Tony Moran “I’ve got great respect for Jones but I will not be dominated”
By Michael J Jones
ON SEPTEMBER 12th at the Aintree Equestrian Centre, Liverpool, local cruiserweight Tony Moran takes on boxing legend Roy Jones Jr in an intriguing battle for the Malta Boxing Commission International title. Jones Jr, a former middleweight, super-middleweight, light-heavyweight and heavyweight world champion, may be 46-years-old now but is in decent form with eight straight wins since a 2011 defeat by Denis Lebedev.
The Pensacola star is clearly past his dazzling best but is still a handy operator at 62-8 (45) and is bidding to keep the winning run intact for a potential shot at a world cruiserweight title later this year. The Moran bout will be his third inside a month having just stopped late sub’ Eric Watkins with a contest scheduled on August 29 vs Danny Santiago.
For Moran, the Jones Jr contest will be by-far his biggest boxing bout to date but the tall scouser is full of a quiet confidence ahead of the MBC title fight as Livefight discovered when calling “Dare to Dream” a few days ago to ask how preparation is going for next month’s big fight.
“Training is going brilliant to be honest I feel better than ever now at 42” enthuses Moran, who returned from an eight-year break from boxing three months ago with a win. “When I did boxing before, I was working 60 or 70 hours a week on top of training; I didn’t have a clue about nutrition or have anyone really constantly work with me to develop boxing skills but now I have a full time coach for the first time and I’m seeing a big difference already.”
“I’ve also got sponsors now and I’m able to be a full-time fighter and for me it’s almost luxurious and I can just focus on training and the fight. In the past I’ve been a trial-and-error fighter with diet and training. I had great help and coaches along the way but (that was) in terms of time-served and loyalty; not in a fundamental coaching way. I’m now working with Fran Harding and it’s just nice to leave things in the hands of my coaches.”
“Fran has a wealth of experience having learned under the legendary Phil Martin so I feel like I’m getting coached by Phil Martin too through Franny. Having someone work closely with me and correcting little things all through training has been brilliant for me. Until now most of what I did was self-taught and my boxing success was down mainly to mental strength and heart but I’m getting the skills now too.”
The big-hearted cruiserweight gives the first of many sincere thank you’s before we begin to talk about the first phase of his pro boxing journey.
“When I first started boxing, the only Liverpool boxing trainer willing to give me a chance was John Smith and I’m indebted to him for the time and energy he gave to me.”
After a lengthy spell in competitive Martial Arts, Moran made his debut as a pro boxer aged 28 in April 2001. Although he would suffer defeat in his first two bouts, he then reeled off eleven straight victories to be rewarded with a British and Commonwealth title shot against the in-form double champion Mark Hobson.
Giving away experience and home-advantage, Moran took the fight to the more-experienced champion as the two put on their own British cruiserweight version of Hagler-Hearns. With both taking turns to dish out heavy punishment, it was the more-seasoned Hobson who finally made a break-through to drop the 6’7” challenger in the third with a devastating right-hand.
“With the Hobson fight I was just prepared to go in and just ‘have it’ but I’ve learnt you need skills to back heart and determination up as you will only get so far without them. It’s like the Neil Dawson fight; it was a mini war (16 months after the Hobson loss) and I had him over but my preparation was terrible. I’d worked the whole week. I remember Kerry Kayes saying to me around that time he didn’t know how I ever even got into the ring with what I put myself through before a fight.”
Following his losses to Hobson and Dawson, Tony came back with a win but successive stoppages to Gyorgy Hidyegi and Chris P. Bacon saw him leave the sport of boxing for eight long years. After a highly successful stint in MMA, he returned with a four-round points victory over awkward trier Jody Meikle last May to improve to 15-6 (5).
“Jody is a right character, he just spent our fight arsing about and trying to kiss me but we’re good mates now” chuckles Moran about his comeback opponent. “Jody drove all the way from Scunthorpe straight after work to attend the press conference as a mark of respect for me and I appreciated that. I always get on well with the journeymen, people don’t realise they’re the toughest guys out there. I liken myself to them in terms of the willingness to face anyone, though I work very hard to develop my skills where they by-and-large don’t, but me and them are like kindred spirits.”
“My fight with Jody was good as I stayed measured and calm and didn’t let (Meikle’s antics) take me out of my stride. That fight was all about applying what I’ve been learning under Fran and I felt I achieved that.”
