Monthly Archives: March 2011
30 March 2011 – Press Release
Former British lightweight champion, turned promoter, Graham Earl announced earlier today that this Saturdays Fists of Fury event, at the Kings Hall in Belfast, has been postponed.
The event, which was to be headlined by Scottish lightweight Willie Limond versus Jay Morris, was intended to showcase many of the Belfast boxers Graham recently signed.
On making the announcement Graham said, Im really disappointed that we have had to postpone Fists of Fury, it had all the makings of being a really fantastic show. Its been one of those weeks, various circumstances conspired to put the show at risk early in the week, but when we started to get fighter injuries as well we couldnt see any other option, but to postpone the show.
Were disappointed for the fans, who had been showing their support and getting behind the local fighters. Were disappointed for all the fighters that were going to take part, especially the lads that were going to be debuting. Were hoping to reschedule the show for later in the year, unfortunately it cant be for a few months as we already have shows scheduled for the coming months.
It is expected that Graham Earl will be announcing a revised date for Belfast in the near future. In the meantime Graham Earl Promotions next show will be at York Hall in London on Saturday 7th May 2011.
30 March 2011 – Jonny Stapleton
Martin Rogan has pulled out of the forthcoming International Prizefighter contest, but has promised to be back in regular action in Belfast very soon. The former Commonwealth heavyweight champion had initially agreed to take part in the first international version of a tournament that launched his career, but has since withdrawn citing a lack of time to prepare.
The inaugural Prizefighter winner, who is two fights into a comeback from a neck operation, believes the four week lead-in time would not allow him to do himself justice in the quick fire contest. The Iron Man stressed he didnt want to cheat himself in to thinking he could take a short to victory and was wary of letting down his loyal following.
However, the 39-year-old is adamant he still has a future in the ring. The entertainer expects to be back pleasing crowds with a home town performance in late May or early June.
I would like to thank Matchroom for giving me the chance to take part in Prizefighter again, but the timing is not right for me. When I received the call I was naturally excited and jumped at the invitation. But my heart sank hours later when I realised the preparation time was much less than what would be expected before a big fight, Rogan explained.
Make no mistake about it, Prizefighter is not an easy touch and it is a platform that can make or break a fighter. I would be in it to win it, no second measure would do. I simply could not cheat myself into believing I could win it without the right preparation. At the same time I would not be happy to see fans and family travel over to London when I am not fully prepared to go hell for leather and bring the title home.
I am now back in full-time training but it is with the aim of fighting in Belfast in late May or early June. Its high time I was fighting in Belfast on a regular basis but I will bring something new to fight fans much more than a boxing show. I am excited about the future.
28 March 2011 – Jonny Stapleton
Bryan Vera is determined to prove his victory over Irish middleweight Andy Lee wasnt a fluke, when pair meet again later this year.
The Texan is the only blotch on the Emmanuel Steward-trained boxers fight CV and Lee has been very vocal about wanting a rematch since he was stopped by Vera.
And it seems the Limerick man may get his wish, as Vera confirmed to www.irish-boxing.com that talks regarding an HBO-aired return bout are already underway.
Vera, who is coming off a career best performance against Sergio Mora, is a little put out by Lees claims illness hampered his performance when the pair last meet.
The former Contender contestant believes he was a deserved winner when the pair last met and claims he will prove that by defeating the Irish southpaw in that rematch.
Vera admits that he believes Lee, who displayed heart and courage as he stopped Scot Craig McEwan in his last outing, is on the world title path, but wants to hijack the Irish fighters title dreams when they meet.
The fight is in the pipeline. It is a bout Andy said he would love and its one I would love too. Our management teams are trying to get it together, Vera told www.irish-boxing.com.
I am confident I can beat him again. I have improved since we met and I am getting better and better. My last performance against Sergio Mora proves that. I will beat Andy but it wont be as wild and crazy this time round. I will be more controlled and I will break him down.
He has been linked with a world title fight of late and he is ranked highly. He deserves a world title shot in my opinion. I want to rob his rankings though and I want to be the one talked about as a potential world champion. That is great motivation for me going into the fight. So is the fact that he said he was unwell last time we fought. If Andy Lee wasnt ready to fight me why didnt he pull out? He looked good in the opening rounds but I think I wore him down over the middle rounds and deserved to win.
30 March 2011 – Jonny Stapleton
The Irish Outlaw Ryan Coyne is gunning for Ian Tims and wants to hijack the cruiserweight title from the newly crowned champions waist. Coyne has built a respectable 16-0 record fighting stateside and claims it would be a massive honour to challenge for the Irish strap.
