It’s war! Ola Afolabi tells Marco Huck he’ll need a wheelchair after their trilogy

9 May
As featured on NewsNow: Boxing news

Darren Lewis – London

The third installment of fights between cruiserweight rivals Ola Afolabi and WBO 200lb titlist Marco Huck promises to be the most thrilling as the Briton and German fighters have both declared war. The normally mild-mannered Afolabi, known for his affable personality and technical grace in the ring, advised Huck he’ll need a wheelchair after their June 8 battle at the Max-Schmeling-Halle in Berlin while Marco implied that Ola had just given him that extra motivation to put curtain-calling exclamation point to their trilogy.

Credit: Photo Wende

Battle for the belt. Credit: Photo Wende

“Huck shouldn’t be able to call himself world champion anymore,” said Afolabi during a recent press conference. “In my opinion, he lost on three previous occasions. He lost against Lebedev, he lost against me and also against Arslan. He should only be able to call himself German champion or champion of Berlin.”

Speaking directly to Huck, Afolabi added: “Everybody knows that I have always been a good technician, but now my fitness level is also excellent. I will seriously hurt you come June 8. You will need a wheelchair after the fight.”

Huck brushed off the unpleasantness: “Afolabi is starting to get on my nerves. I beat him in December 2009. After I fought Alexander Povetkin for the WBA heavyweight belt, it was difficult for me to find the right motivation for my rematch with Afolabi in May last year. However, I believe that I actually won that bout, even though it was scored as a majority draw.

“That won’t happen again. I will win in my own backyard. We won’t be playing cat and mouse anymore. This will be a war –

“I won’t be holding back.”

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Mikkel Kessler sparring Nathan Cleverly and George Groves to prep for Carl Froch

9 May
As featured on NewsNow: Boxing news

Sam Janes – Leicester

Mikkel Kessler is preparing for his Saturday, May 25 pay-per-view showdown against IBF super middleweight world champion Carl Froch by sparring against WBO light heavyweight incumbent Nathan Cleverly and Froch’s promotional stalemate George Groves.

Kessler said: “It´s great to have them in Copenhagen. This is the best preparation I could have asked for. To have three guys (including Sweden’s Eric Skoglund) like that – a world champion, a youth world champion and a top-ranked contender – is probably as good as it gets in terms of sparring. They are young, hungry and unbeaten. They will push me to the limit [and] that’s exactly the kind of warm-up I need to beat Carl Froch again!”

Kessler is a Viking Warrior but Scandinavia has a number of emerging fighters. Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime

Groves and Clev will grow from Mikkel experience. Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime

While Groves and Cleverly are excellent choices for Kessler to prepare for Froch, the sparring arrangement says more about Groves and Cleverly’s ambition than it does about the Viking Warrior.  We would fully expect Kessler to take this fight seriously by employing the best sparring partners available. In Cleverly and Groves, he has two keen young fighters chomping at the bit to get recognition.

Kessler’s promoter Kalle Sauerland explained that the sparring partners chosen reflect the fighter’s desire to win: “Mikkel is the kind of fighter who always wants to test himself against the very best, no matter whether it’s training or the actual fight.

“Cleverly, Groves and Skoglund – the fact that he wants to get it on with them in training really shows you what the Viking Warrior is all about. When push comes to shove on May 25, the fighter with the better preparation will prevail, and that’s just another reason why Mikkel will leave the ring victorious.”

We expect Kessler to be testing himself in sparring for such a big fight… so we should look more at the British pair and their decision to go to Denmark. Groves and Cleverly are at similar points of their career: both undefeated, young and managed by strong promoters, so they should be starting to reap their rewards in the ring and financially – yet they are not.

Credit - Hayemaker.com

Groves’ big night at the 02 Dome is still his most significant win to date. Credit – Hayemaker.com

Groves has fought a string of lowly ranked fighters since his close decision win over rival James ‘Chunky’ DeGale, as has Cleverly since his win against Liverpool’s Tony Bellew. Despite both of them proving they’re above domestic level they have failed to go on to claim the big fights internationally.

I have no doubt that if George Groves was fighting at light heavyweight and not the stacked super middleweight division he would have won a world title by now, much like Cleverly.  The pair sparring against Mikell Kessler is a shrewd move by both men.

