Category Archives: Blog

July 28, 2018
July 28, 2018
Dillian Whyte vs Joseph Parker

Action Images/John Sibley

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THE O2 Arena in London hosts Dillian Whyte vs Joseph Parker. There is much to be gained for both men in this heavyweight contest.

Whyte and Parker are both former Anthony Joshua opponents and are convinced that victory will catapult them to the top of the heavyweight division. Defeat will leave the loser with a long, hard road back.

On the undercard unified world champion Katie Taylor defends her lightweight titles against American Kimberly Connor.

As well as a variety of prospects on show, heavyweight contender Carlos Takam meets British veteran Dereck Chisora.

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July 26, 2018
July 26, 2018
Tony Jeffries

Action Images

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LIFE after boxing isn’t easy, no matter who you are. I think the dream job for any fighter when they hang up their gloves is to be a host, pundit or commentator for a TV network like Sky Sports, and there is slight chance of that. However, when I say slight, I do mean very little. To be able to do this you need to have been a champion boxer, be able to talk well on camera, really know your boxing, have the right look and personality, and I guess be at the right place at the right time for job openings.

Even with a job like that it may not be the most financially stable job in the world, so us fighters have got to look for other things.

If you read my column regularly, or follow me on social media, you will know that I’m having a lot of success in the boxing fitness industry now and since I retired from the boxing scene. I now teach other people how to teach boxing. Personal trainers, fitness professors, boxing and fitness enthusiasts have been among the close to 2000 people we have taught to teach boxing over the last three years.

Sometimes courses like ours are overlooked by former boxers because we have a mindset that “I’ve boxed for X amount of years, it’s easy to teach boxing”  – which by the way is a bad mindset to have, and I’ll get to that in a minute. Last weekend I was in Sydney, Australia, teaching our certification course.  There were 40 attendees and we had one former boxer who, like me, competed in the Olympics Games. He was from Ghana and it was crazy to see how much we both had in common. He also competed in the same Commonwealth Games as me in Melbourne, we both competed in the Worlds in Chicago back in 2007, both had 96 amateur fights and both retired as undefeated professionals with injuries.

After boxing I went into the fitness industry and he went into the construction industry like a lot of boxers do. It was sad to me that there was this 32-year-old Olympian that had dedicated his life to the sport, where he had success and ended up on a building site, hating what he does. This is just one case and is the same with a very high percentage of fighters.

After the course he loved it and now has the system and confidence to teach and retrain.

What fighters don’t realise is that they have an education that they can use to have a great job that they love. It may not be degree in maths or a bachelors in business, but they have boxing as their education.

They know more about boxing than fitness professionals could dream of, but what they don’t know is how to turn that knowledge into a business. It comes back to that mindset I was talking about before: “Why should I do a course on teaching boxing. It’s easy to teach”.

The thing that they don’t know is how to speak to a middle-aged lady who wants to get fit but has no confidence; how to teach them from the ground up, and when they do make a mistake or feel awkward, what to say to them to give them the confidence so they enjoy it and want to come back again and again.

What I love to do now is teach people how to teach boxing, but I’m really passionate to help former boxers turn their knowledge into a business and do something they enjoy.

I’m teaching my course at the EIS Centre in Sheffield on August 25 and 26 If you know any boxers that hate their job, or are looking to get into fitness after boxing, do them a favour and tell them about this.

We have taken too many punches in the head not to make a living from it. This is coming from my heart because I genuinely care, here is this link to the course: https://boxnburnacademy.com/product/sheffield-england-august-25-26-level-1-2-combo/

if you use code boxnlife2018 you will save $100. And anyone that doesn’t get value from the course will not pay a penny!