The Don King-promoted former Contender contestant, who has Irish heritage in Mayo and, said Tims, turned down the chance to face him last year, is delighted to hear the Dubliner is now actively seeking a title bout with the undefeated prospect.
Coyne, who sparred Cuban Mike Perez during a five week visit to Ireland in 2010, has yet to see the reigning champ in action but believes Tims -who is in demand, with Michael Sweeney calling him out- is not his league.
The Irish-American, who wants to add the Irish strap to his WBC US belt, points to his WBA and WBC top ten rankings as proof that Irish Outlaw would easily out gun The Tank. Coyne pointed out that he didnt earn his ranking by beating Lollipops and is confident of licking Tims.
I want to offer my congratulations to Ian Tims on winning the Irish Title. There was a chance for me and Ian Tims to fight previously, but at that time Tims’ people wanted no part of the fight. It looks like a very intriguing match now. I never back down from a challenge, and especially not one of this magnitude, Coyne told www.irish-boxing.com.
As I said, my hat’s off to Tims for capturing the title, and if the path can be lit for me to fight for this title I am more than willing to meet the challenge.
I would love to fight for the Irish title! I would consider it an honour, second only to becoming world champion, to fight for the Irish title. My ancestors hail from County Cork and Mayo, and becoming an Irish champion would truly be a dream come true, Coyne added before intimating he would beat the reigning champ.
I am somewhat familiar with Ian Tims. I have never seen him fight. He has a nice record, but his record wouldn’t indicate he packs a punch, and his resume leaves a little bit to be desired.
I am always confident of victory when I prepare for a fight. A fight with Tims would be no different. Tims is a good fighter, but he is not on my level. I have defeated many good fighters, whereas with the exception of Sweeney, Tims has not faced the calibre of competition I have. I am rated #7 by the WBA and #14 by the WBC and hold the WBC’s U.S. National title. These accolades did not come from fighting lollipops. I would be happy to add Tims’ title to my collection and give him his first loss.
Tims might view a fight with Coyne as a chance to take a first step into the American market, but the WBC US National title holder would love to win the Irish title on Irish soil.
I would actually prefer to have the fight in Eire. I spent five weeks in Ireland last year training with the Cubans Luis Garcia and Mike Perez, and I absolutely loved my time on the emerald isle. I didn’t want to leave! I would love to return for a big fight as such. Of course, the politics of boxing often dictate things, so if it were to happen in America that would also be ok, Coyne said before outlaying his long term goals.
I am in this game for one reason and one reason only – to become a world champion. I have lofty goals, and I am well on my way to accomplishing them. Like most Irish fighters, I have achieved success not from exceptional physical gifts, but through endless hard work and incredible self drive to become the best. I will make it there and beyond in the same manor that I toppled everyone who has stood in my path thus far.
2011 is going to be a big year, and if the Irish Title is in the cards on my trek to a world title that would be fantastic! I have the best fans both in America and Ireland, and I plan on putting on some great performances for them this year. Check out my website www.irishoutlawboxing.com for the up to the minute happenings.
30 March 2011 – Jonny Stapleton
If Andy Lee cannot secure a world title bout next he would love nothing more than to rectify his only career blip by facing and defeating Bryan Vera.
Vera, who shocked and stopped the Limerick native in 2008, said earlier in the week that talks regarding a much anticipated rematch were already underway, and like the Texan, the Irish middleweight would love Vera-Lee II. The former Olympian claims neither he nor Vera have shied away from each other and bad timing rather than bad blood is the only reason they have yet to trade leather for the second time.
However, with Lees will rather than skill inspired victory over Craig McEwan proving he is not yet worthy of a shot at WBC champion Sergio Martinez. And with Vera demonstrating he has more than journeyman potential with a points decision over Sergio Mora, the timing now seems perfect.
Veras management have claimed a deal has been agreed in principle and all they are waiting for is the contract. Lee, on the other hand, is waiting for official confirmation from promoter Lou Di Bella and TV company HBO as to who is next.
I’m still waiting to hear about my next fight. I don’t think it will be a title fight but it will be against a top middleweight. I would like to fight Vera again, that fight might be a possibility. HBO were very happy about my fight and the drama of the whole thing. It’s up to them and my promoter Lou Di Bella to decide who and when I’ll fight next, Lee told www.irish-boxing.com.
Vera is the only man to beat me and hes coming off a big win himself. I have a lot of respect for Bryan Vera. Hes a tough man and a tough fighter and hes a handful for anybody. If I cant get a title fight in my next fight then I would like nothing more than to fight Bryan Vera. Hes never run from me. I never ran from him. The timing just hasnt been right.
