News July 2018



By @livefight

After the successful live online broadcast of the 2018 Senior/Elite Welsh Amateur Boxing Association Finals the Welsh Amateur Boxing Association are very proud to announce that we will be once again working with Welsh boxing reporter Ciaran Gibbons to broadcasting the GB 3 Nations Schoolboy Finals, online for just £3.50, on 28th July, starting at 12:00, live from Cardiff with our ringside commentary team of Ciaran Gibbons and 2002 Commonwealth Gold medal winner Jamie Arthur talking you through all the live action .

We of course welcome all boxing fans that want to make the journey to our beautiful city of Cardiff to soak up the atmosphere as the very best schoolboy boxers from England, Scotland and Wales battle it out to become British Champion at Sport Wales National Centre.
But we realise that it might not be logistically possible for everyone to attend which is why we are providing the live online PPV option which can be watched from anywhere in the world not just Great Britain.


The online PPV link is live and purchases can be made now for just £3.50 for what promises to be a great afternoon of boxing, and never know you might be watching the next Joe Calzaghe, Nigel Benn or Ken Buchanan in action.

Sport Wales National Centre
Sophia Gardens
CF11 9SW

27th July, 12:00, GB Schoolboy Semi Finals. (Not available on PPV)
28th July, 12:00, GB Schoolboy Finals. (Available on live PPV)

£20 on the door for general public.
Under 10’s and over 60s £10 per day.
£10 for any WABA boxer 16 years or younger with an up to date medical card.

Dangerous veteran warns Crowcroft "I'll Renda you unconscious on September 1st!"


By Michael J Jones

Cello Renda

AS IS OFTEN the case in boxing, sometimes scoring a notable win doesn’t automatically mean you are guaranteed further big fights and purses. Take Peterborough contender Cello “Dangerous” Renda. The wiry puncher scored one of the best victories of his long career last September when knocking out former football star Leon McKenzie in nine rounds to lift the Southern Area super-middleweight belt.

The win took Renda’s record to 29-12-2 (13) and it was expected the win would lead to a straight British title shot or possible eliminator yet nothing materialized. In fact, the phone simply hasn’t rung for Marcello since that fight as potential opponents sought safer routes to leave “Dangerous” in the fistic wilderness.

Eventually Renda’s patience has paid off and he is now set to take on Luke “The Beast” Crowcroft at the Doncaster Dome on September 1st. The 24 year old Crowcroft has returned from his own spell on the side-lines and is determined to fulfil his amateur potential after a few disappointing losses on his 10-3 (3) resume. Since his absence of three years, Crowcroft has won two fights this year and deserves credit for taking on a more-experienced opponent who can do damage.

Speaking to Livefight earlier this week, we found Cello Renda in a bullish and determined mood ahead of his clash with Crowcroft. The match has been recently approved as an official eliminator for the English title so much will be at stake for the intriguing ten-rounder.

“It’s been a crazy time these last ten months and it’s just been impossible to get an opponent to fight me” reveals the 33 year old. “To be honest I thought after knocking out Leon McKenzie it would be the opposite, with people queuing up to fight me but it never worked out like that unfortunately.”

“I’m absolutely made up that this fight has been made and full respect to (promoter) Stefy Bull and Luke Crowcroft for making the fight. I would have been out a year come fight time but that doesn’t worry me at all as I was in a similar situation before facing McKenzie last time out.”

Crowcroft was a gifted amateur fighter who won a Junior ABA title amongst other achievements but, so far, he has struggled to impress in his pro career. An eight round defeat to Jason Ball, just two weeks after a points loss in Prizefighter, seemed to derail the Doncaster favorite and he would take three years out to regroup.

The 24 year old prospect has since won both fights, including a first-round stoppage in his last contest over Chris Nixon. Livefight saw that fight and was alarmed at the low-held guard of Nixon. Several solid shots smashed repeatedly into his exposed face but he never took the hint and Crowcroft took full advantage to continue the onslaught to record an emphatic victory.

“I’ve not seen too much of Crowcroft but I will do my research. I know he was a decent amateur and has lost to a couple of guys he really should have beaten but that’s all I know at the moment. I’ve got a lot of experience over him and my quality of opposition has been way better so we’ll see what he brings on the night.”

“His amateur career doesn’t worry me in the slightest as I’ve boxed several lads, like Jack Arnfield, who were really good amateurs and I’ve done well against them.”

