OFFICIAL! Burns v Crawford is on for Mar 1 at SECC
In the last few moments, promoter Eddie Hearn has tweeted that his WBO Lightweight champion, Ricky Burns will make the fifth defence of his title against mandatory challenger, Terence Crawford on Mar 1 at Glasgow's SECC.
Crawford, touted as one of America's next big things will likely start the bout as favourite thanks in no part to his blossoming reputation worldwide and Burns' last two sub-par showings against Jose Gonzales and Raymundo Beltran respectively.
Tickets will go on sale from 1pm on Jan 13 following the first press conference which will detail the full undercard.
In quotes attributed to a Matchroom press release, the champion began by saying "I have a point to prove. I've had two bad performances, we've made a few changes and some adjustments, we're going to be doing things differently, and fingers crossed that we see a new Ricky Burns on March 1.
“As soon as the jaw injury happened against Beltran I went into survival mode. Everybody knew that something was wrong, even if they didn't know exactly what it was. When the final bell went I wasn't caring about the decision, I just knew that I had done damage.
“The first couple of months after the operation were a nightmare. They told me to watch what I was eating and I could hardly open my mouth, I couldn't speak.
“Everybody is writing me off again with Terence but that doesn't bother me, I like being the underdog and I can’t wait to get back out there again in front of another great Glasgow crowd.”
Crawford fights outside America for the first time in his career, and he’s warning Burns that he’ll go one better than Gonzalez and Beltran and rip the title from his hands.
“I hope Burns is ready to walk to hell and back,” said Crawford. “I'm going to fight with all my heart. I have the determination and the skill to win the world title and bring it home.”
Crawford’s promoter Bob Arum added: “We believe Terence Crawford is ready to win the title and take it home to Omaha.”
It’s another massive night in Glasgow for Burns, and Hearn says March 1 is a make-or-break fight for his man.
“This is a must win fight for Ricky and perhaps the toughest of his incredible career,” said Hearn. “Ricky is more determined than I've ever seen him and to have that frame after the injury that he suffered during the Beltran fight is testament to the type of character and fighter he is.
“Crawford is hot property in the States but we managed to bring him here, out of his comfort zone and right now Ricky needs the people of Scotland behind him more than ever. March 1 will be a special night at the SECC, the latest chapter of the remarkable Ricky Burns story.”
Browne willing to face Fury in 2014
Hammer-Fisted Aussie contender Lucas "Big Daddy" Browne is happy to step up to the challenge offered by Tyson Fury on Twitter.
The giant Englishman recently used the micro blogging site to set out the names on his wish list for 2014.
Browne was mentioned alongside Deontay Wilder, Dereck Chisora and Roy Jones Jnr and say he would gladly accept if the fight was offered to him.
Fury was due to face David Haye in a massive all-British encounter, but that fight now seems dead in the water due to the Hayemaker's career hanging in the balance following a serious shoulder injury.
Browne, 19-0 (17 KOs), said: "All I can say is that his team should contact my promoter, Ricky Hatton, and I'll sign the contract tomorrow. The fans want to see this fight and I think it will be a war.
"He's stated he's having a warm up fight in February. I'm in one corner to box for the Commonwealth title in early 2014. After that, I think we should fight each other.
"I promise Tyson that unlike David Haye, I'll definitely turn up on fight night!"
Matt Clark, Browne's manager, believes a showdown with his charge is the only realistic option on Fury's list.
"He [Fury] has already beaten Chisora, Jones is at cruiserweight and Wilder is likely the next available contender to the Stiverne v Arreola bout for the vacant WBC title. That leaves Big Daddy," Clark explained.
"Fury is ranked eighth by the WBC and Lucas 11th. It's a fight that makes sense and it's a great one for the fans.
"Lucas has expressed to me just how keen he is to box Fury next year. He respects him as a boxer, but he has plenty of fans that want to see him close Tyson's mouth."
