News March 2018

British Champion Sam Sexton talks Hughie Fury clash & gives HW predictions

24.03.2018

By Michael J Jones


THE BRITISH heavyweight scene is absolutely buzzing at the moment and is set to seriously catch fire in the next two months as a series of explosive clashes take place on UK soil. Dillian Whyte vs Lucas Browne is coming later this evening while one week after is the big unification bout between Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker. On the latter bill, former British champion David Price looks to cause an upset against Russian puncher Alexander Povetkin while into May we have the belated rematch between Tony Bellew and David “Hayemaker” Haye.

Just after the last said contest is another intriguing title fight when reigning British heavyweight champion Sam Sexton faces once-beaten Hughie Fury in a dangerous first defence of the title he lifted last October. Facing the younger, bigger Gary Cornish on away turf in Edinburgh, Sexton overcame a few rocky moments to pound out a deserved unanimous decision to finally become domestic champion at his third attempt.

Now 24-3 (9) it appears for the first time in years, Sexton is out of the fistic wilderness as the British champion after a solid victory on the road. Many have him as a hefty underdog against the 20-1 (10) Fury but Sexton has experience on his side and is already talking a very good and confident fight which is set to be shown live and exclusive on May 12th on Ch5.

“I welcomed the Hughie Fury fight as it was probably the biggest fight out there for me to take” the 33 year old British champion tells Livefight. “There was plenty of domestic options but many were unappealing to me. Hughie Fury is respected, highly ranked and, as this fight is on TV, there will be plenty of viewers tuning in.”

The intriguing contest, promoted by Hennessey Sports, sees the 23 year old Fury try to bounce back from a disappointing challenge to WBO champion Joseph Parker last September. Fury tried to box Parker at range but the aggressive champion kept the pressure on all night as styles clashed horribly at times.

Parker won the Manchester clash 118-110 on two cards while the third judge scored a draw making it a majority decision. Fury made big waves when he turned pro, fighting regularly and impressing but in the last two years hasn’t quite lived up to his early promise and will be desperate to beat Sexton on May 12th.

“Hughie Fury is a good fighter and I respect him” comments Sexton. “He’s very awkward and uses his height and reach to good effect. He’s 23-years-old so he’s going to be around for a while and is only going to improve.”

“He had a bad night against Parker, it was a negative fight and Parker basically chased him down. His team will be wanting to make an example of me and beat me but I also think they are all seriously under-estimating what I bring to the table.”

Fury will be the younger, fresher and bigger man on the night but the same could also be said about Scot Gary Cornish who Sexton beat last year. Although it wasn’t his finest performance it’s worth noting the Norwich man was trying to shrug off fifteen months inactivity the night he stepped into the ring for Cornish.

“One cliché I hate in boxing is ‘you’re only as good as your last fight’. I hate that saying, its total crap and I don’t understand why people say it all of the time. My last fight I wasn’t at my best, I had over a year out before the fight. I watched it back and my timing, distance and everything was off. I feel if I’d have fought a warm-up before that I could well have stopped Gary Cornish that night but a win is a win. I’m expecting to be way better in every department for this next fight.”



After turning pro in 2005, Sexton won heavyweight Prizefighter in 2008 and went on to dazzle when winning the Southern Area and Commonwealth titles. His good run was halted by Dereck Chisora who repeated an earlier victory over Sexton in the Norwich puncher’s first try at the British title.

Two years later Liverpool’s big-punching David Price stopped Sam in four rounds in his second try at the title. Isolated from his heavyweight rivals by politics and disappointment, Sexton reeled off eight consecutive victories on small hall shows but had to wait five long years for his next title chance.

“I was very close to retiring if I’m honest” reveals the 6’2” British ruler. “There were even people in my hometown who thought I was retired and I did think for a while it just wasn’t meant to be. You box on small shows and you start to think that’s your level but, since becoming champion, I feel like I’m training like a champion and I’m going to be the best I’ve ever been for Hughie Fury.”

“I know they see me as little more than a stepping stone but I really am very confident of beating Hughie Fury.”

“Fury actually turned pro on one of my undercards in Norwich. I never met him then but people I know did speak with him and they all said he’s a genuine nice bloke and as far as I’m concerned there doesn’t have to be any trash-talking for this fight…though that might change nearer the fight!”

While Fury, younger cousin of former world heavyweight champion Tyson, was hesitant and negative against Parker, talk in camp suggests Hughie will be more front-footed and aggressive against the smaller Sexton come May 12th in Bolton.

