Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen
Nathan Cleverly is preparing for his second WBO light heavyweight world title defence against fierce domestic rival Tony Bellew on Saturday, October 15, by sparring with two of England’s premier prizefighters: current British and Commonwealth super middleweight belt holder George Groves and former two-weight world champion David Haye. Cleverly has been enjoying a “sparring camp” at the Hayemaker Gym in London.
Sparring the two Hayemaker hotshots will stand Cleverly (22-0-0, 11ko) in good stead for what to expect against Bellew. Primarily associated with his desire to blast his opponents away, Bellew (16-0-0, 10ko) displayed – in his rematch with Ovill McKenzie – an ability to box patiently and in a disciplined manner.
Groves, like Bellew, was more known for his desire to fight whilst coming forwards and take the fight to mid-range and the inside. However, Groves showed against James DeGale that he could out-box a boxer. Likewise, Haye was a fierce cruiserweight with explosive knockout power, but became more reliant on his ability to evade and focused more on his defence when he made the move up to heavyweight.
Cleverly was awarded the WBO world title when Juergen Braehmer pulled of their contest earlier in the year. He entered the ring on May 21 as champion and secured his first defence against Aleksy Kuziemski.
Bellew could provide a sterner challenge than Kuziemski and the two have already been involved in a heated verbal jousting session. The animosity, perhaps, further confounded by Bellew’s decision to enlist the services of Enzo Maccarinelli, a former gym partner of Cleverly’s, as a spar partner of his own.
“I see that Tony Bellew and Enzo Maccarinelli think they are being smart teaming up against me,” Cleverly noted. “Enzo was a friend of mine but that’s how it goes sometimes in boxing. Groves is a different league, a different class and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t upset about the situation with Enzo. It shows bitterness but they’ll probably hurt each other in sparring. They both struggle in that department [punch resistance] so they’ll probably knock each other out.”
Tommy Barber – London
Jimmy McDonnell, the trainer of 2008 gold medal Olympian and former British super middleweight champion James DeGale, has claimed that the Londoner is invigorated by training sessions with undefeated American, Floyd Mayweather Jr. Furthermore, McDonnell stated that DeGale – who has an EBU title challenge against Piotr Wilczewski on October 15 – is where he needs to be in terms of condition.
“James is a thorough professional… he’s been out to the States and has trained in Floyd Mayweather’s company,” McDonnell confirmed to iFilm London. “He’s seen what Floyd’s about and he lives by the sword that Mayweather goes by… James is always in very good shape, he’s not where he needs to be just yet, he is at that stage of the prep but he’s five weeks off where we need him but yea, at the moment he’s bang on schedule.”
DeGale (10-1-0, 8ko) aims to bounce back from a disappointing split decision defeat to bitter rival George Groves at the 02 Arena in May. A triumph over the WBO’s number two ranked super middleweight, Wilczewski, would not only help remedy the smudge on his record, but also see him become European champion whilst simultaneously boosting his own ranking of seven.
“The plan is fast forward,” McDonnell said, insisting that Groves is behind them. He then attempted to counter the notion that a shot at Wilczewski has come too soon for DeGale, who will only be boxing his 12th professional fight.
“If James had got the verdict against Groves – a lot of people think he should have – [promoter] Frank [Warren] would have gone the same route, this is a step on from Commonwealth level, James put his performance out there and didn’t get what we thought he should have got.
“Frank has weighed it up, Frank’s a got judge and he knows what James is about, he knows that James is a future world champion and [EBU belt] is part of that step so I think this is a massive fight for James. The opponent so far is the best he’s boxed, I’ve had a good study and he’s got a good fight on his hands. Physically and mentally he’s on it and he’s really excited about it as well, which is great.”
DeGale and Wilczewski (29-1-0, 10ko) battle on the undercard of Nathan Cleverly’s first defence of his WBO light heavyweight world championship at Liverpool’s Echo Arena.
Tommy Barber – London
James DeGale is set to challenge for the EBU super middleweight title in five weeks time as his bout with defending champion and world contender Piotr Wilczewski has been added to the October 15 card at the Echo Arena, Liverpool, headlined by the fiery WBO light heavyweight world championship fight contested between domestic enemies Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew.
Promoter Frank Warren, who has guided DeGale’s career since the 25-year-old turned professional three years ago, stated that the decision to add the fight to the undercard of Cleverly’s first WBO defence was because he wanted DeGale (10-1-0, 8ko) to box again before the year’s end.
