News July 2014

2 Days in the life of Sergey Kovalev VIDEO


By @Livefight

Sergey Kovalev is captured by HBO cameras in this quick documentary, which shows him discussing how cuts might have gotten him stopped and how a chance passing of the scales showed him to be 2 pounds overweight, with only 90 minutes left, he dashes off to shed the pounds.

Frankie Gavin Wolverhampton show running order


By @Livefight


Frank Warren, in association with P.J Promotions, presents Championship Boxing, on Friday 1st August at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall:

DOORS OPEN - 18:00 hrs

Fight # 1 – 18:45 hrs
4 X 3 Minute Rounds Flyweight Contest

Fight # 2 – 19:05 hrs
6 X 3 Minute Rounds Super-Middleweight Contest

Fight # 3 – 19:35 hrs
6 X 3 Minute Rounds Light-Heavyweight Contest

Fight # 4 – 20:00 hrs
6 X 3 Minute Rounds Super-Middleweight Contest

Fight # 5 – 20:30 hrs
4 X 3 Minute Rounds Super-Middleweight Contest

Fight # 6 – 21.00 hrs
12 X 3 Minute Rounds

Fight # 7 – 22:00 hrs
4 X 3 Minute Rounds Lightweight Contest

Fight # 8 – 22:25 hrs
4 X 3 Minute Rounds Cruiserweight Contest

Fight # 9 – Follow On
12 X 3 Minute Rounds @ 147 lbs


Frankie Gavin vs Leonard Bundu weigh in VIDEO


By @Livefight

iFLTV were on hand today to film the official weigh-in for this Friday's European Welterweight title fight:

Don't Call It A Comeback - The Rebuilding of Frank Warren


By @John_Evans79

In recent months the praise for anything Matchroom and disdain for anything touched by the hand of Frank Warren has seemed to grow in equal measure. Sometimes the eulogies are over the top and sometimes the condemnation is justified. The treatment is rarely fair.

Over the past couple of years the majority of the plaudits Eddie Hearn has received have been deserved. When he promoted Kell Brook v Rafal Jackiewicz at the Ponds Forge Arena back in 2011, the prospect of a Matchroom promoted fight selling out Wembley Stadium within three years wasn’t just a dot on the horizon, you would have needed the Hubble Space Telescope to see it. To go such a long way in such a short time requires skill and talent.

Recently though, the praise has started to be laid on a little too thick by some particularly strange sources. Grown men seemingly desperate for a ‘retweet’ from Eddie Hearn, casual fans brainwashed by Sky Sports or – maybe worst of all - web writers desperate to curry favour and obtain press passes for what they consider the best shows. That these people are rarely seen at, say, Dave Coldwell or Steve Wood’s excellent shows speaks volumes.

It seems Hearn can do no wrong and Warren can do no right.

If you have taken the trouble to visit Livefight and have then been interested enough to read this far then you are obviously a big boxing fan. If you stopped 100 people in the street and showed them a photograph of Billy Joe Saunders or Scott Quigg, however, I’d hazard a guess that 95% wouldn’t have a clue who they were looking at. Boxing is still something of a minority sport and we desperately need thriving competition between all of our promoters.

If you have somehow come to the conclusion that the demise of one of British boxing’s biggest and most well known promoters would be good for the sport, well, you’re an idiot.

With the domestic season almost at a close, I think Frank Warren can sit back in that chair he has next to the statue of Prince Naseem and look forward to the future.

Last week’s Dereck Chisora – Tyson Fury – Alexander Ustinov triangle has been written and spoken about enough and there is not much more to be said. A broken hand and personal problems within the Fury camp robbed an excellent card of its main event. As it was, Billy Joe Saunders’ middleweight European title fight with Emanuele Blandamura topped a bill packed with exciting fights and even match ups. I doubt the sparse attendance at the Phones-4-U arena did the books any good but the quality of the show gave a much needed boost to his reputation. The lack of a stand out main event gave the rest of the card the opportunity to shine and remind people that Warren has a talented stable and is capable of putting on exciting top to bottom cards.

Warren’s series of unfortunate events seemed to create a sense of sympathy within certain factions of the fight fraternity and the ridiculous overreaction of the casual fans - who seemed to either blame the veteran promoter for the whole scenario or rejoice in the collapse of his biggest event of the year - galvanised the support further.

