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Teamwork makes the dream work for Mick Hall


Mick Hall has surprised even himself by managing to get into title contention despite an unsettled and unfocused start in the sport. Now, with a new management deal in place and a settled training team supporting him, the Preston based middleweight is excited to find out just what he is capable of.

“This is the first time in my career that I’ve had a good team around me. Everywhere else I’ve trained I just haven’t felt like I’ve had the right people around me,” 31 year old Hall (14-2, 2 KO’s) said. “Boxing is a hard game and without the right people behind you you’re pretty screwed. I was in that position for my first twelve or 13 fights.

“I didn’t really take the sport seriously to be honest. I always trained hard but there was no structure to that training. What I was thinking was right, now I know it is. I’ve just signed a new three year deal with Neil Marsh and I’m training with Alan Levene, I’ve got a strength and conditioning coach and a top physio. I go to Liverpool University for sports science testing. It’s all made a massive difference. I get free use of the amateur gym I trained out of for training my private clients and I’ve got a life coach too. Somebody to keep my head right.”

Until recently, Hall’s mindset has been one of the major factors preventing him from fulfilling his potential. Hall always enjoyed his downtime between fights but had also begun to worry about just where he stood in the sport.

“I almost gave up boxing because I didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere. After Prizefighter [where Hall lost a highly contentious decision to Jack Arnfield in 2015] I fought Dan Blackwell and struggled. It was like I couldn’t be bothered. I was worried that I was back on small shows for the rest of my career.

“I don’t know how I did it. I’d be out drinking right up to my fights. I was totally unprofessional. I’d go out and just think everything would turn out alright. I was out and about on the streets getting upto allsorts. I fought a lad called Ali Shah in his hometown and thought I’d go there and beat him. I got into the third or fourth round and it hit me. I was in trouble. I won but I knew there and then I couldn’t carry on like I had.

“For the first time I feel like I’m not on my own anymore.”

Hall announced himself to British boxing fans with a brave but ultimately unsuccessful challenge for old rival Jack Arnfield’s WBA International middleweight title back in January, his refusal to take a backward step despite suffering a shocking haematoma leaving an indelible impression on those who tuned in to the action on ITV. The latest test of Hall’s new found dedication and professionalism comes on September 1st when he takes on the capable but unpredictable Central Area champion Darryl Sharp over six rounds at Blackpool’s Hilton hotel but he is desperate to get back into the title mix and has set his sights on the British title, currently held by Birmingham’s Tommy Langford.

“When I fought Jack Anfield I had a broken rib. it took all of my movement away. I couldn’t do what I did when I fought him in Prizefighter the first time. Going from four rounds to twelve was a massive jump and I had to just stand in front of him but it was big money for me. I’d have fought him with a broken leg if I’d had to.

“The swelling on my head disappeared the day after. It was an elbow that caused that. Gennady Golovkin couldn’t do that, let alone Jack Arnfield. It burst a blood vessel but it looked a lot worse than it was.

“I don’t know how good I can be. Neil and my team see something in me and know how good I can be. The more I fight the more conditioned and confident I’m becoming. I always bring an exciting fights but if I have to box, I will do.

“I’ve gotta be right on my game but I know exactly what I’m gonna do with him. I’m quite a clever boxer when I want to be.

“I’m fighting Sharp on September 1st and back in June I won a final eliminator for the English title so I’m just waiting for a date [Hall stopped Matthew Mallin in three rounds]. I thrive on fighting the best. I raise my game. I fought the best right through my amateur career. I would see people i fought in the amateurs like Liam Smith, Hosea Burton and Sam Sheedy doing well and wonder why I couldn’t be up there too. Now I have the team to do it.

“I want the Lonsdale belt and I want to keep it and that’s exactly what I’m going to. I wan’t that belt for my kids and for everybody who has believed in me. I always knew I was good enough but now - especially with the team I have around me - I know that I can do it.”

Mick Hall v Darryl Sharp takes place at the Blackpool Hilton on Friday September 1st. R.P Davies’ clash with George Rhodes is also on the bill. Tickets priced at £65 and £80 are available from the fighters on the bill. Contact Mick Hall on 07375747458.

Ryan Davies Gets Serious


Ryan Davies is a man on a mission. Almost three years into a delayed career as a professional boxer, the novelty and excitement of life as a full time fighter has given way to grim determination. The 30 year old middleweight has realised one dream, he is now intent on accomplishing many more. Davies takes on Yorkshire’s George Rhodes (5-1-1) at Blackpool’s Hilton Hotel on September 1st and is eager to get the new season underway.

