Life on the right hand side of the bill; Ian Bailey and the toss of a coin

First published at BritishBoxers.co.uk in November 2016.

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Some are shared by thousands or even millions. Others are more personal; grandfathers with ‘snap’ tins filled with medals and ribbons or a father marching for his community beneath a colliery banner. Usually, their place is earned in endeavour we believe to be beyond us or undertaken in our stead.

Occasionally, a figure enters my consciousness from an apparently innocuous encounter or anecdote or due to the most obscure or seemingly trivial of reasons.

One such occurrence happened six years ago as I witnessed a humble coin toss occur in a boxing dressing room with a potentially career changing prize at stake. The toss was necessary to select one of the two unused reserves to replace an injured finalist in the Featherweight edition of the then popular Prizefighter show and a chance to win £32,000. Continue reading “Life on the right hand side of the bill; Ian Bailey and the toss of a coin”

Sexton wins British title in rough and ready brawl

Norwich’s Sam Sexton cut an emotional figure on the ring apron tonight, following a rough and tumble contest with Scotland’s Gary Cornish. It was a triumph built on will, self belief and old-school ring nous. Sexton overcame a giant opponent, thistles, blood, knees and wayward heads to win the British Heavyweight title for the first time and open up a host of lucrative opportunities in the months ahead. Continue reading “Sexton wins British title in rough and ready brawl”

Audley Harrison. The importance of the man who wouldn’t be King.

Photo: Dave Shopland

Lennox Lewis strode, languidly down the aisle,. The glow of certainty and phosphorous bulbs surrounding him. Assurance screamed silently from his tall, imposing frame.  That famous stillness, the type which led him to sleep in the dressing room before a big fight,  serving to multiply the latent power beneath.

Lewis the lion, on a high rock stealing shade behind dark glasses and verifying the significance of proceedings merely by being present. Continue reading “Audley Harrison. The importance of the man who wouldn’t be King.”

Boxing: Dickinson wins the English Cruiserweight title

John-Lewis Dickinson fulfilled the suspicions of those cute judges who felt he may have the qualities required to upset Matty Askin for the English Cruiserweight title tonight, defeating the champion by unanimous decision. The bout provided chief support to Anthony Crolla’s British Lightweight clash with Derry Mathews. Continue reading “Boxing: Dickinson wins the English Cruiserweight title”

Boxing: Harrison v Haye – why it should happen

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”

Boxing: Long and winding road. Six years since the BBC dumped Audley

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”

Boxing: David Haye in Orwellian about turn; Audley not Vitali or Wladimir next?

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.

Continue reading “Boxing: David Haye in Orwellian about turn; Audley not Vitali or Wladimir next?”

The Entertainer – Bradley Pryce back at Welterweight against Bami

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”

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