July 26, 2018
July 26, 2018
Mikey Garcia vs Robert Easter

Esther Lin/Showtime

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2018 is the year that keeps on giving. Another unification is on the horizon, a fact that seemed to be a fruitless wish amongst boxing fans in years gone by. Now we seem to be anticipating big title unifications every couple of months. The latest to add to the ever-growing list; Mikey Garcia vs Robert Easter, the mouth-watering clash between WBC world champion and pound-for-pound contender Garcia and Easter, the IBF world champion. Two undefeated world champions in one of boxings original eight weight classes are set to go head-to-head. It truly doesn’t get much better…

Mikey Garcia comes into the bout lauded as one of the best fighters in the world pound-for-pound, and for good reason. He currently boasts a stellar 38-0 record with 30 of those wins coming by way of knockout.  In his most recent outing the 30-year-old Oxnard native stepped up to the 140lbs weight division to defeat the dangerous Sergey Lipinets and capture a world title in his fourth weight class, thus solidifying his spot among the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. Following the contest Garcia made the announcement that he would be relinquishing the 140lbs strap and returning to his lightweight stomping ground. Fans of the sport began to salivate in anticipation for a dream fight with fellow pound-for-pound contender Vasyl Lomachenko.

That as of now has been put on hold as Garcia attempts to add the IBF bauble to his ever-impressive trophy cabinet. With this clash against the dangerous and somewhat avoided Robert Easter Jnr, Garcia is risking a potential mega fight in the pursuit of proving that he is the best in the lightweight division without doubt. It is this risk that has elevated Garcia to fan favourite status, it is also this risk that boxing fans have craved and are now being given on a much more regular basis. A terrific, technically sound boxer-puncher, Mikey Garcia displays all the traits of a well-schooled fighter.

The Oxnard man has also displayed fight changing power in both hands and a ruthless streak that will see him press the action at the first sign of a wilting opponent. Garcia is such a diverse and adaptable fighter that it would seem near impossible to try to predict his tactics in a fight of this magnitude. Common boxing sense would dictate that Garcia, being the smaller man, would need to close the distance on Easter Jnr, go to the body hard and regularly and not allow Easter Jnr to make it a “boxing match” as such. However, with a fighter as talented as Garcia he may attempt to keep just outside the range of Easter Jnr and force him into a more unlikely position, having to come forward and initiate the attack.

Robert Easter Jnr comes into this bout as the reigning IBF champion. Having made three successful defences already, Easter has longed for an opponent that would catapult him into the next level. With this contest, Easter has everything he has ever wanted. The 27-year-old Easter brings to this contest along with his IBF strap, a 21-0 unblemished record with 14 wins via way of KO. An intimidating, towering figure in the lightweight division, the 5’11” Easter has struggled to get opponents that he feels match up to his standing within the sport.

Easter enters this contest on the back of his most controversial match up, a split decision win against the underrated Javier Fortuna. Following that contest the fans in attendance (along with the public watching at home) booed the decision. A second round point deduction had handed victory to Easter in a fight that many thought he deserved to lose. I myself give him the benefit of the doubt. Easter is a dangerous opponent that can both box and brawl. Content to sit on the back foot and sting his opponents with hurtful counters, Easter will take the initiative and come forward putting on pressure when he feels an opponent is ready to go. I find it hard to see a change of tactics from Easter in this one. It would seem Easter will look to come out and establish his range and distance behind his dominant jab, hoping to lay the foundation for hurtful power shots to follow. Should Garcia become frustrated or reckless then Easter may be inclined to open up with a more powerful assortment of shots.

Mikey Garcia vs Robert Easter

This is a tremendous battle. One that pits two undefeated world champions against each other. One that forces two stylistically opposed fighters to square off to see who is superior. However, this could be a battle in which two intelligent fighters pit their wits against each other and adjust on the fly. With two world titles on the line, this is high stakes. The winner will surely be heading towards a collision with Vasyl Lomachenko. The loser will be heading back to become president of the “who needs him club?” A hungry fighter is a dangerous fighter, Saturday July 28 we will see two of the most talented and hungriest go head-to-head.

2018 we cannot thank you enough.

