Blair’s View from Britain:
Last week was primarily one of promotional changes here in the UK. It was announced that Welsh former light heavyweight world titleholder Nathan Cleverly had signed with Matchroom, continuing their pillage of Frank Warren fighters, something that has become a small tradition of late.
“Matchroom and Sky Sports is the place to be to get back on top,” Cleverly told the press, though Warren has since retorted by stating that Cleverly still has contractual obligations with him. Following in this vein, Olympic Gold medalist James “Chunky” DeGale split from his former promoter; Mick Hennessey, thus rendering him a promotional free agent.
There were plenty of fights too, don’t forget. Enzo Maccarinelli came up short in his world title tilt against Juergen Braehmer. Lady luck just wasn’t smiling on Enzo, whose right eye closed early on. Despite competing with Braehmer, he was pulled out by his corner at the end of five rounds. Maccarinelli is reportedly seeking a rematch.
Carl Frampton had contrasting fortunes as he (pause to signify inverted commas) “knocked out” Hugo Cazares. Cazares was too busy bravely smiling at Frampton to remember to beat the count having suffered a skull-rattling left hook that departed him briefly from his senses.
Cazares gesticulated to the referee, but such trivialities didn’t trouble the crowd of Belfast men and women, who were too busy beginning the night out to end all nights out. Frampton, along with his merry band of followers, can now look forward to a shot at WBC super bantamweight champ; Leo Santa Cruz.
Prizefighter returned with a welterweight edition promising, well, what every Prizefighter promises on paper – prizefights. This time it was good though, really good, with an enticing blend of unknown prospects, veterans and small-hall sluggers.
Two favorites went out early, with Dean Byrne losing on points and Erick Ochieng retiring due to exhaustion following his win over Northern Ireland’s Paddy Gallagher. Ochieng has since recovered.
Squirming, nay, elevating myself beyond some sort of “luck of the Irish” pun, it must be reported that Gallagher nearly took full advantage of his good *ahem* fortune, going all the way to the final where he lost on points to Johnny Coyle. Coyle, who was just 3-0 (1 draw) going in, left York Hall with a £32,000 Exchequer (approx.$53,000), an improved record and a vastly enhanced reputation.
Fight of the Week
This has to go to Mark Douglas and Dean Byrne who bore their souls for nine minutes in front of an enthralled York Hall audience on Saturday night. Byrne has generally fought at a higher level, but Douglas dragged the Irishman into a brawl, landing repeatedly with thudding right hands, and advanced to the semi-finals of Prizefighter in the process.
Fighter of the Week
Johnny Coyle earns a tip of the cap for his exploits as part of this past weekend’s excellent edition of Prizefighter. He out-pointed the most experienced of the eight contestants – Jason Cook, in the first round. He followed that up by squeaking past another 20 year old, Sam Eggington, in a delightfully close three rounder, before pipping the aforementioned Paddy Gallagher in the final. Having been the underdog at all times, Coyle showed good footwork and fast hands as he boxed his way to victory from a southpaw stance, earning himself the tag of ‘one to watch’ as a result.
Moment of the Week
A more sobering piece of news now, as it was reported that Menay Edwards was discharged from hospital on Wednesday following his hard-fought contest with Matty Askin for the English cruiserweight title. Askin prevailed in a back and forth bout, having knocked Edwards down in the ninth and ultimately final round. Edwards was released from hospital following a bleed on the brain, but will not box again.
Quote of the Week
“I’d…let Tyson in the ring with Chisora right now, it would be like putting a lion and a gazelle in a cage together, it would be a massacre”
– Peter Fury discussing his protege’s chances ahead of his upcoming fight with Dereck Chisora. Hands up who thinks this might just be the last time we hear Dereck Chisora being likened to a gazelle?
A good old domestic is on the cards this weekend, as Tony Conquest defends his Commonwealth title against its former incumbent; Ovill McKenzie at the Copper Box Arena in London. The show also sees an intriguing eight-round heavyweight clash between local boy Ian Lewison and the vastly more experienced American; Eddie Chambers. Elsewhere on the bill, Frank Buglioni, Hughie Fury and Chris Eubank Jr. are scheduled to appear.