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October 20, 2014
October 20, 2014

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MORE than nine years after their momentous IBF light-welterweight title fight in Manchester, Ricky Hatton and Kotya Tszyu are set for a reunion.

The pair will be the special guests at the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame dinner in Sydney on November 1.

Organisers are billing it as the first time the pair have got together since that gruelling night  – or should that be early morning – at a charged MEN Arena on June 4, 2005, when champion Tszyu retired on his stool at the end of round 11.

The Australian-based Russian never fought again.

Hatton, now a trainer and promoter, will be in Australia where a number of his fighters are in action next month.

On November 8, European bantamweight champion Zhanat Zhakiyanov defends his WBC EBC belt against Fred Mundraby in Chandler, near Brisbane. Also on that card are Hatton-backed Olympians, light-heavyweight Damien Hooper and welterweight Cameron Hammond.

Then four days later in Melbourne, Sergey Rabchenko defends his WBC Silver light-middleweight title against Aussie veteran Anthony Mundine.

On the undercard at the Hisense Arena is unbeaten heavyweight Lucas “Big Daddy” Browne, who will tune up for what he hopes will be a world title fight next year against old stager Chauncy Welliver.

October 20, 2014
October 20, 2014

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LUKE CAMPBELL and Tommy Coyle say that the pressure is on them to claim big wins at the Ice Arena in Hull on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports – so they can set up a huge clash in the city next summer.

The Lightweight duo face big step-up fights on Saturday night, with Coyle meeting former World champion Michael Katsidis and Campbell facing Argentine Daniel Brizuela, who shared a rollercoaster war with Coyle in February.

Promoter Eddie Hearn has made no secret that a clash between the two at Hull City’s KC Stadium next summer would be a huge event for the city and for British boxing, and both men believe that if they keep winning, a fight is inevitable, and Campbell would love to box outside in his hometown for the second time having made his professional debut last July at Hull KR’s Craven Park.

“We both have tough fights on Saturday but if we keep winning then we can be looking at a massive outdoor show at the KC Stadium, which will be great for boxing fans and for the people of Hull,” said Campbell. “Tommy and I have been friends for a long time, we’ve known each other for over a decade, we trained together as kids, but this is the sport we’re in, it’s the entertainment business and we can put our friendship to one side for a night to put on a great show for the fans. I am going to stay unbeaten, that’s for sure, so if Tommy can do the same we’ll be ready for a big one.”

Coyle appeared on Campbell’s debut card and suffered a heart-breaking KO loss to Derry Mathews having dominated the fight. The 25 year old credits Campbell’s Olympic gold medal heroics with bringing boxing to their hometown, but says he’d have no qualms in facing the unbeaten star and believes he’d beat him.

“Luke winning the gold started it all off, I have so much respect for Luke and if it hadn’t had been for that then we wouldn’t be having these big shows in Hull,” said Coyle. “The fans here are fantastic, some of the best in the land. They will be out in force this weekend and if we keep winning then we’ll be getting more and more shows here. We’re pals and we’ve travelled the world together as amateurs but I am not daft, Eddie promotes us both and it makes sense to put us in the ring together.

“First and foremost, it’s Katsidis. The fight with Luke excites me very, very much. Luke is a good friend of mine, I have a lot of respect for him and his success in the Olympics is the main reason why I got my shot on a big Matchroom bill against Derry last summer.

“I’d be confident of beating him, he’s not been in there with someone like me but it would be a very good fight, and we both have hard fights to take care of this weekend first.”

Campbell and Coyle face their acid tests on a great night of boxing in Hull, with Gavin McDonnell looking to step into the international mix against former World title challenger 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 plus Liverpool’s Robbie Davies Jnr.

October 20, 2014
October 20, 2014

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TRAPPED on the ropes, future Hall of Famer Alexis Arguello absorbed a horrific pounding – more than 20 unanswered punches – before South African referee Stanley Christodoulou stepped in to stop the beating. The passionate crowd of 23,800 at Florida’s Orange Bowl roared with approval having witnessed one of the all-time great fights between two of the best in the sport at the time.

Aaron Pryor was a whirlwind that night, as he was throughout his career.

He defeated the great veteran Antonio Cervantes in a fight of torch-passing proportions and swirled through eight defences. Pryor looked unbeatable and was thought by many to have been avoided by the likes of Tommy Hearns (who he defeated in the amateurs), Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran as a pro.

He was so good that he drew comparisons with the legendary Henry Armstrong and was on course to becoming the greatest light-welterweight in history.

