Fight Camp:Boxing Back!

Good news for boxing fans this week as it was announced, that the sport would be returning but not as we know it. Matchroom boxing announced this week Fight Camp but what is it? In this post I will be giving you everything you need to know before the first Fight Camp on the 1st August.

How Will it Work?

Fight Camp could fast become the new normal as we look to get life back to normal. It is the brainchild of Eddie Hearn. Now I know that for some strange reason Eddie seems to get a lot of abuse from boxing fans but this is great and really the only way to restart our sport. Basically the venue will be Matchroom headquarters in the garden, yes you did read that right in the garden. However what you have to bear in mind is that Matchroom HQ is a mansion set in acres of gardens it includes a gym and a swimming pool.

fight camp

Credit: https://www.instagram.com/eddiehearn/

As you can see from the picture above it will be well spaced out keeping social distancing were it is possible.

Is it safe?

The short answer is yes there is a hotel near to Matchroom HQ that everyone involved with the weekends fights will have to stay at this will include the fighter and their corner team and the TV production teams. When someone arrives at the hotel they must use the side door and take a test for COVID-19 only then will they get their room key, and they must stay in their room until the test results are back. Once the test results are back and they are negative only then will anyone be allowed onsite. Once on site nobody can leave for any reason or make physical contact with anyone outside of the Fight Camp until the event is over.

Who will be Fighting?

For all boxing fans this is probably the most important question, on Friday afternoon Matchroom announced 4 Fight Camps starting on the 1st August and here’s how they breakdown:

Week 1 1st August:

Sam Eggington V Ted Cheeseman: IBF International Super Welterweight Title

James Tennyson V Gavin Gwynne: British Lightweight Title

Jordan Gill V Reece Bellotti

Fablo Wardley V Simon Vallily: English Heavyweight Title

Dalton Smith V Nathan Bennett

Week 2 7th August

Chris Billam-Smith V Nathan Thorley: Commonwealth Cruiserweight Title

Terri Harper V Natasha Jonas: WBC and IBO Super Featherweight Title

Anthony Fowler V Adam Harper

Week 3 14th August:

Felix Cash V Jason Welborn: Commonwealth Middleweight Title

Zelfa Barrett V Eric Donovan

Kieron Conway V Navid Mansouri

Shannon Courtenay V Rachel Ball

John Docherty against an opponent yet to be announced.

Week 4 22nd August:

Dillian Whyte V Alexander Provetkin: Interim WBC Heavyweight Title

Martin Bakole V Sergey Kuzmin

Luther Clay V Chris Kongo

Katie Taylor will defend her world titles against an opponent yet to be announced

Where can you Watch the Fights?

Now we know where and who now we need to know how you can watch these fights. All the fights will be live on Sky Sports.

All except the Whyte Provetkin fight which will be live on Sky Box Office. Now I don’t know about you but I’m not the biggest fan of pay per view at the best of times, but especially at the moment when fans can’t get to the fights I think it is totally wrong. Normally when a fight is on box office they are pack with world title fights but this one isn’t. I understand that boxing is a business and you need to make money, and this will be a good night of boxing but not enough for it to be on Box Office.

As always I love to hear what you guys think how excited are you about boxing been back? Is Fight Camp a good idea? What fight are you looking forward to the most? Please comment below and let me know your thoughts.

Amir Khan More Questions Than Answers

On Saturday night Amir Khan continued his comeback with a unanimous decision victory over a brave Samuel Vargas. Although he won the fight his performance left me with more questions than answers.

In front of a sold out Arena Birmingham Amir Khan walked to the ring looking confident with the crowd expecting an early knockout and it looked like that was exactly what they were going to get when he dropped Vargas in the 2nd round. However Khan’s defensive frailties reared there ugly head again as he was put over by Vargas seconds before the end of the round.

As you can see Khan clearly won the fight I don’t think anyone can dispute that, however the Khan of 2 or 3 years ago would have finished off Vargas as soon as he had him hurt. Throughout the fight it looked like he didn’t have it in him to go through the gears to get the stoppage. In his post fight interview he was asked was he tired and he said no he wanted to go the distance because he wanted to see if he could still do it, now personally I think that’s rubbish no fighter wants to go 12 rounds they may train for it but that doesn’t mean they want to do it. I understand wanting to go a few rounds because he hasn’t fought that many rounds recently as he was destroyed in 6 rounds in his fight with Conelo Alvarez and his comeback fight against Paul Lo Greco only lasted 40 seconds. So wanting rounds under his belt I can fully understand but against an opponent like Vargas and I say this with no disrespect to Vargas I would have thought he would have wanted to make a statement. Now Khan V Vargas wasn’t the only fight on the bill on Saturday if you missed any of the action check out my Fight Night Review.

