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Bolton Road Warrior Chris "Twinny" Jenkinson talks tough career


By Michael J Jones

IN MAY of this year, Bolton trier Chris “Twinny” Jenkinson journeyed to Scotland to wreck the unbeaten record of local prospect Marc Kerr. The two men were due to face off in a rematch last weekend but injuries sustained by Jenkinson in his last contest scuppered the return.

With a burst eardrum and broken hand, “Twinny” is currently forced out for the next few weeks which has caused the usually-busy fighter to stay out of the ring. Jenkinson doesn't go over easy as evidenced by his record showing just six inside-the distance defeats in 46 bouts. Taking into account nearly all of the 9-34-3 (3) fighter's bouts have been as the away fighter on short notice and you get some measure of the Bolton bruiser's toughness.

Unlike many of boxings leading survivors; Jenkinson always comes to fight.

“My last fight against Ted Cheeseman was a good fight” Chris Jenkinson tells Livefight over the phone last week. “He was a classy amateur, sharp, accurate. He's trained by Tony Sims who trains Anthony Joshua so that shows his quality. He burst my ear-drum with a good shot in the fifth but I lived to fight another day (laughs).”

“It was the third time I've had my ear-drum burst and all on the same ear! I've also injured my hand so I'm just ticking over now doing light training until I'm sorted.”

Jenkinson turned pro just over five years ago at the later age of 27. Livefight asks why he turned over at that time?

“I only started boxing at the age of 18” explains “Twinny”. “You know what it's like at that age so I didn't really take boxing seriously until I was 22 when I started fighting amateur. I won 20 out of 33 but I struggled to make the major tournaments as the region I was competing in, the North West region, was highly competitive so it was always a massive struggle to make the national finals with people like the Heffron brothers around.”

“I took a year off after my amateur career and then decided to start training with Carl Thompson in Manchester. It just didn't feel right so I started working with (former pro) Alex Matvienko. We worked well together but back then he didn't have his pro licence. I kept on at him to get one and he eventually did and I'm still with Alex now.”

As said earlier, nearly all of Jenkinson's pro opponents have been short-notice assignments as the out-of-town fighter but he's kept a remarkable schedule with 46 fights in his five years of punching for pay.

“When I turned pro, like many boxers, I dreamed of one day of being a world champion but I had to be realistic. I went pro at 27, had little amateur experience and I quickly realised that the only way to get fights was to be 'the opponent' and go on the road. It was either that or give the sport up.”

“I've faced people on zero notice, often above my weight and as the away fighter but Alex has taught me all of the fundamentals which I've needed. Most know that if they boxed me on even terms it'd be too tough so I've just had to keep working hard to be ready for what ever comes up.”

Despite the odds being heavily-stacked against him, “Chaos” has pulled off some memorable victories along the way. He holds knock-out victories over men such as Nick Jenman, Lyndon “Lights Out” Newman and the-then 7-0 Adam Battle.

“The Newman fight was funny as it happened in my home-town of Bolton yet they put me in the away corner still! That was the best training I've ever had for any fight; eight weeks of solid training where I ate and lived clean and it showed in the fight.”

“Our plan was to lean and maul him in the early rounds and come on later. When I stopped him (in the eighth) I read reports afterwards he'd spewed it (quit) but I know I caught him with a great body-shot so it was genuine for me. I just wore him out and it was one of my best wins.”

The excellent win saw Jenkinson lift the International Masters light-middleweight title for the record.

“The Adam Battle fight was a right humdinger” continues the 33 year old Chris. “He came out really sharp in the first the in the second he floored me. He must have thought that was it but I had other aspirations. In the third he went to throw a left hook but I rolled and came back with a right hand. After that I just piled on the pressure until the end (third round).”

With the position Jenkinson finds himself in it's surely must be inevitable there would have been bum decisions along the way?

“Yeah quite a few but that's part of the sport isn't it?” He responds wryly. “There was one I had at York Hall against a lad named Sam Holloway, I completely out-boxed, and out-fought him, every single round yet at the end he won 39-38. The crowd was just as shocked as I was but what can you do? It is what it is...”

