Greatness to visit, and be confirmed in Glasgow. Inoue and Taylor in action

First published at Gambling.com

The World Boxing Super Series has been a timely entrant into the boxing landscape simplifying the all too complicated world of boxing politics with a tournament format everyone understands. Crucially, the wealthy backers of the concept have ensured the program is filled with outstanding fighters too.

On Saturday night, the SSE Hydro in Glasgow is the venue for a pair of semi-finals that will enthral boxing’s most ardent observers and should excite the casual follower too. Investors have the potential to make returns from mouthwatering fights between Josh Taylor and Ivan Baranchyk and Manny Rodriguez and Naoya Inoue, with the best boxing betting sites offering up numerous markets.

In the Super-Lightweight class Josh Taylor continues his journey in the footsteps of Scottish greats Benny Lynch, Jim Watt and Ken Buchanan, as he bids to capture Ivan Baranchyk’s IBF title and progress to a final against American powerhouse Regis Prograis. The financial rewards are high, and the kudos accrued equally so, if the ‘Tartan Tornado’ can succeed. Continue reading “Greatness to visit, and be confirmed in Glasgow. Inoue and Taylor in action”

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Tete faces Aloyan: Betting Preview

Article first appeared on 12th October on Gambling.com

Boxing, sport’s oldest show girl, remains stubbornly inconsistent. Subject to source, she is in both rude health and her final death throes. One of the most pointed criticisms is her perceived inability to pitch the best fighters against each other often enough.

It is an accusation with foundation, but one which also romanticises preceding generations in which similar complications occurred too. For all the Ali v Frazier trilogies and tales of Sugar Ray and the Raging Bull, there remained the lost classics of Holmes and Foreman, Lewis and Bowe and a whole generation of fighters denied world title shots.

The second season of the innovative World Boxing Super Series format, guided by Kalle Sauerland and lavishly financed, aims to address this failing.

Fight fans are particularly excited about the Bantamweight version that began last week and there is growing belief it could eclipse the thrills provided by the Cruiser and Super-Middleweight editions of season one.

There are a host of betting opportunities available for those willing to invest. Continue reading “Tete faces Aloyan: Betting Preview”

MyFightTickets.com Boxer of the Month – September

It is unfair to compare siblings, defying as it does, the uniqueness of all of us. However much we may share of the nature and nurture from which we spring and emerge, there is only one of each of us. This solitude of spirit and story is a reality we often deny to ourselves and submerge in the families and communities we cling and migrate to. But as the old idiom reminds us, in life, rather like the boxing ring in to which our heroes step, you come in alone and you leave alone.

At the end of last month, when Callum Smith dropped to the canvas, overwhelmed by the magnitude of his achievement in stopping George Groves, it was an essentially individual accomplishment. Aided by his trainer Joe Gallagher, who won a battle of his own too, and reward for every punishing pad session, every punch absorbed and delivered and every icy dawn run Callum Smith had completed in twenty years of absolute dedication. Continue reading “MyFightTickets.com Boxer of the Month – September”

Waning Groves succumbs to Smith

George Groves’s journey from l’infant terrible to veteran former champion, as he now is, has taken almost a decade and just a baker’s dozen or two of Saturday nights and no little heartache. As he was bludgeoned to the canvas by Callum Smith last Friday night in the seventh round of their Super Middleweight world title fight, it was impossible not conclude that his career was at an end.

An articulate, thoughtful man who has earned lucratively from his ability to box and promote, it was hard to fathom from whom or where any redemption or source of motivation could be summoned. This jars with the loathing we all have for those who write off fighters as a spent force, or spoiled goods, when they encounter defeat I concede, but more experienced viewers also develop a sense for when a fighter’s appetite for battle has gone. Continue reading “Waning Groves succumbs to Smith”

From a distance…Smith and Groves Betting

Article first appeared on August 2nd 2018 at gambling.com

On September 29th, British Super-Middleweights George Groves and Callum Smith will finally meet to conclude the World Boxing Super Series that began in September 2017. The venue for their final will be unfamiliar to both fighters and for those of greater vintage too, even the circus that followed the sport’s greatest showman, Muhammad Ali, never pitched tent in Saudi Arabia after all.

