"Flanagan is the man Mikey wants." Robert Garcia tells Livefight
For so long the most unheralded and unfashionable of the world lightweight champions, WBO king Terry Flanagan is suddenly becoming the most in demand man at 135lbs.
Last night in Cardiff, 27 year old Flanagan, 31-0 (12 KO’s), defended his title for the third time with a routine but frustrating decision victory over South African challenger Mzonke Fana. An autumn unification clash with Dejan Zlaticanin, the WBC champion, has been strongly rumoured and this week, Felix Verdejo’s trainer and manager Ricky Marquez intimated that his man will be ready for a mandatory title shot at Flanagan after the Puerto Rican starlets next fight.
Another lucrative option is suddenly looming into view for the man from Ancoats. Last week, three time Ring Magazine Trainer of the Year, Robert Garcia, told Livefight that should Flanagan win this weekend, he would become the major target for his brother, the comebacking former featherweight and super featherweight champion of the world, Mikey Garcia, 34-0 (28 KO’s).
“That’s a fight that Mikey wants,” Robert Garcia said when asked about a potential fight with Flanagan, who would also be very open to the fight. “Mikey has been a two division WBO champion and he wants a shot at the WBO lightweight title.
“There are other great champions. The WBA champion [Manchester's Anthony Crolla] is a great champion and Jorge Linares was a great champion. Mikey wants to fight for the WBO title though and the champion is Flanagan. That would be the fight that Mikey looks for.
“We hope he [Flanagan] comes out of this weekend well and with no injuries. Hopefully Mikey does the same two weeks later [when he fight Elio Rojas in his first action for over two years] and then hopefully we can set something up for the fall. We’re willing to fly overseas for the fight.”
An undoubted talent, Garcia has been out of action since January 2014 due to promotional difficulties but will return to action in New York on July 30th on the undercard of the highly anticipated fight between Leo Santa Cruz and Belfast’s Carl Frampton. Now that he has a concrete date for his return to action, he and his brother have been paying close attention to the men vying for supremacy at lightweight.
“Mikey thinks he [Flanagan] is the best lightweight right now,” Garcia said. “A lot of people underestimate him but he’s been able to do it. He’s had a couple of challengers from the United States and he’s been able to beat them. He’s not only beaten them but he’s knocked them out, like he did with Diego Magdeleno.
“He’s hell of a fighter and Mikey wants those challenges. Mikey wants to fight the best. I’m telling you, the second half of Mikey’s career is probably going to be the most exciting because he’s looking forward to fighting the best champions in the divisions.”
Buy Brook vs GGG tickets this week
GOLOVKIN-BROOK TICKETS ON SALE TOMORROW
Pre-sale for blockbuster clash begins Wednesday, Fight Pass Thursday, General sale Friday
Tickets for the blockbuster showdown between Gennady Golovkin and Kell Brook go on sale tomorrow (Wednesday July 13)
Pound-for-pound star Golovkin fights in the UK for the first time in his career and puts his IBF, WBA, WBC and IBO Middleweight titles on the line against the unbeaten IBF World Welterweight king Brook, with the duo sharing a combined record of 71-0 with 57 wins by KO.
Promoter Eddie Hearn announced the first additions to the undercard yesterday with former Team GB star Charlie Edwards challenging Johnriel Casimero for the IBF World Flyweight title and unbeaten teen sensation Conor Benn tasting his fourth fight in the paid ranks.
Tickets go on sale on Wednesday July 13 at midday to O2 Priority members at www.theO2.co.uk.
Tickets go on sale on Thursday July 14 at midday to Matchroom Fight Pass members from the Fight Pass area at www.matchroomboxing.com and the venue and AXS pre-sale before tickets go on general sale at www.theO2.co.uk.
Tickets go on general sale on Friday July 15 at midday from www.theO2.co.uk.
Tickets are priced between £40 to £500 will be available from www.theO2.co.uk and on 0844 856 0202. VIP tickets are £1,000 and available exclusively from Matchroom Boxing www.matchroomboxing.com.
