News April 2012

Natasha Jonas' April Diary for Livefight


By @TashaJonas

Since the last diary I got the great news that I've been chosen to go to the Olympic qualifying competition in China! We go on Thursday, the tournament starts on May 11th and it’s around a week long.

My nerves were gone while we were waiting to find out if we’d been chosen. They bought us all into a room and gave us a speech about how the selection process was done then they called us in one by one to tell us. I was the last to go in. The other two girls [Chantelle Cameron and Amanda Coulson] just got off after hearing and I hadn’t seen them come out. It was nerve-wracking!

I’d have liked to have thought it was gonna be me but after the thing with Sam Maxwell getting in late, until somebody actually say’s you’re going you’re never quite sure.

It’s not just an Olympic qualifying competition; it’s also the World Championships! To qualify for the Olympic Games though, I have to reach the last eight. The top ten boxers in each division will be seeded but after that it’s an open draw. I’m seeded at 64kg but because you’re only allowed to carry 75% of your accumulated points over when you change weights, I’m not seeded at 60kg.

Out of the top ten boxers who will be seeded, I’ve beaten six of them, been beaten by two and haven’t fought the other two. I think I’ve got a good chance!

The men’s team made the news recently after a couple of controversial judging decisions in their Olympic qualifier in Turkey. As for me, there have been a couple of occasions when decisions have gone the way you’d have thought but generally it tends to be ok to be honest. Everybody’s focusing on the Callum Smith decision which was upsetting because he’s my club mate as well as my GB team mate but then I look at the positives. Sam Maxwell got Selemov [former European and World champion] in the first round. Nobody would have believed that Selemov wouldn’t have reached the Olympics but he was beaten by Sam who’s hardly known. Obviously there’s the negative side with Callum not qualifying, but you’ve got to look at the positives and people are doing amazing things. People say ‘Oh Katie [Taylor] is unbeatable” but nobody’s unbeatable and Sam Maxwell proved that.

There’s been no increase in the intensity of the training since we got picked. We’ve always trained hard because we all had to train as if we we’re going to China. I’m extra motivated now because I am going.

Obviously I’m going there for myself, I wanna do well for myself and my family but I also wanna do well for the two girls that aren’t going. I wanna do them proud while I’m out there too.

See you later!!


VIDEO: Ismayl Sillakh knocked out by Grachev


By @livefight

Touted light-heavyweight prospect Ismayl Sillakh saw his undefeated record get torn up by Russian import Denis Grchev last night in Texas.

Entering the ring as an unbeaten stylist with a 17-0 record, with 13 knockouts, he bossed the tough Russian with slick boxing and combinations.

But slowly but surely as he slowed up, the Russian capitalised with hard shots of his own, culminating in a huge upset in the 8th round, after tagging Sillakh with a big right hand he backed him into the corner and unleashed a barrage of unanswered shots - before catching Sillakh on the chin and he tried to manoeuvre out of harm's way.

Slumping dazed into the ropes before falling to the canvas, the referee quickly stepped in and waved off the action.

The unheralded Denis Grachev now improves to 12-0 with his 8th knockout victory.


Bellew outguns McIntosh in 5 rounds


By @livefight

Tony Bellew answered any remaining critics in style last night when he produced a terrific performance in defence of his British Light Heavyweight title last night at the Liverpool Echo Arena.

Promoted by Matchroom in association with Coldwell Promotions, 'The Big Bang' finally delivered after numerous set-backs following date clashes and illness.

Bellew's opponent from Norfolk, the Ingle-trained Danny McIntosh, had no response to the boxing clinic by the champion and was brutalised in the fourth round before a terrific one-two by Bellew sprawled the 32-year across the canvas, prompting the referee to stop the beating.

Once again the old adage that a well schooled boxer would nearly always overcome an unorthodox puncher, was proven correct.

Tony Bellew improves to 17-1 (11ko) whilst the former European champion Danny McIntosh slips to 13-3 with all of his losses coming by way of knockout.


