CASH: I WANT THE BRITISH TITLE NEXT

Picture By Mark Robinson.
Felix Cash believes winning the Commonwealth Middleweight crown will earn him a shot at the Lonsdale belt currently held by Welshman Liam Williams.
 
The unbeaten Wokingham talent, 10-0, is keen to make up for lost time as he takes on Nigeria’s Rasheed Abolaji for the vacant Commonwealth title at The O2 on February 2, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.
 
Cash picked up the first title of his professional career after cruising to victory against Stephen Danyo at the Copper Box Arena in October. He dominated his Manchester-based Dutch opponent throughout before receiving a unanimous verdict to claim the WBC International Silver belt. 
 
And the former Team GB amateur standout is aiming to add a second belt to his collection when he takes on Abolaji next month before targeting a shot a two-weight British Champ Liam Williams in 2019.
 
“A shot at a good domestic belt has been a long time coming,” said Cash. “The Commonwealth title is right up there and hopefully once I get my hands on it more fighters will be tempted to get in the ring with me. We’ve been trying to make big fights for a while now, but opponents have always priced themselves out or messed us around. 
 
“I’ve flown under the radar a little bit for the past couple of years but my last fight was a title fight and this is for the Commonwealth. When I get the win on February 2 I can start targeting some big names in the domestic Middleweight division and show everyone what I’m really about when I step up.
 
“I’m looking forward to going in there and putting on a performance. The plan is to get the Commonwealth and then I want to go for the British. I’m taking things one fight at a time, but I’ve got full confidence in my abilities. Liam Williams holds the British and that’s a fight that could happen this year.
 
“I’ve sparred Liam before and he’s a good fighter. He boxed very well in his last fight – he looked class. You’d be lying if you said he didn’t, but I’m very confident in my abilities. I’ve sparred multiple World Champions and I know what I’ve been doing to them, and they know too. Sparring is sparring but it’s the closest thing to fighting. I know how good I am and it’s my time to show everyone.”
 
‘Afonja Warrior’, 27, has won six of his eleven career wins by KO and has previously fought in the UK when he took Sam Sheedy the distance in a challenge for the Commonwealth Middleweight title in 2017. Cash is expecting a hard night’s work.
 
“He’s quite dangerous early on so I’ll have to stick to my boxing, break him down and then go to work on him. He’s a bit of a hooker and doesn’t throw many straights. Tony says he’s very tough, so I’ll have to go down and work the body. He’ll be the best opponent I’ve faced to date, but I fully expect to come away with the win.”

Cash vs. Abolaji is part of a huge night of action in London. 
 
Bermondsey star Ted Cheeseman steps up again when he challenges undefeated Spaniard Sergio Garcia for the European Super-Welterweight crown. 
 
Unbeaten British Cruiserweight Champion Lawrence Okolie returns to action after his win over Matty Askin at Wembley Stadium in September. 

Light-Heavyweight rivals Jake Ball and Craig Richards finally face-off in a highly-anticipated grudge match for the WBA Continental title. 
 
Scotland’s fast-rising Super-Middleweight talent John Docherty aims to make it three KO’s from three fights, Ipswich Heavyweight Fabio Wardley looks to go 6-0, decorated amateur Charles Frankham makes his debut at Super-Featherweight and Hammersmith Light-Heavyweight Dana Zaxo takes part in his fourth professional contest.

Tickets for February 2 priced at £30, £50, £80 and £150 are (VIP) available to purchase from StubHub (www.stubhub.co.uk), The O2 (www.theo2.co.uk) and Matchroom Boxing (www.matchroomboxing.com)

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TICKETS NOW ON SALE FOR BOXING’S BIG RETURN TO ROYAL ALBERT HALL


Tickets have today gone on sale for only the second boxing event to be held at the London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall in 20 years.

Rising heavyweight star Daniel Dubois will have his tenth professional fight and double Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams will challenge for a first world title on Friday March 8 when Frank Warren proudly returns boxing to the historic surroundings of the Royal Albert Hall. BT Sport will televise live.

Liam Williams will also make the first defence of his newly won British Middleweight title against Brentwood bruiser and former English Champion, Joe Mullender.

The iconic venue has previously staged some of the best fights in British boxing history. Only one professional boxing show has been staged at the Albert Hall in the last nearly 20 years, the occasion being when Billy Joe Saunders fought Tony Hill for the vacant Commonwealth title in April 2012.

Sharing top billing will be star in the making, Dubois, who faces his toughest test to date in the shape of Romanian giant Razvan Cojanu.

The 31-year-old former world title challenger extended Dubois’ domestic rival Nathan Gorman to the full 12 round distance in December, having originally been scheduled to fight the young Londoner a week previously before Dubois succumbed to illness.

The 16-5 Cojanu has operated at the highest level and in 2017 he challenged Joseph Parker for the WBO world heavyweight title and faced Luis Ortiz in July of last year.