Face value tickets for September 10 will also be available from http://www.stubhub.co.uk/matchroom-boxing-tickets/ from midday on Friday July 15. StubHub is the official ticket partner and marketplace of Matchroom Boxing and Anthony Joshua.
Boxing world SHOCKED: Kell Brook takes on GGG
Matchroom Boxing and K2 Promotions are delighted to announce that Gennady Golovkin will defend his IBF, WBA, WBC and IBO Middleweight World titles against IBF Welterweight champion Kell Brook at The O2 in London on September 10, live on Sky Sports Box Office and HBO World Championship Boxing.
The two unbeaten stars collide in London with the US-based Kazakh KO king Golovkin stepping into the ring as a defending champion for the 16th time and looking to keep up his incredible knockout percentage – with 32 of his previous 35 fights ending early, including all of his World title outings, and the 34 year old is ready to add to that run in his first fight in the UK.
“I’m very excited to be fighting in front of the great British boxing fans and promise another ‘Big Drama Show’ against Kell Brook,” said Golovkin.
Most recently Golovkin has sold out famed venues in the United States, Madison Square Garden in New York City and The Fabulous Forum in Los Angeles.
On October 17, 2015 Golovkin knocked out IBF Middleweight World Champion David Lemieux at Madison Square Garden in front of 20,548. Most recently, Golovkin stopped undefeated mandatory challenger Dominic Wade on April 23, 2016 in the second round at the sold-out Fabulous Forum before a crowd of 16,353.
‘GGG’ has beaten two British fighters already in his career in Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray, but Brook will be out to take his mantel as the World’s most feared fighter. ‘The Special One’ moves up from Welterweight where he holds the IBF title that he ripped from Shawn Porter in August 2014, defending it three times since then with KO wins in all to take his own impressive unbeaten record to 36-0 with 25 wins inside the distance.
Brook – who will retain his status as IBF Welterweight champion – has been hunting a major fight since landing the World title, and the 30 year old believes he has the tools to defeat Golovkin and become boxing’s biggest star.
“This is the fight and the moment I have been waiting for for some time,” said Brook. “We've tried and tried to lure the best to come and fight me and now we've got the best of the best – the number one pound for pound fighter in the world is coming to the UK.
“When this fight got offered to me I accepted within minutes and I can't wait. Everyone knows I'm a huge welterweight and I know I will carry my speed and accuracy and even more power through the weights. This is the ultimate fight, one of the biggest international fights the country has seen in many years - you have seen some huge names run from GGG but I'm running to him. I'm a Special fighter and I will show the World on September 10.”
“We’re very excited to have Gennady fight for the first time in the UK,” said Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loffler. “We have a great deal of respect for Kell Brook for stepping up and facing Gennady when so many have been reluctant to do so.
“We look forward to working with Eddie and the Matchroom Boxing team on this huge international fight on September 10.”
“I cannot tell you how excited I am for this mega fight,” said Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn. “I've worked hard with Tom over the years to bring GGG to the UK and now we do it as the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Right here you have the number one Welterweight in the world against the number one Middleweight in the world – 36-0 vs. 35-0, two of the best on the planet, it's what big time boxing is all about.
“I couldn't be happier for Kell. We have pushed for that big name for a long time with many reluctant to step into the ring with him and now this is the ultimate challenge, the biggest fight of 2016 and I can't tell you how happy I am to bring it to the UK. September 10 is going to be an incredible night at The O2 – it's a special night for British sport and we will provide a packed show with multiple World title fights and some of the biggest names in British boxing.”
Adam Smith Head of Boxing at Sky Sports said: “What a massive announcement! It’s the kind of an astonishing twist that can only happen in our sport. Britain’s longest reigning unbeaten fighter and world welterweight champion Kell Brook moves up to challenge Gennady Golovkin who brings his world middleweight titles to our shores. With 71 wins between them, 57 by knockout and no defeats, it’s a wonderful clash and a huge opportunity for Sheffield’s ‘Special One’. It promises to be another great night on Sky Sports Box Office!”
Information on ticket on-sale dates and prices will be released early next week.
