Cinderella Man Booth aims for Molitor scalp
32-year old Nottingham man Jason '2 smooth' Booth faces a stiff challenge in the form of Canadian boxing sensation Steve Molitor in two weeks time.
But the popular super bantamweight has already fought the fight of his life outside the ropes with alchoholism - and views the IBF world title attempt as a dream opportunity and one he hadn't have imagined possible just a few short years ago.
"If I hadn't had boxing, I'd be dead, the drink would have beaten me. I've got my kids now, they're my focus and I think I've just grown up" said Booth candidly in a recent interview with BBC sport.
Those troubled times lurked around Booth's younger days, but the demons wouldn't fully take control until Booth lost the IBO version of the title to Ireland's Damaen Kelly back in December 2004.
Out in the boxing wilderness, without his title and show dates to focus on, Booth found his days becoming a blur of booze and depression.
"My day used to start with drinking cider from a plastic cup to stop the shakes. Then, if I couldn't find any booze, I would pick up cans from the gutter and drink the dregs." admitted Booth.
"At one point my pancreas was giving out and my liver count was off the graph. Two years ago a doctor told me it was stop boozing or die."
But the power of boxing promoter Frank Maloney, along with the love and care supplied by partner Sarita and long standing friend and trainer Tony Harris - saw Booth take to his bed and go through the tremors and cold sweats for several weeks until his dependancy had subsided enough for him to resume a normal existence.
As the fog cleared from Booth's life, he began a new approach. Beginning with tentative workouts to see what was left. To everyone's surprise, underneath the rust and inactivity, his boxing tools were in perfect order.
Following intensive training to regain his health and fitness, he was thrown a lifeline by Frank Maloney, in an undercard return fight, to see what was left in a real fight.
It was a decision that has now reaped dividends for the everyone, as Booth went from an undercard fight against Abdul Mghrbel at the Barnsley metrodome to a clutch of Commonwealth titles at Bantam and Super Bantamweight.
The move up in weight class has seen the 5'5" fighter, punch with greater authority, most notably against Michael Hunter who he picked apart and forced to retire at the start of the 5th round.
Hunter, who is a common opponent of Molitor's, had taken the IBF champion on in 2006 and was stopped in 5 rounds lopsided rounds.
With what many consider a tall order in front of him, Booth is quietly confident that if he puts in his best effort, that beating Molitor and taking his title is certainly within reach.
In the lead up to this interesting match-up, Booth has been remarkably calm and unfazed by the fight itself - and having been to hell and back in his private life, it can be understood why he is neither scared nor daunted by the task in hand.
For Booth is merely greatful of the spot he finds himself in. But greatful or not, that will not detract from his efforts when that first bell rings.
Booth is a very wily boxer, with experience and savvy. Despite not campaigning too often at world class, Booth has mixed it up in very decent, often avoided company and prevailed as victor. And come September the 11th, the Nottingham fighter will be looking to take the big prize.
"Jason had so many upsets, to put his life back together has been superb." said Maloney, who has stood by Booth amidst his problems and delivered him this title chance.
"Three-and-a-half years ago I thought we'd give him a couple of fights and see how it goes. To be truthful I didn't think he had it in him."
"But now on 11 September he will fight for the ultimate prize in boxing."
Tickets for the massive night of action are available from 0871 226 1508, 0191 564 0202 or www.frankmaloney.com. VIP Ringside are £95 with the rest a bargain £35. Get yours in advance for a show that looks certain to sell out.
Tickets available HERE on FrankMaloney.com
Froch and Rocco to head to first football game
LONDON (26th August) Nottingham's Carl 'the cobra' Froch will be proudly visiting the Nottingham Forest city ground this coming Saturday and will be taking a special guest along - his 10 week old son Rocco.
Froch's little fighter will also be presented with his own personalised Nottingham Forest football kit when the pair appear in-store between 12pm Ė 1pm on Saturday and his doting father is looking forward to the occasion.
"I'm very proud of my Nottingham roots and to be invited down to the City ground with my little boy, to be kitted out with his own Nottingham Forest outfit will be a very special moment for me.Ē said Froch who is currently in training for his Super Six showdown with Arthur Abraham in Monaco** on October 2nd.
"Rocco's mum is from Liverpool, but despite the great teams that she has up in her neck of the woods, nobody has emulated what the great Brian Clough did with Forest!" said Froch. "As a manager he was pound for pound, the best in this country during his peak."
"Whilst Forest isnít in the top flight right now, we're in safe hands and hopefully Rocco will soon be watching his team get back to where they belong, the premier league. As a father, taking his boy to the football is a great moment for me. I come from a close family and look forward to me and my brothers taking the kids down to cheer Forest on in years to come. It's the little things like this in life that I really enjoy and I am looking forward to it."
