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Adam Little: looking forward to a successful 2016 in new division

11.02.2016

2016 will be a huge year for Kirkham welterweight, Adam Little. So says his trainer, former top amateur and ex-professional, Alan Levene and his manager, Neil Marsh.

Whether it comes in the ultra-competitive 147lbs division is another thing however, as the 24-year old may well move down a division following some ground-breaking nutritional advice from Dr George Wilson, a renowned sports scientist at Liverpool John Moores University.

Little, who turned pro with Ricky Hatton in 2011, is undefeated in 15 contests and last year added the English title to the Central Area crown he won in 2014. His first defence of the former belt came at Blackpool in December – an eighth round TKO win over tough Stourbridge battler, Steven Pearce - and it was this victory that convinced Levene that his charge was ready to make an impact in 2016.

He said: “Adams a fantastic trainer, he really is, but although his preparation was great I’d had some bad news just a week or so before the Pearce fight and I could see it affected him a bit. I was a pro myself and fighters aren’t robots. Sometimes things outside the ring can impact on you. We’re all human after all, but Adam was brilliant. He really focussed. He executed our game plan perfectly and stopped a really good fighter. I couldn’t have asked anymore of him.”

As far from the flamboyant, outspoken boxer so beloved of some media and fans, the quietly spoken Little certainly impressed on a night that was also appreciated by his former manager.

Little said: “Alan said to me in the dressing room before the fight, ‘We’ve had a bad few weeks here Adam, let’s get out there and make a statement,’ and I think I did. I worked hard, wore Pearce down, did exactly what Alan said and, when the time was right, I stepped up the pace and stopped a tough, tough kid. Ricky [Hatton] was in the crowd and we spoke to him afterwards. He told us that the performance was a reminder of why he had signed me in the first place, which was nice to hear and good of him to say.”

Now managed by Neil Marsh, Little has been under the supervision of Dr George Wilson at Liverpool John Moores University for the best part of a year as he reduces weight in a monitored way and, in his next contest in Liverpool in March, will be looking at taking the step down to super-lightweight.

Marsh said: “As well as knowing Adam had great potential, and the win over Pearce certainly confirmed that, we always thought he would be best suited at super-lightweight but you can’t just lose the weight overnight. Just as we have to take our time with his career, we also have to take our time when it comes to dropping down a divison and that’s why we’ve done it properly, working with George [Wilson] to make sure Adam doesn’t lose any power and he certainly hasn’t. He’s ready to make 2016 his year.”

Little will face Sheffield’s Sam Matkin on a dinner show at Liverpool’s Devonshire House Hotel on Saturday 5 March. Local prospect Robbie Davies jnr meets Finland’s Jarrko Putkonen for the vacant WBA Continental super-lightweight belt on the same card whilst heavyweight Bill Hodgson also features. Tickets at £60 and £100 (VIP) available from @adamlittle12 07585 771305 and @alanlevene

Eubank and Blackwell collide on Channel 5 in March

11.02.16

By @Livefight

Blackwell vs Eubank

LONDON (11 FEBRUARY) Trowbridge star Nick 'Bang Bang' Blackwell will defend his British middleweight championship against number one-ranked contender Chris Eubank Jr. on March 26 at The SSE Arena, Wembley, LIVE on Channel 5.

The explosive clash between world-class middleweights Blackwell and Eubank Jr. headlines a stacked fight card which also features heavyweight sensation Hughie Lewis Fury in a scheduled 12-round contest against a world-ranked opponent.

Twenty-five-year-old Blackwell, 19-3-1 (8 KOs) and currently one of the most exciting fighters in the country, won the British middleweight title in May 2015 with a stunning seventh-round stoppage of John Ryder at a sold-out O2 Arena, live on Sky Sports Box Office. He then defended it twice before the year was out, knocking out Damon Jones with a single right hand in Derby and outpointing Jack Arnfield in an all-out war in Bristol, and now has his sights set on claiming the belt outright. To do so, all he needs is one more successful defence.

