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October 23, 2018
October 23, 2018
Hughie Fury

Hennessy Sports

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TRAINER Peter Fury has credited Hughie Fury’s no-nonsense approach to boxing as his son prepares to take on Kubrat Pulev in Saturday’s IBF world heavyweight title eliminator.

Having been controversially denied a world title last year, Hughie looks to silence the Bulgarian capital of Sofia on Saturday night – live on Channel 5 – and become mandatory challenger to IBF champion Anthony Joshua.

While many boxers focus on making as much noise as possible in the media, Peter has championed Hughie’s respectful nature in shunning the limelight to focus solely on honing his craft.

Peter said: “I’d rather Hughie make his mark for what he does rather than do all this talking up and down. You’ve just got to be yourself.

“I’m not saying it’s wrong for people to do the talking. It’s up to them what they do but Hughie isn’t that character so for him to try and do all that, it’d be false. He’s just serious about his business.

“When the bell goes, it’s one against one and at the end of the fight, there’s always respect for the opponent. That’s just the way it is – this is boxing.

“He’s done it the old school way. That’s the thing. We’re looking forward to this fight and he couldn’t have got there any better or faster. He already fought for a world title, then won the British and now he’s back up there fighting for the mandatory position again.

Hughie Fury

“Hughie has been guided very, very well and we’re more than happy. He’s past what’s happened and everything happens for a reason in life.”

Watch Pulev vs. Fury live on Channel 5 this Saturday night.

October 23, 2018
October 23, 2018
Boxing News

Mikey Williams/Top Rank

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WE live in an age where trainers at the top-level get their long-asked for dues. They are feted, interviewed, and, in some instances, announced by the MC during the increasingly lengthy pre-fight introductions. However, many pro and amateur coaches spend a lifetime toiling away in the shadows, existing in that small space between fame and local acclaim. Often working for little or no money, driven only by their love of the game and desire to help out.

Belfast’s Paul McCullagh Snr of the Immaculata Boxing Club was one such character. Sure, he dipped his toes in the professional arena yet he spent most of his life in the city’s amateur scene. McCullagh sadly passed away on Sunday night aged 72, leaving behind a lifetime of memories at the Corinthian end of the sport. The place where we live before reality elbows aside our ideals of how boxing could and should work.

According to the Irish News, McCullagh had embarked on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje — a town in Bosnia and Herzegovina where the Virgin Mary was said to have appeared in 1981 — with his brother, Francie, and will be brought back to Belfast for his burial. A fixture in Barry Eastwood’s Chapel Lane gym in the 1980s, McCullagh also watched on proudly when his son, Paul Jnr, became a professional referee.

Local fight figure Gerard McCafferty paid tribute to the former trainer. “Paul was well got in the boxing game,” he said. “I’ve worked with some great trainers through the years but he was the best I ever worked with.”

He added: “The thing about Paul McCullagh was, where he knew the boxing game inside out, he also knew what was going on inside your head. He knew how to get you up for anything. He was like a sports psychologist, a boxing trainer, nutritionist, best friend, father figure — he was all those things rolled into one. He had his ups and his downs through the years, but Paul was a man who just loved boxing, and everybody in the game had a lot of respect for him.”

McCullagh lost his wife, Frances, in 2014; McCafferty believes the trip to Medjugorje had been made with her in mind, saying: “I have no doubt he was going to Medjugorje to get comfort from God about the loss of his wife, and now he’s back with her.”

Salford’s Luke Evans (8-0, 0) makes his second comeback fight next month as he bids to put a knife attack that almost ended his boxing career firmly in the rear-view mirror. The 22-year-old suffered horrific facial injuries after being assaulted in August of last year, but he returned to action with a four-threes win over in Paul Ducie in June. Now Evans intends to build on that when he boxes the ever-ready TBA on a Steve Wood-promoted show at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse on November 17.

Although his face is on the mend, the mental scars still remain yet Evans wants to be known for his in-ring exploits rather than the events that almost brought a premature end to his career. “The boxing ring has never been a scary place, for me,” he said when talking about his next fight.

