‘WRIGHT UP MY STREET’
This is my last hard week of training before my British title fight with Nigel Wright.
The nearer I get to fight time; I always start to think about my late Godmother, and the loss of my cousin, Tyrone.
I am killing myself in the gym, as I normally do with all my fights. I feel that I work far too hard, to lose to someone like Nigel Wright. He may have home town advantage, but that is of no concern to me, I’m far too focused. I have the skills advantage. I bring the ‘special effects’ to the ring. I’m currently 143lbs, so my weight is exactly on point, and I passed my final check weigh-in with an official of the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) this week. The BBBoC inspector told me he would not wish me luck, as I don’t need it. My ability will get me through the fight, and that he will see me in the New Year, when in my next fight I will be targeting the Lonsdale belt outright. It means a lot to me that he believes in my talent.
I’ve taken my boxing skills and blessed many cities around the world; Munich, Berlin, New York, Texas, Oklahoma, Castries and London to name but a few. Sunderland is the next stop!
When you push yourself as hard as I do, you know you can do anything you put your mind to. “Believe and you can achieve anything”. I push myself beyond my limit. It then becomes a mental thing, when your body is in pain, and is on the verge of giving up, your mind takes over. Stepping up to that seemingly unattainable next level, is all about mental conditioning.
Whilst working out in New York or London, fellow boxers and gym users regularly stop to admire my work ethic and talent. This recognition makes me feel good and drives me to go even further.
When I was an amateur, I would always say to myself that when I felt the pain of training, I had to learn to ‘enjoy’ that feeling. I don’t have to say it anymore, as I really love training and training even more.
I still workout like I’m a machine. This week I have completed 32 hours training, and last week I completed 29 hours.
I have done nothing different in this camp to the fights with Jason Cook and Lenny Daws. Jihad Abdul Aziz, Harry Keit, Dave Brown and the best cut-man in Britain, Mick Williamson, have all played their part in my British title wins.
My mind just cannot begin to comprehend Nigel Wright beating me. I keep asking myself, how can someone who has lost to Lenny Daws and Michael Lomax compete with me? His biggest win to date was against super featherweight, Alex Arthur, who was well past his sell by date. Nigel has never fought a fighter on the sort of quality winning streak I’m on. I have beaten the British champion, Lenny Daws, former European champion, Jason Cook and World number three, Delvin Rodriguez, all in the last seventeen months.
I was disappointed that I ran out of time to knock out Lenny Daws, when winning the British title in February this year. I went into that fight believing I could get a late stoppage win. I nearly did it, when I dropped him twice in the ninth round. I just knew I could knock out Jason Cook in my last fight. I certainly achieved that! I want to knock out Nigel Wright as well. A win is guaranteed, but I will be disappointed if he lasts the full twelve rounds with me.
I train for every fight as if I am training for a world title fight. I expect the very best from myself every time. Nigel Wright is not world class. This is his third attempt to win the British title, and unless he magically turns into either of the current world champions, Amir Khan or Timothy Bradley overnight, he hasn’t got a hope in hell.
I have been sparring with some real world class operators. I am sure my sparring sessions will be harder than my fight with Nigel. Nigel for sure hasn’t sparred with anyone on my level. He will be left bemused by my skill level come show-time.
Nigel has found the ‘losing habit’ at top domestic level. This can be very hard to break out of. Once you get used to losing, it might take a wholesale change of scenery to break out of it. He now knows only too well how to lose, and has become quite good at it.
When the ‘heat gets turned up’ and gets too hot for Nigel in the ring, he doesn’t know how to raise his game like the top fighters do. When under sustained pressure, Nigel tends to disappear into his shell, and moves into survival mode. In front of his home fans in County Durham, Nigel will come out to win, but if he is still standing by round six, he will certainly know that he will be facing only one result and that is a ‘shut out’ win for me. Whatever advice he gets from his corner, Nigel will know it will be just hollow words from a trainer he has shared plenty of losses with.
2012 will be a huge year for me with Hatton Promotions, so I cannot afford any slip up now. Losing to Nigel just doesn’t seem possible and is not on my agenda. Records don’t lie, and our records show we are in different leagues. I’m Tottenham Hotspur and he is Sunderland FC. Just like in the Premier League, we are challenging for top honours and they have just sacked their manager.
My big wins are against world champion Demarcus Corley, world number three, Delvin Rodriguez, British champion, Lenny Daws and European champion, Jason Cook. I just missed out on a win over world number two, Danny Garcia last year. Nigel Wright’s biggest wins are against European champion Alex Arthur, Kevin McIntyre, Dean Hickman and Ross Minter. We operate at two completely different levels. I am a certified world level operator and he is, at best, second tier British level.
