Hope for the future as young Scots deliver on Ricky Burns undercard

Graeme McGarry

If much of the focus in the build-up to fight night at the Manchester Arena was on the precarious futures of both headline fighters, Ricky Burns and Anthony Crolla, should they lose, then hope for the future of Scottish boxing was provided by Charlie Flynn and Joe Ham on the undercard, with both Scottish fighters winning every round on their way to victories over Liam ‘Rocco’ Richards and Jose Aguilar respectively.

Flynn was stepping into the ring for the first time since a technical draw against Ryan Collins back in April due to an accidental clash of heads, but there were no signs of rustiness from the Mailman as he dominated from the off, following in behind the jab to repeatedly pin Richards into the corner.

The Newharthill fighter looked in superb condition and was sharp in the early exchanges, knocking some of the bounce from the step of the lively Richardson with some crashing right hands within the opening minutes.

Using his left-hand jab to control his opponent, Flynn was able to maneuver the Englishman precisely where he wanted him to go, and continued to dominate as the fight maintained its pattern throughout.

Richardson had only been stopped once in 50 previous fights, so there was little surprise that the contest went the distance, but he has rarely been beaten more soundly than this. Flynn was never in any danger as he returned to competitive action, and the six rounds were completed with the minimum of fuss.

After so long out of the ring, it is perhaps understandable, if a little ambitious, of Flynn to attempt to squeeze in another two bouts before the end of 2017, but he should be fresh enough to give it a go after this polished performance.

“I just wanted to get out there and enjoy myself again,” Flynn said.

“It’s been tough being out, but I took control and managed to get my shots off. Slowly but surely, I began to dominate and I controlled the fight.

“I want to keep the fights coming now, and hopefully get another couple in before the end of the year. Maybe one of those could be a title shot, we’ll wait and see.”

Ham was similarly dominant against Barcelona fighter Aguilar, with the Gorbals man all over his opponent from the off and recording an easy victory to maintain his own unbeaten record in his twelfth professional bout.

Ham had originally been scheduled to fight England’s Ricky Starkey, but a last-minute change brought the tough Aguilar in front of him. The 26-year-old took the switch in his stride though, and much like Flynn, was well worth his 60-54 victory to get the night off to a flyer from a Scottish perspective.

There was another win for a fighter with a Scottish connection as Scott Cardle, whose father hails from Glasgow, got a 59-56 decision over Lee Connelly.

Elsewhere, there was a shock for the home crowd as Sam Eggington lost his European welterweight crown to mandatory challenger Mohamed Minoune on a split decision.

One of the most impressive performances of the night came from Connor Benn, the son of Boxing legend Nigel and training partner of Ricky Burns in the lead-up to the clash with Crolla. Benn had Nathan Clarke down twice before the referee called a halt to the fight within the first round, and on this evidence, the destructive power of the 21-year-old may lead him to bigger and better things in the future.

Then, the stage was set for the main event. If the size of the task facing Burns as he stepped into Crolla’s backyard was in any doubt, the pre-fight atmosphere simply confirmed it, with the huge crowd singing their man’s name with increasing gusto and frequency throughout the undercard.

The Scottish contingent were vastly outnumbered, but they were gamely trying to overcome the odds that seemed to be stacked against them, much like the man they had travelled to support.

The performances of his young proteges, Flynn and Ham, had given them hope.

Crolla and Burns clash in must-win Lightweight battle

Anthony Crolla and Ricky Burns will clash in a must-win Lightweight battle at the Manchester Arena on October 7, live on Sky Sports.

The former World champions will be looking for a huge win to get back into range for a World title tilt and continue their glittering careers at the top level.

Crolla enjoyed a rollercoaster ride as WBA king at 135lbs starting with his cancelled challenge against Richar Abril when he heroically challenged robbers at his neighbours home in December 2014. After recovering from a skull fracture and broken ankle, ‘Million Dollar’ finally got his first shot in July against Darleys Perez at the Manchester Arena but was edged out in a controversial draw. The pair rematched in the same venue five months later and Crolla took his second chance out of the judges’ hands with a stunning 6th round KO from a brutal body shot. Crolla delivered the same salvo against dangerous mandatory challenger Ismael Barroso in in May 2016 to halt the Venezuelan in round seven.

That win led to a keenly fought pair of unification battles with Jorge Linares in Manchester that the visitor won, but Crolla insists that Burns will not follow in Linares’ footsteps by defeating him on home soil.

“All I want to do is be involved in big fights and Ricky Burns is a three weight World Champion, I’ve got a lot of respect for him,” said Crolla. “He’s a great fighter and only lost to the very best.

“I’m looking forward to going to battle and putting on a display for the fans. Camp started a few weeks ago and I’m in a good place.

“It’s at a good time for both of us. A win puts us back in the mix for titles, I’m not going to say the loser has nowhere to go, but it’s going to be a tough road back. We’re both coming off losing our World Titles and the incentive is to win the fight and get back in the frame.

“I could have a tune up fight on the undercard of somewhere and an easier opponent to get me back into things and then a big fight after but I’m not interested in that.

“It’s nearly happened before a good few times, a few years ago at Super-Featherweight and again at Lightweight. It’s been talked about for years now. It looked like it wasn’t going to happen but it’s good now we’re finally going to meet.”

It also marks an emotional return to the Arena for Crolla following the devastating terrorist attack at the Arena in May, and Crolla expects this to be the most poignant night of all at Manchester’s famous boxing home.

“I’m really happy the fight is in Manchester,” said Crolla. “It’s going to be one of the first shows since that horrible night with the bombings so it means an awful lot to go back. A lot of people have been asking me to come back to the Arena for my next fight. But if there’s a rematch, I’ll happily go to Glasgow.

“The 24 rounds with Linares puts me in good stead. They weren’t fights where I took a serious beating with huge shots bouncing my head back. Other than the knockdown, I wasn’t on wobbly legs. I enjoyed the experience. I made improvements in the build-up which I didn’t get to show on the night which is a credit to Jorge.

“I’ve got nothing against Ricky, he’s a good guy. But once that bell goes we’ll both be willing to dig deep. I’ve wanted this for a long time, I can’t wait.”

Burns created history in Scotland in May 2016 when he defeated Michele Di Rocco in Glasgow to land the WBA World Super-Lightweight title and become the country’s first ever three weight champion.

The Coatbridge star successfully defended the crown against tough mandatory Kiryl Relikh in Glasgow in October 2016 before falling short in a unification battle with IBF king Julius Indongo in April.

The 34 year old secured the WBO World Super-Featherweight title in September 2010 before moving up to claim the WBO strap at Lightweight in November 2011 and the ‘Rickster’ is ready to prove he still has big ambitions at world level.

“It’s going to be a great fight,” said Burns. “There was a lot of talk in recent weeks, the response we got was unbelievable. People want to see it and now the deal is done I’m looking forward to it.

“It doesn’t bother me where I fight, there will be a good crowd coming down from Scotland. It’s a fight the fans have been getting up for and I’m sure they will turn up in their numbers.

“When I held World titles at Super-Featherweight and Lightweight, Crolla’s name was always mentioned but it never happened. He’s a great guy and a great fighter, I don’t think you’ll get much trash talk in the build-up. The best man will win on the night.

“I’m always saying to Tony I think I’ve got two or three more years left. At this stage of my career I don’t see the point in getting an easy win. I’d rather go in with a big name. If I win, I’m going to progress and hopefully get another title shot. That’s the way I’m looking at it.

