News November 2017

Groves vs Eubank Jr: Full Press Conference


By @Livefight

Full press conference between George Groves & Chris Eubank Jr:-

VIDEO: Groves vs Eubank Jr face off


By @Livefight

VIDEO: Groves vs Eubank Jr face off

Hilarious Amir Khan survives ‘Donald Hump’ Scare but infuriates pop star


By Michael J Jones

LAST NIGHT in the latest episode of ITV’s ‘I’m a Celebrity….Get me out of here”, boxing star Amir Khan came through his third Bushtucker Trial at the expense of pop star Vanessa White. Bolton’s former Olympic Silver medallist continues to provide laughs aplenty with his obliviousness of the show’s concept and the panicky way he reacts in testing moments.

After blowing his first trial to the amusement of the British public and his many critics, Khan stormed through his second challenge before having two days break as two new contestants were introduced to the camp.

The plot twist was the camp was then split into two to compete against each other and Khan, part of the ‘rich team’ under new addition comedian Iain Lee. The rich camp were to compete under the premise that by them winning trials, it would assist the loser camp which included bookies favourite Georgia “Toff” Toffolo and soap star Jamie Lomas.

Khan was thus selected to compete against White in the ‘Fright House’ trial which consisted of entering various rooms full of bugs and ‘jungle critters’ to find items to progress into the next phase.

The rich team had won the previous night’s challenge and Khan rocked up to White and show presenters Ant and Dec to announce how delicious the cake had been from the previous task (which they never actually ate).

Petite White, starving after several days on the rice and beans diet, didn’t seem best pleased with Amir’s banter and gave him daggers.

As the White House spoof trial began, we discovered the first room was full of slimy fish guts and the two competitors had to find themselves a pair of fish eyes each among the disgusting pile of fish carcasses.

Khan first brought viewers to tears of laughter when he tried to pull eyes out of a fish’s head and had to be told be Ant and Dec “you’re not supposed to get them that way!”

With the two contestants struggling for success, the 30 year old former world champion asked White if she could help him search with White pointing out “I’m not meant to be helping you.”

White drew first blood and progressed into the next room. The next room was full of cockroaches, meal worms and pigeons so finding the colour button to get to the next room proved troublesome.

The boxing champion caught White up and then moved ahead by finding his green switch promptly.

As Khan left the frustrated "Saturday’s” singer, he entered a room which featured a large camel which, we were told, was named “Donald Hump”. The creature sported a similar hair-style as that of the US President to give him his amusing name.

The camel had a belt on and Khan had to find two green cards to be able to get to the final part of the trial. As Vanessa re-entered the fray, Khan found his two cards and proceeded to gear up for the final part; a tunnel filled with spiders and cobwebs.

As “King Khan” crouched to all fours to enter the passage, “Donald Hump” decided to lower his massive head and take a poke at the boxing champ’s backside. Khan jumped out of his skin and let out a less-than-macho shriek while the millions of viewers, alongside the guffawing pair of Ant and Dec nearly wet themselves laughing.

It really is very funny watching Khan progress a trial and that fact, coupled with the revelation of his hefty fee for entering the show and previous success in his boxing career, may see Amir a very busy guy for the remainder of his time in camp.

As the boxing star scurried among the large spiders, he made the presenters double up yet again when he said “man don’t like spiders”, in a moment of comedy gold.

Although scared witless, the former two-time world boxing champion navigated the remainder of the challenge just seconds before White to claim victory.

As he leaped out of the final gate, Khan infuriated Vanessa further commenting “Vanessa, stay in the tunnel you look good in there.”

Moments later, the still-seething Vanessa started walking back to her camp-mates which left Khan alone with Geordie duo Ant and Dec. Khan seemed pleased with himself and hilariously tried to reveal to the presenters that he’d actually won the trial for the other camp.

As Dec smiled “yeah we know”, Khan seemed oblivious to the fact that the presenters knew that fact better than anyone.

Many speculated that Khan was fibbing when he said he’d never watched the show but we are all starting to wonder if that may not be the exaggeration we first thought.

