Tommy Barber – London
Billy Nelson, the long-time trainer of Scotland’s two-weight world champion pug Ricky Burns, has claimed that his charge can beat motor-mouthed publicity machine Adrien Broner at lightweight, or even super lightweight. The two have been in talks to box before, at the super featherweight division limit, but Burns headed north, to the 135 pound pool.
Mexican hitman Miguel Vazquez says he’ll be as deadly as fellow countryman and Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez when he faces WBO world lightweight champion Ricky Burns at Wembley Arena. Vazquez, the IBF World Champion, puts his title on the line against Burns in a big unification clash on Saturday, March 16 that also features Nathan Cleverly, George Groves, Dereck Chisora* and Liam Walsh.
Hernandez, currently the only Mexican playing in the Premier League, hails from Guadalajara – the same as Vazquez. Since arriving at the Red Devils in 2010 ‘Chicharito’ has terrorised defences with his speed and accuracy, hitting the net 46 times. He fired home twice in Saturday’s FA Cup match against Fulham.
And Vazquez has promised to make it a Mexican treble by battering the Scotsman and taking his belt: “When I fight Burns, I will be just like Hernandez, a cold and ruthless assassin. There will be no remorse when I’m taking Burns apart,” he said.
“Hernandez is a hero in Mexico, I saw the match on Saturday and I said that is what I have to be like to beat Burns. A striker and a boxer have the same mind set, a striker has to have to the killer instinct to score, the boxer to land a knockout punch, when the opening comes against Burns that will be the end for him.”
Vazquez isn’t worried about facing Burns who destroyed rival Kevin Mitchell – who holds a decision win over Breidis Prescott – in four rounds last time out. Vazquez, though, was the first man to beat hammer-hitting Prescott after the Colombian destroyed Amir Khan inside a round.
He added: “Burns is a good fighter, he is strong, he has good skills and he knocked out Kevin Mitchell which was impressive. But he has never faced a fighter like me before. I’m unbeaten as a world champion at lightweight. I beat a huge puncher in Prescott and he didn’t hurt me, I don’t see how Burns can hurt me. I will be Ricky Burns’ worst nightmare. I’m coming for his world title, his title is as good as mine.”
Burns v Vazquez joint-headlines a blockbuster show with WBO world light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly’s title defence against Robin Krasniqi, plus George Groves challenging for the vacant European super middleweight title, heavyweight Dereck Chisora* and Commonwealth super featherweight champion Liam Walsh.
*Dereck Chisora’s appearance on the show is strictly subject to him being successful with his license application to the British Boxing Board of Control.
On The Beak – Admin
Scotland’s Ricky Burns and England’s Kevin Mitchell will clash in a blockbuster showdown that ignites the Auld rivalry once again. Burns put his WBO lightweight world title on the line against his long-time rival Mitchell on Saturday, September 22 in Glasgow. Coatbridge star Burns, Scotland’s first two weight world champion in nearly 20 years, last boxed in March when he beat Paulus Moses with a commanding performance to retain his title.
Burns stepped up to lightweight last November when he beat Australian warrior Michael Katsidis – the only man to have beaten Kevin Mitchell – and put his name up with the best in the division. And now, the 29-year-old is looking forward to a classic battle with his English counterpart: “The fight’s been on the boil for the last couple of years and the fans and press have been desperate for it to happen, it’s fantastic that it’s on at last,” said Burns.
“We are both at the top of our game now and I’m in this sport to prove that I’m the best, next to me Mitchell’s the best around and it will be great fight between two warriors. He put on a great showing against John Murray last year that showed just how good a boxer he is to take apart another champion but this fight is the fight I’ve wanted and it’s got me really excited. Mitchell’s going to bring out the best in me and I believe that the fans are going to be in for an unbelievable fight.”
Londoner Mitchell’s fight against John Murray last July, in which he stopped Murray in the eighth round of a thrilling contest, was widely regarded to be one of the year’s finest. Earlier this year, in February, he beat the tough Dominican Republican Felix Lora over ten rounds and has been shouting for a confrontation with his Scottish adversary.
Mitchell said: “I’m promising you now you’re going to see the best fight of the year or any year. This is a real fight between the two best in the division and it’s not going to be for the faint-hearted. I rate Burns very highly, he’s a great fighter and has really proved himself as one of the top champions in the world.
