Burns: My story is far from over

 

Scottish boxing hero fights for the 50th time this weekend

 

Ricky Burns laces them up for the 50th time on Saturday night at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, live on Sky Sports – and the Scottish boxing hero says that there are plenty more great nights left in the tank.

 

Burns created history by becoming Scotland’s first three-weight World champion in May 2016 when he added Super-Lightweight glory to his Super-Featherweight and Lightweight titles by stopping Michele Di Rocco for the WBA title in Glasgow.

 

The ‘Rickster’ still harbours dreams of fighting for World titles again and as he prepares to fight in the North East, a rematch with Anthony Crolla is top of a list of fights he wants as he writes new chapters in his fantastic journey.
 
“The Ricky Burns story is not finished just yet,” said Burns. “I’ve got no regrets in my career, I’ve lived it. I’m proud to say I’m a three weight World Champion and still think there’s a couple of big fights in me.
 
“That being said, I have a job to do on Saturday night for those to come to fruition. I’ve never boxed in Newcastle before so am looking forward to the atmosphere. Lewis Ritson is doing wonderfully well, I’ve enjoyed watching his recent rise. We had him in for sparring a while ago and I remember telling Eddie he should sign him.
 
“If I had to pick one fight to have next it would be the Crolla rematch. I’ve watched it back a couple of times and think it was a draw in all honesty. Whether it can be made or not is another matter. He needs to get his finger out.”

 

BURNS ON THE EARLY YEARS:

 

When I started off I didn’t really have any burning desires, it was just taking things one fight at a time. I remember the blonde hair on my debut in particular and waiting by the entrance ready to walk to fight Woody Greenway. I just wanted to establish my jab and get the first one out of the way. Audley Harrison just turned over from the Olympics and was on the card so there was quite a bit of media attention.

 

I boxed on quite a few Scott Harrison and Alex Arthur undercards from there, then I got a late call to fight Graham Earl in my 10th fight, I was originally down to fight someone called Stevie Murray I think it was and didn’t bat an eye lid when they offered me that fight on two weeks’ notice. I was there as a bit of a stepping stone for Earl but I was confident in my own ability and showed I can box off the back foot effectively. He was the reigning British Champion at the time and despite it only being an eight rounder it catapulted me to that next level.
 

The Arthur fight was brewing by this point. I had sparred with Alex before, so sort of knew what to expect. Did it come too soon? Perhaps, but on the bigger picture it was a good learning fight for me. It was my first twelve rounder for starters and my first title fight, it was all experience. There was some talk of a rematch but we never got around to agreeing it with the weight.

 

The Carl Johanneson fight was a bit of a nightmare all round. I had ate something that didn’t agree with me in the 24 hours or so leading up to the fight, that’s not an excuse but it had a huge bearing on the fight. I remember someone from the board suggesting I shouldn’t take the fight, but there was too much riding on it and I had large support. He obviously got to me with some body shots, I was struggling in there and it was just one to forget all together.

 

After that I switched trainers from Rab Bannen to Billy Nelson. I had some time off in between then was quite busy, boxing on the small halls to get back into contention and build some momentum.

 

We won and defended the Commonwealth title then it was the Michael Gomez fight. He was the first fight I had where my opponent really played up with some pre-fight antics. He was in my face at the weigh-in and said some unsavoury things so I really, really wanted to do a number on him. If the ref hadn’t have jumped in to stop the fight when he did, I’d have still been there drilling him on the ropes. That one meant a lot, it was a great atmosphere in there.

 

BURNS ON THE FIRST WORLD TITLE:

 

The Roman Martinez fight was one that had been in the pipeline for some time. There was talks and it didn’t get over the line, but then it was on so we had studied him quite a bit knowing it was likely to eventually happen. We knew Martinez was a bit of a banger and it showed in the first round, but I got back to the gameplan, the longer it went I got into my grove and it was truly a night to remember. I was the underdog going in and was overwhelmed after.

 

There was a bit of talk before the Nicky Cook fight that he was struggling with some form of injury, so the game plan was to test him to the body early. It was a strange one how it all unfolded and I felt a bit bad for the fans who had paid their hard earned cash to see a proper fight but what can you do?

 

BURNS ON BECOMING TWO-WEIGHT KING:

 

I was done at the weight after the Cook fight, I said to Billy I wanted to move up. The Michael Katsidis fight was a war of attrition. I proved a lot of people wrong that night. Marquez I think was the full Champion and I ended up getting elevated after winning the Interim title in that fight. That one did not disappoint, Michael is a true warrior.

 

The Kevin Mitchell fight was talked about for a long time. We had sparred and got on and since obviously become pals in Tony Sims’ gym but at the time I really wanted to do a number on him. I was almost dismissed in the fight and felt like I had a real point to prove. It was another top night in Glasgow and a conclusive victory for me.

 

I switched promoters and had some issues outside the ring that definitely affected me mentally and that showed in the next couple of fights because I was below par. I still get reminded of the broken jaw in the Ray Beltran fight to this day, I can’t believe looking back how I got through that. I’d say my toughness is one of my biggest traits and it showed there. It’s a cliché you’ve got to bite down on your gumshield at times and grit it out, that was one of those moments.