“Everyone keeps asking me how long I have left. The first time I take too many punches or turn up to training and don’t enjoy it – that’s it. I won’t put myself through it. Especially with training down in Essex for 12 weeks, but at the minute I’m really looking forward to it.

“I said to Eddie I was 100 per cent up for it, but we’ve been waiting for a couple of weeks from their side so I don’t know what’s been going on.

“Crolla just fell short with Linares, although he lost twice he didn’t take a beating. You’ve got to hold your hands up – Linares is very good.

“It’s a make or break fight for the both of us. Even before I fought Di Rocco I always said I just want to take it one fight at a time. I’ve been the same the whole way through my career but fingers crossed a win here can lead to bigger things.

“It’s going to be hard, tough fight. The two of us will come out and go for it – the fans are the real winners.”

“What a fight between two great warriors” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Both Anthony and Ricky are in similar places in the careers and they know that this absolute must win. Knowing these two like I do this is going to be a fight until the finishing bell with neither taking a backward step. It’s an all-British super fight between two great World champions and fans in the Manchester Arena and watching on Sky Sports can expect a wonderful event.”

Early details on the undercard and tickets will be announced at a launch press conference in Manchester on Tuesday.

No Rematch for Collins

 

Graeme McGarry

 

Heads you draw: Charlie Flynn doesn’t want to risk a repeat of the injury he received as a result of a clash of heads with Ryan Collins back in April.

Motherwell boxer Charlie Flynn knows that his last opponent wants a rematch, but he says that he can’t afford to take him on in case he headbutts him again.

Flynn accused Irvine fighter Ryan Collins of clumsiness after a clash of heads between the pair in their bout at the SSE Hydro in April left the Commonwealth Games gold medalist requiring 25 stitches to a cut above his eye, and the fight being stopped as a technical draw.

He is still unable to spar as a result, and he has subsequently suffered a significant loss of earnings as well as valuable exposure for his sponsors due to not being able to step into the ring.

And even though he is supremely confident that he would defeat Collins in any rematch, he doubts he will ever step into the ring with him again.

“It was a warm-up fight because I had been out for a long time,” Flynn said. “I was supposed to fight him, and then it would be a 10-rounder to get me back into it, get me going, get a title and get a big flurry of fights one after the other.

“But then, that happened. I’ve already missed two fights because of it, and I’d already been offered a fight three weeks after that.

“So, I’ve lost two purses and my sponsors haven’t been out. I’m waiting to see what will happen, but I’ll leave it to my manager and Eddie Hearn to sort it out.

“Fighting him isn’t a risk from the point of view that I’m frightened in case he beats me, because I know I’m a level above. It’s just a case of not wanting to get another head clash.

“Maybe I’d consider that later on. Maybe, maybe not. I know for a fact that I would beat him, it’s not even in question.

“We were in the amateurs together and there’s a reason why I was the British champion two years in a row and I left amateur boxing as the British champion.

“It was annoying at the time, I was really frustrated and it was depressing, but at the end of the day it’s just boxing. Maybe there will be a rematch later on, but I don’t know.

“I know my manager doesn’t want it because it is such a high-risk fight with the prospect of a head-clash or a headbutt or whatever you want to call it.

“I should already have had another two fights since that one, so look at the loss of earnings. My sponsors aren’t even getting promoted because I’m out, I’m injured with this cut.

“So, I know from a business sense what they mean when they say that it would stupid to take the fight on because it could easily happen again.

“He follows in with his head after he throws punches. That’s what he does, and in that fight, it happened three or four times at least.

“I’ve got loads of options and I’ve got loads of opportunities, so there’s no point in that fight really.

“But I’ll fight anybody, it’s up to my management, they’ll pick the opponent and whoever it is that’s fine.”

Flynn is desperate to get back into competitive boxing, even though he is enjoying the chance to work on some technical aspects during his spell out of the ring.

After this enforced hiatus, he wants to cram in as much fighting as he can before the end of the year to get himself back on track, after a wretched 18 months through injury.

“My manager and Eddie are sorting everything out, but I’ll be doing three Matchroom shows,” he said.

“I’m guessing that they will maybe be down in England, but I don’t know yet. We’re talking about it and they might be doing a show in Scotland, but definitely at least two of those will be in England and maybe all three.

“I’ve been out for a long time and in the past year I’ve only had one fight, and maybe only three or four in the last two years.

“That’s not been good, and I need to get in the ring and get that experience, so we’re going to have a few fights and just roll through them.

“After that, we’ll see what happens next.”

 

Flynn fights for first title in Glasgow

Charlie Flynn will fight for his first pro title when he meets Ryan Collins for the Celtic Lightweight title at the SSE Arena in Glasgow on April 15, live on Sky Sports.

Flynn has raced to 8-0 in the paid ranks since turning over in December 2014 and ‘Mailman’ will look to deliver his first pro belt at the same venue he won Commonwealth Games gold in August 2014.

The 23 year old Newarthill talent tackles his first ten round action into the bargain when he faces Irvine’s Collins – also 23 – who fought for his first belt in June where he landed the vacant Scottish Area title in Glasgow.

Charlie says “Ryans a tough guy and to be honest it’s the type of fight I’m looking for a good solid ten rounder.  It’s great to be fighting for my first title in Glasgow, it’s where I want to be at this stage of my career and the undercard is shaping up nicely.

Ricky Burns tops the bill in Glasgow in his World Super-Lightweight unification clash with Julius Indongo, and Flynn’s is the second title bout to be added in as many days following Charlie Edwards’ meeting with Iain Butcher for the vacant British Super-Flyweight title, while Team GB Olympian Josh Kelly makes his pro debut.

Ricky Burns set to defend WBA light-welterweight title in Glasgow after Vegas clash with Adrien Broner falls through

Coatbridge slugger denied £1million payday against American star but set for a big show in March at the SSE Hydro.

WBA light-welterweight champion Ricky Burns will defend his title at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro in March.

The 33-year-old had been promised a £1million payday in Las Vegas against the notoriously unreliable Adrien Broner but, after agreeing terms for that bout, the American has signed up to fight journeyman Adrian Granados in February instead.

However, the Coatbridge man will still have the chance to boost his bank account.

Burns could now have a unification fight against the dangerous Namibian Julius Indongo – who won the IBF title from the previously unbeaten Russian, Eduard Troyanovsky, with a devastating first-round KO in Moscow just 12 days ago.

His other option is to defend his belt against Paulie Malignaggi, the former two division world champion. The Magic Man has won his last three fights but is now 36 and has been stopped Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, Amir Khan and Ricky Hatton.

Burns’s manager Alex Morrison said: “I spoke this morning with Ricky’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, who’s over at the WBC convention in Florida.

“He’s contacted the representatives of Malignaggi and Indongo and Ricky will take the fight which guarantees him the biggest purse during the first week in March.”

Another possible opponent for Burns further down the line could be fellow Scot Willie Limond, who turns 38 in February.

Ricky Burns could face fellow Scot Willie Limond at some point in the future
Ricky Burns could face fellow Scot Willie Limond at some point in the future

He faces Michal Vosyka at Glasgow’s City Hotel on Sunday evening and, if he beats the Czech, he’ll be guaranteed a crack at the WBA international light-welterweight title.

Morrison said: “If Willie can win that it’ll put him in the top 10 and that could lead to a match with Ricky further down the line.”

