Three Brits set for Beijing Glory

On August 20, 2008 by

Three boxers have secured at least bronze from Team GB and that isn’t a bad place to be.

After a horrendous start to the boxing tournament where we lost one of our best medal hopes as he couldn’t make weight, the boxers have performed well and three of the six will go away from China with something hanging around their neck.

David Price was first in the Super Heavyweight division – he forced his giant of an opponent to retire after the first round. Jaroslav Jaksto looked to of strained a hamstring and as he came out for the second round his corner waved the white towel. In his first fight the referee waved out the fight in the second round after Islam Timurziev’s dream was ended by the referee, who waved off the fight after the European Champion and favourite was forced to take two standing eight counts within half a minute.

He was followed by Tony Jefferies in the Light Heavyweight division. He dispatched Hungarian Imre Szello 10-2 in the Quarter Finals and will face old rival Kenny Egan in the Semi-Final on Friday – a fight that you shouldn’t miss if you are a big boxing fan!

The last member of the trio is James DeGale who fights in the Middleweight division. Speaking to BBC Sport after the fight, the 22 year-old said, "It was a fantastic win. You have to hit and move in amateur boxing and you will win – and I am good at it. I kept my focus and kept a nice high guard.”.

He also has to negotiate an Anglo-Irish semi-final as he takes on Darren Sutherland in his semi-final as he looks to get into the gold medal bout.

The progress of Amir Khan must be an inspiration to all of these guys. Audley Harrison’s career may of stalled but Khan is flourishing. Just four years after getting a silver in Athens, he is now on Sky Box Office and is set to become one of the richest fighters in history if his career continues along the same upward curve.

These riches and rewards are there for the taking as long as the fighters continue to perform and for those who want to win in London in 2012 – this will have been quite some experience.

Khan signs up for Sky

On August 15, 2008 by

Amir Khan has left ITV for Sky but that isn’t it – he’s left them for Sky Box Office. Yes folks we are going to have to fork out £14.99 every time Khan fights from now on and that is just not what I nor many fans want to do.

It might help him get more £ in the bank but it’ll leave a lot of his loyal supporters disgusted.

Saunders out but looking ahead

On August 14, 2008 by

Billy Joe Saunders was a medal hope for Team GB but he did face a big-time Cuban.

He is only 18 and London 2012 could be his time.

After Joe Murray…

On August 13, 2008 by

After Joe Murray – who was British boxing’s hope in the bantamweight division of the Olympics – lost to China’s Gu Yu in the first round, team coach

Terry Edwards was far from a happy man. He believes that the judges were bias in favour of the Chinese boxer in awarding him a 17-7 win.

Edwards said that he wasn’t claiming that Murray should have won, but that the judges were ‘very generous’ towards his opponent. More specifically, he believes that Gu Yu was getting a point for everything possible and that it was by no means a level playing field.

As for the fight itself, well, Murray found himself four points down early on. With his opponent seemingly winning points at will, the British boxer had to work extremely hard to claim any from the judges. He then adopted a style which meant he simply tried to stop Gu Yu hitting him. Murray himself said that this was the ‘only way’ he was going to win the fight.

With his mind wondering and his game affected by the points domination of his opponent, Murray was knocked to the canvas in the second round. He got himself back up, but as we now know, he went on to lose 17-7 on points.

Murray and Edwards were obviously critical of the score after this defeat and it’s not the first time player and coach has accused the judges of being bias in this Olympics. The Ukrainian boxing team made a complaint after lightweight Oleksandr Klyuchko lost 10-8 to Chinese fighter Hu Qing. Let’s hope it doesn’t become a trend to simply blame the judges after losing a fight – that would undermine the competition.

As for Murray’s situation, let’s get one thing straight. He didn’t deserve to win the fight, but the margain of defeat was disgraceful. Gu Yu was awarded for every punch, with Murray only being awarded for every other punch. Yu landed more significant blows and deserved his win but a 17-14 victory would have been more appropriate.

