What a fabulous time I’ve had up in Glasgow sparring with two weight WBO world champion, Ricky Burns. He is one of Scotland’s finest fighters and I’ve had the honour and privilege of working with him.
Ken Buchanan and Jim Watt are seen as Scottish boxing greats and Ricky is set to join that special group of fighters.
I got my 32nd professional win in North Carolina on a ‘World of champions’ promotion on Friday 24th August, and by Monday 27th August, I was in Glasgow trading blows with Ricky Burns.
To say I am dedicated is an understatement.
Ricky has a reputation of going through sparring partners. Many only last a couple days. Obviously I’m made of sterner stuff, and have sparred some of the best fighters in the world on both sides of the Atlantic.
My quality services were needed over two weeks. Ricky and I had competitive sparring, and even though Ricky wants the fight to happen now. He will be ready when the bell sounds in just over a week.
I’ve beaten DeMarcus Corley, Delvin Rodriguez and Lenny Daws. WBC world champion Danny Garcia beat me by the slimmest of margins.
Kevin Mitchell has beaten Breidis Prescott and John Murray. Michael Katsidis made easy work of Kevin, whereas Ricky out boxed and out worked him for twelve rounds.
Kevin’s record on the world scene doesn’t compare to Ricky Burns. Ricky wanted the best sparring possible and that is why I was hired.
I always thought that Ricky would win through a point’s decision, but I would not be shocked if he stopped Kevin.
In British dust ups, sometimes you have to throw out the form book, especially when it comes to a Scottish versus English battle. Absolutely anything can happen.
I would love to see Ricky Burns vs Adrian Broner. That would be a great fight. They are on a collision course.
I completed 48 intensive rounds, over 6 sessions with Ricky and I loved every minute of it.
I’m closing in on my 40th professional fight and I’ve run out of British fighters to face. In 38 fights I’ve only dropped a decision to one British fighter, and that was just about as dubious as it gets.
Amir Khan and Lenny Daws are the only attractive fights for me in the British 140lb division. Amir and I have a mutual opponent in Garcia. Lenny and I had a great battle in 2010 which saw me triumphant.
Lenny is due to fight for the European Union title, and if he were to win, which he should, I would be interested in giving him a rematch.
Amir and I seem destined to fight as we are the top two 140lb fighters in Britain.
Ricky Hatton is back!
Ricky Hatton has had a great career, only losing to the best of our generation; Floyd Mayweather Junior and Manny Pacquiao.
He has made a small fortune and never needs to fight again. Obviously a fire still burns inside him, and he needs to come back for himself. It is his career, his life and his choice whether to step into those ropes again. I feel he still has more in him.
Sometimes we have to please ourselves, rather than what our friends and family want us to do. Ricky will still draw the crowds he used to.
David Haye, Amir Khan and Carl Froch haven’t gripped the public’s imagination like Ricky did. I look forward to being on the Hitman’s undercard at the Manchester Arena.
I was lucky enough to be at ringside when Ricky beat Kostya Tyszu. I was a ten fight professional, and Ricky was the number one British 140lb fighter at the time. So I bought ringside tickets and took my girlfriend to Manchester for the weekend. I also wanted to be in those big fights, so to soak up the atmosphere was worth every penny.
Ricky put on an amazing display that night, showing grit and determination.
Seven years later, who would think I would be signed to Ricky Hatton’s promotional company.
November 24th at the Manchester Arena will be an amazing event and to be on that show would be something special and inspiring.
BACK IN BUSINESS
The very best of elite athletes are at their absolute best and accomplish their most amazing feats when no one believes they can.
I had the best year in my nine year career as a professional boxer back in 2010, when I beat world number three, Delvin Rodriguez, won the IBO International title and dropped a split decision to current world champion Danny Garcia – who recently knocked out Amir Khan in four exciting rounds.
I had to come back to America to reignite that flame that burns deep inside me. I haven’t felt this excited since I beat Delvin Rodriguez over two years ago. My passion had been diminished over the last 18 months, as I was not having the exciting fights I crave for; Steve Williams, Nigel Wright, Ben Murphy and Darren Hamilton, just didn’t do it for me.
A great fighter always performs his best against the best, and that was not possible, against that calibre of fighter.
My best performances have always come on foreign soil. I’m a British fighter, but boxing is a worldwide sport and I’m a world class fighter, as my record suggests. Records don’t lie!
I had a great time in North Carolina with my trainer Jihad Abdul Aziz. Dave Brown got me in fantastic shape at the All Stars boxing gym prior to flying out, and Jihad took over corner duties.
The last time he was in my corner was when I beat Delvin Rodriguez, so my fight with Ronnie Warrior was always going to be ‘fire’.
I went into the ring looking for my 32nd win, and my 10th knockout win. It was mission accomplished on getting my 32nd win, but the 10th knockout win will have to wait a bit. I’m a patient man.
