Joe Ham: My experience will play a big part!

Joe Ham believes his experience over the longer rounds will make all the difference when he faces Jack Bateson on this evening’s action-packed #MTKFightNight.

Former Scottish champion Ham (16-2, 6 KOs) faces undefeated Bateson (12-0, 3 KOs) at the University of Bolton Stadium this evening, live on IFL TV.

Ham has been involved in title bouts throughout his career, and he feels that could be a key factor when he goes up against his Leeds opponent.

Ham said: “It’s been a difficult year being out of the ring, but I’m looking forward to getting back in there. My camp has been brilliant and I’ve had some great sparring throughout, so I’m in brilliant shape.

“I was sparring with Lee McGregor and you can’t get any better than that. It’s been top notch and I really appreciate him coming and helping me so soon after his fight.

“I know Jack very well from the amateurs and I’m expecting a good competitive fight. I’ve studied him closely over the past few weeks and I’m very confident going into this bout.

“I feel my experience over the longer rounds will play a big part in the fight, and once I win this I’m looking to fight for the British title.”


Elsewhere on tonight’s card, Danny Dignum defends his WBO European middleweight title against Andrey Sirotkin, Dan Azeez puts his English light-heavyweight belt on the line against Ricky Summers, Lewie Edmondson takes on Luke Blackledge, Paul Ryan makes his professional debut against Kyle Hughes, Paul McCullagh meets Anthony Woolery, and Carl Fail goes up against Kristaps Zulgis.

Stay up to date at mtkglobal.com and on social media @mtkglobal
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Indian Star Neeraj Goyat, who was set to fight Amir Khan in 2019, makes his UK Debut in Aberdeen on 29th May – Live on FITE TV

WBC Asia Champion Neeraj Goyat Co-Headlines Let Battle Commence IV on the 29th May – Live on FITE TV

Six time, five division World Champion and Promoter Lee Mcallister announced that he and World Boxing Council (WBC) Asia Welterweight Champion Neeraj Goyat will co-headline LET BATTLE COMMENCE IV, that takes place on the 29th May 2021 and broadcast live on FITE TV, as well as further linear and digital channels globally.

Reigning WBC Asia Champion Goyat is probably the best known Indian boxer by fans of the pugilistic arts, following the announcement back in 2019 that he was to face Amir Khan in a mega fight in Saudi Arabia, unfortunately prior to the much anticipated showdown, Goyat was seriously injured in a car crash and had to pull out, Khan fought Australia’s Billy Dib

Goyat fully recovered from his injuries and immediately got back to winning ways, in his most recent contest, that took place at the Majestic Pride Ship, Panjim, India back in March this year Goyat knocked-out Sandeep Kumar after just 34 seconds of the fourth round.

On making the announcement McAllister said, “I’m a big fan of Neeraj. 

“We had planned to bring him to the UK back in 2019, but when the opportunity to fight Amir was put on the table I just tore up the contract. Fighting Amir on an internationally broadcast event was a huge opportunity for Neeraj and I wasn’t going to stand in the way.

“To say I was gutted the fight didn’t happen is an understatement as the fans world-wide would have seen just how talented Neeraj is.

“So here we are two years later and finally we are going to have Neeraj fight on one of our shows and unlike when we were originally bringing him over, now our events are televised, so finally fans worldwide will get to see just what an immense talent he is.”

In mid-March 2020, like all sporting events, Professional Boxing shows world-wide were cancelled, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

UK Government restrictions were relaxed in July 2020 so that sporting events could resume, however with the proviso that no spectators would be allowed to attend. With this in mind McAllister joined forces with the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) to create a series of Professional Boxing events that take place ‘Behind Closed Doors’.

The inaugural LET BATTLE COMMENCE event, that took place behind closed doors at the Northern Hotel in Aberdeen on Saturday 18th July 2020, was headlined by longtime WBO Featherweight King Scott Harrison versus PBC International Champion Paul Peers. The main support featured the professional debut of ten time Kickboxing World Champion Caitlin Foran.

LET BATTLE COMMENCE II, took place on Friday 4th September 2020 and was headlined by PBC & WBU International Champion Nathan Beattie versus UK based Nicaraguan Julio Bendana. The undercard featured no less than three female contests, including two of the UK’s top female amateur boxers, Hollie Towl and Eleanor Coulson, making their professional debuts, this event also took place behind closed doors in Aberdeen.

The third edition, LET BATTLE COMMENCE – THE LIONESSES, that takes place on Saturday 24th April 2021 is set to enter the record books as the first all Female professional boxing event to take place not only in the UK but also the first in Europe. 

Joining the much lauded duo McAllister and Goyat on the 29th May 2021 LET BATTLE COMMENCE IV are;

PBC/WBU International Super Lightweight Champion Nathan Beattie, rising unbeaten Super Featherweight prospect Kevin Traynor, stylish unbeaten Heavyweight prospect Craig Dick, unbeaten Middleweight prospect Adam Stewart, local Heavyweight Liam Allan makes his second professional outing, whilst Indian Featherweight Sukhdeep Singh makes his professional debut.