“My view is at the age I am I’ve just got to stay fit and healthy and keep as active as possible. I'm always in the gym and hardly ever go out so I'm doing all I can. I know it'll be hard but I'd love to try for the English title if it was possible.”

“I'm currently applying for my managers licence and also my trainers licence so the ball is rolling for me to open my own gym here in Bolton. I plan to name my gym 'Twinnys Box Gym Bolton' and the plan is to get my own stable of fighters.”

Jenkinson certainly has a wealth of experience to pass onto the younger generation and will have learned much from Alex Matvienko, one of the best young trainers around as a former pupil of boxing genius Oliver Harrison. Livefight wishes “Twinny” all the best for his ventures into managing and training.

Meanwhile, the Bolton tough guy has unfinished business with Scot Marc Kerr. Will the fight be rearranged once Jenkinson's injuries have healed up?

“I hope so as I really do feel I've got the beating of Kerr. The first fight was up in Scotland; I think the last Englishman to win up there was Henry the 8th! The first fight I boxed his head off and I think they were hoping for the next fight to be over eight rounds (the first was a four x three's). I get better and stronger the fight goes so I'm very confident for the rematch.”

“I'd honestly fight him, and beat him, tomorrow if I could!”

Burnett outpoints Farrag to retain British title


Ryan Burnett and Ryan Farrag stole the show - if we concentrate on matters inside rather than outside the ring - at the Echo Arena in Liverpool last night. Eventually, Burnett won a unanimous decision and retained his British bantamweight title.

The pair engaged in an exciting close quarters fight that seemed to be up for grabs until the Irishman's extra sharpness and strength took over in the final third of the contest. The Lonsdale belt always produces exciting, hard fought battles and last night was no exception.

Burnett hasn't shone recently, due in large part to the negative nature of some opponents, but Farrag brought out the best in him. The former European champion gave as good as he got over the first half of the fight, soaking up Burnett's inside work and hooks o the body before responding in kind. It was tough and gruelling and in the end, Burnett was the stronger of the two. He was able to maintain his workmate and variety when the going got tough whilst Farrag was working to simply keep up.

It was an excellent fight - both men produced the best performances of their careers - and the better man on the night won.

Burnett has the look of a fighter who could go on to achieve big things, his next step will be fascinating. Does he continue to build slowly but steadily, or do his team consider taking a calculated gamble and letting him loose on the right world ranked opponent?

Campbell stops Mathews.


Luke Campbell stopped Derry Mathews in four rounds at the Echo Arena to defend his WBC Silver lightweight title and rebuild his confidence

Mathews looked loose and relaxed and seemed confident enough to attempt to get his right hand working from the get-go. Campbell bided his time and waited for the chance to land hard punches to the body. Mathews' has always had two major vulnerabilities, southpaws and body shots. Campbell always looked to be a tough test for the Liverpudlian, so it proved.

Mathews somehow dragged himself up after being badly floored by a body shot but despite a heroic last stand, he was put down again seconds later.

Mathews has fought 51 times during his career and it must now be dawning on him that the world title he so dearly wanted has probably slipped through his fingers. Mathews enjoys competing at a high level and wouldn't tolerate being used as a stepping stone for up and coming fighters. In truth, having given so much to the sport, he deserves far more than that.

If this is the end of Mathews' career, we here at Livefight would like to thank him for some thrilling nights and memorable moments.

Campbell now finds himself at a crossroads. Does he attempt to win the British title or does he push on towards the division biggest names.

Video courtesy of these fine chaps at IFL.

Bellew destroys poor Flores. Goes after Haye


Tony Bellew cruised through his maiden WBC cruiserweight title defence against BJ Flores - bludgeoning the American to defeat within three fiery rounds - but in truth, the Liverpudlian expended more energy pursuing a big money fight with David Haye.

Bellew has long campaigned for a fight with Haye and although the former unified cruiserweight and heavyweight champion - conveinently positioned within two yards of the ring by Sky Sports - will obviously have been expecting some kind of outburst from Bellew, he did appear slightly taken aback by the ferocity of the attack. Bellew was through the ropes and onto the arena floor before Ian John Lewis had completed the ten count over a stricken Flores.

