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October 17, 2014
October 17, 2014
FrochDirrell

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BACK in 2009, the super-middleweight Super Six tournament got underway, as four of the fighters in the mix went head-to-head in Berlin and Nottingham.

IN Nottingham, Carl Froch took a close split decision victory over Andre Dirrell to retain the WBC title, while over in Berlin, Arthur Abraham produced a stunning final round knockout to get the better of Jermain Taylor.

THE Super Six was an incredible concept when it was announced by Showtime, however with fighters pulling out and being replaced by inferior men and the fact it took two years to complete, means there hasn’t really been a similar tournament since its inception.

FROCH entered his fight with Dirrell off the back of a superb last round stoppage of Taylor in Connecticut. He was up against 2004 Olympic Bronze Medallist from Athens Dirrell, who called himself “The Matrix” and was 18-0 as a professional.

FOR Dirrell this was his shot at what Froch’s trainer Robert McCracken called, “the Big Time”. He was a tricky southpaw with a growing reputation and entered the tournament, alongside his Olympic teammate Andre Ward, the eventual winner, as the underdogs.

DANIEL HERBERT predicted for Boxing News, “Dirrell is a live opponent, but I think it will be Froch, who will take control to either shake up Dirrell often enough to win on points, or perhaps even force the referee to intervene late in the fight.”

MEANWHILE over in Berlin, Arthur Abraham was making his debut at 12st, following 10 defences of the IBF middleweight belt, and entered the tournament as many observers’ favourite.

TAYLOR meanwhile appeared on a slippery slope, after losses to Kelly Pavlik, twice, and that last round defeat, with just 14 seconds to go, to Froch when he was ahead on the scorecards.

“KING” Arthur was finding the middleweight limit difficult and the only fights that were realistically worthwhile for him were unification fights with Pavlik and Felix Sturm, both of which were proving impossible to make.

ABRAHAM entered the fight as favourite and with his concussive power, he was expected to get through to Taylor and possibly stop him. But if Taylor managed to stay away from him, it could well be an interesting night.

A WEEK later though, there was no doubt as to who the winner was, when Abraham coldly knocked out Taylor, once again in the final round, with just six seconds to go.

Taylor, a former undisputed middleweight champion, showed good boxing skills but faded badly and his confidence looked shot, as they entered the final rounds.

HE suffered a bleed on the brain following the fight and was unable to fight for two years, although he has recently just claimed the IBF Middleweight title again, despite pending criminal charges. He still isn’t anywhere near the force he once was.

ABRAHAM got to the semi-finals of the tournament, but suffered losses to Froch and Ward. He is the current WBO Champion at super-middleweight, and his gone through a trilogy with Robert Stieglitz. He could well take on Paul Smith in a rematch, after the dreadful scorecards tainted their first clash.

LATER that night in Nottingham, Froch edged past Dirrell in a cagey fight where both fighters cancelled each other out. Neither established himself as the dominant force in the fight and it was a tactical affair that British fans weren’t used to seeing in regards to Froch fights, which are usually packed with thrills and spills.

DIRRELL has outstanding talent and caused Froch a lot of problems, spoiling the Champion’s work at every opportunity. But, Froch did what he usually does and no matter the opponent, he found a way to win.

THE Michigan native moved on to fight Abraham in his next fight, winning when the German based Armenian was disqualified when he punched on a break.

BUT since that victory it has been a difficult road for “The Matrix”. He dropped out of a fight with Ward and the tournament, following health complications off the back of the Abraham fight and has only just re-entered the fray as a genuine contender.

AS for Froch, he has gone from strength-to-strength, despite losing next time out to Mikkel Kessler. He may have lost the final to Ward, but became world champion again with a stunning victory in his hometown against Lucian Bute, avenged the Kessler loss, and who can forget his two fights with George Groves.

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October 17, 2014
October 17, 2014
LukeCampbell

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LUKE CAMPBELL says he is firing on all cylinders for his big step-up against Daniel Brizuela at the Ice Arena in Hull on October 25, live on Sky Sports.