LET BATTLE COMMENCE IV co-headlined by Lee Mcallister and Neeraj Goyat will take place behind closed doors at the Northern Hotel, Aberdeen on the 29th May 2021 and will be broadcast live on FITE TV as well as further linear and digital channels globally (please check local listings)

#LetBattleCommence

www.letbattlecommence.com

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Ricky Summers: I’ve missed being under those lights

Ricky Summers plans on unleashing over a year’s worth of frustration when he challenges Dan Azeez for the English light-heavyweight title on Saturday’s #MTKFightNight.

Summers (17-2-1, 6 KOs) faces Azeez (12-0, 8 KOs) for his belt at the University of Bolton Stadium tomorrow night, live on IFL TV.

It is the first time since December 2019 that Summers will be getting the chance to step into the ring, and he is relishing the opportunity to once again lace up the gloves.

Summers said: “It has been hard times for us all but I’ve really missed being under those lights and I can’t wait for Saturday.

“Training has gone great in the build up. I changed trainers after my last fight and I’m now working with Errol Johnson, Paul Mann and the rest of the team which is brilliant. We have been in the gym working hard for the past year and I’m more than ready for this fight.

“I’ve seen Dan Azeez box three or four times and he’s a very good fighter. There are a few things we’ve noticed but I don’t look at them much as every fighter can be different on the night.

“Dan has got good experience and has been over 10 rounds before so it will be tough, but all of my concentration has been on him over the past few months, so I’m really excited for this fight.”

Elsewhere on Saturday’s card, Danny Dignum defends his WBO European middleweight title against Andrey Sirotkin, Joe Ham collides with Jack Bateson, Lewie Edmondson takes on Luke Blackledge, Paul Ryan makes his professional debut against Kyle Hughes, Fearghus Quinn clashes with Jan Ardon, Paul McCullagh meets Anthony Woolery, and Carl Fail goes up against Kristaps Zulgis.

Stay up to date at mtkglobal.com and on social media @mtkglobal

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Jamie Knight Appointed MD of Empire Fight Store

Empire are pleased to announce the appointment of Jamie Knight as MD to Empire Fight Store Ltd; the new division of Empire Pro Group Holdings Ltd; with a focus on Empire Pro Tape and the new range of Empire combat equipment and clothing. 

Jamie brings with him over 25 years’ experience in the combat sports and fashion trade as a buyer working with truly global brands and launching many new successful household brands into the UK. He was a pioneer retailer for some of the industry’s best-known specialist stores, exclusive licensee and distributor for some iconic brands, culminating this experience into specialising in product development and high-end athlete sponsorship/accreditation, innovating the industry.

Many of you will have already dealt with Jamie over the years; he is looking forward to working with old and new contacts exploring the evolution of Empire as we look to announce our other new companies and team members in the coming weeks.

Jamie Knight “Empire already have a fantastic product and reputation in the trade. The opportunity to produce a range of combat equipment and clothing alongside this dynamic company with high integrity and an ethos on supporting the sport and grassroots development was an honor. I was blown away when I met the team positioned to develop success together.

“The digital, social, finance and client relations teams all working together to support and develop the company was a key factor in my decision to join. I have worked with global brands as start ups and you knew from their set up and vision where they were heading from the beginning, that is the journey Empire are starting.As part of my role, I will also be working with the team on developing the new sides of the company that we are creating for dynamic support to the brand, the fighters and combat sport. I look forward to sharing details of this soon.”

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BENN EYES KHAN OR BROOK AFTER VARGAS

‘The Destroyer’ prepared for war on April 10
Conor Benn is eyeing a huge domestic clash with Amir Khan or Kell Brook should he get past Samuel Vargas on Saturday April 10, but ‘The Destroyer’ insists there is no chance of him overlooking the Canadian-Colombian warrior as he puts his WBA Continental Title on the line once more, live on Sky Sports in the UK and on DAZN in the U.S. and more than 200 countries and territories.

Rising Welterweight star Benn (17-0, 11 KOs) turned in a career-best performance last time out in November as he dominated Germany’s Sebastian Formella over ten impressive rounds, outfighting and outboxing the former IBO World Champion at the top of the bill at The SSE Arena, Wembley.

The Essex native, 24, has come on leaps and bounds since making his professional debut at The O2 in London back in April 2016, and is arguably one of Britain’s most improved fighters in recent years. A win over Vargas next weekend would further enhance his reputation as one of the hottest properties in the 147lbs division. 

“He’s an experienced fighter,” said Benn. “He’s got tonnes of heart. He’s got tonnes of grit and sheer determination that so many fighters lack. He brings the heat! This ain’t going to be a one-two lights out. It isn’t going to be one of them. This is going to be a hard fight. This is going to be me getting stuck straight in and us two going at it in there. It’s going to be one hell of a fight and that’s what I’m preparing for.