If made, the fight could occur in either England or Australia. Browne is no stranger to the British Isles, having boxed there three times as a pro. Just last month he snapped the unbeaten record of Sheffield's Richard Towers with a stunning fifth round stoppage in Hull.
IMAGE CREDIT: MARK ROBINSON/HATTON PROMOTIONS
Hughie Fury has sights on all domestic rivals in 2014
HUGHIE LEWIS FURY IS TARGETING "ALL THE TOP DOMESTIC FIGHTERS" NEXT YEAR, SAYS HIS FATHER AND TRAINER PETER FURY
London (30 December) Hughie Lewis Fury is "not hanging around" and is "upping his game" in 2014.
The 19-year-old heavyweight prospect has had a busy first nine months as a professional and is aiming at “all the top domestic fighters” next year, says his father and trainer Peter Fury.
“His first year as a professional is up at the end of March and already he’s had 12 fights, won all 12 with seven knockouts and next year we’ll be looking at all the top domestic fighters," Peter said.
“Hughie’s not hanging around, he’s upping his game next year and he's upping his game with the class of opponents as well.”
Hughie, who turned 19 in September, is the first British fighter to win a Gold Medal at the AIBA World Youth Boxing Championships at super heavyweight.
Since his professional debut in March, Hughie is already being tipped to beat Mike Tyson’s famous record of becoming the youngest fighter to win a world heavyweight title and Peter believes he can achieve whatever he puts his mind to in the sport.
“This is the kid to follow in world boxing because there is no other heavyweight like him on the planet,” Peter said.
”I’m not saying that because he’s my son, I’m saying that because of the sheer ability and boxing brain that he’s got.
"He’s maturing as he’s growing, he’s got a cast iron chin, power, the sky is the limit.
"We are leaving no stone unturned with Hughie, we know what he’s got to work on, we know he’s still improving and he’s got a lot to learn.
"He knows exactly where he is and exactly what he needs to do, so we’re very much looking forward to the new year."
The Livefight Super Eight; Boxing Stars who excelled in 2013
By Michael J Jones
After a gripping year in the world of boxing, Livefight lists eight fighters who reigned supreme in 2013.
A Good year for (in no particular order)…
1. Floyd Mayweather Jr
For the first time since 2007, Floyd Mayweather Jr fought more than once in a twelve month time frame and didn’t fail to disappoint with two of his most impressive victories of his 45-0 career to date.
The American star began his campaign in May with a points thrashing of Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero to lift the WBC welterweight title and would box again just four months later.
At the MGM Grand Las Vegas in September (also the setting for the Guerrero fight), “Money” would take on the thirteen-years-younger Saul Alvarez in a 154lb superfight. The 36-years-old Floyd would face “Canelo” for only his third bout at the light-middleweight limit but it mattered little in the fight.
Mayweather was at his dazzling best against the younger, but far less-skilled champion. The multi-weight world champion showed faster hands and his usual hermetically-sealed defence, expertly timing every punch to make the bullish Mexican look one-paced and, at times, rather plodding.
At the end of twelve one-sided rounds, the battle of unbeatens was won via decision by the classy Mayweather despite one judge bizarrely scoring a draw.
With the win, Mayweather Jr won both the WBC and WBA Super light-middleweight titles and cemented his position as the world’s greatest pound-for-pound fighter.
2. Danny Garcia
Danny Garcia sure has a knack of proving the experts wrong and this year was no exception. After beating Amir Khan by knockout and doing the same to the aged Mexican Erik Morales in their rematch in 2012, some thought the WBC and WBA Super light-welterweight champion may be ripe to be upset himself.
Dangerous veteran Zab Judah seemed motivated to cause an upset in April after a heated build-up instigated by Garcia’s father and Coach Angel. Judah at 42-7 (29) actually had more knockouts than the 25-0 champion had fights and came in as a very live underdog for the Brooklyn contest.
The southpaw former champion boxed well but the ten-years-younger Garcia edged a good fight by unanimous decision after flooring Judah in the eighth. Scores were 116-111, 115-112 and 114-112 for the dual champion.