Of course, that wouldn’t have made much difference overall and wouldn’t have hid the fact that Murray wasn’t at his best against the fast-handed Yu. He came into these Olympics with a real chance of a medal and it is disappointing he is on his way home already. He still has a lot of potential though and If I was to bet on the Olympics in 2012 – I’d back Murray to be back to his best to win a medal in London.

Written by Thomas Rooney – A Freelance Sports Journalist

Great start for Team GB boxers in Beijing

On August 11, 2008 by

British welterweight Billy Joe Saunders and light-welterweight Bradley Saunders helped put the disappointment of losing Frankie Gavin from Team GB behind them as they both emerged victorious in their first fight of the Olympics.

Billy Joe was a very convincing winner over Turkey’s Adem Kilicci. The youngest member of the British boxing team won 14-3 against Kilicci – who is ranked as the world No 3 – and showed that he has what it takes to win a medal this summer. At just 18-years-old, Billy Joe showed excellent counter-punches throughout the fight and was constantly on top of his Turkish opponent. It was a fantastic and encouraging display.

As for Bradley Saunders, well, he was even more destructive in his victory over Ghana’s Samuel Kotey. The 22-year-old dealt two thunderous body shots to his opponent to win the fight in the first round. This came after a slow start from Saunders who allowed Kotey to take and early points lead. However, the two body blows were enough to earn him victory to prolong his Olympic dream.

Of the two fights, it was probably Billy Joe’s performance that caught my eye the most. To beat a world bronze medallist so convincingly at the tender age of 18 is very, very impressive. Team GB coach Terry Edwards was full of praise for the youngster, saying that it was a ‘very mature performance’ from Billy Joe who will fight Cuba’s Carlos Banteaux Suarez in the second round.

Everyone knows how strong the Cubans are in amateur boxing, so this will be a tough test for the young British boxer. However, after watching him in the first round, I certainly won’t hesitate before sticking some of my boxing betting money on him progressing to the third round. He could even emerge as an unlikely medal contender for Great Britain and potentially fill the void left by star of the team – Frankie Gavin.

The boxing schedule continues this week with Team GB captain, David Price – who is expected to secure a medal – in action in the super-heavyweight division on Wednesday. I will be reflecting on his fight during my next piece for Talk Boxing.

Written by Thomas Rooney – Freelance Sports Journalist

Medal hope Gavin out of Olympics

On August 7, 2008 by

He was being tipped to win Gold and was one of Team GB’s best hopes to stand on top of the medal rostrum but it will not be for Frankie Gavin.

He has failed to make weight and has pulled out of the Games – I just don’t see how he can do this when his whole career has been building to this moment – does he have no self-control?

David Price being tipped for gold medal in Beijing

On August 6, 2008 by

The captain of the boxing team representing Great Britain in the Beijing Olympics believes he is in the ‘best shape of his life’. David Price – who will be fighting in the super-heavyweight category – says that he is eager to begin his quest for a gold medal.

He is also being backed by the Amateur Boxing Association chief Paul King. He believes Price has what it takes to bring a medal home for his team. King is also backing Price to have a long and successful career as a super-heavyweight boxer after the Olympics. At 25-years-old, Price has the time to make a name for himself in the professional scene – of that there is no doubt. As most people know, heavyweight boxers don’t mature until closer to 30 years of age. The Liverpool’s focus now though has to be the Beijing Olympics, no matter what anyone is saying about his future.

At the risk of piling too much pressure on him, fellow Team GB member Frankie Gavin has also tipped Price for a successful Olympics. The lightweight boxer has labelled him ‘better than Audley Harrison’ who won gold back in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

As I have mentioned in previous articles for Talk Boxing, Great Britain are taking eight boxers with them to Beijing. Of which Price will lead as captain. It is being reported that Team GB are targeting two medals in this year’s Olympics. Considering Price himself and the undoubted star of this team Frankie Gavin have an excellent chance of achieving medals, I think this target is rather pessimistic.

In fact, I’d almost be tempted to stick some of my boxing betting money on the British boxing team eclipsing their record of five Olympic medals. This may seem a tad optimistic, but this is a talented team and one who has every chance of challenging for several medals in various weight divisions.

It all gets underway on Saturday and I for one can’t wait. David Price fights for the first time on Wednesday 13th August as he attempts to lead the way for his team by securing one of their several Olympic medals.

