October 13, 2014
October 13, 2014

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LEE SELBY will challenge for the IBF featherweight title after a dominant performance against Joel Brunker at The O2 on Saturday night.

Selby peppered the visitor from the opening bell with his full arsenal of shots until the middle of the ninth round when a vicious left to the body took everything out of Brunker, and Selby pounced to close the show moments later, responding to the critics who wanted to see more spiteful finishing from the Barry stylist.

The 27-year-old will watch on with interest when IBF champion Evgeny Gradovich defends his title for fourth time against Jayson Velez in Omaha on November 29, and Selby insists that a world title shot will bring out the best in him.

“It was a good performance but there is a lot more to come,” said Selby. “I wanted to make a statement and silence the critics, I hardly lose a round in my fights, I can’t remember the last time that I lost one, but I still get criticised, so I thought I would put on a show.

“Joel is a tough customer, he took some really hard shots and it shows how much I have progressed because it was a lot closer when we sparred a few years ago.

“Going into a fight as a favourite then I know I am going to win, but going into a tough fight like Saturday where it was 50-50 or if I am an underdog, you get a real performance from me.”

Selby would become the 12th world champion from Wales and the third to win the featherweight crown, and he believes that he would take the title from the Russian.

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“Gradovich is perfect for my style and I think I would do a similar job on him,” said Selby. “He’s fighting at the end of November and I think he’ll come through in that fight so we can get it on early next year, I think I am entitled to a little break because I have been non-stop in the gym for four years, you can count the days off I have had on your hands.

“I’ve come from nothing in life and in boxing and now I am on the cusp of being a world champion. My feet are still on the ground and I am very focused, it’s not until I hang them up that I’ll look back and be proud of them, but I have a lot more left to achieve, I haven’t even started yet.”

October 13, 2014
October 13, 2014

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THE vast majority who watched heavyweight Anthony Joshua crunch to 9-0 (9) on Saturday night via brutal two-round demolition of Denis Bakhtov were impressed. Those familiar with boxing, and the paths that prospects walk, poured out compliments and voiced their excitement about the frightening demolition. The Russian was, on paper, a significant step-up for the 2012 Olympic champion.

However, there were also plenty of detractors, those who called the contest a “mismatch” due to the ease with which Joshua walked through the former fringe contender. One angry Tweeter wrote: “Another mismatch. Does someone have to die before the BBB [of] C act?” and then, after being told that Bakhtov came into the fight with a solid reputation, said: “Don’t give me that. It was painfully obvious that he was a hand-picked no-hoper.”

Certainly Joshua was expected to win. But the one-sided nature of his victory is a reflection on his growing prowess rather than Bakhtov being a “no-hoper”. Any quick victory can be labelled a mismatch after the event. For example, when Mike Tyson was on the way up he knocked out Marvis Frazier, who had suffered only one prior defeat and was highly ranked by all governing bodies, in a mere 30 seconds. Two years later, “Iron” Mike took 61 seconds longer to thrash Michael Spinks which, beforehand, was the most eagerly awaited heavyweight showdown of the decade. Should those fights be labelled mismatches because Tyson won so effortlessly?

Please don’t think I’m saying Bakhtov is the same level as Spinks, or Frazier, but consider exactly where Joshua is in his career and the comparison is valid. It was his ninth professional fight. And although he came into the paid ranks with an Olympic gold medal, his vested experience was limited. Legendary amateur Vasyl Lomachenko, who challenged for a world title in only his second contest, he is not. Bakhtov, 38-9 going in and never before stopped in such a fashion, was not expected to win but he was deemed more than capable of testing the young slayer.

But Bakhtov, like Matt Skelton and Konstantin Airich before him, could not provide that test. Not because he was not willing, nor because he was a poor opponent, but because Joshua is more formidable – at this level at least – than we originally thought. What cannot be denied, though, is that Joshua needs to be moved up another level before he challenges the world leaders. But the height of that step needs to be considered carefully. It was a predicament faced by Britain’s previous heavyweight destroyer, David Price, not so long ago.

