Saturday, July 27, 2013

Juan Francisco Estrada Shines on Fists of Gold 2 in Macau

By Peter Silkov

 Image from La Reta Oficial on Twitter
 Juan Francisco Estrada 25(18 kos)-2 gave an impressive display of all-round boxing tonight at the Venetian Resort, Macau, China, in retaining his WBO and WBA world flyweight titles, with a decision win over the previously unbeaten Milan Melindo 29(12kos)-1. In his first title defense, Estrada showed that he is developing into a formidable boxer-fighter, who can vary his approach and strategy according to the opponent in front of him. Melindo was a courageous challenger and was always dangerous, but after boxing his way carefully through the early rounds and picking up points with his sharper hand speed, Estrada upped the tempo from the 8th round when the fight really took off as a toe-to-toe battle. Estrada took over the fight from the 9th, as his powerful shots started taking their toil on Melindo. The defending champion dropped Melindo late in round 11, had his brave challenger in trouble, and staggered in the final stanza, but to his credit, the gutsy Melindo lasted until the end. Estrada won a deserved decision, with perhaps surprisingly lopsided scores, (118-109, 117-109, and 118-109) in what had been a competitive fight, but many of the close early rounds had been won by Estrada’s sharper punching. The champion, at 23 years of age, looks like he may well develop into one of today’s outstanding ‘champions’ and there could be some exciting fights for him in the near future.

Although he lost Melindo gave a good account of himself, in what was his first attempt at a ‘world title,’ and he is definitely good enough to pick up one of the other many titles floating about at the present time, but on this occasion, he came up against a young Mexican champion who was simply too good for him.

The man for whom this card was supposedly all about, Zou Shiming 2-0, had his second bow as a professional in front of his adoring Chinese fans, but although he came out with the all-important victory, the former Olympic champion’s flaws were once again plain to see. Shiming’s opponent, Jesus Ortega 3(2kos)-2, was clearly handpicked and very limited, but managed to make things difficult for Shiming in the last two rounds, as the Chinese idol tired. Shiming tried hard to get a knockout victory, but had to be happy with a decision win, after six hard fought rounds. It is difficult to see how Shiming has any chance of winning a world title, of any description, even with Freddie Roach in his corner. Shiming’s biggest problem is that he lacks adequate power for a professional, at the same time, does not have anything like the technical boxing ability of Guillermo Rigondeaux. Roach will try to turn him into an all-action slugger, but with his lack of strength, the Chinese man faces a daunting task when he fights anyone of decent ability.  Then again, with Bob Arum and all of China behind you, nothing is impossible. At least Bob hasn’t labelled Shiming as boring yet; Shiming has far too many fans willing to pay out to watch him, for old Bob to be bored by him.

In another world title fight on this card Evgeny Gradovich 17(8kos)-0 successfully defended his IBF world featherweight championship against Mauricio Munoz 26(12kos)-5.  Gradovich won a lopsided decision after dominating a game, but out-gunned Munoz in what was an entertaining fight. With only seventeen fights under his belt, Gradovich still has some way to go, before he can be considered a genuine ’world champion’.

Other fights on the Macou card:

In a good old-fashioned humdinger of a fight, super bantamweights Genesis Servania 22(8kos)-0 and Konosuke Tomiyama 23(8kos)-6-1, exchanged two knockdowns apiece, and plenty of leather as well, before their fight was prematurely stopped in the 9th round due to an accidental head butt. The fight started off with a first round straight out of a Rocky film, as Servania dropped Tomiyama early in the 1st round, only to then be dropped twice himself, in the same round. Fortunes swung back and forth in the following rounds, as the two men engaged in an all out war. Servania dropped Tomiyama again at the end of the 3rd round, and seemed to be having the edge in the action, when the fight was stopped in the 9th round due to Servania suffering a severe cut from an accidental head butt. Servania won a split technical decision by scores of  87-82, 86-83, and 84-85. This is certainly a fight that is screaming out for a rematch.

In a battle between unbeaten heavyweights, Andy Ruiz Jr. 20(14kos)-0 showed good power and hand speed, in dispatching Joe Hanks 21(14kos)-1 in the 4th round. The aggressive Ruiz floored Hanks twice in the 4th round, before the referee had seen enough and stopped the fight.