Eubank Jr., meanwhile, clearly represents the stiffest test of Blackwell's thrilling British title reign. He is a year older than the champion at 26 and is the former interim WBA world middleweight titleholder.

Recent stoppage wins over Gary 'Spike' O'Sullivan, Tony Jeter and Dmitry Chudinov have seen Eubank Jr. in dynamic, hard-hitting form, and his narrow points defeat to world champion Billy Joe Saunders in November 2014, his sole career loss, has brought him on leaps and bounds. He is now, at 21-1 (16 KOs), coming into his prime and eager to get his hands on a British title which means so much to the Eubank family.

Two physical beasts of the middleweight division, the pairing of Blackwell and Eubank at The SSE Arena, highly-anticipated for many months now, is expected to produce both a 'Fight of the Year' contender and a future world champion. It promises to be something very special.


*** Tickets for Blackwell vs. Eubank Jr. at The SSE Arena, Wembley, will go on general sale next week, and Hennessy Sports urge fans to be quick as there has already been a very high demand. Details of the first head-to-head press conference, meanwhile, will be announced in due course ***

*** Blackwell vs. Eubank Jr. will be televised live and exclusively in the UK on Channel 5 (9.45pm to midnight), while the pick of the undercard will be televised live and exclusively in the UK on Spike (from 7.30pm) ***

Boxer Kevin Mitchell officially retires

10.02.16

By @Livefight

Kevin Mitchell has announced his retirement from boxing.

Kevin Mitchell boxer

The Dagenham fans’ favourite brings down the curtain on an entertaining 43-fight career, landing multiple titles from his 39 wins having turned over in 2013 after winning a senior-level ABA title at 18 years of age.

The 31 year old held the British and Commonwealth titles at Super-Featherweight before moving to Lightweight where he landed a trio of World title shots. Mitchell hosted Michael Katsidis in May 2010 for the WBO Interim title at the home of his beloved West Ham United, headed to Glasgow to challenge Ricky Burns in a ferocious four-round shoot-out for the Scotsman’s WBO crown in September 2012 and severely tested WBC king Jorge Linares for his title in a classic encounter at The O2 in November 2015.

Agonisingly for Mitchell, he was unable to get his hands on those belts, but fans will remember his classic battles with Breidis Prescott, John Murray and Daniel Estrada amongst many highlights from his 22-years with the gloves on.

“I was in the gym training for the Edis Tatli fight and I just didn’t really feel that I have enough to go through the training once again,” said Mitchell. “I’ve been fighting for 22 years, it is a long time to be putting your body through all you have to do to get right for a fight and my body has said ‘enough is enough.’

“I’ve had so many highlights but walking out at The O2 for the Linares fight and hearing the fans cheering for me and seeing ‘Forever Blowing Bubbles’ was just an unbelievable feeling. I’ve always been close to the fight fans both in Britain and around the world, and I want to thank them for all their love and support.

“I like to think I was an exciting fighter that gave the fans value for money. I don’t think they make fighters like me anymore; fighters that put it all on the line every time they fight.”

Mitchell says he wants to give something back to the sport he loves, and that has started straight away as he has begun working with his trainer Tony Sims in his Essex gym as he trains a talented group of young fighters.

“I can’t wait to get my hands dirty working with Tony,” said Mitchell. “Tony is an amazing man to be around and a bit like me, he’s been through his ups and downs and made a great life. The gym is buzzing with some top talent and I am going to be helping him out and looking to pass on my experience.”

Mitchell’s promoter Eddie Hearn paid tribute to the popular Londoner.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Kevin Mitchell over the past few years,” said Hearn. “The fight against Linares was the stand out for me and without injury I believe Kevin would have become World Champion that night. Kevin has been entirely dedicated to the sport under Tony Sims, my only regret is that we didn’t all team up earlier in his career.