“I’ve heard he may be trying to be more aggressive but I’m not paying much attention to that really. I can’t see him radically changing his style and I’ll just see what he does on the night and take it from there. I’ve had problems and distractions all through my career and now I haven’t got the same things going on I can just train hard and look forward to the fight.”

While the British champion looks towards his own heavyweight clash, Livefight asks for his predictions for the other big fights occurring over the next couple of months starting with this weekend’s slugfest between Dillian Whyte and Aussie puncher Lucas “Big Daddy” Browne.

“I think Dillian Whyte has the advantage as he’s younger, been more active and is fighting at home (at the O2 Arena). I don’t think it’ll go early either way but I think probably Whyte will nick a decision.”

“David Price against Alexander Povetkin (on the Joshua undercard), is an interesting one. Many are writing David off and, on paper, you have to fancy Povetkin who I do rate as he’s a vicious fighter. Price has some serious power though and he could just go for broke as he’ll know it’s sink or swim for his career now and it’s all on the line. It’s not an easy pick but I still lean towards Povetkin.”

Main event on March 31st is the mouth-watering heavyweight clash between IBF, IBO and WBA Super heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and WBO rival Joseph Parker. While many are warming to a Parker upset as the fight draws nearer, Sexton is clear as to who will prevail in Cardiff.

“I know Parker has a good chin but I can’t look past Joshua winning the fight. It will be competitive, but I think Joshua will get to Parker after midway and stop him at some point.”

As a heavyweight outcast between 2012 and 2016, Sexton was virtually ignored by all of his rivals as he struggled to land a meaningful fight, but now as a British champion, many have changed their tune about a potential match against Sexton. Two men making some noise on UK shores are former amateur stars Joe Joyce and 20 year old power-puncher Daniel Dubois. Joyce has just scored his third straight KO while Dubois is currently 7-0 (7).

“I’ve seen both fight and they are looking pretty good but, for me, the jury will be out until they are matched against someone who fancies the job and will try to win. It was the same with Joshua when he turned pro. He stepped up and proved to be the goods and it will be the same when Dubois and Joyce step up.”

“I think some of the comments that come out are more from the promoters than the fighters (Joyce is promoted by David Haye), but we’ll see how they get on when the pressure is on. I watched Joyce fight his debut against Ian Lewison and he looked OK but I think Lewison made it easy for him a bit.”



Final thoughts on his fight with Hughie Fury?

“I’m 33 now and this is my time. I have finally become the British champion and I plan on keeping my belt come May 12th. I can’t afford any more slip ups I have to do all I can now starting by beating Hughie Fury on May 12th. I’m training harder than ever and I’ll be stronger, fitter and more focused than ever for Hughie Fury.”

Kevin Barry talks AJ vs Parker Unification, leaves Parker clue and questions Joshua stamina

21.03.2018

By Michael J Jones

Kevin Barry

ON MARCH 31st in Cardiff, heavyweight champions' Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker clash in the first heavyweight unification fight in seven years. Joshua will thus put his IBF, IBO and WBA Super titles on the line against fellow unbeaten Joseph Parker who currently holds the WBO strap. The match promises to be electrifying as both men are big, athletic, young heavyweights who have a combined record of 44-0 with 38 knock-outs.

The fight is part of a heavyweight rejuvenation in 2018 following WBC champion Deontay Wilder’s explosive stoppage of Luiz Ortiz with Dillian Whyte set to slug it out with Aussie bruiser Lucas Browne this weekend. There’s also a certain rematch in May between Tony Bellew and David Haye which could be another cracking fight like their first encounter.

While Watford’s Joshua emerged with credit from 2017 following a dynamic come-from-behind KO of long-time champion Wladimir Klitschko and a work-man like TKO of tough French-man Carlos Takam, Parker’s opening two defences of his WBO title drew less acclaim. The New Zealander had to contend with late substitute Razvan Cojanu last May following the late withdrawal of Hughie Fury. The decent Cojanu fiddled his way to the final bell to be beaten unanimously but it was original foe Fury who Parker would make his second defence against in Manchester a few months later.

The Fury match proved an awkward night for the WBO ruler who appeared to win a frustrating contest clearly against a negative opponent before taking the spoils by a majority decision. Although criticism has been levelled at Parker for the above performances it’s worth noting that Cojanu was a late sub’ who had sparred the champion prior to his world title defeat. Hughie Fury was a very rangy and awkward opponent who had a style that was never going to make Parker look his best.

Both were thus solid victories in testing situations as Parker’s trainer Kevin Barry acknowledges when talking to Livefight this week.