“I don’t think boxing is scary, but life is — it’s definitely scarier. You get punched in the face for a living but it’s not the same as getting a knife in the face so, in that sense, I don’t think anything hits harder than what I’ve been through.

“What I experienced that night in August 2017, I don’t think you can get any scarier than that. But I’ve come out the other side, I’ve got my career back, and hopefully [manager] Steve Wood can push me onto bigger and better things in the near future.

“It’s important for me to be known for my boxing now. The attack did bring a lot of media attention which is a good thing, but it’s also for the wrong reasons. If I’d had my way, the coverage would have been about my boxing rather than the attack. Obviously, in boxing you need attention and difficult things have happened to other fighters like Anthony Crolla, Jamie Moore, and Kell Brook, and I’ve just been trying to follow in their footsteps with how they’ve dealt with it.”

The Salfordian will face his attackers in court towards the end of the year, so he hopes to watch justice get served and then move on to a regional title in 2019. “The aim this year is to finish at 9-0,” he added.

“There’s a lot of stuff going on outside of boxing which will be a major distraction soon, like the court case. So that will take up the rest of this year. I’m then hoping to get down to light welter and hopefully pick up my first title; the Central Area belt. I never want to call anyone out but if a fight is made I’ll take it. There will be a lot of local boxers thinking the same, but I believe that title is there for me next year, and I don’t care who I fight for it because I believe I’m the best of the crop.”

Terry Flanagan (33-1, 13 stoppages) meets fellow southpaw Regis Prograis (22-0, 19 early) for the interim WBC World light-welterweight title as part of WBSS: Season Two in New Orleans this weekend and the Mancunian’s daunting task appears all the more difficult after top-seed Prograis revealed that he deliberately picked Flanagan over Ryan Martin as he wants to test out his full capabilities.

Speaking to Lyle Fitzsimmons of Boxing Scene, the 29-year-old admitted that he wants to scalp the former WBO holder before cleaning up the rest of the division en route to picking up the Muhammad Ali trophy.

“I chose him because he was a tougher fight,” he said. “For me, he was a tougher fight than Ryan Martin. He has a better resume. I want to fight people with a good resume. He’s a former world champion. Ryan Martin is a good fighter, but he’s not a former world champion and he doesn’t have a resume like Terry Flanagan.”

He added: “I want to fight people like that. Right now, I’m ranked No. 1 on most people’s lists and I want to keep that. I want to fight better people. I felt like he was the harder choice. He was the tougher competition.”

Boxing News

Katie Taylor posted win number 11 (with 5 KOs) after decisioning Cindy Serrano at the TD Garden in Boston on Saturday night and can now look forward to the release of her film, Katie, which lifts the lid on her painful split with her father and former trainer, Pete.

The two split just before the 2016 Games in Rio, and it took a long time for the rift to begin to heal. Speaking to the RTE Guide, the 32-year-old IBF and WBA World lightweight titlist admitted that the preliminary interviews for the documentary were a painful experience for her: “I remember the first of those interviews in my apartment in Vernon — I was getting so emotional, I couldn’t even talk,” she said.

“Ross [Whitaker, the documentary director] said to me, ‘Katie, I don’t think this is the right time to talk about this topic’. We actually had to wait a few months before broaching that question again.”

Taylor also speaks in-depth about the isolation she felt after relocating to America at the start of her pro career. “At the start it was definitely a bit lonely for me and the documentary really portrays the sacrifice I made travelling over there,” she revealed. “But you can also see I found my pals and found my way.”

Despite the documentary touching on some low points, Taylor believes that the overall message is a positive one and that you have to take the good with the bad when putting your life in front of the lens. “When you look at social media, people only ever document the high points in their lives,” she declared.

“This is real life and it’s important for people to see that as well. It shows the ups and downs and how you can battle through bad times. If one person can be encouraged or inspired by my journey, I’d be happy with that.”

The film is released in selected cinemas on Friday night.

October 23, 2018
October 23, 2018
Gerald McClellan

Action Images/Sporting Pictues/Tony Marshall

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HE is still regarded as one of the greatest punchers to have ever stepped between the ropes, however Gerald McClellan’s career will be remembered more for the way that it ended, rather than for his notable achievements.