And now Tony has an opportunity of a life-time, taking on one of the greatest fighters who has ever lived…
“It was a bit surreal at first (being selected to face the legendary American) as there was never any guarantee I’d get the fight but once the initial euphoria had passed and I was getting up at 6am for running, the reality kicked in that the fight was real and I had a lot of hard work to put in.”
“I don’t watch much boxing being so busy but I remember seeing Jones in his prime and being in awe of his skills” adds Tony. “I’d always had massive respect for him as a fighter but, when we met in the press conference, I also had great respect for him as a man for the way he conducted himself.”
Without giving away tactics, how does the come-backing Moran plan to fight a boxer of the calibre of Roy Jones Jr?
“Let’s be realistic; Roy Jones has been beaten before and I am going into this fight with serious intentions. I’m not the ‘opponent’ just turning up, I’m in there to do my absolute best and I’m not in the slightest bit daunted at the challenge. One of my biggest attributes is self-belief not just as a fighter but in all areas of life. I’m a solid character and I will deal with any pressure.”
“I was a British Karate champion for ten years from the age of 13 and was a UK representative facing some of the best men in the world. I have also fought the best in kick-boxing, MMA and I’m telling you now nobody has ever been able to dominate me in a fight or in sparring and Roy Jones won’t do it either. Fact. He may knock me out but if he does so it will be in a hail-storm of leather.”
“When I boxed before I think I carried a lot of bad habits from Martial Arts” continues the likable Liverpool fighter who was a long-time training partner of MMA superstar “Rampage” Jackson. “I’d box like a Karate man standing too side-on. I was just a 6’7” brawler in boxing but now, thanks to my coaches, I’m boxing clever, using my reach and skills which have been drilled into me. Before, if I scored a knock-out it was virtually by luck I was in that position but now it comes natural thanks to all the adjustments Fran has instilled in me.”
Awkward question; with Tony being picked from a short-list of four other boxers (including fellow scouser Tony Dodson) does he feel the Jones Jr team have maybe overlooked him?
“I sincerely hope they have” laughs the 42 year old underdog. “Listen, I don’t care if they have or not it’s not for me to decide but I know (Jones) is not very hungry for beating me whilst I’m absolutely starving to beat him. I know the score but I’ve loved the build-up and don’t want any of this to end here. I want to win and get noticed and carry on the journey.”
“I’d just like to thank my strength and conditioning coach Chris Duff who has worked with me for the five weeks before the intense boxing work started. He’s gotten me in the best shape I’ve ever been in and built a real engine. Between him and Franny I’m in superb condition and very confident. I’ve trained hard and done so with a smile on my face and even had (my trainers) stop to smile and applaud me as I’ve grafted.”
Tony would also like to thank his friends, family and supporters in full below…
“I may have many people to thank but I have been homeless for two-and-a half years and remain so in the build up to this fight. Without the kindness of others, this would still be a reality but also a sickening struggle.”
“I want to thank John and Anthony Lynch of Liverpool Security Solutions, Mick Williams of Belmont Tyres, Lee Irving of Space Build and Design, Haroon Khan, Derek Hatton and Mick Kelly of The Lane Barbers. I’d also like to thank Lee and Joanne Chadwick of Function Personal Training Studio’s, Paul Bentley (manager of FPTS), Rich Moore, Sine Missione Clothing Label, Mark Bell of Cavern Menswear and Anthony McGann of Wolfslair (an advisor).”
“Thank you to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Daren Morris (Spiritual guide), Ste Speed, Ste Vaughn, Stephen Lally, Enzo Calzaghe, Anthony Hart and Tony Hughes (beds and sofa’s to lay my head), David Fisher (food and showers), Tara Christian, Martin O’Shea (Bold Management), Unique Juices and Nutrition (who keep me fuelled), Kola of Fitness 3000 (for keeping me supplemented) and John Cumo (work boss).”
“Special thanks to Nick Peet (editor of Fighters Only magazine), Ann Peet (Allerton Injury Clinic), Gianluca Di Caro (of the Malta Boxing Commission), Knockoutclothin (kit sponsor) and John Griffiths.”
“Many thanks also to James Shaw and Paul Lynch (documentary team from Click Creative), all the sparring partners who will help me from today, my family, friends, supporters and my beautiful soul-mate Ursula Kabanis and finally Peter Beirne, the Everton physio, whom without his time and expertise I would have been finished in the fight game over ten years ago.”