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Matty Ryan, Zelfa Barrett and Sutcliffe Jnr get stoppage wins
Matthew Ryan topped last nights joint promotion between VIP and Black Flash Promotions at the new Oldham Leisure Centre and delighted his fans with a one sided stoppage of Zoltan Turai.
Ryan quickly realised that the deck was stacked heavily in his favour and was far more aggressive than usual against the short, squat Turai. After picking up an extremely harsh warning from referee, Darren Sarginson, for not being aggressive enough during an ordeal of an opening round, Turai attempted to fire back in the second but succeeded only in giving Ryan more openings. Turai took four or five shots too many before being rescued with just seconds left in round two.
Ryan, 11-1 (2 KO’s), looked strong and confident. The new season should prove exciting for the 25 year old.
Zelfa Barrett, 11-0 (5 KO’s), got his fourth early finish in his last five fights after stopping Damian Lawncizak in the fourth of a scheduled six. Barrett, 22, was taken the distance by Lawniczak back in March but admitted to not feeling at his best having fought just seven days earlier. Barrett set out to make a statement last night. He kept the fight at range and utilised his speed and variety, hurting Lawniczak to the body time and time again. The pole was creased in half by a vicious body shot as the third round ended but somehow dragged himself back up. A left hook to the body completed the job just seconds into the fourth.
Barrett’s star continues to rise and he must surely be thinking about claiming his first professional title - either at lightweight or super featherweight - before the year is out.
Phil Sutcliffe Jnr’s appearance on the card attracted plenty of attention from Irish fight fans but those tuning in to watch the live stream of the action on www.VIPBoxing.tv saw less than three minutes of action from the light welterweight. Sutcliffe, 10-1 (7 KO’s) and from Dublin, was levels above Geiboord Omier and landed as and when he wanted. Sutcliffe’s team threw down the gauntlet to highly rated Jack Catterall after the fight and Sutcliffe will be keen to capitalise on the momentum he picked up last night and get back in the ring as quickly as possible.
Darryl Sharp, 3-7, took his second unbeaten scalp within the space of six weeks as he upset Chris ‘Fat Boy’ Monaghan over four rounds at middleweight. Sharp clearly fancied the job last night and flew at Monaghan from the opening bell. Clearly stung by Sharp’s early assault, Monaghan decided to stand and trade rather than utilising his boxing skills and movement. The tactics played directly into Sharp’s hands and he claimed a deserved 39-37 decision. Sharp is a decent practitioner when he sets his mind to it, while Monaghan can expect to have Pat Barrett’s ‘hit and don’t be hit’ philosophy drilled into him when he returns to the Collyhurst and Moston gym.
Ancoats super middleweight, Dale Coyne, recorded a solid four round decision over Manchester based Portuguese trier, Yailton Neves. Coyne, 21, has looked sharp in sparring recently and dominated the action from the beginning. He refused to let Neves negate him when fighting at close quarters and manoeuvred the southpaw around the ring when they boxed at range. Coyle got his third win in just four months and moves to 6-0 (1 KO).
Mindaugas Baublys got his professional career underway with a four round decision over Matthew Ashmore at light middleweight. The Manchester based Lithuanian was nervous beforehand but looked totally at ease as MC, Michael Pass, introduced him. He proceeded to box well and thoroughly deserve the victory. Ashmore ended up cut around his left eye.
Lyndon Newman returned from a three year lay off to outpoint Lewis van Poetsch over four rounds at super middleweight. Newman is working with Pat Barrett and Paulie Da Silva at the Collyhurst and Moston gym and cut a much calmer figure than he did in the first part of his career. When van Poetsch did catch Newman, he calmly reset himself and got back to work rather than going to war. Newman is now 6-3-1 (1 KO).
Jamel Herring ready to sit his pressure test
Every fighter faces the acid test. That one night when their credentials are given a thorough examination.