“Kevin is one the biggest and brightest characters in the gym and has already played a huge part in the education and motivation of some of our younger fighters. He has a wonderful boxing brain and I truly believe he can go on to be a great coach if that’s the path he wishes to take. He has been a wonderful servant to British boxing and I’m sure all fight fans will join me in wishing him the best and happiness in his retirement.”

Allen talks Towers fight and declares “AJ KNOWS I'll beat him, Fury levels above everyone”

09.02.2016

By Michael J Jones


THE BRITISH heavyweight division is arguably the best it has ever been. Tyson Fury is the heavyweight champion of the world while Anthony Joshua MBE is the reigning British and Commonwealth ruler after dismantling arch rival Dillian Whyte. Other leading contenders from UK shores include; Dereck Chisora, David Price, Whyte and the comebacking former world champion David Haye.

Looking to march into the above mix is Yorkshire's “White Rhino” David Allen. Currently training for a March 26 British title eliminator vs fellow Yorkshireman Richard Towers, Allen is looking to continue 2016 as he left last year after two solid victories following a lengthy absence due to a contractual dispute and injury.

At 6'3” and around 240lbs, Allen isn't the biggest heavyweight round but has fast hands, power and an abundance of unwavering confidence. There's no arrogance in the heavyweight prospect's voice as he predicts his path to world level; he believes it's his destiny.

The matter-of-fact truculence shows itself in the first few moments when I suggest the 6'8" Richard Towers, 15-1 (12) and a former EBU champion, is a step up in class for the Conisbrough puncher.

“No I don't believe it's a big step up at all” begins the “White Rhino”. “My last win over Fabrice Aurieng was about the same level. Towers' best win was against (French contender) Gregory Tony and Aurieng had also beaten Tony so what does that tell you?”

“Towers I've known since I first started boxing seven years ago, we've been in the same gyms numerous times and sparred countless rounds. I see him as a good friend and there's no needle ahead of this fight. We're boxing on the Kell Brook-Kevin Bizier undercard and everyone I've spoken to has said our fight is more exciting than the main.”

“Because we know each other so well, there'll be no feeling out process, I can punch and (Towers) has that equalizer in that big right-hand so it's going to be a great fight.”

With being so close to his next opponent might there be some issues come fight time as Allen sees a long-time friend staring at him across the ring?

“Listen, my dream has always been to win the British title and to get that I'd fight my own Grandma. Richard Towers is my friend but it's a terrific opportunity for the both of us and from when that first bell rings the friendship will stop until the fight is finished. Afterwards I'll shake his hand. I treat every fight the same whoever I'm boxing.”

Allen turned pro at the end of 2012 after a brief amateur foray and is currently 8-0-1 (5). His last lay-off following the contractual dispute with former manager Dennis Hobson ended after a 15 month hiatus. The inactivity ended when Doncaster fight figure (and former good pro) Stefy Bull took the reigns as Allen's new trainer and manager last year.

The 23 year old thus returned last August to knock-out Jindrich Velecky in three before edging French champion Aurieng over six rounds in October.

“I do feel I'm now right back on track with my boxing career” Allen reflects. “Everything is happening at the right time now with a big fight live on Sky Sports. I didn't have much of an amateur career and I see now I probably turned pro too early at 20 but everything happens for a reason. There were times when I wasn't boxing I didn't know if I'd ever come back but now I'm turning 24 the week of the next fight and boxing on a huge show on Sky.”


I ask which of his eight victories was his most proud performance to date?

“Quite a few really. When I turned pro aged 20, I know the opponent wasn't the best, but just getting in there and fighting a grown man was a proud moment. Of them all though I'm most proud of my last fight against Aurieng. I was supposed to box Adam Machaj for the Central Area belt but was offered Aurieng at the last moment after Machaj pulled out.”