“He gave Amir Khan hell. Amir Khan got saved by the bell and by the grace of God three or four times in that fight. He had him on the deck. I know Khan’s chin isn’t that credible but he’s a well-respected fighter. He’s achieved everything that I want to achieve in the sport. This is going to be a harder fight than people think in my opinion. 

“I made the mistake once of overlooking an opponent and I hit the deck twice. I can go back to that fight because it was a career-defining moment for me. I had to ask myself how badly I wanted it. It taught me to never overlook an opponent. I thought, ‘what’s he going to do to me?’. Boom, straight one-two. That was a massive reality check for me. Since then I don’t overlook opponents.

“I’m not overlooking Vargas, but what doors open after him? I want a big domestic fight still. Someone that I can take that experience off. The Amir Khans, the Kell Brooks. The Josh Kelly fight is still there if he’s still fighting. The Amir Khan fight would be one hell of a fight. That would be a great British clash. Amir Khan was a fighter I looked up to and so was Kell Brook. Why not put me in with one of them after Vargas? 

“This is definitely going to be an entertaining fight for the public. This is going to be one that you don’t want to miss. This is going to be a steppingstone in my career. It’s going to be a massive fight. It’s going to be a great fight. It’s going to be a hard fight. I’m going to have to show grit, determination, hunger, skill and power – the full shebang!”

Benn vs. Vargas tops a big night of action April 10, Watford’s Shannon Courtenay (6-1, 3 KOs) faces Australia’s Ebanie Bridges  (5-0, 2 KOs) for the vacant WBA Bantamweight World Title, Hartlepool’s Savannah Marshall (9-0, 7 KOs) makes the first defence of her WBO Middleweight World Title against European Champion Femke Hermans (11-3, 4 KOs), Glasgow Bantamweight Kash Farooq (14-1, 6 KOs) returns after his masterclass win over Angel Aviles and Takeley Super-Middleweight John ‘The Gentleman’ Hedges (1-0) looks to build on his pro debut win last October.
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WILLIAMSON v SMITH SET FOR APRIL 30

UNBEATEN SUPER WELTERWEIGHTS Troy Williamson and Kieran Smith will fight in a final eliminator for a shot at the British title on April 30, live on BT Sport.

The 15-0-1 ‘Trojan’ from Darlington moved into title-winning mode in December 2019 when he defeated Dario Socco via a 10th round stoppage to clinch the IBF European title and he defended his belt in August of last year with a close-run points decision over Harry Scarff.

Smith, 16-0, from Greenrigg in Scotland, is holder of the WBC International Silver title, which he won in November 2018  against Evaldas Korsakas and has subsequently defended on two occasions. His most recent bout came in November 2019 when he defeated the then 16-0 Vincenzo Bevilacqua over ten rounds in Glasgow.

Both fighters have been determined to make an impact at domestic level, with the British title currently held by Ted Cheeseman, who overcame JJ Metcalf in a mandatory defence last Saturday.

The pair will collide on the undercard of Sunny Edwards challenging for the IBF world flyweight title against the champion Moruti Mthalane, with Michael Conlan taking on Ionut Baluta in his opening gambit at super bantamweight.

Troy Williamson said: “It is a good fight and he is a good fighter. It is one I am taking very seriously and I can’t wait to get the ball rolling.

“It is a big fight, with a lot at stake being a final eliminator for the British, and there is a bit of beef behind it because I beat him as an amateur back in 2015. It was in the Tri-Nations semi-final and it was a close-ish fight so there is a bit of history there.

“I’ve not seen much of his pro career but I know he is ranked above me in the Boxrec ratings and I respect him as a fighter. I agree with him that he has been avoided but I also think I am myself.

“This will be just the start and where I will announce myself on the big stage.”
 
Kieran Smith said: “I am very excited to be back out in a big fight, and on a big show on BT Sport. The last 18 months has been frustrating for me as it has been for many, but I’m here now and ready to kick on.
 
“It’s a shame we can’t get fans in for this one but I’m used to fighting in empty halls as it’s what we all did as amateurs on national teams all over the world.
 
“With this being a final eliminator for the British title, the plan is to win this and then push on for that belt. The super-welterweight division is thriving at the moment and there are so many big domestic fights.
 
“It’s just one step at a time though, my full focus is on beating Troy.”
 
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OKOLIE STOPS GLOWACKI IN SIX TO WIN WBO CRUISERWEIGHT WORLD TITLE

12 x 3 mins vacant WBO Cruiserweight World Title
LAWRENCE OKOLIE TKO6 (0:46) v KRZYSTOF GLOWACKI 
(Hackney, England)                             (Walcz, Poland)

Lawrence Okolie crushed Krzysztof Glowacki to be crowned the new WBO Cruiserweight World Champion in just his sixteenth fight at The SSE Arena, Wembley, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and on DAZN in the U.S. and more than 200 countries and territories.

Okolie unloaded a devastating finishing punch to drop Poland’s Glowacki heavily in the sixth round and referee Marcus McDonnell waved off the fight to confirm the coronation of Britain’s newest World Title holder.