I’m in Scotland to spar with Ricky Burns this week. I arrived back in London on Sunday morning from America, and Monday morning I was on a plane again, but this time to Glasgow. Like all the best fighters, I love what I do, and go to wherever it takes – I’m really a globe-trotting boxer.
I think Ricky has some great fights against the world’s best ahead of him, that could see him eventually moving up to 140lbs.
Kevin Mitchell is a good British fighter. I have watched him spar and he is a talented boxer. He is not quite world class though; getting knocked out by Michael Katsidis, and beating John Murray and Bredis Prescott is not bad at all, but nothing to set the world on fire.
I’ve sparred with world champions Joan Guzman, Paul Malignaggi, Yuri Foreman, Elio Rojas, Joseph Agbeko and Barry Jones; I can now add Ricky Burns to my impressive list.
Danny Garcia defends his world title against Erik Morales, and Paul Malignaggi is defending his title against Pablo Cesar ‘El Demoledor’ Cano at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn on October 20th.
Ajose Olusegun fights Lucas Matthysse, and Devon Alexander challenges Randall Bailey on September 8th in Las Vegas.
I’ve sparred both Malignaggi and Olusegun at Gleason’s gym. I’ve fought Garcia and I was due to fight Bailey in a world title eliminator in Belgium, back in autumn of 2010.
The ‘best fighting the best’ is a beautiful and necessary thing. There are no losers in these incredible fights. Over the next 6/7 years these are the sort of fights that I want to be part of.
Kirkland Laing is the best British boxer never to fight for a world title, sometimes I wonder if I’ll be in this category when I retire.
I weighed in at 154lbs and I was in great shape. I feel I can compete and win titles at 140lbs, 147lbs and 154lbs.
I’m back!!! And it feels fantastic.
THEY SAID IT WAS ALL OVER
If we ever needed convincing, then London 2012 did just that – British boxing is certainly alive and kicking.
There are some inspirational British fighters doing great things, or on the verge of achieving something special. The coming season will still be very interesting, despite SKY cutting their boxing coverage by half, and (dangerously) choosing to work only with one promoter in Eddie Hearn. Monopolies are never good business practice, but Eddie Hearn is trying to positively continue what his father, Barry Hearn, accomplished with Matchroom Sport.
Healthy competition is always a good thing; just ask us boxers. All the great champions are borne out of great local rivalry; Ali/ Frazier/Foreman to Hearns/Hagler/Duran/Leonard to Benn/Eubanks/Watson. Calzaghe suffered from no real meaningful rivalry – ‘Nuff said.
Eddie has some good fighters on the world stage in Carl Froch and Kell Brook, but who else is coming through?
Carl Frampton’s manager, Barry McGuigan, would understandably have you believe he is the next coming of Roberto Duran, but it is still really early ‘untested’ days yet. Darren Barker is an obvious talent, but has yet to win on the world scene. Eddie seems to be well-liked in the industry, and will be doing his best for his fighters.
Frank Warren is arguably, our most successful British promoter and manager of recent times. He has two WBO world champions on his roster, in Ricky Burns and Nathan Cleverly. Nathan will have to go America for the mega fights; Tavoris Cloud, Chad Dawson, Bernard Hopkins and Jean Pascal are at the top of the tree in the 175lb division.
Ricky Burns has gone from strength to strength, and has done great things with his career. He has shown through hard work and focus, anything is possible. I would love to see a fight with him and Adrian Broner, hopefully it will happen soon.
David Haye and Carl Froch are the best fighters in Britain at the moment, without a shadow of a doubt.
Carl is a warrior who will fight anyone, anywhere, anytime. He is always in great condition, and he gives 100% all the time. No British fighter in history has fought the consistently high level of fighters he has – back to back.
David Haye told me when we were both 15 year old amateurs, that he would become world heavyweight champion. He has backed up his words with big actions, and he is a massive inspiration to me. I felt very proud when he beat Valuev for the WBA heavyweight title.
There is much more to come from both of these excellent British fighters.
Ola Afolabi is a Londoner, but not very well known in Britain. He has achieved a lot on his travels, fighting in America and Germany. He has come close to beating world champion, Marco Huck, twice. He will definitely be world champion one day. A little positive help with his marketing and communications could do wonders.
Tony Bellew is a proud Scouser, and a very good fighter, who can box and fight. He dropped a close decision to Nathan Cleverly last year, but he is now back on his world title journey. I would love to see him in big fights against Cloud, Pascal and Dawson. If he is willing to travel stateside, those fights could be made and maybe he could win. Why not?
Kell Brook is a skilful fighter, but showed a rather poor defence and a little lack of conditioning in his last fight. He’s so much better than that, and that might just be his defining fight, that propels him forward with that necessary learning. The ‘balls are in his court’.
