Frankie Gavin to turn pro

On November 3, 2008 by

Frankie Gavin, the world amateur boxing champion, has announced that he will turn professional this week. The boxer, who is just 23 years of age, had planned on taking part in the Olympic Games in Beijing but had to withdraw from the event before it started because he failed to make the weight.

Gavin was the hot favourite to win a gold medal in Beijing and faced stinging criticism from certain sections of the British media upon his return to the UK.

This intense embarrassment and disappointment is believed to have, at least partially, influenced Gavin’s recent decision to turn professional.

Gavin, who is very good friends with British boxing legend Amir Khan, is expected to sign a professional contract with the famous boxing promoter, Frank Warren, by the end of this week.

The boxer believes that Warren is “the best promoter in Britain by far, if not the world” and has spoken publicly about his excitement over the imminent changes in his life.

The Birmingham-born boxer will fight at light-welterweight level and is set to make his professional debut in early 2009. Anthony Farnell is expected to become the young boxer’s trainer and Gavin will be based in the Manchester area.

The trainer has come recommended by several of the boxer’s friends who are already being trained by him. Farnell was forced to retire from boxing in 2005 as a result of frustrating health problems, but since moving into the world of training he has become a great success.

Buckley set to retire after 256 defeats

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On Friday 31 October, British boxer Peter Buckley won his 300th (and final) fight in front of a packed crowd in his home town of Birmingham.

This fact may not seem amazing at first glance. After all, surely legendary British boxers are accustomed to experiencing that winning feeling whilst competing in the ring. However, a quick look at the boxer’s career statistics makes last night’s win look very different indeed.

Out of 300 fights, Buckley has managed to lose 256 times. Furthermore, before last night’s magical fight in Birmingham, the boxer had not experienced victory for five years.

It was therefore with some relief that Peter Buckley (or ‘The Professor’ as he is known amongst his fans and friends) managed to overcome the competition facing him in the Aston Events Centre.

The competition came in the form of Matin Mohammed. Buckley won 40-38 and his wide smile which greeted the crowd at the end of the fight told his loving fans everything they needed to know about how much this victory meant to him.

Buckley’s record certainly does not make for pleasant reading. However, he has been brave enough to compete against top names in the world of boxing, including Naseem Hamed.

Furthermore, the vast majority of his defeats have come in matches which he only accepted the day before. The boxer’s courage has never been doubted and he is certainly not a pushover. Buckley has only ever lost ten matches through being knocked out.

The British Boxing Board of Control will be happy that Buckley has decided to retire from the sport. They have long been worried that the boxer will suffer a serious injury against stronger opposition.

Thankfully, this fear has never been realised and the boxer was able to retire on a high following his victory.

Relief as Eastman expected to make full recovery

On October 27, 2008 by

The world of boxing breathed a sigh of relief earlier this week after it was revealed that Gilbert Eastman is expected to make a full recovery following brain surgery to remove a blood clot.

The British light-middleweight boxer was rushed to a hospital in London following his eight-round match with Sam Webb last Friday.

The pair were fighting on the undercard of the European bantamweight title clash between Ian Napa and Carmelo Ballone. Eastman, who is a former Commonwealth welterweight title challenger, appeared to be fine whilst competing in the ring but later collapsed in the dressing room whilst getting changed.

Doctors initially feared that the Londoner had sustained a serious neck injury and put a neck collar on him whilst transporting him to hospital. However, Eastman’s trainer, Winston Fuller, later revealed that doctors had discovered that one of his blood vessels was leaking into his brain.

Specialists removed the blood clot straight away and Eastman’s wife, Patrice, has spoken publicly about his progress, saying “he can now move all of his limbs”.

She continued to reveal that the boxer is able to speak but has been encouraged by doctors to take it easy for a long while. Frank Maloney, the legendary boxing promoter, has been to visit Eastman and was keen to wish him a speedy recovery.