At the weekend, Warren was applauded following Billy Joe Saunders’ post fight press conference for managing to put any kind of bill together and everybody who attended the show or watched it live on BoxNation will have thoroughly enjoyed the night’s entertainment. The build up may have attracted tonnes of publicity – none of it good – but the final outcome was better than expected. The fans won’t be bought back onside on the back of one entertaining show but if this was the start of a climb back to prominence go, it was a pretty good base camp.

Warren’s rebuilding process shows no sign of slowing down in the immediate future either.

Boxing fans instantly refocused on another ‘Warren show’; Frankie Gavin’s European title fight with Leonard Bundu this Friday night and – Kell Brook’s welterweight title fight with Shawn Porter apart – BoxNation is set to dominate the summer schedule. Danny Garcia, Brandion Rios, Yoan Pablo Hernandez will be televised during August and arguably the most anticipated fight of the year to feature a British fighter – Carl Frampton’s IBF title fight with Kiko Martinez – will be shown on BoxNation in early September.

Cast your glance a touch further into Warren’s future. The feud between Saunders and Chris Eubank Jnr seems to deepen on a weekly basis and is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Fighters like Paul Butler and Liam Smith seem set for lengthy careers on the world stage and they are well supported by an extremely talented group of youngsters like Bradley Saunders, Mitchell Smith and Jack Catterall to name just three.

There is a lot to look forward to in the coming months.

Now before you start shouting abuse at your screen, I’m a boxing fan who wants all promoters to do well, not a Frank Warren apologist. Take this past Saturday night’s event for example. I thought the entire card was promoted badly from start to finish. I live ten minutes from the Phones-4-U Arena and didn’t see a single Chisora – Fury poster advertising the event. The early press conferences began way too early and were overshadowed by the Carl Froch – George Groves blunderbuss. The numerous head to head shows which took place seemed designed to provoke artificial friction between two volatile fighters who actually seem to hold a fair amount of respect for each other. It may have been far too long and drawn out but there were promising signs.[IMAGE2]

It has taken an age but Frank and Francis seem to be slowly realising that the world of promotion has changed. As much as some of us hate it, we live in an age where image is everything and reality television dominates. Look at a modern 20 something boxing fan’s Sky + planner and you’ll find Ringside next to a series link to The Only Way is Essex. Everything is hashtagged and unless your ‘banter’ is top notch, the Twitterati simply won’t buy into your journey. [writer’s note; journey was used for effect. I’d never use such a term]

Fight fans nowadays watch the fights with their thumb hovering over a mobile phone and Matchroom have moved with the times perfectly. They appeal to the modern fan.

Matchroom are filling arenas, putting on regular quality shows and getting British fighters world title fights. Their current position as Britain’s dominant promotional outfit is highlighted by the fact that they can stack a card with a series of one sided bouts featuring name fighters and still shift a hell of a lot of tickets. As a boxing fan it is fantastic to see a Saturday night’s action televised from an arena filled with a few thousand fans rather than from a leisure centre in front of a few hundred. The live shows are extremely well produced and the reasonably new phenomenon of ‘fight week’ has taken boxing coverage to a new level. A tip of the hat too, to messers Cassius and Helder of IFLTV who – although they manage to cover the vast majority of shows – are intrinsically linked with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom.

Of course, Matchroom have the power of Sky television behind them but money can’t buy class. Just ask Jordan.

I would love to see Warren keep his fighters busier. You will very rarely find him putting his fighters in meaningless eight round contests just to “get them out” - God, I hate that phrase – but keep busy fights do serve a couple of useful purposes. They keep the fighters in the public eye and help ticket sales.

The much vaunted Copper Box experiment hasn’t taken off in the manner hoped for and Warren is still searching for a London fighter to come along and really grab the capital’s imagination. Frank Buglioni was seemingly earmarked as the man to spearhead a big revival in attendances but has faltered recently. Maybe Mitchell Smith is the man. The talented East Londoner seems to possess all the natural talent required to make an impact but also has a touch of nastiness about him and the personality to appeal to the casual fan.

Working with other promoters would give his fighters valuable ring time and the opportunity to fight regularly. I have no ideas of the ins and outs of the initial deal struck with Dave Coldwell which matched Joe Murray with Maxi Hughes so won’t speculate but allowing the fight to collapse helped absolutely nobody and maybe harmed the talented Murray more than anybody.

