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British boxing: Tyrone Nurse confident against Willie Limond, Anthony Ogogo back & more

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Credit: Lawrence Lustig

Tyrone Nurse has told Willie Limond to forget about a title fight with Ricky Burns as he plots a path to land the British Super-Lightweight title outright, starting with his first defense at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow tomorrow night.

Nurse landed the title in November having finally the better of Chris Jenkins in their second bout having drawn with the talented Welshman in July.

Former champion Limond had been set to face both Nurse and Limond during his reign but injuries and illness to the Scot and the Welshman meant he had to vacate the belt. Limond now gets his chance to regain the belt and then hopefully set-up a clash with Ricky Burns who tops the bill in his World title clash – but Nurse is here to rip up that script.

“This is boxing, there’s always a bigger picture with things happening behind the scenes,” said Nurse. “I know that if Willie wins and Ricky wins the World title, they’ll look to make that fight for a World title in Glasgow. We are not daft, we know how it works, but that’s not going to happen.

“He’s going to be so up for it too as he knows that the Burns fight is there if everything goes right, but that’s not in my plans and I am sure it’s not in Michele Di Rocco’s plans either. We’re not here to give wins away, but like I said, we’d be foolish to look at this and not see that Burns vs Limond is what they want to set up.

“There’s been a few ups and downs getting this fight on, I was meant to fight Willie a year or so ago but he got injured, and now in a sense he’s my mandatory as even though this is a voluntary, he gave the belt up so Chris and I could fight for it and deserves his chance to get it back.”

Victory over Jenkins came after 24 rounds of intense action between the pair in two fights in Manchester. The judges were unable to separate them in the first contest but Nurse was awarded the belt in their second clash by five rounds and three rounds (twice). Jenkins floored Nurse hard in the fifth round of the rematch but the 26 year old recovered well and believes he showed he’s the best fighter in the exciting 140lbs division.

“I was comfortable in there and I was having a bit of fun at times,” said Nurse. “He caught me with a great shot in the fifth round that woke me up a bit. You get hit with good shots from time to time, it happens. I recovered quickly but went onto the ropes and let him unload, but he didn’t really catch me with anything clean, certainly none of them bothered me. It just taught me to stop switching off really.

“I’ve said for a while that Chris and I are the best in the division and I proved that I’m the best. There’s some really good fights in the division, Chris will come back stronger and he’s teamed up with a great trainer in Gary Lockett, you’ve got John Wayne Hibbert, Dave Ryan, Jack Catterall is the mandatory for the British title now and then there’s Ricky at the top of the list. It’s a really exciting division and there’s some big fights out there, so keep hold of the title and see Jack off, and there’s a lot more big fights for me.

“I’d love to win this belt outright. I’ve got to get past Willie first and then Jack, he’s a very good fighter. I’m not one to look too far down the road, you have to just have to take each fight as it comes because it’s such an unpredictable sport you never know what fight could be next or what opportunity might present itself. Willie has my full respect as he’s a great fighter.”

Anthony Ogogo faces Chris Herrmann on Saturday night in Glasgow

2012 Olympic Bronze medalist Anthony Ogogo (8-0, 4 KOs) is ready to return to the ring on Saturday, May 28 against Chris Herrmann (21-10-1, 12 KOs) at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow.

Ogogo has endured a difficult time with injuries since joining the professional ranks. Having returned from a long-standing Achilles problem, which saw him sidelined for 12 months, the 27 year-old dislocated his shoulder during a unanimous points win over Ruslan Schelev last July.

Now injury free, Ogogo is ready to get his promising career back on track, starting with Saturday’s event, a fight he believes will lead to the bigger challenges he craves.

Ogogo’s return is part of a huge night of action in Glasgow as Ricky Burns (39-5-1,13 KOs) looks to become a three-division world champion as he takes on Michele Di Rocco (40-1-1, 18 KOs) for the vacant WBA Super-Lightweight World Championship.

“I’m at the stage now where I would fight anybody put in front of me,’’ says Ogogo. “Chomping at the bit doesn’t come close to describing how I feel about boxing right now. I’ve had two of the hardest most horrible years imaginable. I’ve been through a hellacious rehab, and I’ve done it all for this moment – to get back in the ring and show the world my true ability – so I couldn’t care less if my opponent was Gennady Golovkin or Glen Smith from down the street.

