Calzaghe Defends Against Ashira
19.08.05 - WBO World Super-Middleweight Champion Joe Calzaghe faces a tricky defence of his title against Evans Ashira on Saturday 10 September at the Cardiff International Arena. The unbeaten Welshman will make a record 17th title defence against the Danish based Kenyan knowing that victory is crucial if he is to face rival IBF Champ Jeff Lacy on November 5. Ashira, who now fights out of Miami, has caused upsets in the past and could wreck Calzaghe's plans of unification.
Article posted on 20.08.2005
In his last fight he defeated the previously unbeaten Quentin Smith and two years ago stopped Jerry Elliot - who neither Brian Magee or Howard Eastman, both big punchers, could KO - in nine rounds to underline his danger.
He is ranked #10 in the WBO with only one loss in 25 fights and has held IBF and WBA Intercontinental Middleweight titles.
Calzaghe, now the longest serving world champion in boxing, said, "I view Ashira as a dangerous threat to my title reign, unbeaten record and future,"
"The talk is all about facing Lacy and I'll deal with him next but for now I'm focused solely on my title defence against Ashira,"
"There's no way I'm going down the same road as Bernard Hopkins and Kostya Tszyu, both long reigning world champions, who took their eye of the ball and were looking at the big fights ahead of them and then lost,"
He continued, "This is the riskiest defence of my career because so much depends on it but I perform to my best when the pressures on,"
"From what I have seen of Ashira, he is a strong attacking fighting who throws plenty of punches and can pose problems for me in the early rounds,"
"I could be an explosive fight if we meet head on but I will not come off second best,"
The hard-hitting southpaw believes his last fight, a devastating sixth round KO of Mario Veit in Germany in May, has set the standard for him.
"The pressure was on me to perform in Germany and my preparations were great physically and mentally for that fight and it has put me in the right frame of mind to destroy Ashira."
Warren said, "Joe has never taken any challengers for granted in his career and this will certainly be the case against Ashira,"
"This is a crucial defence of his title and if he comes through then it lines up his big fight against Lacy,"
"Ashira comes in with a good record and will not come in to make up the numbers."
"He's already upset the odds on a previous occasions and I'm sure he will want to wreck the plans ahead and cash-in on the big-time himself,"
"There'a a lot of pressure on Joe but I am confident in his skill and KO punch which is why he is recognised as the world's best super-middleweight."
Special attraction on the undercard features Olympic Silver Medallist Amir Khan in his second professional fight against Baz Carey.
The rest of the undercard features an exciting welterweight clash between Belfast hitter Neil Sinclair and Cardiff's Lee 'Taz' Jones for the Vacant Celtic crown.
Finally, Pontypool's unbeaten welterweight Tony Doherty, Rhondda Valley light-welter Barrie Jones, Merthyr middleweight Kerry Hope and Newbridge light-welterweight Nathan Cleverley complete the card.
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