News: Jose Gonzalez; Liam Smith; Richard Commey
World Boxing Organization (WBO) #4 lightweight ranked, Jose “Chelo” Gonzalez, along with junior middleweight prospect Glen Tapia, will headline the new edition of Telefutura’s Solo Boxeo Tecate on Saturday, July 7, at the Coliseo Antonio R. Barcelo in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, in a PR Best Boxing Promotions (PRBBP) presentation, in association with Top Rank.
“We are back in Solo Boxeo Tecate with Toa Baja’s native, Chelo Gonzalez headlining and a good prospect as Glen Tapia. This is a good show where we are going to present other top prospects from Puerto Rico”, promoter Ivan Rivera, PRBBP president, said.
Gonzalez (19-0, 14 KOs), who is actually the WBO Latino lightweight champion, will fight against a foe to be named in a 135 pounds bout scheduled to 10 rounds. In his only 2012 fight, Gonzalez beat Hevinson Herrera by an 8 round TKO on March 10.
Meanwhile, Tapia (13-0, 7 KOs), a young Top Rank prospect from New Jersey, will fight in a junior middleweight bout versus a rival to be determined scheduled to six rounds. In his last bout, Tapia knocked out Manuel Guzman in three rounds last April 27 in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Solo Boxeo Tecate on Telefutura is televised at 11:00 p.m. (ET).
Tickets for this card are availables at Ticketcenter, www.tcpr.com , 1 787 792-5000. Prices are $15, and $30.
Liam Walsh: ‘I’m Bursting To Fight, Perform, Entertain Again’
British boxing has sorely missed Cromer’s Liam Walsh during the nine and a half months he has been dormant since prevailing by tenth round stoppage against Edinburgh’s Paul Appleby in the Domestic Fight of 2011 at the York Hall last September.
But after re-charging his limbs and clearing his mind of a few personal demons, the fan friendly Commonwealth super-feather king is chomping on his gumshield ahead of his return on the big Chisora-Haye undercard at West Ham United’s Boleyn Ground at Upton Park on July 14th. (BoxNation televise live and exclusive in the UK, Sky Ch.456/Virgin Ch.546)
And the 26 year old known as ‘Destiny’ shall be looking to build upon his perfect 12 fight slate (nine stoppage wins) when he faces off with former Italian and European Union featherweight champ Domenic Urbano for the vacant WBO European lightweight strap.
As his preparations start to intensify, the Norfolk livewire took time out to discuss his career and future plans with boxing writer Glynn Evans.
Your brothers Michael, Ryan and yourself are three of the brightest prospects in Britain. How did you get along as kids?
We were well competitive, computer games, whatever. Mike is 23 months older than me and Ryan (his twin) and was dead strong so we’d gang up, two on one. As we were always fighting, Dad got us gloves.
I think my dad’s biggest achievement was probably bringing us up so close. Ryan and me top ‘n’ tailed in the same bed until we were 15. We’d have to split chocolate bars three ways. If we were together and one got kicked, dad went mental if we didn’t all limp!
Today Mike and I live together and Ryan lives next door. We’re constantly in and out of each others houses. Even today, we battle over who can do most in circuits, who’s quickest.
Both are still unbeaten. How do you assess their prospects?
Whereas Mike’s the most exciting, Ryan is probably the hardest to beat. You’re only as good as your defence and he don’t get hit a lot. Ryan had a far better apprenticeship, a couple of eight rounders and a 10 rounder. He’s well prepared for a title shot.
I understand your early amateur career wasn’t the most successful!
That’s right. Starting out, both Ryan and Michael were much better than me. Though I trained like a maniac, I didn’t take it too seriously on fight night and I only won three of my first 10. Mike would get mad with me. Me losing put a dampener on his evening.
I never had a pube till I was at least 15 but I finally started to get serious around that age and ended up winning 22 of 40 amateur bouts plus Junior ABA, Junior Four Nations and Commonwealth Youth titles. I grew up mentally and stopped treating boxing just as a ‘sport’. Now I’d willingly give my right arm to win.
Despite his work with yourselves, Sam Sexton, plus Jon Thaxton and Herbie Hide before, your trainer-manager Graham Everett is one of the most underrated in the sport. What makes him tick?
Graham’s biggest strength is probably his man management. He listens and works with you. He’s very good at picking us up when we’re down and motivating us. He’s got the good, ‘old school’ ways yet is prepared to listen to fresh ideas and experiment with new things too. Above all, he’s a friend. I’m a million percent sure he’d never try and shaft us.
How close were you to conceding your title last time out when Scotland’s Paul Appleby flattened you with a monster left hook in round seven? (Showing remarkable recuperative powers, Walsh rose to win on a ten round retirement).
I basically got lucky. Fights have been stopped for a lot less. (Referee) Ian John-Lewis, having been a fighter himself, helped me out. Others might have jumped in.
It was my fault. I opened up square on which enabled Paul to get a real swing on it and I didn’t know what I’d been hit with, didn’t see it. I picked up the count at about three and, from the corner, our Mike did a cracking job of guiding me through the count.
My legs were still very wobbly at the start of round eight but I rocked Paul right away with a big left hook. It was our Mike who advised me to ‘Stick it on him’. Brave call.
While I don’t think Graham (Everett, his trainer-manager) needs the stress of a rematch, and I’d not have much to gain, I said I’d give Paul a rematch and I’m a man of my word. The fans would love to see it again.
What is it about you and round seven?! In prior Commonwealth championships, Maxwell Awuku and John Kays also had you in big trouble?
It’s never fatigue. I just lose concentration.
