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Boxing (250)

Froch welcomes Floyd return

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Published in Boxing
Thursday, 15 June 2017 14:24

Floyd Mayweather's comeback fight against Conor McGregor is another fascinating opportunity to see the American star back in a ring, says Carl Froch...

I'm going to watch Mayweather-McGregor 100 per cent. I'm intrigued and it's going to bring a whole new audience to boxing.

The art of pugilism is hit and not get hit. It's a technique and skill that is acquired over years and years. Mixed Martial Arts is not boxing. I know McGregor has boxed a bit and likes to stay on his feet, but top fighters such as Manny Pacquiao, Oscar De La Hoya and Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez could not really get near Mayweather. How is Conor McGregor going to get near him?

Floyd has been out of the ring for nearly two years and apparently Conor McGregor can punch a bit. There is that little element of the unknown. How is Mayweather going to respond if this fight goes the distance, or it starts to go late? How is he going to look? Will he still have the same sharpness, speed, and reflexes? It will be fascinating just to see Mayweather back in a boxing ring.

Mayweather does not knock many people out. I know he knocked out Ricky Hatton and he knocked a few other fighters out, but he is not known as a knock out man. The fight is at 154 and Floyd has only fought around that weight three times and he did not knock out any of those opponents.

But I don't think Floyd necessarily needs to get a knockout to gain maximum respect in boxing. He could totally outclass him instead.

It will be very entertaining for the build-up and interesting due to a few question marks about Floyd's inactivity.

As a boxing purist, I cannot state a case for Conor winning this fight. It will very difficult for McGregor to get close to Mayweather and catch him with a punch and it will be interesting to see if he will revert to roughhouse tactics. I'll definitely be tuning in to watch.

Smith vows to put things right

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Published in Boxing
Thursday, 15 June 2017 14:21

Paul Smith has vowed to "put things right" following his controversial world title defeat to Arthur Abraham over two years ago, as he prepares to face Tyron Zeuge this Saturday.

Smith will face Germany's Zeuge, as he looks to claim the WBA 'regular' super-middleweight world title.

Smith has had two previous cracks at world honours, twice facing Abraham for the WBO strap in Germany but losing via a unanimous points decisions on both occasions.

The 34-year-old concedes he fairly lost the second fight with Abraham, but feels the first contest resulted in a very controversial decision and is something the Liverpudlian is eager to put right.

Smith said: "I lost the last two world title fights and although I lost the second fight fair and square, the first bout was contentious.

"This time I have to make sure and put things right, I'm here to win the WBA title, take it home and finally be a world champion.

"My brother Liam has done it, while Callum and Stephen are lined up to fight for a world title - fingers crossed. It could be a massive year for the family.

"It's been a long, hard road for me, I've been a professional for 14 years so to cap it off with a world title and finally put things right from Germany a couple of years ago would be amazing."

Groves: Defeat derailed me

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Published in Boxing
Thursday, 25 May 2017 13:02

George Groves has conceded that he struggled to rebound after two defeats to Carl Froch.

Groves can become a world super-middleweight champion at the fourth attempt on Saturday when he fights Fedor Chudinov for the WBA 'super' title, live on Sky Sports Box Office, after previously falling short twice against Froch and then against Badou Jack.

"Maybe that was a problem for a while - I thought I should have been world champion but I wasn't," Groves said at Thursday's press conference.

"I had a low period. It hit home, losing a split decision to Badou Jack. I made changes and since then it's been nothing but up.

"Four back-to-back wins with [trainer Shane McGuigan] have put me in good stead for a world title challenge.

"I don't feel beat up, or exposed. I got knocked out in one of them, but it was a 'pick 'em' fight. The first fight with Froch was unlucky, against Jack I was unlucky. This time I won't allow it to be close, or let luck play a part."

McGuigan added: "This is a hurdle, but he's in the right phase of his career. You can win or you can learn. He is getting better, stronger, punching hard, long and quick.


"Chudinov is short for a super-middleweight, very well-schooled. I wonder how he'll deal with George's leverage and his angles."

Froch, who recovered from an early knockdown to controversially stop Groves in Manchester in 2013 before winning the Wembley Stadium rematch via knockout, previously told Sky Sports that he hopes his former rival finally ends his world title hoodoo.

"If I think about it, deep down, if I could make the decision and be the man in charge of it all, I would like to see [Groves] win," Froch said. "If it was down to me, I would just give it to him. I genuinely mean that."

Jack Bateson revealed last summer that his head was a "mess" and he was hurting at not making the Rio Olympics.

The 22-year-old from Leeds feared becoming the "nearly guy" and not achieving his childhood dreams scared him more than anything. After many chats with his family, friends and Sky Scholarship team, he has made the next step in his career.

Jack reveals why he left the British boxing programme, discusses his support from Sky and his burning desire to be world champion as he starts the road towards being a professional.

My four-year contract with Team GB finished in March and I had to decide on signing for another four years aiming for Tokyo 2020 or to leave.

