HEANEY JOINS THE QUEENSBERRY SQUAD

HUGELY POPULAR STOKE middleweight Nathan Heaney has signed a promotional agreement with Frank Warren and Queensberry Promotions.

Known as ‘Hitman’, the 10-0 Heaney fought on a Queensberry show – and delivered an impressive performance – back in November at Arena, Birmingham where he overcame Nelson Altamirano via a fifth round stoppage.

His most recent encounter, shortly before lockdown in mid-March, saw him defeat Christian Schembri to claim the vacant IBO Continental super middleweight title on his home patch of the Kings Hall in Stoke.

In June 2019, the now 31-year-old won the vacant Midlands Area belt on points after edging Tom Stokes over 10 rounds.

Heaney’s public profile has been notably increased in recent months by the social media release of his ring entrances in front of his passionate Stoke fans bellowing out the Tom Jones 1968 hit ‘Delilah’.

The ring walk and raucous atmosphere has captured the imagination and Heaney hopes his exploits result in major TV shows finding their way to his home town now he is under the promotional navigation of Frank Warren.

“It is like a childhood or young adult’s dream for me,” said the lifelong Stoke City supporter.

“When I was a young amateur years ago and you had the dream of winning an ABA title and that sort of stuff, the whole idea behind it was so you could get signed by Frank Warren in the end.

“That was my goal all the way through. So it is like a dream come true for me to be signed by Frank Warren. He has always been the top dog and there is no-one else like him, so this is a dream for me.

“It is a strange one because I know Frank normally signs young fighters but, while I am 31, I am a young 31 and was a late developer as well growing up. I think that is why the seniors were always tough for me in the early part of my amateur days, just because I didn’t have that man-strength.

“I genuinely now feel like I am a 24-year-old and have, one hundred per cent, got some good years left in me,” he added, before suggesting his social media stardom can only help in propelling him to the next level.

“The video that went viral of me recently means people across the country recognise my name a little bit more, but I have also been performing well and I won the Midlands Area title against a good kid, while being matched really well.

“So while I’ve got the entrance and all my supporters, luckily I can fight as well. It would be horrible to have all this support and not be able to back it up in the ring.

“I think they can really do something with my crowd because I believe the occasions to be amongst the most exciting in the UK. They don’t stop singing all the way through, they are loyal as anything and I really believe Frank Warren and Queensberry can build something around my support – I really do.

“I will wait to see what the plans for me are in terms of what titles to go for and who they want me fighting. Be it Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool – I know I will take a lot of people with me.

“While plans are, indeed, being drawn up down promotional corridors, Heaney himself has recently become something of a target for fellow 160-pounders with several call-outs coming via social media channels.

“It’s funny because at first I thought they were just calling for me because they thought they could beat me, but then I realised. There is a lad down south – I don’t want to mention his name – who keeps mentioning me and I know why he’s doing it.

“When you mention the Stoke lad they know they will sell loads more tickets. It is like using my name and my supporters to basically jump start their careers, whereas I had to put the graft in and build up my following.

“They are just trying to jump on the train. If they had half a football backing and their supporters knew they were fighting a lad from Stoke, they would sell hundreds more tickets.

“I replied saying ‘pay your dues to the professional game, win some ranking points and then I will happily sort you out. Until then stop talking about me because my missus is getting jealous!

“I’ve got a few fighters wanting to fight me now so I won’t be short of opponents when we get going again.”
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Nicola Hopewell ‘Lockdown’ Video Diary

Former Amateur star Nicola Hopewell, who made her Professional Debut around two weeks before the global lockdown, against Ghanaian Amateur star Anita Addy, recently made a video diary covering one day of her adapted routine during this crisis.

Before we get to Nicola’s Video, here’s a little about her amateur career and accolades as well as the widely published report on her pro debut against Anita Addy.

Nicola, who was on the England Talent Pathway for twelve months, traveled to different gyms around the country, training with England coaches. 

Whilst on the ETP system, she attended a three day Team GB training camp in Sheffield and sparred with the Italian boxing team. 

Nicola has also shared the ring with the best in the country at her weight including Commonwealth gold medalist and now undefeated pro boxer Lisa Whiteside and GB boxer Tori Ellis Willetts who is on the pathway for the Olympics. Nicola has also sparred professional boxers Nicola Adams, Nina Bradley and Terri Harper.