Rarely have we seen a fighter with as much ferocity, inside the ring and out.

Today McClellan, who has sadly never been the same since the famous clash with Nigel Benn in 1995, turns 51 years old.

HE was a two-time world champion, who only suffered defeat three times as a professional. He won his first title, the WBO middleweight strap, in 1991, when he met another ferocious, albeit fading, puncher in “The Beast” John Mugabi at the Royal Albert Hall. Mugabi entered the fight having never been taken all the way to the final bell in his career, including his three losses, a run which was to continue when the destructive McClellan knocked him down three times in the opening round to win the vacant title.

McCLELLAN, born October 23 1967, only went to points four times in his career, winning and losing two, and he never went past 10 rounds in his 34 fights, of which 29 were knockout victories. He knocked out 29 of the men he faced. He vacated the WBO belt without making a single defence, in fact the title remained vacant until 1993, and began to hunt down the WBC champion, Julian Jackson.

THE slugger then had four non-title bouts, culminating in an appearance on an incredible bill in Mexico, promoted by Don King, where 132,247 spectators turned up to see Julio Cesar Chavez move to 85-0, as he defended his WBC light-welterweight title, against Greg Haugen. Also fighting that night, were Terry Norris, Michael Nunn and Azumah Nelson, who all defended their world titles, as well as a young Felix Trinidad who was well on his way to becoming a world champion.

McCLELLAN finally got his hands on Jackson at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas in May 1993, stopping him in the fifth of a wild encounter to become a two-time world champion.

OUTSIDE of the ring, McClellan developed an unsavoury reputation for his love of dog fighting.

THE G-MAN defended the WBC belt twice, before stopping Jackson inside a round in the rematch. But, he couldn’t resist the lure of Benn and the super-middleweight division.

THE Illinois resident met Benn at the New London Arena in Millwall, with the WBC title on the line and he started like a train, sending “The Dark Destroyer” flying through the ropes in the first round. He had Benn down again in the eighth, but in the 10th, and fading fast, McClellan took a knee, blinking and gulping back air, even though he wasn’t on the receiving end of any punches. He made it back to his corner before slumping to the canvas.

THE aftermath has been reported several times, but McClellan was left brain damaged and never fought again. Today he is almost blind, 80 per cent deaf, and walks with a cane.

HIS hometown, Freeport in Illinois, has contributed supplies and manpower to repair McClellan’s home, as well as donating huge sums to help with “The G-Man’s” ongoing medical expenses. Along with his family, former potential rival Roy Jones Jnr, who McClellan holds a win over in the amateurs, set up a fund to help pay for the $70,000 annual bill.

BENN has also contributed massively, hosting a fundraiser in which the auction raised £200,000. McClellan still requires around the clock medical care and the WBC have publicly appealed for help.

HIS career will forever be linked to the Benn fight, who once chillingly commented on the fight, “You know what? This is what you wanted to see. You got what you wanted to see.” The fight, undoubtedly, was boxing at its most savage.

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October 23, 2018
October 23, 2018
McGregor

Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports/Action Images

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Conor McGregor admitted he was “beaten fair and square” by Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 but stressed he would not repeat his mistakes in any rematch.

McGregor tapped out to the undefeated Russian in the fourth round of their lightweight title bout in Las Vegas on October 6 as he made his return to mixed martial arts after a near two-year hiatus.

The fight was followed by a mass brawl that led to both men receiving temporary suspensions from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

McGregor, who has spoken of his desire for a rematch in social media posts since the event, broke his silence about the fight itself with a lengthy Instagram post in the early hours of Tuesday morning.


