London - Hennessy Sports would like to wish both Chris Eubank Jr and Hughie Fury very happy birthdays today, as well as announce that both fighters will appear on the Tyson Fury vs David Haye undercard.
After their stoppage wins at the Magna Centre, Rotherham, on the undercard to Kid Galahad’s sensational British title knockout win over Jazza Dickens, the hot middleweight sensation and young heavyweight star will be back in action in just 10 days time.
Eubank Jr, who turned 24 today, took apart and stopped the tough Bulgarian Alexey Ribchev inside three rounds in Rotherham and will be looking for a repeat performance in Manchester.
The stoppage extended his perfect record to 11 wins with six knockouts, while Hughie, who turned 19 today, took on former British cruiserweight champion Shane McPhilbin to record his ninth straight win and sixth stoppage since his professional debut in March.
Watch both Eubank Jr and Hughie weigh-in at the official Fury vs. Haye weigh-in, Friday, September 27, inside the Phones 4 U Arena, Manchester - open to the general public.
There is a limited amount of free tickets released through the Phones 4 U Arena Box Office and also eventim.co.uk, which carry a booking fee of £2.50 per transaction up to four tickets and are on sale now.
The weigh-in itself will commence at 12.30pm (doors open at 11.30am) and every boxer scheduled to appear on the Fury vs. Haye fight card will tip the scales.
Of course, due to the expected high demand, fans are urged to snap up their tickets as soon as possible for this event.
FIGHTS IN WATFORD ON 5TH OCTOBER
Fresh from his two round destruction of Tom Dallas to win the Southern Area Heavyweight title, Lewison is keeping busy as he fights again in just over two weeks at the Watford Colosseum at the Goodwin Promotions “Boys are Back in town” show.
Manager Steve Goodwin immediately contacted the British Boxing Board of control to get Lewison made mandatory for John McDermott’s English title which has now gone out to purse bids with the fight to take place by the end of 2013.
“I don’t want to sit and wait for McDermott. I want to keep busy and I am ready to lay another one out on 8th October. Then McDermott will be knocked out inside four rounds and then David Price’s British title will be my target.”
“I am delighted how my career has turned round under Steve Goodwin. I promised him over a year ago that I would do for hi m what Lennox Lewis did for Frank Maloney and I intend to fulfil my promise”
Ian has an International contest on an action packed show which brings professional boxing back to Watford for the first time in four years. Two other heavyweights feature on the bill with Hatfield’s Tom “not so” Little having his first fight since signing with the Goodwin’s and exciting heavyweight prospect AJ Carter looking for this third successive win.
“The Boys and Back in Town” is aptly names as the show is headlined by two local lads Liam and Miles Shinkwin who both have 6 round International contests.
St Albans Welterweight Danny Murphy features and the show sees the debut of the exciting “Lionheart” Dave Leo at Featherweight.
Tickets can be bought from any of the boxers or from www.goodwinpromotions.co.uk or by calling 01525 851150
JOHN RYDER: ‘IT’S NOT ABOUT MONEY, IT’S ABOUT HAVING BELTS ON YOUR MANTLE PIECE!’
After a solid three year apprenticeship, Islington middleweight John ‘The Gorilla’ Ryder is ready to be unleashed from his cage.
The ridiculously strong southpaw has mauled all 15 pro foes thus far, but will brute force and unbridled aggression be suffice now that he enters major championship class?
We’ll find out this Saturday when the 25-year-old squares off against fellow unbeaten starlet Billy Joe Saunders at the Copper Box Arena. With both principal’s star in the ascent, experts are dubbing this the most keenly anticipated British middleweight clash for 20 years.
