FORMER British lightweight champion Scott Cardle will return to the ring on October 7 at the Manchester Arena, as he looks to put to rest the demons from his last performance which saw him lose the Lonsdale belt in his final scheduled defence to Robbie Barrett in April.
Cardle, 21-1-1 with 7KO’s, came out on the losing side of a majority decision, denying him the opportunity to leave with the British title for keeps, however a below par “Scotty” was stunned in front of his Glasgow crowd by an excellent performance from the underdog Barrett.
The 27-year-old puts his poor night down to a lack of preparation which he admits came back to bite him and his first defeat as a pro will be an opportunity to show what he really can do with the rematch with Barrett and claiming the British title at the forefront of his mind.
Cardle said, “Losing to Barrett was horrible to take, especially because I only had to make one more defence and the belt would have been mine to keep. I have to show how much I want it now and I’ve got to work hard to come back as a totally different animal.
“I was slow on the night and it’s down to me why I lost that fight. If anything, I beat myself on the night and have been so much better, but credit where it is due to Robbie Barrett who excelled whereas I faltered. It’s a lesson learned though and I’ll take it on the chin, but I now know more than ever that I have to prepare better than I ever have before.
“I want to put the British title to bed now and get it outright. Me and Robbie are fighting on the same card in October, so all being well, we’ll both come through and he’ll do me the courtesy of giving me the rematch. I should have it already, but the rules got changed in terms of draws not counting, which was the only reason I took the fight in the first place.”
Cardle sees the defeat as nothing more than a hiccup and confirmed that he wants a final crack at the belt before moving up in levels, adding that the original plan was to try and secure a shot at the European title before Barrett ruined those plans.
He has also ensured us that there have been no side-effects from the suspected broken jaw he suffered in April and that he is hungry to get back in the ring and perform at the level that he believes he is capable of, starting with making a statement in Manchester on his return to action.
“This is simply a hiccup as far as I’m confirmed and I want to get back to the plan of going after the European. I want the British, but I may go down the Commonwealth route, which was never on my original agenda, but that’s the position I’m now in. But only if Sean Dodd holds the title will I actually consider it because I won’t fight Thomas Stalker as we’re very close friends.
“I’m fully fit and ready to go, whilst my jaw is fine as there was no real issue with it anyway. The doctor had a look and was surprised there was nothing wrong, but I went to the hospital anyway like they told me to. I waited two or three hours, but it’s Glasgow on a Saturday night, so I went home, didn’t see the need to go next morning and have had no issues since.
“This is a new experience for me since I turned over and rather than dwelling on it, I’m hungry to get back into the gym and the daily routine of training. It’s been easier than I thought, after taking the time off that I needed, as I really thought I would struggle with no clear motivation, but I’ve been stronger than ever and I’m going to make sure that this never happens to me again.”
NEVER before has a Scotsman been Britain’s heavyweight champion, but Gary Cornish is planning to change that when he takes on Sam Sexton for the vacant title on October 6th. “All that’s on my mind is to become British champion,” he says, and given his towering frame he’s going to take some stopping.
Cornish is sadly best known for his first round loss to Anthony Joshua, but in the short time he shared a ring with AJ he showed himself to be much more game than any of the Englishman’s early opponents. He describes the bout now as a “good learning fight” and concedes it will take the sting out of being in the spotlight against Sam Sexton.
Now, with that experience behind him and a record of 24-1-0, Cornish is looking to take his career to the next level and claim the British title. The last three holders of the British heavyweight championship belt are big names, Tyson Fury, Dillian Whyte and AJ have all been proud owners of the prestigious Lonsdale belt.
As Cornish’s first chance at a major championship this represents a massive step for the Scotsman and, if he can overcome Sam Sexton, it will be a massive step for Scottish boxing too.
When it comes to the tape Cornish towers above Sexton 6’7” to the Englishman’s 6’2”, he’s three years younger and he’s also got a higher knockout percentage.
‘The Highlander’ will likely enter the bout as favourite though neither fighter has any particularly high profile victories to boast. Sexton can at least call on his victory over Martin Rogan, but elsewhere the two records are similarly littered with defeated journeymen. Sexton’s three losses came at the hands of Dereck Chisora (twice) and David Price.
Somewhat of an acid test for both fighters then, and a very interesting one, Cornish admits a familiarity with Sexton too. “I’ve seen Sam live a few times and seen him in sparring sessions… but what’s he working on?” he asks, “He could be working on anything.” Cornish is preparing for the best Sam Sexton can throw at him and sounds like a man taking nothing for granted.
As familiar as he is though Cornish is still confident he can beat the Norwich man and hopes to have a Scottish crowd in fine voice behind him. As far as a prediction goes, Cornish adds, “Honestly I think the later it goes the better. I’ll probably stop him in the later rounds”.
