Graham Earl And Johnny Eames Back Together, Michael Grant interview, Nine more medals for GB Boxing
Former World Lightweight Champion Graham Earl has linked up with his former longtime coach Johnny Eames to present a night of professional boxing at Tattersalls Sales Rooms in Newmarket, Suffolk on Saturday 30th April.
Article posted on 11.04.2011
The special event, named ĎReturn Of The Mací, is headlined by Newmarket Light Middleweight prospect ĎPhatí Pat McAleese, with support bouts featuring Cheshuntís undefeated Welterweight Bobby Gladman, exciting Slough Super Bantamweight Ian Bailey and debuting Super Middleweight Henry Bacon from Ipswich. In addition further boxers from Graham Earlís stable are also set to feature.
Following a coaching session, at his famous TKO Boxing Gym in Canning Town, Johnny Eames said, ďItís a show weíve been doing for a couple of years now, mainly for Pat McAleese, and Iím really pleased that my good friend, and former fighter, Graham Earl is to promote the event this year.
Itís only a 900 seat venue and Pat tends to sell most of the tickets so it gives us a chance to give some of our own boys who donít really sell tickets a chance to be the house fighter.
Although with this time it being a race weekend weíve had to go with a couple of ticket sellers to ease Pat a little bit of stress.
We really enjoy doing the shows there, Newmarketís a lovely town, the people are nice there and they support the show really well. Weíre hoping to do a bigger show there in the future with Pat McAleese going for a title fight.
Weíve got young Ian Bailey on the show, Ianís a kid that really deserves a house fight for a change. Heís fought virtually every top prospect in the country at his weight. Heís won a couple of them, got beat on a couple of them. He donít sell a lot of tickets so not a lot of promoters will use him as a house fighter.
This event gives us the chance for him to be a house fighter. The kid should have a lot better record than heís got. Given the circumstances five and seven isnít a bad return really, when you think about some of the boys heís boxed. Yeah, Ian deserves the chance of being the house fighter and hopefully we can get him a win.
Ianís always exciting to watch, Patís an exciting fighter and soís Bobby Gladman, whoís seven and O, whoís a new kid to us, he was recommended to us by Billy Joe Saunders.
Heís actually managed by Mickey Helliet and heís with us for training and looking good in training and Iím excited to be seeing him fighting on the show.
Henry Bacon came to us via Stevie Smith, heís managed by Tony Simms and trained by Steve ĎSpartacusí Smith, Iím sure you all remember Spartacus. He had a great fight with one of my fighters, Tony Oakey, for the British title, he got stopped with about a minute to go of the last round but that was a great fight. It got Tony his British title, which he really wanted to get.
Henry Bacon I donít know too much about him, he was an ABA quarter or semi finalist a couple of times and heíll be debuting against one of my old fighters, Danny Goode.
Graham will have one or two of his fighters on the show, not sure who yet but knowing Graham theyíll be a couple of lads that are really up for it and whoíll put on a great show.
Apparently Patís doing really well with his tickets already. Iím sure that a lot of the boys who have taken tickets will do their quota, but as I said what we are up against is itís a race weekend and of course the Royal Wedding, which not to many of us will be going to so it shouldnít affect us too much on selling tickets. I aint had my invite yet anyway, but who knows maybe thatíll come in this afternoonís post.
Patís a very popular fighter in Newmarket and weíve got a great show planned so Iím sure itíll be a great success.Ē
Tickets for the Graham Earl, in association with TKO Boxing Gym, Promoted ĎReturn Of The Mací event at the Tattersalls Sales Rooms in Newmarket on Saturday 30th April 2011 are now on sale and priced £30 (Unreserved) or £50 (Ringside).
For tickets call: 07960 850645, book on-line at www.tkoboxoffice.com or call in person at The TKO Boxing Gym, Gillian House, Stephenson Street, Canning Town, London E16 4SA.
Michael Grant Interview: Talks Career, His Move to Lightweight, Kevin Mitchell etc.
By Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro: Back in the early 2000s there was a real buzz around the British amateur boxing scene, there were some excellent young fighters coming through the ranks with serious championship potential, none more so than a particular pair of teenage buddies from London, Michael Grant and Kevin Mitchell.
A month or so ago I was fortunate enough to interview Kevin, earlier this week I caught up with Michael, at the TKO Boxing Gym in Canning Town, and had an interesting chat with him. However before I move on to the interview with Michael here is a rundown on his career to date.
Both Michael and Kevin won multi titles, including the coveted ABAs, so it was no surprise that big name managers and promoters were keen to sign them to the pro ranks. Kevin was the first to turn over, signing with Frank Warren in 2003, and start an illustrious career that has seen him undertake thirty two bouts, during which he netted the British and Commonwealth belts as well as the IBF and WBO Inter-Continental titles and a shot at the interim WBO Lightweight crown.
Michaelís career on the other hand took a massively different course. Turning pro is 2005 MIchael signed with a manager who Ďpromised him the earthí but instead delivered a mix of four and six round Dinner and small hall shows for a couple of years.