Fighting at super bantamweight, Dave Penalosa 7(5 kos)-0 knocked out Ngaotawa Sithsaithong 10(5kos)-11-1 in the third round, with an impressive display of punching power. Penalosa is the son of former world champion Dodie Boy Penalosa, and is starting to show some genuine talent of his own.

In a lively 6-rounder, Rex Tso 7(4kos)-0 out-pointed Rusalee Samor 20(9kos)-5-2, at super flyweight.

What a shame that we couldn’t be treated to seeing the brilliant skills of Guillermo Rigondeaux on this card? The sport of boxing is certainly a murky and Machiavellian world at times, how ironic that some of it’s greatest practitioners, find their most difficult obstacles thrown at them outside the ring, by the very people who are supposed to be working for them.

Here is the fight if you want to view it:

Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved.
Peter Silkov contributes to and

Juan Francisco Estrada Aiming To Steal the Show Again In Macao

By Peter Silkov

 Chinese idol Zou Shiming, 1-0, takes his second bow, as a professional, this Saturday in front of his adoring fans at The Venetian Casino and Resort in Macao, China, against Jesus Ortega. However, it is the supporting bout between Juan Francisco ’El Gallo’ Estrada 24-(18kos)-2 and Milan ‘Method Man’ Melindo 29-(12kos)-0, for Estrada’s WBA and WBO world flyweight titles, that looks like being the fight of the night. 

The lower weight classes of boxing are too often over looked and ignored by the general boxing public; this is unfortunate, as the fans in question, are missing out on some of the best action that can be found in boxing. 

Both Estrada and Melindo are prime examples of how exciting boxing’s smallest men can be, neither has been in a bad fight, and now that they are both facing each other in the ring boxing fans can expect some genuine fistic fireworks.

Estrada won the flyweight titles with a brilliant victory over Brian Vilora in April, also in Macao, China, on the same card, which saw Zou Shiming’s professional debut.  ‘El Gallo’ first came to people’s notice in late 2012 when he gave Roman Gonzalez a terrific fight for Gonzalez’s WBA world light-flyweight title. Despite his youth and comparative inexperience, Estrada made Gonzalez fight all the way, before losing a point’s decision. It was a very impressive performance, against a man who is considered one of the world’s best boxers, pound for pound, by those who take notice of boxing’s lightest divisions. When he was given his chance against Viloria earlier this year, Estrada gave a brilliant performance in first, out-boxing and then out-punching, the hard-punching Viloria.  Now, in facing a tough challenge from Milan Melindo, ‘El Gallo’ has a chance to show just how good a world champion he can be, if that is, he is able to hold on to his titles.

In winning the titles from Viloria ‘El Gallo,’ Estrada showed a versatility which he hadn’t before displayed. While he had mainly slugged it out with Gonzalez--against Viloria ‘El Gallo,’ Estrada employed some superior counter-punching in the early rounds of their fight, before then standing his ground, and out-punching ’The Hawaiian Punch’ in the later rounds of their war.

Milan Melindo has been a top contender for a while, and has mixed in world-class company since beating former world Minimum weight champion Muhammad Rachman in 2009.  In this modern era of multiple ‘World titles,’ it is unusual to see a fighter such as Melindo, who is unbeaten after eight years and twenty nine contests, only now, receiving his first world title fight. Indeed, it may well be that over the past few years; Melindo has been too good for his own good.  Melindo is a clever, but aggressive box-fighter, and despite his low knockout ratio, is a sharp and accurate puncher, who breaks down his opponents with a clinical precision. 

After his long wait for a world title shot, it is perhaps ironic that Melido finds himself finally getting his chance against a young champion that may be a little special.
Estrada, at only twenty-three years of age, seems to be a boxer who is getting better with every fight at the moment, and looks to have a slight but significant edge over Melindo in power and speed and overall versatility. 

With both fighters having good chins, all the signs are that this title fight will be a war of attrition over 12 frenetic rounds, with perhaps a number of ebbs and flows to either side, before the night is over.      

As far as the Chinese (and perhaps Bob Arum) are concerned, the main fight on this bill will be Zou Shiming’s second professional contest, which will see him taking on Jesus Ortega 3-(2kos)-1.  As a two time Olympic champion, with a huge ready-made fan base in China, Shiming is being groomed for stardom, but guiding him to a world’s championship in the ultra competitive flyweight division is not going to be easy, even for an old fox like Bob Arum. It goes without saying, that Shiming will be expected to beat Ortega without much trouble, and his supporters will be hoping that he shows more power and physicality in this fight than he did in his debut. 