“I just want to get in there, do my thing and hopefully I can deal with this guy handily and move on to the next one. Although it’s my comeback fight, it’s like I’m running a hurdles race. This is just hurdle number one and I’ve got fifty more hurdles to get over after this one. I’m not overlooking my opponent, as I know boxing can come to a sudden end with one fell swoop of a punch, but for me, this is just the first of many hurdles I must get over to make it to the top.’’

Ogogo, who has already set his sights on the division’s champions, believes activity will be key in achieving his goals.

“If it was down to me I would be fighting for a title on Saturday,’’ he says. “I want to win titles and I want to clean up the division, but I know this will only come with activity. I’ve had eight fights in three years because I’ve had the most rotten luck imaginable, but all I need now is a nice clean bill of health and to build some momentum. Ideally, I want to be fighting every four to six weeks.

“Back in the day they were boxing every month. One of my heroes Sugar Ray Robinson fought every month – fifteen rounds here, ten rounds there – and that’s what I want to do. That’s how a fighter develops his skillset, his speed, his timing – by being busy and keeping active.

“If I can string a few fights together, I can get myself into a good position and then we can start aiming for the champions but first and foremost, I need to get back in the ring and back to what I do best. That starts with a good win on Saturday night.’’

“Herrmann will provide a good test for Anthony’s first fight back,’’ said promoter Kalle Sauerland. ‘’He’s an experienced fighter who has shared the ring with some quality opposition. This is a chance for Anthony to get back under the lights and to shake of the ring rust. We believe Anthony is a match for anyone in the division, and when he comes through this, the bigger fights will follow.’’

“This fight will mark a significant step along Anthony’s comeback trail,” said Golden Boy Promotion Chairman and CEO, Oscar De La Hoya. “We all know the talent and desire is there in abundance, and if Anthony can stay healthy the sky is limit for him in the middleweight division.”

Ryan Farrag Out for Early KO Next Week

Unsung EBU bantam boss Ryan Farrag intends kicking up a commotion when he opens the defence of his title against French foghorn Karim Guerfi at the Echo Arena in his home city of Liverpool next Saturday.

Glynn Evans found the 28 year old MGM managed champion in buoyant mood when he caught up with him on Thursday.

You entered as a massive underdog when you travelled to Liege, Belgium to confront local star Stephane Jamoye, a former two-time world title challenger, for the EBU belt last October.
What was the secret behind your upset ninth round stoppage win?

I went over to Belgium wanting to stop him. I always want to get ‘em out of there (early). That said, I was winning so clearly. Usually, mid fight, it’s so fast and frantic that you’re never really sure of the scoring but I knew I was getting out of the way of all of his, and landing most of mine. I remember telling my corner: ‘I’m f***ing him, aren’t I?’

Pretty early on, I knew I’d stop him. He was taking far too many big right hands and the expression on his face told me he’d not be able to take much more. I was thinking: ‘The ref needs to be stopping this.’ The towel came in at the right time.

The British bantamweight scene is really buzzing at the moment, with two English world champions. What’s your assessment of the competition?

(Doncaster’s WBA champion) Jamie McDonnell is a very good fighter, a tall rangy boxer but I don’t mind the taller ones. I beat loads in the amateurs including (2012 Olympic gold medallist) Luke Campbell. Unfortunately I’m not ranked with the WBA and think I’ll probably have to fight my way up to the mandatory slot to challenge Jamie.

Obviously (Bristol’s IBF boss) Lee Haskins beat me over three rounds very early in my career in Prizefighter when I didn’t have the patience for such a tricky opponent. Now I understand the pros more, understand you can’t just rush in. It’d be a different fight now, I can assure him.
I desperately want Haskins’ title and if I get a good result on Saturday I’ll have an even better (IBF) ranking and it’ll be more likely to happen.

I think a lot of fans would want to watch a fight between (ex IBF champ and current WBC number six) Stuey Hall and myself because our styles would gel to deliver a thriller. Again a big win next Saturday will improve my rating with the WBC and perhaps we could meet in a WBC final eliminator.

Guys like (current British champ) Ryan Burnett and (Commonwealth king) Jason Cunningham are behind me at the minute. I wouldn’t mind their belts but need to take whatever opportunities are presented at world level first before considering them.

Would you contemplate travelling to Asia to challenge WBC champion Shinsuke Yamanaka from Japan or WBO king Pungluang Sor Singyu from Thailand?

I’d never turn down any world title fight offered, here or abroad, because the opportunity may never come again.