“The chance to fight at the Royal Albert Hall is a huge thrill for me and I really hope it is the first of many opportunities to perform there,” said the 21-year-old. “I am fully aware that many of the British heavyweight greats of the past fought at this historic venue and it will be an honour to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Henry Cooper, Frank Bruno and Lennox Lewis.

“I know the Albert Hall was the favourite place to watch boxing for many older fans so it is brilliant that a new generation will now get the chance to sample the experience too.”

It is fitting that British sporting royalty in Nicola Adams will bid for her crowning moment at the South Kensington concert hall that was opened by Queen Victoria in 1871 and first staged a boxing competition in 1918.

Adams will challenge the WBO world flyweight champion Arely Mucino, having won the Interim world title in October with a clear cut points victory over Isabel Millan in her fifth professional fight.

“Winning a world title is what I got into professional boxing for and I believe it is my destiny to do so and ultimately unify the flyweight division,” stated the two-time Olympic gold medallist. “To get this opportunity after just five professional fights is an achievement in itself and I am so thankful to my promotional team for making it happen.

“To fight for the WBO world title at the Royal Albert Hall is a dream come true when you consider the great names that have performed there and I want to make this another memorable occasion.”

The 29-year-old Mexican Mucino holds a record of 27-3-2 and is a three-time world champion, winning the IBF title in 2011 and successfully defending three times before losing a challenge for the WBC belt in 2012.

Mucino won the WBO title in February of last year with a majority decision over Monserrat Alarcon before overcoming Maria Salinas via a split decision in September.

Also on the bill, in what is surely guaranteed to be an all-action encounter, Liam Williams will make a first defence of his British middleweight title against former English champion Joe Mullender.

Williams was hugely impressive in stepping up to middleweight to stop the previously unbeaten Mark Heffron in December to become a two-weight British champion and he now defends the belt against the 11-2 Mullender, who recorded a brutal stoppage victory over Ben Capps last time out in October.

“I think this has got all the makings of an exciting fight and you can see from his style that he always brings it and comes to have a good tear up, so I am looking forward to it,” commented the 19-2-1 Welshman.

“I do believe I am a class or two above him to be quite honest, but I also think he will give anyone a decent fight because of his style. He would give most fighters in the world a good fight, however long it lasts, because of the way he approaches fights.”

The Brentwood man, known as ‘Smokin Joe’ won the English title in an epic sequel against Lee Markham in June 2017.

“For me it is all about the British title and I will fight anyone,” insisted the hugely popular 32-year-old. I respect Liam as a fighter, he has done what he’s done and is levels above me on paper, but I don’t really care who I fight, to be honest.

“It is for the British title and the odds are stacked against me, but that is what I like.”

Johnny Garton, who won the British welterweight title in a thriller against Gary Corcoran in October features on the card, along with Archie Sharp (14-0) making a first defence of his WBO European super featherweight title against the also unbeaten Lucas Ballingall (11-0).

Tickets are priced from £40 and are available to buy via RoyalAlbertHall.com

TICKETS START FROM £40
GRAND TIER: £100
LOGGIA: £100
SECOND TIER: £75

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SMITH TAKES ON EGGINGTON IN MARCH 30 LIVERPOOL HOMECOMING

Fowler vs Fitzgerald, Hughes vs. Davies Jnr and David Price feature on stacked bill
Liam Smith will make his long-awaited Liverpool homecoming on March 30 when he takes on Sam Eggington at the M&S Bank Arena, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.
 
Smith became Liverpool’s first World Champion in over 20 years when he stopped American John Thompson to claim the WBO Super-Welterweight crown at the Merseyside arena in 2015 before making a second successful defence of the title against Predrag Radosevic at the same venue in 2016.
 
‘Beefy’ hasn’t fought in his home city since and is itching to get back under the lights as he sets about winning back a version of the World title he bravely lost against pound-for-pound star Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in Texas in 2016, and in doing so becoming the city’s first two-time World Champion.
 
Former European Welterweight Champion Eggington knows he is fighting for his career after suffering a shock stoppage defeat to Tanzania’s Hassan Mwakinyo at Arena Birmingham in September.
 
‘The Savage’ was preparing to face former World ruler Brandon Rios at Wembley Stadium when he was wiped out by the dangerous African, but the Stourbridge man believes a win against Smith would put his name back in the mix for title action at 154lbs. 
 
“It’s a very good fight for me,” said Smith. “I’ve done a lot – and I mean a lot – of sparring with Sam. You know what you are going to get with him. He comes to fight. You aren’t sitting on the edge of your seat wondering what he’s going to bring. You know exactly what he’s bringing.
 
“It’s the same with me and you know this is going to gel into a good fight. We will meet in the middle. It’s what we both do. I do feel, though, I do everything better than him and beyond. I feel if I ‘turn up’, you will all see what I mean.
  
“I am a big way back into boxing for him. And as we’ve sparred a lot, whatever confidence he can draw, he will try and draw some from that.
 
“I’ve got to do a proper job on Sam and a proper job is what I truly believe I will do. Having those little gloves on are so different to sparring and with those 10oz gloves on, I am massively confident I will find those gaps. Everything I throw will hit Sam and I just feel I have too good a variety for him to carry on going.”
 
