Category Archives: Press

October 27, 2014
October 27, 2014
GaryBuckland

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GARY BUCKLAND and Stephen Foster Jnr lead the line-up for the Prizefighter Lightweights III at York Hall, Bethnal Green on December 6, live on Sky Sports – with Martin J. Ward facing Maxi Hughes on the show in an eliminator for the British Super Featherweight title.

Buckland returns to the scene of his Prizefighter Super Featherweights win in November 2010 where he saw off Stevie Bell in the quarter-finals, dramatically wiped out Gary Sykes in the first round of their semi-final before knocking out Derry Mathews in the second round of the final to lift the trophy.

Manchester favourite Foster Jnr will be hoping to face Buckland to avenge his loss for the British title back in November 2012, and the 34 year old enters the night on the back of two wins in 2014 after his clash with Anthony Crolla in their hometown on the Carl Froch-George Groves undercard last November.

Buckland and Foster Jnr are joined by Danny Cassius Connor who is looking to go one better than his final appearance in July 2013, Luton’s Michael Devine, who met Connor in February in a bout cut short through a clash of heads, Essex’s Lee Martin and Hampshire’s Floyd Moore, with promoter Eddie Hearn to name the final two fighters soon.

Essex man Ward made it 11 fights unbeaten at Wembley Arena in September with an eight round stoppage of Kakhaber Avetisian and meets Yorkshireman Hughes, who also faced Avetisian last time out recording a ten-round win, at the top of the bill in a cracking looking contest between two bright young stars, with Ohara Davies also in action in his fourth pro fight.

“We haven’t had a Prizefighter since April this year and I’m excited to see the format return in its spiritual home,” said Hearn. “The last time Gary Buckland was involved we saw him win a thrilling event and this line up is set to produce plenty of fireworks. Martin J. Ward has the first crunch clash of his career when he steps up against the talented Maxi Hughes with the winning targeting a clash with Super Featherweight champion Gary Sykes. Exciting undefeated prospect Ohara Davies also return to actions he continues to make a name for himself in the Lightweight division.”

October 27, 2014
October 27, 2014
CoyleKatsidis

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PHOTO: Jason White

Luke Campbell MBE and Tommy Coyle secured famous wins in Hull on Saturday night to remain on course for a blockbuster showdown next summer.

Campbell welcomed Argentine Daniel Brizuela back to the scene of his epic battle with Coyle in February, but the hometown Olympic hero ensured that there would be no repeat of that drama with a clinical display of his power and variety.

The 27 year old wasted little time in exerting his authority on Brizuela, landing heavy shots in the opening round before really finding his range in the third round where he wobbled the Argentine on the bell and breaking him down further in the fourth before ending the job in the fifth. Brizuela was on the deck with a minute to go in the round from a blistering attack and Campbell didn’t let him off the hook, pouncing on his dazed opponent to deliver a decisive salvo to make it nine pro wins and seven inside the distance.

“It’s a great win for me,” said Campbell. “He had a very elusive and awkward style and I hit him with some cracking shots in the first round and he just nodded to say, ‘OK, let’s have some more’. He’s a tough, tough customer so I had to nullify that and to get him out of there in five, I’m very happy. For him to come back here after his fight with Tommy, I take my hat off to him. Every fight has been a step up and you can see me getting better, the main thing is not to rush. I believe in the path that we are going on. I’ve had four fights on the spin now in four months, I think I will have a break and come back fresh in the New Year.”

Coyle was tasked with following Campbell’s brilliant performance and he did not disappoint. The Hull man faced Australian great Michael Katsidis in a second defence of his IBF International Lightweight title, and delivered a stunning one-punch knockout in the second round to destroy ‘The Great’.

Coyle slipped Katsidis’ attacks in the opening round whilst making an early impression himself, then delivered a sensational left hook that floored the former World champion and the 25 year old was delighted that the game he devised with trainer Jamie Moore worked so spectacularly.

“Pressure fighters can’t go backwards,” said Coyle. “Jamie is the best pressure there was and he told me if you offset his balance and get him going backwards, you will have success. We worked on that left hook in the dressing room before the fight and it’s come off.