“Aurieng was experienced and a southpaw and probably in the top ten heavyweights in Europe. At the start of my career I'd never have dreamed of beating anyone like that as strange as it sounds but I showed I belong at that level. It was a hard fight fought at a high pace and I got the win and I wasn't even fit for that one (Allen dropped the Frenchman in the first before taking the decision by 57-56).”

Although there isn't many notable names on Allen's nine-bout record the Yorkshireman has made a name in boxing circles with tough sparring with some of the world's best including; Tyson Fury, Wladimir Klitschko, Artur Szpilka and Anthony Joshua. Fury's trainer and uncle Peter has been quoted as saying “you could hit Dave Allen with a baseball bat and he'd probably just smile”. High praise from a man not known for mincing his words.

“I've sparred Klitschko, Szpilka, Fury and I rely on my strength and toughness. I know I'm not the biggest heavyweight around but I'm on a guy from the start and, unless an opponent lays me out, I'll carry on being on them until the end. Richard Towers will find that out next month. It's going to take a special fighter to beat me and I'm borderline delusional in (my confidence) to how far I can go.”

I ask who impressed him the most in all of his sparring sessions with the above men?

“Tyson Fury” Allen replies without a moment's hesitation. “Tyson Fury is levels above anyone else and I've said it before; the only person who can beat Tyson Fury IS Tyson Fury. Fury's got this size and the skill, speed and finesse he uses with it makes him miles ahead of anybody in the world.”

“Anthony Joshua is a special talent but he doesn't have the boxing ability Fury has. I really don't see anyone being able to challenge Fury for many years to come.”

“I've been sparring Joshua since 2011 even before the Olympics. I'm a big fan and the excitement he's brought to boxing is amazing but, having sparred around 500 rounds with him I truly believe I can beat him. I know that and Anthony knows that. I don't see me getting the fight as he's going to be moving on but I'd love to prove myself and he's definitely beatable and I've got his number.”

Provided he takes care of business against Towers next month, what are the unbeaten heavyweights plans for the rest of the year in his boxing career?

“When I beat Towers, I'll be hopefully getting a crack at the British title. Someone like David Price would be ideal to box for the vacant title. Dereck Chisora and Dillian Whyte might be moving on and not want the fight but Price would be perfect.”

“The British title has been my dream since I started but if that fails to materialize then the plan is just to stay busy and successful and continue to gain in experience. Either way the future's bright.”


“I'd just like to thank everyone who has bought tickets for the fight it's a big help and hopefully will get me more work on Sky.”

Kell Brook will defend his IBF World Welterweight title against mandatory challenger Kevin Bizier at the Sheffield Arena on March 26, live on Sky Sports.

Brook makes the third defence of the crown and his second in his home-town fortress in the Steel City following wins against Jo Jo Dan and Frankie Gavin at The O2 in London. ‘The Special One’ meets his mandatory challenger for the second time since landing the title with a stunning win over Shaun Porter in California in August 2014, and returns to action having shaken off the rib injury.

Olympic gold medal hero Luke Campbell MBE will return to action on the bill, Sheffield Heavyweights Dave Allen and Richard Towers clash in a British title eliminator and Andy Townend meets Craig Poxton for the English Super-Featherweight title.

To follow David on Twitter @davidthewhiter1

Absorbing video captures Quigg vs Frampton build-up

08.02.16

By @Livefight

A great 'behind the scenes' video which captures the press tour for the upcoming Super Bantamweight unification between Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg this month.

Dickens : Rigo is just another man with 2 arms

3.2.2016

By @John_Evans79

Jazza and Rigo

In a truly stunning piece of news, it has been announced that Guillermo Rigondeaux will take on British super bantamweight champion, Jazza Dickens, at Liverpool’s Echo Arena on March 12th. The fight has been added to an already packed bill, headed by Terry Flanagan’s WBO lightweight title defence against Derry Mathews.