Aarron Morgan is a professional fighter and personal trainer. Find out more here

July 23, 2018
July 23, 2018
Oleksandr Uysk

World Boxing Super Series

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  1. Tony Bellew

Directly after beating Murat Gassiev to claim all four world titles and win the World Boxing Super Series final, Britain’s Tony Bellew called out the now undisputed cruiserweight champion. Bellew, like Usyk, is undefeated at cruiserweight and previously owned the WBC world title, one the Ukrainian now owns. After Bellew moved up to heavyweight to conquer David Haye, the WBC made “Bomber” the ‘Emeritus’ champion, meaning if he was to return to the weight the current holder must defend it against him. Bellew’s power against Usky’s footwork and combination punching would make for a fascinating match up.

  1. Anthony Joshua 

Having now conquered the cruiserweight division, Usyk may follow many a long history of 200lbs fighters moving up to heavyweight in search of a greater legacy, and even more lucrative payday. Usyk has previously stated his desire to move up to heavyweight, and now being an undisputed champion the 31-year-old may not want to settle for anything but the best. Although Joshua is expected to take on Wilder in 2019, nothing is certain, and the challenge of Usyk would certainly be an appealing alternative. Usyk is likely to sit out the rest of 2018 and could be waiting in the wings for AJ next year.

  1. Mairis Briedis

To book his place in the WBSS final, Usyk had to come past the challenge of Briedis in the semi-final, where the Ukrainian was taken all the way to a majority decision win. After a dramatic and thrilling fight, despite Briedis losing the contest, the Latvian came away with much praise for testing Usyk like never before, and due to the quality and competitiveness of the contest, a rematch would not be a miss for fans.

  1. Denis Lebedev

Lebedev held the WBA ‘super’ cruiserweight title prior to the WBSS, however, the organisation demoted the Russian to ‘champion in recess’. The WBA stated the WBSS winner must face Lebedev, who has only had one career loss coming against Briedis. If Usyk is faced with the ultimatum of defend or be stripped, the challenge against the former world champion may be welcomed.

Oleksandr Uysk

  1. Manuel Charr

Charr currently holds the WBA ‘regular’ heavyweight title, while also being an experienced campaigner at the weight having shared the ring with Vitali Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin and former Usyk opponent Mairis Briedis. If Usyk is to move up to heavyweight and look to ease his way into the division, while winning a diluted title at the same time, Charr acts as the perfect opponent, as long as Lebanese-German can come through his bout with Fres Oquendo in September.

July 20, 2018
July 20, 2018
Manny Pacquiao

Action Images/Reuters/Lai Seng Sin

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MANNY PACQUIAO’S back and all’s well in the world – well, not quite. However Pacquiao’s win over Lucas Matthysse was the best result for boxing. The Filipino great is still a major player. Hopefully we can forget talk of a return with Floyd Mayweather Jr and, although I would not rule it out, I just can’t see Pacquiao wanting to go over old ground against Jeff Horn. Errol Spence, Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia would jump at the chance and fight Pacquiao anywhere, anytime. If it could be made Terrence Crawford would be a big fight but not a good choice for Pacquiao. Just too tough an ask for Pacquiao at 39. Pacquiao is talking about two maybe three more fights including one at the end of this year. If you look past Spence, Thurman, Garcia and Crawford then you are looking at lesser names such as Shawn Porter, Adrien Broner and Jesse Vargas with Amir Khan hoping to get into the mix but the WBSS super-light tournament cuts down his options from that division. He is being urged to retire whilst still a champion – OK it’s a secondary title – but there is no talk of that from Pacquiao.

The only caveat about the fight at the weekend is the difficulty over judging how much was down to a refreshed Pacquiao and how much was down to a insipid Matthysse. The Argentine put up only marginal resistance. What we got was not the Matthysse who beat Lamont Peterson, John Molina and Roberto Ortiz inside the distance and fought a war in outpointing Ruslan Provodnikov but the one who was knocked out in 10 rounds by Viktor Postol. None of the three knockdowns was really convincing before Matthysse did his own no mas.