For six rounds against Awuku, it was a walk in the park. But I get my stupid head on; this urge to liven things up for all of our fans. So I start holding my feet and trying to take opponents out. It was exactly the same against Kays and Appleby. It’s something I need to shed or I’ll get beat.
Your fitness appears phenomenal. What do you do to get in shape?
It’s very simple. I train very hard, cut no corners. Why have a day off if you’re feeling good?!
Fitness is my biggest plus. I go to Graham’s gym six times a week, then to a different gym in the evenings. Every session, I do it hard; give everything, every day. We run together six times a week, five miles cross country, mixing in some sprints. I’m quickest, Ryan’s the tortoise, he’s got massive legs.
Whatever I lack, it’ll never be effort.
You’ve a unique, elusive style. How much of it is taught and how much is instinctive?
It’s pretty instinctive. Whereas Mike always bored in, dad said from the age of three, I’d be on my toes, moving around him.
Ryan and me are both real students of boxing, have over 600DVDs. Sugar Ray Leonard’s my hero. I’m always watching his career set, trying to imitate moves. I’d far rather fight off instinct. If I think, I end up ‘forcing it’. Paul Appleby’s aggression allowed me to naturally let it flow, get my shots off.
The ‘Farmy Army’ fan base that follows you and your brothers nationwide is among the largest, loudest and most loyal in Britain. How did it develop?
Our house is right in the centre of Cromer and we personally flog the tickets from there, and even to people in the street. The reason they’re so passionate is that they’re nearly all genuine friends. They turn out whichever of us are fighting but Mike’s their favourite because he’s so unpredictable, comes to swing! We’ve a solid fan base of 5-600 and it’d be far more, closer to Norwich. Norwich soon, would be good. In addition to Appleby and yourself, guys like Steve Foster Jnr, Gary Buckland, Gary Sykes and Carl Johanneson make the 130lb division arguably the strongest in Britain. Who’d you like to fight?
They’d all make for good matches. I’ve not had any say in any of my fights. As long as they weigh nine stone four or less, I’m there....whoever!
Sykes also has a great engine so that’d be lively. Johanneson’s a big puncher and I’ve been down which could make it interesting. Foster Junior and me is a cracking fight. But I’d love to fight for the British title so I’d most like Buckland who beat me, fair and square, as an amateur.
Come fight night, you’ll have been out of the ring for nine and a half months. A welcome break or a frustrating loss of momentum?
Bit of both, really. I can’t blame anyone because I was offered fights but I lost my Dad just before Christmas. Heart disease. He was only 49 and I needed a bit of time out.
What I do know is that I can’t wait to get back in. I’ve been flying in training and, up at lightweight, with five extra pounds, I’m feeling brilliant. I’ve been more than holding my own with welterweights in sparring. Graham ain’t happy at all. He wants me back down at superfeather and I will go back down after this.
But I’m bursting to fight, perform, entertain again. July 14th can’t come quick enough.
What do you know of Urbano? What do you hope to get out of the contest?
I know he’s 36, I know his stats, just three losses in 29 fights(one draw), and I know he’s never been stopped so I’ll be hoping to change that, without looking for it recklessly. I’ve not seen footage but, from stills, he looks a bit rough n tumble. That’ll suit me down to the ground. Above all, I’m looking for a good tough fight I can learn from.
Long term aspirations?
One goal at a time. I desperately want to win the British title and, if I can get through this domestic thing, I’ll not be far off world level. With only 12 fights, the odds may be against me but I’d fight (Belgium’s reigning European champ Ermano) Fegatilli at the drop of a hat. He’d not put me down with body shots, like he done Foster.
Over in Vegas to see Pacquiao-Marquez III, I watched Diego Magdelano, who is viewed one of the very best prospects in the US. Yet there’s two or three in Britain who’d beat him. He had little defence or power.
I’ve wanted to be a world champ from a very young age and I’d retire now if I didn’t think I could achieve it. This game’s far too hard to just have a Commonwealth title.
Haye v Chisora is live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546). Join at www.boxnation.com
Tickets for Licensed to Thrill are available from Eventim at www.eventim.co.uk or 0844 249 1000, Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.co.uk or 0844 844 0444 and West Ham United at www.whufc.com or 0871 222 2700.
RICHARD COMMEY AIMS TO MAKE UK FANS TAKE NOTICE. HE PROMISES 12th KNOCK OUT IN A ROW ON 7th JULY
Sensational African prospect Richard Commey makes his UK debut on 7th July at York Hall Bethnal Green when he takes on former Commonwealth title challenger Kris Hughes in an 8 round bout on the Olivia Goodwin Goodwin Main Events dual title bill.
Current Champion of Ghana Commey has 11 wins all by knock out and is aiming to make in 12 from 12.
Many boxers from Ghana lack the backing to progress their careers and end up being fed as journeymen but this will not happen with Commey.
Commey is a product of the world famous Bukom area which has produced some of the most renowned African fighters such as Joshua Clottey, Ike Quartey and legendary hall of famer Azumah Nelson.
Richard was spotted by UK manager Michael Amoo-Bediako in August 2010 whilst Michael was there with his son Michael jr competing in an amateur tournament.
Michael was so impressed that he signed Richard immediately and since then Richard has gone from strength to strength culminating in winning the Ghanaian national lightweight title in December 2011.
The Streetwise team headed by Amoo-Bediako has brought Richard along with his mentor and trainer Carl Lokko to the UK to gain some valuable experience in fighting abroad. They will be based at the Pro SW gym in Loughton training alongside head trainer Archie Dublin and the Streetwise Boxers.
Richard is aiming for the Commonwealth title in the next 12 months and with Amoo-Bediako and the Goodwin promotional team behind him it will be refreshing to see this young Ghanaian have all the opportunities provided to him.