Despite David Haye’s protestations to the contrary the prospect of this unlikely heavyweight prizefight remains the talking point of the day in the dungeons of the internet’s boxing forums. Audley Harrison has, afterall, already sacrificed the European title in the belief that he will secure the all-British world heavyweight title fight he and television network Sky Sports appear to crave. Debuting his guest column, John Cascells reflects on the fight; why it may prove to be more challenging than the cynics presume and why he is sure it will make for must-see television. Continue reading “Boxing: Harrison v Haye – why it should happen”
Precious few heavyweights polarise opinion in the way Audley Harrison does. Maybe that is part of the fascination with him. Maybe that enigmatic quality is what draws observers back to the story despite a series of tame defeats to mediocre fighters. The Mona Lisa is neither the most beautiful subject nor the most technically perfect painting but it endures as the most famous artwork in history (arguably) because of the interpretation her expression is open to. It isn’t definite. It has depth beyond the brush strokes da Vinci swabbed across the canvas. Much like Harrison, who has conjured few moments of brilliance during his own career on the canvas and yet holds a depth of fascination few others can match. However, despite the critics and the years completed since his first low point of being dropped by the BBC he is on the brink of the title shot he told us all along he would get to. Continue reading “Boxing: Long and winding road. Six years since the BBC dumped Audley”
Big Tyson Fury was bigger than ever ahead of the much-anticipated rematch with John McDermott. Weighing in at 19 stone 4, eclipsing his debut weight 18 months ago and 23 pounds heavier than in the first contest. McDermott looked more trim despite a characteristic weight of 18 stone 2, or 254 pounds. Surprisingly Fury, who attended in typically jovial mood seemed in reasonable shape but the weight doesn’t suggest his preparation for this fight has been as intense as it should have been. McDermott certainly appears fixated on victory this time and with McDonnell in his ear, may yet find the resolve and self-belief to make the final step. Continue reading “Boxing: Tyson Fury 270 pounds for McDermott rematch”
I like David Tua. I shared the dream once. I threw him up as another fighter Tyson ducked in his shambolic 1990’s reincarnation. He shook up heavyweights; he was fast, dangerous and busy. Obviously, that was all before he got his mandatory ranking, hibernated and then froze versus Lennox Lewis – since then he’s been dormant, injured, uninterested – but is now repackaged, remotivated and back in the lucrative American market, or so he hopes we believe. But Pay-Per-View at $24.95 against Monte Barrett, the guy who lives in a tent in front of the heavyweight top 25 towers, is available on 24 hour call out and has a key emblem on his nightwear? Really? Continue reading “Boxing: Whats wrong with boxing? Adding the letters P, P and V to Tua v Barrett.”
It was meant to be different. That was the tag-line. The sedentary waters of the heavyweight division were to be purified. David Haye wanted to fight the best heavyweights straight away, he didn’t want to procrastinate, to manoeuvre. He just wanted to know if he was the best, prove it or fail. Money was secondary. Challenge was everything. Boxing’s downtrodden masses craved the Utopia Haye was selling. He evangelised about bypassing promoters, side-stepping sanctioning bodies and the established order. Boxing is about the fighters not men in suits he might have said. He founded this alternate reality. Hayemaker. Fighters flocked to his rallying cry. Pretty girls flushed, forums hummed, fans cheered. Now, with a portion of the establishment in his possession – the WBA belt – and an unexpected level of renown that now enables him to accumulate £1-3 million pay-days for the type of rudimentary defence he once denounced, the urge to corner a Klitschko in a ring, or even at the top of an elevator has evidently subsided.