“We didn’t have a great last year and didn’t get to show what we could have but there’s an interesting story which will come out soon to explain a lot about what has been happening with Joseph Parker” the 58 year old coach tells Livefight. “You can’t look at those last two fights because, as cliché in boxing as it is, styles do make fights and the Anthony Joshua fight is a totally different proposition for Joseph Parker.”

“This has been our best camp so far, it’s been very relaxed and there’s a lot of confidence and excitement about this fight. We have always prepared well for any fight for Joseph Parker but ,for this one, there’s been even more focus and we know this is a big challenge which will bring out the very best of (Joseph Parker).”

On paper, there seems little between the 28 year old Joshua and Parker. Both were stand-out amateurs before each made their names as talented pro contenders, both men impressed the boxing world on their way to capturing their respective world titles.

The 6’4” Parker was clearly matched a lot harder than AJ when turning pro in July 2012. Just a handful of fights into his pro campaign, Parker was thrown in with the aging, but still durable, former champion Frans Botha. The tough opposition was maintained through the future champion’s heavyweight apprenticeship when overcoming hardened veterans such as Brian Minto, Sherman Williams and Carlos Takam. Parker in fact fought five times in three consecutive years from 2014 to 2016 to keep a very busy schedule.

Some will opine that Joshua beat Takam (the only mutual opponent of the two rivals), easier than Parker who won a unanimous decision over the same man two years ago. However, Takam was a late replacement in the Joshua fight (for the injured Kubrat Pulev) and was stopped prematurely in the contest last October. The challenger was not floored or staggered but was stopped controversially on his feet in the tenth round.

I point out that Joshua has proven his stamina in his last two contests when posting late stoppages in the eleventh and tenth rounds (vs Klitschko and Takam) respectively but straight-talking Kevin strongly disagrees with the notion.

“Listen, if anyone thinks Joshua doesn’t gas in fights hasn’t done their research…in fact I’d go as far to say they hadn’t done any research at all. Joshua gassed against Klitschko, then he gassed against Takam. Joseph Parker has just completed three straight twelve round fights and has no such issues (with stamina). Many people have commented that Joseph Parker’s best chance, in terms of tactics, is to drag Joshua into the fight’s second half, take him into the deep water and exploit those stamina issues.”

“You say this is Parker’s biggest ever fight but it’s both mens' biggest fight” continues Barry. “People rave about Joshua’s power but, if you were to analyse that, he usually has to hit an opponent with five or six heavy punches to get that knock-out. I’ve never seen Joseph Parker hit with two punches consecutively let alone five, so Joshua will find it very difficult to make an impression on (Parker). Don’t get me wrong, we know Parker’s chin will be tested in this fight but it will be very difficult for Joshua to unload like he has in the past.”

“I sat down with (Sky Sports head of boxing) Adam Smith for an hour yesterday, and we both said this was an excellent fight and clash of styles and can only possibly turn out to be a very exciting fight between two young, skilful heavyweight champions. Both like to throw punches and I think this will be a very good and crowd-pleasing fight.”

“Joseph Parker is in peak condition, there’s been no injuries or issues. We’ve had a fantastic camp and, health-wise, Joseph Parker is looking and feeling very good.”

The Joseph Parker team are well known in boxing circles for not looking beyond the next fight but Livefight can’t help asking the question; with so much going on in the heavyweight division at present what may be on the horizon should Parker prevail on March 31st?

“Our short-term future is to get the job done on March 31st, then we have a rematch clause which means after we beat Joshua, we’ll very likely fight him again. We are very aware that the winner of this fight has a lot of options. There’s a lot of much-needed excitement coming back to the heavyweight division which was started by Deontay Wilder’s victory over Luis Ortiz and that momentum can continue through all of this year.”

Final word on the big unification bout from Mr Barry?

“Team Joseph Parker knows this is a big task we have against Anthony Joshua, we are coming into this fight with a solid game-plan and a huge amount of confidence. This is a contest which has been on our sights for a very long time and it will be an amazing fight which will be a great one for the fans.”

Quigg Buzzing for Valdez challenge “I KNOW I'm going to knock him out”

08.03.2018

By Michael J Jones


BURY PUNCHER Scott Quigg is now a veteran of 37 fights but faces arguably the sternest test of his whole career at the Stubhub Center on Saturday night. Reigning WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez is 23-0 with nineteen knock-outs and appears to have few obvious weaknesses. A former out-standing amateur, the 27 year old Sonora star has dazzled for much of his young career and claimed the WBO belt two years ago with a KO over undefeated Matias Carlos Adrian Rueda.

The WBO ruler will be making the fourth defence against the English-man and is a big favourite for many. Quigg is undaunted in his underdog role however. The former long-time WBA super-bantamweight champion, who has only lost once to bitter rival Carl Frampton, Quigg is 3-0 on the comeback trail and is promising a huge performance come Saturday night.