Campbell faces the experienced Argentine in his ninth pro bout as he looks to end the year on a high as he targets title bouts in 2015.

Brizuela returns to the scene of his epic clash with Campbell’s fellow Hull star Tommy Coyle, where both fighters hit the deck four times in the bout before Coyle stopped the visitor in the final round of the rollercoaster bout – but the Olympic gold medal hero insists he will handle the dangerous 28-year-old in style.

“I don’t care about his fight with Tommy, I am going to beat him convincingly,” said Campbell. “It’s my first real test and everyone is saying that it’s going to be a great fight, but whoever is put in front of me is going to get beaten.

“I’ve never really watched footage of my opponents before but I have watched this guy and see what we are going to do against him, but at the end of the day I am going to do what I am going to do and if he doesn’t like it, he’s going to have to adapt.

“This is my toughest fight for sure, he’s a strong guy, he got up a few times against Tommy and that shows he’s durable and won’t give up. He’s going to come and bring his best and I want him to do that, because if he is at his best, then I will be at my best.

“I am looking for a breakdown job, I am not going to go in there and try and stop him like a mad man. It’s boxing at the end of the day. I want to do it round by round. Do I need to do anything different? I don’t think so. I just need to do what I do and the best that I can do it, and if I do that, he’s in for a tough night.”

After a brief spell on the sidelines to spend time with his family earlier in the year, Campbell slipped straight back into winning ways with three wins in three months since July. Last time out he stopped Krzysztof Szot in seven rounds at Wembley Arena, a rare occurrence for the durable Pole who had only been stopped twice before, a result that served as a testament to Campbell’s progress.

“I’ve stayed busy, I’m active and I am thinking about what I’m doing,” said Campbell. “I am getting regular fights, boxed every month from July, and that’s what I want to do. This is why I am in the sport, to fight for titles, and at this stage in my career I can afford to fight every month, I am coming out of the fights with no marks on my face and I am beating the kids well, so why not fight again a few weeks later.

“This is going to be a test and it’s the first fight I am really excited about as it’s the first fight that we’re going to see what I have got. I can’t tell you what is going to happen but I am in great condition and feel ready to put in a performance to show that.”

Campbell’s clash with Brizuela is part of a great night of action in Hull, with Coyle facing Australian star Michael Katsidis for the Hull man’s IBF International Lightweight title and Gavin McDonnell steps into international waters for the first time against former World title challenger against Vusi Malinga. Samir Mouniemne continues on the path back to title contention and the show also sees a showcase of local talent with Nathon Smith, Tom Knight, Charlie Payton and Connor Seymour.

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October 16, 2014
October 16, 2014
MichaelKatsidis

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MICHAEL KATSIDIS says he’ll prove he can still be a force in the Lightweight division when he takes on Tommy Coyle for the IBF International title at the Ice Arena in Hull on October 25, live on Sky Sports.

The Australian secured a pair of wins earlier in the year in his hometown of Queensland, a third round stoppage in March before a shutout twelve round win over old World title foe Graham Earl in July.

The 34 year old has left no stone unturned in his preparations for Coyle, landing in the UK in September and teaming up with former British champion Maurice Core in Manchester. ‘The Great’ has faced questions over how much he has left in the tank but he insists he’ll answer the critics in style and can become a force in the Lightweight division.

“I’m here to prove that I still have plenty left to offer – and there will be no questioning my future after Hull,” said Katsidis. “I’ve been over here for a while, settling in, getting comfortable in his backyard and ready to perform at my best on the night. I don’t know much about Tommy, but I know that he is in for a tough night on the 25th.

“I’m really enjoying the training and I love being in England. The Lightweight division over here is really flying, there’s some great fights here for me, and a big win over Tommy will put me right back on the map.

“It’s an honour to be working with Maurice in Manchester, he’s worked with some great champions like Prince Naseem Hamed, and we’ve really clicked so everything is in great order. I love boxing and this is what I do, this isn’t a job for me, this is love.”

