UK News: BoxNation Updates; Macklin-Murray on Sturm; Ali


By Glyn Evans

Birmingham’s Matt Macklin appeared desperately unfortunate not to elope with Sturm’s title when the pair collided in Cologne last June. The split decision in Sturm’s favour invoked major media dissent, even within the German press.

Matt Macklin says: ‘I’ve followed Zbik since we both competed at the same weight in the 2000 World Juniors in Budapest and I’ve always kept an eye out for him since. When I fought Ruben Varon, I studied his fight against Zbik, and Zbik impressed, knocking him out with body shots.

He’s a technical fighter, very skillful and well schooled, delivers good straight punches. He’s got a sharp right hand and nice left hook to the body. He can carry his left hand low which could be dangerous because, against me, Sturm had a very sharp double right hand and throws nice counter uppercuts.

Sturm picks his moments to attack and picks his shots very well. He’s got a very, very tight defence and very strong forearms. It was much harder to penetrate him than I anticipated and, when I did, he absorbed plenty of heavy shots around the ears.

They’d definitely have sparred together during their time together on the German national (amateur) squad and at Universum. Neither are big punchers so I’d anticipate an interesting technical boxing match. Both are very measured, almost count the number of punches they throw each round so I think we’re destined for a distance fight.

But I wouldn’t be shocked at all if Zbik springs an upset. At their peaks, Felix was probably the better man but, while Zbik is right on top of his game now, I think Felix has probably had some of the stuffing knocked out of him by me and others and is now on the slide. He might be there for the taking.

In his first start at top international level, unbeaten British and Commonwealth king Martin Murray from St Helens acquitted himself admirably when restricting Sturm to a draw in Mannheim last December.

Martin Murray says: ‘Sturm was a good quick counter puncher, particularly with the right hand - I was very wary of that – and, stepping up a level, I felt his physical presence and his experience far more than anyone I’d faced previously. He’s not really a pressure fighter but you really feel his strength when he does attack.

That said, I’m not sold on him. If I got the call for a rematch I’d accept in a heartbeat, even in Germany again. Though he always turns up in good fettle, I don’t think he has the confidence in his conditioning that he once had. He can be lazy, only throws the bare minimum.

Our fight was very close – I’m not going to cry about the verdict like Macklin did – but it was my first time at that level and he knows I’ll only get better which is why I never got the rematch. Last time, I was a bit too cautious, too wary, but if we did it again, I’d sustain my attacks, put in on him for longer. He’s an old man, not what he was two or three years back.

I’m familiar with Zbik because I watched a bit of his title loss to (Julio Cesar) Chavez. He’s a typical stand up German fighter and it’s a good fight for Sturm to take. He’s a good opponent. Sturm’s not picked an easy one.

I expect it to be very cagey, very close. Whoever wins, the title will remain in Germany. I think Sturm will just edge it but he’s not got long left and, soon, someone’s going to be in the right place at the right time. Hopefully, that’ll be me.’

Sturm v Zbik will be televised live tonight on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546) in the  ABA Finals show with coverage starting at 6.30pm.

BoxNation is the first dedicated subscription boxing TV channel in the UK to bring together the biggest names in amateur, domestic and international boxing with an unbeatable schedule of matches from across the globe.

For just £10 per month BoxNation offers unbeatable value for money for all fight fans. To subscribe to BoxNation simply go to and hit the “Subscribe Now” button and choose your subscription package. Simple!


A grudge of Groves-DeGale dimensions has been brewing over in Germany of late between world class middleweights Felix Sturm and Sebastian Zbik. And British fans shall be able to watch the rivalry unfurl this evening when the former puts his WBA Super title on the line against ex WBC ‘interim’ king Zbik at the Lanxess Arena, Cologne, live on BoxNation (Sky Ch.456, Virgin Ch. 546).

The principals were former teammates from the German amateur set-up and began their pro careers together under the Universum promotional umbrella. However Sturm departed acrimoniously to form his own promotional company and, in the build up to this evening’s dust-up, challenger Zbik has been threatening to ‘pulverize him’!

UK fans will be familiar with the defending champion following live coverage here of his two most recent gigs, when he controversially squeezed past British challengers Matt Macklin and Martin Murray (Both Brits give their assessments of how they envisage this fight panning out beneath). More seasoned viewers may recall watching Sturm ‘fitted up’ himself after seemingly outhustling Oscar De La Hoya over 12 in Las Vegas eight years ago.

Clearly the Leverkusen born, Cologne based champion is a fighter of pedigree. In the amateur code, he won gold medals at both the European Junior and European Senior tourneys (Birmingham 1997 and Tampere 2000) and competed at both the senior world championships and 2000 Sydney Olympics where his dream was ruined by no less than Jermain Taylor (USA).