Since I first started boxing the belt I’ve always wanted is the green WBC belt, the Tyson belt! I’ve not seen a tremendous amount of the Jap but he’s tall, quick and strong.

The WBO champ is nearer my height and I don’t think he could compete with me skill wise. He’d suit.

You return to your home city for your maiden defence next weekend. Is that pressure or pleasure?

It’s always a pleasure to be fighting at home. I’ll be very relaxed. I doubt I’ll feel any pressure on me. No doubt the crowd will be hostile to him. That’s not something I encourage because I believe this is a gentleman’s sport and every boxer deserves credit and respect for stepping between the ropes.

You say that but already there’s a bit of needle brewing between yourself and Monsieur Guerfi. Explain!

I took exception to Guerfi messaging me on social media a few weeks ago. I’m not too sure what his agenda was. I think he might even have been trying to be friendly. He wasn’t getting under my skin – I’d not allow him to – but the last thing I want is a friendly conversion with a future opponent. I stopped him in his tracks and told him I intended to punch his head clean off his shoulders!

Has your preparation altered now that you’re a champion?

Yeah, I spent an early week of this camp sparring Jamie Conlan in Marbella and it was nice to get away.

It certainly beats cleaning buckets and getting shit all over your hair and face which used to happen when I was a plasterer! The heat helps bring the weight down and we were very well looked after by the lads at the MGM gym. I’d love a six to eight week camp over there but my coaches have partners and kids over here to consider. I’m the only one in the gym without a girlfriend!

What problems do you envisage Guerfi will pose? Why will you prevail?

He’ll bring good experience from his travels but we’re ready for anything he brings. I believe I’m quicker, stronger and smarter.

I’ve seen a couple of his fights and he likes to mix things up; box a bit, looking for counters but also get involved at times. So I imagine there’ll be times when it’s cagey and times when we’ll trade. If he wants to stand mid ring and take his chance with me I’ll be very happy to oblige. I don’t think he has serious power.

I expect to hurt him early and prove too strong. I always want to put on a good show for the fans, give them a good stoppage to enjoy. I’ve stopped me last three. From now on I aim to destroy every opponent!

Dodd ‘over the moon’ at WBC International shot

Sean ‘Masher’ Dodd is ready to put his British title heartache behind him and break into the World scene by landing the WBC International Lightweight title against Pasquale Di Silvio at Goodison Park on Sunday.

Dodd came close on two occasions to taking Scotty Cardle’s British crown in their meetings at the Echo Arena in November and April but fell agonisingly short on both nights.

The Birkenhead man’s stock has risen dramatically following both his fights with Cardle and his win over Gary Buckland at late notice in September to get the Cardle clash, and Dodd believes that he will finally get his hands on a title in his clash with the experienced Italian.

“I am over the moon to be on the show and to have this fight,” said Dodd. “It is great to be fighting for a title and I am excited to get in there on Sunday. It is a great card and to be a part of it on a massive night for the city.

“He is a tough Italian fella. He has done almost as many ten and 12 rounders as I have had fights. He is a little bit older than me so it could be his last chance and that could make him very dangerous. He has a lot of things in his favour and I am expecting a very hard fight.

“A win can get me a world ranking with a win and to get into the rankings so soon isn’t something I would have expected a year ago.

“Taking these opportunities has given me a life I didn’t have. I am feeling good and very hungry and I cannot wait to get back out there. I am an entertainer and I am going to rise up to this level, put on a good show and win this title.

“In the gym I am feeling confident and I feel that I have moulded into the professional lifestyle so well. I feel like I am on a level to fight Di Silvio and for the WBC International title.”

While Dodd is feeling good about his chances, the 31 year old can be forgiven for have been down in the dumps following his second meeting with Cardle last month.

Having been stopped by the Lytham St Annes man in the final round of the first contest when he was in front on the cards, Dodd and his fans were certain that he’d done enough to get the nod in the rematch only for the judges to rule the contest even – but landing a huge fight at Everton has helped Dodd get over the disappointment of the rematch.

“I know a lot of people were upset with the last decision, as was I, but it’s ancient history now, I have put it behind me and I am looking to the future,” said Dodd. “I have a bigger fight now and I am moving on and moving up.

“Decisions are out of my hands so I am more interested in how I perform. Every time I have stepped up I have performed well. In boxing it is about listening to your coaches and the tactics, not going out there all gung ho.

“Every style has a weak link so I have been listening a lot more to my coaches. I have always listened but even more so now because bigger things are at stake. I have been nailing the tactics and the performances have been showing.

