Mitchell vs Estrada Preview and Prediction Will Kell Brook Come Back Stronger In 2015 After Attack curtis woodhouse retirement carl frampton to box on ITV sugar ray leonard quotes

3 Boxing World Champions Who Could Lose Belts In 2015

Boxing World Champions Who Could Lose Belts In 2015

By Alejandro Berrios

3 BOXING WORLD CHAMPIONS WHO COULD LOSE BELTS IN 2015

While 2014 was not the most eventful or memorable year in boxing, 2015 is already shaping up to be a much better year for the sport with the possibilities of big fights across the professional landscape. However, the year could be even more memorable in that there are three reigning champions who could find themselves dethroned and flung back into the circuit as contenders before the year is out.

This list has less to do about the champions’ shortcomings or flaws, but more so the talent of the opposition they may or will face.

1. ADONIS STEVENSON (WBC LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION)

Stevenson is a champion many fans and critics alike have long been skeptical of, and for good reason. His claim to fame was a sensational one-punch knockout of Chad Dawson in the summer of 2013. The knockout was electrifying and had many fans thinking that the light heavyweight division had yet another Hercules to fear. However, since then he has proven to be not so godly. His knockout wins over Tavoris Cloud and Tony Bellew were decent as he did not have much trouble in dispatching both, but did those wins really offer any reason to exalt Stevenson?

Cloud’s inability to keep up with a moving target like Stevenson were exposed by both Gabriel Campillo and Bernard Hopkins; Bellew also is not the most adept at out-boxing a moving target, and he struggled finding Stevenson before the referee stopped the fight. While good wins, nobody doubted that the division’s other Herculean punchers Sergey Kovalev or Jean Pascal could also defeat those men.

Stevenson showed his mortality in his win over Andrzej Fonfara. Fonfara does not hit as hard as Cloud, and probably does not hit as hard as Bellew. He certainly does not move around the ring substantially better than Bellew, and yet after withstanding knockdowns in which he was badly hurt, Fonfara was able to knock down a tired Stevenson with a right hand in the 9th round.

Stevenson’s only loss was a knockout loss to Darnell Boone in 2010 so his chin has always been questioned among fans. The trouble with the Fonfara knockdown was not that he was caught, it was how tired he appeared to be after he rose from the canvas and for the duration of the fight. Fonfara could not finish the job on Stevenson, but Fonfara is not world-class. Unfortunately for Stevenson, he is slated to face world-class competition, which is to be determined by the winner of Pascal-Kovalev. Both Pascal and Kovalev while known for their power, have recently shown the ability to easily outbox opponents late in fights to win decisions.

Stevenson’s money punch is his left hand, and that is about it. His jab is really a range-finder, there is no threat of a damaging right hook or uppercut that we have seen as of yet, all the power is in the left hand. Kovalev has just handily beaten the best boxer in that division and Pascal has beaten two very talented southpaws in Chad Dawson and Lucian Bute. If Stevenson cannot knockout either man early, and begins to fade in the later rounds, he better develop the defense of Pernell Whitaker to survive against the two other monsters of the division.

2. LEO SANTA CRUZ (WBC JUNIOR FEATHERWEIGHT CHAMPION)

This is a big maybe because so few promoters are willing to test their young prospects against the genius of WBO and WBA junior featherweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux, but if fans get this fight which many have called for, it is highly likely that Rigondeaux outboxes Santa Cruz for 12 rounds and adds another strap to his collection. This fight would also be very interesting in that it is the most even of all the fights in this list, as Rigondeaux has shown a questionable chin, and Santa Cruz often throws more than 100 punches a round.

People have complained that Santa Cruz is not knocking opponents out quickly enough or he has lost power, but he has fought a lot of opponents who, like himself, take punches to give punches. Rigondeaux is the complete opposite. As defensively sound as Rigondeaux is, could he survive a fight unscathed where a taller, longer armed opponent throws over 1,000 punches? And can Rigondeaux’s movement and counter punching significantly reduce Santa Cruz’s volume? I would bet that it can and that Rigondeaux outboxes him to win a decision, but that fight could be very entertaining. Hopefully it happens.

