WHO DOES SELBY FIGHT NEXT?

WHO DOES SELBY FIGHT NEXT?

Early morning, 27th January 2017 Lee Selby was raring to go and showcase his ability as a world Featherweight champion on the undercard of Frampton v Santa Cruz 2. Fast-foward  2 weeks and the ‘Welsh Mayweather’ is left in disbelief as his opponent was withdrawn due to licensing conditions. IBF world Featherweight champion, Selby, was understandably disappointed, especially as he only fought once in 2016, defeating Eric Hunter over 12 rounds.

Who does Selby fight next has been the question on a lot of British boxing fans minds since January 27th, he has plenty of options but the one we all wanted to see against Carl Frampton will have to wait. There is also the option that the cancelled fight against Barroso will go ahead and the IBF stress he is still the mandatory challenger. But who else is there? Lets take a look…

Oscar Valdez (21-0)

Undefeated Mexican Oscar Valdez currently hold the WBO Featherweight belt after beating Argentine Matias Rueda. This fight is thought to be the preferred option for the Selby camp in an attempt to unify the division, which would overrule the need for a mandatory defence against Barroso.

It would be a very interesting fight for the neutral due to the clash in style. Valdez has won all but 3 of his 21 bouts by knockout, including against Matias Rueda for the WBO crown. His quality as a featherweight really showed against Rueda, who was previously undefeated himself. Both fighters only found out 2 days before the fight, on the undercard of Crawford v Postol, that it would be for the WBO belt but Valdez showed no pressure and sought to attack Rueda from the start, taking just 2 rounds to finish the job.

This would be the most favourable fight for Selby, in my opinion, as it would set up a potentially huge unification clash with Carl Frampton for 3 of the world titles in the division. That is if Frampton can beat Santa Cruz in their third fight that is…

Abner Mares (30-2-1)

The second Mexican on this list, Abner Mares, currently holds the regular version of the WBA Featherweight belt after beating Jesus Cuellar, just 3 months after missing out on the ‘Super’ version to Santa Cruz. Mares is seen as an unlikely option for Selby as the Welshman would have to vacate his IBF belt to make the fight happen.

The less known Mexican is definitely a dangerous character within the Featherweight division, he is a three weight world champion after all. He has won belts at Bantamweight, Super Bantamweight and Featherweight.

If this fight was to happen, it would be a much more underwhelming fight for British boxing fans than the potential of a unification or a domestic clash. Mares is not as highly rated as his Mexican counterpart Valdez and only holds the regular version of the WBA belt, which would only be good for Selby to win to become mandatory for Leo Santa Cruz’s ‘super’ belt.

Josh Warrington (24-0)

Undefeated Yorkshireman Josh Warrington holds the WBC international title, but is second in the IBF rankings so could become the mandatory challenger should Barroso be removed. Undefeated Warrington has even calling Selby out for years and this could be the perfect time to make this domestic clash happen.

Warrington has yet to make the step up to world level, something some people claim he has been avoiding, but his record and previous fights show the quality is there. Both Selby and Warrington have similar styles in the ring, a solid defence with an engine designed to go the distance.

I think this fight would come too soon for Warrington at world level, he needs a fight against someone of world quality before he turns his attention to Selby. If the fight was to happen now, I can only see one outcome and that is a Selby win. The ‘Welsh Mayweather’ would have too much experience for young Josh Warrington, but it would be another intriguing domestic clash nonetheless.

MY TOP 5: BRITISH SUPER-MIDDLEWEIGHTS

MY TOP 5: BRITISH SUPER-MIDDLEWEIGHTS

5. ROCKY FIELDING (22-1)

The 5th spot was a tough pick between Rocky Fielding and Paul Smith but I have decided to go with Fielding, purely because he is still relatively early on in his career and Smith is declining. Fielding has a good record as a professional at Super-middle but has struggled recently especially after the defeat to Callum Smith. Both fighters went into the bout undefeated with people expecting it to be a close fight, but Fielding couldn’t handle Smith’s power and was knocked out within a round. Fielding had to bounce back quickly after the defeat and did so with a split decision victory over Christopher Rebrasse to win the WBC International Super-middleweight title. Fielding is certainly someone to look out for and a rematch further down the like with Smith could be closer than the first originally was.

4. MARTIN MURRAY (33-3-1)

The next two in my top 5 are due to fight each other next month so their places could well swap round, but in 4th I have gone with Martin Murray. The Brit has been unlucky in his career, losing in 3 of his 4 world title fights and drawing the other, both at Middleweight and Super-middleweight. As a Super-middleweight, he fought Arthur Abraham for the WBO world title but lost by split decision. Despite being 33 years of age and never really being able to show that he is a world level boxer, he still has some talent left and the fight with Groves could possibly be one of the most important of his career.