 

BURNS ON LOSING THE BELT:

 

Terence Crawford is a class act, he was confident all week and now you can see why. He’s just gone on to win his third World title after becoming the first undisputed Champion in a long while. The angles, his timing, his footwork, you’ve just got to take your hat off to him and say he’s a real talent. I’d love to see him fight Spence, that’s one of the best fights out there to be made.

 

The Dejan Zlaticanin defeat probably hurt more than losing my World title. We had a lot going on out of the ring, Amanda went into labour just before the fight, we were just moving house and everything else that was well publicised. I got caught cold in the first round and totally went against my trainer’s instructions. It just slipped away in the end and I remember being really upset in the changing room after.

 

BURNS ON HIS AMERICAN REVIVAL:

 

The Omar Figueroa fight in Texas was an experience, it’s my only fight out in the States to date and with Matchroom’s new U.S venture I’d like to get back out there if the right fight came up. Figueroa obviously failed the weight and I remember being in the hotel afterwards and some bloke came up to me, I thought it was his brother at first but it was Omar – He looked like a different bloke after he rehydrated, I’ve never seen anyone transform as much as that. He apologised for missing the weight and we agreed to carry on, it was a remarkable turnaround because he looked dead at the weight. He really hurt me in the 11th but I had some success in the last round, he said after the fight another minute or two and he would have struggled to see the fight out but there you go.

 

BURNS ON MAKING HISTORY:

 

We made history with the Di Rocco win, that was a proud moment. I wasn’t to be denied on that night. People were writing me off, saying I should retire but again I showed people otherwise. I think he was struggling at the weight to be honest and I got to him eventually. The scenes that followed will stay with me for a while and it was a proud moment.

 

Burns’ 50th fight is part of a huge night of action in Newcastle as Lewis Ritson defends his British Lightweight title against Paul Hyland Jnr and Josh Kelly challenges Kris George for the Commonwealth Welterweight title.

 

Gavin McDonnell defends his WBC International Super-Bantamweight title against Stuart Hall in a must-win clash for both men, Charlie Edwards and Anthony Nelson meet for the vacant WBA Continental Super-Flyweight title and Arfan Iqbal defends his English Cruiserweight belt against Simon Vallily.
 

Tickets priced £40, £60, £80 and £100 are on sale now from the Metro Arena at http://www.metroradioarena.co.uk, on 0844 493 6666 or in person from the Metro Radio Arena Box Office. Please note venue facility and booking fees will apply. VIP tickets are on sale priced at £200 from http://www.matchroomboxing.com/tickets

 

Face value tickets for June 16 are available from http://www.stubhub.co.uk/matchroom-boxing-tickets/ . StubHub is the official ticket partner and marketplace of Matchroom Boxing and Anthony Joshua.

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CATTERALL: “I’VE ALREADY PASSED TOUGHER TESTS THAN McKENNA


 
Jack Catterall has dismissed the notion Tyrone McKenna presents the most thorough examination of his world title credentials.
 
The unbeaten super-lightweights are preparing to collide in a mouth-watering clash on the undercard of Michael Conlan’s homecoming on June 30 – with many viewing the bout as impossible to predict.
 
World-ranked Catterall (21-0-KO12), however, is supremely confident of retaining his WBO strap against ‘The Mighty Celt’ (16-0-1-KO6).
 
Catterall said: “Tyrone is not my toughest test to date. I’ve been in tougher fights than this one will be.
 
“Nathan Brough was a tough amateur and I knocked him out. Tyrone Nurse achieved more than McKenna. Nurse had some good wins and lots of momentum before I fought him.
 
“I’ve also sparred McKenna myself. I sparred him before my British title fight once or twice. He’s a southpaw and very tall but the way he fights is fine for me.
 
“The way Tyrone fights, it looks like he’s not shy in coming forward to have a go and that suits me down to the ground. He’s there to be taken out.
 
“I believe there’s only one winner but I do respect him. I was actually talking to him a couple of weeks before the fight got announced. I hope Belfast gets behind him – they seem to love him.
 
“I’ll bring some good support with me too. I didn’t get to showcase my improvements at Elland Road but hopefully I will this time round. It’s a huge event coming up in Belfast.”
 
Michael Conlan headlines in his homecoming show on June 30th at the SSE Arena, Belfast. Catterall v McKenna is just one of a host of huge fights on the night, with Jono Carroll’s long-awaited rematch with Declan Geraghty and Paddy Gallagher v Gary Corcoran, Tyrone McCullagh v Joe Ham and Johnny Coyle v Lewis Benson all competing for limelight.

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WBO: Officials Named for Title Bout Between World Champion Ángel Acosta and Carlos Buitrago


 

The World Boxing Organization (WBO) announced the officials for this Saturday, June 16, clash between WBO Jr. Flyweight Champion, Angel ‘Tito’ Acosta, from Puerto Rico, and ranked No. 10 by this sanctioning body Carlos ‘Chocorroncito’ Buitrago, from Nicaragua, in a scheduled 12 rounds bout.
 
The world title match will take place at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico in San Juan as the main event of a boxing evening presented by the Cotto Promotions. The Puerto Rican Luis Pabón will be the referee of the clash. Pabón is a veteran of over 400 professional boxing fights, including 168 world titles bouts.
 