As you can see it’s seems that he was happy with his performance saying more than once that he could have taken Vargas out, but more than once he was saved by the bell. I know it might sound like am been harsh on him and I suppose I am but that’s only because he’s made it clear that he wants to win another world title before he retires and on that performance I can’t see that happening, if he fights like that against someone the calibre of Errol Spence Jr or Terence Crawford I can only see one thing happening and that’s him getting knocked out.

That’s enough about Saturdays fight I started this post by saying I have more questions than answers so here are some questions that Amir Khan hasn’t answered:

What weight should he fight at?

If you ask him he will say that Welterweight is his natural weight but before Saturday he hasn’t made Welterweight since 2015, and at the weigh in on Friday he struggled to make weight having to strip naked in order to come inside the weight limit and on fight night he didn’t look in the best shape. We know that Middleweight is too much for him. However what about Super Welterweight I know he’s only fought one fight at that weight and it only lasted 40 seconds. So maybe that wasn’t a true representation but in the build up to the Lo Greco fight he look fit, strong and healthy, He can clearly punch at that weight just look at the result.

Can he still win a world title?

On paper yes he can but as we’ve seen in his last two fights it shows fights are not fought on paper because many people thought Lo Greco would take him a few rounds and he wiped him out. At the same time many people were predicting an early knockout on Saturday and he ended up having to go the distance. So can he work his way into a world title shot yes definitely but can he win one honestly I’m not sure.

Is he past his best?

This might seem like a strange question to ask given the fact that he’s only 31 but I think it’s a fair question to ask, because on Saturday it looked like he didn’t see a lot of the shots coming and the ones he did see he was able to step to one side but he didn’t follow it up with a shot. Throughout the fight it looked like he was struggling to find that next level to force the stoppage. I know that by today standards 31 is not old, but in boxing it’s all about miles on the clock. Throughout his career his been in a number of very hard fights, have all those hard fights started to catch up with him.

Who should he fight next?

I think I speak for everyone involved in boxing fans, pundits and fellow boxers when I say it has to be Kell Brook, it doesn’t matter what weight the fight is fought at it just has to happen. People have been talking about this fight for over 5 years so I think it’s about time they both shut up and let their fists do the talking. I know he said that Manny Pacquiao is his number one target and yes a few years ago that would have been a fight that I would have paid good money to watch. There’s no question that Manny Pacquiao is a boxing great and a true legend of the sport but he’s well past his best. I know a lot of people will say that the Pacquiao fight would be for a world title and of course there right but Pacquiao isn’t the full WBA champion. I think the reason he wants the Pacquiao fight is not only because it would be a world title fight, I think it’s because he thinks he’s got a better chance of beating a 40 year old Pacquiao than he has at beating Brook. This may seem like a bold statement to make but I think a good Brook beats a good Khan.

These are just some of the questions that didn’t get answered after Saturdays performance, I’m sure we will get the answers to some of these in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime I love to hear what you guys think so please comment below and let me know your thoughts.

Whyte V Parker: Everything To Win And Everything To Lose

On Saturday night Whyte V Parker will go to war at the O2 arena. There’s no question it is going to be a very exciting fight to watch, but this fight could also be a lose lose fight for both men because they have everything to win and everything to lose.

This fight came as something as a surprised to the boxing world. As many people thought that Dillian Whyte was next in line to fight WBC king Deontay Wilder however the WBC installed Dominic Breazeale as the mandatory challenger. As a consequence Whyte was ordered to fight Luis Ortiz in yet another elimination fight. At the same time the IBF ordered him to fight Kurat Pulev, however a deal could not be reach for this fight to be made. So at this point everyone thought that he would stay on the WBC route to a world title. Instead on the 7th June in front of the worlds boxing press it was announced the Dillian Whyte will fight Joseph Parker. The press conference was very interesting both were very respectful saying that both men wanted the fight because outside of a world title fight this is the best and biggest fight out there for both of them and the fans.

Another big question about this fight is why Joseph Parker would want to come back over here straight after he lost his unification fight with Anthony Joshua. I believe it’s because he’s got something to prove to himself and to the world because he didn’t box well in the Joshua fight it looked like he fought the whole fight within himself. He’s said that he fought a smart fight, but I just think that he got his game plan wrong. Throughout the whole fight it looked like he didn’t want to fully engage with Joshua. Ok I know the referee did not let either man fight on the inside and let their hands go. Toward the end of the fight he did start to let his hands go but it was too little too late. When you consider that the Joshua fight wasn’t his first poor performance in the U.K when he fought Hughie Fury in Manchester in 2017, he got the decision but it wasn’t a good performance and many people still believe that Fury won the fight.