This is not the first time that the boxer has suffered a brain problem. In 1999, he was stripped of his licence following a bruise on his brain but, following a thorough medical in 2002, he got it back.

Kessler retains WBA title

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Mikkel Kessler has managed to retain his WBA super-middleweight title following an impressive victory over Danilo Haussler.

Kessler was dominant throughout the match, inflicting damage to his German opponent’s left eye in the second round with a stinging jab to the face. Victory came following a third-round stoppage at the Weser-Ems-Halle Arena in Germany, which was preceded by a magnificent left hook from Kessler.

Although the German boxer tried to put up a strong defence, holding up both his gloves in a desperate attempt to deflect the power of Kessler’s strikes, he was knocked off balance by a straight right-hand and fell to the ground following the subsequent left hook. Haussler did manage to get back on his feet but only after the referee had counted to ten and ended the match.

Kessler had originally rejected this fight, stating that he should not have to defend his title against the German. However, he will be glad to have accepted the match following his impressive victory.

The Dane was devastated to lose both his WBA and WBC titles last year against an impressive Joe Calzaghe. Although Kessler started the fight well, coming into the match with a 39-fight unbeaten record, Calzaghe gradually improved during the middle rounds.

He managed to overcome a tough performance from the Dane during the eighth round and completed his victory with impressive hooks from both hands. Calzaghe was happy with the win but conceded that Kessler is a “fantastic fighter in his prime”.

However, Kessler managed to win back the WBA belt in June of this year following a victory over Dimitri Sartison.

Khan set for December return

On October 25, 2008 by

Since Amir Khan was shockingly knocked out in the ring whilst competing against Breidis Prescott last month, fans of the British boxer have been keen to find out when he will return to fighting action.

It was revealed earlier this week that he is hoping to secure a position on the undercard of the fight between boxing legend, Oscar de la Hoya, and Manny Pacquiao. This fight is due to be held in Las Vegas on the 6th of December.

Amir Khan has had a turbulent couple of months. The young boxer, who is still only 21 years of age, split with his trainer, Jorge Rubio, following his defeat to Breidis Prescott.

He is now being coached by American trainer, Freddie Roach, at his gymnasium in Los Angeles. Since teaming up with Roach, Khan has spoken of the improvements that he has already noticed in his game. Perhaps surprisingly, he believes that Los Angeles does not hold any distractions for him, allowing him to focus solely upon boxing and learning new skills.

The boxer has managed to learn from his defeat in September. Indeed, he now believes that although it was “a big blow” at the time, it may end up being “the best thing that could have happened”.

Khan is now desperate to get back in the ring and prove himself to the boxing world all over again. Although a place on the undercard of the de la Hoya clash is his preference, if this is not possible then the boxer will fight on the same night in London.

Enzo Calzaghe set to retire as son rejects Hopkins rematch

On October 22, 2008 by

Enzo Calzaghe, father of boxer, Joe Calzaghe, and legendary trainer in his own right, has spoken about the prospect of retirement. His son is scheduled to fight Roy Jones Jr. in New York and is then set to quit the sport and now, Enzo Calzaghe has revealed that he may join him in retirement.

Furthermore, to the shock of boxing fans across the world, the coach has announced that he may shut down his world-famous gymnasium after stating that he has “fallen out of love with boxing”.

Calzaghe believes that boxing is becoming too political and his passion for the sport has been tainted by his son’s legal fight with Sports Network, Frank Warren’s firm. Warren used to be Joe Calzaghe’s promoter but the pair ended their association, which had lasted for 12 years, after the boxer decided to start self-promoting.

Warren’s firm are claiming that the boxer broke a verbal contract concerning the promotion of subsequent fights. Calzaghe denies this claim and also believes that he is owed over £2 million by Sports Network.

This legal battle has not just had a direct impact upon Joe Calzaghe but has also affected the careers of others, including his father, who believes that other boxers are being dragged into the unpleasant affair.