After beating Judah though Garcia would next take on his most formidable foe to date in streaking knockout artist Lucas Matthysse on the undercard of Mayweather-Alvarez.
Few though Garcia could pull off another shock but up he stepped to the plate again with a tough but disciplined twelve-round performance to out-box the favoured Matthysse to take the spoils by a deserved 115-111, 114-112 (twice) decision.
Garcia dropped the Argentine in the eleventh and caused a serious eye damage with his crisp, numerous blows. It would end a six-bout knockout streak for the loser as “Swift” Garcia would answer his critics once more.
Whatever his fortunes in 2014, few will be quick to count out the Philly champion again.
3. Dereck Chisora
Entering 2013, Chisora was coming off two defeats last year to Vitali Klitschko and David Haye. In fact the controversial Londoner had lost four of his last five in total (though all in good company). After causing a huge storm before and after his WBC challenge to Klitschko and five-round stoppage loss to Haye, Chisora needed a big year in 2013 and got one.
The talented but erratic “Del Boy” got serious and put in four solid performances against decent opposition. In April he returned after a nine-month break to ease to a late stoppage over journeyman Hector Alfredo Avila to return to winning ways.
After that rust-shedder he disposed of previously unbeaten American Malik Scott in six. Although there was controversy at the conclusion, Chisora was in command and coming on strong when the fight was waved off.
In September the Englishman would stop respected Edmund Gerber in five to claim the European title which he defended in his final outing of the year when crushing late sub’ Ondrej Pala in three one-sided rounds.
Zimbabwe-born Chisora, who turns 30 today, looks to be ready for another assault on the world stage this year. He is now 19-4 (13) and many would favour him against previous conquerors Tyson Fury and Robert Helenius.
4. Marcus Maidana
Many an expert wrote Argentinian puncher Maidana off after a landslide loss to Devon Alexander early last year but he took his licks, got with new trainer Roberto Garcia and has never looked back.
In June “El Chino” started his campaign with a brutal war with solid contender Josesito Lopez. Maidana prevailed in the fight-of-the-year candidate in the sixth after taking much punishment himself.
With the win he won the WBA InterContinental welterweight belt to set up a meeting in December with new champion Adrien Broner in Texas.
Broner at 27-0, was already a three-weight champion and the slight favourite going in but Maidana came in with a good game-plan and showed absolutely no respect for the arrogant champion.
Within moments of the very first round Broner felt the power of Marcus and knew he had “The Problem”. Rocked in the first and dropped in the second for the first time in his career, Broner had it all to do but showed heart to try and claw his way back into the contest.
Maidana would regain control with another knock-down in the eighth and ended the fight strongly to become WBA champion by scores of 117-109, 115-110 and 115-109 as Broner raced from the ring humiliated.
Maidana is now 35-3 with two of his losses close and controversial affairs against Andrei Kotelnik and Amir Khan. He could well be the man to face Floyd Mayweather on May 3rd.
5. Adonis Stevenson
No matter what you think of Stevenson as a person one can’t ignore the heights he has scaled in 2013. A fighter who was spoken highly of by the late and great Manny Steward, Stevenson finally had his breakthrough year with four high-class and dominant victories.
In March the hard-punching southpaw would avenge his only defeat by wearing down gifted road warrior Darnell Boone in six. Stevenson would then grow tired of waiting his chance at a super-middleweight title shot so instead rose in weight to meet WBC 175lb champion Chad Dawson.
The June bout was over in just 76 seconds after a huge left hand cracked Dawson’s chin as a new champion was crowned in Canada.
In September, former IBF champion Tavoris Cloud was retired after a seven-round drubbing while in November UK hearts were broken as Tony Bellew was rescued in the sixth in another dominant and confident performance from “Superman”.
Although 36-years-old, there’s no reason why the 23-1 (20) Stevenson can’t be just as dominant in 2014. A match between him and WBO champion Sergey Kovalev would be a mouth-watering unification fight.
