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By Kirk Lang - Don’t change for anyone. Maybe that should be Australian Billy Dib’s motto. Having recently modified his style in his last few fights to be more aggressive and more exciting, at the expense of being more mobile, Dib found in Evgeny Gradovich a man whose aggression couldn’t be matched.
Nicknamed “The Mexican Russian,” Gradovich wrested the IBF featherweight title from Dib at the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods on March 1st with a pressure attack that never stopped. Seemingly knowing only one direction - forward - Dib was ultimately wore down by Gradovich, who is trained by former world champion Roberto Garcia. Coincidentally, Garcia was in the opposing corner during Dib’s only other career defeat, a 12-round decision to then WBO featherweight champion Steve Luevano in late 2008.
Sydney, Australia – IBF Middleweight Champion Daniel Geale avenged his 2009 defeat and retained his world title with a comprehensive points victory over Anthony “The Man” Mundine at the Sydney Entertainment Centre.
Mundine was at his trash talking best prior to the bout i.e. he didn’t make much sense, ranted a lot and kept repeating that he was “The Man” and “the best” at something or other. In contrast, Geale was steely, confident, yet remained the eminently huggable, smiling chap that Australians had never really heard of before this bout.
And that’s a shame, because Geale is indeed the real deal – an Aussie boxer who has done things the right way, the hard way – a strong amateur career, Commonwealth Gold medallist and as a pro, fighting and winning here and overseas without the usual banal and idiotic trash talk so often seen in this sport. Moreso, he has already achieved something Mundine never did – unifying the division by winning the WBA and IBF straps from their respective champions in Germany. That is a huge achievement that cannot be understated – and it’s a knock on the state of Aussie boxing and media coverage that Daniel Geale was not a household name already.
Lodz, Poland - Considerable mystery and intrigue surrounds the non-existent November 2012 wrestling bout between Andrew “Andrew” Golota and Riddick “Bowemeister” Bowe, billed as “Unfinished Fatness”.
What was meant to be the defining moment in the respective careers of these heavyweight monsters seemed to disappear into the ether. Repeated calls to the Rivalry Wrestling Championship were met simply with an Indian man asking which type of pizza we wanted.
Ultimately we ordered Hawaiian with extra cheese, but this didn’t satiate our desire for answers - had the bout actually gone ahead in an underground cave somewhere in the Carpathian mountains, a zone noted for its notoriously poor telecommunications infrastructure?
Or had the bout simply collapsed due to reported demands for assless tights to be worn during the bout?
We attempted to reach Riddick Bowe at his juniper berry stall outside of Warsaw, but he was unavailable. Likewise, Andrew Golota was reportedly getting a new hairstyle when we tried to make contact.
Whatever the issue, FightBeat finds this whole situation to be eerie yet fascinating, and has committed to finding out the truth, however ugly it may be.
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By Padraig Ivory - Sergio Martinez and Martin Murray came face to face last week ahead of their April 2013 fight. The St Helens fighter made the long trip to the homeland of the middleweight champion to commence the promotional campaign and to introduce himself to the Argentinean fight fans. Martin made television appearances and press calls as the wheels of the promotional bandwagon were set in motion.
The respectful ‘Maravilla’ had returned and he praised his English challenger. Last time out the Oxnard resident had displayed an uncharacteristic hatred and genuine dislike for his opponent as he promised to inflict serious injury on Chavez Jr.”
“He’s young and strong. It’s great that he should want to give his all…” Martinez said of Murray. However the 37 year old promised to be at his best for his homecoming celebration stating that the fight “won’t go past the eighth round”.
By Padraig Ivory - Denmark’s sole remaining Viking Warrior, Mikkel Kessler, laid siege on Brian Magee’s World championship belt last Saturday night. Unlike his seafaring ancestors, Mikkel enjoyed the comfort of familiar terrain as he looted the Belfast man’s crown in front of a mob of blood thirsty Danish boxing fans.
Magee fell victim to an unrelenting assault that even chainmail armour could not deflect. The Irishman came into battle boasting the WBA super middleweight shield however he departed Danish shores with little more than a sports bag containing barely used boxing apparel.
Brian had been elevated to WBA champion status only a few weeks prior to the Kessler matchup but that reign was to prove short lived as the Danish superstar devastatingly reinstated his world level credentials. Despite winning the ‘regular’ version of the WBA’s title accolades it was evident to all present that there was nothing regular about the impressive Dane.
United Kingdom - WBO World lightweight champion Ricky Burns, was due to face commonwealth junior lightweight champion Liam Walsh on December 15 at the ExCel arena in London. Walsh though was involved in a car accident last month and consequently hurt his back forcing him to withdraw his challenge. Burns, 29, is now set to face late Filipino replacement, Jose Ocampo.
Ocampo, 23, has a record of 17-5-1, 12 KO’s and is rated at 14 in the World by the WBO. ”The bomber” which is his alias, is relishing his meeting with Burns in the ring and believes he has what it takes to cause an upset.
”I’ll be coming to London with only one thing on my mind and that is to win the title.” said the Filipino boxer. He added, “It’s disrespectful that Burns is looking ahead of me next Saturday when i’ll give him the hardest fight of his life,”
These are confident words from a young Man who has now got to back them up and it won’t be easy against the tough and resolute Scotsman who had this to say on his upcoming fight.
St Helens - Martin Murray (25-0-1, 11 KO’s), is set to take on Ring Magazine pound-for-pound #4 star Sergio Martinez (50-2-2, 28 KO’s), in April next year for Martinez’s WBC World middleweight title.
This fight is set to be staged in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which is the homeland of Martinez. A venue for the fight has yet to be decided, but no matter where it is held the atmosphere is going to be electric as passionate fans welcome ‘Maravilla’ home. The Argentinian will turn 38 in February and this will be his first fight back in his native land since Febuary 2002. Since then he has had 13 fights in the USA.
Last month, on the undercard of Ricky Hatton’s comeback fight against Vyacheslav Sencheko, Murray fought Jorge Navarro of Venezuela. The fight was for the interim version of the WBA world middleweight title which Murray won after he beat the previously unbeaten Navarro via a sixth round technical decision after Navarro’s corner threw in the towel to prevent any further damage being inflicted.
Murray’s reward for winning that fight is this 2013 showdown with Martinez.
Some pub in the UK - Former English cricket captain Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff makes his professional boxing debut on the 30th of November at Manchester Arena in England.
Of most surprise to FightBeat is the fact that his opponent in not 50 years old with a record of 0 wins and 5 losses, all by knockout. In fact, his opponent is a young 23 yr old unbeaten professional called Richard Dawson.
With 2 fights to his name, Dawson is a decent enough opponent to give the crowd the thrill it craves - seeing Freddie flat on his back with a face like an exploded watermelon.
But can the esteemed former cricketer, with absolutely no fight experience, do the unthinkable and walk away with a win? Read on to find out what the FightBeat expert panel thinks.
With Amir Khan’s move into boxing promotions imminent, one of his first signings has been his brother Haroon.
Haroon, a Commonwealth Games bronze medallist for Pakistan, is a bit of an unknown quantity at present. He was selected to represent Pakistan in the 2012 Games after being overlooked by the Great Britain boxing team, and went on to take bronze.
On this basis, Haroon certainly has some amateur pedigree, but as we have seen time and time again, this does not guarantee success in the paid game.
Haroon is slated to make his pro debut in Manchester early next year, so we asked the FightBeat expert boxing panel for their thoughts. Read on to hear their well considered take.