“It’s a luxury for me to have eight weeks’ notice for a fight, usually I get less than a month. I can now train hard and not worry about anything and just focus on the fight. It is a bit upsetting the way it’s gone, I feel I’ve been treated badly but I know how the sport works and I’ll be more than ready come September 1st.”

As Renda just mentions, he’s no stranger to the sport of boxing after 43 pro contests. He is set to take on a Doncaster prospect at the famous “Donny Dome” are there any concerns about the dreaded “home cooking” that seems to plague our sport so often?

Renda KO's McKenzie

“Of course there’s a concern and that’s why I’m coming to knock Crowcroft out” threatens the two-time Prizefighter finalist. “I’ve been here before facing the house fighter and I know what to expect. When I boxed Alan Higgins in Mayfair, he was blatantly head-butting me and fouling but never even received a single warning (from the referee). I still thought I won but they gave him an unreal decision.”

“That’s why I knew I had to get that KO against Leon McKenzie and I’ll have the exact same mind-set against Crowcroft. I’m not here to get ripped off again; I’ll go for the knock-out or get stopped trying. I’d rather go out on my shield than suffer another silly decision. There will be no decision end of.”

In his last fight against former footballer and reality TV star McKenzie, Renda was shaken up early as he was caught cold but recovered to turn the fight around later on. The Peterborough warrior went all out in the ninth to finish his pray off. McKenzie retired from boxing just days after.

“I’m not like Ricky Hatton and put four stone on between fights, I’m always ‘ticking over’. I’ve just eaten chips (laughs) but I’m only a stone (14lbs) over weight now. They probably think ‘he’ll be rusty’ but I’m always in shape. I could fight Crowcroft tomorrow no problem at all.”

“People may say I’m 33 and had a hard career but it’s not been as hard as some may think. I never had any amateur fights, I’ve scored thirteen early knock-outs so they weren’t hard fights. I’ve also just had one fight in nearly two years which, if anything, has meant my body has been well rested.”

“I don’t feel anywhere near retiring, I actually feel in my prime right now. I’ve had set-backs, I’ve learned a lot about the sport and now I’m ready to use that experience. I was 18-years-old when I turned pro and was knocking men out and I’m far better now and I feel I take a shot better now too as I’m physically mature and strong as an ox. I really am super confident for this fight.”

Renda isn’t just “super-confident” he seems to speak with a passion born of frustration; a frustration which has stemmed from not getting the earned fruits of his considerable labour. He sees beating “The Beast” as a way of turning his career around once more. Besting Crowcroft will guarantee Renda an English title shot in the near future. One would hope that success would lead to further high profile title fights defending the English title and possibly fighting for the British honours…..providing he does beat Crowcroft of course.

“I’ll say again, I’ve got massive respect for Crowcroft for taking the fight but this is just business and I’ve got to do my business in this fight” reasons Cello. “It’s sometimes hard to gauge things just on records but has Crowcroft been ten rounds? Has he had blood gushing out of his face? Has he broken his hands and been forced to carry on? Has he been dragged into deep water? Has he been rocked, dropped and had to swallow his own blood in a fight? This is the shit I’ve gone through and I doubt he can say the same.”

Final word on the fight?

Renda vs Crowcroft

“I’m going all out on September 1st, it’s going to be a hell of a show and a hell of a fight. I’ve had good notice for this fight for once so it’s paradise for me and I can’t wait for it.”

Cello Renda would like to thank his team, sponsor Chris Larrington, all of the public in Peterborough* for their continued support especially those who come and watch me fight, and also his wife Nicola for “being a real star and doing all my washing and food and helping behind the scenes.”

*Cello was voted Peterborough’s Sports Personality of the year in 2017.

Parting Shots

Renda lost his fifth fight at the Doncaster Dome in March 2005. It’s the only time he’s ever boxed at the venue. He dropped a four-round decision to Ricardo Samms.

Crowcroft, on the other hand, has had all but one of his contests at the Donny Dome. His other was in Blackpool for Prizefighter.

Both boxed in Prizefighter the middleweights in Blackpool three-and-a half years ago. Crowcroft, then just 20, dropped a decision to Luke Keeler while Renda would best both Liam Conroy and Jack Arnfield to meet Welsh-man Tom Doran in the final. Cello would get stopped by a monstrous left hook in the third but cited a broken hand as the cause of his down-fall.