Roy Jones Jr vs Tony Moran/Paul Economides vs Prosper Ankrah plus undercard
Tickets, priced at £40, £60, £100 and £150, are available now by phone on 0333 200 0905 or online via vaughanboxing.tv.
VIP and corporate packages are available on request. For further information contact 0333 200 0905.
Roy Jones Jr is in action once more before his bout with Tony Moran. Having just knocked out the unknown Eric Watkins in the sixth in Mashantucket, Connecticut, the former four-weight world champion takes on Danny Santiago on August 29th before the Moran contest just two weeks later.
The Watkins win was Jones’ 70th fight as a pro.
Jones’ target, WBO titlist Marco Huck, lost his belt a few nights ago in an upset to Polish southpaw Krzysztof Glowacki via eleven-round knock-out.
Austin Trout headlines PBC Sept 8th show
HOLLYWOOD, CA (August 12, 2015) - Former world champion Austin "No Doubt" Trout (29-2, 16 KOs) takes on Joey "Twinkle Fingers" Hernandez (24-3-1, 14 KOs) in a super welterweight attraction as part of FS1's TOE-TO-TOE TUESDAYS live from the legendary Hollywood Palladium in Hollywood, California Tuesday, September 8th.
Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT with a junior featherweight showdown between undefeated rising star Jorge Lara (27-0-1, 19 KOs) and Jesus Rojas (21-1-1, 15 KOs). This show will be the first installment of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX Sports 1.
"I'm very excited to be fighting for the fourth time in Los Angeles and at such a legendary venue as The Palladium in Hollywood," said Trout. "My fight against Joey Hernandez kicks off the brand new series on Fox Sports 1 and I plan on putting on a spectacular show for the fans. I'm one of the best fighters at 154-pounds and I'm ready to prove it again."
"This is a big fight for me and I'm grateful to have the opportunity on this stage," said Hernandez. "I'm coming with no fear and I'm coming to win. I respect what Austin Trout has done in the sport but I'm going to make his life miserable on September 8."
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions, are priced at $78.50, $53.50 and $28.50, not including applicable service charges and taxes and are on sale today at 2 p.m. PT. Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com. To charge by phone call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.
In 2004, Trout won the U.S. National Amateur welterweight championship and after climbing up the ranks as an elite pro boxer, he won a super welterweight world championship in 2004 by defeating Rigoberto Alvarez. He went on to defend that title four times, including a dominant victory over Miguel Cotto in New York. He is currently on a three-fight win streak and is looking for a big win over Hernandez.
Fighting out of Miami, Hernandez is known for his fast hands that have landed him in big fights against top super welterweights and aided him to victories against Jose Berrio, James Winchester and Angel Hernandez. The 30-year-old southpaw will get another tough test when he takes on Trout on September 8.
Undefeated out of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, Lara made his U.S. debut on March 7 with a first round stoppage of Mario Macias in Las Vegas. The 24-year-old has ended seven of his last eight opponents early including experienced contenders Jovanny Soto, Jairo Hernandez and Oscar Ibarra. His second opportunity in the U.S. will see him step up in competition to take on the once-beaten Rojas.
Representing Caguas, Puerto Rico, Rojas will be fighting for the first time in California as a professional on September 8. The 28-year-old comes into the fight on a three-match winning streak, having not lost since 2008. He owns victories over Juan Carlos Pena, Jose Luis Araiza and Reynaldo Lopez and hopes to add an even more impressive name in Lara to that list.
GGG vs Lemieux breaks MSG presale records
New York City (August 12, 2015) - A new Madison Square Garden box office record has been set by the highly anticipated World Middleweight Championship Title Unification between WBA, IBO and Interim WBC Middleweight World Champion GENNADY "GGG" GOLOVKIN, (33-0, 30KO's), and IBF Middleweight World Champion DAVID LEMIEUX (34-2, 31KO's) headlining the historic venue on Saturday, October 17.
A pre-sale of over 6,000 tickets established a new record at the "Mecca of Boxing", shattering all previous marks for boxing events.
"The interest from fans in this middleweight title unification has been overwhelming," said Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions. "Madison Square Garden has never had a faster pre-sale for a boxing event. With this high level of interest we strongly encourage boxing fans to purchase their tickets well in advance. We're ecstatic at the response from the pre-sale and look forward to very strong ticket sales continuing throughout the promotion."