The pair both have high profile losses and records that are more impressive numerically than they are in terms of achievement. As a result this fight represents a chance for one of the two to add some real substance to their professional record, as well as a valuable belt that could pave the way to bigger things.
Cornish seems the more likely victor of the two and a win for him would make Scottish boxing history. Cornish notes too that in Scottish boxing terms MTK Scotland are “taking over,” so could a Scots win also add some momentum to Sam Kynoch’s MTK revival of Scottish boxing? We’ll find out on October 6.
1.JACK DEMPSEY was the people’s champion when he fought Gene Tunney for the second time on September 22, 1927. Although always popular, the former hobo stole the public’s affection in defeat, when he lost to Tunney in their opening bout 366 days before. Promoter Tex Rickard was aware of Dempsey’s newfound status, and spent an entire year hyping the sequel.
2. BEFORE their opening bout, Rickard had been trying to match Tunney with leading black contender Harry Wills in an eliminator but Wills – for so long avoided – priced himself out of the market. Rickard wasted little time in making Dempsey-Tunney, and around 120,000 turned up at Philadelphia’s Sesquicentennial Stadium to watch the fight.
3. TUNNEY was the opposite of Dempsey in so many ways. Gene was considered, articulate and educated. Jack, meanwhile, was a rugged and wild creature who trusted his instincts, and acted upon them. In their first fight, Tunney had dominated with his superior boxing ability, winning a unanimous 10-round decision. His jab was a dream and Dempsey – inactive for three years and past his best at 31 – could do nothing to stop the world heavyweight title slipping from his hands.
4. SO the rematch was set for Chicago’s Soldier Field, and 104,493 fans – the majority Jack Dempsey supporters – turned up to see if Jack could regain his crown.
5. THE champion’s purse was a whopping $990,000 but he sent promoter Rickard $10,000 so he could be paid a flat $1million. Dempsey – fighting as a challenger for the first time in eight years – would earn $450,000 for his challenge.
6. BEFORE the opening bell, referee Dave Barry had carefully explained that should either heavyweight be knocked down, the other should walk to a neutral corner and then the count will begin. Previously, a fighter could hover over their wounded prey.
7. TUNNEY was in charge for the opening six rounds, his jab, again, proving the perfect weapon against the onrushing Mauler. And then, in the seventh, it happened. Dempsey noted that his rival’s guard was low and a right rocked the champion back, before a two-punch volley dropped him. The crowd went beserk.
8. DEMPSEY had won the title by beating up Jess Willard in 1919, knocking him down over and over again. Back then, the rules were different. Dempsey was allowed to greet opponents who regained their footing with a swift blast to the head. But this time, against Tunney, the rules were different. Initially, he refused to stand in the neutral corner, buying Tunney some extra seconds to recover. Eventually, the champion got up at ‘nine’. It must be noted that despite being on the canvas for 14 seconds, Tunney appeared to listen for the count and looked able to rise earlier.
9. THE majestic champion regained control, almost as soon as he regained his footing. He dropped Dempsey in the eighth round, and closed the fight in charge. Again, Dempsey lost via convincing 10-round decision.
10. DEMPSEY would retire after the bout, declaring he had plenty of cash and all his faculties. Tunney did not hang around for much longer, either, but that seventh round, and the long count, would forever be argued over by fans. But not by the fighters. Tunney claimed he had picked up the referee’s count at “two” and could have got up at any point but chose to wait until “nine” for tactical reasons. Dempsey said: “I have no reason not to believe him. Gene’s a great guy.”
IN a surprise move unified light-heavyweight world champion Andre Ward has announced his retirement.
Ward remains the last male American boxer to win and Olympic gold medal. He dominated at super-middleweight, beating Mikkel Kessler and Carl Froch among others to win the Super Six tournament, before stepping up to light-heavyweight to win three world titles from Sergey Kovalev. He leaves with an unblemished legacy. By Boxing News‘ estimation he is currently the best pound-for-pound in the world today.
In a statement he said, “To the sport of boxing – I love you. You’ve been by my side since I was 10-years-old. You’ve taught me so much. You’ve humbled me. You’ve promoted me. I’ve sacrificed a lot for you, but you’ve given me more than I ever thought possible. You gave me a platform, made me a champion and helped me provide for my family. I am forever grateful to you. You and I will always be synonymous, connected at the hip. Thank you for all the wonderful people I’ve come in contact with because of you. I’ve made friends for life. As I walk away from the sport of boxing today, I leave at the top of your glorious mountain, which was always my vision and my dream. I did it. We did it.
“From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who has played a part in my journey. You know who you are. I could not have done this without you. I want to be clear – I am leaving because my body can no longer put up with the rigors of the sport and therefore my desire to fight is no longer there. If I cannot give my family, my team, and the fans everything that I have, then I should no longer be fighting. Above all, I give God the Glory, for allowing me to do what I’ve done, for as long as I have.”