 

3. CARL FROCH (IBF SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPION)

There is a major, major threat to Carl Froch that is not just threatening to take Froch’s title, but is threatening to take over the entire division. The name of that threat is James DeGale. DeGale is Froch’s biggest threat only because he has made it clear that he wants to challenge Froch for the title and both men have the same promoter, Eddie Hearn…oh yes, and also the IBF ordered Froch to begin negotiations with DeGale earlier this month.  If this fight is made it is entirely possible that Britain would have a new IBF super middleweight champion. Why? Because out of a pool of incredible young British talent including the likes of Tyson Fury, Frankie Gavin, George Groves, Scott Quigg, etc. DeGale, at this moment, is certainly the best.

In fact his only loss was a highly disputed decision loss to Groves, who was absolutely at the top of his game, and confused DeGale in the middle rounds boxing off of his back foot and constantly moving around the ring.  Groves’ latest performance was very poor though, and compared to DeGale’s last three fights there is no question that this DeGale beats that George Groves.  DeGale was dangerous enough when he was out-boxing opponents using his phenomenal defense, very quick hand-speed, and excellent footwork and foot-speed.

But now he is far more threatening as he is knocking opponents out, and doing so very quickly. DeGale’s last two opponents were Andre Ward’s stablemate Brandon Gonzales and tough Mexican contender Marco Antonio Periban. Gonzales, while certainly not Andre Ward, is a very good fighter with a Ward-like style that can give opponents fits. DeGale had little trouble with him as he out-boxed him from the outside, fought Gonzales’ fight by allowing Gonzales to get inside of him in the second round and parts of the third, and then badly hurt and dropped Gonzales in the fourth with a magnificent combination. Gonzales got up but did not have his legs completely under him, and as he tried to fight on the referee stopped the fight. The stoppage was not very good, Gonzales certainly could have continued at the time of the stoppage but the shape he was in indicates that DeGale likely would have stopped him that round or the next anyway.

The Periban stoppage also was questionable. DeGale knocked down Periban in the third round with a beautiful left hand that caught Periban right on the chin. He goes down and the referee waves off the fight, Periban gets up on shaky legs and looks at the referee in bewilderment as he waves the fight off again for clarity. Periban should have been given a 10-count and in my opinion could have continued but like the Gonzales fight he was dazed and shaken.

DeGale is on a mission to not only win fights, but to end them, and the last time Froch fought a young British talent who brought the fight to him, he benefited from another awful stoppage by the referee. Of course in the rematch, George Groves did not bring the fight to Froch, instead choosing to be very conservative and the result was Froch putting his lights out.

DeGale will not be so cautious, and his ability to beat opponents inside or outmaneuver them outside makes him a nightmarish match-up for an aging, not-so-slick but always dangerous Carl Froch. “The Cobra” has always shown that he should never be underestimated, but boxing is a young man’s game, and at this time DeGale is exactly the kind of young man an older champion like Froch should stay away from. If this fight happens, I expect DeGale to thoroughly outbox Carl Froch and earn a clear unanimous decision.

World Series of Boxing Returns! (Week 3)

wp barnesJack W McCarron

WSB FORMAT

The World Series of Boxing (WSB) moves into its third week this Friday night.

The competition which is in its fourth season is a professional boxing competition which allows the boxers maintain their Olympic status and is organised by the International Boxing Association (AIBA).

The competition sees franchises from various countries draft boxers, much like the model used by most American sports.

IRISH CONTINGENCY

Like each of the other 3 seasons, Ireland is well represented at this level, with Olympic medalists Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan lining out for the Italia Thunder, Ballymena middleweight Steven Donnelly is with Rafako Hussars Poland and Tipperary Super Heavyweight Dean Gardiner is representing the Mexico Guerreros.

So far results have been mixed for the Irish contingent. Week one saw Barnes pick up Italia Thunders only win of the night as he beat Magomed Ibiyev of the Azerbaijan Baku Fires on a unanimous decision.

Conlan also representing the Italians lost a unanimous decision against Magomed Gurbanov as the Thunder succumbed to a 4-1 defeat in the Azerbaijani capital.

WEEK 2

Week 2 saw Steven Donnelly step into the ring for the first time in Lubin, Poland and he saw off Madiyar Ashkeyev of the Astana Arlans Kazakhstan on a unanimous decision but it was not enough to prevent is team going down to a 2-3 defeat.

