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British boxing buzz: Campbell vs. Coyle set for August 1; Paul Butler eager to begin comeback

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Credit: Ian Lyall

Campbell and Coyle clash in official World title eliminator

Luke Campbell and Tommy Coyle have reflected on their bitter exchange of words at yesterday’s press conference in Hull ahead of their official eliminator for the WBC Lightweight title at the KC Lightstream Stadium in Hull on August 1.

The Hull pair have been on a collision course for over a year and Campbell drew first blood in a simmering war of words between the pair in an interview published in Boxing Monthly that Coyle was quick to address in the public press conference at the Hull City Hall – and believes the fight has come too soon for Campbell.

“I was annoyed that he called me an associate, I think that was personal,” said Coyle. “He forgets the days when we didn’t have any money at all and we were selling toys for a pound a go, I travelled five hours to watch him in the ABA finals, shared a room with him in Australia – I think that’s a bit more than an associate.

“It had been playing on my mind. He’s said a few things in the press and even in the press conference, it’s disappointing and I think it’s unnecessary. The fight doesn’t need bad blood, it would sell on two Hull lads that are mates getting in there and the best man winning a tear-up.

“We have been friendly in the post-fight interviews up to this point so why has it changed? Is it because I said I was going to knock him out? I am not going to outbox him am. I am just being truthful. It’s business. I think that this is the wrong fight for him at the wrong time, I’ll be too much for him.

“I think Luke is being chucked in at the deep-end against me. I was terrible against Gethin, I think I had one eye on fighting Luke because the talk was all about getting past Gethin to face Luke, which is my golden ticket. My concentration slipped, I over-looked Martin and I was very lucky. I got hit with a serious shot and I was basically concussed during the rest of the fight. But I came through it and I’ve come through deep waters to win before, Luke hasn’t and I think that will be the difference and it’s why I have the edge in this one.”

Campbell said that he wasn’t listening to Coyle during the press conference and is choosing to focus on the bigger picture. For the 27 year old, the fight is the perfect opportunity to prove he is ready to step-up in his 12th pro fight and close in on joining James DeGale MBE as British Olympic gold medallists winning World titles.

“It’s very exciting,” said Campbell. “People keep saying I need to step up – you don’t get a better step-up than a World title eliminator, my team sees me day-in day-out and I am making great progress. They evaluate each fight and we believe in each other and if that is the path that they have chosen then that’s the right path for me.

“I have never had it easy in boxing in 14 and a half years. I’ve always done it the hard way and I believe that WBC champion Jorge Linares is the best Lightweight in the world, so it’s not the easiest route, but we’re not bothered about that, we want to take the right route and take on the best.

“This is a massive event for the city – it’s a one-time thing, I don’t think they’ll see a fight like this here again. Two local lads with good followings, both top fighters and boxing in a World title eliminator, the city won’t see this again – that’s what makes it special for Hull.

“But I am getting messages from fan across Britain that say they are excited about the fight so it’s great for the city but it’s a fight that is going to capture the imagination, it’s a mega-fight and it’s going to be a great occasion. the build-up is going to be something else that i will experience for the first time, I hope that there will be 20,000 in there and the more the merrier, I’ll buzz off that and I know I will rise to the occasion.

“I didn’t really listen to him to be honest. He will do what he believes he needs to do to win but I don’t think there is any way he can knock me out. That’s my opinion.

“I have had a close-knit group of friends since I was a kid, they are my friends. I see Tommy once in a blue moon, that’s it. We have a past, we’ve boxed in the same gym, travelled to Australia and Denmark before, but we hang around in different circles though and really, who cares?

“If he has a problem he should ring me instead of trying to get sympathy votes. It’s not like he comes round to my house for a cup of tea and we got out and socialise, we’re not proper mates. I respect everything he has done in boxing and he’s a great fighter. I don’t dislike Tommy at all, we just see friends differently.”

Campbell and Coyle’s clash is part of a massive night of action in Hull, with former World title challenger Brian Rose looking for revenge in his rematch with Carson Jones, former two-weight World champion Ricky Burns back in action after his heroic performance in Texas against Omar Figueroa and Martin J. Ward defending his WBC International Super Featherweight title.

“The stage is set for the one of the biggest sporting events the city of Hull will ever see,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Two world-ranked lightweight contenders will battle it out in an official eliminator for the WBC World title – it’s East versus West, a city divided with everything on the line. Fans can expect a huge card with the rematch set for Brian Rose to exact revenge over Carson Jones, two-weight World champion Ricky Burns and undefeated Super Featherweight champ Martin Ward defending his title. It’s going to be an epic night for the city.”