Nicola’s Hopewell’s Amateur Accolades – belts, box cups and championships:

•  East Midlands Champion 2015 to 2019

•  National Development Silver Medalist 2015

•  National Development Champion Gold Medalist 2016

•  National elite semi finalist 2017 (bronze medal)

•  National elite quarter finalist 2018

•  National elite semi finalist (bronze medal) 2019 

•  East Midlands Elite flyweight belt holder 

•  Central England Elite flyweight belt holder

•  East Midlands Box Cup silver medalist 2018

•  Esker box cup gold medalist 2018

•  Esker best over seas boxer belt holder 2018

•  Esker trophy 2018 – runner up for overall best boxer 

•  England winter women’s box cup gold medalist 2018

•  Hull box cup gold medalist 2019

  • Esker box cup silver medal at 51kg 2019
  • Esker box cup gold medal at 54kg 2019

Below is the widely published report on Nicola Hopewell’s Professional debut, that took place on the 7th March 2020 at the Hoops Basketball Centre in Barrow-in-Furness.

First fight off the night see former England Pathway Amateur Star Nicola Hopewell challenge Ghanaian former Elite Amateur fighter Anita Addy, for the Professional Boxing Council (PBC) Super Flyweight International Silver Championship.

Both protagonists were cautious in their initial approach, both working hard behind their jab, testing the other’s mettle with crisp fast flurries. As the round progressed Addy began to load more power into her shots, which in turn led to Hopewell returning equally powerful shots and for the rest of the round the pair entertained the assembled crowd with some sensational boxing.

Hopewell comes out hard and fast in the second, soon backing Addy into a neutral corner before letting rip with both hands, Addy initially began to fight her way out from the corner but Hopewell had an answer for everything the Ghanaian threw at her and kept forcing her backed up against the ropes before letting rip with a peach of a head-shot to send Addy crashing to the canvas. 

Hopewell’s power in that shot proved too much for the tough Ghanaian, who was unable to rise to her feet before Referee Lee Murtagh’s count reached its conclusion. Official time of stoppage just Twenty Seconds of the Second Round.

Follow Nicola Hopewell on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nicola.hopewell 

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Marianne Marston Appointed Coordinator of Female Boxing for the RBO Championship

The President of the Royal Boxing Organization (RBO) Sébastien Pitois has announced that Marianne Marston has been appointed the Coordinator of Female Boxing for the Championship Organization.

On making the announcement Pitois said, “We have spent a long time searching for the right person to head up the RBO Female Championships and believe we have found the perfect person in Ms Marston for the role.

“Whilst we are aware that Marianne is still a licensed fighter, we made the decision to move quickly to secure her for the role before she retires from the ring later this year, as we are more than aware that when she does she will be approached by other organisations due to her exceptional contacts within the sport, especially within the realm of Female Boxing.

“Our prompt actions have been proved fully justified, as within days of our agreeing terms she has already recruited an exceptional international team for the RBO Female Championships, as representatives of the Championships as well as a highly qualified Chief Medical Officer to oversee all medical matters relating to the Female Championships.

“Once the pandemic crisis is contained, we look forward to getting back to business and are incredibly excited to see how the RBO Female Championships develop under Marianne’s stewardship.”

www.rboboxing.com

Marianne Marson – Female Championship Coordinator 

Tel: +44 (0)7501 013483

E.Mail: marianne@mariannemarston.com

About The Royal Boxing Organization (RBO)

Luxembourg based Championship organization, The Royal Boxing Organization (RBO), was founded in 2017 by former boxer, boxing journalist and matchmaker Sébastien Pitois.

Mr Pitois explained his background in the sport “it was my grandfather who garnered my passion for boxing, he was a close friend of former French Champion Gilbert Lavoine.

“I started boxing, initially just as an enthusiast, but then I began exploring other avenues within the sport I grew to love with a passion. 

“I wrote articles on boxing as well as created a massive network of boxers, promoters and commissions, which led to myself obtaining an International Matchmakers license and matchmaking internationally.

Eventually I achieved my dream of developing a World significant Championship organization, the Royal Boxing Organization (RBO) in 2017.”

RBO Champions:

Cédric Bellais 

Michal Dufek

Jaques Tshikub Muvad

Mathieu Gomes

Jakub Chval

Ayanna Vasquez

Caroline Andre

Cedric Pate

Valentina Keri

Jasmina Nadj

Brandon Borg

Thomas ‘Balboa’ Martino

Pezhman Seifkhani

Patricia Berghult.

www.rboboxing.com

About Marianne Marston – RBO Coordinator of Female Boxing

Marianne had wanted to box from a young age, to appease the lively youngster her mother took her to the local boxing gym – Norwich Lads Club – however on making enquiries on joining she was told that it’s called Lad’s club for a reason! 

So with boxing out of the question, Marianne turned to fencing (foil), rather successfully and by age fifteen was seeded sixth in England (Under 16’s)

It would not be until many years later that Marianne eventually got to try some boxing, whilst recovering from an illness she went to her local LA Fitness to get fit again. She met personal trainer, Choleton Senior, who coincidently was a former boxer. 

Choleton started teaching Marianne basic boxing and was impressed at her natural ability. He stepped the training up and Marianne stepped up accordingly, Choleton advised Marianne that she should find a boxing gym, as he believed she had what it takes to progress in the sport.