Speaking exclusively to Livefight.com, the 29 year old challenger reveals all has gone well in camp for his WBO title challenge.

“Training has gone great, all the hard work is done and now all that remains now is the fight” Scott tells Livefight from California. “I've been here for ten weeks now and the camp and everything I've been working on has gone to plan.”

“Although Freddie (Roach) has only been my trainer a relatively short period of time, I've been coming over to the Wild Card since 2009 so it's not been hard to settle in. I got to know Freddie well and he said if I ever decided to come over here (to the US), he'd like to train me which is a great compliment.”

“This is the third camp we've completed together (since Quigg departed from long-time coach Joe Gallagher), and definitely the best one so far. It helps that the fight is in LA as I love it over here.”

Oscar Valdez has very fast hands, throws beautiful combination punches and hits with sharp power. None of the champion's strengths appear to be fazing his challenger though. Quigg hits with speed and power of his own and also has the edge in experience.

“I'm not giving anything away at what I can exploit when fighting Oscar Valdez, but I saw things in his last fight against Servania I feel I can use to my advantage. Servania was trying things which were working and I'd already seen certain things so I know I was right and I've got more things to work on.”

In his last fight against Genesis Servania, Valdez was given a stern argument over twelve rounds before prevailing by a unanimous decision. Servania, 29-0 going in, didn't have a huge skill-set but made up for that with a relentless and awkward style and floored Valdez for a flash knock-down in round four before shaking the champion up later in the fight.

Valdez had to dig deep before scoring a knock-down of his own and pounding out the decision victory in an exciting contest.

“I know absolutely I have the power to hurt Valdez and, trust me, I don't see this fight going the full distance as I am very confident I can stop him” says Quigg with the utmost confidence. “He will have learned from the knock-downs he suffered so I expect the very best version of Oscar Valdez on Saturday night.”


Many people are calling Valdez the house fighter for Saturday's intriguing fight but Quigg argues there will be no problems concerning “home cooking” in the big fight.

“There are no worries from my point of view. I know what I have to do. I have based myself in Los Angeles for the last three camps, so in some ways, this is my home-town too. The Californian judges have a good reputation for getting score-cards right and I'll have plenty of support on the night from my family and friends. I'm just going to to go out and do what I do so I don't think the judges will even be required.”

After impressive victories over Jose Cayetano, Viorel Simion and Oleg Yefimovych since his rise to the featherweight ranks, there seems several different avenues Quigg could have taken his career but he was adamant he wanted to step up and face Valdez.

“I've always said I want to fight the best fighters out there and be in big fights and that's what I got into boxing for” says Scott. “I want to face the best to test myself and I'll only know how good I really am if I fight the best. I respect Valdez and his team for taking this fight and I think they may have underestimated me and they'll come to regret that. He is probably the most avoided featherweight out there and that's for the reason of him being a dangerous opponent but I'm very confident I can beat him.”

The last fight Quigg was involved in which generated this kind of attention was against Irishman Carl Frampton who edged a split decision two years ago. Does the Lancashire ace see a belated rematch with Frampton should he be victorious on Saturday night?

“Listen, I'm the first to admit I got my tactics wrong against Carl Frampton but I still feel I can beat him. He went his way and I went mine (after the two men's contest), but when I beat Valdez, I'll have a world title and everyone will want to fight me. I'll be in the driving seat but, yes, a rematch could be on the cards at some stage.”

“Of my domestic rivals I'd rate (IBF champion) Lee Selby the highest and I think he's a good fighter. I really am fully concentrating at the moment on Oscar Valdez but there are scores of big fights out there once I've come through Saturday. Leo Santa Cruz could be another big fight in the near future.”

“I'd like to thank Eddie Hearn, Matchroom boxing, Bob Arum, Top Rank, Oscar Valdez for giving me an opportunity, Freddie Roach and all of the rest of 'Team Quigg' plus my fans and sponsors; JD Sports, Morson and Kratomkong. I'm absolutely buzzing for this fight and can't wait for the first bell.”

“It really doesn't bother me in the slightest being the underdog in this fight. It'll be me and him and nobody else in that ring and I'll have plenty of support in the Stubhub on the night. The Mexican's might boo me on the way into the ring but they'll be cheering me when I'm leaving I promise you.”

“I predict this will be a terrific toe-to-toe contest and I will be the winner by knock-out at some point.”


Livefight would like to thank Scott and Paul Speak for this interview and for speaking to us so near the big fight.

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