Remaining tickets, priced at £40, £50, £70 and £120 are available from the Eventim Box Office on 0844 249 1000 or www.eventim.co.uk
Watch the whole ‘Rock the Box’ card - which also features Dereck Chisora’s challenge for the vacant European heavyweight crown plus civil wars between Billy Joe Saunders and John Ryder and Liam Walsh against Joe Murray – live and exclusive on BoxNation, the Channel of Champions, from 7pm on Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546. Join at www.boxnation.com
Last weekend boxing writer Glynn Evans caught up with the amiable challenger to reflect on his career and contemplate the biggest night of his career as a prizefighter.
Were you a little scrapper yourself growing up on the streets of north London? At what age did you first become interested in boxing?
I had my share of little ‘tear ups’ growing up in Islington but no more than any other kid. I didn’t like bullies so always stuck up for the little guy which led to me getting into a few scrapes.
From the age of about 12, dad took me to work with him on the building sites on Saturday mornings, lugging bricks. I think that built the foundation of my strength at an early age.
I’ve been interested in boxing as far back as I can remember. As a young kid, maybe seven or eight, I loved watching the likes of Naz, Benn and Eubank in their big fights on ITV.
What do you recall of your amateur career?
I first began boxing training at the Finchley Amateur Boxing Club at the age of 12 but I didn’t actually have my first bout until after I’d moved to the Angel gym, aged 15. The coaches there were (ex pros) Colin Lake and Ivor ‘The Engine’ Jones.
All told, I won 30 of my 35 amateur fights and I won a London Youth title plus senior National Novice titles in Class A and Class B. I once boxed for London against The Army over in Hereford but I never got selected to box for England.
The biggest name I boxed in the amateurs was George Groves in the North -West London Divs. George was the defending ABA senior champion at the time. I gave him quite a good fight but was a bit young and overawed by the occasion and showed George too much respect. He beat me on points.
I’ve no regrets about not starting earlier or turning pro as soon as I did. Some stay amateur too long then find it hard to make the transition. My style was always going to suit the pros better.
What are the origins of your ‘The Gorilla’ nickname?
Around the age of 17, 18, I used to spar a lot of (Team GB coach) Robert McCracken’s boys when he was working with Mick Hennessy. Rob said I had the strength of a baby gorilla and it just stuck. Everybody used to call it me tongue in cheek and now I can’t get rid of it!
You’re trained by former British super-featherweight champion Colin Lake and managed by Tony Sims, who also coaches IBF middleweight champion Darren Barker; two well respected boxing men. How have they been instrumental in developing your career?
Colin is as fiery as I am so we drive each other mad but together we get the work done. We use the Angel gym a couple of nights and also Tony’s gym, The Gator, over in Hainault. Colin’s excellent both on the fitness and technical sides. He’s really strong on head movement and breathing correctly to remain relaxed and conserve energy.
Because Tony is also a trainer, many mistakenly assume he coaches me. He doesn’t. He’s just my manager. He’s in charge of making my matches. Obviously he’s been in the game a long time and is very well connected. He’s done a great job of stepping me up at the right time.
After a relatively gentle introduction to the pros you’ve really stepped up your level of competition over the past 18 months.
Last year, Huddersfield’s Alastair Warren (8-1) and Castleford’s Luke Robinson (8-2-1) were both outscored over eight rounds. Hungarian southpaw Sandor Micsko was iced in two and Belfast’s ex Commonwealth Games gold medallist Eamonn O’Kane was worn down over eight in a British eliminator.
Earlier this year, you schooled Zimbabwe’s former Commonwealth welter challenger Farai Musiyiwa over eight. In what areas do you feel you’ve developed?
I’ve definitely improved my boxing skills lately. Earlier in my career I was just intent on hurting the opponent as quickly as possible and getting them out of there. Now I’m far more relaxed and sit down on my shots better. Though my last fight only lasted two rounds (a clinical stoppage of French journeyman Yoann Bloyer in Hull in July) I showed that I’m now developing a really good jab.
Ex Prizefighter champion O’Kane had been calling you out on Twitter. It was only after you demolished him that the cognoscenti really started to consider you as future championship material.