Throughout history, question marks have surrounded young, unbeaten knockout artists. How will their muscled physique react when it is forced to go six, eight or 10 rounds? How will their jaw stand up when full-blown punches smash against it? Price encountered these concerns as he gleefully chewed up the likes of Sam Sexton and Audley Harrison. His promoters looked round for a durable exam, found Tony Thompson and the results – two career-shattering defeats – are history.

Throwing Joshua in with Thompson would be a brave but highly unlikely scenario. Perhaps, for now, someone like Kevin Johnson – who has been 12 rounds with Vitali Klitschko, Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora – would be a clever move by Matchroom. The American is almost certain to go rounds. Going back to Tyson, he was forced to go 10 sessions with the canny, but ultimately unambitious James Tillis and Mitch Green before any challenge for honours could be taken seriously.

Michael Sprott is to be Anthony’s next opponent but few expect him to still be standing after the first round. Unlike the Bakhtov bout, this has mismatch written all over it. Sprott’s punch resistance and reactions are casualties of a long and honourable career. This is not a positive matchup. Matchroom may argue that Sprott is the logical opponent because Joshua has eyes on the British title, but the veteran has not campaigned domestically – Prizefighter tournaments withstanding – for a long, long time.

Let’s give Joshua, and Matchroom, credit for what has been achieved in Anthony’s first year as a professional. The Bakhtov bashing highlighted how far he’s come and was, without question, a stirring success.

Smashing up the 39-year-old Sprott, who has been knocked out in the first round twice in the last 18 months, will not further that progress.


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October 13, 2014
October 13, 2014

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DANIEL GEALE will return from his three-round demolition at the hands of Gennady Golovkin with a tasty all-Australian middleweight clash against Jarrod Fletcher.

Geale (30-3) was blown away by unbeaten WBA ‘Super’ champion Golovkin at Madison Square Garden in July.

Now he will look to make another run for his old IBF belt by facing Fletcher for that organisation’s regional Pan Pacific title at the Horden Pavilion in Sydney on December 3.

There are also three Australian title fights on the pay-per-view card.

Fletcher (18-2) also suffered a big fight loss in New York this summer when he was stopped by American Danny Jacobs in five when challenging for the WBA ‘regular’ belt.

His other loss came against Billy Joe Saunders in London in 2012.

The defeats suffered by Geale and Fletcher in America earlier this year were two of a number of high-profile losses inflicted on Australians overseas this summer.

The latest was featherweight Joel Brunker’s loss to Lee Selby at the O2 Arena on Saturday in their IBF title eliminator.

A few days earlier Sam Soliman, who had won the IBF middleweight belt in Germany in May, gave it up in his first defence when he was outpointed by Jermain Taylor.

Sakio Bika, Blake Caparello and Alex Leapai also went down in world title fights this year, while Daniel Dawson was outpointed by former light-middleweight world champion Austin Trout.

October 13, 2014
October 13, 2014

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THEY were collectively known as “The lost generation of heavyweights,” and they rose to prominence in the 1980s, vying for prominence in a decade ruled first by Larry Holmes, and then by Mike Tyson.

Men from largely impoverished backgrounds names Michael Dokes, Pinklon Thomas, Trevor Berbick, Greg Page, Tony Tubbs and Tim Witherspoon took turns holding one or more of the available ‘alphabelt’ titles as they attempted to pull in some of the money that was out there for the big men of the sport. A number of these fighters from “the lost generation” are now dead – Dokes, Page and Berbick all going out in particularly sad and gruesome fashion. Yet one man, a gifted fighter who was arguably the best, or, if you prefer, the king of T.L.G.O.H, is alive and kicking and doing very well in life.

Known as “Terrible” Tim during his long career (the nickname given to him by the incomparable king of all kings, Muhammad Ali), Witherspoon also has some story to tell. And the Philadelphian, now in his late fifties yet looking years younger, has told it in a book available exclusively via www.timwitherspoon.net just in time for Christmas.

Witherspoon, who briefly held both the WBC and WBA heavyweight titles, experienced just about as much as is imaginable for any prize fighter. Yet through all the bad times (and there were good times too), Tim has come out of it all pretty much unscathed. One of the lucky ones perhaps? Certainly, when you look at the sad fate that met some of ’Spoon’s former ring rivals, Tim survived those days of stealing, of intimidating, of cheating, of drug taking and of guns and of jail time with no obvious ill-effects showing. Drugs especially all but destroyed so many of the 80s heavyweight rulers that were controlled by Don King, yet here is Tim today – whether he indulged in that lifestyle or not (as will no doubt be revealed in the book) – looking, sounding, and feeling great.

