Burns vs Crawford weigh in VIDEO
Ricky Burns defends his title tomorrow night in Scotland against unbeaten American Terrence Crawford.
Livefight previews 'Man of Steel' feat. nine interviews
Both Ricky Burns and Terence Crawford will be taking a step into the unknown on Saturday night. Ahead of their WBO World Lightweight title clash which headlines the ĎMan of Steelí show at Glasgowís SECC, there are questions to answer for both champion and challenger.
Burns (36-2-1, 11 KOs) who makes the fourth defence of his title will be having his first outing since breaking his jaw after a controversial draw against Ray Beltran last time out. Will the titanium plate that was inserted afterwards hold up? Is the champion on the slide?
For Crawford (22-0, 16 KOs), a highly touted American, it is the first time he steps up into championship class. His demeanour during fight week so far has been one of calm with a pinch of moodiness. His handling of mid-level fighters like Breidis Prescott and Alejandro Sanabria was impressive but the 26 year old will be facing what will likely be an indescribably hot atmosphere from a 10,000 sell-out partisan crowd. Will the challenger break? Is he one of Americaís next big things? Or are we being fed another hype job? The Scot will need to bring intense pressure, an intelligent jab and be cute defensively against a fighter who seems to have not only every punch in the book but can be comfortable fighting from the orthodox or unorthodox stance.
The undercard provides the home support with a couple of Scotland vs. England battles at lightweight. Main support for the night pits two brick walls named John against one another. Simpson (25-10, 11 KOs), who is not as comfortable at lightweight as he is at super feather and featherweight, will be aiming to cause an upset against Murray (32-2, 19 KOs). The latter being the more natural man at 135lbs in what will likely be an all-action fight for however long it lasts in a contest scheduled for ten rounds. A good win for Murray may not provide fans with more than we didnít already know but it will certainly edge him closer to a Battle of Manchester with Anthony Crolla in April. For Simpson, one of British boxingís ultimate warriors in years gone by, he will be hoping to be competitive and not taste the canvas as he did last time out against Tommy Coyle.
Paul Appleby (19-5, 11 KOs) will be hoping that experience and work-rate will prove too much for the slick and elusive style of Scott Cardle (13-0, 2 KOs) in an eight round contest. The unbeaten Cardle is looking to use Appleby as the ideal stepping stone to domestic title contention while Appleby is aiming to prove his best days are not behind him.
Scottish fight fans will get to see a glimpse of 2012 Olympic Medallists Anthony Joshua (4-0, 4 KOs) and Anthony Ogogo (4-0, 2 KOs). The latter, promoted by Golden Boy, faces Greg OíNeill (3-1, 1 KO) over six rounds at middleweight while the towering heavyweight, Joshua, will be aiming to be a lot more polished against Hector Avila (22-15, 14 KOs), also over six rounds, than he was last time against Dorian Darch.
Former amateur star, Martin J Ward has his eighth professional contest against Craig Woodruff whilst the remainder of the card is filled with various Scottish boxing prospects. David Brophy (9-0-1), Michael Roberts (13-0, 1 KO), Scott Allan (1-0), Ryan Collins (6-0, 2 KOs) and debutant Ryan Smith will all be aiming to show their home fans that the future is bright once the Ricky Burns fairytale has reached its conclusion.
ĎMan of Steelí Ė Burns vs. Crawford is now officially SOLD OUT.
The show will be broadcast on Sky Sports 2 and Sky Sports 2 HD from 7pm.
This week Livefight has brought you interviews with some of the leading lights from the ĎMan of Steelí show as we endeavour to bring our readers top to bottom coverage of all major UK shows. Below are the links to all nine interviews from our build-up for this Saturday nightís show in Glasgow.
Billy Nelson: Burns will leave no doubts in the judges minds
John Simpson: Iím a handful for anyone from 122lbs to 135lbs
Appleby aiming for Crolla after Cardle fight
Michael Roberts closing in on British Super Featherweight title shot
Brophy eager to join the Brit-pack at super middleweight
Wildcard sparring convinced Cardle to take Appleby fight
ĒIíve got a chip on my shoulder,Ē says John Murray
Ex-kickboxing champion Scott Allan aiming for similar success in boxing
Unbeaten Ryan Collins looking to emulate Burns success
Eddie Hearn urges Schaeffer to make Khan Brook with him
Kugan chats to Matchroom Boxing's Eddie Hearn about Saturday's "Man Of Steel" show featuring the WBO lightweight defence by Ricky Burns against Terence Crawford:
Billy Nelson talks Beltran, Gonzalez and Crawford
Trainer Billy Nelson talks about Ricky Burns previous opponents Beltran and Gonzalez, and underlines that this is the biggest and hardest fight that Crawford has been involved in to date - and that will be the key come Saturday night.
Burns vs Crawford press conference VIDEO
Ricky Burns vs Terrence Crawford press conference video, courtesy of IFLTV :-
"I know Burns is going to come in shape and ready to fight, I know you saying you had good sparring, but we are gonna be ready for Saturday night - so may the best man win" said Terrence Crawford today at the final press conference today in Scotland.
