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UK News: Crolla; Bute-Froch; Rhodes; Fury-Rogan; More

NEW YORK, NY – Undefeated International Boxing Federation (IBF) super middleweight champion LUCIAN BUTE will make his 10th world title defense when he battles two-time World Boxing Council super middleweight champion CARL “The Cobra” FROCH, Saturday, May 26.  Promoted by Matchroom Sport, Ltd. and InterBox, the Bute vs. Froch World Super Middleweight Championship will be televised live in the U.S., from Nottingham Arena, in Nottingham, England, exclusively on EPIX, the multiplatform premium entertainment service.  EpixHD.com will stream the fight live as part of a special free trial offer for boxing fans.

These two gladiators boast a combined record of 59-2 (44 KOs) – a 97% winning percentage and a 75% victory by knockout ratio.

As has become the custom, EPIX will once again present the closed-captioned simulcast of this world championship rumble on the jumbotron in Times Square in New York City (Broadway between 44th and 45th).

“EPIX is very pleased with the fan reaction and audience growth of its series of exclusive live U.S. telecasts of world championship fights. The fireworks Bute vs. Froch will produce is the perfect follow up to our unprecedented heavyweight championship trilogy which featured Wladimir Klitschko, Vitali Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin defending their world titles over three consecutive weeks,” said Travis Pomposello, EPIX CCO and executive producer of EPIX Sports.    

“I am very pleased that boxing fans in the United States won’t miss this war between Carl Froch and me. I want to thank the EPIX network for broadcasting this fight. I am training very seriously to face Carl Froch and I look forward to defending my title for the 10th time. May 26th is going to be a great night of boxing!” said Bute.

“I’m thrilled that EPIX has taken on my fight with Lucian. I have a lot of fans across the pond and it is important that they get to see this fight live. It’s going to be a great atmosphere in my hometown on the night because it’s been so long since I’ve boxed there and I think people will be impressed at the noise and passion my fans show when they turn out in force – along with the class inside the ring on the night, it’s going to be a must see event,” said Froch.

“The enthusiasm and momentum building for this event is huge. We are very happy and proud that EPIX will present one of the best fights of 2012 in the world, live to boxing fans across United States. It was important for InterBox that Lucian get as much exposure throughout the World as possible,” said Jean Bedard, President of InterBox.

“We’re delighted to be teaming up with EPIX on this fight. It’s a massive night in World Championship boxing and I am sure that EPIX will do a great job presenting what is arguably the fight of the year,” said Eddie Hearn, Group Managing Director of Matchroom Sport, Ltd.

 Bute (30-0, 24 KOs), a newly-minted Canadian Citizen, is a native of Galat, Romania who now fights out of Montréal, Québec, Canada.  When he travels to Froch’s backyard in Nottingham it will be the first time Bute has not fought in Canada or Romania since 2004.  A southpaw known for his two-fisted punching power and counterpunching prowess, Bute is in the fifth year of his world championship reign.  He captured the world title in 2007, knocking out defending champion Alejandro Berrio in the 11th round of their ferocious fight.  Seven of Bute’s nine consecutive title defense victories have been by stoppage, including former world champion William Joppy, and top-rated contenders Librado Andrade, Edison Miranda, Jean-Paul Mendy and Fulgencio Zuniga.  His recent six-bout victory by knockout streak ended in November with his unanimous decision victory over former world champion Glenn Johnson. Bute’s performance was so dominating he won all 12 rounds on two judges’ cards and 11 or 12 rounds on the third card with scores of 120-108, 120-108, and 119-109      

Froch (28-2, 20 KOs), of Nottingham, England, is a pressure fighter known for his aggressive style and exceptional skills and movement.  It would be hard to find another fighter in this division who has fought the caliber of opposition Froch has faced.  He captured his first world title – the vacant WBC super middleweight championship – in 2008, winning a unanimous decision over future world champion Jean Pascal in a battle of undefeated contenders.  Froch successfully defended the title twice in 2009, knocking out former world champion Jermain Taylor in the 12th round and winning a split decision over undefeated No. 1 contender Andre Dirrell. After losing the title in 2010 to Mikkel Kessler via a close but unanimous decision, Froch regained the WBC title later that year with a unanimous decision victory over former world champion Arthur Abraham. After successfully defending the title against Glen Johnson in June 2011, Froch lost his crown last December to undefeated WBA super middleweight champion and 2011 Fighter of the Year Andre Ward, in a title unification fight, via a close unanimous decision.       

CROLLA SETS RECORD STRAIGHT OVER REF AND STEPPING STONE ‘JIBE’

ANTHONY ‘MILLION DOLLAR’ CROLLA has laughed off Derry Mathews’s claim that he branded his big fight rival a “stepping stone”.

Crolla, 25, makes his second British lightweight title defence against his Merseyside challenger at Oldham Sports Centre on Saturday April 21.

The Mancunian (23-2) said: “Derry has totally made up the ‘stepping stone’ comment. Never once have I called him that.

“I would never call any fighter that because it is totally disrespectful – never mind somebody of Derry’s calibre.

“I think Derry has done that just to hype himself up. If he feels that is what he needs to do then fair enough, but I just laugh when I see him hash tag it on Twitter all the time.”

Referee Marcus McDonnell was due to referee the 12-round clash, but was removed by the British Boxing Board of Control yesterday (Mon).

McDonnell made a comment on a social networking site saying praising Mathews (29-6-1) prompting the decision, but Crolla says he would never doubt the experienced referee’s integrity.