Italia Thunder also lost 3-2 in week 2 however neither Barnes nor Conlan were in action.

The involvement of all these boxers in the WSB is the reason for their absence from the recent National Elite Finals that took place in the National stadium over the past few weekends.

LOOKING AHEAD TO IRISH FIGHTERS INVOLVEMENT THIS WEEKEND

As we look ahead to week 3, all 3 teams which have Irish boxers involved are due to compete Saturday night so we can look forward to hopefully seeing the Irish in action.

Fellow Irish Boxers David Oliver Joyce and Joe Ward were themselves recently involved in another Professional competition which allowed them to retain their Olympic Status.

Joyce from St Michaels Athy and Ward from Moate Co Westmeath are competing in AIBA Professional Boxing (APB).

The APB is a new pro boxing competition which also acts as a qualifier for the Rio Olympics.

Each weight class has 2 qualifying spots on offer, and the tournament is run on a ranking system which is to run until the end of January and the tournament will officially launch in March of this year.

To date Joyce and Ward both have a record of 2-1 in the competition.

HAMMER TIME: Mitchell vs Estrada Preview and Prediction

Mitchell vs Estrada Preview and Prediction By Gavan Casey

DRAMA

There can often be a strange, cyclical nature to sport. As the UK slowly came to terms with Who Shot Phil in 2001, another London Mitchell was firing his way up the British amateur boxing ladder. Fourteen years or forty fights later, ‘Big Phil’ has recovered from his second shooting, and his East End boxing equivalent has once more set upon the road to redemption, having suffered the demoralising realities brought upon by two shots of his own.

Kevin ‘The Hammer’ Mitchell’s professional boxing career has been as rocky as it has been Rocky. Respective arrests for drugs charges, possession of an offensive weapon and drink-driving intersect two tame defeats at the highest level. And yet, for each loss, a reinvigoration of sorts – though not without a storied battle with personal demons, alcohol and the law. One brief period in 2011 best encapsulates Mitchell’s journey, which is perhaps more befitting of a stage performance at the opposite end of his native city.

Mitchell likely watched Brandon Ríos’ bludgeoning of Manchester’s John Murray from his home, with a curfew tag dictating he be house-ridden by 9pm after a Saturday spent doing community service. The brash Londoner had himself knocked out Murray not four months previous in the British Fight of the Year – a magnificent comeback victory making amends for an infamous scything at the hands of Michael Katsidis in his beloved Upton Park, and 14 subsequently booze-riddled months spent outside of the ring. Kevin Mitchell was back, but in a twist conceivable only within the paradigm of boxing, Romford’s favourite son had spent his week painting fences while his felled friend and foe prepared for his own maiden world title tilt beneath the lights of Madison Square Garden.

HAMMER TIME

Now sporting a shaved head more familiar to his soap operatic counterpart, Kevin Mitchell’s boxing career seems, at last, to be free from the shackles of extraneous drama. At Wembley Stadium last May, the 40 fight veteran showed glimpses of a new-found maturity, bouncing off shots that had previously felled him in his second world title shot in Glasgow, en route to a gutsy if not flawless 11th round destruction of then unbeaten Congolese challenger Ghislain Maduma. His durability was reflective of a training camp untainted by personal issues, and a fighter finally at peace with his life. Where Mitchell’s raw talent was enough to impressively see off the likes of Breidis Prescott in the past, his teak-tough performance versus Maduma saw him add an extra string to his bow. A comfort born of solid preparation replaced the previous uncertainty of pre-fight turbulence.

On Saturday night, Mitchell tops a Matchroom card for the first time as he takes on Nacho Beristain-trained Daniel Estrada of Mexico, for the right to challenge for the WBC lightweight world championship. It will be Mitchell’s first headline slot on Sky Sports since Katsidis, and the dawn of what will surely be a final attempt at writing his name into British boxing folklore. His rangy opponent knows too what it’s like to fall short at the final hurdle – Estrada’s last fight was a 9th round KO defeat to Omar Figueroa for the coveted green strap itself. The Mexican’s 32-3-1 record may flatter to deceive in terms of opponents faced, but his Hall of Fame trainer and world class gym mates – including Juan Manuel Marquez, who incidentally accompanies Estrada in London – would suggest a fighter primed for an upset in front of a raucous crowd in London’s O2 Arena on Saturday night.