Super-Welterweight rivals Anthony Fowler and Scott Fitzgerald put their unbeaten records on the line when they meet in one of the most eagerly-anticipated domestic clashes of the year. Preston’s Fitzgerald says he is a “different level” to Fowler’s previous opponents but ‘The Machine’ has vowed to “go through” his former teammate to set-up a mouth-watering clash with British Champion Ted Cheeseman.
 
Also on the bill, newly-crowned European Super-Lightweight Champion Joe Hughes clashes with Liverpool’s British Champion Robbie Davies Jnr in another tasty domestic showdown.
 
Malmesbury’s Hughes will be looking to build on a career-best win after he finally got his hands on the European title at the second time of asking after dominating Andrea Scarpa in Italy. Davies Jnr is looking to take another step up after claiming the British and Commonwealth titles in a bloody and bruising war with Glenn Foot at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle last October.
 
Popular Heavyweight David Price fights in Liverpool for the first time in nearly three years as he looks to make a fresh charge on the Heavyweight division following his recent win over Tom Little at The O2.
 
There’s also action for rising Liverpool Cruiserweight talent Craig Glover and ‘Miss GB’ Natasha Jonas, with Liverpool Super-Lightweight Tom ‘Fazza’ Farrell aiming to impress in front of his home crowd and undefeated Super-Lightweight Ged ‘G-Man’ Carroll looking to improve to 10-0.
 
“I can’t wait to be back in Liverpool on March 30, I love it there!” said Eddie Hearn. “This is one of the best all domestic cards we have put on in the city – Liam Smith returns from his World title defeat to face the all action Sam Eggington in what will be an absolute war and Anthony Fowler faces off against ex GB teammate Scott Fitzgerald in another crunch 154lb clash. 
 
“The British and European Super-Lightweight titles are on the line for Liverpool’s Robbie Davies Jnr and Joe Hughes and big David Price fights in Liverpool for the first time in nearly 3 years as he looks to make a charge in the Heavyweight division after his recent win at The O2. There’s plenty more action with rising Cruiserweight Craig Glover, Tom Farrell and Natasha Jonas – it’s going to be a busy night and a great event on March 30.”
 
Tickets for Smith vs. Eggington priced at £40, £60, £100 and £200 (Inner Ring VIP) are available to Fight Pass members via StubHub (www.stubhub.co.uk) at midday on Tuesday January 22.
 
General Sale tickets are available to purchase via the M&S Bank Arena (www.mandsbankarena.com), Matchroom Boxing (www.matchroomboxing.com) and StubHub at midday on Wednesday January 23.

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YARDE TO FACE TOUGH FRENCH TEST IN LEICESTER ON FEBRUARY 23RD


ANTHONY YARDE WILL face his toughest assignment to date when he takes on former European champion Mehdi Amar at the Morningside Arena in Leicester on February 23, live on BT Sport.

The 35-6-2 Frenchman, who hails from Marseille, has previously won the EBU light heavyweight belt, defeating Serhiy Demchenko before surrendering the title on German soil on points to former world super middleweight champion Robert Stieglitz.

Amar, who has been stopped only once in 2012, moved on to challenge for the WBC Interim world light heavyweight title against the formidable Ukrainian Oleksandr Gvozdyk – recent conqueror of Adonis Stevenson with a perfect 16-0 record – in March of 2018 at Madison Square Garden.

Amar was defeated over the 12 round distance but proved his credentials in operating at the highest level in an ultra-competitive weight division.

The 36-year-old, who made his debut in late 2007, is a vastly experienced campaigner with 267 rounds under his belt across his 43 professional fights.

Yarde, by comparison, has clocked up just 46 rounds in his 17 fights so far, winning the Southern Area, WBO European and WBO Intercontinental titles along the way, preparing for future fights that will rubber stamp his star quality.

The 27-year-old’s bludgeoning power and blistering speed has seen to it that only one – in his second fight as a pro – of his opponents has heard the final bell, resulting in him being ranked No.1 contender in the WBO rankings.

“I am aiming for big things this year and it starts here,” stated Yarde. “Amar possesses all the experience and know-how of operating at a high level, winning European titles and fighting some of the best in the division.

“He proved his durability and toughness by going the full 12 rounds with Gvozdyk and the only other two people to do that did it in six round fights.

“It is the perfect test for me at this stage of my own development and I am looking forward to making a big statement in Leicester.”

Yarde’s clash with Amar at the Morningside Arena shares top billing with the British super featherweight title showdown between the champion Sam ‘Bullet’ Bowen from Ibstock in Leicestershire and Ronnie ‘The Shark’ Clark from Dundee. Local fighters CJ Challenger and Kyle Haywood do battle for the vacant Midlands Area super welterweight title, with Nathan Gorman, Lyon Woodstock, Ryan Garner, Willie Hutchinson, Tommy Fury, Ryan Hatton and Mark Chamberlain also featuring on the card.