Also on the Macao card, will be an interesting tussle between Evgeny Gradovich 16-0(8kos) and Mauricio Munoz 26(12kos)-3 for Gradovich’s IBF world featherweight championship. This will be Gradovich’s first defense of the title that he won from Billy Dib in March, in just his sixteenth pro contest, after coming in as a late replacement. Munoz is a typical tough Argentinean, who has previously challenged for the world bantamweight title. Gradovich is nicknamed the ’Mexican-Russian’ due to his all-action style and this fight could be lively while it lasts.     

Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved.
Peter Silkov contributes to and

Monday, July 22, 2013

Chisora Back with a Controversial Bang

By Peter Silkov

 Dereck ’Del Boy’ Chisora 17-(11kos)-4 Saturday night got his career back on track when he ended the unbeaten record of American Malik Scott 35-(12kos)-1-1, at London’s Wembley Arena, but his victory was overshadowed by a controversial ending to what had been building into a absorbing contest.  ‘Del Boy’seems to travel about with a cloud of controversy never far away from him, but this time he was the innocent party in the almost comedic confusion of the fights conclusion. 

From the start the fight was turning out to be pretty much what people had expected from both men, with Chisora coming forward looking to land his swinging bombs and Scott countering on the retreat, mainly with the jab.   Unfortunately, this fight had a messy quality to it throughout as both men’s styles clashed rather than gelled.  There was far too much clinching and mauling on the ropes as Scott attempted to frustrate Chisora on the inside. 

It was surprising to see a boxer of Scott’s evident skill and experience allowing himself to be wrestled to the ropes so often, despite the instructions between rounds of his trainer Jessie Reid, and this would prove to be Scott’s undoing in the end. 
Credit must go to Chisora however for coming into this fight at his lightest weight for over two years, and from the beginning, it was evident that he was the physically stronger fighter and clearly possessed the heavier punch of the two.    

The first round was close with Chisora coming forward and Scott trying to fend him off with his rather pecking jab.  Both men ended up wrestling in clinches, which would break up a lot of the fights flow.  Chisora landed some good body shots and missed with one of his trademark overhand rights.
In the second Scott got his jab going a little better, as Chisora missed again with flamboyant right and left swings, but found the target with some decent body shots that pleased his corner at the end of the round.

Both boxers were finding it hard to take control for any length of time as clinches and mauling were frequent and at times not broken up quickly enough by the referee. 

Scott was busier in the 3rd and 4th rounds, moving around the ring a bit more and mixing in some rights with his snappy jab.  Chisora was finding it hard to land cleanly, but when he did get some body shots through, they made Scott visibly uncomfortable. 

Unsurprisingly, Chisora’s best moments came when Scott allowed himself to be manoeuvred into the ropes. When the action was in mid-ring Scott seemed to have control with his jab and Chisora struggled to land anything of note.

In the 5th round, Scott landed with some good uppercuts and at times seemed to be picking Chisora off with the jab.  The American’s lack of power was evident; by the way, that Chisora walked through his best shots, and continued to maraud forward. At this point, despite the frequent holding and broken flow of action, the fight was finely balanced between Chisora’s strength and power and Scott’s speed and skill. Could the Philadelphian jab his way to victory or would Chisora’s superior strength and firepower wear him down in the end/

The fatal sixth round started out largely like the previous rounds, with both combatants vying for the upper hand, and Chisora coming forward with perhaps a little more urgency. The end came after Scot had been forced, yet again, onto the ropes; amid some wrestling between the two Chisora landed one of his overhand rights to the upper left side of Scott’s head. The American seemed to tumble down, rather than immediately fall, spilling down on the ropes, as Chisora landed a left to the body for good measure. Scott ended up on one knee and as the count began, smiled to his corner as if to signal that he was alright. Scott then seemed to follow the referee’s count and rose after the count of nine, but by the time he had fully regained his feet, Referee Phil Edwards was waving his arms signaling that Scott was out and the fight was over.