Coyle’s clash with Katsidis headlines a fantastic night’s boxing at the Hull Arena which also features Luke Campbell MBE against Daniel Brizuela and Gavin McDonnell stepping into international waters for the first time against Vusi Malinga. Samir Mouniemne continues on the path back to title contention and the show also sees a showcase of local talent with Nathon Smith, Tom Knight, Charlie Payton and Connor Seymour.

Tickets are on sale now priced £40, £60 and £120 for VIPs and are available from Matchroom Sport on 01277 359900 and at www.matchroomboxing.com

October 16, 2014
October 16, 2014
ChauncyWelliver

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CHAUNCY WELLIVER says he’ll shatter Lucas Browne’s hopes of boxing for a world title and re-establish himself on the global stage when they meet next month.

The New Zealand-based American, 31, was himself once ranked in the WBC’s top five ranked heavyweights and feels the November 12 fight is a chance to kick start his title hopes.

If experience counts for anything, Welliver will be at a huge advantage. The “Hillyard Hammer” has been a professional for over 13 years and has had 68 fights, while unbeaten Browne has been in just 21 paid bouts.

“This is the perfect fight for me to get my career back on track. Lucas Browne is on a roll but I’m going to derail his train,” Welliver said.

“I think Lucas Browne is a very good prospect, but he’s just that, a prospect. I think my experience will be too much. I was injured my last fight, but I’m fully healthy now and will win this fight.

“I think style wise, you’ll see fireworks. He’s stronger, but I believe I’m more durable. The early rounds will dictate how this fight goes so I’ve got to set a fast pace.

“I’ll take him into the later rounds and see if he sinks or swims. I’m going to use my boxing skills to confuse him and out point him and get my name back up the top of the heavyweight ratings.

“I want to get back where I was a few years ago and I know a win here puts me in the mix. I’ve been training well and getting some quality sparring with Marco Huck and Yoan Pablo Hernandez. I’m going to shatter Lucas Browne’s dreams.”

Browne v Welliver’s clash for the WBC EPBC title is part of a huge night of boxing at the Hisense Arena in Melbourne with the main event seeing Sergey Rabchenko defending his WBC Silver light-middleweight title against Anthony Mundine.

Further title action includes Zhanat Zhankiyanov squaring off with Fred Mundraby for the WBC EPBC bantamweight crown while Leonardo Zappavigna meets Misael Castillo for the WBO Oriental light-welterweight championship.

October 16, 2014
October 16, 2014
Paul-Butler2

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CHRIS TAMM and Danny Withington are the trainers at the No Limits gym in Liverpool,who help fighters like Paul Butler and Matty Fagan with their strength and conditioning. For those unfamiliar with weight-training,the TRX suspension trainer is an excellent tool to begin strength and conditioning. Here, Tamm and Withington provide a circuit to start you off: Before we go into the basics, let’s first take you through the equipment we use in setting up foundations for starting strength.

The TRX suspension trainer is based around bodyweight exercises that are functional and develop balance, proprioception, strength and core stability. When setting up a basic programme, think about working multiple groups of muscles and different planes of movement. Ideally you should concentrate on the basics.

Mastering the fundamentals in our opinion is what separates a good boxer/athlete from an elite one. The following circuit contains a sample of some of the foundation exercises we would use with any boxer before they progress on to resistance work. Perform each exercise for 10 reps. Once the circuit is complete rest for 30 seconds. Repeat three-four times. For more information see www.nolimitsliverpool.com or follow @nolimitsgym_ on Twitter

1. PISTOL SQUAT (RIGHT AND LEFT LEGS)

The first body part we will look at is the legs. The legs provide the balance, stability, power and driving force for a boxer. A good exercise to begin with is the pistol squat. This develops unilateral strength in the quads and glutes. It can identify if one leg is weaker than the other, which can then be worked on.

2. BRIDGED HAMSTRING CURL

We would then look to work the opposing muscle group which is the hamstrings. This is known as a lying hamstring curl. Here, you bridge up from the floor and curl your heels towards your glutes. This is also great for the core muscles that surround the spine.