“I don’t know why the British public keep voting for me” commentated the millionaire before the trial. “Maybe they like seeing me shriek and scream at the spiders and snakes or something” the astute Khan added.

White cried her eyes out when she returned to the segregating camp but normal service was restored later in the show when both camps were reunited and all was revealed about the trial twists. There were also plenty of tears as packages were opened from loved ones.

Khan got a photo of his daughter and revealed he’d “kind of been missing her.” The lad really could be a professional comedian as his (mostly unintentional), comic timing is something to behold.

Khan’s fee has been said to be the largest ever given to any previous “I’m a Celeb” contestant in the range of over £400,000 but, to be fair to him, he’s been one of the most entertaining celeb’s in the program's fifteen-year history.

Khan’s odds of becoming “King Khan of the jungle” have now been slashed from a whopping 16/1 to just 9/1 with “Made in Chelsea” star Georgia Toffolo still the 5/4 favourite to win the show.

Khan, who turns 31 in a couple of weeks is currently 30-4 (19 KO’s) in his boxing career and last boxed 18 months ago. He was the WBA light-welterweight champion from 2009 to 2011 before claiming the IBF and WBC Silver belts.

He was for many years linked to a bout against American legend Floyd Mayweather Jr but, even after Mayweather asked the public who he should fight and Khan won the poll, he still refused to face the Brit.

Khan’s most famous pro victories have come against boxing legends Marco Antonio Barrera, Zab Judah and Marcus Maidana and it is expected he will make his latest boxing comeback next year.

Heavyweight Fiasco as Charr faces Ustinov for ‘WBA’ title


By Michael J Jones

BOXING FANS like me sound like a broken record when they say the heavyweight division is not what it was in its glory years. The general opinion this year, following several promising fighters climbing the ranks, was the division was set to recapture some of its magic. Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko put on a classic fight this year and that alone made the heavyweight market rise significantly.

Alas, these past few weeks have undone some of the good work and to top off a poor period for the big guys we now have a WBA heavyweight title fight scheduled for tomorrow in Germany and nobody even appeared to know the fight was happening.

Can anybody imagine a world heavyweight title fight of the last forty years featuring Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson or Lennox Lewis going ahead without ninety-five percent of fight fan’s knowledge? Yet this is where we find ourselves in the year 2017.

The WBA have seen fit to sanction a bout between Manuel Charr and Alexander Ustinov tomorrow night. The match is for the vacant belt and pits two fighters who are far from at their peak and who were not ever considered elite-level fighters even a few years ago.

It’s yet another sorry example of the way things are ‘organised’ by the sanctioning body.

Trying to piece together the last few years of the once-prestigious WBA heavyweight championship is akin to solving a Rubix cube, blind-folded whilst being attacked by a large Rottweiler…

Let’s go back a few years to when Alexander Povetkin was beaten in a unification bout against Wladimir Klitschko. The victory made Klitschko, a winner by unanimous decision, the WBA ‘Super champion’ and the actual WBA (normal) belt vacant.

Ruslan Chagaev became the WBA regular champion while Tyson Fury captured the ‘Super’ belt with a decision over long-time champion Klitschko. In the same time-period of 2015-2016, Cuban Luis Ortiz would claim the ‘Interim’ WBA championship meaning three men at the same time could claim to be the WBA champion of the world.

Chagaev would eventually lose his belt in an upset to Lucas Browne while the WBA ‘Super’ belt relinquished by Fury would be ‘won’ by Joshua knocking out Klitschko.

Is everyone following this so far? It gets worse…

Browne would be stripped of his title shortly after his win over Chagaev which meant the next two available contenders, Shannon Briggs and Fres Oquendo, would box for the vacant title with the fight scheduled for earlier this year.

The fight was scrapped when Briggs failed a drugs test leaving Oquendo in the wilderness and the farcical title bout taking place tomorrow night. Luis Ortiz has also failed a drugs test, scuppering his bout with WBC champion Deontay Wilder and is no longer the Interim WBA champion.