There is lots for Warren to work on but he also has lots to work with.

We are lucky enough to have two large promotional outfits with totally different ways of promoting the sport. Warren will stick with his tried and trusted method of keeping his fighters at domestic and European level to gain experience, all the while searching for a winnable opportunity to present itself on the world stage. Hearn will carry on pushing his fighters up the world rankings, bypassing domestic challenges if necessary and inviting previously unheard of opponents to come to the UK and defend their lofty rankings.

Matchroom will continue to use the power of social media to push the product and use their huge profile to attract talented fighters. Slick, beautifully made films, knockabout press conferences and interviews will attract thousands of views and help build the fighters profiles to the point where fans just happy to see them perform. Once a world title fight is on the horizon, the fans are so familiar with the fighter that the support is huge.

Warren will still primarily insist that it is substance rather than style that creates success and hope that talent attracts attention. He is known for building up young fighters in their hometown's and using their popularity to catapult them to stardom. The excellent BoxNation commentary and presentation team should also help to attract more viewers to the platform.

Both promotional rivals can exist and thrive perfectly well alongside each other and – brace yourself for a radical idea – work together. To do so though, they will both need the support of one important person. You.

Froch vs Chavez January 24th 2015 in the works


By @Livefight

Reports are emerging that HBO are brokering a potential fight date in Las Vegas for January 24th between Britain's IBF & WBA super middleweight champion Carl Froch (33-2, 24ko) and former middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Junior (48-1-1, 32ko).

"We're well on our way to making that fight for Jan. 24" said veteran promoter Bob Arum when speaking to Dan Rafael, whom also laboured a point that he had somewhat buried the axe with the fighter whom is currently dissatisfied with his Top Rank promotional arrangement.

Arum also revealed that his stepson, also smoothed things over with the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, following his angry rant that Mayweather poster's adorned the entire venue during the Pacquiao vs Bradley II fight week.

At the time, the Bobfather was quoted as stating "I am very angry - The MGM ought to be ashamed of themselves. They invited us in here, they wanted us to do an event, we're practically done selling tickets and all over this facility they're putting up signs for a Mayweather fight. And they justify it because he can't sell a ticket because nobody wants to buy tickets for a fight that is pre-ordained as a 15-1 fight. So, as far as I'm concerned, the MGM can stuff it. We're not coming back here."

So there you have it folks, it looks like Carl Froch is close to at least one option to consider - but whether the cool weather in Las Vegas during January and the fact his legions of fans have just shelled out for Christmas time, may put a dampener on travelling support numbers.

Kell Brook final interview before heading stateside VIDEO


By @Livefight

Kell Brook gives his final interview in the UK before he heads to America to fight IBF welterweight champion Shawn 'Showtime' Porter.

"I'm 32 unbeaten, no losses and no draws" said Brook "Porter needs to recognise that".

Heavyweight great “Gentleman” Gerry Cooney on dramatic career and the hardest comeback of all


“Holmes, Spinks, Foreman…none could have beaten me at my very best” Gerry Cooney

By Michael J Jones

The previously jovial voice on the other end of the phone goes quiet before anger creeps unmistakingly into his tone for the one and only time during our forty-five minute conversation. “Michael Spinks should never have beaten me on any day of the gotta realise that for that fight I was a sick, sick man.”

His fifth-round stoppage defeat to former light-heavyweight, and briefly heavyweight, champion Michael Spinks occurred in June 1987. Gerry Cooney, the big punching Irish American was installed beforehand as the slight favorite for the Atlantic City bout. Far taller, heavier and considered a lethal puncher the odds for Cooney seemed about fair. Those that picked Spinks thought it would be after a long hard night but something clearly wasn’t right with Gerry.

For three rounds, the unbeaten Spinks used his faster hands and movement to box carefully around the towering figure of Cooney. Big Gerry had a great fourth round, backing up Spinks and landing his trade-mark left hook to head and body. In the next though, the New Yorker would suddenly and dramatically unravel.

“The Spinks fight had been on-and-off for two-and-a half years before it actually took place” Cooney reveals to Livefight. “They messed me around and stretched me out by the time it actually happened. The trouble was I had two managers who cared more about making money than anything else. I was drinking every day before that fight…a bottle of scotch every single day. Any time, any day of the week even now Michael Spinks couldn't hope to beat me. Michael Spinks should never have beaten me in a million years.”

