VIDEO: De La Hoya talks cocaine and affairs
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Warren officially announces Clev vs Bellew
Frank Warren today officially announced the long awaited showdown between WBO World Light-Heavyweight Champion Nathan Cleverly and challenger Tony Bellew for Saturday 15th October at the Liverpool Echo Arena.
It has the potential to be the most explosive fight of the year - and of the new season - as the bitter rivals put their unbeaten records and pride on the line.
The rivalry has been building up over the last couple of years and the pair almost fought in May at the O2 Arena when Cleverly was due to face then WBO World Champion Juergen Braehmer, but the German failed to arrive and Bellew stepped in at the last minute.
They clashed at a heated press conference and had to be separated by security staff. Ultimately Bellew was beaten by the scales and Cleverly instead faced Aleksy Kuziemski and stopped him in four rounds.
The 24-year-old from Cefn Fforest in Wales has a 22-fight unbeaten record with 10 knockouts and formerly held the British and Commonwealth Light-Heavyweight titles.
He beat Nadjib Mohammedi last December to win the Interim WBO World title and was declared the full champion by the WBO when Braehmer pulled out and he made the first defence against Kuziemski.
"A fight between me and Bellew has been heating up for a long time and now he's ready to be taught a lesson," said Cleverly.
"He's got a big mouth, but he can't back it up with his fists and this time he's talked himself into big trouble that he won't be able to fight his way out of,"
"My blood boils when I think back to the press conference we had and he wanted to fight there and then,"
"I just wish it was him in the ring that night instead of Kuziemski, I would have knocked him, but he would have come out with excuses that he was a last minute replacement,"
"I'm happy that this time he's had time to prepare and his weight will right and he'll have no excuses when he's knocked out cold by me,"
Liverpool "Bomber" Bellew, 28 is undefeated in 16 fights with nine KO's. He won the British title in his last fight against Ovill McKenzie to add to his Commonwealth title.
"Cleverley has never knocked anybody out in his life and he's dreaming if he thinks he going to do it to me," Stormed Bellew.
"I'll be fit and ready on the night and it's the worst scenario that he could have ever wished for; I'll give him nightmares,"
"This is the fight I've wanted and been banging for and now I'm going to prove all along what I've been saying is true,"
"I rattled him at the last press conference, he'll deny it, but he was physically shaking and it's still playing on his mind now,"
"He can't beat me mentally or physically and he knows that. He may have a touch more speed, but I have plans to counter that,"
"Come October 15th, Cleverly is in for a nasty nasty shock; he'll be in a hostile place with a hostile atmosphere that he's never experienced,"
"Full credit to him for facing me, but this will be one of the shortest reigns by a world champion,"
Hall of Fame promoter Warren, now into his 30th year in the sport, said, "This is a fight that the fans have been waiting for and I'm delighted that it's on,"
"It is no secret that there is very little love loss between them from their past history together,"
"I think that the fans will be in for something special when they clash on the night."
Warren also revealed that the winner could also get a huge fight against the legendary Bernard Hopkins - the oldest boxer to ever win a win title at 46 - who defends his WBC World title against Chad Dawson on the same night.
"I'm in discussions with Hopkins' promoter Richard Schaefer about a potential fight with the winner so it's a massive incentive for both guys."
George Groves signs with Frank Warren
Unbeaten British and Commonwealth super middleweight star George Groves has signed with Frank Warren Promotions.
There was speculation that Degale's nemesis would be inking a deal with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing in the last couple of weeks, but the move will now see Groves in the same camp as his bitter rival Degale.
His trainer Adam Booth had this to say on the signing:-
"On the surface, this may seem a strange decision from me and Hayemaker Boxing to have made, but this is all about what is best for the career of George and we believe that working with Frank is the best decision we could have made.
"George has the full support of both myself and David Haye as we know that if anybody can take George to the top, Frank is the man." said Booth.
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Livefight talks to Stephen Swifty Smith
By John Evans ( follow John @Ilovetitles on twitter)
Stephen Smith must be a happy man. The 26 year old enters the new boxing season as the reigning British and Commonwealth featherweight champion and for the first time in a year, he isn’t preparing to fight somebody called John Simpson. Having claimed a pair of tough, close victories over the Scotsman, Smith is deep into preparations for his upcoming title defence against Lee Selby at the Hilton Hotel in London on September 9th.
“Yeah, it's a break fighting someone different!” he laughs. “I'm sure myself and John Simpson will meet again but three times running would have been a bit much! I'm very confident in all departments when it comes to this fight with Lee Selby. I think he is a good lad with good speed but I know I have too much for him”.
Smith was pitched in with the talented Scotsman in September 2010. Simpson is one of British boxings most underrated fighters. He generally only gets beaten by Britains top fighters and usually on close – some may say contentious – decisions. Does his ability to claim the domestic belts at such an early stage in his career mark him down as being the type of fighter who raises his performance when faced with tougher challenges? Not in Smith’s eyes. “I wouldn't like to be tagged with that saying of being better against better opposition but I do believe I will raise my game when needs be. If the opponent is better then I will need to be better and I will be”.
Smith and Selby both turned professional around the same time and have had around the same number of fights. Whilst the 12-0 (6) champion progressed to British title level quickly, this is Selbys first opportunity to prove he has what it takes to be successful at title level. “I have progressed quicker due to the fact that I had a better amateur background behind me and also because I was doing a good job on the journeymen really and needed moving on from that level sooner rather than later”.
