A Great Night for British Boxing but the Sport’s Trade Magazine Needs a New Testament!

Last Saturday, Manchester Arena saw one of the truly great nights for British boxing, surely the best of the year, with two exciting and talented young Brits winning in world title fights, both of them spanking Yanks. It took us back to the sport’s good old days.


I was as stunned as those two Americans were at the way ‘Turbo’ Terry Flanagan and Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith dispatched of them both. 

Liam hunted his man John Thompson down magnificently to claim the vacant WBO super-welterweight crown and become Britain’s eighth full-blown world champion, cleverly tucking himself up and not letting his shots go until he knew they would count.

I was a little concerned early on that the rounds might slip by and he’d lose the opportunity, but he got his tactics bang on. It was as good a finish as you’ll ever see, a crunching right hand and left hook combination in the seventh.

I have always said that Liam was the best of the Scouse Smith bros, head and shoulders above his three siblings.

I promised him I would get his world title fight seven years ago to the day when he signed for me – and we both delivered.

As for Manchester’s very own Tel Boy, wasn’t he a revelation?  He destroyed Diego Magdaleno with such breathtaking ferocity inside two rounds to retain the WBO lightweight title, one of the best-ever performances from a defending British world champion against serious overseas opposition for many years.

So where was Boxing News on this great night? None of their senior staff writers were at the ringside – leaving just a local freelance and a new writer who is learning the ropes to report on the show.

I am not decrying their ability but surely such a major big fight night deserved more professional treatment from the sport’s so-called ‘trade paper’. 

It was also underplayed in most of the national press. And this at a time when public interest in the sport and the wave of success it is enjoying in Britain is greater than for many years.

Yet only a few weeks ago Boxing News were themselves complaining that the sport wasn’t properly covered in newspapers any more – so what sort of example are they setting by showing such relative disinterest in a double world championship bill involving British fighters? 

I take it as a snub. We should be celebrating our champions whoever they are promoted by.

Unfortunately Boxing News seems to have lost touch with what the sport is about. We know all about the politics involved, what we really want to know is about the boxing. It is hardly surprising that they are struggling for circulation.

Their front page before the event in a week when, as I say, there was a terrific world title double-header, was largely devoted to promoting a lengthy Q and A with another promoter banging on about pay-per-view, a subject with which they seem obsessed.

Apart from two tremendous performances by Terry and Liam, our undercard was packed with some of the best young talent in the land. Not sending a senior staff writer to cover it was ridiculous. Yet the week before the editor was himself present to report on a small show in Brighton.

I thought this was disrespectful to Terry and Liam. I recall that when Paul Butler won the world title, he didn’t even get a mention on the front page. 

They’re BRITISH fighters winning world titles, or am I missing something? 

In their main piece, Eddie Hearn said there were only going to be two PPV events this year – so where’s the story?  Of course, that’s not the case, there are supposed to be eight per year, that’s what everybody is hearing in the industry. But more to the point, is that if you are a Sky subscriber, you pay your subscription and then have to pay out more money for big fights.

The way Boxing News presented it suggests that unless it is on PPV you are not going to see anything worthwhile. 

I know certain fights need serious money to make them happen and I’m sure this may be the case with BoxNation in certain circumstances in future.

Yet they seem to agree with Hearn that this is what it takes for British boxing to go forward. 

Matchroom were going to go with the Kell Brook-Diego Chaves fight on PPV, but it was only after a backlash that they dropped it. They are proposing that the Anthony Joshua-Dillian Whyte fight is PPV, but let’s put it into perspective.

I’ve said from day one that Joshua is a tremendous prospect, but the word is prospect. On the performances we saw last time, it looks to me a relatively easy job for Joshua.

How is that PPV fare? How can this be a better show than the one we put on in Manchester?

It is very frustrating for our fighters who we are continually investing in to gather from the ‘trade magazine’ Boxing News that if you are not on Sky, you are not being watched. Overall our numbers on BoxNation are better than on Sky.

Mitchell Smith, who this week received his award for Best Young Boxer of the Year by the Boxing Writers’ Club, wasn’t seen on Sky, he was seen on BoxNation.

Boxing News now seems to have a philosophy, that if it’s not on Sky or promoted by Matchroom, it doesn’t matter – and I find that offensive.

They used to have a great editor in the late Harry Mullan who was respected as someone who was at the very heart of boxing, a sport he knew inside out.

I really do think that last Saturday we had the best show seen in the country this year and for Boxing News not to send a senior representative, is to say the very least, poor judgment.

I’m sorry to say, they now seem out of touch with the sport. I’m afraid the ‘The World’s Best Fight Magazine’ needs a new testament because, to me, it has lost a lot of its credibility as well as its readership.