3. GEORGE GROVES (23-3)

The man who fought Froch in front of a sell out crowd at Wembley is yet again trying to revive his career after a third world title defeat. Groves’ most recent world title fight was against Badou Jack last year, a fight he lost by split decision. Groves was once looking like he would be on top of the Super-middleweight decison, especially being the only person to have beaten number 1 in this list. His world title defeats have really put a stop in his charge but he is on the comeback trail and looked good in his last fight. The fight with Murray will be interesting to see if he still has the ability to compete at the top of the game, a fight I expect him to win which would certainly open doors for him at world level again.

2. CALLUM SMITH (19-0)

Callum Smith is a man on the rise within the Super-middleweight division and is looking like becoming a world champion. The Liverpudlian beat Hadillah Mohoumadi in his last fight for the EBU Super-middleweight title, a fight many expected to be his toughest but ended up as a 1st round KO for the Brit. Smith is mandatory to Badou Jack’s WBC crown but many expect a unification fight to happen between Jack and DeGale fist. A domestic fight between DeGale and Smith has the potential to be a classic and one I expect to happen in the near future.

1. JAMES DEGALE (23-1)

Probably the best Super-middleweight in the world right now, James DeGale is looking a class act. He holds the IBF world title after beating Andre Dirrell in his own back garden last year and has continued to fight out in America. His last fight however was not is best as most people expected him to knock out Medina, but instead it went to the scorecards and ended as a unanimous decision. DeGale has shown signs of tiring mid-way through his fights due to the tempo of his fighting style and a world-class boxer could take advantage of that if he doesn’t adapt his game. Nevertheless, he is number 1 in the division and I expect him to stay there. A unification fight with Jack should happen later this year and if it does, I think we will see him up his game and unify the divison.

 

TRADITIONAL MEDIA V ONLINE MEDIA

TRADITIONAL MEDIA V ONLINE MEDIA

Sticking with the same theme as my PR Event Analysis post, I’m going to look at the differences between how traditional media (newspapers) and online media (websites) covered the Amir Khan fight.

The fight was scheduled to take place at around 4.30am GMT due to the time difference between here and where the fight was taking place, Las Vegas. This already made it a disadvantage for the media in the UK to be able to cover the story of the fight. As we all know, Amir Khan lost after a devastating 6th round knock out to Alvarez but newspapers would not have been able to get the story out until Monday due to the fight being scheduled to be on so late in the UK. This meant that the online media had to take advantage of this and make sure they covered all angles of the story.

Websites such as Sky Sports will have had immediate reaction after the fight, with a quick summary of what happened whilst they gather more news. Sky probably isn’t the best example due to it being a rival of Box Nation so lets look at the BBC. The BBC covered the story with not only articles involving a summary of the fight, but with photos too and interviews with relevant people in the boxing world. As the traditional media were not able to release the newspaper version of the story until Monday, they used their websites to put out live blogs of the fight for people to read if they couldn’t watch the fight. Various Twitter pages also live-tweeted the event to keep people updated.

The big advantage for the online media, other than being able to cover the story first, is the media they can show on their websites. Where newspapers are unable to show videos and more than a small selection of photos, online media can have photo galleries containing a huge selection of photos from the night and can also include videos from the event. This makes the online media much more engaging for the reader meaning someone who is a fan of boxing would have a preference to getting their news from online media. Someone who is not as big of a fan, who only watches big fights would prefer newspapers as the big sport story would only be boxing if it was a massive fight.

Online media has so many advantages over traditional media especially in today’s world where we can get a news story for free at the click of a button. This is also an area where online media is supreme as people who are in a rush to work in the mornings might not have time to get a paper, so they can just look at their phones for the latest news. You would think that the people who prefer traditional media are those that have been brought up without todays technology and those people who don’t have a massive interest in certain things but still like to be in the know. This is why newspapers have moved online, to make sure they stay competitive as more and more people are getting their news from online websites.

PETER FURY Q&A

PETER FURY Q&A

Welcome to the first interview on my blog and we start with one of boxing’s best trainers, Peter Fury. Peter trains both the current world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and his own son Hughie Fury who holds the WBO Inter-continental heavyweight title. The questions I’m going to ask him will be based on Tyson Fury’s rematch with Klitschko, what the future holds for Hughie Fury and what he thinks about British boxing at the moment.