This video - captured by IFL's Kugan Cassius - captures the moment that Bellew launched himself out of the ring and at Haye.

Tommy Langford slams Eubank Jr keeps focus for Sheedy


By Michael J Jones

OCTOBER 22 was meant to be Tommy Langford’s date with destiny. The original opponent for his British middleweight title shot was set to be Chris Eubank Jr; by far the unbeaten challenger's toughest test to date after seventeen straight victories.

After the acid test was forced into place by Langford's promoter Frank Warren, team Eubank subsequently pulled out (with a seemingly dubious injury claim), vacated the British title and now the Barnstaple unbeaten finds himself facing Yorkshire's Sam Sheedy for the vacant British crown.

Sam Sheedy is a capable fighter of that there is little doubt. With a fine record of 17-1 (4), “Speedy” Sheedy's only defeat was via controversial decision and he is a quick-handed southpaw with much ambition of his own.

Having said that, in terms of market appeal to the casual fans, Langford's replacement foe is far removed from the house-hold name Eubank Jr brought to the table. Speaking to Livefight a few days ago, Tommy vents his frustration but insists he is still focussed to become the British middleweight champion come October 22.

“It's hugely frustrating as Eubank Jr was a high-profile fighter and beating him would have propelled me into world class” reflects Tommy. “It is what it is, it's in the rear-view mirror now and I have to keep my focus on Sam Sheedy who is a very good, tricky, fighter.”

“There's a few tickets gone back after Eubank pulled out but my fans are brilliant and the majority were always coming to see me and not Eubank. I just see Chris Eubank Jr as a wally basically and I'll have nothing at all to do with him ever again after this.”

“I always said I'd take the opportunity for a big fight if it came along and was ready to beat Eubank. The last time he faced an England International (Langford had a long distinguished amateur career) he was soundly beaten and I know I would have done the same as Billy Joe (Saunders). My amateur pedigree would have certainly been a key thing in the fight.”

“I knew what I was going to do, Eubank is good at what he does; the bursts of punches and those hooks and uppercuts but I was going to give him angles, lateral movement and my engine is one of my best weapons and I could have out-worked him all night.”

“I was ready but it’s now clear they simply never had any intention of facing me in the ring.”

As replacements go, Sam Sheedy is a tough stand-in. An eight-year pro in his prime at 28, Sheedy is going to be a handful after moving up to the 160lb division and has expressed confidence ahead of his match with Langford.

“Sheedy is a good technical fighter” concedes the 27 year old Tommy. “He can give anyone a hard night and he's slippery and awkward. I've always been good against southpaws though, in the amateurs, in sparring and in the few I’ve faced as a pro. I'm not daunted at all and I know I'll get the job done on the night.”

Langford's co-challenger has only recently moved up to middleweight after dropping a controversial decision last year to Navid Mansouri. I ask does Tommy think he could be the stronger man on the night being the naturally bigger man?

“I watched the Mansouri fight and I thought it was close but Sheedy did enough*. He has also come through a couple of close fights to win so he's done the rounds and will be confident. I feel I'm bigger and stronger than most middleweights already and he won't be able to give me the slip and also he's never faced anyone with the technical ability that I bring.”

*Livefight scored the contest 96-94 in Sheedy’s favour.

“He moved up and got the job done against Andrew Robinson (winning a split three months ago), that was a good win for him and after Eubank Jr withdrew they sought this fight out so they are definitely confident and there won't be any further pull outs or nonsense. This is a solid domestic fight between two good fighters and what it is all about.”

The Birmingham-based puncher has made steady progress since his pro debut four years ago. He noticeably stepped up a level last year when claiming the WBO Intercontinental title with a dominant stoppage of Julio Cesar Avalos in Dublin.

Langford would add another title to his collection in March of this year with a wide-points decision over the once-beaten Lewis Taylor to lift the Commonwealth belt. His last bout saw him retain his WBO title with a TKO over Finland's Timo Laine. Langford looked likely to over-whelm the visitor with a heavy attack in the first two rounds but Laine hung on until the seventh before being rescued by the ref.

The 17-0 contender has also benefitted from top-quality sparring having training with the likes of world welterweight champion Kell Brook and Liverpool banger Callum Smith (also Eubank Jr for the record).