Following his advice Marianne joined Gleason’s London gym. She was assigned a trainer, Joe Kenwright – one of the England Amateur Boxing Team coaches.

Joe was so pleased with the ability of his charge that after one of her sparring sessions, in which Marianne sent her professional opponent (a lightweight with a 13-0 record) to the canvas twice with her lightning fast combinations, he suggested to Marianne she should look towards boxing in America, as there were so few British female professional fighters in any class that she would not be guaranteed to get fights in the UK. 

In 2007, Marianne who was regularly visiting New York, Boston, LA and Philadelphia on business, had already been training at Freddie Roach’s gym in LA and Francisco Mendez’s gym in New York when she was in those cities, decided to try and find a gym in Philadelphia as she spent more time there than any other city in America. 

She had made an appointment to visit Joe Hand’s gym when by complete accident she met legendary Heavyweight Champion of the World Smokin’ Joe Frazier at a coffee shop opposite her hotel.

Joe and one of his boxers, Chandler ‘Smoking Bull’ Durham, had popped in to the crowded coffee shop, where the only vacant seats were at the table Marianne was seated at. Chandler asked Marianne if she minded if they sat at the table, she of course obliged.

Polite conversation followed, but a little later the conversation moved on to boxing, to which Marianne responded that she had just started boxing, Joe asked her to shadow box, which she did. Chandler then asked her did she realise who the older gentleman was, Marianne hadn’t, even though she was a long time Smokin’ Joe fan.

Joe laughed, when she profusely apologised for not recognising him, before inviting her to try out for him at his landmark North Philadelphia gym.

A few days later Marianne made the short trip to Frazier’s gym from her Central Philly hotel, when she arrived Joe was nowhere to be seen, but his son Marvis said he was expecting her and said he’ll be taking her for the trial.

Marianne hadn’t noticed that Joe had arrived during the pad work session, that was until she heard him say from ringside ‘great hook’.

After the session had finished Joe told Marianne he was impressed by what he had seen and then asked her to join Team Frazier, adding that he wanted to personally train her as often as he could.

In October Joe told Marianne that her only being able to train with his team for 4-6 weeks every couple of months was not helping her cause and suggested she committed herself to spending 6 months in Philadelphia, so he could get her ready to turn professional.

In February 2008 Marianne made the decision to spend six months in Philadelphia, split into two three month visits, and took a lease on an apartment. Just over one month after she had done this Smokin’ Joe Frazier’s Gym was forced to close. 

Marianne’s dreams were shattered as she now not only didn’t have a gym but also no management or trainers.

About a month later Marianne relocated to the James Shuler Memorial Gym in West Philadelphia, within a few weeks or so Livvy Cunningham, the wife and manager of two time IBF Cruiserweight Champion Steve ‘USS’ Cunningham invited her to join their team.

Later that year, following a sparring session with Christina Leadbeater, promoter Ivan Cohen approached Livvy Cunningham with an offer to sign Marianne and debut her early in 2009.

Pennsylvania Boxing Commissioner Greg Sirb, who was also present, was equally impressed and agreed to license Marianne, subject to her obtaining a P1 Professional Athlete Visa.

In February 2009 Marianne returned to the UK, to obtain the aforementioned visa that would enable her to fight, on the undercard of Brian Cohen’s WBC Continental Americas title fight in South Philly on the 9th May that year.

Unfortunately the American Embassy in London refused her application, mainly because she hadn’t competed in an international competition in the UK. 

What followed next was a full on media campaign, initiated by a Philadelphia journalist Kerry O’Connor and supported by some of the biggest names from the City of Brotherly Love.

Within days the campaign went global, almost instantly the American Immigration service was inundated with e.mails and phone calls from tens of thousands of boxing fans, calling for them to allow Marianne to return and fight.

Needless to say, bureaucrats being what they are by nature, they refused to change their decision.

However, that wasn’t going to stop the Mr Cohen, who came up with a plan, code named ‘Team America’, with the intention of bringing over a team of Philly based boxers, comprising of Hammerin’ Hank Lundy, Daphir ‘No Fear’ Smith, Brian ‘Bionic Bull’ Cohen, Gerald ‘The Jedi’ Nobles, Eric ‘The Outlaw’ Hunter, Tim Witherspoon Jnr, Nathalie Brown and Christina Leadbeater, to take on a UK team that would include Marianne.

Supporting ‘Team America’ on this mission were some serious ‘Big Guns’ in the form of World Stars, Steve ‘USS’ Cunningham, ‘Terrible’ Tim Witherspoon, Buster Drayton, Robert ‘Bam Bam’ Hines and of course the man who ‘discovered’ and brought Marianne to America in the first place, Smokin’ Joe Frazier. 