WHO WINS?

Within the physical dimensions of this fight, Estrada’s three inch reach advantage may allow for him to counter over the top of Mitchell’s solid jab, as Ricky Burns in particular seemed to master in their WBO title scrap just over two years ago. Mitchell’s technique and shot selection, however, tend to be stellar. If the Londoner can adjust the radar on his right hand to hone in on Estrada’s questionable chin, expect the roof to be lifted from London’s famous Millenium Dome.

It’s likely Mitchell will need to ride a storm. Estrada won’t stalk and bombard Mitchell like Michael Katsidis, but look to pick Mitchell off from the outside. His pressure will be applied through punches in bunches, and Mitchell will probably be required to slip under Estrada’s own jab if he is to find success in front of his hometown fans. If the likeable Brit can box and move – as he did to perfection versus former Amir Khan conqueror Prescott – his experience versus a higher calibre of opponent and newly discovered maturity may culminate in a stunning result.

Even should Estrada to take a narrow points lead into the latter rounds of an expectedly tense affair, the patience displayed by Mitchell in his previous bout will have instilled a sense of belief that, with sufficient dedication in training and preparation, he is mentally tough enough to blast his way through the brick wall of adversity and come from behind again; a concept symbolic of a ‘one step forward, two steps back-like’ career, which may be approaching a fittingly compelling climax.

Romford’s Rocky has both the infectious personality and talent to establish himself as the dominant Mitchell in London’s East End. A penchant for Guinness has finally been quenched by mentions of world championship success.

Could it finally be Hammer Time?

Official Prediction: Kevin Mitchell TKO 10

Mitchell vs Estrada is live on Sky Sports 1 HD on Saturday night (20:00 GMT)

Let us know your predictions in the comments section below! Gavan can be contacted on Twitter: @GavanCasey or at gavcasey1878@gmail.com

Will Kell Brook Come Back Stronger In 2015 After Attack?

Will Kell Brook Come Back Stronger In 2015 After Attack

By Niall Doran

WILL KELL BROOK COME BACK STRONGER IN 2015 AFTER ATTACK?

Kell Brook has always been a likable chap and an extremely talented boxer to boot. On the blog we never really discussed what was a horrific event for Kell last year that shocked the boxing community, when it emerged he had suffered a violent machete attack while on holidays in Tenerife, nearly ending his life. The result was a brutal looking wound on his thigh and there was immediate doubts whether he would ever fight again.

Fast forward a few months on and the man is already back in heavy training and has a title defense scheduled for March 28th against Canadian Jo Jo Dan, a very competent and durable southpaw operator. The fact he’s recovered as fast as he has, coupled with the positive and motivated outlook he now seems to exhibit since the attack last year, leads me to believe he’ll be back better then ever this year.

POSSIBLE MENTAL EFFECTS

Its always hard to know how such a traumatic event can affect anyone mentally. Then again, boxers are not your typical people. They possess courage, determination and self belief that the average man or woman would find hard to comprehend. Kell Brook I believe is a warrior, through and through.

With the landscape in the welterweight division exciting as it is globally at the minute, I’d imagine he’s spurred on and motivated more then ever to defend his title and get the big fights out there, that he certainly deserves. He’s done things the hard way in his career, had more setbacks than most and yet has still overcame them, remained undefeated and traveled to the United States to take the title off a dangerous American champion. Mental effects won’t be an issue for this man.

SPECIAL K LOOKING FORWARD

 

Curtis Woodhouse Retirement News Arrives, He’ll Be Missed

curtis woodhouse retirement

By David Noronha

CURTIS WOODHOUSE RETIREMENT

Former Premier League footballer, and professional boxer Curtis Woodhouse took to Twitter on Monday to inform his beloved fans, that he would be retiring from boxing with immediate effect. Many of us are somewhat surprised by the news, owing to the fact, he reversed his original decision to retire a few months ago. And many, including myself expected him to announce his next bout in the coming weeks.