The Coliseo de Puerto Rico, was the scene of Miguel Cotto’s first world championship, when the today’s promoter was crowned WBO Jr. Welterwweight Champion on September 11, 2004 after defeating Kelson Pinto, of Brazil, by technical knockout in the sixth round.
 
Puerto Rican Jerry Martinez of Guaynabo and from the United States, Rocky Young, of Florida, and William Lerch, of Illinois, were appointed judges for the bout. The WBO Supervisor will be WBO President of the Classifications Committee Edgardo López Sasso, Esq.
 
For Acosta (17-1-1, 17 KOs), it will be his first world title defense of the title he won last December by knocking out Mexican Juan ‘Pinky’ Alejo in the tenth round. On his part, Buitrago (30-3-1, 17 KOs) has held the WBO Youth and Latino Mini Flyweight titles.

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‘HORNY’ HARVEY HORN: “I’VE ALREADY HAD FOUR MINI WORLD TITLE BOUTS!”


 
After years of ambivalence and apathy, the small men of British boxing have become sexy again and ‘Horny’ Harvey Horn intends to be in the thick of the orgy.
 
Ex-European Under 22 king ‘Triple H’ joins former internationally decorated flies Andrew Selby, Paddy Barnes and Sunny Edwards in the paid brigade where the prizes and props will far exceed precious metal.
 
The 22 year old native cockney dazzled on his December debut, chopping up Czech Republic’s Denis Bartos in three, then bamboozled Bartos’ brother Patrik over four rounds in his second start last February.
 
Glynn Evans caught up with him ahead of his return to duty against 16-8-1 Hungarian Gyula Dodu at the O2 Arena on Saturday week.
 
After being overlooked for Rio 2016, weren’t you tempted to stay amateur and try to hit the podium at this year’s Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast or the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?
 
I was very tempted – two potentially great trips. I’d always thought there was no point us fighters in the lighter weights turning pro unless we had an Olympic medal but the smallest divisions have been generating far more interest lately and it’s only going to get better. Fights like Roman Gonzalez against (Srisaket Sor) Rungvisai are generating big bucks.
 
Also, I really enjoy the thought of becoming involved in the pundit side of the sport after I’ve retired and a successful pro career would heighten my profile. I always look good in front of a camera and I feel I’m quite knowledgeable.
 
Given you’re 5ft 7in tall, what weight range do you believe you’ll operate at, throughout your career?
 
When I develop my man strength it’s possible I could move up to super-fly. But right now, I could still make light flyweight (108lbs) once I get to international level – perhaps even straw weight or ‘Rizla weight’ as dad calls it (!) – but how much interest would there be? I’ve a big following already and would prefer to clean up the domestic (flyweight) rivals first.
 
And who might they be?!
 
Already me and Sunny (Edwards) are causing a stir on social media. Up in Sheffield, he was only on the GB Development Squad – the second string, the reserves – and he’s a bit resentful of being in the shadow of Podium Squad guys like myself and Galal Yafai. Sunny only won the ABAs when I didn’t enter! Though he’s quite slick and clever, he was always found wanting when given a chance to step up in the international tournaments. I’m not losing sleep.
 
Then there’s (Barry’s British champ) Andrew Selby and (Belfast’s Triple Olympian) Paddy Barnes. Fighters like (Commonwealth champ) Jay Harris lack the pedigree we’ve got. Paddy certainly shows no signs of slowing down unfortunately (laughs) but Selby is the main one; a very, very good boxer and a seriously hard bloke. Once, as a punishment for misbehaving in Thailand, he was forced to spar 10 consecutive rounds with Jack Bateson, Joe Maphosa and me…and he absolutely pissed it!
 
Which attributes specifically will help you advance in the pros and what changes have you needed to make to acclimatize?
 
My main assets will always be my speed and boxing brain. My heroes as a kid were the slick types like Pernell Whittaker and Roy Jones Jr. I’m adaptable and can usually find a way to win.
But I know I need to be more exciting, more explosive for the pros so I’ve made a few changes. I throw a lot more body punches now. On my debut I took the guy out with a body shot.
 
To what extent will you’re WSB experience accelerate your progression through the pros?
 
Massively. I couldn’t have had better preparation. Those four bouts were like mini world title fights against world class opponents….and I won three of them. The refs were very slack, forced you to fight your way out of clinches rather than call ‘break’.
 
The best I fought was the Mexican (Joselito) Velasquez. I was only 19 and it was a man against a boy. I started well but couldn’t keep him off. He nutted me, hit me with rabbit punches and in the kidneys. It’d be a different story if we met now.
 
What are your plans for the rest of 2018?
 
I intend to have a fight every two months. After one more four rounder, I’ll be up to six rounders. Mark (Tibbs, his coach) will decide when I’m ready for more but rounds ain’t the problem. The longer I’ve got to work opponents out, the more trouble they’re in.
 
I’m not seeking titles this year but if I’m gifted a chance at, say, The Southern Area, I’ll jump at it. I just want to get my name up.
 
…and beyond?
 
I intend to take every domestic title I can before dominating the international scene. I’ve already been fighting at world level for three years, and without vests, with small gloves in the WSB. Most British pro prospects around my weight haven’t boxed at that level.
 
What can the punters and TV fans expect to see from ‘Triple H’ at The O2 on June 23rd?
 
