Carl Frampton reborn but relieved

CFrampton


Carl Frampton returned to competitive action after 10 months away from the sport. It was also his first fight since his unblemished record was tarnished, losing to Leo Santa Cruz in a majority decision. In the build up Frampton spoke of how he did not obviously show his disappointment obviously in the ring after the fight the defeat had seriously affected him. If you thought he might ease himself back into action to dust off some ring rust with a lower level fighter you would have been mistaken.

Frampton took on experienced Mexican Horacio Garcia. At 27 years of age he had fought 37 times before his encounter with Frampton. While recent fights had not gone his way he remained a threat to the returning former 2 weight champion.

‘The Jackal’ got the better of Garcia over the distance the fight could have been completely different if it was extended by 2 rounds.

Looking sharp early Frampton found his range almost instantly and landed big shots on his opponent. He was on his toes and moved away from the Mexican, who had Canelo Alvarez at ringside to cheer him on. Frampton looked good, as if he had not been away. Making Garcia follow him around and making him look sluggish and flat footed at times.

As the fight moved on into the middle rounds things began to change. Frampton slowed down and started getting pinned up against the ropes, exactly where he did not want to be. Garcia started letting flurries go and Frampton’s legs were unable to move him out of trouble. It was not a case of ‘the Jackal’ wanting to get into a war, he had no choice. He knew it was turning into Garcia’s type of fight and he did not have the energy to do anything to stop it.

Jamie Moore now in Frampton’s corner emphasised the importance of moving and using the jab to the body but in the later round the Northern Irish fighter had to rely on instincts. And he certainly delivered. Parts of Frampton were tested that we rarely get to see. His ability, preparation and game plan are usually so tight that he does not have his engine and desire tested. He dug in and when the chips were down he hung on for the win.

His temperament was also thrown under the microscope. In the 7th round he slipped but due to a punch being landed on the way down it had to be scored a knock-down. He initially threw his hands up and claimed he slipped but that was all. Soon he was back to his feet and trying to steady the ship. It felt that this may make the fight close going down the stretch but in the end it was not important. Frampton won on all 3 judges scorecards; the closest by 3 and the widest by 5. The final card had him winning by 4 points.

Coming through this will have got rid of the worries that were present after his loss to Santa Cruz. Now Frampton wants one of the champions.

“It was a good fight for the fans. I boxed well for the first few rounds but then got myself caught up in a fight. I wanted a hard fight for my comeback and that’s what I got. The rust is off, the cobwebs are gone and now I want to fight one of the big guys.” (Carl Frampton)

The trilogy fight with Santa Cruz is on the cards but there are domestic fighters who will want a piece of Frampton. Lee Selby fights next month and holds the IBF featherweight title. A fight between the pair has been predicted for some time. The one people want to see though is the trilogy fight with Santa Cruz. Another British boxing classic could be on the card if Frampton decides to take on Scott Quigg again or Josh Warrington. The other champions at featherweight are Gary Russel Jr and Oscar Valdez who hold the WBC and WBO respectively. While all those fighters have fights scheduled another possible opponent Abner Mares could step in to face Frampton.

This fight answered a lot of questions for Frampton. He is back and looks great. A changed of team and promoter could be exactly what the 30 year old needs to reinvigerate his career. Coming back in such a tough fight will advance his preperaton for a title fight greatly. 2018 is set to be a huge year for ‘the Jackal’.

Also on the card Jamie Conlan was stopped by Jerwin Ancajas in the 6th round as he attempted to win the IBF World super flyweight title. Paddy Barnes moved to 5-0 and recorded his first professional stoppage to claim the vacant WBO Inter-Continental Flyweight title against Eliecer Quezada.


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Wilder to handle business and move on to bigger fights

Bronze Bomber


American heayweight king Deontay Wilder will defend his WBC world title against Bermane Stiverne in Brooklyn. The pair have shared the ring before when the roles were reversed. Stiverne entered the bout the champion on the previous occasion. While Wilder was able to take the belt it remains the only minor blemish on his record. The first fight is the only fight in ‘the Bronze Bombers’ pro career he has not won by stoppage. Wilder will be looking to put the icing on the cake and stop Stivirne this time around.

