March 19, 2018
March 19, 2018
Liam Smith

Action Images/Lee Smith

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SADAM ALI (26-1, 14 KOs) will defend his WBO junior-middleweight world championship against hard-hitting former world champion and No.1 contender Liam Smith (26-1-1, 14 KOs) in a 12-round main event at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. The event will take place Saturday, May 12 and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Ali, a 2008 U.S. Olympian, has always displayed the skills of a future world champion. The 29-year-old pride of Brooklyn, N.Y. held multiple regional titles and scored important wins against the likes of Francisco “Chia” Santana, Luis Carlos “El Potro” Abregu and former interim WBA world super-lightweight Champion Johan “El Terrible” Perez. Though suffering a setback in a welterweight title fight against Jessie Vargas, Ali silenced his doubters by moving up to 154 pounds to defeat future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto in December 2017. The newly-crowned WBO junior-middleweight champion will face a tough challenge in Smith, a former holder the same 154-pound title.

“It felt great to accomplish my dream of becoming world champion,” said Sadam Ali. “I’m excited to defend my title and to demonstrate that it is not up for grabs. Liam Smith is a great fighter and I’m sure he’ll be ready, but so will I.”

Smith, the first of an impressive stable of brothers to win a world title, is a 29-year-old native of Liverpool, England. After scoring 20 impressive victories as a professional, Smith defeated John “Apollo Kidd” Thompson via seventh-round technical knockout to capture the WBO 154-pound title that Ali currently holds. Smith then faced Canelo Alvarez in front of over 50,000 fans at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Smith lost the title in an impressive show of heart and determination, and after three consecutive victories, he is ready to regain the title that was once his.

“I’m very happy that we’ve got this fight,” said Liam Smith. “I’m looking forward to pitting myself against a good fighter in Sadam Ali, a former Olympian and now world champion who is coming off the back of a good win against Miguel Cotto. I’m confident going into this fight. I know I’m naturally the bigger man, and that will come into play, especially in the type of fight that I think it will be.”

“Sadam Ali climbed onto the world championship stage with one of the biggest upsets in boxing history when he snatched the WBO junior-middleweight world title from four-division, six-time world champion, and future Hall of Famer Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “Being in the ring with a hungry fighter with a world championship belt on his resume like Liam Smith will be nothing new to Ali. Sadam will prove yet again he’s someone to watch out for in the division.”

Liam Smith

“This is Liam’s chance to reclaim his world title,” said Frank Warren. “He’s come through two hard fights against Liam Williams to earn his shot, and he’s done what he set out to do. When he lost his belt against Canelo Alvarez, Liam said he would be a world champion again, and on May 12 he will deliver on that promise.”

March 19, 2018
March 19, 2018
Anthony Crolla

Action Images/Lee Smith

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ANTHONY CROLLA’S road to becoming a two-time world lightweight champion will resume on March 31 when he faces Edson Ramirez at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

Crolla is back in action following his win over three-weight king Ricky Burns in Manchester in October and now the 31 year old faces Mexican Ramirez, unbeaten in 18 fights, as he takes the first steps on a path he hopes leads to a shot at a belt at 135lbs.

“Eddie and I met recently and we outlined a plan to get back to world titles and Cardiff is the first fight in that plan,” said Crolla. “I need to get out there and get another win and then we can look for a big fight in the summer. It’s a great platform, there’s no bigger event to be on and I’m really excited to go to Cardiff. I’m always mixing at the top level so I want a test and Ramirez will be well up for it.

“We’ve had rough talks about a lot of fights. Luke Campbell and I both want to fight for world titles and I don’t think either of us would have a problem in fighting the other, but the ultimate goal for us both is to win a world title. We’re one and two in Britain so it makes sense so we’ll see what happens down the line.

“I’m not targeting anyone in particular, I just want a world title shot – I’ll take on any of the champions and go anywhere to do it.

anthony crolla

“Ricky is a great fighter, he’s achieved so much in the sport so it was a big win for me to prove that I’ve still got a lot left to give. I knew if I’d lost to Ricky it would have been a long way back so winning was huge for me and it’s given me a boost ahead of a really important year.”

Crolla’s clash with Ramirez is part of a huge night of action in Cardiff as Anthony Joshua MBE and Joseph Parker meet in a World Heavyweight unification blockbuster.

