Gavin McDonnell “I’m going to make my own name in boxing”
By Michael J Jones
Jamie McDonnell is a world-rated bantamweight contender who cleared up in Europe and awaits a fully-deserved world title shot for the IBF title. Nine-minute older twin brother Gavin McDonnell, while very proud of his better-known sibling, turned pro later and is eagerly chasing the title success of his twin.
While Jamie turned pro in 2005 and endured a rough pro apprenticeship, his identical brother drifted away from boxing in his late teens. However, buoyed by his brother’s successes, Gavin decided to rededicate himself, got back in fighting shape and joined Jamie in the pro ranks in late 2010.
Since making his comeback, 26-year-old Gavin has made steady progress at 7-0-1 (2) and has already bagged the Central Area and British Masters titles and also fights a lot like his twin. Fighting style isn’t the only similarity between the two as I was to find out during my call to Gavin.
On April 19th in his hometown of Doncaster, the super-bantamweight takes on arguably his toughest test yet in a British title eliminator against North Wales' more-experienced Paul Economides.
I caught up with Gavin in the early stages of his preparation for the bout, here’s what he had to tell Livefight-
LF) You fight Economides next, do you know much about him?
GM) I’ve not seen much of him but enough to know what he’s about. I watched him sparring our Jamie and I know he’s good for ten rounds (having gone the distance on four occasions). Unless I can force a late stoppage I think the fight will go the full ten.
LF) How do you plan to fight him, at range or in close?
GM) I’m easy with either, I can jab, move and box but I also like it on the inside. I like fighting up close a bit too much but me and my team will have a game-plan and I’ll be sticking to it.
LF) One thing that’s going for you; you can always count on quality sparring?
GM) Yeah you can’t get much better than our kid and we’ve had some real wars in the gym. Just a while ago we’d not been in the gym for a bit so me and Jamie went at it and knocked ten bells out of each other! I always enjoy sparring him.
LF) When your brother turned pro you left boxing for a while. Why was that?
GM) I just got to that age in my teens where I was into what everybody else my age was doing. I had no intention to turn pro as it really didn’t appeal to me then.
While I was wasting my days Jamie was doing well and it was watching his success which made me decide to return to boxing. Deciding to comeback has changed me for the better and I’ve never looked back.
LF) Do you ever wonder about if you had turned pro earlier?
GM) Yeah all the time…nearly every conversation with our kid. I think “if I’d have started two years earlier where would I be now?”
I’m still only just coming up to 27 now though so there’s still plenty of years for me to make my mark. As I’m a late starter, I probably train the hardest in the gym and I’m probably more of a man than our kid was turning pro (in terms of physically).
LF) There’s a few similarities between you and Jamie in your boxing careers isn’t there?
GM) Yeah we both drew our fifth fight (Jamie to Dai Davies and Gavin to Ash Lane both fights in Doncaster over four rounds), we both got our first knock-out in our seventh fight and also stopped our eighth opponent. He keeps reminding me that he lost his tenth fight (to Chris Edwards) and I say “don’t be putting that in my head!”
LF) You also box a lot like your brother, where do you feel the two of you are different as fighters?
GM) I’ve never really thought about it. I do look up to (Jamie) as a fighter and try and pick things up from what he’s doing. Jamie’s just a really well-rounded fighter who can box at range and up close, is strong, fit…the only thing he doesn’t have is that one big punch to knock opponents out. He usually ends up grinded his opponents down.
LF) While you obviously are very close and admire your brother is it also important to become known in your own right?
GM) That’s the aim and it’s starting to happen now. People used to look at me and say “is that Jamie McDonnell?” Now they say “which one of the McDonnell brothers is that?”
My confidence is growing and I know I can go places and make my own name. I believe I can get to where (Jamie McDonnell) is at some point and I’m training very hard. Jamie did it the hard way but always came good in the end.
LF) Let’s talk about your recent fights. Last September you stopped undefeated Scott Gladwin in the sixth for the Central Area title. What can you tell me about that fight?
GM) When that fight came about we were both unbeaten and people were saying afterwards that he hadn’t been in top shape but, look, I knew nothing about him beforehand he could have been like Tyson for all I knew! He was strong early-on but I was catching him with certain punches and I caught him with a good one (in the sixth) and the ref stopped it.
That was my first stoppage, Stefy Bull (Gavin and Jamie’s trainer) said to me “you won’t stop your early opponents as they’ll be tough journeymen, but when you fight guys like yourself, the stoppages will come.” He was right as I’ve stopped my last two.
LF) And what about your follow up stoppage of Dean Anderson last December?
GM) That was another good win, the first six rounds he was very strong and kept on me. He could whack and was trying to reach my body but he never caught me with too many and after a while I started picking him off.