Nathan Cleverly is one such example. The new Commonwealth light-heavyweight title holder was forced to leave Enzo Calzaghe’s club last month after fearing that his career may be adversely affected by the legal situation. Other boxers who are usually trained by Calzaghe include Gavin Rees, Bradley Pryce, and Enzo Maccarinelli.

Rees, Pryce, and Maccarinelli have all spoken about the possibility of leaving the famous gymnasium for the same reason as Cleverly. Enzo Calzaghe, who has won the BBC Sports Personality award and has previously been named the Ring Magazine Coach of the Year, has been involved with the training of Rees and Pryce since they were just nine years of age and the prospect of their disloyalty has deeply saddened the coach. The situation has been made all the more tense as Sports Network promote all three boxers.

The legal battle between Joe Calzaghe and Sports Network is focussed partly upon his match against Bernard Hopkins in April. The Welsh boxer was victorious in this match, although the circumstances were somewhat controversial, and Hopkins has asked for a rematch following recent success in America.

However, Calzaghe has angrily rejected Hopkins’ call for another fight: “screw Hopkins, I’m not fighting again for any amount of money, I’ve been doing this for too long”.

Joe Calzaghe maintains that the fight against Roy Jones Jr. will be his last and the boxing world will certainly feel the loss of the famous Calzaghe father and son partnership.

The closure of Enzo Calzaghe’s gymnasium will also impact negatively upon the sport. The fight club has been compared to the famous Kronk gymnasium in Detroit, owned by Emanuel Steward. Boxers such as Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis trained there, so such a comparison is a great honour for Calzaghe.

Hopkins seeks rematch with Calzaghe

On October 21, 2008 by

American boxer, Bernard Hopkins, has spoken of his desire to compete in a rematch against Joe Calzaghe. The 43-year-old was speaking after his impressive victory over Kelly Pavlik in Atlantic City. Hopkins was defeated controversially by Calzaghe in April of this year and now wants the chance to prove himself against the Welshman, who remains unbeaten.

The prospect of another match against Hopkins should worry Calzaghe, particularly since he displayed impressive world-class form during the non-title 170lb catch-weight fight on Saturday.

The WBC and WBO middleweight champion, Kelly Pavlik, was completely outclassed by Hopkins, who believes the victory to be the best of his career, which has spanned 55 fights. He stated that, in his mind, the win was better than his previous triumphs against Antonio Tarver, Felix Trinidad, and legend of the sport, Oscar De La Hoya.

Prior to the fight, Hopkins was desperate to prove that he could still compete at the highest level at the age of 43. The boxer managed to do just this, handing Pavlik, who is just 26 years of age, his first ever defeat.

The judges in Atlantic City gave Hopkins a unanimous 119-106, 117-109, 118-108 decision and the ‘executioner’ displayed some devastating moves that completely belied his age. His speed and agility were truly impressive and Pavlik, whom many felt would embarrass the Philadelphian by making him feel his age, often looked slow and weak in comparison.

Pavlik tried to downplay the impact of Hopkins’ skills and fantastic movement on his own form in the ring, stating that he simply “couldn’t get off […] It wasn’t his slickness, but I just couldn’t throw more than a single jab”. However, these words seemed somewhat empty, especially when viewed in the light of the manner of the defeat, which at times saw Hopkins able to taunt the younger fighter.

The new confidence that Hopkins has gained from his crushing defeat of Pavlik has motivated the fighter to express his desire to travel to England, to fight Calzaghe.

These are fighting words from the American, who has only competed once in Europe, against Anibal Miranda in 1992. This fight, held in Paris, saw Hopkins reign victorious but Calzaghe, who is set to compete against Jones Jr. in New York in early November, will not give up easily.

The match between Hopkins and the Welshman earlier this year was very entertaining. The American floored Calzaghe during the opening exchanges but the Brit staged a remarkable comeback during the latter stages of the match.