Renda turned pro against a much older and experienced opponent but knocked him out in two rounds to start his career with a bang. Mark Ellwood was seven bouts unbeaten and ten years older against the big-punching teenager but it counted for little in the short-lived encounter.

Crowcroft has lost three fights to Darren McKenna, Keeler and Jason Ball. All were close decisions and “The Beast” says he’s physically stronger and more mature now at 24.

Luke Blackledge plots three fights in three months targets Brit middleweight elite


By Michael J Jones

Luke Blackledge

TWO YEARS ago it all seemed to be going so well for Luke “Robbo” Blackledge. After taking the hard route early in his boxing career, he would eventually capture the Commonwealth super-middleweight title and would make two impressive defences whilst showing a marked improvement in his technical ability.

The rugged Lancashire puncher would lose a heroic challenge to Liverpool star Callum Smith at the close of 2016 and it didn’t seem a major setback when the aging-but-still capable Lolenga Mock edged him on points six months later overseas.

Just a few short months after the Mock fight, Blackledge would face feared prospect Zach Parker in a non-title bout. In a shocker, Parker would drill his more-experienced opponent in the very first round to win his thirteenth fight and stay unbeaten.

The surprise defeat saw Blackledge’s record slip to 23-5-2 (8) and leave him with three loses in his last four contests. After a spell on the side-lines the former Commonwealth champion’s career seemed at a standstill but, talking to Livefight this week, the 27 year old reveals he is raring to resume his fistic journey starting with a return bout on August 17th in Bolton.

“The main reason I’ve taken this long to get a fight sorted is that I’ve had trouble with my elbows” Luke tells Livefight. “I’ve had tennis elbow, it doesn’t sound that bad but it’s been very painful and I’d been putting up with it for a while.”

“I was getting cortisone injections to help the pain but all they did in the long-term is prolong the injury. It’s been a bit of a nightmare but they feel a lot better now and I’m ready to get back in the thick of it again.”

Livefight asks whether he may be matched a little easier than usual after what is the longest period of inactivity (ten months come fight night) in his career since his debut eight years ago?

“Steve Wood, my manager, said he’d get me a journeyman-type opponent for my return, so I said ‘I don’t want a nugget to fight’, so he replied ‘how about half a nugget then?’ Listen, I’ve been away to Germany sparring not so long ago so I don’t feel that bad, I still feel pretty sharp even now.”

“I know I should do what everyone else does and fight nobodies to pad the record up but that’s never been me. What’s the point of getting to fifteen or 20-0 when you’ve never boxed anyone and never left your home-town?”

“What I want for August 17th is a decent six or eight rounder, then I’ll be fighting the month after that, then I’ve got another fight lined up the month after that (October). That will be three fights in rapid succession and then I’ll be targeting titles next year.”

Before Blackledge’s defiant stand against the streaking “Mundo”, he nearly came a cropper against power-punching journey-man Elvis Dube. In what was supposed to be a routine six-rounder, Elvis came close to leaving the building with a huge upset after felling the favourite with a massive right hand in the first.

Blackledge remarkably recovered to win the remaining rounds and bag the tougher-than-expected victory by a 58-55 margin.

“Dube usually campaigns around the cruiserweight mark and everyone in boxing knows Dube can punch; he’s pulled off a few upsets and I’ve heard he’s knocked many fellas out in sparring sessions. I was told the only way I could fight that night was to give away weight against him so I took it.”

“I went to throw an uppercut and he landed that big right flush on my jaw. That knock-down was far worse than the first two I suffered to Callum Smith. I dragged myself to my feet but I was ‘gone’. I was lucky that I was super fit that night and that allowed me to recover and win.”

Most thought after that scare Blackledge wouldn’t make it halfway through the first three minutes against the huge-punching Smith but the underdog battled gamely. After two knock-downs and many heavy-looking shots rocked Luke, he had one of his best rounds in the ninth before a chilling left hook violently knocked him out in the next.

Although he failed in his British title challenge, many fans were impressed that he gave the menacing Smith a fight and lasted far longer than the vast majority of Smith victims.

Six months later, Blackledge returned with a warm-up victory over Olegs Fedotovs before travelling to Denmark to face the 45-year-old Mock. Although in advanced years for a fighter, Mock, who once famously knocked down a young David Haye, was on a long unbeaten run and had claimed some notable scalps of late. Blackledge would thus be taking on a tough opponent on away territory; a situation he has embraced many times in his career.