“I can’t change my make-up and I was always going to have a war, but I was going to be smart about it. I know I am not the greatest fighter in the world but I am always going to deliver value for money, I am going to put bums on seats and put everything on the line every time.

“I was so scared and nervous about losing, I’d visualised being in the worst pain ever as I had put him on a pedestal for 12 weeks. The night was perfect and with Luke winning, it sets the fight up in the summer of next year.”

On a potential fight with Coyle, Campbell added: “We both have the utmost respect for one another but through the city of Hull we are both loved and supported and the fight is being talked about a lot here. Our job is to entertain the fans and for the business and entertainment side of things, we can put our friendship on hold for 30-odd minute.”

There was a hat-trick of career-best wins on the night as Gavin McDonnell saw off former World title challenger Vusi Malinga to land the vacant WBO International Super-Bantamweight title.

McDonnell made the leap into international class following a draw with Josh Wale in his British title defence in May, and the South African provided a tough examination of his credentials at the top level.

The Doncaster man enjoyed the best of the early action and in the eighth round, he stamped his authority on the fight with a stiff right-hand forcing the visitor to turn his back and take an eight count. McDonnell closed in for the stoppage but Malinga, who has gone the 12-round distance eight times prior to Saturday, resisted the attacks and heard the final bell once more, where McDonnell was announced as the victor on the judges’ scorecards 116-111, 116-111 and 115-112.

“I can’t believe it, it was a hard week mentally in stepping up for the fight, I am over the moon with the win,” said McDonnell. “I just wanted to prove that I belong at this level, I am not taking anything away from Josh Wale but I let myself down in that fight, today was about stepping up, we picked Vusi because we believed we could beat him, it was the hardest fight of my life.

“I didn’t think I would get him out of there and even when he went down I knew he would come back. I landed plenty of stiff shots and he took them, he’s very tough. I stopped looking at twitter a few days before the fight because people were saying that Vusi was going to be too good for me, too strong, too much experience at the top level. I blocked all that out and concentrated on the task in hand. I’ve had 14 fights, won a few titles and been in four twelve-rounders, so I am progressing well.”

October 24, 2014
October 24, 2014
MartinMurray1

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St. Helens middleweight Martin Murray knows victory on Saturday night (October 25) against Italian Domencio Spada could set him up for a February date with WBA world middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin.

He is reminded of this in every interview and conversation and will be reminded further when the fearsome Golovkin takes his seat at ringside in Monte Carlo and watches Murray and Spada do battle for the WBC Silver middleweight title.

“It’s been a motivation thing for me,” said Murray, 28-1-1 (12 KOs). “People talk about Golovkin and you’ve got to answer questions about it, but the more people I get asking me about it, the more I get motivated to do a proper job on Spada this Saturday night.

“I knew I had a world title shot against Sergio Martinez back in 2013, but I still had to go out there and beat Jorge Navarro to get it. It’s the same tomorrow. If I don’t beat Spada, there’s no world title fight.

“For that reason, I’m completely focused on Spada and am not thinking about Golovkin one bit. In fact, I didn’t even watch his fight against Marco Antonio Rubio at the weekend. I just completely ignored it. Instead, I stuck on a DVD of Spada that morning to keep me focused.

“I want the Golovkin fight and it’s one I’ve always wanted. It’s one I look forward to. But, in order to get the fight I want, I have to beat Spada on Saturday night.”

Since losing a contentious decision in Argentina to then WBC world middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, Murray has gone from strength to strength, beating the likes of Max Bursak and Sergey Khomitsky in distance fights and picking up the WBC Silver title.

Spada, his first challenger, hails from Roma and is a former WBC International champion and European title challenger. Now 34, Spada, 39-5 (19 KOs), remains robust and durable at a world-class level.

“He’s experienced,” said Murray. “His style is horrible and awkward but it works for him. You look at videos of him and think he looks very beatable. He looks like he’s got nothing about him. But then you look at his record and look at the people he has fought and beat and you start to realise that he makes his style work for him.

“He’s got a good record. He pushed Darren Barker close and then Darren went on to win a world middleweight title.

