Boxing


UK News: Burns battles Mitchell on 9/22; Walsh-Urbano on 7/14; Commey-Hughes on 7/7

Scotland's Ricky Burns and England's Kevin Mitchell will clash in a blockbuster showdown that ignites the Auld rivalry once again.

Burns put his WBO World Lightweight title on the line against his long-time rival Mitchell on Saturday 22nd September in Glasgow (venue to be announced).

The fight will be televised live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546).

Coatbridge star Burns, Scotland's first two weight world champion in nearly 20 years, was last action in March when he beat former world champion Paulus Moses with a commanding performance to retain his title.

He stepped up to lightweight last November when he beat Australian warrior Michael Katsidis - the only man to have beaten Kevin Mitchell - and put his name up with the best in the division.

The 29-year-old is looking forward to a classic battle with his English counterpart.

"The fight's been on the boil for the last couple of years and the fans and press have been desperate for it to happen, it's fantastic that it's on at last," Said Burns.

"We are both at the top of our game now and I'm in this sport to prove that I'm the best, next to me Mitchell's the best around and it will be great fight between two warriors,"

"He put on a great showing against John Murray last year that showed just how good a boxer he is to take apart another champion,"

"But this fight is the fight I've wanted and it's got me really excited, Mitchell's going to bring out the best in me and I believe that the fans are going to be in for an unbelievable fight.Ē

Londoner Mitchell's fight against John Murray last July was voted Fight of the Year in which he stopped Murray in the eighth round of a thrilling contest.

In February he beat the tough Dominican Republican Felix Lora over ten rounds and has been shouting for a confrontation with his Scottish adversary.

Mitchell said, ďIím promising you now youíre going to see the best fight of the year or any year,Ē

ďThis is a real fight between the two best in the division and itís not going to be for the faint-hearted,Ē

ďI rate Burns very highly, heís a great fighter and has really proved himself as one of the top champions in the world,Ē

ďIím going into the lions den and I know I can beat him and take the world title. Burns is a top kid and Iíve got to be at top of my game, the fittest and strongest Iíve ever been in my life to win.

Hall of Fame Promoter Frank Warren is excited about the fight and believes both men will serve up a treat.

"This is the big one.Ē Said Warren. ďItís the fight the fans have been waiting for and Iím delighted to say that itís now finally on. There is plenty of pride on the line with both men and neither will want to lose. What a fight to start the autumn schedule with live on BoxNation and weíre also announcing details shortly of WBO World Light-Heavyweight Champion Nathan Cleverlyís next title defence.Ē

Ticket details for Burns v Mitchell will be released shortly.

Liam Walsh vs. Domenic Urbano on Chisora-Haye undercard on July 14th

British boxing has sorely missed Cromerís Liam Walsh during the nine and a half months he has been dormant since prevailing by tenth round stoppage against Edinburghís Paul Appleby in the Domestic Fight of 2011 at the York Hall last September.

But after re-charging his limbs and clearing his mind of a few personal demons, the fan friendly Commonwealth super-feather king is chomping on his gumshield ahead of his return on the big Chisora-Haye undercard at West Ham Unitedís Boleyn Ground at Upton Park on July 14th. (BoxNation televise live and exclusive in the UK, Sky Ch.456/Virgin Ch.546)

And the 26 year old known as ĎDestinyí shall be looking to build upon his perfect 12 fight slate (nine stoppage wins) when he faces off with former Italian and European Union featherweight champ Domenic Urbano for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) European lightweight strap.

As his preparations start to intensify, the Norfolk livewire took time out to discuss his career and future plans with boxing writer Glynn Evans.

Your brothers Michael, Ryan and yourself are three of the brightest prospects in Britain. How did you get along as kids?

We were well competitive, computer games, whatever. Mike is 23 months older than me and Ryan (his twin) and was dead strong so weíd gang up, two on one. As we were always fighting, Dad got us gloves.

I think my dadís biggest achievement was probably bringing us up so close. Ryan and me top Ďní tailed in the same bed until we were 15. Weíd have to split chocolate bars three ways. If we were together and one got kicked, dad went mental if we didnít all limp!