Tony Bellew talks McIntosh victory plus full card report

Tony Bellew returned to winning ways with a dominating fifth round victory over Danny McIntosh at Liverpool’s Echo Arena last night. The 29 year old British light heavyweight champion used his under appreciated boxing skills, stamped his authority on the bout early on and stubbed out the expected firestorm from the former European champion before it even got a chance to start. The writing was on the wall way for McIntosh, now 13-3 (7), long before he walked on to a big right hand after 38 seconds of the round and was unable to beat referee Terry O’Connor’s count.

“I’m happy” said Bellew, now 17-1 (11), after the fight. “It’s been a team performance though. I thought I’d had been in camp for twelve weeks but my coaches told me tonight that it’s actually been 14.”

From ringside and to viewers watching the Dave Coldwell/Matchroom co promotion live on Sky Sports, Bellew seemed to control the action with the same superb jab that Nathan Cleverly at times found impossible to stop and the punch that ended matters looked like a devastating, powerful shot. Although ‘Bomber’ was pleased with his display he was adamant that he chose to reign in his renowned knockout power all night and that he maybe under used his impressive left hand.

“To be honest I’ll have to go home and look at the video” he said. “He took some good shots but I didn’t load up on anything. The only time I did was when he was on the way down [after a left hook followed by a barrage of punches sent him to a knee in the fourth round] and I hit him on the side of the head because I was trying to put him through the canvas if I’m honest. It was calculated what I was doing. I had gameplans and everything’s about speed. I was going in there to do a job.

“I feel like I didn’t throw the jab enough to be honest but I was making him miss” continued the champion. “These Ingle fighters are elusive and I didn’t wanna be falling in on shots and making mistakes. It’s an experienced corner and Danny’s an experienced fighter, he’s been abroad and won and I schooled him. I could hear his corner shouting ‘Remember what you did in France!’ but he wasn’t in France tonight he was in Scouseland and getting hit off me is a whole lot different to getting hit off Thierry Karl.

“Danny leans back. He doesn’t really move to the left or right, he goes back with his chin in the air. A straight shot will always beat a bent arm shot. We had A, B and C gameplans because he bought different things to the table that I hadn’t seen before. In the past I’ve fought Ingle fighters like Bob Ajisafe and you’ve seen me get frustrated. McIntosh is another Ingle fighter but you see the improvements I’ve made and it’s 100% down to my coaches.”

McIntosh took a series of flush right hands from Bellew but, to his credit, continued to walk forward and although he landed enough of his own power shots to have Bellew slightly marked up around the left eye after the fight, he was made to look crude by a champion who is successfully changing the widely held belief that he is a banger first and a boxer second.

“I’ve been trying to hate Danny for the last twelve weeks and I’ve been unable to hate him and despise him” said Bellew. “I wanna hurt somebody when I go in the ring but I think Danny’s a lovely kid. I give him all the credit in the world. He’s got a good chin. He’s a tough kid and he can punch but it’s my night and I’m the champion.”

When discussing his future options, almost inevitably Cleverly’s name came up. Rather than baying for the Welshman’s blood, Bellew listed a variety of challenges that he feels more than ready to take on. Making a further defence of his beloved British title may not be one of those options though.

“I’d like to but who is there in this country to fight? I fought the best and I’ve beaten them I believe. We’ll see where it goes from here. I’ve just gotta keep striving to improve and keep listening to the coaches.

“I don’t need Nathan Cleverly to make a name for myself. I’m the one who’s supposed to be coming off a loss and I’m fighting a former European champion and he’s fighting number 83 in the world and lining up a carpet fitter for his next fight. I don’t wanna go on a bout him. He is who he is. I’m in the game to fight people who’ll test me. I want challenges, I want tests and I wanna see how good I am. I wanna see how for my determination, courage and my will can take me.

“We’ve a good European Champion in Eduard Gutknecht. I’d happily go to Germany and I know a gang of Evertonians who’d happily go over and support me. That’d be the ideal next step. Being European champion would be a dream come true and next step a world title. I don’t know. I don’t claim to be the next Bernard Hopkins or Chad Dawson but I am ready for the next level down. Beibut Shumenov, Tavoris Cloud, that clown……..We’ll take our time and make decisions as a team. A man who makes decisions on his own is a man who can make bad mistakes.”