Tickets are available from £40 are on sale NOW via Eventbrite

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DUBOIS AND ADAMS TO STAR IN ROYAL ALBERT HALL RETURN


Rising heavyweight star Daniel Dubois will have his tenth professional fight and double Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams will challenge for a first world title on Friday March 8 when Frank Warren proudly returns boxing to the historic surroundings of the Royal Albert Hall. BT Sport will televise live.

Liam Williams will also make the first defence of his newly won British Middleweight title against Brentwood bruiser and former English Champion, Joe Mullender.

The iconic venue has previously staged some of the best fights in British boxing history. Only one professional boxing show has been staged at the Albert Hall in the last nearly 20 years, the occasion being when Billy Joe Saunders fought Tony Hill for the vacant Commonwealth title in April 2012.

Sharing top billing will be star in the making, Dubois, who faces his toughest test to date in the shape of Romanian giant Razvan Cojanu.

The 31-year-old former world title challenger extended Dubois’ domestic rival Nathan Gorman to the full 12 round distance in December, having originally been scheduled to fight the young Londoner a week previously before Dubois succumbed to illness.

The 16-5 Cojanu has operated at the highest level and in 2017 he challenged Joseph Parker for the WBO world heavyweight title and faced Luis Ortiz in July of last year.

“The chance to fight at the Royal Albert Hall is a huge thrill for me and I really hope it is the first of many opportunities to perform there,” said the 21-year-old. “I am fully aware that many of the British heavyweight greats of the past fought at this historic venue and it will be an honour to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Henry Cooper, Frank Bruno and Lennox Lewis.

“I know the Albert Hall was the favourite place to watch boxing for many older fans so it is brilliant that a new generation will now get the chance to sample the experience too.”

It is fitting that British sporting royalty in Nicola Adams will bid for her crowning moment at the South Kensington concert hall that was opened by Queen Victoria in 1871 and first staged a boxing competition in 1918.

Adams will challenge the WBO world flyweight champion Arely Mucino, having won the Interim world title in October with a clear cut points victory over Isabel Millan in her fifth professional fight.

“Winning a world title is what I got into professional boxing for and I believe it is my destiny to do so and ultimately unify the flyweight division,” stated the two-time Olympic gold medallist. “To get this opportunity after just five professional fights is an achievement in itself and I am so thankful to my promotional team for making it happen.

“To fight for the WBO world title at the Royal Albert Hall is a dream come true when you consider the great names that have performed there and I want to make this another memorable occasion.”

The 29-year-old Mexican Mucino holds a record of 27-3-2 and is a three-time world champion, winning the IBF title in 2011 and successfully defending three times before losing a challenge for the WBC belt in 2012.

Mucino won the WBO title in February of last year with a majority decision over Monserrat Alarcon before overcoming Maria Salinas via a split decision in September.

Also on the bill, in what is surely guaranteed to be an all-action encounter, Liam Williams will make a first defence of his British middleweight title against former English champion Joe Mullender.

Williams was hugely impressive in stepping up to middleweight to stop the previously unbeaten Mark Heffron in December to become a two-weight British champion and he now defends the belt against the 11-2 Mullender, who recorded a brutal stoppage victory over Ben Capps last time out in October.

“I think this has got all the makings of an exciting fight and you can see from his style that he always brings it and comes to have a good tear up, so I am looking forward to it,” commented the 19-2-1 Welshman.

“I do believe I am a class or two above him to be quite honest, but I also think he will give anyone a decent fight because of his style. He would give most fighters in the world a good fight, however long it lasts, because of the way he approaches fights.”

The Brentwood man, known as ‘Smokin Joe’ won the English title in an epic sequel against Lee Markham in June 2017.

“For me it is all about the British title and I will fight anyone,” insisted the hugely popular 32-year-old. I respect Liam as a fighter, he has done what he’s done and is levels above me on paper, but I don’t really care who I fight, to be honest.

“It is for the British title and the odds are stacked against me, but that is what I like.”

Johnny Garton, who won the British welterweight title in a thriller against Gary Corcoran in October features on the card, along with Archie Sharp (14-0) making a first defence of his WBO European super featherweight title against the also unbeaten Lucas Ballingall (11-0).

Tickets are priced from £40. A pre-sale open to members of the Royal Albert Hall’s Friends and Patrons scheme is open from noon on Thursday 17 January, with tickets on general sale from noon on Friday 18 January via RoyalAlbertHall.com

TICKETS START FROM £40
GRAND TIER: £100
LOGGIA: £100
SECOND TIER: £75

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GORMAN ADDED TO LEICESTER BILL- PLANS ‘SHOWREEL KO’


NATHAN GORMAN IS relishing the opportunity to put down an early marker for the year, having been added to the card at the Morningside Arena in Leicester on February 23, live on BT Sport.

The 15-0 heavyweight will get quickly back in the swing of things in 2019 after also featuring on the blockbuster Manchester Arena show on December 22, where he tasted the full 12 round distance for the first time against former world title challenger Razvan Cojanu, in what represented a fourth fight in a year for the Nantwich 22-year-old.