However, the British Boxing Board of Control soon put an end to that plan, by refusing to license Marianne.

On enquiries as to why they would not license someone who has support from such boxing luminaries as Joe Frazier, Steve Cunningham, Tim Witherspoon, Ivan Cohen etc, plus a twelve fight contract already, BBBofC General Secretary Robert Smith stated that ‘She just wants a license so she can go back to America, why should we license her, she’ll have to get an American one.’ Before voicing his personal beliefs – that women should remain in the “kitchen” as opposed to in the “boxing ring”.

Shortly after being refused her license, Marianne signed management papers with famed British manager and coach Johnny Eames.

Marianne moved her industry leading Women’s Boxing Classes – www.womensboxingclasses.com – to the TRAD TKO Gym, where besides offering boxing and boxing fitness classes, Marianne also developed an all female team, with most of her squad regularly competing in White Collar boxing events in London as well as one, Kimberley Leah, progressing to compete in the Amateur ranks.  

Throughout a two year period Marianne appealed the BBBofC decision on numerous occasions, After the fourth appeal, Marianne decided to take an alternative route and successfully applied to another European sanctioning body in August 2011.

Finally overcoming the ridiculous levels of bureaucracy, from both the American Embassy and the British Boxing Board of Control, Marianne was finally able to fight, or was she.

Well yes and no, because the BBBofC still wouldn’t allow her to fight in the UK on an overseas license, even though various promoters and boxing luminaries had lobbied on her behalf, but this all changed in 2012, following the German Boxing Association (GBA) becoming the second European organisation, after Luxembourg Boxing Federation (LBF), to take advantage of European legislation that allows other European boxing organisations to sanction events in the UK and vice versa.

In April 2013 Marianne finally made her long awaited professional debut, against Hungarian #1 ranked Gabriella Roman, who she stopped on the 1 minute and 47 second mark of the first round.

In her second fight Marianne scored an even quicker stoppage victory, just one minute and 7 seconds of the first round, over late replacement opponent Catalina Lazar.

The World Boxing Union (WBU) European title was on the line for Marianne in her third fight, originally the contest was due to be against Bulgaria’s #1, World #26 ranked, Galina Gumliiska, a highly experienced Championship boxer – having fought for the European title twice, International title five times and also challenged for a World title previously – for the vacant WBU Europe Super Bantamweight title at York Hall on Saturday 30th November.

However, the event was forced to be rescheduled just ten days prior, following a spate of injuries and illness decimating the impressive card.

A new date was set, Saturday 1st March 2014, however two major problems occurred, the first just ten days before the event Marianne sustained an injury to her piriformis muscle during sparring with former British and European Bantamweight Champion Ian ‘Dappa’ Napa. Marianne wound down the training sessions slightly in order to give the muscle a chance to heal.

The second was far more serious, just one week before the fight Galina Gumliiska failed to get medical clearance to fight, leaving Marianne’s team once more searching for a suitable opponent, unfortunately one couldn’t be found at Super Bantamweight, so the decision was made to challenge Hana Horakova for the vacant WBU European Featherweight title.

In the fight itself Marianne dominated the first three rounds, but during the fourth the muscle injury reemerged, limiting Marianne’s movement considerably, later it was found that the piriformis had actually torn during the fight, not just pulled like previously. 

After eight rounds the scorecards were read out and disappointingly for Marianne she lost the Championship battle by a close split decision. Judges scores read  Ken Curtis 75-78, Seamus Dunne 76-77 (both in favour of Hana Horakova) and Billy Philips 77-76 (in favour of Marianne Marston)

Marianne missed three proposed fights in 2015, 31st May, 5th July and 2nd August, due to the injury, then in mid-August it was announced that Marianne was to challenge for the MBC International Super Bantamweight title.

On Saturday 25th October 2014, her journey continued forward, as Marianne convincingly beat Hungarian #1, European #3 and World #31 ranked Marianna Gulyas to secure her first Championship, the MBC International Super Bantamweight Title. Judges Ben Doughty (UK) and Matt Hamilton (South Africa) scored the bout 100-89 and judge Lee Murtagh (Ireland) scorecard read 99-88.

It wouldn’t be until August 2015 before Marianne was back in action once more, due to another injury (Broken Ankle). 

On the 29th August 2015, at York Hall in London, Marianne faced and stopped Latvian Jekaterina Lecko in 1 Minute and 50 seconds off the second round.

Within days of that victory, Marianne was lined up to face South African former World Champion Unathi Myakeni for the vacant World Boxing Federation Bantamweight Championship on December 6th, however the bout failed to go ahead after Myakeni injured her hand.

The bout was rescheduled to March 2016, but unfortunately Myakeni was still not able to fight due to the injury. Unsuccessful attempts were made to source an alternative Championship opponent and once again the contest didn’t go ahead.