The first former champion he defeated was Alfonso “Peppermint” Fraser with Pryor bursting into the ratings with a fifth round stoppage. As he moved up, he found himself in the position to challenge two-time champion Cervantes for the WBA title and although the veteran floored Pryor in round one, “The Hawk” bounced back to win in four sessions.

The defining fights eluded him until Arguello stepped up but even after his historic victory there was controversy when his trainer, Panama Lewis, was caught on camera after round three asking for a special bottle that he had mixed. Pryor drank from it and came out for the next round and destroyed his fierce rival.

What should have been Pryor’s greatest night was shrouded in mystery and the Cincinnati star was not able to enjoy his huge win for long.
“I savoured my victory the night of November 12th,” Pryor wrote in his 1996 autobiography, Flight of the Hawk. “But on November 13th the sweet taste of victory became a bitter pill to swallow as vicious rumours were flying about the black bottle of Peppermint Schnapps.”
Still, Aaron left no doubt in their return bout, repeating the victory in a more one-sided contest in 10 rounds

Both fighters retired and so Pryor’s WBA title was declared vacant but when he decided to box on the IBF installed him as their champion.

However, from 1983 until his final fight in 1989, Pryor warred with a drug addiction that consumed him and ended his top-flight career.

His only defeat came to the average Bobby Joe Young, a ninth-round stoppage loss in 1987, but by then fighting was the least of his problems.

He finally spent time in rehab and, thanks in large part to the love of his wife, Frankie, got a second chance at life even if his career – curtailed by an eye injury as much as anything else – was over.

He turned his life around and was ordained as a deacon at the New Friendship Baptist Church in Cincinnati and, over the years, has assisted in training of several professional and amateur fighters.

Pryor and Arguello remained great friends in retirement with Pryor even going to Nicaragua to help Alexis further his political career as he became mayor of Managua. They were often reunited at the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota during the annual induction weekends but, in 2009, their friendship came to an end when Arguello died. There were conspiracy theories and rumours surrounding his demise but ultimately it was ruled suicide, something many those closest to him – including his friend Pryor – refused to believe.

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October 20, 2014
October 20, 2014

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MARCO ANTONIO RUBIO had originally hoped to fight Gennady Golovkin in October 2010 in the Kazakh’s first defence of his WBA middleweight crown. In boxing, as in life, you should be wary of what you wish for. Not many yearn for a fight with ‘GGG’ once, to do so twice is unwise in the extreme.

The tussle that was four years in the making lasted barely four minutes as Golovkin sent the Mexican hard-case sprawling to the deck with a clubbing left hook to the temple, ending matters after just one minute and 19 seconds of round two.


For the second fight in succession, Golovkin showcased staggering speed with brilliantly unorthodox execution. Having relieved former IBF middleweight holder Daniel Geale of his senses in Madison Square Garden with a scarcely believable right hand, another brutally unorthodox blow, this time with the other fist, accounted for Rubio. Delivered from above head height, the venomous fight-ender detonated with unerring accuracy. There are many pages to this Kazakh textbook, all of which make for chilling reading.

It should be noted that Rubio was not cannon-fodder, there only for gratuitous pension money, for he can misread the script when cast as underdog. In April 2011, he knocked out one of the sport’s rising stars, David Lemieux, in his Montreal lair when the highly-touted prospect had blitzed his way to 25-0, finishing 24 foes early. Unfazed by the Canadian’s dazzling PR machine, Rubio halted an exhausted Lemieux, whose mind was frazzled by the Mexican’s durability and chin, in the seventh session.

The 34-year-old challenger had also lost a highly competitive decision to Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr in April 2012, and tuned up for his latest world title tilt by becoming the first man to stop perennial fringe contender Domenico Spada (who takes on St Helens’ Martin Murray in Monaco next week) and has largely campaigned at super-middleweight over the past two years. Indeed, he failed to make weight for his date with GGG. However, all it meant on the night was that his naturally bigger frame hit the canvas with a bigger thud.

Golovkin’s savage second round destruction of Robert Garcia’s rugged Mexican charge was ‘Triple G’s 18th straight knockout victory, 11 of those coming in world title fights, and his 28th early finish on an unblemished 31-fight ledger. All of which means a frightening 90 percent of his foes have failed to hear the final bell.