Paul Butler Back on July 11 & Ready to Begin Comeback

Ellesmere Port’s Paul Butler will make his ring return on Saturday July 11th at the Manchester Velodrome (National Cycling Centre) against Mexican Gustavo Molina.

Butler, a former IBF World Bantamweight Champion, is ready to get back on track towards a second world title shot and begins with a 10-rounder against Molina, live and exclusive on BoxNation.

He features on an action-packed card alongside Terry Flanagan’s challenge for the Vacant WBO World Lightweight title against American KO king Jose Zepeda, Liam Walsh’s British and Commonwealth Super-Featherweight title defence against Troy James and Lancashire hitman Jack Catterall’s WBO Intercontinental Light-Welterweight title defence.

Although he suffered a painful setback against IBF World Super-Flyweight Champion Zolani Tete in March – when he was stopped in eight rounds – Butler is still intent on achieving his ambition of becoming a two-time and two-weight world champion.

“For me this is about getting back in the ring and doing what I do best,” Said Butler.

“I’m in this sport to become a world champion. I’ve tasted it once and I want that feeling again which is driving me to fight again. I want to prove it to myself and my fans that I will become a world champion again,”

“The lessons have been learnt from the loss to Tete and although I’ll never forget it, I have to start rebuilding myself and get the confidence back which means getting back in the ring and start mixing it up, which is what I’m sure a Mexican like Molina will want to do,”

“I’m certainly not looking past Molina right now and he’s my first and only thought. Once I deal with him then I’ll be in a better position to see what’s next.”

Jamie Conlan Wants to Become The Next Mexicutioner

Irish hero Jamie Conlan will face his second Mexican in a row when he takes on Junior Granados at the National Stadium, Dublin, on Saturday July 4th.

Conlan, himself known as ‘The Mexican’ for his all-action style, could now be tagged ‘The Mexicutioner’ if he defeats the Yucatán hardman in his Dublin homecoming.

The 28-year-old defeated Mexican Jose Estralla over ten exciting rounds last September and now aims to follow that up with a win against Granados, a former WBC Mundo Hispano Champion.

Belfast ace Conlan makes the first defence of his WBO Intercontinental Super-Flyweight title against Granados in his first fight in Dublin for over five years.

“As I’m moving up in class there are going to be more and more off these tough Mexicans, as well as Filipinos, Thais and Japanese that I’ll be facing who seem to rule the smaller weight divisions,” Said Conlan.

“Estralla was a tough introduction to fighting a Mexican, but I loved every minute of it and I know what to expect against Granados, who’s another tough kid,”

“From what I’ve seen of him he’s going to give me a good test. He’s a hard Mexican, come forward with a lot of pressure, throwing plenty of punches and it looks like his left hook to the body is something to be wary of.”

Conlan has been preparing at the excellent MGM training facilities in Marbella and believes that he will be in the best condition of his career and it will show in his performance on the night.

He added, “I’ve been training in Marbella since January, but this is my first training camp for a fight and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect camp,”

“The heat out here, the training, making the weight, the conditioning, the diet, it’s brought a new dimension to my training and I feel so much sharper, stronger and all round a more professional athlete,”

“I think that the Dublin crowd will enjoy this fight against Granados, it’s going to be exciting. They’ve been starved of some big-time boxing in the city I’m sure with this fight and plus the rest of the Irish fighters on the show they’ll go home satisfied and ready for the next one.”

MILES SHINKWIN: “I ALREADY BELIEVE I’M THE BEST LIGHT-HEAVY IN THIS COUNTRY”

Southern Area light-heavy king Miles Shinkwin gets a chance to showcase his wares when he tops the bill for the first time in a 10 round international contest at the York Hall this Friday.

The 27 year old for England rep has quietly cruised to ten straight wins and is targeting domestic glory before the year is through. On Monday, boxing writer Glynn Evans caught up with him to discuss his career.

The Shinkwins of Watford are one of Britain’s biggest boxing clans. Dad Danny, a granddad, five uncles and five cousins all laced up. How significant was the fight game during your childhood?

Mum worked nights and I’d be forced to go to the boxing gym when dad (a pro welterweight) was training. I’d kick and scream because I wanted to go to me nan’s with my sisters instead.

At the gym I had the option of watching, bored shitless, or joining in. So that’s how I got started. I guess I’d have been about five.

I never actually remember watching dad box but I do remember being in the ring and carrying the round cards at his fights. The cards were bigger than me!

So I’ve always been around boxing. There were always boxing photos of dad around the house and I remember getting up with him in the middle of the night to watch the big Lennox Lewis fights from the States.

Though he boxed pro, dad always much preferred amateur boxing. He loves the art; hit and don’t get hit.