To the vacant WBA title bout tomorrow and it should be a fairly decent contest between two men at similar stages of their careers.

Manuel Charr, now 33-years-old and 30-4 (17), has been hovering on the fringes of world level for many years. Linked to separate bouts at one time with David Haye and Tyson Fury, Charr has suffered defeat in recent years to Johann Duhaupas and cruiserweight champion Mairis Briedis and has lost three of his last seven. The German-based “Diamond Boy” has also been inactive for fourteen months following his last win; a unanimous decision over unbeaten, but largely unknown, Safer Saferi.

Charr, who lost his last world heavyweight title bout five years ago against Vitali Klitschko, picked up the WBA International title (dear God another one) that night which placed him high in the WBA ratings for his fight with Ustinov.

Charr was shot in the stomach in 2015 and also needed a double hip replacement earlier this year. Despite the out-of-the ring setbacks, Charr is poised to become a world champion but will have to beat a giant to do so.

The hulking Ustinov, now 40-years-old and 34-1 (25), is also a long-time fringe contender who’s only defeat came five years ago against Kubrat Pulev. Since then “Alexander the Great” has won all seven bouts though has only boxed once in two full years.

So there are your co-challengers ladies and gentleman; two guys who have been largely inactive, beaten every time they’ve stepped up to genuine world level and neither of which have any business calling themselves the world heavyweight champion.

Both men are twelve-year pros and nobody for one second blames either for taking their chance, even if it is another kick in the teeth for boxing.

Now for the amusing part…

A quick look at the WBA rankings and Ustinov is rated number two while Charr is sitting pretty at number four. Drug cheat Ortiz is still the WBA’s number one while Alexander Povetkin and Kubrat Pulev, knock-out winners over both of Saturday’s co-challengers, are below both Charr and Ustinov.

Both men’s best victories have come against a who’s who of shop-worn contenders such as David Tua, Danny Williams, Monte Barrett, Michael Sprott etc but, as said, it could be an OK fight while it lasts.

Neither boxer is considered to be a massive puncher but Ustinov, at 6’7 and around 300lbs, will be much the bigger man and most agree Charr doesn’t quite have the power of Kubrat Pulev.

Look for Russia’s Ustinov, whose last fight was in Bolton of all places, to be crowned the new champion of the WBA tomorrow night by a late-rounds stoppage. Charr may pinch the decision if it goes the full route and it’s close.

We’ll then hold our breaths and await the next development in the WBA heavyweight saga…

King vs Jungle Livefight reviews Amir Khan’s time so far on ITV’s I’m a Celebrity


By Michael J Jones

AFTER A QUIET year or so in his boxing career it was a mild surprise to see boxing star Amir Khan enter the Australian jungle in the latest edition of ITV’s ‘I’m a Celebrity….Get me out of here’. The annual series began last Sunday with Khan introduced to his fellow celebrities who, as per usual, were a mixture of actual celebrities and a few people nobody has ever heard of.

The 30 year old Khan, a former three-weight boxing champion, baffled viewers in the opening show when he revealed he had never watched the show and didn’t really know what it largely consisted of. The comments have since been heavily derided by the press after a tweet by Khan surfaced from a few years ago.

When questioned at that time about possibly entering the hugely-popular show, Khan (or possibly a representative or relative) tweeted the show was for “has-beens’. It’s very questionable whether it is possible for a 30 year old man who mixes regularly with other celebrities and fellow boxers can be completely ignorant of a massively successful show which has been shown on prime-time UK television for fifteen years.

Whatever, Khan’s first challenge as a contestant came in the form of a death-defying plank walk of a sky-scraper. Buddied up with ‘The Saturday’s’ vocalist Vanessa White, both performed the frightening task with merit apart from some wobbly foot-work from a man who usually requires stellar balance in his chosen profession.

At the end of Sunday’s show, “King” Khan was revealed by long-time hosts ‘Ant and Dec’ as the first celeb’ to be tasked with completing the first ‘Bushtucker trial’. It set up the opening of Monday night’s episode which started with Khan attempting his task alongside ‘Made in Chelsea’ star Georgia Toffolo.