Despite the sublime southpaw skills which have carried him towards the top of the mythical ‘Pound-For-Pound’ rankings and earned him multiple world title belts, the 35 year-old Rigondeaux, 15-0 (10 KO’s) has failed to capture the public’s imagination. The Cuban super bantamweight king is arguably the greatest technician on the planet but has drawn criticism for his tendency to do just enough to win. The double Olympic champion sprung to prominence by outclassing Nonito Donaire back in 2013 but has since found it impossible to find a top level opponent willing to risk taking him on. Eventually, inactivity and politics led to him being stripped of his world title belts.

Late last year, his luck appeared to have changed when he signed a deal with Roc Nation Sports but a lacklustre performance when outpointing the unheralded Drian Francisco on the on the ‘Canelo’ Alvarez – Miguel Cotto bill in Las Vegas last November failed to impress.

He know finds himself starting over once again. With Carl Frampton set to face Scott Quigg in a massive unification fight later this month, Warren moved swiftly once alerted to Rigondeaux’s availability. The 8st 10lb division is alive at the moment and Warren will be hoping to capitalise by enticing one of the world'd greatest fighters to the UK and throwing him into the mix.

Dickens, 21-1 (6 KO’s), has been handed the opportunity of a lifetime. He will enter the fight as a huge underdog but - if there is a ray of light for the Scouser - Rigondeaux likes to work at his own pace. He will be made to work hard in Liverpool. “Not half! I’m looking forward to this.” 24 year-old Dickens - whose sole defeat came during a high quality match up with Sheffield’s Kid Galahad back in 2013 - told Livefight. “I’ve got good coaches and I trust in myself. It doesn’t get any bigger than this. I’m really looking forward to it.


"I got asked if I’d take the fight about two weeks ago. I was already lined up for purse bids for the European title but I couldn’t turn this down. It’s a massive one. I accepted it right away. Mainly because I’m not a businessman. I’m a fighter. Ego-wise I wanted it. i’m just happy it’s out there now and I can talk about it!”


“At the end of the day, he’s gotta get in the ring with me. That’s how we’ll look at it. He’s a man just like I’m a man. He’s got two arms and so have I. That’s the reality of the situation."

Amir Khan shocks boxing world with Canelo fight

02.02.15

By @Livefight

LOS ANGELES (Feb. 2, 2016) - WBC, Ring Magazine and Lineal Middleweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 KOs) will make his first title defense of 2016 against former two-time world champion and resurgent contender Amir "King" Khan (31-3, 19 KOs) on May 7, Cinco De Mayo weekend, in a match-up of two of the biggest stars in boxing. The event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®.

Golden Boy Promotions will exclusively promote the fight, with Khan returning to his former home at Golden Boy Promotions for the showdown. The mega-fight promises high-intensity action between two of boxing's most popular and powerful fighters competing in the primes of their careers. Information regarding, the venue, ticket availability and a press tour for the fight will be announced in the coming weeks.

"As the middleweight champion of the world, I will take on the best fighters in the sport and on Cinco De Mayo weekend, I look forward to making the first defense of my titles," said Canelo Alvarez. "Amir was a decorated amateur, a two-time world champion and is in the prime of his career. Fans are in for a great fight on May 7."

"I know Canelo fights the best and wouldn't pass up the opportunity to face me like others have," said Amir Khan. "My goal is to always fight the biggest names and the best fighters that is why I'm excited for this fight. Also, I would like to thank my team and Golden Boy Promotions for this opportunity. I know I have the speed and ability to beat him and will give my fans what they deserve on May 7."

"We are committed to putting on the biggest and best fights in boxing," said Golden Boy Promotions Chairman and CEO, Oscar De La Hoya. "Canelo is the biggest star in the sport and as he demonstrated against James Kirkland and Miguel Cotto last year, he is only getting better. Those who predicted that he would take an easy fight for his first defense have been proven wrong once again. As for Amir, he has won his last five fights including an incredible performance against Devon Alexander, and now that he is back where he belongs at Golden Boy Promotions, his future is very bright, once again."

