Category Archives: Blog

January 22, 2018
January 22, 2018
Tony Jeffries

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AMATEUR boxing is more professional than the pro game.

After the 2008 Olympics, I turned professional and I soon realized that it wasn’t so professional.

I was on the England/GB boxing team for around nine years and I didn’t realize just how good I had it in the last few when I was training for the Olympics until I turned pro.

The support team we had were amazing. We had world-class trainers, physios, doctors, strength and conditioning coaches, nutritionists, psychologists, masseuses, great food, great accommodation, the best training facilities and we were surrounded by other champions day in, day out – and all of this was paid for.

Then I turned pro and it was time to look for a trainer. I found one in Manchester, but I had to pay for my travel and accommodation and on top of that, the trainer’s 10% fee.

If you had an injury? That’d be £50 for a physio out of your own pocket. Oh, you’re feeling stiff? No problem – £40 for a massage.

If your eardrum popped? (Which mine did) Let’s get that checked out – a private doctor would cost £300.

If you wanted to eat healthily? Go for it, but on your own expenses. Decided to have high-quality sparring sessions? Ok, that’ll be £25 per round plus their travel expense.

This wasn’t the only thing, though. Because you could say I was the “A” side, I picked the gloves for me and my opponent. I had my gloves weeks before the fight which meant I could train with them, wear them in, if I wanted.

I couldn’t believe this. Then, after the fight, I could take the same gloves home and train in them some more and then fight again in them for all of my fights if I wanted. This was so unfair to my opponents, but I obviously didn’t mind.

You’d then arrive at the venue with no idea what time I was fighting so you had to stay warm for a couple of hours; in the amateurs, you knew exactly when you would be fighting.

Tony Jeffries on promoters

Also in the amateurs, you could trust just about everyone. The club trainers were not being paid so they were in it purely for the love, while the world-class amateur program trainers were on a set salary, but had all been volunteer coaches for most of their life so we knew that they were honest and genuine people.

As a professional, the promoters were the nicest people you’d meet to your face and promised you the world, but they always had a motive as this is now a business and the number one thing they care about is money, then themselves, then the fighters, but I totally get it, I really do.

I remember before I signed pro, I was being pressured by one high-profile promoter to sign and they said the deal was only there for 24 hours before it was gone. This was after being treated to a fancy meal and drove around London in a £250,000 Rolls Royce. He was using scare tactics on a 23-year-old inexperienced businessman. I never ended up signing with that guy.

I do have to say I much preferred the amateurs over the pros but at the same time as a pro, I earned a decent chunk of change that I would never have made doing anything else in life. Plus, I learned a lot about people and business, so I never regretted going pro.

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January 20, 2018
January 20, 2018
Errol Spence

Ryan Greene/Premier Boxing Champions

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THIS fight means everything to me. I still have a chip on my shoulder. I want to be the last man standing. I want to beat the top fighters in my division. Lamont Peterson is the one standing in front of me, so it’s fight time.

I think it’s going to turn into a war. A lot of people have thought this would be an easy fight for me. But if you follow Lamont Peterson, you know this will be tough. He’s always in great shape and has a lot of skills. It might be a dog fight and that’s what I wanted. He’s the guy who wanted to fight and I said of course. It’s going to be a rugged fight. Later on in the fights, he always gets rough and stands toe-to-toe.

There might not be a lot of talking and bad blood between us, but you know that the two of us always give a great fight for the fans.

I had to wait for my title defence and then I had a lot of guys not answer the call for this fight. I have a belt and I still have to call these other guys out. Lamont Peterson answered the call like a real fighter.

In a perfect world I’d be unifying with Keith Thurman this year. I’m going to fight three times this year though. You don’t get time back. I’m ready to strike now.

errol spence

I’m just excited to fight. I like to fight. I can’t wait to be in front of those bright lights in front of the fans. Brooklyn is a great place to fight and my family from the area can come see me live. I can’t wait to display my skills.

A true champion can’t fight everybody who calls them out, it’s still a business. But a true champion fights other champions, especially when they’re available. You can’t avoid questions and try to delay a fight. You fight the next champion that’s available, that’s what a true champion does.

January 14, 2018
January 14, 2018
Tony Jeffries

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‘THINKING of what you are going to do after you retire from boxing while you are still a fighter is a big mistake.’

This statement, said by many, is bullsh*t!

I often heard this when I was fighting and also from a few fighters I’ve had on my podcast.

I do get why people say it – because if you take your eye off the ball and think too far ahead, you could forget about what’s in front of you. This is important because when you are fighting you need to focus fully on fighting.

But with that being said, fighters have a lot of downtime, and I mean a lot. This is when they should be thinking about their future and looking at creating another source of income.