He will now bid to start the New Year on a high in Leicester in a support attraction to the British super featherweight title showdown between the champion Sam Bowen and dangerous challenger Ronnie Clark.

“This is a real bonus for me because I only boxed recently,” said the WBC International Silver champion. From boxing on the 22nd December to getting back out in seven-eight weeks is very fortunate and a good kick-start to 2019.

“It is great exposure for me again and hopefully I will put on a good performance and make a statement,” added the young heavy, who believes exposure is almost as valuable as experience at this stage of his career.

“Yes of course it is because you want to turn heads, don’t you? You want people to tune in to watch you and get them talking. You want to be the name on everyone’s lips and that is why it would be good to get a KO reel.”

To that end, Gorman admits a degree of frustration that his last two fights – against Cojanu and before that Kamil Sokolowski – have reached the final bell. There were, however, mitigating circumstances in the Sokolowski fight because he sustained a hand injury in the first round, while Cojanu was a step up in levels and a wily campaigner.

“It has annoyed me a bit, but the last one was very awkward and I could see why he went the 12 rounds with Joseph Parker. He was very clever at surviving and when you caught him with a good shot he knew how to hold on and he did little things in there that allowed him to get through.

“The positive is that I got 12 rounds out that I had never done before – and against a big lump as well. Listen, I would have loved to have gone in there and knocked him out in the first round, but now I know I can do 12 rounds and for future fights that will pay dividends.

“I do know that I need a showreel KO now and I plan on getting one in Leicester.”

Headlining the show at the Morningside Arena is the British super featherweight title showdown between the champion Sam Bowen from Ibstock in Leicestershire and Ronnie ‘The Shark’ Clark from Dundee. Local fighters CJ Challenger and Kyle Haywood do battle for the vacant Midlands Area super welterweight title, with Lyon Woodstock, Ryan Garner, Tommy Fury, Ryan Hatton and Mark Chamberlain also featuring on the card.

Tickets priced at £40, £60, £100 & £150 are available and on sale NOW via Eventbrite

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GARCIA VS. CHEESEMAN + UNDERCARD QUOTES

Picture By Mark Robinson.


Eddie Hearn:

“Good afternoon everyone and thank you for coming today. Firstly, Happy New Year. 2018 – wow, what a whirlwind. When you look back at the amount of events, the events themselves, it was a great year for boxing. There are so many young stars coming through. I get the feeling and the warmth that this is a new beginning and a new start, particularly for a lot of people sat at this top table. There seems to be a changing of the guard. There are so many great fighters that are coming into the closing stages of their careers. When you look at this card, you see exactly the opposite. 

“This is great that you have a young fighter local to The O2 who has had 15 fights and is willing to take these kinds of steps against Sergio Garcia, a European Champion – top 5 with the WBC and top 15 with many other organisations as well. It’s a massive step and these young fighters are being prepared to step up to these levels quicker than historically they’ve done before. It applies to Ted Cheeseman and it also applies to Lawrence Okolie, just ten fights in and number 8 in the World on BoxRec. There’s a lot of opportunities for the young guys coming through and on February 2 we see a lot of them step up.”

Adam Smith, Head of Sky Boxing:

“Happy New Year everyone. I hope you all had a great Christmas. What a fantastic 2018 it was – finished with the wonderful night at The O2, not only the Whyte-Chisora rematch but also Charlie Edwards, what a scene that was when he won the World title. It just goes to show that stars can appear if you believe in yourself. 

“The opportunity is knocking for so many young fighters this year. The stage is there. Boxing has revolutionised in London, The O2 is a phenomenal venue. February 2nd is a warm welcome back, there’s some great talent on the card at all sorts of levels. The most important thing is that they have the chance to breakthrough this year. You have to take the chances. We want stories, we want narratives, we want personalities. Stories and narratives build, that’s where we get the huge fights. 

“This is where is starts and I think 2019 is the start of a new era for the youngsters. I think by the end of the year there will be three or four guys topping bills and hopefully for them becoming Box Office stars themselves. The opportunities are there, the talent is huge around the gyms in the country. We can’t wait to get going on February 2nd.”

Sergio Garcia – Torrelavega, Spain – 28-0, 13 KO’s – defending the EBU European Super-Welterweight title against Ted Cheeseman:

“In truth this is a great opportunity for me and Spanish boxing, we’re going to put on a show. I have a lot more experience than him but at the end of the day this is boxing so I’ll have to put in a performance on the night. It’s nice to hear my promoter backing me but right now the challenge is on February 2nd so I’ll take care of that night and then we’ll see what comes next.”