The life story has been a long time coming to the page and there are, as Witherspoon told me recently, many “shocking revelations” in the bio that was co-written by the former champ and Ryan Danes.

“It’s my life story, it’s about my family, my upbringing, my boxing career, my times with Don King – everything,” Tim says of his book, entitled “Terrible Times.”

“This is the first time I’ve been able to tell my side of the story and it’s been long overdue. It’s taken so long, partly because some of the people involved are serious people, serious people! And some of them are still alive. I had to wait, so that nobody would get hurt by what’s in the book. During my boxing career, which really began in 1976, a long time ago, I had to deal with so many serious people. During my career, I was told to my face a number of times, ‘you’re gonna fight or else!’

“Now I’m putting my story out without hurting these individuals. I fought during what they called ‘The lost generation of heavyweights,’ with guys like myself, Mitch Green, Tony Tubbs, David Bey and other guys. But there was only me who was willing to stand up and talk against what we were going through; about how we were being mistreated. It was due to what we went through that guys like Bernard Hopkins and Floyd Mayweather had a chance to flourish. Today, it’s harder for a fighter to get ripped off, by a promoter or by anyone else.

“There are things in there that will make you go, ‘wow!’  It was a crazy time. It’s a crazy story and it should have been told a long time ago.”

I’m pretty sure that great job of selling his book will assure Tim plenty of buys during the Christmas season. Yet when recalling his long career – pro debut in 1979, final fight in 2003 – Tim has already shared some fascinating things. Indeed, after reading this lot, you may well salivate over what could well be waiting to be discovered inside those pages.

Here are some of Tim’s anecdotes:

Witherspoon on his epic fight with Holmes:

“Larry Holmes jumped over a chair to try and get at me (in 1983, ahead of their world title fight won by Holmes via 12-round split decision) and he also threw a towel in my face. But they never let it get out of hand, but if it had it would have been more publicity for the fight and we’d have sold more tickets!

“I was a young kid in that fight, and I didn’t really know what was happening. That fight came real quick in my career (just 16 bouts in). I asked my team ‘Are we really going for the title already?’ But I took him to a real close split decision and a lot of people thought I’d won. Put it this way, nobody has ever told me I lost it. But he was real experienced, that was a big factor in the fight, that and  because he was chasing Rocky Marciano’s record (of 49-0). That was great publicity and it was in all the papers. They weren’t going to let a young kid like myself come in and ruin that.”

Witherspoon on the best KO’s he scored:

“My knockouts of James “Quick” Tillis and James Broad were right up there for me. But my best win, which came by late KO, was over Frank Bruno in England. I knew more than Bruno. I chopped wood and stuff like that for that fight and I was in shape. They gave me 12 cases of orange juice in London – my team never knew about it – and that put some weight on for me. Anyway, looks can be deceiving. I was in shape. Bruno had a great team around him, but I knew more than he did. Plus, I had a much better defence and of course I could punch.

“The Bruno fight was a special time for me, my best win. But I couldn’t believe the negativity that a whole lot of people had for Bruno in his own country; his countrymen didn’t believe in him. If all of the English fans, and I mean all of ‘em, had gotten behind him, maybe he’d have done better. But there was so much negativity aimed at Frank Bruno and that affected him I believe. He was a gentleman, Bruno – he called my hotel the day after the fight to see if I was okay. It was a tough fight.”

Witherspoon on watching the incredible George Foreman-Ron Lye fight – one of his favourites – at home on T.V in 1976:

“The George Foreman-Ron Lyle fight is a real classic, have you seen it? We watched that live on T.V at home and we were all going crazy, and then my sister turned the T.V over! My brother went crazy and as he got up he hit his head on the T.V! He cut his head and needed stitches (laughs). That was a crazy fight!”