View this post on Instagram

Thoughts on my last fight. Round 1. I believe from a sport standpoint, round 1 was his. Top position against the fence. Zero position advancement or damage inflicted. But top position. From a fight standpoint the first round is mine. Actual shots landed and a willingness to engage. Straight left early. Knee to the head on the low shot. Elbows in any and all tie up scenarios. Opponent just holding the legs against the fence for almost the entire round. Round 2 he is running away around the cage before being blessed with a right hand that changed the course of the round, and the fight. It was a nice shot. After the shot I bounced back up to engage instantly, but again he dipped under to disengage. That is the sport and it was a smart move that led to a dominant round, so no issue. Well played. If I stay switched on and give his stand up even a little more respect, that right hand never gets close and we are talking completely different now. I gave his upright fighting no respect in preparation. No specific stand up spars whatsoever. Attacking grapplers/wrestlers only. That won’t happen again. I also gave my attacking grappling no respect. To defense minded. Lessons. Listen to nobody but yourself on your skill set. You are the master of your own universe. I am the master of this. I must take my own advice. Round 3. After the worst round of my fighting career, I come back and win this round. Again walking forward, walking him down, and willing to engage. Round 4. My recovery was not where it could have been here. That is my fault. Although winning the early exchanges in 4, he dips under again and I end up in a bad position with over 3 on the clock. I work to regain position and end up upright, with my back to the fence. A stable position. Here however, I made a critical error of abandoning my over hook at this crucial time, exposing the back, and I end up beaten fair and square. What can I say? It was a great fight and it was my pleasure. I will be back with my confidence high. Fully prepared. If it is not the rematch right away, no problem. I will face the next in line. It’s all me always, anyway. See you soon my fighting fans I love you all ❤

A post shared by Conor McGregor Official (@thenotoriousmma) on

The Irishman did not mention the post-fight melee, but instead broke down the bout round-by-round.

In the message, McGregor wrote: “Although winning the early exchanges in 4, he dips under again and I end up in a bad position with over 3 on the clock. I work to regain position and end up upright, with my back to the fence. A stable position.

“Here however, I made a critical error of abandoning my over hook at this crucial time, exposing the back, and I end up beaten fair and square.

“What can I say? It was a great fight and it was my pleasure.

“I will be back with my confidence high. Fully prepared.


“If it is not the rematch right away, no problem. I will face the next in line.”

The 30-year-old admitted he had underestimated parts of Nurmagomedov’s fighting style and said it would not happen again.

McGregor said: “Round 2 he is running away around the cage before being blessed with a right hand that changed the course of the round, and the fight. It was a nice shot.

“I gave his upright fighting no respect in preparation. No specific stand up spars whatsoever.
Attacking grapplers/wrestlers only. That won’t happen again.”

McGregor went on to say the second round was “the worst round of my fighting career” but felt he had come back strongly by winning the third.

October 23, 2018
October 23, 2018
Hughie Fury

Hennessy Sports

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HAVING landed in Sofia on Saturday evening, British boxers Hughie Fury and Savannah Marshall took in the sights and sounds of Plovdiv – some 150km away in Southern Bulgaria on Monday afternoon, as they took time out from their preparations for Saturday’s ‘Fire & Fury’ event, which is live at 9pm on free to air Channel 5.

British heavyweight champion Fury, 24, and women’s super-middleweight sensation Marshall, 27, visited the ancient city- the second largest city in Bulgaria, taking in some of the cultural landmarks that reflect more than 2,000 years of history including the Roman Antique Theatre, Saint Ludvik Cathedral, Alyosha Monument and the Plovdiv Roman stadium.

After visiting the famous landmarks, the British pair turned their attention to how they could make their own history on Saturday night.

Hughie Fury said: “Since we arrived here on Saturday we’ve had such a warm and friendly welcome from the people of Sofia. They’re genuinely excited about the fight on Saturday. I know the majority of the fans out here will be supporting Pulev but that doesn’t faze me. I’m just going to do my thing and show them what I’m all about.”

Hughie Fury

Savannah Marshall said: “Bulgaria is a beautiful place. I’d like to get out and see a little bit more but I can’t take anything for granted, my focus is 100% on taking down Yanina Orozco this Saturday night.”

Fury takes on Bulgarian native Kubrat Pulev in an IBF Heavyweight Final Eliminator at the Armeec Arena on October 27. Marshall will face Argentina’s Yanina Orozco in a 10-round bout on the undercard.

