News February 2013

Hearn reviews Frampton, Selby, Lee performances and more

12.02.13

by @shaun_brown

Just before jetting off to New York to watch his Welsh rock, Gavin Rees take on Adrien Broner for the WBC lightweight title, Livefight caught up with Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn to discuss the outfit’s most recent show in Belfast last Saturday night.

It was an evening where Carl Frampton came of age, Lee Selby looked like a future world champion and Andy Lee looked some way off his middleweight rivals.

All in all it was a successful and eye opening night for Hearn & Co. Starting with the main event, he discussed Frampton vs. Martinez and what lies ahead for ‘The Jackal’.

“I knew Kiko Martinez was better and prepared more than ever for that fight. He was tougher than I thought because he got hit with plenty of shots and because of that I thought it would go to points. The knockout was the icing on the cake. It was a brilliant performance from Frampton and a very mature one too.”

However, the proposed date of May 11 for the newly crowned European super bantamweight champion may have to be put back a month.

“I’ve spoken to Barry [McGuigan] and it seems Carl has perforated his ear drum so we’ll now be looking at June.”

And will Frampton make a routine first defence of his fourth professional title?

“I don’t think so. We’re going to go for a world title. There are two guys fighting for the IBF title (Alejandro Romez fights Jonathan Romero this Saturday in California for the vacant strap) and we will be making an offer to the winner. At the very least I imagine Carl will be in a final eliminator for that title,” Hearn revealed.

The chief supporting bout of the night came in the form of a long awaited domestic tussle between Lee Selby and Martin Lindsay. Over twelve rounds and for Selby’s British and Commonwealth featherweight titles, fans had waited patiently for this bout since its late postponement last September.

Throughout the contest, it was the champion who dazzled and the challenger who battled. Lindsay was as tough as Selby was good. The Welshman, with the help of fighting on Sky Sports, seemed to capture the imagination of boxing fans with his array of shots and his bag of swagger. The 26 year old will soon bid farewell to the British scene with the European and World stage at 126lbs well within his grasp.

“I knew he was good but I didn’t know he was that good,” confessed Hearn when discussing the fight.

“I think he’s a brilliant fighter. Lindsay was so tough and I said to him that he’s gotta hang in there. I thought Selby might struggle at the weight but he found another gear! He punches hard, he’s got a great style and he’s got something about him.

After the flowing compliments came a dose of realism from Hearn.

“Right now no-one’s got a clue who he is. He’s gotta get to know people so fans get to know him because that’s part of the game as well. I know he’s shy but he’s actually a really funny guy. But that personality has to come through to everyone.”

Sources have informed me that Selby is a free agent although nothing is 100% confirmed. Hearn did say that IF this was the case he would like to enter discussions with Selby’s team about adding him to the Matchroom stable.

Andy Lee, under the fresh tutelage of Adam Booth looked to re-establish his place amongst a buzzing middleweight scene both in Europe and the rest of the world. The former world title challenger had not fought since a brave defeat to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. last June. For his comeback fight, Lee was pitted against Anthony Fitzgerald - a 13-3 fighter with nothing to lose and everything to gain as was proved in the ten round contest. What was predicted as routine turned out to be a rough night for Lee en route to a points victory.

“I thought Andy was a little disappointing to be honest,” Hearn admitted.

“His confidence seemed low, which wasn’t surprising, but take nothing away from Fitzgerald; he did a good job in there.

“Adam [Booth] wants two to three more fights before putting him back into a world title fight or with a guy like [Darren] Barker who really wants that fight.

“I like Andy, he’s a lovely bloke and he’s good to have on bills, especially in Ireland. I know there’s a lot of talk about him fighting [Matthew] Macklin in May. Right now you’d have to rank Macklin first because of his activity, Murray second because he’s fighting Martinez and Barker third. Ability wise Darren Barker is number one but he’s had one fight in over a year and that was three rounds against Kerry Hope. But overall you’d have to say Lee is fourth of that group.”

Of the rest of the undercard a few stood out for Hearn and as he was about to board his flight to The Big Apple, his excitement over 22 year old super middleweight Callum Smith (who knocked out Tommy Tolan in one round) was clear in his voice.

“When I was watching him I said to myself that he and Frank Buglioni are going to meet in 2014. Callum is brilliant, he’s technically brilliant. He’s 6’3” and he’s going to get stronger and stronger. I’m really excited about his future and he’s going to have a busy year.

“Of the others, James Friars impressed me. He boxed really well. Martin Rogan was Martin Rogan. He looked okay but he looked sloppy too. He was getting ready for Prizefighter which is just going to be a shootout. Jamie Conlan looked decent; Marcos McCullough won as did Grzegorz Proksa. It was a long night but a great night. It was eleven fights and we got finished at 1am! The atmosphere was incredible so roll on the next one!”

Twitter @shaun_brown

All views and opinions can be sent to srb31079@btinternet.com

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