Monthly Archives: February 2010
26 February 2010 – By Cormac Campbell
Neil Sinclairs Prizefighter dream ended in quarter-final split decision agony against Bradley Pryce at York Hall on Friday night.
The keenly contested bout, between the tournaments two favourites, saw Pryce avenge 2003s British welterweight title defeat.
The bout, which saw both men land heavy blows from the opening bell, was deemed level by Sky Sports analyst Jim Watt after two rounds. Indeed after the final stanza, punch stats revealed that the Welshman had landed just six more punches than the popular Belfastman.
In truth, Pryce did enough to win. At times he was able to keep the advancing Sinclair off balance with rangy and accurate shots. Sinclair for his part jabbed well and threatened with left hooks, particularly in the opening half of the second round.
Later in the round a seemingly innocuous clash of heads saw a small cut open above Sinclairs left eye. There is little point debating whether or not the damage would have forced Sinclairs withdrawal had he prevailed.
In defeating Sinclair, Pryce seemed to have expended all his ideas, looking flat in being totally outboxed by former John Duddy victim Prince Arron in the semi-finals. Arron then defeated Brett Flournoy in the final – thanks to a third round knockdown.
The excitement produced by the three round format of Prizefighter is second to none, but when a fight as entertaining as Sinclair vs Pryce is confined to just three rounds it leaves fight fans wanting more. As such, there will be considerable demand for a rubber match between the duo.
Another potential option for Sinclair is a defence of his Irish light-middleweight title, perhaps against James Moore, who is scheduled to fight at City West, Dublin in April.
Posted February 28th, 2010 in News
26 February 2010 – By Leonard Gunning
Lancashire born Dubliner Chris OBrien talks to irish-boxing.com prior to his Saturday, February 27 showdown with Jason Nesbitt and outlines his ambitions for an Irish title fight.
OBrien faces the battle hardened Brummie Nesbitt at the Blackpool Tower, which is the home of British ballroom dancing, but the Sheriff is hoping that the footwork which sparring partner Kenny Anderson has been helping him improve upon at Kevin Marees Stirk House Hotel Gym will be the telling factor in his fight on the undercard of the Brian Rose-Bertrand Aloa bout for the vacant British International Masters light-middleweight title.
Nesbitt recently dropped to a points defeat against Manchester Irish fighter Kieran Maher and fought the Joe Gallagher trained Anthony Crolla at the Fenton Manor in Stoke. Crolla subsequently informed OBrien about what he should expect from the evergreen journeyman who, despite his many losses, has only been stopped once in over 50 fights.
Million Dolla Crolla reported that, Nesbitt will come out head hunting early on, looking to land big overhand rights but apart from that he is not a bad boxer and makes you work. You just need to keep the pressure on him and you should do the business.
Whilst OBrien isnt looking past Nesbitt he does have an immediate aspiration burning in the back of his mind. My goal is to box for the Irish title, if it is against (Stephen) Haughian or in an Irish Prizefighter it doesnt matter, thats what I want. explained OBrien.
Of course I have been following Bernard Dunne but I generally just concentrate on myself really although I keep an eye on the guys at my weight. Maybe I could get a fight with Neil Sinclair down the line but I especially want Haughian because he has the (Irish) title.
Ive heard rumours and I would love to get involved with any Irish version of the Prizefighter Series. There are loads of Irish guys that could make welterweight and that would be amazing to get involved with that, it would be absolutely amazing. I can just picture it, everyone I know would be there – the Culchies and the Dubs!
The Culchies and Dubs reference uncovers the complex mix in OBriens own life. He alongside trainer and Cousin Kevin Maree are both of Mayo and Dublin parentage who arrived in the UK, like many before the Celtic Tiger, in search of work and a living but both still remain ferociously proud of their Irish heritage.
OBrien explained his background I was born in Burnley but my Dad is from Sheriff Street in the centre of Dublin and when I was six we went back and lived in Lucan in the family home on Sheriff Street but then returned to Burnley when I was about sixteen and when work dried up over in Burnley we went back to Dublin its over and back depending on work.
Both sides the family are Irish and my mothers side of the family is from Castlebar. She was born in Chicago and Kevins (Maree) Mum, who was born in Mayo, are sisters and lived in Chicago before returning to Mayo. Then my Mum moved to Dublin for work and met my Dad and the rest is history – a real immigrants story.