The technical skills are usually in place but, until they get put under severe pressure by a fighter equally as ambitious as they are, there is always the question of whether the technique will hold up when the mind is foggy and the body is tired. Performing under pressure is the least of Jamel Herring’s worries. Herring, 15-0 (8 KO’s), served two tours in Iraq during his time in the Unted States Marine Corps.
“Man, just being in that general environment, being a Marine alone, I’ve been under pressure. I’ve been in worst case scenarios,” the 30 year old lightweight told Livefight. “For me, boxing has always been an outlet for stress. As a Marine, you’re going all around the world but, whenever I got back to my life, I just kept going back to the gym as my outlet. When I look back at my life and remember being a Marine and think about where I’ve been and what I’ve done, I feel like boxing is the fun part. I always tell myself, even in hated moments, ‘Jamel, you’ve been through worse.’
“It’s a way of life and I’m enjoying life at the moment.”
This Saturday, Herring gets his acid test. He will take on the aggressive two-time world title challenger, Denis Shafikov, in Reading, Pennsylvania. Herring’s career has gained momentum over the past seven months but Herring, usually a classy southpaw, realises that a victory over the tough Russian would move his career onto a different level.
“Shafikov is ranked number eight with the IBF so this is a big opportunity for me.
“I’ve been doing a lot of studying and I’m feeling really good about this fight. Shafikov comes to fight for the entire fight. He’s in your face for the entire time. He just doesn’t stop. I’m going to have to pick up my game and throw punches with him. As a matter of a fact, I planning on flipping things and out punching him. It’s gonna be an active fight but I’m up for the challenge. This is why I’m in the game. I love competition. I’m very confident and very excited. I’m looking forward to seeing how my skills compare to the very best out there.
“It’s a fan friendly fight. I’m blessed to be in the main event again. I must be doing something right to keep getting the opportunity to headline.”
For a man who spent years operating within the strict efficiency of the Marine Corps., the frustratingly slow and, let’s face it, sometimes baffling world of professional boxing must have come as a culture shock. Luckily, patience is a virtue that Herring has in abundance. The Marine Corps. motto is Semper Fidelis , Latin for “always faithful”. Herring has always had faith that his ability would get him to where he needed to be.
“It can be a heartache,” Herring sighed. “Especially the business side of boxing. Boxing is a business first. You have to just cool off, take your time, and be patient but at the same time you have to be ready for whats to come.
“It’s the funniest thing. When I turned professional after the London 2012 Olympic Games, I wasn’t really expected to do much. Over time it seems like I’ve beaten a lot of expectations from critics. More importantly, I’m proving to myself that I can do it. Over the past couple of years I seem to have gotten better and better. I’ve barely even lost a round in the professional game. I’m just trying to get to a level where people really start taking my seriously. I don’t really have a big following at the moment but hopefully this kind of fight is basically gonna tell me how well I’ll do in the future.”
A surprising number of fighters pay little attention to to events outside of their own weight class. Herring isn’t one of those fighters. He will never lose that marine mindset which requires him to be as prepared as possible for any new conflict which may arise, but Herring’s interest in the sport is mainly down to simply being a fan.
Fighters are moving through the weight classes with more and more frequency as they look for the most attractive - and highest paying - fights. Occasionally, a group of talented fighters convene in a single weight class. As well as Britain’s WBO champion, Terry Flanagan and WBA king, Anthony Crolla, the 135lb division is currently home to Jorge Linares, WBC champion Dejan Zlaticanin, Felix Verdejo and Herring’s stablemate, Robert Easter Jnr. There are even rumours of Vasyl Lomachenko entering the mix to look for a third world title in as many weight divisions before too long. Herring would be excited by the potential match-ups if he were watching the action from the sofa. Instead, he is desperate to get involved.
“I was a fan of boxing even before I was an athlete. I watch everything. I’m watching the big movement in the UK and I’m excited about what’s going on over there. As a matter of a fact, before Anthony Crolla fought the rematch [with Darleys Perez] I basically told him in a gentlemanly way that I would love to make a match in the UK someday. I had a great time in the UK when I came for the Olympics, I’m starting to get a following and I have friends there. Why not come over and fight one of the world champions?