The unbeaten 28-year-old from Hackney had emulated the likes of Tony Bellew, David Haye and Johnny Nelson, who previously held world crowns in the 200lb class,

“I don’t think it has sunk in yet,” said Okolie. “It’s nice hearing you say it. I’m happy. For me, it’s more of a relief. The potential has been there for over a year. I’m happy to get the victory. Now and forever, I’ll be a World Champion.

“I was just really focused on putting on a good performance. I’m physically very strong and punch hard. I’m very fit, so I can win on just those attributes at a certain level. I really focused on not rushing any shots because he’s very dangerous with counter shots and he’s very heavy-handed. His jabs were very solid, so I had to be very meticulous in keeping the distance. It was a good clean performance.

“All of the British former World Champions wishing me good fortune really touched me – shout out to them. From every run that I ever did, losing all of that weight, deciding to take a risk, having my parents support me financially when I couldn’t afford to get the bus down to the gym for training. To see it all pay off with a World Title is a dream come true – never give up. We can just go on from here. I need to keep pushing myself to prove myself as the best.”

10 x 3 mins International Super-Featherweight contest
JOE CORDINA MD10 (96-96, 98-93, 96-95) v FAROUKH KOURBANOV
(Cardiff, Wales)                                                 (Liege, Belgium)

Joe Cordina overcame Faroukh Kourbanov by majority decision on his long-awaited ring return. 

With one judge having declared the fight a draw, scores of 98-93 and 96-95 were enough to see Cordina register his 12th straight victory in the professional ranks.

Cordina showed his class in the first half of the Super-Featherweight fight before somewhat fading as he was forced to settle for the points win in his first fight since 2019.

“I didn’t think it was close at all,” said Cordina. “I think he nicked one or two rounds, maybe three. I was comfortable and I didn’t really get out of second gear. I let him work a couple of times throughout the rounds, maybe I shouldn’t have. I got a good valuable ten rounds out of that and it’s something to build on. I’ll put on a better performance in my next fight.

“It wasn’t about just going out there and trying to blow him out of there. We knew he was tough, that’s why we chose him. Both of his losses before me were to European Champions. He’s gone the distance a lot of times, we knew he was durable. We got the rounds under our belt and I felt I hurt him a couple of times. He was cute at times.

“I had 16 months out of the ring. He came to win and that’s what I wanted. The hand felt fine, I let it go a few times. I didn’t want to overdo it. Tony told me to let the shots flow so that’s what I did. I shouldn’t have any problems with my hand now. It’s time to build on that. If I want to be a World Champion, I have to get past people like Kourbanov. I didn’t really get out of second gear.”

10 x 3 mins WBA Intercontinental Super-Welterweight Title 
ANTHONY FOWLER WKO3 (2:08) v JORGE FORTEA
(Liverpool, England)                          (Sueca, Spain)

Anthony Fowler demolished Spain’s Jorge Fortea with a dramatic third-round knockout to retain his WBA Intercontinental Super-Welterweight Title. 

The Liverpudlian dropped Fortea with a stiff jab and then unloaded a huge right hand to floor the 30-year-old for the count.

“I surprised myself, I’m not going to lie,” said Fowler. “I thought it was going to go to points. I half play myself down. He just went 12 rounds with a Russian 18-0 killer, IBF No.1. I’m boxing at a much lower level. I’m the first one to admit that.

“I get a few trolls sometimes telling me that I’m boxing at English Title level and they’re right, it’s not my fault. I’m asking for these big fights. I haven’t been getting them. I’ve said to Eddie, ‘throw me in mate, let’s see what I’m made of’. Try and get me smashed and let’s see how I get on.

“He went down from a stiff jab which I was surprised about. I heard Shane say, ‘don’t rush it’, but I knew there was ten seconds left so I thought ‘f*ck it’. I had to throw one bomb at least, luckily enough it landed. He was actually better than I thought he was going to be.

“The first round was even and in the second round he caught me with a good shot. The jab was landing but he was quite tricky. I started throwing to his body to slow him down. The finish was nice, it was a nice straight hand. I was glad he stayed down; it could have been a long night that.

“I could have cried in that ring; it means that much to me. My coach genuinely believes in me more than me. I’ve got the power in both hands and I’ve got the ability. Me and Metcalf is an unbelievable fight. I know he wants it; I’ve heard him talking about it. The whole city would be buzzing. Put me in with Garcia and I’ll beat him too.”

6 x 2 mins International Featherweight contest
ELLIE SCOTNEY WPTS6 (59-55) v MAILYS GANGLOFF 
(Catford, England)                           (Aix-les-Bains, France)Catford Featherweight prospect Ellie Scotney added her second professional victory with a composed points win over France’s Mailys Gangloff.The 23-year-old gave glimpses of her talent, catching Gangloff with crisp combinations in a six-round points victory.“It was definitely a learning fight for me for sure,” said Scotney. “Normally in your second fight you’re going to box someone that’s not coming to win. She wasn’t an idiot; she’d had five fights. I learnt a lot from that and there’s a lot to build on. I’m thankful for that.