Bradley Pryce is arguably the United Kingdom’s best value for money fighter, a telling attribute in these austere times and he will next month return to something approaching his most productive weight class when it is reported he will tackle veteran former European champion Ted Bami at the classic 147 pound limit. Despite his less than pristine personal life as a young professional Pryce has always left everything in the ring come fight night from back in his days as a string-bean Lightweight, his fatigued victory over Gavin Down at 140 pounds, his compulsive dust-up with Michael Jennings through to his victory over loud-mouth Anthony Small at Light-Middleweight. Pryce has dug deep countless times, snapped unbeaten records when ‘booked’ for defeat and at 29, still has time to do more with his talent. Continue reading “The Entertainer – Bradley Pryce back at Welterweight against Bami”
Throughout Tyson Fury’s embryonic boxing career he has embraced and wrestled with more media attention than his exploits in the ring have thus far merited. In part due to his eye-catching name, part due his back-story as a 6 foot 7 inch giant from travelling stock and in no small part to the potential he showed. On the surface, Fury has revelled in the attention and seemed naturally quotable whenever a camera was pushed in his face. Youthful charisma or an arrogance waiting to bite him on his not inconsiderable posterior? Depends how you like your fighters, respectful and humble or brash and loquacious? In the run up to his much required rematch with John McDermott the normally omnipresent Fury has been uncharacteristically quiet. A cause of some concern to Frank Maloney, who has to sell tickets for the clash and for fans, who want to buy them. Continue reading “Maloney: “As far as we know, Tyson Fury is OK for the fight””
I’ve consulted with my much ignored common sense, accessed with the help of a strong mug of Yorkshire tea and low-lighting, and I can confirm that this fight is not going to happen, I’d encourage you all to breathe, take stock and have a similar internal conversation. It will save you time and energy for other more credible activities, like washing the car or painting the back-bedroom. And please don’t read or believe anyone who tells you different because they’ve probably got an accomplice entering your home through the back door to rifle through your purse. In other news, Prince Naseem Hamed will not be returning to fight Justin Timberlake at catchweight, Joe Calzaghe will not be fighting Robert De Niro (though he is old enough) at Light-Heavy and Ricky Hatton is as likely to share a ring with Floyd Mayweather again as he is to play wide-right for England on Friday. I think my work here is done. Continue reading “Exclusive: Tyson will not fight Holyfield says David Payne”
Anyone with a passing interest in heavyweight boxing over the past twenty years will hold a mental image of one sort or another of heavy punching former champion Oliver McCall. Whether it be the crunching right-hand which felled Lennox Lewis, his emotional implosion in the rematch or the various drug fuelled episodes which have blighted his attempts to construct another run at the championship he lost to a grateful Frank Bruno in 1995. Last night at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel he dropped a clear decision to peripheral contender Timur Ibragimov spelling the end of any residual potential the now 45-year-old could claim. Continue reading “Flying over the cuckoo’s nest for the last time? Oliver McCall defeated”
In an era before nutritionists, public relations and conditioners, during that simplistic period when heavyweights ran, hit-bag, sparred, chopped wood and often took a stiff drink or three the night before a fight it is hard to imagine how they would have viewed the flimsy media battle being contested by heavyweight trio David Haye, Klitschko and heaven help us Audley Harrison. It may be nostalgic romanticism to suggest fighters like Jack Dempsey or Jim Jeffries simply signed to fight an opponent, trained and then settled it in an often gruelling, unforgiving fight, but it is with some confidence that I propose they wouldn’t have been comfortable with the shallow misinformation all parties appear to be peddling even if avoiding opponents is an oft-overlooked aspect of boxing at the beginning of the 20th century too. Continue reading “Harrison, Haye and Klitschko. Among the madness, bluff and silence is there a fight to be found?”