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Terry Flanagan Deserves to be Higher in the Rankings

Again, How disingenuous of Boxing News to place him only place him only 10th in their world rankings before Saturday's bout  - they've now hastily elevated him to number two - again pumping up Matchroom fighters in Anthony Crolla and Kevin Mitchell, who they originally placed above him at ninth and sixth respectively. What sort of judgment is that?

What have they done that Terry hasn’t? He’s undefeated, done everything that has been asked of him get better and better.

Who do you see beating him over here? If we could make a fight between him and either Crolla or Mitchell, I know who I’d put my house on to win. His finishing against Magdelano was so cold and clinical, he completely destroyed the fella.  The uppercut he threw nearly took his head off. 

He annihilated Magdaleno, who was his mandatory challenger, in a devastating manner. The Turbo lived up to his nickname power-drilled his way straight through him. What the bookies said would be close fight he made look easy.

Actually, I don’t want to be too critical of referee Terry O’Connor, but I do think it should have been stopped earlier.

No doubt about it, this was the start of something big. It could be the Ricky Hatton era all over again.

As I was saying last week, winning that world title, albeit in controversial circumstances, has made him a different fighter. This was reflected in his sensational performance. He went into that ring brimming with self-belief. 

A couple of weeks before the fight, I was talking to his manager Steve Wood and there seemed to be some concern that he wasn’t sparking in the gym, so I phoned Terry asking how he was and told him that if there were any problems I’d much rather delay the fight. 

He was adamant he was up for it, so positive that I didn’t need to take the conversation any further. 

A lot of people get fazed by fighters with Latin names, especially when they come from Top Rank, but Terry was so cool and clinical about it.

Both his and Liam’s fights went out live on TV in America and they can’t fail to have been impressed. 

We’ve now got two great British world champions who are going to go on and achieve more great things on the global stage. 

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A Fight Worth Waiting For

Boxing Day will come a week early for fight fans when we are back at the Manchester Arena on December 19th with the twice-delayed but now even more eagerly-awaited WBO middleweight title clash between Ireland’s Andy Lee and Hatfield’s Billy-Joe Saunders.

Aggravating as it has been, in a way the delays have helped heighten the interest in what has always promised to be a compelling and exciting scrap between two fiercely passionate travelling men on a  bill boosted  by the reappearance of our switched-on Northern lights, Terry Flanagan and Liam Smith. 

I’m hoping to match Flanagan and Derry Matthews, with Smith against a decent challenger, two terrific domestic scraps, so this is a real pre-Christmas cracker!

Let’s hope Boxing News will be there.

andy lee billy joe saunders

 
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Singh Stuns in Manchester and Triple G-Force to Prevail

A fabulous fight night in Manchester was made even better with the fantastic professional pro debut of our new Indian star Vijender Singh.  The heavy hitter from Delhi stopped Sonny Whiting inside three pulsating rounds in his maiden fight, with an estimated 20m viewers watching live on TV Channel Sony Six in his home nation which makes him, arguably, the most watched pro-debutant boxer in history.  The clip of his stunning KO finish of Whiting was screened on every regional TV news station and he became the number one trending subject on Twitter in the whole of India.


Singh heads to London now and features at the Harrow Leisure Centre on Friday 30th October where he aims to wow the fans’ with another top performance.

I’m looking forward to another exclusively-televised BoxNation classic  this weekend when Gennady Golovkin (WBC/WBO) and David Lemieux (IBF) meet  in their world middleweight title unification bout.

One of the most anticipated match-ups of the year, it has already broken records for Madison Square Garden by selling the most tickets during pre-sale for a major boxing event.

There is no doubt Kazakhstan’s Triple G is one of the outstanding fighters of his, or arguably any, generation.

I love watching him. He can make your hair stand on end when goes chillingly stalks his prey. But I really I think the similarly dangerous Canadian Lemieux may give him a harder fight than many think.

It will be fast and fierce while it lasts, although I expect Golovkin to prevail in the end.

They are running out of opponents for him if he wins, though of course there is always Chris Eubank Jnr…

Apparently dad’s lad is ready and waiting and, according to Johnny English, he’s a cert to beat GGG. Do us a favour!

Leaving Golovkin aside – as they surely will - they are now talking about Eubank- Spike O’Sullivan as a possible Sky PPV – two men who have both lost to Billy-Joe Saunders. 

And as for new IBF World Super-Middleweight champion James DeGale, it has been well documented that Saunders did a right job on him in the gym and had him all over the place and on the floor.

So let’s give Billy Joe credit where it’s due. He not only deserves to be challenging for a world title but with his cut eye repaired has a great chance of winning and joining Flanagan and Smith at boxing’s top table.