News notes from one last quiet week in Boxing ahead of a packed end of year. Continue reading
While it may have been one of the year’s quietest weeks so far in terms of televised Boxing, there has been a lot going on outside the ropes over the past seven days. The UK circuit has been a buzz with new fights, news notes and show updates covering everything from super fly to heavyweight. Here’s The Mandatory Eight for March 26th.
1. Fury/Chisora 2 and the heavyweight division
The promotional push for July 26th’s heavyweight bout between Derek Chisora and Tyson Fury has kicked into full gear with the first press conference taking place this past Thursday followed by the premiere of their head to head sit-down interview series on BoxNation earlier this week. The build got off to a lively start as was to be expected, first with Fury overturning a table and storming out on the presser, and then the two trading barbs back and forth as Jim Rosenthal asked the questions. You can check out the videos here and here. Both clips contain some pretty strong wording; so don’t say you weren’t warned!
The bout will serve as a final eliminator for the WBO title held by Wladimir Klitschko, and given the current heavyweight landscape, the winner will be the most interesting fresh challenger out-there for the big man. Both these guy’s know how to sell a fight to, so whoever comes away with the W, we should be seeing a major heavyweight title tilt before the year’s out.
2. Cyclone Promotions secure two new signings
Barry McGuigan and the team behind super bantamweight ace Carl Frampton have put pen to paper on long term promotional deals for two more of Belfast boxing’s rising stars in Marco McCullough and Jamie Conlan. McCullough (8-1) was awarded best young boxer of the year by the Boxing Union of Ireland back in February, following his breakout win over former European champion Willie Casey late last year. While Conlan (10-0) has been a staple of Frampton undercards dating back to The Jackal’s first headlining bill in 2010. Jamie is a guy with real upside. He’s a good ticket seller with a very viewer friendly style of boxing. The difficulty so far has just been in matching him simply because there isn’t a whole lot out-there in Ireland, the UK or even Europe when you drop as low as super flyweight. His standout performance to date was a stoppage of the tough Mike Robinson in February of last year.
Both Mccullough and Conlan have WBO European title fight’s lined up for the ‘This Is Belfast’ bill on April 4th main evented by Carl Frampton vs Hugo Fidel Cazares. Conlan will square off with Belgium’s Benjamin Smoes (9-2) with the super flyweight belt on the line, while Mccullough will be matched with Andrei Isaeu (25-4) of Belarus at featherweight.
It’s a tale of three former British Champions on this evenings Prizefighter as Derry Mathews, Anthony Crolla and Gary Sykes lead a strong Lightweight line up. Let’s take a look at what’s in store from each of the quarter final match ups.
Derry Mathews v Jamie Spence
Mathews is one of the betting favourites, with bookies split on who to pick between him and Anthony Crolla. He has gotten the kindest draw of anyone in the field – his two biggest rivals are both in the other bracket – and he’s drawn tournament long-shot Spence first. Derry got his career best win earlier this year when he stopped Crolla in six to win the British title. He followed that up with a spirited challenge for the European belt against Gavin Rees, but was worn down over nine rounds by the former world champ.
Spence was stopped quickly the only two times he faced opponents with winning records. He comes into Prizefighter having won 5 on the bounce but at a much lower level. Mathews will be expected to move on and could do so inside the 3 round limit. Fighting first also guarantees him the longest recovery time between bouts should he progress.
Quarter Final Brackets:
Albert Sosnowski (46-4-2) vs. Maurice Harris (25-16-2)
Noureddine Meddoune (4-1) vs. Kevin Johnson (26-1-1)
Tor Hamer (15-1) vs. Marcelo Luiz Nascimento (16-3)
Tom Dallas (15-2) vs. Tom Little (3-0)
It’s another top heavy draw for the second International Heavyweights edition in the Prizefighter series, with three of the pre-tournament favourites (Johnson, Sosnowski and Harris) being drawn into the upper bracket.
O’Kane adds Prizefighter title to Commonwealth gold
I said going into this one that the Prizefighter format was made for guys like Eamonn O’Kane – a fighter of ability, but one who needs to be fast tracked. What I didn’t mention however was the pressure he was under to deliver. No opportunity comes without risk, and for a celebrated prospect like O’Kane, there was massive risk involved. At 30 years old and still only a handful of pro fights, he simply couldn’t afford any slip ups. For his career to push on forward, he had to come through this and he did.
The Betfair Prizefighter series makes it’s way to Ireland for the first time this Saturday for an all Irish middleweight line up. With the tournament serving as support to the Paul McCloskey vs. DeMarcus Corley light welterweight clash, McCloskey along with rising Belfast star Carl Frampton performed the draw today at the Stormont Estate.
Quarter Final Brackets:
Eamonn O’Kane (4-0) vs. Anthony Fitzgerald (13-2)
Ciaran Healy (13-9-1) vs. Ryan Greene (5-0)
Darren Cruise (3-1) vs. JJ McDonagh (6-1)
Simon O’Donnell (11-1) vs. Joe Rea (7-7-1)