At the age of 25, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico's Canelo Alvarez, the current WBC, Ring Magazine, and Lineal Middleweight World Champion has conquered the boxing world, captivating fans both at home and around the globe with his action-packed fighting style, charisma and willingness to take on the toughest challenges. The 2015 Fighter of the Year candidate's road to stardom began in 2011 with a win over Matthew "Magic" Hatton for the vacant WBC Super Welterweight World title, his first title defense against Ryan Rhodes and stoppage victories over Alfonso Gomez and Kermit Cintron. Then in 2012, Canelo defended his belt against future Hall of Famer Sugar Shane Mosley and showed the veteran his first retirement, winning via unanimous decision. Canelo continued on the path to superstardom in 2013 with a fifth round technical knockout of Josesito Lopez, followed by a unanimous decision victory over then world champion, Austin Trout in front of over 40,000 fans at San Antonio's Alamodome. The victory earned, Canelo the WBA Super Welterweight World Championship and proved his dominance at 154-pounds and a clear, bonafide ticket seller.

On September 14, 2013, Canelo faced the man on top of the pound-for-pound list - Floyd "Money" Mayweather - giving a stellar effort before falling short of victory for the first time via 12-round majority decision. The fight ended up being the biggest of 2013, but also the second highest grossing bout of all-time and the second most watched boxing event ever on Mexican television (only behind 2015's Mayweather-Pacquiao). Since then, Canelo has won four straight fights, defeating top stars Alfredo "Perro" Angulo via 10th round technical knockout and Erislandy "The American Dream" Lara via split decision in 2014. On May 9, 2015, Alvarez dazzled with a victory over the fierce James "Mandingo Warrior" Kirkland at Minute Maid Park in Houston in front of more than 31,000 fans that featured what many have already deemed the "Knockout of the Year." Finally, On November 21, 2015, Alvarez defeated future Hall-of-Famer Miguel Cotto for the WBC, RING Magazine and Lineal Middleweight Championship in front of a packed arena at the Mandalay Events Center in Las Vegas and more than 900,000 homes across the country. The unanimous decision victory cemented Canelo's status as boxing's biggest draw and among the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

Bolton, Lancashire, England native, Amir "King" Khan catapulted into the media spotlight after winning the silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Khan turned professional on July 16, 2005 with a first round technical knockout victory over Phil Edwards. Since then, Amir Khan has exploded onto the international sports scene. In July 2009, Khan competed for his first world title against Andriy "Kotelya" Kotelnik where Khan was crowned as the WBA Super Lightweight World Champion via a unanimous decision victory. Khan went on to successfully defend the title five times against tough competition in Dmitriy "Star of David" Salita, Paul "Magic Man" Malignaggi, Marcos "El Chino" Maidana, and Paul "Dudey" McCloskey. In July 2011, Khan faced Zab "Super" Judah and added the IBF Super Lightweight World Championship to his collection when he knocked out Judah in the fifth round. The victory was short lived however; as Khan lost a controversial 12-round split decision to Lamont "Havoc" Peterson on December of 2011.

The controversy surrounding the officiating prompted a rematch, but that bout was canceled when Peterson failed a pre-fight drug screening. Disappointed but not discouraged, Khan faced Danny "Swift" Garcia in July 2014 for a chance to become a world champion once more but was stopped in the fourth round. Since then Khan has rebounded giving Carlos Molina his first professional loss in December 2012, defeating former IBF Lightweight World Champion Julio "The Kidd" Diaz in April 2013, securing the WBC Silver Welterweight and the WBA International Welterweight Titles against Luis Collazo in May 2014, and defending his titles in spectacular fashion against former three-time world champion Devon "The Great" Alexander in December 2014 and former WBO Super Lightweight World Champion Chris Algieri in May 2015. Now, "King" Khan will be looking to become a world champion again when he faces Canelo on May 7.