From the sixth it was one-sided and I couldn’t seem to miss even though it was killing me to jab as I’d hurt my (left) hand. They pulled him out after the eighth but one more round and I would have stopped him anyway.
LF) Have you had a think about what could happen providing you come through this British eliminator?
GM) Well I don’t think Scott Quigg will stay at British level much longer. He’s up there (world-rated) with Carl Frampton and I don’t think there’ll be much in it for (Quigg) fighting me I think he’ll be chasing a world title fight.
If the title goes vacant I’m not sure who I will be matched with. Jazza Dickens is a name people talk about so maybe it would be him and me for the British title.
If Quigg doesn’t vacate I’ll leave it to Stefy to decide what route we’ll take. Quigg is probably a level above me at the moment but I’m the type that would fight anyone; we’d be the same weight and only the two of us in the ring at the end of the day.
I’ll leave it to Stefy and go down the path he wants me to go down.
LF) Good luck for the year ahead Gavin.
GM) Ok thanks anytime.
'Return of the King' show featuring Amir Khan and Anthony Ogogo
SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND, February 28 - After nearly two years fighting away from England, the "King" is back. On Saturday, April 27 at Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, British superstar Amir "King" Khan returns to England to face former World Champion Julio "The Kidd" Diaz.
Plus, 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist Anthony Ogogo makes his long-awaited professional debut in a four round middleweight bout against an opponent to be determined.
"April 27th is going to be a special night," said Khan. "It's been two years since I last fought in the United Kingdom and I can't wait to get in the ring in front of my fans. Julio Diaz is a former World Champion and a very dangerous opponent who is coming off of an impressive performance in his last fight. I know he will be coming with guns blazing and I'm ready for whatever he has to throw at me. With my speed and boxing skills, and his power and experience, it makes for a really exciting matchup. He may have other ideas but I'm adamant that my return to the British shores is going to be a very successful one."
"I'm not going to England for the fight to go to the scorecards. I'm fighting for the knockout," said Diaz. "I know the knockout is the only thing that will get me the win, so I'm training extra hard already in order to get a victory on Khan's home turf. I'm a heavy hitter and he can't take a punch, so to me, that is the perfect combination."
"I'm proud to be British and so the opportunity to turn pro on such a big fight card in England is a dream come true," said Ogogo. "I want to become a world champion and this is the first very important step. I know what I have to do and that is to win and I want to win in style. I can't wait to show the British public what I can do and will be training as hard as I possibly can between now and April 27th to get myself in the best shape I've ever been in".
"Return of the King": Khan vs. Diaz is a 12 round 143 pound catch-weight bout presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Khan Promotions and sponsored by JD Sport and Maxi Muscle.
Tickets, priced at £300, £200, £125, £75 and £50 plus applicable taxes and service charges are on sale now and may be purchased at the Motorpoint Arena box office, by calling (+44) 0114 256 5656, online at www.motorpointarenasheffield.co.uk or through Sports Corporation by calling 0845 163 0845 or at www.sportscorporation.com.
"We're excited to return to England and bring the loyal British fans the return of Amir Khan on April 27," said Oscar De La Hoya, president of Golden Boy Promotions. "Amir is closing in on a shot at regaining his world champion status and I know he's going to use the energy from the crowd in Sheffield to motivate him. Standing in his way will be a dangerous opponent in Julio Diaz who is on a hot streak of his own that he expects to keep intact in England."
"April 27 is going to be a great night for boxing in the U.K. and a great night for Golden Boy Promotions," said Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. "Between Amir Khan returning home where he is immensely popular and the pro debut of our newest prospect Anthony Ogogo, this is a great way to jump start an amazing run of fights that Golden Boy Promotions will be a part of in England for many years to come."
"It was well known that Amir wanted to have his next fight back home in Britain for his loyal fan base," said Asif Vali of Khan Promotions. "It has taken a bit of time to get to this point, but we're delighted to announce Julio Diaz as his next opponent. He upset the odds to score a draw in his last fight against a highly touted prospect in Shawn Porter and we know he will be looking to upset the odds and score a win come April 27. Both fighters have been world champions and Amir is determined to reach that summit once again. It will be a night not to miss in Sheffield as we witness 'the return of the King'."
"Motorpoint Arena Sheffield is delighted to be playing host to Amir Khan's return to Britain," said Joe Waldron, Deputy General Manager of the Motorpoint Arena Sheffield. "We host some of the biggest stars in the world in this region and it's a privilege to have secured another in Amir with his first fight back on British soil in two years. This event will be a special occasion for all boxing fans and the Sheffield public with yet another unforgettable night expected at the Motorpoint Arena."
