ImageKubrat ‘The Cobra’ Pulev and Tony ‘The Tiger’ Thompson meet in Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany, on August 24 in an IBF heavyweight title eliminator. The winner will get the opportunity to fight for the IBF heavyweight title, which is currently held by Ukrainian, Wladimir Klitschko.

Pulev (17-0-0, 9 KO’s), is steadily making a real name for himself in the boxing World. The Bulgarian is a former medallist at both the European and World amateur Championships, and has shown how talented and skilful he is in a short pro career. Pulev has some notable victories over Matt Skelton, Derrick Rossy, Travis Walker and Michael Sprott, but knows that this is his sternest test to date. The 32-year-old, though, is favourite to topple Thompson, but experience and momentum is on the American’s side. Pulev has not fought since September 2012, but he is not short of confidence and believes he has the tools to defeat the veteran. This is certainly the biggest fight of Pulev’s career and he knows that he cannot afford any slip ups.

Thompson (38-3-0, 26 KO’s), who has fought Wladimir Klitschko for World titles on two occasions before in 2008 and 2012, has had an incredible 2013 so far.
The veteran southpaw, who turn 42 this October, twice traveled to the Echo arena, Liverpool, U.K, and twice upset the odds with victory over reigning British and Commonwealth champion, David Price. Thompson silenced the home faithful first in February after dropping Price hard in the 2nd round which forced the referee to stop the fight. In July, the American repeated that feat. Like the first fight, Price started the contest well, but this time Price’s energy levels quickly evaporated and he was out on his feet in the 5th round. On August 24, Thompson will again be on foreign soil. He is extremely confident and believes he can make it a hat-trick of upset wins.

I am picking Pulev to beat Thompson, but I know that Thompson is more than capable of causing another upset. The American may be nine years older than his Bulgarian opponent, but that is nine more years worth of experience that you just cannot buy.

This is Pulev’s chance to shine and I think he will.


ImageThe boxing season returns on August 17 as Britain’s, Darren “Dazzling” Barker, challenges Australia’s, Daniel “Real Deal” Geale, for the IBF middleweight title. The pair are set to clash at the Revel Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Barker and Geale have been on a collision course since 2002 when they both won Gold medals at the Manchester Commonwealth Games, albeit in different weight classes. They both have solid amateur backgrounds and World-class experience as pros and are at a point in their careers where a win on August 17 would set them up for more big fights on the World stage. They understand what a win would do for their career and how a loss would affect them. They each have tons of heart and a desire to succeed, which will make this fight very exciting and the occasion overall very special.

Barker (25-1-0, 16 KO’s), is aiming to dethrone Geale who claimed the IBF 160lb strap back in May 2011. Of course, Barker has fought on the World stage once before, when he challenged Argentina’s, Sergio Martinez, for the WBC ‘Diamond’ middleweight title in October 2011. Barker was knocked down and counted out during the 11th round of that title fight, but only after providing plenty of problems for Martinez. There was no shame in losing to the Argentine. who, at 38 years of age, is still widely regarded as the King of the middleweight division. Since that loss, Barker has been in fine form, beating Welshman, Kerry Hope, in four rounds and Italian, Simone Rotolo, in four rounds also.

If “Dazzling” Darren is successful and defeats Geale, he will join four other British fighters (Randy Turpin, Alan Minter, Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank), who have each claimed a World middleweight title.

It would be an amazing achievement and a special story for Barker if he was to beat the Australian. Now, at the age of 31, Barker has had to battle through the kind of injuries and devastating setbacks that would have broken lesser men. Mentally, the Barnet man is in a very good place and is extremely focused ahead of his big night. Barker is dedicating this fight to his Brother, Gary Barker (R.I.P), who he tragically lost seven years ago. This is a fight that he is ready to give his absolute all for in order to win and it would mean everything to him and his family if he came out victorious.

Geale (29-1-0, 15 KO’s), claimed the IBF middleweight title after beating Germany’s, Sebastian Sylvester, in 2011. After two successful defenses of the belt, he added the WBA ‘Super’ World title in September 2012, when he beat another German, Felix Sturm. In his last outing in January, Geale fought fellow Countryman, Anthony Mundine, to claim the IBF belt for a fifth successive time. Geale’s one and only defeat as a pro was against Mundine back in 2009, so it was a case of sweet revenge.

At 32 years of age, Geale is still very ambitious and has many more goals he wants to achieve. He is confident in his own ability, but he knows what he is up against when he faces a hungry Darren Barker on August 17. Geale is certainly not looking past Barker, but he does feel that he is being underestimated by many critics and fans. Let us not forget that Geale traveled to Germany on those two occasions when he beat Sylvester and Sturm, so he knows what it takes to win on foreign soil. Geale believes Barker is going to provide a stern test, but this is what he wants – he wants to be pushed hard.

This is a real pick-em sort of fight and it will certainly come down to who wants it the most that will win. With their styles, I am expecting fireworks, but the first round or two may be a bit cagey. It is tough to make a prediction for this, but my head says Geale and my heart says Barker.