Bellew v Chilmba: Post fight press conference quotes
Tony Bellew’s hopes of challenging WBC light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson suffered a major blow last night as the British champion was held to a split draw by skilful, tricky Malawian Isaac Chilemba in their final elimination clash at Liverpool's Echo Arena.
Bellew, 19-1-1 (12), may have complained bitterly about the result but the majority of press and a large number of fans – most of whom know and like Bellew – had Chilemba, 20-1-2 (9), taking a close but clear decision courtesy of an excellent defence and some nicely picked counter punches. Bellew, 30, was always the aggressor but seemed one paced and lacking in ideas. Although never remotely hurt by his African opponent I felt that he found himself frustrated and, at times, outboxed.
“Deep down I could have done more,” an upset Bellew said at the post fight press conference. “I’d like to do an immediate rematch but deep down do I think I did enough? Yeah, I do.
“I’ve learned an awful lot. I’ve learned I’ve a lot more to do and that there’s a lot more to come. It was possibly the trickiest fight I’ve had. One minute he comes forward and the next he’s on the back foot. I hurt him a few times and he didn’t show it. He’s canny and he’s clever but I just believe I’m a better fighter than him and I could have shown a lot more to my game. I really do.
“I could have gone through the gears more and at times really put my foot on the gas. There are a lot of people out there and some will think I won, some might think I lost and some might think it was a draw so the best thing for me to do is have a couple of days off, get right back in the gym and get an immediate rematch.”
Chilemba was more quietly spoken but equally aggrieved by the verdict. The 25 year old was certain that he did enough to win and maintained that only a bout of the flu prevented him from bringing matters to an early end.
“I’m very unhappy with the result,” he said. “I believe I fought the best I could. The first round I give him but from the second round to the twelfth I believe I was on top of the guy. I don’t believe there was any way he could get a draw.
“This has happened before. I fought a guy in his home ground and they made it a draw [against Thomas Oosthuizen in November 2010] and this really disappoints me. The last time it happened I got over it because I knew the politics behind it but this is one step away from fighting Chad Dawson and I want a rematch. I don’t want it here in Liverpool though. I don’t care where, Japan or anywhere, just not in the UK.
“Since yesterday morning [Friday] I had the flu and couldn’t breathe properly. My manager was worried and wanted maybe to stop the fight but I knew I had this guy. Every time I stepped in to throw more punches my chest was burning, I couldn’t breathe through my nose and I had to use my mouth throughout the fight.
“Everybody witnessed it. I showed that I won the fight. I threw more punches than him and I caught him with almost every punch I threw.
“Everybody saw how many punches he missed. It’s a twelve round fight and he caught me a couple of times but I hit him with maybe ten times as many punches than he caught me.”
Bellew and Chilemba are probably the only people involved with last night’s promotion who would look forward to an immediate rematch. Chilemba’s skill may have earned the admiration of knowledgeable boxing fans but it is highly unlikely that the scores of fans heading for the exits after only five rounds would be willing to pay to see him fight again. Bellew’s promoter Eddie Hearn will also be concerned that thrilling attacks that characterised Bellew’s rise to prominence have been missing since he forayed into a higher class.
Hearn seemed to acknowledge the need for a rethink and spoke about the possibility of taking a different route up the mountain.
“Stylistically it was always gonna be like that but when you get the chance to become mandatory challenger you want to make the fight. I think that for what was on the line, he needed to do more to win the fight outright,” a subdued Hearn said. “You could have made an argument for him but I felt that he needed to do more when a world title chance was on the line.
“On that performance maybe he isn’t ready for a Chad Dawson so maybe it’s the best thing to go away again and learn more again and perhaps come back better. He [Chilemba] is very quick, slick and difficult to nail. I just felt Tony gave him the middle of the ring. Everything was working well in the first two or three rounds when he had the middle, he gave it to Chilemba and the fight changed.
“He’s mandatory challenger for the European title against [Juergen] Braehmer but that isn’t going to happen because he’s got Nathan Cleverly but he could potentially fight for the European title.”