While the petite “Toff” was placed in a shallow grave to have various bugs and creepy-crawlies dumped all over her, the boxing star had to work his way through narrow tunnels to find star keys which meant food meals for his camp members.

After a spluttering start, Khan, who holds career victories over boxing legends Marco Antonio Barrera and Marcus Maidana, looked to be getting a foot-hold in the task while scooping up the first few keys. The problem began when he was tasked with putting his arm in a blind hole to feel around for the next key while having no clue what was in the boxed area.

As poor Amir, prompted repeatedly by Ant and Dec and also the terrified Toffolo, reached into the hole he thought he’d found a key but it was actually a small snake….the error only being discovered with the leg-less reptile mere inches from the boxer’s face.

Khan, who had previously admitted a fear of snakes, gave it legs and immediately repeated the famous show words leaving his co-challenger, not to mention the show presenters and the British TV viewers, stunned.

To add salt to the, very public, gaff, a picture then emerged online of Khan standing next to an exotic dancer who was holding a large yellow snake with no apparent alarm evidenced on the Bolton star’s face.

The boxer’s representatives, and bizarrely even the lady dancer in the picture, rushed to Khan’s defence to say the fear of snakes was genuine as it appears the old Khan haters will leap at anything the former Olympian says or does in his time in the jungle.

The humiliated boxer had, at least, the chance to move on from his first ‘Bushtucker Trial’ when the amusingly-predictable viewers voted him straight in to try the second challenge labelled ‘Flushed Out.’

After clearly feeling disappointed with his first trial and getting much prep’ talk from his fellow campers, Khan eased to complete the challenge but couldn’t help getting yet more negative press.

The task involved moving through a tall tank of water, undoing man-lids with a small spanner while the tank fills with water. Khan was forced to act fast while dealing with a variety of jungle nasties including eels and crocodiles.

Critics instead focused on the fighter’s error after the task when he incorrectly commented to camp members that he had to deal with more snakes. Obviously getting confused with the eels he encountered, one can surely forgive the Bolton boxer his blip.

As the show moved on to Wednesday evening, Khan was finally spared a fourth successive challenge as Toffolo and footballer’s wife Rebekah Vardy were nominated for the grotesque ‘Worst Date’ eating challenge.

As the girls merrily chowed down on spiders and bulls penis, Khan took on a more light-hearted role in the episode. He was shown working out with other contestants such as former Hollyoaks actor Jamie Lomas and Coronation Street’s Jennie McAlpine. Khan, who looks a little over his best fighting weight at approximately 180lbs, completed some basic floor exercises and also did some light jogging.

Looking up Khan’s record online for the first time in a while, this writer was surprised that Khan hasn’t boxed for some eighteen months and hasn’t won a boxing match for two-and-a half years. Even more unbelievable, Khan hasn’t boxed in the UK for over four whole years.

His record stands at 31-4 (19) and he was last a title holder two years ago when a WBC Silver champion who for a long time had his sights on American legend Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Back to the show, and Khan alongside Lomas and football star Dennis Wise took the ‘camp-mates’ tag to a new meaning. The camp features a bath which only has a hot water feed if a seesaw is pumped by two people. So Lomas, who played Warren Fox on Hollyoaks, duly soaped himself in the tub while the topless pair of Khan and Wise played on the seesaw with child-like relish.

“This is the stuff of dreams” quipped the grinning Lomas (who incidentally is a fight fan and best pals with Carl Frampton trainer Jamie Moore).

Amir was given one of the dreaded ‘conversation topics’ later on the show with Stanley Johnson and Vanessa White. He commentated on his rise to fame at the 2004 Athens Olympics before (hilariously) asking Johnson about his involvement with Oxford and Cambridge (as all boxers are keen to know).

The convo’ points fill the gaps away from the trials, meals etc but they often come across as forced and unnatural and never more evident than last night with the herky-jerky exchange between professional boxer and former politician and journalist Johnson.