Manny Pacquiao

What a great weekend for boxing in the Philippines. Obviously Pacquiao’s victorious return hogged the headlines and to a degree it was a pity that it overshadowed two other outstanding performances by Filipino boxers. On Friday Vic Saludar challenged WBO minimumweight champion Ryuya Yamanaka in Kobe, Yamanaka’s home city, and won a clear unanimous decision. Vic probable looked a safe opponent.  Over the previous thirteen months he had lost on points to 8-1-2 Toto Landero, beaten 6-2-2 Mike Kinaadman, 14-8-4 Lito Dante and then Kindaaman again. Nothing to scare Yamanaka there but a “low risk” fight exploded in their faces. On Sunday under Pacquiao vs. Matthysse Jhack Tepora floored and stopped Mexican Edivaldo Ortega to win the interim WBA feather title. Going into the weekend their only world champion was IBF super flyweight king Jerwin Ancajas so a huge boost for boxing in the archipelago of over 7,000 islands.

Things could get even better with Toto Landero challenging Simphiwe Khonco for the IBO minimum title in South Africa on Sunday and Froilan Saludar, the elder brother of Vic, challenging Sho Kimura for the WBO flyweight title in China on 27 July. Additionally minimumweight Mark Barriga could soon be fighting Mexican Carlos Licona for the IBF title as it is expected that Hiroto Kyoguchi will vacate the title. They will have another champion for sure because Donnie Nietes and fellow-Filipino Aston Palicte meet in Cebu City on 18 August for the vacant WBO super fly title. When Jerwin Ancajas outclassed Jonas Sultan in defence of his IBF super flyweight title in May it was the first world title fight between two Filipino boxers for 93 years – now it is two in three months.

Nietes will be aiming to become a four-division champion and if he wins he will be 17-0-1 in 18 world title fights and is currently 30-0-3 in his last 33 fights. Donnie comes from a fighting family. His uncle Dan is a former Philippines champion and now a judge, Uncle Junie had a brief pro career, Uncle Gerson Snr was a good level amateur and cousin Gerson Jr is a former amateur boxer and now trains Donnie alongside ex-Philippines champion Ala Villamor.

The World Boxing Super Series have managed to pull together interesting lists for their next two divisions. The bantamweight contestants will be Mikhail Aloyan, Ryan Burnett, Nonito Donaire, Naoya Inoue, Jason Moloney, Juan Carlos Payano, Emmanuel Rodriguez and Zolani Tete. At super-light we have Ivan Baranchyk, Terry Flanagan, Ryan Martin, Regis Prograis, Kiryl Relikh, Josh Taylor, Eduard Troyanovsky and Anthony Yigit. Both good lists but for me it is the bantams that really excite with four title holders in the competition whereas only Relikh is a champion at super-light. I was informed that Prograis had relinquished the WBC interim title before he fought Juan Jose Velasco at the weekend and that their fight was for the WBC Diamond title.

It would have been interesting to see WBA No 4 Mario Barrios in the mix at super light. The 23-year-old from San Antonio, who turned pro at 18, is 21-0 with 13 wins by KO/TKO He faces a good test on 28 July when he meets Jose Roman who is 24-2-1

Floyd Mayweather’s record of 50 wins in 50 fights being the highest unbeaten total for any retired world champion is under threat. On August 28 in Thailand Wanheng (Chayaphon Moonsri) will face an as yet unnamed challenger in defence of his WBC minimumweight title. Wanheng is 50-0 and will be making the tenth defence of his title. Of course for his achievement to get him in the record books he will have to retire with a 100% record so you can be sure the challenger will be very carefully chosen.

Since the parties representing Kid Galahad and Toka Kahn Clary have been unable to come to an agreement over their IBF title eliminator the IBF have called for purse bids by 31 July. Galahad is No 3 with the IBF (positions 1 and 2 are vacant) and Clary is No 9.

Boxing has never been a major factor in Singapore sport but the emergence of Muhamad Ridhwan is sparking some interest. The 30-year-old “The Chosen Wan” has already won WBA Asian, UBO World and IBO International titles and now he is looking to add a more prestigious one. On 29 September in Singapore he faces Namibian Paulus Ambunda for the vacant IBO super bantam title. Ambunda, 37, a former WBO bantam champion, held this IBO title until losing it to Moises Flores in 2016.

