News June 2018

Flyweight Star Jonathan “Bomba” Gonzalez warns Yedras “I’m destined for World title”


By Michael J Jones

ONCE UPON a time, Puerto Rico’s Jonathan “Bomba” Gonzalez was a streaking amateur fighter who won numerous accolades including three national titles and striking Gold at the 2008 Youth World championships in Mexico. On turning pro in 2011, much was expected of the talented southpaw, not just to win a world title but to become another of a long-line of boxing greats from his homeland.

As is often the case in boxing, the story never quite went according to plan but now Gonzalez, currently 20-2-1 (12), finds himself within touching distance of the world title shot he has craved since turning pro seven years ago.

Gonzalez is highly ranked with three of the four main world governing bodies and will improve his standings further if he overcomes game Mexican Julian Yedras on July 20th. The fight goes ahead at the Osceola Heritage Center in Kissimmee, Florida, and promises to be a lively main event between two solid fighters.

Speaking from Caguas shortly after another gruelling session in camp, the 27 year old “Bomba” reveals to Livefight his thoughts on his July 20 opponent.

“Julian Yedras is a very good fighter who has fought two great champions at 108lbs and given both a tough fight. He took both (WBO Minimum champion) Kosei Tanaka and Carlos Buitrage the distance and he’s a typical, come-forward, Mexican fighter.”

“Me and my team are working on a great game-plan for this fight and it should be a very good fight to watch.”

The 30 year old Yedras, nick-named “El Nino Artillero”, is coming up to flyweight for the bout after competing largely as an 108lb fighter. He also may have some ring-rust to shed as this will be his first contest in two years. That said, he looks a strong and durable opponent for the gifted Gonzalez, who is keen to move onto world honours should he prove victorious.

“If you look at me and my style; I’m a boxer and the aim of that is to hit and not get hit. I’ll be looking to box him, move and get the victory. He’s never been stopped but he’s also moving up in weight. We can both punch but where I’m a natural 112lb fighter, he’s a natural 108lb fighter so that may tell in the fight.”

“I’ll look to box him in the first round and see how strong he is. Once I get into my rhythm, I’ll see how the fight plays out. I won’t go looking for the knock-out but, if the opportunity presents itself, I’ll go for that KO.”

After making his professional debut seven years ago, Gonzalez quickly forged an undefeated career consisting of thirteen victories, including eleven inside-schedule. With his stellar amateur career under his belt and barely dropping a round in his early fights, the young prospect was matched with the vastly more experienced Giovani Segura five years ago in Isla Verde.

Segura was a two-time victor over Gonzalez’ countryman Ivan Calderon and a former world champion. Although he was coming off two defeats, he proved too strong for the green southpaw, winning in four rounds.

“The thing with that fight was, I had a lot of boxing experience but none really as a pro fighter” reflects the 5’2” contender. I was unbeaten and thought I could beat anybody. I had a good first round but he caught me with a good shot in the second and I couldn’t recover. My second defeat to Jobert Alvarez (two years ago), it was a fight I didn’t have to take and it was close but he stopped me.”

“I feel like I’m 27-years-old I’m so much more mature now. I’ve worked very hard in the gym and it’s my time to become a world champion. I think once I’ve won this next fight, my next should be for a world title.”

Following his last defeat to Alvarez two years ago, Gonzalez was rebounded with two victories. The latter win was a split decision success over former world title challenger Ricardo “Meserito” Rodriguez in February. Gonzalez floored his Mexican opponent in the third and eventually won by scores of 96-93, 95-94 and 94-95 (for Rodriguez), to capture the WBO-NABO flyweight title.

“Rodriguez is a great, great fighter who had fought everyone out there. He’d beaten good guys and fought Naoya Inoue for the WBO title so I knew he was going to be tough. I’d been out for a little while but, I got offered the fight and took that challenge straight away; even though he’d been fighting regularly and I hadn’t.”

“I stepped up to face him and was very happy with my performance. For me, there were ten rounds and I won those ten rounds. I was really confused with what the judges were watching as I really thought it should have been an easy unanimous decision.”