A performance just as exciting as my first two; two midgets really going at each other! I like to be economical and calculated – nothing messy –but I’ll definitely be looking to take the guy out. I’ve only got four rounds to achieve that so I guarantee there’ll be plenty of action.

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Brook leads stellar undercard for Whyte vs Parker


 

Sheffield star lands World title eliminator – Taylor defends World crowns

 

Kell Brook will face Brandon Cook in a World Super-Welterweight title eliminator at The O2 in London as part of a stellar undercard for the Heavyweight blockbuster between Dillian Whyte and Joseph Parker on Saturday July 28, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

 

Brook made his bow at Super-Lightweight with a destructive second round win over Sergey Rabchenko in Sheffield in March – with the Steel City favourite landing the WBC International crown to start his march to two-weight world glory.

 

‘The Special One’ has been called out by all the big-guns at 154lbs after crashing into the rankings with that win, and will arrow in on a World title crack if he can see off the dangerous Cook. The Canadian – who turns 32 today – will be desperate to hijack Brook’s dreams of landing another World title, and ‘Bad Boy’ Cook, rated number four with the WBO, nine in the WBA and 11 with the IBF, enters the fight on the wave of back-to-back early KO wins.

 

Irish sensation Katie Taylor is straight back into a big fight after unifying the Lightweight division in Brooklyn in April, wrestling the IBF strap from Victoria Bustos in a thrilling encounter in the Big Apple. Taylor now meets IBF mandatory Kimberly Connor in London with her WBA belt also on the line, and Texan Connor has her second crack at World honours having tackled Argentine Bustos for the vacant strap in March 2017.

 

Conor Benn and Cedric Peynaud served up one of the fights of the year in 2017 when they clashed at York Hall in December, and the rematch will take place under the dome. Benn looked in serious trouble of tasting defeat for the first time as a pro after hitting the deck twice in the opening session, but the son of British legend Nigel rallied to floor the Frenchman in the fifth and sixth rounds to edge a stunning contest – the return has added spice with a title on the line in Benn’s 13th pro outing.

 

Rising Light-Heavyweight star Joshua Buatsi faces a real step-up on the bill in his seventh pro outing since turning pro at The O2 last July, taking on former British title challenger Ricky Summers in his first ten round contest.

 

“July 28 is a huge night of boxing with a brilliant 50-50 Heavyweight match up and a stacked card beneath it,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Kell returns to the scene of his epic shootout with GGG to face highly ranked Canadian Brandon Cook in a World title eliminator that will put him in pole position for a shot at all the World champions.

 

“Irish sensation Katie Taylor returns to The O2 to defend her WBA and IBF World titles against mandatory challenger Kimberley Connor, Conor Benn rematches Cedric Peynaud for his first title after their 2017 fight of the year contender and Joshua Buatsi makes a huge step up to face Birmingham’s Ricky Summers in his first ten round fight. There is still plenty more to be added this week including one major title fight – roll on July 28!”

 

Tickets are on sale now to O2 Priority members at www.theO2.co.uk.

Tickets go on sale on Thursday June 14 at 10am to Matchroom Fight Pass members via www.StubHub.com and the venue and AXS pre-sale before tickets go on general sale at www.theO2.co.uk.

Tickets go on general sale on Friday June 15 at 10am from www.theO2.co.uk and on 0844 856 0202.

Tickets are priced £40, £60, £80, £100 and £200. Inner Ringside VIP tickets are priced at £500.

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THE BEAST WILL HAVE TO WAIT A SEK FOR HIS NEXT KO


 
ANTHONY YARDE is back in title action when he faces Dariusz Sek at London’s o2 on June 23.
 
Unbeaten Yarde has been in a hurry winning 14 of his 15 fights inside the distance during a short, but explosive career.
 
Yarde is already ranked number two by the WBO but faces a long night when he defends the WBO Intercontinental Light Heavyweight title against his Polish rival, live on BT Sport.
 
Sek, 31, has lost just three times in 33 contests and never been stopped in a nine year professional career.
 
It is the sort of experience 26-year-old Yarde needs according to his trainer Tunde Ajayi, who hopes this test will give his man valuable rounds.
 
Ajayi said: “100 per-cent, this is the type of fight that Anthony needs at this stage of his career.
 
“Sek is a credible opponent and lost a close fight to Robin Krasniqi who won the European title earlier this year.
 
“Hopefully we will get some rounds, but we don’t know whether we will the way Anthony has been performing.
 
“People say Anthony needs to step up, but this is one. Hosea Burton is mentioned as an opponent for Anthony, but Sek is ranked higher than Hosea on Boxrec.
 
“I know people want to see that jump, but there is no rush. Angelo Dundee said the same thing about not rushing Sugar Ray Leonard and that has stuck with me.”
 
Sek is the first southpaw that Yarde has faced in his amateur or professional career.
 
Tunde added: “I have been asking for a southpaw for a few months and this ticks that box before we move on and eventually fight for and win a world title.”
 
Yarde v Sek is part of a talent stacked card headlined by Martin Murray who challenges Mexico’s WBC silver middleweight champion Roberto Garcia. In a battle for the vacant English heavyweight championship KO King Daniel Dubois meets trash talking Tom Little.
 