Written by Thomas Rooney – A Freelance Sports Journalist

Ten to watch: Frankie Gavin

On August 5, 2008 by

If anyone is going to win Boxing Gold for the GB & NI team then it’ll be this man – Frankie Gavin

Countdown to Hatton’s Vegas bout can now officially begin

On August 4, 2008 by

Everyone knew it was happening, but now it’s official. Ricky Hatton will take on Paul Malignaggi for the IBF light-welterweight title in Las Vegas on 22nd November. Now there is a date to the fight, the real talk about who is going to emerge victorious can begin.

One of the main topics, of course, will be whether Hatton can get into shape in the three months he has to train. He normally does, but it will be interesting to see how he fairs without his trainer Billy Graham who was relieved of his duties earlier this week. Maybe he will get into better shape under a new regime, who knows!

The November fight will be Hatton’s fourth in Las Vegas and the first time he has returned since suffering his only career defeat to Floyd Mayweather last December. The Hitman has described it as a ‘second home’ and will presumably be looking to use the Malignaggi fight to put the Mayweather defeat behind him once and for all.

Although Malignaggi is differing in style to Mayweather, I get the impression he is going to openly promote his chances of beating Hatton in the pre-fight press conferences in the same way that the ‘Pretty Boy’ did. Maybe not to the same extreme, but Malignaggi is certainly a rather arrogant individual.

Although, to be honest, he hardly backed up this type of talk in his fight against Lovemore N’Dou in May on the Hatton v Juan Lazcano undercard. Before the fight he said he was there to ‘entertain’ and to show everybody what he is all about. Well, all I saw was a man with ridiculous hair that had to work much harder for a victory than he should have done.

Despite this, he is a talented boxer and has received praise from a lot of boxing experts including Oscar de la Hoya who believes he will test Ricky Hatton to the maximum come November. De La Hoya said the two fighters contrasting styles should create ‘great drama’. As for where his boxing betting money would be placed, he was unsure, but the ‘Golden Boy’ is certainly anticipating an intriguing contest.

I have to say I agree. It should be a great night for boxing. I am far from convinced that Hatton will win, but he is still favourite in my view. I just hope that this ‘great drama’ that De La Hoya speaks of, occurs more prominently in the ring rather than in the press conferences leading up to the fight.

Written by Thomas Rooney – A freelance sports journalist

Gavin looks to better Amir Khan in Olympics

On July 30, 2008 by

Lightweight Frankie Gavin has stated that he believes he can win the gold medal at this year’s Beijing Olympics. The man who became Britain’s first ever amateur world champion aims to go one better than Amir Khan did four years ago.

In 2004, Khan won the silver medal in Athens and Gavin has stated that there is ‘no reason’ why he can’t bring home a gold medal for Britain. A fantastic attitude to have I must say. Normally British sportsmen or women have the ‘we’ll see what we can do’ attitude, so it’s refreshing to hear such positive comments from a young boxer.

Unlike Amir Khan – who was the only man to represent British boxing in 2004 – Gavin is part of an eight man team that have qualified for the games. Between them, they will be looking to bring home lots of medals – that’s for sure. British boxing is in a good state right now and it would be well deserved if the amateur team have lots of success in Beijing.

So why is there more representatives this time round? Why has the amateur scene improved so much? Well, Gavin believes it is down to three things.

1. Hard Work
2. Preparation
3. English Institute of Sport in Sheffield

The final point about the Institute of Sport is the key in my view. As Gavin says, the whole system has improved. It is designed to foster the talents of our elite athletes, including amateur boxers. It is led by Steve Cram and is funded by lottery money. Young athletes such as Frankie Gavin certainly value its presence.

Talking specifically about Gavin again, he believes he has two main rivals for the lightweight gold medal -Russia’s Alexey Tischenko and Cuba’s Yordenis Ugas. Other than them though, the 23-year-old certainly feels he is one of the favourites for the title and as a world amateur champion – why shouldn’t he? I’m certainly going to place a boxing bet on him bringing home the gold.

Written by Thomas Rooney – A Freelance Sports Journalist