Ted Cheeseman – Bermondsey, London – 15-0, 9 KO’s – challenging Sergio Garcia for the the EBU European Super-Welterweight title:

“For this fight, it’s a European title, he’s highly ranked with the World governing bodies, and the thing is once you win a European title, there’s only one other step after that. When you turn pro, your goal is to be a World Champion. You don’t yourself fully know if you’re going to achieve that.  “You don’t even know if you’re going to get a shot at it, but if I win this fight on February 2, and I’m highly confident I will after watching my opponent’s fights and studying his style, then I’m in line. I’m there, I’m in line, I’m basically there for a world title shot. “As you say, it’s a World level fight, so I’ll go and put on a good show on February 2, and show how much I’m improving and show what level I’m at.” Lawrence Okolie – Hackney, London – 10-0, 7 KO’s – Cruiserweight:

“I did a lot of learning inside and outside of the ring in 2018. It was a good learning year, I packed in a lot of experience into 10 fights. I want bigger tests and more grudge matches in 2019. It’s about balance, I was pushed fast in the amateurs. There’s a big gap from domestic to World level and I’m still learning.”

Jake Ball – Surrey, England – 12-1, 9 KO’s – fighting Craig Richards for the WBA Continental Light-Heavyweight title:

“I’ve been training well and preparing hard for it. The actions that I’ll show on February 2nd will speak louder than any words that I can say. I respect Craig and I know he’s a good fighter, but he isn’t as good as me and it’s as simple as that. Come fight night I’ll show it. I’m not afraid of any man.

“When I fight Craig in February I’ll be 100% fit and ready. I pulled out through injury, it’s not as if I had another fight lined up. All the hard work in the gym will show on the night.”

Craig Richards – Crystal Palace, London – 13-1, 7 KO’s – fighting Jake Ball for the WBA Continental Light-Heavyweight title:

“Im not going to pretend that the last few months haven’t been frustrating. With Jake ‘no balls’ pulling out, it’s been frustrating. He called me out in June and he’s been sitting on the bench injured since. Then we was meant to fight in October but he lost his balls and followed through in his trousers. Then we were meant to fight in December and it didn’t happen. Why didn’t you turn up in December?”

Felix Cash – Wokingham, England – 10-0, 6 KO’s – fighting Rasheed Abolaji for the vacant Commonwealth Middleweight title:

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s been a long time coming. The Commonwealth belt is right up there and I’m looking forward to going in there and putting a performance on. I want to show everyone what I’m all about and push on towards some bigger fights. Obviously it’s one fight at a time but I’ve got full confidence in my abilities. Hopefully once I get my hands on this Commonwealth title more fighters will be tempted so step in the ring with me. I’ll go in there, bust this fella up and then bring in the next one.”

John Docherty – Montrose, Scotland – 2-0, 2 KO’s – taking part in his third professional contest at Super-Middleweight:

“My first two fights went very well. I’m looking forward to getting out again on February 2nd and progressing with my career. Fighting in Italy was a good experience for me, I already had experience of fighting all around the World as an amatuer but the atmosphere in Italy was unique. I’m looking forward to getting another knockout on February 2nd. I would say I’m ready to step up now but Tony Sims and Eddie Hearn keep my feet on the ground. When the opportunity comes I’ll be ready.”

Fabio Wardley – Ipswich, England – 5-0, 4 KO’s – Heavyweight:

“December 22 was a great card and a great night to be a part of. I announced myself and showed everyone a little bit of what I can do. It was a fairly easy night for me, a comfortable win. I’m ready to go again. I’m excited to get out there in front of a big stage again and show off. 

“I pay attention to what’s going on in the Heavyweight landscape but at the same time I’m focused on my own career and I’m looking at titles and where the gaps are in the division. There’s a lot I can do and I bring something different that a lot of Heavyweights don’t have. I’m just looking forward to having a very busy year and making more of a name for myself.”

Charles Frankham – Crowthorne, England – making his professional debut at Super-Featherweight:

“I’ve been working really hard with Tony (Sims) and the boys. I’m looking forward to getting in there now and doing the job. I feel like I’m ready for the pro game now. I’ve been sparring with Martin J Ward, Joe Cordina and Ricky Burns – they’re bringing me on loads. I’m going to take my time and try and get as many bouts under my belt as I can in 2019.”

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TERENCE CRAWFORD AND AMIR KHAN TO BATTLE FOR WELTERWEIGHT SUPREMACY ON APRIL 20


Two kings are set for the year’s most anticipated Welterweight showdown when pound-for-pound king Terence “Bud” Crawford puts his WBO Welterweight World title on the line against former unified 140-pound champion and the pride of Bolton, England, Amir “King” Khan, on Saturday, April 20, live on pay-per-view at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT. Details on how fans will be able to access the pay-per-view event will be announced at a later date. 
 
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Matchroom Boxing and Khan Promotions, ticket and venue information will be revealed shortly. Details on the undercard will be announced soon. 
 
“The Crawford-Khan showdown is a very interesting matchup of two elite fighters,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Khan, when fighting at Welterweight, is as good as there is, but he is fighting the division’s best fighter and a pound-for-pound great. It will be an entertaining and competitive fight. We are also excited to join forces with ESPN on our first pay-per-view venture under the Top Rank on ESPN agreement.”
 