"This record-breaking pre-sale only confirms that this fight will be one of the most exciting of the year as the best meets the best for middleweight supremacy," said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. "Fans are thirsty for action and they know that is what David Lemieux and Gennady Golovkin will deliver on October 17 at Madison Square Garden."
"It's not a surprise and we are thrilled that tickets are going fast for Golovkin vs. Lemieux at The Garden on October 17th," said Joel Fisher, executive vice president, MSG Sports. "Gennady has made a name for himself in New York - he has fought at The Garden three times and knocked out all three opponents. Between Golovkin and Lemieux they have a staggering 61 KO's in 69 fights and we're urging fans not to blink once the bell rings."
Just announced, ROMAN "Chocolatito" GONZALEZ, (43-0, 37KO's) will defend his WBC Flyweight World Championship against former two-division world champion BRIAN "The Hawaiian Punch" VILORIA (36-4, 22KO's) as the exciting co-feature on October 17 at Madison Square Garden.
Tickets for GOLOVKIN vs. LEMIEUX are on sale now and are priced at $500, $300, $200, $100 and $50, tickets can purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008) and online at www.ticketmaster.com or www.thegarden.com.
Andy Lee vs BJS postponed until October 10th
WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee has apparently suffered with a virus and has had to postpone his defence against Billy Joe Saunders.
The fight was originally meant to take place at Thomond Park Stadium, Limerick on September 19th.
But now the fight is allegedly going to be held in Manchester on October 10th.
More news to follow.
Abner Mares predicts he will KO Leo Santa Cruz
Is Los Angeles big enough for both Abner Mares and Leo Santa Cruz?
Mares certainly doesn’t believe so, all but drawing a line in the dirt like a gunslinger in an old Western movie.
“We’re representing L.A., both feeling it’s our town,” said Mares, who was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, but grew up in the Hawaiian Gardens section of Los Angeles. “But I feel I’ve accomplished more than he has for the right to say it's my town.”
Abner Mares (29-1-1, 15 KOs) casts Leo Santa Cruz (30-0-1, 17 KOs) as an interloper entering their 126-pound clash of Angelenos on August 29 at Staples Center in Los Angeles (ESPN, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).
Their training camps are less than 30 minutes apart: Mares works out at Del Mares Gym in East L.A., while Santa Cruz has been preparing for the bout at Who's Next Boxing Academy in La Puente.
“The way I look and feel in training, he should be worried,” said Mares, a 29-year-old three-division champion. “It’s not anger, but an animal instinct and mentality to destroy him. I’m ready for war.”
Staples Center is befitting of the Mares-Santa Cruz crusade for L.A. bragging rights and supremacy. It was at Staples Center that Rafael Marquez’s second-round knockout of Israel Vazquez in May 2010 closed the book on a three-year, four-fight battle of Mexican legends. They ended with two wins apiece.
Mares was ringside at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in June 2002 for another battle of Mexicans when Marco Antonio Barrera unanimously decisioned Erik Morales, avenging an earlier loss before later winning their third bout.
But Mares dismissed the notion of his clash with Santa Cruz rivaling Marquez-Vasquez or Barrera-Morales. Instead, he’s planning a one-sided victory.
“I see myself winning easily,” Mares said. “To sell tickets and get people hyped, I shouldn’t say that. But I’m about the reality of it. It’s going to be Abner Mares by knockout, seventh round.”
Mares is seeking his fourth straight win since losing his 126-pound world title to Jhonny Gonzalez in a first-round KO in August 2013.
Santa Cruz, a world champion at 118 and 122 pounds, made his 126-pound debut in May, winning a 10-round unanimous decision over Jose Cayetano.
Former champion Eric Morel is a common opponent, losing a unanimous decision to Mares at 122 pounds in April 2012 before being stopped by Santa Cruz in the fifth round at 118 that September.
“I hurt and punished Eric Morel many times,” Mares said. “There is no doubt I took a lot out of him before he went down in weight and lost to Leo.”
Mares believes Santa Cruz, who grew up in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood of L.A. but now lives in nearby Rosemead, is betting that Mares’ best days are behind him.
“I think in his mind, it’s the right time to fight me. I got knocked out two years ago. I’m done. I'm vulnerable,” Mares said. “But if he thinks that, he’s made a mistake by taking this fight.”