“From where I have come from in the last fight, it has left a lot of hunger so I am going to go out there and grab this by both hands. It is a big opportunity and I don’t let those go by. It doesn’t get much bigger than fighting at Goodison Park.”

Steven Lewis Aims to Stay Busy & Make a Splash

After 10 months procrastinating on the sidelines, heavy hitting Liverpool light-welter Steven Lewis makes a welcome return to duty on the mammoth ‘Homecoming’ bill at The Echo Arena next weekend, writes Glynn Evans.

The seriously dangerous 22 year old from West Derby advances to eight round level when he confronts Aberdeen based iron man Marek Laskowski, a Polish native who has lost just five of 13 and is yet to be stopped as a pro.

‘It’ll be great to get back in there,’ says the former Junior ABA and CYP champ who recently penned a management deal with the MGM group in Marbella.

‘While I’ve been changing over managers it’s been very frustrating watching all the lads in the (Everton Red Triangle) gym doing so well while I’ve been waiting, pulling me hair out.

‘I was in camp all over Christmas and pencilled in for the Terry v Derry (Flanagan-Mathews) bill in March but injured me knee which kept me out longer. Then I was considered for the Jack Catterall bill in Bolton but just needed a few weeks longer.

‘I’m very lucky to have excellent sponsors in JK Rail which has allowed me to train over at the MGM gym in Spain. You couldn’t be with a better set of lads than over there. I’ve been really looked after and they promise they’re gonna keep me busy. It’ll be good to get back out.’

Quiet and humble beyond the ropes, the Everton season ticket holder has been causing quite a commotion between them, winning ten straight since debuting as a pro in October 2012 and wasting his last three opponents in just five rounds combined. Several industry experts are already viewing him as the future force in Britain’s stagnating 140lb division.

Despite his hiatus, the 5ft 9in strongman promises to be as good as he’s ever been when he climbs up the steps on Saturday week.

The man who trains alongside major belt holders such as Kevin Satchell, Ryan Farrag and Jazza Dickens says: ‘Though I’ve not fought for 10 months, I’ve constantly been in the gym learning with Paul and Mick (Stevenson, the brothers who coach him) and watching DVDs of the likes of Golovkin or ‘Canelo’. I’m learning to alternate between cutting the ring down or going back foot. I’ve got every area covered.

‘I’ve had quality sparring with a good light-middle over in Spain plus (reigning British champ) Tyrone Nurse, a lovely fella. There was no atmosphere. By the time I get among the titles, I expect he’ll have moved to another level.

‘This year I want more fights, more stoppages and hopefully a title. There’s a few lads who I fought in the amateurs who are coming through like Sam McNess. I’m a bit head of them at the moment but they could build into good rivalries.

‘All my gym mates take the piss cos they’ve got titles. It brings me on to be fair and I’m made up for them but it does make me more hungry.
‘I’m already 10-0 so I don’t think I’m too far off. If offered, I’d take a British or Commonwealth title fight tomorrow. That’s the level of fight I’m training for.’

And he intends taking a giant leap to securing those goals by glistening before his fellow Merseysiders this weekend.

He concludes: ‘While I always train to outpoint my opponent over however many rounds we’re matched for, I always want stoppages and knockouts and Saturday will be no different.
I intend making a statement to all the others coming through in my division.’

Coach Paul Stevenson, who has schooled Lewis throughout his entire pro career, adds: ‘Steven’s only young but he’s already very strong and is yet to develop his full ‘man strength’. That’ll come over the next two or three years and then he’ll be truly formidable.

‘We tease Steven that the only belt he holds is the one he bought from ‘Next’ but he’s a good part of our team. When he’s hitting the bag, he only needs to look to his left or right for inspiration. There’s champions everywhere. We’re confident that we’ll have him up at title level late this year or early next. He’s going to do good things.

‘During his absence from the ring we’ve still been working on all aspects in the gym; developing his strength, teaching him how to control opponents to deliver his big shots and put even more spite into them, how to cope with different situations. His boxing from the outside is very underrated and he’s huge for the weight.

‘From a trainer’s stance, I’d like Steven to get some good rounds under his belt after his lay-off and get out again pretty soon after. The lads at MGM have promised they’ll keep him busy.

‘But, in order to build a following, I know he’ll be looking for a kayo. Ideally, he’ll score a knockout in the last minute of the eighth round!’

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