“With that fight, I feel if it had been over here in the UK I would have gotten the decision as I felt I won. I felt so flat that night though. I had spoken to an MMA fighter about cutting weight before the fight and he told me about this thing with getting in the bath with salts. I cut a chunk of weight but felt flat as f**k for the fight.”

“It’s all about learning though, in hindsight, maybe I shouldn’t have fought Callum (Smith) when I did and then there’s Zach Parker….”

Facing Zach Parker at the Echo Arena, Blackledge would be boxing on a card topped by his former opponents Smith and Erik Skoglund. He would have a clear advantage in experience over Parker but the fight ended before Luke could make any real impact.

Robbo overcomes dangerous Dube

Typical of the Lancashire puncher, there’s no animosity at all towards Parker just praise for his last opponent and victor.

“I took the fight with Parker and we knew he was big and a puncher but we hadn’t really seen much of him or knew how big he really was at the weight. Boxrec has him listed as six foot……yeah right, maybe when he was f**king twelve!”

“Zach Parker did something very clever in that fight actually” reveals Luke. “What he did was, he threw a shot, changed to orthodox, then changed back to southpaw to throw the back hand. It wasn’t the hardest shot but the timing of it caught me out and I couldn’t recover.”

“Only people who really know boxing would have noticed that. I’d had an amazing camp for the fight and I’d been battering everyone in sparring so maybe I was a touch over-trained or something but no excuses at all.”

“I was trying to control where his head was but his team must have done their homework and been ready to counter that. He can really whack and his timing is also very good.”

Following the fifth loss of his career, the beaten man talked about dropping to the 160lb middleweight division after being a career super-middleweight. He confirms that is still the plan as he prepares to resume his career.

“I’ve been out a while now so I’ll probably be heavier for my next couple of fights but middleweight is definitely where I’m headed. I’ve been facing all of the top lads at super-middle but I’m really a natural middleweight and am looking forward to getting into the mix at my new weight.”

One man Blackledge knows well is Liam Cameron. Luke won a hard-fought decision with the Commonwealth belt on the line three years ago. Sheffield’s Cameron has since moved down a weight (as his former rival intends), and has looked like a monster in dispatching Sam Sheedy and Nick Jenman in recent bouts for the Commonwealth middleweight title.

“Liam Cameron is a good fighter, when we fought I don’t think his diet was that good but he’s got a nutritionist now and he’s making middleweight well. No disrespect though, Sam Sheedy is fiddly but I always expected Cameron to do that to him and also Jenman. The performances have been good but he hasn’t had anyone top level to fight yet.”

Would the returning “Robbo” like to face his old foe again at the lower weight?

“After my next two fights I’d be up for that rematch. I’d take it tomorrow really but I’d probably have to chop a leg off to make weight at present!”

Livefight asks if recently-crowned British champion Jason Welborn is in his sights in the near future. The 32 year old Welborn beat the much-fancied Marcus Morrison last year before shocking Tommy Langford in May to become the British ruler.

“I’ve got nothing bad to say about Jason Welborn fair play to him. He’s not taken the easy route and he’s gone and become the British champion. If he beats Langford again* and wants another 50/50 fight I’d be well up for that too.”

*Welborn faces Langford again on September 8th in Birmingham.

Another former Blackledge victim is Lee Markham who takes on Indian mega-star Vijender Singh on July 13th with Blackledge’s old Commonwealth strap on the line. Londoner Markham is the underdog for the bout though his former opponent predicts he will have too much for the 10-0 (7) Singh.

“It’s all about experience isn’t it? Markham has far more pro experience than Singh. Markham has been in tough fights against good lads and that will be the difference against Singh who I don’t think has been active enough since turning pro and hasn’t faced anyone that dangerous.”
Final thoughts on his ring return on August 17th?

“Training is going good and I’m going to start sparring next week. I just want to get these three fights under my belt and take whatever title fight comes along. I feel I’ve still got a lot left in me and I’m buzzing to be back in the game and ready for some big performances.”

Luke Blackledge would like to thank his team, including trainers Kevin Maree and Matt Bolton and manager Steve Wood, supporters and sponsors for their continued support. Sponsors are; N&R Demolitions Ltd, ajwood Ltd, Motor Restore cosmetic print repairs, New Age Hydroponics, Beltex, Olympia fightwear and supplements and The Fit Food Company.

Robbo set to return
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