Others stars on the bill include Ohara Davies, Darryl Williams, Johnny Garton, Raza Hamza, Archie Sharp, Umar Sadiq and Harvey Horn.
 
Tickets for Garcia v Murray are available to purchase via www.axs.com

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STEVE WOOD: ‘TERRY FLANAGAN’S NOT DONE YET!’


 
Terry Flanagan’s record for having the longest unbeaten winning ledger amongst the current crop of UK fighters came to an end on Saturday night, in his home city of Manchester.
 
Topping the bill at the Manchester Arena, former WBO World Lightweight king Flanagan was bidding to become a two-weight world champion when he faced Maurice Hooker for the Super Lightweight version of the WBO belt.
 
Despite putting in a brave shift, ‘Turbo’ Terry was on the wrong end of a split decision verdict against American Hooker with scores of 113-115, 111-117 and 117-111 announced at the final bell.
 
During the contest, Hooker – with a significant height and reach advantage – boxed well on the back foot, making it difficult for southpaw Flanagan to shine. The Mancunian’s task wasn’t made any easier either by the deep cuts he suffered after a number of accidental head clashes.
 
After the contest, manager Steve Wood, who has guided Flanagan from the small hall circuit to world honours, reflected on his fighter’s night, and future:
 
“It wasn’t an easy night for Terry. Hooker had those really long arms, and height, and Terry wasn’t able to get to him easily. But, although we know he didn’t box to his best ability, he still managed to get a close, split decision, and I thought the 117-111 scores on both sides were way off.
 
“What many people won’t know either is that Terry was actually quite dazed and concussed during the fight from the head clashes and, no excuses, but that really affected him. He had five different cuts after the fight that had to be repaired needing over 30 stitches, including 15 stitches in the cut on his forehead.
 
“Terry will have a rest, let the cuts heal and then we’ll go again. We’ll be looking to get him straight back into a world title fight. Hooker’s team have already said they’d be happy for a rematch if Terry is willing to travel to Texas, which we are, so we hope they stick to their word.
 
“There are other options out there too. We’d also be interested in the World Series, and even the [Anthony] Crolla fight could still be an option. That should have happened a while back when both were world champions, but there’d still be a lot of interest in it now. Our main priority though is getting Terry another world title fight.
 
“It’s a shame Terry’s run has come to an end, but he’s proven he’s one of the best fighters in the world and will be on the up again soon. I’ve also been on a good run lately with Josh Warrington winning the world title, and Ryan Doyle upsetting Reece Bellotti. It had to come to an end sometime, I just didn’t see it happening here, but that’s boxing for you”
 
Keep updated on VIP Promotions – visit http://vipboxing.tv/

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Nelson: Edwards is full of himself


 

‘Babyface’ plans to stun ‘over-confident’ Surrey star in Newcastle

 

Anthony Nelson has branded Charlie Edwards as ‘full of himself’ and vows to punish the over-confident Surrey man when they clash for the WBA Continental Flyweight title at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports.

 

Nelson has previously held the Commonwealth and English Super-Flyweight titles but took two years out of the game in April 2016 after surrendering the Commonwealth crown in an epic battle with Jamie Conlan in London that was awarded Fight of the Year by the British Boxing Board of Control.

 

‘Babyface’ returned to action in April with a six round win and now wants to get on the road back to winning honours, starting with strap he meets former World title challenger Edwards for on Saturday – a man he believes has talent but not enough to stop his return to the big-stage from being triumphant.

 

“Charlie is full of himself,” said Nelson. “He’s a good technician and he’s got some skills but he hasn’t been in with me yet. He won’t be able to keep me off, I’ll be too strong for him.

 

“I’ll let him think otherwise and be over-confident because he’ll be in for a real shock. He’ll have to bring every tool because he has a big job to do.

 

“The gym is buzzing, especially with title fights on the horizon. It brings everyone else on and inspires them to push on which obviously comes full circle and spurs me on even more.

 

“It’s a big night for Newcastle, it really feels like big time boxing is back and with Lewis and Josh spearheading that it opens the doors for the fighters who are either just starting out or who are knocking on the door.

 

“I’m buzzing to be back on the comeback trail. I got back to winning ways recently and we continue to keep things rolling.

 

“It was six rounds under my belt at the end of April, I dropped him in the first but in all honesty if I had got him out of there right away it wouldn’t have really served it’s purpose.

 

“I got the ring rust off and now we’re back in to title contention. I’ve served myself on the small hall shows and I’ve got to push on now starting on Saturday.”

 

Nelson’s clash with Edwards is part of a huge night of action in Newcastle where local star Lewis Ritson can win the British Lightweight title outright against unbeaten Belfast man Paul Hyland Jnr. and Sunderland’s talented Rio Olympian Josh Kelly challenges Commonwealth Welterweight champion Kris George.

 

Gavin McDonnell defends his WBC International Super-Bantamweight title against Stuart Hall in a must-win clash for both men, Arfan Iqbal defends his English Cruiserweight belt against Simon Vallily and former three-weight World champion Ricky Burns fights for the 50th time as a pro.

