Die-hard Chelsea fan and Commonwealth Super-Middleweight Champion George Groves heads to Stamford Bridge tomorrow night for a special pitch appearance.
Unbeaten Groves is building towards the biggest fight of his career when he defends his title on Saturday 15th December against former IBF World Light-Heavyweight Champion Glen Johnson, but jumped at the chance when asked to attend the Fulham match as the celebrity half-time guest.
"This is the first time I've been asked to go on the pitch at Stamford Bridge and I'm really honoured to be there for tomorrow night’s match,” Said Groves.
“I’ve been a Chelsea fan since I was at school and I used to go to the home games with my uncle and I also traveled with him to a lot of the away games. Now I go to as many home games as possible when training permits between fights and I love the atmosphere there,
“My first memory is probably Dennis Wise lifting the FA Cup in 1997 and the nicest would be when Chelsea won the Premier League for the first time in 50 years. Winning the Champions League last season was a great moment and I was also there at the parade,”
The heavy-handed southpaw lists Blues’ legend Gianfranco Zola and Frank Lampard as his heroes and says to fight for a world title at Stamford Bridge would be his dream.
He added, "There have been so many great players at Chelsea over the years but Zola has always been my favourite and Lampard is another great player. Like any boxer who passionately follows a football team, it’s their dream to fight at the team’s home ground and it’s my dream to fight for or defend a world title at Stamford Bridge. Ricky Hatton did it at Man City and more recently Kevin Mitchell fought at West Ham, so maybe it could happen to me one day.”
Groves v Johnson features as chief support on a massive five-title card headlined by Ricky Burns’ WBO World Lightweight title defence; plus Commonwealth Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders defends his title against Nick Blackwell with the vacant British title also on the line; unbeaten Bradley Skeete challenges Southern Area Welterweight Champion Chas Symonds for his title and WBO International Cruiserweight Champion Tony Conquest defends against Neil Dawson.
Tickets, priced from £40 are available at www.eventim.co.uk or by calling 0844 2491000.
The show will be live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546). Join at www.boxnation.com
"Punisher" Hyland hits Vegas in search of early Christmas present
Patrick Hyland V Javier Fortuna
Please find attached a press relase regarding Patrick Hyland's upcoming WBA Interim title fight on the Manny Pacquiao - Juan Manuel Marquez undercard at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas on December 8th. Also attached is a free to use image of Patrick.
Patrick "The Punisher" Hyland touched down in Las Vegas at the weekend as he wraps up preparations for the biggest fight of his life. The Dubliner hits boxing's big time on December 8th when he takes on Javier Fortuna for the WBA Interim Featherweight title at the MGM Grand on a bill headlined by the fourth clash between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez.
It's the realisation of a lifelong dream for Hyland who holds the longest current unbeaten run in Irish boxing with 27 straight wins to his name. The 29 year old plans on extending that to 28 in Las Vegas and returning home to Tallaght with an early Christmas present by wrapping the WBA belt around his waist.
"It's every kids dream to fight for a world title so to do it on such a big stage on a Manny Pacquiao card in Las Vegas live on US TV is an added bonus," said Hyland. "Fighting for the world title will fulfil a lifelong ambition and now the opportunity is finally almost here. This is what I've worked for since the very first day I put on a pair of boxing gloves so it's a dream come true.
"I've felt ready to step up to World level for a while now so December 8th will be a chance for me to show everybody what I'm about. This is the biggest test of my career to date but when you get to World title level you have to face the best and I've always wanted to test myself against the very best."
Fortuna has been impressing fight fans in compiling a 20 fight unbeaten record that has seen him KO 15 of his opponents to date and in the process gain a reputation as one of the sports rising stars. However Hyland feels that the Dominican Republic puncher has yet to be truly tested and is promising to deliver the ultimate examination of his world title credentials at the MGM Grand.
"There has been a lot of hype about Fortuna and deservedly so because he's had some decent wins," said Hyland. "He comes out of the blocks quickly and has a lot of first round knockouts so I'll have to weather the early storm. A storm always blows itself out though so lets see what he's like later in the fight because I plan to take him into deeper waters and drown him.
"Training has gone very well, I worked very hard at my training camp in upstate New York and I'm feeling nice and sharp and ready for fight night. He's a southpaw but that has never been an issue for me. In fact I've KO'd every southpaw I've met so far in the pro ranks so hopefully I can keep that streak going against Fortuna.
"Obviously everything is on the line for both of us in this fight. As the old cliche says, 'somebody's 0 has gotta go' but there is a major incentive for us to shine and the winner is going to go on to some massive unification fights and headline big cards like this in their own right."
Hyland's manager Brian Peters has described the fight as a "massive opportunity" for Hyland. "Patrick wants to prove himself at World level and he jumped at the fight when it was offered. It's a massive opportunity, for a very good purse on the biggest stage possible. It's a huge step up but Patrick feels ready for these kinds of fights now. He will have to be very careful in those first few rounds because Fortuna is so dangerous early on but after a few rounds I think it will become a completely different fight and Patrick can start to take over."
21 year-old 'Tornado' Tyler Goodjohn aims to get back to winning ways on December 8th in Brentwood - and has hired a former champion as his trainer to help him do so.