Ewing Grahame

Scotsman set to face American star if he sees off mandatory challenger in Glasgow

Ricky Burns will land a huge showdown with Adrien Broner if he successfully defends his WBA World Super-Lightweight title against dangerous mandatory challenger Kiryl Relikh at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow on Friday October 7, live on Sky Sports.

Three-weight World king Burns makes the first defence of the belt he won in style in May, knocking out Michele Di Rocco in the same arena in eight rounds.

The Coatbridge ace faces the hard-hitting Relikh in his 12th World title fight in his glittering career, and the carrot of a blockbuster battle with four-weight champion Broner, with the brash Cincinnati man heading to Scotland for the fight next week to take a close look at the ‘Rickster’.

“We were pretty much there in terms of the deal to fight Broner but because of issues out of the ring we all decided to fight Relikh and try and clear the mandatory before securing the fight against Broner in December,” said promoter Eddie Hearn.

“Adrien contacted me this week and said he is coming to Glasgow on October 7 to watch the fight and if Ricky defeats Relikh I expect that fight to get made without any problems.”

Burns’ clash with Relikh is part of a huge night of action in Glasgow with two tasty British title fights whetting the appetite.

Scotty Cardle defending his British crown against Kevin Hooper while Dillian Whyte and Ian Lewison clash for the vacant Heavyweight strap, and there’s action for Joe Ham, Lewis Paulin, Stewart Burt, Scott McCormack and Ross Murray.

Tickets go on general sale at midday on Friday September 2, with tickets in the £40-£100 bracket available from the SSE Hydro website http://www.thessehydro.com/ and on 0844 395 4000 and 0800 952 0110 (accessible). VIP tickets at £200 are exclusively available at www.matchroomboxing.com

Charlie Flynn is thrilled with title shot on Ricky Burns undercard

By Michael Temlett

MAILMAN Flynn spoke exclusively to the Wishaw Press about the next chapter in his career.

CHARLIE FLYNN admits he can’t wait to write the next chapter in his career as he fights for the WBA Intercontinental Title.

Last weekend saw the announcement that the Newarthill boxer would make his ring return on October 7 at the SSE Hydro – where he picked up his last win.

However, it was a bittersweet outing for the Mailman last time around as an injury to his hand halted his chances of a televised bout on the Ricky Burns undercard.

But that is where Flynn finds himself once again but this time he knows the stakes are higher when he takes on Kofi Yates in a 10-round bout.

Flynn said: “It feels great to be back and this is a fight I’m really looking forward to.

“This boy is no mug but whenever I fight good opponents I always look better and perform well. When I’m against awkward opponents I can struggle and that was a part of the problem last time.

“I had a wee set-back with my hand in the run-up to the fight and I wasn’t able to punch properly.

“I still managed to get the win but now the pain has gone. I’ve had the chance to relax a little bit but now that it’s all geared towards October.

“It’s huge that I get to fight for a title at the Hydro so early in my career but it’s time to kick on and start moving up the rankings.

“It was disappointing not to be on TV last time but, after the preparation I had for the fight, it was probably for the best.

“This time I will be on TV and it will be a 10-rounder so it will be good to show everyone what I can do.”
Charlie Flynn against Abdon Cesar at the Hydro

Flynn rose to prominence in the very arena he will perform in on October 7 with a gold medal win at the Commonwealth Games. Since making the switch to the professional scene, Flynn has been almost flawless – winning eight out of eight bouts in the process.

Now the 22-year-old is keen to move his record to 9-0 with a win over Yates.

To help aid the process, Flynn is set to travel down south to Ricky Burns’ training camp in London.

Flynn is delighted at the opportunity to go and train with the history-making Scottish champion who will headline the bill on October 7.

Flynn said: “I’m looking forward to going down and training at Ricky’s camp and I can test it out.

“It’s all about getting as sharp as I can in the run-up to this fight because I’ll need to be on top of my game.

“I’ve watched a few of his (Yates’) fights and he’s lost twice but one was early on in his career and his last one was a controversial decision. He likes to move a lot and keep you on your toes but we’ll have a game plan and I just need to be ready to capitalise.”

He added: “This opportunity means a lot and it’s still early on in my career but I want to keep improving and that’s happened with every fight.”

Burns will headline the card on Friday, October, 7 against mandatory challenger Kiryl Relikh for the WBA World Super-Lightweight title. Other fights on the card include Flynn’s Commonwealth Games teammate Joe Ham and heavyweight star Dillian Whyte.

However, it is the Flynn fight which has grabbed the attention of Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn , who tweeted: “First big test and title fight for @ChuckFlynn93 v @kofiyates on the #burnsrelikh card – will be a humdinger!”

Tickets for the big fight here

Burns defends World crown against mandatory Relikh

Ricky Burns will defend his WBA World Super-Lightweight title against Kiryl Relikh at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow on Friday October 7, live on Sky Sports.

Burns landed the belt to become at three-weight World champion at the venue in May with a dominant eighth round stoppage win over Michele Di Rocco, adding the Super-Lightweight crown to his World titles at Super-Featherweight and Lightweight.

The Coatbridge star meets the dangerous unbeaten Belarussian who boasts a daunting record of 19 KOs from 21 fights, and Burns expects a serious test as he looks to line up a super-fight once he’s dealt with the 26 year old.

“My face at the end of the fight said everything – it meant so much to me that win and prove I still have so much to give,” said Burns. “It was great to be back in Glasgow and I said before I had to win to get those nights back again, not just for me but for the future of Scottish boxing.

“We have some talented kids coming through in Scotland and it’s important they get the chance to show what they can do live on Sky Sports.

“I put more pressure on myself in that fight than any other. I took plenty of stick before that as I was apparently finished and on the slide, everyone had written me off and it felt good to prove them wrong.

“I can’t thank my trainer Tony Sims enough for what he’s done, we’ve really worked hard together and when I was offered the Di Rocco fight – I grabbed it with both hands as I knew I could win.

“Relikh is a very tough fight as a first defence. He’s got a high KO ratio so he will be very dangerous throughout. Trust me he has my undivided attention and I will have to be at my best to get through this.

“There are some massive fights out there in the future against some huge names in the 140lbs division – but we’re taking it one step at a time, and that starts on October 7 at the Hydro.”

Relikh served notice of his World title credentials in his last three fights, landing the vacant Inter-Continental title in May with a second round stoppage over Lazaro Santos de Jesus in Bulgaria, defending it in October with a fifth round stoppage against Christian Ariel Lopez in Monaco and forcing Joaquim Carneiro to retire after four rounds in their clash for the belt in Bolton in May. The Ricky Hatton trained and promoted man has won his last 12 fights inside the distance, and Hatton believes Relikh will usurp Burns at the first hurdle.

“Kiryl is one of those cool, unflinching boxers – nothing fazes him,” said Hatton. “This is a big opportunity for him and he’s not bothered about being the underdog.

“Kiryl’s been training and boxing away from home for years so he’ll have no problem going to Scotland for the fight. I think having the crowd against him will bring the best out of him.

“Ricky Burns is a top class fighter. You don’t win three world titles by being anything less than world class, but there always has to be a changing of the guard and I think this could be Kiryl’s time.

“He’s been working with me in the gym for a while now and every day he’s been getting better and better so I believe people with be a little bit surprised with what they see when gets it on with Burns.”

A stacked undercard will support Burns’ clash with Relikh, with Scotty Cardle defending his British Lightweight title against Kevin Hooper, Commonwealth Games gold medal favourite Charlie Flynn tackling Manchester’s Kofi Yates, outings for Flynn’s Commonwealth Games teammate Joe Ham and Brixton’s Heavyweight star Dillian Whyte, plus more to be added.