Liam Hanrahan returns to action October 24th
Coldwell Boxing promoted, Liam Hanrahan, makes his long awaited return to the ring on October 24th at Kings Hall in Stoke on a Carl Greaves/Scott Lawton promotion when he has his first outing in over a year since losing his undefeated record in shocking fashion against Polish import, Krzysztof Rogowski. The Macclesfield star was pencilled in for action back in February but that was placed on hold but the exciting puncher is ready to return and is excited about his immediate prospects.
“It’s been a long time but I'm back now and I'm looking forward to returning to winning ways and doing what I love once again. I’ve had a good break and its allowed me to get back on track with with other aspects on my life such as work, home and family commitments and that has allowed me to get everything right ahead of my next fight. The loss hurt me because I’m a proud fighter but boxing can do that and it taught me a vital lesson that I’ll definitely learn from. I’m looking forward to getting back in there on the 24thOctober and then I can sit down with my team and plan the next part of my career.”
Hanrahan’s inauguration into the professional landscape was a breath of fresh air as the heavy handed youngster provided many highlights on various Coldwell Boxing shows. Renowned for their competive and hard hitting action, a vast number of Dave Coldwell shows contained brilliant Hanrahan performances and the Greater Manchester fighter quickly earned himself a reputation as a fan friendly fighter. His promoter is looking forward to witnessing his return.
“We had a good thing going with Liam and he was someone everyone at Coldwell Boxing was really excited about. A cracking puncher with a big following, he was everything you wanted in a fighter from a promotional perspective and I still believe he can have a big impact. A loss isn’t the end of the world for a fighter as long as he learns from it and that applies to Liam. Let’s hope that he can make a big statement on October 24th then we can hopefully get him back towards title class.”
Kid Chocolate returns to PBC show September 12
MASHANTUCKET, CT (August 10, 2015) - Undefeated middleweight star Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin (31-0-1, 22 KOs) will headline in a 12-round middleweight bout against Michael Zerafa (17-1, 9 KOs) while super welterweight world champion Cornelius "K-9" Bundrage (34-5, 19 KOs) defends against undefeated rising star Jermall Charlo (21-0, 16 KOs) on an action-packed edition of Premier Boxing Champions on NBC Saturday, September 12 live from Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut starting at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT.
"I'm ready and excited to return to the ring on NBC on September 12," said Quillin. "I'm already deep into training camp and preparing to be in the best shape of my career. I know my opponent is dangerous and he's coming to make a name for himself. I'm at the top of my game and I plan to stay there."
"I'm excited for this fight. This sport is all about fighting the best and giving the fans what they want to see," said Zerafa. "This is a great opportunity and I'm looking forward to coming over there and putting on a show."
"It's a blessing to be the junior middleweight world champion," said Bundrage. "I want to thank my entire team for making this fight happen. I'm looking forward to my debut on PBC and successfully defending my second world title. Detroit is where the title is at, it's not going anywhere. I will be ready to give my supporters all around the world a great performance, in victory."
For Charlo this is a long-awaited title shot. He and his brother, Jermell, are both top prospects in the 154-pound division.
"This is my time, I've never been more ready for a fight," said Charlo. "I've dreamed about a fight like this for a long time and it's here in front of me. I will be spectacular and I will finish Cornelius Bundrage."
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment, are priced at $150, $85 and $45, not including applicable service charges and taxes and are on sale now. Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com and www.foxwoods.com or by visiting the Foxwoods' Box Office. To charge by phone call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.
"Peter Quillin is coming off the toughest fight of his career. We are looking forward to him getting back in the ring, in anticipation of the long-awaited showdown with Daniel Jacobs later this year," said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. "Young, hungry Michael Zerafa is looking to upset the apple cart. With no pressure and nothing to lose, he will try to throw a wrench into Kid Chocolate's lofty plans. Young Jermall Charlo looks to put his name on the 154-pound map by taking a world title from veteran champion and puncher Cornelius 'K9' Bundrage. We are thrilled to bring this PBC event to DiBella Entertainment's New England home, Foxwoods."
"For 23 years, Foxwoods has been the East Coast capital for the best in entertainment and sports, especially boxing, where we have been privileged to host hundreds of fights featuring the best fighters in the world," said Felix Rappaport, President and CEO Foxwoods Resort Casino. "On September 12, continuing in that rich tradition, The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and Foxwoods will be honored to work with the best in the business, Lou DiBella and Premier Boxing Champions series, as they present a nationally televised afternoon of championship boxing live coast-to-coast on NBC."