Early in April World Boxing Federation (WBFed) President Howard Goldberg contacted Marianne’s management offering the opportunity for Marianne to challenge their Super Bantamweight World Champion Gabisile Tshabalala.

After weeks of negotiations a deal was reached that would see Tshabalala traveling to the United Kingdom to defend her World crown against Marianne on July 2nd at the Arena UK in Grantham.

Immediately the announcement was made various World Championship organisations, who had been in negotiations for Marianne to challenge for their Championships, came forward and requested that the contest also be for their Championships and within a few days sure enough became a Quadruple Championship Unification Battle for the World Boxing Union (WBU), World Boxing Federation (WBFed), Women’s International Boxing Association (WIBA) and Universal Boxing Organization (UBO) Crowns.

However, this fight was also doomed to fall apart, after Tshabalala pulled out citing an injury.

Shortly after the title fight was cancelled Marianne was appointed to the board of the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) as Director of Female Boxing. 

Almost a year later to the day Marianne was co-opted onto the Association of Professional Boxing Commissions (APBC) Female Boxing Committee as Vice-Chairwoman.

In April 2020 Marianne was approached by the Royal Boxing Organisation (RBO) with an offer to be their Coordinator of Female Boxing, which she accepted.

Marianne immediately assembled a top class team, comprising off;

Bena Kaloki, a Kenyan A Star Referee, Head of Ring Officials at the Kenya Professional Boxing Commission and Chairwoman of the APBC Female Boxing Committee

Willeke Carli, Secretary General of the Italian Authority of Boxing (ITAB)

Sheila Beatriz Aires da Cunha, Boxer, Board member of the Nacional e Internacional Associação de Boxe (ANIB)

Iandra Carolina Santos Do Lago, Vice President Nacional e Internacional Associação de Boxe (ANIB)

Fatima P Ovelar Martínez, Board member of Asociación Nacional de Boxeo-Paraguay (ANB-Paraguay)

Vikki Duong, Secretary General of the Vietnam Boxing Council (VBC)

Georgina Badine, London based Swiss Banker, with extensive contacts within the Professional Boxing Industry.

Barbara Seretan Gold, a Hollywood Producer who is also highly experienced administrator and well connected within the Professional Boxing Industry

Dr Angela Jones, Chief Medical Officer.

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MATCHROOM BOXING LAUNCH NEW PODCAST

‘The Lockdown Tapes’ premieres podcast offering
Matchroom Boxing are pleased to launch the official ‘Matchroom Boxing Podcast’.

Our first series ’The Lockdown Tapes’ will alternate between Matchroom’s UK and US stable, airing every Wednesday and Sunday over the coming weeks and is proudly supported by WOW Hydrate.

Unbeaten Light-Heavyweight sensation Joshua Buatsi and WBC Lightweight King Devin Haney feature in the first two episodes of this 18 part series. 

Before The Bell presenter Chris Lloyd will host the series, speaking to fighters on the current climate, reflecting on their past moves in the ring, targets moving forward plus much more.

Fans can listen to Ep 1 with Buatsi here – 

Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-lockdown-tapes-joshua-buatsi-ep-01/id1506174562?i=1000470391728

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/1XfMNB6Ij8md5WWqzJTrGw

Matchroom Website: https://www.matchroomboxing.com/lockdown-tapes-podcast/

The series will also sit in a video format on our YouTube channel after 48 hours from when each podcast drops.

Additional Matchroom Boxing content such as ‘Born Fighter’ and ‘Unscripted’ will now also be released in Podcast format from here on so fans can listen on the go.

Managing Director of Matchroom Boxing Eddie Hearn said: “We’re always on the lookout to keep adapting and improving our content output. A podcast has been discussed for a little while and in the current climate, this was the perfect timing to launch the Lockdown Tapes series.”
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UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH 10 TIME WORLD KICKBOXING CHAMPION CAITLIN FORAN AHEAD OF HER PRO BOXING DEBUT

With this pandemic lockdown in full force virtually world-wide, many fights have been already been cancelled, from the biggest, such as Anthony Joshua versus Kubrat Pulev, right through to small hall events.

Whilst clearly the lockdown is affecting everyone involved in our beloved sport, it made me think of those that had been preparing for their professional boxing debut, such as today’s victim, sorry guest, Caitlin Foran, who was due to debut in Orkney on the 25th April.

Caitlin is a ten time Kickboxing World Champion, quite an accomplishment for someone that is still just 19 years of age, let’s face it to achieve such a high status in any sport at such a young age is quite an accomplishment and without doubt her extensive combat sports experience is going to benefit her when this pandemic is over and she makes her pro debut.

I actually had the pleasure of meeting Caitlin back in March at an event in Barrow-in-Furness, where she was supporting Paul Peers when he challenged, and beat, Nicaraguan Milton Arauz for the Professional Boxing Council (PBC) International title, and always intended to cover her pro debut, but with that put back until later in the year due to the current situation decided instead to arrange an interview with her.

Enough of my waffle, let’s get to know this amazing teen star a little better.

(GDC) Hello Caitlin, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for us. My first question is I understand you are a multi-World Champion Kick Boxer, can you please tell our readers a little about your Kick Boxing career?

(CF) So I started kickboxing in 2008 at the age of eight, at the time I was juggling kickboxing with lots of other sports and activities but over time my attention just stuck with kickboxing and it became my life. 

I certainly wasn’t one of these people that had a talent for the sport. I wasn’t flexible, I had no confidence, but the one thing I did have that has carried me through to this day is determination. 

Living on an island we weren’t able to get to as many competitions as other clubs on the mainland could which meant we knew we had to really put in the extra effort to make up for the lack of experience. 

Also coming from a large family where my mother was a single parent to 5 children meant I rarely was able to get away to compete and didn’t really start competing properly until I got my black belt in 2011. 

I then started competing usually once a month with the first big one being the WKA Scottish championships in Glasgow where I won 2x golds, that was my first big confidence booster and I went on to compete more often winning more Scottish titles as well as British and European. 

I then got invited to my first world championships in 2013 in Italy where I came away with a bronze medal. 

I always preferred points fighting when I was competing, which is a more karate style, ‘start stop’ style of fighting, but at my second World championships in Prague in 2014, there was a woman without a fight for her ring Continuous section so I was asked if I would take the fight. 

I’ve never been one to turn down a fight so I took the fight and ended up winning it as well as two others so I came away with my first three World titles and new love for ring fighting. 

From 2014 to 2017 I went on to win seven more World titles in various countries. 

By 2016/17 my kickboxing career was really taking off and I was looking at turning professional sometime soon, however at the end of 2017 my coach Ryan Reffell sadly passed which put an end to my kickboxing career.

(GDC) What influenced you to switch from Kick Boxing to Professional Boxing?

(CF) As I mentioned previously, I have never been a naturally flexible person so in kickboxing my legs were predominantly used for powerful body single kicks. 

While I was still training with Ryan as part of Nemesis Kickboxing, at the end of 2015 we decided I was getting better with my hands and started thinking about switching to boxing. 

This lead Ryan to start boxing classes on a Monday night as well as the kickboxing classes through the week. 

I was offered my first fight that September with 4 days notice for the UKBC featherweight international title. I went on to win the fight and defended it in a rematch that December. 

2017 was when I really started to focus more on boxing and less on kickboxing and had two more fights, with the last fight in my unlicensed career being a Five Nations title fight in April 2017 which brought my record to 4-0-0. 

I thought my boxing career had ended then, until Paul Peers moved to Orkney in 2018 and got in touch via Facebook which then kickstarted my training again as he showed great interest in my boxing and was a massive help in getting my love for the sport back and showed that he believed in me which made me more confident in myself and got myself back to training properly again ahead of signing my professional contract in January this year.

(GDC) You were due to be undertaking your professional boxing debut in Orkney on the 25th April, obviously this is being rescheduled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, so firstly how have your preparations been going? 

(CF) Yes, it was devastating when all this started but I am making sure to keep as active as I can with daily running and home exercises making use of the little space I do have at home.

(GDC) Has the Government ordered lockdown had an effect on your preparations?

(CF) Prior to lockdown we were getting sparring in at least once or twice a week at the club and had started our partnership with Lee Mcallister at Assassin’s boxing in Aberdeen in order to mix Orkney Boxing Clubs fighters with theirs for some sparring at weekends. 

We only managed this once so far with weather being bad and boats not certain to run but were planning more in the lead up to the show.

(GDC) When the lockdown ends and the new date is announced, your opponent is stated to be Carly Mackenzie, do you know much about her?

(CF) I was originally due to fight Carly Mackenzie however my opponent recently changed to Professional Boxing Council (PBC) International Silver Champion Jamie Bates Wallis. I don’t know a great deal about Jamie to be honest but from what I’ve seen she is a strong orthodox boxer with a strong offence and sharp defence. 

I took the fight knowing it would be a challenge especially being my first fight back in 3 years. 

She’s proved to be a champion so in order for me to become a champion I must beat champions.

(GDC) Moving away from your career to date, who is your favourite boxer, male or female, and why?

(CF) My favourite boxer to date has got to be Katie Taylor. She has played a massive part in getting Women’s boxing to where it is today and is a real inspiration to any athlete out there as she has shown that any obstacle can be overcome if you really want something.

(GDC) In the same vein, which is your all time favourite fight, and why?

(CF) It is so hard to choose a favourite fight but one has to be Katie Taylor’s most recent fight against Christina Linardatou as she continued her winning record and added WBO Super-Lightweight world title to her ever growing list of achievements. Usually Taylor would be getting stuck into the fight, firing shot after shot. However she kept to the outside this time boxing smart and not wasting energy.

(GDC) Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, finally is there anyone you would like to mention with regard to your upcoming debut?

(CF) I would like to give thanks to my sponsor, Gary Sutherland at GSRI, Steven Logie at Strength 101 for keeping me in shape and Paul Peers for everything he has done over the last year and a half to get my confidence back up and reignite my love for boxing. I would also like to give a shout out to all of my old teammates at Nemesis kickboxing Academy and Nemesis Boxing Gym without them I wouldn’t be where I am today.

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FIGHTING FIT LAUNCHES ON SKY SPORTS

New fitness series debuts next week
Fighting Fit, a brand-new health and fitness series produced by Matchroom Boxing and Sky Sports, will land on television screens next week, with the box set available via Sky Sports On Demand from Monday 6th April.
 
Scheduled to launch on Sky Sports Mix and Sky Sports Main event on Monday 13th April, the show will offer tips on how to stay healthy and happy during the on-going coronavirus pandemic, with expert workouts constructed by respected strength and conditioning coach Dan Lawrence and personal training guru Bradley Simmons. 
 
Airing on weekdays at 8.00am on Sky Sports Mix and repeated at 9.00am on Sky Sports Main Event, the show will be helmed by sports presenter Layla Anna Lee, as personalities from the worlds of sport, music, TV and YouTube are put through their paces in the garden of Matchroom Boxing’s HQ. 
 
Episode one features Ilford’s rising boxing star Conor ‘The Destroyer’ Benn, son of former two-weight World Champion and British boxing legend Nigel, as he demonstrates some of the famous Benn strength and fitness that has kept him undefeated in 16 fights. 
 
An array of talent join Dan and Bradley to try their hand at the challenging workouts, from YouTube sensations Joe Weller and ‘Behzinga’, singer and songwriter Sinead Harnett, professional footballer Adebayo ‘The Beast’ Akinfenwa, Olympic gold medallists Sam Quek and Luke Campbell, and even top boxing promoter Eddie Hearn. 
 
For everybody joining in with the workouts at home, not only will you be working up a sweat with famous faces – but each episode you will have the chance to outperform them with a unique exercise challenge set in each episode.

Managing Director of Matchroom Boxing Eddie Hearn said: “Right now it’s more important than ever to focus on being fit and healthy and Fighting Fit will hopefully provide a great schedule for those at home to work out and stay positive. As a live event business it a was refreshing challenge to focus our team on this project – we had a lot of fun and we hope everyone at home enjoys the series!”
 
Sky Sports’ Head of Boxing Development Adam Smith said: “At these unprecedented times it’s great to be able to make engaging fitness content available to Sky Sports viewers. Fighting Fit is a new, innovative and interactive series which our partners Matchroom have helped bring to Sky Sports. Whilst we are all rightly staying at home and supporting the amazing NHS, these terrific sporting, music and YouTube celebrities who were put through their paces – will help inspire us to exercise more and keep mentally and physically strong.”
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JOSHUA VS. PULEV POSTPONED

Anthony Joshua’s defence of his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World Titles against Mandatory Challenger Kubrat Pulev scheduled to take place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday June 20 has been postponed.
 
A new date for the event promoted by Matchroom Boxing and 258 Management in association with Top Rank and Epic Sports Entertainment is currently being worked on. We will announce any updates in due course and continue to explore the possibility of hosting this fight at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
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YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND! Fury, Frampton and Frank encourage people to #KeepTalking throughout Lockdown

Queensberry Promotions have today brought together some of their brightest stars in an effort to encourage the country to ‘keep talking’ throughout this period of lockdown.

In a tongue-in-cheek video posted to their social media channels, names such as Carl Frampton, Tyson Fury and even the boss Frank Warren took turns to sing lines from the Carole King classic “You’ve Got a Friend”.In a time of heightened anxiety, experts have warned of the dangers to people’s mental health if they lack the necessary support to help them through this period.

In response, the NHS have updated the ‘Every Mind Matters’ campaign and offered tips such as ‘Stay Connected to People’ and ‘Look After Your Body’ as a way of combating the ill effects this uncertain time can have on people’s mental state.

Tyson Fury is famously an advocate for mental health matters himself, as well as a keen singer, and is a prominent voice in the song, belting out ‘All you gotta do is call”.

Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren said: “If this video can make just one person smile, or encourage someone to reach out and speak to a mate, it’ll all be worth it.”

“This is a tough time for everyone, anyone you know could be really struggling to cope. Whether it’s your health, your finances… no one really knows what’s going on at the minute.”

“That’s why it’s important we check on people now more than ever. We’re all in this together. We’ve got to keep talking.”