The Limerick southpaw received as much criticism for his performance in the middle rounds as he did for his gutsy display in a dramatic final two stanzas of his last outing. Lee showed guts and fight, but lacked a bit of guile and flair as he struggled in the middle rounds of a fight he won via a last round stoppage.
However rather than sing from the result and not the performance is what matters hymn sheet, the middleweight contender gave www.irish-boxing.com an honest appraisal of a display he labels bittersweet.
I feel good after the fight, it was a tough night, I didn’t box well but I found a way to win. I started well in the first round, I hurt him but the next 5/6 rounds were McEwans, said Lee. I was loading up too much looking for one big punch while he was throwing combinations, that allowed him to win the rounds and grow in confidence. It wasn’t until round seven that I started to box and put my punches together. When I put him down in the ninth, that changed the fight. Going into the last round I sensed I could get him out and I did, Lee added before commenting on Anthony Fitzgeralds recent win EBA title win over Affif Belghecham.
I didn’t see Anthony Fitzgeralds fight with Affif, but thats a good win for him. I heard there was some controversy involving the stoppage but it’s still a good win and a good name on his record.
29 March 2011 – Steve Wellings
The last time I interviewed Mark Morris, the aspiring amateur was posing in the Gleann BC ring with a cheque from the ASDA supermarket. That windfall provided the west Belfast club with much needed funds and Morris is now looking to boost his own cash flow by moving onto the professional circuit. Mark is one of Graham Earls golden group and the 22-year-old was hoping to turn pro on April 2 in Belfasts Kings Hall complex. Unfortunately a hand injury has ruled him out of that one but he is hoping to get in the ring sooner rather than later.
Marks come forward style means that he leaves little to chance in sparring and training and the hand just gave way on this occasion. Morris believes that his come-forward style will ultimately serve him well in the professional game.
I’m an aggressive fighter, always going forward and I love a good fight with strong hard punches. I decided to go pro because the amateur style didn’t suit me. I was an aggressive boxer, throwing lots of shots and only getting one point for all my work. When I met Graham Earl he was impressed with me and loved the way I fought. He asked me to sign and because Ive always wanted to box professional then I saw this as my big chance to do just that.
An impressive roster of honours accompanied Morris as he handed in his head guard and vest for a stab at professional glory. Five Antrim titles, five Ulster, three boys club and one Antrim intermediate triumph complete the haul. Mark also starred in international bouts, including a particularly fruitful trip to Canada for a multi-nations style tournament. Three fights, three wins and the boxer of the week award plus a fight of the night award, he proudly remembers. I fought in the UKs too, but was beaten in the semi-final on that occasion.
Mark will continue to train under amateur guru Gerard McManus, with Paul McIlroy handling strength and conditioning duties. He enjoys the same set-up as one of our previously featured fighters Mark Ginley who trains alongside Morris at Gleann boxing club on the Glen Road. Morris, nicknamed The Reaper, has been busy sparring Ginley as well as his brother Raymond, plus Gleann starlet Paddy Gallagher. Eddie Nesbitt and Terry Holmes have also helped keep him razor sharp in preparation for fight night.
We have a lot of experience in the team. Gerard is one of the best coaches around and Desi Hill [Gleanns main man] has been like a father to me; hes looked after me for a long time and got me to training when I didnt want to go. Were a family up at Gleann with everyone looking out for each other.
Contrary to the usual tales of a youngster sitting down watching old video tapes of favourite fighters or tapping the bags with a hero in mind, Morris isnt a huge boxing fan. He wasnt raised on the fistic art and actually fell into the sport by chance.
I found out that a boxing club had opened just up the street from me and a few of my mates were already there, he recalls. So I was supposed to meet them outside the club but they didnt show up; I was freaking out about whether to go in after them or just go home, but after a good 10 minutes outside I decided to go in and it was the best thing Ive ever done in my life. I dont have any favourite fighters because I dont watch boxing. I just love training hard and fighting hard.
Outside of the ring Mark subsidises his income by working as a labourer and is a keen participant in a variety of sports. I especially enjoy playing football in the local leisure centre every weekend and I do a bit of swimming during the week. I also go out a lot with my fiance, for food and to the cinema.
But when he enters the squared circle, Morris is all business and looking to make a name for himself with immediate effect.
I want to win everything I possibly can, he concludes, by starting at the bottom and working my way quickly up the ladder.
28 March 2011 – Jonny Stapleton
Carl Frampton claims the nature of the options team Kiko Martinez wanted on his future career is proof that the Spaniard, and not the Belfast native, was afraid of a potential EBU clash.