The abruptness of the knockdown and Scott’s rising during the count has provoked much controversy, but the blame really lies with Scott for attempting to rise after nine, which boxing history will show is always a precarious habit. Pugilistic history is strewn with the stories of fighters who lost fights when they attempted to rise at nine only to be counted out as they regained their feet. Having said that, Edwards did seem to rush from nine to out, but the fact remains, that Scott did not begin to rise until after nine was counted, and only regained his feet as Edwards waved his arms for out. Had Scott rose a second sooner, he would have been fine, that is why fighters generally try to rise after eight rather than nine. Post-fight Scott admitted that the right-hand that bundled him over, had indeed affected his equilibrium, so, he was likely more hurt, than he had looked. How the fight would have turned had Scott beaten the count is something that is open to debate. 

Post-fight, a gracious in defeat Scott, declared that he would be eager for a rematch with Chisora that however seems unlikely. Despite the controversial nature of the ending and the closeness of the rounds, this doesn’t seem to be a fight, which many members of the public would relish seeing again and it is unlikely to be a match, which Chisora would want to repeat either. Now he is back to winning ways over higher level opposition, Chisora will have his eyes set upon bigger fights in the future.
Beating Scott has given Chisora the so called WBO International heavyweight title, but he will be aiming for bigger titles, such as the World titles held by the Klitschko’s; having already lost a previous title shot to Vitali, after a credible performance.
It is more likely that the near future will see Chisora feature in a big domestic match up against one of his domestic rivals, perhaps even the winner or loser of the upcoming David Haye vs. Tyson Fury fight. 

Chisora remains something of a mystery, at times against Scott his work was impressive, he works well to the body and has a sound chin and underrated defense.  Certainly, by today’s standards, when in top shape, Chisora is a world-class fighter.  However, there are also times when Scott made Chisora look lumbering and short on ideas.  Had the fight on Saturday gone on longer we would have perhaps learned a lot more about both men, but it was not to be? Malik Scott may now find himself relegated back into the ’who needs him’ club, with his somewhat awkward boxing skills, it is unlikely he will ever find opponents running to meet him within the roped square.       

In the main fight, on the under card,  Billy-Joe Saunders added the WBO International title to his British and Commonwealth middleweight titles, with an impressive dominating display over Gary ’Spike’ O’Sullivan. Saunders won a wide point’s decision after out-boxing the pressuring O’Sullivan at every turn, and gave further evidence as to why he is being hailed as a star of the future. At twenty-three years old, Saunders still needs to mature and build some more strength, but he already has impressive boxing skills and his flashy footwork and hand speed already indicate that he has world class potential. Saunders has his eyes on fighting WBO world middleweight champion Peter Quillin in the near future, and it is a fight, which he may well be ready for within the next twelve months.   

Further fights on the under card were…

Welterweight Bradley Saunders 6-0(4kos) impressed with an exhibition of aggressive boxing which broke down Irishman Michael Kelly 8-(2kos)6-1 for a 5th round stoppage.  Saunders dropped Kelly in the 1st round with a left hook to the body, but the plucky Irishman survived the round and then weathered Saunders continued pressure until the 5th when the referee decided he had taken enough punishment.

Russian Middleweight Dmitry Chudinov 9-0(6kos)-2 seemed unlucky to be granted merely a draw after an entertaining 8 rounder with Patrick Mendy 14-(1ko)-6.  Although the fight was closely contested, Chudinov seemed to have the edge through enough of the eight rounds to merit taking the decision.  The two engaged in some good toe-to-toe action but the Russian had the heavier punch and repeatedly caught Mendy with his right-hand, causing the England based Gambian spent the last two rounds of the fight mainly on the defensive.

Steve Collins Jr. 2-0, son of former world middleweight and super middleweight champion Steve Collins, made his 2nd professional appearance, just a week after his debut. Collins Jr., fighting at cruiserweight, was raw, but entertaining, as he came forward constantly and out-pointed tough Paul ‘Maniac’ Morris 5-(3kos)-19-2 over 4 rounds.

Collins Jr. has had little amateur experience and it showed at times, but there are glimpses of real talent, like his father, he seems to be very fit and strong, with an all-action style.  He will certainly be interesting to watch.

Big punching, super middleweight Frank Buglioni 9-0(6kos) had to settle for a point’s win over eight rounds, against the stubborn Lithuanian Kirill Psonko 10(ko6)-26-2.  Buglioni started fast, but seemed to settle for a point’s win, after the first five rounds, when it became clear that Psonko was determined to stay the distance.

Slippery welterweight Bradley Skeet 12-0 (4kos) showed a nice jab in out-pointing Dee Mitchell 9-(2kos) 39-1 in six rounds.

