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British boxing buzz: Tommy Martin ready for step up against Hibbert, big name prospects set for action

Credit: TRAD TKO

Tommy Martin: Hibbert Match Cannot Fail to Be a Good Fight

Tommy Martin says he’ll prove age is nothing but a number by defeating John Wayne Hibbert at the Copper Box Arena in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on January 30.

Martin challenges his long-time friend for the titles in the latest big domestic battle at 140lbs, and the 21 year old has once again been told by his opponent that the fight has come too soon in his blossoming careers.

The unbeaten St Neots talent was quick to tell the champion that Ricky Boylan and Michael Devine levelled the same accusation at him before he claimed impressive wins against both men in 2015, and said that the 31 year old will suffer the same fate.

“John has said that it’s too early for me and it’s a step-up in class, but he knows that it’s a hard fight for him,” said Martin. “He’s been in Spain working hard so he’s not taking me lightly and rightly so, because this is going to be a 12-round war full of fireworks.

“We know each other inside out, we know what the other one is going to do, and he won’t bring anything to the table that I haven’t seen in sparring. It cannot fail to be a good fight. We’ve always had competitive sparring that end up being 10 and 12 round wars, I expect him to be at his best and I believe whoever turns up 100 per cent will win the fight.

“I’ve been proving people wrong fight after fight, let people keep digging themselves into a hole by underestimating me, it takes the pressure off my shoulders. This is a win-win situation for me in the fight, i put enough pressure on myself for every fight so I don’t need any more pressure from outside, but people saying I’m too young to beat John means there’s no pressure from the outside on me and you’ll see on January 30 how much I’ve improved since the fights with Ricky Boylan and Michael Devine.”

Martin’s clash with Hibbert is part of a huge night of action in Sky Sports’ first domestic bill of 2016 as Super-Middleweight star George Groves takes on Italian Andrea Di Luisa for the vacant WBC International title.

Prospect D.P. Carr Set for 2nd Fight

Explosive Super-Featherweight prospect D.P Carr is gunning for his second professional victory when he takes on Joe Beadon at Bethnal Green’s York Hall on Friday January 22nd.

The 25 year-old from Sidcup won his first professional fight in devastating fashion when he sparked out Coventry’s Aaron Flinn with a powerful right hand in the second round.

Still buzzing from his professional debut at the Harrow Leisure Centre in last October, Carr is excited ahead of his four rounder against Swindon’s Joe Beadon over four rounds

He said: “I can’t wait to get back in the ring on the 22nd. I’ve shown people what I’m capable of and I definitely think that I’ll win a few more in that fashion. I’ve got a hard right-hand and I’m always looking to bring excitement to my fights. I like to have a bit of a fight and I love to entertain everyone who comes along to watch me,”

“This year is all about progression. I’m looking to have around four or five fights and obviously I’ll be looking to beat whoever’s put in front of me. Everything is a learning curve at the moment and as long as I end the year with a zero next to my name I’ll be looking to have a crack at the Southern Area title next year.”

Alan Smith, trainer of Carr, is excited about his fighter’s potential and believes he has a bright future in boxing.

He said: “Dan’s always been a nice neat boxer, but he’s got this tremendous one punch power that he pulls out of nowhere and he’s laying kids’ out, which isn’t easy to do in the amateurs. As we all saw in his pro debut, he’s got a devastating right hand and if he catches you with that it’s all over. He’s a cracking lad and very easy to work with, he trains as hard as anyone I’ve ever worked with and his professionalism is a joy.”

Carr is equally complementary of his trainer and is currently enjoying training alongside the likes of WBO European Champion Bradley Skeete and top super-bantamweight Lewis Pettitt.

He added: “I’ve learnt so much from Alan. In the last few weeks everything seems to have fallen nicely into place. To begin with I found the transition from amateur boxing quite difficult but Alan’s helped me come on leaps and bounds. I’ve been sparring well recently and things are really picking up,”

“We have a proper laugh in the camp, you’ve got the likes of Bradley and Lewis. Training alongside these boys really gets the best out of me and I’m always looking to learn from them.”

Bethnal Green’s famous York Hall is famed for its close and intense atmosphere and Carr is hoping to bring another strong following for his next fight.

He added, “Since my last fight everyone around my area has been showing me lots of support. I’m looking forward to giving them plenty of excitement when I fight and they can expect the same at the home of London boxing, The York Hall, on the 22nd January.”

Dean Gillen and Craig Bunn to clash for British Challenge belt

Nottingham’s ‘Fighting Fireman’ Dean Gillen (2-1) is set to clash with unbeaten Craig Bunn (7-0-1) for the British Challenge super-middleweight belt on February 20th in Manchester.

The Hilton Manchester Deansgate – a four-star, 47-story hotel next to the Great Northern shopping centre – will play host to the contest on the eighth weekend of the year.

Bunn, 29-years-old, gets the home advantage over Gillen, 33-years-old, travelling from Nottingham.