Just one year into his pro boxing career it looked like his dream was doomed to end prematurely due a serious dislocation of his shoulder, which required open surgery, sustained during his fight with Ceri Hall in October 2006.
In 2008, having fully recovered from the injury, Michael signed management papers with Johnny Eames and switched his training to Johnnyís excellent TKO Boxing Gym in Canning town.
On the 24th September 2008, Michael returned to the ring against Jay Morris and put on a superb boxing display to get the win and at last Michaelís career finally started moving in the right direction.
Just a few days after the fight with Jay Morris, straight talking Johnny Eames told SecondOut.comís Danny Coyne ďI keep on saying it but Michael Grant is probably one of the best fighters I have trained and I have trained the likes of Graham Earl and the brilliant Kevin Lear over the years.Ē something Johnny still says to this day.
Just a few weeks later, the world got to see that Johnny was true to his word as Michael was world class as he plain out boxed #15 ranked Gary Reid to secure victory at the O2 Arena, on the undercard of David Hayeís Heavyweight debut against Monte Barrett on the 15th October 2008.
Things were definitely heading in the right direction for Michael, heíd beat a quality opponent on a major televised show.
In his first fight in 2009 another quality opponent was lined up, Franceís top 5 ranked Christopher Sebire. As before Michaelís performance was scintillating and earned him a close 58-57 points victory.
Next up for Michael was an appearance in the ever popular Prizefighter series. Unfortunately for Michael disaster struck, an accidental clash of heads in the first round caused a deep cut over Michaelís left eye. Michael was able to continue but the cut worsened considerably in the third round which concerned referee Ian John-Lewis enough for his to stop the fight with 48 seconds remaining on the clock.
On the 12th February 2010, just one day before his best friend Kevin Mitchell had his eleventh title fight, when Kevin defended his WBO Inter-Continental Lightweight title, Michael took part in his first title
fight of his pro-career, against Steve Williams the vacant English Light Welterweight belt.
After ten, very close, hard fought rounds the judges scorecards were read out showing a 95-96 and 94-97 (twice) victory for Williams. Michael found it hard to hide his disappointment and decided to take a little time away from the sport to consider his options.
Having a new found hunger for the sport Michael returned to training in earnest late in 2010 and is set to return to the ring on the 7th May at Graham Earlís ĎRedemption Dayí double title headlined event at York Hall in Londonís Bethnal Green.
Now weíre up to date on Michaelís career Iíll move on to the interview.
Rio - Hi Michael, Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today. Firstly could you tell us a little about your excellent amateur career?
Michael Grant - I won the ABAs in 2005. Iíd got to the finals twice and the quarter finals before, which I thought I was robbed. I thought I should have been a four time ABA champion but thatís why I hated, no not hated because I did eventually become champion and I boxed for England. I boxed in South Africa, in Italy, Malaysia and quite a few countries.
In that sense it made me who I am today as I got the experience of fighting in different countries and I won the ABAs which was the highlight of my amateur career.
Rio - You are to campaign in the Lightweight division, throughout your pro-career youíve been a Light Welter, what prompted the change of division?
Michael - In the last year as an amateur I was Light Welter, before that I had always been a Lightweight. The last bit of my amateur career I found it hard to make the weight, because obviously I like eating the chicken and stuff.
I was finding it a bit harder, then I was feeling a bit stronger at Light Welter as I was eating literally what I wanted and I was making the weight. But I was actually a Lightweight, I was Lightweight for a good seven years before I was at the ABAs, so Iíve naturally been a Lightweight.
Rio - Do you think the change of division will be more to your advantage?
Michael - The guys were bigger than me at Light Welter, now Iím likely to be the bigger at Lightweight. Thatís the advantage, thatís what I canít wait for because I feel strong now, stronger than I did at Light Welter and the guys Iím going to be fighting will be around the same size or even smaller so Iíve got a good advantage. Iíll be coming back as a strong hot prospect.
Rio - Your last fight at Light Welter was for the English title, are you looking to get back into championship contention as soon as possible?
Michael - At Lightweight Iím looking to go all the way. Johnnyís (Johnny Eames) has got me this fight, which was like lastminute.com, I just canít wait to get back in there. I might not be fighting for much money but Iím just trying to get into the top ten Lightweight so Im happy to take any fights.
By the end of the year I want some kind of title, British title as soon as. Iíve seen the person thatís got it and Iíll smash him to pieces. Iím going to be straight this year is going to be an exciting year and next year even better.
Rio - You were unfortunate in that your last two fights ended in contentious losses for yourself, what are your thoughts on these?
Michael - Both my losses as a pro could have been avoided. My last one for the English title, looking back at it, I could have done more to make it more convincing.
The Prizefighter now I look back on that I donít think really that was for me but I went in it and I thought I was winning until the referee stopped it.
Iíd got the cut in the first round and the referee stopped it in the last minute of the last round, a bit dodgy there I thought. Yeah and it left a nice scar on my face.
Rio - Your back here at the TKO Boxing Gym now, thereís a lot of quality fighters here for sparring. Who have you been sparring recently?