“She was very angry wasn’t she. She’s as tough as they come, and I think I’m going to benefit a lot from it. It’ll give me a kick up the backside. I’ve got a lot more work to put in, which I love doing. I’ve got a long way to go.

“It was my birthday this week, I’ve just turned 23, I want to push on and I know I’ve got it in me. Now it’s time to start delivering. Women’s boxing is going from strength to strength. Hopefully I can get on the undercard of one of the big ones in May.”

10 x 3 mins vacant WBA Continental Cruiserweight Title
CHRIS BILLAM-SMITH WUD10 (99-90, 99-90, 97-93) v VASIL DUCAR 
(Bournemouth, England)                                                 (Brno, Czech Republic)

Chris Billam-Smith dropped Vasil Ducar twice during a hard-fought points victory that saw him claim the vacant WBA Continental Cruiserweight Title and progress to 12-1 (10 KOs).

The Bournemouth contender, trained by Shane McGuigan, floored Ducar with a right hand in the fourth round, then sent him back to the canvas with a body shot.

But the Czech 31-year-old fired back with clubbing shots as Billam-Smith was made to work for a unanimous decision.

“I felt comfortable in there at all times, even when he had his little spurts,” said Smith. “It was really good for me. I thought I was going to become the first man to stop him. I had him down a couple of times, but he was a tough tough man. If I was going to rate it out of ten, I’d probably give myself a 6.5 or 7 out of ten.

“I’ve got plenty to work on in the gym and I can improve a lot. The main thing was getting the win. I got that and I’m happy. I hit him with a great body shot, I felt it really sink in, and then I dropped him to the head as well. He was dipping and I was trying to hit him just over the top of his gloves. Those Czechs are tough and all respect to him.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t get the stoppage, but the main important thing was the win. I switched off a couple of times during the fight because I felt very comfortable. I let my hands get leaky probably two or three times during the fight and he clipped me, but I wasn’t buzzed or hurt at all. I saw everything coming so you can always take something out of the shots.

“I’ve definitely got improvements to make. That was my 13th fight and I’m always about improving every day in the ring. I’m very grateful to have such great stablemates and such a great coach. I’d love to get the Tommy McCarthy fight as soon as possible.”

6 x 2 mins Featherweight contest
RAMLA ALI WPTS6 (60-55) v BEC CONNOLLY 
(Bethnal Green, England via Somalia)     (Swindon, England)

Bethnal Green Featherweight Ramla Ali dominated Bec Connolly over six rounds, winning 60-55 on the referee’s scorecard to move to 2-0.

The Somalia-born boxer displayed her classy ring skills from the opening bell, nearly stopping Connolly with a sustained attack in the third round before completing another one-sided points win. 

“Apart from the shiner on my face I’m very satisfied,” Ali told Matchroom. “Regardless of what the scales said, I gave away about half a stone. I weighed-in in like two pairs of jogging bottoms just so I could match the weight. I felt the weight difference for sure, but I tried to not let her use her weight advantage against me.

“I tried to maintain the centre of the ring as much as possible, which I did. I’m really satisfied with how I performed. She’s tough but I got it done. Jobi always says you can’t beat the feet – and he’s right! I was always moving off from the double jab. We work a lot on footwork, and I feel like I did really well with my footwork.

“She was the one calling me out saying that she wanted to fight me. Don’t then turn around and complain that you’ve had short notice. You’re a professional, if I was calling someone out, I’d be ready any time. She said she had a couple of days’ notice. I don’t know what to say about that really.

“Everyone is nervous before getting in the ring because it means so much to you. You want to prove yourself and you want to show all of your friends and family that are watching at home that you’re worthy of watching. You want to put on a good performance and have a good fight. The moment that bell went all of the nerves went and I was razor focused on getting the job done. The Olympic dream is still alive and I’m still hopeful to go, and hopeful to compete. I’m still hoping to progress in my professional career.”

8 x 3 mins Middleweight contest
BRADLEY REA TKO1 (2:03) v LEE CUTLER 
(Stretford, England)                 (Bournemouth, England)

Stretford’s Bradley Rea maintained his unbeaten record by stopping Lee Cutler inside the opening round to move to 10-0, (4 KOs) in the first fight of the night. 

With Ricky Hatton in his corner, the 23-year-old Middleweight prospect flew out of the blocks, unloading punishing shots on his opponent from Bournemouth.

The Steve Wood-managed youngster had been out of the ring for over a year due to the pandemic but showed no signs of ring rust as he put Cutler down three times before the referee waved off the contest. 

“I’m over the moon,” Rea told Matchroom afterwards. “It has been a long time coming. It was a long camp; it’s been 12 months. I’ve been wanting to box on shows like this my whole life. Hopefully I can get on these shows a bit more regularly after that performance.