October 22, 2018
October 22, 2018
Floyd Mayweather

Esther Lin/Showtime

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DESPITE officially retiring in August of last year — well, announcing his final, final retirement, which is subject to how much money he is offered to return — Floyd Mayweather’s (50-0, 27 KOs) unerring ability to remain in the news remains intact. For a man renowned for dodging punches in the ring, the 41-year-old certainly has been hit with a lot of headlines outside of it and this continues to be the case.

The five-weight world champion has invested in a Beverly Hills Mansion to add more value to his property portfolio. The place sprawls over 15,000 square-feet, has an in-house theatre, an on-site guesthouse, presumably for Cousin Roy, and has six bedrooms plus nine bathrooms for Mayweather’s many, and completely genuine, friends. It is a sign that he is continuing to heavily invest some of the rumoured 300+ million that he made when beating UFC star Conor McGregor (0-1, no KOs) last year.

Speaking of the UFC, Mayweather used his win 10th round stoppage win over McGregor to diss and dismiss former foe Saul Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs). In a striking coincidence, Mayweather attacked Alvarez after it was announced that the Mexican has signed a $365 million 11-fight deal with DAZN.

“It didn’t matter if Canelo ate his PED steak or not this night, this was by far the easiest fight of my career!” stated Mayweather when referring to his one-sided victory over Canelo in an Instagram post. ‘Conor McQuitter was a way better fighter than Canelo’s cheating ass and I beat the brakes off him too! It takes me 36 mins or less to make $300m plus. It literally takes me one night and one fight to make what you might make in five years and 11 fights! So really, who’s still winning? You do the math!”

Alvarez’s deal with DAZN will hike him further up the Forbes Richest Athletes List that has been dominated by Mayweather in recent times, so his public declaration that ‘I’m not bothered. Do look bothered? I’m not bothered, though’ could be one of many recent and broad hints that Mayweather is due to return to action. Again.

Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor

Former foe Manny Pacquiao is mooted for May 5, a potential re-tread of their anodyne May 2015 encounter that was won at a canter by Mayweather, but he is also laying the groundwork for a money-spinner against the UFC’s Khabib Nurmagomedov or a rematch with McGregor that just might push Boxing News Editor Matt Christie over the edge.

“McGregor was talking that s***, so it ain’t over,” Mayweather told TMZ. “After me and Khabib lock up, me and McGregor we gonna lock up again. Why he keep fighting these MMA guys? Me and Khabib going to do crazy numbers, me and McGregor are going to do crazy numbers.”

Like Alvarez, who has stated that his move to DAZN was done purely for the good of his fans, Mayweather revealed the altruistic thinking behind his decision to call for another boxing-UFC crossover — one that will probably be stacked almost completely in his favour, of course — when he said: “All I’m doing is helping keep all combat sports alive.”

Thanks, Floyd!

Indeed, Mayweather has Tweeted that the odds are already in play for a potential meeting with Khabib, and he likes the look of them: “Damn @PaddyPower already got me as a 25-1 favorite over Khabib,” he wrote.

Ali Abdelaziz, Khabib’s manager, is certainly receptive to the idea, telling ESPN that: “I’m talking to everybody right now. You have a guy who is 50-0, a guy who is 27-0. Both have never tasted defeat. Khabib brings 2.5 billion Muslims around the world, some of the richest countries in the world, and they’re behind him. Floyd Mayweather is a megastar… If the two forces clash, that’s a real fight.”

Last year’s unholy Mayweather-McGregor hybrid seems to have created a licence to print money if the right “fights” are made. Former UFC star Nick Diaz wants to enter the fray after calling out Alvarez following the news that — and despite Floyd’s protestations and what Eddie Hearn might say about Anthony Joshua — the 28-year-old is boxing’s latest ATM.

“I’ve never even thought about that, but the guy is moving up to 168 and fighting some no names,” Diaz said to TMZ, referring of course to Alvarez’s fight against WBA super-middleweight ‘regular’ titlist Rocky Fielding at Madison Square Garden on December 15.

“Let’s be real Canelo moving up to my weight, he ain’t gonna win that fight. No way, come on man. You’re just basically one of them little guys I spar before I fight. I am a professional fighter, I’ve had over 37 fights. Nothing personal. Motherf**ker don’t speak English so he ain’t knowing what I’m saying anyway.”