Wilder has been involved in 38 professional fights and scored an incredible 37 knockouts. In fact the first match up against Stivirne was the first time the Alabama native was pushed past 4 rounds. It marked a step up in opponent for the best heavyweight in America and since then he has had more difficult nights than he did before. It is a similar scenario to his British rival Anthony Joshua. They were completely dominant in the early stages of their career but now the standard has increased their victories have been more hard fought. However, they both keep winning.

Stiverne vs Wilder I

The first fight was interesting. Wilder struggled in patches but the result was emphatic and he ran out a clear winner. Winning the fight by unanimous decision the judges scorecards read; 118-109, 119-108 and 120-107. The decision was widely based on the amount of punches each man threw.

Wilder was busier throwing 621 punches and landing 227 over the 36 minute contest. By contrast Stiverne threw 327 landing 110. The success rates were closer with Wilder landing 37% of his shots and Stiverne landing 34%. Stiverne caused Wilder some problems but the then challenger came through everything he had to and caused his opponent just as many issues.

Stiverne to be more active?

It is quite clear that if Stiverne wants to wrestle his title back from Wilder he will need to throw more punches this time around. If he can put his foot down on the accelerator if Wilder is again flustered he could win. But he has to get him on the back foot again which will be difficult.

With Stiverne aware to the fact he needs to throw more he will find himself with problems he did not last time. Stamina could be an issue if he is outputting more energy for attacks. He will leave himself more open if he comes forward more and with the power Wilder possess he could be laid out. Even though he had some success last time it needs to be a completely different game plan.

Wilder gunning for the KO?

Wilder has successfully defended his title 5 times since beating Stiverne. All have been good victories against solid fighters. The rematch with Stiverne is an interesting one for him and puts him in a different place mentally. Fighting the same man and the only man he has not been able to finish inside the distance in his pro career will test his head.

Will he over commit and go for the KO to prove himself? Will he be patient and willing to go the distance or pick him off late? He must get his stratergy right this time as Stiverne is tough and the best opponent he has ever faced. It is a good test for ‘the Bronze Bomber’ and puts new hurdles in his path.

The weigh in

Sparks flew at the weigh in as the pair came face to face. Wilder was animated and was predicting a knockout. Who would put it passed him with the immense power he carries. The knockouts on his record have stacked up and his reputation as a heavy hitter needs no explaining.

Stiverne said that Wilder was a ‘camera boy’ basically suggesting he is all talk. It is hard to see were Stiverne is going with that one but it was clear that the pair had an intense dislike for one and other.

What does the future hold?

Wilder is expected to win. Stiverne has not competed in 2 years and to come back in against an elite fighter is a tough ask. Wilder was scheduled to fight Luis Ortiz which would have been a fantastic fight and one that could have put an even bigger name on Wilder’s record. The Cuban heavyweight was forced to pull out after he tested positive for banned substances.

If Wilder does retain his belt he will feel the need to add some serious top level names to his record to emphasise his greatness. The one everybody around the world would like to see is Wilder against Joshua. Both men are dominant in their countries and hold 3 of the 4 world titles. A tough encounter to call it would be the biggest boxing match up in years.

Unlike Joshua Wilder does not have a name the size of Wladimir Klitschko on his record. But there are very few heavyweights who have that status in world boxing. A fight against a previous opponent of Joshua may wet the appetite for boxing fans as it does not feel that the time for the two to clash is right just yet. Perhaps his latest opponent Carlos Takam could go in against Wilder and see if he can push the WBC champ as far as he pushed Joshua.

An interesting fight would be Wilder facing Dillian Whyte. Whyte was beaten by AJ but really put some pressure on his opponent in the build up and in the ring. Whyte wants the fight and has made the fact he wants it public. Wilder is not as keen making ludicrous financial demands to make the fight happen. Wilder has made it clear that he wants one man from England.