As it stands, Amir Khan is around 10/1 to be crowned the King of the jungle with the favourite overall Georgia Toffolo at 7/4. The odds can often be way off with the actuality of the show but Khan began his time on ‘IACGMOOH’ at a whopping 16/1 so perhaps his better performance in the second challenge alongside his blossoming ‘bromance’ with Lomas and co are keeping him in good stead.

For the record, Khan’s last fight was in May 2016 in Las Vegas where he leaped two weight divisions to take on Mexican Saul Alvarez for the WBC middleweight title. Khan was boxing well when knocked out in the sixth by a booming right-hand.

There has been much speculation regarding his ring return and at what weight he will continue his career in but, as yet, nothing has been confirmed. A bout against Sheffield’s former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook has often been mooted though it’s always appeared Khan has no real interest in the fight.

Livefight is enjoying this series and will take another look at the progress of Amir Khan next week.

Warren invites Scott Quigg to featherweight mix


c/o Boxnation

Promoter Frank Warren has invited Scott Quigg to compete with fellow Featherweights Carl Frampton, Josh Warrington and Lee Selby next year.

Quigg worked as a pundit for BT Sport during Frampton's homecoming in Belfast, and when asked in an interview on the brand new BoxNation Podcast about where the Bury boxer fits into the Featherweight division, Warren invited Quigg into the mix.

"Scott, if you've not got a promotional contract, come and join the party! Come over with us, it's where it's happening. You'd be a great addition to what we're doing. He's a lovely lad and he can be part of that," Warren told Steve Lillis.

After the fight, Quigg admitted that he would love a rematch with Frampton: "Listen, I'm always going to want that rematch. The only thing I can do is keep working on me, keep winning and hopefully it happens."

'The Jackal' took on Horacio Garcia in Belfast, and outpointed the tough Mexican over 10 rounds. Warren also reflected on Frampton's return to winning ways.

"Let's put it into perspective. First of all, he's been out the ring for 10 months," he argued. "He had a big problem with the fight that never happened [in the summer], and all the stuff that went around that."

Leeds Featherweight Warrington was also ringside, as he prepares to take on Selby next year, with the winner potentially in line to face Frampton at Windsor Park. Warren believes it is an exciting time in Britain in the 126lbs division.

"We've got this situation with the Featherweights. Josh Warrington is on board. Lee Selby boxes on the 9th of December at the Copper Box in London. [If] he comes through his fight, he's got his mandatory defence against Josh. That'll take place in late April," revealed Warren.

Discuss in Forum HERE

Irish Raging Bull talks explosive career, Donald Trump offer & regrets


Darren “Raging Bull” Corbett talks to Livefight

By Michael J Jones

IRELAND, JUNE 1997 and Irishman Darren Corbett enters the ring against Commonwealth cruiserweight champion Chris Okoh. The champion is a perfect 14-0 and the WBC’s number one contender. In physical appearances the fight looks a mismatch with Okoh far more sculptured than his stocky challenger but his opponent shows no fear at the Ulster Hall, Belfast.

“Chris Okoh was a good fighter but he’d gone off the boil of late” Darren Corbett, now 45-years-old, tells Livefight from his home in Belfast. “I’d watched his fight against Denzil Browne and it was a boring fight. I said I was confident I’d knock-out either man.”

The Okoh fight was short and brutal. The unbeaten Londoner looked a million dollars in the first as he banked the opener but his rugged Irish opponent got into range in the second and his heavy hands were soon to cause devastating consequences…

The younger Corbett first began making waves in the early 90’s with a string of big knock-outs as a super-heavyweight. Despite admittedly not living the life as an amateur fighter, Corbett was talented enough to become a five-time Irish amateur champion and impressed many with his power-punching style.

“I loved fighting in the amateurs but I didn’t train properly, even smoking and drinking the day before the fight. When I boxed Willy Clyde I’d had about twenty pints the day before the fight! At the end of the day I was knocking everybody out but I just didn’t want to train.”