Hi Peter, thanks for giving me the chance to interview you for my blog. It’s refreshing that someone involved in sport, especially being the trainer of a world champion, interacts with fans like you do.

It was a historic night last year in Germany with Tyson beating the former heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko. I hope the rematch will be yet another special night in British boxing, what are you expecting to see from Tyson in this fight, will he go one step further and knock out Klitschko? 

“Yes we will be looking for the ko this time.”

Providing Tyson does win the rematch, do you think he will actually retire or will the potential for a huge domestic fight with Anthony Joshua motivate him enough to continue? 

“Hopefully Tyson comes through then we want Joshua or Wilder next.”

Hughie recently beat Fred Kassi for the WBO Inter-continental title, the future certainly looks bright for him. How far away do you think he is from a world title shot? 

“Hughie is 18 months 2 years away from his world title shot.”

Could we see him involved in some domestic fights against the likes of Chisora and potentially even David Price if his comeback goes to plan? 

“Yes there could well be domestic dust ups for Hughie.”

It has been a fantastic journey for Tyson and yourself getting those world titles, you make a great team to say the least. Do you think trainers receive the credit they deserve in boxing? 

“Yes trainers get the respect I think. It’s nice to be credited with your hard work.”

How are you finding life as the trainer of a world champion, has much changed? 

“Nothing has changed at all. Still same people we just thankful to the blessed Lord for our victories.”

Finally, British boxing is looking fantastic at the moment with so many different world title holders across a variety of divisions, this is the best boxing in the UK has looked for some time. Do you see us continuing to improve with the likes of Callum Smith, Kal Yafai and Hughie Fury coming through? 

“Yes I see British Boxing on a high right now with good gyms, trainers & serious talent coming through.”

I would like to thank Peter for his time and his willingness to answer my questions.

PR EVENT ANALYSIS

PR EVENT ANALYSIS

With every different Boxing event that happens, they are all promoted in a variety of different ways depending on several factors such as who is fighting, where they are fighting and what they are fighting for. The PR around a fight can determine how well the event is going to sell or be watched even if it is one of the biggest events around. Advertisement and PR is crucial for promoters such as Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren who want to make the most money possible whilst making sure their event is seen globally.

An example of this is the recent Amir Khan fight against Saul Alvarez for the WBC Middleweight world title. Khan was moving up 2 weight classes to Middleweight for the fight against the Mexican world champion and he was out to utilise his speed whilst Alvarez is known for his explosive power. All the pre-fight talk was about both their main attributes pitted against each other for a world title. Khan said in a variety of different interviews that he favoured his speed despite putting on weight to step up to Middleweight. An example of one of these interviews can be found here.

In the UK, the fight wasn’t advertised as much as you would have thought. A quick trip to the Sky Sports website in the build up to the fight and you would have been disappointed with the lack of content especially as this was one of the biggest fights in the history of the sport, certainly for Britain anyway as Amir Khan was involved. This was potentially because the fight was held in the US and shown on American channels as well as Box Nation, who are obviously Sky’s only rival boxing channel here in the UK. Eddie Hearn who runs Matchroom has an agreement with Sky to show their fights on box office or on Sky Sports 1, Box Nation however is its own separate channel and is run by promoter Frank Warren who has fighters such as Tyson Fury under his control.

With Sky Sports being the most popular way for sports fans to find out news, the lack of articles published due to the rivalry with Box Nation meant that fans who only like to watch the big fights might have not known that it was even on. It was also not advertised much in the UK because the fight actually started at around 4.30am GMT due to the time difference between here and the US making it hard for a lot of people in the UK to watch the fight. The only advertisements I saw for the fight were posters at some tube stations as well as people talking about the fight on Twitter.

The event was mainly marketed in America as Khan is favoured by the American audience and Canelo is a big fighter out there also. Different tactics were used to advertise the fight such as a promotional tour run by the event promoters which took the fighters around America for photos, open gym sessions and more. Photos were taken in places such as New York before the tour finished up where the event would be held, in Las Vegas. The fight was at the new T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas strip which opened just this year so the weigh in was held outside the stadium on the day before the event to give fans a little hint of what the atmosphere will be like come fight day.

I think the fight could have been better advertised to conclude, although I can only speak for people here in the UK. The fight, being mainly advertised to the American audience, looked well conducted in the US with the promotional tour creating a buzz around the event weeks before it was due to take place. The speed v power promotion was a good way to get people interested in the fight as it is two very different skills put up against each other for a world title. I think, despite the fight being on at 4.30am here in the UK, the power v speed promotion could have been better utilised in the UK to get people interested, especially people who don’t have a big interest in the sport. The lack of articles published about the event on UK websites was also a concern. I know Sky Sports is Box Nation’s rival in terms of boxing but when people go onto these websites they want to be given the latest news, there was a lot going on in the build up to the event but only interviews could be found. The customary Sky boxing ‘experts’ didn’t even give their pre fight predictions like they would for fights broadcasted on their own channels (they did it for Fury v Klitschko despite it being on Box Nation). I understand this is just competition, but it’s a poor way to gain more interest in a growing sport.

