September 30, 2016
September 30, 2016
Manny Pacquiao

Mikey Williams/Top Rank

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MANNY PACQUIAO has made an astonishing claim about former drug use as he has thrown his support behind a crackdown on drug dealers in the Philippines.

According to police, 3,171 drug dealers and users have been killed – one third as a result of police operations.

Pacquiao, who was elected to the senate in May, backed president Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs while also revealing his own murky past.

“The president, he doesn’t know my experience with drugs,” he said. “I tried drugs…many kinds of drugs, all kinds of drugs.”

The 37-year-old also said his substance abuse happened for years “before I became a champion”.

In his first speech for the senate earlier this year Pacquiao, a close ally of Duterte’s, called for the death penalty to be reinstated for drug dealers.

Duterte has previously warned US President Barack Obama against questioning his stance on extrajudicial killings but Pacquiao insists Duterte is the right man for the job.

“God put him there for a reason, for purpose – to discipline the people,” he said. “In the past administrations, people didn’t respect the law, the leader, the authorities.

“What Duterte is trying to do is let the people know – and put it in their heart and minds – that you need to respect the laws of the land.”

September 30, 2016
September 30, 2016
Anthony Joshua

Action Images

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JOHN DENNEN and Matt Christie discuss all the latest boxing news, breaking down Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko and the likelihood of that fight taking place, as well as our experiences at Anthony Crolla vs Jorge Linares and Canelo Alvarez vs Liam Smith.

No politics, just boxing, get involved.

Click HERE to listen on Podomatic or below:

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SCOTTISH welterweight Mike Towell is said to be in a ‘critical condition’ in hospital after becoming unwell following his fifth-round stoppage defeat to Dale Evans in Glasgow on Thursday night.

Welshman Evans dropped Towell in the first and fifth rounds before referee Victor Loughlin waved the fight off, but Towell subsequently left the ring on a stretcher.

The 25-year-old was rushed to the city’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital where his family and officials from St Andrews Sporting Club, who staged the show, were by his bedside throughout the night.

“All of our thoughts and prayers are with Mike and the Towell family at this very difficult time,” said a spokesman, according to the BBC.

“Mike Towell is in a critical condition in Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth hospital after his fifth-round defeat in the British welterweight title eliminator with Dale Evans at the club last night.

“Club director Iain Wilson and Mike’s manager, Tommy Gilmour, travelled with him in the ambulance after the fight and have been at his bedside through the night with his family.

“We took the immediate decision to suspend last night’s show in the wake of Mike’s contest.”

September 30, 2016
September 30, 2016
Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko

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THE fight so many are talking about, Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko is inching closer.

Promoter Eddie Hearn told Boxing News, “I’m speaking to Bernd [Boente, head of the Klitschko management group] a couple of times every day. Everybody wants the fight.”

But Joshua’s team to expect him to earn a certain figure for taking on the former champion. “There’s a number that we feel Joshua should achieve in that fight. [Due to the risk], also the size of the fight, in terms of what he’s earning at the moment as well. If you’re going to have a fight like that, there’s got to be rewards. Joshua’s champion, Klitschko’s challenger, even if it’s for more belts. But of course Klitschko is a huge name. But we can’t really worry about all that stuff, we just need that number,” Hearn said. “It’s not a ridiculous number, it’s a number that we’re quite close to. There’s just a few things that have got to happen to get there and it’s whether they can be conceded or whether they can be achieved.

“If you’re going to earn X to fight [Joseph] Parker or 3 X to fight Klitschko, how much more difficult is the Klitschko fight?”

Joshua, the reigning IBF champion, likes the idea of taking on Klitschko. “It’s more me and the management team saying this is what this fight is worth,” the promoter continued. “He’s like if you think it’s the right deal, we’ll take it. That’s his mentality.”

It’s an unclear as yet whether fighting Klitschko could be a title unification, with Tyson Fury, who holds the WBO and WBA belts, out of action for the time being. “I’m sure Klitschko and Joseph Parker and Andy Ruiz and Luis Ortiz and Alexander Ustinov and Fres Oquendo and David Haye are all calling the WBA saying what is happening, the WBO what is happening. But I’m not really interested in those belts until we find out if we’ve got a deal or not,” Hearn said.

“Everybody’s got different rules. The WBA’s got a recess rule, I believe after 12 months no defence put the champion in recess or strip him completely and then come back when you’re ready. I think the WBO has the Interim thing where it’s a real mess…But that doesn’t really appeal to anyone.”

Hearn expects Anthony’s next fight to be confirmed soon. It will take place in Manchester, though it could be nudged back two weeks to December 10, though most likely he will fight on November 26 at the Manchester Arena against an opponent to be confirmed.

The announcement “has to be next week” Hearn said. He continued, “There is December 10 at the Manchester Arena as well, which would give us another two weeks past November 26. We tried to get the Millennium Stadium, it’s definitely Manchester. It has to be Manchester.”

“We’ll always find an opponent,” Hearn adds, “but it’s whether it’s the one that is the one we really want. You pay the money, you get anyone. But we just like to pay the right money that’s all.”

September 30, 2016
September 30, 2016
Ricky Burns

Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom

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Ricky Burns will land a huge showdown with Adrien Broner if he successfully defends his WBA World Super-Lightweight title against dangerous mandatory challenger Kiryl Relikh at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow on Friday October 7, live on Sky Sports.

Three-weight World king Burns makes the first defence of the belt he won in style in May, knocking out Michele Di Rocco in the same arena in eight rounds.

The Coatbridge ace faces the hard-hitting Relikh in his 12th World title fight in his glittering career, and the carrot of a blockbuster battle with four-weight champion Broner, with the brash Cincinnati man heading to Scotland for the fight next week to take a close look at the ‘Rickster’.