John Watson looked flat and one paced in dropping an eight round decision to Southern Area light welterweight champion Darren ‘Ammo’ Hamilton. Watson, 28, started well, using his traditional compact style to negate the more unorthodox Hamilton’s rushes but as the fight wore on he began to throw less and less and Hamilton grew in confidence. From the fourth round onwards, it was generally one way traffic as Watson waited to long to get his punches off and Hamilton, 11-2 (3), picked him off with sharp jabs and the occasional right hand. Neither fighter was in serious trouble throughout the fight but it was a frustrating night for Watson, 14-4 (6). Referee Steve Gray score of 77-76 in Hamilton’s favour seemed slightly generous to Watson and the Liverpudlian needs to go back to the drawing board.

Welterweight Mark Thompson made his long awaited return with a six round points decision over the game Martin Welsh. Having spent over two years out of the ring for a variety of reasons, Thompson, 24-1 (14), was made to work for his victory. The 30 year old’s timing was understandably awry but that will return in time and he will be delighted to be back. After taking a couple of rounds to find his feet, Williams began to show his customary aggression in the third and although not much was landing cleanly, he outworked Welsh, now 10-4 (1). Williams looked in great shape at 11st 11oz and it will be interesting to see where he goes from here.

Hosea Burton and Scott Cardle righted the Gallaghers Gym ship with a pair of four round victories.

Burton got a real welcome to the professional game as he was forced to work for every second of his four round victory over Robert Studzinski at super middleweight. After scoring a devastating first round knockout on his professional debut, the rangy 23 year old Burton again looked to use his long left jab to set up his hammer of a right hand. This time however, his opponent was able to take the shots and keep coming. Burton began to look very predictable as he telegraphed the right hand but will have learnt an incredible amount from this victory. Although he finished the fight looking tired and with a bloody nose, he did show a good right hand to the body and, in the final round, a promising uppercut. Referee Steve Gray scored the contest 40-36 in Burton’s favour.

Cardle also earned the second win of his professional career with a 40-36 decision over Johnny Greaves. Former amateur star Cardle, 10st, showed impressive hand and foot speed as he had his way with the entertaining Greaves but looked at his most impressive when slowing things down slightly and picking his punches. As with Burton, 22 year old Cardle will have learnt a lot from the engagement.


Light heavyweight
Matty Clarkson DRAW pts 6 Jeff Evans

Light welterweight
Joe Tonks W PTS 4 Liam Ellis

Nathan Brough W PTS 6 William Warburton 60-55

Super featherweight
Andy Colquhoun KO 4 Dan Naylor (Big left hook)

Manners: I helped Calzaghe against Eubank Sr and will repeat against Jr


“Daddy can’t help you against Harry”

Harry Matthew’s trainer Nick Manners speaks out ahead of Eubank Jr bout

By Michael J. Jones

Boxer turned trainer Nick Manners

LEEDS trainer Nick Manners has warned Chris Eubank Jr not to underestimate his fighter Harry Matthews next month in their six rounder on the Colin Lynes-Junior Witter bill. Manners, a former pro light-heavyweight who once fought a young Joe Calzaghe, has echoed his boxer’s confidence before the clash with 3-0 (2) Eubank Jr. Harry, 12-5-1 (2), is much more experienced than the Brighton prospect and feels that edge will prove a key-factor in the bout’s outcome. Manners, 40-years-old, concurs, even suggesting his fighter could have the superior hunger of the two boxers. “Think of it like a sweet shop” begins Nick, “Chris Eubank Jr is in the sweet shop, he has the backing and the hype, then you’ve got Harry on the outside looking in, desperate to get in on what Chris has already.”

Nick, who has been training Harry for 18 months, also points out the pressure that may come with being the son of the former WBO super-middleweight champion of the same name. “All of the expectation is on (Eubank Jr). He’s been thrown into the limelight off the back of his name and the few fights he’s had but we still don’t know how hungry he’ll be if the going gets tough (in a pro bout). I truly believe he’ll be feeling the pressure right now because people are expecting him to look good in every fight” says Nick. “We still don’t know if this kid (Eubank Jr) can grit his teeth in a hard fight.”
In his own pro career, Nick went a respectable 11-5-1 (10), retiring young (aged 26) in 1998 shortly after winning the Central Area title. After fighting future great Calzaghe, the Leeds man helped the Welshman in his camp for his fight with......Chris Eubank Sr. Nick then ironically assisted Eubank for his WBO challenge to cruiserweight champion Carl Thompson.