Witherspoon on sparring Ali and Gerry Cooney:

“I was getting paid so much money to work with Ali. I couldn’t believe it. I asked his team, ‘Is this all for me?’ It was great to be around Ali, even though he was getting sick by then (1980). He told me to hit him in the head in sparring, and I told him no way was I gonna do that. I made sure I only hit him in the body. They all knew Ali shouldn’t have fought Larry Holmes, but the fight went on. Holmes beat a sick Ali. Ali gave me my big break and he was the one who started calling me “Terrible Tim!”

“I sparred Gerry Cooney at The Catskills. My trainer told me how to deal with Gerry Cooney: to position myself the right way and to do certain things, and I did pretty well. I sparred with him but it didn’t last that long. I’m not gonna say what happened, but I did pretty well. He had busted up all his sparring partners apart from me.”

Witherspoon on Don King:

“People were afraid of Don King. He had a lot of money and a lot of power. I believe he had mob connections of some kind. He robbed me bad in the Bruno fight!”

October 12, 2014
October 12, 2014

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CORNELIUS BUNDRAGE, scored two knockdowns, regained the IBF light-middleweight title, while scoring a unanimous points victory over Carlos Molina at the Grand Oasis in Cancun, Mexico.

The veteran, known as “K9”, started fast, wobbling and dropping Molina in the opening round. The champion recovered to rally in rounds three and four, but Bundrage’s superior power was definitive.

He rocked Molina several times before flooring him again in the 11th. The judges’ totals after 12 sessions were 117-106, 116-109, and 115-110.

Bundrage lost a point in round eight for landing a shot behind Molina’s head.

It was the first defence for Molina since he won the title 13 months ago.

Bundrage, originally won this title in 2010 when he defeated Cory Spinks.

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October 12, 2014
October 12, 2014

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THE perennially elusive Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao is “definitely” going to happen according to the American superstar’s father.

“It’s gonna happen. That fight’s gonna happen. Trust me,” Floyd Mayweather Snr told fighthype.com. “That fight’s definitely gonna happen. It’s a fight for the world, man, right there. It’s the biggest fight that has ever been in life, so like I said, man, that fight’s gonna happen.”

However, any excitement should be tempered as Mayweather reacted to his father’s claims angrily.

“Well, my father is totally wrong,” Mayweather Jnr said. “Like I said before, we have people constantly being removed from the Mayweather Promotions team, Team Mayweather, and we also have people being removed from The Money Team. I want my dad to be with my team, but if he continues to go out there and speak on things that he has no knowledge about without communicating with me, then I must get a new trainer. I’m just saying, when Pacquiao was sleeping, everybody was like, ‘Y’all crazy for trying to make that Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.’ You know what’s so crazy? I just look at the situation like this, ever since [Alex] Ariza left Pacquiao, he hasn’t had a knockout. What a coincidence!”

Mayweather, 37, is scheduled to return in May 2015 but he has offered no indication of who he’ll face. After beating Marcos Maidana in September, the WBC welterweight and light-middleweight champion offered mild interest in taking on the Filipino at some point in the future.

“I’m gonna go and talk to my team and see what the future holds,” Mayweather said last month. “I don’t know who I’m fighting in May, but I expect to fight in May. Manny Pacquiao needs to focus on the guy in front of him. Once he gets past him, he can look to the future. If the Pacquiao fight presents itself, let’s make it happen.”

Pacquiao, who takes on Chris Algieri on November 22, saw his form dip in 2012 with upset losses to Timothy Bradley (via highly controversial decision) and Juan Manuel Marquez. But subsequent victories over Brandon Rios, and Bradley, rekindled the public’s interest in the Mayweather showdown.

The old issues remain, though. The 35-year-old Filipino remains under contract to Bob Arum, a promoter that Mayweather refuses to work with. The fighters are also represented by rival broadcasters, Showtime (Mayweather) and HBO (Pacquiao) which would greatly complicate any (increasingly unlikely) negotiations.
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October 11, 2014
October 11, 2014
Anthony Joshua-Denis Bakhtov

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11.20pm: “It was scheduled for 10 rounds and it only went two so I’ve got to make up the rest.” Anthony Joshua has half an hour of padwork ahead of him after halting Russia’s Denis Bakhtov 1-00 into the second round. “We’re into phase two now so it’s time to step it up,” Joshua continued. “He’s not an easy opponent but I just wanted to make light work of him.