The match was so closely fought that one judge believed it to have finished 114-113 to Hopkins. However, two other judges handed Calzaghe the victory, extending his unbeaten run to 45 fights. At the time, the Welshman spoke about how “clever” Hopkins could be in the ring, and revealed that he finds it very “awkward” to fight against him.

The American, on the other hand, was not a good loser and publicly spoke of his belief that he should have been handed the victory: “the whole world knows I won this fight”. Given the history between these two fighters, the prospect of a rematch is extremely exciting and would certainly be an occasion to savour.

‘Twin Tyson’ Cliff Couser to make UK Debut

On October 20, 2008 by

If you are interested in seeing the half-brother of Iron Mike Tyson then this is your lucky day. He is going to be fighting in the UK and might well be following in his half-brothers footsteps and boxing glory.

Las Vegas based heavyweight, the enigmatic Cliff ‘Twin Tyson’ Couser will make his first paid trip to the UK in November for a fight on the 27th of the month at the Westland Leisure Complex in Yeovil, Somerset.

Mike Tyson’s half brother and lookalike, Cliff will be involved in a 4 round contest against ‘White Tiger’ Mike English in what is sure to be an all action fight where both boxers will come forward and meet in the middle of the ring.

Cliff had to pull out from a fight against Irish based Cuban Heavyweight Mike Perez to take the November date. Of the Perez fight Cliff said “I am 100% confident I would have taught Perez a boxing lesson – they see my record and they think I am an easy win, but I’ve knocked out James Tillis, Jorge Luis Gonzalez and more recently Monte Barrett who is about to give David Haye his biggest test to date no less – I punch hard – give me an opportunity and I’ll put you on your ass – a young guy like Perez with only 4 or 5 fights would have given me lots of opportunities! I wish him the best though, I watched him on YouTube and he looks a good talent”.

And of his first UK fight Cliff said "I can’t wait to get to England, I am going to break some bones. I don’t care who gets put in front of me – it’s time for me to get back to my destructive winning ways, and that is going to happen in England on November 27th"

Cliff continued "I’ve worked my ass off through the years, alot of people will know me from the internet forums where I look for fights, I’ll literally fight anyone, anywhere, anytime – and I don’t think I’ve ever been in a boring fight. I’m calling this UK trip a fresh start"

The November show is licensed and regulated by the British Boxing Federation and promoted by International Boxing Empire Promoters who said “this is self regulated boxing – forget ‘The Prizefighter’ this is the fastest paced, most adrenaline fuelled boxing you’ll see – stand up toe to toe action all the way – we only use trained boxers who come to fight and get paid for their time”

There will be a full undercard featuring some of the best BBF boxers in 3, 4 and 6 round fights. Doors open at 7.30pm – first bell rings at 8pm

All BBF shows are covered with Public Liability Insurance and all boxers must be Officially Licensed by BBF.

Tickets are available directly from Westland Leisure Complex – – Telephone: 01935 848380

Prices are – Ringside £45 / Outer Ringside £35 / Unreserved £30

A £10 discount on the above prices is available on tickets purchased before November 21st.

International Boxing Empire Promoters are available for interviews regarding ‘self regulated’ and ‘BBBofC regulated’ boxing

Hearn reveals fears over future of boxing

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Barry Hearn has revealed his fears that the popularity of boxing could decrease unless the sport starts paying attention to the rise of mixed martial arts (MMA). The legendary promoter believes that MMA is establishing a growing fan base, with youngsters attracted by the “fast, physical action delivered in an entertaining style”.

MMA’s foremost brand is the UFC and fighters combine moves taken from disciplines including boxing, kickboxing, and wrestling. They fight in a claustrophobic cage formed in the shape of an octagon and the sport’s popularity has rocketed recently in the UK.

Indeed, this weekend sees upcoming star, Michael Bisping, compete at the Birmingham National Indoor Arena in front of a sell-out crowd. As well as the 10,000 spectators watching in the arena, the fight will be seen by fans in 150 countries who have access to the sports subscription channel, Setanta. Previous UFC events have attracted record-breaking crowds at the MEN arena in Manchester and the O2 Arena in London.

