Bermane Stiverne booked as ‘former champion’ for Joe Joyce

If, like me, you are swimming in the tapioca of middle-age, the last vestiges of youth evaporating before narrowing eyes and a runaway appetite your exercise regime cannot keep up with, retirement represents the ultimate mirage. That fantastical, care-free and indefinite holiday we venture on when work and children have completed their consumption of our finite will and reserves of energy.

Heavyweight fighters tend to get there sooner than a typical blue collar worker or executive, often no more or less content than the rest of us and frequently troubled by the life sprawling ahead of them without purpose, routine or income. It is frustrating for those of us still governed by mortgages and the alarm clock that the mirage, once reached, is just that, a mirage. Even for those heavyweights who captured larger purses in their prime, the discomfort remains and for some, the ‘end’ is never quite conclusive enough, like a season finale written in the hope of being commissioned again.

Winning, success, money doesn’t sate the thirst, frequently it merely affords more stake to play with, to gamble with. Only in losing, often repeatedly, sometimes with enormous consequence, can the gambler stop or have the temptation rendered impotent.

Unfortunately, and particularly for heavyweights, there will always be someone, an opportunist usually, who thinks a 40-something heavyweight has either a shot at redemption or the remnants of a reputation their own, younger, fresher starlet could still capture. It can prove irresistible for heavyweights who care not for the preservation of that reputation or still crave the adrenalin of competition. Fight a novice or emerging prospect for a lump of cash? Why not?

On Saturday 23rd February Bermane Stiverne, 25-3-1 (21), now aged 40 and with less than three minutes of ring time since November 2015, will face British prospect Joe Joyce in a fight notionally made to test Joyce’s readiness for the big prizes. Continue reading “Bermane Stiverne booked as ‘former champion’ for Joe Joyce”

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Beauty is only skin deep, yeh, yeh, yeh. Gorman and Dubois win again

My first look at Nathan Gorman last year led me to reminisce about Big Bad John McDermott sitting in the back of a Range Rover eating chicken legs out of Tupperware tubs. Whilst it is clear the young heavyweight has been working hard and improving under the tutelage of Ricky Hatton up in Manchester, his physical definition remains below that associated with a professional athlete.

When viewed in the same ring as Daniel Dubois, a physical specimen of Marvel dimension, it is easy to be dismissive of the fleshy 21-year-old. However, to reach such superficial conclusion is to fail to understand the nuance that exists in the making of a good fighter and the attributes that fighter may possess, i.e. boxing isn’t a beauty pageant. Continue reading “Beauty is only skin deep, yeh, yeh, yeh. Gorman and Dubois win again”

Nathan Gorman, Hatton’s BFG, begins to shine

Photo: Laura Ayres/Hatton Promotions

Variety is the spice of life they say. In Nathan Gorman, British heavyweight boxing has a markedly different type of prospect to add to the flush of body beautiful contemporaries emerging in the wake of Anthony Joshua. This weekend’s victory over Mohammad Soltby was my first live exposure to the Nantwich prospect, I’ve only seen highlights and clips of his previous contests, and there was enough on display to suggest he will prove more than merely an aesthetic counterpoint to his highly regarded rivals. Continue reading “Nathan Gorman, Hatton’s BFG, begins to shine”

That was the boxing weekend that was (22nd Oct. 2017)

The punchers threw punches, opponents ducked and stumbled, people were drawn to their feet, the crowd howled and cheered. Women, and a few men, were heard to gasp and scream as the action, dramatic and fast moving unfolded. Momentum shifted and in the end, as the lights came up, it was hard to determine an outright winner. Inside the ring, British fighters progressed their respective causes, new stories were begun and one or two names, loaded with nostalgia for those of my generation, echoed from Saturday nights of the past.

It was a heady mix, one without the prestige or brutality of the preceding weekend’s knockouts and with the sense of a fistic hors d’oeuvre for bigger nights yet to come. Despite this, there was much to enthral and the fights and their outcomes revealed plenty about the horizons of the combatants. Continue reading “That was the boxing weekend that was (22nd Oct. 2017)”

Joyce challenges a boxing truism and the heavyweight status quo

When events are shifted from their established pattern or place it can cause discomfort for those of us accustomed to a certain way of doing things. People are nervous about such change, preferring the security and assurance of the familiar. It is this familiarity that makes a local, a local. Sitting in mine, watching boxing on Dave, I was drawn to some negative conclusions about the performance of heavyweight Joe Joyce on his professional debut. “Arm punches”, “Slow hands”, “He squares up.” “There is no power in his jab or his right hand.”

I said all of the above, some more than once. With the benefit of reflection and sobriety I’ve grown to be kinder to the effort of the giant Londoner. Continue reading “Joyce challenges a boxing truism and the heavyweight status quo”

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