Billy Morgan 9-0 was impressive against Ashley Mayall 2-(1ko) 2 before being stopped in the 3rd round, due to a bad cut caused by a clash of heads in the 2nd.  Morgan won the fight by a technical decision.

Middleweight Tom Baker 5-0 (1ko) was dominating in stopping Dean Walker 12-(1ko) 29-3 in the second round.  Baker had floored Walker just prior to the fight being stopped.

Super featherweight Joey Taylor out-pointed Latvian Pavels Senkovs 2-61-5 over four rounds.  
Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved.
Peter Silkov contributes to and

If you want to watch the fight:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Classy Commey Sets Up Commonwealth Title Shot

London’s York Hall last night played host to a lively fight card promoted by Olivia Goodwin, with a main event that showcased the rise of perhaps a new star in the making at 135 pounds.

Richard ‘Azonto’ Commey’s 16-0 (16kos) colourful fans danced and sang as he entered the ring last night, and they were dancing and singing even louder, when he was leaving it some 30 minutes later. In between, Commey gave a display of box fighting which will certainly mark him out as someone to watch in the very near future. Despite going into this fight with an impressive record of having beaten all of his previous opponents via the knockout route, this match was a step up in class for the Ghanaian. Commey proved his worth by meeting the brave challenge of Paul Truscott 19-4 (3kos) and stopping him in clinical fashion after an exciting, whirlwind of a fight. 

For his part, Truscott lived up to his reputation as being a dangerous and very live opponent for Commey, and at times it seemed as if he might have too much maturity and experience for the Ghanaian, in this Commonwealth title final eliminator.

After a decent warm up by the undercard fights, the hall really livened up, as the main event got underway, with both fighters having their share of support, but Commey’s was bigger and far louder. By the time Commey had entered the ring the sweltering hall was raining to the chants and shouts of his supporters.

Both men got off to a fast start in the first round, with Commey shooting out a sharp jab, and then stinging one twos from both hands, as Truscott rushed in to the attack himself, aiming for the Ghanaians lean body. The action was toe-to-toe as both men attempted to force the other man back, and the round ended with some after bell punches, as both kept up their attack, until the last possible moment. 

In the second, the frenetic action picked up from where it had ended in the first, with both fighters throwing some sizzling shots, as Truscott sought to get on the inside and attack the body, while Commey fired his jab, and then swung both hands at the head.  Truscott was showing the class, which gained him the Commonwealth featherweight title some years back, as he bobbed, weaved, and blocked many of the Ghanaian’s punches, as he continually came forward. 

Although Commey was being pushed back, his counters were still carrying the more weight and accuracy, and he got through with enough to edge the round. The third and fourth rounds followed a similar pattern to the previous two stanzas, with Commey moving back and countering, while Truscott kept up his pursuit. Truscott tried his best to drive Commey onto the ropes, where he would unload with both hands to the body, but Commey fought his way off when cornered, despite Truscott’s defense, landed some good shots from his violent swings. 

Commey became more circumspect in the 5th round, concentrating on just jabbing at the oncoming Truscott, who had his best round of the fight so far, as he landed the more telling shots to the retreating Commey’s body. At this point, it looked as if Truscott’s non-stop attack was slowing down the Ghanaian, but as if sensing that he was losing control of the contest, Commey came out with renewed vigour in the 6thround.  Standing his ground, Commey upped his workrate again, and started to catch Truscott more with pinpoint counters. Half way through the round, a right to Truscott’s face drove him into the ropes, where he had to bob and weave in order to try to avoid a two-fisted rain of punches from Commey. Truscott admirably slipped most of the punches coming down on him, but was caught by enough, to have him holding on near the end of the round. As the 7th got underway, it became evident that the last round had taken its toll on Truscott, as his pursuit was now tempered by a slight hesitancy, and he seemed bothered by his nose, which he kept rubbing. 

Commey was now finding Truscott with more ease and putting more venom into his shots. The plucky Truscott was still trying to come forward, and was hurt again, by a hard right hand, which again saw him driven onto the ropes under a hail of leather, as Commey tried his best to end matters. Once again, Truscott bravely rode the storm of the Ghanaian’s attack, with some impressive defensive work on the ropes, before grabbing hold to see out the round.  At the end of the round, Truscott looked visibly drained, as he returned to his corner.