“I’m going into the lions den and I know I can beat him and take the world title. Burns is a top kid and I’ve got to be at top of my game, the fittest and strongest I’ve ever been in my life to win.”
“This is the big one,” Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren added. “It’s the fight the fans have been waiting for and I’m delighted to say that it’s now finally on. There is plenty of pride on the line with both men and neither will want to lose. What a fight to start the autumn schedule with live on BoxNation and we’re also announcing details shortly of WBO light heavyweight champ Nathan Cleverly’s next title defence.”
On The Beak – Admin
Anthony ‘Million Dollar’ Crolla has targeted winning a Lonsdale belt outright before becoming world lightweight champion. The popular Mancunian makes the second defence of his British crown against Derry Mathews (29-6-1, 15ko) at Oldham Sports Centre on Saturday, April 21. If Crolla (23-2-0, 9ko) beats his Liverpool rival he’ll be just one notch away from claiming the coveted belt for keeps.
Hatton Promotions star Crolla, 25, said: “The Lonsdale belt is my absolute pride and joy. It means the world to me and my family are so proud of it.
“To have one for keeps on the mantel piece means the world to me. I always said when I came into boxing it was my ambition to win a Lonsdale belt.
“I boxed on an amateur show when I was a kid and saw one. Ever since those it has been a target.”
Crolla knows the world title scene is wide open. The WBA belt is vacant and Scot Ricky Burns is among the other champions.
Anthony added: “I am not distracted by talk of world title fights because the fight I am preparing for is the most important. If the next one goes wrong against Mathews talk of European and world title fights down the line go out of the window.”
Other contests include: Jon Lewis Dickinson versus Matty Askin (10×3 cruiserweight), Stephen Foster Jr against Jose Antonio Elizabeth (6×3 super-featherweight), Jazza Dickins takes on Yuri Voronin (6×3 super-bantamweight), Lucas Brown will trade shots with Paul Butlin (6 rounds of heavyweight action), Adam Little and Chris Jenkinson get it on (6×3 welterweight), Tommy Stubbs versus Gavin Reid (4×3 bantamweight) and Ryan Doyle is up against a selected opponent (4×3 featherweight).
Tommy Barber – London
Accustomed to 12-round contests, distance fighter Ricky Burns marched to a deserved decision victory over former world champion Paulus Moses at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow, Scotland on Saturday, March 10. Burns controlled the bout primarily with his jab, but also outfoxed Moses by setting the pace, throwing punches in bunches and refusing to allow Moses to settle. The contest marked Burns’ first defence of his WBO lightweight world title.
Official verdict: Burns triumphed by way of unanimous decision (119-110, 120-110, 117-111).
What Burns lacks in concussive power he makes up for with an accurate jab, good foot placement and authoritative combinations. Against Moses, in his homecoming fight and in front of 6,000 fiercely-loud Scotsmen and women, Burns raised the decibels levels further with flurries in threes and finished the opening round with a commendable five punch combo.
In the second, he displayed his punch variety by sticking right-handed uppercuts, orthodox jabs, short-range right cross shots and overhand lefts onto his Namibian opponent before moving away from the pocket. Midway through the stanza, Moses attempted to hook around Burns’ defence but he was foiled by the champion’s reflexes as Burns immediately tucked his elbows in to provide a cushion from the incoming gloves.
In the third, Moses upped his own work-rate and connected with straight shots down the pipe, however, Rickster matched Moses’ punch output, sparking more ardent support from the vocal masses at Braehead. Moses got jabbed and hit with the right hand over the top, left handed punches across the kisser and jabs into his nose. Where Moses appeared to want to take the fight, was against the ropes where he’d throw a hooking left, however, he found Burns impossible to pin against the ring periphery and Burns slipped away to safety.
Burns’ punch perfection continued into the fourth round where he gained yet another ten score. Burns scored well to the body with the right hook above the left hook. Moses’ greatest success, though, arrived in the fifth round where he pained Burns with a powerful body shot yet any superiority was short-lived as Burns re-established his dominance with right hands to the ribs and, his combat controller – the jab.
Paulus got closer by the midway stage, sneaking fists through to Burns’ midsection and connecting with uppercuts to the chin. His accuracy finally paid dividends as he outworked and outlanded the reigning 135lb king. If the visiting fighter gained confidence from his display in the sixth stanza, it was beaten out of him at the start of the seventh as cruel and tortuous punches wrenched into Moses’ ribs forced him into tucking up, into a defensive shell and into retreat.