Should he have committed to a late October or early November date for DeGale and Wilczewski to box in London, then the former Olympian – who won gold at the 2008 Games in Beijing – would likely have not been able to trot out again until 2012.
“We originally planned to have James’ fight in London, but I want him in there as soon as possible and this was the best way,” Warren is quoted to have said by West London Sport. “If he wins this European title – which I believe he will – then I want him to fight again before the end of the year. That wouldn’t have been possible if we’d waited until the end of October to have this fight.”
DeGale’s career suffered a hiccup earlier this year as he dropped a split decision to long-time rival George Groves in May. He initially clamoured for an immediate rematch – something Groves and his then-team were loathe to oblige as they sought career progression and deemed DeGale a sideways step.
The loss, though, served as a learning curve for the outspoken prizefighter as he has stated that he treated the early rounds of the Groves bout as a “sparring session” and, if faced with a stick-and-move opponent in the future, would box with more aggression.
Wilczewski (29-1-0, 10ko) and the chance of rising to the pinnacle of European competition is now at the forefront of DeGale’s mindset as he confirmed: “The Groves fight is totally out of my system and I’m totally focused on becoming European champion.
“It’s against a guy who will come to fight,” he noted. “He’s a tough guy but technically good as well. This will be by far the toughest fight of my career.”
EBU super middleweight hopeful James DeGale, who challenges Piotr Wilczewski for the European title on a tentatively-booked date of Saturday, September 17 at a yet-to-be determined venue, is considering taking his training camp to Los Angeles, California, for ten days where he will spar with former world title challenger and highly-rated national middleweight campaigner – Daniel Jacobs.
Despite plying his trade in the super middleweight division, where he has already won and lost the British championship (against Paul Smith and George Groves, respectively), DeGale has long sparred with light heavyweights, most notably – Commonwealth belt holder Tony Bellew and WBO world champion Nathan Cleverly.
The Londoner, whose promoter Frank Warren has organised a shot at major continental honours despite coming off the back of a closely-contested split decision defeat, is contemplating a change of sparring partners and scenery.
DeGale (10-1-0, 8ko) said: “I was going to do some work with Darren Barker ahead of his fight with Sergio Martinez, but it looks like he’s going to go away for a camp.
“I’ve got some options over here, and I could work with Tony Bellew and Nathan Cleverly, both of whom I have sparred before, but I could also go to the States as well, may be for a week or 10 days, and do some sparring out there.”
A statement on the official website of Warren implied Jacobs (22-1-0, 19ko) would be the spar partner in Los Angeles. A former national title holder (NABF, NABO) at middleweight, Jacobs only has one blight on his professional record; a shock defeat to Dmitry Pirog for the then-vacant WBO strap.
Since then Jacobs (pictured above) has joined Freddie Roach’s stable at the Wildcard Boxing Club in Hollywood, California, and has won twice; a fifth round technical knockout over Jesse Orta and a first round teekayo trumping of Robert Kliewer.
Tommy Barber – London
Even though James DeGale and George Groves have twice attempted to settle their differences in the ring – once as amateurs, once as professionals, both times ending with Groves’ arm being held aloft- the competitive rivalry between the two Londoners continues as DeGale bragged about being the first to challenge for not only the EBU [European] super middleweight title, but also to have first crack at battle-hardened Danishman Mikkel Kessler.
“[The European title is] a prestigious title, it’s a big title and I’m looking forward to winning it and being back on top.” DeGale (10-1-0, 8ko) explained to Sky Sports today, regarding his shot at Piotr Wilczewski’s belt at a venue yet to be determined on September 17. “When you win the European title you get put in the top ten with all the organisations and Wilczewski is ranked number two with the WBO.
“That puts me in a great position to box for a world title,” said the 25-year-old, who returned to Britain from Beijing with gold draped around his neck after having competed at the 2008 Olympic Games. “I heard him saying something about fighting Kessler as well, so there you go. Everything’s still on course for next year, to be a world champion by the time the Olympics come to London. What a fantastic achievement it would be, in the space of four years to have been crowned British, European and world champion. I’ll still get there first. Nothing has changed in that respect.”
Despite promoter Frank Warren successfully moving DeGale’s career on following a majority decision defeat to arch-rival Groves, it is something that still haunts the fighter, however, “Chunky” insists he will use the loss as a learning curve: “I’ve learned a lot from the Groves fight. Obviously cutting down the ring and throwing a lot more punches is the first thing, while keeping a good defence.
