Home News British boxing buzz: Mitchell Smith wins award, Scott Fitzgerald signs with Matchroom

British boxing buzz: Mitchell Smith wins award, Scott Fitzgerald signs with Matchroom

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Credit: Frank Warren

MITCHELL SMITH NAMED BEST YOUNG BOXER OF THE YEAR BY BOXING WRITERS’ CLUB

Harrow super-featherweight hotshot Mitchell Smith has been nominated the 2015 Best Young Boxer of the Year by the prestigious Boxing Writers’ Club.

The fast rising young star is the latest addition to an illustrious roll call of British greats who have previously won the award, including Terry Downes, Howard Winstone, Ken Buchanan, John Conteh, Barry McGuigan, Naseem Hamed, Joe Calzaghe, Ricky Hatton and more recently Billy Joe Saunders.

Dynamite-punching Smith, 22, is one of the best young talents coming through on the domestic scene with an unbeaten record of 13 fights with seven knockouts and has so far claimed the Southern Area, English, WBO European and WBO Intercontinental titles, all televised on The Channel Of Champion, BoxNation.

His last three fights have ended in back-to-back knockouts inside five rounds and he obliterated Dennis Tubieron in his last fight in July with one stunning punch to the ribs in the first round.

Ranked at number eight in the world by the WBO, Smith is moving up the rankings fast and his next fight is at the Harrow Leisure Centre on Friday 30th October when he faces south London rival George Jupp in a defence of his WBO Intercontinental belt.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have been honoured with this award. The fact that so many knowledgable boxing writers, who have the whole of the country to choose from, have chosen me, it means a great deal. Also, to have my name on a trophy alongside so many great fighters makes me very proud. I hope that I’m able to go on and prove myself worthy of their choice in years to come.” Said Mitchell.

Frank Warren is delighted with Smith’s progress since turning professional under his guidance in 2012 and he is the 19th boxer promoted by the Hall of Fame Promoter to win the award.

“I’m delighted that Mitchell has been awarded the Boxing Writers’ Young Boxer of the Year of the award and he deserves it for all the hard work and exciting performances he has put on over the last twelve months, all of them on BoxNation. From the brutal one punch finish of Tubieron to the stunning four-punch knockout combination of Antonio Horvatic, Mitchell brings excitement whenever he fights. I’m expecting more big things from him in the next year and he’ll the one on everyones lips, he’s the next big star of British boxing.” Said Warren.

Smith will be presented the award at a glittering ceremony next month at the Savoy Hotel.

SCOTT FITZGERALD JOINS MATCHROOM BOXING

Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing are delighted to announce that Commonwealth Games gold medallist Scott Fitzgerald has signed promotional terms with the company.

Fitzgerald, from Preston, won Welterweight gold at last year’s Games in Glasgow and will make his professional debut in Liverpool on November 7 on the undercard of the blockbuster Callum Smith vs. Rocky Fielding clash for the vacant British Super Middleweight title at the Echo Arena, live on Sky Sports.

The 23 year old will then box on the undercard of Anthony Crolla’s rematch with Darleys Perez for the WBA World Lightweight title at the Manchester Arena on November 21, also live on Sky Sports.

“I am delighted to join Matchroom Boxing,” said Fitzgerald. “Team GB’s facilities gave me a great place to train and learn and I am ready for the pro game now.

“It was great to have the support at the Commonwealth Games and I am confident I will have big support in Liverpool and Manchester.”

Promoter Eddie Hearn said, “I am delighted to welcome Scott to the team and I am very excited about his future. Scott was an exceptional amateur and part of the outstanding GB Boxing setup, culminating in Commonwealth Games gold last year.

“I believe he has a great style for the pro game and Sky Sports viewers will enjoy watching his journey unfold.”

INTRODUCING COMMONWEALTH SUPER-BANTAMWEIGHT CHALLENGER BOBBY JENKINSON

Lincoln giant killer Bobby ‘Dazzler’ Jenkinson promises a blinding performance when he challenges Erith battler Lewis Pettitt in a potential thriller for the vacant Commonwealth super-bantam strap this Saturday at the SSE Arena, Wembley.

The 23 year old from the Shinfield stable in Somercotes, once a national junior champion, is a 5ft 6in swashbuckler who remains a secret outside the small halls. BoxNation investigator Glynn Evans was commissioned to find out more.

How did you become involved in boxing?

I’m from a little village called Cherry Willingham about five miles out of Lincoln. It’s very quiet and peaceful. Thankfully, I’ve always been able to restrict my fighting to inside the ring.

My Dad Gary was an ex-pro lightweight in the 1990s (9-9-4) so I started amateur boxing at the Bracebridge ABC, aged 11. I won 44 of 77 contests but only boxed at home three times so struggled to get decisions.

I actually won the national CYPs when I was about 17, and got to the ABA quarter-finals one year but was already training at the Shinfield gym and couldn’t be bothered to stay amateur once I turned 20.

After four promising wins, you were badly stopped in your fifth pro fight by novice Spanish bantamweight Francisco Javier Rodriguez Ortega. What went wrong?