In his next bout a year later, Spinks would suffer a humiliating drubbing to Mike Tyson and never box again while the hugely-popular Cooney would return for just one more contest two-and-a-half years after his second career defeat.

The young Gerry Cooney was introduced to boxing as a boy after his brother Tom started training. Gerry would see his boxing as an escape from his alcoholic and abusive father but he proved to be a natural puncher from the very beginning. By the mid 70's he was an established amateur fighter already known for his power and rugged good looks.

The 6'7” left hooker would win the New York Golden Gloves in both 1973 and 76' and left the unpaid code with an outstanding 55-3 record before making his inevitable pro debut at the age of 21.

The quietly-spoken Cooney may have been shy and humble outside the ring but inside he was a tenacious puncher who liked to dig in hurtful left hooks to the ribs before bringing his wrecking-ball fists to his opponent's chin; often with devastating consequences.

The heavyweight prospect would go 7-0 (6) in his first year as a pro and remained undefeated in a further eight bouts in 1978. One of his opponents in the latter year was ST Gordon, a future WBC cruiserweight champion who would also compete well as a heavyweight, beating Trevor Berbick amongst others.

“That was my first trip to Vegas” remembers the still very well spoken Gerry. “He was tough and a puncher but I took the guts right out of him and made him quit.”

The bout was called off in the fourth, Cooney's body shots making Gordon stumble all around the ring like a drunk before he signalled his own surrender.

By the end of 1979, Cooney was now a perfect 22-0 (18) and ready to step up in competition as he angled for his shot at the heavyweight championship. Gerry had already created a great following thanks to his fighting style and engaging personality but would see that marketability scupper his attempts at gaining the relevant experience necessary to rise to the very top.

From the close of 1979 to his eventual WBC title shot in 82', Cooney would box just three times for a total of six rounds; not the ideal preparation for taking on a prime Larry Holmes...

“The trouble was Don King had all the top heavyweights and unless you signed with him he didn't let you fight anyone. Look at my very prime I was fighting once a year and that is no good for a professional athlete to gain in experience. My managers (Dennis Rappaport and Mike Jones) were more interested in making money than developing me the proper way which is a great shame.”

Cooney returned from a six month lay-off to face former world title challenger Jimmy Young in May 1980. Young was a little past his best but still a wily, experienced fighter who was expected to pose the younger man some problems with his caginess.

“Jimmy Young had actually won nine bouts on the spin before we fought” reveals Gerry. “I was worried beforehand because even guys who beat him would look bad because he made everyone he fought look bad. In the fight he was worried about my left hook but it worked to my advantage because I turned the hook into an uppercut and ended up cutting him real bad.”

“That was the beauty of being a prime athlete, you see these openings and it all comes naturally. Just for a short period, I was world class and could do these things completely naturally.”

Five months later the tall puncher would face another serious test in 39-year-old Ron Lyle. Although another past-his-peak veteran, Lyle could still punch and had entered the bout winning seven of his last eight contests including a split win over Joe Bugner.

Cooney never gave the 39-6-1 (27) Lyle any chance to settle though, hammering the body viciously from the opening bell. Lyle was nearly doubled over on several occasions but kept bravely trying to fight back before getting trapped on the ropes. A final, devastating flurry dumped him heavily on the canvas as the Cooney corner celebrated wildly.

“I knew I'd stop Ron Lyle though maybe not as quick as I did” says the 57-year-old Cooney. “But I expected a very tough fight against Kenny Norton.”

Kept out of the ring by the dreaded 'boxing politics', Cooney faced the former WBC champion Norton seven long months after the Lyle blow-out. The two men would face each other in New York with Norton bringing a wealth of big fight experience from a long career including facing Muhammad Ali three times as well as battling Larry Holmes to a split defeat just a couple of years earlier.

After 54 shocking seconds though, Gerry Cooney had sent shock-waves around the boxing world.

“What I did I just touched him to the body” recalls Cooney of arguably the best win of his career. “I caught his body, spun him in the corner and just unloaded. I'll tell you now; that night I could have beaten anyone in the world I was in great shape.”

Many called for the now 25-0 (21) heavyweight star to receive his deserved title shot though he'd have to wait an agonising 13 months before facing the WBC world champion Larry Holmes. That lay-off, instead of a few more learning fights, ultimately cost the challenger in one of the biggest fights in boxing history.