Today Mike and I live together and Ryan lives next door. Weíre constantly in and out of each others houses. Even today, we battle over who can do most in circuits, whoís quickest.

Both are still unbeaten. How do you assess their prospects?

Whereas Mikeís the most exciting, Ryan is probably the hardest to beat. Youíre only as good as your defence and he donít get hit a lot. Ryan had a far better apprenticeship, a couple of eight rounders and a 10 rounder. Heís well prepared for a title shot.

I understand your early amateur career wasnít the most successful!

Thatís right. Starting out, both Ryan and Michael were much better than me. Though I trained like a maniac, I didnít take it too seriously on fight night and I only won three of my first 10. Mike would get mad with me. Me losing put a dampener on his evening.

I never had a pube till I was at least 15 but I finally started to get serious around that age and ended up winning 22 of 40 amateur bouts plus Junior ABA, Junior Four Nations and Commonwealth Youth titles. I grew up mentally and stopped treating boxing just as a Ďsportí. Now Iíd willingly give my right arm to win.

Despite his work with yourselves, Sam Sexton, plus Jon Thaxton and Herbie Hide before, your trainer-manager Graham Everett is one of the most underrated in the sport. What makes him tick?

Grahamís biggest strength is probably his man management. He listens and works with you. Heís very good at picking us up when weíre down and motivating us. Heís got the good, Ďold schoolí ways yet is prepared to listen to fresh ideas and experiment with new things too. Above all, heís a friend. Iím a million percent sure heíd never try and shaft us.

How close were you to conceding your title last time out when Scotlandís Paul Appleby flattened you with a monster left hook in round seven? (Showing remarkable recuperative powers, Walsh rose to win on a ten round retirement).

I basically got lucky. Fights have been stopped for a lot less. (Referee) Ian John-Lewis, having been a fighter himself, helped me out. Others might have jumped in.

It was my fault. I opened up square on which enabled Paul to get a real swing on it and I didnít know what Iíd been hit with, didnít see it. I picked up the count at about three and, from the corner, our Mike did a cracking job of guiding me through the count.

My legs were still very wobbly at the start of round eight but I rocked Paul right away with a big left hook. It was our Mike who advised me to ĎStick it on himí. Brave call.

While I donít think Graham (Everett, his trainer-manager) needs the stress of a rematch, and Iíd not have much to gain, I said Iíd give Paul a rematch and Iím a man of my word. The fans would love to see it again.



What is it about you and round seven?! In prior Commonwealth championships, Maxwell Awuku and John Kays also had you in big trouble?

Itís never fatigue. I just lose concentration.

For six rounds against Awuku, it was a walk in the park. But I get my stupid head on; this urge to liven things up for all of our fans. So I start holding my feet and trying to take opponents out. It was exactly the same against Kays and Appleby. Itís something I need to shed or Iíll get beat.



Your fitness appears phenomenal. What do you do to get in shape?

Itís very simple. I train very hard, cut no corners. Why have a day off if youíre feeling good?!

Fitness is my biggest plus. I go to Grahamís gym six times a week, then to a different gym in the evenings. Every session, I do it hard; give everything, every day. We run together six times a week, five miles cross country, mixing in some sprints. Iím quickest, Ryanís the tortoise, heís got massive legs.

Whatever I lack, itíll never be effort.

Youíve a unique, elusive style. How much of it is taught and how much is instinctive?

Itís pretty instinctive. Whereas Mike always bored in, dad said from the age of three, Iíd be on my toes, moving around him.

Ryan and me are both real students of boxing, have over 600DVDs. Sugar Ray Leonardís my hero. Iím always watching his career set, trying to imitate moves. Iíd far rather fight off instinct. If I think, I end up Ďforcing ití. Paul Applebyís aggression allowed me to naturally let it flow, get my shots off.

The ĎFarmy Armyí fan base that follows you and your brothers nationwide is among the largest, loudest and most loyal in Britain. How did it develop?