Meanwhile the champion was in confident mood, adding that "I'm ready for whatever Crawford brings, it's gonna be a good night." said Burns.
That confidence was echoed by long time trainer Billy Nelson, who feels it's right up there with one of the best training camps that Ricky has had to date.
"I know it's an old clichť, but this camp has been fantastic" he said.
"The variation and the quality of sparring, has been the best we have ever had and each week Ricky has gotten progressively better, all to peak for Saturday night and it's a fight we are really looking forward to, and we are going to be victorious on Saturday night."
Pernell Whitaker evicts his own heartbroken mother
Former millionaire Pernell Whittaker evicts his own heartbroken mother from the home he bought her over 30 years ago.
Press play to watch:
John Simpson: I'm a handful for anyone from 122lbs to 135lbs
John Simpson isnít a fighter who complains often. The 30 year old just puts on his gloves and gets on with it. Throw any of Britainís best from featherweight to lightweight and the Scot will get the head down and work his backside off.
Lately though, he would like a bit more notice for fightsÖ
Last November, Simpson (25-10, 11 KOs) stepped in at a few weeks notice to rescue Matchroom Boxingís televised show at the Ice Arena in Hull. That night, home town hero Tommy Coyle was due to be facing former world champion Gavin Rees but the Welshman pulled out after suffering an elbow injury in training. Coyle would become only the second man to stop Simpson, albeit it at lightweight.
ďI reckon if I had a longer camp Iíd have beat Tommy Coyle,Ē Simpson told Livefight recently.
ďTommy was training for Gavin Rees and had a 12 week camp, I only had three so it would have helped to have been that bit sharper and that bit stronger. If I had a longer camp I could have built up to the weight and I said post-fight that I couldíve done that but I never had enough time with things like sparring. I reckon Iíd have beat Coyle but weíll never know now. He beat me and thatís it. The shots he stopped me with were heavy shots but they werenít hurting me. When I went down I got right back up again. I was fine on my feet when the referee stopped it too soon. I was ready to go again but he stopped it which I was pissed off about but thereís nothing I can do.Ē
Once again, Matchroom have turned to Simpson to strengthen an undercard that was weakened when the Cruiserweight grudge match between Stephen Simmons and Wadi Camacho had to be called off after Simmons suffered a rib injury.
This time Simpson has had a little bit more time to prepare for what he admits will be a hard night against former world lightweight title challenger John Murray (32-2, 19 KOs) on a bill topped by Ricky Burns WBO World Lightweight title defence against American slickster Terence Crawford.
ďIíve had a wee bit more time. Iíve had about two weeks more time which has done me good,Ē said Simpson.
ďSaying that Iíve been training since the first week in January just ticking over. And since I got told about the fight I had that two weeks more. I was fit before I started training for this one. Iím a good way in front of everything compared to last time.
ďI was on the bill then I was put off it and then I didnít know what was happening. I was training away and then I got asked about the Burns show and I thought Ďbugger ití because I was training anyway so Iíve only needed these last couple of weeks to get fitter.Ē
And being fit is the very least he will have to be when he faces the formidable Mancunian mauler that is John Murray. A former English, British and European champion, Murray is looking to rebuild after a sustained period out of the sport. Since his one-sided loss, to Brandon Rios, at Madison Square Garden in 2011 the 29 year old has seen just four rounds of action in a win against the unheralded Michael Escobar last November. A positive that Simpson is taking ahead of their fight on Saturday night.
ďThe good thing I can take from this Murray fight is that heís only been in the ring once in two years and that was for four rounds and he took a hard time in the Rios fight as well. Youíve got to look at the positives.
ďI know itís gonna be a tough nightís work. Itís nothing Iím not used to, Iíve done it all before as has John Murray and heís been further than me boxing at a higher level. I donít really judge people, youíve always got to take them that theyíll be at their best and thatís what Iíll be doing. If Murray is at his best itís going to be a right tough night but I can handle it. Iím strong myself, Iím tough as well so I think itíll be a good fight to be honest. If I turn up on the night thereís a very good chance Iíll win.Ē
A win would unexpectedly put Simpson in the thick of things in one of Britainís most talented weight classes. The Scot had been planning to campaign at featherweight, with old trainer Billy Nelson, at the turn of 2014 but offers were scarce. Short notice or not, he is more than happy to take this fight at lightweight and he insists heís not going in just to make up the numbers.
ďIím gonna be a handful for anybody from lightweight down to super bantamweight,Ē said Simpson.
ďIím tough, Iíve got a work-rate and Iíll give anyone a hard time. I felt in the Coyle fight I hurt him a few times in the fourth or fifth round as well. I was competing and the shots that put me down didnít exactly separate me. He was obviously ahead on points but I only got a few weeks notice. I could compete at lightweight but I think my natural weight would be featherweight. If I beat John then I would see if I could grow into the weight and if the right opportunity came up then Iíd jump at it.Ē
He may have turned 30 and been involved in some of British boxingís most exciting fights in recent years but thereís no sign of Simpson slowing down.
