ALEX DILMAGHANI – THE BRIT WHO SURVIVED MEXICO’S SPIT AND SAWDUST BOXING GYMS AND SPARRING LEGEND JUAN MANUEL MARQUEZ

Mexico has a rich heritage for developing some of the greatest names in the sport’s history . Might the next one from the conveyor belt be the custodian of a British passport?

Super-featherweight hotshot Alex Dilmaghani returns to these shore on Saturday 25th May at the Victoria Warehouse in Manchester on the undercard of Hughie Fury, exclusively live on Channel 5

Alex Dilmaghani was born in Redhill, Surrey, of Iranian ancestry but, following just a fistful of amateur bouts and eight pro starts in the U.K, the then 22 year old southpaw boldly uprooted to the sweltering slums of Mexico City to fast track his ring education. 

‘I HAD to go abroad if I was to progress’ admits the well-spoken 27 year old, who holds a law degree from Southampton University.

‘I chose Mexico because it’s a great country and the Mexicans are really great people. It has a great boxing tradition and so many genuinely hungry fighters.’ 

The Iranian knight entered the profession as a callow 17 year old under the wing of long-term Eubank mentor Ronnie Davies way back in April 2009. 

Over the next four and a half years he racked up seven wins in eight starts – without ripping up too many trees – prior to taking the plunge across the Atlantic in early 2014.

Based at the capital city’s world famous Romanza Gym, Dilmaghani lapped up the wisdom of Hall of Fame trainer and national treasure Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Beristain. 

‘I only started to take boxing seriously once I moved over to Mexico City,’ declared Dilmaghani who had the privilege sharing gym space with native all-time great Juan Manuel Marquez, the seven-time, four division world champion.

‘I did all my proper learning over there; how to train, how to fight, how to live. It was in the gyms of Mexico City that I developed all the subtle stuff, a proper stance, how to put your hip and shoulders into punches, the real science of boxing.  

‘I meticulously studied the way (Juan Manuel) Marquez conditioned himself. He possibly wasn’t the hardest trainer I’ve ever worked alongside but he was definitely the most specific. Everything he did had genuine purpose.’

On a daily basis, the young ‘gringo’ challenged himself to survive then thrive against some seriously sinister hombres.

‘I sparred Juan Manuel in the build up to the last Pacquiao fight and, trust me, he lacks for nothing; very smart, very skilful. I also sparred lots of rounds with (three-time, two-weight world champion)  Jhonny Gonzalez and (former WBC super-feather boss) Francisco Vargas. The sparring over there was always very hard,’ recalls Alex.

Between 2014-2017, the Azteca adventurer triumphed in all five fights in the Land of the Sombrero, completing the 10 round trip for the first time, and making quite a commotion by bombing out three hapless victims for the full ten count. 

‘Mexico was a sacrifice I had to make and ended up a brilliant life experience,’ he says. ‘It took me out of my comfort zone, taught me not just about boxing but about life in general. It built mental strength.  Though I’ve many great friends in Mexico now, initially I arrived on my own and couldn’t speak a word of Spanish.’ 

And having graduated the grime of Mexico, academic Alex attended a two-year finishing school in Canada, having been headhunted by Toronto promoter Lee Baxter in late 2016.

‘In Canada, a beautiful place, I may not have learned so much but, career wise, it was a great move for me, more about the fights than the training,’ claims Dilmaghani, who further expanded his global fan club by remaining undefeated in seven Canadian starts (one No Contest) which included a further three early finishes.

Having survived America, the stylish Surrey southpaw (now an impressive 18-1-1NC), is intent on conquering Britain and dazzling UK fight fans with his unique cosmopolitan skill set.

‘Apprenticing abroad will undoubtedly stand me in good stead,’ insists Alex who recently penned a deal with manager- promoter Mick Hennessy and features in a 12 rounder against Slovakian hard case Martin ‘Cracker’ Parlagi at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse on Saturday week. 

‘Living away from home, alone and so young, certainly taught me how to cope with pressure. I was living in a ghetto over there and the British inner cities just don’t compare. It was a seriously dangerous place. I came through and now nothing can faze me.’
Promoted by Hennessy SportsChannel 5 and Infinitum, in association with VIP Promotions, Hughie Fury headlines an action packed show on Saturday 25th May at the Victoria Warehouse, Manchester, when he takes on undefeated Canadian Chris Norrad.  