Martinez said last week, that fear and not finance, as Barry McGuigan previously suggested, was the true catalyst behind Framptons decision to turn down a March 5 Kings Hall-hosted European title fight.
However, The Jackal revealed that matters outside the ring rather fear of doing the business inside the squared circle prompted him to turn down the chance to trade leather with Bernard Dunnes former foe.
The reigning Celtic super-bantamweight champion, who expects to be out again in May, claims both he and mentor McGuigan agreed to the bout in a matter of seconds before being seriously deterred when they saw the fight contract.
Indeed so bad were the terms, according the Tigers Bay native, that it suggests team Martinez thought a Frampton victory was highly likely.
There is no way I am afraid of Martinez, Frampton, who completed a sky dive for suicide and drug awareness group FASA on Saturday, said in response to Martinezs claims printed in the Mirror last week.
As soon as Barry put it to me I said yes straight away lets get it on. Barry was of the same opinion. We wanted the fight, but they wanted to tie me down if I beat Martinez. I agree if the opportunity comes sometime you have to take it, but the circumstances have to be right.
The way I look at it is, they offered us the fight we accepted and what they came back with suggested they highly suspected that I would win. They wanted to cover their backs and tie me down.
They must have seen what I did to my last opponent, who Kiko also faced and got worried. I hurt the lad and got him out of there. Kiko was cut by him and only won on points.
Myself and Kiko is a big fight, obviously because of his association with Bernard Dunne and what he has being saying about myself and Willie Casey of late, but it wont be happening yet.
However, whilst he claims that if the conditions were right he would fight the man that had Bernard Dunne gone in 86 seconds, Frampton admits he wouldnt be ready for the Cuban that had Willie Casey gone in just less than three minutes just over a week ago.
Manager of Guillermo Rigondeaux -who stopped brave Willie Casey in a one-sided WBA interim title fight in City West on March 19- Gary Hyde, claimed he would love to bring the Cuban sensation back to Ireland and was open to defending against Frampton.
However, the McGuigan-managed and Gerry Storey-trained hot prospect honestly admitted he wouldnt yet be ready for the two-time world and Olympic gold medallist.
Frampton, who commended Big Bangs bravery yet questioned his reasoning for challenging Rigondeaux, thinks the Cuban is the best in the division at the present time, but does have aspirations to hold that title in 18 months time.
I will be honest, I am not ready for Rigondeaux. It is too soon for me to fight him. I am not stupid. Look what he did to Willie Casey. He is the best in the division right now and could become pound-for-pound champion of the world. I can and will get to the top, but it wouldnt realistic to say I would fight Rigondeaux now. In 18 months I would welcome that fight. After what happened to Casey last I am the new kid on the block at this weight. If everyone gets behind me there is a real chance I will become champion of the world one day.
Posted March 29th, 2011 in News
28 March 2011 – Jonny Stapleton
Belfast Heavyweight Martin Rogan returns to the tournament that launched his career in a bid to get back to the boxing big time.
The inaugural Prizefighter winner will be hoping to be crowned king of the International heavyweights by registering a second victory in the unique tournament, at Alexandra Palace on May 7.
The Iron Man used his win in the first ever Prizefighter in April 2008 as a platform to secure a Commonwealth title, but struggled with injury since loosing that strap to Sam Sexton.
Now having registered two wins since returning from his enforced sabbatical the big Belfast cabbie will be hoping to deliver Prizefighter success once again.
Cork-based Cuban, Mike The Rebel Perez adds more Irish flavour to the first international Prizefighter contest, that also includes American Kevin Kingpin Johnson, Richel the Dutch Sonny Liston Hersisia and Germanys Konstantin Airich.
This event has been bubbling up for over a year now and I am so excited we have finally made it happen, said Matchroom Sports managing director Eddie Hearn. As Prizefighter starts its international expansion, this flagship event couldn’t have come at a better time and boxing fans are in for a real treat on May 7.
As always the line-up will combine an eclectic mix of prospects, champions and characters as these eight men look to fight their way into contention for a shot at the world heavyweight title, added Hearn. In Martin Rogan we have a man that epitomises Prizefighter, our first ever champion and a guy looking to force his way back into the big-time.
Johnson will be the first American fighter signed for Prizefighter and has lost only once, in a points decision to Vitali Klitschko for the WBC title. Former WBF champ Richel Hersisia boasts a high knockout percentage while Perez is a highly rated Cuban prospect that is out to shock the world.
Posted March 29th, 2011 in News
27 March 2011 – Jonny Stapleton
Michael Sweeney claims injury and not any Ian Tims brilliance was the real architect of his Irish Cruiserweight title downfall in City West on March 19 and has called for a rematch.
The Mayo big man, who left the ring sporting only slight bulge and no Irish title around his waist after the fight of the night on the Willie Casey Guillermo Rigondeaux undercard, revealed damage to his right knee prevented him from completing a proper training camp ahead of the biggest fight of career.
The Ballinrobe native told www.irish-boxing.com that he only had three weeks to prepare for a fight Tims had 10 months training for. Sweeney believes he deserves and even pleaded for a rematch.
The 28-year-old pointed out he gave Tims, who also revealed he carried an injury into the bout, a second chance when the Pascal Collins-trained fighter pulled out of The Facebook Fight last year and as a result has asked the Ballyfermot bruiser to return the favour.
The former Banner Promotions fighter believes he should have pulled out, but he didnt want the bout to be cancelled for a third time. As a result he requested a second shot at the strap in the summer.
In all honesty I wasnt in shape. That was plain for everyone to see. I had a knee injury and could only do three weeks training. I didnt want to pull out though and have the fight go down again. I knew I wasnt ready but I battled on. There is no point in crying over spilt milk now. He got the decision. His hand was raised I have to accept that but I think I deserve a rematch. I want to ask Tims for a rematch. I had three weeks to prepare he had ten months. I gave him a second chance when he pulled out five days before the fight last year. I just hope he doesnt price himself out of the fight.
The Mayo fighter also claimed that, as a result of his injury the current champion didnt face Michael Sweeney at his best, and stressed that when the real slimmer Sweeney stands up the result will be different. With a proper training camp, Sweeney is of the opinion he would cruise to cruiser weight title victory.
Ian was a tough opponent and again credit goes to him for winning, but he didnt fight the real Michael Sweeney. If he fights me fit and ready it will be a different story. I already started back on road work and I have been training since the fight. A few things are going to change and I am confident I can become Irish champion.
Posted March 28th, 2011 in News
24 March 2011 – Jonny Stapleton
WBA light welterweight champion Amir Khan has refuted claims he is overlooking the challenge of Paul McCloskey and stressed he is fully focused on ruining Irelands third 2011 world title attempt.
Derry man, McCloskey is the latest pretender to King Khans thrown, as the pair are scheduled to meet in the MEN Arena on April 16, but suggestions the Bolton native is looking past the European champion are rife. The Freddie Roach trained fighter, has been accused of talking more about a massive unification fight with Timothy Bradley than latest opponent McCloskey, as the build up to next months world title clash continues.
Indeed, boxings latest mega star has already agreed to face WBC and WBO champ, Bradley in the summer, and has even mentioned Floyd Mayweather as a potential future opponent. However, speaking exclusively to the Irish Mirror from his training camp in the Philippines, Khan stressed he is not taking the Dungiven stylist lightly. The WBA strap holder claims he is working as hard as ever and pointed out, that in Manny Pacquiao, the pound for pound champion of the world, he has the perfect sparring partner for the challenge southpaw McCloskey brings.
I am definitely not overlooking or underestimating McCloskey because in this sport you can only look at your next opponent and your next challenge. In the ring anything can happen so I have to be fully focused on this fight and give my opponent the respect that he deserves, Khan explained.
I am very confident. Im the champion and have experience of these types of nights so I am fully confident going into the bout. Training is going really well. I was out in LA initially but now I have moved my camp over here to the Philippines to be with Freddie whilst he trains Manny, who preparing for his fight against Shane Mosley. I will most probably be sparring with Manny for this fight and he will be a great help because like McCloskey he is a southpaw. Who better to help you than the world best pound-for-pound fighter?
McCloskeys trainer John Breen has intimated that Khans temples are his Achilles heel and has re raised questions about the champions punch resistance. However, Khan, who claims he wont fluff his lines as he sticks the strict fight script written by Roach, believes he has disproved the theories he is chinny and plans to do his talking in the ring.
I’m not worried what other people say. It is just about me getting in the ring and doing the business. I have the weapons and tools to beat anyone in this division. On the night it’s just going to be me and him and come April 16 I am confident I will be victorious. Freddie has put together a game plan and it’s just about me sticking to the script, Khan added before claiming to have the support of some Irish fight fans.
It will be nice to see a strong Irish contingent over at the fight. I myself have a big Irish following, and it can only make the atmosphere inside the arena better. These big world title nights are the types of atmospheres you want to fight in, were there is a real buzz in the air and I’m sure with the Irish support and with my support thats just what you’re going to get.