Boxing


UK Boxing: Nathan Cleverly; Kevin Mitchell; Anthony Small; Gary Sykes

Two of Britain’s exciting young Boxers share the bill at York Hall, Bethnal Green tomorrow night and both are locked in a race to land a World title shot before the end of 2009. Undefeated, 22 Year Old, Nathan Cleverly (15-0), currently studying for a Maths Degree at Cardiff University, makes the third defence of his Commonwealth Light-Heavyweight title against Sheffield’s Billy Boyle (12-1) knowing that another victory will move him closer to his dream of a World title. Cleverly said; “Now Joe Calzaghe has retired, I am enjoying the prestige of being Wales’ only reigning Boxing champion and I am looking at remaining Commonwealth champion, until I perhaps become Wales’ only World Champion!.

Cleverly added, “I do hope that Enzo Maccarinelli will soon recapture his belt and we can both reign together and I think now he has started a new training regime, as I did, that will happen for him. Leaving Enzo Calzaghe was the best thing I ever did and I think it will prove to be the same for Maccarinelli. It was a good experience being Joes unpaid sparring partner but in many ways it stifled my career as everything was about him, In hindsight working around him held me back, whereas now I’m flying.”

As well as the incentive for Cleverly to remain undefeated, Dagenham’s British Super-Featherweight Champion, who is returning from a year long hand injury, knows that only a convincing victory at York Hall will cement his position as the WBO #1 challenger to Puerto Rican Champion, Roman Martinez. “Frank Warren has already opened negotiations with the Puerto Ricans for the fight to happen early in the new season. I don’t feel, I know, I will beat Martinez and my close friend Nicky Cook would have if done too had he not strayed from the game-plan and got caught. Of course I was gutted for Nicky as he is my friend, but if he had won and stayed champion, a fight between us would have been unlikely and a long way off as we share a trainer and go back a long way” said Mitchell.

Promoter Frank Warren said “Britain currently has just one World Champion, compared to seven less than two years ago. However, the sport is certainly not in recession insofar as talent is concerned. Many of the older guys have either retired or been dethroned so now it’s the turn of the youngsters to break thorough starting with the likes of Nathan and Kevin. The talent coming through represents a very healthy future for British Boxing. Nathan has exceptional talent for such a young man and especially for one who trains around a full time education, I really believe he could reach and remain at the top for some years to come. Kevin Mitchell has been itching to get a crack at the World title for some time and I feel he would be a World Champion already had he not been hampered by a hand injury which hopefully is now behind him”

The York Hall undercard also features Heavyweight prospect Derek Chisora as he warms up for a fight with British Champion, Danny Williams and also stars ‘The Walsh Brothers’ and young Vinny Mitchell, brother of Kevin. Another young star tipped to go all the way is Liverpool’s Commonwealth Games Champion, Stephen Smith who is currently undefeated in 6 fights.

Tickets for the Sky Sports televised event are still on sale at £50 and £30 and are available at either York Hall on the night or by pre-booking on 01992 550888. Further information on this and future Frank Warren events is available on-line at www.frankwarren.tv


WARREN EXCITED BY PROSPECTS

Promoter Frank Warren says impressive wins for his trio of future world champions on Friday could lead to even bigger fights later this year.

Commonwealth light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly, British super-featherweight king Kevin Mitchell and leading heavyweight prospect Derek Chisora are all in action at Bethnal Green's York Hall.

Cleverly defends his title against Billy Boyle, while Mitchell and Chisora both feature in non-title affairs.

And Warren is hoping from big things from the trio, with Mitchell being lined up for a crack at WBO world champion Roman Martinez at some point in 2009.

"I have invested heavily in young fighters for the last couple of years, and we are about to see the results," said Warren.

"The current crop of fighters that I have got are as exciting and talented as any group that I have worked with.

"I'm really looking forward to Friday night's show at York Hall and fight fans should be too.

"The moment I signed Kevin Mitchell I said he had the potential to go all the way, and he's now in a position where he is going to be challenging for world honours.

"He is now the WBO number one, and the fight with Martinez is one that I want to make.

"Obviously Martinez beat Mitchell's gym-mate Nicky Cook, and that's going to given Kevin even more hunger to get a win.