A boxing career can end with a click of the fingers – mine did.  Well, it was a crack in the knuckle, not a click of the finger.

One fight, one spar or a dodgy training session could end your career and if you don’t have a plan B then you are kinda screwed.

Boxers, like myself, are getting into teaching boxing for fitness after their career (read my blog on this HERE) or think they’ll just open a gym, but to do this correctly takes time to plan, or that could be a failure too.

Tony Jeffries

It’s important that fighters do two things with their money before they spend it:

Number one is paying taxes. I’ve witnessed fighters in the past get screwed after their careers because they never paid taxes; open a business, hire a good accountant and get some education with it yourself. Don’t worry, they can write a lot of stuff off, but trust me, this is a must!

Number two is investing your money. I only had 10 pro fights but I managed to buy five houses. I put 25% down on properties around £55k-£70k in worth, got tenants in and set up a repayment over 15 years.

By the time I’m 40 they will all be paid off and would have gone up in value, so this will be my pension. This security helps me sleep at night.

There are other things to invest in too, you just have to be smart about it.

It’s a strange world out there after boxing. We dedicate our lives to the sport, but we need to make sure we are sorted for life after fighting and by thinking of your future, you are doing that.

I’m now teaching people how to teach boxing, with an in person and online education program called the Box ‘N Burn Academy I will be in Birmingham, UK in August this year. If your interested please let me know via Twitter or Instagram.

January 14, 2018
January 14, 2018

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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I AM not much of a one for looking back particularly when 2018 already holds so much to look forward to. By the end of the year, for the first time since the WBO entered the scene in 1989, and Francesco Damiani won their initial heavyweight title, we have the prospect of fighter holding all four versions of the title.

The Anthony Joshua-Joseph Parker fight, which now seems just about set for 31 March in Cardiff, will unify the IBF, WBA and WBO titles. It then must be the next logical step that the winner of March 3 fight between Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz for the WBC portion will want to go against the winner of Joshua vs. Parker. With all due respect to Parker and Ortiz (but a bit less of that respect to drugs cheat Ortiz) the fight the public will hope for is Joshua-Wilder. There is no way that either of these two fighters could walk away from that fight not just because of the money but also out of pride and, even at this stage of their careers, their legacies.

For me that Joshua-Wilder match would be the fight of 2018 but if that is not enough we will also have Gennady Golovkin-Saul Alvarez II, the all-British super middleweight fight between George Groves and Chris Eubank Jr and a super-flyweight extravaganza in Inglewood on February 24.

To get us in the mood we will also have on 20 January in New York Errol Spence-Lamont Peterson for the IBF welter title and Robert Easter defending his IBF light title against Javier Fortuna. On January 27 there is a double bill featuring Jorge Linares defending his WBA lightweight title against Filipino Mercito Gesta and Lukas Matthysse vs. Teerachai (Tewa Kiram) for the vacant secondary WBA welter title and on the same night in Riga we have Olek Usyk vs. Mairis Breidis in the first of the WSSB cruiserweight semi-finals which will also unify the WBC and WBO titles.

The second semi-final in Adler, Russia on February 17 between Murat Gassiev and Yunier Dorticos will unify the WBA and IBF titles clearing the way for a fight unifying all four versions of the cruiserweight title later in the year. On February 3 in Corpus Christi Gilberto Ramirez defends his WBO super middle title against Habib Ahmed and Jerwin Ancajas defends his IBF super fly title against Israel Gonzalez. One week later in London Zolani Tete puts his IBF bantam title up against Omar Narvaez in and on the same night in San Antonio Mikey Garcia challenges Sergey Lipinets for the IBF super light title and Rances Barthelemy and Kiryl Relikh punch it out for the vacant WBA super light title, There is Danny Garcia facing Brandon Rios on February 17 and Victor Ortiz clashing with Devon Alexander on the same night.

If that sounds good don’t forget that only covers the next 6-8 weeks with Sergey Kovalev vs. Igor Mikhalkin on March 3 in New York, Carl Frampton vs. Nonito Donaire in April, Amir Imam and Jose Carlos Ramirez ready to fight for the WBC super-light title on 17 March (if Terence Crawford relinquishes the title) and Felix Verdejo returning to action on the same show and with the certainty that Vasyl Lomachenko, Terence Crawford, Tony Bellew vs. David Haye are all sure to provide other big nights. It looks a great year ahead so let’s look forward not back. To paraphrase Roy Scheider in Jaws – you’re going to need a bigger diary!

Having said that for me the WSSB which started last year is the best thing to happen to top level boxing in years.