“We were pretty much there in terms of the deal to fight Broner but because of issues out of the ring we all decided to fight Relikh and try and clear the mandatory before securing the fight against Broner in December,” said promoter Eddie Hearn.

“Adrien contacted me this week and said he is coming to Glasgow on October 7 to watch the fight and if Ricky defeats Relikh I expect that fight to get made without any problems.”

Burns’ clash with Relikh is part of a huge night of action in Glasgow with two tasty British title fights whetting the appetite.

Scotty Cardle defending his British crown against Kevin Hooper while Dillian Whyte and Ian Lewison clash for the vacant Heavyweight strap, and there’s action for Joe Ham, Lewis Paulin, Stewart Burt, Scott McCormack and Ross Murray.

September 30, 2016
September 30, 2016
Saunders on Chris Eubank Jr

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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Undefeated WBO World Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders (23-0 12 KOs) will make the first defence of his title against Russia’s Artur Akavov (16-1 7 KOs) on Frank Warren’s mouth-watering October 22 Motorpoint Arena Cardiff show, live and exclusive on BoxNation.

Last December, Saunders defeated Irish hero Andy Lee to take his WBO crown in a close and absorbing fight in Manchester that saw the Hatfield star floor the former champion twice in the third round and go on to claim a majority decision from the judges.

The skillful, hard-hitting, Saunders knows it is vital that he beats Akavov if he is to remain on track for potential blockbuster showdowns with Mexican pound-for-pound star Canelo Alvarez and 160lbs division monster Gennady Golovkin.

Akavov, 28, holds the WBO European Middleweight title and is currently enjoying a red-hot eleven-fight winning streak stretching back to 2012. The 5’9 southpaw known as ‘Wolverine’ made his professional debut against Andrey Korzhenevsky back in 2011 and has never been halted in 17 contests. Now residing in Brooklyn, New York, Akavov has vowed to win Saunders’ world title for his family and country.

Saunders, 27, knows he is in for a risky first title defence against a dangerous and live challenger, but says being World Champion means he has the skills and determination to overcome any challenge.

“Nothing comes easy in boxing and I’m definitely not taking Akavov for granted,” said Saunders.  He’s a strong fighter and very dangerous and if I don’t come in 100 percent then he could cause an upset in my first title defence.  I’m going to make sure I’m in the shape of my life and give Akavov the toughest night he’s ever had, he’s never been stopped before so this is going to be a first for him!”

“I know why they picked me as an opponent,” said Akavov of Team Saunders. “Although I am very honoured and proud to fight for the WBO World Championship, at the same time, I promise to prove that the Saunders camp were gravely mistaken with whatever they were expecting of me in the ring. I represent my family first and my country and that alone will not let me fail.”

Promoter Frank Warren said: “This is Bill’s first fight in ten months, the Russian is a tough guy who is capable of making things awkward. Hopefully Bill will shake off the ring rust with a successful defence to set up a super fight for early New Year. This is now shaping up to be an absolute cracker of a show with five title fights for boxing fans!”

“I know that the champion Billy Joe Saunders is a professional, so I hope he’s not looking past Akavov,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “Artur Akavov is a tough SOB who will bring the fight to Billy Joe. If this is a ‘keep busy’ fight, the champion better be prepared for a tough night. Artur is no joke.”

Saunders and Akavov join a sensational five-title fight card that features Welsh hero Liam Williams defending his British Super-Welterweight title against undefeated Londoner Ahmet Patterson; Penge star Bradley ‘Super’ Skeete making a mandatory defence of his British Welterweight crown against Manchester’s Shayne Singleton; Baggies bomber Tommy Langford challenging for the Vacant British Middleweight strap and Liverpool’s Tom Stalker making the first defence of his WBO European Lightweight title against Welshman Craig Evans.

An action-packed undercard sees world title chasing Paul Butler return to the ring under new trainer Joe Gallagher, Swindon KO king Jamie Cox makes his long-awaited return in an eight round Super-Middleweight Contest, Ilford demolition man Anthony Yarde looks to continue his red-hot KO streak after emphatically announcing himself in the U.S. with another first round KO, Leicester super-puncher Lyon Woodstock looks to go 8-0, rising Swansea Super-Flyweight starlet Jay Harris looks to impress on home soil again, Middleweight starlet Alex Hughes aims to go 8-0 and Croydon Super-Lightweight prospect Nathaniel Wilson goes in search of his fourth professional win.

September 30, 2016
September 30, 2016
Juan Diaz

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Former unified lightweight champion Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz has been very vocal about wanting another shot at a world title since defeating Cesar Vazquez in Arizona last month.

With unbeaten WBO World lightweight champion Terry Flanagan still looking for fall dance partner there were talks about Diaz potentially taking the trip across the pond to face the undefeated Manchester-based fighter.

According to Team Diaz, however, Frank Warren’s offer was a little on the low side.

“Warren offered $75K,” said Diaz to Boxing News. “I have to be be in the U.K. for a minimum of 2 weeks due to the weather, food and time change. In order to accomplish that, it would take around $15k-$20K for me and my team.”

Diaz added that after paying UK Taxes, the WBO sanctioning fee, and giving Top Rank and his coaches their cut, “going to the UK would not benefit me!”

Flanagan told this week that he was more than willing to scrap with the former champion but the two camps couldn’t agree on terms. “With ‘Baby Bull’, I said yes [to the fight] but it was sh*t money [in the USA], so we said ‘let’s bring it over here’ and he priced himself out.”

Diaz took to social media to respond. “75K is not a serious offer, I would have gotten a fair offer if it was for real.”