That’s right. Eamonn had been calling me out for about 12 months and I was happy to oblige. He now says it was only cos he took it at short notice!
I was aware of the pedigree he had and I knew he’d be tough so, early doors, I tucked up and rolled. He could hurt you when he connected but I proved a bit quicker and sharper. I was surprised I stopped him. You can usually sense whether a stoppage is on in the first few rounds but he seemed solid. Then he just folded.
You’ve still to travel past round eight yet could be required to travel the full 12 round championship trip against Saunders. How have you catered for that in preparation?
Look, it’s not going to be a worry. I’ve been sparring 12 rounds straight off against good fighters since I was 17 years old. I’ve done lots of good long runs and I’ve had top quality sparring against the likes of James DeGale, Ryan Toms and some good amateur lads. They’ve all got different styles. The distance won’t be a problem, if it gets that far.
Prep has gone really well. After that fight in Hull in July, I took one week off so this is a continuation of the fitness that I achieved for that fight. I’ll have had a good ten to eleven weeks. No excuses.
Darren Barker’s recent world title win must have given the whole gym a boost.
Oh definitely. We all really look up to Darren because we see how hard he trains and we know what he’s been through both as a boxer and in his personal life. He had to really dig deep to get up when (Daniel) Geale dumped him with that body shot in round six. If that can’t motivate you, nothing can.
Darren and I have sparred together loads for a number of years now. Above all, he’s got a fantastic boxing brain. He’s always one step ahead. I swear he knows what I’m going to do before I do! And people really underestimate his power. Over the past 18 months, he’s developed a real nastiness. In sparring he really puts the shots in, wants to hurt you.
Your title challenge marks the debut boxing promotion at the futuristic Copper Box Arena that was used for handball at the 2012 London Olympics. Does that add something to the occasion for you?
Definitely. It was brilliant having the Olympics in my home town and it’s great to know that the fantastic facilities shan’t be going to waste.
There’s so many other great fighters on the card such as Dereck Chisora and Frankie Gavin yet it’s Billy Joe and me who are headlining. Fantastic!
Georgie Kean, another Islington boy who I often see about, is making his pro debut and he’s a big ticket seller. I’ll be bringing 3-400 (fans) of my own. It’s going to be a great occasion.
What’s your assessment of champion Saunders?
A very good all rounder fighter who’s got lightening quick hands. I don’t believe he’s shown his very best yet because of the quality of his opposition. Without giving our gameplan away, I’ve seen things that I think I can capitalise on.
Saunders brings a far superior amateur pedigree and much greater professional experience. Understandably, he has been installed as a clear betting favourite. What do you feel you bring to counter balance that?
Strength, fitness, underestimated skills and a clever brain. Above all, I never give up. I can be nine rounds down but I’ll still be trying to knock you out until that last bell sounds.
Like Billy Joe, you’re unbeaten, you’re southpaw and you’re a Gooner. You also both share an indifference to rival middleweight contender Chris Eubank Jnr. What is it about him that gets under your skin?
Some of the others have major Twitter wars with him but I don’t waste my time. We sparred once, a year or so ago, and as we’re in the same weight division, it’s inevitable that people pair our names.
He’s got talent but he needs to get out of his dad’s shadow and develop his own style. If he just tries to mimic his dad he’s going to come unstuck. Chris Snr was unique, a one off.
You and Saunders are both exciting talents who like to please the crowd. Can the fans expect a war?
I think this fight will bring everything mixed into one; skill, power, war! I think we’ll start at a high pace but that it will become more tactical in the mid rounds. I expect it to go the full 12 rounds. I’m sure he’s been training very hard as well.
Why do you feel it will be your hand that is raised at the end?
I’m really confident and really motivated. I honestly believe that I’m fitter and stronger. Becoming British champion is what I’ve always dreamed of. I feel I’ve been ready for a British title shot for a while and I’m happy that it’s come against a champion that’s as accomplished as Billy Joe Saunders.