Apart from the world scene there are some good European title fights coming also. A busy night on 27 January will see Alessandro Goddi 33-2-1face unbeaten Pole Kamil Szeremeta 16-0 for the vacant middleweight title, Yves Ngabu puts his cruiser title on the line against Geoffrey Battelo in Belgium and in an all-Spanish affair Mark Vidal defends the featherweight title against Sergio Blanco. When they fought for the vacant title last July after 11 rounds Blanco was in front on two cards only for Vidal to snatch the win by a knockdown in the last round.

Purse offers are due on 15 January for Karo Murat defending his super-middleweight title against Serhiy Demchenko and on 29 January for a clash of unbeaten flyweights between Vincent Legrand 26-0 and WBC No. 2 Andrew Selby. The unbeaten Welsh fighter is in line for a shot at the WBC title so taking on the freakish 5ft 8 1/2ins (174cm) French southpaw is a risk. On the same day purse offers are due for the vacant welterweight title between Ahmed El Mousaoui and hot Spanish hope 24-0 Kerman Lejarraga.

Ukrainian heavyweight Alex Dimitrenko gets one last chance to revive his career as he challenges unbeaten European heavy champion Agit Kabayel. No date or venue yet and in what will be a huge fight for Swedish fans Sauerland Event have yet to name the date or place for Otto Wallin vs. Adrian Granat for bragging rights in Scandinavia and for the vacant European Union title.  The purse was reported to be approx. $100,000 to be split 50/50.

Despite losing his IBF light fly title Milan Melindo has said he will not be retiring. It was good to see that Ryoichi Taguchi who unified the WBA and IBF light flyweight titles by beating Melindo intends to honour the IBF stipulation that Hekkie Budler must get the next show at their title.

The little men might be as well keeping an eye on what’s coming up behind them.  Australian Jason Moloney, the WBA No. 9 bantam, is coming up fast. The undefeated Moloney is taking on Namibian Immanuel Naidjala in Melbourne on 24 February with the vacant Commonwealth bantamweight title and Moloney’s WBA Oceania title on the line. Moloney is 15-0 and Naidjala lost on points to Tomoki Kameda for the WBA title a while back so a good match Twin brother Andrew, also 15-0, will be defending his Oceania title on the same show. He is No. 6 super-fly with the WBA

Despite turning down an offer to fight Khalid Yafai on the super-fly extravaganza Roman Gonzalez is not contemplating retirement. His plan is to ease back with a fight in Nicaragua in April and see how that goes before making any further plans. He will shortly be moving to Costa Rica to start his training.

If students find out that they have a substitute teacher coming in for the day it can either be a matter of indifference or an opportunity to have a bit of fun and rag the newbie. I don’t think these students felt indifference and I am sure there was no ragging as their substitute teacher just happened to be a certain Wladimir Klitschko. Ok sit up straight kids and listen because Wlad was there to give them some inspirational advice on overcoming fear and adopting a positive approach to life’s challenges. It appears that the day was a big success but I couldn’t help wondering whether Wlad’s challengers over the years would have benefited from some advice on overcoming fear and adopting a positive approach to tackling the big Ukrainian.

News of another former champion saw a statue being erected in Fazana, Croatia to Mate Parlov. Parlov was there for the unveiling. Parlov was an outstanding amateur. He lost to Chris Finnegan in the quarter-finals of the 1968 Olympics but won the gold in 1972 and gold at the World Amateur Championships in 1974. As a pro he was European and WBC light heavyweight champion and beat Miguel Angelo Cuello, John Conteh and Tony Mundine. He lost his title to Marvin Johnson but then moved up to cruiser and drew and then lost to Marvin Camel in fights for the vacant WBC title before retiring. The greatest boxer ever produced by Croatia.

Axel Schulz is a former Wlad challenger who is still in demand. Schulz has been taken on by a major German TV company to do expert analysis for them and will kick off his new job during the coverage of the interesting fight between Vincent Feigenbutz and Ryno Liebenberg in Ludwigsburg on 17 February. It is an important fight for both men. Feigenbutz is rebuilding after losing on an 11th round stoppage against Giovanni de Carolis for the secondary WBA super-middle title in 2016. He has compiled six wins since then and is rated in the top 15 by all four bodies so can’t afford a slip up. Liebenberg went through a 1-5 spell with all five losses to world rated opponents. He stopped the rot with a win in October but this one could be too tough for him.

Two of the biggest stars in Chinese boxing, Zou Shiming and Rex Tso have both come through rocky periods. Since losing his WBO flyweight title to Sho Kimura in July the medical news has all been bad for Zou. He had suffered a variety of orbital fractures and his vision was affected by cataracts, vitreous opacity and other symptoms and surgery is needed. Despite that news Zou Shiming is adamant that he will recover and fight on.