 

Tickets priced £40, £60, £80 and £100 are on sale now from the Metro Arena at http://www.metroradioarena.co.uk, on 0844 493 6666 or in person from the Metro Radio Arena Box Office. Please note venue facility and booking fees will apply. VIP tickets are on sale priced at £200 from http://www.matchroomboxing.com/tickets

 

Face value tickets for June 16 are available from http://www.stubhub.co.uk/matchroom-boxing-tickets/ . StubHub is the official ticket partner and marketplace of Matchroom Boxing and Anthony Joshua.

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COYNE GETS GATEKEEPER JENMAN IN VIP TOP-OF-THE-BILL TEST


 
Unbeaten middleweight Dale Coyne gets his stiffest test to date on Saturday June 16 when he faces Nick Jenman at the Bolton Whites Hotel.
 
Coyne tops the VIP Promotions card – streamed live and free on vipboxing.tv – and the Ancoats fighter, 13-0 (3), could well be upset if he isn’t on top form against the Brighton fighter.
 
Jenman, 20-11-1 (3), has become a gatekeeper to the 11st 6lbs division, and is often only beaten by fighters heading for bigger things. The 32-year-old has previously given both Tommy Langford and Jack Arnfield some decent work, but was stopped in two rounds in April by Commonwealth Middleweight Champion Liam Cameron, after stepping in as a late substitute.
 
“I don’t know too much about him, but he’s a live opponent, coming to win,” said Dale, when speaking to VIP Promotions TV. “He’ll come with just as much ambition as I will; he’s needs the win as much as I do, so it should turn out to be a good fight.”
 
Trained by Steve Maylett, Dale is a stablemate to former world champion Terry Flanagan, with the pair regularly training together. Still only 23, Coyne is looking for a standout win against Jenman to round off the boxing season, before pushing on for titles next year.
 
“Training has gone great, I’ve been training for nine or ten weeks. I’ve been in with Terry [Flanagan] and ticking over, then when we got the date we stepped up and I’m right where I want to be now.
 
“It’s the perfect time, when you’re 24 or 25, you want to be up at the British [Title] area, and then you can kick on from there. I feel like the time’s right and I just leave Steve [Wood] in charge to guide my career. He’s done a great job with Terry and the other lads he’s had, so I just keep my head down in the gym and listen to him.”
 
“This is a really decent test for Dale, and we’ll be able to gauge where he’s at afterwards,” explained manager and promoter, Steve Wood. “Don’t be fooled by Jenman’s KO loss to Liam Cameron, he lost controversially to Andrew Robinson in the fight before that, and that’s the Nick Jenman we’re expecting.
 
“We always put on a good show at the Bolton Whites Hotel, and this is another that I’m really looking forward to. As well as the bill-topper, we’ve also got talented fighters like Liam Taylor and Jack Cullen on, as well as big-punching Mark Thompson who is having his first fight of 2018.”
 
Watch the full Dale Coyne interview ahead of the June 16 show below:
 

 
VIP Promotions presents an evening of boxing at the Bolton Whites Hotel on June 16. Appearing will be Ancoats Dale Coyne; Middleton’s Liam Taylor; Bolton’s Jack Cullen; Wigan’s James Moorcroft and Andrew Fleming; Heywood’s Mark Thompson; Shaw’s Jack Rafferty; Leigh’s Andrew Ridge and Kyle Lomotey; and Salford’s Luke Evans.
 
Tickets priced at £35 (general), £60 (ringside) are available from all boxers, or at vipboxing.tv and Eventim.co.uk
 
The show will also be streamed live and free at vipboxing.tv
 
Keep updated on VIP Promotions’ news by visiting vipboxing.tv or follow on Twitter @vipboxing and Facebook.

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Freeman Battles Through Injury To Secure Victory In Liverpool


 
Report: Gianluca Di Caro
Photographs Courtesy of Chris Kearns
 
On Saturday night, whilst most British boxing fans were either at the Manchester Arena or watching BT Sport as Tyson Fury made his long awaited return to the ring, a large number of local boxing fans still made the pilgrimage to the Jubilee Sports Bank in Liverpool for local promoter Kyle Gallagher’s latest offering.
 
Over the past few years Gallagher has built himself a very good reputation for putting on quality shows, one where the local fans know they are in for a great night out and watching well matched all action fights featuring local prospects and on Saturday normal service resumed.
 
Headlining the show was local unbeaten prospect Martin Freeman, against seriously tough opposition in Latvia’s Dmitrijs Ovsjannikovs.
 
On his last appearance, on a Gallagher promoted show back in March, Ovsjannikovs secured victory over Freeman’s gym mate Mitchell Walsh, via a second round TKO, which added an extra bit of spice to this particular bout.
 
The opening round see Freeman on the front foot, Ovsjannikovs seemingly content to counter for the majority of the round, with the occasional attacking foray whenever the opportunity arose.
 
Initially it was more of the same in round two, however as the round progressed Ovsjannikovs began to get a bit busier, actively taking the fight to the Liverpudlian, but all said and done it was still Freeman’s round.
 
Freeman’s movement in the third was poor, he was limping at times, and Ovsjannikovs clearly noticed this and started to be more assertive in his approach, so much so that often he would corral Freeman in a corner before letting rip with a flurry of shots.
 
Freeman’s corner were screaming at their charge to get out of the corner, can’t blame them as it was this tactic by Ovsjannikovs that led to their man Walsh being stopped by the Latvian back in March.
 
