asked the former unlicensed boxer what changes he’s made in camp:

“Rikke Askew was 2 and 2 so that first round KO was good for me. I’d been working on my power and just got him out of there. I’m defiantly hitting a lot harder now.

“I am doing strength and conditioning now where I never did it before. I’ve got a strength and conditioning coach now who I go to at least two, if not three times a week. So that had made a massive difference for me. Before I didn’t need that side of it but now I do as I am up against boys with access to all that technology. That has definitely helped.”

When Ultimate Boxxer was offered to Church by his promoter Steve Goodwin the opportunity was just too good to turn down for the PrizeFighter fan, which was a similar model to the Ultimate Boxxer hosted by Matchroom Boxing:

“Ever since I turned pro I always said I wanted to do PrizeFighter”. said Church.

“I used to watch PrizeFighter all the time so having this opportunity was what I wanted. It couldn’t have worked out any better for me. I think I’ve worked so hard since 2014 to get into a position like this. This is where I want to be. I am going to make sure there is no stone left unturned.”

Darrel was very forthcoming during the whole interview but decided to keep his training methods very close to his chest, stating:

“I’ve said to Ultimate Boxer that I don’t want to give away of my training methods. I don’t want go into what I am planning. We do have a different strategy and all I can say is that I am working very hard doing bursts.”

With the demanding task of Ultimate Boxxer with the lucrative £50k prize money and the sought-after golden robe we asked ‘Dazzling’ Darrel Church what it would mean to him if he won this grueling competition:

“It would mean everything to me. Like we discussed earlier I’ve had my ups and my downs. It’s now got to a point where I’ve got the experience of winning, experience of losing, experience of being in tough fights and I’ve got the experience of being in a few easier fights. I think I’ve got the whole package, the heart and the hunger to win it.

“Sparring has just been spot on. I’ve never had a camp where sparring has gone so well. Literally the whole camp has been bang on. I’m bang in my prime and it’s the best I’ve ever felt.”

Darrel Church will be wearing the green shots for Ultimate Boxxer II live on channel 5 on Friday 2nd November.

We would like to thank Darrel for taking the time to speak with me. We hope to have him back on BillyCBoxing soon and don’t forget to watch the Talkin Boxing with Billy C TV & Radio Program.

Tommy Langford: I’m not a beaten fighter

It’s been just over 2-weeks since Tommy Langford (20-3, 6KOs) lost a second close decision against Jason Welborn (26-4, 7KOs) for the British Middleweight title in Birmingham.

After the first fight in Walsall Town Hall was nominated as one of the Contest’s of the Year in the BBBofC 2018 awards, the second instalment of the ‘Battle of the Baggies’ will surely be back on the shortlist for 2019.

With all the plaudits both fights have been given it’s been a hard one take for the the 29-year-old that was named the ‘Baggies Bomber’ by his own West Brom fans.

“I wouldn’t say I was robbed or anything like that, but I do feel that I’ve been hard done by with the scoring twice”, said Langford.

“I felt like I’ve won them both especially the second one, my boxing was a lot better in the second fight and I felt like the rounds that I wasn’t dropped in I dominated throughout.”

On the Billy C Show we have discussed the 2-point swing when a fighter is dropped even though they are winning a round comfortably. In the case of the second encounter between Langford and Welborn, the Birmingham-based fighter was in control of the first round until he was caught cold with a right hand with thirty seconds to go. We asked Langford if the round should have been scored a 10-9, rather than the normal 10-8, which could have made the difference between winning and losing.

“They’re what they are, they’re two-point rounds but apart from those rounds I’d give Welborn the twelfth round, maybe?

“I understand what you’re saying but I don’t think that’s the thing. If the judges are scoring the rounds independently from the last round it shouldn’t matter if someone gets knocked down. But if you’re watching the next round with preconceived ideas then it does sway your scoring. I think that’s the problem we have sometimes.”

After what looked like a heavy knockdown in the third Langford showed great character and courage to last the distance and dominate the fight. How did you feel coming out for the fourth?

“Literally fine, my head was clear. I knew after the knock down he was going to come on strong, so it was a case of you’ve got to hold on to survive the round. I didn’t really feel rocked and my head was clear. In the corner I knew what I had to do and that was go out and win the fourth round which I think I did and won it well.