Irishman Paul McCloskey plucked a world-class right hook to knockout veteran Italian Giuseppe Lauri in dramatic fashion to retain his European title and preserve his aspirations of securing a world-title shot in the near future. Just moments before there had been concerns about his swollen right eye between rounds and he’d had a point deducted for persistent use of his head. It had served to nudge the partisan Kings Hall crowd to the edge of their seats as the points verdict looked likely to be close. Then, with Lauri lowering his guard momentarily, McCloskey stepped forward and thudded his pet right hook on to his chin and the famous old Hall erupted in delight. Continue reading “McCloskey smashes Lauri to the canvas in the 11th”
I was interested to read that pocket battleship Gavin Rees has been added to the under card of Paul McCloskey’s encounter with veteran Italian Giuseppe Lauri this weekend. Rees has fought once since winning the Prizefighter 140 pound tournament, defeating three former European Champions in the process, and appears to be a promotional free agent in the absence of Calzaghe Promotions and his departure from the Sports Network stable. His last tune up being deep on the Harrison v Sprott under-card put together by Matchroom Sport. Continue reading “Gavin Rees added to McCloskey v Lauri card”
Presently, there is no hotter commodity in boxing than Floyd Mayweather. Fresh off a crushing victory over Shane Mosley I can no longer summon an obstacle which bears scrutiny to the now overwhelming argument that Floyd Mayweather deserves to take a place among the sport’s all time greats. Mayweather’s name can sit snugly among the Ali, Armstrong and Leonard’s as one of the finest prizefighters ever seen. In fact, the only thing which could be more commercially desirable than the Pretty Boy right now…is a retired Pretty Boy. Continue reading “Boxing: Mayweather, the showmen who leaves them wanting more”
Likeable, affable heavyweight Larry Olubamiwo announced overnight that his opponent on the big Maloney bill later this month, June 25th at Brentwood, will be the North East’s Dave Ferguson in a cracking contest that serves as a title Eliminator for the British and Commonwealth titles. Great news for both fighters and a boom for Frank Maloney who now manages or promotes a crop of the division’s most viable talents. Continue reading “Larry Olubamiwo to face Big Dave Ferguson on June 25th”
As a white-collar worker with the thinnest of fistic endeavour behind me I cannot ever bring myself to discourage professional fighters from doing what they do best whether a fathom removed from their prime or not. The likes of Evander Holyfield, Roy Jones and Bernard Hopkins all earned the right to make their own decisions and though a shadow of their former selves they remain steadfastly more capable than a plethora of younger fighters for whom world-titles will always remain a pipe-dream. You cannot make a fighter retire simply because of their age or the evident decay in their performances. However, as an independent observer with a soft spot for the Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera I’d be happy to whisper quietly that its time for him to stop. If I could get close enough.
Despite his diminutive stature and win some lose some record, 26 year old professional fighter Ian Bailey is a handy little battler and deserves a degree of good fortune and good will this Friday as he travels to Belfast to tackle touted prospect Carl Frampton on the under card of Paul McCloskey’s attempt to encourage veteran Italian Giuseppe Lauri to retire. For international readers or those with a more headline orientated interest in boxing Ian Bailey is Berkshire born, 5-4 (0) thus far, and missed out on a big Prizefighter pay-day on the spin of a coin last month.
I met John McDermott once. He was standing at the back of the press rows the night David Haye got beaten by Carl Thompson. An evening more notable for him because he saw Mark Krence flattened by an imported journeyman that looked likely to rule the boxing butcher out of their proposed Eliminator, a contest, John lamented, for which he’d already sold £10,000 of tickets. And that snatched conversation typifies the kind of circumstantial misfortune he has laboured under for his entire professional career. In his forthcoming rematch with Tyson Fury I have a growing suspicion the genial giant may yet have his moment in the sun and overcome that sense of never being in the right place at the right time once and for all. Continue reading “John McDermott: “I don’t want any favouritism, just whoever WINS, wins!””
Contrasting stories surround two of British boxing’s favourite sons this week. Firstly, and most satisfactorily, is Ian McNeily’s piece at BoxRec News dutifully reporting Ricky Hatton difficulty in summoning the will to commence training while the same site also records a summer fixture for Danny Williams on the other side of the world. News of this proposed clash comes just days after the genial Londoner promised retirement in the aftermath of his capitulation to Derek Chisora. Continue reading “Ricky Hatton, Danny Williams and the search for common sense”
Did you hear the one about Vitaly Klitschko and the hungry, young contender? No, nor did I. Admittedly, Vitaly Klitschko hasn’t fought during a particularly glowing period for heavyweights. His tenure, interrupted by a now mysteriously cured knee problem, as the leading heavyweight began when Lennox Lewis retired and has continued through soporific contests with Danny Williams, Kirk Johnson, Corrie Sanders, Sam Peter, Juan Carlos Gomez, Chris Arreola and latterly Albert Sosnowski. So maybe, the revelation Danish pastry Brian Nielsen is making a comeback aged 45 will be welcome news in the Klitschko castle if nowhere else. Continue reading “Old? Check. Fat? Check. Unambitious? Check. Brian Nielsen next for Vitaly?”