It seems that Pandora’s Box is well and truly open. It may be a case of when, not if, we will see another Boxer vs UFC Fighter bout taking place under the unified rules of boxing following Mayweather’s Rubicon moment in making the fight with McGregor a reality.

In the meantime, Mayweather potentially has another legal battle on his hands after Tech Crunch and other outlets reported that he and DJ Khaled have been named in a lawsuit aimed at Centra Tech ICO. Investors are accusing the fighter and his DJ friend of allegedly helping to promote an ICO (Initial Coin Offering) of bitcoins that turned out to be fraudulent after Mayweather plugged the payment method in a since-deleted Instagram post.

Two members of the company, Robert Farkas and Sohrah Sharma, were charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and both were arrested for masterminding “a fraudulent ICO in which Centra offered and sold unregistered investments through a CTR Token.” A third man, Raymond Trapani, was also charged earlier this year.

As I said, there is no news like Floyd news, but this one is unlikely to have too much impact on a man who has put his name to a number of things, it just might encourage him to stick to investing in property and preventing people from hitting him in future.

Belfast’s Carl Frampton (26-1, 15 KOs) is fully focused on his December 22 meeting with IBF world featherweight title holder Josh Warrington (27-0, 6 early) at the Manchester Arena yet the 31-year-old still had time to fire off a dismissal in the general direction of Kid Galahad (25-0, 15 stoppages).

Galahad eased past Toka Kahn Clary at Boston’s TD Garden (Note: the venue is not named after me) on Saturday night then predicted that he will meet Warrington for the IBF title as mandatory challenger once the Leeds-based titlist has defeated Frampton.

“I don’t think Frampton will beat Warrington but if he does he will vacate the title rather than fight me,” predicted Galahad. “He did it before with Guillermo Rigondeaux and he will do it again. I would love that fight.”

“The Jackal” responded in kind when speaking to iFL about Galahad’s claims. “[He is] insane,” he declared. “Look at his performances, he thinks he is a killer but he is not. Look, he won the fight — well done. Why would I vacate a title if my mandatory was Kid Galahad? It’s stupid.”

“I beat Josh Warrington, which I am planning to do, I am talking about unifying…I am going to fight a unification fight either against Santa Cruz, Gary Russell, Oscar Valdez possibly. That supersedes the mandatory… I want big fights from here on in.”

The spectre of spectators fighting in the stands raised its ugly head again this weekend when a mass brawl broke out during a Frank Warren-promoted show at the Brentwood Centre in Essex. It took the gloss off what was an exciting, fan friendly British welterweight title fight between Johnny “The Pexican” Garton and Gary Corcoran, which Garton won after 11 back-and-forth rounds, and once again raised questions about security measures at boxing shows.

Some took to Twitter to ask why this happens at Warren’s events when, in truth, it is a problem that extends across the promotional divides. This writer has seen plenty of trouble across a range of shows and of varying degrees. Claims that it is down to rival football fans are sometimes valid yet I recall watching Birmingham City FC fans engaging in fights amongst themselves at the city’s NEC so there is something deeper at play.

On the night, MC and all-round boxing man Mike Goodall used his tried and tested, and probably patented, approach of telling the crowd to “behave” and “sit down to watch the boxing” as security staff tried to intervene while bystanders filmed the affray and various assaults.

A woman can be heard shouting: “What are they playing at?!” This is a sound question, with a spokeswoman for Essex Police stating that: “This behaviour will not be tolerated and we are working with the organisers and security to determine who was involved. No arrests were made last night.”

She added: “The security of private events are the responsibility of the venue and organisers. Prior to the event, we met with the organisers, whose security arrangements appeared to be sufficient. We had officers in the area to assist in the event of any disorder and we dealt with what happened last night quickly — we are continuing our enquiries into who was involved.”

Fans in attendance have been encouraged to contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 with information. Now, some may say that calling the police is “grassing” and all that type of nonsense — in this case the reality is that you would be reporting a few idiots rather than breaking some form of Omertà, so get on it if you have any further footage or information.