Woodhouse like many boxers past and present, has had numerous retirements. He’s obviously addicted to the sweet science, only now has he finally hung up his gloves. Fortunately he’s in a good place, recently Curtis was appointed manger of Hull United and is very much enjoying football management. Not many boxers enjoy  their retirements, however Curtis certainly will due to his extensive knowledge of the beautiful game.

curtis woodhouse retirement

INCREDIBLE JOURNEY

Curtis’ boxing accomplishments include: winning the English and British titles, giving Olympian Frankie Gavin a ferocious encounter and challenging Derry Matthews for the Commonwealth Lightweight title in an exciting affair. Above all, he succeeded in the hardest sport in existence without having any amateur experience. This is something that often gets overlooked; in reality Curtis ought to be getting much more praise than he currently receives. Evidently, he is a quick learner and an excellent athlete, without possessing these two traits there is no way he could have mastered boxing.

NO REGRETS

I highly doubt Curtis has any regrets. Perhaps he wishes his ambitious switch to boxing happened earlier than it did. With more training and sparring, he surely would have became a European champion at the very least. But really, there is no reason for him to have any regrets. On a personal note, Woodhouse-Coyle would have been a pleasure to watch. However this was not to be, maybe Curtis will reverse his decision down the line, thus setting up the mouthwatering clash. Do not put it past him, as Curtis Woodhouse is full of surprises.

You can catch David on Twitter @Davidnoro91

BREAKING: World Champ Carl Frampton to Box on ITV!

carl frampton to box on ITV

Picture: CWM Cyclone Promotions

By Niall Doran

BOXING BACK ON TERRESTRIAL TV IN THE UK!

Some substantial news has emerged within Irish and UK boxing this afternoon relating to undefeated Belfast World Champion Carl “The Jackal” Frampton.

At a press conference this afternoon in London it has been announced that the Belfast man will box live on ITV and will see professional boxing return to terrestrial television for the first time in many, many years! His first fight with the broadcaster will be screened on February 28th when he defends his title against challenger Chris Avalos.

ANNOUNCEMENT DETAILS

ITV will screen live IBF super bantamweight champion Carl Frampton’s eagerly awaited first title defence against Chris Avalos. Boxing fans will be able to enjoy free to air coverage of all the action from the CWM FX sponsored bout taking place in Belfast on February 28.

Promoted by Barry McGuigan’s CWM Cyclone Promotions, Frampton v Avalos will be broadcast live and exclusive on ITV’s flagship main channel. A top quality undercard, featuring a world title eliminator plus a number of exciting international bouts involving some of the best prospects in British boxing, will be screened live on ITV4.

Frampton vs Avalos will be the first World championship fight staged in the UK to be broadcast live on terrestrial television since Carl Froch beat Jean Pascal for the WBC Super Middleweight title in 2008. Amir Khan featured in the last live broadcast abroad against Paulie Malignaggi in New York in 2010.

carl frampton to box on ITV

FRAMPTON VS AVALOS – TALE OF THE TAPE

Carl Frampton

Age: 27

Hometown: Belfast

Nickname: The Jackal

Record: 19 (13) – 0

Debut: 12/06/2009

Height: 5’ 5½” (165cm)

Reach: 65” (165cm)

Titles Held: IBF World Super Bantamweight (current), European (EBU), Commonwealth, IBF Intercontinental and Celtic Super Bantamweight

Chris Avalos

Age: 25

Hometown: Lancaster, California

Nickname: The Hitman

Record: 25 (19) – 2

Debut: 01/02/2008

Height: 5’ 7” (170cm)

Reach: 67½” (171cm)

Titles Held: WBO Intercontinental and WBO NABO Bantamweight, NABA USA Super Bantamweight – IBF Super Bantamweight Mandatory Challenger, WBO Super Bantamweight Mandatory Challenger

Boxing Flashback: Sugar Ray Leonard Quotes and Highlights

sugar ray leonard quotes

SUGAR RAY LEONARD QUOTES OF WISDOM

By Niall Doran

Today on the blog I was feeling a tad bit nostalgic. Recently I found myself watching some of the old fights of the great Sugar Ray Leonard and stumbled across compelling quotes from the man himself on the web afterwards.

I thought it really illustrated the artistry of an athlete at the pinnacle of his game and at the highest level that boxing is, was, and always will be, a battle of skill:

 “Bruce Lee was an artist and, like him, I try to go beyond the fundamentals of my sport. I want the public to see a knockout in the making.” – Sugar Ray Leonard

Here’s a brief look back at some scintillating moments from the legendary warrior: