By Rory Fitzgerald
What to look forward to this week:
Attention all boxing fans do not make any plans for this coming weekend as we are blessed with a host of top class action from all over the world.
Eddie Hearn is again responsible for a brilliant night of boxing from the M.E.N Arena in Manchester. Two world titles and two British titles will all be on the line plus a packed undercard in what will be a very entertaining and emotional night.
It was a dream come true for Anthony Crolla when Hearn informed him in the 02 in Dublin last November that he was in line for a crack at Richar Abrils’ WBA world lightweight title when disaster struck. Crolla was sitting in his home when he noticed two burglars trying to break into a neighbour’s house. The brave Manchester man confronted the burglars and was assaulted by the two men and left fighting for his life.
8 months on and amazingly Crolla is back, and he is fighting for a world title as he takes on Darleys Perez for the WBA world lightweight title. Cheered on by his beloved Manchester supporters the 28 year old believes he has fully recovered from the effects of the brutal assault.
“Million Dollar” knows he will have to be at his very best to defeat Perez, (who starts as favourite) as the only man who has been able to do so in his 33 fight career was Cuban hotshot Yuriokis Gamboa.
Nobody (except for Perez) would begrudge the Manchester man a famous victory in his hometown.
Scott Quigg makes his 5th defence of his WBA super-bantamweight world title against Kiko Martinez. Martinez will be well known to all Irish fans as he has twice been put in his place by Carl Frampton. Quigg’s performance this Saturday night will no doubt draw comparisons to that of “The Jackals” (against Martinez) as hopes are still high that the two can lock horns sometime next year.
The Bury man will be in for hard nights work against the tough Spaniard, but the 26 year old will be hopeful of a victory, and look good in doing so.
Chris Jenkins takes on Tyrone Nurse for the vacant British light-welterweight strap. Nurse (31-2), whose last defeat came against current WBC international lightweight champion Dave Ryan will be hoping to be too strong and powerful for Jenkins, who will look to stretch his unbeaten record to 17-0 with a victory over the Huddersfield man.
Sam Eggington v Glenn Foot for the vacant British welterweight title has “Fight of the Night candidate” written all over it. Two fighters who wear their heart on their sleave, are not likely to take any back steps and love a brawl, what more could you want?
Eggington has been on the crest of a wave since his defeat to Johnny Coyle in April last year. In his penultimate fight against Shayne Singleton, he picked up the WBC international Silver welterweight title and in his last bout against Joseph Lamptey he captured the Commonwealth welterweight title. He will be hoping to add the British version on Saturday night before moving on to European or World honours in 2016.
Also on the card, Martin Murray boxes at super-middleweight for only the second time as he takes on Mirzet Bajrektarevic. The St. Helens’ man will have George Groves and James DeGale in his sights for big domestic dust ups in 2016.
Irish eyes will be on Jono Carroll who also features on a packed card along with rising stars Hosea Burton, Marcus Morrison, Charlie Edwards, Jeff Saunders, Liam Taylor and Jack Massey.
Carl Frampton will dip his toes for the first time in an American boxing ring as a professional as he takes on Alejandro Gonzalez Jr in El Paso Texas. “The Jackal” has come in for some criticism from Eddie Hearn on his choice of opponent as Gonzalez is only ranked no.12 best super-bantamweight in Mexico.
Hearn’s criticism will only add fuel to Frampton’s fire as he hopes to impress the American audience before he moves up in class against the likes of Quigg, Nonito Donaire, Leo Santa Cruz or Abner Mares.
Paul Smith’s conqueror Arthur Abraham will defend his WBO world super middleweight title against Robert Stieglitz in Germany on Saturday night.
This will be the fourth time these two men have shared a ring with the score currently 2-1 in Abrahams favour
Also on the Abraham/Stieglitz undercard is Anthony Ogogo who will return to the ring after more than a year out whilst recovering from Achilles surgery. The 2012 Olympic bronze medallist takes on Ukraine’s Ruslan Schelev in what’s scheduled to be a six round bout.
David Price is also in action in Germany this weekend on a different card as he looks to land the vacant European heavyweight title. Standing in his way is the unbeaten German Erkan Teper who boats a record of 14-0 which includes first round stoppages over Belfast’s Martin Rogan and Michael Sprott.
Price has won his last four fights since twice being knocked out by American veteran Tony Thompson. The Liverpool man will be aiming to land the European title on his way to huge fights next year in a packed heavyweight division that includes Wladimir Klitschko, Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua.
Chris Arreola and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr are also in action this weekend.
News from around the world:
Carl Froch has announced his retirement from boxing.
“The Cobra” has treated his fans to some classic fights down the years including wars with Andre Dirrell, George Groves (twice), Mikkel Kessler (twice) and Jean Pascal.
The Nottingham man never stood down from fighting the best in his division and always fought with his heart on his sleeve
He will join the likes of Johnny Nelson and Adam Smith as part of the Sky boxing team on Ringside.
Talks are ongoing between Guillermo Rigondeaux and Vasyl Lomachenko to get it on in what would be a clash of two of the best amateurs in the last 20 years.
The one stumbling block for this huge fight happening is “Rigo’s” camp wanting the Ukrainian to get down to 124 pounds. This will certainly be a fight for the purists and one we all hope can happen later in the year.
Lucas Browne, who has been calling out WBC Heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in recent weeks has vacated his Commonwealth title and has set his sights on Ruslan Chagaev’s WBA world strap. Browne, who is known as “Big Daddy” is promoted by Ricky Hatton and is the mandatory for the Russian’s belt.
Keith Thurman retained his WBA world welterweight title last weekend stopping a bloodied Luis Collazo in 8 rounds. The 26 year old, who is one of a number of welterweights chasing a dream clash with Floyd Mayweather, immediately called out “Money” in his in-ring post fight interview.
“One Time” looked straight down the camera lens in a direct taunt at the Michigan man and screamed “Come and take my 0 baby”.
We will soon find out Mayweather’s September 12 opponent. Thurman along with Kell Brook, Amir Kahn, Gennardy Golovkin, Andre Berto and apparently Karim Mayfield will all be waiting in anticipation.
A huge fight for the WBC middleweight title will hopefully be confirmed in the coming days as champion Miguel Cotto looks set to take on Saul Alvarez. The 24 year old known as “Canelo” (for his bright red hair) made his pro debut at only 15 years of age and has an incredible record of 45-1-1. The one blemish on his fine record was a defeat by majority decision to Floyd Mayweather in September 2013.
Future Hall of Fame Fighter, Cotto has regained form since his jump up to middleweight winning his last three bouts including victories over Daniel Geale and Sergio Martinez.
The Puerto Rican also has the added bonus of Freddie Roach in his corner.
In the year of the Mayweather v Pacquiao mega fight this is another clash that would be huge for the sport of boxing.
Josh Warrington will be hoping to defeat Joel Brunker in style on September 5th as he looks to set up a huge night in Leeds against IBF world featherweight champion Lee Selby with Eddie Hearn claiming that it is a fight that really should happen.
Fedor Chudinov has pulled out of his WBA super-middleweight clash with Frank Buglioni with a broken nose. The Londoner however is not totally convinced with the champion’s reasons for his withdrawal.
Abner Mares and Leo Santa Cruz will get it on in a bout that will have huge ramifications for Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton who will both be targeting the winner.
Mares v Santa Cruz is scheduled to take place on the 30th of August at the Staples Centre in California.