Exciting super-featherweight Alex Dilmaghani faces the hardened Martin Parlagi.  

Female super-middleweight sensation Savannah Marshall returns to action.  

Steve Brogan defends his Central Area Lightweight Championship against rival Adam Hague and completing the card will be Matty Fagan, Connor Lynch and Marcel Braithwaite.
Tickets priced at £40 & £70 are available from http://vipboxing.tv/shop/vip-tickets/hughie-fury-saturday-25th-may-victoria-warehouse/ and 01942 874 241
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GALAHAD STICKS THE BOOT IN – TAUNTS WARRINGTON OVER LEEDS UNITED PLAY-OFF MISERY

KID GALAHAD has taken to social media to taunt his rival Josh Warrington after Warrington’s beloved Leeds United were defeated by Derby County last night in the Play-Off semi final. 

Leeds were a goal to the good after the first leg of the Play-Off semi-final but succumbed to a devastating 4-2 home defeat and have now missed out on a place among English Football’s elite in the Premier League.

Galahad, 26-0, posted a picture on his official twitter page of LUFC star Stuart Dallas laying on the ground in disappointment after losing the game and captioned it with a ‘look’ emoji, highlighting the heartbreaking loss for Leeds United and no doubt for Josh Warrington.

Sheffield’s Galahad will be looking to inflict another upset defeat for Leeds fans on June 15 at the First Direct Arena when he attempts to dethrone local hero Josh Warrington and become the IBF World Featherweight Champion.

Warrington had earlier predicted a Leeds United win and will not have taken kindly to Galahad’s online taunts. 

It’s been a spicy build up to one of the most anticipated fights of 2019 and this latest development will only add more fuel to the fire.

Josh Warrington tops the bill at First Direct Arena, Leeds when he defends his IBF featherweight championship against Kid Galahad on Saturday June 15.

Leading super featherweights Zelfa Barrett and Lyon Woodstock meet in a hotly anticipated clash for the Commonwealth title, with Jason Welborn and JJ Metcalf also vying for the vacant Commonwealth super welterweight championship.

Other fighters confirmed in action on the bill so far include Lyndon Arthur, Alex Dickinson, Tommy Fury, Mark Heffron, Jack McGann and Troy Williamson.

Tickets for Warrington v Galahad are available via Ticketmaster and are priced as below:

£450 – Hospitality
£300 – Floor
£200 – Floor
£150 – Floor
£100 – Floor/Tier
£75 – Tier
£50 – Tier
£40 – Tier

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PATERA DEFENDS EUROPEAN LIGHTWEIGHT CROWN AGAINST HYLAND JR AT THE ALLIANZ CLOUD IN MILAN

PATERA DEFENDS EUROPEAN LIGHTWEIGHT CROWN AGAINST HYLAND JR AT THE ALLIANZ CLOUD IN MILAN
Scardina and Goddi meet in all-Italian clash on June 28 live on DAZN
Francesco Patera will defend his EBU European Lightweight title against Paul Hyland Jr on the same night that Daniele Scardina defends his IBF International Super-Middleweight title in an all-Italian clash with Allesandro Goddi at the historic Allianz Cloud, formerly Palalido, in Piazzale Stuparich, Milan on Friday June 28, live on DAZN
 
Patera (21-3, 7 KOs) wrestled the European title from Newcastle’s Lewis Ritson in the former champion’s hometown back in October with a well-earned split decision that saw the Belgium resident reclaim the belt he lost against Edis Tatli, before making a successful defence against Frenchman Marvin Petit in February.
 
The 26-year-old is honoured to be fighting in his parent’s homeland for the first time in his career and is promising to deliver a special performance as he works towards securing a World title shot later in the year. 
 
Hyland Jr (20-1, 7 KOs) suffered his sole career loss to Ritson last year in a failed bid for the British title in Newcastle but bounced back with wins over Giovanny Martinez and Miroslav Serban in Ireland, and the Belfast fighter will be hoping to land the full European crown having previously held the IBF’s version of the title.
 