3. SUPINE ROW

Moving on to the upper body, we begin with a supine row. This exercise is extremely underrated but very important to a boxer. Walk out into a horizontal position with glutes engaged, you then row by squeezing the shoulder blades and pulling your hands into your armpits. This strengthens the lats but also helps develop the rear delts, rhomboids and traps. These muscles are often switched off or underused as almost all of a boxer’s work is done on the anterior side. Working these are vital as they help to decelerate a punch, thus preventing injury.

4. SUSPENDED PRESS-UP

Next is the chest. The suspended press-up is excellent for chest and shoulder strength and mobility as well as great for the core. In a plank position, bend the arms until your chest falls between the handles then drive upwards back to the starting position using the force through you triceps and pecs.

5. JACKKNIFE

The last exercise is core-related. Again great for a boxer as this improves the strength in the torso, vital in relation to throwing punches and also being able to absorb them. The jacknife has multiple benefits. While stabilising the shoulder joint you also improve core strength, both front and back. Start suspended in a press-up position, keep your lower back in line with your shoulders. Begin to tuck your knees into your chest, then extend the legs back to the start, while maintaining a straight back.

*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*

October 15, 2014
October 15, 2014
Stanley Ketchel

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STANLEY KETCHEL’S life was an adventure. It ended when he was only 24, shot through the lung by Walter Dipley in a jealous rage over a woman. Ketchel had lived in keeping with the myths of the Wild West. From a Polish family, his original name was Stanislaus Keical. Ketchel was just 14 years old when he fled home to travel America as a hobo.

He wound up in Butte, Montana, a rough mining town where he worked as bouncer in a bar. Here he discovered himself as a fighter, taking on all comers in shows at a local theatre. Ketchel proved to be a natural, gifted with knockout power.

His first recorded professional contest was in 1903. He won it in the first round. He plied his trade in Montana. From being a ferocious brawler Ketchel began to refine his technique, though still winning overwhelmingly by knockout. Maurice Thompson outpointed him but also took Ketchel under his wing.

In 1907 Stanley began boxing in California, boosting his national profile. The following year, in halting Jack “Twin” Sullivan in 20 rounds, he laid claim to the world’s middleweight championship.

Soon his great rivalry with Billy Papke began. In their first contest Ketchel had to settle for a win on points, though promptly restored his aura with subsequent stoppage wins over Hugo Kelly and Joe Thomas.

Papke though was no stranger to violence. He fought his way from the coal mines to the prize ring and managed to rip the title from Ketchel, paying no heed to convention, when they boxed again later in 1908. Before the rematch started the two fighters were brought into the centre of the ring to shake hands. Papke struck Ketchel with one of history’s more notable sucker punches. In those harsher times the referee did not disqualify Papke, but contented himself with reprimanding him. Ketchel hadn’t recovered from the head shot and Papke could command the bout, eventually stopping Ketchel in 12 rounds.

Stanley response was furious. A rematch was arranged before the year was out and Ketchel had the knockout on his mind. He duly delivered it in the 11th round, becoming the first man to regain a lost middleweight title in the process.

1909 was the defining year of Ketchel’s career. He got a taste of battling a larger man when he tackled “Philadelphia” Jack O’Brien. Under pressure initially Ketchel eventually made his power tell, knocking O’Brien down four times in the ninth and 10th rounds. Only the final bell made it a points loss for O’Brien rather than a knockout.

They fought again a few months later and Ketchel picked up from where he’d left off. O’Brien was hauled out in three. The “Michigan Assassin” got in a fourth fight with Papke, which he won on points before his fame carried him all the way to a shot at the heavyweight title.

The search for a ‘White Hope’ to challenge Jack Johnson dragged Ketchel into the heavyweight division. The champion dwarfed Ketchel but Stanley approached him with the fearlessness that so characterized his life. Initially Ketchel kept himself out of harms way. Beginning to press, in the 12th round his right found its way to the champion’s jaw, knocking the Johnson off balance. As Jack touched down momentarily, for an instant the impossible seemed possible.

But immediately Johnson rose and angrily restored order, his right hand putting Ketchel down and out for the count.

It has since been suggested that Johnson had agreed to carry Ketchel but became enraged when Stanley went for him, violating the agreement and prompting the champion to bring their encounter to an abrupt end.