It was nice to see veteran Moruti Mthalane regain the IBF flyweight title at the weekend. He vacated the title a few years back after a farcical purse bidding process left him with the prospect of defending his title in Thailand for a derisory amount of money. South Africa will be hoping for another title win on Sunday when Simphiwe Khonco defends the IBO minimum title against Toto Landero (holds a win over Vic Saludar). The fight is part of a show to honour the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth and Khonco’s promoter Rodney Berman has released Khonco so that he could top the bill for the promoter of that show.

It must have been depressing for the Boxing South Africa team to have gone to the trouble of arranging for the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport to give a clinic on this very important subject of doping when only eleven licensees turned up. You can’t help people who won’t help themselves.

Thursday July 19 marked the sixtieth birthday for Azumah Nelson, arguably the greatest African fighter of all time. The “Professor” a former All-Africa, World Military and Commonwealth gold medal winner was WBC champion at feather and super feather. He beat Wilfredo Gomez, Marcos Villasana (twice), Juan Laporte, Mario Martinez (twice0, Calvin Grove, Gabe Ruelas and Jesse James Leija. British fans are unlikely to forget his one round demolition of Pat Cowdell and his dramatic last round stoppage of Jim McDonnell. He drew and then stopped Jeff Fenech in two great fights with the win in 1992 being rated by Ring Magazine as Upset of the Year and his 1995 stoppage of Ruelas was Ring Magazine Comeback of the Year. Azumah only lost two fights over his peak years. After only thirteen fights he came in as a very late substitute against the great Salvador Sanchez in 1982. He was up on one of the three cards before being stopped in the fifteenth round in what was tragically Sanchez’s last fight. His other loss was when he moved up to lightweight in 1992 to challenge Parnell Whittaker and lost a close unanimous decision. Azumah was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 2004. Equally important is the donations he has made to many orphanages in Ghana and the Azumah Nelson Foundation to help the youth of his country. He has been a great ambassador for boxing and for Ghana and the WBC have made arrangements to honour Azumah.

Still on Africa I was advised this week of the death of Langton Tinago. The Zimbabwean “Schoolboy” died on July 17. For many years Langton was the man in boxing in Zimbabwe. Over a 20 year career from 1967 to 1987 he had 110 fights ending with a 86-20-3,1ND record. He was national champion at lightweight and welterweight and had three spells as Commonwealth champion at super featherweight and lightweight and scored wins over Ken Buchanan, Willie Booth, Chris Sanigar and Australia Graeme Brooke. He fell on hard times after he retired but was a much revered figure in Zimbabwe boxing.

July 19, 2018
July 19, 2018
Oleksander Usyk vs Murat Gassiev

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SATURDAY (July 21) sees the culmination of the popular and ground-breaking World Boxing Super Series. The long-awaited, much-anticipated Oleksandr Usyk vs Murat Gassiev final will see one-man crowned winner of the Muhammad Ali trophy and undisputed cruiserweight world champion. We are preparing for potentially the best match-up in boxing this year. The whole world awaits.

Oleksandr Usyk of the Ukraine has cultivated a cult-like following thus far in his professional career. A southpaw with dazzling skills, fantastic speed for a big man, power in both hands and an insatiable lust for war, he has collected both the WBO and WBC titles which he will put on the line.

The tournament started for Usyk with a trip to Germany in the quarterfinals. His punch-perfect performance saw him stop Marco Huck. This contest gave us a different look at Usyk, a man who is often lauded for his boxing skills much like his former amateur teammate Vasyl Lomachenko. He was able to show a more ruthless, aggressive and powerful side to his ever-impressive arsenal. Usyk then strode into the semi final where he once again turned unlikely road warrior. He travelled into Latvia to take on Latvian WBC champion Mairis Breidis. A scintillating battle which elevated both men saw Usyk leave Latvia with Breidis’ WBC title to add to his haul by way of majority decision. Once again Usyk gave us a further look into his tool box as he displayed the engine, stamina and grit to tough out a 12-round battle of attrition.