Bellew came through relatively unscathed and could possibly return on one of the big Matchroom shows scheduled for May in a ten rounder. Hopefully, he can remind people just how exciting he can be.
Bomber Bellew held to draw in hometown
Bellew and Chilemba box to disappointing draw at Echo Arena
By Michael J Jones
After a bad-tempered build-up to their light-heavyweight title fight, Tony Bellew and Isaac Chilemba boxed to a draw in ther twelve round fight.
The contest, for the WBC Silver belt, failed to ignite as "Bomber" boxed carefully behind his jab while the South African appeared tentative for much of the early rounds.
Thirty-year-old Bellew, now 19-1-1 (12) looked to hold a solid lead entering the championship rounds but, after a thorough ticking off in his corner by Buddy McGirt, Chilemba eventually picked up the pace.
The now 20-1-2 (9) Chilemba mounted some decent attacks as Tony appeared to run out of ideas a little in the final few rounds, however most still had the taller Liverpool fighter winning by a clear margin.
The judges though had other ideas scoring 116-112 to Chilemba, 116-115 to Bellew and a final 114-114 even. It was a result which divided many after the forgettable contest.
It was the second straight drawn contest of the bill following the Mathews-Crolla rematch.
A second meeting between Bellew and Chilemba surely beckons though Tony is currently scheduled to defend his British crown in May against old foe Bob Ajisafe.
At the previous day's weigh-in Bellew was a pound heavier at 174lbs.
Crolla and Mathews box to thrilling draw at Liverpool
By Michael J Jones
Old foes Derry Mathews and Anthony Crolla didn’t disappoint in their eagerly-anticipated rematch. The twelve-round contest for the vacant Commonwealth lightweight title saw the judges unable to split the two men at the end of a spirited encounter where both had their moments.
The early rounds proved hard to score but the home fighter appeared to dominate the middle rounds before Crolla stepped up his work-rate to sweep the late rounds as Derry tired.
After suffering the first stoppage defeat of his career nearly a year ago to “Dirty” Derry, Crolla came out noticeably weary early on in the bout. Hands high and moving constantly, “Million Dollar” would prove hard to tag for much of the twelve closely-contested rounds as he refused to get drawn into another toe-to-toe battle.
Home-favourite Matthews, roared on by his passionate Liverpool fans, pressed after his mobile foe aggressively as the fans watched the chess-match unfold.
While his movement and defence was excellent, Manchester’s Crolla wasn’t punching enough in the first half of the fight. I edged the first to him by a narrow margin but Derry came right back to take the second with some solid punches.
Crolla had a good first minute of the third as he opened up to riddle 29-year-old Mathews with neat little combinations but Derry fired right back as the fight started coming to life.
The fourth I scored even as Crolla scored with an excellent jab, Mathews again returned fire with some meaty shots downstairs. The rounds were proving hard to score but Derry was always forcing the action on the back-pedalling Crolla.
The experienced scouser pressed the action hard in the fifth as Crolla stuck to his boxing and moving once more. A head clash early in the next had Anthony looking uncomfortable as a cut appeared over his eye. Smelling blood, Mathews chased his bleeding foe the remainder of the session to bag a clear round.
The Liverpool slugger kept in the driver’s seat in the next two as he took firm control of the bout. Crolla simply wasn’t punching enough as Mathews out-muscled him in every exchange.
Crolla and his corner must have sensed he was a way behind for the ninth which he won well despite taking a huge Mathews right midway through the round. The punch smashed into the 25-year-old’s head, who kidded he wasn’t hurt before getting stuck back in.
Between the ninth and tenth rounds, Joe Gallagher screamed at his fighter “we need the last three rounds”. Credit to Crolla who did just that.
With Mathews starting to tire, the younger man started opening up with neat combinations. Crolla planted his feet to throw three’s and four’s before skipping away to avoid any counters from the puffy-eyed scouser.
Derry seemed hurt momentarily from a left hook to his ribs but quickly shrugged the shot off to mount another assault on his elusive opponent.
Before the last, it appeared to many that the final round may decide the winner of the whole fight. The two men embraced warmly before the final bell but got straight down to business.