“This is something that I’ve always wanted to do but never thought I’d get the opportunity. People say that if you have a job that you love doing, it doesn’t feel like work,” Davies (12-1, 1 KO) said. “That’s beginning to change. As you get older, you have extra commitments outside the ring. I didn’t have commitments when I started. I was a young lad who’d just turned pro and everything was fantastic. You’re set on living the dream and getting to Vegas but things change. My partner is eight months pregnant now with our first baby and I run my own gym. My boxing career has helped me set something up that’ll be with me after the boxing.

“I think that I’ll win this fight and then it’ll be straight into something bigger like an area or an English title fight or maybe some kind of eliminator against a gatekeeper type of opponent. I’ve come this far and it feels like I’ve been on a journey to even get here. I never thought I’d even get in a professional ring. I’ve already climbed the mountain and I can almost see the top. It’s just about whether I can finish the journey off now.”

The journey to the top of the mountain almost came to an end at base camp. Davies was due to turn professional around six years ago but a problem with a routine heart scan threatened to halt his dream before it could begin.

“They found an electrical imbalance or anomaly,” Davies explained. “To be honest it was something they never really came up with an explanation for. For some reason, my heart showed up differently than yours would on a scan. Questions were asked whether that would affect me in a boxing ring. I’d had around nine unlicensed fights by that point and I’d never had any kind of issue or chest pains but I had to go through a battery of tests. Eventually, because I passed all the tests they had no real choice but to say that although my test was a bit different, they would let me in a professional boxing ring.

“I was supposed to turn professional when I was 24 and it held me back for three years. It ate a lot of my youth away but in effect, I feel like it matured me. I’m a young 30 years old now. Some people get to 30 and they’ve been boxing since they were eight. I feel as fresh as a daisy and it all still feels new to me.”

Davies is aiming to capitalise on the revitalised Blackpool boxing scene. Brian Rose kickstarted the sports’ resurgence in the seaside resort with his unlikely run to a world title shot. Scott Cardle carried the baton by winning and defending the British lightweight title and now Davies hopes to follow British cruiserweight boss Matty Askin, WBA International middleweight champion Jack Arnfield and stablemate Adam Little in leading the latest wave of talent from the Lancashire coast. A victory over Rhodes would position Davies nicely for his own concerted attack on the domestic rankings.

“I’m quite aware that boxers have a very short life [in the sport] and I know it won’t be around forever. You have to take the opportunities when you can get them and understand that it won’t be around forever. I’m trying to make the most of that locally. With the popularity I have, I’m trying to build my own brand and fan base and, thankfully, it’s worked out.

“Myself, Jack and Matty are all coming through now. Matty has finally got his just rewards. He’s been lingering around that British title level for a while now and it’s great to see. I also like Jack and it’s good to see him doing well too. I get on with all the lads.

“As you get older though you’ve got to become a bit selfish. The only career I’m bothered about now is my own. Now I have the baby on the way its about securing the best future I can for her. My manager Neil Marsh has been fantastic with me and now it’s about pushing on and hopefully getting my own just rewards.”

Marsh himself is looking forward to seeing his man in action. “We’re ready to give Ryan a step up now,” he said. “We’re getting him ready for championship fights and it won’t be long until he’s at that kind of level. He’ll be down the the championship weight limit for this fight and this is all about getting him ready for that next level.”

Until he suffered a shock stoppage last time out, Rhodes, 25, was in a similar position to the one that Davies now finds himself in. His entertaining and aggressive style generated plenty of local interest and he began to attract a sizeable following from his hometown of Scarborough. Davies knows exactly what to expect from the Yorkshiremen and is determined not to let Rhodes reclaim his standing at his expense.

“George looks young, fit and game. He just lost his first fight but I remember when I lost for the first time. It made me even more hungry to come back. I expect nothing less from George.

“He’s going to come and fight and good on him for that. I’m confident. I think there are certain areas I can exploit. I give everybody I fight respect. I’m sure he’s training very hard - I know I am - and the best man will win on the night. I believe that will be me but we will see.”