Rozzano’s Scardina (16-0, 14 KOs) makes the first defence of the IBF International belt that he landed against Finland’s Henri Kekalainen at the Superstudio in Milan in March, the Miami resident was taken the distance for only the second time in his career and is aiming to return with a big KO against Sestu’s Goddi (35-4-1, 17 KOs) next month.
 
Elsewhere on the card, unbeaten Bergamo Welterweight talent Dario Morello (14-0, 2 KOs) clashes with Belgium’s Steve Jamoye (26-7-2, 5 KOs) for the WBO Global title, with further exciting additions to the undercard to be announced soon.
 
“I’m delighted to be back in Milan for what is our strongest Matchroom Boxing Italy show to date,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “The main event features an all Italian Super-Middleweight war between Scardinia and Goddi and the impressive European Lightweight champ Francesco Patera makes his second defence of his title against Belfast’s popular Paul Hyland Jr. Rising stars Morello, Zucco and Prodan also star as we return to the stunning Allianz Cloud arena, former venue to iconic Italian fights. Don’t miss the action in Milan or watch live on DAZN!”

“We are very happy to return to the Allianz Cloud, formerly known as Palalido, where we have many great memories,” said Salvatore Cherchi, President of OPI Since 82. “We have staged major European and World title bouts at the famed venue and history will continue on June 28 with three exciting championship bouts and a host of emerging Italian prospects.”

“We are very happy to be among the first to host a great sport event within a venue that, after having made the history of the city of Milan, renovates and becomes again the “theater’ of Italian boxing,” affirms Veronica Diquattro, Executive Vice President Southern Europe of DAZN. “This is a further proof of DAZN’s will of being an active protagonist in the growth of international boxing, that also goes through a strong relaunch in our country.”
 
Tickets will be available soon on ticketone.it. Full details will be announced shortly. 
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NEWS: JOSH PREDICTS LEEDS DOUBLE

JOSH WARRINGTON IS backing his beloved Leeds United to book a trip to Wembley and ultimately make a long-awaited return to the Premier League.

Leeds are a goal to the good against Derby County after the first leg of the Play-Off semi-final and will be bidding to take the next step tonight towards a Championship final against Aston Villa on May 27, Bank Holiday Monday.

Whether Warrington himself will be heading down Wembley Way remains to be seen, with the big match falling just a couple of weeks before his big fight against Kid Galahad at the FD Arena in Leeds on June 15, where he will be making a second defence of his IBF world featherweight title against his mandatory challenger from Sheffield.

“We gonna do it and we’ll do it the hard way, that is what Leeds do,” said the local hero known as the ‘Leeds Warrior’. “People will think that the wheels have fallen off and will write us off but we’re gonna do it. Believe, believe.

“It will be us and Villa in the final and it will all be sorted on Play-Off day at Wembley, where it will be 3-1 to Leeds. You heard it here first.”

Warrington is convinced the city are in for a double celebration after he gets to grips with Galahad and retains his cherished title that he won in the middle of the pitch at Elland Road with his dismantling of former champion Lee Selby.

“Me and the players will be on the p*ss after! There will be some celebrations after we both get a convincing win.”

Josh Warrington tops the bill at First Direct Arena, Leeds when he defends his IBF featherweight championship against Kid Galahad on Saturday June 15.

Leading super featherweights Zelfa Barrett and Lyon Woodstock meet in a hotly anticipated clash for the Commonwealth title, with Jason Welborn and JJ Metcalf also vying for the vacant Commonwealth super welterweight championship.

Other fighters confirmed in action on the bill so far include Lyndon Arthur, Alex Dickinson, Tommy Fury, Mark Heffron, Jack McGann and Troy Williamson.

Tickets for Warrington v Galahad are available via Ticketmaster and are priced as below:

£450 – Hospitality
£300 – Floor
£200 – Floor
£150 – Floor
£100 – Floor/Tier
£75 – Tier
£50 – Tier
£40 – Tier

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BOXING GREATS SPLIT ON HEAVY DUTY FIGHT BETWEEN DUBOIS AND GORMAN

BRITISH boxing idols Tyson Fury and George Groves are in disagreement over the sensational heavyweight showdown between the division’s leading prospects Daniel Dubois and Nathan Gorman.

The vacant British heavyweight title will be on the line when Dubois (11-0, 10 KOs and Gorman (16-0, 11 KOs) clash at The O2, London on Saturday July 13, live on BT Sport.

Lineal world heavyweight champion Fury is firmly in the camp of his cousin Gorman and has been helping him in early stages of training.

The pair have been sparring at the gym of Ricky Hatton who trains the hopeful and Fury has been on hand to give advice.

Former WBA super-middleweight champion Groves is sold on Dubois and believes he has the potential to become a boxing great.

Fury who is preparing to fight Tom Schwarz in Las Vegas on June 15 dismissed the claims of Groves.

He is confident Gorman will triumph and roared in a recent training session: “Daniel Dubois, he’s coming!”Gorman confirmed 

“Tyson is backing me one hundred per cent. He fully believes I have the ingredients to beat Daniel. It’s good to be around him, it’s fantastic to have him in the gym.”

Groves first spotted KO artist Dubois several years ago when he trained at his old amateur club.

He said: “I remember seeing Daniel Dubois in Dale Youth amateur gym. I look back and think; ’Why didn’t I go back in time and sign him’?

“He has so much more to develop and learn. He can become the best if not the best in the heavyweight division.

“He hasn’t put a foot wrong, but there is something about him and it’s a good thing -It is like having a young junior who still looks boyish and you know what a handful he’ll be when he gets his man strength. It’s the case with Daniel.

“Dubois has phenomenal punch power, but I feel like the nitty gritty boxing skills and know-how will come with experience.Recently retired Groves told the 5 Live Boxing Podcast with Costello & Bunce that the battle has Fight of the Year potential, adding: “I am happy for this fight because they are young enough for the loser to rebuild.

“It’s a good fight for both of them and the winner will go onto something else. They are both willing to put it on the line and it’s a real fight.“It is fascinating that they know each other so well and it’s good for them to be in a real fight.”

Tickets for ‘Heavy Duty’ featuring Daniel Dubois v Nathan Gorman for the vacant British Heavyweight Title, plus Olympic silver medalist Joe Joyce are on sale now via AXS.comEventim and Ticketmaster and are priced as below:
 
£300 – (Hospitality)
£200 – Floor
£150 – Floor
£100 – Tier/Floor
£75 – Floor/Tier
£50 – Tier
£40 – Tier

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“I’M THE ONLY ONE IN THE WORLD WHO KNOWS HOW TO BEAT CLARESSA SHIELDS!” SAYS SUPER-MIDDLEWEIGHT STAR SAVANNAH MARSHALL

Hartlepool’s unbeaten starlet Savannah Marshall holds a secret that she has no intention of sharing to defeat the division’s First Lady

Silent Assassin returns to action on Saturday 25th May at the Victoria Warehouse in Manchester on the undercard of Hughie Fury, exclusively live on Channel 5

The 27 year old ‘Silent Assassin’ remains the only boxer to have inflicted a ring defeat on US golden girl Claressa Shields – current custodian of all four major world middleweight belts – in the dual Olympic champion’s 87 bout career.

Miss Marshall mastered the Michigan maestro by 14-8 on the computer in the second series of bouts in Quihuangdao, China, en route to cementing her status as Britain’s first ever female world amateur champion in 2012.

And shy girl Savannah is adamant that she will repeat the trick when the pair inevitably collide for a far bigger bounty in the paid brigade.

‘So far, I’m the only one in the world who knows the secret to beating her. Obviously, I’m not going to disclose what it is,’ states the softly-spoken north-easterner who also bagged silver and bronze gongs at the World meets in Barbados (2010) and Kazakhstan (2016). 

‘It was under the old scoring system, a point for a (connecting)punch, and I beat her very clearly. Claressa has offered many different recollections of the fight. Whatever. I beat her.  We’ve both improved considerably since.

‘She went on to win double Olympic gold (London 2012 and Rio 2016) and I didn’t even medal so I know I’ll enter a big underdog but, if and when the rematch happens, I know I can win again.  I’m very confident in my ability. I don’t need anyone else to tell me what I’m capable of, or not.  I know myself.’

The 5ft 11 1/2in Durham dynamo first laced up at 12 simply to keep fit but, in addition to her hat-trick of World Championship medals, she topped the rostrum at the 2010 European Unions and 2014 Commonwealth Games and lifted a barrow load of medals at prestigious multi-nation meets during an eight year stint on the Team GB set up in Sheffield. 

A dual Olympian, she concluded her amateur life with a mightily impressive 103-15 CV.

And since announcing herself to the profession with a classy four round decision win on the Mayweather-McGregor mega match in Las Vegas in August 2017, meek Marshall has racked up five straight wins and bagged the WBA Inter-Continental strap last October with a polished 10 round pummelling of Argentina’s previously undefeated Yanina Orozco in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Stylish and savage in equal measure, three of her victims failed to make it past round two.

‘Being at the top end of woman’s weights, sets me aside from the other British girls,’ states sensible Savannah who holds 12 GCSEs plus a BTEC (with distinction) in Sport.

‘All the big girls can punch hard. I’ve always been told I’m heavy handed but Peter(Fury her trainer and manager) has added EXPLOSIVE power…….and I do enjoy delivering a chilling knockout!’

Since hammering Hungary’s Klaudia Vigh in two at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse six months ago, fight student Marshall has been working hard in the gym with trainer Peter Fury.

She explains: ‘I’ve been in the gym all year building on my game, improving my strength and all-round technique with Peter at the Salford ABC gym. There’s just myself and Hughie (Fury, Peter’s son and world heavyweight contender) in camp at the moment and it’s a very chilled environment. If I offer an opinion, I know it’ll be listened to.’ 

On Saturday week she returns to The Vic for her first start of 2019, a year she believes will conclude with her on the cusp of world title contention.

‘I’ll be looking to put everything I’ve learned over the last six months into action; settle into the fight quickly and produce a good all-round display,’ predicts Marshall.

‘I just need to keep active, be involved in more 10 rounders and acquire the experience of fighting before thousands on big shows. By the end of this year, I’d hope to be 10 and 0 and knocking on the door for a world title, either at super-middle, or at middle against Claressa.

‘I intend unifying the world titles at both weights, no particular order, then walking away from boxing with my head held high, no regrets.’
Promoted by Hennessy SportsChannel 5 and Infinitum, in association with VIP Promotions, Hughie Fury headlines an action packed show on Saturday 25th May at the Victoria Warehouse, Manchester, when he takes on undefeated Canadian Chris Norrad.  

Exciting super-featherweight Alex Dilmaghani faces the hardened Martin Parlagi.  

Female super-middleweight sensation Savannah Marshall returns to action.  

Steve Brogan defends his Central Area Lightweight Championship against rival Adam Hague and completing the card will be Matty Fagan, Connor Lynch and Marcel Braithwaite.
Tickets priced at £40 & £70 are available from http://vipboxing.tv/shop/vip-tickets/hughie-fury-saturday-25th-may-victoria-warehouse/ and 01942 874 241
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BARRETT V WOODSTOCK BOOKED FOR LEEDS

Explosive super featherweights Zelfa Barrett and Lyon Woodstock will fight for the vacant Commonwealth title at the First Direct Arena in Leeds on June 15.

The fight represents a third big domestic showdown to be scheduled for a huge night of boxing topped by Josh Warrington making a second defence of his IBF world featherweight title against Sheffield’s Kid Galahad, with JJ Metcalf and Jason Welborn also set to fight for the Commonwealth title at super welterweight.

A match-up between Barrett and Woodstock has been much anticipated since the pair burst onto the professional scene and earned recognition for their exploits that saw them cross over from prospects to contenders.

“It’s been a long time coming, this fight,” said Barrett 21-1 (13KOs) on confirmation of the highly-anticipated encounter. “People have mentioned mine and Woodstock’s name for a while now, since we both turned pro and because we’re with Frank Warren.

“I think it was just a case of being the right time and the time is now. We’ve both been considered as hot prospects and it is a big fight that luckily is on the Josh Warrington undercard, but there is no doubt this could have been a main event fight on its own.

“It is going to be an amazing show for domestic dust-ups, what with Josh v Galahad and Metcalf v Welborn being a really good clash of styles. It is a top card.

“I believe in myself, I believe in my style and I believe in everything I do, so I believe 100 per cent that I have the beating of Woodstock, while he will believe in himself and his style, which is why he has taken the fight.

“My style will beat his, but I do rate him and he is a good fighter who does things well. He is an aggressive fighter coming forward, he can box a bit, has got a bit of power and is a respectable opponent.

“I need this kind of fight to bring the best out in me.”

Woodstock, 12-1 (5KOs), claims the confrontation will be like just another day in the office for him.

“I just see it as another fight, it is no stress or big deal, although it is a fight people have been wanting,” considered the 25-year-old known as ‘The King’. “For me it is just another body, but I won’t overlook the situation and I won’t be fazed.

“I will just go in there and do what I do. Every fight excites me, whether I am in with a journeyman or a good opponent, I just love fighting and I know I will finish where I am supposed to finish.

“This is just a stepping stone towards there, which will be a world title. There will be no loser really and it is better to have these fights now because it will hold you in good stead for later on at world level.

“It will not be the end of anyone and it would ruin anybody’s career.

“I just know I will do what I’ve gotta do to pick up the W. I know what I am going in there to do and it is going to be a good fight on the night, that’s what I know. I am not apprehensive or anything, it is just a fight.”

Promoter Frank Warren added: “This is the sort of fight the fans want to see and we are delivering them.  Where domestic showdowns are concerned, it does not get much better than we have got in Leeds with a Yorkshire derby for a world title as a main event, supported by two Commonwealth title fights involving British fighters.

“Zelfa and Lyon are both top super featherweights who have been tipped for the top. They have both suffered a setback, but that is always irrelevant in the grand scheme of things and they will be stronger for the experience.

“We’ve got the best group of super featherweights on our books and our intention is for them all to fight each other with meaningful titles at stake that will push the winners towards world title contention.

“We have already had Lyon against Archie Sharp in an excellent fight and now he will take on Zelfa in a fight that will catch the imagination of the fans. We’ve also got the British champion Sam Bowen who will consider himself top of the pecking order right now.

“This card is shaping up to becoming one of the best of the year and Leeds is definitely the place to be on June 15.”

Josh Warrington tops the bill at First Direct Arena, Leeds when he defends his IBF featherweight championship against Kid Galahad on Saturday June 15.

Jason Welborn and JJ Metcalf meet for the vacant Commonwealth super-welterweight championship.

Other fighters confirmed in action on the bill so far include Lyndon Arthur, Zelfa Barrett, Alex Dickinson, Tommy Fury, Mark Heffron, Jack McGann and Troy Williamson.

Tickets for Warrington v Galahad are available via Ticketmaster and are priced as below:

£450 – Hospitality
£300 – Floor
£200 – Floor
£150 – Floor
£100 – Floor/Tier
£75 – Tier
£50 – Tier
£40 – Tier

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“IF FANS LIKE A BIT OF FLASH, THEY’LL LOVE ME!” SAYS MARCEL BRAITHWAITE

Scouse showman Marcel Braithwaite promises to provide the glitz and glamour to proceedings at promoter Mick Hennessy’s blockbuster bill at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse on May 25 on the undercard of Hughie Fury versus Chris Norrad, exclusively live on Channel 5.

The slick and stylish 25 year old super-bantam skilster returns to duty hellbent on atoning for the first setback of his eight fight pro career last time out – a six round points loss to English title challenger Brett Fidoe – and is threatening to sizzle. 

‘I deliver entertainment. If fans like a bit of flash, they’ll love me!’ claims the self-proclaimed ‘Chosen One’ 

 ‘Fans can look forward to watching a classy boxer puncher; I’m a bit showy, lots of slick movement and defence.

‘There was a lot of mix-up with my preparation last fight. I was sick, got better, sick again, better again. Then they changed my opponent the day before and Brett’s a nightmare for anyone….very tricky.’

One of a brood of six, born and raised on the tough terrain of Toxteth, Liverpool 8, 5ft 2in Braithwaite learnt how to hold his hands up at primary school.

‘I’ve always loved fighting,’ confesses the personal trainer who is managed by Steve Wood.

‘I started Tae-Kwon-Do at four, kick-boxing at seven or eight, then settled on the boxing from the age of about 11. Mum and dad took me to the gym cos I was always scrapping at school or on the streets. I wasn’t a particularly bad-tempered kid. I just really enjoyed fighting. It brought me pleasure!’

‘I lost just seven of my 36 amateur bouts and competed against guys like (ex ABA champ) Lucien Reid, (European Senior medallist) Calum French and (Commonwealth Games and European Seniors champion) Peter McGrail.

‘I won a National Novice title for under 20 bouts and boxed for England twice, winning the Three Nations, then losing to McGrail, a very talented kid, in the GB final.’ 

Having entered the profession, aged 22, in November 2016, mobile Marcel mesmerised his first seven opponents, dropping just one of 30 completed rounds on official cards, prior to that stumble against Fidoe – a man he’d previously shut-out six. 

Sidelined for nine months, Braithwaite has made crucial adjustments to his support system ahead of his comeback.

He explains: ‘For my last two fights I was at the No Limits gym but now I’m back at the (Golden) Gloves under Wayne Smith where I fought as an amateur, getting re-built from the ground up, revisiting the basics, getting the right lifestyle back. I like to enjoy myself and party away from boxing but I lead a healthy active lifestyle.

‘I turned pro to follow my passion and win titles. During my apprenticeship there was no point killing myself to make weight, to fight naturally heavier journeymen but I could definitely make bantamweight, possibly even super-fly, and when I finally get matches at my proper weight, I’ll be a lot more physical.’

On Saturday week, Marcel brings the distinctive Braithwaite brand to Manchester for a third time, where he will star in a six-rounder against a foe yet to be announced.

‘Rucking on the streets of Toxteth, you never got to choose the opponent!’ he quips.

‘Whoever it is, they’re getting done in. I’ve got my heart set on titles and, hopefully by the end of 2019, I can put myself into contention for a shot at the English title shot, perhaps even the British.’

Tickets priced at £40 & £70 are available from http://vipboxing.tv/shop/vip-tickets/hughie-fury-saturday-25th-may-victoria-warehouse/ and 01942 874 241

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SAUNDERS PRIMED TO BECOME A TWO WEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION

BILLY JOE SAUNDERS has revealed that becoming a two-weight world champion was his childhood dream.He can achieve that lifelong ambition at The Lamex Stadium, Stevenage FC this Saturday night when he challenges Shefat Isufi (27-3-2) for the vacant WBO super-middleweight crown, live on BT Sport.

Their big showdown was initially for the interim title, but Gilberto Ramirez has relinquished and moved up to light-heavyweight meaning the full championship is now on the line.

Former WBO middleweight champion Saunders, 29,  said:  “I was always assured by Frank Warren and MTK that the fight would be for the full version of the world title.

“They told me not to get impatient when it was just the interim title. That is what I’ve done and it has happened to work out for the best.

“Being called a two-weight world champion sounds nice and it is good for the history books.

“Boxing is a business, but to be a two-weight world champion is something you dream of growing up and here is my chance to achieve it.

“It is the icing on the cake and I have got to deliver. It’s no good fighting for it. I’ve got to win it.”

Saunders (27-0)  has spent nine weeks in Manchester training for the big fight which takes place just 12 miles from his Hatfield home.

He added: “A lot of people are expecting me to win so there is a bit of pressure on, but it is pressure I can deal with.

“I will sit down with my team, have a discussion with my management and assess my options when I’ve got the win against Isufi.

“The main thing is getting that win because the whole conversation is different if I don’t win.”

The vacant WBO super-middleweight title clash between Billy Joe Saunders and Shefat Isufi headlines the bill at Stevenage football ground with unbeaten heavyweight Joe Joyce facing former world title challenger Alexander Ustinov in the chief supporting contest.

British super-bantamweight champion Brad Foster faces Commonwealth title holder, Ashley Lane with both belts on the line

Chingford prospect Boy Jones Jr fights for the vacant WBO Youth titleTickets can be purchased via borotickets.co.uk and are priced as below: 

£250 – Hospitality
£150 – Pitch
£100 – Pitch
£75 – Pitch
£50 – Stand
£40 – Stand

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KELLY FACES ROBINSON ON JUNE 1 US DEBUT AT MSG

‘PBK’ lands slot on Joshua vs. Ruiz undercard
Josh Kelly will make his US debut against Philadelphia’s Ray Robinson on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s Heavyweight World title clash with Andy Ruiz Jr. at Madison Square Garden in New York on June 1, live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports Box Office in the UK.
 
Sunderland star Kelly (9-0, 6 KOs) outclassed the previously undefeated Pole Przemyslaw Runowski on his big ring return at The O2 in London last month, flooring the gutsy challenger three times to defend his WBA International title with a classy unanimous verdict after winning all ten rounds. 
 
Kelly was due to face former World Champion David Avanesyan on the undercard of Kell Brook vs. Michael Zerafa in Sheffield, but an illness scuppered a December dust-up between the pair. A showdown with the now European Champion is at the top of Kelly’s wish list should he come through his test against Robinson. 
 
Robinson (24-3-1, 12 KOs) has lost only three times in his 28-fight career, one of those losses coming to current WBC Welterweight World Champion Shawn Porter in 2010, and the 33-year-old southpaw earned an impressive draw in his last outing in March against the undefeated and World rated Egidijus Kavaliauskas.
 
“To be boxing at the Mecca of boxing Madison Square Garden is pretty serious isn’t it,” said Kelly. “I’ve never been there before so I’m going to enjoy the experience and put a performance on. To be fighting at a venue like that so early on in my career is another box ticked on my journey.
 
“Things change and titles switch hands but the majority of World titles are held in the US at the moment so I could end up boxing there a lot more in the future. I just take things fight by fight and I never overlook anyone because I’d be doing myself and my opponent an injustice. 
 
“Robinson is a very good opponent. He’s a good boxer with an awkward southpaw style so it’s another good test for me. It’s going to be a great fight and a night to enjoy. I get a lot of support from people in the US so it’s nice to have an opportunity to put on a performance in front of them.
 
“What happened with the Avanesyan fight was unfortunate but it’s a fight that’s still 100% on my radar. Adam has got a plan for it and I’ll just go with what he says. It’s definitely more than likely going to take place. June 1 is going to be the start of something big.”

“This is a great fight and a huge step-up for Josh on the biggest stage possible,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Robinson clearly won last time out and is an accomplished fighter that will test him in every department. This is the stage for him to shine, in front of a sold out MSG broadcast all over the World – June 1 we will really find out what PBK is all about.”
 
Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing, said: “Josh Kelly is one of the hottest talents in Britain – and Madison Square Garden is a perfect venue for him to showcase his skills.
 
“We’ve covered Kelly’s exciting career from the very start. ‘PBK’ can now show American fans why he’s a name to watch in that red-hot Welterweight division.
 
“It will be a bumper evening of boxing as Katie Taylor bids to become the undisputed World Lightweight champion, and then AJ can mark his US debut with a bang against Andy Ruiz Jr!”
 
Kelly and Robinson clash on a huge night of action at Madison Square Garden where Joshua’s World title defence against Ruiz is supported by Irish sensation Katie Taylor clashing with Delfine Persoon for the undisputed Women’s World Lightweight championship and Chris Algieri and Tommy Coyle meeting in a crossroads Lightweight fight – with more undercard fights to be announced shortly.
 
Tickets for the huge night of World title action in New York are on sale now via Madison Square Garden and StubHub (www.stubhub.com)
 
Tickets can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008) and online at www.ticketmaster.com or www.MSG.com.
 
Official Ticket and Travel Packages, including the opportunity to travel on the Official Charter Plane, are available to purchase via Sportsworld (www.sportsworld.co.uk) Prices start at £1,095. Reserve your seat today.
 
Tickets are priced, $106, $156, $206, $306, $406, $506, $756, $1,006, $1,256 and $2,506 plus applicable booking fees.
 
Wheelchair seats, companion seats, aisle seats and Assistive Listening Devices are available to purchase by calling 212-465-6034.
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