Fans on social media have gone mental over this fight I think that’s because nobody knows who’s going to win which makes it a true 50/50 fight and these are the kind of fights we all want to see.

I called this post everything to win and everything to lose because the winner will be thrown straight into the world title picture, and a possible rematch with Anthony Joshua could be in their future assuming that he comes through his mandatory title fight against Alexander Povetkin on the 22nd September at Wembley Stadium. However for the loser it could be the end of his boxing career, or they are going to have a big rebuild job on their hands which could put their career back a good 12-18 months or it could put them in the who needs them club.

This is a big fight for both British and world boxing so as always I love to hear what you guys think, so please comment below and let me know your thoughts. I will be posting a Fight Night review and preview so check them out, the preview will be posted on Friday and the review will be posted Sunday morning.

Top 10 Highest Attended Fights In Boxing History

On Saturday night over 78000 packed out the Principality Stadium to see Anthony Joshua take on Joseph Parker. This means that in his last 4 fights over 328000 fans have seen Joshua fight. With that in mind I thought I’d look at the highest attended fights in boxing history, so here’s my top 10.

10. Ricky Hatton V Juan Lazcano 24th May 2008 Crowd 55000

55000 fans came to see this fight, it was Ricky’s first fight back in the Uk in over 2 years, and he was in front of his adoring home town crowd. It was his first time back in the ring since losing for the first time after been knocked out by Floyd Mayweather so there was a lot of pressure on him to perform. This fight will always have a special place in my heart because it was the first fight I saw in person. From the opening bell Ricky controlled the fight with his jab and he landed a lot of big attacks in the early rounds. However for large parts of the fight he didn’t look like the Hitman of old as he was rocked in the 8th and the 10th. Despite that all the quality work came from Ricky and he went on to win a unanimous decision 120-110, 118-110 and 120-108 on the judges cards.

9. George Foreman V Muhammad Ali 30th October 1974 Crowd 60000

The Rumble In The Jungle this is probably one of the most famous events in sporting history not just boxing. It has been reported that Forman actually prayed before the fight that he wouldn’t kill Ali, nobody gave Ali a chance in this fight such was the power of Forman. In the 1st round Ali started dancing round the ring, but Forman had done his homework on Ali and did a good job of cutting off the ring. In the 2nd round Ali just backed up on the ropes and let Forman hit him a move Ali would later called the rope a dope, Ali would keep this tactic up for most of the fight occasionally taunting Forman telling him to hit him harder. By the 5th round you could see that Forman was feeling the pace and he looked exhausted. That’s when Ali went to work and eventually scored the knockout in the 8th round.

8. Jack Doyle V Jack Peterson 12th July 1933 Crowd 70000

These two met for the British heavyweight title and from the first bell the leather was flying with both men landing big punches. However the fight came to an abrupt end in the 2nd round when Doyle was disqualified for landing a number of low blows.

7. Carl Froch V George Groves 2 31st May 2014 Crowd 80000

This big rematch all came about after Carl Froch won their first fight in November 2013 in controversial fashion, after been put on the canvas in the opening round Froch came back well to score the stoppage in the 9th round. However many people believe that referee Howard Foster stopped the fight to soon.

So after months of build up the pair went to war again the fight was fairly even until the Cobra struck in the 8th round and landed a perfect right hand which laid Groves out leaving the result in no doubt this fight was the largest attended fight in post war Briton. Now I know what your thinking Joshua Klitscho had a crowd of 80000 and yes it did but Froch Groves 2 did it first which is why it made my list.

6. Len Harvey V Jock McAvoy 10th July 1939 Crowd 90000

This fight was for the British and Commonwealth light heavyweight titles the pair went to war for 15 hard rounds with both men having their share of success before Harvey won this epic fight on points.

5. Max Schmelling V Walter Neusel 26th August 1934 Crowd 102000

In this fight Schmelling gave Neusel a boxing lesson for round after round Schmelling continued to beat up Neusel. Until at the end of the 8th round Neusel quit on his stool with blood pouring from his head he was clearly in no state to continue.