ďI feel fresh. I surprise myself sometimes with every camp I go into for a fight. When Iím not training I enjoy myself. In training Iím 100% and I donít feel Iíve lost it. If I had more time itíd be better but Iíve not so youíve just go to get on with it. My sparringís been going well and so has my training so thatís what Iím taking with me into the fight.
ďIím ready to go and Iím looking forward to it. Iím looking forward to getting back in the ring again. Itíll be a good feeling walking to the ring especially in front of a home crowd.Ē
'Man of Steel' Ė Burns v Crawford at Glasgow's SECC is now SOLD OUT.
The bill we be shown live and exclusively from 7pm on Sky Sports and Sky Sports HD.
Appleby aiming for Crolla after Cardle fight
Paul Appleby is only 26 years old. It feels like heís been around forever. In 2008, the Scot picked up the award for Young British Boxer of the Year from the Boxing Writers Guild which came just a few months after winning the British Featherweight title, one month shy of his 21st birthday. That night he and compatriot John Simpson fought out a tight-knit twelve rounds with Appleby getting the nod.
Over four years later, Simpson would avenge that loss by stopping Appleby in the sixth round of their Celtic Super Featherweight title contest in Glasgow. It was savage, it was gruelling and a phone box would have been more fitting for them than a square ring. Appleby was taken to hospital shortly afterwards after being sick on his way home that night. Thankfully, Paul was on the mend in no time but was forced to take over a year out of the sport.
Ahead of his eight-round contest, at lightweight, this Saturday night against prospect Scott Cardle in the undercard of Ricky Burns vs. Terence Crawford, Livefight asked Appleby (19-5, 11 KOs) if he had contemplated retiring after that nasty defeat to Simpson.
ďNah, not really because I kind of knew I didnít do certain things right for that fight and that I had more to offer. I never ever thought about walking away because I was only 24 at the time. From that day on I said to myself ĎIím never gonna go in the ring if Iím not 100% with my weightí which I didnít do right against Simpson. I was just a bit upset but looking back; things happen for a reason and itís made me train even harder. Itís made me hungry again. And being in hospital you have time to think and I said if Iím gonna come back Iím gonna give it my all and train hard and never be in that position ever again.Ē
Since his enforced hiatus, Appleby has come back to boxing with a close win on points over six rounds against a (2-4-0) Lee Connelly and an even closer six-round points defeat to the then (6-0) Philip Bowes in the December of last year. The latter being a result that still irks Appleby a few months on.
ďMy first fight back against [Lee] Connelly, Iíd been out for a year but that last fight against BowesÖ I thought I won every single round and most people did too. The only reason I didnít get the decision was because it was on his home patch. He boxed like a journeyman, he was trying to survive. Even his manager and stuff werenít saying too much afterwards but hinted that I won the fight. 2013 was good to just get the rust away with a couple of fights. Everythingís went perfect in training for this one and this is the best Iíve felt in a long, long time.Ē
Appleby is adamant that 2014 will be his year. With the Ďrustí shaken off he is now eyeing a full-assault on Britainís best at 135lbs. The South Queensferry boxer is extremely confident of overcoming the obstacle presented by Cardle (13-0, 2 KOs) on Saturday night but at the same time is fully aware of the magnitude of the fight because of the loss to Bowes.
ďItís massive. Iíve put everything into this fight, itís massive for me. I have to win. I canít lose, I need to win. Iíll give it my all like I always do. I know Iím going to win because Iíve never trained like this before. My weightís spot-on, it has never been this good. Iím ready for anything.Ē
And when discussing what Cardle had to offer, Appleby said: ďHeís looked good in everything heís done so far but heís not boxed anyone at a good level so far. I expect, well I think heís just going to try and move all the time like he usually does. He runs and moves a lot but Iíve prepared for that. Iíll deal with that no problem, Iíve been training for a long time for this fight.Ē
Since returning to his former trainer, Terry McCormack, last year at the Lochend ABC in Ediburgh his love for boxing has returned. His goals are high and he isnít worried about what his body has been through against the likes of Simpson (twice), Martin Lindsay, Joseph Laryea, Liam Walsh and Stephen Ormond. In fact, the bubbly Appleby told LF ďI feel brilliant. I actually feel like Iím 18 again.Ē
By the end of the year, Appleby is expecting to be in the British top ten at 135lbs and knocking on the door of a domestic title shot. Champion Martin Gethin is in his sights but heís keen to take care of a slightly bigger profile beforehand.
ďIíd like to fight [Anthony] Crolla because to be honest I think heís a bit over rated. Once I beat Cardle Iíd like to fight Crolla right after or whenever because I think Iím too big for him. Heís a good little boxer. I just think heís a bit over rated.
ď2014 is gonna be my year and nothingís gonna stop me.Ē
Man of Steel Ė Burns v Crawford at Glasgow's SECC is now SOLD OUT.
The bill we be shown live and exclusively from 7pm on Sky Sports and Sky Sports HD.