Smith is the perfect example of the success that can be achieved through letting a prospect off the leash early. His twin victories over Simpson have seen him learn way more than he would have from continuing to feast on journeymen for six more months. He has overcome a broken hand to find a way to take a champions title in his own back yard and then successfully dealt with the pressure of being a home favourite to outlast him in a real war. “The last two fights with John Simpson have helped me massively” he states. “I‘ve learnt so much and also answered a lot of questions about myself. People will see my improvements in this fight on September 9th I'm sure”.
Should ‘Swifty’ live up to his prediction and impress against Selby, a big part of any improvement will be down to some high class preparation work. As well as running the gauntlet whilst sharing the ring with some seriously talented gym mates the past couple of weeks have seen him sparring with British super featherweight champion Gary Sykes. Did the sparring with Sykes kick start any thoughts of moving up in weight? “A move up in weight isn't something on my mind right now” says Smith. “I'm a featherweight and have been for years. I‘ve been sparring Sykes because it's good quality sparring, as well as Anthony Crolla and Joe Murray. I’ll have others with similar styles to Lee Selby coming in the next two weeks too. The in-house sparring at Gallaghers Gym is second to none for me. I'm very happy here”.
Having recently left the old premises in Denton, head trainer Joe Gallagher and his talented team of fighters have taken up residence in Amir Khans gym in nearby Bolton. How are the team settling into their new surroundings? “Everyone has settled great at Amir's gym” says Smith. “Everyone here couldn't do enough for us to make us feel welcome and we are grateful of that. It’s a brilliant gym with the best of facilities. Things really are going well”.
If the ambitious scouser has his way, things will continue to go well. Having reached British level relatively quickly, Smith sees no point in slowing down now and has big plans for the upcoming season. “This season I want to be active and fight a lot, stay unbeaten, win the British title outright and move on to European level” he says. “I'm highly ranked in Europe and the World at then minute so just want to keep winning and progressing and hopefully something will come about”.
Swifty Smith in action:-
Commission assures Froch that judging will be fair
Speculation surrounding recent judging outrage during the Paul Williams vs Erislandy Lara fight has prompted New Jersey's boxing commissioner Aaron Davis to speak out and assure Carl Froch and Andre Ward that their massive Super Six final will be judged by "The best of the best."
The Williams debacle saw Davis suspend three of the commission's judges for their outrageous pro-Williams scorecards, which handed the 'The Punisher' a victory that his performance did not merit.
“We’re going to have some top-class officials (for the final). I believe that, in New Jersey, if you look at it, we have some of the best judges and referees in the world." said Davis at the New York press conference promoting the fight.
Forgive Froch for remaining concerned as the high-stakes final of Showtime’s “Super Six World Boxing Classic” approaches.
Froch, the visiting fighter from Nottingham also admitted during recent interviews that recent judging scorecards had given him some food for thought.
"You try to believe that you'll get a fair shake from the judges, that their scorecards support the boxer actually winning the round. Against Mikkel Kessler I was only given one round from the opening ten rounds by Roger Tilleman.
"Anyone who has watched that fight knows that awarding me a solitary round from the first ten, well, it questions what fight they were watching. Also during the Johnson fight another judge gave the fight as a draw.
"Even Johnson and his team were puzzled by that result and said so in the post fight conference. So even the opponent knew he'd lost in that fight and never questioned the loss - but did question how it was seen as a draw. That underlines the problem." said Froch.
The officials are yet to be disclosed by the bout, but one thing is for sure, the judges will be under intense scrutiny to ensure that the fight is scored correctly and as fairly as possible and Aaron Davis will be keen to avoid further controversy.
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VIDEO: Ward and Froch talk the talk
From today's press conference at Matchroom HQ.
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Lucian Bute vs Glen Johnson confirmed for Nov 5th
In what will likely be a double telecast by Showtime, it has been revealed by Interbox (Bute's promoters) that following the withdrawal of Kelly Pavlik, the Jamaican born Glen Johnson will be challenging for the undefeated southpaw's IBF strap.
The location is yet to finalised but is likely to be the Bell Centre, which has played host to the lion's share of Bute fights to date.
Bute (29-0, 24ko) is coming off a 4th round knockout in Romania over his IBF mandatory challenger Jean Paul Mendy.
Meanwhile Johnson gave a spirited performance in his loss against Carl Froch in the semi-final of the Showtime Super Six tournament the other month.
"Can Lucian do better than Froch? Can Lucian stop him? That could be interesting." said a represenative of Interbox yesterday.
Bute and Johnson are both friendly with one another, often assisting each other's training when they both meet up in their favourite Miami gym.
But Johnson, who claims he got the better of Bute during their training sessions says the champion can expect an even gutsier approach now that he is "playing for all the marbles."
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Kessler and Stieglitz face off
Mikkell Kessler and Robert Stieglitz pose for the camera with their respective titles for the cameras. Whilst Froch is now the WBC champion, Kessler is 'Emeritus' and will have first shot at the title he vacated following his withdrawal from the Super Six tournament.
Reports in Danish newspapers suggest that Kessler has taken a significant pay cut to bring the fight to his home of Copenhagen.
According to Eb.Dk the purses will be roughly around $1.4m for Mikkel Kessler, whilst the WBO champion defending his title will receive around $3m for his visit to the Parken Arena on November 5th.
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