“It’s nice to get compliments but I didn’t feel wobbled or that my head was in a different place. I felt like I knew where I was and in complete control of what I had to do. I was able to deliver it and that was the important thing.

“I went right back to the corner and Tom [Chaney] gave me the advice that was needed, I went out there and delivered it in the next round. If you’re not clear minded that’s going to show, you’re going to be ropy in the next round.”

Tommy’s ability to recover so quickly shows he’s high level of fitness but as the fight wore on was Welborn’s power diminishing or was Langford’s punch resistance stronger?

“That’s a strange thing as well, whether his power faded because he was blowing, or I got more used to it. My fitness has never been bought into question, everyone knows me as an extremely fit kid and I’ve been able to churn out round after round and put in big punch outputs, that’s never been an issue to me which is a great thing to have.

“Those two punches that knocked me down never bothered me, I didn’t feel gone from them so there’s something there that we got to look at. I don’t ever get rocked in sparring. I know we wear big gloves and head-guards, but I’ve been sparring big guys who are hitting hard, like Callum Smith. I’ve been one of his sparring partners for years and I’ve not been rocked or hurt during those spars. My legs have never gone or anything like that, so you think, why’s that as I’m sparring heavier?

“Personally, I think the weight is something we need to look at. I’m a big, big middleweight and I have been for a long time so maybe stripping muscle away from certain areas, like my legs is playing it’s part now, so I may need to build up again and look at super-middleweight.”

“I felt like I boxed very well and it’s hard to find yourself in a position where you’ve boxed well but you’ve ended up losing by such a narrow decision”

Since the narrow defeat to Welborn you’ve had the chance to reflect and watch the fight back how would you rate your performance?

“Apart from the twelfth I can’t find another round to give him. Personally, I felt like I boxed very well and it’s hard to find yourself in a position where you’ve boxed well but you’ve ended up losing by such a narrow decision. I don’t feel like a beaten fighter. I’ve came out with very mixed emotions because I’ve been in a great fight, I’ve fought a great fight and I’ve performed so in my head, I feel like you’ve won.

“I suppose it’s the nature of the sport where in and it’s just part and parcel of boxing and you’ve got to deal with it. Losing is one thing but when you lose it and you don’t feel like you’ve lost it, it’s hard.”

You’ve been in a contender for fight of the year in 2018 and no doubt the second fight will be nominated for 2019 so would you be interested in doing a trilogy?

“Would I have the third fight, yes but its got to be financially viable and at the same time he can look at it and say, I’ve got two wins why do I want to go and fight him again? No matter what he hears off people like – you never won that and you was lucky, which you do get as a boxer – he can tell them he got the decision. So unless he has a point to prove to himself there’s no need for him to do the third. Would I take it yes but will it happen, probably not.”

Many boxers across the country could only dream of the support Langford’s football club West Bromwich Albion give him. We asked the die-hard Baggie fan how proud he is to have that support?

“The fans are wicked you know. The people that come and support me from West Brom are brilliant and it’s great to have that support from the club itself as well. It’s a big thing and it’s helped my career.”

What’s your next route and where do you see yourself in 2020?

“The initial thought is to move up and look at avenues at super-middle. The loss is still very fresh in my mind but we haven’t really looked at what there is or know too much about what route to go down, but I think that’s the initial thought.

“By 2020, holding a title of some sort and still banging away. But I really want to be in some exciting fights and that’s what I want my career is remembered for.”

The TalkinBoxing with Billy C TV & Radio Show would like to thank Tommy for taking the time out for an interview. We wish you the best of luck and hope your back in the ring as planned by December.

Seconds out…

AJ retains his titles after stopping Povetkin in seven.

Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21KOs) got back to his destructive knockout best when he became the first man to stop Russian Alexander Povetkin (34-2, 24KOs) in the seventh round at Wembley Stadium, London, England.

After a slow and troublesome start the IBO, IBF, WBO and WBA World Heavyweight champion was able to re-adjust and finish off the 39-year-old veteran in seven rounds.

On a cold and wet evening in London 70,000 fans arrived with the expectation that Joshua would make light work of Povetkin, but to everyone’s dismay it was the Russian that started the brighter.

