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September 20, 2014
September 20, 2014
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KALLE SAUERLAND has insisted he and brother Nisse have no intention of competing in the British market, regardless of the success of tonight’s European super middleweight title fight between George Groves and Christopher Rebrasse.

Groves became Sauerland Promotions’ latest significant British recruit when on the eve of his May rematch with Carl Froch he joined a stable already featuring Deion Jumah and David Price.

While the past 12 months have been relatively low-key for both Jumah and Price, the latter – if not cruiserweight Jumah as well – is unlikely to remain a long-term undercard fighter, suggesting the European promoters will have to stage regular bills in the UK if both the heavyweight and Groves are to fulfill their potential.

Despite refusing to rule out the possibility of further British signings, however, with Matchroom – who also have an interest in Saturday’s promotion – Frank Warren and Mick Hennessy already established as the UK’s market leaders, Kalle sees no benefit in attempting to rival them.

“It’s a competition situation,” he told Boxing News. “Two guys [Frank Warren and Eddie Hearn] are controlling the market. Is there a space for a third? I’m not so sure.

“I’ve got enough fights in the other markets, I don’t need to come into another. I work very well with Eddie, and I’ve worked very well in the past with Frank.

“There’s not one promoter in the world who wouldn’t have signed George. Not one – he had big offers from the States. But is it about the UK market? Yes, because it’s in the UK, but it’s not about us now saying we’re going to build fighters here from scratch. Take Deion Jumah – he’s a guy we can build abroad.

“If we came into the UK market now, we’d be picking up scraps. The biggest benefit would be for the boxers. From a business point of view, it would push up the prices. The margins, which are already low, would be lower. Why would we do that?

“But what we won’t rule out is signing more UK fighters – if the right ones come along.”

September 19, 2014
September 19, 2014
George Groves

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TODAY George Groves returned to Wembley Stadium, the scene of his knockout loss to Carl Froch, to weigh in for his return against France’s Christopher Rebrasse.

The weigh-in itself may have been a step down from Groves’ last one when thousands turned out at the neighbouring SSE Arena (where tomorrow’s fight will take place) to see him and Carl Froch hit the scales in May. But this was still a lively occasion. A troop of trumpeters and drummers made some noise for the fighters, Michael Buffer added a touch of American big-fight glamour and Groves’ Gingerbread Man mascot gamboled happily about the stage. The fighter himself looked calm as he weighed in at 11st 13lbs 6oz.

Rebrasse, the long-armed European super-middleweight champion, is the taller man but didn’t strike the assembled onlookers as an intimidating presence. With clear eyes wide open, he faced Groves after scaling 11st 13 1/2lbs.

A vacant WBC Silver title is also on offer for this fight, which serves as an eliminator for the WBC super-middleweight crown held by Anthony Dirrell. Judges will be Massimo Barrovecchio, Bela Florian and Robert Verwijis. Adrio Zannoni is set to be the referee.

For the full preview don’t miss this week’s issue of Boxing News

September 19, 2014
September 19, 2014
ChrisGoodwin

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THINGS have really heated up for Chris Goodwin ever since he defeated Mikheil Avakyani in Chester last month. The tough split decision win, against a late-notice substitute who came in over the original lightweight limit, has acted as a surprise stepping stone.

This was emphasised when his trainer and father, Steve Goodwin got a call asking him if he wanted Chris to come for some rather interesting sparring.

Steve explains: “I got a message off the internet from London agent Derek Waddell. He asked us if we wanted to come over and do some sparring with unbeaten Finland lightweight Edis Tatli who is due to fight Richard Abril for the WBA lightweight belt this month.

“Well, I had a look and I thought it would be good for Chris, but it had to be up to him. He had a look at a video and he loved the idea. Two days later we were in Finland!

“I have to say, we were treated really well by their camp and I loved Finland. It is a beautiful country”

Well, such quality sparring was always going to be tough, but it was certainly beneficial for the young Goodwin.

“It was very hard. Tatli is a good fighter, and his coach is a good coach. Chris did well though. Very technical work. They were using the jab, throwing good combos, moving well and throwing. You couldn’t ask for better sparring.