Although his father will prove to be a hard act to follow, Manners realises Chris Jr’s potential. “He’s a good kid, very fast and has good feet” reason’s Nick. “If you give him the room to box at a distance, he’ll batter you, but we don’t intend to let him do that” reveals the Yorkshire trainer. “The TV execs’ have given him this big build up thinking he’s destined for stardom and I think after three fights he’s not quite convincing people” surmises straight-talking Nick, before joking “Harry has the looks to be a big star; even though he looks like (comedian) Lee Evans!”

Trainer and fighter have hatched a game-plan that involves drawing the younger man (by two years) out of his comfort zone and into the trenches. “It’s not rocket-science really, you have one inexperienced kid who likes to box at his own pace and a come-forward fighter who wants to close the distance and do damage. It’s obvious what we are going to do, it’s like the bull and the matador only we want the bull to win!” quips Nick. “Harry’s going to work to our instructions to get in range quickly, do some damage and bust him up.”

There’s certainly no lack of confidence in the Matthews camp, this despite “The Pocklington Rocket” losing three of his last five contests. The Yorkshire slugger has mixed in decent company though, and is reportedly training like a demon at Manners’ “Precise, Accurate, Training” gym in Leeds. “He’s a dream to train is Harry” enthuses his charismatic trainer “you tell him what to do and he does it, he never slackens off or anything like that. I can see he’s got the bit between his teeth for this fight and I can assure you; Harry will be in the best possible condition. We’re not expecting (the fight) to be pretty, but this aint’ no show, we’re coming to win a fight. When the going gets tough in there, his Daddy won’t be there to help him” warns Manners.
“If Harry listens, has the strength of character to fight to orders, uses his head, he can realise all of his dreams on this one night. We’ve yet to see Eubank Jr go to hell in a fight and Harry has six rounds to do it” states Nick.

Does Nick believe team Eubank has underestimated his middleweight fighter? “Yeah of course he’s underestimated him; you don’t pick an opponent that’s going to kick your a**e! I can see why they picked Harry; he looks the part of a fighter but I think they’ve just looked at the record, maybe seen some of the older tapes of Harry’s early fights and don’t see the fighter he is now” states Manners.

Harry Matthews is a strong and fit fighter who has never been stopped as a pro and has been ten rounds several times as well as contesting Masters Titles. All of his defeats have been bitterly contested thrillers and to good fighters like Nick Blackwell and Liam Cameron. However, it would still be considered a big upset if the 24-year-old was to shock the streaking prospect in Sheffield. However, Matthews is a live underdog and, coupled with training under one of the best young trainers in the UK, could just cause a sensation come May 12 in what could prove the first real test of Chris Eubank Jr’s young career.

The two meet over 6x3’s at a catch-weight of 164lbs on the show which will be televised live by Channel 5.

Nick in action against Calzaghe:


Harry Matthews relishes Eubank Jr opportunity


Harry Matthew’s: “Records are for DJ’s, Eubank Jr is my world title fight”

By Michael J Jones

YORKSHIRE slugger Harry Matthews is in a bullish mood ahead of his May 12 bout with Chris Eubank Jr. The six rounder is on the undercard of the British Welterweight showdown between Colin Lynes and Junior Witter at the Hillsborough Leisure Centre in Sheffield. It will be shown on Channel 5.

Eubank Jr, son of the former WBO super-middleweight champion of the same name, is making waves in the sport already after just five months as a pro. Now 3-0 (2), the Brighton prospect has impressed fans and experts with his flashy style and quick hands. Last week in Belfast, on the undercard of Tyson Fury vs Martin Rogan, Eubank Jr looked dazzling in dismantling previously unbeaten Paul Allison in four rounds. Despite the gulf in experience, the younger man will be the firm favourite for many neutral observers; Chris Jr is expected to go far after impressing in sparring sessions with George Groves and a few other top pros. The 22-year-old was making waves before even turning pro.

