Monthly Archives: December 2009
30 December 2009 – By Mark Doyle
Scott Belshaw will be hoping to breathe new life into his career when he meets Larry Olubamiwo at the Brentwood Centre on January 22.
The 24-year-old heavyweight has been stopped in each of his last two bouts, against Tyson Fury and Audley Harrison, but could push himself back into British title contention with a victory over Olubamiwo.
Certainly, Belshaw will not lack motivation given that Olubamiwo is promoted by Maloney, with whom he used to work.
Indeed, Maloney is well aware that his former protg will be determined to make him like foolish.
“Belshaw has critics but can hit,” the diminutive Londoner commented. “I promoted him early on and had real hopes, but our relationship never really worked out.
“It is a big chance for him to prove me wrong for giving him his contract back.
“He has lost a couple recently but that was against Tyson Fury and Audley Harrison. If Larry does as good a job then he deserves to be up there.”
Posted December 30th, 2009 in News
23 December 2009 – By Mark Doyle
Peter McDonagh has been granted a shot at one of Britains most promising young fighters, former amateur world champion Frankie Gavin.
The pair will collide on the undercard of Sam Sextons Commonwealth title defence against Danny Williams at the Wembley Arena on February 13.
McDonaghs last outing was a points defeat by Lee Purdy in May but Gavin, who boasts Irish ancestry, believes that the Bermondsey-based Galwegian represents the toughest challenge of his professional career to date.
“My parents are from Ireland and I go back frequently so it’s going to be a hard one beating up on him,” said Gavin, who is 5-0 in the paid ranks.
“But I’m sure McDonagh won’t be feeling the same and it will be on his mind to stop me and make a name for himself.
“McDonagh is experienced, he’s beating Michael Gomez and has won and challenged for plenty of domestic titles so it’s a great test for me at this stage of my career.
“But I stopped all my opponents in 2009 so I aim to continue in the same manner throughout 2010 and become an exciting attraction like Ricky Hatton and Naseem Hamed.”
Posted December 24th, 2009 in News
22 December 2009 – By Cormac Campbell
Jamie Conlan has experienced the highs and lows of professional boxing in the short period he has been in the paid ranks.
Despite having only made his debut in November, Conlan has already experienced the ecstasy of fighting on a major promotion and the agony of serious injury.
Making his debut on the undercard of Rogan vs Sexton II, Conlan looked promising in outboxing the admittedly average Anwar Alfadi. A second outing was scheduled for the undercard of Macklin vs Sosa Pintos in Dublin in December, but a shoulder injury put paid to that.
“I hurt my shoulder sparring Andy Murray,” he said. “I threw a body shot and everything went numb I was in serious pain. I was gutted. But its cleared up perfectly now. I did everything that the physio and John Breen told me to do. It wasnt anything Andy did, I just crashed into his elbow and it was hurting in the spar. It seemed to be ligament damage or something like that but it has cleared up nicely.”
Conlan added that he is keen to get back into action early in the New Year.
“ASAP. I dont care. We are free to take whatever comes and happy to work with any promoter. If you are staying with someone you can only fight when they want you to fight and John Breen can get me fights. Im looking forward to next year because John believes that can be a big year for me.”
Given Conlans weight division of flyweight it is highly likely that opportunity will come sooner rather than later as the pool of talent on the British and Irish scene is that shallow.
“I dont like to think too far ahead, but I realise that there arent an awful lot of boxers in the division so if I keep winning a shot could come early,” he said.
“And if there was a title shot thats what Id look forward to everybody wants to be successful.”
With so few other boxers of his own weight available to spar, Conlan regularly works with Andy Murray a fully fledged lightweight. However, whilst this is beneficial for his strength work his speed work is very much a family affair.
“My younger brother Michael is the reigning Ulster Senior Flyweight Champion so he comes in and works with me on speed. The spars we have are wars real tear ups. You feel bad as one round you beat him up then the next he comes right back at you.”
The two brothers were due to meet in last years Provincial decider but opted against it. Jamie turned pro and Michael picked up the title on walkover. According to Jamie, it will be some time before his younger brother joins him in the professional arena.
“He wants to go to the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics and then Id say he would think about it.”
Posted December 23rd, 2009 in News
22 December 2009 – By Neil Sinclair
I have been linked to two major fights recently both are very appealing and I would be hopeful that at least one of them will come off.
Last Sunday there was a write up in the Sunday Life about me fighting John Duddy and a couple of days during the week an offer came in to fight James Moore.
Ever since I won the Irish light-middleweight title I suppose these fights have become more attractive and more realistic. Id be happy to fight both or either man depending on the promotions and the dates.
