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UK News: Mitchell Smith; Towers vs Tony; Paul Graham

RICHARD TOWERS NOW FIGHTS TONY

RICHARD TOWERS will now face Frenchman Gregory Tony for the vacant EU heavyweight title at Manchester Velodrome on Saturday June 16.

The 6ft 9in Sheffield giant had been due to meet fellow unbeaten boxer Michael Wallisch on the same bill, but the German has pulled out.

Tony, 33, has 17 wins with 14 coming by knockout and two defeats – both setbacks coming against top class opponents Robert Helenius and Mike Perez.

Hatton Promotions CEO said: “It is a disappointing that Wallisch is out, but Tony is a decent test.

“The fight will tell us exactly where Richard is at and if he wins he’ll be closing in on the new European champion Kubrat Pulev.

“Richard is making steady progress and inside 12 months will be ready for men like Pulev, Tyson Fury and David Price.”

The ‘Road To Glory’ bill also features a vacant WBA interim super-bantamweight title fight between Scott Quigg and Rendall Munroe. There is also a vacant European light-middleweight title fight between Ryan Rhodes and Sergey Rabchenko.

In a special attraction unbeaten British middleweight champion Martin Murray meets French title holder Karim Achour.

There will be a talent stacked undercard that will include former British and Commonwealth welterweight champion Craig Watson, unbeaten hopefuls Lucas Browne, Kallum De’Ath, Jazza Dickens, Adam Etches, Scott Jenkins and Adam Little.

Ticket prices are now on sale priced £125 (VIP Inner Ringside + exclusive cash bar), £100 Ringside, £55, £35 and £30. You can purchase tickets by calling Hatton Promotions hotline 01925 755 222/www.ticketmaster.co.uk/0844 847 2500/www.ticketline.co.uk/0844 888 4402/www.hmv.com

IN DEPTH WITH MITCHELL SMITH

Hot talent Mitchell Smith, last year’s 57kg ABA Senior Champion, makes his professional debut this Friday (1st June) at the York Hall, Bethnal Green.

The 19-year-old from Harrow Weald will fight in the super-featherweight division making his entry into the pros with a four-round contest.

BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546) will televise the card live and exclusive headlined by Billy Joe Saunders’ Commonwealth Middleweight title defence against Bradley Pryce.

Mitchell Smith speaks to boxing writer Glynn Evans about his background, amateur career and training as a pro.

Name: Mitchell Smith

Weight: Super featherweight

Born: Harrow

Age: 19

Family background: I’ve three sisters and two brothers but basically I just live with my brother Jez and my old man in Harrow Weald. Jez is 17 and boxes for West Ham (ABC).He won a bronze at the Europeans, two national schoolboy titles and gold at the Three Nations. I’ve got a baby girl of my own on the way, due in September.

Trade: Never worked. Always been a full time boxer.

Nickname: They call me ‘The Baby Faced Assassin’.

What age did you become interested in boxing and why? I started at six after I was getting knocked about a bit at school. Dad took me to the Harrow (ABC) gym, I went to a couple of shows and thought it was for me.

What do you recall of your amateur career? I had my first bout at 11 and won....on the only stoppage of my career!

I stayed at the Harrow till I was 13 or 14 then moved to Bushey ABC where I was coached by Danny Shinkwin, a very good man. There, I won two NABCs, a national junior ABA title, and bronze in the Three Nations.

Danny decided I was too young to enter the senior ABAs and refused to enter me. But I was desperate – didn’t fancy training with no bouts to aim for - so I ended up moving to the Welling Garden City club, under Paul Cook and Harry Carrick. I had one club bout with them then went in the ABAs, really knuckled down and won at 57kilos. That has to be my amateur highlight. I boxed four times, beating James Allen of the Army, a two time ABA winner in the semis, then Chris Blinkhorn in the final.

Though Danny wanted me to wait a year, I was very confident in my ability to win the ABAs, from sparring top kids. I only boxed calibre lads, kids who’d won titles, so knew I’d not get hurt and reckoned if I trained hard enough, there wasn’t anyone out there who could beat me.

All told I had 54 amateur fights and won 38 but only dropped two unanimous decisions and even they were pretty close. Nearly all my defeats were touch and go.

To be honest, the amateurs was always up and down. I only boxed four times for England, twice v Wales, twice v Ireland. Zack Davies, a good Welsh kid, beat me something like 12-9. All that watching your weight when you’re young, makes your mind emotional. I’m short, stocky, big boned and depriving yourself of little treats when all your mates are out on the piss is mentally hard. You have to have grounded morals

Why did you decide to turn pro when you did? Basically Team GB were very reluctant to let me fight for them. I never got a fair slice of the cake. I went up to spar before the World Youth Games and was told I did brilliant but they always sent that Qais Ashfaq who won the ABAs this year. Everyone wants to fight at the Olympics and World championships but I felt there was nothing more I could do so I turned over. I only had half a dozen senior bouts.

Tell us about your back up team: I’m promoted by Francis Warren (Queensberry Promotions) and co-managed by Richard Clark and (ex British light-welter king) Jason Rowland. Jason also trains me and my Dad will help him work my corner. Jason trains you hard and gets into your mind. He’s a great man for conditioning. We gel really well. He knows an awful lot about the game. A US company called Usana supply my supplements.

What’s your training schedule? Which parts do you most and least enjoy? I usually train six days a week. I run between four and seven miles early most mornings, around eight o’clock, then go to the boxing gym around one. We usually use either RJs in Edmonton or the Origin gym in Rainham.