“All of the 112lb world champions are very good fighters. Sho Kimura, the WBO champion is 16-1-2 and has some great wins, WBC champion Cristofer Rosales is good and the Ukrainian, Artem Dalakian, is undefeated as the WBA champion so there’s no easy titles there.”

“My own preference would be Sho Kimura for the WBO title and I’d be absolutely happy to go to Japan for that fight for the right to become a world flyweight champion.”

“I guess when I consider everything in my boxing career, it is a little frustrating it’s taken me this long to get to the position I’m in now but look at any champion. It’s not always the same way or route that guys get to be a world champion. You’ve just got to find your own path, sometimes it doesn’t happen the way you thought it would.”

“Talent gets you so far but nobody gets everything on just talent there needs to be that dedication and hard work too. Thank God I’m in a great position now and have that extra maturity and I’m ready to do whatever it takes to fulfil my goal starting with Yedras on July 20th.”

On the line on July 20th will be the vacant WBO Latino flyweight title with the fight scheduled for ten rounds.

Many thanks to Jonathan “Bomba” Gonzalez and Livefight wishes him well for his fight next month.
You can follow “Bomba” on Twitter @Bombakogonzalez and he also has an official Facebook fan page.

Luke Evans ready to return after horrific knife attack


By @livefight

Luke Evans (7-0) has already won the biggest battle of his career by getting his life back on track following a horrific knife attack. On Saturday night, the 21 year old from Salford will attempt to get his boxing career moving again when he returns to the ring on Steve Wood’s VIP show at Bolton’s Macron Stadium.

“I’m buzzing. I’m really happy to be back. It’s been twelve months but it feels longer. All the hard work is done now,” Evans said.

“I remember being at a VIP show watching last November. I’d put two and a half stone on and I just felt like there was no way back for me. I’ll be honest, its still tough now but at least now I have something positive to focus on and I’m just looking forward to Saturday.

“I’d missed out on a few fights and a new group of lads came through around my age group. I feel like I’ve been overlooked and forgotten about and it’s sad. In a way I was almost jealous of seeing other people getting the limelight while I was stuck at home with no way out of the bubble I was stuck in. I’m glad to say that I’m out of that bubble now.”

When Evans answers the bell on Saturday night, it will be one day short of a year since his last outing. Things went wrong as the unbeaten light welterweight and his then girlfriend walked home after watching the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor last August. A large group followed and eventually cornered them. With trouble certain, Evans called his father - who was in a nearby pub - to come and help him. After moving his girlfriend to safety and with his father struggling under attack, Evans plunged in to help. His dad escaped but Evans sustained horrendous facial injuries when one of the group attacked him from behind with a knife. The physical injuries will heal but the mental ones will take much longer.

“It’s still hard and it still affects my everyday life. I’m still receiving counselling but I’m mentally good now,” Evans said. “I’m focused on things again and big things are expected of me. Hopefully I deliver on Saturday.

“The scars have healed miles better than they thought they would. It feels absolutely fantastic. I’m really, really happy with how they’ve healed. I’m gonna be scarred for life so they aren’t going to change too much now but I’m happy to say that they’ve healed to the best possibilities.

“One cut was really close to my eye. What’s really sad is that since my attack it seems to be happening more and more and we’re seeing it more often on the news. I’m trying to raise a bit of awareness about the whole situation if I can. Attention-wise, the attack is going to stand me in good stead but it’s for all the wrong reasons.”

Evans was just a single fight into his partnership with Blaine Younis at the Hatton Gym in Hyde when disaster struck. Although at 5ft 9in tall he is tall for a light welterweight, Evans likes to step around his opponent and work the body in the manner of his hero, Ricky Hatton. If there is anything positive at all to be taken from the past year, it is that he has been able to settle in at Hatton’s and spend some time working on his style.