Since its inception the World Boxing Series has refused to kneel to the cynics or the financial conventions of the past and has been an integral part of markets at top boxing betting sites. All of the contests have thus far delighted fans with their high quality production, the clarity of the format and the entertainment offered. Illustrating what can be achieved with investment and purpose. Continue reading “From a distance…Smith and Groves Betting”

MyFightTickets.com Fighter of the Month – July

Boxing can make you cry. Boxing can make you shout. Make you sing. Excite you. Demoralise you. Inspire millions. Save a lonely soul. A single prize-fight can evoke all of these emotions, bring communities together, even unify the divided, if only temporarily. Since the 1950s the pioneers of commercial television realised the potential boxing had to provide enthralling action and, soon after, the draw the men in each corner could become if their stories, their characters were revealed.

It is why, alongside the practicalities of a sport viewed through the monochrome of the early television sets, champions wore white shorts, the challenger black. Just as their contemporary storytellers in Hollywood depicted good guys with white Stetsons and evil landowners in Black ones. Boxing wanted you to care, to ‘pull’ for one guy or the other. And to watch the adverts too of course. Continue reading “MyFightTickets.com Fighter of the Month – July”

Usyk the Ukrainian hero needs no titles

“If there’s one thing I know, it’s never to mess with Mother Nature, mother-in-laws and mother freaking Ukrainians.”

Skinny Pete, The Italian Job, 2003

Sport and politics are not meant to trespass on to each other’s figurative lawns. Far too frequently, they do. From the cricket fields of apartheid South Africa in the 1970s, the American boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics through to the present day  – a swirl of state sponsored doping, kneeling line backers and the awarding of football World Cups on the basis of stuffed manila envelopes rather than full stadiums. The politicising of sport is neither a new nor uncommon phenomenon. They are perennially entwined.

Boxing is littered with examples, from the persecution of Jack Johnson a century ago to the symbolism of Joe Louis’ rematch with Germany’s Max Schmeling in 1938, it is a rich and luminous seam. Fighters possess power in their actions and their opinions that can reach far beyond the roped square in which they ply their trade and politicians are always eager to manipulate the image or popularism of their pugilistic contemporaries. Continue reading “Usyk the Ukrainian hero needs no titles”

Groves distinguishes himself, and boxing, from the vanity of hype

Twenty out of thirty fight figures in Boxing Monthly thought Eubank would beat George Groves on Saturday night, of the dozen regular writers at Boxing News half drew a similar conclusion and Buncey went for Eubank too. I’ve leaned heavily on those opinions this morning as I wrestled with how close I came to joining them. At the last possible moment, as I watched Gabriel and Michelle interview the two protagonists, my instinct flipped from the hipster pick, Eubank being too quick, too fit and the growing irresistibility of his ‘from the shadow of his father’ narrative to the more obvious, that Groves was simply too big, too clever and hit too hard not to win. And back again.

In the end, at the death as it were, I opted for Groves, just. His presumed method of victory; stay outside, control distance and the pace of the fight with his jab, was hard to be confident in such was the appeal of Eubank’s fast hands, knowing glare and Brook Benton baritone. Adam Abramowitz, an American writer I respect, had inserted a doubt worm too, suggesting that Groves’ boxing ability was being overstated and he had a habit of finding failure when success was abundantly available. Continue reading “Groves distinguishes himself, and boxing, from the vanity of hype”

The 5 biggest fights of 2018?

Only the most faithful narcissist could conjure reasons why the current buoyancy of the sport, particularly in Europe, is not unprecedented and, seemingly, irresistible. These mole-eyed killjoys are often compelled to remind the frothy new members of the ‘Fancy’ that stadium fights are not a 21st century invention. Further, they point to different periods of the 18th and 19th century when champions of the prize ring were feted and known around the globe long before their image and actions could be bounced from a satellite or appear in miniature and unfathomable immediacy in your hand.

There was, after all, a John L Sullivan, before there was a Johnson, or a Dempsey or a Louis. An Ali and Tyson before a Joshua, though all too obvious and too topical to reference given the frisson the die-hards feel at confounding the sport’s ‘tanked up’ new casuals with tales of the more obscure and obtuse credentials of Langford and Wills, Briscoe or Lopez. Continue reading “The 5 biggest fights of 2018?”

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