“I just wanted to hurt him.”

11.12pm: Denis Bakhtov did not fold beneath the heavy shots Anthony Joshua scorched through his guard in the first round. But he could only last into a minute of the second round as the weight the Olympic champion’s attacks clubbed him into the ropes. Referee Ian John Lewis hesitated but  pulled Joshua off his prey. The Watford man picks up the first belt of his professional career, a WBC international strap.

11.01pm: Anthony Joshua is in the ring. It’s clobberin’ time.

10.51pm: Prior to the fight Selby said this would be his acid test. “I passed it with flying colours and I’ll do just the same to [IBF champion] Evgeny Gradovich,” the Welshman declared. “I’ve had quite a bit of criticism so I thought I’d put on a bit of a show tonight… I had to prove I’m worthy to challenge for a world title.” Promoter Eddie Hearn reckons Selby could fight Gradovich next spring, assuming the champion successfully defends his title at the end of November against Jayson Velez.

10.48pm: Selby picked apart Brunker, until in the ninth round he added the finishing touches, ripping hooks into his body and hammering the Australian into the ropes to end it.

10.26pm: As Brunker marches forward, Selby applies the touches of class, landing some lovely, eye-catching shots.

10.04pm: And now Lee Selby versus Joel Brunker in a final eliminator for the IBF featherweight title.

9.56pm: “I’ve had some real ups and downs,” said the delighted new English champion, Tyler Goodjohn. A deflated Boylan said, “When Tyler was moving I just couldn’t get my shots off… I’m gutted but that’s boxing.”

9.52pm: Marcus McDonnell scores 96-96, Ian John Lewis and Richie Davis 96-94. Tyler Goodjohn wins by majority decision.

9.33pm: Goodjohn has hit Boylan with everything but Ricky finally clawed  back a round in the sixth.

9.12pm: Just as it looked like Boylan was getting into a rhythm, Goodjohn caught him with some massive head shots. Boylan could be in trouble here.

9.04pm:  Tyler Goodjohn versus Ricky Boylan for the English light-welterweight title is on now. This should perk the crowd up.

9.00pm: Into the fifth round and Tetteh gets a point deducted for a second time. Ryder lands a right hook and a jab and referee Richie Davies decides he’s had enough and waves it off.

8.48pm: A quiet start but Ryder’s lead right hook and then a backhand left hurt Tetteh in the second round.

8.31pm: John Ryder versus Theophilus Tetteh should be on in T-10 minutes.

8.25pm: David Price is on ringside punditry duty for Sky… What does this mean?

8.21pm: Ben Hall outscores Simon Henry 39-37 after four rounds.

8.05pm: Ohara Davies has power but says, “I’m a smart fighter… I can hit hard, I’ve got speed but what me and my coach work on is technique.”

8.02pm: Ohara Davies scythes down Andy Harris with body shots at the the start of the second round. This prospect appears to be one to watch.

7.45pm: John Wayne Hibberts takes out Leonardo Esteban Gonzalez in five rounds and wins a vacant WBC International light-welterweight strap.

7.18pm: Although Martin was drilling Tew with good shots, marking him up, it looked like referee Ian John Lewis jumped in too soon when he stopped Tew 55 seconds into the seventh round.

7.06pm: Martin whips in hurtful shots in the fourth round.

6.50pm: A lot of loud support for Martin.

6.48pm: And now a 10-round eliminator for the English light-welterweight title for Tommy Martin and Matty Tew.

6.45pm: A mighty left hook drops Bowes in the 10th and last round. Hughes sustains his attack and eventually Bowes’ corner pulls him out with 2-05 on the clock.

6.41pm: To compound Bowes’ misery he loses a point for holding in the ninth.

6.37pm: Hughes slams a straight right into Bowes, who sags into his tormentor. Philip survives and they go into the ninth round.

6.17pm: Joe Hughes cranks up the pressure on Philip Bowes as they go into the fourth round of their Southern Area light-welterweight title fight.

5.50pm: Erick Ochieng gets the evening at the O2 started with a four-round points win over William Warburton.


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