Groves heads back to domestic level, calls out UK peers

28.01.16

By @Livefight

Groves with Di Luisa

George Groves says he’s ready to meet his domestic rivals at Super-Middleweight as he returns to action at the Copper Box Arena in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, live on Sky Sports – if the clashes lead to World title fights.

Groves faces Andrea di Luisa in east London in his first fight since his slender loss against Badou Jack in Las Vegas in September, and the three-time World title challenger accepts that it’s going to take a few fights to get back to the level he wants to operate at.

The Super-Middleweight division remains as vibrant as ever, and English fighters are at the forefront. Groves’ old foe James DeGale MBE holds the IBF crown, while Jack could soon come up against Liverpool star Callum Smith after his April clash with European champion Hadillah Mohoumadi was sanctioned as a final eliminator. Add St Helens’ Martin Murray into the mix, and the Brit pack are right in the mix for the major honours, and Groves believes he can emerge as the cream of the crop – but is in no rush to gain another win over DeGale.

“I'll fight anyone that is put in front of me,” said Groves. “Right now, it’s January, it’s my first fight since the Jack fight and it's Andrea di Luisa. He's boxed at a high level and has wins and losses at that level, he's here to present problems and he has a style that if you are not switched on he will take advantage of your mistakes. I believe he'll ty and set traps for me but at the same time I think he'll give me openings and I will take them and get a good knockout win to kick-of 2016 in style.

“I could've come back and had a fight down the bottom of an undercard and knocked out some nobody inside two or three rounds, but I haven’t done that. I'm topping the bill live on Sky Sports against an opponent that is going to be hungry, he's live and he's here to ask serious questions. Di Luisa is a good fighter and the perfect fight for me to get myself back into the mix. I want to get two or three fights before the summer and then we can look at where we are at ranking-wise and see what opportunities are open to me.

“I've got nothing but good will to James DeGale. He's had his own tough times, but right now he's riding high. A lot of people have said his last fight with Lucian Bute was closer than the six rounds he was given it by, but I didn't see it. As long as he's still winning, good luck to him. My time will come and I am not worried about him, I just have to concentrate on myself, get the win at the weekend to kick 2016 off in style.

“I should be in contention for another World title in the summer because I have the profile and the performances to match. If James is still World champion then maybe our paths will cross, but I am just focused on getting myself into range of a World title shot and that's what I want.”

Groves’ clash with Di Luisa headlines a huge night of action in London as John Wayne Hibbert defends his Commonwealth and WBC International Super Lightweight titles against Tommy Martin.

John Ryder meets the ‘Brit Basher’ Sergey Khomitsky for the vacant WBA International Middleweight title while his gym-mate Martin J. Ward defends his WBC International Super-Featherweight strap against Italian Mario Pisanti.

Former football star Leon McKenzie continues his charge towards titles in the ring in a final eliminator for the English Super-Middleweight title against Kelvin Young and Brentwood’s Kris Agyei-Dua defends his Southern Area Super-Welterweight title against Chadwell Heath’s Ben Hall.

There’s a host of young talents on the bill with Watford Featherweight Reece Bellotti tasting eight-round action for the first time in the paid ranks, action for Brixton’s Lightweight banger Ohara Davies, Bermondsey Welterweight Ted Cheeseman, Crystal Palace Super-Middleweight Craig Richards, West Ham Super-Bantamweight Lucien Reid, Wimbledon Welterweight Louis Adolphe, Rainham Light Heavyweight Charlie Duffield and Chelsea Light-Heavyweight Deion Jumah.

Tickets are on sale now priced £40, £60 and £100 available from www.seetickets.com by calling 08712307148 (Calls cost 10ppm plus your network access charge) £200 VIP tickets are available exclusively from www.matchroomboxing.com

Tickets for January 30 are also available from http://www.stubhub.co.uk/matchroom-boxing-tickets/ - StubHub is the official ticket partner and marketplace of Matchroom Boxing and Anthony Joshua MBE.

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