“His style isn’t the prettiest and he can be quite dirty at times, but that’s not to say he isn’t dangerous. If you overlook someone like Spada, he’ll make you regret it.”

The 32-year-old continued: “I think he’s going to come out fast. He’s smaller than me in height and in build and he’ll probably look to get inside on me early. I’m expecting him to start fast and look to work me over with big shots. He’ll try to rough me up. He’ll be physical.

“But we’ve worked on picking clean shots as he’s coming in – working shots around the sides and bringing them up through the middle. I’ll be landing on him whenever he opens up and slowing him down. I want to control the first half of the fight and then completely take over in the second. I want to get the stoppage if I can.

“First and foremost, though, I have to just get the job done. I need to go in there and execute the game plan. But, of course, we’ve been working on finishing shots and I’m looking to take him out when the opportunity comes. I want to go in there and make a statement.”

Murray’s scheduled 12-rounder with Spada will be televised on Channel 5 this Saturday night (October 25) alongside the vacant IBF world bantamweight title fight between Darlington’s Stuart Hall and the unbeaten American Randy Caballero.

The action gets underway at 8.30pm and continues right on through to 11pm, meaning fight fans will be treated to some two-and-a-half hours of world-class boxing. Murray couldn’t be happier.

“It’s absolutely unbelievable to be fighting on Channel 5,” he said. “It’s brilliant for me and my team and it’s brilliant for everyone at home. I get some great exposure out of it and all my friends and family at home can watch me on terrestrial television. That’s priceless for a boxer.

“Since the Felix Sturm fight (in December 2011), I’ve suffered from inactivity and have been in the shadows a little bit. My profile then dipped after the Martinez fight and not a lot of people have been able to see me fight recently. This changes everything, though. It feels like everything I had to put up with in the past has now been worth it.”

October 23, 2014
October 23, 2014
George Groves

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George Groves (20-2, 15 KOs) is back in action on November 22 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool. The ‘Saint’ will defend his WBC Silver title against American Denis Douglin (17-3, 10 KOs) on a bumper bill topped by the domestic grudge match between Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

Groves returns following a unanimous points victory over Christopher Rebrasse at the Wembley Arena in September, in which the Hammersmith boxer claimed the European and WBC Silver Super Middleweight titles, and became mandatory challenger for Anthony Dirrell’s WBC World title.

‘’I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring,’’ said Groves. ‘’This is a chance for me to impress on a big card. I plan to steal the show! It’s a calculated risk, lose this fight and I lose my shot at Dirrell. But I want to stay active, I want to box as regularly as possible and I’m confident I can get the job done.

‘’I’ve good memories of fighting at the Echo Arena. It’s been a happy hunting ground for me in the past. I fought my third professional fight there against Paul Samuels and I picked up a lot of fans in Liverpool that night. They’re a lively bunch and I hope to bump into a few of them when I’m back in November.’’

‘’This is a big opportunity for me,’’ said Douglin. ‘’Win this fight and I’m a step closer to realising my dream of becoming world champion. Groves is a great boxer, it will be a tough fight but I’m ready to cause an upset. I’m coming to fight my fight and to beat Groves on his home turf.’’

‘’We’re pleased to get George out on another big UK show,’’ said promoter Nisse Sauerland. ‘’He will face a tough test against Douglin and cannot afford to look past him. George will need to approach this as if it were a world title fight or could risk losing the WBC mandatory position.’’

“I’m delighted to add George to a huge night of British boxing on November 22 in Liverpool,’’ said Eddie Hearn. ‘’You have three great super-middleweights in action in George, James DeGale and Callum Smith who are all in big fights – there will be plenty of drama on fight night and in the build up. We have had a run of great nights recently working together with Team Sauerland and we look forward to many more in the future.’’

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October 23, 2014
October 23, 2014
ThomasStalker

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LIVERPOOL light-welterweight Thomas Stalker was once the world’s top ranked amateur lightweight but knows, at 30, there’s little margin for error if he’s to repeat the trick as a professional.

The 2012 Team GB Olympic skipper – who struck gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi and also medalled at both the European and World Senior meets – jettisoned a British title eliminator in favour of an audacious attempt to crash the world rankings.