We could easily see Groves calling out the winner of the Froch-Kessler rematch, which would be another big fight in Britain. Groves is testing his abilities against a world class fighter in Kessler, so either his abilities will improve and take on Froch should the ‘Cobra’ win, and if Kessler wins, ‘Saint’ Groves should have experience of fighting the Dane.

Cleverly is probably not in a position to start calling out either man, but he can use the practice against world class opposition in a bid to ready himself should a mega-fight with Bernard Hopkins land. It is ironic, however, that it was Hopkins who earlier this week suggested that a Carl Froch showdown would interest him more as opposed to fighting the Welsh champion.

Preparing Kessler could put himself in a better position to get the Hopkins fight, or potentially face Kessler himself, as the Dane has fought at 175lbs before.

It is fair to say that both Groves and Cleverly need a fight that will take them to stardom. Winning alphabet titles and beating journeymen is fine but the real money and recognition their talent warrants means taking tricky fights against superstars like Froch, Kessler and Hopkins. The decision by both of them to join Kessler’s training camp suggests that the two of them are prepared to make that jump.

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Burns’ trainer: Ricky can beat Adrien Broner at 135lbs or 140

9 May
As featured on NewsNow: Boxing news

Tommy Barber – London

Billy Nelson, the long-time trainer of Scotland’s two-weight world champion pug Ricky Burns, has claimed that his charge can beat motor-mouthed publicity machine Adrien Broner at lightweight, or even super lightweight. The two have been in talks to box before, at the super featherweight division limit, but Burns headed north, to the 135 pound pool.

Both men have since made great splashes with Burns’ hat-trick of lightweight triumphs over Michael Katsidis, Kevin Mitchell and Paulus Moses, and Broner’s teekayo torturing of tough Mexican hombre Antonio DeMarco and gritty Welshman Gavin Rees. Burns is in action this weekend, defending his WBO strap against Jose Gonzalez at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena. Meanwhile, a June 22 clash at New York City’s Barclays Center with welterweight titlist and fellow smack talker Paulie Malignaggi awaits Broner.

(Video embedded above credit – MatchroomBoxing, YouTube)

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Defensive wizards Floyd Mayweather and Wladimir Klitschko continue to rule their respective weight classes

7 May
As featured on NewsNow: Boxing news

Sam Janes – Leicester

Last weekend we saw OnTheBeak’s top two Pound for Pound fighters enter the ring for the first time in 2013, with Floyd Mayweather Jr outclassing Robert Guerrero over 12 after Wladimir Klitschko overpowered and eventually knocked Francesco Pianeta out in the sixth. Both men retained their Ring Magazine titles and further more cemented their status as untouchable in their own weight class.

Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime

Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime

There are plenty of similarities between Mayweather and Klitschko, despite the huge gulf in weight. Firstly, they are both masters of defence. Mayweather’s head movement, speed and shoulder roll have resulted in him only being knocked down once (versus Carlos Hernandez at super featherweight) in 2001. Since then no man has knocked Floyd to the canvas or defeated him. Shane Mosley, Oscar de la Hoya and Miguel Cotto have had limited success, but as Max Kellerman noted on ESPN.com after Mayweather’s controversial first fight with Jose Luis Castillo in 2004: “Mayweather is so seldom hit cleanly in his face”, which shows how hard it is to score against ‘Pretty Boy Floyd’.

Wladimir has tightened up his defence since his surprise defeat to Lamon Brewster by TKO in 2004; Emmanuel Steward turned him into a clinical, safe fighter who has won 18 on the bounce since that loss. ‘Dr Steelhammer’ keeps his distance as a fighter, sticking to his rock hard jab which no fighter has been able to get around, as David Haye found out in 2011.

Both fighters are now unquestionably the number one fighter in their division, despite both facing accusations of being boring fighters. Mayweather was booed frequently on Saturday night for failing to knock Guerrero out or share exchanges, and Klitschko has been accused of widely outpointing opponents or picking them off late, but failing to provide any genuine excitement.

Getting involved in wars is not a part of Mayweather or Klitschko’s DNA and this is one of the main reasons the two of them have amassed so many victories and belts. Both have also been accused of picking safe fights over recent years, preferring to protect their records rather than truly challenge themselves. Critics point to Pianeta’s lack of contender credentials and Guerrero’s win over ex welterweight belt-holder Andre Berto being the sole reason for getting a chance at Mayweather as being poor mismatches for fights, and these critics are right.