The hugely anticipated bout was promoted noisily and relentlessly by Don King who blatantly used distasteful racial overtones to sell the fight, often screeching that the bout was “black vs white”. The challenger’s team were also guilty of following suit with some shocking publicity quotes. The title fight thus became an event far beyond that of just a title fight between two men. Cooney stayed mostly quiet for much of the build up I ask whether those racial themes bothered him during that time.

“I tried to not let those things get to me” begins Gerry after a short pause, “but there was a time in Mexico when we were promoting the fight and some of the things Larry said were terrible and those comments bothered me. I understand it now that King was using everybody like he always did plus Larry was a little bitter towards me. Everyone had loved Ali but they weren't the same with Larry. I was a new face so it must have been hard for Larry to see me with my following at that time.”

The bout was delayed further after an injury suffered by Cooney in training. The contest eventually took place in June 1982 at the Outdoor Arena, Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The two men were a combined 64-0 with an astonishing fifty knockouts while Holmes would be making his twelfth straight defence of his WBC title since dethroning Norton four years earlier.

The opener was fairly quiet with most of the action coming courtesy of Holmes’ rapier left hand, but in the second, the 33-year-old Holmes floored his challenger with a sharp right hand. It was the first time “Gentleman Gerry” had ever been down as a pro. He was up quickly to be saved by the bell from any further trouble.

The 25-year-old Cooney, 13lbs the heavier man at 225½lbs, fought back hard and had success to the body of Holmes who visibly winced at some of the shots he was forced to take from the younger, physically more-imposing man.

“I hit him with some great shots downstairs” says Gerry some 32 years after the classic bout. “He told me afterwards that in some rounds he had to hang on to the ropes to get back to his corner he was in so much pain but he was a smart guy. He had that experience that I was lacking in. I knew I probably didn't have enough (experience) to win but I did my best in there. Larry said afterwards and still tells me to this day if I'd of had that extra experience I would have beaten him that night.”

As both fighters tired in the middle rounds, Cooney would be deducted three points for low blows in total; a bitter blow in a fiercely-fought contest.

“What he kept doing was pulling me down so I couldn't hit his body, so when I was throwing my body shots they strayed low. When I got those deductions I told myself I could no longer win the fight. It's just inexperience; I went out for the thirteenth just wanting to show him he couldn't hurt me I said 'f**k it I can't win' just a very stupid, inexperienced thing to do.”

As a series of crushing rights clattered off the tough challenger's jaw, his compassionate trainer Victor Valle entered the ring to call a halt to his brave fighter's bid. At the time of the stoppage Holmes lead by scores of 115-109 and two counts of 113-111.

During all of his post fight interviews the beaten Cooney, who had been promised a congratulatory phone call from President Reagan should he have prevailed (not offered to Holmes incidentally), was distraught and kept apologising to his fans for losing. He truly felt he’d let everyone down even after losing to one of the greatest big men of all time in one of the most outstanding heavyweight contests ever witnessed.

“I would have loved a rematch it would have been great” Cooney comments on the return which sadly never happened. “There was bad blood before the fight but me and Larry Holmes are good friends now we spend a lot of time together every year. We've more than made our peace.”

“And don’t forget” Gerry adds. “Larry is maybe four or five of all time in the division and was a great champion.”

The demoralised Cooney didn't box again for over two years as personal demons started to take a toll on the troubled heavyweight contender. He admits to Livefight of first starting to drink heavily as far back as just after the Ken Norton fight; the huge disappointment of losing to Holmes plunged him even further into alcohol addiction.

Gerry won two comeback fights in 1984 before surprisingly announcing his retirement aged 28. Eighteen months later though he returned to stop the WBA number three contender Eddie Gregg in the first. Because of the situation of the proposed Michael Spinks fight, he would eventually enter that bout with just one round of action in the previous two-and-a half years. Coupled with his alcoholism its little wonder Gerry would perform so flatly on the night he faced Mike Spinks.

Very proudly, Gerry overcame his problems with drink and has been dry for some 26 years. I ask him if he remembers the exact moment he decided to get clean. He is very clear in his response.

“I stopped drinking on April 21st 1988. I remember it clearly, it was 10:40am one day and I was drunk. I looked around; I had a loving family, a beautiful home in New Hampshire on the beach. I said to myself 'what am I doing here with all this and drinking?’ I swore I'd never drink again. The next day it was 10:40am again and I was drunk the same way. That's when I said to myself I had a very serious problem.”