This Saturday at the Echo Arena in his home city, ‘The Captain’ collides with fast rising Chorley tyro Jack Catterall for the vacant WBO European crown. Both are unbeaten in nine pro fights and the trade is evenly split as to who shall triumph in what is sure to be a compelling boxer versus puncher duel.   

The ever accommodating Scouser took time out to analyse the fight with boxing writer Glynn Evans. 

Thus far you’ve had nine fights, nine wins, two stoppages. How do you assess your pro career to date?

It’s a very tough way to make your living. In the amateurs you just throw punches at a high pace for three rounds. And for three rounds, I was very good. My work rate was generally too much for the opposition.

I’m a realist. I know that I might not yet have made the impact expected of a former world amateur number one or the impact of my fellow Olympians such as Anthony Joshua or Luke Campbell. But I’m pretty pleased. I’ve been a pro for just 20 months and, though I was out injured for eight of those, I’m already up at 10-round level. In nine fights, I’ve only had three rounds taken off me on the official cards.

I’m never going to be a one punch take out merchant but Paulie Malignaggi won several world titles without a dig. I may lack power but I gain in speed and fitness. I’ve trained very hard to do the longer rounds and I’ve developed my style to get the best use out of what I’ve got.

Okay, a few have dragged me into a fight and the reviews haven’t always been great but, even then, I’ve been able to show how tough I am, how good my chin is. Lately, I’ve been working on trading when I want to trade, not when they want to trade.

But I’ve done all that’s been asked of me, had me hand raised every time. I’m a winner. By foul means or fair, I’ll get the job done. I’ve got the tools and I’m a very, very determined person.

This’ll be your first start above eight rounds. How have you prepared for the extra demands? 

Whether it’s 10 rounds or 12, it’s all in the head. Obviously I’ve done longer sparring sessions. For a three-round amateur bout you can pretty much go on auto pilot but a professional title fight requires a lot more thought and concentration.

I’ve had an eight-week camp. I had 10 weeks for my fight before but probably over did it. I’ve been fortunate to have sparred 30 rounds in Birmingham with (British welterweight champion) Frankie Gavin, one of the best southpaws out there. Terry Needham, who knocked out Brett Beadon recently, is another southpaw who’s been putting it on me and I’ve also sparred Dec Geraghty, a top Irish kid. Prep has gone great and it’ll all come right on the 25th.

Your 21-year-old opponent Jack Catterall is also undefeated in nine and coming off a vicious one shot knockout over ex World Junior medallist Nathan Brough. What’s your take on him?

I’ve done my prep on him and he’s a very good kid; great power and timing. He also appears a nice lad. He took my mate Nathan out with one left hook last time and Nathan has a good chin so Jack can certainly bang. I know Catterall’s camp think they’ll catch up with me late but I don’t think his big punch alone will be enough to beat me.

Jack’s certainly looked very impressive as a pro but I’d not have taken it if I didn’t think I’d win. It should be a great fight for the fans.

Catterall looked savage dispatching Brough. What makes you so sure that you can stand up to his power?

Despite fighting at the very highest level, I wasn’t stopped once as an amateur. In fact, in the only fight that I was dropped, I got up to beat my German opponent and win gold at the European Unions. I know I can really dig in from first round to last. I’m a very tough person.

You were initially matched with Swansea’s Chris Jenkins in a British eliminator on this bill. Why did you opt to veto that in favour of the Catterall clash?

Both Catterall and Jenkins are both very good fighters so it isn’t a case of ducking anyone.

It’s just the Jenkins fight was only an eliminator, not a final eliminator and I’d probably have had to wait at least another six months for a crack at the title. The Catterall fight will catapult me up the (WBO) world rankings when I win. My team decided it also made better business sense. The reward was better.

Catterall is a massive step up for me as a pro and I refuse to look past him. I know several people view me as the underdog going in but I know what I can do. I could take the Chris Eubank Jnr route and stop a load of Latvians but I sell a lot of tickets and, at the end of the day, the fans want to see great fights.

Unlike yourself, Catterall doesn’t have the experience of fighting before big, hostile crowds and you also have home court. How crucial might that become?