It would be unlikely if neither of the two fights were made. Id be very surprised. They are not the only options but they are a great place to start.
The thing with the Duddy fight is that I dont know if they can or will come down to light-middleweight which I first thought they would be prepared to do. I only moved up from welter in May so moving up again Im not so sure about. It would have to be worth my while put it that way. I could be talked into it as it is a brilliant fight.
I think Frank Warren is keen on that fight and I think it would guarantee a sell out at the Kings Hall or even at the Odyssey.
This is not me calling out John, far from it.
This was done for me by the press – I knew nothing of it. But sometimes that really helps fights happen. The likes of David Kelly (Belfast Telegraph) has given me a lot of ink love in recent years and he knows a good fight when he sees one. Also then of course there is Sinky Says the premier boxing column on the Internet!
It has given me a voice and an opportunity to get myself out there and publicise what I am doing. I have felt a lot of love from the supporters since I started writing the column. When people are reading it they start saying, “oh that would be a good fight, Id go to that if they put it on” and that is great – it really builds an appetite for making fights.
Looking back on this year I only had two fights but they were two good ones and Im very grateful to Frank Warren for putting them on on the undercards of both Rogan vs Sexton bills. Those two fights have really helped me get back up there and hopefully Ill be even busier next year.
Ill have a nice Christmas. Ill keep training away just to keep in shape and step it up in the New Year to make sure I keep winning and looking good.
22 December 2009 – By Cormac Campbell
James Moore could challenge Neil Sinclair for the Irish light-middleweight title in April 2010.
The bout, between incumbent champion Sinclair of Belfast and New York-based Wicklow man Moore is slated to take place at City West under the Tommy Egan Promotions banner.
The bout had originally been slated for the undercard of Martin Rogans second clash with Sam Sexton in November, but failed to materialise. The mouth-watering bout will be Sinclairs first defence of the title he won with a stunning third round stoppage of Henry Coyle in May.
Moore for his part has fought just once as a professional in his native country.
Promoter Egan believes that such contests will stimulate the profile of the Irish title.
Stay tuned to irish-boxing.com for the upcoming edition of Sinky Says in which he will discuss the fight.
22 December 2009 – By Cormac Campbell
Brian Magees European super-middleweight title clash against Mads Larsen has been confirmed for January 30 in Aarhus, Denmark.
Although the bout had long been mooted it was only this week that contracts were signed. As well as the opportunity of picking up the vacant EBU crown and gate-crashing the world scene, former British and IBO champion Magee will earn the biggest purse of his professional career after purse bids of over 300,000 were lodged.
Magee is hoping to establish himself as the latest in a recent glut of Irish European Champions following on from Matthew Macklin and Paul McCloskeys recent successes.
22 December 2009 – By Padraig Hoare
Corkman Gary Hyde has set his sights on Kiko Martinez and Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym after pulling off one of the most sensational coups in Irish boxing history.
The Rathcooney-based businessman was a victor in the Florida civil courts earlier this week, securing the services of one of amateur boxing’s most decorated athletes, Cuba’s two-time Olympic and world champion Guillermo Rigondeaux Ortiz.
The dazzling Rigondeaux, a veteran and winner of all but a handful of 250 amateur bouts (or anything up to 400, depending on legend), made world headlines in February this year when he turned up in Miami, Florida after escaping the Communist regime in Cuba.
The winner of the gold medal in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 and world champion in 2001 and 2005, he had originally signed professional terms with Gary Hyde in March 2007, only to change his mind about defecting at the last minute. Hyde then instead earmarked heavyweight Ismaikel Perez as a future star of professional boxing, and Hyde’s Cuban revolution had begun.
Rigondeaux, a 29-year-old southpaw with thunder in his fists even as an amateur, attempted to escape again in August 2007 while part of the Cuban team at the Pan American Games. He was caught and told he could never box again for his country, thereby eliminating any chance of him becoming a three-time world champion or Olympic champion.
He finally made it out in February this year, and it seemed he had signed professional terms with Arena Box Promotions US. Hyde immediately filed suit, as first revealed by irish-boxing.com in March, seeking an injunction prohibiting Rigonseaux from competing until his management contract was upheld.
The defendants insisted Hyde had no case and continued to claim Rigondeaux as their own – until a court vindicated Hyde in Florida this week.
Judge Michael A Chavies said Hyde had presented an excellent case, and expressed his unfavourable opinion at the “utterly surprising disparity between the evidence presented by the parties” at the hearing. Co-defendant Tony Gonzalez had presented no evidence that he had signed a contract with Rigondeaux, according to the ruling, and Hyde was granted managerial rights until March 19, 2012.
Rigondeaux won his fourth professional fight this week, beating Lante Addy in New York on Wednesday night in a super-bantamweight contest.