Mum hates boxing and never wanted me involved. But around aged nine, Dad’s mate’s son wanted to start. Dad said he’d coach him and I tagged along. I had my first bout at 11.

I was also a decent footballer but much preferred boxing. Once I hurt my back playing football and it affected me in a bout which I lost. After that I ditched the football.

I’ve an 11 month old daughter but if I ever have a son there’s not a chance in hell he’ll box. It’s such a hard sport. There are no easy days. I’d far rather he was brainy than strong!

Fast rising featherweight Mitchell Smith was a gym mate at the Bushey ABC and now your stablemate as a pro. Was his potential evident as a youngster?

Definitely. Mitch’s has always had a face you just want to cuddle but he’s a proper spiteful little git. From a very young age, he’s been intent on hurting people in sparring. I still spar him to warm up and he can’t half whack. He can be as good as he wants to be.

You were an outstanding junior boxer, winning four national titles and representing Young England, but tailed off as a senior. Why?

That’s right. I beat (Olympic medallist) Anthony Ogogo at 16, (English light-heavy king) Travis Dickinson at 17 and lost by just two points to (reigning WBO light-middle boss) Demetrius Andrade at the Junior Olympics.

That night I was tucked up rotten! I was a point down going into the last round but punched lumps out of him and he had a two point deduction for holding. Andrade went on to beat (future IBF welter champ) Shawn Porter in the final.

But at 17 I found alcohol and started thinking I was too talented to train hard. I started losing bouts by the odd point which I should’ve won comfortably. I got fat. I fought in the senior ABAs up at cruiserweight!

Conversely, despite remaining unbeaten, you didn’t rip up too many trees in your initial eight pro fights but have shone in your last two, at Area title level. How come?

Because of my lack of senior success in the amateurs, I didn’t get a big contract initially and had to work my way up from the basement.

Obviously I was excited for my pro debut but, after that, it was hard to get up for journeymen whose sole purpose is to avoid getting stopped and suspended.

I respond best to a challenge. I fear no opponent but I need the fear of losing to bring out the best in me. I need for people to doubt me so I can prove them wrong.

Several thought Joel McIntyre would prove too strong and, despite breaking a rib in round two, I still showed my quality and picked up the Southern Area title (pts10). It was similar with Richard Horton who I stopped (in six) in my first defence.

Your first four opponents took you to points as you made the transition between codes but you’ve stopped four of your last six. How do you account for that?

Like I say, it’s hard to coax the survivors out of their shell and tag them clean. I stopped a few in the amateurs mainly on the ‘outclassed’ rule but my coach Jay (Jason Rowland, ex British light-welter champ) stressed the need to hurt people and generate entertainment if you’re to move ahead in the pros. We work a lot now on power shots.

I also work twice a week with a strength and conditioning coach. Giving up work (as a heating engineer) last November has also helped. I’m very grateful to my sponsors for that.

Now you’ve bagged and defended the Southern Area belt, what are your goals for 2015?

I already believe I’m the best light-heavy in this country.

I’m never one to mention names, I just chase belts and will fight whoever happens to hold them. The English title (held by ex amateur victim Travis Dickenson) would be great and, given the family’s strong Irish connection, I’d also like the Irish belt. My granddad on dad’s side was from Cork but passed away a few years back and I’d like that out of respect to him.

I’ve a lot of respect for Bob Ajisafe (reigning British champ who also challenges for the vacant Commonwealth title on Saturday) but he’s gone on record that he doesn’t want to fight any more domestic opposition.

Enzo Maccarinelli is number two but I doubt the British title interests him at this stage. That leaves Travis at three and me at four to hopefully contest the belt if it becomes vacant.

How much are you looking forward to topping the bill for the first time, at the York Hall on Friday?

It’ll be great. It was actually supposed to happen for the Horton defence but then they slipped in Ovill McKenzie against Matty Askin at late notice. There’s some very good fighters underneath me so that makes me very proud.

I’m in great shape. I had quality technical sparring with Andy Lee over in Monaco and twice a week for the last month I’ve been working with George Groves. You have to be very wary. George throws every shot with bad intentions.

I’ve not seen anything of Friday’s opponent (Hungary’s Bela Juhasz) but the geezer’s record suggests he’s got a big punch. A win inside six rounds would represent a very good night’s work for me.

You’re a six handicap golfer. Ever wish you’d followed that path?!

I do love my golf and play every Saturday plus midweek if I can fit it in. My cousin Callum is a pro on the European tour and easily the most talented sportsman in the extended family.

But, nah, I love boxing. Once you start it’s incredibly difficult to give up. It’s a bug.