The Clyde fight of 94’ has become a Youtube classic and features Corbett savagely knocking his rival spark out in the second just moments after receiving a standing count himself. A huge left hook detonated violently against poor Clyde’s head as he appeared knocked out standing before slowly crashing to the deck.

The explosive win wasn’t the only time Corbett impressed onlookers even once catching the eye of a certain future President of the USA…

“I boxed a former Golden Gloves champion in Philadelphia named Ike Green” recalls the “Raging Bull”. “I knocked Green out and after the fight Donald Trump came up to me with a proposition for me turning professional. He said ‘you can be a world champion, but if you don’t become a world champion, you’ll be a millionaire’.”

“He wanted me to be trained by Joe Frazier, with a guy named Mike Doyle as my manager and Trump taking over the promoting. Turning down that offer was the biggest regret of my life. I had two big regrets in my boxing career; not taking that deal and also signing with Barry Hearn. All I wanted to do back then was to party with the boys and I just thought there would be other offers like that in the future.”

“Another time I fought a lad named Mike McKenzie from Birmingham” continues Corbett of his amateur days. “He was being given the big build-up for his upcoming pro career and had just been given a big spread in Boxing News. He’d agreed terms with Frank Maloney but we faced each other in an Ireland vs England tournament and I knocked him spark out in the first.”

With a sledgehammer punch in either hand, charisma in and out of the ring and a fine amateur pedigree under his belt, Corbett, turned pro as a heavyweight in 1994. His first two bouts were just three days apart with both ending inside the first round.

“I never took it seriously as an amateur but as soon as I turned pro I never smoked or drank. I stopped David Jules in the first and then, three days later, I took on Carl Gaffney who was a very big guy of about 6’6” and was about thirteenth in the UK rankings.”

Although he would navigate to 10-1-1 (6) as a heavyweight, Corbett made the decision to move down to the cruiserweight division in his search for a title fight. The 5’11” puncher improved greatly as he showed faster hands and greater mobility during his fights.

“I was never a heavyweight as I was just too small” comments Darren who lost over two stones in weight (28lbs) in his transition from heavyweight to the 190lb division. “I had a couple of fights (at the lower weight) and felt good so I was very confident I could beat Chris Okoh and move on to become a world champion.”

After wiping out the respected Ray Kane, and later, Noel Magee in Irish title fights, Corbett would face the favoured Okoh in Belfast not even three years into his pro career. Okoh had looked sensational in stopping Franco Wanyama to lift the Commonwealth belt two years earlier but had appeared jaded in his last couple of fights though swore he would be back to his best for Corbett.

The champion looked solid in the first but Corbett started getting closer midway through the second before a heavy left-hook floored the Londoner at the end of the round. The bout was permitted to continue into the third but Corbett, in front of his passionate local fans, was not to be denied.

A final, clubbing right-hand took out what little remained of Okoh in the third as a new star of the division emerged in the form of the “Raging Bull”. In a memorable celebration, Corbett, who would often celebrate a knock-down wildly, leaped into the air before dropping to his knees in his elation and shuffling around the canvas still on his knees.

“Not even that went right” chuckles Corbett over twenty years later. “I injured my knee cartilage doing that (celebration) and later needed an operation in New York to correct the damage.”

Now 15-1-1 (10) and a perfect 5-0 (4) as a cruiserweight, the 25 year old Corbett looked set for a world title shot following his eye-catching Commonwealth title victory but the next seventeen months brought only thankless, marking-time fights as a bonafide title shot eluded him repeatedly.

“I think if it was up to Barry Hearn I’d still be packing out the Ulster Hall defending my Irish title” says Darren, a little needle creeping into his thick Irish brogue. “I kept selling out the Ulster Hall but getting paid hardly anything. You go to most Commonwealth champions now they’re on fifty-sixty thousand as champion. I got £2,500 for Chris Okoh.”

“When I boxed Noel Magee, the show sold out in two days. There was a long historic rivalry between our areas in Ireland that went back decades so everyone wanted to watch the fight. Magee ended up getting twelve grand while I got just £1,500. The numbers never made any sense to me.”