An announcement on ticket details will be made next week.

Kell Brook did not flinch from challenge of moving up two weight divisions to fight Gennady Golovkin… he has earned the respect of the boxing community

  • Kell Brook will face Gennady Golovkin at the O2 Arena on September 10
  • British welterweight champion will step up two divisions to middleweight
  • Golovkin will defend his WBC, IBF, WBA and IBO middleweight belts

By Jeff Powell

Whatever fate befalls Kell Brook when he steps into the ring with Gennady Golovkin, and the bookies are among many who expect him to be flattened by the ring’s KO king, he will achieve the respect of his violent profession.

That is a benediction for which Chris Eubank Jnr is left waiting, perhaps for a while to come.

Brook has accepted without demur or delay the exact, enriching contract to fight Golovkin which Eubank, or his father, or both of them, rejected.

Kell Brook has made the brave decision to move up two weight divisions to face Gennady Golovkin

Sheffield’s undefeated world welterweight champion did not flinch from the challenge of moving up two divisions to fight the multi-belted middleweight who has a powerful claim to being the best pound-for-pound fighter on earth. Not for one second.

Rightly or wrongly there is a body of opinion – Team Golovkin included – that Camp Eubank did not really want this high-risk fight. That they exploited the situation for propaganda purposes.

Chris Jnr protests loudly against that assumption and denigrates Golovkin for fighting a smaller opponent. Yet the awkward fact remains that after weeks of nit-picking he missed last Wednesday’s deadline for signing the contract.

Golovkin. who has won all 35 of his professional fights, will fight Brook  in London on September 10

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Eddie Hearn, who promotes both these British boxers, cites Eubank family demands for control of every last detail of the September 10 blockbuster at London’s 02 Arena, from astronomical ticket pricing to minuscule logos on equipment, as his reason for switching the multi-million-pound offer to Brook.

This implies that the blame lies with Chris Snr, a legend in his own right and now his son’s ringmaster.

The devil is usually in the detail but whatever the small print of this deal, Brook is the winner. Even more so than his British rival Amir Khan, who made his own brave bid for glory as a welterweight challenging for a world middleweight title two months ago.

Amir Khan (right) moved up two weights in May to take on Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez for their Las Vegas bout

Khan fought Canelo Alvarez at a catch-weight 155 lbs which was courageous enough, as the Mexican’s brutal knockout demonstrated.

Brook goes against Golovkin at 160 lbs, the full middleweight limit at which Canelo, among several, has baulked at fighting the Kazakh called Triple G.

Khan, praised by Brook for accepting the Canelo challenge, returns the compliment by saying: ‘Well done, Kell. We British boxers are setting the standard for the best fighting the best.’

They are doing so despite a weight disadvantage. Critics of the latest arrangement might reflect that Brook is bigger than Khan and has had trouble recently training down to welterweight. Also, Golovkin is a small middleweight.

Alvarez unleashed a magnificent right-hander to floor the Bolton fighter midway through the sixth round

They might remember, also, a welterweight called Sugar Ray Leonard moving up to fight a fearsome middleweight called Marvin Hagler, and taking his world title. And that GGG is not as Marvellous as Marvin. At least, not yet.

The irony is that Khan and Brook, who really ought to have fought each other by now in a domestic showdown, should find themselves in the ring against Alvarez and Golovkin, who would be meeting now in a mega-world-title unification clash if only Alvarez had not kept prevaricating.

Those home and abroad spectaculars could still happen, especially if Brook goes the same downward way as Khan and assuming Alvarez honours his promise to fight Golovkin in autumn next year.

Sugar Ray Leonard,  a welterweight, moved up to fight middleweight called Marvin Hagler in 1987

Quite where all this leaves Eubank Jnr is unclear. Not least because he has also turned down a rematch with the only man to have beaten him, fellow Englishman Billy Joe Saunders who holds the only world middleweight title not yet in Golovkin’s possession.

It will be a pity if the one remaining fight on Eubank’s contract with Hearn’s Matchroom company is another British championship miss-match.

It will be a problem if, after that, this talented son-like-father is still left watching from outside the ropes as Brook boxes Khan, as Golovkin fights first Saunders then Canelo.

Eubank Snr, speaking before talks broke down, pronounced that it would be the fault of the designated television company if the fight did not happen.

The response from Sky Sports has been simple and to the point: ‘We will be broadcasting Golovkin v Brook.’

Chris Eubank Jr looked set to fight Golovkin but the deal stalled after weeks of contract talks

 

It will be fascinating for the crowd in Cardiff’s new Ice Arena this Saturday night and viewers on BoxNation to witness the first appearance in Britain of Guillermo Rigondeaux.

Even so, it is to boxing’s shame that this Cuban genius is reduced to having to make this trans-Atlantic trip to find an unlikely opponent.

Jazza Dickens is an honest Liverpool lad who no-one would begrudge this opportunity to fight for a world title. But those are not the reasons why the double Olympic gold medallist, two-time world amateur champion and now lineal and WBA Super World Champion at super-bantamweight is coming here.

Rigondeaux has been virtually deprived of earning a living in his adoptive United States because his phenomenal defensive skills are perceived as unexciting by the promoters and network TV moguls in America.

Cuban fighter Guillermo Rigondeaux (pictured) will face Jazza Dickens in Cardiff on July 16

One of the best pound-for-pound boxers on the planet in recent years has to earn a crust somewhere, against someone.

At 35, although still undefeated, he may be slowing down. Our boy Jazza suspects as much and believes he has an outside chance of springing a famous upset. He will probably be disappointed.

But promoter Frank Warren is giving him his chance as well as providing the boxing public here with a chance to see in person the great Rigondeaux demonstrate something which Britain’s genuine fans have always appreciated and respected.

The noble art of self-defence. Perhaps just in time.

 

Eddie Hearn has big plans for Charlie Flynn’s future

MATCHROOM promoter insists he wanted Flynn on TV during Saturday’s show.

MATCHROOM promoter Eddie Hearn insists he still has big plans for Charlie Flynn despite his bout not being shown live on Sky Sports.

Flynn was down as a ‘live TV float’ meaning his bout would be broadcast had another fight on the card ended abruptly.

However, the 22-year-old was made to wait until after the Ricky Burns fight to get into the ring, a move which incensed some viewers.

Whilst Flynn was initially scheduled to fight for the Celtic title, a virus wiped out the Newarthill fighter meaning he had to postpone the bout.

Saturday’s fight against Abdon Cesar was cut from ten rounds to six before being put on after the Burns fight as a four rounder.

Hearn insisted the move was dictated by other circumstances and hopes to have Flynn fighting again in two months time.

He said: “People don’t know what has been happening behind the scenes . He had a virus 10 days ago.

“He was supposed to be fighting a championship fight but he needed a couple of days off training and wouldn’t have made the weight safely so we reduced it to a six-rounder.

“I wanted him to be on TV so I put him in as a TV float. But you need a couple of the other fights to be shorter.

“The Jamie Dickinson fight went the distance, the Willie Limond fight went nine or 10 rounds and Conor Benn went the distance.”

Hearn stayed back to watch Flynn and was happy to see the 22-year-old in action, he added: “I’m just glad he was able to fight as there was a time, about a week ago, when it didn’t look like he would.

“Charlie’s a good fighter. He will grow with us. I will look to get him out again in September.”