As a teenager OBrien boxed for the Dublin Dockland Boxing Club on Sheriff Street (hence the nickname) in the amateurs and was scheduled to fight at the National Boxing Stadium for the Irish Nationals but that dream was to end in bitter disappointment without a glove being thrown.
Recalling the story with regret the Sheriff recalled all my family were coming from Mayo, England and around Dublin, so it was going to be a great occasion but then I got the Mumps and that ruined it and I missed my chance for the Irish championships. I lost faith in boxing a bit after that for some time and then I went back to England. I wasnt until Kev encouraged me and got me into professional boxing that I found my way back into the sport again.
The Burnley based boxer is now eight fights into an unbeaten career and boasts a record of six wins and two draws but has yet to fight an eight rounder so does not qualify to fight for an Irish title yet but aims to make his professional debut on Irish soil and have an eight rounder within the next six months.
OBrien finished the interview by enthusing that an Irish title would be a dream for me. We (the Heenan, Maree and OBrien families) dont all get to see each other much anymore because we are all over the place but an Irish title would be the chance to get us back together again.
Also on the undercard of the Blackpool bill is Manchester flyweight Kieran Farrell who also seeks an Irish debut. Farrell whose paternal family hail from Dunleer, County Louth aims to be the first Irish title holder in the flyweight or super flyweight division if a suitable opponent can be found.
26 February 2010 – By Cormac Campbell
James Moore believes the time is right to come home and headline a bill on native soil.
The 32-year-old Arklow light-middleweight (17-2 (10KO)) has been based in New York throughout his professional career with just one bout (in 2006) taking place in Ireland.
But now, former World amateur bronze medalist Moore, appears set to headline a bill at Dublins Citywest venue on April 17.
I think it is the perfect time for me to come home and fight, he told irish-boxing.com.
I think it will be on April 17 in City West on a Tommy Egan show. I have been in full time training since Christmas and have been sparring every week.
26 February 2010 – By Steve Wellings
The Cuban dream may be all but over for manager/promoter Gary Hyde but the Cork businessman insists that the outlook is bright.
Acosta, Garcia and Perez have all flown the nest but Hyde has retained the signature of a potential multi-weight world titlist in the form of stellar amateur Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Im just working on lining Rigondeaux up with a fight. All three Cubans are gone from me now, were 100 per cent split, he confirmed.
Im not at all disappointed at how things turned out and I still have the star attraction Rigondeaux is the gem of the bunch. My dream burst a little bit with the other three, but theyre all capable of winning world titles.
These things happen in business and Ill move on now. Rigondeaux is superb and I reckon he will be a three-time world champion within 18 months; his coach Freddie Roach agrees with that.
Hyde also revealed that he has now severed any tenuous links he once had with novice professionals JJ and Paddy McDonagh. The Mullingar duo are now going it alone after appearing recently under the Cork mans promotional outfit.
I never had a contract with the McDonaghs, he stated, I just started them off in the pro game. The idea was to bring them in under my umbrella and I got them two fights each in two weeks. Theyre ready to go themselves now.
Hydes recent search for talent has taken him a little closer to home as he attempts to pick a cherry from the Irish senior championships, currently showing in Dublin.
Ive been up at the seniors putting a bit of time in to a few Irish lads, trying to get them to cross over. Its hard work though trying to convince them.
Im very close to signing a real star but Im not quite sure if hes going to go or not. I suppose well know in the next fortnight.
24 February 2010 – By Cormac Campbell
Martin Lindsay will be roared on by a sizeable support base when he defends his British featherweight title against Welshman Jamie Arthur in Leigh on March 19.
The Belfastman had hoped the contest, the first defence of the title he won last April against Paul Appleby at the Ulster Hall, would be on homesoil. But when Promoter Frank Maloney won purse bids, he opted for a neutral venue in England for the Sky TV broadcast contest.
But Lindsay will be confident of a warm reception when he enters the ring after selling over 100 tickets.
Im sure he (Frank Maloney) saw the Ulster Hall the last time (vs Appleby) so I was a bit surprised that he didnt have it in Belfast, Lindsay told irish-boxing.com.
But there are well over 100 of my supporters going over. They have all booked their flights and hotels and hopefully if I get a victory they will get a good party for the weekend.
Despite being happy to travel, Lindsay insists that he wants to box his future contests at home.
We could have sold out a bigger venue this time round but hopefully we will get this one out of the way and bring the next one back here.
And the Immaculata star is confident that he will still be British champion for his homecoming.