“When I boxed Groves I made the first seven rounds a spar and although I was cutting down the ring, I wasn’t throwing enough punches as I was doing it. I think the whole experience is going to change me as a fighter. I won’t let anyone nick a fight the way Ugly Boy [Groves] did. I just can’t.
“I’ve realised as well that it’s all about learning and experience. I used to turn my nose up when people used to say you need the rounds under your belt, you need the experience, because I thought I’d been there, seen it, done it, that I didn’t need it. But in professional boxing you do. Definitely.”
Britain’s premier fight promoter Frank Warren has propelled James DeGale into a European title shot against Piotr Wilczewski despite coming off the back of a closely contested majority decision defeat to long-time rival George Groves, and DeGale paid credit to Warren at a press conference earlier today, Thursday, for making it happen. Wilczewski, meanwhile, believes he’ll be the better supported fighter despite the bout taking place in DeGale’s backyard in London.
“It’s fantastic that I’m fighting for the European title on my first fight back and full credit to Frank Warren for doing a great job in getting me it,” DeGale told the assembled boxing media at a conference that began the promotion for the event that has been pencilled in for September 17, at a venue that will be confirmed on Monday but will most likely be in London.
DeGale’s competitive but unsuccessful attempt to unify his British super middleweight belt with George Groves’ Commonwealth strap two months ago is still playing on the 2008 Olympic gold medalist’s mind as he believes he did just enough to win [Editor's note - On The Beak scored the bout 114-114, for full report click here].
“I still think I won the fight against Groves, but that’s in the past and I’m moving onwards and upwards in my career and the European title is a major title I want to win.”
Indeed, a European title shot was something Groves had been hoping to secure, however, the versatile Hayemaker fighter has been pipped to the post by Warren and DeGale. Noting his upcoming adversaries qualities, DeGale (10-1-0, 8ko) remarked: “Wilczewski is a tough and dangerous looking kid, he’s got a good record, he carries a high world ranking and I reckon he is a much better fighter than Groves.
“It’s a tough test and I’m looking forward to it. I want to be the best and I’ve got to get through this guy to prove it.”
Wilczewski, who is of Polish descent, commented: “DeGale is a good strong fighter and he proved his class winning the Olympic gold medal. I’m not worried by coming to England to face him.
“I guarantee that there will be more fans cheering for me in the arena on the night than him because there are more Polish people in England than back in Poland!”
Tommy Barber – London
European super middleweight title challenger James DeGale, of London, comes face-to-face with EBU champion Piotr Wilczewski on Thursday, July 28 as the two will attend a London press conference in order to begin the promotion for the fight that has been tentatively booked for September. DeGale’s trainer Jim McDonnell believes the platform is perfect for his ward.
“This is an opponent James can really get up for – someone with a good record who’s ranked number three in the world,” McDonnell said according to London 24. “It’s exactly what he needs, he’s started sparring already and we’re excited about coming back with a fight of this magnitude.”
DeGale’s promoter Frank Warren deserves credit for maneuvering DeGale (10-1-0, 8ko) onto the continental scene so swiftly following an underwhelming performance against long-time rival George Groves, who won a split decision and became the first professional to inflict a defeat onto DeGale’s record when they met at the 02 Arena, London in May.
Wilczewski (29-1-0, 10ko) won the EBU strap (which had been vacated by Brian Magee when he challenged for Lucian Bute’s IBF world championship) when he defeated Amin Asikainen via 11th round technical knockout earlier this year. The bout against DeGale will be his first defence of the blue belt and the full details of the event – that is expected to be co-headlined by Nathan Cleverly’s first defence of his WBO light heavyweight world honour – will be confirmed by Warren on Thursday.
McDonnell continued: “I believe this could be the best he’s fought in his career – he’s absolutely buzzing about the fight, he knows he’ll have to perform at the top of his game and that brings out the best in James.
“A European title would be a great platform. You’ve got to remember that’s three quarters of the world in boxing terms – to win it would be making a big statement.”
Wilczewski currently commands a number two rank by the WBO and so a triumph for DeGale could further elevate his global standing as well as gain himself an outside shot at a world title.
Tommy Barber – London
Reports that James DeGale will challenge Polish super middleweight Piotr Wilczewski – the current incumbent of the EBU championship title at the 12 stone (168lb) weight limit – have been confirmed by the belt-holder but, even though Piotr has given up home advantage in order to instead box in England, he is still confident he can inflict a second successive defeat onto DeGale’s record. Professional experience, Wilczewski insists, will be key in the September tussle.
