British boxing beat: Bellew stops Miranda, Fury looking to Chagaev

In this week’s installment of the British Boxing Beat, we look back at last night’s strong outing from Tony Bellew, as he easily got rid of Edison Miranda, stopping him in 9 rounds. In other news, heavyweight Tyson Fury may be looking towards a huge test in Ruslan Chagaev, and a certain cricketer may be stepping through the ropes to pursue professional boxing.

Bellew disposes of Miranda

The events of last night confirmed that Edison Miranda has completed the journey many formerly world-class boxers take, descending to no more than a dangerous gatekeeper, as Liverpudlian Tony Bellew took him apart in nine rounds.

This was the first time in Bellew’s eventful career so far he went into the ring with someone who had such a sizeable upper hand on him in terms of experience at the highest levels. However, he did not appear fazed, taking his time and forcing Miranda to quit on his knee in the ninth following a barrage of well-placed body shots and straight right hands.

Bellew, 29, a former world title challenger to Nathan Cleverly, emerged last night following a promotional dispute with Frank Warren. That particular web seems to be untangled now though, as “Bomber” spent his Saturday evening impressing on a card organized by Eddie Hearn and his Matchroom promotional company.

Starting slowly, Bellew used the full circumference of the ring, allowing Miranda to press the action. The wild-swinging, hard-hitting Colombian, who has only been stopped when facing the best, showboated early on. He also certainly caught the Englishman’s attention with a cracking right hand over the top of Bellew’s low-held left hand.

Bellew has fought with greater strategy in recent times, and it seems to be paying off in the ring. He doubled and sometimes tripled up his jab to keep Miranda at bay while slipping Miranda’s artillery. Keeping his feet planted despite his defensive stance, Bellew was always ready to fire back with hard shots of his own.

As the rounds went on, Bellew began to ratchet up the tempo ever so slightly, forcing Miranda back and following his jab up with his booming straight right hand. He remained respectful of his more accomplished foe, however. Despite working Miranda over on the ropes, Bellew was content to walk away and invite his opponent back on to him for more punishment.

The fight was becoming more and more one-sided when the stoppage came in the ninth. Bellew had simply taken the fight away from Miranda, who did not want to continue upon being forced to the canvas by sheer volume of punches.

It was another impressive display of patience and calculated boxing from Bellew, who appears to have learned the harsh lessons accompanied by several knockdowns earlier in his career. With a more stable promotional setup outside of the ring and an established successful style of fighting inside it, the confident and well-spoken fighter is now ready to mix it at the highest level.

One fight of interest to Bellew would be a rematch with his sole conqueror; Nathan Cleverly. Cleverly will defend his title in Cardiff against Vyacheslav Uzelkov on the October 27, having failed to obtain more lucrative bouts with Bernard Hopkins, Beibut Shumenov or Carl Froch, who was reportedly offered £1 million (About $1.5 million) to face the young Welsh dragon. Something that remains to be understood is whether or not Bellew has burned his bridges with Frank Warren. If he has, a rematch with the Warren-promoted Cleverly could be out of the picture for the time being.

Fury on verge of Chagaev test

After a string of exciting contests against over-matched opponents, Tyson Fury, one of Great Britain’s heavyweight hopes, looks all set for a big step up in class with a match-up against Ruslan Chagaev in the offing for later this year.

Chagaev is a former world titlist, beating Nikolay Valuev, while he also made a hearty but unsuccessful attempt to dethrone Wladimir Klitschko in 2009. Although his recent work has been nothing to gasp at, Chagaev is an experienced contender and would provide Fury with a tough examination of his credentials as a potential Klitschko opponent. The Uzbek appeared on the undercard to the recent Daniel Geale-Felix Sturm middleweight showdown, winning via stoppage, but has been weighing in heavier than before of late.

By contrast, Fury has been slimming down on a consistent basis, clearly acknowledging the importance of discipline and diet, and now is the right time to showcase his skills against someone who can force the best from him. A win here would put Fury in the exclusive company of Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin as the only men to have beaten Chagaev.

Freddie Flintoff to try his hand at professional boxing

In what is an odd piece of news, retired English cricketer Freddie Flintoff has announced his intention to try his hand in a professional boxing ring. His first bout is scheduled for November 30 this year against an un-named opponent.

Flintoff has shown interest in the sport beforehand, appearing at Ricky Hatton’s training camps, but this remains a strange maneuver. He’s well-liked by the British public, however, at 34 and having had injury problems and a well-publicized off-field love of nightlife, it is a reasonable question to ask if he plans to take his new profession seriously or if this is merely a publicity stunt.

I would suggest the latter. The lead up to his first fight will be shown on television and there is certainly an X-Factor element lurking in the background to this announcement. It will be nonetheless interesting to watch how a former top-level operator from another sport entirely takes to the trials and tribulations of the ring, but Flintoff must not make the mistake of underestimating the dangers of the ring amidst the cameras and publicity. Boxing and reality television are two entirely separate playing fields and they do not mix naturally.

All that is left to say is the best of luck to Freddie Flintoff. His appearances in the ring will likely draw a crowd with a feeling of curiosity and confusion, but as the old saying goes, “no publicity is bad publicity.”

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