But this is not the fault of either fighter.

Floyd and Wladimir have beaten the majority of quality fighters available to them. Klitschko has beaten (and is planning to beat Povetkin in September) every genuine heavyweight challenge who doesn’t share his surname. David Haye, the last genuinely deserving challenger, was outmatched by the dominant Ukrainian in comfortab fashion. Floyd has beaten legend after legend in De La Hoya, Gatti and Mosely but people argue his inability to fight Manny Pacquiao or move up to face Alverez or Martinez signals Mayweather’s reluctance to risk his record.

If Klitschko beats Povetkin in September, there is very little out there for him to fight in an even contest. Deontey Wilder and Tyson Fury are developing well but by the time the two of them have truly peaked in ability, Wladimir should be well retired. Until retirement, Klitschko has very little option but to keep beating undeserving challengers.

Fortunately for Wladimir, his fights are so popular on German TV he is paid exceptionally well whoever he fights, so he has very little incentive to go looking for riskier fights with Fury and Wilder.

Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime

Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime

Mayweather, however, has a host of potential opponents from Pacquiao, Martinez and Alverez to up-and-comers like Danny Garcia and Amir Khan. All these fighters are desperate for a chance to take on  “Money” and the PPV revenue he brings.

Again, Floyd offers such a dedicated fan-base that means whoever he fights he can expect well over $10,000,000 in PPV revenue*, so Floyd can decide to take the lower risk fights as it is equally as lucrative.

Despite both essentially clearing out their divisions based on solid fundamentals and defence, the pair will continue to be criticised for taking an easy road. This is unlikely to change unless one gets beaten, but this looks very unlikely over the next couple of years. Mayweather and Klitschko are so big in the sport that they can fight anyone they like and make millions in revenue. They have achieved everything that has been asked of them and so, if they do take a few more comfortable fights and ride off into retirement with their money, I’d argue they’ve earned every right.

*The six-fight Showtime deal Mayweather signed earlier in the year was reported to fetch the athlete a guaranteed $200m over 30 months, with potentially an extra $10m per fight in PPV revenue.

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Videos: TKO series documents Peter Quillins training camp and life outside boxing

7 May
As featured on NewsNow: Boxing news
Take a look at the life of Peter Quillin during training camp. In part one of this two part docu-series, Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin provides fans with a look into his life outside of boxing. Whether it’s taking salsa lessons or teaching boxing classes, Quillin provides a glimpse into his world leading up to his fight at Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, NY on April 27, 2013 against Fernando Guerrero.
(Embedded video above credit – YouTube, PeteyQuillin)
Peter Quillin

In part two, Kid Chocolate exclusively shows his training camp and all that it entails. Training for a championship fight is difficult, but Quillin shows fans what keeps him motivated as he prepared for his fight at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, NY on April 27 2013 against Fernando Guerrero.

(Embedded video above credit – YouTube, PeteyQuillin)

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Jean Pascal wants to fight on May 25 despite Lucian Bute withdrawal

7 May
As featured on NewsNow: Boxing news

Tommy Barber – London

The highly-anticipated duel between Canadian prizefighters Lucian Bute and Jean Pascal, dubbed the greatest fight in Canada’s storied history, has been postponed. Following on from the official announcement by InterBox earlier, co-promoter Yvon Michel accepted the decision, claiming it is an unfortunate part of the sport of boxing.

Pascal v Bute

“Obviously, when we first heard the news a few hours ago, we were all in shock,” said Michel. “This is part of boxing and we are aware that we have to live and deal with these contingencies. Our perception is that this only a postponement. We ask Quebec to show understanding and patience. We wish a speedy recovery to Lucian.”

Jean Pascal added: “I was so excited when I met with the media last week. I thought that I was in the best shape of my life and very optimistic about my fight with Bute. We now need to start over but I am a professional. I know that these things happen and I think that sooner or later, we will both be in the ring to settle our differences.  And I would like to add that I would still fight on May 25; I am ready to face anyone.”

GYM and InterBox are currently in a research and analysis solution mode. Full details will be announced as soon as there are new developments.