Crolla appeared far fresher in the last three minutes but Derry poured every ounce of strength left to keep the punches coming. Crolla again rattled off the more eye-catching punches but Derry raised his hands in triumph before lashing a right at his great rival.
As the bell came to end this memorable fight, the two tired warriors showed their mutual respect again by embracing. Referee for the bout Howard Foster asked for a round of applause for the two men before the verdict was announced. It may not have been the heart-stopping slugfest of the first encounter but it was still a tense and enjoyable fight between two solid operators.
Both men appeared to think they had done enough but the judges scored 115-113 Mathews, the same score for Crolla while the third tallied the even 115-115 draw. After the fight, my first thought was Mathews had edged it but my card actually read 115-114 to Crolla. It was that kind of contest.
Surely we can expect a third fight between the two for this summer with the still-vacant Commonwealth title on the line once more?
Mathews is now 32-8-2 (17) while Anthony is 25-4-1 (9). At the weigh in the day earlier, Mathews scaled 134¾lbs to Crolla’s 134½lbs.
Fielding destroys Reed
By Michael J Jones
Rocky Fielding won his grudge match with Sheffield's Wayne Reed tonight to retain his English title and remain unbeaten at the Echo Arena, Liverpool.
Reed came out punching from his southpaw stance in the opening moments but walked onto some huge shots from Rocky and was lucky to make it through the first round. The champion couldn't seem to miss with his short left hook to Reed's chin.
Action settled in the next few rounds but it was always Liverpool's tall Fielding who looked the boss in exchanges.
Reed was dropped at the end of the fifth by an uppercut and then finished in the next with a great body-shot.
Fielding raises his record to 13-0 (7) while the beaten fighter dips to 10-6 (5).
Rocky can't be far off a shot at the British title after another big-hitting display.
Jazza Dickens beats Fernandes for English title
Jazza Dickens out-scores Fernandes to lift first title
By Michael J Jones
Liverpool prospect James "Jazza" Dickens won the vacant English super-bantamweight title tonight with a tough points win over game co-challenger Jon Fernandes at the Echo Arena.
The judges scored 99-92 and 99-91 (twice) to raise Dickens record to 14-0 (6) but the talented local was made to work for his title win.
After dropping Southampton's Fernandes in the first with a big left hand, the 21-year-old scouser became guilty of lunging in as things became rough. Fernandes weathered the storm and boxed defensively for the next few sessions as Dickens loaded up on his power-punches.
Fernandes bravely fought back in the middle rounds and in the sixth, took a another big left but came back to rip the younger man's body with a sapping left hook.
The bout became messy in the later rounds but generally southpaw Dickens kept in front with some thumping right hooks and his sharp left. Both were warned several times to clean things up but the ref's warnings failed to tidy the contest up.
Fernandes did well to recover from that dreadful start to make a real fight of it down the stretch. He drops to 10-1 (2) and remains the Southern Area champion.
Both prospects would have learned much from this scrappy, yet entertaining, contest.
Dickens, sporting a black eye even before the first bell, seemed too pumped up before the fight and fought accordingly. He still won comfortably against a capable opponent.
Bellew vs Chilemba weigh in video
By @Kugan Casius
iFilm London bring you the weigh-in for Tony Bellew vs Isaac Chilemba, who do battle tomorrow night in Liverpool.
Seth Mitchell Exclusive. Defeat and Redemption
As the UK’s search for a heavyweight capable of unseating the Klitschko brothers becomes ever more complicated, there is an eerily similar hunt taking place across the Atlantic.
For David Price and Tyson Fury read Seth Mitchell and Deontay Wilder. Six months ago, Price and Mitchell were seen as the sure things of an exciting generation of young heavyweight vying to succeed the Klitschko’s whilst Fury and Wilder were seen as the exciting but vulnerable wildcards. Boxing would be boring if it were so predictable.
Two high profile stoppage defeats later, Price and Mitchell must rebuild and Fury and Wilder are being touted as the division’s big hopes. In the fickle world of boxing last years probables have become this years possibles.
He may have entered the sport with relatively little experience but Mitchell, 25-1 (19), is getting a crash course in the intricacies of modern professional boxing.