Quillin returns to action on September 12 fresh off of a hard-fought draw against middleweight world champion Andy Lee looking to keep his undefeated record intact. He won a middleweight belt in 2012 with his star-making, six-knockdown performance against Hassan N'Dam in the first boxing card hosted at Barclays Center. Born in Chicago but fighting out of New York City, the 31-year-old went on to defend that title against strong contenders Fernando Guerrero, Gabriel Rosado and Lukas Konecny. Now, "Kid Chocolate" looks to show off his superstar skills on network television for the second time.
After turning pro at 18-years-old, Zerafa won the first 15 starts of his career while fighting out of his native Australia. At 23-years-old Zerafa will make his U.S. debut on September 12 when he comes to Connecticut to take on Quillin. He owns wins over previously unbeaten fighters Bruno Carvalho and Luke Sharp and is coming off of a fourth round TKO over Yodmongkol Singmanasak in March.
Bundrage's career has skyrocketed in recent years since a world title winning performance in 2010 over Cory Spinks. The Detroit-native went on defend the title against Sechew Powell and Spinks. He would lose the title in 2013 but quickly earned another shot against Carlos Molina, who he would defeat by unanimous decision to become a two-time world champion. He defends against the very hungry Charlo on September 12.
Highly regarded and undefeated,the 24-year-old Charlois primed for his first world title opportunity. He remained undefeated in 2014 with dominant victories over Hector Munoz, Norberto Gonzalez and Lenny Bottai and started 2015 by shutting out Michael Finney in March. Fighting out of Houston, Charlo will no doubt look to be impressive in his first PBC opportunity.
The Once Destructive Razor now blunted as title bout looms
By Michael J Jones
IT WAS met with some surprise recently when former 90’s heavyweight star Donovan “Razor” Ruddock was announced as featuring on the undercard of the upcoming Adonis Stevenson-Tommy Karpency match in Canada next month.
The September 11th bill takes place at the Ricoh Coliseum, Toronto with the-now 51 year old Ruddock facing the 8-2 (7) Canadian champion Dillon Carman over ten rounds. The former contender thus takes on a man 22-years his junior in an attempt to reclaim a belt he last won some 14 long years ago.
Although “Razor” Ruddock can boast that he’s been a pro since 1982, his activity in recent years has been patchy though he is currently undefeated in two this year. The Jamaican-born puncher turned pro at the age of 18 and only lost one contest in the first nine years punching for pay.
The lone defeat, to David Jaco, occurred when the Canadian suffered respiratory problems and was stopped in eight rounds. The next man to best Ruddock, some six years later, would be a little better known…
Following his first reverse, Ruddock evolved into a formidable boxer-puncher; his left hook in particular a potent weapon. After highlight-reel knock-outs over the likes of James Broad, “Bonecrusher” Smith and Michael Dokes, the 6’3” was a fully-fledged contender ready to compete against the stars of the division.
In March 1991, “Razor” got his big chance. A twelve-round tussle against former world heavyweight champion “Iron” Mike Tyson in Las Vegas. With the winner expected to face reigning heavyweight King Evander Holyfield the fight after, the stakes were high and the bout didn’t disappoint.
The shorter Tyson tried for (what would have been), his third consecutive early victory since his shock loss to Buster Douglas but was met by fierce resistance from a man who was both bigger and shared the same sledge-hammer power of “Iron” Mike.
The fight was give-and-take with both taking turns to rock each other with massive punches. Ruddock was downed officially twice though the first looked little more than a slip. Towards the end of the seventh round, Ruddock was rocked by a heavy combination prompting referee Richard Steele to halt the contest in Tyson’s favour. A melee then broke out as the disgusted Ruddock corner tried to confront Steele who was then rescued by security.
Inevitably following such an exciting and controversial bout, a rematch was quickly arranged three months later back in Vegas. This time with Mills Lane refereeing, the two heavy-hitters picked up where they had left off from fight number one and went straight at each other with their bombs.
The fight was even more wild and violent than their explosive first encounter. Ruddock was down from right-hands in both the second and fourth while both men were deducted points for various infringements. Tyson ended the bout with a perforated ear-drum while “Razor” was left with a badly swollen left eye and a busted jaw.
Despite having plenty of success throughout the contest and clearly rocking Tyson on a number of occasions, Ruddock still lost unanimously by one score of 113-109 and two counts of 114-108.