As a pro, he has won bonafide world titles on three separate occasions. Within just 32 months of his January 2001 debut, he had eclipsed Argentina’s Hector Javier Velazco (pts 12) to pick up the WBO crown (which he was to concede to ‘The Golden Boy’). In March 2006, he added the WBA crown by decisioning Samoa’s Maselino Masoe over 12 only to surrender the belt with a tenth round kayo loss to Javier Castillejo in a huge upset.

Since avenging the Spaniard on points to regain that title in April 2007, the 5ft 11 ½ in Sturm has remained undefeated throughout 11 defences, all in the Fatherland. However, save for Sebastian Sylvester, Khoren Gevor and the two Brits, the opposition has been far from challenging. Now 33, it is probable that he has already seen his very best days.

Less is known of Zbik on these shores but he, too, is a quality operator. Born in Neubrandenburg but now based in Schwerin, the 30 year old was beaten in just 19 of 152 amateur starts and, in addition to several national titles at all ages, he picked up a bronze at welter in the 2002 European Senior Championships in Perm, Russia.

Five years after his July 2004 pro bow, the former military man collected his WBC interim strap by outscoring Italy’s Domenico Spada. A neat, skilful technician with just 13 quick wins on his 30-1 card, he successfully retained three times (all on points). Last June, however, he dropped both his title and unbeaten tag to Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr who edged past him on a 12 round majority at the Staples Centre, Los Angeles. The German has been inactive since.

Despite Zbik’s threats of pulverization, viewers should expect a high grade, fast paced, technical match which should be tight and could swing either way. Despite entering his 34th year last January, Sturm showed against Macklin and Murray that he remains supremely fit and, given Zbik’s tendency to fade slightly after the turn, I’ll go with the champion to retain, possibly controversially, by decision.

Sturm v Zbik will be televised live tonight on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546) in the ABA Finals show with coverage starting at 6.30pm.

BoxNation is the first dedicated subscription boxing TV channel in the UK to bring together the biggest names in amateur, domestic and international boxing with an unbeatable schedule of matches from across the globe.

For just £10 per month BoxNation offers unbeatable value for money for all fight fans. To subscribe to BoxNation simply go to and hit the “Subscribe Now” button and choose your subscription package. Simple!


By Glyn Evans

Box Nation’s commitment to delivering fans live coverage of the very best fighters and fights from all around the globe continues this weekend when they showcase Brandon

‘Bam Bam’ Rios, arguably the best lightweight on the planet, attempt to regain the WBA title he surrendered to the scales last December.

On Saturday night, Rios fronts up to Cuba’s Richard Abril at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas on Saturday live on BoxNation (Sky Ch.456/Virgin Ch. 546). If the contest is anywhere near as feisty as the physical exchanges at the pre-fight presser have been, this one is going to be unmissable.

Rios, the 25 year old former juvenile delinquent from Garden City, Kansas has latterly emerged as one of boxing’s most colourful and controversial characters, both in and away from the ring.

Between the ropes, the one time national amateur champion and 2004 US Olympic alternate at featherweight has racked up a 29-0-1 pro card (22 stoppages, several spectacular) and a reputation for ‘coming to war’ each and every fight, regardless of who is advancing from the opposing corner. For those yet to witness him, he is extremely fan friendly; a bull strong, aggressive, undervalued combination puncher with dangerously heavy hands.

Debuting in July 2004, ‘Bam Bam’ first generated attention in September 2010 when he dropped 30-0 Anthony Peterson (brother of Lamont) and threatened to run him clean out of the ring. Shamelessly, Peterson ‘copped out’, delivering a string of low blows which earned him a red card and safe exit.

Now based in Oxnard, California where he is trained by ex IBF superfeather king Roberto Garcia, Rios claimed the WBA title in February 2011 with a three knockdown, ten round annihilation of dangerous Venezuelan banger Miguel Acosta. After a savage three round rub out of Urbano Antillon last July, he forfeited his title by flunking the weight ahead of his

December 2011 defence against Manchester’s John Murray. That said, he didn’t appear short of gas or condition when halting the industrial tough Mancunian in 11 hectic rounds. Rios has since enrolled a nutritionist to his team and is adamant that strimming to 135lbs again won’t be problematic.

His adolescence was spent in and out of correctional institutions or on probation as he warred on the streets and became involved in drugs. He has a longstanding public feud with ex world welter champion Victor Ortiz who also originates from Garden City. Lately, he claims to have been tamed by his new wife Vicky, a social worker. We’ll see!

In Abril, he faces one sinister looking hombre who certainly appears primed for the job. Having bagged the WBA ‘interim’ belt with a triple knockdown 12 round decision over the aforementioned Acosta in Panama last October, the 29 year old Miami based Cuban gatecrashed his way to the Rios gig by bitch slapping ‘Bam Bam’ at a presser for the aborted Rios- Yurikios Gamboa spat!

