UK News: Enzo Maccarinelli, Don Charles, Gethin, More
ENZO MACCARINELLI PREVIEWS DENIS LEBEDEV AGAINST GUILLERMO JONES LIVE ON BOXNATION TODAY
Any confusion as to the rightful tenant to the WBA World Cruiserweight throne should get straightened out this evening when reigning incumbent Denis Lebedev squares off with ‘champion in recess’ Guillermo Jones of Panama at the 7,000 Crocus City Hall in Myakinino, Moscow.
It’s sure to be a quality match up between two time served world class operators and, once again, BoxNation, The Channel of Champions, delivers the action live and exclusive to its subscribers from 5.30pm on Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch.546. Join at www.boxnation.com
The words ‘rugged’ and ‘uncompromising’ appear to have been invented for the defending champion, a 5ft 11in southpaw.
The 33 year old is, however, a natural born fighter who, following back to back scalpings of faded US legends Roy Jones Jnr and James ‘Lights Out’ Toney in 2011, has been making a solid claim to be considered the most dangerous 200lb fighter on this planet.
Hailing from Chekhov, Lebedev entered the profession back in February 2001 and was crowned Russian light-heavyweight champion in just his third fight. He made steady progress thereafter, first surfacing to prominence in the UK in July 2009 when he left Swansea’s ex WBO king Enzo Maccarinelli with a face like a gargoyle after a three round mauling at Manchester’s MEN Arena. The Ruskie had previously featured at that venue 10 months earlier, bashing up Battersea fireman Nick Okoth inside two rounds.
The mauling of Maccarinelli persuaded promoter Frank Warren to make an investment and three subsequent meaningful stoppages over Ali Ismailov (16-2-1, WRTD 6), Ignacio Esparza (16-1, RSF4) and, most notably, a one shot, second round icing of ex world amateur champion Alexander Alexeev (19-1, going in) secured Lebedev his first world title opportunity against WBO king Marco Huck in Berlin. He is commonly believed to have been shafted by the judges losing a 12 round split decision in December 2010.
Nevertheless, his stellar showing fashioned the openings against Jones Jnr, who he ironed out with just two seconds remaining of their scheduled ten rounder, and Toney against whom he won all 12 rounds on every judge’s card.
The latter victory brought recognition as the WBA’s ‘interim’ champion and, after seeing off veteran Barbados banger Shawn Cox in two rounds, he assumed full championship status by blowing away Columbia’s Santander Silgado last time out, also at this venue.
His Don King promoted challenger might be 41 now but he’s only been mastered once in the past 15 years and that’s when he conceded a 10 round points decision to the very able Steve Cunningham in April 2005.
Remarkably, the gangly Panamanian entered the profession as a 6ft 4in welterweight (!) way back in July 1993 and twice challenged France’s Laurent Boudouani for the WBA light-middle strap (drawing, then losing) before the turn of the Millennium. In a third world title tilt he was again thwarted by a tie following a November 2002 WBO cruiser challenge to Sheffield’s Johnny Nelson in Derby.
‘El Felino’ finally earned the right to style himself as a world champion in September 2008, when he collected the WBA belt by scalping Turkish tough guy Firat Arslan in eight rounds over in Hamburg, Germany. However, in the ensuing 38 months, he managed just two defences –both stoppage wins – and the sanctioning body understandably lost patience, downgrading his standing to that of ‘champion in recess’.
Despite 18 months of dormancy, he appears eager to atone and has predicted that he well retain his claim by beating Lebedev inside five rounds!
To provide expert analysis of the principals, boxing writer Glynn Evans hunted down ex WBO 200lb king and former Lebedev victim Enzo Maccarinelli. Here is what the cordial and extremely knowledgeable 32 year old from Bonymaen, Swansea, had to say.
“I’ll definitely be tuning in to this. It should be very entertaining while it lasts.
I’ve followed Denis pretty closely since we fought four years ago and I have to say he’s really come on since then. I wouldn’t read too much into his win over me because, at the time, I was experimenting with a new style, waiting to counterpunch and it just didn’t really suit me.
But that said, I do remember that Lebedev was very, very strong in the clinches. Physically, he’s built like a bull. When we fought, I know that I hurt him with a body shot quite early on but remember that his recovery was very quick. He’s a genuine hard man.
But there’s much more to him than just brawn. He does all of the basics very well and, against me, he used his southpaw stance very effectively. Everything came from behind the jab and he had a very heavy, swinging back hand punch.
He’s also a lot cleverer than he might outwardly appear. He gauges range very well; moves his head back just far enough to make you fall short. Then he counters hard. It might look awkward but it’s definitely deliberate. I thought he was very unlucky not to get the nod when he conceded a close decision in a WBO challenge to Marco Huck, the only loss on his record.