Michael - When I first come back Colin (Lynes) was fighting so I did a few rounds with Colin. Iíve also been sparring with a couple of people from the gym, Sam (Standing), Ricky (Boylan) and in time Iíll be sparring with Kevin (Mitchell), my pal Kev Iíll be sparring with him Ďcos heíll be fighting soon as well. Iíll be helping him and heíll be helping me.
Yeah thereís always good sparring. Thatís the best thing about being down here thereís always good sparring, even Lightweight or Light Welterweight. Youíve got Pat (McAleese) as well, Iíve been sparring with him, heís heavier, he hits a lot harder. Thereís all different type of sparring here, itís great.
Rio - How has the time out affected you?
Michael - The time out I think was the best thing I could have done. Sometimes it can be the worse thing to do, but I think it is the best thing because that hungerís come back, itís come back with a vengeance.
I had a lot of things in my life that was there before, what shouldnít have been in there that was distracting me and thatís all gone so Iíve got a career ahead and Iím a hundred and ten percent on my game this time and Iím going to make sure that everyone knows Iím back properly. Rio - For people that have yet to see you fight how would you describe yourself?
Michael - I just see myself as...Quick and hard to hit, well I try to be hard to hit and quick. Iím in and out and Iíve developed some power. Iím going to be a lot stronger. I aint going to be always bang, bang, bang and off, Iím going to be standing there a lot more and looking to take people out.
Rio - Of all your career fights, both as a pro and amateur, which holds the fondest memories?
Michael - My favourite fight was when I was boxing for Finchley, I think it was in 2000 or 2001, and we boxed in Las Vegas. I boxed Julio Caesar Chavezís nephew, I didnít know at first who I was boxing. On the day I came out first obviously as the away fighter. All of a sudden all these cameras came out of nowhere, people cheering, lights going and then music come on, you donít normally have music on an amateur show.
I looked at my corner and John Oliver, my coach, he was laughing and said ĎI didnít want to tell you, but youíre fighting Julio Caesar Chavezís nephew.í
I didnít mind anyway and I looked down and thereís Julio Caesar at ringside watching, so that was an experience. Yeah I won as well so it was really special and I got the experience of fighting a Mexican which was good.
Rio - Thank you for talking with me today - finally is there anything you want to say to the readers
Michael - Watch out for me itís gonna be a hell of a year.
I have to say that I agree with part of that last comment, the watch out for him part. As I had said in the build up to the interview Michael is an exceptional talent and with his new hunger as well as the maestro Johnny Eames orchestrating his career you can be sure that it is only going to be a very short time before Michael will be challenging for titles, both domestic and on the World scene.
Michaelís return to the ring, and his first professional bout as a Lightweight, will be on Graham Earlís ĎRedemption Dayí event at York Hall on Saturday 7th May 2011 - which is co-headlined by Leon ĎSolidí Williams versus Danny Couzens for the Southern Area Cruiserweight title and Paul Morby-Daniel Cadman II - the rematch - also for the Southern Area title, this time the Super Middleweight belt.
Between the three top bouts and a top quality, properly matched, undercard this is without doubt a donít miss event - so donít miss it, youíll regret it.
Tickets for ĎRedemption Dayí event at the York Hall, Bethnal Green, London on Saturday 7th May 2011 on sale and priced £35 (Unreserved) or £60 (Ringside) and available on-line at www.tkoboxoffice.com or call in person at The TKO Boxing Gym, Gillian House, Stephenson Street, Canning Town, London E16 4SA. For further information call 07960 850645.
Nine more medals for GB Boxing including golds for Yafai, Campbell, Stalker and Cardle
BOXERS from the GB Boxing squad added 9 more medals to its haul for 2011 last week, with successes at the Feliks Stamm Memorial tournament in Warsaw and the Gee Bee in Helsinki.
The haul included gold medals for Khalid Yafai (52Kg) in Poland and Luke Campbell (56Kg), Tom Stalker (64Kg) and Scott Cardle (69Kg) in Finland.
It takes the total of medals won by GB Boxingís men in five tournaments in 2011 to 22 and includes seven golds.
Luke Campbellís win at the Gee Bee was his second of the year, following his triumph at the Bocskai in February, and saw him named Boxer of the tournament in Helsinki.
A full list of medal winners is:
Feliks Stamm Memorial 6-10 April 2011
∑ Khalid Yafai, 52Kg, Birmingham City, Birmingham
∑ Gamal Yafai, 56Kg, Birmingham City, Birmingham
Gee Bee, 7-10 April 2011
∑ Luke Campbell, England, 56Kg, St Paulís, Hull
∑ Tom Stalker, 64K, Salisbury ABC, Liverpool
∑ Scott Cardle, 69Kg, Kirkham ABC, Lytham
∑ Tommy Stubbs, 52Kg, Northside, Oldham
∑ Anthony Ogogo, 75Kg, Triple A Boxing Club, Lowestoft
∑ Obed Mbwakongo, 81Kg, Lynn ABC, London
∑ Simon Vallily, 91Kg, South Bank, Middlesbrough
Details of all the bouts can be viewed at www.gbboxing.org.uk
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