  • Colin Paterson, Michael Temlett

Promoter Eddie Hearn heaps praise on Charlie Flynn ahead of Hydro fight

The Matchroom boss insists the sport needs new blood like the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medalist.

Charlie Flynn alongside Willie Limond, Ricky Burns, Eddie Hearn, Michele Di Rocco, Tyrone Nurse and Joe Ham ahead of the huge boxing bill at the HydroBoxing promoter Eddie Hearn believes Charlie Flynn is the ‘new blood’ that British boxing needs.

Following last week’s announcement that the Newarthill boxer would be fighting on the undercard of the Ricky Burns fight on May 28, Matchroom boss Hearn praised the Mailman ahead of his return to the Hydro.

The arena is a happy hunting ground for Flynn after the 22-year-old won gold back in 2014 at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

However, with professional boxing making its first appearance at the Hydro, Matchroom supremo Hearn, whose stable includes world champions like Kell Brook and James DeGale revealed there could be a Flynn takeover, with the Mailman already scooping up a big batch of tickets.

He said: “You need new blood in the sport and you’ve got boxers like Charlie who’s a really popular young lad.

“He’s got bundles of personality and he can fight so you need guys like him coming through.

“If you don’t have those youngsters coming through then there is no progression. I think fight fans will be able to see history in the making on May 28 with Ricky Burns trying to be a three-weight champion but also progression from guys like Charlie.

“I think Charlie has already ordered six or seven hundred tickets himself for this fight!

“I’ve missed the atmosphere and Anthony Joshua said it’s the best atmosphere he’s ever boxed in front of.

“It’s a great opportunity for Scottish boxing and fans really need to come out and support it.

“If fans won’t put bums on seats then we can’t keep coming back.

“The last boxing event at Braehead was disappointing as it lacked that special atmosphere.

“The Hydro will definitely have that and you’ll get to see professional boxing for the first time ever at the arena.

“It’s a venue I’ve wanted to come too for a long time and we held the darts there a couple of weeks ago and I felt for boxing it would be really special.

“I’m excited and I think we’ll be able to get a decent crowd.”

Tickets for the fight on May 28 are available here.

 

Ex-mailman Charlie Flynn says he’s ready to deliver in the ring

  • Lightweight Flynn will return to the scene of his greatest triumph
  • The Scot won Commonwealth Games gold back in 2014 at the Hydro
  • The 23-year-old will be on the undercard at Ricky Burns’ title fight

The cheeky chappy with the great line in verbal zingers, back in the place where he first shot to nationwide fame. It only seems right, even natural, that one of the country’s most popular entertainment venues should play host to the Charlie Flynn Show once more.

Indeed, given the roars, cheers and belly laughs provided by everyone’s favourite scamp during a glorious summer of Scottish sporting success, it’s a wonder that the SSE Hydro didn’t invite Flynn back before now. A spot on the undercard as Ricky Burns competes for another world title on May 28 is the least such a popular turn deserves.

Yet, behind the banter and the perky personality that won Flynn so many admirers during Glasgow 2014, the 22-year-old former postie — ‘The mailman always delivers!’ was his Commonwealth Games war cry — is a hard and unyielding competitor. He has to be, if you think about it.

returns to the ring for his first televised fight since the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games

returns to the ring for his first televised fight since the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games

Sure, a Games gold might not have been enough to convince absolutely everyone that the kid could box. Age-old prejudices against the amateur art apparently now extend to the International Olympic Committee, presently trying to tempt pros into the Rio ring.

Seven bouts into his own professional career, though, Flynn has willingly confronted everything thrown at him. Learning quickly, being force-fed tricks of the trade that make the pros so much more durable than their brethren in the red or blue vests, the boy from Newarthill feels like a new man. Certainly a different fighter to the one who generated so much electricity at the Hydro last time out.

Speaking about the one-liners that helped separate him from even his fellow Team Scotland gold-medal winners, Flynn insisted: ‘They just came into my head. I don’t know what I was thinking — they just came out naturally.

‘In any case, I want to be known for what I do in the ring, not what I say outside it. I got to where I am through boxing and the bottom line is that I’m a fighter.

‘The more often people see me in the ring, the more they’ll realise that there is a serious side to me.

‘For example, I train three times every day. I look after my diet and I live the life, you know what I mean?

The Newarthill fighter will face off against Jordan Ellison from the north east of England

The Newarthill fighter will face off against Jordan Ellison from the north east of England

‘In time, people will understand how much hard work goes into this but, at the same time, it’s good that they know I’m down to earth.’

Flynn is certainly that, his everyman ability to connect with the public potentially priceless to any promoter smart enough to recognise it.

Eddie Hearn seems to understand what he’s got, speaking in glowing terms about the up-and-coming prospect — and his ability to shift tickets, in particular.

With an opponent yet to be named, the onus is on Flynn to entice people into believing that they will be entertained almost regardless of who he faces.

The polar opposite of two-time world champion Burns when it comes to whipping up interest via the media, lightweight Flynn — his face still swollen from his last fight, a points win over Jordan Ellison at a Glasgow hotel — actively seeks the limelight.

‘I’d been focusing on my fight last weekend, but as soon as I heard that I was on this bill and that the show would take me back to the Hydro, I couldn’t wait,’ he said.

‘When I turned up for the Press conference on Monday and saw the place again, with Eddie Hearn and the TV cameras, I was buzzing. It all came flooding back to me and I got an adrenalin rush.

The 23-year-old will be on the undercard at Ricky Burns' title fight on Friday night

The 23-year-old will be on the undercard at Ricky Burns’ title fight on Friday night

‘I’m so excited about this show and there’s a chance I could have a 10-round Celtic title fight, which will make it even better.

‘This is a great venue for boxing. It’s circular, it generates all this noise into the ring. It’s unreal.

‘My biggest memory of winning the Commonwealth gold medal there is the noise. Before going in, we were standing on this mad plywood floor and it was shaking so much you could feel it going right up to the back of your neck.

‘Everyone was stamping on the ground and we could feel that and, once we got out there, all we could see was this sea of heads. There’s going to be a great atmosphere again come May — and knowing that I’ll be on the bill and part of the build-up is brilliant.

‘This is where I belong. I’ve been at a few of Ricky’s world title fights. I was there when he beat Roman Martinez at the Kelvin Hall to become champion for the first time. That was loud as well.

‘The Scottish fans are always loud. I’ve been to a couple of Billy Joe Saunders’ fights down south and there’s a good atmosphere at them, but Scots have a weird, mad passion for boxing. They all go mental and it’s great to see it.

‘It gives the boxers a lift, too. I can usually shift a few tickets for dinner shows, but these ones should be a lot cheaper and that will mean there will be a massive crowd. I’m really looking forward to it.’

Stepping into the professional ranks is never an easy transition, even for the most gifted of fighters. Flynn talks with feeling about how he has had to toughen up his body to take more shots. A trace of a wince passes across his bow as he describes it all.

The Scot won Commonwealth Games gold back in 2014 at the Hydro in Glasgow

The Scot won Commonwealth Games gold back in 2014 at the Hydro in Glasgow

He’s been in the ring with Scott Harrison, who he rather understatedly calls ‘a hard puncher.’ Yes, that’s one way to put it. Trying to survive for 12 rounds against a destructive force of nature like that is bound to sharpen the survival instincts.

‘You also pick up the wee tricks from the senior pros, like the way they use their head and their elbows, the ways they try to turn you,’ added Flynn.