The opening exchanges were cagey as both fighters tried to feel their way into the fight. Joshua was working behind his jab targeting the body but it was Povetkin that landed an eye-catching uppercut that wobbled the champ right on the bell.

Joshua looked worried as he came out for the second round with a bloodied nose as a result of the Povetkin uppercut. The Russian was buoyed by the sight of blood and was a constant threat on the inside. A three punch combo which ended with a right hand won the round and silenced the thousands in attendance.

The champ found his range in the third managing the keep his menacing challenger behind a better, busier and more accurate jab.

In the fourth Povetkin continued to look dangerous but got caught with a well timed uppercut that opened a small gash on his left eye. Joshua continued to target the body but switched to the cut and got caught with a left hook.

‘AJ’ was definitely feeling more comfortable in the fifth sticking behind the jab but wasn’t looking for any big shots. He was either being extra cautious or maybe setting traps for later in the fight. Povetkin was now struggling to get in on the inside but did catch Joshua with a left at the bell.

British boxing’s golden boy was really starting to show his class by the sixth and you can’t help but be impressed with the way he adapted after a turbulent start. A right hand rocked the ‘Russian Vityaz’ who started to look a bit desperate.

Into the seventh round and Joshua followed up his left to the body with big right hand that rocked Povetkin back before landing a left. With the challenger in trouble he nailed him with another right, left combo that puts him down.

Povetkin shows amazing courage to get back on his feet but the referee should have probably stopped him from receiving further punishment. Joshua showed he’s learned from previous encounters as he patiently and brutally ends the fight with another right, left combo.

After his 22nd professional victory the unified Heavyweight Champion said:

“Povetkin is a very tough challenger, he proved that with good left hooks and counter punches,” said Joshua.

“I came in here to have fun, and give it my best. I knew he was strong to the head but weak to the body. I was just mixing it up.

“It could have been seven, maybe nine, maybe 12 rounds to get him out of there, but the ultimate aim was to be victorious. And I got my knockout streak back”.

When asked who he wanted next on April 13 back at Wembley Stadium, he said:

“If Dillian wants to fight here, he’s more than welcome. My number 1 choice is Wilder and my second…forget my second or third, we’ll leave it at that.”

 

Golovkin defeat Equivalent to Bolt in Rio

I almost refrained myself from writing an article on the Golovkin-Canelo rematch but now I have had time to reflect and listen to other opinions I just had to write something about this excellent fight that will go down in boxing history for years to come.

Once the official scorecard was announced I have admit that my initial reaction was one of shock and dismay that none of three judges had scored in favour of the Ukrainian warrior. I completely neglected the spectacle that I had just witnessed and could only view the fight in a negative manor. I applauded Golovkin’s decision to snub the American broadcaster for an immediate interview as I marched up to bed in the early hours of the morning.

A few days on and time to reflect I have had to ask myself what made me so upset with the decision? I scored the fight in favour of Golovkin 7 rounds to 5 as did many but you couldn’t really argue either way. I still don’t believe that Canelo did enough on the night to win the titles from Golovkin but why was I so aggrieved? Was it the fact that justice was not served after the first meeting or was there another underlining issue?

Then it clicked, the last time I felt this bitter towards an athlete winning a well-matched contest was the day Usain Bolt missed out on a gold medal in the 100m final against Justin Gatlin in the Rio Olympics.

In 2001, Gatlin was banned from international competition for two years after testing positive for amphetamines. A banned substance that helps improve reaction time, fatigue resistance, and increased muscle strength. After a successful appeal he was reinstated by the IAAF.

Then in 2006 Gatlin tested positive a second time for testosterone which is used to increase athletic ability.

Gatlin accepted an eight-year ban from track and field, avoiding a lifetime ban but after an appeal his ban was reduced to 4 years. Some would say that was a worthwhile punishment, but I cannot condone any sort of cheating and believe he should have been banned for life which would have sent out a strong message. This is the reason why I was so angered when Gatlin defeated Bolt as I felt that justice was not served, and he should never have been in the race in the first place.