I’ve probably not seen as much of Jones as I have of Denis but I caught his humdinger with (ex WBC king Wayne ‘Big Truck’) Braithwaite and also watched his WBO challenge to Johnny Nelson, when he gave Johnny all sorts of trouble. If my memory serves me correctly, Johnny escaped with a pretty dubious draw. Back then, Johnny was a class act but Jones gave him a torrid night.
I think the type to trouble Lebedev might be a fighter with clever movement, someone like Steve Cunningham when he was operating down at cruiserweight. But Guillermo doesn’t really fall into that category. He doesn’t run away. Whenever I’ve seen him, he’s always come and given it a real go.
It’s remarkable that he began his pro career 20 years ago as a welterweight but now he’s a big, big cruiserweight who takes a good shot. He seems to have a very big heart. He showed himself to be very strong, stubborn and resilient against Johnny Nelson and Johnny could really bang. But that was 11 years ago so who knows if the desire is still there.
He’s coming off a very long period of inactivity and a lot will depend on how he’s been training and living in the interim. If he’s undertaken regular quality sparring, the rust shouldn’t affect him too badly but the impression I’ve been getting, is that he hasn’t done very much at all. If that’s the case, it’s very doubtful that he’ll fully recover top form over an eight to ten week training camp.
If he’s to win he’s going to have to apply relentless pressure throughout but I think his age and the inactivity will go against him. I expect Lebedev to keep his hands up, chin down and pepper Jones with jabs as he charges in, driving in those back hand shots, every time Guillermo falls short.
As Jones never lost his title in the ring, you can expect him to give it an almighty try and I certainly don’t envisage a one-sided beat down. But I do favour Lebedev to retain by stoppage."
DON CHARLES PREVIEWS POVETKIN AGAINST WAWRZYK
WBA World Heavyweight czar Alexander Povetkin walks the tightrope this evening when he puts his belt on the line against unbeaten Pole Andrzej Wawrzyk at the Crocus City Hall, Moscow.
The 6ft 2in Russian’s promoter Vlad Hryunov tabled a whopping $23.2 million winning purse bid - the third biggest ever - for a proposed unification spat with Wladimir Klitschko later this summer but that will all go up in cinders if he slips up against the 25 year old former European Junior champion from Krakow.
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Challenger Wawrzyk has won 27 straight since vaulting to the paid ranks in November 2006 and, at 6ft 5in tall, is an imposing physical specimen. However, despite largely unthreatening competition thus far, he has logged just 13 stoppage wins which suggests that, though undeniably strong and powerful, he doesn’t appear a naturally explosive puncher.
The most worthy entries on his CV are a September 2011 ninth round stoppage of 2004 US Olympic team captain Devin Vargas and a June 2012 points win over Russia’s decent Denis Bakhtov.
The Chekhov based champion has altogether more convincing credentials and enters as a prohibitive 16-1 on favourite. In the amateur code, Povetkin captured two European Senior titles plus the 2003 World Seniors crown prior to striking gold at super-heavyweight at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Punching for pay, the Kostya Tszyu trained 33 year old has won 25 straight with 17 victims failing to finish. Whilst he has made three successful defences of the WBA crown he captured against compatriot Ruslan Chagaev in Erfurt, Germany 21 months ago, only WBO cruiser king Marco Huck provided a credible threat.
At face value, it might appear a fairly routine assignment for the champion. However, that’s certainly not how Don Charles, coach to British heavyweight star Dereck Chisora, predicted the fight would pan out when he spoke to boxing writer Glynn Evans earlier in the week!
“I’ve been doing a little bit of research into this and I see it as a very interesting fight.
I’ve been following Povetkin for quite a while now because I always sensed that one day we (Chisora) would meet in the ring. I have to concede that, three or four years ago, he used to be one of my favourite heavyweights. I used to consider him the ‘White Holyfield’. He has beautiful hands and was capable of throwing these really sharp combinations.
Though he’s a solid heavyweight, he could put his shots together like a middleweight and was a really good all rounder. There was a real smooth flow about his work and, though he doesn’t really have the power to completely wipe out the very top guys with one shot, he has the capacity to destroy anyone foolish enough to provide a stationary target.
If he’s not in really good condition, he’s going to experience problems against Wawrzyk. I’ve seen quite a few clips of the challenger recently and he’s shown a lot of good elements, good boxing ideas.
At 6ft 5in (tall), Wawrzyk’s a big boy and he enters with all the physical advantages. He also seems to train very, very hard. On top of that, he’s got really good boxing ability. He moves well, slips punches well and seems very creative, very imaginative. He’s certainly not your typical robotic Eastern European. He’s loose, relaxed and has impressive punch variety. I think he has all the tools to cause Povetkin a lot of problems, I really do.
On the downside, it seems from his record that he’s not as heavy handed as he could be. While most of his points wins have been shut outs, he’s been taken the full eight round distance by British journeyman types like Paul Butlin and Lee Swaby. I see Wawrzyk was also taken ten by Denmark’s Claus Bertino who was dispatched inside a round by Audley Harrison in Prizefighter earlier this year. That certainly places a question mark as to whether he has the power to compete at the very highest level. We’ll see.