In the fight’s final third, Moses’ frustrations were compounded as Burns controlled the distance, the tempo and his ability to seemingly box at will. It was Burns’ style of fight and the type of combat he has long relished. Burns also did a terrific job when it came to the defensive aspect of the game. Moses was by no means a pushover and attempted to force connections, however, Burns would either block the shots completely or peel away from the danger areas.
Prior to the final round, Burns was warned by his corner that Moses would come out with a hail Mary tactic in mind, however, a nail-biting climax for the home fans never materialised as Moses persisted with a one-paced punch-up, something the worked against him as Burns flurried well at the end to command a healthy win.
“It was a tough, tough fight,” said Burns to Box Nation when the official scores confirmed he had won a wide points verdict. “He’s got 18 knockouts in 28 wins [and] he caught me with a few. I really enjoyed it – the atmosphere was brilliant!”
Trainer Billy Nelson marveled at his ward’s performance: “His jab is phenomenal. He’ll give anyone problems [and] it’s only his second fight at the weight.”
Promoter Francis Warren has a task on his hands in securing Burns’ third fight at lightweight and it appears the elite match-making will continue as, following on from Michael Katsidis and Moses, Burns will now be aligned with exquisite boxer Kevin Mitchell.
“The fight everyone wants to see is Kevin Mitchell and hopefully we can get that done,” confirmed Warren.
Such a match-up, though, will prove to be as one-sided as the domination Burns enjoyed at Moses’ expense, according to Nelson, who chose his concluding words carefully: “There’s nobody in Britain to touch him.”
With victory, Burns raised his record to 34-2-0, 9ko while Moses suffered his second pro loss and dropped to 28-2-0, 19ko.
On The Beak – Admin
Tyrone Nurse believes victory in the Prizefighter Light-Welterweight II tournament at Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Saturday, February 11 will be the perfect start to a big year for his career. The unbeaten Huddersfield man has clocked up 20 wins since turning pro in 2008 but as he fights in the 23rd edition of the eight-man, one night competition, he feels that 2012 is the year to step up to title fights, starting with victory in Prizefighter.
“Winning puts you up there, it puts you into title contention, and it opens more doors in the fact that you become more of a household name,” said Nurse. “So it helps with your tickets sales, which helps with your promotion, which helps with your promoters. It helps all aspects really.
“I think it’s the right time to take a chance now. At 22, even if I did lose in Prizefighter, which I don’t plan on doing, it isn’t going to set me back too far to be honest. The light welterweights is a deep division and there are a lot of fighters in there and a lot of good fighters so it could be a big year.”
Nurse has benefited from some top class sparring in the build-up to Saturday night, travelling up to Scotland to trade blows with WBO lightweight world champion Ricky Burns.
“I’ve sparred with Ricky Burns previously. I sparred with him before his title defence against Joseph Laryea in Scotland,” explained Nurse. “You’d be surprised at the quality of the sparring, because of his style and how he is with his high work-rate it’s as hard as most fights you’ll find yourself in. But it’s good and all that I can do is learn from it.
“I am happy to travel for quality sparring and you earn that by winning titles. It’s no good saying: ‘get me him to spar’. When you’re 20-0 have you really earned that? Obviously if you win Prizefighter and then you have a title shot, that’s when you get someone in specifically, and you can afford them then too!”
Nurse’s decision to step it up is not one born of frustration though. Trained by father and former pro Chris Aston, Nurse has been happy with his steady progression, remaining active and building an impressive fan-base.
“I’ve had between four or five fights a year since I turned pro at eighteen,” said Nurse. “But I knew it was going to be a long, steady process because I was so young at the time. I wasn’t mature like a man so I just got busy on a lot of smaller shows.
“I suppose constant ticking-over has been the plan, and we did get about a bit, boxing in London, Manchester and Sheffield. Recently we’ve had a few closer to home and started to build a nice little fan base so we knew we had time so it made sense to keep busy, keep ticking over and keep learning.”
The Huddersfield lad will be up against English welterweight title holder Adil Anwar, another unbeaten star Dale Miles, former British champion Barry Morrison and major title challengers Young Mutley, Dean Harrison, Mark Lloyd and John Watson.
“I can’t wait. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s very exciting, the best line-up yet, on paper anyway,” said Nurse. “I’m not fussed who I draw any of them will do me. Maybe we could have a royal rumble. Get us all in there!”