Commey was now in complete control of the fight and as the 8th round got underway began to pick off Truscott, who was still bravely coming forward, but now with an air of desperation. The end was in sight now, with every shot that Truscott took, and Commey showed his killer instinct by switching to the body and dropping Truscott with a sharp left hook. Although Truscott bravely regained his feet, he was still visibly in a lot of pain, and the referee waved it off, having seen enough. The end signalled the beginning of exuberant celebrations from Commey’s army of supporters, which culminated in Commey himself performing a little dance in mid-ring. 

This fight proved that Commey is indeed an exciting talent, and a danger to the best lightweights in Europe and the Commonwealth.  This was the first time that he had been taken as far as the 8th round and it’s not hard to see why, as he throws fast and sharp combinations, with good accuracy. Commey is not so much a one-punch knockout artist, but rather a high volume puncher, who either overwhelms or wears down his opponents with non-stop onslaughts. Whether he can make the jump into world class remains to be seen, but the fact that he can also box behind a good jab, bodes well for his continued rise. Commey is now the number one challenger for new Commonwealth Lightweight champion Derry Mathews, who won the vacant title last night, with a dramatic come from behind 10th round stoppage of Tommy Coyle.

If a Mathews vs. Commey fight comes off anytime soon, then it could well be the domestic fight of the year, with both fighters’ styles mixing to produce a clash, which is bound to produce fireworks. Commey would be a formidable test for Mathews, but by the same token, Mathews is a battle-hardened warrior, who has picked up the habit of grabbing victory from the jaws of defeat. One thing for certain is that it would be an unmissable clash.

There were six fights on the Commey vs. Truscott undercard.

In an 8 round light welterweight contest, promising Ricky Boylan 9-0(3kos), out-pointed Jan Holec 30(1ko), for the International Masters Bronze title. Cheered on by a large army of support, Boylan produced a good display of jabbing and moving.  Boylan started fast, as if looking for the stoppage, but Holec was very tough and covered up well; to take a lot of Boylans shots on his arms and gloves. Boylan dropped down his workrate after the 3rd round and concentrated mainly on his jab, as Holec started to land some good shot of his own and pressure Boylan.
In the 5th and 6th rounds, Holec seemed to shake Boylan with some shots, but Boylan used his mobility to get out of trouble, and still scored well with the jab, to edge both rounds. After a 7th round, which saw his workrate dip, Holec demonstrated his superior strength on the inside. Boylan came out strongly in the final round, jabbing strongly and firing with both hands, to force Holec on the defensive, and win the round clearly; sealing his point’s victory.   

At Cruiserweight, Heavy-handed Remel Scott-Pavelin made his professional debut against Tomas Kugler 14-32(8kos)-1 over 4 rounds. Pavelin dominated the defensive Kugler in the first 3 rounds with a jab and thumping body shots.  In the fourth round, however Kugler suddenly came to life and threw some decent punches of his own, which drove Pavelin onto the ropes and seemed to shake Pavelin with a good right just before the bell.  It was too little too late though for Kugler as Pavelin won the decision.

At heavyweight Tom ’The Bomb’ Dallas 17-3 (12kos) returned to the ring after his recent run of stoppage defeats, against Czech Tomas Mrazek 7-42(6kos).  Dallas, looking to rebuild his career after his recent defeats to David Price, Matt Skelton and Tor Hamer, unloaded with both hands at times, but found Mrazek a stubborn opponent.  Dallas used the jab well at times, then as the fight went on, was caught more often by Mrazek, and at times looked uncomfortable under fire. To his credit, Dallas came through some patches, when it looked as if he may have punched himself out, and won a wide point’s verdict after 6 lively rounds. Dallas is still far from the finished product, but this was a good start for him on his way back.    

Light heavyweights Kevin Greenwood 3-2 and Vaclav Polak 1-2(1ko) fought out an entertaining 6 rounds that featured some good toe-to-toe exchanges. Greenwood took control with his higher work-rate and more telling shots but Polak returned fire with some good jabs and counters. Greenwood emerged a clear winner on points and now has his career firmly on track after losing his first two professional contests.

Light-heavyweight Miles Shinkwin 4-0 outboxed John Anthony 8-33(5kos)-1 over 6 rounds.  Anthony was constantly coming forward trying to land big shots, but Shinkwin was too mobile and used his jab well. Miles tired somewhat in the last round and Anthony landed some good shots, but Miles held on and then closed out the round well as he got his boxing back together in the final minute. 