“Often my brother would get more money selling tickets than I did for the actual fighting!”

Corbett kept winning and won two further bouts in 1997, the latter against awkward southpaw Rob Norton with Corbett edging the unusually quiet twelve-rounder by just half a point (via the old UK scoring system).

“Even by then my head wasn’t right and, in my eyes as a fighter I thought he won. I boxed that night for not even 3k and he won the WBU belt straight after our fight.”

Entering 1998 there was much talk of Corbett facing reigning WBO champion Carl Thompson but the Manchester fighter instead took on former super-middleweight champion Chris Eubank over two contests as the Irishman was left in the fistic wilderness.

“By then, I was world rated and thought a title shot was just around the corner. I really fancied me being able to knock out Thompson but he kept delaying signing for the fight. Instead Thompson fought Barry Hearn’s best mate Eubank.”

“I thought it was strange the first fight (which Thompson won by close decision). A big, strong, cruiserweight should be banging out a little super-middleweight no problem at all. I thought I’d be next (to challenge for the WBO title) but they had a rematch and I couldn’t believe it (when it was arranged).”

“I remember Johnny Nelson coming up to talk to me and saying ‘Carl Thompson is sh*t scared of you he doesn’t want anything to do with you.’ A while later Nelson got the shot at Thompson to become the WBO champion and that was that.”

In November 98’ Corbett was matched with former light-heavyweight contender Bruce Scott. The Jamaican-born Scott had suffered an embarrassing defeat recently to journey-man Tony Booth but had returned with an upset knock-out of Dominic Negus and had whipped himself into the shape of his life for the Corbett fight.

“The truth is I should never have been in the ring that night” sighs Corbett. “I’d been involved in a five-car pile-up just a week or so before the fight and had damaged the vertebrae’s in my back. It was in the November and Christmas was coming up and I wanted the kids to have all their toys so I went through with it.”

The two men were no mood to engage in a jabbing spectacle and instead unloaded power punches on each other in ring centre. The fight went back-and-forth but eventually Scott would find the punches to end matters in the tenth to hand Corbett his first loss as a cruiserweight.

“My movement was affected and I couldn’t fight the way I wanted. I felt OK to continue but the referee stopped it. It’s not Bruce Scott’s fault (Corbett was injured) just one of those things.”

After another defeat five months later to France’s Stephane Allouane, the demoralised Corbett would make the decision to move down a further weight to the 175lb light-heavyweight division. His first fight at the new weight would be against Coventry’s Neil Simpson for the IBO Inter-Continental title.

“It was my first fight at the weight and I wasn’t happy with fighting for the money I was on so just went through the motions. I couldn’t tell you who I thought won as I’ve never watched it back…”

Simpson was boxing very well when felled by a Corbett body-shot in the sixth. He recovered and appeared for many to have done enough to score the upset though the judges handed a split vote to the Irishman.

Later, a proposed rematch was in the works for the two with the British title on the line but it was later scrapped. Corbett thus had to watch his former rival become the British, and subsequently Commonwealth, champion.

Corbett’s form and activity was patchy after an IBO win over John Lennox Lewis in 2000. He would box just eleven times in as many years though featured in two Prizefighter tournaments in 2009 and 2010 respectfully.

In the 2009 edition, Corbett would beat Micky Steeds in his first bout before losing to eventual tournament winner Ovill McKenzie in the semi-final.

“It was a bit crazy really, I only agreed to enter Prizefighter as I wanted revenge over Bruce Scott. I’d not been in the ring for two years and had to lose three-and-a half stone in just a few weeks but I’m a fighter it’s just one of those things.”

For the record, Scott lost his very first contest to John “Buster” Keeton who would lose on points in the final to McKenzie.

Corbett would fare no better the following year when he would also bow out in his second contest to another eventual finalist in Nick Okoth. Two years later, Corbett was up to a career-heaviest 244lbs for his final contest; an injury defeat to fellow Irish-man Conall Carmichael in Belfast.