This takes me back to Canelo and his failed drugs test for Clenbuterol in February of this year which is a performance-enhancing drug (PED). The red-headed Mexican put his failed tests down to contaminated meats which is common in Mexico, look no further that the 2011 Under-17 football World Cup in Mexico where 109 players from multiple countries tested positive for this drug. FIFA and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) did not prosecute any of those players as the weight of evidence pointed to contaminated meat.

Pro-Canelo fans will see this as a perfectly reasonable excuse but others including myself are sceptical. Whether you blame his team or Canelo himself is neither here nor there because he did fail the drug test not once but twice. Considering the millions of dollars that Canelo has at his disposal and the fact that contaminated Mexican meat is common and been in awareness for 7-years, is it just a coincidence that Canelo failed a drug test for the banned substance while preparing for the Golovkin rematch?

What is even more demoralising is the punishment that was dished out by the authorities to fellow Mexican boxer Erik Morales who was suspended for two years after testing positive for Clenbuterol in 2013. In December 2016 American heavyweight Eric Molina tested positive for the prohibited substance dexamethasone and was suspended for two years.

The double standards of the anti-doping authorities are clear to see as dexamethasone is not even a PED but a type of steroid medication that is usually used to aid an athlete’s rehabilitation.

Following Molina’s suspension, the UK Anti-Doping chief executive Nicole Sapstead said:

“Every athlete is solely responsible for what is in their system and must adhere to the strict liability principle. All athletes at any level should familiarise themselves with Wada Prohibited List and ensure they do not put themselves in a position where they may breach anti-doing regulations.”

If the safety of our boxers is the main priority, then why has Molina been banned for 2 years while Canelo only gets 6-months and was still allowed to continue training during the suspension? This was a missed opportunity by the boxing authorities that could and should have made an example of Canelo. This is the real reason why I felt so p***ed off with the Golovkin defeat, a man that has been a credit to the sport and carries himself with the upmost respect has lost to a cheat in my opinion. The 6 Vegas judges over the 24 exhilarating rounds of boxing played only a small part in the disappointment.

With all that being said BBC’s Boxing voice Mike Costello put the whole controversy into perspective for me: “Blame Canelo for the crime but you can’t blame Canelo for the punishment.”

The fight itself was one for the ages but boxing needs a thorough investigation because let’s face it money is the driving force and not a fighter’s safety.

John Ryder faces Andrey Sirotkin in a final eliminator for WBA World Super-Middleweight Title

Matchroom boxing have announced a new show on October 27 at the Copper Box Arena, Hackney Wick, London which will be headlined by John Ryder (26-4, 14KOs) who takes on Russian Andrey Sirotkin (15-0, 4KOs) in a final eliminator for WBA World Super-Middleweight Title.

The Islington-based southpaw has a great chance of setting-up a world title fight against one of the WBA champions currently held by Super Champion George Groves and regular champion Rocky Fielding.

Ryder produced one of his career best performances when he knocked out Jamie Cox with a right hand within two-rounds on the Bellew-Haye 2 undercard.

His Russian opponent maybe undefeated in 15-fights but the 30-year-old will hope his greater experience and the home crowd backing will see him through.

Also on the show is a mouthwatering Super-Welterweight fight between Londoner Ted Cheeseman and Berkshire’s Asinia Byfield for the vacant British Title.

The press conference for the event went ahead today but Byfield did not make an appearance. Maybe the 29-year-old from Reading is attempting to start the mind-games early although Cheeseman made his feelings known, saying: “I just think he’s a bit rattled and he knows he’s in for a fight.”

Isaac Chamberlain takes on Luke Watkins in a Cruiserweight contest after both suffered their first defeats at the hands of Lawrence Okolie. Neither fighter will want to experience back-to-back loses which makes this an intriguing match-up.

In the Light-Heavyweight division Craig Richards of Crystal Palace will face Jake Ball for the WBA Inter-Continential Light-Heavyweight Championship. Both only have the one defeat on their professional records making this another close contest.

Ryan Doyle will be still buzzing from his excellent victory over Reece Bellotti earlier in the year has been pitched up against undefeated Jordan Gill for the Commonwealth Featherweight Championship strap.

Other fighters on the card include the aforementioned Reece Bellotti, Felix Cash, Martin J Ward, Louie Lynn, Charlie Duffield and George Fox.

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