Ryan Burnett defends his WBA world bantamweight crown against Yonfrez Parejo and Alexander Povetkin puts his WBA Inter-Continental and WBO International titles against Liverpool favourite David Price, Josh Kelly also goes for his first belt against former IBF World champion Carlos Molina for the WBA International Welterweight title and Welshman Joe Cordina fights for his first pro title with the WBA International Lightweight belt on the line against Andy Townend.

March 19, 2018
March 19, 2018
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Video: Top Rank

March 19, 2018
March 19, 2018
Nicky Jenman

Dexter Hastings

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IT has been a long road through the murky waters of professional boxing for Brighton middleweight, Nicky Jenman. Sixteen years in fact.

At the tender age of eight, a young Jenman became a junior boxer with a dream, not for a world title, although it would have been nice; Jenman wanted to make his family proud.

Turning professional back in 2010 he readily admits, even now, that the dream was “to challenge for the Southern Area title, winning it would be a bonus”. Well, he’s surpassed that.

A scaffolder by day, the middleweight father of one was recently added to the March 24 show on which Frankie Gavin would have fought Bethuel Ushona. The South Coast southpaw was afforded a chief support slot against local favourite, Andrew Robinson for an IBO Continental strap. Win it, then doors could be open for the 31-year-old.

“It’s bizarre because two years ago I put a status [on Facebook after his Southern Area title victory against Nathan Graham] saying what a dream it would be to challenge for and even win an IBO title,” began Nick. “Now look what’s happened and I really can’t wait, and to be upgraded to the main event, it’s what dreams are made of.

“I’m hungry for it and it is what I have been waiting for; no amount of money can take this away from me.

“It’s like, when I turned over six years ago, I said to my dad that I wanted to be able to fight for the Area title, that was the dream, not win it, just to challenge for it.

“Then they introduced the Masters and Challenge belts, so I went and won a few of those as well and now it’s the big one, this is like my world title.

“However, I know that, if I win this, then it opens up a lot of options for me.”

In defeating Graham and winning the title, Jenman, who has traded leather with some of the bigger names in British middleweight boxing in Jack Arnfield and Tommy Langford, has had a mixed run whilst knocking off a few unbeaten records including impressive stoppages successes against Tey Lynn Jones and Midlands prospect, Tom Stokes.

“To be fair, I’d seen his [Stokes] rankings before he fought me and he wasn’t someone I was looking at to fight,” continued Nick.

“He’s not a bad lad though, I just caught him early which obviously worked for me and, to be fair, the shot he took, he was gone.

“We did speak straight afterwards, and again a few weeks later, and we wished each other the best for our respective careers.”

The defeat of Stokes was the second of three stoppage wins Jenman has picked up in his last four outings, his last fight, just a few weeks ago, being a four round points win over Iain Jackson in Portsmouth.

Robinson will be a challenge, he’s aware of that but knows he’s going into a winnable contest for which the prize, to Jenman at least, is worth more than money.

“Challenging for the Southern Area title was a dream to me so getting a chance to win the IBO leaves me speechless,” added Nick.

“Words can’t describe this feeling and it’s a winnable fight. Don’t get me wrong though, this kid is tough, a very hard opponent.

“My work rate and fitness however is through the roof and I know that, going in there in a few weeks’ time, I have to be an annoying, busy bee, frustrate him, and not stand there and trade punches with him.

“If I do that, then I believe I can win this.”

Nick Jenman opposes Andrew Robinson for the IBO continental middleweight title at the Genting Arena on March 24, co-support comes from Craig Morris against Andy Keates for the IBO continental welterweight title along with two Area title contests and a stacked undercard.

March 19, 2018
March 19, 2018
Jamie McDonnell

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JAMIE McDONNELL will once again aim to overturn the threat of a Japanese threat as he prepares to face Naoya Inoue on May 25 in the Asian’s backyard. McDonnell, who has scaled the heights of the talent-laden bantamweight division with quality wins over Julio Ceja and Tomoki Kameda, will confirm himself as a great of British boxing with victory over Inoue, and his trainer, Dave Coldwell, is relishing the challenging of preparing his charge for the challenge of the two-weight champion.

“This is what Jamie is in boxing for, massive occasions like this,” buzzed Coldwell. “All he wants to be is the very best he can be, and by facing fighters with the quality of Inoue then he’ll go a long way in securing his legacy. This is a dream fight for Jamie, and as his trainer, it gives me a great pride to be able to test myself at the highest level and they don’t come much better than Inoue. I’ve long said that Jamie is a world class fighter, but this is another level altogether and he’ll be heading into this ready to cause a massive upset and show everyone just how quality a fighter he really is.”