For me, boxing isn’t about money. It’s about my name going down as champion and having belts on the mantle piece. No one remembers what your pay cheques were, after you’ve retired!
FRANKIE GAVIN: “BARNES WAS TALENTED BUT HE’S NOT ANY MORE!”
Brilliant British welterweight champion Frankie Gavin endeavours to complete his domestic apprenticeship on Saturday evening then vault to the world stage where he believes his prodigious talent is best suited.
The 27-year-old Brummie southpaw, still England’s only ever world amateur champion, can secure the Lonsdale Belt outright if he dispatches Manchester’s former two-weight national champion David Barnes in the third defence of his crown at the Copper Box Arena on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Unbeaten in 16 with 12 stoppages and currently in the best form of his life, the champ was bristling with confidence when boxing writer Glynn Evans cornered him on Monday evening.
Remaining tickets, priced at £40, £50, £70 and £120 are available from the Eventim Box Office on 0844 249 1000 or www.eventim.co.uk
Watch the whole ‘Rock the Box’ card - which also features Dereck Chisora’s challenge for the vacant European heavyweight crown plus civil wars between Billy Joe Saunders and John Ryder and Liam Walsh against Joe Murray – live and exclusive on BoxNation, the Channel of Champions, from 7pm on Sky Ch.437/Virgin Ch.546. Join at www.boxnation.com
Do you consider your seventh round demolition of Denton Vassell, to capture the Commonwealth title in June, the best performance of your professional career to date?
Not really. It was a pretty straight forward job, to be honest. In camp, we all predicted that I’d beat Denton as comfortably as I did because his style was tailor made for my counter punching. I was particularly pleased with my accuracy, mind. Almost every shot I threw landed.
Beforehand, a lot was made of how big and powerful Denton was, and whether I’d be able to cope with that. But, skills aside, I was just as strong and powerful. I’ve long outgrown light-welter. Trust me, I have to work hard to make welterweight now. I’ll certainly be bigger than David Barnes in the ring on Saturday night and I’m predicting another good performance.
After periods of inactivity, you’ve got only a 12 week turn around between the Vassell and Barnes fights. How will that aid you?
Obviously, it helps me to stay sharp. Frank (Warren) keeps me busy and I’m confident that I’ll keep delivering top performances.
I’ve had loads of quality sparring in between the fights. Again, I’ve used Tommy Langford, who’s unbeaten in five as a pro at middleweight plus (one time British Masters middleweight champion) Terry Carruthers; two big, strong lads. I’ve also been working with a top amateur lightweight, a switcher who’s won 60 of 63 bouts. He’s keeping me very sharp.
You’ve been a revelation since returning to Brum and re-uniting with Tom Chaney your ex amateur coach at Hall Green ABC. Why do you work so well together?
It’s partly that I’m back home and close to my kids which helps keep my head right.
Tom knows me better than anybody. He knows what my strengths and weaknesses are – we work a lot on both – but he also knows what makes me click as a person. Sometimes I need to be told ‘What’s what’ for my own good, and Tom’s never been afraid to do that. He knows how to talk to me and always gives reasons and clear explanations as to why he wants me to try something, why it’ll benefit me.
Contrary to what some have written, I’ve always really loved training. That’s never been an issue. I’ve always been super fit. But previously I tended to focus on the boxing related stuff; the bags, pads and sparring.
Tom’s got me on the circuits which has given me a lot more physical strength, something I’ll need as I advance above British level and into world class. Right now, I’m the strongest I’ve ever been and I know I’ve got the power to hurt every opponent. I just don’t need to go looking for it.
Britain’s boxing squad for the 2008 Beijing Olympics was one of it’s strongest ever. James DeGale, Tony Jeffries and David Price all returned with medals. The squad also included talents such as Joe Murray, Bradley Saunders, Billy Joe Saunders and yourself.