Other ‘singers’ on display throughout the video include Tommy Fury, Dennis McCann, David Adeleye and, incredibly, Troy Williamson mid-shower.

For more information on the Every Mind Matters campaign visit: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-anxiety-tips/?&gclid=CjwKCAjwvZv0BRA8EiwAD9T2VSTdIVqbCxOR22kK1HSzB3T6BCuyk3AK00s4VIdPb7nx0eSEHJNw0xoCg3YQAvD_BwE

#KeepTalking
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FRANK WARREN’S HEAVYWEIGHT PODCAST: BOB ARUM CONTINUES FEUD WITH DANA WHITE, BLASTS “UFC GUYS DON’T GET PAID ANYTHING!”

TOP RANK CEO Bob Arum has reignited his war of words with UFC head honcho Dana White by insisting the MMA promoters fighters “don’t get paid anything”.

In conversation with fellow Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren, Arum said of the UFC talent: “they fight where he tells them to fight. He sets the purses, and if they don’t like it he goes somewhere else.”“We promote in a very competitive arena… the fighters are able to capitalise on that and get purses that are much, much bigger than the amounts the UFC guys get because they have a monopoly.”

The latest in the Arum-White back-and-forth comes just days after Dana declared to Frank Warren’s Heavyweight Podcast that boxing was a “sh*tshow” and it was “hard to articulate how messed up it was”.

88-year-old Arum came to the defence of the sport and it’s athletes though and said “our participants are paid like the independent stars that they are.”

Arum is no stranger to going after his MMA counterpart and in a recent interview with CBS said that Dana “should be ashamed of himself” for trying to promote fights during the Coronavirus crisis, finishing by calling White “somebody with a flawed intelligence.”

Both Top Rank and Queensberry Promotions have postponed shows in response to the current public health emergency, with Queensberry’s Dubois vs Joyce event tentatively pushed back from April to July 11th.

Arum told the podcast that to be safe he has ordered his staff “don’t make plans… we don’t know how long this thing could last.”

In a wide ranging chat with Frank and Adam Catterall, Arum spoke at great lengths about his conversion from lawyer to boxing promoter in the mid-1960’s, his association with Muhammad Ali and even his current efforts to grow a beard.

Episode 8 with Bob Arum follows recent high profile episodes with guests such as Dana White, Ricky Hatton, Tyson Fury and even former speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow!

For more, Listen and subscribe to Frank Warren’s Heavyweight Podcast now wherever you get your podcasts.Podfollow – https://podfollow.com/frank-warrens-heavyweight-podcastApple – https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/frank-warrens-heavyweight-podcast/id1498646090Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/4cMuJcPnrH7xS6XOLfibTU?si=Pl9edfc7Rz64PFA_g0tf6A
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FURY’S COUSIN FRANKHAM SIGNS FOR QUEENSBERRY

FOUR-TIMES NATIONAL champion and Tyson Fury’s cousin, Josh Frankham, has turned professional with Frank Warren and will make his debut under the Queensberry Promotions banner when boxing resumes following the current restrictions.

The 20-year-old super welterweight and former England international had 37 fights as an amateur – with only six going against him – and he describes the onset of his professional adventure as like winning the lottery.

“I am over the moon and just looking forward to making my debut and getting back in there,” said Frankham, who is trained by Wayne Batten in Southampton.

“Frank just said to me to train hard, live well and he will look after me. With him looking after me I can do the business and try and go to the top.

“It is like winning the lottery.”

Prior to his meeting with Frankham the Hall of Fame promoter received a message of endorsement from Fury and shortly after the new pro headed out for a five-day trip to Las Vegas that he will never forget.

“That meant a lot and I owe him everything,” added Frankham, who is also related to Paris Fury.

“He sent Frank a little text to look after me.

“It was unbelievable and one of the best trips I have ever been on. The day after the fight we spent some time with Tyson and to grab hold of those belts made it some day.

“We had a good day with him, had a picture with his belts and a good chat to him. It actually got to me a bit when he won and I welled up a little.

“We’ve always been close and I have been with him since day one and haven’t just jumped on the bandwagon like a lot of people have.

“After watching him win that I couldn’t wait to get back in the gym the next week. I have been playing Patsy Cline’s Crazy for the last two weeks non-stop!

“Hopefully he will come to my debut because he said he was going to. He has had a mad schedule but hopefully he will be there.”

Promoter Frank Warren added: “Josh is another quality young prospect to add to our incredible pool of talent. As his name suggests, he comes from great fighting stock and he has been working hard for a long time down in Southampton in readiness to join the professional ranks.

“It is true that I received a text from Tyson on the morning of my meeting with Josh, so he certainly has friends in high places and I am sure the heavyweight champion of the world will be on hand to support his journey.”
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