R.P Davies v George Rhodes takes place at the Blackpool Hilton on Friday September 1st. Mick Hall’s clash with Darryl Sharp is also on the bill. Tickets are available from Davies Boxing Gym, by calling 07780962863 or by e-mailing

Fury has the rib eye of the tiger


WBO World Heavyweight Title Challenger Hughie Fury is preparing for his massive showdown with Champion Joe Parker by punching on a meat carcass like movie icon Rocky.

Fury has based himself at a spartan-style training camp at Lake Windermere for the big fight on Saturday 23rd September at the Manchester Arena and is using a local abattoir to help with his preparations.

The undefeated 22-year-old has been working on his power and combinations by pounding his fists into a 400lb carcass of beef which was made famous by Sylvester Stallone in the legendary film franchise.

In the first movie, unknown Philadelphian fighter Rocky gets a million-to-one shot at the World Heavyweight Champion Apollo Creed and prepares for his fight by punching meat in an abattoir.

The Manchester hero has been training spartan-style at his training camp at Lake Windermere with arduous mountain runs, log chopping and swimming in freezing lakes with father and trainer Peter watching on and believes this adds another dimension to his training.

“I love different ways of training to keep things fresh and new and when the owner of the abattoir saw us training in the hills we ended up talking and he mentioned about Rocky punching the meat and said I could come and do the same at his place,” Said Fury.

“I jumped at the chance because, one, the carcass of meat weighs nearly 400 pounds and that is one heavy ‘punch bag’ to slam punches into. Two, its makes a much better sound when the fist connects with the meat, just like in a fight and, three, Rocky is one of my favourite all time movies so to do that myself was a bit of thrill,”

“That carcass has Joseph Parker’s face on it when I’m punching the hell out of it and hearing the ribs and bones crack it makes me punch it harder and harder. Just like Rocky, my white hand wraps end up a bloody mess after a twelve round session on the meat.”

“I’m preparing like never before for this fight and pushing myself to the limits and beyond. There’s no way Parker is leaving Manchester with that World title. I will everything to make sure that belt stays here with me.”

Photographs courtesy of Hennessy Sports/Dave Thompson

Murray in a Hurry "I'm a stronger fighter at lightweight I just want my chance to shine"


By Michael J Jones

UP UNTIL THE summer of 2013 everything seemed to be going well in the career of Manchester’s Joe Murray. An outstanding amateur, former Olympian and world amateur bronze medallist, the flame haired boxer-puncher turned pro in the March of 2009 with much expected of his pro campaign.

After reeling off fourteen straight victories and collecting the IBF Youth title, the streaking Mancunian faced fellow unbeaten Liam Walsh for the Commonwealth and WBO InterContinental titles in September 2013. After twelve spirited rounds, future world title challenger Walsh was awarded the majority decision though Murray showed enough to suggest he could move on from his first defeat.

Here unfortunately is where the Joe Murray story sours.

He would box just once in fifteen months (due to the dreaded ‘boxing politics’ and managerial problems), before agreeing terms for a rematch with Walsh, this time for British and Commonwealth honours. The usually-composed former amateur star didn’t seem himself that night and was surprisingly halted in five rounds.

Since that disappointing loss over two years ago, Murray has regrouped, moved up to lightweight and has reeled off six straight victories under the watchful eye of brother and trainer John. Last year the new lightweight contender scored arguably the finest victory of his career with a stunning knock-out of Rashid Kassem in Denmark.

After two further wins, the Manchester ace’s record now reads 21-2 (9) and he is next out on September 23rd on the undercard of Joseph Parker’s WBO heavyweight title defence against Hughie Fury.

The in-form puncher faces Matty Fagan on the bill in an eliminator for Robbie Barrett’s British lightweight title as he hopes his latest unbeaten run can lead to him being crowned the British ruler at the second time of asking.

“To be honest, with the way things have gone in my career I’ve been close to retiring” Joe Murray reveals to Livefight this week. “I went over to Denmark to beat Kassem and really thought that victory would open doors for me but my two fights after that were in the Victoria Warehouse in Manchester.”

“It’s been a frustrating time for me but I’m just looking to put that behind me and focus on Matty Fagan and then winning the British title.”

Matty Fagan brings a respectable record of 11-2 to the fight though has never stopped any of his opponents so far. He gave Welshman Gary Buckland a decent fight in Wales last year and clearly comes to fight.

“I know Matty quite well as we trained together in Anthony Farnell’s gym a while back” Joe informs Livefight. “We trained together and sparred so we know a lot about each other. He’s a come-forward fighter who likes to stay in the pocket and let his hands go and use his fitness.”