Aside from the late undefeated Edwin Valero, no world champion in the sport’s recent history has achieved a higher knockout percentage than Golovkin. The tragic Venezuelan had amassed 27 knockouts from as many fights en-route to the WBC lightweight gong before taking his own life amidst sickening circumstances in April 2010. Sergey Kovalev owns an 88 per cent knockout percentage at light-heavyweight while ‘Dr Ironfist’, Vitali Klitschko, boasted an 87 percent knockout ratio during his heavyweight reign.

Blessed with balletic movement of foot and sublime boxing skills that accounted for an incredible 345 of his 350 amateur foes, and hideous knockout power in both hands, it is unsurprising that the queue to face Triple G is smaller than an oompa loompa’s foot print.

When Floyd Mayweather sits down with boxing’s omniscient advisor, Al Haymon, to discuss potential foes for his supposed penultimate fight in May, Golovkin is unlikely to be the foremost name on their notepads, unless it has an indelible cross through it.

Despite Gennady’s star soaring stateside, the man who looks like an amiable accountant but punches like a deranged mule, doesn’t quite fit Mayweather’s risk and reward model at this late stage in his Hall of Fame career. Fortunately for Floyd, the Karaganda wrecking ball has gone on record to say that he wouldn’t be interested in dropping down the weights, despite the loaded nature of the welterweight and light-middleweight divisions.

A year ago the mouth-watering prospect of a clash with WBC middleweight king Sergio Martinez, would undoubtedly have topped Triple G’s wish list. However, Martinez has dramatically fallen from the middleweight precipice following his stunningly one-sided beating by the division-leaping, history-maker Miguel Cotto.

Cotto was the man on Golovkin’s lips when asked who he wanted next by HBO’s Max Kellerman post-fight. Despite the magnetic appeal of a blockbusting Cotto-Golovkin dust up at Madison Square Garden, it’s highly unlikely that the Puerto Rican idol will fancy testing out his new offensive arsenal against the sport’s most savage operator. With his legacy secured as the first of his countrymen to win world titles in four divisions, giving away natural poundage (having largely campaigning at 140lb and 147lb during his illustrious career) to such a primitive puncher at the peak of his powers would be a huge risk.

If Cotto was undecided about whether to vacate his WBC strap or drop back down, Rubio’s distressing plight is likely to catalyze the downward transition. For being called out by Golovkin is boxing’s equivalent to walking the green mile and, barring an unlikely reprieve, your fate is depressingly dire.

Another frequently avoided fighter, the frustratingly inactive Andre Ward, would certainly fit the bill at super-middleweight or at a catch weight. A combination of injuries and legal wrangles have curtailed Ward’s activity of late, but the undisputed king at 168lb, would surely entertain such a fight given his huge natural weight advantage, having won Olympic gold in 2004 at light-heavyweight. Having wowed the west coast crowd in California, Golovkin would surely be an easy sell to the notoriously travel-shy ‘Son of God’ in his native Oakland fortress.

If unification fights are what drives Golovkin, perhaps putting on a 12-round snooze-fest would lure in a fellow title-holder. The unenviable souls loitering in boxing’s most dangerous queue, could be waiting a while for such an eventuality.

Goading the Kazakh doesn’t work either, as Curtis Stevens found out to his cost last November. The heavily chiseled American’s wholly unwise tweet, uploading a picture of a headstone with the Kazakh’s name inscribed on it, was a grave error of judgment. Gennady took vindictive revenge with an eight-round demolition of the brash New Yorker.

Golovkin has the boxing world at his feet, but getting anyone to dance with him is proving to be a wildly complex matter. For someone so remarkably laconic outside the ring, he is wondrously loquacious inside it. The perils of being fluent in such a dangerous language.

Read this next. Is Nonito Donaire finished?

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October 19, 2014
October 19, 2014

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ON October 19, 1966 Olympic gold medallist and two-weight world champion Meldrick “The Kid” Taylor was born in Philadelphia.

TAYLOR first rose to prominence back in 1984, when he was a member of the outstanding American Olympic team that won nine of the 12 gold medals on offer, with Taylor winning the featherweight title at the age of just 17. His achievement is extremely impressive and is still the record for the youngest boxer to win an Olympic gold medal.

HE turned professional later that same year, when he made his debut on the same card as five of his teammates in Madison Square Garden. Also starring that night were Evander Holyfield, Mark Breland, Tyrell Biggs, Virgil Hill and Pernell Whitaker.

TAYLOR’S performance was the most impressive though, as he knocked down Luke Lecce three times in the first round to get the stoppage win, a month after his 18th birthday.