At Cruiserweight Robin Dupre 2-0 won his second professional outing, as he pounded out a 4 rounds point’s victory, over Paul Morris 5-18(3kos)-2.  Morris was a game opponent, but found himself out-gunned throughout by the heavy punching Dupre, who also displayed a good jab as well as frequent body attacks. Dupre won clearly on points, but Morris gave a good display of heart to survive the distance.

 Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved.
Peter Silkov contributes to and

Friday, July 12, 2013

Derry Mathews Aiming To Explode Tommy Coyle’s Title Ambitions On Saturday

By Peter Silkov

Photo from
‘Dirty’ Derry Mathews 32-8(17kos)-2 and Tommy ‘Boom Boom’ Coyle 15-1(6kos) will clash this Saturday for the vacant Commonwealth lightweight championship as part of a large open-air show to be staged at the Craven Park Stadium, Hull, England. Other fighters featured on the bill include Kell Brook, Lee Selby, and 2012 Olympic Gold medalist Luke Campbell.
Despite the entertaining card, the Mathews vs. Coyle clash is promising to be perhaps the fight of the night, with a colourful war of words taking place between the two in the build up, over the past few weeks. There seems to be a genuine feeling of animosity between both men, heightened perhaps by the fact that Coyle is trained by Jamie Moore, the former British light middleweight champion, and a good friend of Mathews. Moore has said that his friendship with ’Dirty Derry’ will help him steer Coyle to victory, as he knows the Liverpool boxer’s strengths and weaknesses, and despite his friendship with Mathews, will do all he can to help Coyle win. In the tough world of boxing, business is business, and friendships can be put aside, while work is to be done inside the roped square.
Over the years, Derry Mathews has become quite a cult figure amongst British boxing fans. Quick-witted and loquacious out of the ring, ‘Dirty Derry’ is a box-fighter who is seldom in a dull fight, as drama and incident seem to follow him around in the ring. His fights are often dramatic and unpredictable, and as his nickname suggests, sometimes controversial, though it would be wrong to brand Mathews a ’dirty’ fighter.
Mathews is the kind of fighter who keeps the domestic championships alive, and the measure of his popularity is evident in his promise to bring as many as 1500 fans down from Liverpool to support him.
The fact that ’Dirty Derry’ is still operating at championship level is testament to his determination and heart, as back in 2008 to 2009 a number of consecutive inside the distance defeats seemed to spell the end for Mathews’ career. However, with admirable stubbornness, the Liverpool boxer moved up from featherweight to lightweight, and rebuilt his career. Last year Mathews won the British lightweight championship by beating the previously undefeated Anthony Crolla, in what was probably the highpoint of Mathews’ professional career so far. It’s fair to say that ’Dirty Derry’ is at his peak now and a win over Coyle on Saturday would open the way for bigger things, perhaps even a challenge of WBO world lightweight champion, Ricky Burns.
While Mathews is, without doubt, experienced and battle hardened at this level, this is Tommy Coyle’s first real step up to championship class, aside from his recent participation in the Prizefighter, where he was beaten on points by Gary Sykes, for his only defeat so far as a professional. This match will certainly show how much of a talent ‘Boom Boom’ is and whether he will be able to take that step up into championship class.
‘Dirty Derry’ goes into this fight the firm favourite, but there remains about Derry, the air of vulnerability, a Derry Mathews’ fight never seems to be totally straightforward and usually there is some kind of dramatic or unpredictable occurrence. What does seem to be certain is that the fight will be entertaining, especially with the genuine ill feeling on both sides, though this will most likely be transformed into a mutual respect by the end of the contest, regardless of who wins.
Also high on Saturday’s bill will be the professional debut of Luke Campbell, who won the gold medal at bantamweight in last years London Olympic Games. Campbell faces Andrew Harris 2-5, who since his own debut just five months ago has already managed to chalk up seven fights and a burgeoning reputation as a tough journeyman. Harris has already fought another former 2012 Olympian, Thomas Stalker, losing on point after four rounds. It will be interesting to see Campbell’s performance against Harris in comparison to Stalkers. An inside-the-distance victory for Campbell would be impressive, but at this point, he should simply be focused on the win, and getting some professional rounds under his belt.
Another interesting contest on Saturday is the rematch between Kell Brook 29-0(19kos) and American Carson Jones 35-9(25kos)-3. In their first fight Jones gave precocious Brook the hardest night of his career, breaking his nose, and convincing some at ringside that he had done enough to hand Brook his first career defeat. Since then, Brook has seen a world title shot against Devon Alexander evaporate after a number of postponements, and the Sheffield man now needs to win well against Jones in order to get his stalled career back on track.
In what could be a surprise package on the bill, British and Commonwealth Featherweight champion Lee Selby 15-1(6kos) takes on unbeaten Romanian Vilorel Simion 16-0(7kos) for Simion’s WBC International featherweight title. Selby has beaten all of his domestic rivals at featherweight, and this is supposedly his first step towards a challenge for European, and then perhaps even world titles. Simion looks to be a tough fighter, who should be able to push Selby further than he has been pushed by his recent domestic opponents. It is a match that is ideal for the Welshman at this point in time and may well tell us a lot about how far Selby may go, beyond the domestic level.

 Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved.
Peter Silkov contributes to and

Monday, July 1, 2013

Ex-Footballer Leon Mckenzie Is A Hit On His Boxing Debut

By Peter Silkov

Achieving a professional sporting career in one discipline is difficult enough, to move successfully from one sport to another is even rarer, and so Leon Mckenzies 1-0 (1ko) winning debut, as boxer on Saturday night, was an achievement in itself, regardless of where it may take him in the future. Mckenzie took his professional boxing bow against John Mason 1-6 at London’s historic York Hall, in Bethnal Green, as part of Steve Goodwin’s ’Trial of Destruction’ promotion. 

At the age of thirty-five, Leon ‘Big Mck’ Mckenzie was making the switch from professional footballer to professional boxer, after an 18 year football career which saw him score over 100 goals as a striker and peak with him playing for Norwich in the Premier League. Howevern despite his successful time as a footballer Mckenzie struggled with self doubt and depression for much of his playing career, and when his playing days began to wind down due to persistent injuries Mckenzie found himself falling into a deep abyss of  clinical depression.  Professional sport still seems wary of the word depression and those who admit to suffering from it still run a gauntlet of derision and mockery in some quarters, from both their fans and fellow sportsmen. So it took a certain kind of bravery for Mckenzie to reveal in his recent autobiography the true depths to which he sank during his depression, culminating in a suicide attempt and a spell in jail. Ultimately it was during his time behind bars, for attempting to avoid speeding  convictions, that Mckenzie was able to re-evaluate his life and begin to make a fresh start away from football. 

A crucial part of Mckenzie tackling his demons was his decision to turn to boxing for a fresh career in sport. In this new career Mckenzie has some pedigree, as he is the son of Clinton Mckenzie, a former British and European light-welterweight champion, and the nephew of Duke Mckenzie, a former three-weight world champion. Both Clinton and Duke Mckenzie have helped Leon get ready for his own foray into tough world of professional boxing.

Mckenzie has used the platform, that his boxing debut has given him, to talk about his battle with depression and how mental illness is still very much a taboo in the world of professional sport; many sufferers are undeclared and unhelped. 

In the run up to his boxing debut, ’Big Mck’ has talked movingly of how the pressures of being a high level footballer, plus the tragic loss through suicide of his sister, had combined to take him down into the darkest of places.    

When Mckenzie entered the York Hall ring on Saturday night, it had the added potency of being the same historic venue where his father Clinton had made his own professional debut thirty seven years ago.  On his entrance, with his father Clinton at his side, ’Big Mck’ was greeted by rapturous applause from the near full house. The fight itself was short but explosive.  Fighting at super-middleweight, Mckenzie looked very fit and started brightly, catching an aggressive Mason moving in with his southpaw jab and showing few nerves for a boxing debutant. In the second ’Big Mck’ began moving forward with more aggression, and unleashing some powerful shots which soon had Mason down for a count of eight. Mason bravely beat the count, and made an attempt at fighting back, but left himself recklessly open as he did so, and was soon down again from another flurry of hard blows from ’Big Mck’.  Although Mason rose to his feet once again, the referee wisely decided to call a halt to the fight, to much applause from the York Hall crowd.    

After making such a late start to his boxing career, Mckenzie may have more of a finite future than other younger debutants, but he has already completed a long personal journey just by achieving his aim of becoming a boxer, and in many ways
what ever he achieves in the from now on will be a bonus.

Copyright © 2013 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved.
Peter Silkov contributes to and