News April 2014

Spartan Prepared for Glory after quality sparring at Ricky Hatton gym


By Michael J Jones

While the WBF International title may be far from the most respected title in boxing, it can still mean a decent fight can be put together between young contenders. Enter Paul “The Spartan” Economides who takes on Hungarian David Kanalas this Saturday for the super-bantamweight version of the mentioned belt.

Economides at 27-years-old is nearing the dreaded “last chance saloon” in his boxing career and is desperate for a big win to put him back on course after a series of recent defeats all of which were in good company. Though 13-5 (0), the Chester bruiser is never in a bad fight and those figures are a testament to the quality of his opposition rather than an indication of his limitations.

After successive defeats last year to (new British champion) Gavin McDonnell and South African danger-man Michael Ramabeletsa, Economides is determined to stop the rot with a dominant victory on Saturday in Chester. Though he admits he doesn’t know much about the 14-10 (7) Kanalas.

Speaking exclusively to Livefight Paul explains...

“I don’t really know too much about (Kanalas), I’ve seen a couple of clips on YouTube and he looks tall and rangy with a good jab but he did get stopped early in both of those fights.”

Kanalas has in fact been stopped in nine of his ten defeats but is just 21-years-old meaning he could be improving and maturing physically. Also, all of his losses have been to good fighters such as Paul Butler and Willie Casey. Thus his record could, like his co-challenger, be that of the misleading variety.

“His record does suggest he’s fragile and his body is something I’ll be targeting 100%” states “The Spartan” with confidence...but I have to point out his own lack of KO victories on his record though the Welshman carries a fair dig with his left hook and right.

“There’d be nothing better than to win a title like this with a stoppage, though he does get stopped on occasion he can also go ten rounds like in his last fight (losing a split for the Hungarian title). He was probably taking some of those fights (where he got stopped) for the payday but in a title fight he’ll definitely be coming to win.”

One result which sticks out on Economides’ record is an early-career one-round knockout loss to Stephen Russell. Having witnessed Paul take some meaty shots in some of his ring battles I have to ask what happened in that fight back in 2009.

“He wasn’t even a puncher but I messed the weight up” Paul confides to me. “I was told by my then trainer to just put a few pounds on after the weigh in so I weighed in at 8st 10lbs and came into the fight only 8st 13. As soon as he hit me my legs just weren’t there.”

“I went down and got up and felt ok but the ref stopped it. I could have continued but I’d have never won the fight I just didn’t have the punch resistance because of the weight. These days I’ll be 10st come fight night easily.”

Paul continues...

“I know I can take a punch; I’ve been sparring for this fight at the Hatton’s gym with Ryan Burnett (the 4-0 Belfast prospect) and Zhanat Zhakiyanov who boxes for the European bantamweight title soon in Sheffield. I know from sparring those guys I can take a punch.

Note: Kazak bantamweight Zhakiyanov is 21-1 (14) and has won his last eight by KO.

Economides says he is in the shape of his career after a lengthy camp at Chester Boxing club and the added sparring at the Hatton gym.

“Ryan Burnett for me is a future British champion for sure; he’s a good kid, powerful and fast. ‘ZZ’ is ranked something like number six in the world and a big puncher. Ricky was pleased with me and Chris Goodwin sparring up there and welcomed us back to spar again. He said we were teaching his boys too as the spars were like real fights.”

“Ricky said to me he’d have a little spar, not full on, but a spar with me and he told me he’d show me what real pressure really was (laughs) but it never happened in the end.”

Economides has won Masters titles at two different weights in his career but has had some frustration as he talks through his defeats so far.

“With Robbie Turley (in a Welsh title fight back in 2011), it was just a terrible decision, I don’t remember him hitting me even once through the ten rounds. Even his own fans booed the decision and I remember Nathan Cleverly’s Dad coming up to me afterwards and just saying sorry (for the decision).”

“I’d take that fight again but on neutral territory or up here (in Chester or North Wales) I’d never go down to Newport again.”

A year after the Turley defeat, Economides would get another shot at the Welsh crown against tough journeyman Dai Davies. Davies had a habit of blowing hot and cold but was positively on fire when he faced Paul in Chester.

“I did underestimate him a bit” admits Paul with a sigh. “I’d seen him fight Kris Hughes and he took a one-two and was knocked out. I thought it would be an easy fight but at the weight in he looked huge. I should never have taken the fight at featherweight in hindsight.”

Fighting at the same venue Saturday’s title bout takes place, Davies boxed and moved superbly to make Economides look pedestrian. At the end of ten very frustrating rounds for the North Wales fighter, Davies was crowned the winner by a wide decision.

“I think he just did his homework having worked with Turley; stayed well away from me and boxed the fight of his life” concludes Economides.

“The Gavin McDonnell fight was a good fight, I thought I did enough to win but it was close. The fact he’s now British champion gives me confidence.”

“And Michael Ramabeletsa...I feel so sorry for him as he’s so much better than his record.”

The two 122lb contenders faced in a non-title fight late last year in Liverpool with Bristol-based Ramabeletsa taking the bout on a seventh-round injury stoppage after Economides sustained a nasty swelling over his right eye.

“I felt I was ahead but he came back and just landed a really good shot to start the swelling. I didn’t think it was that bad but they stopped it. It was even at the scorecards at the time and I was gutted because I had the chance to at least get a draw in my opinion.”

For now, Economides has to get Kanalas out of the way this Saturday at the Northgate Arena. Also on the bill Economides’ gym-mate Chris Goodwin takes on rugged Irishman Oisin Fagan over twelve rounds (also for the WBF International belt).

Paul insists his Fight Options stable mate is also in tremendous shape...

“Chris is in tremendous shape like me and bang on the weight so what happened last time won’t this time the Fagan fight was previously scrapped when Goodwin came in heavy). Fagan I’ve seen has said ‘Goodwin will be finished in six’ but I’ve seen Chris spar Ricky Burns, Kevin Mitchell and Gavin Rees and none of those had him down or hurt.”

“Chris has improved a lot since the Johanneson fight (two years ago) and I think he’s matured physically too. He’s got bags of skill and I’ve no doubt he’ll beat Fagan on Saturday.”

Many thanks to Paul for talking to Livefight so close to fight night.

This Saturday April 12th Fight Options brings you International boxing with Chris Goodwin vs Oisin Fagan for the WBF International lightweight title and Paul Economides vs David Kanalas for the super-bantamweight title. A full undercard is also featured with Bardney middleweight prospect Nathan Decastro and Solihull lightweight Antonio Counihan also on the card.

Livefight prediction for Economides vs Kanalas: I feel although the Hungarian has been found wanting in several fights so far he will be a decent opponent on the night as it’s for a title and he’s had good notice. However, expect Economides to overcome a slow start to begin breaking Kanalas down from the fourth before securing his first stoppage victory of his pro career in around the eighth.

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