Goodjohn won his first five fights before suffering a surprise defeat at the hands of Vinny Woolford a year ago. A routine win followed but then in a very close fight which could have gone either way, Tyler dropped a decision by a single point to current Southern Area champion Danny Connor.
A week on Saturday he faces Sylwester Walczak from Poland who has lost only two from six fights.
Since his loss to Connor, Goodjohn has appointed Steve Spartacus as his trainer and signed a long term deal with Goodwin Promotions. Spartacus was the first ever English light-heavyweight champion back in 2003 and also twice challenged for the Lonsdale belt.
“I feel in tremendous shape," said Goodjohn. “I have been working incredibly hard with my new trainer Steve Spartacus, who has added so much to my game. I am still very young in boxing terms but I have experienced a lot early and I have 100% confidence that my ability and determination will win titles.
"I will start by showing on December 8th that 2013 is going to be my year. I will be bringing the Fen Army to Essex who always do me proud and there will definitely be a tornado in Essex.”
Promoter Steve Goodwin added: “I am delighted to have signed Tyler. He is a very determined young man and things just have not fallen his way. I have total confidence that from now on Tyler will be able to fulfil his dreams and I look forward to being a part of it and helping him achieve his goals.”
Goodjohn's bout is one of eight being shown live and for free on Primetime (Sky 498) from 5.30 pm on Saturday December 8th. The mammoth 'Earthquake in Essex' card features 15 bouts in total.
The show is headed by a rematch for the Southern Area light-middleweight title between Kris Agyei-Dua and Nathan Graham. The fight that has created the most public interest and the one everyone wants to see is the grudge heavyweight clash between rejuvenated former amateur star Ian Lewison and undefeated Welsh prospect Dorian Darch (6-0).
Recording star John Tubby will perform his forthcoming single as an added attraction.
Tickets can be bought at www.goodwinpromotions.co.uk or by calling 01525 851150.
Lausanne, Switzerland - After suffering a heavy defeat away to Russia in their first World Series of Boxing (WSB) outing, the Algeria Desert Hawks will be keen to make amends in Group A when they welcome Azerbaijan Baku Fires at the Salle Hocine-Chaalane on Friday 30 November (15:00 local time). The home team will be hoping that their Algerians, including big guns Samir Brahimi, Abdelkader Chadi and Chouaib Bouloudinats deliver in front of their fans against tough opposition.
Chouaib Bouloudinats of Algeria Desert Hawks
Desert Hawks Team Manager Azzedine Agoune was level-headed about the prospect of fighting a team that only lost twice during the whole of last season, "Azerbaijan have some fantastic boxers and have a lot of experience in WSB but we are happy with our team and our London Olympians are keen to show the world what they can do".
Up first for the hosts will be 22-year-old Brahimi, who made the switch from Paris United over the summer, with the orthodox boxer set to go head-to-head with Azerbaijan Baku Fires' experienced Uzbek Orzubek Shayimov. The speedy Brahimi will want to get the Desert Hawks off to a good start with a win in this intriguing Bantamweight (50-54kg) battle.
In the next contest of the evening, Algerian Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympian Chadi will be looking to make his height and reach advantage count when he faces WSB debutant Isa Isayev at Lightweight (57-61kg). As one of the Algerian team spearheads, the savvy Chadi will want to put on a show against the awkward 22-year-old Azeri southpaw.
26-year-old Abdelmalek Rahou only fought once last season but impressed in his outing for the Bangkok Elephants, and now that he is fighting back in his native country, the tough Middleweight (68-73kg) will want to prove his pedigree. He will be pitted against Georgian sensation Jaba Khositashivili, the European bronze medallist who was recruited by Azerbaijan at the beginning of the season after notching up four wins from his five fights for Istanbul Bosphorus last year. This one will go to the wire.
Khositashivili was confident before the match, declaring, "Our team are in top shape and the atmosphere within the group is fantastic. We are ready for anyone. The trainers are top class and they have been working hard with us since early September so we travel to Algeria intent on claiming victory". On his opponent, he added, "I know him but will not say more. I am more than ready for him, I am pumped up".
Light Heavyweight (80-85kg) Nabil Kassal, an addition from the pro ranks, will be testing himself for the first time on the WSB canvas against the Fires' classy Moldovan Vladimir Cheles in the night's fourth bout. Cheles is a bright and intelligent operator; the 23-year-old southpaw won his only bout in the competition last season and will push the Algerian all the way.
Desert Hawks superstar Bouloudinats, a veteran of two WSB seasons, will take on up and coming Azeri 20-year-old Heavyweight (91+kg) Ashkab Abdulkhalikov in the final fight of the evening. The Algerian former Astana Arlans Kazakhstan orthodox boxer and the African continent's top fighter will be relied upon by the team do deliver the goods when it matters.
Bouloudinats was looking forward to the encounter, declaring, "I am now boxing for my own team after a season in China and one in Kazakhstan. I am with my friends and can pass on my experience to the newcomers in the squad. I am delighted that there is now an Algerian team in WSB". On his opponent, he said, "I do not know him but all Azeri fighters are quality so it will be tough. It is a team that I respect but I want to perform in front of our fans".
Backed by a passionate and fervent crowd, it will be vital for the Algeria Desert Hawks to get all the points here but Azerbaijan will prove extremely hard to breakdown. It will be a real nail-biter.