“Prior to this I’ve only had three stoppages, so I think he thought I wasn’t going to hit hard. It’s something that we’ve been working on, planting my feet. I’ve been working on a bit of strength and conditioning stuff while we’ve had this year off. It has been quite beneficial to me I think. I’m feeling strong at the moment,

“I had a great camp. I’ve been hurting people in camp. I knew if I landed cleanly, I’d hurt him. I’m in no rush, I’m still only 23. I want to be in fights like this. In the build-up to this fight I’ve had that fear factor that I’ve not had in my previous fights. I knew that if I wasn’t on my game I would have lost tonight. Lee is a good kid. I just found gears that I didn’t know that I had. Hopefully in fights to come I’ll find even more.”
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CHISORA AND PARKER COLLIDE ON BLOCKBUSTER MAY 1 CARD

Taylor vs. Jonas and Bivol vs. Richards land on World Title double-header
Derek Chisora and Joseph Parker will collide in a huge Heavyweight clash on a blockbuster night of action that sees Irish star Katie Taylor defend her Undisputed Lightweight crown against former amateur rival Natasha Jonas and undefeated WBA Light-Heavyweight World Champion Dmitry Bivol put his Title on the line against Craig Richards, as well as the return of Chris Eubank Jr, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and on DAZN in all markets excluding the UK, Ireland, China, New Zealand and Samoa.

Former World Title challenger Chisora (32-10, 23 KOs) was last seen pushing Ukraine’s pound-for-pound star Oleksandr Usyk all of the way in their 12-round battle for the WBO Intercontinental Heavyweight Title at The SSE Arena, Wembley last October, and the fan favourite is chomping at the bit for his next challenge.
 
A meeting between the pair scheduled for October 2019 fell through at three-and-a-half weeks’ notice when Parker’s team revealed he was suffering from the aftereffects of a spider bite. Chisora, who was unconvinced with Team Parker’s reasons for pulling out in 2019, has labelled Parker a ‘chicken’ in recent weeks and says he has unfinished business with the Heavyweight contender. 
 
Former WBO World Champion Parker (28-2, 21 KOs) is fresh off a hard-fought 12-round decision over long-time amateur nemesis Junior Fa at Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand last month that settled an 11-year old rivalry with his compatriot, a win that he hopes will kickstart his route back to the top of the Heavyweight division. 
 
Ranked at No.3 with the WBO, New Zealand’s Parker is well known on these shores having defended his WBO Title against Hughie Fury at Manchester Arena in September 2017, before taking unified ruler Anthony Joshua the distance at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff in March 2018. His last appearance in the UK came against Dillian Whyte in a dramatic points loss in July 2018.
 
“We’ve been here before, in 2019 I flew to Vegas to film the ‘Face To Face’ with Parker, I called Haye as soon as I left and told him, ‘This guy isn’t going to get in the ring with me’, I could see the fear in his eyes,” said Chisora. “Now, second time around I hope he fights, I’m looking forward to the fight, I cannot wait to get back in the ring! I love fighting, it is what I love the most. Good luck to Joseph Parker and his new team, we shall see you for WAR on May 1st!”
 
“I’m excited to start this new chapter in my career with a new coach and some fresh ideas,” said Parker. “I’ve settled in and Andy and I are bonding well. Chisora and I have unfinished business and inside the ring one of us will get the job done. I am well aware that a win on British soil and on world-wide television will put me in pole position whereas a loss will be catastrophic.  I am more than up for the challenge. Bring it on Del Boy.”
 
Taylor (17-0, 6 KOs) defeated Jonas (9-1-1, 7 KOs) in the quarter-final stages of the London 2012 Olympic Games on route to capturing Ireland’s first gold medal of the summer. The pair will meet again nearly ten years down the line with Taylor’s WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO and Ring Magazine Lightweight World Titles on the line. 
 
Since their first meeting in the amateurs, Taylor has gone on to cement herself as the best female fighter on the planet by winning World Titles in the Lightweight and Super-Lightweight divisions and remaining undefeated in all 17 of her professional contests. ‘KT’ was last seen outclassing her WBA Mandatory Challenger Miriam Gutierrez with a masterful display in November. 
 
‘Miss GB’ came agonisingly close to winning her first World Title at the age of 36 last summer when she battled to a thrilling draw with WBC and IBO Super-Featherweight Champion Terri Harper at Matchroom Fight Camp. It was the first time that two British women had competed against each other for a Word Title, and the all-action fight more than lived up to the occasion. 
 
“Natasha proved in her last fight that she is still performing at the highest level so it’s a great challenge for me and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Taylor. “It’s a fight that people have been asking for and those are the type of fights you want to be part of.

“People still talk about our fight in the 2012 Olympics and I think that proved to be a real eye opener for people in terms of what women’s boxing is all about. I’m expecting another tough fight on May 1st and I’m looking forward to successfully defending my Titles.”
 
“I’m really excited about getting the fight, I made a lot of noise about not wanting to go down in level or class after establishing myself on the world stage in my last fight,” said Jonas. “I know Katie is a different type of animal to Terri Harper, but I believe every time I’m asked to step up, I do. I said I wanted to be a champion and anybody at 130 to 140 was in my sights, I know I’m a world class boxer and I can win a World Title. 
 