“Skills pay bills and if he stands there with me I’ll break him down and hurt him.”

I tentatively bring up the subject of Murray’s last fight with Liam Walsh. The two men appeared to pick up where they had left off from their thrilling first fight but Murray was hurt by body shots in the fifth before a final sickening uppercut concluded the bout.

“I turned pro as a featherweight and had never had any problems making super-featherweight but, when I was out of the ring for a year, I let my body grow properly. I felt OK before the fight but on the night, the lay-off and making weight took everything out of me.”

“The first fight had been really close and I felt could have easily gone my way but for the second fight everything was different.”

The twice-beaten fighter made the decision to move up to the lightweight division and has never looked back, winning six fights in just over a year with three of his wins coming inside schedule.

Last October, Murray travelled to Denmark to take on the 11-0 (7) Kassem and had to endure much taunting in the days before the fight from his unbeaten rival as tempers flared repeatedly.

“It annoyed me really, he was considered a big name and nobody at all wanted to risk fighting him especially in Denmark. I take the fight, knock him out and suddenly everyone is making out he’s a bad fighter. Why does he become a bad fighter overnight? I didn’t get any recognition at all.”

The supremely confident Kassem goaded Murray right up to the fighters’ final instructions but the visitor kept his head. After five lively rounds Murray, usually known for his smooth boxing skills and left hook, powered in a massive right-hand to flatten the Danish southpaw to end his unbeaten record.

“I’ve had it most of my career where (prospective opponents) see me as a high risk, low reward fighter. I don’t sell a lot of tickets so they think ‘why risk losing to Joe Murray’ so I get avoided. I’m hoping after I beat Matty Fagan it’ll be Robbie Barrett for the British title straight after.”

Darfield’s Barrett came seemingly out of nowhere to beat Scotty Cardle a few months ago by majority decision. He makes the first defence of his British title the week before Murray’s fight, taking on 12-0 Lewis Ritson in an intriguing match.

Earlier this year, Murray called out former world champion Anthony Crolla in what would have been a fascinating contest between two of Manchester’s finest. There would have been some back history to the fight also as Crolla was the last man to best Joe’s older brother John a few years ago.

Crolla it would appear is instead set to face Ricky Burns in the 140lb light-welterweight division.

“I called out Anthony Crolla as he was coming off those two (WBA title) fights with Jorge Linares and I felt it would have been a good comeback fight for him. People rounded on me and said I just wanted a pay-day. Yet he takes the fight with Burns at the higher weight which is clearly for the pay-day.”

“I said I’d fight any of them in the country not just Crolla but (WBO champion) Terry Flanagan or absolutely any of them. Nobody wants to know as I’m a hard fight for any of them.”

With the plan set for Murray to face Fagan with the British title the proverbial dangled carrot, what would the situation be if the “Genius” had to navigate another block in the road; enforced absence, injury or should he suffer a shock defeat to Fagan?

“If there’s another block in my career you will never see me in a boxing ring ever again” he replies without a moment’s hesitation. “I’ve always had this problem with getting opportunities, I’ve got no backing from Sky TV, no big-time money behind me. I’ll say right now I can beat the British champion, I can beat the Commonwealth champion….I’d even beat the European champion yet that doesn’t mean a thing unless I actually get the opportunity to fight any of them.”

“Boxing should be about the best fighting the best but how long can a man wait for his chances? I can’t keep on the side-lines forever.”

“I’m on a run of six wins, I feel bigger, stronger and better than I’ve ever been.”

Aside from his move up to the lightweight division, the 21-2 Murray has also benefited from his young trainer; brother and former ferocious world class lightweight John “The Machine” Murray. I throw it out there have the two men ever discussed how a fight between the pair would have unfolded prime-for-prime?

“I can’t say because we would never have fought under any circumstance” Joe retorts. “We did train together for a long time and had some good spars but that was as far as it would ever have gone. If we had have reached that title level at the same time we would have gone on different paths it’s as simple as that.”

“John had a fantastic career and did amazing and he’s really helped me come on as a fighter. He knows my style inside and out and always knows which area to work on. We have a very good relationship and he’s spot on as a trainer.”

“John’s definitely added some more aggression to my style and I don’t feel any pressure now in scoring a stoppage as I know I can either out-box an opponent or, if the knock-out comes, it comes so I’m a much more rounded fighter now.”

“I feel everything’s come together and I don’t care where I box or who against; I just want those chances.”