Looking back, I’m glad it happened. It was in my town and I got too confident, got too close rather than stepping off, and I wasn’t keeping my right hand up. My head was all over the place when he clipped me and I got up too quick. That defeat taught me to think a bit more.

You’re unbeaten in five since, winning the Midland Area title (pts 10, Paul Holt) and acquiring a rep for scalping unbeaten prospects such as Accrington’s Artif Ali and Hull’s Charlie Payton in their backyards. That should stand you in good stead to upset Pettitt in Wembley.

You have to work a lot harder and win very clearly but I enjoy fighting in the away corner. There’ll be a few of my fans there but there’ll be less pressure.

Obviously there’ll be nerves on the night but that’s natural. I just need to make sure I give 100% and give myself the best possible chance of bringing the belt home. You have to take a gamble to get anywhere in this game.

You’re yet to feature on TV. Stylewise, what can fans look forward to?

I’m a pressure fighter who’s getting stronger with age.

Lately, because the fights are getting longer, I’ve worked on moving in and out but basically I’m always on your toe, moving my head, hands held high. Sometimes I switch.

Not being shown on the tele is probably a good thing. I’m the mystery man! But Lewis is a good kid, it’ll only take him a couple of rounds to find out what I’m about.

What’s your assessment of co-challenger Pettitt?

I’ve seen a few of Lewis’ fights. He’s a good kid – they all are at this level – with a ‘come forward’ style similar to mine; we both like to throw the hooks. But I don’t think he’s been tested yet. He’s not been pushed back like I intend pushing him back.

It’ll be a helluva good fight but I’m not worried.

Finally, what gives you confidence that you’ll lift the title on September 26th?

Firstly, I’ve a good team behind me. The Shinfields are good blokes and have done very well to get me this chance. They used to work with my Dad and have always been straight. You can really trust ‘em.

Secondly, I always box better when the opponent comes forward and throws shots. That’s what gets the adrenalin flowing.

Thirdly, I’ve upset the applecart away from home before. I’m confident I’ll catch him. It’s my time!

EX COMMONWEALTH KING MO HUSSEIN: ‘MY EDDIE IS DEFINITELY A FUTURE TITLE PROSPECT

Proud pops Mo Hussein claims son Eddie is set to replicate him as a lightweight champion.

Mallet-fisted Mo, a Turkish-Cypriot who boxed out of West Ham, won and twice retained the Commonwealth crown during a colourful 27 fight career with 17 knockouts back in the 1980s.

And he predicts that his 26 year old son who trains in Dagenham is destined for the same path.

‘Eddie definitely has the ability to reach the level I got to,’ claims Mo who, like his son, was also promoted by Frank Warren.

‘He does everything well. He’s a clean living, family man who trains very hard and is a good learner.

‘Eddie’s taller and has longer arms than I had so he can do more things. He too likes to mix it and punch the body, but he can also box. He’s a good all rounder.’

Since debuting in September 2011, young Eddie has travelled the full trip in each of his six pro fights which suggests he didn’t inherit dad’s ‘equaliser’. But Mo will have none of it.

‘If you look at my pro record, I didn’t stop too many in my early fights,’ he claims.

‘Trust me, Eddie has plenty of power. He knocks ‘em over, just doesn’t rush in for the finish. And every fight he has, he gets better. He’s definitely a future title prospect.’

Eddie entered this world just six months prior to his father’s ring retirement so has no recollection of him in action. However, he watches the old man’s fight tapes avidly.

‘Dad was so strong and loved a ‘tear up’,’ assesses the ex London junior champion who boxed amateur in the West Ham singlet.

‘He didn’t care who the opponent was, he just went for it. And he could really bang. I can have a ‘tear up’ but work more on cleverness and distance.’

The main harness on Eddie realising his full potential as a pro thus far has been inactivity.

‘I’ve got two young daughters so have to work between fights but, over the last year, I’ve been more committed to boxing,’ explains the 5ft 7in self-employed heating and ventilation engineer.

‘I’m always in the gym, always fit, so it’s time to crack on. This season I aim to get as many fights as possible under my belt so that hopefully I can start challenging for titles next season. I’d like to go Southern Area, English then British and Commonwealth but any title would be fantastic.’

Already a credible ticket seller, Eddie believes his fan base will snowball if he can entice London’s sizeable Turkish community to jump on board, saying:

‘The Turks do like to get behind their fighters. They followed my dad but I don’t speak Turkish so don’t push it. Hopefully, eventually, it’ll happen naturally.’

The prospect kick starts his 2015-16 campaign on the mega ‘Man versus Machine’ promotion at Wembley’s SSE Arena on September 26th, confident he can advance his 5-0-1 stats.

‘‘I’m not just a lot stronger physically, I’m also a lot wiser than when I first turned pro. I no longer rush my work as much. I feel it’s gradually all coming together,’ he said.

‘Wembley represents my first step up to six rounds so hopefully I can deliver a strong, confident display of boxing for the fans; showcase my skills. I’m yet to show what I’m truly capable of. My first stoppage win would be the jackpot!’

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