“Blaine is my head coach and Mike Jackson is my secondary man. Ricky has been in the gym and he’s been giving me a lot of advice. I feel like I’ve developed as a fighter and I’ve matured a little bit more. I also feel a lot stronger.

“We’ve been working a hell of a lot more on technique. Fitness-wise I don’t really have a problem so we’ve been working on my technical boxing. I feel like I’ve improved and I’m looking forward to putting everything I’ve learned together on Saturday.”

Of course, there is a big difference between being fit to fight and being fighting fit. The deep lacerations he suffered have left vivid scar tissue on his face and throughout training, the thought of the cuts re-opening at the first sign of contact haunted him. With his return to the ring drawing near, Evans decided to give himself a trial by fire during his final sparring session.

“I’ve not sparred without a headguard yet. My last sparring was on Friday with fellow VIP fighter Kane Gardner (5-0, 2 KO’s) and we did six rounds. The punches themselves haven’t done any damage to the scars.

“I stood toe to toe with Kane. I needed that. I needed somebody who would try and push me back and bully me. I’m very happy with the scars.

“In a fight I’m not going to stand toe to toe and let somebody try and take my head off but in sparring your body has to get conditioned to it. It was in my mind that I needed to maybe take some unnecessary punches just to see how the cuts are. Now I’ve tested that out, I can cross that box out.

“I want a couple of fights this year and a couple more early next year and then we’ll see where we’re up to. I’m quite nervous and excited. It feels like my debut all over again. I just can’t wait to get in there and show everybody what they’ve missed out on for the last year.”

Follow Luke on twitter @evoevansboxing1 and you can tune in to his fight on June 16th at www.vipboxing,tv or via the VIP Boxing Facebook page.

Dale Coyne ready for Jenman and then wants titles


By @livefight

Dale Coyne (13-0, 3 KO’s) has operated just off the radar so far in his career but that could all be about to change. The 23 year old from Ancoats faces Nicky Jenman on Steve Wood’s VIP show at Bolton’s Macron Stadium this weekend in what should be his final hurdle before he enters title contention.

Jenman (20-11-1, 3 KO’s) has mixed in good company recently, falling short when challenging Liam Cameron for his Commonwealth title in April and losing a majority decision to Andrew Robinson just a month earlier. The 32 year old from Brighton looks likely to provide Coyne with a thorough examination of his credentials.

“He’s certainly the most experienced fighter I‘ve had and on paper it’s certainly my toughest test,” Coyne told VIP TV. “He only gets beaten by good kids but if I want to push on I’ve got to be expected to beat him and to do it in reasonable fashion.

“I don’t know too much about him but he’s going to be coming to win and if he beats me he’s going to be able to get more opportunities. He’ll come with just as much ambition as I will and he needs to win just as much as I do.”

Coyne has been frustrated time and time again in his attempts to get on the title trail. An area title fight has been long rumoured and he was set to challenger then holder Matty Ryan for the belt back in March before a late withdrawal saw him face the tricky Julio Cesar, who he stopped in the second round.

Those who see him at work with Steve Maylett at The Finest Gym in Manchester have seen him become a slick, composed, stalker who is extremely difficult to hit cleanly. The transformation has coincided with a move down to middleweight. Coyne seems perfectly suited to 160lbs having started his career up at super middleweight and he should be contesting belts before the year is out.

“Matty Ryan pulled out about ten days before [the Cesar victory] and then Darryl Sharp pulled out a couple of days before. That was another test. It was an awkward opponent to get on a couple of days notice.

“We were looking for the Central Area title again but that just didn’t materialise. We’ll push on and hopefully this will be an eliminator. I’ll get down to the weight and it can be a bit of a test run really.

“I feel a lot bigger at this weight and a lot more powerful. I feel like I’ve got a bit more authority over my opponents. As the rounds get longer and I get into my rhythm people will start struggling with me by the middle rounds. In a couple of recent fights - against Sharp and Ben Davies - I felt like they were on the verge of being stopped at stages. We just go out to get the win most importantly and if the stoppage comes, it comes.”