Everything is going well. The weight is coming down and the sparring is going brilliantly so with three weeks to go I cant wait!
Two of my sparring partners won the Ulster Seniors and are in the semi finals of the Irish seniors so there is good sparring if they are winning that means I am on my game.
I dont feel rusty. Before the April and November fights I had relatively long lay-offs. A lot of that stuff is in the mind so if I train hard it wont be a factor on the night.
If you are hoping to travel to Leigh for Lindsay vs Arthur and would like to be seated with Lindsays travelling support, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for ticketing information.
24 February 2010 – By Cormac Campbell
Irish middleweight champion Gary Spike OSullivan will return to action in April on a Frank Warren promoted card.
Speaking to irish-boxing.com OSullivans manager Paschal Collins said that the Cork native will begin pushing towards major titles in the upcoming 12 months.
We are just waiting on a date from Frank Warren in April, he said.
It will be his first fight under the Warren banner.
Collins added that his charge, who was nominated in the Prospect of the Year category at the recent Bogart Menswear National Boxing Awards will also return to his natural weight of light-middleweight by the end of 2010.
Spike will probably have a defence of his Irish middleweight title in the next six months before dropping back down to light-middleweight where he is more effective.
24 February 2010 – By Cormac Campbell
Paul McCloskey hopes to get a date for his first European light-welterweight title defence against Guiseppe Lauri in the next two to three weeks.
Speaking to irish-boxing.com the unbeaten stylist said that competition for Sky TV dates means the Kings Hall contest could take place as late as June.
There is a lot of talk about May but that is just speculation, he said.
Hopefully I will find out in the next two or three weeks. Matchroom are just waiting for a TV date to come through and then I will begin full time training.
McCloskey, who has been recovering from a back injury is currently keeping in shape in St Canices, the Dungiven gym where he learnt to box.
Im still getting a bit of treatment on the back, but that should be ok in a few weeks. At the minute I am only doing light training at home. Im fit but I will step it up and begin going up to John Breen in Belfast when everything is confirmed.
McCloskey won the title by stopping Spaniard Daniel Rasilla in November, as such he admits waiting for a date is less stressful than before he became champion.
I was never one to get too annoyed when fights werent coming up, but when you dont have something you worry about when the chance will come. Now that Im champion I just want to get back in to fight.
Although unconfirmed, it is highly likely that awkward Italian Guiseppe Lauri (49-6 (28KO)) will be the man coming to Belfast as McCloskeys first challenger.
Im 95 per cent that it will be Lauri, McCloskey said.
He doesnt make it pretty but that might suit me. Whatever he does we will have a gameplan I can adapt and change during a fight.
23 February 2010 – By Cormac Campbell
Belfast boxing prospect Carl Frampton, 4-0 (2KO) will contest his first six round contest on March 5 in Huddersfield.
The Gerry Storey trained, Barry McGuigan managed box-puncher has been busy sparring in England ahead of the Matchroom promoted, Sky televised card.
Speaking to irish-boxing.com, Frampton said all is well ahead of the contest.
Im feeling fit and strong and have been sparring well, he said.
This is my first six rounder so it is great to be moving up already. I did seven rounds of tough sparring yesterday without any problems.
Frampton, 23, was named Prospect of the Year at the recent Bogart Menswear National Boxing Awards.
It is believed that Frampton will make his hometown debut on the undercard of Paul McCloskeys mooted European light-welterweight title defence at the Kings Hall in May.
22 February 2010 – Press Release
Neil Sinclair and Bradley Pryce will renew acquaintences on Friday night in the opening round of Prizefighter and both are confident of victory.
Pryce was stopped by Sinclair in the eighth round seven years ago but insists it will be different when the competitions most experienced pair meet in their opening bout.
Eight days before the Sinclair fight I was asked about it and I was skint, so took it, he said.
I was in good shape but it was man against boy then. This time it will be different though its going to be man against old boy.
We might be the most fancied to win with some people because we are the most experienced, weve been there and done it and it will be added motivation for me to try and put things right against him. I owe him.
Welshman Pryce is trying to rebuild his career after losing the Commonwealth title to Mathew Hall in March by second round stoppage. But Pryce, 28, admits he is not known as a fast starter.
This is a massive gamble for me but you have got to have belief in yourself that you can beat the other seven guys, which I know I can, whether its a three rounder or a ten rounder.