“We did 40 rounds of that, and on the last day Finland TV was there. The guy said it was the best sparring he had seen in ages and they ended up interviewing Chris, asking who he was and where he came from. They were really impressed.”

Now the obvious question I had was, can Tatli beat Abril? Steve Goodwin definitely thinks he has a chance.

“They are preparing really well but they have a tough guy against them. Abril has really chopping right hands which is very dangerous. But Tatli is a really skillful fighter and is very strong. He has a real chance here, and he is at home.”

After such good work, where does Steve want Chris Goodwin to go next? One name stands out.

“We want Mzonke Fana. He is slick and he is still very good, but I know Chris can beat him.

“After that I want really good names that will get us real respect with the WBA, IBF, WBC and WBO. I want them to realise Chris is a brilliant fighter and not some sort of f****** joke. We can only do that by fighting names with real quality behind them.”

Fana would be a quality step up and probably a very makeable fight. It would certainly be one that grabs the public attention.

Chris Goodwin’s journey might just be at the beginning. Watch this space.

September 19, 2014
September 19, 2014
Boxer Wlodarczyk of Poland stands on a scale during an official weigh-in prior to his WBC cruiserweight title fight against Robinson of the U.S. in Warsaw

Boxer Krzysztof "Diablo" Wlodarczyk of Poland stands on a scale during an official weigh-in prior to his WBC cruiserweight title fight against Jason Robinson of the U.S. at a Zlote Tarasy shopping mall in Warsaw September 24, 2010. The fight is to take place on Saturday. REUTERS/Peter Andrews (POLAND - Tags: SPORT BOXING) Picture Supplied by Action Images *** Local Caption *** 2010-09-24T184423Z_01_WAR504_RTRIDSP_3_POLAND.jpg

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MOSCOW’S Dynamo Palace of Sports in Krylatskoye hosts two world cruiserweight title contests on Saturday September 27, both pitting a Russian against a Pole.

Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, 49-2-1 (35), of Piaseczno in Poland, defends his WBC crown against Chekhov’s European titlist Grigory Drozd, 38-1 (27), while southpaw Denis Lebedev, 25-2 (9), also of Chekhov, puts his WBA belt on the line against Krynica Zdroj’s Pawel Kolodziej, 33-0 (18).

Two-time world ruler Wlodarczyk, 33, has not lost since dropping a decision to Steve Cunningham in May 2007 – a man he outscored six months previously. He has since stopped Danny Green, Rakhim Chakhkiev and Giacobbe Fragomeni (twice).

After being stopped by Firat Arslan eight years ago, Drozd, 35, regrouped to secure EBU honours with a spirited stoppage of Mateusz Masternak last October, and made short work of outgunned Jeremy Ouanna in March.

This one is likely to be an all-action tear-up, with both bangers having their moments. Drozd possesses a good engine and can box as well as brawl, but Wlodarczyk has top-level experience. The robust champ can force the referee’s intervention late on.

Lebedev’s April rematch with Guillermo Jones was cancelled following the Panamanian’s failed pre-fight drug test. The 35-year-old lost his WBA strap following a knockout loss to Jones in May last year, but was reinstated as champion when his conqueror tested positive for a banned substance post-fight.

Lebedev’s only other reverse came against Marco Huck, while he holds wins over Roy Jones Jnr and James Toney.

Tall Kolodziej, 34, has not met anyone near Lebedev’s level. He was floored in the opening session by then-14-7-1 Prince Anthony Ikeji in November, before recording a stoppage success.

The step-up in class will likely prove too much for the challenger, who may not make it to the final bell against his heavy-handed adversary.

September 18, 2014
September 18, 2014
GrovesFitzpatrick

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GEORGE GROVES has credited trainer Paddy Fitzpatrick and his loving family with re-energising him for the most crucial stage of his boxing journey. Coming off two inside-schedule defeats to Carl Froch – the first highly contentious – super-middleweight Groves seeks to kick start the next chapter with a WBC final eliminator against Christopher Rebrasse, the Frenchman’s European belt also on the line.