Joe Murray would like to thank his team, fans, and sponsors; JD Sports, Total Fitness, Ringside and Sudulo and also manager Steve Wood.

“Steve has done so much work for me to try and get me on the big shows and if it wasn’t for my sponsors I wouldn’t be here to continue my career so I can’t thank them enough.”

Katie Taylor hopes to crack America


By @Livefight

Katie Taylor says she’s itching to break into the US market when she makes her Stateside debut in Brooklyn on Saturday night (July 29) on Sky Sports.

The Irish sensation puts her skills on show in New York in her sixth pro outing fresh from a third stoppage win at Wembley Stadium in April on the blockbuster bill topped by the epic Heavyweight battle between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko.

Taylor hopes to be headlining in Ireland in World title action soon, but the 31 year old wants to become a hit in the States too – starting in the Big Apple this weekend.

“I'm really excited about fighting in Brooklyn,” said Taylor, who faces Jasmine Clarkson over eight rounds at the Barclays Center. “New York has been very good to Irish fighters in the past and hopefully I can give people something to shout about.

“I feel like I'm still improving and still learning every day in the gym but I definitely feel ready for a World title fight now. Hopefully I can get another good win next weekend and win a World title later in the year before coming back to New York again at some point as a World Champion to defend my title.

“After my fight at Wembley I took a couple of weeks off back home but then it was back to Connecticut to start training camp for this fight. I've probably spent 90 per cent of my time here in the US since turning pro so of course it's tough being away from family and friends but if you want to do great things you have to make great sacrifices.”

Luke Campbell is next Brit to challenge Linares


By @Livefight

Luke Campbell MBE will challenge WBA, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine World Lightweight Champion Jorge “El Niño de Oro” Linares on Saturday September 23 in a 12-round main event from Los Angeles’ “Fabulous” Forum, live on Sky Sports and on HBO Boxing After Dark®.

Linares, a three-division world champion of Barinas, Venezuela, who has captured titles in the featherweight, super featherweight and lightweight division, has spent much of his career in Japan. This time, however, Linares will fight in the U.S. for the first time in three years after first winning and then defending his titles against former WBA World Lightweight Champion Anthony “Million Dollar” Crolla in the latter’s hometown of Manchester, England.

“I am excited to make my return to the United States and to headline an HBO show for the first time,” Linares said. “I know Luke Campbell is a tough competitor with an incredible amateur and professional background, but I am confident that I will emerge victorious on September 23rd.”

Campbell, a former WBC Silver Lightweight champion, who took home a gold medal in front of his English countrymen in the 2012 London Olympic Games, has defeated five solid contenders in a row including Darleys Perez, “Dirty” Derry Matthews, and Argenis Mendez since his only defeat nearly two years ago.

"It's an honor to be fighting Jorge Linares for the WBA World title, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine titles in one of the biggest fights in the division.” said Luke Campbell. I’ve worked my way from Olympic champion to the No.1 spot in the WBA and WBC rankings, and I feel now is the time to take my chance. All the pressure is on Jorge headlining back in the States on HBO and I am so confident I am going to leave with all 3 belts - I have tremendous respect for Jorge and this is going to be an unbelievable fight but this is the opportunity I have been waiting for as a professional and I must and will take it on September 23.”

“By fighting all over the world, Linares has established himself as an international fan favorite with a reputation for lightening quick hands, solid power and crafty defense,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “I know how hard it is to win an Olympic gold medal, and given Campbell’s exciting style and punching power, we are in for an action-packed fight on September 23.

"It's a pleasure to be working with Jorge Linares and Golden Boy again in helping to deliver this great fight on HBO,” said Matchroom Boxing promoter, Eddie Hearn. “Luke Campbell is the most successful amateur the UK has ever produced, capturing Olympic gold in London 2012 and as professional has now become the mandatory challenger with the WBA. He is a razor sharp fighter that can punch with both hands and this match-up is one of tremendous skill and speed. We have been on the receiving end of three Linares defeats in the UK but Luke comes full of expectation and belief to become World champion on September 23.”

Linares vs. Campbell is a 12-round fight for the WBA, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Lightweight World Championships, to be held Saturday, September 23 at the ‘Fabulous’ Forum in Inglewood, California. The championship event is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Matchroom Boxing, in association with Teiken Promotions. The event is sponsored by Tecate, BORN BOLD and Casa Mexico Tequila and will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

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