In Tso’s case he has been in some very hard fights. He took a lot of punishment before beating Kohei Kono on a technical decision in October when the fight was stopped due to a large hematoma on the left side of Tso’s head. The only thing he has said about plans to return is that right now he has none so it is not known when or if he will fight again.

Isaac Dogboe’s win over Cesar Juarez has made a huge impact in Ghana and it is being used as a springboard to get the Government and sponsors to back boxing there. Dogboe has gone against the trend in as far as he first made a big splash when he competed at the 2012 Olympics in London and then won the English amateur title. He then scored his first six wins in fights in England, Switzerland and the USA before returning to Ghana to continue his career and won his title there. Generally boxers from Ghana have had to go elsewhere to get a title shot but there has been enough backing in Ghana for Dogboe to win the interim title. If he wants to fight the real WBA super-bantam champion Jesse Magdaleno he is going to have to go to the USA but on a visit to the offices of the President assurances were given that the government was ready to support and solicit funds to aid Ghanaian potential champions in 2018.

In the meantime it is situation normal for some Ghanaians. As I noted previously Habib Ahmed travels to Corpus Christi to challenge WBO super-middle champion Gilberto Ramirez on February 3 whilst Raphael Mensah is reportedly to be in line to challenge WBA super feather champion Alberto Machado and Richard Commey will hope to build towards a second world title shot when he tackles 22-0 Angel Luna in San Antonio on February 10.

January 14, 2018
January 14, 2018
Joe Fournier

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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THE WBA have been correctly slated for ranking British boxer Joe Fournier at No. 11 in their light-heavyweight ratings.

He won their vacant International title scoring a second round knockdown on his way to a sixth round stoppage of Dominican Wilmer Mejia on December 17. This despite the fact that Fournier is clearly shown on BoxRec to have tested positive for a banned substance at a fight in Belgium in June 2016 and being given a two-year suspension which was reduced to 18 months.

That means his suspension does not end until June 2018. Despite that, Fournier fought four times in the Dominican Republic between June and December 2016 when he was under suspension. In addition, two sources advised me that they had informed the WBA last month that Fournier was under suspension.

The WBA actions are disgraceful but there is another question – who is licensing Fournier? The British Board would respect the Belgian positive test result and not permit Fournier to fight in Britain but someone has chosen to licence a boxer despite knowing he is suspended and the WBA do not licence boxers so they are not the only culprits here.


January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018
Claressa Shields

Stephanie Trapp/Showtime

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“I FEEL great. I [Claressa Shields] really pushed myself this camp. It was a longer camp than usual so I’ve had ample time to get ready. Tori nelson has been doing a lot of trash talking but I’m going to show her that she may be 17-0, but she’s never fought a girl like me before.

“I may only have 4 professional fights to my name, but I have plenty of amateur experience. I’ve fought girls that are 16-0, I don’t see anywhere on her record where she’s fought an undefeated fighter of that caliber.

“I’ve prepared for this fight the same way that I always do. I haven’t done anything special. I focus on myself, not my opponents.

“In the 6th or 7th round, Nelson goes down.

Claressa Shields

“Once I beat Nelson, I do want to fight Christina Hammer, but I’m taking it one fight at a time. I’d like to fight at least one time at 154 pounds before taking on Hammer.”

January 11, 2018
January 11, 2018
Errol Spence Jr

Stacey Verbeek

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“EVERYONE who has seen Errol Spence Jr fight before knows it won’t be a boring fight. Even if it’s one-sided, it’s always going to be action packed. January 20 is going to be a tremendous fight and I’m going to put on a great performance. I’m planning to dominate.

“Defending my title in Brooklyn will be special. I have family in New York too so it means a lot that I’ll be able to defend at Barclays Center. New York is a boxing city so they really appreciate champions and know the sport.

“I’m excited to be fighting a guy like Lamont Peterson. I’m not fighting a regular no-name fighter. He’s going to bring the best out of me because he’s a true fighter. It makes the whole experience even better.

“The top spot in the sport is really up for grabs now and I’m coming for it. I don’t care who I have to face or where, I’m going to be the last man standing. That’s why we all get into this sport. I’m extremely confident in myself.

“Lamont and I both have big hearts and I think everyone will be able to see that in the ring. We’re both smart fighters so there might be some feeling out before we get going. But I expect it to be a dogfight.

Errol Spence Jr

“This community in Dallas is very important to me. When I was growing up here there were no professional boxers from here that I could look to as a role model. Once you have the resources to give back, it’s important to do it. I love being in the gym and helping the really young guys and giving them something to aspire to.”