The heavy handed 30 year old from Maryland rose to prominence by recording a series of exciting knockouts and encountered the hype only an aggressive, unbeaten American heavyweight can generate. Then - last November - Mitchell entered the ring to fight Jonathon Banks.
Five minutes and 37 seconds later, Mitchell had lost his ‘0’ and his status as America’s ‘man most likely’. In subsequent months, his losing run has continued. The opportunity of an immediate rematch slipped away as Banks suffered a broken thumb in training and HBO’s decision to dispense with the services of Golden Boy Promotions means that – for the time being – Mitchell is without a TV deal.
“It’s frustrating that fights keep getting postponed. You prepare hard for a fight and then something happens and you have to delay,” Mitchell told me recently. “It’s part of boxing though. I have to deal with it, stay in shape and stay ready for when my name is called.
“I don’t think it’ll affect me [the TV situation]. As long as I take care of business in my next fight I’ll still get on the networks and I believe it’ll be Showtime from now on. I was surprised when I heard the statement that HBO made but I don’t have anything bad to say about them. I had a lot of fun fighting on their network and they’re good people. It was good while it lasted and we’ll see what the future holds but right now I believe my next fight will be with Showtime and I’m looking forward to it.
“From what I hear all roads still lead to the rematch [with Banks]. I’m preparing for it and excited about it and I believe that fight will take place sometime in June.”
An immediate rematch allows Mitchell to instantly redeem himself. The alternative is to constantly have the name Jonathon Banks hovering over everything he does, no matter how impressive.
“My sentiments exactly,” he agrees. “Jonathon Banks did what he had to do that night and I definitely learned a lot from the fight. The important thing is that I didn’t make any excuses. I didn’t say it was a lucky punch or anything like that, I just said ‘let’s do it again! I want a rematch right now.’ That’s the type of fighter and person that I am.”
Price also gets his shot at redemption on July 6th when he faces his conqueror Tony Thompson in a rematch and Mitchell has some words of support for his transatlantic rival.
“It’s definitely a crazy sport. The thing I would say to him is not to worry about the critics. Just learn from what happened. As long as he learns he’ll be alright. This is a sport where you’re only as good as your last fight.
“I don’t know him personally so I don’t know if he felt like he couldn’t be touched or anything like that but if that was the case, that’s what he has to learn from that experience. Anybody can be beaten on any given night.”
Whenever a heavyweight prospect gets beaten the critics and, it must be said, us fans instantly lower the ceiling on their potential. Should – heaven forbid – that defeat be a stoppage then the limits are lowered even further. Price’s team refute the claim that their man has a weak chin and stand by their claim that Thompson landed a freak punch in a particularly susceptible area. Mitchell agrees that every knockout isn’t what it immediately seems.
“Especially in the heavyweight division if you get caught right……..” Mitchell begins before he trails off. “The thing with Jonathon Banks…..it doesn’t even have to be a hard punch. I got hit in the temple. It wasn’t as if I was out on my feet but he stayed on me and I was fine as soon as the ref said the fight was over. It wasn’t as if I had a concussion or anything. I don’t make excuses. He did what he was supposed to do but any time you get hit, especially in the heavyweight division, it can be over. That doesn’t mean you have a glass chin.
“You’ve gotta have thick skin in this business too. The critics are gonna be out there. I just take it all in my stride. I never thought that I couldn’t be beaten, I just have to get better. I can’t wait to get back in the ring though. I promise you, you’re all gonna be impressed.
“Even before the defeat I knew why I was getting all the praise and it was because of what I was doing and I never got on my high horse. I’m a humble guy and that helped me deal with the defeat better than if I was one of those guys that walked around thinking I was invincible or would never have a bump in the road. That can destroy fighters but it’s not the case with me. It’s not a bad thing if you learn from it and I truly believe I’ve learned from my defeat.”
Mitchell brings excitement to the heavyweight division. In an era dominated by tall, rangy Europeans his seek and destroy attitude to proceedings should be welcomed. It would be a crime not to learn from a defeat but while some fighters understandably react to a loss by obsessing on the eradicating their faults, they succeed only in neglecting the qualities which led to their initial success.