KHAN, CROLLA & CHISORA REACTION

KHAN, CROLLA & CHISORA REACTION

Welcome back to 12 Rounds UK, today is my belated reaction to this weekends main British action including Amir Khan’s crushing defeat to Alvarez, Crolla’s defining title defence and Chisora’s disappointing loss.

AMIR KHAN V SAUL ALVAREZ

Amir Khan gets knocked out by Mexican Boxing hero Canelo Alvarez after 6 rounds for the WBC Middleweight title.

It was a fight that looked so promising for the Brit Khan but ended up in a defeat that put him in the hospital, for precaution anyway. Khan came out in a fight that was built up as being speed v power and he started excellently, moving in close and using his speed to put some good combinations together. Alvarez however never looked like the speed of Khan would put him on the floor as he continuously took the shots on the chin well and looked to put together some combinations of his own. As Khan was controlling the fight, Alvarez suddenly caught him with a shot that cut his eye and put some doubt in ‘King’ Khan’s mind, this made the Brit make some defensive mistakes and that’s when Canelo delivered the knock out blow. As Khan showed a massive gap in his defence, Alvarez swung a big right hook that caught Khan on the side of the jaw and put him down and out, he couldn’t even get up for the count. Before Alvarez could celebrate, he made sure Khan was alright (he was later taken to hospital for check ups) and then after, the Mexican party began.

It was unfortunate for Khan in the manner in which he lost the fight but he can leave with his head held high after being ahead on the scorecards going into the 6th round. Unfortunately the step up in weight was just too much for the natural Welterweight as although he showed he still had the speed, he didn’t quite have the power to match Alvarez who was clearly much bigger in size. Khan will probably step back down to Welterweight and either challenge Danny Garcia for the WBC title or challenge Kell Brook for the IBF title, a bout people have been wanting for some time. However the same question remains, does Amir Khan have the jaw for the big punchers or will he continue to be found out at the top-level?

ANTHONY CROLLA V ISMAEL BARROSO

Manchester fan favourite Anthony ‘Million Dolla’ Crolla defends his WBA Lightweight world title after knocking out dangerous challenger Ismael Barroso.

The best performance from any Brit Boxing this weekend was from Anthony Crolla. He came into the fight as the world champion but also as an underdog as many thought Barroso will do what he did to Kevin Mitchell and knock Crolla out. Barroso started the fight well and was probably a fair distance ahead on the scorecards by the time he was knocked out. He was using his sharp movement, speed and power to try to get Crolla out of there early, that was his game plan there was no plan B. Crolla however just continued to soak up the pressure Barroso was putting on him using his solid defensive skills which have won him so many fights before. As Barroso began to tire, ‘Million Dolla’ moved in,  putting some good combinations together before finding a gap in the South Americans defence and hitting him with a good body shot. Barroso belatedly fell to the ground and was unable to make it back up, Crolla retained his title against the toughest of opponents.

Crolla surely has to be seen as the top Lightweight in the world right now after that performance, he was excellent throughout even if Barroso seemed to dominate early on. A unification match could be his next fight, potentially against fellow Lightweight world champion Brit Terry Flanagan. It would certainly be an interesting fight and one Crolla would hope he can win.

DERECK CHISORA V KUBRAT PULEV

Derek Chisora loses IBF title eliminator and European Title fight against Kubrat Pulev after 12 tough rounds out in Hamburg.

It’s a shame for the Brit, a fight against AJ could have been potentially a good domestic clash but it just wasn’t to be. Pulev always looked in control of the fight and it wasn’t until the later rounds Chisora really came alive but it wasn’t enough. Pulev never let Chisora attack him from close range, continuously grabbing the Brit when he got close enough to do any damage, unfortunately the referee turned a blind eye. It wasn’t really close on the scorecards either despite it being a split decision, 116-112 and 118-110 in favour of the Bulgarian and 115-113 in favour of Chisora, probably in protest about the contest grabbing from Pulev.

It was a hugely disappointing night for Chisora and he will go home looking to move back onto the domestic scene. I think that was his last chance at the very top of the game and he failed to make a good enough impression to make anyone worried about him.