HE built steadily until 1988, when he took on IBF light-welterweight champion James “Buddy” McGirt in Atlantic City, stopping him in the 12th round, following a virtuoso performance to become world champion.

TAYLOR defended his belt twice, and scored two non-title wins, before he agreed to take on fellow unbeaten WBC champion, Julio Cesar Chavez in March 1990, who was 68-0 at the time, in Las Vegas in a show titled “Thunder and Lightning”.

THE fight with Chavez is one of the most controversial in boxing history and was widely regarded as 1990’s premier scrap. Taylor led by wide margins on two of the three scorecards going into the 12th and final round. But Chavez went to him, aggressively attacking and Taylor traded with him, but he was dropped with 17 seconds to go. The Philadelphian beat the count, but referee Richard Steele waved it off with two seconds to go to give Chavez the victory. Opinion was split on whether Taylor should have been allowed to continue, and probably claim victory, was split.

TAYLOR recovered from his first loss as a professional to take the WBA welterweight title from Aaron Davis, holding it for two years before taking on the bigger Terry Norris for the WBC light-middleweight belt in 1992.

“THE KID” was stopped in the fourth round, before losing his welterweight title in his next fight, on Halloween, to Crisanto Espana. By then, and still only in his 20s, it was clear he was finished. His last title shot, largely unwelcome by insiders who feared for Taylor’s health, was a rematch with Chavez in 1994 when he was stopped in eight.

TAYLOR continued to fight until 2002, when he was refused a licence by the New Jersey Board and refused to submit to neurological testing in other states. Taylor eventually retired with a professional record 38-8-1, with 20 knockout victories.

HIS health appeared to deteriorate quickly in retirement. He authored the clumsy autobiography titled Two Seconds From Glory, but shocked and disturbed views of HBO’s “Legendary Nights” when his speech was slurred and difficult to understand. The affects of fighting too long are sadly clear to see.

October 19, 2014
October 19, 2014

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GENNADY GOLOVKIN again illustrated his cavernous potential when he pummelled Marco Antonio Rubio into submission inside two rounds at the Carson Stub Hub Center in California. The Kazak destroyer, 32, could be the best fighter in boxing today but until he gets the chance against one of the sport’s elite, we won’t know for sure.

Perennial contender Rubio exhibited extreme unprofessionalism in the build-up as he failed to make the 160lb limit, weighing 1.8lbs over, and decided against using a two-hour period after the weigh-in to slim down. It meant if he notched the upset, he would not have won Golovkin’s WBA title.

Weighing over 180lbs come fight time, Rubio swallowed several power shots in the opening round, and his head crunched backwards as the session came to a close. It looked like just a matter of time before Golovkin’s power was definitive.

A series of blasts landed in the second round and Rubio could not withstand them. He rocked beneath their power, took a booming uppercut, a savage left, and hit the deck before the referee waved the fight off and rescued the Mexican from further pain.

“The uppercut , he was very badly hurt, and I knew I had him,” said Golovkin. “I was happy he came forward. He fought Mexican style and he tried to hurt me, but my power was too much for him tonight.”

Golovkin also picked up the Interim WBC belt in victory to set up a shot at leader Miguel Cotto.

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October 19, 2014
October 19, 2014
Donaire beaten

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PHOTO: Chris Farina/Top Rank

THE career of Nonito Donaire, not long ago one of the most glittering in boxing, is in tatters after he lost his WBA featherweight title to Nicholas Walters in six rounds. The showdown, at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California, was wild and entertaining but Donaire was ultimately outgunned.

Donaire enjoyed success in the second round, when he hurt his rival with the kind of left hooks that used to knock out smaller men as he collected titles in lower divisions.

Walters, though, proved his prowess as a featherweight puncher when he dropped Donaire in the third round with an uppercut. It was the first time the US-based Filipino had ever tasted the canvas and, bruising quickly, rose to engage in toe-to-toe warfare.

“We worked hard for this victory knowing we were fighting Donaire,” Walters said. “Donaire is a super great champion. I know I have to respect him and that’s what I did. He caught me with a few shots. He has power and speed but I enjoyed the fight. I thank Donaire for giving me the opportunity.”

The champion’s features eroded further in the fourth as Walter’s bombs exploded. And in round six, Donaire plummeted head first after a huge right hand landed on the side of his face. He gamely dragged his battered bones upright but he was in no condition to continue.

“I’ve got to go back to the drawing board,” said Donaire who has won titles from flyweight to featherweight. “I know I can’t compete with guys like Walters. I succumbed to size and power inside the ring. He beat the s*** out of me.”

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