If Povetkin is to retain his title, I think he’s going to have to force a stoppage and I really hope he’s trained hard for this. But truthfully, I can’t see him doing that. Wawrzyk’s got a lot going for him in this fight. He’s got grit, youth and he’s hungry.
I know Wawrzyk’s a huge underdog but I see him popping the jab and outboxing Povetkin over the first four rounds or so, then gradually breaking the champion down. He’s intelligent and he’s got a good flow about him.
To take the title, Wawrzyk needs to ensure that he doesn’t get involved at close range where Povetkin is most effective. My advice to the challenger would be to box and move off the back foot, where I believe he has a clear advantage, and then take it to Povetkin if he manages to hurt him as he walks on to the Pole’s punches. Attempting to outgun Povetkin would be a big mistake.
Wawrzyk isn’t a negative Eastern European type like the Klitschkos so I think it’ll be a good fight to watch. A study of his record shows that most of his wins were complete shutouts so I’m taking him to cause an upset and score a points victory. He’s the better technician and the bigger man physically.”
MITCH BUCKLAND WANTS A COLLECTION OF TITLES
WELSH lightweight prospect Mitch Buckland is on a mission to win as many titles as he can.
The Cardiff southpaw, 19, has watched his older brother Gary win numerous belts in the past few years, but now he's started a collection of his own.
Last weekend Mitch defeated Bridgewater's tough Dean Mills to win the vacant British Masters bronze crown and he believes it will be the first of many.
"Winning a title was like a dream come true. You always imagine winning a belt growing up and when that day comes you can't believe it," he said.
"Before that fight I'd only boxed 14 rounds in total so it was great to jump straight up to eight rounds. The next step is ten rounds and then hopefully 12.
"I remember when Gary won his first title, it spurred him on more and he went on to win the Celtic and then the British title.
"Before my brother ever won any titles I used to look at British champions and think 'god they're so good, can I ever get to that level?' Now, though, I've seen what it takes through watching Gary.
"I know that as long as you put the hours in at the gym and you keep learning, you can get there.
"Welsh boxing is going well at the minute. Nathan Cleverly is a world champion and, then there's Gary and Gavin Rees and a few others winning things. It'd be lovely to have my name mentioned alongside those."
A natural next step for Mitch would be a Welsh title clash with reigning champion Craig Woodruff.
However, Mitch defeated the Newport man in a four-rounder last year and it seems Woodruff isn't keen on a return.
"We've been trying to get a fight with Craig Woodruff, but he doesn't seem to want it," Mitch explained.
"Obviously I want to win the Welsh title, but it seems we might have to go for the Celtic title instead. There's also the possibility of Woodruff himself fighting for the Celtic and me boxing someone else for the vacant Welsh belt.
"Either way I'm going in the right direction and getting closer to where I want to be as boxer."
British Lightweight Champion, Martin Gethin, believes he is in the shape of his life as his IBF Final Eliminator showdown with Ammeth Diaz draws ever nearer.
The Walsall warrior takes on Diaz on Friday, 31st May at Walsall Town Hall, topping the bill of a show promoted by Frank Warren in association with Errol Johnson’s NEWOB Promotions.
Gethin has sought the advice of Strength & Conditioning Guru, Nico Kolokythas, and, after working with specialist coach every day during his training camp, is beginning to reap the benefits.
“I’m feeling in the best shape I’ve ever been in,” Gethin told www.uko-boxing.com . “Nico is teaching me little techniques and has been tweaking my regime to get the best out of me. I can feel the difference.
“Nico has been studying and practicing Kung Fu for 15 years and is Head Coach at the Walsall campus of Wolverhampton University. He has brought elements of his training in to the work he is doing with me.
“He’s looked at my stability and mobility and made me feel extra sharp and super fit.”
The 29 year-old is just one step away from securing the mandatory challenger position to face current IBF World Champion Miguel Vazquez.
Standing between him and that shot is tough Panamanian Ammeth Diaz. The Panama City pugilist has fought 43 times during a 13 year career and goes into the fight with 31 wins and 22 KO’s.
Diaz has been in with a number of World-Class opponents and went the distance with Vazquez last January. He represents Gethin’s toughest ever challenge but the Quiet Man from the Black Country insists that, like the title of the show, he is ‘Ready To Silence The World’.
“I’m definitely ready,” he added. “It’s the kind of fight a boxer dreams of.
“Winning the British Title in January was a massive thing for me. Now I’m ready to push on again and prove myself at the top level of boxing.
“I’ve worked hard to get to this point. I’ve been a professional boxer for 9 years. I’ve had 28 pro fights to get to this point. It’s been a long road but it’s been worth it.
“Everything I’ve got out of boxing has come through hard work and dedication. Nothing has been given to me without a fight, literally.
“Now I’m ready; ready to silence the world and show what I’m capable of.”