“I have a lot of respect for James DeGale,” Wilczewski commented on Boxing Scene before noting the Londoner’s physical qualities. “He is a gifted, strong and fast boxer.”
Wilczewski (29-1-0, 10ko) became the European champion at super middleweight when he teekayoed Finnish fighter Amin Asikainen in eleven rounds in March when the belt was vacant. The previous champion had been Brian MaGee, who relinquished the title in order to challenge Lucian Bute for the IBF crown. Wilczewski is also the WBO inter-continental champion and that title, too, could be on the line when the Pole comes to box DeGale (10-1-0, 8ko) on September 17 at a yet-to-be-determined venue.
“I will come to London with belts I like very, very much and I do not want to leave my titles in the UK. As a professional, James has not fought such an experienced boxer as myself – I believe experience is my big asset.
“James won a middleweight gold medal at the Olympic Games. As a young boy I dreamed about doing the same thing. When turning pro several years ago I accepted the fact I will never win Olympic gold. But no I have a chance to get a win over an Olympic champion. I will do my best to succeed. Beating a gold medalist is a little bit like winning the gold medal, is it not?”
There may have been an element of confusion surrounding DeGale’s legibility in challenging for the EBU belt.
John Murray, for instance, was forced to vacate his European lightweight strap in order to fight Kevin Mitchell this weekend. Under EBU ruling, an opponent who was coming off the back of a loss – such as Mitchell when he was stopped in three rounds by Michael Katsidis – would not be a sanctionable fighter for a European champion to be matched with. Murray, though, was keen on “cleaning up” domestically before entering the world scene and so vacated the belt in order to fight Mitchell.
Like Mitchell, DeGale is coming off the back of a recent loss, however, it has emerged that EBU are flexible with the ruling. Should a loss be either closely-contested or contentious, then it is up to a panel to decide whether the opponent is worthy. Because DeGale lost by way of decision to George Groves, with a majority of the rounds appearing 50/50, the EBU adopted a more lenient, rather than stringent, approach.
Tommy Barber – London
Former British super middleweight champion James DeGale has been granted a shot at the European (EBU) title despite losing his most recent fight. Promoter Frank Warren has worked behind the scenes in propelling DeGale onto greater things following his closely-contested decision loss to long-time rival George Groves and a September dust-up with reigning titlist Piotr Wilczewski has been booked.
“Challenging for the European title is a fantastic opportunity to get myself back in the big picture in my first fight back,” a jubilant DeGale (10-1-0, 8ko) said on Frankwarren.tv. “I’ve been hard in training since my last fight and I’m ready to box tomorrow if I need to, come September I’ll be in great shape.”
DeGale and Groves (13-0-0, 10ko) had a chequered past and the build-up to their British and Commonwealth unification title fight on May 21 at London’s 02 Arena drummed up national and global interest as the fight was broadcast on a big screen in Times Square, New York. DeGale was the pre-fight favourite. He was regarded to be one of Britain’s hottest talents who could brag a superb technical skillset, however, come fight night he was outboxed by Groves (for report and scorecard click here).
It is a defeat that DeGale is still loathe to accept. He said: “The fight with Groves is in the past, I still believe I beat him, but I’m a positive person and now I’m focused on the future and a win will put me in a great position for a world title. My promoter Frank Warren has done a great job in getting me home advantage for this title shot and now I’ve got to go out there, do the business and win it in style.”
DeGale and Warren have enjoyed a long-standing relationship. When DeGale returned from the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing with a gold medal draped around his neck, Warren was swift to express his interest in sealing professional terms for the decorated amateur and, later that year, DeGale – along with Billy Joe Saunders and Frankie Gavin – signed with Warren.
Under the Frank Warren promotional vehicle, DeGale went from receiving a chorus of boos on his debut in the paid ranks but, eight fights later, landed a surprise British title shot against world-ranked Paul Smith. DeGale boxed cleverly and dominated Smith during their bout in 2010 and his combination work was the catalyst for a ninth round technical knockout.
DeGale, though, has lost his most significant fight to date when he was decisioned by Groves but he made no hesitation in commiting himself to an extended deal as he believes Warren can do for him what he did for Amir Khan when the Bolton boxer was sparked out inside one round against Colombian banger Breidis Prescott.