His final record reads 29-8-1 (16) though the bare statistics fail to show one of the biggest punching fighters to ever hail from Ireland and who provided many a memorable night for Irish fight fans.

“It’s simple really; some fighters get looked after and others don’t” reasons Corbett of his career. “I always wanted the biggest challenges as I knew that would bring out the best in me but, for whatever reason, Barry Hearn didn’t want me to be a world champion.”

“Nearly every time I boxed it was in front of a full house and with TV involved. It was always the same I’d go and see Barry Hearn and he’d just shrug it off that people were avoiding me but why were undercard fighters even getting more than I was as the main event?”

“My proudest moment as a fighter was becoming the Irish champion. There’s nothing can beat being the champion of your own country and I did both as an amateur and professional. I never made any real money and my career was derailed by too many lay-offs and not getting the right fights but that’s life.”

It seems sad that a fighter who brought so much excitement and attention to Irish boxing is so disillusioned with the sport but Corbett can be proud of the career he had. Not only was he a murderous puncher but he also had true ring charisma that only a select few can boast of having.

You simply couldn’t help but smile at Corbett’s antics whether they be a prefight Elvis impersonation, clowning after dropping an opponent or those wild ring celebrations. The “Raging Bull” never won a world title due to the dreaded ‘boxing politics’ but could really fight and could well have been a solid world champion with more luck and opportunity.

Parting shots

The full offer by Donald Trump to Corbett was; a 30k signing on fee, a car, an apartment in the US, former world heavyweight champion Joe Frazier as head coach and a part-time job as a barman. God only knows how vastly different Corbett’s boxing career could have been if he had taken the offer.

Joe Frazier in his prime was 5’11”, 200lbs and had a terrific left-hook. He would have been superb as head trainer to Corbett who (as a cruiserweight) was the same size and also had a brutal left-hook.

Corbett was only 220lbs when he was a heavyweight but always appeared thickset and heavier than he looked.

Ovill McKenzie would win Prizefighter 2009 while Jon-Lewis Dickinson would win the year after. The two men would face each other a few years later with McKenzie stopping Dickinson in two rounds.

Corbett was said to have been sparring a fighter named Mark Baker for his rematch with Neil Simpson. Corbett reportedly turned down the Simpson fight due to not being happy with the money being offered. Baker duly stepped in and Simpson beat him by a single point to become British light-heavyweight champion. Corbett was said to be distraught afterwards having watched the fight.

Corbett stated to Livefight for his fight against Tyler Hughes in 2001 he knocked his opponent out in eleven seconds (including the count). The show’s promoter then ran off with the money leaving him to answer to some aggrieved Italian Mafia members who thought Corbett was involved with ripping them off. One apparently even showed the Irishman a machine gun to underline his point.

Annoyingly when you think of how a world title fight eluded Corbett, Bruce Scott, following his victory over Darren, would fight in successive world title fights against WBO champion Johnny Nelson and WBC champion Juan Carlos Gomez.

When Darren Corbett told me he worked in a bar I assumed he was a doorman but he actually is a bar-man. People often make the mistake that he owns the bar and comment he “must have done OK in boxing”.

The bout with Carl Thompson was at one point scheduled but Thompson pulled out citing an injured knee. It was considered ludicrous at the time that Eubank, who had never boxed above the light-heavyweight limit and was coming off a sound thrashing by Joe Calzaghe, would get a shot at Thompson’s title though both fights were memorable affairs.

Chris Okoh only boxed one more time after his devastating defeat to Corbett. A timely reminder how one fight in boxing can sometimes change an entire landscape.

Corbett's draw was with Garry Williams while his first loss was to Roger McKenzie. Both were considered journeymen which surely prompted the move down in weight for Corbett.

Kovalev claims ref Tony Weeks on Team Ward


By @Livefight

Sergey Kovalev criticised the performance of referee Tony Weeks during his loss to Andre Ward - and alludes to an epidemic of referees that side with the 'home' fighter.

In broken English, he believes Gennady Golovkin's draw decision against Canelo, draws parallels with his own thoughts on the game:-


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