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Floyd Mayweather toys with out of depth Robert Guerrero, wins on points

5 May

Alan Dawson- London

Floyd Mayweather‘s 23rd world title fight followed a familiar pattern as, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, May 4, the highest-earning athlete on the planet earned yet another comfortable victory. Robert Guerrero provided a game challenge but never troubled Mayweather whose defensive nous and accuracy in attack (66% of his power punches landed) highlighted a clear gulf in class…

Dawson’s scorecard

Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Mayweather
10 10 10 10 10 10 9 10 10 10
10 10
Guerrero
9 9 9
9 9 9 10 9 10 9 9 9

Official verdict: Mayweather by UD (117-111 x3).

Welterweight contender Robert Guerrero, despite his legitimacy, was a 6-1 to 10-1 underdog depending on your bookie. However, as the undercard got underway an increasing (yet still minor) buzz began in press row that suggested that undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr was perhaps advancing in age just enough to give the determined Mexican-American a big chance in upsetting the odds and inflicting a career first defeat onto the pay-per-view attraction.

In the first round alone, though, Mayweather bragged the tools that have typified his altered style since returning to the ring from a self-inflicted hiatus following his KO victory over Ricky Hatton six years ago. His defensive maneuvering around the outside of the ring kept himself clean from Guerrero’s attempted rough-housing, while his hard right-hand leads and swift hand-speed ensured his attack was more efficient than his gallant counterparts.

The reintroduction of Floyd Sr to Mayweather’s corner was inspired by the fighter’s competitive and blood-strewn encounter with popular Puerto Rican pug Miguel Cotto. While the bout was fan-friendly, Floyd Sr appraised his son and claimed his defense was not as on point as it should be. In round two against Guerrero, his head movement continually confounded Guerrero’s gloves as Robert missed with two one-two combinations in quick succession. Floyd Sr’s influence in camp, therefore, was telling.

In rounds three and four, Mayweather’s imperious dominance continued. The straight right – the nemesis punch for a southpaw like Guerrero – was utilised exceptionally well and, when required, Floyd boxed off the ropes in as dazzling a fashion as his yellow snakeskin trunks. Mayweather was boss. And, in the fifth session, he rattled off a number of single-fire artillery shots that drew gasps from the pepped crowd.

Mayweather’s unrelenting accuracy, timing and countering ability took an obvious physical toll on Guerrero by the sixth stanza. In short, he was getting touched up so much his face was clearly reddening and, between rounds, he had the look of a man who had no clue how to end the maddening molestation.

There was a sheer contrast in activity-levels in round seven, with Guerrero going punch-happy and Mayweather content to take a breather but that break cost Floyd the round. Guerrero, though, could not capitalise on his momentum in the eighth as he still had no answer for his opponent’s straight right shot; a punch that depleted him of stamina every time it pierced his body armour and opened up a cut around the eye when it was head-bound. Mayweather’s form was unstoppable and a hellacious hooking punch tested Guerrero’s chin and watered the eyes of his crestfallen wife sat ringside.

In the championship rounds, Guerrero didn’t change his game plan. He kept pushing forward, he threw his punches, but he walked into shots and had his gloves to low as Mayweather looped in cuffing left mitts, jabbed him with his lead left and crushed him with the straight right. Mayweather was masterful, majestic and a defensive wizard who had successfully beguiled his 44th challenger with enough boxing artistry to pitch a near shut-out. Yes, he may be increasing in years, but performances such as these are ageless.

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Audley Harrison retires from boxing following first round KO loss to Deontay Wilder

1 May
As featured on NewsNow: Boxing news

Sam Janes – Leicester

Audley “A-Force” Harrison announced today what the boxing public has known for a number of years… that his career as a heavyweight boxer was over. It seems that Deontey Wilder’s 70 second knockout put the final nails in Harrison’s coffin. After another 1st round KO on Saturday night on the undercard of Khan-Diaz, Audley announced his retirement from the fight game. He retires with a record of 31 wins (23 KO’s) and 7 losses.

Audley rose up from the Sydney Olympics with a Super-Heavyweight gold medal around his neck, and went on to win his first 17 fights on the BBC, however when the BBC television deal fell through, Harrison wandered the boxing wilderness for a number of years, and his career stalled with defeats to Danny Williams and Michael Sprott. Harrison’s lowest point came when he was outpointed by original Prizefighter winner and Belfast taxi driver Martin Rogan, ironically on the undercard of another Khan fight, against Oisin Fagan.