“Lewis Taylor was the English champ and that night was the first time I'd ever lost some rounds” Tommy tells Livefight. “He was a better boxer than I expected and I was a bit disappointed with my performance that night. Early on I just wasn't there mentally and he came out and boxed well. We've sparred since and he is a good, underrated fighter.”

“Timo Laine I thought I'd have stopped earlier but he went straight into survival mode so it was hard to break him down. He was a late replacement and it was good to defend my title and I could only beat what was put in front of me but he didn't come with much ambition.”

“People have been critical about my opponents and my punching power but I think my opponents, some of them, deserve a lot of credit and have proved they were good, Lewis Taylor is just one example. Punching power is overrated, Andre Ward is not a big puncher and neither is Vasyl Lomachenko. They reached the top and knock-out power didn't matter with them.”

“The Argentinian fighter I beat last year (durable southpaw Cristian Fabian Rios) was also a handful and me and (trainer) Tom Chaney said that guy wouldn’t be getting the call back any time soon.”

“I've never bragged about my power but I hit hard enough. The further you get up the ladder the more criticism you can expect but I'm fine with that I expect it.”

“I just want to thank all of my fans for the support it's been fantastic as it always is. I also want to thank all of my sponsors; UK Display stands, JS Wright, Denco Thermal, All Car leasing, Bartercard UK, Ringside UK, Atlas pain relief, CNP Professional, Strategy Plus and MAN Protection.”

World rated boxer found guilty of vile sexual assault on minor


By Michael J Jones

IT HAS BEEN revealed yesterday that world-ranked featherweight Thabo “Super Eagle” Sonjica has been sentenced to six years imprisonment for a horrific sexual assault in his home-town of Duncan Village South Africa.

As reported by news website Dispatch Live, Sonjica, 28-years-old, was found guilty last year of raping a minor after he dragged a teenage girl into a Duncan Village shack and sexually violated her.

Yesterday, magistrate Ignatius Kitching, sitting in the East London Regional Court, sentenced him to six years imprisonment.

“People expect the court to do more than pay lip service in the fight against rape. Because people in communities are so fed up with crime they end up taking the law into their own hands” commented Kitching.

Kitching said he agreed with Sonjica’s attorney, Thembekile Malusi, that Thabo should not be “sacrificed at the alter of retribution.”

“The probation officers and your attorney said you would be a suitable candidate for a community-based sentence and not a custodial sentence.”

“When the complainant’s father came to report the matter at your home, she and her parents were humiliated by being accused of wanting money from you” he said.

Kitching said the girl was wearing a school uniform and her father had sent her to the shops when Sonjica pulled her into a nearby shack. Once in the shack, Sonjica’s friends allegedly closed the door.

In court they argued that the matter stemmed from jealousy towards Sonjica from the Duncan Village community.

“Instead of (your friends) stopping you, they did nothing. You also have no remorse for the despicable deed. Almost on a daily basis, courts sit with cases of unsuspecting women and girls being pounced upon” Kitching said.

“This case is a manifestation of criminal behaviour. The only remorse shown in this case is that of self-pity. The gravity of the case and the interests of society far outweigh your personal circumstances.”

He then sentenced Sonjica to six years imprisonment and ordered that he be disqualified from possessing a firearm.

Kitching told the complainant’s family that when Sonjica is eligible for parole, they are allowed to make representations to the parole board. Sonjica’s legal team will apply to appeal on Monday.

The disgraced boxer is a former SA, IBO and WBC Silver champion and had been expected to move into the elite of his division in the coming months. He is a regular on social media where he often shares pictures of him with his partner and son.

Sonjica, who even with his trial looming was calling out men like Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton, hasn’t boxed since June of last year and will probably never box again if made to serve his full sentence.

Heavyweight puncher Nick Webb talks to Livefight


By Michael J Jones

WHEN A TALENTED young boxer turns pro he is usually matched against a lower level of opposition so naturally a mismatched foe may fold early to a higher-skilled prospect. The fact that all five opponents of heavyweight puncher Nick “Wild” Webb’s opening contests failed to reach even the third minute of a single round suggests the 29 year old may have genuine top-class knock-out power.