Groves made his name and spent the vast majority of his professional career under the auspices of Adam Booth. This will be his third fight with Fitzpatrick and the duo are yet to enjoy a victory together, but Groves has a deep and abiding faith in their partnership.

“I met Paddy at a different stage of my life and of my career,” Groves noted. “A fighter of 20 working with David Haye and Adam Booth would be almost in awe of them. They’re showing you a lot of new things very quickly, you learn a lot very quickly and you have wins very quickly because you’re a newbie pro. That relationship went sour, it happens, but for Paddy to come in and give me that stimulation, I feel like I am learning new things in the gym, day after day. A lot of fighters are set in their ways, old dogs and you can’t teach them new tricks. We feel we are in a really good place but the thing we are desperate for is a win.”

Vital to that mission is Groves’ wife of two years Sophie and the Hammersmith man’s family. They take the pressure off and help to keep a high-profile fighter grounded.

“My family in general are fantastic, loving and supporting parents and siblings, and I’ve got a wonderful wife as well,” Groves said. “I’m fortunate, I’ve got a lot of good people in my life and I stumble across good people with good intentions. You wouldn’t realise when you are being moody sometimes; you can be hard work, temperamental and, in many ways, a diva. Like, ‘Don’t ask me to do the washing up in between [training] sessions because I’m going to go and lay down.’ It’s a great excuse [laughs]. I’ll tidy up the whole house but I don’t wanna make the bed; it’s the little wins, you know? But they’re understanding. I spoke to my mum on the phone the other day and she was really pleased to speak to me and I thought, ‘Maybe I haven’t called her enough lately’, but she understands. The people around me are good, genuine people and they worry about me. That’s nice but also sad really that I put that worry on them. It’s nice to know they care so I take that with a smile on my face.”

September 18, 2014
September 18, 2014
More-Paul-Butler

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PAUL BUTLER won a world crown in a record fewest number of fights for an Englishman when he leapt up to bantamweight to capture the IBF belt from Stuey Hall. He returns immediately to super-fly to try to win a second world title from Zolani Tete.

Essential to his achievements is of course his performance in the ring and daily work with trainer Anthony “Arnie” Farnell in the boxing gym. But Butler has also been using the strength and conditioning coaches at the No Limits Gym in Liverpool, Chris Tamm and Danny Withington. They offered some insights into the support they’ve provided to help him dance through the divisions.

BOXING CENTRED

Butler’s boxing is at the heart of his training regime. His strength and conditioning work has to complement it, not hinder it. “We’ve got to make sure that if we do anything with him, the next day he can still go in and perform with Arnie and box because that’s what he’s there for,” said Chris Tamm. “We don’t want him to have sore legs or sore arms or anything like that. The Monday at the start of the week when he’s at his freshest, he’ll do his lifts, again the lifts are not too strenuous, it doesn’t last too long, then Tuesday he’s fine, Wednesday he’s back in with us, we’re working on minor stuff again or developing new techniques, so again he’s fresh for the Thursday and Friday. His toughest session will be the Saturday, conditioning.”

Danny Withington emphasised, “One of the major things is we have contact with Arnie often and also [Paul’s] dad. So we have good contacts with them, we work as a team together. When we first met them we had a real good sitdown and a good chat and discussed what the possibilities are and where we were going. That was discussed prior to the first camp. That was done so that me and Chris could periodise everything, prepare everything.”

PROGRESS IS GRADUAL

They didn’t try to force new exercises on Butler until he was ready for them. “When he first came to us, he’d never even lifted anything. We didn’t straight away get him under a bar. We put him on bodyweight [exercises] first because we believe in setting a good foundation up first. If someone can’t do a press-up, we don’t understand why they should get under a bench and start trying to bench press,” Chris explained. “Then you introduce unilateral stuff, dumbbells, once they’re comfortable with dumbbells, then you introduce bars, once they’re comfortable on strength then you introduce speed and power.”