Kell has some potentially massive fights that could be made at 147lbs, with the likes of Devon Alexander, Paul Malignaggi, Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley and Randall Bailey; who are all competing in that division. Is he good enough to beat those I just mentioned? I guess we will find out soon enough.
James DeGale and George Groves are following (carefully) in the great Carl Froch’s footsteps. One is European champion and the other is British champion respectively. I believe they could both win a world title in time, if they are prepared to take a few well calculated risks abroad.
Brian Magee has been doing some fantastic things quietly ‘under the radar’. Perseverance and determination can make all of us (ordinary) human beings achieve against the odds. I feel Brian’s story has more positives to come.
Two time world champion and Olympic silver medallist, Amir Khan, is still only 25 years old, and has achieved a hell of a lot for someone so young. He gets a lot of unfair criticism in my eyes, but he has achieved more than most fighters have the opportunity to achieve in their whole careers. He is probably not even half way through his career yet.
Amir will be a world champion again. How many British fighters box in Vegas and win? Let me help you here – not many!!!
Amir clearly struggles with the undeserved hate he receives, but (in my very humble opinion) he should take it as a huge compliment, and turn it into positive energy. Jealously comes in all forms. We all lose in sport, but that makes the beauty of coming back, and proving the doubters wrong, ever so sweet.
British Boxing has some excellent fighters. I’ve mentioned just a few of them, but there are many more that are and could be coming through, but we need the positive environment afforded to the Team GB amateurs for the professionals.
Everyone one of us has dreams, and if we are trying to turn our dreams into reality, why not show a little support and love, instead of trying to bring us down or detract from our honest efforts..
London 2012 tangibly demonstrated what can be achieved in a more positive environment.
Team GB showed the nation that we have some fantastic athletes on these shores. All sports require support and investment, especially at grass roots level.
As a team you can achieve so much more than as an individual. All these great British fighters I’ve mentioned have a determined and professional team supporting them. Maybe they are not seen or heard, but they are there in the background doing a great job, and that only instils confidence and drive. We all need support, especially when things are not going so well.
Our amateur boxers had one of the best ever Olympics for Britain, and Anthony Joshua has already said that he is staying amateur, and turning his back on the potential of ‘fame and fortune’ for now, because of the great team spirit and support that is at the heart of our amateur system.
Carl Froch and David Haye did not achieve their goals on their own, even if they are the talent and ‘figure heads’ of the operations – we are all better as part of a hard- working and focused team.
BoxNation, Channel 5, Premier Sports and Sky Sports will all be showing boxing this coming season. We have a fabulous season ahead of us, and I intend to play my full part in this.
THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS
The British government’s initial budget for the XXXth Olympiad in London was £2.4 billion. By the time they realised what it would cost to follow Beijing with any form of credibility the budget had been raised to £9.3 billion – we can now say, money well spent indeed.
Ground breaking and ‘game changing’ became the norm in these most wonderful and spectacular of events – when our gymnasts won their first bronze medal; it was the first in 100 years, yet another amazing team effort.
18 year old weightlifter, Zoe Smith, also put in a great performance, breaking the British record in the process.
All us Brits; of all shades, sizes and hues, have truly come together and embraced the once in a lifetime opportunity of having the Olympic Games here, in our very own fabulous city of London.
We breathlessly move on to the amazing Gemma Gibbons, winning Britain’s first judo medal in 12 years.
Who will ever forget the GB Track cycling team? Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France; a first for a British cyclist in the tour’s history. But he did not even pause for breath, before going on to complete his true ‘greatness’ by going on to win the Olympic time trial only ten days later.
I think he should win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, but with Britain having such a great Olympics I wouldn’t be surprised or disappointed if the golden girl, Jessica Ennis wins, and we cannot forget marvellous Mo Farah who might be ‘pipping’ them both at the post.
‘Queen’ Victoria Pendleton ruled over the velodrome; winning gold’s and breaking world records. The ‘sitting down’ sports of cycling and rowing were never sports that really caught my eye until now. I marvelled at the terrific performances of Team GB, and I am now a true fan.
Michael Phelps was the man of the Beijing Olympics; winning eight gold’s and becoming the first man to do so. At London he continued his personal greatness by winning his 18th gold medal in a total haul of 21 medals over 12 years with triumphs in Sydney, Athens, Beijing and now London. I’ve nothing but admiration for his talent and longevity.
The British female boxing team were true pioneers, as this was the first time in Olympic history that women were allowed to box. I expect to see my beloved club, All Stars, see a huge influx of teenage girls and young women take up the noble art of boxing. We already have a nice stable of female boxers, but growth is the key, and I am sure to see some new inspired faces at the start of the season.