‘They punch you on the hips and do loads of other things to get you off balance, and that’s how you learn. It’s good to go in with guys like that and I’ ll be sparring with Ricky Burns before this show. You need to get in the ring with these guys to be able to learn from them.’

Few of his elders could teach Flynn much about promotion, a skill that comes naturally to a guy who genuinely did not expect to become such a celebrity on the back of his Games performances — but who fully anticipates creating an even higher profile as a professional.

‘I just see it as something that needs to be done,’ he said of the media commitments that come with the public adoration

‘It doesn’t matter whether or not you like it. When it comes down to it, it’s part of your job. That would be like saying: “I don’t like skipping” — you still have to do it.

‘Even when I won the gold medal, I didn’t think anything of it in terms of people maybe recognising me. And then everyone started coming up to me and it started building and building.

‘Whenever I went anywhere at night, everyone was going mental and I was like: “What’s going on here, man?” It was non-stop.’

Laughing as he recalls those days, Flynn turned deadly serious as he nodded towards Burns — aiming to become the first Scot to win a world title at three different weights when he takes on Michele di Rocco — and said: ‘Three or four years down the line, I want to be in the position Ricky is in now.

‘That’s definite, 100 per cent. I’m 22 now so, by the time I’m 25 or 26, there’ s absolutely no reason why I shouldn’t be fighting for world titles in Glasgow.

‘I can see me fighting at The Hydro and pulling in the crowds — that’s what we’ re here to do.’

Tickets for Ricky Burns vs. Michele Di Rocco are on sale now priced £40, £60 and £100 from here

 

Ricky Burns set to fight for world title at third weight in Glasgow

Ricky Burns is set to have a world title fight in Glasgow in May, contesting the WBA regular title with Italian fighter Michele Di Rocco.

The former WBO lightweight belt holder will headline a huge night for Scottish boxing at the Hydro in May, with Willie Limond, Joe Ham and Charlie Flynn also in action.

Limond is set to contest the British title with Huddersfield’s Tyrone Nurse.

Di Rocco and Burns will meet at light welterweight and the 33-year-old Italian boasts an impressive record with 40 wins, one loss and one draw from his 42 fights.

“I’m very happy for Ricky to get a chance of winning a third world title,” Burns’ manager Alex Morrison told STV. “It’s a great chance for Ricky to resurrect his career and I’m happy he’s fighting an Italian because there is a big Italian community in Glasgow.

“And I’m pleased that Willie Limond is getting a chance to challenge for a mandatory British title.

“It’ll be a big night in Glasgow. Charlie Flynn will also be on the undercard.

“It’s a huge boost for Scottish boxing, it’s good to see potential champions such as Charlie Flynn and Joe Ham coming through.”

Burns last fought in Scotland in 2014 when he was defeated by Dejan Zlaticanin for the vacant WBC title and has been on the path back to the top since.

In November, the 32-year-old defeated Josh King to take the WBO Inter-continental title but now faces a step up in weight and in class.

The Coatbridge boxer, who has also held the WBO super featherweight title, defeated Michael Katsidis to become lightweight champion in 2011 and successfully defended the belt against Paulus Moses, Kevin Mitchell and Jose Gonzales.

A controversial draw with Raymundo Beltran in 2013 saw him hold on to his title but he was defeated by Terence Crawford at the SECC in early 2014 .  TICKETS FOR THE HYDRO HERE

Fight Night: STV step into the ring to bring Scottish boxing to your TV

Step into the ring with STV Glasgow and STV Edinburgh for STV Fight Night on March 18

Commonwealth gold medalist Charlie Flynn and upcoming talent Joe Ham will both fight in the television programme which will broadcast live from Glasgow Hotel on March 18.

Charlie say’s “it’s a dream come true to see STV stepping up to the mark with live coverage of the shown.  It just takes everything to the next level, you spring out your bed in the morning, you train that bit harder, everyone coming to the show gets the extra vibe man”.

Paul Hughes, channel editor for STV Glasgow and STV Edinburgh, said:

“In the words of Charlie Flynn himself, we are buzzing like a jar of wasps to be hosting the return of Scottish boxing on TV and we are delighted that local hero Charlie and upcoming talent Joe have agreed to take part in the event.

“It’s great that we are able to step into the ring to bring local sport to our audience and honour the legacy of the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

“We have welcomed Charlie to STV Glasgow several times already and we know he is a huge hit with our viewers, so I think they will be very excited to hear this great news.”

STV Fight Night will be broadcast after the watershed. More details of the programme will follow so keep your eyes peeled.

Watch STV Glasgow and STV Edinburgh on Freeview 23, Virgin 159, Sky 117 or when you want on the STV Player

 

 

Martin vs. Joshua tickets gone in 90 seconds

Champion tells challenger – I’m coming to take your fans

Tickets for the IBF World Heavyweight title blockbuster between champion Charles Martin and Olympic gold medal sensation Anthony Joshua MBE sold-out in just 90 seconds on Friday ahead of their clash at The O2 in London on April 9, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

Martin travels to England for the first defence of the title that he landed in Brooklyn in January against Vyacheslav Glazkov, and the California-based St Louis powerhouse has told Joshua that he’ll knock him out to retain his title – and take his fans in the process.

“I’m strong and I’ll be ready to KO him and win over his fans,” said Martin. “The boxing scene here is booming and I want to be a part of it.

“It’s just business – and I’ll show on the night that I mean business. I will return to the UK in April in phenomenal shape, ready for battle. He’s a pretty specimen and those muscles are fine and dandy, but when he gets tired, I get stronger, when he starts to go downhill. There’s no fear in me. I’ve been walking this earth for 29 years now, I am afraid of no man. I want what he’s got – the praise, the attention and the fans – plain and simple.”

Martin brings 21 KOs from his 23 wins to the Greenwich venue that Joshua has turned into his hometown fortress. The London 2012 Super-Heavyweight king as recorded six of his 15 KO wins at the arena, with the latest in December against Dillian Whyte – but Martin says that fight, and his own win over Glazkov, has no bearing on April’s showdown.

“People say you are only as good as your last fight, but that’s in the past,” said Martin. “When he’s in there with me I’m going to keep my eyes on him, stay sharp – it’s not him and Dillian Whyte, it’s him and Charles Martin, I’m going to study him in my camp and I’ll keep my eyes on him until the job is done.”

A Whirlwind year for the Mailman but his feet are firmly on the ground

Charlie Flynn and Euan Burton MBE BBC Children in need

As far as sports stories go you don’t get many better than that of Charlie Flynn. The typical Scottish boy who set his heart on Gold in the Glasgow Games. He stole the show, the gold and the heart of his nation as he fought with the heart of a lion. Charlie looks back on his past year and talks about his plans for 2016.

“Since the games I’ve never looked back it’s been a whirlwind and I’m caught in the middle of it, after winning the gold it’s just been one thing after another non-stop.

I’ve had loads of great laughs meeting people and doing talks and tv shows, I love that kind of thing and always make time for it, I never take any of it seriously I’m always turning everything into a laugh.

One of the stand out things I done was to give the Scottish Rowing Team a preparation talk before the Commonwealth Rowing Championship Regatta at Strathclyde Park. I look back and laugh at that talk. I was still on a high from winning my gold medal, and the talk I gave was pure Braveheart without the face paint, I could see the rowers responding and getting totally psyched up they went out to do battle.

Scotland beat England for the first time overall and got their biggest medal haul ever! Was it down to my talk? Of course it was! It was magic!