Ketchel was certainly keen for a rematch though and, while boxing Sam Langford among his subsequent contests, campaigned hard for another tilt at the heavyweight championship. The ambition hadn’t been knocked out of the young man. In 1910 he went to a ranch in Conway, Missouri to set up training camp. There hired hand Walter Dipley, allegedly jealous over his girlfriend’s attraction to Ketchel, gunned down the prizefighter as he ate breakfast. Dipley was convicted of first-degree murder and served 23 years in prison.

A natural puncher with limitless confidence, the boxer showed no fear. Only 24 when he met his untimely end, if anyone lived fast and died young it was Stanley Ketchel.

LINKED BY TRAGEDY
Ketchel was the first man to defeat Billy Papke. The son of German immigrants Papke was born in Spring Valley, Illinois. Like Ketchel Papke was no stranger to violence and was not prepared to take that lightly. His ruse to win the second encounter involved striking Ketchel before the bout had even started. It still took 12 rounds to finish off the notorious hard man.

Papke suffered for his audacity in their third fight, enduring a fearsome beating. Their fourth and final contest was savage as well but Papke saw it out, though lost on points. In 1912 Papke was in Paris, where he hammered the legendary George Carpentier.

But his life also ended in tragedy. In 1936 Papke murdered his estranged wife, then commited suicide.

Read more On This Days HERE

Stanley Ketchel came 16th in the BOXING NEWS 100 Greatest Boxers of All-Time. Order your copy HERE

October 15, 2014
October 15, 2014
Selby-Brunker1

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THE misleading nature of boxers’ record was once again underlined at the weekend as Lee Selby stopped Joel Brunker on Eddie Hearn’s promotion at the O2 in London. Australia’s Brunker came in with a shiny 27-0 ledger but didn’t perform at anywhere near the exalted level suggested by those stats as Selby finished him off in the ninth round.

The result wasn’t entirely unexpected, because a close examination of Brunker’s record revealed that he not fought anyone in world class; mostly Aussies, Thais and Filipinos of modest achievement. Still, you never know – boxers can rise to the occasion and fight far better than expected. Brunker was not one of those, and it was a smart match for Hearn and Selby’s handlers to make.

Perhaps the tip-off that Brunker was no great shakes came in the way his people had let him fight outside his homeland just twice, both in the USA: against the moderate Carlos Fulgencio (w ko 1) in 2012 and against decent but light-hitting Mike Oliver (w pts 8) last year. That Joel had not boxed since the Oliver outing 14 months ago suggests he was “sitting on” his high world rating with the IBF, who recognised the Selby match as an eliminator for its belt.

A look at the history of Australian pro boxing reveals that prospects there tend to be moved quickly if it’s believed they can really fight. Remember, the geographic isolation of the country makes it very expensive to build a boxer by importing fighters, so promoters like to discover sooner rather than late if their investment in a fighter is worthwhile.

Jeff Fenech was one of the hard-luck stories from the 1984 Lose Angeles Olympics, losing controversially to eventual gold medallist Steve McCrory of the USA. He made his pro debut in October 1984 (in a 10-rounder!) and the following month won the Aussie super-flyweight title in only his third paid outing (a 12-rounder!).

After three more Fenech victories, on April 26, 1985 Japan’s Satoshi Shingaki was enticed to Sydney to defend his IBF bantam belt against the Aussie, whose all-action style sold plenty of tickets and thus encouraged his backers to splash out big money for Shingaki. It paid off as Fenech stopped him in nine to become world champ in just his seventh pro bout.

Another example of a precocious Aussie world champ also came at bantamweight in Jimmy Carruthers, although his title-winning effort was his 15th paid fight, when he shockingly knocked out Vic Toweel in November 1952. Jimmy’s development was pretty rapid in terms of time, though – his pro debut had been only two years and three months earlier (August 1950), and the Toweel challenge was his first paid fight outside Australia.

Brunker will presumably now slip back into obscurity, unlike Carruthers and Fenech. But then those two count among Australia’s best-ever fighters, so that’s no disgrace.