4. Jack Dempsey V Gene Tunney 2 23rd September 1927 Crowd 104943

This fight had everything a boxing fan could want with both men hitting the canvas with Tunney going down in the 7th round and Dempsey going down in the 8th round. However despite hitting the canvas Tunney dominated the fight from start to finish according to the judges cards he only dropped 1 round in the whole fight. Although the fight wasn’t without it’s controversy as when Tunney was knocked down in the 7th the referee’s count was at 9 but the fights official time keeper was up to 13 on his count this incident earned the fight the nickname the long count.

3. Jack Dempsey V Gene Tunney 1 23rd September 1926 Crowd 120757

This fight will go down in boxing history and not just because of the size of the crowd. To everyone surprise Tunny dominated the whole fight winning every round and that was reflected in the judges score cards as Tunny won a wide unanimous decision. This fight was named upset of the decade by ring magazine.

2. Julio Cesar Chavez V Greg Haugen 20th February 1993 Crowd 132274

Greg Haugen received one of the worst beatings I have ever seen in a boxing ring, from the opening bell Chavez went straight down to work how Haugen made it to the 5th round I will never know. However you have to give him credit he got back up and wanted to fight on but the fight was stopped when he continued to take a pounding from Chavez.

1. Tony Zale V Billy Pryor 16th August 1941 Crowd 135132

From the start of this fight it was clear to see that Billy Pryor was over matched but he put in a brave effort. He definitely had a fighter’s spirit as he was dropped a number of times before finally been knocked out in the 9th round.

Unfortunately I don’t think we will ever see a crowd of this size at a boxing match again mainly because of health and safety.

Please comment below and let me know your thoughts.

Fight Night Review 1st July 2017

On Saturday night the O2 arena played host to a packed night of action. Here’s my review of all the action.

Frank Buglioni V Ricky Summers

Frank Buglioni wins a unanimous decision but Ricky Summers did himself proud.

In the 1st round both men were just finding their range, however Summers seemed happy to let his hands go. Midway through the round Buglioni did land some nice shots it was a very even round. In the 2nd round Summers was still happy to let his hands go but the more powerful punches where coming from Buglioni. It was another close round but Summers may have just edged it on work rate, but it could have gone the other way. In the 3rd round it looked like summers was starting to struggle he was breathing heavy, and with 30 seconds to go in the round he was rocked to his boots and was saved by the bell. At the start of round 4 it looked like Buglioni was looking for the finish and he could just land at will. This fight isn’t going to last much longer Summers is out of his depth. In the 5th Buglioni was in the centre of the ring and bossing the fight their seemed very little Summers could do. At the end of the round Summers landed some nice shots with Buglioni pinned on the ropes

Going into the second half of the fight I had Buglioni up by 4. In the 6th Summers landed some nice shots, but Buglioni came straight back. In the 7th Summers did land some good shots their not hurting Buglioni but their all scoring shots. In the 8th round Summers continued to land some good shots the last two rounds have been Summers best rounds of the fight. In the 9th you have to wonder is Buglioni starting to run out of steam,he’s hit Summers with his best punches and Summers is still there .

So into the championship rounds we go this will be who wants it more. In the 10th Buglioni came out moving well but it looks like some of his power has gone from his punches and Summers is coming on strong. In the 11th Buglioni was out working Summers but Summers was still in the round, however it looks like Buglioni was looking for the finish.

Going in to the final round I had Buglioni 3 up, in the 12th Buglioni came out looking to just see the fight out, with a minute to go both men landed some big shots. With seconds to go Summers was rocked and he was saved be the bell

At the final bell I had Buglioni 4 up

Conor Benn had a late change of opponent

Conor Benn came back to win with a 3rd round knockout.

In the 1st round Benn came out looking to cut the ring off and landed some painful combinations. Cole did his best to fight back but he took the fight at less than 24 hours notice and he didn’t look like he could hurt Benn. In the 2nd round the better punches where coming from Benn and midway through the round Cole hit the canvas off a right hand and bravely beat the count. Benn continued the attack as he went for the finish. At the start of the 3rd round Cole hit the canvas again and the referee waved it off.

Lawrence Okolie V Russ Henshaw

Lawrence Okolie keeps up his record of knocking out his opponents in the 1st round.

In the 1st round Okolie came out throwing big shots, midway through the round Henshaw hit the canvas off a nice body shot but he beat the count. However Okolie stayed on the attack with a minute to go in the round Henshaw hit the canvas again off another body shot Henshaw beat the count but the referee waved it off.

Also on the bill:

Reece Belottti puts in a punch perfect performance to win with an 8th round knockout.

Ted Cheeseman wiped out an overmatched opponent with a 3rd round knockout to win the English title.

Olympian Joshua Buati kick started his professional career with a 2nd round knockout.