Turning Pro

After the games I waited for the outcome of Scotland’s vote on independence, because had we went independent I would have stayed amateur and boxed for Scotland in the Olympic Games in Rio. It never worked out that way so there was no point in staying amateur as I wasn’t in the GB squad and couldn’t go to Rio so that’s when I decided to turn pro.

After talking to a lot of different people in the pro game I decided Alex Morrison was the best option for management, he could offer me his own shows in Glasgow and the big shows in England with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Promotions. He got me a new car from Arnold Clark and a good sponsorship with Advanced Construction. In my first year I boxed six fights, four in Glasgow, one in Newcastle Arena and the other in Hull’s Stadium of light, so you could say Alex and Eddie delivered exactly what they had promised me.

One of the other things that happened in 2015 was my sponsor McBookie asked me to become their boxing tipster. It’s a great job writing about boxing, so far I’ve covered six fights which you can see here, http://www.mcbookieblog.com/tag/charlie-flynn/ anyone who checks them will know my predictions are always spot on Charlie laughs, just click read more at the bottom of each article to get the fight predictions that I’ve wrote in the past. I’m really looking forward to covering more of the big fights this year.

Pro Fights

Looking back at the pro fights I never lost a round or took any substantial shots, my coach Peter Harrison likes me to box all the rounds as he says I learn more from the experience. There’s been times Peter has told me to take my foot off the gas just to get the rounds in. Every fight I learn something different but overall I’m loving the pro game and it’s building well. There’s a lot more freedom in the pro’s compared to the amateurs.

bigger

Charlie recorded his sixth straight win over England’s Lee Connolly at Glasgow’s Thistle Hotel Dec 2015

2016

The pro game in Scotland is really picking up and there’s more world champions now than there’s ever been in the UK.  It’s an exciting time to be part of boxing, there’s loads of Scottish guy’s turning pro it’s great to see them all getting into the scene. There’s a couple of new promotional company’s starting as well, MGM and Willie Limond’s Lock Stock Promotions are getting into the scene.

Alex is already talking about loads of shows for 2016 and I’m excited about what lies ahead this year.   The Scottish press have been fantastic to me the papers and the BBC/STV have supported me all the way, and I’ve grabbed every bit of it.

I know Alex has his own way of building me as a fighter which will be slow and steady. I’ve suggested this fight and that fight but he doesn’t listen to me, he has his own strategy and picks my fights.

We’re looking at picking out of a few Matchroom shows for the beginning of the year right now, we’re also looking at a show in my home town of Motherwell in the Ravenscraig possibly in the summer which will be great.

There’s also talk of a big Matchroom show in Glasgow as well with Ricky Burns challenging for a world title again which would also be amazing. That would give Alex’s other developing boxers like Joe Ham, Stuart Burt, Lewis Paulin and Jamie McGuire a chance to showcase themselves on the big stage.

TV Debut

I’m looking forward to making my tv debut in 2016 hopefully on one of the Scottish shows because my support up here has been great. I keep thinking things are going to slow down at some point but it never happens. I had great tickets sales for my last fight in Glasgow and I want to thank everyone who travelled to the show some from far distances who stayed overnight as well.

Overall it’s been a rollercoaster ride since winning Gold in Glasgow and 2015 has been an amazing year. I don’t see things slowing down in 2016 I just see things getting bigger and better so watch this space and one thing is for sure ‘The Mailman will deliver’

‘Happy New Year Everyone’

 

 

Quigg expects best ever Frampton

Scott Quigg is expecting “the best Carl Frampton there has ever been” when the two fighters collide in a super-bantamweight unification fight early next year, live on Sky Sports.

 

The eagerly-anticipated Battle of Britain takes place at the Manchester Arena on February 27 with Frampton putting his IBF title on the line in a bid to try and snare Quigg’s WBA crown.

“I knew it was going to be a big fight and the interest was going to be massive but to be honest with you, it’s bigger than I thought,” Quigg told Sky Sports News HQ.

“Tickets went in no time… the press and everyone has got behind this and rightly so. We are two top fighters at the top of our game who are both going to put it all on the line.

“People always raise their game for a big fight so I’m expecting the best Carl Frampton there’s ever been, better than any tape I have ever seen of him.

“But I don’t care how he turns up because I know I have improved massively since my last fight and I am going to have too much for him.

“There is no added pressure on me because I have a fear of failure and a fear of losing and that’s the pressure I always deal with. I’m more than confident when the pressure is on. I thrive on it.”

Quigg demolished former IBF champion Kiko Martinez inside two rounds on his last outing but Frampton’s last fight did not go to plan, with the Northern Irishman floored twice en route to a points win over Alejandro Gonzalez.

“Our last two performances were two completely different ways of winning,” said Quigg.

“I went and blew Kiko Martinez out in two rounds and that was something he [Frampton] couldn’t do.

“He went over to America and thought he was going to crack America and say he had arrived but he came back with his tail between his legs. But I do think that will make him a better fighter because he got carried away with the hype and now he is going to go back to the drawing board.

“Him and his trainer Shane are going to look at his mistakes and try and put them right but there are many more mistakes that weren’t capitalised on by Gonzalez. And if he turns up against me with those mistakes, there will only be one winner.”

Quigg was speaking to Sky Sports News HQ live from the gym in Bolton where he was being put through his paces on Christmas Day.

“I’m a gym rat and I’m in the gym every Christamas unless it falls on Sunday,” he said.

“It’s just a normal day but Christmas is also a day to enjoy and I wouldn’t enjoy it if I wasn’t in the gym, whether I’m in camp or not.”

Campbell meets Mendy at The O2

French champion tackles Olympic hero on December 12

Luke Campbell MBE will defend his WBC International Lightweight title against French champion Yvan Mendy at The O2 in London on December 12, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

Campbell makes the first defence of the belt he landed in the all-Hull clash with Tommy Coyle at the KC Lightstream stadium in July, with the Olympic gold medal star making Coyle his tenth KO victim in his 12 wins as a pro.

The Hull favourite now looks to end a great year on a high against ‘Le Lion’, the 30 year old French title holder that has a wealth of experience behind him, with four successful defences of the national strap he won in June 2013 and going the distance with WBC Super-Lightweight champion Viktor Postol and taking Edis Tatli to a decision for the Finn’s European title.

“A big win at The O2 will be the perfect end to a great year for me,” said Campbell. “Beating Tommy in the huge show in Hull in the summer was great, but this fight with Mendy is massive for me before moving towards a World title fight in 2016.

“Yvan has bags of experience and has mixed at a high level and gave Postol and Tatli 12 hard rounds, so it’s going to be a real test for me and one that I need with an exciting year ahead of me in the brilliant Lightweight division.”

Campbell’s clash with Mendy is part of a huge night of action at The O2, topped by Campbell’s Olympic gold team mate Anthony Joshua MBE taking on bitter rival Dillian Whyte for the British and Commonwealth Heavyweight titles.

Chris Eubank Jr and Spike O’Sullivan meet in a final eliminator for the WBA World Middleweight title, Kevin Mitchell meets Ismael Barroso for the WBA Interim Lightweight title with the winner facing newly crowned WBA supremo Anthony Crolla, Liverpool Cruiserweight favourite Tony Bellew faces Mateusz Masternak and Josh Warrington defend his WBC International Featherweight title against Jorge Sanchez.

Anthony Joshua vs. Dillian Whyte is SOLD-OUT – visit http://www.stubhub.co.uk/matchroom-boxing-tickets/ to get your hands on tickets.