A true international superstar that captured the world's imagination when he won a Silver medal for Great Britain in the 2004 Olympics at age 17, Amir "King" Khan (27-3, 19 KO's) is one of boxing's best, a dynamic boxer-puncher with fight ending power and lightning quick speed. Just 26 years old, Bolton's Khan is a former Unified Super Lightweight World Champion with five successful title defenses to his name. Among the foes he has dispatched are Marco Antonio "The Baby Face Assassin" Barrera, Paulie "Magic Man" Malignaggi, Marcos "El Chino" Maidana and Zab "Super" Judah. In his most recent fight on December 15, 2012, he stopped previously unbeaten Carlos Molina in the 10th round. Now he looks forward to returning home and entertaining his fans in person.
A respected veteran and former World Champion Julio "The Kidd" Diaz (40-7-1, 29 KO's) is a member of a fighting family and he has been boxing for much of his life. Diaz is still in his physical prime at 33 and he has shown that he has plenty left in the tank as he looks to win a second divisional title. A native of Jiquilpan, Michoacan Mexico who now fights out of Coachella, California, Diaz has impressed fans in his return from a year-long layoff, knocking out Henry Aurad and Hector Sanchez and battling unbeaten, highly touted prospect Shawn Porter to a draw in a fight many believe Diaz won in his last fight in December. On April 27, Diaz is hoping to take matters out of the judges' hands.
A talented soccer player who played for Norwich City FC when he was younger, Lowestoft, England's Anthony Ogogo found his true love in the ring where he has been competing since the age of 12. After winning a Junior Olympic Gold medal and Silver medals at the Commonwealth Games and European Championships, Ogogo earned a place on Great Britain's 2012 Olympic team. In London this past summer, Ogogo beat representatives from the Dominican Republic, Ukraine and Germany to win a Bronze Medal, thrilling his fans from throughout the United Kingdom. Outside the ring, the 24-year-old Ogogo is a former model and was also a cast member of the 2008 hit reality show, "Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack." On April 27, the charismatic middleweight will begin his journey as a professional.
Scott Lawton talks about career fighting Amir Khan, Gethin and Derry Mathews
By Michael J Jones
Many younger fight fans are of the opinion that a loss spells the end of a fighter’s career. Thankfully, this is rarely the case in boxing and one fighter who dispelled the myth many times in his career was tidy boxing Stoke favourite Scott Lawton.
The very likeable Lawton walked away from life as a fighter in early 2011 after a punishing distance defeat to former victim Derry Mathews. Not resting for even a moment, the retired fighter threw himself into his new role as trainer and manager and now sports a solid stable of fighters at his gym in Fenton, Stoke-on Trent, including streaking super-bantamweight prospect Liam Hanrahan.
Cheerfully honest about his career, the former lightweight contender, very tall at the weight at 5’10”, spoke in depth about the high’s and lows of his near-ten year career. Probably best known for his high-profile defeats at the hands of Amir Khan and Jon Thaxton, the game stylist also scored excellent wins over the likes of Stefy Bull, Mathews and current British lightweight king Martin Gethin in going 27-8-1 (6) overall.
Here’s what the 36-year-old had to say to Livefight-
LF) How are you finding retirement Scott?
SL) I’m enjoying being a trainer and manager and have got six or seven very good lads. I’m having fun and am definitely not coming back (to resume his own career)!
LF) Going back to the start of your pro career, you won your first five before losing a close one to fellow unbeaten Dave Stewart in Scotland?
SC) I never believed in protecting my record I wanted challenges. Dave Stewart was a good lad and won a very close decision. I wanted a rematch and thought it would happen but it never materialised unfortunately.
LF) You made a habit in your career of hitting top form following a defeat as you did after your first loss. You won the Midlands Area belt and defeated Silence Saheed and Roger Sampson (both very dangerous fighters at the time)?
SC) Yeah I found in my boxing career I learned more from the losses than a lot of the wins. I was always the same (after losing a fight) there’s no point spitting your dummy out and blaming everyone; best to get straight back into the gym and work hard to improve yourself. That attitude served me well in my boxing career.
Saheed was very tough and I liked Roger Sampson a lot I thought he was a good little fighter. He (Sampson) had me over in the first but I got up to out-box him and get the decision. It was in his home-town of Sheffield so that was a good win.
LF) Your good run of form was halted by tricky Alan Temple by six-round decision (by a single point just like the Stewart loss). Temple had a poor record but he was a difficult opponent as you found out?
SL) That loss was honestly my own fault. I tried to beat him up and hit him with the harder shots but he threw lighter punches (in greater volume) and out-worked me. It was close but a fair decision I couldn’t complain about it.
LF) Rather more shocking was the eight-round draw gained by Surinder Sekhon a few months later in your home town of Stoke. He was just 1-8 what happened?