The sport has come a long way since it was formed in 1993. It was originally looked down upon as an activity which attempted to glamorise violence. John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, even compared it to cockfighting. However, the UFC was taken over in 2001 and its image was transformed following the introduction of new rules and regulations.

These included the establishment of weight classes, official judges, and the enforced use of gloves and gum-shields. Such moves encouraged the general public to start viewing MMA as a valid sport, rather than an excuse to indulge in violence. Dana White, president of the UFC, believes that further success is imminent: “we want to be global, worldwide, just like soccer”.

Furthermore, White believes that the UK media has an important role to play in spreading the popularity of the sport. She has been quoted as saying that the British media know deep down that they would increase sales if they were to cover the sport.

When one views the statistics, it is difficult to disagree with Hearn’s latest comments. Whilst legendary promoters such as Frank Warren and Frank Maloney have defended boxing in the light of MMA, Hearn’s belief that boxing needs to “learn” from the new styles of fighting remains true.

Hearn has personally learnt from the sport, recently launching the Prizefighter Series, which sees eight fighters compete in a knockout tournament during one night of boxing. The Prizefighter Series will appeal to the audience of MMA, who have become accustomed to quick action. The promoter believes that it will instigate an “adrenalin fix” similar to the one provided by the action of UFC.

The launch was an extremely brave move by Hearn, who seems to be one of the only boxing promoters to realise that the sport needs to be entertaining as well as loyal to tradition.

Frank Maloney has stated that MMA is simply having its “fifteen minutes of fame”. This may turn out to be true, but whether or not boxing can ever fully recover from the lasting impact of these fifteen minutes will remain to be seen.

Written by Charlotte Cook

Hopkins still fighting fit at 43 ahead of Pavlik bout

On October 15, 2008 by

It is nearly time for the very intriguing fight between veteran Bernard Hopkins and undefeated Kelly Pavlik. The pair meet in the ring on Saturday and ahead of the fight Hopkins has claimed that he is in excellent condition despite his advancing years.

Hopkins, 43, is a rather incredible 17 years older than Pavlik, but the American is convinced that this will not be an issue. He says that he put in an ‘investment’ in himself 20 years ago that would guarantee he would still be fighting fit at this stage of his career.

Hopkins claims that his immaculate lifestyle has led to doctors being shocked by his excellent condition. There is certainly no doubt that he is fully prepared for this weekend’s bout and that if he does lose, it won’t be done to lack of fitness.

We have heard all of this before from ‘The Executioner’ though. Ahead of the contest between him and Joe Calzaghe earlier this year, he was claiming that he would wipe the floor with the Welshman. This wasn’t the case though as even though Hopkins made Calzaghe work extremely hard, the British boxer secured a points victory.

Something else I remember in the build up to this fight was similar comments by Hopkins regarding the age difference between him and Calzaghe. Well, this was only a seven year gap and in the end it was a factor in Calzaghe emerging victorious. Considering that Pavlik is an extra ten years younger – that really could play its part, regardless of how fit Hopkins is.

As for Pavlik himself, he is undefeated in 34 fights and is in confident mood ahead of the battle with Hopkins. He says that he is ‘going there to win’ and will ideally do so by knock out. Pavlik does admire the legacy of Hopkins though, saying that he is a ‘legend’ who he would like to emulate one day.

In my opinion, Pavlik will go a step closer to doing just that when he defeats Hopkins on Saturday. The fight could start similarly to the Calzaghe one, but with Pavlik’s extra firepower I expect a 7th round stoppage. That’s what I will be placing my boxing betting money on.

Pavlik always capitalises on opponents mistakes and with his long left jab setting up his power right – he could have too much for Hopkins. The veteran may possess an incredible determination to win, but unless he controls the pace of the fight from the start – it’s defeat for him in Atlantic City.

Written by Thomas Rooney