I’ve sold over 100 ringside seats which is fabulous but it doesn’t really matter who’s sitting outside the ring. Sometimes that just leads to you getting carried away.

I’d fight and beat Jack Catterall anywhere in the world. I’ll only be listening to Seamus (Macklin, his coach).  Jack also has a very experienced and well respected coach in Lee Beard to steer him through. Location won’t be the deciding factor.

Finally, why do you believe that your hand will be raised when the fighting is done?

Because I live the life and I’m always giving 100 per cent in the gym. I’m not bad mouthing anyone and I’m sure we’ll put on a great fight on a great show.

Fight or box, Saturday night, I’ll be the one controlling. I’ll box my fight and try to win every single round.  Even his trainer Lee Beard concedes that I’d probably beat him ten bouts out of ten in the amateurs. I’m far sharper and have the better boxing brain.

Watch Stalker v Catterall on the massive ‘Magnificent Seven’ card – which also features world rated super-flyweight Paul Butler, Liam Smith takes on Zoltan Sera for the Vacant WBA Continental Lightweight Championship, Kevin Satchell’s challenge for the European flyweight crown, the hugely anticipated domestic showdown between Derry Mathews and Adam Dingsdale, plus Chris Eubank Jnr.

Remaining tickets priced at £40, £50, £75, £100 and £150 are available from the Liverpool Echo Arena Box Office on 0844 8000 400 or www.echoarena.com

Watch live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky 437/HD 490, Virgin 546 and Talk Talk 525).  Join at www.boxnation.com

October 22, 2014
October 22, 2014
Scott Quigg

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Scott Quigg will defend his WBA World Super Bantamweight title against Japan’s Hidenori Otake at the sold-out Echo Arena in Liverpool on November 22, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

Quigg defends his title for the fifth time against Otake, ranked at number three with the IBF and coming to England off the back of four successful defences of the Japanese title he claimed in August 2012.

The Bury star saw off the spirited challenge of Belgium’s Stephane Jamoye with a trademark body shot in the third round of their clash in Manchester in September, and the 26 year old is looking for another explosive performance to close a great year in the ring.

“I can’t wait to defend my World title in Liverpool on November 22 on a huge night for British boxing,” said Quigg. “Otake represents the toughest fight of my career and I’m working hard to put in a scintillating performance. He is highly ranked and highly respected with an exciting style – I’m on a big run of KO’s and I don’t intend on stopping.”

Quigg’s clash with Otake is part of a sensational line-up of Britain’s biggest stars in Liverpool, topped by the rematch between bitter rivals Cleverly and Bellew, with promoter Eddie Hearn set to announce a huge addition to the bill on Thursday.

James DeGale faces Marco Antonio Periban over 12 rounds as he hunts down a World title shot in the Super Middleweight division, which is where unbeaten Liverpool sensation Callum Smith meets Nikola Sjekloca in a WBC World title eliminator, with his brother Stephen Smith in action in the Super Featherweight division.

Jamie McDonnell defends his WBA World Bantamweight title against Walberto Ramos and Heavyweight sensation Anthony Joshua MBE defends his WBC International title against Michael Sprott in an eliminator for the British title.

October 21, 2014
October 21, 2014
Liam-Smith

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Having already asserted hegemony over the domestic light-middleweight crop, reigning British champion Liam Smith is now keen to conquer the world.

The stone-faced 26 year old – third eldest of the four fighting brothers – presently holds top 12 world rankings with both the IBF and WBO and he’ll be hoping to make inroads into the WBA’s listings this weekend when he confront’s Hungary’s Zoltan Gera for that body’s Continental title at the Echo Arena in his native Liverpool on Saturday.

On Saturday afternoon boxing writer Glynn Evans spoke with the box-fighter they call ‘Beefy’ about his intentions.

What was your evaluation of your last performance, an impressive sixth round stoppage of Jason Welborn in defence of your British title? 

I was pretty pleased overall with the performance. I achieved what I set out to do by getting Welborn out of there inside six rounds.

I could probably have made it a lot easier for myself by using my skills to give him a boxing lesson but a few things were said in the build up so I wanted to have a fight with him, wanted to hurt him.