SL) That was down to me trying to do too much at once. Before that fight I was putting the show on, training fighters, training myself and it affected my performance. Sekhon was also heavier than me (by 7lbs) and I still thought I won but that’s the way it goes. I didn’t dwell on it.
LF) You came back strongly just a short time later to beat Baz Carey for the Midlands title before scoring a great stoppage of Stefy Bull for the English belt. Not many beat Bull in Doncaster?
SL) I was too tall for Baz Carey and won that fight comfortably. I didn’t really hurt him but it was an enjoyable fight for me.
The Stefy Bull fight was, alongside my win over Martin Gethin, my favourite win of my career. Most people were expecting me to lose and there was some funny things happening before the fight. They put us up in a local hotel and in the foyer they made a right racket (noise). They tried to keep me awake all night but I saw the funny side and ended up sleeping through all of (the commotion).
I was glad to beat him inside the distance as I thought the judges might have swayed his way it being his hometown. The fight was quite even but I broke his nose with a good shot and took over from there. I hit him with some good body shots but I think the nose injury bothered him the most (Bull was pulled out in the eighth round).
LF) The following year you fought Jon Thaxton for the British lightweight title losing in seven. A cut appeared to hamper your performance early on?
SL) I always say that was my big chance to win the British title; if I was going to win it, it would have been that night versus Thaxton. I’d never been badly cut in my whole career but he caused a bad one that split between my eyes. I got checked by the ringside doctor and he said “it’s all over”, I thought I was in danger of getting stopped so I came out trying to knock (Thaxton) out. He was a big puncher and I walked on to a few silly shots and felt my legs ‘go’.
After the fight (referee) Dave Parris came over and asked “why did you go guns blazing after the doctor’s inspection?” He said only he could have stopped the fight not the doctor. It was just inexperience from me and my corner not to know that.
LF) Six months after that brave challenge you fought a young Amir Khan for the Commonwealth title in Nottingham. Many of Khan’s early opponents have said how little notice they had for taking the fight, what are your own comments about facing him?
SL) If I’m being completely honest…he beat me fair and square. He was very fast, a hurtful puncher and the better fighter on the night. Beforehand I thought I could beat him but there was nothing else I could have done that night.
I spoke to (Khan’s then-trainer) Oliver Harrison after the fight and he told me after a bad performance in his last fight when he got dropped (by Willie Limond) Amir had trained really hard for our fight and had come in the best shape possible.
LF) You won your next six contests and fought one of your best fights to dominate and stop current British champion Martin Gethin in nine rounds to win back the English title. That was a big upset at the time as he was 15-0-1?
SL) That was another fight everybody thought I would lose but I’d seen him fight and knew his style would suit mine. He was strong but not a massive puncher and I won comfortably. It was stopped on a cut but I was far ahead on the score-cards anyway.
LF) You were rewarded with another British title shot six months later versus unbeaten John Murray. That was controversial as he didn’t make the stipulated weight limit so only you could win the title?
SL) I’d sparred John before but was amazed how strong he was on the night; that wasn’t the Murray I’d sparred with! He had so much talent and the potential to go far but I don’t think he lived the right lifestyle to fulfil his potential.
LF) Who would have won between Murray and Khan at that time do you think having fought both men?
SL) I think Amir would have been too quick and accurate for Murray. John also marked up in fights which wouldn’t have been good against someone so fast like Khan.
I also think it was a shame Khan never fought Thaxton either, that would have been another great fight.
LF) You had your first bout with Derry Mathews later that year, beating him in your hometown of Stoke. Was it nice to fight at home in a big fight for a change?
SL) Derry is a lot like me in that he is confident to take fights way from home. He was very confident before that fight and firmly believed he’d beat me. I boxed well and it was nice to fight at home for a change. I wore him down (to stop Mathews in the sixth).
After the fight (Derry’s fourth crushing loss in his last five bouts) he went to see a psychiatrist to get his head sorted. It worked as when we fought the second time he was far mentally stronger (more on that later).
LF) You were pitted soon after with a European title fight with dangerous Levan Kiraksyan (who stopped Carl Johanneson twice over here). A lot of the British press openly condemned the fight beforehand as a terrible mismatch (which it unfortunately did turn out to be); did their reaction anger you a little?
SL) No not really because I had a European title fight (laughs). Even if I got asked now I’d take the fight, things like that happen in boxing and you never know what can happen (when faced with a dangerous opponent).
I believe with a better corner I would have done better in that fight but Kiraksyan was also probably the first world class puncher I’d faced. I’d think he was out of range (to catch Scott) then the next thing I’d be on the floor!
Note: Lawton was stopped in the third with a massive right-hand by his far-shorter foe.