“I got scared and realised I was in a lot of trouble and that spurred me on to get the help that I needed and I've never touched a drop since.”

Many mused that the days of seeing big Gerry in a prize ring were over but he would step back into the ring one more time to face a boxing legend in former world champion George Foreman. The “Punching Preacher” Foreman was now 41-years-old but an incredible 64-2 (60) in his long and outstanding career. It seemed a tough fight for the semi-retired Cooney to take off a punishing loss to Spinks and subsequent two and a half years inactivity. In the same time frame Foreman had crammed in nineteen wins on his comeback with all but one inside schedule.

Gerry explains to Livefight why he took the high-profile, but risky, fight at that stage…

“I was done boxing but when I kept getting offered the fight I thought to myself I’d never done this sober so I thought why not? Gil Clancy said to me I should box George for a few rounds to tire him out but I caught him with my left and got excited…”

The iron-chinned Foreman had just started to find some openings when Cooney’s pet left hook crashed against his unprotected jaw. Just for a few seconds, Foreman was seriously hurt for the first time since his brutal bout with Lyle in the 70’s but Gerry, try as he might, just couldn’t find that finisher.

After the explosive start, both men came out swinging for the second but soon Cooney was the man shipping punishment. When Foreman stepped in with a final crunching combination, the boxing career of Gerry Cooney was finally over with a fittingly exciting and dramatic conclusion.

“I interviewed Foreman a while ago” says Cooney who is still in great shape to this day. “He told me the three most important fights of his career were; Ron Lyle, Muhammad Ali and Gerry Cooney. He also said I was the hardest hitter he ever faced. Many have said the same; Larry Holmes, Lyle, Norton that I hit them the hardest they’d ever been hit.”

“After I shook George up he made me pay and I got caught but that (loss) helped me turn a page and move on with my life.”

Cooney re-retired in the immediate aftermath of the Foreman loss ending his career at 28-3 (24). He engaged in just four contests in the eight years between the Holmes and Foreman defeats. No matter what his physical and mental state for his losses; he can proudly say he only ever lost to the very best.

These days the big-hearted former puncher keeps himself extremely busy but clearly loves his life which he reiterates many times during our interview. As well as numerous public appearances, Gerry also presents a radio show twice a week and is also currently writing his biography which he hopes will also be turned into a movie in the near future.

The keen golfer also helps out retired fighters, boxes occasional exhibitions, trains young boxers and does a lot of work for charity.

“It’s nice that people still want me around and that I’m still relevant. ESPN recently reached out for me to be on a reality show where I train eight guys to compete for a prize. I love my life and the people around me and have a great family also.”

I ask a final series of questions to which Gerry admirably answers head on…

“Would I have signed with Don King if I went back? No. I would never have signed with King but if I could go back I would have done it differently. I’d have found a way of staying more active and gaining the necessary experience and maybe getting into the mandatory position for the title instead of being inactive all of the time.”

Was there anyone he didn’t end up facing that he would have liked to fight in his prime?

“I would have liked to have fought Mike Weaver when that fight was mooted and also Tim Witherspoon… they were the type of fights I needed before Holmes and that’s how I would have learned.”

Gerry was close to facing the-then WBA champion Weaver in 1981 before the fight fell through and Weaver fought James Tillis instead.

If Gerry had been at his absolute best entering his three pro defeats how does he think they would have gone?

“I wouldn’t have lost any of them” he insists firmly. “That is the truth but I have to say I’d also have been smarter. I was a big puncher but my problem was defence. If I was boxing now I’d be covering up better, finding the openings and being smart.”

I ask a final question; does he still follow heavyweight boxing and if so what does he make of the current division?

“I think right now it’s reforming itself with all these young guys like Mike Perez, Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, it’s beautiful to see. The fight game in general is great now there’s so much talent in every division. Look at that Carl Froch fight with 80,000 people watching. It’s coming back strong in all weight classes.”

Some may say boxing history wasn’t overly kind to Gerry Cooney but he lived to tell the tale and came back punching. The happiness, positivity and the enthusiasm for life that he now shows every day is proof that, despite the many set-backs he’s endured, he’s as heavy a hitter in life as he was in his fighting prime.

Gerry’s boxing radio show “Friday Night at the Fights” can be found on Sirius XM radio on channel 92. It runs from 6-8pm Eastern Standard Time and is co-hosted by Randy Gordon.