Sarah Kirk, Store Manager at the City Ground said, ďWe are thrilled to have Carl Froch appearing at the brand new Nottingham Forest store at the City Ground on Saturday before the Forest vs. Norwich City match. He will be in store between 12-1pm and fans are welcome to come and meet him and have their picture taken with the UKís top boxing star, and of course visit the new state of the art store, where new products are arriving every day including replica kit, training, menís, ladies, kids and baby fashion.Ē
Carl will also been joined at the store between 1-2pm by former England and Forest midfielder Steve Hodge who will be signing copies of his new book ďMan with the Maradona ShirtĒ.
Nottingham Forest main sponsor 'Victor Chandler' will be presenting Carl with a £250 bet with odds at 100-1 on whether Rocco Froch eventually plays for the club. Carl will gracefully donate this charity bet to the E39 Ward at the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham. Forest fans will also have the opportunity to donate to charity, with a potential to win some cash in years to come.
Froch, who is currently training at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield under trainer Robert McCracken, will also be making an appearance on the pitch at half time. "It would be a dream if Rocco turned out for Forest one day. He's got his mum's good looks and so long as he hasnít inherited my first touch of the ball, it could be a reality! I'll be happy with whatever career my son follows in life, but being a professional footballer is a fantastic lifestyle - and certainly beats getting thumped for your wages !" joked Froch.
To pre-register your interest for Froch vs. Abraham
ticket and travel packages, please go to www.hennessysports.com/ticketupdate.htm.
The Nottingham Forest club store at The City Ground has undergone a major overhaul to offer Forest fans a truly unique shopping experience. The new store is 200% bigger and offers exciting new product ranges including all home, away and training kits, a variety of fantastic fashion lines and souvenirs and a heritage and memorabilia display area. Fans can also see a complete range of exclusive and authentic Forest merchandise at the all new online store at www.nottinghamforestdirect.com.
Address: Nottingham Forest Club Shop, the City Ground, NG2 5FJ.
Froch talks about Kessler injury
Carl 'the cobra' Froch has stated he is sad for Mikkel Kessler's problems forcing him from the super six, but insists the show must go on.
"I was hoping to have gotten the rematch with Kessler through the format of the Super Six. But health must come first and having eye problems in the past, I can only sympathise with Kessler's current situation and wish him well." said Froch.
"Kessler is a gent and will be missed by the the fighters and the fans of the Super Six tournament.But I'm sure somewhere down the line, hopefully our paths will cross again as our last fight really captured the public's imagination. But in the meantime I hope he gets his health back to 100% and back on track." said Froch.
"There is talk of my fight now being for the vacant WBC title. Whilst I appreciate being afforded the opportunity to regain the prestigious belt, I wanted to win it back of Mikkel himself. In an ideal world, he hangs onto it and we rumble again when he's good and ready."
The Super Six tournament is now likely to proceed as a 4-horse race between the remaining fighters.
Allan Green, who had a disappointing cameo appearance is unlikely to feature in the tournament going forward, as it would be difficult to introduce a 6th man to replace Mikkel so far into the show.
Unconfirmed speculation suggests that Kessler has handed in his WBC title for inclusion in the tournament going forward.
Whilst Andre Ward and Andre Dirrell will contest the WBA strap, it is believed that the WBC title may come back into play between former holder Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham who clash in Monaco on October the 2nd.
It is likely that the winners of each aforementioned fight, will then head into the grand final.
With Froch beating Dirrell, and Dirrell beating Abraham, it makes for very interesting forecasting as to whom will emerge against the tournament leader, Andre Ward.
Stylistically Dirrell has a very good chance of upsetting the unbeaten Gold medallist, but locations for the fight are still ongoing with neither Ward nor Dirrell willing to fight in one another's back yard.
Allan Green out of Super Six
Following reports earlier today that current WBC champion Mikkel Kessler's decision to retire from the Super Six with an eye injury, it almost immeadiately raised questions as to Allan Green's involvement in the series going forward.
Those questions were seemingly put to bed today by Green's promoter Lou Dibella, who indicated that his charge would be looking to continue on Showtime, but not within the Super Six format.
ďFirst and foremost, I want to wish Mikkel Kessler a speedy recovery. Eye injuries are very serious, and I hope Mikkel does everything necessary to heal up and continue his career as the appropriate time." Said Dibella in an official statement.
"Obviously, all of Team Green is bitterly disappointed about not getting the opportunity to travel to Denmark for this great challenge. It is hard not to feel for Allan Green; this is the third training camp in the last year that he has had interrupted for various reasons beyond his control. In the coming days we will sit down with [Showtime Senior Vice President] Ken Hershman to discuss Allanís future. We trust that Showtime will provide Allan with the opportunity to showcase his skills in a meaningful fight versus a world class opponent in the very near future.Ē
Green's exit was inevitable given his performance in a shut-out loss to tournament leader Andre Ward last month.