I usually start of with a bit of shadow boxing, then go on to pads and bags. All told I’ll probably do about 12 rounds. I’ll finish off with a 30 minute circuit; a mixture of top and bottom half, loads of pull ups and sit ups. I’ll build it up far more as my fights become longer. I’m always off sparring. I’ve worked with Carl Frampton, Lewis Pettitt and a few good amateurs, particularly at the West Ham gym.

I enjoy every part equally. I’m just really happy in the gym. Least favourite is lifting these big tractor tyres. We have to drag ‘em and flip ‘em. They give me blisters cos I’ve got soft hands.

Describe your style? What are your best qualities? Exciting! I think I’ve got something and I’m gonna use it. Though I only look about 16, nobody’s stronger or quicker.

I can do anything, adapt to anyone. If I’ve got to fight, box, jab, switch I’ll do it and win the fight. I’ve never been stopped or put down. Amateur, I was taught differently but now I’m starting to put people over in sparring.

I’m so ready to go. My debut’s been cancelled three times already. I don’t want to blow my own trumpet but I can’t wait to get the ball rolling so other people can decide.

What specifically do you need to work on to fully optimise your potential as a fighter? Everything. Make myself stronger, faster. I know I’ve got the ability to go 12 rounds already. They won’t let me but I know I could fight for the British title tomorrow and win it!

What have you found to be the biggest difference between the pro and amateur codes? As an amateur, 15, 16, 17, I’d just pick and move but, lately, I’ve slowed my feet up while keeping my hands fast.

Who is the best opponent that you’ve shared a ring with? Probably Carl Frampton in sparring. He’s very powerful for a superbantamweight. He’s not only a fighter, he’s very good all round, very quick.

All time favourite fighter: Sugar Ray Leonard. He was quick.

All time favourite fight: Cotto-Margarito II. Cotto never put a foot wrong.

Which current match would you most like to see made? Floyd Mayweather v Mike Tyson. I’m not sure who’d win!

What is your routine on fight day? I like to get up early, around 8ish and stay active. If I lie in bed all day I’d be sluggish and not perform. I’ll have a bit of porridge or scrambled egg for breakfast then take Miley, my little white Staff, for a walk. Then I’ll chill, listen to calm music, a bit of Phil Collins or Michael Buble or watch TV. Anything to take my mind off the fight. I like to get to the arena early so I can visualise and get comfy in my surroundings in the changing room. I’m nice and calm, ready to go. Nerves are good. They make me perform better.

Entrance music: ‘Push The Feeling On’ by Nightcrawlers.

What are your ambitions as a boxer? To completely clean up; from the Harrow title to the world title!

How do you relax? I go out carp fishing over Uxbridge way. I’ll often go Friday morning till Monday night with a pal or two; take a stove and make me own grub. Otherwise, just chill with my family or girlfriend.

Football team: West Ham. I watch ‘em on the TV but I want to get over there and watch a game live.

Read: Only Boxing News, really. I’m not a fan of reading. I’ve started several books but when I get a few pages in, I get bored and stop.

Music: I like The Script...calm music.

Films/TV: I like comedies. My favourite film is ‘The Green Mile’ with Tom Hanks. On TV, I’m a huge fan of ‘The Only Way Is Essex’.

Aspiration in life: Just to be happy.

Motto: He Who Dares, Wins!

*SAUNDERS v PRYCE IS LIVE AND EXCLUSIVE ON BOXNATION (SKY CH. 456/VIRGIN CH. 546) FROM 7.30PM. JOIN AT WWW.BOXNATION.COM *

Prospect Boxing: Promoter expects a right royal cracker for June 1st show as 50/50 fights are the order of the day

Ahead of Friday's show, Scotland’s newest promoter Paul Graham admits that this card is causing him a few headaches but not for the usual reasons that you would expect “I’ve promoted a few shows now,but I don’t think any I have been involved with have had so many 50/50 fights”

On Friday's show, Prospect Boxing will have a five fight card at Rivals Gym which will see some local fighters given the opportunity to showcase themselves and their talents,which is something that Graham believes adds value to the card “Like any sport, the fans make the event a success and there support can spur a fighter on when their in the ring. I always try and keep my card full of local fighters as they always are well supported. Plus on Friday its the start of the Bank holiday weekend so what better way to celebrate the Jubilee weekend than an evening at the Boxing ?”

“While this card will be headlined by the undefeated Iain Butcher (3-0) taking on Liverpool’s Phil Smith (2-0), its hard to say what I think the fight of the night could be. In the three other bouts I have matched I believe there 50/50 affairs, but for the (Martin)McCord fight we are still waiting to hear back from a few offers we have made for opponents, and its proving harder to match him than I first expected”

“Looking through the card I cant pick a winner between Giuseppe Daprato and Ryan McNicol. Both fighters are coming off loss's they picked up on the road and Daprato has vowed to overcome the loss and return to winning ways”

Also in action is local favourite Mark Bett, who takes on late replacement James Smith. “The Bett v Smith bout is good one as,while Bett has picked a few losses on his resume, he does graft in the ring and push his opponent. However Smith is the younger fighter, but he’s coming off a loss to a fighter making his debut and that is something a fighter will always carry into his next fight. So the circumstances really open this fight up”

Looking to get himself back into a title contention is Mitch Prince who takes on experienced journeyman Youssef Al Hamidi. “This could be a small hall classic,and I feel could feature on any card weather its a big arena show or in a sports hall”

He adds “Mitch is looking for a way back into the title scene after his loss to Stuart Green and Al Hamidi is by no means a walk over. In his recent fights in Scotland he has good victories over Jason Hastie and Alexander White. It could also be argued that he gave a good account against Ricky Burns on the two occasions he has fought him”

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