“I have a lot of respect for Anthony and what he’s been through, especially fighting off burglars. He’s proven a lot of people wrong in his career. I was rooting for him in his last fight [against Ismael Barroso] and he did it: he knocked out the knockout artist. Terry Flanagan is another guy who I’d love to share the ring with. I know they went to the same school but Anthony was a couple of years older. I also know they’d like a unification fight but they have two different promoters.
“You can see I keep up with everything!” Herring laughed as I expressed my surprise at him displaying a local knowledge almost as adept as mine. “I know Al Haymon speaks with Eddie Hearn so I’m hoping that one day I can compete with Anthony. If you see the guys tell them that I appreciate what they’re doing out there and that I’m a fan. Hopefully we get the chance to square off one day.
“A couple of years ago it [the lightweight class] was a bit dry. All eyes were on the welterweight division and the junior middleweight division but now you’ve got a lot of guys turning into contenders and world champions. You’ve got somebody like Robert Easter who put on a great performance last time against Argenis Mendez. As a matter of a fact I helped him prepare for his last fight because I’m tall and rangy. We’re always there for each other. I believe he’s looking for a fight with Rances Barthelemy who just beat Mickey Bey. [Easter Jnr will now face Richard Commey for the vacant IBF title that Barthelemy vacated].
“There are a lot of big fights going on in the lightweight division alone. If you’re a boxing fan, it’s shaping up to be good for years to come. There are so many good fights to be made.”
Despite being born in New York, Herring works out of Cincinnati under Mike Stafford. That ‘Semper Fi’ motto came to the fore when he began to map out a future as a professional boxer. Herring appreciated the help Stafford gave him during his amateur career and has placed his total faith in the 59 year old.
“In 2011 after I won the open trials, Mike Stafford was one of the trainers helping USA team. Since then me and Mike have had such good chemistry that I felt that going onto the next level, I’d be comfortable with him in my corner. I asked Mike and about it while was transitioning out of the Marine Corps, and a day after I left the Marines I was on a flight to Cincinnati. Just like that. I take my career seriously and when he said he felt he could help me, well, I just got on the plane.
“If you look back at the American team from 2012 they all had their professional debuts on the same day. I was still going through the transition from amateur to pro. Mike wanted more time to work with me and I had to just be patient and just breathe and trust what he was saying. I eventually turned pro around a month later. Mike has helped me with pacing myself. He taught me about setting up my shots more instead of just setting up for scoring. He showed me how to do damage using my body attack and how to be smarter when finding and creating openings. He’s really helped me out.”
Anthony Joshua: Improvements Required
After a highly entertaining and absorbing fight between George Groves (24-3) and Martin Murray (33-4) which saw the two world title challengers duke it out for twelve rounds in back and forth style, the headline event was always going to have to shine bright to surpass the previous bout.
The packed crowd in attendance at the 02 arena had come for their fix of blood, courtesy of the Olympic gold medallist and they got it. Kind of.
The tall and relatively unknown Dominic Breazeale was the IBF's 15th ranked heavyweight. On paper he was unbeaten, tall, American - and that handy 15th spot meant he could be classed as a defence of the IBF belt.
Whilst all this sounded impressive, in reality it was a clever piece of matchmaking by Joshua's handlers. Anyone who knew a little about boxing would see that Breazeale lacked the speed to do battle with AJ and that victory for the Londoner was assured. To the less educated sports fan, they saw an unbeaten 6'7" American coming to snatch AJ's title.
The fight panned out as a little bit sloppy and overall a disappointment as a spectacle. Perhaps we have become accustomed to the ease with which Joshua has dispatched the questionable opposition so far?
Joshua entered the ring to a very cheesey rap that he recorded himself. It is that kind of thing that quickly antagonised the British boxing public when James Degale used to be MC'ed into the ring after he turned professional with his own gold medal. But we will give Joshua a pass tonight given he's only 26 years old.
To Joshua's credit though, he seemed very relaxed given the rabid response from the crowd as he entered at the side of the arena. He has the masses eating out of his hand despite now being locked behind the paywall of Sky Box Office.