I'm now looking to start the new chapter in my boxing career as a professional and cannot wait for what lies ahead.

Since the Olympics, I've not been the same person while training at Sheffield. For five years my goal was always the Games which has kept me motivated. Since missing out on Brazil I've had no clear goal other than competing.

I feel something new and exciting will light the fire in me again and will bring out the best performances in competition and in training. I want to be a world champion! That's always been the ultimate dream.

Any decision I make in boxing is because I think it's the right one and seeing my team-mates leave the GB programme has helped shape my thoughts.

It's a new Olympic Cycle now. Most of the time you see boxers stay for a cycle and whether they make the Olympics or not, they move on and look for a new chapter in their career.

I don't think many people realise how hard we train in Sheffield at GB's boxing headquarters three times a day, week in, week out. It isn't easy and the sparring is very intense as we regularly compete.

We need to ensure we are in shape at all times. I believe staying in the squad for too long can make you stale. I've worked very hard for over five years and have given it my all.

I felt I was unlucky not to make the Olympics and I will take all my experience as an amateur through to the professional ranks and I'm confident that my time will come.

Sky has supported me massively as a Scholar. I've come on so much as an athlete and as an individual. Picking up different training methods and using them with the financial support has helped me raise my game and given me the chance to fulfil my potential.

I would love to box on Sky Sports one day and to be able to talk about how the Sky Scholarship scheme has given me the opportunity to get to that position. I'd love to achieve world honours as a pro and say how being a Scholar was a big part of my journey.

I know becoming a world champion won't happen overnight and I'm not in a rush either! Many professionals turn over from the amateurs and fight for major titles within a year.

It's a marathon not a sprint and I know I've got much to learn and when the time is right my team will know. I'm looking forward to working my way up and taking it step by step, fight by fight.

Being a pro means more rounds, bright lights and a bigger atmosphere. But boxing is boxing.

I've fought around the world as an amateur in school sports halls and large arenas in Mexico. If you can see past the big arenas and screaming fans then it's just a boxing ring, yourself and an opponent.

It's the same thing I do every day in training with a sparring partner. I will have a short break over the summer but I hope to have everything in place by the end of summer so that when I'm back in full training I can fully concentrate and have no other worries to distract me.

Mendoza demands rematch

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Published in Boxing
Monday, 22 May 2017 08:18

WBA president Gilberto Mendoza has demanded a rematch between Ryota Murata and Hassan N'Dam.

Frenchman N'Dam won the vacant WBA middleweight crown on a controversial split decision despite being knocked down and wobbled on several occasions by the Japanese boxer in Tokyo.

N'Dam was declared the winner on two of judges' cards with scores of 116-11 and 115-112, while the third judge gave the fight to London Olympic gold medallist Murata.

The decision drew boos from the crowd and prompted Mendoza to promise action on social media.

"After judging the bout (independently) my scorecard is 117-110 for Murata," WBA president Gilberto Mendoza said on Twitter on Sunday.

"First of all, let me apologise to Ryota Murata... and all Japanese boxing fans. There are no words to repair the damage.

"I will demand the championship committee to order a direct rematch."

N'Dam sank to his knees as the scores were announced and afterwards claimed he had deserved to win.

"I thought I won more rounds than him," said the Cameroon-born Frenchman. "Even after I was knocked down I stuck to my game plan."

Murata, who was bidding to become only Japan's second middleweight world champion, and first in 22 years, refused to make excuses after a first defeat in 13 professional fights, but insisted: "He didn't hit me with a single punch that hurt me."

Akihiko Honda, president of Murata's Teiken Gym, made no attempt to hide his contempt for the contentious decision that saw N'Dam improve his record to 36-2.

"It's absolutely ridiculous," he fumed. "Our fight went perfectly to plan. It's the worst judging decision I've ever seen. There's no way that was a defeat."

Groves: DeGale 'will happen'

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Published in Boxing
Tuesday, 16 May 2017 15:07

George Groves is confident that a James DeGale rematch "will happen" and hopes his British rival is watching when he fights for the WBA title.

The 29-year-old Londoner can win a world super-middleweight title at the fourth attempt when he battles Fedor Chudinov for the WBA 'super' belt on the Kell Brook-Errol Spence Jr bill on May 27.

DeGale still holds the IBF title after his draw with Badou Jack in January and Groves believes he can set up a potential unification clash by defeating Chudinov at Bramall Lane.

"Yes certainly. Things have got to fall into place to make that sort of fight happen, but if I was a gambling man I would say it will happen," said Groves, who claimed a majority decision win over DeGale in 2011.

"For me, I've got to go out and win this month, win a world title, and then we can talk sensibly about a James DeGale fight.

"He would love to throw some punches at me and likewise I would love to throw some back at him, so it makes sense to do it.

"If we don't manage to sign for a fight, we will end up doing a spar one day down the Dale [Youth ABC] and not get paid for it, and no one is even going to see it. We want people to see it, so yeah we'll get that fight signed."