LF) In your final two bouts you lost to Gary Sykes in Prizefighter and then to Derry in a rematch over twelve rounds (for the IBO title) in Liverpool. Was it good to go out with a bang with that hard fight with your former opponent?
SL) That was probably my favourite fight for both me and Derry. We banged heads in the fifth and it broke my nose. I’d been boxing since 1990 (21 years) and it was my first proper broken nose. The funny thing was, I could have done with breaking my nose earlier in the fight…after I got injured I fought instead of boxed and took him into the trenches.
He was injured too with two cuts and cracked ribs. He was far mentally stronger in the second fight and remained composed when it got tough. We are good friends now and often joke about after that fight. We were both bruised and battered and I had my nose smashed across my face but everybody was coming in telling us “great fight you’ll have to do it again!” Me and Derry just looked at each other and nodded “yeah right!”
LF) How are you finding things as a trainer?
SL) It’s going great. When I was boxing I never really had a proper team and sacrificed a lot to do things that way. I feel as I came close to winning those major titles I can get my lads ready for actually winning those titles.
Liam Hanrahan is more than capable of winning the British title. He has so much potential and has the mean streak that I probably lacked. He trains really hard and never complains about anything.
I also had a lad box last weekend, (flyweight) Brett Fidoe, he lost his first two fights to two good unbeaten kids but just stopped his third opponent in the first round so he’s on the up now.
Paul Truscott delighted with Darlington date
MIDDLESBROUGH’S TRUSCOTT DELIGHTED WITH DARLINGTON DATE
For someone who just wants to fight, Paul Truscott’s career has been frustratingly stop-start.
The Middlesbrough man is delighted then - having not thrown a punch in anger since losing a British super-featherweight title fight to Gary Buckland a year ago - to be finally getting out when he appears on Dennis Hobson Promotions’ ‘Nemesis’ show at Darlington’s Dolphin Centre on March 9.
“I can’t wait,” stated the former Commonwealth featherweight champion. “It’s so close to home and it’s been a while since I boxed up here; it’s really exciting.
“There’s another Middlesbrough lad [Shafiq Asif] on as well, so there’ll be plenty of Boro lads there screaming and shouting too.”
Making weight has been Truscott’s Achilles’ heel over recent years, evidenced by his performance against the talented Buckland. A skilled technician, Paul showed his trademark heart during the distance defeat but was never ‘at the races’, something he attributes to trying to make 9st 4lbs.
The 26-year-old also recently found himself having to withdraw from a WBO European super-featherweight title chance against Crawley's Ben Jones after suffering a virus – a situation that’s finally prompted the decision that his ‘boiling down’ days are over.
“It was the weight that done me with the Buckland fight; I was a dead man walking really. I tried to make the weight one more time [against Jones] when I was supposed to box a couple of weeks back, but my body was so run down I couldn’t do it and had to pull out.
“I’ll be boxing at lightweight in future because I’m a decent size. Everyone I fight seems to be a midget compared to me! So I think I’ll suit lightweight a lot better.”
Still young, and with a decent ledger of just three defeats in 21 contests, Paul’s future in boxing continues to look bright. Appearing on the undercard of Stuart Hall’s Commonwealth bantamweight title defence against Isaac Nettey in Darlington, ‘Trussy’ will look to get his career back on track before remaining busy for the rest of 2013.
“I’m old school; I just want to fight and as long as the weight’s OK I’ll box anyone. I want to get title shots again as soon as possible and box regularly because inactivity has killed my career.
“I’m too high risk and not enough reward for people to face really and it’s really stalled me. I want to be boxing as much as possible this year.”
“I’m a boxing fan and it’s great to have someone of Paul’s quality on this show,” stated promoter Dennis Hobson. “He’s a real talent and if I can help him win titles again in the future then I’ll do all I can to make that happen.”
Stuart Hall will defend his Commonwealth bantamweight title against Issac Nettey at Darlington’s Dolphin Centre on March 9. The show’s undercard will feature a number of talented North East fighters, including former Commonwealth featherweight champion Paul Truscott; Darlington’s Neil Hepper; Middlesbrough’s Shafiq Asif; Spennymoor’s Ben Jackson, and County Durham’s Tommy Ward.
For ticket information contact the Dolphin Centre on 01325 388406.
Michael Medina back in action tomorrow night
NEW YORK, NY (February 27, 2013) - Former North American Boxing Federation (NABF) super welterweight champion Michael "El Magnifico" Medina (26-3-2, 19 KOs) challenges present NABF titleholder Willie "The Great" Nelson (19-1-1, 11 KOs) tomorrow in the 10-round co-feature on ESPN Friday Night Fights, airing live from the MGM Grand at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
"I wasn't active," Medina explained, regarding why he was stripped by the NABF. "Now, I'm getting my belt back. I feel that it's really still my belt. He's the NABF champion but he didn't take my belt from me. I'm looking forward to this fight. He's a strong, young fighter and it'll be awesome to add his name to my resume. A win will take me from this level to a higher one with bigger fights. I'm confident that, after this fight, I'll be getting more fights on television networks."