A huge contrast exists in the paths taken by both fighters to this intriguing clash. The glory tasted by Inoue was heavily forecasted by the strong team backing him. A star in his native land since his professional inauguration, Inoue’s rise to national superstar has been a brutal one littered with power and crushing finishes, McDonnell has always been fighting for that adulation. An underdog at a variety of title levels, the former plasterer upset the odds to collect belts at British and European level, and repeated the trick when upsetting Ceja for the IBF strap in 2013. Coldwell is insistent that his man can do it again.

Jamie McDonnell

He said, “Listen, I know how hard a fight it is, but it’s nothing that me or Jamie haven’t heard before. He loves it when people are telling him he’s up against it and that he’s got no chance because that brings the best out of him. We’re going in with a quality fighter, but that’s what Jamie has been doing for a long time now, and when he goes up in class, you usually see the best version of him. He knows what it’s like to go to away territory and beat someone he wasn’t fancied to, he’s made a career out of it, so the travelling won’t impact him in the slightest. He’s going in with a quality operator and we’ve got to make sure that he’s completely ready to cause another massive shock.”

March 19, 2018
March 19, 2018
Floyd Mayweather

Esther Lin/Showtime

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IS Floyd Mayweather really serious about competing in mixed martial arts? He has engaged in a crossover bout of sorts. He came out of retirement and tempted UFC star Conor McGregor into the boxing ring for a bout last year. After halting the Irish MMA fighter in 10 rounds Mayweather promptly returned to retirement.

However he has rarely strayed from the headlines. Mayweather teased a picture of himself wearing MMA gloves on social media and released a video of himself stepping in an octagon. He has told TMZ Sports that he will apply for an MMA licence. “Everything takes time. Eventually, we’re gonna apply for the license, and hopefully we can fight,” Mayweather said. “Even if it takes six to eight months – whatever it takes. We want to make sure that everything is done correctly, and everything is done the right way.”

Darren Till, the Liverpudlian UFC fighter, has lambasted Mayweather’s suggestion. He argues that Floyd couldn’t beat anyone in the UFC. “I see Floyd Mayweather and Gervonta Davis are wanting to come to MMA. Wake up. Floyd says he’s a seven out of 10 at wrestling. Is he kidding me?” Till declared. “Floyd is the best boxer I’ve seen in my whole life but don’t disrespect the sport I do – you’re disrespecting it by saying you’re a seven out of 10 in wrestling.

Floyd Mayweather

“From the smallest girl in the UFC to the heaviest man, it’s impossible for him to win a fight. He won’t win a single fight. The people who want to cross over to MMA are clowns.

“What was Floyd doing in that clip? He was walking in with his chin in the air? I’d love to slap my left leg across his chin and just take him out. I’ll never disrespect him as a boxer but that stuff disrespects what I do and what my team-mates do.

“What does Gervonta think he’s going to do? Leave boxing and come straight to the UFC? I wish I was in his weight class. It’s not boxing – it’s different. You can’t put a glove up to an elbow and you can’t stop a submission. I take offence to it.”

March 18, 2018
March 18, 2018
floyd mayweather

Action Images/Reuters

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TWELVE million dollars for six fights was supposedly “a slave contract,” but Floyd Mayweather begged to be put back into those golden chains.

And after unanimously outpointing Mexico’s mandatory contender Gregorio Vargas to retain his WBC super-featherweight title at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on March 18, 2000, HBO commentator Larry Merchant sneered: “Mayweather’s no $12m fighter.”

Trainer Emanuel Steward, working alongside him, readily agreed.

On this display, it was hard to believe Floyd was even the best super-featherweight on the show, what with Diego Corrales stopping Derrick Gainer.

Floyd won a virtual shut-out, scored 119-108 (twice) and 118-109, and floored his man with a body shot in round six, but the sparse crowd of 5,121 (1,500 of which were complimentary) booed.

“Floyd Mayweather is a superstar!” said the boxer last year after he was angered he didn’t receive a $48m pact like “Prince” Naseem Hamed.

Mayweather sulked for six months before pleading to come back, but when you can’t draw big crowds and put on fights like this, even if it was against the No.1 contender, how can you be worth big money?

