Brook’s opportunity to truly declare himself ‘Special K’

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You’re kidding, right? No way! Is this a joke?!

No, it’s no joke. Kell ‘Special K’ Brook will face Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin at London’s O2 arena.

Brook, 30, is going to take on arguably the most feared fighter in boxing on September 10. He is going to trade leather with ‘GGG’ at 160 pounds; the division where the 34-year-old has been knocking out opponents left, right and centre. There’s no catchweight.

‘Special K’ is in his prime and unbeaten. He has campaigned at 147 pounds for many years. He’s a very good boxer with skill and power, however, despite being the current holder of the IBF welterweight strap, he has yet to truly prove himself in that weight class. To stake a claim to be the best in your division, you have to beat those who pose a serious threat to you. As of yet, Brook has not done this. The biggest name he has fought to date is, Shawn Porter. That was the toughest challenge of his career, and he passed the test, but there are other fighters in the division – like Errol Spence Jr, Keith Thurman, Jessie Vargas and Danny Garcia – who would bring something different to the table, in terms of style and power. They too are unbeaten, yet the 30-year-old has decided to move up in weight and face a far more formidable opponent, who is also in his prime. It was an offer he could not refuse. 

Despite his talents and looking indestructible, so far, Golovkin’s résumé is thin and like Brook, he has not yet faced a number of fighters in his division – such as Billy Joe Saunders, Chris Eubank Jr and Daniel Jacobs – who could inflict the first defeat of his professional career. As you may be aware, there was a lot of hype surrounding a potential mega-fight between ‘GGG’ and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. That failed to materialise, resulting in Alvarez vacating the WBC middleweight title. There is even the possibility of the Kazakh moving up in weight himself and testing the waters at super-middleweight. Anyhow, that’s for another day.

Many fans of the sport are very confident that Golovkin will defeat Brook, and for good reason, but in spite of this, there are still question marks surrounding this fight.

Brook is a big welterweight and reportedly walks around at 178 pounds. If he can carry the weight well, with his power, things could get very interesting. Golovkin has to cross the pond and fight in the UK. British crowds are very different to American crowds. How will he deal with the hostile atmosphere? He has many fans over here, but the majority of fans on the night will be cheering for the Sheffield star. The occasion could get to ‘GGG’. He could have an off-night. The Kazakh cannot afford to have an off-night, period.

This could turn out to be Golovkin’s toughest test to date. If this proves to be the case, it would not look good on him. If he was to lose, it would be unthinkable. He would lose all of his belts, his reputation would be in tatters and many people would take a pop at him for losing to, essentially, a welterweight. ‘GGG’ has everything to lose, Brook has everything to gain.

The odds are stacked against ‘Special K’, no doubt about it, nonetheless, if he was to defeat Golovkin, it would be considered to be one of the greatest upsets in the history of boxing.

 

 

 

 

 

MITCHELL HAMMERS LOPEZ!

ImageRomford’s. Kevin Mitchell, showcased his skills at London’s O2 arena on October 5, breaking down Mexican, Marco Lopez, over six rounds to claim the IBF Inter-Continental lightweight title.

Mitchell, 28, looked first-class on the night, maintaining such a sharp focus throughout and picking his shots so effectively. From the opening bell, you could tell what sort of mood ‘The Hammer’ was in. He was never in a rush and went about his business in an assured manner. Mitchell’s left hooks to the body and left uppercuts were key shots; finding the target practically every single time he threw them. Lopez was clearly not in the same league as Mitchell, but he showed a Mexican’s heart and did not want to quit, despite having to absorb so much punishment.

In round 3, the Mexican’s nose became bloody after Mitchell hammered home a straight right hand. In the 4th, Mitchell countered with a solid left hand which rocked Lopez. The Mexican’s defenses were becoming incresingly scattered. Another brutal left hand landed downstairs which forced Lopez to take a knee. To his credit, he rose to his feet at the count of seven, but he was having serious problems dealing with everything Mitchell was throwing at him. Again, in the 5th round, Lopez had to be commended for battling on, but he was looking more and more ragged.

Mitchell finally got his just deserts for the way he performed after landing a stunning right-left combo to send the Mexican down for a second time. Lopez got up at eight, but the referee took one look at him and waved off the fight. Mitchell improved to 35(25)-2-0 with this victory, whilst Lopez slipped to 23(14)-3-0.

This was Mitchell’s second comeback fight since September 2012 when he lost to WBO lightweight champion, Ricky Burns. The way Mitchell performed against Lopez signalled a real statement of intent. He’s a rejuvenated fighter now, is back fighting regularly and looks much happier within himself. There’s a real air of confidence surrounding him.

A little dust up with Commonwealth lightweight title-holder, Derry Mathews, would show us where Mitchell is at. That’s a fight that Mitchell wants and it could very well happen this December. It’s a fight us fans are salivating over!