StubHub is the official ticket partner and marketplace of Matchroom Boxing and Anthony Joshua MBE.

Crolla achieves emotional World title dream

Manchester man lands belt with brutal body shot – Murray edged out in Germany

Anthony Crolla says it will take a long time for his incredible WBA World Lightweight title win over Darleys Perez at the Manchester Arena on Saturday night to sink in.

Crolla delivered a stunning body shot in the fifth round to KO the Colombian champion in their rematch in front of a vociferous hometown crowd to rip the title from Perez and complete his fairy tale comeback

The Manchester favourite was roared to the ring by the fans and absorbed that energy for his second crack at the title after a controversial draw with Perez in July – and set about the champion with gusto. Crolla, who turned 29 during fight week, said ahead of the fight that he felt confident he could both hurt Perez and take the champs’ power.

Crolla enjoyed success early in the piece and most pertinently hurting Perez at the end of the fourth round to the body, and with 42 seconds of the fifth round to go, ‘Million Dollar’ sunk home a lethal left hook to the body that poleaxed the visitor and saw a crazy year in the life of Anthony Crolla come full circle.

Just before Christmas in 2014 as he was in camp for a January World title battle with Richar Abril, Crolla was recovering from a brutal attack in a hospital bed after confronting intruders at his neighbours house, and he didn’t know whether he’d box again.

A successful rehabilitation led to a shot at Perez at the Manchester Arena in July only for the fight to end in a controversial draw – but Crolla’s brilliant performance ensured that he’s ready to write a sparkling new chapter in his life.

“This is what I have dreamt about since I was a kid,” said Crolla. “To achieve it, well, it is going to take a long time to sink in – I’m absolutely made up. I couldn’t have picked a better setting to have achieved my dream, all my family and friends were in the arena and the fans were incredible.

“The people who have been with me from day one were all there and I am so happy to have done it for them too. It’s a tough time of the year for people to dip into their pockets and pay for tickets so I am grateful to them and I hope they had a great night.

“It’s just under a year since the attack and all that has been well-documented, I promised myself when I was laying on that hospital bed that I would come back stronger than ever and that’s what I have done.

“I knew after a few rounds that he was feeling the pace and he made a few noises when I hit him with some shots, he was sharp though and he was hitting harder than he did last time, I took a few stupid shots early on but I thought I would get to him and it paid off. I felt confident before the fight that I could get him out of there.

“That’s the best body shot I’ve thrown in my career. I was touching him up top and I knew as soon as he went down that he was going to struggle to bet the count. He was sat down for a few minutes after the decision so it caught him perfectly, I’ll look forward to watching it back again and again.

“I am capable of more than that – it was a good finish but it wasn’t a great performance.”

Crolla’s trainer Joe Gallagher was pleased with his charges’ performance though, and now has three World champions in his Bolton gym, with the promise of more to come in 2016.

“It was a good fight while it lasted,” said Gallagher. “It was nip and tuck, Anthony caught him early in the fight with a body shot and I told him not to get carried away to the head, look to the body and take the legs away from him. I thought Perez was beginning to come apart a little bit but what a beautiful shot that was.

“I thought to myself at times, if you can’t win when you have a two-point deduction in the fight like we did in the first one, you are not going to win. When you have seen some iffy decisions in the past, I’ve told the boys, you have to look to win World titles by KO, and Anthony has set that example.

“I wanted a nasty Anthony Crolla, that has always been in him and he pulled it out tonight. He knew he could hurt Perez and he did it.

“I’m so proud of all the boys in the gym, they have all had their setbacks but they’ve worked very hard to get the rewards that they are enjoying now.”

Promoter Eddie Hearn added: “Perez started well and looked fit and sharp, but in the fourth round Anthony started having success to the body and Perez looked uncomfortable. Very rarely at World-level do fighters not get up from body shots, when the count was at five I shouted to Anthony ‘stay calm’ but then I looked over and you could tell he was not going to recovered. It was a beautiful shot.

“I always say that he’s the nicest guy there is, and it’s true. I was worried that with the first fight being close, that was his chance gone, and he was so relaxed in the dressing room that I was a little concerned too, he was laughing and smiling, but that was just how relaxed and composed he was.

“Kevin Mitchell has a really tough fight with Ismael Barroso but Crolla vs. Mitchell is a massive fight, Jorge Linares and Crolla is a really big fight, there’s Luke Campbell and Ricky Burns, Terry Flanagan could be a stadium fight in the summer – there’s some huge fights ahead for Anthony and he completely deserves it.”

Over in Germany, Martin Murray came agonisingly close to making it a double-celebration for north-west fighters in World title bouts, only to come up on the wrong side of a split-decision in a tense clash with WBO World Super-Middleweight belt holder Arthur Abraham.

Abraham now joins Gennady Golovkin, Sergio Martinez and Felix Sturm as champions who retained their crowns despite being pushed all the way by Murray.

Murray tried to finish it off but Abraham held on and made it safely to the bell. In the ninth he came again. Murray’s counters were good but the champion seemed to have regained all his wits quickly enough.

The challenger tried to impose himself upon Abraham in the latter rounds after that success, but crucially in the 11th round, the referee took a point from the St Helens’ man for holding.

Murray pushed the Armenia-born German all the way but scores of 115-112, 112-115 and 116-111 saw him come away from the bout in Hanover empty-handed, and his first reaction was to think about his future.

“Obviously I’m gutted,” said Murray. “I really thought it was my night and when the final bell went – even though we were in Germany – I still thought I had it. I still thought I had done enough. When they said it was a split decision even then I still thought I’d got it.

“I know I’m too good to retire but the way I am feeling now, what can I do? It was my fifth shot. I just can’t keep doing this. I just can’t keep doing it to my family.”

Hearn believes that Murray still has plenty to offer though, and has urged the 33 year old to return strong and aim for a fifth shot at glory next summer.

“There are so many big fights at Super-Middleweight for Martin and I want him to have a little rest, come back in the New Year and go again in a big fight at World-level in the summer,” said Hearn. “Abraham is so underrated. People say he’s one-dimensional, but he has a wonderful defensive guard, he hits hard, he’s strong and fit, and he’s very hard to beat. I hope he keeps his head up as he put in a great performance and he should be proud of himself.”

Cardle hangs on to British title in Dodd thriller

Lightweight champion stops Birkenhead man in final round

Scotty Cardle retained his British Lightweight title with a final round stoppage of Sean ‘Masher’ Dodd in a thrilling clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.

Cardle was defending the title for the first time and was behind on the judges’ cards when he unleashed a brutal barrage on the Birkenhead man, with referee Terry O’Connor stepping in with a minute left in the fight.

Dodd enjoyed prolonged periods of success throughout to the joy of his vociferous fans, and looked to have the champion in trouble in the tenth round, but the Lytham St Annes man weathered the storm and coped with some bad cuts to his face to fire his fight-winning salvo at the death – but was the first to admit that Dodd was the better man on the night.

“I’ve been tested before in the pros but I have never been tested like this,” said Cardle. “I really had to grit my teeth at times in that fight. For me, I was behind in every round so the only way was to knock him out. He is a warrior and he really dug deep. I will give him a rematch, he deserves it.

“My support has been superb,” said Dodd. “The ref is doing his job and I have no say in that. We are paid to entertain and I hope everybody who bought a ticket enjoyed the fight.”

“I felt like the referee stopped it too early,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “It was a great fight. Sean Dodd beat Gary Buckland and did a great job against Scotty Cardle, we have to see this fight again 100 per cent.”