LEON ‘WONDERBOY’ WOODSTOCK: “WHEN I ENTER THE RING, I TURN DARK!”

Having terrorised the nation’s leading amateur lightweights, Midland menace Leon Woodstock unleashes his explosive fists into the professional arena at The York Hall, Bethnal Green this Friday.

The 21-year-old from Leicester halted 16 of 24 opponents during a brief but violent flirtation with the amateur code that peaked with an English Boxing Elite semi final appearance.

‘All those stoppages came with big padded gloves and opponents wearing head guards,’ warns Woodstock who intends to compete in the super-feather division.

‘My ‘A Game’ revolves around head movement, edging close, then attacking head and body. I’ve this random instinct for smelling when the opponents hurt.

‘Away from the gym, people see me as a clown, a fun guy but when I enter the ring, I turn dark! Once I tag ‘em , I don’t stop till they drop. My motto’s always been: ‘Put ‘em on their arse!’

The kid they call ‘Wonderboy’’ didn’t actually embrace The Noble Art until the age of 16 but he’s been using his dukes to destructive effect since his formative years.

‘I must have had a scrap three or four times every week when I was a school,’ he recalls.

‘My first knockout came in a Year Five maths class when another kid said: ‘Shut up, you black bastard.’ I hit him really quick and he just slumped. Got excluded for that!’

‘Growing up in Beaumont Leys, bang in Leicester city centre, it was rough, man. I wasn’t substantial at school. I always felt I should be doing something else.

‘I was never the biggest but always had a bit of a mouth on me! Back then, if someone brought trouble, you didn’t ask how heavy the kid was, how many previous (street) scraps they’d had. You just went at it.

‘And it always finished with me putting the other kid over. Every time I landed clean, they dropped. I soon became quite respected in the area. I could always punch.’

Not for the first time, the Sweet Science helped straighten out the wayward youth, invoking much needed discipline and moral fibre.

‘Boxing prevented me from developing into a right handful,’ he concedes.

‘I didn’t have the best of childhoods. Let’s just say my pops wasn’t a great guy, didn’t treat my mum right. I built up a lot of rage but I was able to release all that anger through boxing.

‘Now I’m all about the legacy I can leave behind. All negativity is gone. I intend to do good things in and out of the ring. I want to help make life better for others; provide opportunities for people to fulfil their talents.’

Born in Hackney, east London, the Woodstock family migrated to the midlands when Leon was just three. His interest in the fight game was first fuelled by his maternal grandfather when Woodstock was still at primary school.

He remembers: ‘Granddad used to box over in Bombay, India. He had eight fights, lost the first to his best friend, then won the other seven. I used to play spar with him from the age of about five. He always told people I hit very hard. It was he who called me ‘Wonderboy’, long before I started up boxing.

‘My granddad got me into Sugar Ray Robinson; a great boxer who could also fight and who was fearless. I also loved watching tapes of Nigel Benn. He’s the inspiration for how I fight. Of the current crop (Keith) ‘One Time’ Thurman’s my man. I like to think I’m a raw version of him.’

Boxing exclusively out of the Leicester Unity ABC gym, schooled by coach Ajmal ‘Hudge’ Butt, the combination of Woodstock’s raw power and mean intent was immediately evident.

‘I won all my first 10 amateur fights by stoppage,’ he claims.

‘Papa Hudge’ is like the dad I never really had. He’s the only man I’ll listen to. He took me around all the local gyms and I sparred plenty of big lumps yet most of them fell.

‘I got to the English semi finals dropping or stopping several far more experienced kids and only lost on split decision (to Tiger’s Jack Daniel) but I was never called up for England or GB. I believe my style was a bit too aggressive.

‘Amateur boxing proved a great way to get a feel of the ring and pick up experience of boxing before an audience but I always wanted to be a pro. There were never enough rounds in the amateurs and the judging was just ridiculous.

‘Today, I’m a full time boxer from 7am until 8.30pm, though obviously I’ll have a few breaks during the day.’

Singlet ditched, the Jason McClory managed starlet begins a fresh chapter on Friday, promising a few ‘add ons’ to supplement his combustible tendencies.

‘Those who knew me from the amateurs know me as vicious and relentless but I’m actually becoming quite versatile,’ he insists.

‘I’ve got quite high ability for boxing off the back foot. Recently I’ve done a lot of sparring with (Midland Area super-feather champ) Troy James and I’m enjoying that.

‘I can’t wait to show the fans the improvements I’ve been making. I don’t think they’re ready for what they’ll witness.

‘Despite quite short notice, I’ve already got rid of over 80 tickets. I’m really looking forward to it. I want to stay as busy as I can and put as many opponents to sleep as possible!’

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