Freeman made it through the round, but now was just the one round up as the third was clearly Ovsjannikovs’.
 
Freeman’s corner worked frantically on his leg during the break, but when the opening bell for the round rang it was clear to all that the injury was really troubling the Liverpudlian.
 
The fourth mirrored the third, Ovsjannikovs controlling the proceedings, but Freeman dug in deep and survived the round. Again in the break Freeman’s team worked hard on their charge.
 
With the scores equal going into the fifth Ovsjannikovs went on the offensive once more, however Freeman, whilst still limping, didn’t just settle for countering, oh no, he decided if it was do or die and started to plant his feet once more and let rip with big shots, so much so that Ovsjannikovs reverted to a defensive approach and countering at times, much to the relief of Freeman’s corner I would think.
 
The sixth and final round was a stormer, again Ovsjannikovs went hard on the attack in an attempt to back Freeman into a corner, however the Liverpudlian wasn’t having any of it and some excellent toe to toe slugging ensued, it was a thrilling final round, control switching back and forth throughout until the final bell.
 
After six hard fought rounds Referee Chris Kelly’s scorecard read 58-56 in favour of Martin Freeman.
 

 
The penultimate bout of the night sees Widnes, Cheshire’s Jamie Oldfield, in action against Belfast’s Marty Kayes, in a four round Welterweight contest.
 
Oldfield came into the fight off a first round stoppage win over Edgars Sazanovics on his pro debut back in March, whilst Kayes, a well known and always busy opponent, came into the fight off the back of two excellent points victories in April, his first wins since July 2016, some sixteen fights previously.
 
Right from the off it was Oldfield that took the fight to Kayes, the Irishman though stood his ground and countered effectively and so began a fantastic all action round.
 
It was a great round, you just couldn’t take your eyes off the fight for a second as these two warriors went to war, both digging deep into their arsenals of shots, each time one of them seemed to be taking control, the other would counter with equal force to wrestle control.
 
Great round just couldn’t split them, definitely a drawn round in my eyes.
 
More of the same in the second and third, although in both Oldfield seemed to just about secure the rounds due to more effective attacks. I must just mention a couple of exchanges, where Oldfield and Kayes went toe to toe exchanging double handed combinations, both guys letting rip with 10-12 punch combinations at the same time, wow, really enjoyed those.
 
The fourth and Final round was more or less a mirror image of the first, again I couldn’t split them, score-wise, and was mightily chuffed that I had scored it the same as the Referee Chris Kelly – 40-38 in favour of Jamie Oldfield
 

 
Another local debuting fighter, David Tayor, was next up, against Latvia’s Vladimirs Slikovs in a four round Super Middleweight contest.
 
Both protagonists came out hard and fast, both battling hard for centre ground, what’s more it was clear that neither had any intention of backing down for a second.
 
Throughout the first round it was hard to split the two, each time either let rip with a shot the other countered in similar fashion, no surprise that even Referee Chris Kelly couldn’t split them on his scorecard.
 
Round two was once again an all action round, Slikovs maybe being more on the front foot, however even though Taylor was having to defend more often, it was he that landed the most shots, more importantly the most telling shots.
 
More of the same in the third, with Taylor clearly winning the round, however the fourth, whilst similar to the previous rounds, except now Slikovs was able to get his range right and land some big shots.
 
After four all action rounds Referee Chris Kelly’s scorecards showed just how close this bout was, as they read 39-38 to David Taylor.
 

 
Following the interval local debuting lad Steven Sunners faced Latvian Eduard Belas in a four round Middleweight contest.
 
Right from the off Sunners went on the attack, however Belas is as savvy as they come and used his experience to keep Sunners from landing a serious shot initially.
 
However Sunners kept calm and used his jab to great effect to fashion a good opening early in the round and landing a cracking body-shot.
 
Belas changed tactics and went on the offensive, Sunners didn’t seem that concerned and just kept jabbing to the head, forcing Belas to keep his guard high.
 
After a few more exchanges, Sunners threw a neat combination, creating just enough of an opening to slip in another good solid shot, this time with the required effect of sending the Latvian to the canvas.
 
Belas made the count, immediately after the restart Sunners was all over the Latvian like a rash, letting shots off whenever an opening presented itself.
 
It wasn’t that long until another chink in the Latvian’s armour appeared, Sunners reacted immediately and again sent Belas to the canvas.
 
Belas again made the count and defended well until the end of the round.
 
Round two started in much the same way as the previous round ended, with Sunners in full flow and Belas covering up and defending with an occasional shot of his own.
 
However, after about fifteen seconds or so Sunners landed a big right hand that sent the Latvian heavily to the canvas, Referee Chris Kelly immediately waved the fight off, he didn’t even start the count, instead summoned the medical team to enter the ring and attend to the stricken Belas.
 
I’m pleased to say Belas was OK and when he eventually rose to his feet, received a warm round of applause from all in attendance.
 
Official time of the stoppage was just 22 seconds of the second round.
 

 
Just prior to the interval the fifth fight of the night pitted local lad Craig Kennerdale against Prestwick, Scotland’s Leon Roberts in a four round Welterweight contest.
 
