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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DEGALE AND EUBANK JR. KEPT SEPARATED AT BIG FIGHT PROMO SHOOT

London (11 January 2019) The bad blood between James DeGale and Chris Eubank Jr. meant that the bitter rivals had to be kept well apart to film their ITV Box Office promotional video at the iconic Pinewood studios this week. 

With the spectre of James Bond looming in the background, the pair had to be allocated separate filming times for their parts in the thrilling, soon to be released, commercial for their A Storm Is Coming showdown at The O2 on Saturday 23rd February, exclusively live on ITV Box Office

The animosity stems from an infamous sparring session in 2011 when Harlesden’s DeGale, then preparing to challenge for a European title challenge, said that Eubank jumped out of the ring after six rounds instead of completing the eight rounds as agreed and disrespected him. 

Brighton star Eubank, who had only had a handful of fights at the time, later claimed that he had ‘schooled’ DeGale, during the session which infuriated the Olympic Champion and the touch paper was lit for the most intense rivalry since Nigel Benn versus Chris Eubank Snr. in the 1990s. 

For the last few years the pair have traded words, but they finally came face-to-face last week at the official press conference to announce the long awaited fight last week and ITV producers and executives did not want to take the risk of a fight before the BIG fight and kept them separated at all times during filming.

DeGale said, “I can’t stand him and I’m counting the down the days until February 23 when I get to finish him off once and for all for the good of British boxing.  The posturing, his attitude, his personality, it’s all a joke to me, his career reminds me of a Carry On film.  Believe me, he’ll be dropped to the cutting room floor.”

Eubank countered, “I’m glad I’m getting to him already, he’s done his best to avoid me since I arrived on the scene. He’s wanted no part of me and has done everything he can to dodge me until now. I was happy to film the commercial with him, I’m a man in control of my emotions, but clearly he’s not. James DeGale is history, like celluloid, I’m the future.”

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

Late last year, ITV announced a ground-breaking new deal with Haymon Sports and Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) to bring exclusive coverage of exciting PBC world-class boxing events to ITV viewers and fight fans in the UK.

The unique collaboration is the first time that Haymon Sports and PBC has partnered with a UK broadcaster to stage boxing events regularly in the UK. The exclusive three-year deal will guarantee a minimum of 15 televised events each year, drawing from PBC’s unrivalled group of over 160 of the best boxers in the world, which includes more than 60 current and former world champions in matches staged both in the UK and the US.

PBC, the sports’ pre-eminent boxing brand, is broadcast over cable and network television in the United States.   The world-class action from events for the next three years will include free-to-air broadcasts on ITV’s channels, including ITV main channel and ITV4 and ITV Hub, and will also include pay per views on ITV’s PPV channel, ITV Box Office.

This new deal for boxing adds to ITV Sport’s portfolio of first class events, which includes exclusive free to air coverage of the England football team’s qualifiers for both the European Championship and World Cup, the 6 Nations and exclusive coverage of the Rugby World Cup, UK horse racing, the Tour de France and the French Open.

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GARNER: “I WANT TO BE IN FIGHTS LIKE WARRINGTON-FRAMPTON”


Ryan Garner has been inspired by the recent Featherweight thriller between Josh Warrington and Carl Frampton and believes 2019 is his year.

The precocious 21-year-old from Southampton wants some boxing bling to accompany his obvious talent and is adamant that he wants to get into the belt business in 2019.

The Piranha, as he is otherwise known, enters into his ninth professional contest at the Morningside Arena in Leicester on February 23 to kick off a year he strongly suspects will be a defining one for him.

“Why is this year going to be my year?” said the spiteful punching featherweight. “Because this year I am going to be active and busy – and I believe I am going to win a title this year.

“I believe I am going to win something. Anything really, the English, the WBO European or Intercontinental, I just want to win one.”

Garner’s own train of thought is that his apprenticeship has been served and he is ready to participate in some genuine punch-ups against equally willing opponents.

“One hundred per cent, this is the year where I know myself – having been a pro for three years – that this is where I need to step up and face people of a much better level than I have been facing so far.

“So I need to keep my head focused, train my b*lls off and get myself ready.

“I think it will make me look even better and I will enjoy it. These people I have been fighting are half trying just to survive. It makes it harder sometimes.

“I think when people start throwing back that is when I will start stopping people even more because they will leave themselves open.”

Garner concedes that entering into open warfare in the ring is what he enjoys most and it is not something he is prepared to change, bar a little tightening of the defences. He is in the entertainment business and he knows it.

“Definitely, with my style it is always going to be an exciting fight and every fight I’ve had has been that way. It is just the way I am, I am front-foot, aggressive and I won’t change.

Those are my main attributes, my workrate and punch variety, but I need to do little things to not get hit as much so we are tweaking things.

“But my style is what makes me entertaining and you don’t want to take that away from me. It works for me and that is what people want to see on television. Look at the likes of Gatti who everybody wanted to watch.