His camp were going on about how tough and strong he was but I wanted to impose my strength on him, show I wasn’t just superior technically but that I was better in every department. Once I’d proved to him I was stronger, he knew there was nothing he could do and it proved an easy night for me.

After a chain of points victories early in your career, it was your second successive quick win against a credible domestic title challenger. How do you account for that?

Probably a number of factors. I’ve become more powerful physically over the last year and now I believe I’m a big, strong light-middleweight. There’s also been technical improvements from working in the gym with Joe (Gallagher, his trainer)and I’ve definitely developed a more spiteful mindset.

But possibly the main thing is that, during my ring apprenticeship, I fought all the top British journeyman.

You need just one more British title win to own Lonsdale Belt. Welshman Liam Williams, your mandatory challenger, has started to mention your name. How important is it for you to claim the belt outright before advancing to the big international belts?

I’d really love one. As soon as Saturday is out of the way, I’ll fancy finalising it. Liam Williams is mandated as my next challenger but his manager Gary Lockett is a very smart guy and I think he knows that Williams is a few fights away from being ready for me.

Sure Liam looked good stopping Ronnie Heffron but that’s just one win. I’d be very confident but I’m vacating the Commonwealth soon and I feel Gary Lockett will want to take Williams a different route.

You return to your native Liverpool on Saturday. What are your memories of growing up in this great fight city?

There’s always been a great buzz up here surrounding the boxing but, to be honest, unlike me brothers, I wasn’t really a great fan of boxing growing up. I was just a mad kid who liked messing around on the green with me mates. I was far more into me football. I went to the odd pro show at the Everton Park Triangle but didn’t really have any local heroes.

I weren’t really a full lover of boxing when the likes of Shea Neary and Andy Holligan were doing their thing in a tent in Stanley Park. My first boxing heroes were Americans like Sugar Ray Leonard. Now I’m a real student of it. I follow all the fighters. Boxing mad!

We’ve probably got a better crop of fighters now than we’ve ever had in the past. Today, the recent successes are a big plus with guys like Pricey (David Price), my brothers, Butler from Ellesmere Port, and loads of others all doing well. All the fighters, regardless of their promotional camp, get along pretty well and all bounce off one another.  There’s a real positive vibe.

And since they built the Echo Arena a few years back, we’ve now got a great venue. The tiering is far different to the MEN in Manchester, making it more compact. All fans get a great view. Again, I’ve sold over a hundred tickets for Saturday, despite all the disruptions. I love fighting there.

You meet Hungary’s 16-2 Zoltan Sera over 12 rounds for the vacant WBA Continental title.  Is it less stressful preparing for an international contest than defending your domestic belts? 

I saw Sera when he fought Joey Selkirk, his style is made for me, I’ll do a great job on him. He swings wild and walks onto everything. Joey says he’s got a head like a brick but he took him out with body shots. I’ve always been a very good body puncher.

Hopefully, I can deliver another good performance to keep the good vibe going and get the fans talking my name again. I’ll be looking for another stoppage inside six rounds.

You’re already rated in the top 12 by both the IBF and WBO. An impressive win on Saturday will see you crash the WBA rankings. Which world champion are you targeting?

First choice would have to be (IBF king Cornelius) Bundrage.Last Sunday, immediately after I saw he’d regained the title, I texted Frank Warren and told him I’d travel to the US to challenge him. My style beats his every day of the week. He’d provide a good gauge for where I’m at. I’d happily fight him next.

Watch Smith on the massive ‘Magnificent Seven’ card – which also features world rated super-flyweight Paul Butler, Kevin Satchell’s challenge for the European flyweight strap plus the hugely anticipated domestic showdowns between Derry Mathews and Adam Dingsdale and Thomas Stalker against Jack Catterall, plus Chris Eubank Jnr.

Remaining tickets priced at £40, £50, £75, £100 and £150 are available from the Liverpool Echo Arena Box Office on 0844 8000 400 or www.echoarena.com

Watch live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky 437/HD 490, Virgin 546 and Talk Talk 525).  Join at www.boxnation.com