How much rivalry exists between you to establish who is top dog in the pros?
Not much, from my part. I wish all of them the very best. We were a tight group, very good friends. I really hope that David Price can get his career right back on track after his recent setbacks because he was like an older brother to us all.
Billy Joe and myself will both be looking to grab the headlines on Saturday night but we probably get on better now as pros, having fought on so many shows together. I know he genuinely wants me to win, just as I want him to. We’re all different weights. There’s no rivalry.
Presently most would have you third in line in the list of domestic welterweights, behind Kell Brook and Amir Khan. How far do you think you are from a clash with either of those? Given the choice, which would you prefer to face first?
It’s really up to them when we meet. I’d certainly be ready for either for my December date. Brook hasn’t beaten anybody better than I have. Matt Hatton and Michael Jennings are no better than Junior Witter and Denton Vassell. You’d certainly fancy Denton to beat everybody Brook has beaten.
Besides, I think Kell ‘kills’ himself to make 10.7. I’m super fit and I’d make him work for everything he gets. I also take a shot well so I don’t think his power would worry me unduly.
Out of preference, I’d prefer to fight Khan first because there’d be a lot more money involved. History shows that it only takes one shot to change a fight with Amir. He was beating (Danny) Garcia comfortably until he got ‘done’ by one shot and was dominating Julio Diaz until he got dropped. Diaz is a relative non puncher and certainly not a big welter.
Everyone built Breidis Prescott up to be some kind of murderous puncher after he wiped Khan out but that was five years ago and, in 11 fights since, Prescott’s lost five and only scored two stoppages, both against nobodies.
Victory on Saturday evening will earn you the coveted Lord Lonsdale Belt for keeps. How big a motivation is that?
Previously, it wasn’t a big thing for me. I was more focussed on simply maintaining my unbeaten record but now I’m just one win away, it’s suddenly become a huge factor.
When you first win it, you get to keep it for a few weeks so that you can have photos done, then you return it to the Board. But after that, you just get to see your Belt on the night then the Board take it back again so it’ll be great to have it for good.
I’ll not be keeping it at home, mind. I might stick it up in my mate’s office.
Challenger David Barnes, a former four time national schoolboy champion and two-weight British title holder in pros was, like yourself, once considered the ‘Next Best Thing’ before incurring a few hiccups. Do you respect his talent?
He was very talented, not any more. Did you see his last two fights? He was getting pushed back by journeymen who I’d have blown away. If they could hit him, I will. I’d have been embarrassed by those performances yet he was quite chuffed afterwards. Look, anyone can have a bad round but you don’t have bad fights.
Last time, he was scheduled to fight Craig Watson in an eliminator so he can’t complain he wasn’t in shape and took (opponent) William Warburton lightly.
Barnes ain’t a bad counter puncher and he slows the pace well. But he brags that he’s going to knock me out yet his record certainly doesn’t suggest he’s capable of doing that. When’s the last time he stopped or even dropped someone? He certainly doesn’t hit harder than Vassell.
You’re a pretty chilled individual away from boxing but, not for the first time, you’ve become involved in a bit of a Twitter war with your opponent. Do you need a bit of needle to help you get your fight face on?
No, no. I’d much rather everything was respectful. But Barnes has been giving it to me on the sites for nothing so I just say: ‘See you on the night.’
Barnes tweets that he’s my friend. He ain’t my friend?! I think I’ve met him once and said ‘Hello’.
Why do you win?
Cos he ain’t what he was. Unlike him, I’m unbeaten. He got stopped by Joshua Okine who’s nothing special and Jimmy Vincent got robbed blind against him when they fought for the vacant British title.
I’ve got the youth and just as much experience. Unlike me, he came up short when he challenged for both the Commonwealth and InterContinental Belts.....and he definitely ain’t won the Irish title (laughs)!
I can’t see anyway he’s going to beat me.