This much anticipated contest between two highly rated young fighters was expected to be a cracker, but it turned out to be much more than that it was a sensational fight between two equally matched warriors.
 
It reminded me very much of the classic Battle Royale between Carl Frampton and Ian Bailey in Belfast a few years back, after that one the entire crowd at the King’s Hall were on their feet applauding both warriors, and it comes as no surprise that after their fight on Saturday night that Kennerdale and Roberts also received a standing ovation from the crowd in Liverpool, boy oh boy they deserved it one hundred percent.
 
As with Frampton-Bailey, it was non-stop action throughout, Kennerdale and Roberts fought magnificently for every second of each round.
 
These two serious talents really went for it throughout the contest, control switching between them with such regularity you just couldn’t take your eyes of the fight for a second.
 
On many occasions this battle had the highly vocal fans standing and applauding the action, especially a couple of double handed exchanges, where both protagonists not only matched each other punch for punch but also flowing combination for combination.
 
Referee Chris Kelly scored the contest 40-37 in favour of Kennerdale, which to be honest whilst the correct result just doesn’t reflect just how close every single round was.
 
Loved every second of this fight, it really was something special, so if you get the chance try and watch the video, which I have been told will be on YouTube later this week, definitely well worth watching.
 
Have to say this was my first choice of Fight of the Night, just as you would have already read above there was definitely more than one contender for that accolade.
 

 
The fourth bout of the night pitted Bradley Muldoon against debuting David Calveley in a four rounder.
 
Prior to the fight there was quite a bit of talk about this match-up on social media, apparently they had fought twice previously, word was that it was the debuting Calveley that had won both.
 
Right from the opening bell it was Calveley that went straight on the attack, Muldoon initially covered up but soon began to utilise his jab effectively to prevent the hard charging Calveley to corral him against the ropes.
 
Throughout the round it was Calveley virtually bossed the round from start to finish, effectively keeping Muldoon on the back foot.
 
More of the same in the second and third, but the fourth was a much more closely fought round, one in which Muldoon held his own.
 
After four rounds of action Referee scored the contest 40-37 in favour of Calveley, however that wasn’t the end of the matter, as Muldoon protested that it was supposed to be a six rounder and called for the fight to be declared a no-contest. Apparently the promoters running sheet in the changing room showed it as a six rounder not the four as announced at the beginning of the fight and listed by the commission on the schedule.
 

 
Liverpool’s Dean Ferreira versus Latvia’s Andrejs Konovalovs in a four round Super Featherweight contest was the third fight on the card.
 
Ferreira seemed determined to make a big statement in this fight, coming out hard and fast right from the opening bell and letting rip with big shots, Konovalovs initially covered up, but soon realised he’d have to fight his way out of danger and proceeded to do just that.
 
Ferreira though is as tough as they come and he soon wrestled back control and backed his Latvian foe back onto the ropes before letting rip with fast double handed shots to send Konovalovs down within the first thirty seconds or so.
 
Konovalovs made it to his feet almost immediately, on the restart Ferreira went straight back on the attack.
 
Konovalovs got behind his jab in an effort to keep the hard charging Liverpudlian at bay, but that didn’t last for long once Ferreira started targeting the Latvian’s body and on around the one minute mark Ferreira let rip with a big shot to the Latvian’s lower rib, which sent Konovalovs down like a sack of potatoes.
 
Konovalovs was clearly in distress so referee Chris Kelly stopped the count on three and waved the contest off so the medical team could attend to the Latvian.
 
Official time of the stoppage was 1 Minute and 3 seconds.
 

 
The second fight of the night pitted debuting Lee Cooper against one fight veteran Kyle McNicholas in an all Merseyside four round Super Middleweight contest.
 
Cooper approached the opening round in determined fashion, taking the fight to McNicholas right from the off.
 
Throughout the fight Cooper was well and truly on the front foot and very, very focused, Cooper controlled the proceedings more like an established prospect than a debuting fighter.
 
Don’t get me wrong this wasn’t a one sided contest, far from it, McNicholas fought hard for every second of every round, just Cooper’s performance was exceptional.
 
After four excellent action filled rounds referee Chris Kelly rightly scored the bout 40-36 in favour of the debuting Lee Cooper.
 
The opening fight of the night featured Warrington’s Ben Hough in action, against Blackpool’s Malcolm Richardson, in a four round Cruiserweight contest.
 
Right from the off Hough got behind his jab, Richardson responded in kind, however Hough just doubled up his jab and began to back Richardson up towards the ropes.
 
What followed next was about a minute or so of engaging action, which see Hough on the front foot with Richardson defending his position, then just as Richardson went to let rip with a shot Hough got through the Blackpool man’s excellent defence with a big right, that sent Richardson down heavily to the canvas.
 
Immediately referee Chris Kelly waved off the fight and the medical team entered the ring.
 
I’m pleased to say Richardson was perfectly OK, but must praise both the referee and medical team for the prompt actions, as the way Richardson went down it did look like a full on knockout.
 
Official time of the stoppage was 1 minute and 16 seconds of the first round.
 
Once again a great event from Kyle Gallagher and his team, word is his next event will be in September and from what I’ve heard on the grapevine this will be a ‘don’t miss’ event as not only will top prospects from his stable be in action, but also featured on this event will be a number of unbeaten prospects from abroad.

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