JOSHUA’S DEMOLITION JOB!

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Anthony Joshua MBE, started life as a professional boxer in spectacular fashion, by demolishing Italian, Emanuele Leo, inside one round at London’s O2 arena on October 5.

Joshua, 23, was very focused and relaxed for as long as the contest lasted, working off a solid jab and firing home straight 1-2’s down the middle; catching the Italian almost at will.

Leo, 32, was fighting outside of Italy for the first time and was unbeaten in eight pro fights before meeting Joshua. The Italian was game and tough, but was just no match for the Watford man. Joshua showed a ruthless streak that will serve him well in the pro game. With 0:15 of the 1st round remaining, Joshua landed a devastating right hand that Leo was never going to recover from. What an explosive way to introduce yourself on the scene.

The Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist, at last year’s London games, was delighted with the way his pro debut went. He could not have asked for a better start to life as a pro boxer, but knows it is the start of a long journey. He refuses to get carried away, but it is something he can now build on.

As far as professional debuts go, that was an excellent start. He did not look nervous or freeze. He’s a real intimidating, physical specimen at 6’6″ and he’s got power in that right hand. He’s got a great team behind him too and his trainer, Tony Sims, is one of the best trainers in the game.

These are exciting times to be a Joshua fan, but we all know he’s just dipped his feet in the shallow end of the pool. We should keep faith in him, though, because the pieces of the jigsaw are layed out; they just need to be carefully pieced together.

CAMPBELL OVERWHELMS HEPPER IN ONE!

ImageHull’s, Luke Campbell MBE, made it back to back 1st round wins after he overwhelmed Darlington’s, Neil Hepper, in one round at London’s O2 arena on October 5.

Campbell, now 2(2)-0-0, made his pro debut in July in his home city of Hull and he made another statement at the O2 arena. He started a bit too eager early doors and was tagged a few times, but it did not take him long to find his range. Campbell, 26, landed a left hand to Hepper’s body which sent him down on to the canvas, but replays showed that although the shot landed both boxers feet became tangled. This caused Hepper to lose his balance and go over, but he was absolutely fine to continue after receiving a standing eight count.

Not long after that, Campbell landed a vicious right hand to Hepper’s temple which scrambled his senses. Campbell followed up with a venomous left hand to the solar plexus which took everything out of Hepper, causing him to hit the canvas in some distress. The Darlington man was unable to beat the count and the referee waved off the fight with 1:59 of the round having elapsed. With that defeat, Hepper slips to 5(0)-3-0.

Campbell most certainly has a vicious streak in him, but he also has great boxing ability and has now claimed two impressive 1st round victories. It’s to get carried away, but a dose of reality is needed. He blew away two opponents in no time at all, but you can’t help but be impressed. You can only beat what’s put in front of you and that was only his second pro fight. Campbell has shown great accuracy and gets full range on his punches. He has long arms and he’s got power in both hands. He gets in and out of range very well, but we saw him become a little too eager very early on and was clipped a few times. That’s no real problem, though, because it’s good for him to get hit. He’s able to dish it out but he needs to take a few too. He got the job done at the end of the day and there’s always things to work on back in the gym when you look back over a fight.

The 2012 Olympic gold medallist looks a very switched on individual, highly confident and smart. He believes he is competing in the most exciting weight division (lightweight) in Britain, with plenty of good fighters out there for him to face over time. He’s taking it one fight at a time and learning as he goes.

Campbell wants to excite the fans and that’s exactly what he’s doing.

Slick Saunders ready to battle a forcible foe in Ryder!

ImageBilly Joe Saunders (18-0-0, 10 KO’s), makes his second defense of the BBBofC British middleweight title and fifth defense of his Commonwealth middleweight title on September 21, when he faces mandatory challenger, John Ryder (15-0-0, 9 KO’s), at the Copper Box Arena, Hackney Wick, London.

Saunders, 24, and Ryder, 25, headline a stacked show at the Copper Box this Saturday. This matchup pits together two unbeaten British talents who are each at a particular juncture in their careers, but who are aiming to prove that they are the cream of the crop in the British middleweight division.

As mentioned, Saunders, a 2008 Olympian, is aiming to defend the British strap for a second time which he first claimed in December 2012, seeing off Nick Blackwell in what proved to be a difficult assignment over 12 rounds. The Hatfield pro also has his sights set on becoming the first boxer from the traveller community to win a British Lonsdale belt outright. Islington’s Ryder missed out on fighting for the Southern Area and English middleweight titles, so his dream of fighting for the British title has now become a reality. ‘The Gorilla’, which is Ryder’s alias, is the underdog going in to this fight. He has won 9 of his 15 pro fights inside the distance and will be aiming to get stuck in to Saunders as soon as the bell sounds for the first round. Ryder’s best win to date came in December 2012 when he defeated Northern Ireland’s, Eamonn O’Kane, via stoppage in the 8th round. That fight was billed as a British middleweight title eliminator.