Hyde was understandably triumphant when talking to irish-boxing.com.
“I knew I had the truth on my side and I had full confidence that the justice system would vindicate my arguments. The ruling was confirmation of what I knew all along. Guillermo was induced into signing a contract in Florida last year, those in Florida committed numerous violations of the Muhammad Ali Act, yet they thought I would bark loudly only to scamper away with my tale between my legs. That is not the Cork way of doing things – we stand up for ourselves and for what is right. The Florida people can go and find their own Cuban fighters if they want, spending their money on it like I did.
“They’ve tried to turn Luis Garcia’s (Hyde’s super-middleweight sensation who has not fought for disciplinary reasons in recent months) head too, telling him all sorts of lies about contract law. This shows them I will fight my corner until the death when I have the truth on my side. If they want to take me on and get hammered in the courts again, then they can do so.”
Hyde revealed that he and Rigo had an emotional reunion in Los Angeles almost two months ago.
“He is a diamond lad, he really is. I never had any problem whatsoever with him – I fondly remember him and myself taking a road trip almost three years ago talking about life in Cuba, his family, boxing and more. As soon as we saw each other in the Wild Card, we were the best of friends right away. Joined at the hip, always were.”
The interest in Rigondeaux will be huge for Cuban and Irish boxing, he said.
“Rigo is the gold standard, the artist, the supreme athlete. There are promoters falling over themselves to talk to us. I will do what’s best for Rigo and for his compatriots, and my Irish lads. The interest among the Cuban community alone is huge. Rigo will continue to do all the same things – train and develop with Freddie Roach in LA, and we’ll continue building his profile and build towards championship fights. It will be in the USA, no doubt about that. Top Rank, Golden Boy, all the names have been in touch. I want to see Rigo on the Pac-Mayweather bill – that’s what his talent deserves.
“Alexei Acosta is rearing to go, as is Mike Perez when he is fully recovered from his operation – they know Rigo commands huge attention and respect and they will get such opportunities. And my two Irish prospects JJ and Paddy McDonagh – they are a pleasure to guide with their hard work, dedication and talent. They’ll be given opportunities too, make no mistake about it.
“Luis Garcia has been distracted by the sharks in Florida. He now realises he got off at the wrong bus stop. If he’s prepared to work hard, then I’m prepared to start afresh. He’s a super talent, and he’ll be right back in the frame when he knuckles down to hard work.”
He concluded by revealing what targets were in the pair’s sights.
“Guillermo would love to fight Poonsawat sooner rather than later, with the world title on the line. God knows, I was heartbroken when Bernard lost, so I would love that fight too. Kiko Martinez is also in our sights. I want revenge for Bernard, a man I consider one of the greats in Irish boxing. Watch this space for the future – this is the start of a glorious era in Irish and Cuban boxing.”
15 December 2009 – By Cormac Campbell
Irish ring legend Wayne McCulloughs New Years resolution is to secure a domestic clash with Bernard Dunne.
However, the former WBC bantamweight champion has told irish-boxing.com that securing any meaningful contests never mind one with Dunne – is proving difficult.
“My wife – who is also my manager – has contacted every promoter she can think of but I can’t get anyone to help me get back into the ring,” he said.
“I am praying every day that I get a fight. Keep on keeping on! It would seem that no-one wants to fight me and the young guys don’t want to take a chance against me. People have forgotten what I did for boxing and certain promoters have also forgotten what I did for them.”
McCullough, 39, has not fought since June 2008 when he was defeated by Juan Ruiz in the Cayman Islands, but despite such a lengthy layoff, the Pocket Rocket believes he is ready for a fight with former World and European super-bantamweight champion Dunne.
“A fight between me and Bernard would be a great one for the whole country,” he said.
“The fans that have contacted me are really hoping it will happen. They know that Bernard needs me more than I need him because he’s been knocked out in a couple of his fights whereas I’ve fought the best in the world win or lose. But Brian Peters is coming up with all sorts of ridiculous excuses about why the fight isn’t going to happen. I honestly believe that Bernard is scared!”
In the past, Dunnes promoter Brian Peters has said that McCullough needs to get active, get winning and get ranked before he would consider making such a contest.
“He hasnt won a fight since 2004 so he really would need to put together a few good wins including a win over a ranked contender before it could be considered a viable fight,” Peters said earlier this year.
For his part McCullough, who works for the UFC as a PR Associate, is looking forward to the festive season fight or no fight.
“We have a traditional family gathering and keep Christ in Christmas,” he said about his plans.
“Last year we got snow which was unusual but nice to see in the desert! At New Years we watch the fireworks that are set off from the hotels on The Strip. It’s a pretty cool thing to see.”