Thankfully, Mitchell isn’t going to curb his aggressive style but does acknowledge the need to polish it.
“I won’t be making major changes, just being a smarter fighter. I know what I’m blessed with and that’s speed and power,” he states. “I’m a very aggressive by nature be it when I was playing football or just competing in general. It’s just knowing that sometimes you have to take your time just a little bit more. I’m still gonna be a fighter that comes forward and puts on exciting fights for the fans but you’ll definitely see a smarter fighter.
“You’re never gonna see me out there doing the Muhammad Ali stuff and trying to move around like that!” laughs Mitchell. “I’ll be working on my fundamentals like balance and not reaching and lunging as much. These are things I knew before the Jonathon Banks fight but sometimes you’ve gotta go through adversity in order for a change to really happen.”
In the current heavyweight climate it would be no surprise at all if Mitchell ended the year once again being feted as a future heavyweight champion. Just don’t expect him to get carried away by it.
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Can Bellew chin Chilemba to pave way for Chad Dawson shot? Echo Arena full preview
By Michael J Jones
Bet Fairs “No Retreat, No Surrender” promises to light up Liverpool
It promises to be a massive night at the Echo Arena, Liverpool tomorrow (March 30th) as the cream of the City’s talent is on display in Merseyside.
Topping the bill is a tasty-looking match-up between fiery local Tony Bellew and South African visitor Isaac Chilemba. The bout goes ahead over twelve rounds to contest the WBC Silver light-heavyweight belt with the winner expected to take on WBC full champion Chad Dawson later in the year.
Bellew, 19-1 (12), has won three straight since a close majority decision loss to bitter Welsh rival Nathan Cleverly 15 months ago. Both claim the other camp refused a rematch but telling was Bellew’s prompt split with promoter Frank Warren. Now promoted by Eddie Hearn, Tony’s career has been on an upward curve since the move.
The former ABA heavyweight champion was seen as a sometimes reckless puncher early in his career but has tightened up defensively in recent fights and has made no secret of his desire to make a mark on the world stage.
Since the WBO defeat by Cleverly, 30-year-old Tony has impressively beaten Danny McIntosh to retain the British crown before defeating the experienced duo of Edison Miranda (KO9) and Italian Roberto Bolonti (W12). Bellew overcame a bad cut to dominate Bolonti, winning every round on two of the judges’ scorecards (the third judge gave one round to the ItALian).
The big-punching Scouser, who says he’s “willing to die” to beat his co-challenger, seems to have his hands full with Chilemba though.
A solid 20-1-1 (9), Chilemba is five years younger at 25 and is a solid and experienced fighter. Trained by Buddy McGirt, the South African is full of confidence coming into the bout and holds no fear of taking on Bellew in the lion’s den of Liverpool.
The only blemishes on the “Golden Boy’s” record were an avenged early six-round points defeat and a draw with fellow SA prospect Thomas Oosthuizen, which is absolutely no disgrace.
Many are pointing to Isaac’s bout with Maxim Vlasov two years ago as hope for a Bellew stoppage victory. Chilemba was dropped twice and hurt before rallying to out-point the tough Russian over ten rounds. There’s no doubt Bellew hits harder than Vlasov, but then again Bellew has also been down in past fights to lesser men than Vlasov.
Chilemba has also beaten Miranda, clearly out-scoring the Columbian dangerman over ten rounds last year (seven months before Bellew stopped him).
Can the home-fighter take out the visitor Saturday night?
Expect 6’2½” Bellew to come out cautiously at the start of this intriguing contest. The early rounds should prove a chess-match but sooner or later Bellew will land a heavy right or left hook to alter the course of the bout.
Roared on by his home fans, Bellew should score a knock-down or two before winning a narrow decision in what could be a bloody tactical battle.
Chief support sees the highly-anticipated rematch between lightweight warriors Derry Mathews and Anthony Crolla.
Just over a year ago in Oldham the two served up a treat for the fans with a barn-storming fight eventually won by “Dirty” Derry at the close of the sixth. With the victory, Mathews ripped away Crolla’s British title which he would later lose in a rematch with Welsh nemesis Gavin Rees.