The 6ft 1” away fighter from Arnold hits the road for the second time in his nine month long pro career.

Gillen said of his forthcoming challenge, “I think I’m the underdog in pretty much every fight I have!

“I’m nearly always going to be the older fighter and where age usually benefits from experience, my decision to turn pro off the back of very few amateur bouts, leaves me falling short in experience too, but I gain a lot of knowledge from each fight and I learn from any mistakes.”

Gillen’s previous bout and sole career loss was to India’s middleweight boxing sensation, Vijender Singh (3-0) in November last year in Dublin, live on BoxNation TV.

The middleweight match was billed as the ‘Battle of Badges’ with Gillen, 33-years-old, a long-serving member of the Nottingham Fire and Rescue Service and Singh, 30-years-old, a Deputy Superintendent of Police in his native Haryana.

The Beijing 2008 bronze medallist, also the owner of three Commonwealth Games medals, managed to halt Gillen in the dying seconds of the opening round with a rib-breaking body shot.

Gillen commented on his previous bout, “I think the experience of fighting away in Dublin while facing an opponent of Vijender’s class will serve me well for this fight. I wasn’t fazed by the occasion in Dublin and my mood won’t be affected in Manchester.”

Also 6ft 1” in height, the home fighter, Bunn, has not fought outside of his home county of Lancashire yet, in his 10-year long professional career.

A former Junior ABA and Four Nations champion, he raced to five fights unbeaten – four wins and one draw – in the first 12 months of his career between 2005 and 2006, until a five-year prison sentence for assault brought the momentum to a sudden halt.

The ex-convict made his return to the ring on a Hatton Promotions bill in March 2012, outpointing and dropping opponent Mark McKenna (0-2-1) over four rounds at light-heavyweight.

The Droylsden boxer enjoyed sparring with Tony Bellew on his return to the scene at the heavier weight class, his last three bouts were fought at 175lbs but will drop down to 168lbs for this next challenge.

Neither boxer has scored a stoppage win yet, so the eight-round bout is expected to go the distance.

“Winning this fight will boost my profile and prospects, for sure,” said Deano. “It’s a jump up in weight class and levels for me, but I’m ready. I train hard and live clean, so those are things that go in my favour.”

For Bunn, it is a must-win fight in order for his stuttering career to have any chance of success after so many years away from the ring.

Gillen has set himself the target of winning a Central Area title in a career that he admits has limited time available due to his late start.

“I’ve always wanted to achieve something from professional boxing and although this belt is the lowest achievement available as a pro, it will mean the world to me,” said Deano.

Woodstock Looking for Another KO Win

Leicester power-puncher Leon Woodstock is a clinical finisher like Premier League hotshot Jamie Vardy when it comes to taking out opponents and the 22-year-old aims for another knockout when he takes on Swindon’s experienced Joe Beadon at the Liverpool Echo Arena on Saturday February 13th.

The King Power Stadium, home of Premier League high-flyers Leicester City, has witnessed some knockout performances this season and ‘The King’ will be looking to excite fight fans with some big performances of his own in 2016.

He said: “I feel like the first year was about establishing myself and letting people know who I am. I’m not big headed but I’m confident. I don’t go mouthing off in front of the cameras but I’m very sure of what I’m capable of and I’m very sure of people that I can deal with. At first I wanted to set a good example to younger lads in Leicester and established myself amongst the professional boxing ranks,”

“This year is about trying to take some bigger names and maybe a few titles along the way. I want to carry on building my reputation and letting people know I’m not here to mess about, I’m here to do the business in the ring.”

With three knockouts in his first five professional fights, Woodstock’s raw power and aggressive style have led some to draw comparisons with British legend Nigel Benn. However, the explosive Woodstock is looking to take a leaf out of Chris Eubank’s book.

He continued, “Benn is my favourite British boxer ever, his power and aggression made for a devastating combination. He came a bit unstuck when he came up against higher level fighters because he was so used to steaming through easier opponents! When it came to doing more rounds against better fighters he had to go back to the basics of boxing instead of just walking through everyone,”

“Chris Eubank on the other hand could have knocked some of his opponents out much earlier than he did but he wanted to get more rounds under his belt. I’m looking to do the same thing, if I know I can deal with someone I’ll do the rounds and if the opportunity arises to deal with them later on in the fight I’ll take them out.”

“If I feel like I have 100% control over someone, and I can do what I want with them and they’re in my back pocket I’m not going to look to just completely blow them away.”

Boxing out of the Leicester City ABC gym, Woodstock has big plans for his future in boxing and is looking to emulate the success of Claudio Ranieri’s title-chasing men.

He added, “Leicester City are flying at the moment and there’s a real buzz around the city. They’ve got every chance of winning the Premier League title and I’m going to be winning a few titles of my own. It’s a great time to be a fan of sports if you’re based in Leicester and I’m going to give my fans something to cheer about too.”