Our house is right in the centre of Cromer and we personally flog the tickets from there, and even to people in the street. The reason theyíre so passionate is that theyíre nearly all genuine friends. They turn out whichever of us are fighting but Mikeís their favourite because heís so unpredictable, comes to swing! Weíve a solid fan base of 5-600 and itíd be far more, closer to Norwich. Norwich soon, would be good. In addition to Appleby and yourself, guys like Steve Foster Jnr, Gary Buckland, Gary Sykes and Carl Johanneson make the 130lb division arguably the strongest in Britain. Whoíd you like to fight?

Theyíd all make for good matches. Iíve not had any say in any of my fights. As long as they weigh nine stone four or less, Iím there....whoever!

Sykes also has a great engine so thatíd be lively. Johannesonís a big puncher and Iíve been down which could make it interesting. Foster Junior and me is a cracking fight. But Iíd love to fight for the British title so Iíd most like Buckland who beat me, fair and square, as an amateur.

Come fight night, youíll have been out of the ring for nine and a half months. A welcome break or a frustrating loss of momentum?

Bit of both, really. I canít blame anyone because I was offered fights but I lost my Dad just before Christmas. Heart disease. He was only 49 and I needed a bit of time out.

What I do know is that I canít wait to get back in. Iíve been flying in training and, up at lightweight, with five extra pounds, Iím feeling brilliant. Iíve been more than holding my own with welterweights in sparring. Graham ainít happy at all. He wants me back down at superfeather and I will go back down after this.

But Iím bursting to fight, perform, entertain again. July 14th canít come quick enough.


What do you know of Urbano? What do you hope to get out of the contest?

I know heís 36, I know his stats, just three losses in 29 fights(one draw), and I know heís never been stopped so Iíll be hoping to change that, without looking for it recklessly. Iíve not seen footage but, from stills, he looks a bit rough n tumble. Thatíll suit me down to the ground. Above all, Iím looking for a good tough fight I can learn from.

Long term aspirations?

One goal at a time. I desperately want to win the British title and, if I can get through this domestic thing, Iíll not be far off world level. With only 12 fights, the odds may be against me but Iíd fight (Belgiumís reigning European champ Ermano) Fegatilli at the drop of a hat. Heíd not put me down with body shots, like he done Foster.

Over in Vegas to see Pacquiao-Marquez III, I watched Diego Magdelano, who is viewed one of the very best prospects in the US. Yet thereís two or three in Britain whoíd beat him. He had little defence or power.

Iíve wanted to be a world champ from a very young age and Iíd retire now if I didnít think I could achieve it. This gameís far too hard to just have a Commonwealth title.

Haye v Chisora is live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546). Join at www.boxnation.com

Tickets for Licensed to Thrill are available from Eventim at www.eventim.co.uk or 0844 249 1000, Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.co.uk or 0844 844 0444 and West Ham United at www.whufc.com or 0871 222 2700.

RICHARD COMMEY AIMS TO MAKE UK FANS TAKE NOTICE

Sensational African prospect Richard Commey makes his UK debut on 7th July at York Hall Bethnal Green when he takes on former Commonwealth title challenger Kris Hughes in an 8 round bout on the Olivia Goodwin Goodwin Main Events dual title bill.

Current Champion of Ghana Commey has 11 wins all by knock out and is aiming to make in 12 from 12.

Many boxers from Ghana lack the backing to progress their careers and end up being fed as journeymen but this will not happen with Commey.

Commey is a product of the world famous Bukom area which has produced some of the most renowned African fighters such as Joshua Clottey, Ike Quartey and legendary hall of famer Azumah Nelson.

Richard was spotted by UK manager Michael Amoo-Bediako in August 2010 whilst Michael was there with his son Michael jr competing in an amateur tournament.

Michael was so impressed that he signed Richard immediately and since then Richard has gone from strength to strength culminating in winning the Ghanaian national lightweight title in December 2011.

The Streetwise team headed by Amoo-Bediako has brought Richard along with his mentor and trainer Carl Lokko to the UK to gain some valuable experience in fighting abroad. They will be based at the Pro SW gym in Loughton training alongside head trainer Archie Dublin and the Streetwise Boxers.

Richard is aiming for the Commonwealth title in the next 12 months and with Amoo-Bediako and the Goodwin promotional team behind him it will be refreshing to see this young Ghanaian have all the opportunities provided to him.

Article posted on 26.06.2012



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