Audley recovered, however, by winning Barry Hearn’s Prizefighter series himself, and with a last gasp KO against old foe Sprott, ‘A-Force’ had the chance to box for a world title against Britain’s own David Haye. In a much hyped Pay-Per-View bout Haye out-classed Harrison to knock him out in 3 rounds.

Further disappointments against David Price left many assuming retirement was imminent, yet Harrison recovered to win his 2nd Prizefighter title, avenging his defeat to Martin Rogan in the semi final.

Harrison will not be missed by many British boxing fans due to his continual inability to mix it at the elite level, however Harrison deserves enormous credit for continuing to rise when many would have given up, blessed with a huge left hook Harrison was clearly a level above most domestic opponents, but lacked the chin and perhaps heart to warrant being at the top level.

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Amir Khan’s world title hopes remain after Julio Diaz battle, Floyd Mayweather Jr fight rumoured

1 May
As featured on NewsNow: Boxing news

Sam Janes – Leicester

Amir Khan rose up from the canvas on his way to winning a close 12 round unanimous decision
against game Julio Diaz. Khan largely dominated the fight but was on the end of some telling blows
by the powerful Mexican (now 40-8-1), especially with a sharp left hook in the 4 th which put Khan
down.

Can Khan return to title-winning glory?

Can Khan return to title-winning glory? Credit: Stacey Verbeek

Khan responded by out-boxing Diaz over the following round, but Khan’s coach Virgil Hunter will be
disappointed at the amount of times Khan was drawn into a war with the previous IBF lightweight
champion of the world. The three judges favoured Khan’s skills over Diaz’s power 114-113, 115-113
and 115-112 all for Khan. Khan improved to 28 wins and took his post fight interview as a chance to
call out for rematches with Lamont Peterson and current The Ring light-Welterweight champion Danny
Garcia, both who are previous adversaries.

Richard Shaefer, CEO of Khan’s American promoters Golden Boy seems determined to match Garcia
against the winner of Peterson’s upcoming bout with Lucas Matthysse, and have Khan to fight the
winner in late 2013. Only a victory for Khan could keep Amir’s long term aim of fighting Pound for
Pound superstar, Floyd Mayweather Jr, a reality.

Mayweather has fuelled rumours of a potential fight with Khan as his advisor Leonard Ellerbe
suggested Mayweather plans to fight in the UK as part of his 6 fight deal with Showtime. With
Golden Boys recent attempts to crack the UK market shown, perhaps Khan could get his dream fight
on home turf.

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Fight Report: York Hall, London, April 27th – Weaver, Marston And Poetsh Impress In Style

1 May
As featured on NewsNow: Boxing news

Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro – London

Chris Goodwin versus Oisin Fagan, for the vacant WBF Inter-Continental lightweight title, was due to headline the Dave Murphy promoted ‘Thunder and Lightning’ event, that took place at the famous York Hall, in Bethnal Green, London, on Saturday night. However, following Goodwin failure to make the championship weight of Friday, as well as an agreed catch weight on Saturday, the organisers were forced to cancel the Championship bout.
With Goodwin versus Fagan off the card, the headline status moved instead to eagerly awaited professional debut of European Silver and Commonwealth Boxing Championships Gold medalist Iain Weaver, against Poland’s Damian Lawniczak. Weaver entered the arena with the largest entourage I have ever seen take part in a ring walk at York Hall, amongst the twenty strong team were Southern Area Champion Bradley Skeete as well as many of Weaver’s gym mates from Al Smith’s iGym.
Right from the opening bell Weaver determinedly stamped his authority on the fight, landing some superb sharp jabs and crisp lefts. Weaver’s amateur pedigree shined through, his movement and ring craft was nothing short of poetry in motion. You couldn’t help but feel for Lawniczak, who responded whenever the opportunity arose – which wasn’t as often as I’m sure he would have liked. Each time the young Pole had any success, Weaver would respond in kind with double handed flurries, forcing Lawniczak to go back on the defensive.
Round two saw Weaver step up the pressure, unloading a multitude of shots, to both body and head, from every conceivable angle possible. His seriously quick hands were virtually a blur as he unloaded a barrage of double handed shots. About midway through the round, Weaver changed tactics and started throwing hard right hand jabs, often followed with sharp left hooks to the body.
More of the same followed in the third, although the savvy Lawniczak used holding tactics a little more, to keep the barrage of shots reigning down on him to a minimum. In the final stanza, Weaver played to the crowd, keeping his distance to prevent the Pole from holding before stepping in and picking his shots and weaving to prevent any return shots from landing.
To describe Weaver’s performance as excellent is one of the understatements of the year, it was an awesome display from the Dorset youngster, as such it came as no surprise to anyone, when world class referee Micky Vann’s scorecard was read out, it showed a shutout 40-36 points win for young Weaver.
Main support saw another professional debut, this time it was Marianne ‘Golden Girl’ Marston, the protégé of legendary Heavyweight Champion of the World Smokin’ Joe Frazier. Marston, who faced a late change of opponent in Hungarian Gabriella Roman, who stepped in after Aleksandra Jasjukevica pulled out just a few days previously, was intent on enjoying every single second of her well overdue professional debut.
Marston breaks Roman. Credit: Mike King