Posted December 15th, 2009 in News
10 December 2009 – By Cormac Campbell
Andy Murray will return to the ring early in the New Year, according to Promoter Brian Peters.
Meath businessman Peters was speaking after EU lightweight champion Murray looked rusty in outpointing the unheralded Ecuadorian Alex Bone at Dublins National Stadium on Saturday night. Without going into the specifics of where and when Murray may be in action, Peters said Murray will return by March at the latest.
“There will be two shows in Ireland one in February and one in March,” he revealed.
Reading between the lines, this would include Paul McCloskeys first defence of the European light-welterweight title, most likely at Belfasts Kings Hall, and possibly a contest in Dublin.
“Hopefully we will get him out early again next year. There are a couple of things lined up for early in the New Year including Paul McCloskey.”
Despite acknowledging that Murray was somewhat rusty, Peters said that the unbeaten Cavan talents star will continue to rise.
“It was live on RTE. He is one of the hottest prospects in Irish boxing and he is at a stage of his career where he wont be getting too many easy fights.”
For these tough fights Murray, who had been out of the ring since March having suffered a fractured collarbone in September, needs to be sharper something he accepts.
“You could see I was a wee bit rusty at the start,” he said.
“But Im just glad to be back and with a wee bit more work on the shoulder Ill be faster, sharper and stronger.
“It (the injury) wasnt a problem in the fight but you are always conscious of it. In training you are a bit worried that you arent getting enough sparring. But Ill be back early in the New Year.”
Posted December 10th, 2009 in News
10 December 2009 – By Cormac Campbell
In terms of talent, British and European title victories have identified Matthew Macklin as a threat on the World stage. But perhaps more important is his marketability.
Around 2,000 fight fans parted with their hard earned cash to watch Macklin outclass Rafa Sosa Pintos at Dublins National Stadium in a non-title affair last Saturday in the belief that many more big nights are to follow in the Irish capital. Macklin may speak with a Birmingham accent, but the son of a Roscommon father and Tipperary mother has left little question as to where his loyalties lie.
“This was a homecoming for me and it was wonderful,” he said after the absorbing 10-round points victory. “I was the home fighter and the support I had was amazing.
“The atmosphere was wonderful and it was great going the whole ten rounds just to soak that up. The response all week has been wonderful, even just walking around OConnell Street killing a bit of time people have come up and wished me the best. It has been one of the most enjoyable nights of my career.”
Enjoyable as it may have been, it is unlikely to rank as one of the most important both in terms of past and future contests.
Defeats to Andrew Facey (2003) and Jamie Moore (2006) slowed Macklins progress but improved his resolve helping develop him in to a more complete fighter. Rebuilding took time but a comprehensive victory over an admittedly faded Yori Boy Campas at the National Stadium in March 2008 convinced those in the know that the time was right to let Macklin off the lead again.
In March of this year Macklin blasted out Wayne Elcock in three rounds for the British title; in September he did a job on Amin Asikainen for the European crown in just one.
Whats next remains to be seen. A mandatory defence against Dmitry Pirog would appear most likely. But Macklin is hungry for a World Title fight and so is his coach Joe Gallagher.
“Matthew is now a mature, disciplined 27-year-old, so I think he is ready to go for a World Title,” he enthused.
“There is no need to stick around. If Brian Peters and Ricky Hatton can deliver a World Title fight then Matthews next six fights can all be World Title fights.
“When you have 10 minutes for a years work it is good that you have picked up British and European titles but if you are looking to go in at World level you need to do the distance. So that was a blessing tonight.
“The quicker he gets in there the quicker he gets back to defend them in Ireland.”
And the quicker he can defend it against fellow Irishmen John Duddy or Andy Lee?
“Everyone is reaching for that Holy Grail,” said Peters, Macklin’s manager.
“If one of them can get that World Title and I think whether it is Matthew, John or Andy, it would be fantastic then if they all met.”
Peters did imply that there are options in relation to what route Macklin will pursue.
“Pirog is a possibility,” he said. “There are a few other things we are working on that we cant really say too much about just yet. Certainly Pirog, if we end up fighting him well and good.
What is for sure is that little will happen until March at the earliest. While he may have dominated, Macklin suffered a cut above his left eye and two swollen hands against Sosa Pintos scuppering any prospect of an immediate return to action.
“I dont think the cut is too bad maybe two or three stitches,” he revealed.
“Both my hands are sore. They are both swollen up around the knuckles. I dont think they are badly hurt I dont think anything is broken or that there is any ligament damage. You get bumps and bruises – its not a tickling contest. It niggled a little when I landed, but that is part of the game.”