I got my MRI scan last week which is part of the comprehensive BBBoC mandatory pre-fight medical checks. It is a necessary annual check and we all agree that it is vital that boxers are healthy, but £300 is still a lot of money to part with. In America, the local commission, or the promoter who is staging the fight, pays for the medicals. Yearly medicals cost around £600, so fighters who are not at championship level or starting out, struggle to pay for this, as well as the £100 for the boxing licence from the BBBoC. Worth a little thought?
Managers and promoters have complained with the price hikes in recent years. With the economy the way it is, everyone is feeling the pinch. Championship level boxers are in the main, well paid, but boxing careers are short, so it is very important to invest your money wisely, carefully and pay your taxes.
Liverpool’s Steve Williams stopped ‘Bulb head’ Karl Place, in Wigan on Saturday night inside two rounds. Karl is a Frank Maloney fighter, who people have been hyping up for the last few months. Steve was Karl’s first real test, and he failed miserably. I sparred with Steve twice in the run up to my title fight with Lenny Daws, up in Liverpool. He is a nice guy and he has a great team around him. Their fight was a British title eliminator, so Steve is now the mandatory challenger for my British title, and we could possibly fight in the summer, if I’m not actively engaged on the world scene by then.
We constantly read and hear that boxing is supposedly ‘dead’, and MMA is supposedly taking over. Well, I’m not so sure, especially after such a weekend of action. MMA does not yet have worldwide quality events like this popping off.
Martin Murray got a draw against Felix Sturm in Germany for the WBA world middleweight title on Friday. He held his own through the twelve rounds, and he can look forward to other big bouts in the 160lb division for 2012.
‘Million Dollar’ Crolla got a good win in Scotland against Willie Limond recently, so Hatton Promotions can look forward to a massive year in 2012. Imagine Martin Murray, Scott Quigg, Anthony Crolla and myself, all on a bumper show perhaps in London or Manchester, now that would be absolutely amazing. Maybe this is something for all of us at Hatton Promotions to think positively about?
WBA heavyweight champion, Alexander Povetkin beat Cedric Boswell in Finland. Former British heavyweight champion, Dereck Chisora lost for the second time in three fights, against Robert Helenius. The vacant European title was on the line. I felt he was badly robbed, as I had Dereck winning clearly by four or five rounds.
It was the best heavyweight fight I have seen in years. If this type of Dereck had showed up against Tyson Fury in July, he would have surely won. Dereck could still get a world title shot with this type of brave loss.
Prince Arron lost his British light middleweight title to Brian Rose in Lancashire.
Abnar Mares and Joseph Abeko got it on again for the IBF bantamweight title in California after their controversial world title fight last time. I have sparred with Joseph, and I am not surprised that he is a world level fighter now. He unfortunately lost again, but he can look forward to another world title shot in the near future.
In the big fight of the weekend, Miguel Cotto beat Antonio Margarito in their long awaited grudge rematch. I’ve been a big fan of Miguel Cotto since his tenth fight, when he beat Justin Juuko and I’ve been following him ever since. Cotto out boxed Margarito superbly for nine rounds; making very good use of his lateral movement and fast combinations. The ringside doctors advised the referee, Steve Smoger to stop the fight. I think this win perhaps provides support to those that have long felt that Margarito had ‘loaded’ gloves in their first fight.
Miguel has been mentioned as a possible opponent for Floyd Mayweather on May 5th in Las Vegas. I’m really pleased that justice was done, and Miguel did exactly what he set out to do.
I beat Delvin Rodriguez last year in a fight which could have gone either way. Delvin bounced back on the Cotto/Margarito bill, with a draw against the rugged world rated light middleweight, Pawel Wolak. This rematch also lived up to all pre-fight expectations, and Delvin got a very good win. I’m happy for him. Another world title shot is surely going to happen next year.
John Murray challenged WBA lightweight champion, Brandon Rios also on the undercard in Madison Square Garden. Rios failed to make the weight, but still managed to stop John in an action packed fight. Rios is being tipped as a future star, so there is no shame in the loss. Two losses in a row is not ideal for John, but maybe he can get a fight with European champion, Gavin Rees, as that would be another action packed fight.
Brandon Rios lost his title on the scales, and could be moving to my weight division next year, so you never know I could be in the opposite corner to him. I have certainly got the boxing skills and defence to beat him. I have stood up to fully blown welterweights before, so I would have no problem with his power.
It was a great weekend of action packed world class boxing, from all around the world.
MMA eat your heart out!
Next weekend is my turn.