Marston breaks Roman. Credit: Mike King

On entering the arena, Marston played to a legion of chanting fans, many wearing identical red BoxFit t-shirts to her own, each emblazoned with the legend ‘Team Golden Girl’ as well as sponsors TRAD TKO Boxing Gym, BoxFit, Optimax and Winkball, and more significantly a dedication to the memory of her legendary mentor Smokin’ Joe Frazier, before standing and shadow boxing to her ring walk track ‘Move’ by Thousand Foot Crutch.
About a minute into the track Marston slowly began her ring walk, bumping gloves with the many admirers that lined the route. Soaking up every moment of the occasion Marston finally entered the ring and once again acknowledged the highly vocal and appreciative crowd until the final chord of the emotive ring walk track.
Once referee Ken Curtis had completed his pre fight rule talk it was time for action. Marston lithely prowled her way across the ring to meet her opponent head on with a massive right hand jab, closely followed with a big left, Roman was clearly stunned by the massive early assault, but still managed to cover up just as a second double handed barrage was thrown, closely followed up with a big left to the head sending the Hungarian girl to the canvas.
Roman recovered sufficiently to box defensively against the ever forward moving Marston, however after about twenty seconds or so Marston corralled the Hungarian in her own corner, with nowhere to go Roman covered up in preparation for yet another double handed assault.
As the seemingly never ending barrage rained down Roman succumbed to the inevitable and went down for a second time. With barely enough time to catch her breath Roman once again was forced to cover up, as Marston continued to throw massive double handed barrages. The onslaught proved too much for Roman, who had let her hands drop enough for Marston to land a big right to the head, followed by an equally vicious left to send her reeling against the corner post.
Marston could smell blood and pounced in for the kill, first landing a massive overhand right closely followed by another wicked left hook, which shook Roman to the core. Then, on the one minute forty seven second mark, just as Marston was about to throw yet another big left to the head of the clearly disoriented Hungarian, referee Ken Curtis jumped in to save the now virtually defenseless Roman from further punishment.
As soon as she realised it was over and she had won, an ecstatic Marston turned towards the legion of fans to her left and made an emotional statement, dedicating her victory to the memory of her mentor Smokin’ Joe Frazier.
Prior to the mid-event break Ideh Ockuko faced Brendan Bean. The first round started quite edgily, as both men played a waiting game, but soon livened up about midway through, first to go on full attack was Ockuko who first backed Bean up before letting rip with a solid right. Bean stepped up to the plate and went toe to toe with Ockuko for the final quarter of the round.
Second round started as the first ended with both men in centre ring with big exchanges, Ockuko decided to mix things up a bit, slipping in a series of big shots to the body followed by a wickedly quick sharp uppercut, which if it had landed would surely have knocked Bean out cold. Throughout the round both men fought their hearts out, but it was Ockuko who was landing the better shots.
Round three was more of the same, again Ockuko landed the best shots throughout, including a sweet left uppercut. Both men slowed the pace in the final round, but as before it was Ockuko getting best from each exchange.
When referee Paul Thomas’ score card was read out it rightly showed Ockuko as the victor, but by a surprising 39-37 points margin, whereas I had it as a shutout 40-36 points victory for Ockuko.
Third fight of the night pitched Chris Rackley against the Hjag Gill. It was a quick start by both combatants, although most shots from either man failed to penetrate the others guard in the early exchanges. First clean shot came from Gill, who landed a peach of a body shot. From then on it was Gill totally dominating the round, leaving Rackley to go more and more defensive, with the odd counter to the body of the elusive Gill.
Throughout the second round Gill’s superior movement caused Rackley to miss way too often, which in turn left openings for Gill to pounce and rough Rackley up.
However as the second round came to a close Rackley had started to get a little success, landing a succession of clean shots in the final seconds. Round three see Rackley start to take control of the fight, forcing Gill onto the back foot. Gill fought well defensively but by the end of the round Rackley was well in control.