Both have fought on the same card on two occasions since. Last October both were eliminated in the semi-finals of the latest edition on Prizefighter; Derry to (eventual winner) Terry Flannigan and Crolla to old foe Gary Sykes.
The two rivals would then score victories at Bowler’s in Manchester last December. While Mathews wiped out journeyman Asan Yuseinov in the first, Crolla was in another fight of the year contender when out-pointing Kieran Farrell over ten pulsating rounds to lift the English belt. Farrell was later rushed to hospital with bleeding on the brain and told he’d never box again.
The respective wins take their records to 32-8-1 (17) for Mathews and 25-4 (9) for “Million Dollar”.
The two are said to be friends outside the ring but their last fight was an absolute war as Crolla suffered his first stoppage defeat. Coming off a knock-out loss to unbeaten Italian Emiliano Marsili, Mathews proved the critics wrong again and looked stronger than ever shrugging off some punishing shots to head and body to over-power the younger man. Down in the third, Crolla was rocked to his boots at the end of the sixth and rescued by the ref; some even said prematurely.
The vacant Commonwealth match should prove to be another thriller and it’s very hard to pick a winner with any degree of certainty.
Crolla was sucked into a toe-to-toe match last time but I feel this time he’ll try and pick off Derry behind the jab and work his body to drag the fight into the later rounds. Mathews, who knows he has the power to hurt Anthony, will look to press the action from the start to unload his heavy right-hand.
Either man could win and it could come down to who has the better tactics on the night, however, I lean towards Matthews to prevail by a tight and competitive decision.
Also on the card are two English title bouts scheduled for ten rounds.
The first pits champion Rocky Fielding against Sheffield’s Wayne Reed at super-middleweight.
Former Prizefighter champion Fielding, 25 (the same age as the challenger), won the belt last October with a tough stoppage of game Carl Dilks and is favoured to retain via a similar result.
Reed at 10-5 (5) has been stopped three times in his career already (the last time by British champion Kenny Anderson). He may have success early with his southpaw style but ultimately expect the tall local to prove too big and strong. Reed will be halted between the fifth and seventh by the heavy-handed champion.
James “Jazza” Dickens contests his first title on the bill when he faces fellow unbeaten Jon Fernandes in the second English title fight on the bill.
Dickens, just 21-years-old, has impressed greatly in his short career with a mixture of flashy offensive fighting and old-school hard graft. He lives like a monk and trains like a Spartan in his quest to fulfil his enormous potential. He certainly has done little wrong so far at a perfect 13-0 (5).
Nobody should underestimate Fernades though who last November won the Southern Area title with a solid ten-round win over Jamie Speight. The 10-0 (2) Southampton prospect will be coming to win and will more than fancy his chances of upsetting the local prospect.
In a good little super-bantamweight clash, look for “Jazza” to come through his toughest test yet with a late stoppage.
Also on the bill, flashy former amateur star Khalid Yafai has his toughest contest to date when he takes on durable South African Michael Ramabeletsa over eight rounds.
A pro only eight months, Birmingham’s Yafai has wrecked all in his path to date at 7-0 (6) and looks a potential star of the future. He hasn’t been given an easy foe for his first eight rounder though.
Ramabeletsa has only been stopped once in his 8-9 (4) career and has a misleading record. Since basing himself in the UK (Bristol), the 30-year-old South African has been thrown to the lions with short-notice bouts against some of the best prospects in Britain.
Confident Michael also causes the occasional upset such as when he stopped Ross Burkinshaw in five and can navigate the distance, though one feels “Kal” will sweep at least six of the eight rounds to take a deserved verdict.
Down the card is former amateur star Thomas Stalker who has his second pro fight against Gloucester’s Andrew Harris. The two actually turned pro on the same night of February 23rd but Harris has lost all three bouts whereas Stalker impressively beat super-journeyman Kris Laight over four rounds in his only pro fight to date.
Harris has never been stopped but that could easily change against the heavy-handed southpaw Saturday night.