The ESPN Friday Night Fights card, co-promoted by DiBella Entertainment and 50 Cent's SMS Promotions, will air live at 9 p.m. ET. The Nelson-Medina bout is promoted in association with Rumble Time Promotions. The event is sponsored by SMS Audio.
The 12-round main event on ESPN Friday Night Fights features International Boxing Federation (IBF) Featherweight Champion Billy "The Kid" Dib (35-1-0-1NC, 21 KOs), who is promoted by 50 Cent, defending his title against undefeated Russian challenger Evgeny Gradovich (15-0, 8 KOs), who is rated No. 11 by the IBF.
WBC No. 17-ranked Medina captured the NABF belt on December 22, 2011, winning a 10-round decision over veteran Grady Brewer. However, Medina was later stripped of his belt because he failed to defend his title due to him being unable to land fights, not because he turned down opponents.
"He didn't have a promoter and Mike just got caught in the middle of things," his manager Steve Feder noted. "I wasn't with him until his last fight which, ironically, was on the same card (Sergio Martinez vs. Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. PPV, September 15, 2012, in Las Vegas) that Willie Nelson last fought. So, Mike will be fighting for the same belt that he didn't lose in the ring. He signed with Lou (DiBella) and now he's in a fight to get his belt back. He's always wanted to be in these kinds of fights. This is a good fight for both guys.
"Mike's a good boxer who adapts well depending on who he's fighting. He gets a lot of different looks sparring at Wild Card Gym. Eric Brown (Medina's trainer) has done a good job with him. Mike likes to mix it up. He's hoping that the two of them stand there and go at it. He's not looking to box and move, which should make for a lot of action."
Nelson won the vacant 154-pound title stripped from Medina by way of a 10-round decision in his aforementioned title fight against World Boxing Council (WBC) Youth champion and Virgin Islands Olympian, John "Dah Rock" Jackson (13-1, 12 KOs).
Standing 6'4" with an imposing 84-inch reach, WBC No. 5-rated Nelson (19-1-1, 11 KOs) is a freakishly built super welterweight, against whom Medina will be giving away three-and-a-half inches in height, as well as a nine-inch reach advantage.
"It's unusual," Medina spoke about fighting such a tall opponent. "I haven't fought guys that tall but I have been sparring with taller guys, middleweights and super middleweights, and I've also been working with good technical boxers like (Nobuhiro) Ishida. He's a good teacher and I'm comfortable that I'll benefit from that.
"He's (Nelson) tall but I've watched some tapes of his fights and he likes to fight on the inside. If he does, that will help me because I'm aggressive. His height and reach can only be a factor if he jabs and moves, but we've been working on different strategies for whatever way he fights."
Tickets priced at $200, $100, $75 and $40 may be purchased online at foxwoods.com, by calling the Foxwoods' box office at 800-200-2882, or in person at the Foxwoods' box office.
Frank Maloney: No regrets over Thompson fight
Frank Maloney talks to Kugan Cassius on the phone, to discuss his health and to reflect on the David Price vs Tony Thompson fight last weekend.
"A fight with Tyson Fury might now be made easier" said a jovial Maloney, who believes all the best heavyweights have lost to lesser men in their careers - but that David Price shall cement his legacy and is still the UK's best heavyweight prospect, in his opinion.
Clinton Woods - I played at boxing but won it all !
Clinton Woods exclusive interview
By Michael J Jones
“The one thing with boxing is I went in not expecting to win anything...but I ended up winning everything” Clinton Woods
Livefight recently had the opportunity to catch up with former light-heavyweight champion Clinton Woods. Retired now for four years, the former Sheffield star had a career of proving people wrong and fought the best of his era and more than held his own. At one stage a scrawny super-middleweight who lacked a heavy dig, the tall Woods flourished when moving up to light-heavyweight and proceeded to win British, Commonwealth, European and IBF titles in a glittering career which ended with a tough points defeat to Tavouris Cloud.
Surprisingly, Clinton’s career very nearly never got started after the youngster packed boxing in aged 15. Tough-talking Woods picks up the story.
“I had about 80 fights as an amateur but even as a teenager I was working on building sites and grafting. When I stopped boxing I had no intention at all of going back to it.”
With no aspirations of turning pro, it took a brutal street fight to convince the former fighter to get back in shape.