Despite the excellent showing against one of the best heavyweights of the modern era, Ruddock was never the same force again. The following year, the Canadian puncher stopped both Greg Page and the previously 25-0 Phil Jackson to set up a match with undefeated Lennox Lewis in Earls Court.
Many confidently picked a Ruddock victory as Lewis had yet to face a man of the dangerous calibre of his Halloween night opponent. Lewis, who later revealed as a Canadian amateur he always noticed his future pro rival uncomfortable boxing away from home, exploded his right-hand onto the chin of Ruddock at the end of the first and the bout was as good as over.
With the second-round KO loss behind him, Ruddock faded away and didn’t box again for two-and-a half years. Eventually returning to face Tommy Morrison in Missouri, “Razor” looked the dangerous force of old early on as he dropped Morrison heavily in the first before forging a handy lead on the cards. However his attack faded and “The Duke” pounded him into defeat in the sixth.
The beaten man disappeared once more following his fifth loss but resurfaced in 1998 to resume his career. By the close of 99’, Ruddock had bagged eight straight knock-outs on his latest comeback but ended up inactive all of 2000.
In two contests in 2001, Ruddock eased past wily journeyman Harold Sconiers by split decision before stopping Egerton Marcus to win the Canadian heavyweight title. The former top contender then faded away for his lengthiest spell yet; for 14 years he was never seen in a boxing ring.
Rumour has it he ballooned up to over 300lbs and also tried in vain to get a business project off the ground but ultimately decided to make a belated return to the ring this year at the age of 51. The aging fighter insists he has been living clean and is aiming for a world heavyweight title bout on his latest comeback despite the odds stacked heavily against him.
In March, Ruddock knocked out Raymond Olubowale in five after a performance which didn’t install much confidence to most observers. The ghost of “Razor”, some 25 years past his prime, looked slow of hand and foot and was rocked alarmingly at times by the average Olubowale. He had to use all of his experience and fading punching power to turn the tide (following a heavy knock-down) and pull out victory.
Two months later and the former world-rated Ruddock would struggle to a majority decision after six rounds against a ten-fight novice in Eric Barrak in Quebec.
Now comes the Canadian title bout against the raw-but-improving Dillon Carman some 33½ years after Ruddock’s professional debut.
Is Carman any good?
Carman is tall at 6’5” and goes by the name “Big Country”. He turned pro in 2011 and his two defeats have come on a four-round decision in his second year as a pro and by a five-round TKO to one Sylvera Louis. The Canadian prospect would then crush Louis in an immediate rematch just six months later and has won his last three by KO.
He won his Canadian title last year and has won his last two in the seventh and eighth rounds respectively maybe indicating he can carry his punching power late into a contest; not good news for his opponent who is old enough to be his father.
The record of “Razor” Ruddock is now 40-5-1 (30) and he has only ever lost to Jaco, Mike Tyson, Lewis and Morrison. Any young puncher who faces him will want their name on that list and (please someone correct me if I’m wrong) Ruddock appears to be the only big name from the 90’s heavyweight division who is still active in a prize-ring.
Ironically, the co-promoter for the September 11th show will be Lennox Lewis who has set himself the goal of boosting the Canadian boxing scene after being disappointed in the 2012 Olympic team.
The sad thing is about the Ruddock-Carman bout is the main event between Stevenson and Karpency is so unexciting, the undercard heavyweight contest may get more attention than the top of the bill. Not good news if Ruddock suffers a nasty stoppage defeat. Carman is talking about ending his famous opponent’s career and it may be an unfortunately accurate prediction.
Karpency is 4-0 since 2012 back-to-back defeats to Welshman Nathan Cleverly and Andrei Fonfara but further inspection reveals two of the victories came against the same man while another was a close decision over the faded Chad Dawson. WBC champion Stevenson is expected to dominate without any drama in a clash of southpaws. Tommy is a good kid but any Stevenson fight not including Sergey Kovalev will be always be heavily derided.
One fight which should be a cracker will be the welterweight pairing of former amateur star Errol Spence Jr and South Africa’s Chris van Heerden. Spence Jr, 17-0, has looked a budding world champion in the making but should meet stern resistance in the tough van Heerdan.
Tyson Cave, the exciting 33 year old super-bantamweight, is also on the bill.
Livefight leaves the reader with one of “Razor” Ruddock’s most chilling knock-outs…