Nicola Adams won the first gold medal for a woman in Olympic Boxing and she will go down in history as not just a pioneer, but with an infectious personality that will bring many more women into the sport.
Katie Taylor, who happens to live across the road from my cousins in Bray, Ireland, was magnificent in the games and she has ‘superstar’ written all over her.
17 year old Clarissa Shields battled through her opponents, breaking them down to win the American boxing team’s only gold medal in boxing. She can go on to rule the middleweight division, as she will only get better.
The women’s boxing competition outshone the men’s and consequently, the weight divisions will be doubled for Rio 2016.
I went to the Excel exhibition centre to watch the first day of boxing. Isaac Dogboe of Ghana was there and he has won the junior ABA tournament for All Stars boxing club, so I know him well. He is only 17 years old, but a great talent.
I also met the Mexican legend, Marco Antonio Barrera, who was there as a VIP guest.
There were some disgusting and distasteful decisions; there is obviously a problem with corrupt officials both in professional and amateur boxing. Something must be done, and soon before our great sport is ruined.
I attended the Olympic Stadium on the Monday of the last week and it was an unforgettable experience in a top notch arena.
The 100m sprint victory ceremony featuring Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Justin Gatlin was a highlight. The Grenadian teenager, Kirani James won the 400m in style and a very impressive time. Michael Johnson should be worried for his world record, as he is only 19 years old and I expect him to get even faster.
Usain Bolt went down in history as the greatest sprinter ever; after retaining his 100m and 200m Olympic titles in stunning fashion.
Saturday 4th August 2012 will go down as Britain’s greatest Olympics day in 104 years. Jessica Ennis won the heptathlon, Greg Rutherford won the long jump and Mo Farah won a tactical race in fine style in the 10,000 metres.
Usain Bolt and Mo Farah finished the last day of athletics in superb style. Mo became the first Brit to win both the 5,000m and 10,000m. Bolt broke the 100m relay world record with his Jamaican team mates. Breaking the record they set a year ago.
USA’s women’s 400m relay team put on a master class display of relay running, winning in stunning fashion.
Prime Minister David Cameron should be proud of Britain’s previous immigration policies, without that some of Britain’s greatest athletes would not be here. Jessica Ennis has a Jamaican father Mo Farah was a refugee from Somalia and came to Britain when he was eight years old.
This is not new news, Linford Christie, Daley Thompson and Tessa Sanderson’s parents are all immigrants. Amir Khan comes from Pakistani parents and Audley Harrison’s parents are Jamaican. Super heavyweight gold medal winner, Anthony Joshua has Nigerian parents and naturally praised Team GB throughout the competition.
Immigration has obvious benefits for Britain and these magnificent Olympic Games have highlighted that. Successful sportsmen and women are hugely visible but there are many children of immigrants working hard and diligently to keep our nation great and we should continue to welcome all who are prepared to positively contribute to the great British way of life – especially if they can produce a kick in the last 400 metres as Mo did (just joking).
Britain along with the USA used to be the world’s ‘talent magnets’. If you had a skill or a competency or even just a desire to improve and succeed, these were the countries for you. USA and now Britain are in danger of ‘closing the door’ to anyone and everyone not born there.
That’s not the formula that delivered the most magnificent and memorable Olympic Games in history.
Labour leader Ed Miliband and his brother David come from Jewish heritage and their parents where immigrants. There are a significant and hard-working percentage of lawyers, doctors and many other professionals in Britain who come from African, Caribbean and Asian descent. Where would Britain be without them?!
Everyone has come together to support the inspirational British athletes no matter what race, religion or class and that is not only uplifting and great to see, but it’s what makes us a truly Great Britain.
These men and women competing in the Olympics are incredible athletes. Football may be our national and favourite sport, but when it comes to dedication, hard work and success, Team GB cyclists, rowers, gymnasts, boxers and athletes from all disciplines have shown the footballers what sport at the highest level is really all about. They are magnificent and inspirational; I just hope that schools and the government demonstrably back sports at grass roots level, as I am sure millions of kids all over Britain have been inspired to take part and vitally, compete.
Despite the euphoria, we have to accept the unpalatable fact that Britain is still number one in Europe for overweight adults and children, but sport can help change that; as healthy eating and exercise are at the core of competing and changing that unwanted statistic.
This has been Britain’s most successful Olympic Games in over 100 years; this is great for our country on so many positive levels.
I have thoroughly enjoyed watching OUR Olympics and I am so looking forward to supporting the Paralympic athletes in a few weeks’ time.
Mo Farah said he got to where he is with hard work, perseverance and self-belief. He, like ALL our athletes, is a great role model.
It’s such a shame he supports Arsenal.
“We must worry a little less about who we are letting into our great country and worry a little more about who we are leaving out.” – Ashley Theophane
Worth a view on iPlayer (if your quick enough) – here