This brings us to the final. Once again, presumably much to his dismay, Usyk finds himself travelling into hostile territory, behind enemy lines to fight Gassiev in his home country of Russia. Make no mistake, come fight time, Usyk will be unwavering in his pursuit of the trophy. The location will merely be an afterthought.

Murat Gassiev has stormed to the final of the World Boxing Super Series. The power-punching, seek-and-destroy Russian has been steadily growing in both reputation and esteem with fans for a long time. Stablemates with a recognisable Kazakh wrecking machine, Gassiev has taken the boxing world by storm and emerged from the shadows. Kicking off his tournament with an emphatic third round knockout of former champion Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, he set up a mouth-watering semi-final clash with Cuban power punching dynamo Yunier Dorticos. The semi-final did not disappoint. Toe-to-toe, brutal, barbaric, just some of the words used to describe the action we were privileged to witness. Gassiev entered the 12th and final round of a terrific fight with the slenderest of leads, not content to try and box his way to a decision. He did what all great champions do, he closed the show. Three knockdowns in the final stanza, the final one leaving Dorticos separated from his senses and unable to continue saw the Russian add the WBA title to his IBF. It also brought us to this moment. The final, Usyk vs Gassiev, for all four major belts, all the marbles. The stakes couldn’t be higher.

Oleksandr Usyk

The final is, on paper, one of the most evenly matched fights of recent times. Further analysis of both fighter’s styles, strengths and weaknesses does nothing but make picking a winner even more difficult. Does Usyk have the speed, footwork and counter-punching ability to lead and sting Gassiev when he inevitably tries to return fire?  Or will Gassiev’s tremendous ring generalship, cutting off the ring and body punching render the Ukrainians footwork obsolete and force him to stand? One would normally say that either scenario would benefit the opposite man, however these are two truly elite fighters who can adapt and adjust game plans on the fly and still have great success. Usyk proved against Breidis he could gut out a 12-round battle of attrition just as Gassiev proved with a previous fight with Denis Lebedev he can adjust to a moving counter-punching southpaw. I find myself firmly on the fence with this one. The splinters are almost painful. I will, like the rest of the world, be tuning in on Saturday July 21 in anticipation of a fight that will go down in cruiserweight history. Sitting on the fence has never seemed so exciting. Enjoy!

Aarron Morgan is a professional fighter and personal trainer. Find out more here

July 16, 2018
July 16, 2018
Manny Pacquiao

Action Images/Reuters/Lai Seng Sin

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1. Keith Thurman

Manny Pacquiao won a version of the welterweight world title for the fourth time against Lucas Matthysse. However, claiming only the WBA ‘regular’ championship does cast a cloud over the triumph. A win over the returning Thurman would not only unify the WBA title palaver but also further show whether Pacquiao has much left to offer at the elite level. With Thurman set to return from injury following 16 months out, catching ‘One Time’ now could be a deciding factor in this fight.

2. Vasyl Lomachenko

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has expressed eagerness to make this showdown happen. Likely to take place at 140 lbs and for no world title this would be a fun fight for the fans between two masterful southpaw tacticians, it would be a case of Lomachenko’s momentum opposing Pacquiao’s professional experience.

Manny Pacquiao

3. Terence Crawford

Another battle between two stars, but two who hold titles in the same division. As Crawford looks to cement his name at the top of the 147lbs division a win over Pacquiao would provide this, whereas a win for the Filipino may just rank as one of the more impressive in his 69 fight career.

4. Amir Khan

A fight that has always had interest but never materialised. Both men are former stablemates and sparring partners with a long history, the match up was slated for April 2017 however negotiations broke down. Both fighters have always welcomed the fight and at this stage in their careers the victor could find themselves right back in the mix at welterweight.

5. Errol Spence

At age 39 if Pacquiao wanted to prove to fans he really can still compete at the highest level a win over Spence, regarded as the best welterweight on the planet right now, would more than do that. The undefeated IBF titlist looks to be not only the best 147lbs boxer in the word but possibly a pound-for-pound contender. A win for “Pac Man” would defy all odds, something he has made a habit of in his career.