"Derek Chisora is another one who has 'future world champion' written all over him.

"I desperately wanted to put him in with British champion Danny Williams, but Danny came back and asked for double the amount of money that he originally wanted.

"It just shows you how worried he is about fighting Chisora, who, remember, has only had nine fights. Now he has to get into a position where Williams is forced to take the fight, and we'll see how much he gets paid from a purse bid.

"And then there is Nathan Cleverly - the most exciting prospect to come out of Wales since Joe Calzaghe.

"He's only 22 but he's already got the Commonwealth title and he's knocking on the door for a British title shot as well - and the scary thing is I think we've only seen 50% of what he's capable of."


SMALL DELIGHTED HALL TOOK UP CHALLENGE

British light-middleweight title contender Anthony Small says he’s relieved to have found someone with balls big enough to face him.

Small tackles Commonwealth champion Matthew Hall on June 27 at London’s O2 Arena in what promises to be a thriller.

It follows a frustrating couple of months for the Londoner, who was left fuming when Ryan Rhodes vacated his British title instead of facing him.

“I should already be British champion but for Rhodes’ cowardice,” said Small. “It’s a strong word but everything I say is the truth.

‘I looked him in the eye and said you don’t want to fight me, you are scared of me, but he said he wanted the fight.

“Then next thing I know he vacates. He says he is moving on to bigger things, but a few weeks later he fights in an eight rounder. When I say he is a coward, I mean he is a coward.

“That’s what the sport of boxing has come down to, protecting yourself from being hurt. If you want to do that then go and play badminton.

“There are very few fighters out there who have go the courage and tenacity, who want to make something of themselves.

“In British boxing there are three types of fighter, Anthony Small, those who avoid Anthony Small, and Matthew Hall.

“Myself and Matthew Hall are made from the same cloth. We are going to get into that ring and lay it all on the line.

“He is a warrior, he’s a fighter and he is going to come into the ring on June 27th and fight with real heart. I look in his eyes and I don't see fear like I saw with Rhodes."

But Small, who has lost just once in 22 fights and has 15 stoppages, believes there will only be one winner.

“This fight is going to come down to skill. Matthew has short arms and he’ll have no option but to fight on the inside and come forward.

“I have got long arms and long legs, and I can fight on the inside and fight on the outside, and that’s why I will win this fight.”


SYKES TO CROLL-ANT OVER

GARY SYKES believes he'll be putting Dewsbury on the map for all the right reasons next week.

Sykes (11-0) faces Manchester rival Anthony Crolla (13-1) in an eliminator for the British super-featherweight title at Fenton Manor Sports Complex, Stoke-on-Trent on May 29.

The West Yorkshire town hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons last year following the disappearance of school girl Shannon Matthews.

But Sykes believes he can beat Crolla to earn a shot at domestic 9st 4lb champion Kevin Mitchell.

Sykes, 25, said: "It would be awesome if I could win the British title and would be good publicity for Dewsbury after all the bad press the town has had.

"I have enjoyed a quiet route in my professional career, gradually working my way towards a British and Commonwealth title shot.

"I wouldn't like to be big and brash only for things to fall apart but when I started, I wanted to aim for the British title and I wouldn't have turned pro if I didn't think I could achieve it."

Sykes thought his big ten rounder had fallen through earlier this month when promoter Frank Warren pulled the contest, but his promoter Frank Maloney stepped in.

Crolla, 22, has been beaten just once ironically to another Dewsbury boxer Youssef Al Hamidi a year ago.

Top of the talent crammed card is local hero Chris Edwards (12-13-3) who defends his British and Commonwealth flyweight title against Derby's Usman Ahmed (5-1-1)

Also on the top class bill, Ireland's Olympic bronze medallist Darren Sutherland (2-0) bids to stop Georgian Tchilaia (9-8) who took Beijing golden boy DeGale the distance on his professional debut in February.

Tickets (£35 and £75) for the show which also features other top fighters from Stoke including Scott Miller and Alex Ibbs are on sale and available from www.frankmaloney.com and 0871 226 1508.

Article posted on 20.05.2009



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