“It’s always been my goal to fight the best fighters out there, and I look at Amir Khan as one of the top fighters in my division,” Crawford said. “I know some people are writing him off, but I am by no means overlooking him. He’s a former unified World Champion, and come April 20, I’ll be looking to go out there to seek and destroy. I’m excited about this fight because I believe it can push my career to another level.”
 
“I’m delighted to announce a much-anticipated world title fight with Terence Crawford, the current WBO Welterweight World Champion,” Khan said. “The decision as to fighting Kell Brook or Crawford has been one of the most difficult decisions of my career to date. Clearly, the UK fans want to see Khan vs. Brook, but I could not turn down the opportunity to fight for the WBO title. That is not to say that the Brook fight won’t happen, as I want that fight to happen as soon as possible. Fighting a World Champion won’t be easy, but this is exactly the challenge I need at this stage of my career. I am fully motivated and ready for the best training camp of my life. Crawford is beatable, and I want that WBO title. It’s going to be one hell of a fight.”
 
“There has been a lot of speculation regarding Amir’s next fight, but the lure to trying to win another World title was too much to turn down, and now he faces arguably the number one Welterweight in the World in Terence Crawford,” said Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of Matchroom Sport. “It’s a fight he believes he can win, and on his night, Amir has all the speed and skills to beat the very best. I believe it will be a fascinating and dramatic matchup.”
 
Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs), from Omaha, Neb., is ranked by many experts as the World’s best fighter, a switch-hitting dynamo who has reigned supreme in three weight classes. He won the WBO Lightweight World title on March 1, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland, dethroning hometown hero Ricky Burns via unanimous decision. Crawford proved his Lightweight supremacy that year with a thrilling ninth-round TKO win over then-undefeated Yuriorkis Gamboa and a near-shutout decision victory over Ray Beltran.
 
Crawford made history when he unified all four 140-pound titles, punctuating his dominance over the division with a third-round knockout against Julius Indongo on Aug. 19, 2017. With nothing left to prove at 140 pounds, Crawford moved up to Welterweight. In his first bout at the weight, he knocked out Manny Pacquiao conqueror Jeff “The Hornet” Horn in the ninth round to win the WBO crown. For his first Welterweight title defence, Crawford returned home to the CHI Health Center Omaha and knocked out bitter rival Jose Benavidez Jr. in the 12th round in front of 13,323 passionate fans. 
 
Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) burst into the public consciousness at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens when, at 17 years of age, he captured a silver medal for Great Britain. He won the WBA Super-Lightweight World title on July 18, 2009, outclassing Andreas Kotelnik to win a unanimous decision. He made five successful title defenses at 140 pounds and became unified champion when he knocked out IBF ruler Zab Judah in five rounds in 2011.
 
Khan has won seven of eight bouts since December 2012, the lone blemish coming when he moved up in weight to fight Middleweight World Champion Canelo Álvarez. After boxing well in the early rounds, Khan was knocked out with an overhand right in the sixth round. Following the Álvarez defeat, Khan took a nearly two-year sabbatical from the ring, returning in 2018 with a vengeance. In April, he blasted out Phil Lo Greco in 39 seconds, and in September, he notched a wide 12-round points victory over perennial contender Samuel Vargas. More than 13 years since turning professional, Khan will take on the pound-for-pound king in a legacy-defining superfight. 
 
For more information visit: www.toprank.comwww.espn.com/boxing; Facebook: facebook.com/trboxing; Twitter: twitter.com/trboxing.

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CHARLES FRANKHAM PENS PROMOTIONAL DEAL WITH MATCHROOM BOXING 

Decorated amateur to make pro debut at The O2 on February 2
Charles Frankham has signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing.
 
‘Boom Boom’ enjoyed a glittering amateur career, winning 71 of his 77 bouts, collecting a World Youth Championship Bronze medal at 52kg, a Commonwealth Games Gold medal at 60kg and European Championship at 52kg along the way, as well as eleven National titles.
 
The 19-year-old from Crowthorne trains under the watchful eye of Tony Sims in Brentwood, Essex and is excited to begin life in the paid code at Super-Featherweight at The O2 in London on February 2nd.
 
“I’m over the moon to have signed a promotional deal with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing,” said Frankham. “They are by far the best in the business and I’m confident putting my career in their hands. I can’t wait to make my professional debut at The O2 next month, I’m aiming to impress. I enjoyed my time in the amateurs but now is the right time to turn over and make my mark in the pros.
 
“Make ‘em miss and make ‘em pay is the ‘Boom Boom’ Frankham way. My defence is one of my main attributes and I’m a spiteful counterpuncher. If I need to mix it up them I’m well equipped to do that as well. Fighting is in my blood; I was born to box. My grandad Johnny Frankham was a British Light-Heavyweight Champion and a huge inspiration to me – I intend on doing my family proud.
 
“I’m really lucky to have a brilliant team around me in the gym. There’s great sparring for me with the likes of Martin J Ward, Ricky Burns and Joe Cordina – they’re all similar weights to me. This year it’s all about building experience in the gym and in the ring. I’d like to get a few fights under my belt by the end of the year. My long-term ambition is to go all the way to the top and get as many belts as I can.”

