Bet on Warrington to surprise Frampton

Article first appeared on gambling.com

The featherweight division has provided a platform for many of British boxing’s most noted prize fighters.

From Jim Driscoll a century ago, who lost much of his prime to the First World War, to Welshman Howard Winstone in the 1960s and the braggadocios Prince Naseem Hamed of the 1990s, the 126-pound weight class has been rich in world-class operators from Great Britain.

On Saturday night, at the raucous Manchester Arena, two more British featherweights will seek to carve their names alongside their prestigious predecessors. Continue reading “Bet on Warrington to surprise Frampton”

We have not time to stand and stare. The wonder of Vasily Lomachenko

First published by Knockout London magazine’s May 2018 issue.

In these distracted times of ours, in which life is rarely experienced through the entire sensory system, people are too often unwitting passengers in their own existence. A desire to record and share, rather than touch, smell and witness is depriving many of us of the immersion required to properly capture or appreciate an event, however expensive the opportunity to access it proved.

At some future meeting point, when these memories are called upon, where rich descriptions of how it felt to be there once thrived, embellished and enhanced by the retelling, there will remain only video clips and a gallery of vacuous self-portraits. Continue reading “We have not time to stand and stare. The wonder of Vasily Lomachenko”

Brendan Ingle. Some things are meant to stay.

Some things are meant to stay, to remain, to defy. Offering an unconscious, if often illogical reassurance to the otherwise transient chaos of our day-to-day human experience. The things themselves, they’re different for all of us. They may be a person, a principle, perhaps a place, a truism you clutch or a collage of them all but regardless of their form, or on which premise they were collected, they provide foundation for the sandcastles of our lives. When one of these tumble and succumb to the tides of time to which we thought them immune, it resonates more deeply than ever we may have anticipated it might.

A few of these manifest in the relationship I have with boxing. Some are vague, abstract concepts like my belief that boxing’s gilded stories of redemption and salvation outweigh the physical damage and tragedies it facilitates, others are more tangible and, as in the case of late Brendan Ingle, an individual figure. Continue reading “Brendan Ingle. Some things are meant to stay.”

Going mainstream. Anthony Joshua, the rogue who charmed your Gran

There was a time when boxing in Britain on Saturday night meant Colin Dunne or Jawaid Khaliq and circuit pros like Rakhim Mingaleyev and Dariusz Snarski. The latter, solid, earnest little scrappers but unknown in their own hometowns, the former, World Champions as the term was cheaply distributed at the time. Heavyweight fights meant a butcher from Chesterfield or an ex-Rugby League player from Featherstone. ‘Event logistics’ amounted to twisting brass handles to lever basketball hoops from vertical to horizontal before Mike and his crew arrived to erect posts, canvas and ropes to the eyrie abyss. Nobody checked train schedules or whether U2 had left town. Continue reading “Going mainstream. Anthony Joshua, the rogue who charmed your Gran”

Exclusive: Tyson will not fight Holyfield says David Payne

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”

Boxing: Barrera. The pudgy-faced geriatric.

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.

Continue reading “Boxing: Barrera. The pudgy-faced geriatric.”

Moore and Rhodes step out of the shadows

WAROFTHEROSES-SMTwo of  British boxing’s longest serving fighters will clash tonight for the European Light-Middleweight title, a bout which doubles as an eliminator for the WBC world title belt, or at worst a qualifier to face Julio Cesar Chavez Junior in a final eliminator for a crown held by slippery Sergio Martinez. It will also offer an opportunity for both fighters to finally step out of the shadow contemporaries Ricky Hatton and Prince Naseem Hamed threw across their respective careers and prove the old boxing truism, that styles make fights. 

Continue reading “Moore and Rhodes step out of the shadows”

Wayne McCullough far from Dunne

WayneIt is beyond the remit of any writer, no matter how well intentioned to implore a man to retire. A fighter, regardless of the date on his birth certificate, should not be prevented from earning a living if they are physically able to do so. Wayne McCullough, that most dedicated of professionals is one such example. Despite the evidence of a waning ability the Pocket Rocket refuses to relinquish his dream of once again being crowned World Champion. As a heavyweight, his 38 years wouldn’t be the millstone they are at Super-Bantamweight where speed, stamina and volume punching are more prevalent than amongst the heavyweight molasses. Continue reading “Wayne McCullough far from Dunne”

Irish eyes are smiling; McCullough fights on

WaynePrecious few combatants evoke the same swell of good will that will greet Wayne McCullough when he strides to the ring for the 35th time in a fortnight’s time. The former Super-Bantamweight world title-holder has had a frustrating Autumn to his career, with the shadow of an overturned suspension for irregular brain scans thwarting his attempts to regain momentum in his ebbing trajectory. A retirement six rounds in to a fight he appeared to be winning last June, on the back of a doctor’s intervention during the rematch with Oscar Larios, remain his only meaningful action of the past 40 months.

Continue reading “Irish eyes are smiling; McCullough fights on”

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