Groves insists he would be happy for DeGale to watch him from ringside in Sheffield as he attempts to finally end his long wait for a world title.

"Yeah sure, if he wants to come up then he is more than welcome to watch the show," said Groves.

"It's going to be a great show. This is the show to see. You've got Kell Brook against Errol Spence, it's going to be a fantastic fight.

"You're going to see me - I'm not bad - I'm on there and I'm going to try and steal the show."

Injured Whyte postpones Wach bout

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Published in Boxing
Tuesday, 16 May 2017 15:06

Dillian Whyte has been forced to pull out of his heavyweight clash with Mariusz Wach after suffering a foot injury in training.

The 29-year-old (20-1 KO15) was scheduled to face Wach (33-2 KO17) at The O2 on June 3, in what would have been his first fight since his thrilling split-decision victory over Dereck Chisora in December.

Whyte had been hoping to underline his credentials for a world title shot with a win over the Polish veteran, but is now facing a spell on the sidelines.

"Dillian is on the verge of a world title shot and we can't afford to enter a fight at this stage not being 100 per cent," promoter Eddie Hearn said.

"We expect to see him return in July before challenging for the world heavyweight title towards the end of the year."

Whyte vacated the British heavyweight title that he won with victory over Chisora in January to continue his pursuit of a world title fight before the end of 2017.

He is currently ranked fourth by the WBC and may well have put himself in contention to face WBC champion Deontay Wilder with a win at The O2.

Sunday deadline for McGregor

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Published in Boxing
Monday, 15 May 2017 18:58

MMA champion Conor McGregor has been given a Sunday deadline to agree to fight retired boxing great Floyd Mayweather.

Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White said he will agree terms with McGregor by Sunday or move on and forget about the much-discussed bout between two legends from different fighting spheres.

Speaking on the Jim Rome radio show, White said: "I plan on having this thing locked up by this Sunday and then moving on to Team Mayweather and starting to negotiate with them.

"If we really do get it done in that time frame, then this thing could possibly happen."

White's UFC group has rights to any McGregor fight and must make a deal with him before approaching Mayweather about coming out of retirement.

And White says he likes his chances of at least having a pitch to make to the unbeaten boxer.

"I think they are pretty good," White added. "Hopefully, Monday, I'm going to go and sit down with Team Mayweather. I still need to go negotiate with them. There's no guarantee that we're going to come to a deal."

White is adamant that progress must be made soon or the plan will be abandoned.


"I just can't keep messing with this thing," he said. "I need to run my business and I have to focus on all the other things that are going on around here."

White's plans for the megafight were hit when boxers Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin set September 16 for their three-title middleweight showdown.

"That was the date we were shooting for," White confirmed. "We should have moved faster in the negotiations. The holdup has nothing to do with Mayweather's side. This is on our side".

McGregor, 28, has been the UFC's most popular fighter and among its top money spinners, while the 40-year-old Mayweather retired in 2015 with a 49-0 record, including 26 victories by knockout.

Smith lands third title shot

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Published in Boxing
Monday, 15 May 2017 18:44

Paul Smith will challenge Tyron Zeuge for the WBA's World super-middleweight title next month.

The 34-year-old has landed a third chance at world level after suffering back-to-back defeats to WBO champion Arthur Abraham in 2014 and 2015.

Smith was stopped by Andre Ward in his next fight but has since strung together three straight wins.

The Liverpudlian told Sky Sports at the weekend he had been "waiting since November or December" for confirmation of his shot at Zeuge, who is nine years his junior.

The German is unbeaten in 21 fights and won the title in a rematch with Giovanni De Carolis after their first meeting ended in a draw.

Nelson: Yafai has the attitude

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Published in Boxing
Friday, 12 May 2017 10:12

Kal Yafai's work ethic after winning a world title means he is destined for further success, believes Johnny Nelson.


I saw Kal train at Sheffield's Institute of Sport during the Anthony Joshua work-out. He looked very on-point.

I arrived early and watched some sparring - I thought 'this kid isn't bad'. He had a full-face head-guard on. He was ignoring everyone, despite all the press being there. Then his eyes gave it away - it was Kal! Then I saw his brother in the corner.

I like that attitude. He knows. He's got the formula that is missing from a lot of young sportspeople. He enjoys the game more than the fame.

You can be a brilliant fighter but if there's nobody else to test your skills against, you may as well stand in the middle of nowhere. Roman Gonzalez is not beyond him - I could see that happening.

I think Kal gets the knockout this weekend because he's fast, he's annoying and he's got power. The opponent is not coming to lie down, he'll have ambition.

Sam Eggington, of course, is in the mix against Rodriguez who has 24 wins and one loss, which was seven fights ago.

In Rodriguez's last six, he's only stopped two opponents which shows he can box as well as punch. Looking at their records, they're at the gateway of a big, wide world.

Once you get the European championship, you are officially prepared to box for a world title. It's a tough ask for Eggington but he impressed us by shutting down Paulie Malignaggi last time.

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