“I remember it well, I’d gotten into a fight with two bouncers on a night out. They gave me a right-good beating so a few weeks later I went back there and smacked one of them in the mouth. They beat me even worse the second time (laughs). That’s what I used to like doing; work hard, go out drinking with my brothers and have a fight.”
The latest punch-up left the beaten youngster in a reflective mood however. At 22-years-old Woods was still fit from working on building sites but decided to get ‘fighting fit’.
“I was always a strong, fit kid. I liked a drink but never touched anything else; most of the lads then were on ‘whizz’ (speed) or ‘E’s’...I never touched anything like that. The drink put weight on my belly but otherwise I was still pretty fit.”
The fighter got down to 168lbs to make his pro debut in November 1994 and, despite “playing” at the sport, soon built up an impressive unbeaten record and had claimed the Central Area title.
“I came up very quietly back then. I still went out drinking in between fights, I did no special diet or strength training but I loved to go to the gym and train...that’s pretty much all I did as a fighter (at that time). One day I won a six-rounder and someone came up to me and asked whether I’d like to fight for the Commonwealth title in two weeks. I said yes so I fought Mark Baker at Wembley a fortnight later.”
The virtually unknown Woods, then 18-0 (9), was a big underdog versus the rough-and-tough Londoner Baker. The bout, chief support to the Herol Graham-Vinny Pazienza clash, went the distance where the Sheffield prospect won a close, but deserved, decision. The elation of the winner was evident as he raced around the ring upon hearing the verdict read out.
“I kept winning and thinking (boxing) would come to an end soon, I never thought I’d win any title so there was no pressure at all on me before the fight. It was close but I won most of the early rounds. It annoyed me afterwards when Sky (Sports) only showed the last three rounds of the fight. They were probably (Baker’s) best rounds but that’s what TV people tend to do; get behind the London fighters. They seem to love London fighters...Mark Baker was a tough kid and his supporters thought he had won but I definitely won that fight and I was made-up afterwards.”
The new champion didn’t enjoy a long reign though as he was matched in his first defence against former amateur star David Starie. Just four months after the Baker victory it was a tough proposition for the 25-year-old who dropped a clear decision to the former British champion to surrender his unbeaten record and Commonwealth title.
“I was still just playing at boxing even at that stage” admits Woods fifteen years after the bout. “I’d always made weight easily to get to 12st but before Starie I started taking (training supplement) Creatine. I put loads of weight on and by fight-time was a mile over the weight. I had to starve myself to make the weight and as soon as I was off the scales I ran to the food machine to scoff crisps (laughs). Starie then came around the corner to see me eating...he must have guessed at that I’d struggled to get my weight down.”
“The difference was he had a proper team behind him, proper sparring and diet etc...it made a huge difference. In our fight I was so weight-weakened he would just tap me to the stomach and I’d start cramping up badly.”
The beaten fighter surprisingly wasn’t overly disappointed to suffer his first reverse as he explains.
“It wasn’t even a massive disappointment (losing to Starie) as I always had the mindset that I’d lose at some point and it wasn’t a big deal. When I went back to training hard I decided to move up in weight (to light-heavyweight) and I could feel the effects straight away. I felt better and stronger in sparring and stopped my first two opponents at the higher weight. The second of which was 15-0 Mark Smallwood who had been a good amateur but I stopped him in five or so rounds (actually seven)."
The upstart in the division was rewarded for his stoppage of Smallwood with a shot at the reigning British, Commonwealth and European champion Crawford Ashley. The big-punching Leeds champion had been dominant on the European stage for many years and had only lost to the very best in the division such as Virgil Hill. Woods looked a big underdog again and got off to the worst start as he suffered damage to his nose which bled freely from the first round. The bloody challenger wasn’t to be denied though.
“He hit me with a right in the first and it smashed my nose...it was one of the only times in my career where I thought I may have been out of my depth but I got back to the corner and I just got told to ‘go after him’. It wasn’t classy (the way Woods boxed) but I kept the pressure on him and ground him down.”
His face a mask of blood for most of the fight, the challenger fought hard and by the eighth an exhausted Ashley was pulled out by his corner.
“I think he took the fight with me for an easy payday” reflects Clinton. “I really think the corner shouldn’t be able to throw the towel in to stop fights. I wanted to finish him off better than that but his corner denied me that chance.”
As a light-heavyweight multi-champion from 98’ to 02’ Woods would beat all in his path at every level just below world class. In that period he won all thirteen contests including eleven by knockout.
“I had some tough fights in that time” reasons Clinton about his winning streak halted only by one of the greatest fighters to ever box. “I beat Ole Klemetson (rising from a knock-down to stop the Norwegian puncher in nine) who was a very tough kid and hard to stop at that stage, also Yawe Davis who had just destroyed (Neil) Simpson. I won a unanimous decision.”