Gianluca (Rio) di Caro – London
This Friday, WBO Inter-Continental lightweight champion Kevin Mitchell is set to face Spain-based Felix Lora in a non-championship bout at the famous York Hall in Bethnal Green, London. Mitchell, 27, returns to the ring for the first time since stopping John Murray in July last year at the Echo Arena in Liverpool and this fight is said to be a warm-up ahead of a challenge for Ricky Burns’ newly-acquired WBO lightweight crown.
With such an important bout waiting in the wings ‘Mighty’ Mitchell will surely be looking to impress in front his home crowd, in similar style to his utter destruction of arch rival John Murray last year. Earlier today, I caught up with Kevin at the pre-fight media workout at his home gym – the TRAD TKO Boxing Gym in Canning Town, London – to talk about the John Murray fight as well as the upcoming fight against Felix Lora and more.
Rio – Kevin, first things first… Congratulations, your magnificent battle with John Murray was named 2011 Fight of the Year by Boxing News and BoxRec; how do you feel about that?
Kevin – Thanks to the readers of Boxing News and BoxRec who voted for the fight. I’m so pleased that everyone enjoyed the fight, it’s always an honour to be recognised for achieving something [and] it was good to give my fans something to cheer for after the [Michael] Katsidis fight [Mitchell suffered a third round technical knockout loss].
Rio – The media as a whole showered accolades on you for your magnificent performance on the night, but how did you see the fight?
Kevin – I see it as a 50/50 fight. After the beating by Michael Katsidis I wanted to put the record right – I watched that fight again last night, Katsidis did his job, I weren’t right and I got beat. Everyone was saying Kevin’s finished, he got done in two rounds. Which wasn’t a bad thing as it made me push harder. As of 2012 I’m going to push even harder as I want a world title. Yeah, it was a terrific fight, but I always knew deep down that I’d beat him, I knew I’d be too much for him, too much difference, I can change things, I can fight, I can box, I can punch hard.
Rio – Okay, back to this Friday’s fight, even though it’s a non-championship bout I know just how seriously you have been taking your training, you were even in the gym over Christmas and New Year – So just how do you feel training has gone.
Kevin – It’s been going well, I’m bang on target for the fight this Friday. I feel fit, did most of my sparring with Colin Lynes after some earlier rounds with Gary Corcoran, got my fitness up and then sparred with Colin and an Italian guy here called Freddie [Federico Tavares] helped me out. Thanks to them, and of course Jimmy and Mark (Tibbs), I’m spot on for Friday.
Rio – Do you know much about your opponent Felix Lora?
Kevin – He’s gonna be a tough guy for ten rounds, I know I’m able to put him away if I want to, but I’m not going in there and try and blast him out, I’m gonna go out there and get some rounds in, if I nail him I nail him but if I don’t it’ll be good to get the rounds in.
Rio – I know you never look past any opponent, but the word is that after this there’ll be a Summer showdown with Ricky Burns for his world title – what are your thoughts on this?
Kevin – I’ll beat Burns and then I’ll knock Brandon Rios out.
Rio – Rios has said that he’s moving up to light welter – are you that determined to fight him that you’ll move to light welter to fight him?
Kevin – Yeah, I’ll move up if I have to, I want to fight him. There’s a lot of needle there, he’s got a big mouth, he thinks he’s a powerful man. I don’t care if he goes up a weight. I’ll win the title at lightweight, defend it a few times and then I’ll go up to light welter and beat him up.
Rio – Sure is some needle there – okay, finally is there anything you would like to say to your fans?
Kevin – Thanks to all the fans that are going to turn up at York Hall on Friday, I promise you all a cracking fight.
Kevin Mitchell versus Felix Lora headlines the sold out Frank Warren Promotions event at York Hall, Bethnal Green, London, on Friday, February 10 and broadcast live on BoxNation (Sky platform channel 456 & Virgin 546).
Tommy Barber – London
Boxer-puncher Kevin Mitchell, one of the most talented lightweights in Europe, will take on late replacement Felix Lora – a 27-year-old Dominican based in Barcelona – on Friday, February 10 at the historic York Hall, London in what will be Mitchell’s first hometown fight since May, 2010. Mitchell wants to produce a boxing clinic against Lora in order to set-up a match-up with WBO titlist Ricky Burns in another battle of Britain bout in the 135lb division.