Round One began with Joshua looking big and fast - but the sharp accuracy just didn't seem to be there, despite Breazeale being right in front of him. Eventually Joshua found a few shots and the American took them very well.
Quickly the commentating crew celebrated "how well he took those punches" and quickly settled on talking about "how tough Breazeale is" for the next 15 minutes or so of ring action. Let's face it, there was little else to praise the visitor for. Whilst this sounds overly negative, it is what it is.
Joshua continued throwing big shots with all the accuracy of a Storm Trooper for the next couple of rounds until Breazeale eventually went over twice in the seventh round and referee Marcus McDonnell decided to wave off the gutsy, tough but ultimately out-gunned visitor.
So what did we learn about Joshua from the fight? well he knocked the guy out, so most media scribes would celebrate that fact and leave it there.
But I personally think he has a long way to go before he's put in the ring with Klitchko, Fury and the rest. Infact even the likes of David Haye could give him a fright. Joshua is big, strong and with fast hands - but he is pretty flat footed and lacks angles at the minute.
Whilst others might celebrate his ability to go to the 7th round without tiring, anyone who has actually boxed would know that freshness is linked to pace. Only Whyte has given Joshua a bit of pace so far in a fight and he looked like he would blow a gasket at one stage before re-grouping and letting those impressive shots close the show.
In closing, the bout didn't really tell us much more about Anthony Joshua and if it did tell us anything, is that he's got a lot of weak areas that he needs to work on. A big punch and a big smile will always please the fans, but he needs a lot more polish to battle the other big names at the weight just yet.
Kieran Farrell's Promotional debut a success
Kieran Farrell got his promotional career off to a promising start with a well attended event at Middleton Arena last night. Farrell, whose own professional career was cruel cut short due to the injuries he suffered during an English lightweight title fight with current WBA champion Anthony Crolla in 2012, has already forged a career as a trainer and a manager. Last night’s show was a solid start to life as a promoter.
Nathan Wheatley, 4-0, topped the bill and comprehensively outpointed Liam Griffiths at middleweight. Wheatley is wiry and rangy and used his unorthodox style to bully Griffiths around the ring from the opening bell. Wheatley looked set for an early finish after hurting Griffiths in the opening round and bundling him over a couple of times but, despite some heavy looking uppercuts, he was forced to settle for a comfortable 40-36 decision. The 27 year old from Warrington looks exceptionally strong and has clearly benefitted from some top level sparring with the likes of Paul and Callum Smith.
Tommy Carter’s professional career got off to a tough start as he dropped a four round decision to Manchester’s Matty Mainwaring at middleweight. Mainwaring, 2-0, picked up a nasty cut during his debut last December but was able to concentrate purely on the matter at hand this time. He produced some dangerous looking uppercuts and looked impressive when he utilised his reach and size.
Jake Bulger, 5-0, got the evenings action underway with a four round victory over Qasim Hussain. The 23 year old Failsworth super featherweight started quickly and worked Hussain’s body well and seemed to hurt him with some hard shots to the midsection as the fight drew to a close. Bulger paid close attention to his trainer, Steve Maylett, throughout and cut a composed figure.
William Warburton recorded his second successive victory with a clear cut four round decision over Barrow-In-Furness debutant, Callum Pearson. Warburton simply knew too much for the 23 year old who accepted ‘Warby’ as a late notice replacement for his original opponent. Over his past seven fights, Warburton, 20-96-8, has recorded three wins and a draw. He is now ranked within the top 15 in the British welterweight rankings and could eventually be set for some kind of title fight.
The evening capped a successful couple of weeks for Farrell. He was awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s birthday honours list and successfully staged his first professional promotion. The accolades are just reward for his constant perseverance after recovering from the premature end of his own career and, hopefully, launching the dreams of others.
Murray and Groves hit the scales [VIDEO]
Martin Murray and George Groves both weighed in ahead of their big domestic clash tomorrow night at the 02 arena on the undercard for Anthony Joshua vs Dominic Breazeale:-