Chertsey’s Webb at 6’5” and around 255lbs has the size to go with the heavy hands and is also in the experienced hands of former British and Commonwealth champion Scott Welch who trains him down in Brighton.

The heavyweight prospect has done little wrong so far since turning pro early last year and boasts a perfect record of 7-0, six coming via the early route. With two contests lined up in the next two months, Livefight caught up with Nick as he looks to his eighth pro outing in just 18 months.

LF) When are your next two fights taking place and have you any idea who you may be facing?

NW) I’m next out on October 21st in Dublin in a six-rounder. I’m then on a Brighton and Hove show on November 12th in another six-rounder. No details on opponents yet.

LF) Are you happy with your progress so far in your pro campaign?

NW) I’d always like to be busier but I’ve had four fights so far this year so I’m much happier. Last year I had three fights which wasn’t enough for me.

My first five were all first-round knock-outs but Hari Miles gave me a good learning fight (back in May). It was at the O2 and a great experience, I probably loaded up too much at times but I still won every round comfortably (40-37 on the ref’s card).

LF) You started boxing quite late at 21 why?

NW) What happened was my granddad passed away and he had been a boxer in his youth so I thought I’d give it a try. I had a very good amateur career barring running into Joe Joyce!

We had three really good fights but he won every time which denied me a place on the GB team. He’s gone on to win an Olympic Silver medal though so there’s no shame in losing to him.

LF) Are you a fan of boxing aside from being a fighter?

NW) I’m definitely a heavyweight boxing fan. I’ll watch all the heavyweight fights and maybe the big ones which come along now and again in the lower weight divisions.

LF) The British heavyweight ranks are currently filled with many good fighters from your fellow prospects to world rulers; you must be looking forward to competing with the men ranked above you?

NW) Yeah of course, it’s really exciting the UK heavyweight division at the moment. Our plan is to have these next two fights, get an eight-round fight in before targeting a title next year. Right now it’s just about building up my experience and getting the rounds in.

My trainer (and manager) Scott Welch always says to me “you don’t get paid for overtime in boxing” meaning the aim is to get in the ring, do the business and take as little back as you can. He is a former British and Commonwealth champion who also boxed for a world title so who could be better for me to learn from?

LF) I noticed you have been coming in around 255-260lbs but was noticeably lighter for Hari Miles at 249. What do you feel is your best fighting weight?

NW) Scott (Welch) told me most of the championship heavyweights usually come in around 112kgs (246lbs) so I tried to get to around that for Hari Miles but it left me feeling a bit weight drained in the fight so I was a bit heavier for the next one (Webb’s last fight in July he crushed the usually-durable Tomas Mrazek in just two rounds).

I think the problem was I didn’t lose the weight the right way; I wasn’t eating properly and thus didn’t feel right in the fight. My aim now is to build the weight down gradually and find my optimum weight.

LF) Have you been surprised so far at how easily some of your opponents have gone over when you’ve hit them?

NW) Yeah maybe the first few (laughs). I was raring to go and fired up…one of my opponents I stopped with a body-shot after just a few seconds. Everyone keeps telling me enjoy it while I can as it won’t always be like this.

LF) What would you say are your best strengths as a fighter?

NW) I’ve got a good boxing brain, I’m very strong, I can be aggressive but can also box and I’ve got a lot of potential.

LF) All the best for your coming fights champ.

NW) Thank you. I’d just like to thank my friends, family and team for their support and also my sponsors; The Dudman Group, Prime Gym and The Shore Group.

Webb stops Zoltan Csala with a chilling uppercut

JustGiving Page for Mike Towell launched


By @Livefight

Scottish boxer Mike Towell has died in hospital after being seriously injured in a bout on Thursday.

The 25-year boxer from Dundee was rushed to hospital after a fifth-round loss to Welsh fighter Dale Evans in a St Andrew's Sporting Club fight at Glasgow's Radisson Blu Hotel.

Towell's partner, Chloe Ross, said he "fought right to the end". His management said he passed away with his family at his bedside.

A JustGiving page has now been launched to provide finacial support to his partner and their young son Rocco.

You can support the cause by clicking here:

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