Mitchell (32-1-0, 24ko) was last in the ring in July, 2011, in an all-England encounter with John Murray. Mitchell employed a box-and-move tactic, outclassing Murray prior to an eighth round technical knockout in what was a domestic fight of the year nominee. The triumph over Murray was crucial for Mitchell, as it followed a disappointing third round blowout defeat to Michael Katsidis.
“This is the first time since the Michael Katsidis fight in 2010 that I’ve fought in London and I’ve had a cracking win against Murray in Manchester [sic: Liverpool] so this will be a nice homecoming for me.”
Prospective opponents for Mitchell this year have included tough Oxnard hombre Brandon Rios, a rematch with game Australian Katsidis and a dust-up with resilient Scotsman; Ricky Burns.
“A fight with Burns is a massive incentive to make sure I’m looking at my best on the night and it’s a fight I’d love to have next.”
The Hammer, though, is not looking past Lora (14-8-5, 8ko) and, on fight night, will be looking to raise awareness – and funds – for neuroblastoma; a cancer that develops in nerve tissue and afflicts infants. Typically, there are 100 cases per year in the UK, one of which concerns Mitchell Huth; Kevin’s cousin’s son.
Mitchell hopes to raise enough money on February 10 in order to fund American treatment for Huth: “This young lad is the real hero. Forget what I’ve done in the ring… to see Mitchell, who’s only six years old, fight his illness is a real inspiration to me and I hope everyone will contribute on the night.”
Ibrahim Harb – Birmingham
Resilient and tenacious Scottish boxer Ricky Burns is, after claiming the interim version of the WBO title at lightweight in November, now officially the full champion as the Organisation have promoted the 28-year-old Coatsbridge resident. Making the first defence of the regular belt, Burns will take on former world champ Paulus Moses, 33, from Windhoek in Namibia, on March 10 at Glasgow’s Braehead Arena in Scotland.
“When I beat [Michael] Katsidis [in Nov] I felt like a world champion anyway but this makes it all real and I’m thrilled with the news that I’m now the official full world champion,” Burns (33-2-0, 9ko) said.
“It’s a great feeling, but now it’s now back to reality and training hard for what will be a tough title defence against Moses in my Scottish homecoming on March 10.
“For the last ten years I’ve been grafting away in my career, but in the last couple of years it has really taken off with me beating Martinez and then beating a great warrior like Katsidis to put me up with the best in the world.”
With David Haye relinquishing his WBA heavyweight world championship to Wladimir Klitschko last summer, Amir Khan’s controversial defeat to Lamont Peterson and Carl Froch’s unsuccessful unification against Andre Ward – both prior to Christmas, Britain was left with just one world champion; Welshman Nathan Cleverly.
However, with Burns – who is now a two-weight world titlist having championed the super featherweight division with the WBO – has doubled the list of UK kings: “Nathan’s a great fighter and Britain has now got two world champions to be proud of who can fly the flag on the world stage.”
Ibrahim Harb – Birmingham
Ricky Burns‘ (33-2-0, 9ko) lightweight campaign is turning into a grueling one as, following on from his hard-fought and well-deserved decision victory over 135lb contender Michael Katsidis, the tough Scotsman has been aligned with former world champion Paulus Moses (28-1-0, 19ko) for a homecoming bout scheduled to take place at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow on Saturday, March 10.
“I can’t wait to return to Glasgow again and defend my title in front of my loyal supporters,” said Burns when the fight was announced. “I’ve been to Liverpool and London for my last two fights and they’ve followed me there so I’m over the moon that I’ve got a world class fighter like Moses for my homecoming fight.
“I don’t think Moses will be bothered about coming to Scotland, he won the [WBA lightweight world] title in Japan so he’ll be looking to make a big upset in Scotland against me. He’s a good fighter, he’s a former world champion with a good record and he’s lost only once in 29 fights, this is just the kind of fight I wanted to make me perform to my best. The fans are going to be in for a great fight.”
Moses is looking to de-rail Burns’ attempt to maintain his undefeated streak at elite level: “Make no mistake, I’m coming to Scotland to win the world title by knockout. I’ve beaten better fighters that Burns before, I know I can beat him easily.”
Promoter Frank Warren added: “I know that Ricky is the consummate professional, he trains hard and lives the life of a fighter, but this guy will be out to beat him and reclaim the title.
“Moses will be out to cause an upset, Ricky had a fantastic win over Katsidis in November, but now he’s got to be fully-focused on a hard fight against Moses which I’m sure he will be.”