With the likes of Jack Flatley, Ben Sheedy, Jack Cullen and Mark Jeffers also looking to move into title contention the middleweight division is thriving in the North West and Coyne isn’t adverse to mixing with any of them.

“There are so many fighters around my area, they’re all looking for titles too and it’s a great mix. As long as there’s a title on the line, I think any of those fights could be made.”

Follow Dale on instagram @dalecoyne94 and you can tune in to his fight on June 16th at www.vipboxing,tv or via the VIP Boxing Facebook page.

Moorcroft aiming to end season on a high


by @livefight

James Moorcroft (6-0, 1 KO) has made rapid strides since leaving behind the world of white collar fighting just over twelve months ago. The 25 year old from Wigan will step up to eight rounds and is scheduled to fight for a challenge belt on VIP Promotions’ upcoming show in Bolton on June 16th. It is a show of faith in Moorcroft’s progress that his manager, Steve Wood, and trainer, Lee Blundell, have no qualms about pitching him in so quickly.

“I couldn’t ask for a better camp. I’ve gone straight through from the last fight so I feel fit and Steve Wood has given me a big eight round fight on this next show. I couldn’t ask for anything better,” Moorcroft said.

“It’s like a whirlwind. I said to myself that I’d give it a year. That year is nearly up now.

“I look at some boxers and they might not want to take the risk but although I’m only 25, I’m not getting any younger. I also believe in my training and I believe in the people around me and the support I’ve got.

“I don’t like thinking too far ahead. Because I’ve never been expected to get very far, every little milestone is a massive thing. I only had my first ever fight at about 20 years old. I’ve started thinking now that maybe this time next year I can be fighting for an area title or maybe even an English title. Who knows.”

Moorcroft’s progress was rewarded by a phone call asking him to to give Terry Flanagan some rounds in preparation for the Mancunian’s upcoming WBO junior welterweight title fight with Maurice Hooker. Standing opposite the former lightweight champion of the world must have been a surreal - and proud - experience for a fighter who was making his way on the unlicensed circuit not too long ago.

“It was a great experience and another milestone for me. It was on my way home in the car when I thought to myself; ‘Bloody hell. That was amazing.’

“In fact, it was when I asked Steve Maylett about whether he thought the fight between Terry and Vasyl Lomachenko might ever end up happening and he said; ‘Yeah, it might do.’ When you hear those kind of names and you’re in those circles you do pinch yourself.

“It’s all just a bit mad. This will be my seventh fight in just over a year. I’m still new to it all and I’m just realising where I’m at. I feel like I fell asleep and woke up a year later. It was a fantastic experience and something you can take to your grave with you.”

It may be a sweeping generalisation but fighters entering the professional ranks from the world of white collar boxing tend to rely on aggression and fitness rather than skill and finesse. Moorcroft has opened plenty of eyes with his boxing ability and the rate at which he has adapted to life amongst hardened professionals. Moorcroft is thrilled with his progress under his trainer, former area champion Lee Blundell.

“I can only put my progress down to Lee. After a few white collar fights he obviously thought there was something there. Even though I’ve only had six professional fights, we’ve been training as professionals from around my fourth unlicensed fight. Because Lee knows exactly what it takes to be a professional boxer having fought at the the levels he has, he hasn’t trained me to be an amateur boxer.

“I didn’t think in any shape or form that I’d get as far as I have. my ambition was to just be a professional boxer because it’s a great thing to achieve. Then I wanted to win my professional debut. That was a massive thing to achieve. I know it’s only a challenge belt but for me, it’s a world title. I train four times a day and treat every fight as if it’s a world title and I’ll never drop.

“I can’t thank everybody enough. My trainer, Lee Blundell, is unbelievable and I can’t thank him and everybody at Blundell’s Boxing enough. My family are unbelievable and there are so many sponsors I have behind me who allow me to be financially stable and to be able to give everything I can.”

Follow James on twitter @jmoorcroft2011 and you can tune in to his fight on June 16th at www.vipboxing,tv or via the VIP Boxing Facebook page.

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