With the fight in the balance it came as no surprise that both combatants came out hard and fast in the final round. Almost right from the start the crowd were on their feet, as a true toe to toe Battle Royale ensued.
Both men enjoyed success throughout, however it was Rackley that landed the more meaningful shots, enough to win the round, which in turn proved to be enough to secure the contest, by a close 39-38 points victory.
The second fight of the night pitted Scrappa Smith against Lewis van Poetsh. Right from the off Poetsh pressured Smith, who kept trying to get his jab going to try and stymie the relentless forward coming attacks from Poetsh without much success. Poetsh was getting more and more success, landing vicious left and rights to the body.
More of the same in the second, although Smith was getting some good success when working on the inside, problem was Poetsh was getting more! About midway through Poetsh landed a scintillating left-right combination which clearly hurt Smith, so much so that Scrappa became more defensive minded, which left Poetsh opportunity after opportunity to showcase his excellent boxing skills.
The pace slowed in round three, Smith used his jab effectively in the early part of the round, but by the midway point Poetsh had once again began to exert his authority and was able to pick of Smith at will.
Realising he was behind, Smith went hard on the attack in the final stanza, leaving Poetsh no option but to counter, which he did rather effectively, so much so that once again he had landed the more meaningful shots.
Even before referee Mickey Vann’s scorecard was read out it was clear an upset was on the cards, so no surprises then when the result showed a 39-37 points victory in favour of Poetsh.
Opening up the show was Mark Douglas versus Dmitri Kalinovskij. Douglas shot out of his corner like an Olympic sprinter, when the bell rang to start the contest, quickly closing down Kalinovskij and landing a storming overhand right that had clearly stunned the Lithuanian visitor. Douglas then went to work, throwing bomb after bomb to head and body, Kalinovskij tried to counter at any given opportunity but the pressure from Douglas proved too much and around the two minute mark, Douglas sent the Lithuanian to the canvas with massive right.
Douglas kept up the pressure in the second, pounding Kalinovskij’s body with big left and right hands, around the one minute mark the Lithuanian found himself backed into the corner, Douglas stepped in and started letting rip with big left and rights. After about ten to fifteen seconds of pounding, with nothing coming back from Kalinovskij, referee Paul Thomas had no option but to step in to save the Lithuanian further punishment.
Have to say it was so refreshing to attend a small hall show where there fights were properly matched, something lacking on the British scene for a long while, where instead so called prospects are getting ridiculously easy fights way too far into their career.
Dave Murphy and his crew deserve a big slap on the back for keeping the show on track, not an easy task with not only the loss of the Goodwin-Fagan title fight, but also the loss of the proposed main support bout, Dean Byrne versus Jay Morris for the vacant International Masters Welterweight title just days previously.
The reason Byrne-Morris failed to materialise is very different to that of the headline bout, in this case the British Boxing Board of Control told BBBoC license holders taking part, stating that if they take part in the event it will be deemed they have resigned their license with the board or at least put their license holding in jeopady. Hmm, that sounds familiar, didn’t they do the same prior to David Haye versus Dereck Chisora back in July last year!
In addition to the loss of the two main fights, just ten days before the event Murphy and his crew also had to find new sanctioning, following the Luxembourg Boxing Federation, who sanctioned the infamous Haye-Chisora event at Upton Park last year, pulled out after pressure exerted on them by the Luxembourg Sports Ministry, following the BBBofC contacting the Luxembourg Embassy in London to complain about the LBF sanctioning another event in the UK.
However, after some nifty negotiations with the extremely efficient German Boxing Association (GBA), which was only finalised on the preceding Monday, the show was back on track.

As I said the show was of a much higher standard, bout matching wise, than we are used to here in the UK. Hopefully that means all future events, sanctioned by the GBA in the UK, will be to the same high standards, if it is that can only be good for the sport.

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