None of this fazes teak-tough Matthews though. Harry, now 12-5-1 (2), has been given no favours in his career so far and plans on drawing on his superior ring-experience to claim his biggest scalp as a pro. Matthews, known as “The Pocklington Rocket”, showed his toughness last month when pushing another prospect hard over six rounds (ironically at the same venue Harry will face Eubank). Coming in at just two days notice, Matthews gave 11-1 (4) Liam Cameron all he could handle, losing a narrow decision.
Matthews, trained by charismatic former pro Nick Manners, has gone six rounds and beyond many times, has fought for Masters Titles and has never been stopped. He will come to fight in what will be by-far Chris Eubank Jr’s toughest test to date. Livefight caught up with 24-year-old Harry who had this to say-

LF) Were you surprised you got the fight with Chris Eubank Jr?

HM) It was a nice surprise, I just hope it doesn’t fall through like last time. We were meant to fight before but I think from him beating an undefeated fighter last time (Paul Allison) it has given him confidence to face me now. I give Chris huge respect for wanting to test himself against me but he’s taken the wrong test in me. I know people say about who he’s sparred but I’ve sparred many top fighters, it’s not the same as a real fight.

LF) Everyone is singing Eubank Jr’s praises already but what do you make of him from what you’ve seen so far in his pro career?

HM) He’s a classy fighter and a good mover but I’ve not really seen him get involved much in any of his fights. He likes to hit and move but you can’t do that forever, at some point you have to mix it up. I plan on bringing educated pressure and I know he’ll have never experienced what I’ll bring before. It’s a big step-up for him and, in a way, it is for me too.

At the end of the day he’s had 26 amateur fights, three pro ones, while I’ve had 18 fights, gone ten rounds and ducked no-one. I’ve lost a few along the way but all my losses were neck-and-neck fights; I don’t even think I lost some of them.

LF) The fight is over six rounds and at 11st 10lbs; does the distance and the weight suite you for this fight?

HM) The distance is fine; I’ll start and fight as if it’s a four rounder. The weight is good for me, I’m strong at that weight I won’t have to struggle in any way to make it. At the end of the day all the pressure is on him, to him it is a fight he’s expected to win but to me, this is my world title fight. I can gain so much from winning this fight.

LF) Obviously you can’t give much away about your tactics but one of Eubank Jr’s strengths is his hand-speed. How do you plan to counter his fast hands?

HM) Well, speed is nothing if you can’t hit anything. I’ve got a good defence and he won’t be hitting me like his other opponents.

LF) You fight Chris at the same venue that you boxed Liam Cameron last month; do you feel you could have the crowd behind you for the fight after pushing Cameron there recently?

HM) Yeah they might be behind me. He’s from Brighton and that’s where my family comes from. I just hope everybody can see I’m a Yorkshire lad coming to do a job and everybody can get behind me. I’ll have good support on the night, out of the people I know there are far more believers than non-believers.
I like Chris and I respect his Dad, I just hope after I beat him there’ll be no hard feelings between us all.

LF) Your last few fights you lost a ten-round decision to old foe A.A. Lowe, dropped that close decision to Cameron and won a four rounder after that; you don’t seem to have lost much confidence despite the setbacks you’ve had?

HM) I’ve had losses but listen; the Cameron fight I took on two days notice. I wasn’t prepared for that fight but I still gave everything in there. I faded at the end but that was just because I wasn’t completely fit. I’ll be fitter for Chris.
The Lowe loss I thought I won but obviously being a close fight it was going to go his way in his backyard. I wished Andrew well with his career after that fight and I have no hard feeling because I like the guy, but I’m not losing confidence in myself from being edged in that kind of fight.

LF) Will experience tell on May 12?

HM) I believe so. I’ve had it tough and been in a corner in the middle of a fight and thinking “can I go ten rounds?” I’ve doubted myself in those situations and can draw off that experience which Chris can’t. When the going gets tough I don’t go into my shell and back off, I come straight back and keep fighting hard. You have to be cold in the ring and have that fighter’s edge.

I respect Chris and that’s why I’m putting myself through pain in the gym. I’m showing him respect by training as hard as I can. To me, if I win this fight my career is back on track. He’s 3-0 but I was once 9-0 and the only reason I have the record I have is because I’ve not wanted to be protected or held back; I’ve wanted the toughest fights because I’m a fighter and this is what I do. Records are for DJ’s, lots of fighters like Johnny Nelson and Ovil McKenzie suffer losses and come back to win titles. Even A.A. Lowe, he’s got six losses on his record but he won our fight and it’s given him the confidence to win his next fight by stoppage.