By my own reckoning, in the Sheffield man’s 48 bout career only Klemetson and a domestic fighter named Kevin Burton ever put him down. I query this to Clinton.
“No Burton never put me down that was a trip. It’s a claim to fame of his, I see him all the time but that was definitely not a knock-down (Woods halted Burton in the sixth). The only guys to have me over were Klemetson and the Australian Jason DeLisle. Both flash knock-downs where I wasn’t really hurt. The only guys to hurt me were Jones Jr and in my last fight (to Tavoris Cloud).”
That point cleared up, we next talk about Woods’ first world title shot against a boxing legend.
In 2002 Roy Jones Jr was at the peak of his powers; a former three-weight world champion who had dazzled all in his path for over ten years. Although conceding he was “out of his depth” Clinton strongly questions both his own preparation for his biggest fight and Jones’ own training methods.
“I wasn’t ready for him at that stage, my camp was terrible. We went to Jamaica for sparring and the two opponents were shite. I also didn't like the venue. Why do you think we fought in Portland? It was a state where they had no drug testing. I’m not saying I would have won either way; I was shit.
The Yorkshireman continues-
“It turned into a holiday over there. I never imagined making the money I got for that fight. I was out there for three weeks and enjoyed myself and the occasion. He hurt me a bit to the body but never to the head.”
Woods fought bravely but was rescued in the sixth just as Jones was starting to tee off at will. It would be the only inside-the-distance reverse the durable Sheffield fighter would suffer despite continuing to fight at the highest class for seven more years.
The twice-beaten fighter didn’t have to wait long for his next world title shot. Just over a year after the Jones Jr loss, Woods was matched with former champion Glen Johnson for the vacant IBF belt. The bout went ahead in the UK (Woods’ hometown of Sheffield) and after twelve closely-contested rounds the bout was declared a draw. Three months later the two met again and this time teak-tough veteran Johnson won a unanimous decision.
Did Woods agree with both decisions?
“The first was a very close fight the draw was fair but I thought I dropped him in the last. I caught him and a couple of seconds later he went over. I thought it was a delayed-reaction knock-down but it wasn’t called.”
“The second fight I had absolutely nothing left in me and I thought he won nearly every round.”
While Johnson would go on to have his best year as a pro, beating both Roy Jones and Antonio Tarver, Woods was left in the fistic wilderness. The struggling fighter had been suffering from extreme fatigue all through camp and, upon seeing a specialist after the loss, was diagnosed with an iron deficiency.
“I’d just felt terrible all through training but, as soon as it was diagnosed, I took B12 injections and met a nutritionalist to start eating properly and it was never a problem again. That was when I became a proper boxer.”
To be continued...
Jazza Dickens added to Bellew card on Sky
Jazza Dickens will face Jon Fernandes for the vacant English super bantamweight title on the Betfair ‘No Retreat, No Surrender’ bill at the Echo Arena in Liverpool on March 30, live on Sky Sports.
The unbeaten Liverpool starlet fights for his first major title on home turf against the Southern Area champ in a battle of two unbeaten super bantamweights. The 21 year old Hatton Promotions prospect will feature on the bumper Matchroom Boxing card and promoter Ricky Hatton is predicting big things for the 13-0 youngster who has five wins inside the distance.
“This is a massive opportunity for Jazza to win his first professional title in front of his home crowd,” said Hatton.
“We've had a few problems getting any one to fight him and I imagine that's been a little bit frustrating for him, but he's got his chance now and I expect him to grab it with both hands.
“I've said before that Jazza is a bit of a dark horse in super-bantamweight division and people like Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton should keep an eye on him because I don't think it'll be too long before he's snapping at their heels.”
Dickens and Fernandes clash on a huge night of action on Merseyside as Tony Bellew closes in on a second World title shot in an official WBC light heavyweight title eliminator against Isaac Chilemba, while there’s the mouth-watering rematch of the 2012 fight of the year between Derry Mathews and Anthony Crolla for the vacant Commonwealth lightweight title.
Rocky Fielding defends his English super middleweight title against Wayne Reed, Team GB captain Thomas Stalker boxes in his hometown for the first time as a pro after his debut in east London on Saturday, while fellow former Team GB members Callum Smith and Scotty Cardle continue their pro journeys.
Tickets for Betfair’s ‘No Retreat, No Surrender’ at the Liverpool Echo Arena on March 30 are on sale now priced £30, £40 and £60 from the Echo Arena on 0844 8000 400 and www.echoarena.com. £100 ringside and £150 VIP tickets are available from Matchroom Boxing on 01277 359900 and at www.matchroomboxing.com.