Born in La Isla De La Juvented, Abril won Cuban juvenile titles and boxed on the national junior squad during a stellar 213-5 amateur career. He turned pro in Florida under Dream Team Boxing Promotions, with state blessing, in December 2005 and the two reverses on his 17-2-1 CV were both contestable 10 round split decisions to useful Breidis Prescott and Henry Lundy.

Despite his aggressive recent antics and ‘El Tigre’ ring moniker, the 5ft 11in Abril is a gangly, unorthodox and elusive operator. With just eight stoppage wins to his name, one senses he’ll be best served cutting the machismo and attempting to outfox Rios.

Following that tact, he could enjoy early success but, provided Rios can indeed make 9st 9lb healthily, I doubt Abril can sustain it for the full championship trip. Rios carries the bombs to flatten him at any stage but will most likely be staved until the fight’s final third before formally reclaiming his belt.


Ex British, Commonwealth and European champion John Murray shared 11 brutally hard rounds in bad boy Brandon Rios’s company last December, before being stopped, still vertical, with the vacant WBA crown up for grabs.

Murray says: ‘Beforehand Brandon had his ‘game face’ on but we had a good chat after and, speak as you find, he was a really nice fella.

Brandon’s very good. Stylewise, he’s pretty similar to me but was just better on the night. The way to beat him is simple. Hit him harder and more often than he hits you!

In the ring, he was absolutely huge and towards the end I found him very heavy handed. He probably didn’t hit me as hard as Kevin Mitchell did but I’d say he was physically stronger than Kevin. That’d be a great fight between them two.

I was in great shape and tried to drag Rios into a tear up but he’s nice and compact and remained very composed. He’s not the fastest – you could see his shots coming - but he throws real good combinations and he’s very accurate. His uppercuts through the middle done me. He just broke me down.’


STEPHEN FOSTER JR will tackle Jose Antonio Elizabeth before attempting to win the British super-featherweight title.

Foster Jr, 32, meets the Nicaraguan over six rounds on the bill topped by Anthony Crolla’s British lightweight title defence against Derry Mathews at Oldham Sports Centre on Saturday April 21.

Provided Salford’s former European champion wins, Hatton Promotions hope to match him against domestic king Gary Buckland this summer.

Hatton Promotions CEO Ricky Hatton said: “A fight between Buckland and Foster Jr is a potential fight of the year candidate.

“A lot of people wrote Steve off after he lost the European title to Ermano Fegatilli, but has dusted himself down and got on with his career.

“Whoever wins the British title fight would have a great chance of facing Fegatilli who has found it hard getting work since he beat Steve.”

Other Contests: Jon Lewis Dickinson v Matty Askin  (10x3 cruiserweight), Jazza Dickins v Yuri Voronin (6x3 super-bantamweight),  Lucas Browne v Paul Butlin (6 rounds heavyweight), Adam Little v Chris Jenkinson (6x3 welterweight), Tommy Stubbs v Selected Opponent (4x3 bantamweight), Ryan Doyle v Selected Opponent (4x3 featherweight).

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

Thriving off Underdog Status - Ali Adams is ready for Audley Harrison

With only six weeks until the big title fight on 26th May we thought it was about time to have a word with ‘The Tiger’ Ali Adams who takes on the world renowned  Audley Harrison in a 10 round heavyweight dust-up.

Adams is an unheard of fighter for many a casual boxing fan, however his name has been cast into the limelight ever since his fight with Harrison was announced by promoter Steve Goodwin.

The fight was originally due to take place this weekend, but with injury hampering ‘A-Force’s’ training camp the whole bill was moved back 6 weeks until 26th May. Adams though has taken a back seat throughout the whole build-up to the fight, something the Chelsea based man has no problem with. ‘I am very happy to sit back and watch Audley talk the talk, I have been working away in the gym getting myself into great shape, I don’t need to talk to a video camera whilst I’m training, I need to be fully focused’

‘The Tiger’ is though slightly aggrieved about how much talking Harrison is doing over he’s personal channel on YouTube, he said ‘Everyone knows if Audley could fight like he talks, he would be the greatest heavyweight known to man. Unfortunately this isn’t the case and Audley probably has the most tarnished name within the sport.’

He continued ‘I’m getting bored of uncle Audley talking about redemption, clean slates and fresh starts because seriously, how many slates does he want? Everyone knows he is the bookies favourite and that’s great because it gives me another reason to drive harder everyday in the gym with Don Charles.’

It has been claimed by many boxing critics that Adams is not even a top domestic level fighter and many have given him no chance at all, however  the 30 year-old can’t wait to prove everyone wrong on May 26th ‘Most of my life I have been the underdog and given little chance, but look at where I am now. People can write me off that’s fine because once I beat Audley in Brentwood, I’ll be looking to take on the next fool who thinks I am an easy ride’

He’s last words on Audley Harrison were simple, ‘He talks the talk but never ever walks the walk, It will be clear for all to see that, on May 26th at the Brentwood

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