“I’m about to sign a new three year deal with Frank and I’m really happy that he will continue to build my career as he has done since I turned professional. He brought Amir Khan back from a devastating knockout loss to a world title in only three fights so I know that he can do it for me.”
Regarding his shot at Wilczewski (29-1-0, 10ko), who has a good rank with the WBO (3) and holds the organisations Intercontintal belt, Warren said: “This is a make or break fight for James. He’s got a big opportunity in front of him against Wilczewski and now has to go out there a deliver the goods and show the fans what he can do.”
J.G Barrington – New York
Due to a previous linking error, articles dated prior to July, 2011, brought readers here when they clicked on the latest boxing news. Apologies! The person responsible has – of course – been subjected to ridicule. All the latest boxing news can be found here.
Heavyweight: Danny Williams – 2nd Rd TKO – Frank Kary Roth
Notes – Following the relinquishing of his British crown to Dereck Chisora last summer, Williams got his career back on track with a second round stoppage of German southpaw Kary Roth. On paper it represents a good win but taken in it’s context, Kary Roth is a Cruiserweight who had 21 losses on his resume with just two victories.
EBU Super Middleweight title: Piotr Wilczewski – 11th Rd TKO – Amin Asikainen
Notes – Wilczewski dropped Asikainen in both the eighth and 11th rounds, in front of Asikainen’s home fans in Finland, to pick up the vacant European title. The WBO Intercontinental super middleweight belt was also on the line.
Super Middleweight: Daniel Jacobs – 1st Rd TKO– Robert Kliewer
Notes – Esteemed trainer Freddie Roach oversaw Jacobs’ corner in an official capacity for the first time in what was a swift and dominant display against an overmatched opponent who had lost more bouts than he had won.
Super Middleweight: James Kirkland – 1st Rd KO – Ahsandi Gibbs
Notes – The return to the ring of Texan southpaw Kirkland was particularly noteworthy as he struck a pure knockout over late adversary Gibbs. Kirkland inflicted the second defeat on Gibbs’ resume as he continued his own thumping record of 23 knockouts in 26 victories without a single blemish.
Super Middleweight: George Groves – 4th Rd TKO – Daniel Adotey Allotey
Notes – Hayemaker Promotions may now be looking to put Groves in against slayed amateur James DeGale in what would be a great grudge match for British fans after Groves beat Allotey inside the distance. The Commonwealth champ weighed in at a career high 171.25lbs.
WBC Super Welterweight title: Saul Alvarez – UD – Matthew Hatton [119-108, 119-108, 119-108]
Notes – The fight had an unofficial catchweight of 150lbs yet Alvarez came in 1.5lbs over. Hatton, a Welterweight by trade, was out of his depth as Alvarez won every single round. The Mexican who, at 20, becomes the youngest champion at 154lbs, was deducted a point at the 7th round for punching after the bell.
IBF Super Lightweight title: Zab Judah – 7th Rnd TKO – Kaizer Mabuza
Notes – 11 years after winning the IBF’s version of the world title, Judah once again fits the Super Lightweight belt around his waist with a good technical knockout over tough South African Mabuza. Judah was decked in the fourth.
Super Lightweight: Humberto Soto – UD – Fidel Monterrosa Munoz [100-88, 100-90, 98-92]
Notes – Soto continued a strong winning run with a 12-round unanimous decision triumph in a non-title fight in Mexico. Soto and Urbano Antillon will now have a rematch of their fight last year on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley summer showdown.
Lightweight: Vicente Escobedo – UD – Walter Estrada [97-92, 96-93, 97-92]
Notes – Estrada was troubled and then downed in the seventh round as Escobedo won a decision in a ten-round contest.
WBO Intercontinental Super Featherweight title: Adrien Broner – UD – Daniel Ponce de Leon [96-94, 99-91, 96-94]
Notes – Ponce de Leon felt the scorecards were unjustified as Broner was awarded the decision win. It was the first time Ponce de Leon had lost since his unsuccessful attempt at being the first man to beat Juan Manuel Lopez. Broner remains undefeated.
British Super Featherweight title: Gary Sykes – UD – Carl Johanneson [116-112, 115-112, 115-113]
Notes – Sykes stormed to a thrilling decision win over Johanneson. Sykes showed good heart and desire to get up off the canvas in the 9th round to beat Johanneson on points.
IBO Female Lightweight title: Marie Riederer – D – Zelda Tekin [95-95 | 95-95 | 95-95]
Notes – All three judges were unable to separate Riederer and Tekin in this title fight in Germany.