Many thanks for Chico Sherwood for setting up the interview.

Economides talks ahead of crucial title fight; “I want Gavin McDonnell”


By Michael J Jones

The stage was set last April in Chester. Local contenders Chris Goodwin and Paul Economides were fighting for titles on home ground against men they were favoured to beat. For “The Spartan” Paul Economides though he was facing more than just his Hungarian opponent David Kanalas…

“I was so tense before that fight” admits the 27-year-old. “I’m not usually like that but I think it was because I knew my career was on the line that night and that if I were to lose it would have meant game over for my career.”

Kanalas at 14-10 was a plucky young journeyman with advantages in height and reach. With Economides dropping three of his four previous contests and not being known as a puncher the ‘Upsetometer’ was tingling before the first bell rung at the Northgate Arena.

With the vacant WBF International super-bantamweight title up for grabs, Kanalas chanced his arm early and had some success before the shorter, more aggressive, Welshman began targeting the lanky body of his opponent with his trademark left hook.

Soon it was Economides doing most of the punching as Kanalas was backed up and hammered all around the ring. The bout entered the second round but “The Spartan” continued his attack, switching his shots from head to body with calculated fury. Another painful flurry to the body and a final hard right and the fight was over.

Amazingly it was the Chester boxer’s first stoppage victory on his now 14-5 (1) record though he promises more to come…

“I knew I had the better of Kanalas but I didn’t think the stoppage would come as early as it did” Paul tells Livefight. “All through my career I’ve thought about the big punches and the knock-outs but they never came. Now I’m working with speed and not thinking about stopping anyone and it’s meant now at 27 I feel quicker than I ever had. I think there’ll definitely be more stoppage wins along the way.”

Does he expect another explosive performance this Saturday against Georgian opponent George Gachechiladze?

“I think this guy is a lot tougher than Kanalas” admits Economides. “He’s ranked a lot higher in the ratings and has some power too. He dropped Michael Walsh too so I’m going to have to show my boxing brain in this one.”

Gachechiladze is currently 15-11 (8) but further inspection reveals a young man who has been matched tough in his career and has improved greatly in the last two years. Since his knock-out loss to Walsh he’s gone 6-2 (6).

Earlier this year, the Georgian lost a punishing fight with 19-1 Zsolt Bedak in Hungary, yet just two weeks later knocked out a fighter with a 12-0-1 record. Clearly Saturday’s co-challenger has toughness and power which bellies his patchy record.

“He’s a dangerous fighter and this is also the first time I’ve ever faced someone shorter than me” concedes Paul. “He’s had a run of wins and has fought some top guys but this is a step up for me and I need to beat guys like this to move up to where I want to be. If I come through this fight I want a guy ranked higher again. The WBF title is presently vacant so I hope to face another ranked fighter for the vacant belt in the near future.”

Although the tough contender sees his immediate future as targeting the full WBF title, there’s one fighter he would face in a heartbeat if the bout was offered to him.

“Gavin McDonnell I would fight again without any hesitation” promises Paul. “We fought, it was a good hard fight and he got the decision. I felt I’d won but what pissed me off was the scoring...”

Taking place in McDonnell’s home territory in Doncaster in April of last year, the two men went to war for ten full rounds yet at the end the future British champion won widely and emphatically on the three score-cards at 99-91 (twice) and 98-93.

“If you want to tell me he won by a point I can take that but those scores were a joke. In the seventh I dropped him with an uppercut and the ref just ignored it and let us carry on like nothing had happened!”

Also on Saturday’s bill will be Economides’ stable-mate Chris Goodwin who defends his WBF lightweight title for the first time after winning it last time out vs Irishman Oisin Fagan. Ironically Fagan has been helping both fighters out in the build-up to Saturday’s show as Paul explains…

“Oisin Fagan is a top bloke and I’ve got a lot of respect for him as he’s such a tough guy. We’ve had some great spars all of us and I felt really sharp. Some of the spars between Chris and Fagan were tougher than the fight they had. We’ve had a long camp as the original fight date was put back but we’re back on track now and it’s gone really good.”

“I just want to thank all of my fans and supporters and also my promoters Fight Options for putting this show on. I know they don’t make much money but they keep putting the shows on. Also thanks to Steve Goodwin as he’s really helped to change my career.”

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