6. Bernard Hopkins
If he was 25-years-old he probably wouldn’t have been included but one must surely praise the amazing legend that is Bernard Hopkins.
After being clearly out-scored by Chad Dawson last year anyone would have been forgiven for thinking “The Executioner” might have simply faded away into a deserved retirement but instead he would become champion again.
In March the Philly legend faced unbeaten Tavoris Cloud for the IBF light-heavyweight crown and turned back the clock yet again by trouncing his far-younger opponent clearly on all the scorecards.
Hopkins would then defend his new belt in October by winning another wide decision this time over stocky German Karo Murat. The victories are rarely pretty these days but it’s still remarkable the level of performance “B-Hop” is still capable of at his advanced age.
Bernard, the oldest reigning world champion in the history of boxing, turns 49 next month and after the Murat defence even called out Floyd Mayweather. Hopkins hasn’t scored a knock-out in nearly ten years but his experience and conditioning continue to earn him ring success.
7. Guillermo Rigondeaux
Beginning the year as a good champion and ending it as a bonafide pound-for-pound contender is Cuban star Guillermo Rigondeaux.
The former amateur legend boxed just twice but impressed hugely in both outings. In April “El Chacal” would take on the feared Nonito Donaire in a unification bout for both his WBA Super and Donaire’s WBO super-bantamweight belts.
Donaire had only lost an early four-round fight in his career and had cleaned up in three previous weight divisions but had no answer to the speed and skill of Rigondeaux who surprisingly won at a canter over the “Filipino Flash”.
Although most saw the contest as one-sided, the three judges saw it closer at 116-111, 115-112 and 114-113. Donaire was awarded a knock-down in the tenth though it looked more of a slip. Most didn’t give Donaire even three rounds.
The Cuban champion had to wait until December for his second appearance of the year when defending both belts against former champion Joseph Agbeko in Atlantic City. Agbeko is still dangerous but the Cuban turned in another masterful showing to win by 120-108 on all cards.
Now 13-0 (8) Rigondeaux at 33 still has another great year ahead if he can get the big fights lined up.
8. Stuart Hall
Who would have though after domestic and European title defeats to Jamie McDonnell and Lee Haskins Stuart Hall would have fought for a world title let alone have won one?
Darlington’s Hall deserves huge credit for persevering in his career though and making 2013 his best yet as a pro.
In May the bantamweight contender faced 22-1 Sergio Perales in Doncaster and prevailed by unanimous decision after a hard-fought battle. The win earned Hall the IBF InterContinental belt and world rating with the IBF.
When Jamie McDonnell was (somewhat unfairly) stripped of the IBF crown, Hall was matched with experienced South African Vusi Malinga for the vacant title in Leeds.
Malinga didn’t come to surrender easily and a thrilling twelve-rounder unfolded before the scores were announced as 117-110, 116-111 and 116-111 all for the new IBF bantamweight champion Hall who is now 33-years-old and 16-2-1 (7).
A world title defence and rematch against Jamie McDonnell would appear the logical first defence for 2014 in what would be a fantastic all British world title fight.
Brutal warning for Cleverly: “Ilunga is a beast and will destroy you”
By Michael J Jones
On February 1st 2014 former WBO light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly returns to action since his painful defeat to Sergey Kovalev and subsequent move to cruiserweight.
The 26-year-old Welshman will take on power-punching Ilunga Makabu on the undercard of Gennedy Golovkin’s latest showing against Osumanu Adama in Monte Carlo.
Cleverly is hoping to return to winning ways after an embarrassing four-round drubbing at the hands of Kovalev four months ago to suffer his first defeat in 27 contests. Many have questioned the selection of Makabu as the comeback opponent but none more so than former WBU champion Ruben Groenewald who sparred Makabu in 2009 and has monitored the Congolese boxer’s progress ever since.
“I see Nathan Cleverly is boxing Ilunga in February but trust me it won’t go the distance” Groenewald warns Livefight.
“I sparred Ilunga in 2009 nearly five years ago and, although I handled him ok, he’s much improved since then. Cleverly won’t make eight rounds.”