“I thought it was a good fight after being off six months,” said Floyd Mayweather Snr, his trainer, trying to find a bright spot. But Floyd Jnr isn’t improving.

Mayweather claimed he’d injured his right hand and wrist in training. He said it was throbbing from the sixth.

Admittedly, Floyd is only 23, but when you run in with your chin high, zip a jab at a time and are always bailing out, how can people possibly compare him with Sugar Ray Leonard?

Floyd Jnr dumped his father as manager and signed on with James Prince, a wealthy rap impresario. Prince may well be the next big player in boxing, but he has already blown Floyd’s head way out of shape with his own record deal and a slew of bellowing flunkies.

Mayweather sports a £300,000 watch, as if he’s the Sultan of Brunei.

Floyd opened with long jabs, but quick as he was, didn’t step in with his blows.

Vargas (9st 4lbs) moved about gingerly, gloves high, but was too slow to sustain much of an attack. Dangling his hands but ramming his jab, Floyd was picking him apart easily, though Vargas did shuffle close to unleash one surprisingly sharp burst.

Mayweather resumed zipping his jab in round two and speed served him well, but Floyd was lunging and amateurish at times.

Vargas, about five years over the hill at 29, was at his best as WBC featherweight king, but the Aztec-garbed warrior sliced home an occasional jab, while the chin-high Mayweather needed to smooth out.

Two hard left hooks jarred the challenger in the second, but Floyd kept posing when he needed to get busy.

As Vargas mounted a brief flurry, the small crowd yelled for him to do more. Mayweather cheekily shook his tush at the bell.

Floyd flicked his jab, then jumped right back, moving before he’d completed his punch. The longer the fight lasted, the more gun-shy Mayweather became.

Brilliant boxers like Leonard, Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson knew they were going to get hit. It’s an occupational hazard, but Mayweather’s first objective was not to be touched, then jab.

The ambling Vargas tagged him with a hard right counter halfway into the third, but as the sputtering prodigy threw more off-balance replies, he resembled a speedy amateur.

Late in the session Mayweather finally fired to the body and a hard left hook sent the Mexican down with a delayed reaction after they had scuffled near the ropes.

The bell rang before Floyd could follow up, but Vargas was giving a decent account of himself by the seventh, while Mayweather continued his fast, robotic assault.

Floyd leaned back and tucked his chin behind his shoulder, making him even tougher to hit. He continued outboxing
and outpunching the one-paced Mexican, but there was a hard exchange late in the round and, as the two tore into each other again, it finally looked as if a fight had broken out.

Mayweather, however, went back to his sniping and bouncing. The slick Vargas occasionally caught him, but there was no question who was winning.

By the ninth, as Mayweather did a lot of prancing, boos were beginning to roll down.

Vargas, 40-7-1 (28), wasn’t connecting cleanly, but scored with crisp double left hooks downstairs before “Pretty Boy”, overrated on this display, shot back.

As shrieks broke out, there was some hard, bristling action back and forth, then Mayweather bundled “Goyo” into a corner to open up with both hands.

Mayweather again lost his concentration and began bantering with ringside commentators when he should have been tending to the task at hand.

Vargas crowded him in the 10th, but Mayweather wouldn’t stand still. Finally, with about a minute gone, Floyd hooked, jabbed and uppercutted, but again, it was amateurish. Thirty seconds later, by the ropes, some lusty left hooks knocked the spray off Mayweather’s face. Vargas was coming on and had one of his best rounds, but Mayweather returned to yammering to TV, when a good slap in the face might have woken him up.

In the 11th, Floyd, 23-0 (17), continued his fast, faint-hearted attack, but by now everybody knew what he was going to do.

Despite his undoubted handspeed, all Mayweather could do was limited things. He jabbed one at a time, seldom punched downstairs and repeatedly ran in chin-high to swipe and flail instead of flurrying correctly.

A slapping two-fisted combination was too quick for Vargas, but four years after the Olympics there’s no way Mayweather is the finished article as a pro.

HBO is supposed to be the “Heart and Soul of Boxing,” but there were loud boos with three minutes to go.

Mayweather tried to put on a show, firing fast left hooks and uppercuts, but as the session wound down, amid more boos, it was questionable whether Mayweather would ever be big box office.

No doubt HBO’s Lou DiBella wishes Mayweather’s contract was in invisible ink.

Ultimately, Mayweather would figure in many of Las Vegas’ most successful boxing events ever.