None of these guys would see the last bell with me in a 12-rounder so Im coming out of my comfort zone. Im a slow starter, I know that, because I like to come on strong in the later rounds.
Ive only stopped one guy inside three rounds in the last seven years and that was Martin Concepcion who is in this Prizefighter.
Sinclair, for his part, is confident of a similar result second time around.
The Belfast boxer has gone through a renaissance in the last year after two clinical stoppage wins in 2009 but faces 5/2 betting favourite Bradley Pryce in his opening Prizefighter bout.
Sinclair, 35, stopped Pryce in the third defence of his British welterweight title in 2003 and regards that win as perhaps the most satisfying of his pro career.
Sinclair believes victory will propel him towards big title fights, but defeat would leave him pondering retirement.
Winning this could open a lot of doors, said Sinclair, who was forced to pull out of the Prizefighter Welterweights with a back injury in 2008.
I saw it happen with my mate Martin Rogan. He won the first Prizefighter and then beat the likes of Audley Harrison and won the Commonwelath title and topped the bill at the Odyssey Arena. I will be looking to do the same.
I had to pull out of the Prizefighter welterweights because I had a back injury two weeks before, which was very disappointing, so its great to get a chance in this again.
There was talk of a fight between me and John Duddy and it didnt happen. Hes doing his own thing, which is fair enough, and there was also talk of a fight against the European champion Ryan Rhodes. Maybe if I win this it will make that fight happen.
This is a gamble but its one Ive got to take. Im not getting any younger and I want to see what Ive got left. If I cant do this theres no point in a European title fight with Ryan.
I know that next time I lose I might pack it in, but Im not thinking about losing. Im not contemplating it but if I was to lose I would have to consider packing up.
Sinky is just glad to be back in form after admitting he came close to considering retirement after his fortunes nose-dived following his reign as British champion.
He said, My last two fights have been good and beating Henry Coyle for the Irish title has started a bit of a revival. When I was training for that fight I felt good and it showed in the fight.
Im back in Belfast now where I belong training with John Breen and my boxing has got better.
Beating Pryce meant I kept the Lonsdale belt because it was my third defence and it was probably the best win of my career.
But after that I went a wee bit stale, got disheartened with the sport and a part of me wanted to pack it in. But Im glad I listened to people like John Breen who urged me to carry on. Now things are working out for me at light-middleweight.
The draw was made live on Sky Sports’ Friday Fight Night, which will screen next Friday’s sold-out event live from the York Hall, Bethnal Green, London.
George Hillyard v Prince Arron
Neil Sinclair v Bradley Pryce
Brett Flournoy v Danny Butler
Steve O’Meara v Martin Concepcion
Hillyard/Arron v Sinclair/Pryce
Flournoy/Butler v O’Meara/Concepcion
Followed by Final
Posted February 22nd, 2010 in News
22 February 2010 – By Steve Wellings
As soon as Andy Murray had disposed of challenger Oisin Fagan and retained his Irish lightweight title in five rounds, his next possible move was being discussed.
European lightweight champion Anthony Mezaache is set to defend his crown against Manchesters John Murray which means the Irishman could be left waiting for a shot at the belt.
The John Murray-Anthony Mezaache fight is due to take place in March and is being proposed as the first European title fight to be contested in America, explained promoter Brian Peters.
Patrick Hyland, or even Eddie, could be possibilities for Andy and we are assuming that the European title will be tied-up for a while. John Murray is a good undefeated fighter; we work closely with Hennessy Sports so if he beats the Frenchman it could happen.
According to trainer John Breen, Andy was close to agreeing first crack at Mezaache shortly after the Frenchman outscored Jon Thaxton to take the title. Murrays injury, which kept him sidelined until last December, put paid to that idea and if his namesake John takes Mezaaches belt – as I expect he will – then a mouthwatering clash between the two Murrays could develop.
Dean Byrne is another possibility for Andy, added Peters, and I was talking to Freddie Roach about him recently so a few good domestic fights remain for us to pursue.
Murray admitted that after recuperating from a collarbone injury, staying busy is the key to keeping the impetus rolling as he chases the big paydays.
Id like to defend my Irish title or perhaps face an International opponent over 10 rounds and keep ticking over, he said. I dont want to stay out of the ring; I need to keep the momentum running.
Im enjoying my time up with John Breen and the trainings gone really well alongside a great bunch of lads. I am still improving and the defence needs tightening but overall Im pleased with my progress.