The format of the show is likely now to be a semi-final between the remaining contestants, each vying for the fabled slot in the final.
Kessler out of Super Six with eye problem
WBC champion Mikkel Kessler (43-2, 32ko) is withdrawing from the Super Six tournament because of a long standing eye problem.
Kessler will continue to train but the forthcoming showdown with Allan Green would not proceed as a result of the situation. The fighter stated he was "Extremely dissapointed" and that his eye has been bothering him for some time.
ďOf course I am very disappointed in this with my eyes. Itís been bothering me for a long time and I got the final decision yesterday so out course Iíve got to go out of my dream, go out of this great tournament. Of course, thereís hope in the future. I was afraid of was it the brain? Could I go blind? Thereís nothing there. Iím just going to go a year, keep up my training with Jimmy, take some training camps without the sparring. The good news is that Iím not finished. But of course my dream in the Super Six is finished. Thatís the way it is. Iím disappointed. But I just have to look forward now and be happy that I can fight again.Ē
Kessler's promoter Kalle Sauerland says it was ďnot bad news but it is a bomb shell.Ē
Elsewhere reports of the Andre Ward vs Andre Dirrell fight being difficult to orgainse between the interested parties are surfacing.
Could the super six be in jeopardy ?
GBP looking to serve up Morales for Marquez
Industry grapevines are jangling with the rumour that Juan Manuel Marquez will be squaring up in the near future against Erik Morales.
But first Morales (49-6) has a test fight against Scotland's Willie Limmond (33-2), the man who took Amir Khan life and death in their commonwealth lightweight title fight a couple of years back.
Morales may be just 33 years old, compared to Marquez who is now 37, but has far more miles on his clock. Memorable wars with Manny Pacquaio and Marco Antonio Barrera have taken their toll on the mexican legend.
Elsewhere GBP are looking to put Bernard Hopkins in with the WBC light heavyweight champion, Jean Pascal.
However, whilst publicly saying they want the fight, it may transpire that their purse requirements may tell a different story.
discuss in FORUM HERE
Kostya Tszyu says son will turn pro
With a father and mentor like the legendary Kostya Tszyu in your corner, one can only imagine how well 15 year old Tim Tszyu can eventually do in the paid ranks.
"He definitely wonít fight amateur. Itís too difficult to reach that level ... some countries like Cuba and Russia are too dominant." Kostya said of his son, who is about to defend his Australian Golden Gloves junior title in Caboolture this weekend.
The Golden Gloves event began around 10 years ago at the Caboolture Rugby Club and has gone from strength to strength.
"Iím going to mentor him and definitely manage him. He won't make the same mistakes as me." Said Tszyu, who has lost a multi-million pound court case himself against former promoters - and thus has plenty of experience in the pitfalls of the professional game.
Kostya has been helping coach his son in preparation for the competition. With various sessions at his legendary Sydney gym.
"Iíve been training every morning and afternoon with him, so I give him some tips. Heís been doing it only a year and a half, and heís improved a lot."
Kostya was a fearsome light welterweight, whose KO victory over Zab Judah is one of the most devastating right hands witnessed in recent times, see's a lot of potential in his son. Kostya was regarded as not only a puncher, but his boxing brain was equally impressive. It would seem that he recognises those qualities already.
"Heís confident, powerful and his decision making is good. Iím very pleased."
Following in the footsteps of a famous boxing father, usually ends in tears. With many a son, overwhelmed with the expectation placed on them due to the success of their father, crushing their career before it even gets going.
"The first time I walked into a gym, I was six years old but I was not really interested. Everyone else there was older." said Kostya.
"Three years later I went back. Now, everyone was the same age. Then it was more interesting. I was happy to be there. Of my first 100 fights, I won 99."
Currently Tim has won 15 out of 15 so is on the right path, but has some of the biggest shoes in boxing to fill. Let's wish him well.
discuss in FORUM HERE
VIDEO: Kessler works out for Berlin media day
Mikkel Kessler was filmed as he went through the motions with his trainer Jimmy Montoya whilst in Berlin filming footage for the Fight Camp 360 program for American TV giant Showtime.
Kessler hooked up with fellow stablemate Arthur Abraham whilst in town but the pair trained seperately.
His next fight will be against Allan Green, who replaced the retired Jermian Taylor following his KO loss to Arthur Abraham in the Group 1 fights.
Green, who lost his Super six debut during Group 2, to Olympian Andre Ward in Oakland, will be travelling to Denmark to take on Kessler.