“From the minute Eddie signed me this fight has been on the cards. Me and Katie had a great story from the Olympics, and we have both been pioneers in our own way. I’m glad that it’s happening and it’s a great fight for women’s boxing and for British and Irish boxing.”
 
Russia’s Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs) is regarded as one of the best technical boxers in the sport, mixing his dazzling skills with KO power. The 30-year-old was elevated to full WBA 175lbs World Champion from interim champion ahead of his 12th pro fight with Trent Broadhurst in Monte Carlo in November 2017 and celebrated with a devasting one-punch KO in the first round.  Bivol has subsequently defended his crown five times, but has been away from the ring since October 2019 when he widely outpointed Lenin Castillo at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago.
 
Richards (16-1-1, 9 KOs) delivered a Fight of the Year contender last time out in December against fierce rival Shakan Pitters as he stopped the Birmingham man in nine rounds to earn the British Light-Heavyweight crown. ‘Spider’ is ranked at No.8 in the WBA world rankings and has earned his shot by remaining undefeated since sole career loss against former World Title challenger Frank Buglioni in October 2017.
 
“I have been out of the ring for a year and a half and I have sorely missed boxing,” said Bivol. “I can’t wait to step through the ropes for my next fight on May 1st. I have always wanted to fight in the UK and I’m happy to tick that box. Craig Richards is a fast and technical boxer and I’m expecting a great fight as I make another defence of my World Title.”
 
“I feel good and I feel very confident,” said Richards. “I know that he’s renowned as one of the best fighters out there, but I just believe that I’ve got the tools to beat him and I’m very confident in my abilities. I know I’ve got power as well, and I’ve got a very good chin. We’ve been planning for everything and anything.

“We know he’s been operating at world level for a long time and can bring different things to the table. I raise the level of my performance against my better opponents. The bigger the fight the better I perform. A fight like Bivol will allow me to go through my gears to show what I’m really about.”
 
Having previously campaigned at Super-Middleweight, Eubank Jr (29-2, 22 KOs) returned to the Middleweight division to claim the WBA Interim Middleweight World Title for the second time with a TKO win over former World Title challenger in December 2019, while making his US debut at the Barclays Centre in New York. In what will be his first fight back in the UK in over two years, the Brighton man faces Manchester’s Marcus Morrison (23-3, 16 KOs), who is enjoying a seven-fight winning streak that stretches back to June 2018.

“This is a good fight for me,” said Eubank Jr.  “Since signing with Sauerland my camp has been firing on all cylinders, I’ve been training with Roy in Miami and focussing on improving my game. I have the absolute best people around me, I have everything I need to push on to that next level and dominate the Middleweight scene.

“People have a lot to say about me and my career. There’s talks about why fights haven’t happened previously, but all I’ve been doing is focussing on number one, training hard and making sure I’m always ready. I’m now in the best place I can be and I’m ready to take what is mine.”

“I’m well aware that this is a massive opportunity and fight for me and my career,” said Morrison. “I got into boxing at the age of 7, and these are the type of fights I’ve always wanted to be involved in. Chris is a very good fighter, and I know what he brings to the table. I honestly believe the best version of me is still to be seen, and I look forward to showing it on the night. I can’t afford to not leave everything in there on May 1.”
 
“This is one of the strongest shows we’ve promoted and there is still even more to come,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Chisora vs. Parker is a brilliant style match up that has been brewing for years and Taylor vs. Jonas is one of the biggest fights in women’s boxing. The Eubanks are always box office and it’s a massive chance for Marcus Morrison after his brilliant win in Italy. Craig Richards goes for World Title glory against the brilliant Russian Dmitry Bivol and there are further announcements to follow. Buckle up and enjoy this one!”
 
WAR Chisora realises this is a massive opportunity to gate-crash the Heavyweight division,” said David Haye of Hayemaker Promotions. “He has come close, in his last battle against unified Cruiserweight World Champion and No.1 ranked Heavyweight Usyk, two of the judges’ score cards had it 7 rounds to 5 –  winning just one more round would have captured a draw and Derek would have retained his WBO International Title that night. Since, he has been working, living the life of a professional. Derek doesn’t simply want to beat Joseph Parker, he wants to make a statement to the world. This is his time.”
 
“There’s definitely unfinished business between Parker and Chisora,” said David Higgins, Founder and Director of DUCO Events. “I think the fight will be a real fan pleaser. It could be the Heavyweight Fight of the Year. You’ve got Chisora who likes to stand and trade and come forward, and then you’ve got Parker who has the speed and the pedigree. This fight has got a bit of history and it has been building for a while. It’s fantastic that it’s finally happening. This is a proper 50-50 matchup where the winner could go on to a World Title shot and the loser will go to the scrapheap. Credit to both Parker and Chisora for putting it all on the line.”
 
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Rumble in Dar 2 Rescheduled To 9th April as Tanzania Observes 14 Days of Mourning for President John Magufuli

Rumble In Dar series co-promoters The Jackson Group, Global Boxing Stars and Epic Sports and Entertainment, today announced that the Second Edition of the series, that was due to take place at the Next Door Arena on March 26th, has been rescheduled to April 9th following the passing of President John Magufuli on Wednesday.