Many people are picking Saunders to claim a routine points victory over Ryder. Saunders is a class act who can box on the back foot extremely well and on the front foot too. He also has good power, but it has been noted that he has suffered with hand injuries in the past. Saunders hasn’t stopped an opponent since September 2009, (Jarrod Fletcher), but don’t let this fool you. Saunders has exceptional timing and he is more than capable of hurting whoever he faces with a well timed shot.

Ryder is a come forward pressure fighter, who uses a lot of head movement. He is a thinking fighter too and does not always go looking for the knockout. I believe he is getting stronger with each passing fight and I believe he is being somewhat underestimated ahead of this showdown. The majority of fans and experts believe that he has his work cut out in getting the better of Saunders. Some say this title shot has come a little too early for Ryder, but if the opportunity to fight for a major title comes knocking on your door, you welcome it with both hands.

Saunders is widely recognized on the British scene whereas Ryder is aiming to make a name for himself. A win here for Ryder will do his career wonders. A defeat for Saunders would be a major setback. Big things are expected of Saunders. All the pressure is on him to perform and it’s up to Ryder to show us what he has in his locker.

I expect Saunders to use plenty of movement, to pepper Ryder with his jab and to select his shots intelligently. Ryder has got to cut off the ring and make Saunders work. If he’s able to cut the ring off then he can target Saunders’ body to slow him down.

The smart money is on Saunders to win this fight via unanimous decision, but I believe Ryder has what it takes to cause an upset!

Dereck Chisora-Malik Scott Preview

ImageDereck ‘Del Boy’ Chisora and unbeaten American Malik ‘King’ Scott will headline Frank Warren’s ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ show at Wembley arena, London, England. The pair will battle it out over 10 rounds for the WBO International heavyweight title on July 20. David Haye is the only fighter to have claimed the title when he beat Chisora (TKO 5), last July.

The title is not really what these two fighters are after. It’s not a well recognized title in all honesty. The main objective of both Chisora and Scott is to win this fight which will push them towards competing on the World stage. Both these men have something to prove.

Chisora (16-4-0, 10 KO’s), is a controversial figure. The 29-year-old has done things that has sparked outrage. He’s previously bitten an opponent, kissed an opponent, slapped Vitali Klitschko, spat water at his brother Wladimir and started a press conference brawl with David Haye. He gets people talking, whether it be good or bad and people do tune in to see him. Also, controversy sells fights. Chisora does what he does because he knows people will watch and debate, but at the end of the day Chisora is a decent human being. He is respected. Many fight fans like him. He’s a throwback fighter who likes to come forward and pressure his opponents. He’s aggressive and throws combinations. He’s not the most techically gifted fighter, but when his head is screwed on right and he’s in shape he’s a tough man to beat.

Scott (35-0-1, 12 KO’s), will be in uncharted territory on July 20. Not only will the Philadelphian be facing Chisora, who, many believe is a major step-up for him, he’ll be fighting outside of his native U.S.A for the first time. The majority of the 12,500 in attendance on the night will be pro-Chisora. Wembley arena has its own unique atmosphere and the crowd will be well on top of the action. It’s not quite the O2 arena, but it’ll be interesting to see how the American deals with it all.

Scott, 32, is a good technical boxer. He has shown competence in the ring. He’s tall and has a good jab, moves well and looks quite slick. He’s fought more rounds than Chisora (215-119), but his record is padded as he just hasn’t fought any serious competition. Chisora, on the other hand, has a more distinguished career. He’s faced the likes of Robert Helenius, David Haye and Vitali Klitschko. This is a step-up for Scott.

Many people believe that Scott is a protected fighter, who has never been seriously taken out of his comfort zone. They believe that when he faces Chisora he’ll get found out. This is a classic ‘boxer vs brawler’ styles matchup. Chisora has a very aggressive, raw-like style and it’s up to Scott to tame him. Scott has only 12 knockouts from 36 contests so it remains to be seen if he is able to discourage Chisora. It’s unlikely that Scott will knock Chisora out, but this is heavyweight boxing so you never know. Chisora may well be able to unsettle Scott early on and turn it into his kind of fight. If he’s able to cut off the ring then Chisora stands a great chance of winning. He may be able to grind Scott down. If Scott is able to establish his jab early, use the ring, measure and time Chisora then he stands a great chance of winning. It also depends on who’s hungry enough to want to win.

Both men are eager to fight now. In the past, Chisora has been known to come in on fight night overweight and not mentally focused. For this fight with Scott, not only does he look in fantastic shape (arguably the best shape of his career), he’s focused and he’s hungry. He’s aiming to do a real job on Scott and wants to pack him back off to America with a first loss on his résumé. Scott is also in confident mood and believes he has the tools to win.

I just hope the fight is as good as the build up has been!