Paul progressed from bodyweight exercises, to using the TRX suspension training before getting on to lifting weights, firstly with compound lifts for strength, before eventually advancing to Olympic lifts for speed and power. Danny continued, “What we’ve started introducing now are Olympic lifts, so a hang clean, power cleans, hang snatches. Too many people start that far too early when they’re not ready. So we’ve created a solid base by doing compound lifts, so it allows us to be more aggressive with our functional training.”

MODERN CONDITIONING

“I’m not into the running at all,” Chris revealed. Long distance running can have a negative impact “on the joints, inflammation, lowering testosterone levels, actually being bad for the body because it raises cortisol, which is the stress hormone”.

“The fighters will still do the occasional run, once a week, just to know that they’ve got it in the legs to go that distance but we do sprint work and conditioning-based stuff,” he continued.

“You want to try and work at maximum effort for between 10 to 30 seconds. Obviously the shorter the time, the more related to just pure power it is. The longer time you sprint for you’re starting to cross the boundaries into strength endurance and muscle glycogen stores, which is how much carbohydrate you store in the muscle. A good mark for a sprint would be 20 seconds, then rest for a minute and repeat that anywhere between six and 10 times. Or the other way of doing it is, you can make it even more sport specific and you can sprint for 20 seconds, rest for 10, sprint for 20 seconds rest for 10 and repeat that for three minutes and that replicates what’s going to happen in a ring.”

Danny added, “We wouldn’t advise you did that for more than say one round max, you don’t need to.”

THE RIGHT STUFF

“If you’re going to be a world-class athlete, you’ve got to start sorting your food out,” Chris declared. “We worked out appropriate numbers to go up in weight comfortably without putting body fat on and maintain lean muscle.”

They used a calorie counting app (you can get one from MyFitnessPal for instance) to record what food he was eating. “People think it’s different because he’s going up in weight. He’s still actually making a weight. He’s still going up to make weight,” Danny said of his move up to bantamweight. “You’re still making the weight correctly.”

“Boxers massively under-eat. Compared to the amount of work that they’re exerting their body through,” Tamm said.

“We have a set diet plan for fight camp, then another diet plan for fight week. We have a final day’s worth of food intake for the last 24 hours before he weighs in and then we also start calculating foods on the re-feed so as he’s weighed in, we’ve got a specific drink for him with set numbers of carbohydrate, and food.”

Now Butler is moving down in weight, the challenge is to keep those strength gains. “We’re going to have to recalculate it and give him less calories and less intake of food,” Chris said. “What we don’t want to do is drop him too fast too soon and then he loses too much muscle which is what we were working on trying to build on anyway. We want him to maintain as much lean muscle as possible, go in to the weigh-in with as little body fat as possible and be in prime condition.” As Withington insisted, Butler can still become “more powerful. This is his weight now, this is where he needs to win that world title again and he knows that.”

*For training information and workouts from some of the biggest names in combat sport don’t miss the Fighting Fit: Train like the Stars special*

September 18, 2014
September 18, 2014
RickyBurns

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RICKY BURNS will face Leonardo Esteban Gonzalez in his first bout at light-welterweight at the first direct Arena in Leeds on October 4, live on Sky Sports.

Burns moves up to 140lbs following a tough run in the lightweight division after surrendering his WBO title to talented Omaha star Terence Crawford in March, and his subsequent split decision loss to Dejan Zlaticanin in June. The Scot meets the 32-year-old Argentine over 10 rounds and the pair have a common foe in Paulus Moses, the Namibian whom Burns defended his lightweight crown against in March 2012, and Gonzalez fought in October 2013.

The Coatbridge ace claimed the WBO super-featherweight title four years ago on a memorable night against Roman Martinez, and the 31-year-old believes he can bring back those glory days up at light-welterweight.

“I believe that the move up in weight will really benefit me,” said Burns. “The lightweight limit was proving tougher to make in my last few fights so that’s now behind me and I can concentrate on working on my boxing in the gym with Tony Sims.

“It has been a tough year following the Raymundo Beltran fight but I’m feeling great in the gym and the fire and desire is still there to achieve big things. I’m looking to show in Leeds that I’ve still got the goods to challenge for major belts and ultimately, win another world title.”