“Following the passing of President Magufuli, we have decided to to reschedule the March 26th event so that we and the people of Tanzania can show our respect and observe fourteen days of National Mourning.

“Rumble in Dar, the Second Edition will now take place on Friday 9th April 2021.” Said Kelvin Twissa, Director and Founder of the Jackson Group.

The headline fight on second edition of the Rumble in Dar series sees Tanzania’s Hassan Mwakinyo (18-2-0) in action against Zimbabwean Brendon Denes of Zimbabwe (8-0-0) for the the vacant WBC Africa (WBC-ABU) Super Welterweight Championship.

The co-main event pits Nigerian Olanrewaju Durodora (34-0-8) against Tanzania’s Shaban Jongo (8-1-2) for the WBC Africa (WBC-ABU) championship.

Eight further international contests, featuring fighters from around Africa as well as Ukraine and Bulgaria support the two championship contests. 

The event will be broadcast live across Sub-Saharan Africa exclusively by Plus TV, which is available exclusively on DSTV channel number 294 in more than 30 African countries as well as syndicated globally to linear and digital channels (check local channel listings) and on-line at FITE TV.

#VisitTanzania

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Plus TV To Broadcast Mwakinyo Vs Denes WBC/ABU Title Fight Across Africa on 26th March.

The Jackson Group, Global Boxing Stars and Epic Sports and Entertainment, the co-promoters of the Rumble in Dar series, in association with the Tanzania Tourist Board #VisitTanzania, KCB Bank, Onomo Hotels, Urban Soul Apparel (Botswana) and M Bet, today announced that Plus TV (DSTV channel #294) is to broadcast the second edition of the series exclusively across Sub-Saharan Africa.

“We are very excited to partner up with the Rumble in Dar series co-promoters the Jackson Group, Global Boxing Stars and Epic Sports and Entertainment as well as DSTV Multi-Choice Tanzania and KCB to bring the Rumble In Dar second edition to our esteemed viewers in and across Africa. 

“We are proud to take boxing to global stage through this partnership. Plus TV is available exclusively on DSTV channel number 294 to more than 30 African countries. 

“We urge our viewers to tune in on the day of the event from exactly 8pm to enjoy this unforgettable event.” Said Ramadhan Bukini, Operations Director at Plus TV

Back in January boxing fans around the world were enthralled by an incredible evening of boxing featuring world stars such as Bulgaria’s Tervel Pulev and American Shawn Miller amongst others, that concluded with Tanzania’s very own Ibrahim Class securing the World Boxing Federation (WBF) intercontinental championship after a 12 round Battle Royale with seriously tough South Africa based Malawian Dennis Mwale.

The second edition of the Rumble in Dar series, as with the first, has a closely matched international card that features two World Boxing Council African Boxing Union (WBC-ABU) Championship contests.

The main event sees Tanzania’s Hassan Mwakinyo (18-2-0) in action against Zimbabwean Brendon Denes of Zimbabwe (8-0-0) for the the vacant WBC Africa (WBC-ABU) Super Welterweight Championship.

The co-main event pits Nigerian Olanrewaju Durodora (34-0-8) against Tanzania’s Shaban Jongo (8-1-2) for the WBC Africa (WBC-ABU) championship.

The stellar undercard features closely matched international fights:

8 Round Heavyweight Contest:  Switzerland based Kenyan Collins Omondi (5-0-0) versus Zimbabwe’s Elvis Moyo (9-6-2)

6 Round Heavyweight Contest: Ukraine’s Ihor Shavadzutskyi (5-0-0) versus Uganda’s Shafik Kiwanuka (3-0-0)

8 Round Lightweight Contest: Tanzania’s Ibrahim Class (25-6-0) versus TBA

8 Round Super Welterweight Contest: Bulgaria’s Yosif Panov (18-3-0) versus Tanzania’s Nicolaus Mdoe (10-5-1)

4 Round Heavyweight Contest: Bulgaria’s Pencho Tsevtkov (4-0-0) versus Zimbabwe’s Simon Madhanire (1-2-1)

8 Round Super Welterweight Contest: Zambia’s Lolita Muzeya (16-0-0) versus TBA

4 Round Lightweight Contest: Bulgaria’s Joana Nwamerue (3-0-0) versus Zimbabwe’s Netsai Vaina Bondayi (2-3-1)

6 Round Heavyweight Contest: South Africa’s Ardi Ndembo (2-0-0) versus Malawi’s Alick Gogodo (4-5-0)

The second edition of the Rumble in Dar series, in association with the Tanzania Tourist Board #VisitTanzania, KCB Bank, Onomo Hotels, Urban Soul Apparel (Botswana) and M Bet, will be broadcast live across Sub-Saharan Africa exclusively by Plus TV, which is available exclusively on DSTV channel number 294 in more than 30 African countries as well as syndicated globally to linear and digital channels (check local channel listings) and on-line at FITE TV.

#VisitTanzania

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