As for the issue itself, the temptation would be to call it another “black eye for boxing” yet it happens in football, on the streets of city centres, and wherever people gather together in numbers, so there is only so much that can be done to prevent flare ups.

The short solution is this: ‘Dear Knuckleheads. Please stop acting like absolute eejits; if you cannot enjoy a night out without being an imbecile then please stay in your home so we can contain the disease.

Yours,

a boxing fan.’

October 22, 2018
October 22, 2018
Lawrence Okolie

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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What are your thoughts on the Matty Askin British title fight now?

Before the fight Askin was ‘above British level,’ ‘he’s fringe world level’. That’s what everyone said, that’s what everyone believed and that’s what he showed with his performances. As soon as I beat him in a scrappy kind of affair, but I beat him [clearly]. Watching the fight back I couldn’t give him much of an argument for winning in the sense that he wasn’t active, despite the clinching and so on and so forth. He wasn’t boxing from range, he wasn’t doing anything really. It showed me that I was able to beat someone at that level even with my inexperience. Because I always find a way to win. But more importantly it showed me the stuff I need to work on, not just for my next fight or the fight after that but just for my career. It’s become clear that I’m tall, strong, powerful and I hit hard and I’m very difficult to cope with from range. Now I need to know everyone that I box is going to be diving towards my chest. In sparring I spar heavyweights, good fighters who are good enough to be able to be able to keep it long with me or try different stuff out. In a fight I think people feel my power and then make a desperate attempt to get on my chest. So it’s what do I do now? Now I know that, it’s happened to me twice, it’s what do I do now in training to prepare myself for the next time someone tries getting on my chest.

You must take satisfaction from winning the British title so early in your career?

Of course. It’s similar to the Olympics in that I wasn’t meant to get to the Olympics after 19 amateur fights, boxing against the world’s best fighters with such little experience. But I did it. So now I’ve won the British title in 10 fights, a year and a half as a pro … it shows me the level I’m at now and if I put in the right work, smart work, where I can get to given time.

Because it was an ugly fight, is that a sign now it would be good to do a few defences?

I have to be honest with myself and not deluded. If I’m honest with myself, there’s key stuff that I need to work on for the next little bit of my career before I can say I can beat every style.

To win convincingly or to win in impressive fashion, that’s a different story. And also there’s another level of boxers who won’t allow me to hold. They’ll be working in clever ways. They won’t allow me to hit and close the range down. They’ll be work on stuff like that. It’ll be what do I do against someone of that level. I have to working on it from now.

What’s the backlash been like?

More so on the day of the fight, the day after, there was a lot. But obviously it’s just social media, it’s easy to put my phone down.

Come back and they have a new fight the next week to criticise. That wasn’t so bad. It’s more the realism of it. When people whose opinions I respect say stuff about the fight, that’s when I take it more seriously.

I need to adapt completely and show, like I’ve shown in other fights, I can be extremely destructive.

I wouldn’t be where I am if I listened to public opinion, if I listened to people who told me I can’t. They told me I couldn’t go to the Olympics. [They said] it’s too soon, blah, blah, blah.

If you want to talk performance-wise, it might have been too soon for Askin. [But maybe] that’s how his style and my style gel together. I can work on techniques but it’s also up to my opponents to show the will to win. Because opponents that have come and exchanged with me non-stop, have been stopped. [Isaac] Chamberlain and Askin, who were clever enough to slip and slide, get on the chest, not really do too much work, get into an ugly fight.

Lawrrence Okolie

Has anyone caught your eye as a potential next opponent?

A few but everyone knows the way to do it is just to talk rubbish on Twitter and it’ll probably be you.

The fight I was looking at was Craig Glover who just beat Simon Vallily… Probably next year me and him will battle it out.

There’s a guy called Jack Massey, he’s been talking a bit on Twitter as well.

Do you an idea of when you might fight next?

I want to box one more time before the end of the year because I feel like I’m still learning so I need to box at least four times a year.

I know I’m having longer fights and longer camps but I need to be out one more time before the end of the year.