“I’m delighted to welcome Charles to the team,” said Eddie Hearn. “His outstanding amateur pedigree speaks for itself and he has all of the attributes to be a big success in the paid ranks. I can’t wait to see his exciting new journey get underway at The O2 next month.”
 
Follow Charles’ journey on his Twitter: @CharlesFrankham and Instagram: CHARLES_FRANKHAM
 
Tickets for February 2 priced at £30, £50, £80 and £150 are (VIP) available to purchase from StubHub (www.stubhub.co.uk), The O2 (www.theo2.co.uk) and Matchroom Boxing (www.matchroomboxing.com)

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‘LIGHTNING’ LEE SELBY RETURNS TO ACTION AT THE O2

Photo: LAWRENCE LUSTIG

Welsh star’s highly awaited comeback on DeGale v Eubank Jr, live on ITV Box Office

An audacious 2019 plan to become Wales’ first ever two-weight World Champion

Former IBF World Featherweight Champion Lee Selby will make his big return to the ring on Saturday 23rd February at The O2, London, on the blockbuster James DeGale-Chris Eubank Jr. show, exclusively live on ITV Box Office.

Selby kicks off 2019 with new and fresh ambitions as he makes a daring move up two weight classes to campaign in the talent-packed Lightweight division and has targeted a second world title belt before the end of the year.

The Welsh star will face hard-hitting American Omar Douglas with a championship title on the line to be confirmed shortly that will support the mouth-watering showdown between bitter rivals DeGale and Eubank Jr in the UK debut event for Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) promoted by Poxon Sports.

The 31-year-old can’t wait to return to The O2 and he sees it as his lucky omen where he is unbeaten in the five fights he’s had there, including his sensational win over Evgeny Gradovich to win the IBF World title in May 2015.

This will be Selby’s first fight since a shock loss of his title to Josh Warrington last May that he put down to trouble making the 126 pound weight limit and realising that he should have made the move up in weight a lot sooner.

A loss has certainly not dented Selby’s confidence and the time away has made him reflect and refocus on his career and he is now relishing the challenges of fighting in a division that holds some of the elite names in world boxing and being crowned a two-time World Champion.

Making history is very much in Selby’s sights as he aims to become Wales’ first ever recognised two-weight World Champion. The Barry man is looking to carve his name alongside those of other Welsh sporting legends like Joe Calzaghe, JPR Williams, Gareth Bale and Geraint Thomas as he moves in to the next phase of his already glittering career.

Selby said, “I’m looking forward to the challenge of becoming a two weight world champion. The move up in weight was long overdue so that’s why we’ve chosen to jump up two weight classes to the Lightweight division.”

“There are so many fights to look forward to with big domestic fights like Campbell, Crolla and Burns along with some of the pound-for-pound best fighters in the world like Vasyl Lomachenko and Mikey García,”

“The Featherweight division was one of the toughest weight classes and I reached the top as IBF world champion. It’s the same mission now at Lightweight and I can’t wait to get back to business on February 23. The O2 London has been a special venue for me where I won my world title so it’s great to be back there on a massive night for British boxing.”

Douglas, from Wilmington, Delaware, had a decorated amateur career, winning five state Golden Gloves titles and is under the PBC banner.  The 27-year-old comes in with a top record of 13 knockouts in 19 wins from 21 fights, with two highly controversial points losses, and is a former NABA Super-Featherweight Champion.

He said, “I am very grateful for this opportunity to come to London and fight on the show and the UK fans get to see me in action. Lee Selby is a solid fighter, but I know in my heart that I’m an undefeated fighter and that will make me very dangerous and I will show it on February 23. I will show I’m a major player at junior lightweight. Although this fight is at 135 pounds I want the world to see that I’m one of the top guys at 130 and put the champions on notice.”

Promoter Richard Poxon of Poxon Sports is thrilled to welcome a fighter of Selby’s calibre to the action-packed card and expects him to shine at Lightweight.

Poxon said, “I always felt Lee would be a dominant champion at Featherweight and would have fancied him against anyone.  I was as surprised as anyone when he lost to Josh Warrington, but it was no secret Lee had had his problems making weight.”

“I’m really looking forward to watching Lee in this fight. To jump up two weights is some leap and it will be very interesting to see how he fits in the Lightweight division.”

“Douglas isn’t a joke for anyone and has only lost to the ‘top tier’ boxers. Edner Cherry is a proven operator and Fortuna is top drawer.  He’ll be coming to win, that’s for sure.”

“If Lee carries the weight well, then I’d expect him to be a serious threat to any of the champions at 135lbs.  There are some great domestic fights out there for him as well as on the international stage.” 

Tickets available from www.AXS.com and Inner Ringside/VIP Hospitality from www.sportandmusic.co.uk

This fight will be shown exclusively on ITV Box Office. For further information and updates, please go to www.itvboxoffice.com 

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