He added: “It doesn’t bother me if Marcus McDonnell is the referee because he is good and I would have no problem him officiating in my future fights.

“Marcus didn’t mean anything by his comment, but the British Boxing Board of Control are just covering their own back.

“It is just that if there is a controversial ending or points deduction for me people might start making comments.

“When Marcus made the comment he just didn’t think. It was just a silly thing to do although he meant nothing by it.”

In a magnificent chief support Birtley’s Jon Lewis Dickinson risks his English cruiserweight crown against Hatton Promotions prospect Matty Askin, in a ten rounder that is also a British title eliminator.

Among those also appearing will be former European super-featherweight champion Stephen Foster Jr, unbeaten Jazza Dickins and Irish amateur sensation Ryan Burnett makes his debut

Boxing starts at 6.15pm and tickets are on sale. They are priced at £35 general admission, £55 floor seating, £75 ringside and £100 VIP Ringside. You can buy by calling the Hatton Box Office 01925 755 222, Ticketmaster 0844 847 2500, Ticketline 0844 888 9991, any boxer on the bill or online www.hattonboxing.com

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RHODES v RABCHENKO FOR THE EUROPEAN TITLE

HATTON PROMOTIONS stable-mates Ryan Rhodes and Sergey Rabchenko will meet for the vacant European light-middleweight title at Manchester Velodrome on Saturday 16th June.

The brilliant 12 round battle will be one of several top class fights on the ‘Road To Glory’ bill headed by the WBA interim super-bantamweight championship clash between Scott Quigg and Rendall Munroe.

A third championship battle will be announced tomorrow

They were due to meet last month, but Rhodes was forced to pull out because of a back injury that prevented him from training.

Belarussian Rabchenko, 26, who spends much of his time training in Manchester is unbeaten in 20 fights – with 15 victories inside the distance.

Ryan, 35, won the title when he beat Jamie Moore in October 2009 in a memorable war, but was stripped after one defence because of injury.

Last June, Rhodes (46-5) stepped up to world level and was stopped in the 12th round by Mexican star Saul Alvarez in a WBC title challenge.

And Hatton Promotions CEO Ricky Hatton has no doubt what awaits the winner, saying: “I am sure I will get the victor a world title fight.

“It is an exceptional fight between two special boxers and it fills me with excitement at what these lads will serve up for fans.

“Sergey is one of the best young talents in Europe and Ryan might be getting on in years, but his hunger and desire hasn’t diminished.

“He proved that when he beat Siarhei Khomiski in November. His injury has cleared up, he’s raring to go and determined to see off Rabchenko.”

The on-sale ticket date will be confirmed early next week, but you can register your interest by calling 01925 755 222.

Ticket prices are £125 (VIP Inner Ringside + exclusive cash bar), £100 Ringside, £55, £35 and £30.

IRISH FANS WANT ME TO KO ROGAN

London (April 3rd) TYSON Fury has been overwhelmed by the support he expects to receive when he battles with Martin Rogan at Belfast’s Odyssey Arena on April 14 on the Hennessey Sports ‘Unfinished Business’ show.

The Titanic battle between Fury and Rogan will be broadcast live on Channel 5.

Fury has been locked away in Manchester training like never before but has been made aware of those coming to the Odyssey who will be willing him to victory in his vacant all-Ireland heavyweight title fight with Belfast hard man Rogan.

“The support that I have been getting is unbelievable. When I boxed in Belfast last year I got a fantastic reception wherever I went and on the night the atmosphere was amazing,” commented Fury.

“Now the Irish fans are getting right behind me, they want to see me knock out Rogan. They know how good I am and they know a real Irish warrior when they see one. You’ll never see me sit on my stool and quit or complain about a bad toe - I’m the real deal.

“Rogan probably thought that he would have all the support in the arena on April 14 but he’s in for a shock because I’m going to feed off the great support that is coming my way.

“I’m very proud of my Irish roots, my uncle lives just outside Belfast, so there’s going to be great support for me and I will do them proud by knocking out wee Rogie.

“He’s a proud guy and I’m sure he’ll give it his best but when you look at the two of us there’s a big difference in class and that will be the difference on the night.”

Fury also says that he wants the victory over Rogan to be the start of a series of fights on Irish soil, leading to a World heavyweight title shot.

“The Irish fans are just fantastic, I really feel at home there. The Odyssey Arena is going to be packed out, the tickets are flying and after I beat Rogan I know the fans will want to come back again and again because they will have a world class heavyweight to support.

“Bringing a World heavyweight title fight to Irish soil would be very special and there’s nobody else can do that except me.”

Joining Tyson Fury, Martin Rogan will be middleweight sensation Chris Eubank Jr from Brighton, Former Commonwealth Champion Irishman John O'Donnell, Belfast fighters Dee Walsh, Darren Corbett, Tommy Tolan, Ciaran Healy, Marc Mccullough, Conall Carmichael, Moses Matovu and County Mayo’s Michael Sweeney.

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets for the UNFINISHED BUSINESS event at the Odyssey Arena on April 14th are priced at £155, £105, £65, £44, £33 and £27.50 and can be purchased from the Odyssey Arena Box Office on 028 9073 9074,  or via Ticketmaster on 0844 277 4455 (24 hour).

Tickets can also be purchased in person from the Odyssey Arena Box Office and the usual Ticketmaster outlets.

Tickets are also available to purchased online from www.ticketmaster.ie

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