“When I am fighting I want people to think ‘I’m going to watch that Ryan Garner because he is always in good fights’.

“I want to be in fights like the Warrington-Frampton one,” added the cherubic-looking pugilist, who confirmed that he definitely intends to campaign as a nine-stoner in his bid for honours.

“I am a featherweight, definitely. I was 9st 1lb for my last fight so I was only a bit over. With my nutritionist for my last fight it was the best I have felt going into it. I made the weight and felt totally fresh.”
 
Tickets for the British super featherweight title clash between Sam Bowen and Ronnie Clark on Feb 23 at the Morningside Arena, featuring Ryan Garner, are available from £40 are on sale NOW via Eventbrite

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LIAM SMITH SIGNS PROMOTIONAL DEAL WITH MATCHROOM BOXING

‘Beefy’ out to recapture World title in 2019
Liam Smith has signed a three-fight promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing. 

The former WBO Super-Welterweight World Champion will make his debut under the Matchroom banner at the M&S Bank Arena Liverpool on March 30, live on Sky Sports and DAZN, and will be aiming to become a World Champion once again in 2019.

“I’m delighted to be signing with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing,” said Smith. “I feel like I’m turning pro all over again. This is a new lease of life for me and exactly what I needed. I felt like I was going a little bit stale and under the radar.

“Without being big-headed, I still feel that I’m the best Light-Middleweight in Britain. I had a bad year in 2018 and with the move to Eddie I’m hoping for an active and exciting 2019. 

“I can’t wait to get out in front of my home crowd in Liverpool on March 30 – nothing beats it. With Eddie’s deal with DAZN, there’s a lot of opportunities to take on the big names in America – it was the best move for me at this stage of my career and I’m very excited. 

“I’ve always had a good relationship with Eddie and I’m happy to be working with him. The Kell Brook fight is a big fight and it’s one that could come into play but I haven’t signed with Matchroom just to fight Brook. I’ve signed with Matchroom to try and become a World Champion again and I believe that Eddie’s the man to take me there.”

“I’m delighted to welcome Liam to the team,” said Eddie Hearn. “Liam is the only Smith brother we haven’t worked with and I feel he has plenty of big fights left in the tank. He has only ever lost at elite level against Canelo and Munguia and has boxed on a huge stage and platform in the US. He will return to Liverpool on March 30 as he sets out to try and regain his World Light-Middleweight title later this year.”

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RICHARDS – JAKE BALL IS A TIME-WASTER

Picture By Jamie McPhilimey

South Londoner accuses Ball of stalling his career
Craig Richards is desperate to get one over on Jake Ball when the Light-Heavyweight rivals clash for the WBA Continental title in next month’s rearranged grudge fight.
 
The South Londoner finally locks horns with Ball at The O2 in London on February 2, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US, after his opponent pulled out of their scheduled fight in October at late notice.
 
‘Spider’ accepted Ball’s verbal challenge but was left frustrated when the Dominic Ingle-trained fighter took to social media to post pictures of his injured hand on the week of the fight and has questioned whether the Surrey man genuinely wanted to share the ring with him in October.   
 
“I’ve lost a lot of respect for Jake,” said Richards. “The whole saga has been very frustrating. I just want to get the win and move on with my career. This has been dragging on for several months now and it’s time to put an end to it on February 2nd
 
“All of his silly excuses, all of the delays and rearranged dates – it’s become a hindrance on my career and he’s wasting my time. We’ve become a bit of a comedy act and it’s something that I need to get away from. I’m desperate to beat him and look forward to a big 2019.
 
“He’s been holding me up for too long now. We tried to reschedule it for December 22nd but it never happened because Dominic Ingle couldn’t be in his corner as he was already busy. There’s been a lot of excuses but there won’t be anywhere to hide next month. 
 
“For me, I’m on a mission, I’m hungry and I want to progress. I’m not sure if Jake shares the same passion and hunger as me. Maybe that’s why he’s messed me around for so long. It’s important for me to channel this frustration properly in the gym and on the night.”
 
The 28-year-old believes a win over Ball will earn him more title opportunities in the Light-Heavyweight division and says he is feeling the benefits of moving up to the 175lbs limit.
 
“I’m ready to make my mark in 2019,” said Richards. “This year it’s all about big competitive fights and pushing myself to challenge for more titles. Everything has started to come together nicely and the time for me is now.
 
“I’m back at my natural weight and it’s showing in all aspects of my game. I’m punching with a lot more power in sparring and I’m much more energetic outside of the gym. I’ve got a spring in my step and I’m excited about boxing again.”
 
Ball vs. Richards 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. 
 
Undefeated British Cruiserweight Champion Lawrence Okolie returns to action after his win over Matty Askin at Wembley Stadium in September. 
 
Rising Wokingham Middleweight talent Felix Cash fights for his second professional title when he takes on Nigeria’s Abolaji Rasheed for the vacant Commonwealth strap, with more fights to be announced soon. 

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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