This fight is very important to me and I’m coming to win.

Gallagher: Crolla is devastated but wants immediate rematch


By @livefight

Derry Matthews

New Moston's former British lightweight champion Anthony Crolla, hopes his conqueror Derry Matthews will afford him a shot at his old title, after originally giving him the opportunity last Saturday night - which ended in slightly contrersial ending in some fan's eyes.

"This was a voluntary defence for Anthony,” said trainer Joe Gallagher to MEN news.

“We gave Derry Matthews a chance and hopefully he will repay the favour. We’ve done it in Manchester, now let’s do it in Liverpool. This has got the potential to be a great series in the manner of Jamie Moore and Michael Jones.

It was a fantastic fight and I’m sure television would want to see it again – this time in an even bigger arena." said Gallagher, who believes a rematch would ignite Liverpool's Echo Arena.

"Crolla was causing a lot of damage with his body shots and we feel he could have gone on to stop Derry. Anthony is devastated. He needs to take some time now before hopefully he gets a rematch and the chance to win his belt back."

"I prepared right and I’m a warrior. When I got offered the fight I said, ‘If they are willing to take me I will beat Anthony Crolla.’

"I knew I’d hurt him right away,I knew he was gone. Take nothing away from Anthony, he is a great fighter but I was better on the night. I was stronger." said Matthews when appraising his victory.


Winky Wright returns June 2nd


By @livefight

Kid chocolate

LOS ANGELES (April 23, 2012) - Undefeated middleweight contender Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin plans to crack Ronald "Winky" Wright's defensive shell, in addition to possibly becoming the first to knockout the four-time light middleweight champion, June 2 in their 10-round Showtime co-feature at Home Depot Center in Carson, California.

"I love crabmeat," Quillin said. "It's in a shell and you have to crack it to get to the meat. That's what I'm going to do to 'Winky'; hit his arms, body, all over - take no prisoners!"

The 40-year-old Wright (51-5-1, 25 KOs), naturally, has a tremendous experience advantage over Quillin (26-0-, 20 KOs), who was seven years old attending grammar school in Grand Rapids, Michigan, when "Winky" made his pro debut in 1990.

"Winky" hasn't fought in three years but he has had significantly more fights (57-26), rounds (394-97), and years as a pro (21 ½ - 6 ½) than Quillin, who, of course, hopes to be the first non-world champion to defeat Wright, as well as stop the defensive southpaw for the first time. In a class comparison, Wright has a decided edge having defeated all-time greats such as Felix Trinidad and Shane Mosely, while Qullin's most notable win came against Craig McEwan in his last fight and HBO debut.

"I understand the risk," Quillin commented. "I fear no man and I'm so confident because I'm working hard, six days at week, at Wild Card Gym (trainers Freddie Roach and Eric Brown), and with (strength-and-conditioning coach) Brad Bose. I've dedicated my life to boxing. 'Winky' is a future Hall of Famer. Beating him will give me respect. He's a good defensive fighter and I need rounds. None of my last five fights have gone more than six rounds (19 total).

"I'm not taking him lightly, even if he's 40 and has been off for a few years. I am challenging myself to see if I can be the first to stop him. I worked five weeks with Freddie Roach, soaking up everything he said and showed me, to learn about becoming a more complete fighter. This fight is make-or-break for me."

Team Kid Chocolate believes the risk of fighting an experienced, potentially dangerous Wright is well worth the reward.

"We feel Peter is on the threshold of becoming a special fighter," explained John Seip, who co-manages Quillin with Jim McDevitt. "He is fighting a future Hall of Fame fighter who still possesses a lot of boxing skills, knowledge and experience. This fight is a good test for Peter. We take one fight at a time but are confident and ready for 'Winky.' Peter is training hard and he is not taking anything for granted. He is focused and prepared. This will be the beginning of a very exciting year for Peter. The middleweight division has become a very interesting weight class and beating 'Winky' will position Peter as one of the top middleweight contenders in the world."

For more information about Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin go online to or follow him on Twitter @ Kid Chocolate.

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