Little is known about Ilunga but the South African-based fighter turned pro in 2008 to be blasted out in just 29 seconds by a fighter named Khayeni Hlungwane. While that boxer achieved precious little since that win, Makabu has won fifteen contest straight since with all but one inside the distance.
Last year he won all four contests with the latter two for the WBC Silver cruiserweight belt. If anyone is questioning the 25-year-old punchers quality of opposition it’s worth noting his last six victims have had a combined 90-7-1 tally.
“This guy from the Congo is f##king good” praises Groenewald when I ask what makes Makabu so special. “He is very fit and strong, when we sparred he was only 21-years-old but his improvement is immense…I can honestly say I can’t see many world class fighters beating him.”
Surely there has to be some hope for Cleverly in the fight?
“Makabu likes to dictate the pace of a fight and come forward behind a high guard. He starts slowly, blocking punches but is there to be hit. The only way Cleverly can win is to out-work him; if Makabu throws three shots he should throw five.”
“I wish Nathan Cleverly the best for his career but if he wants to win and progress his career he should not fight Ilunga. He’s a beast and I can’t understand why Cleverly’s team have made this fight in Monaco.”
It certainly has been a diabolical few months for Cleverly. After the Kovalev defeat in August the Welshman has seen two fights fall through and now is faced with the prospect of facing a dangerous knockout artist overseas on his belated cruiserweight debut.
Some fighters are never the same after a punishing defeat but we should know just what Cleverly has left after February 1st.
Warren: Cleverly is still a young man; Can come again
Promoter Frank Warren states that the Cefn Fforest fighter can certainly come again following his heartbreaking loss earlier this year against the big punching Russian, Sergey Kovalev.
"I was confident (that he could beat him) but sometimes you get it wrong. I did everything right from my point of view. It was a calculated risk and Nathan, like all boxers, wanted to earn a lot of money and the only way that could happen is with the involvement of American television.
"Showtime were very interested in Kovalev and so we went down that route to do that and I made the fight. " said Warren
The promoter believes that Sergey Kovalev is one of the hardest hitters around, but ultimately Cleverly fought the wrong tactics.
"No doubt about it, Kovalev is a monster!" he said
"He could really punch. But ultimately fought the wrong fight. There was a couple of moments when Nathan was throwing his straight punches and the other guy spat his gumshield out and went back to the corner and slumped down a little bit - and I thought if Nathan keeps doing what he is doing and stays to the game plan then we shall see.
"But let me tell you, there are big punchers in this game and they don't last forever. Because I have always believed that a good boxer, with a good boxing brain and defence will always defeat a puncher because that's all they have to rely on. And most big punchers don't like it when they get some back.
"Kovalev is an exciting fighter and don't get me wrong, the best man won on the night. But it's now up to Nathan to re-group up at cruiserweight.
"He is going to fight now in February I hope, in quite a meaningful fight and if he can come through that it's certainly going to re-establish him.
"He is only a young man at 26 years of age, he has plenty of gas still left in the tank.
"And I do believe that on his day, he is a formidable fighter." concluded Warren.
Frank Warren: We all miss Dean Powell
Frank Warren reflects on the passing of his close friend and colleague Dean Powell. The promoter reflects on the departure of certain fighters and what he hopes to do with his current stable.
David Price to return on Jan 25 against Orlov
David Price (15-2, 13 KOs) will make his ring return against Evengy Orlov (14-12-1, 10 KOs) on January 25 at the Hanns-Martin-Schleyer Halle in Stuttgart, Germany.
The British heavyweight joins an action packed card that also features the much anticipated rematch between WBO Cruiserweight Champion Marco Huck (36-2-1, 25 KOs) and Firat Arslan (33-6-2, 21 KOs).
The show will be available to watch on BoxNation in the UK and ARD in Germany. Tickets are available via eventim.de, easyticket.de and davidprice.co.uk. Special hotel and ticket packages are available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit: Sport Lustig