View this post on Instagram

@eddiehearn bro let's not play around here, We both know who I want from England, you told me a while back at the WBC convention that your main man was next remember? So why have you been trying to throw your cocka roaches in with me. First it was Bellew and now it's your dirty cunt @dillianwhyte man come on. I tell you what… Make that offer of 3 million into 7 million and on OUR terms. Oh it's going to cost you to change my plans of what we about to do up and NO it's not on YOUR terms. How you go come with a offer of 3 million and want things on your terms too? The last time I checked I was the damn CHAMP! When I bet the horse shit out your stray doggy, (Animal Farm) I'm AGAIN not going to GAIN any credit or anything from anybody for beating his ass whatsoever; After this beat down from TTown, They will call him a Bum too let's face it and the world knows this. Fans really just want to see me back in the ring that's why they entertaining this bullshit. @dillianwhyte is a crush dummy at best, he's designed to well you know!?! "Fucking Crush" Every fighter wants to fight for titles over and over again, shit some guys never see a first time and y'all want another shot with 3M + term too? Get the fuck out of here. Hey I would love to fuck him up as bad and as bloody as I will do and take that money too EZ. So sleep on them nuts and come back with an open mind and a new heart because the CHAMP don't like this fuckery. "I SWEAR TO GOD IM GOING TO CATCH A BODY FROM ONE OF THIS CABBAGES IN THIS SPORT SOON, MARK MY WORDS"… #BombZquad #DeathRow #FixTheLeakage #IfYourRidingWithMeThenLetsRide #IfNotThenKickRocks #PutSomeRespectOnMyName #UsaVsEverybody #TheRealistChampInTheBusiness

A post shared by Deontay Wilder (@bronzebomber) on

Joseph Parker is the other man to hold a world title and his style could cause Wilder some problems if the pair fight. Parker is quick and technical and could be the antidote to Wilder’s powerful flurries.

Tyson Fury has come out and has said that he wants to get back into the mix and thinks he could cement his brilliance by beating Wilder and unifying the heavyweight division again. Fury needs to get back into shape before any fights materialise but when that happens you would not bet against him with his unique and awkward style.

There is a wealth of prospects for all the top heavyweights. It seems as if all of them are on a collision course and the boxing community is in for a real treat in 2018 and further.

First of all Wilder needs to do his job and retain against Stiverne. He cannot look beyond this opponent as he has ability and heart that could derail Wilder moving forward. If Wilder is at his best he will win and more than likely get the stoppage this time around. Any signs of complacency could cost him. If this bout is as good as the last one we are in for a treat!


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Tough night for Joshua but brighter times ahead

AJ20-0-0


It would be easy for Anthony Joshua to argue preparation was not on his side in the wake of his tenth round stoppage of Carlos Takam. After months of anticipation of fighting Kubrat Pulev, he was forced to adapt his approach, less than a fortnight before the bout in Cardiff and fought past Takam to retain his WBA and IBF belts. 

AJ’s Performance 

Pre-fight, AJ weighed in at the heaviest he has ever been, at 115kg. Opposite Takam’s 106.5kg, he looked much the bigger guy, yet still very lean.

However, in the ring, it could be said he looked sluggish. Against a waspish opponent in Takam, he unleashed 454 punches, of which 152 landed on the Frenchman. The heavyset Joshua set about picking away at an opponent who was two stone lighter and four and a half inches shorter than he. The heavy build of Joshua against Takam’s lean frame can perhaps attribute to his 33.5% punch success rate, where a lighter Joshua may have got the better of his opponent in earlier combat.

Indeed it took four rounds to bring Takam to the ground, and a further six before referee Phil Edwards ended the fight in a controversially premature decision.

Both had encountered blood in the heat of the battle, yet Joshua can lend an ounce of gratitude to Edwards, as his fatigue started to emerge. There were times in this contest where uncharacteristic cracks in his defence were exposed by Takam’s movement and weaving, and this fight surely would have gone the distance had Edwards not stepped in.

The encounter with Takam will need to be analysed very heavily by AJ and his camp if he is looking to unify the division. Such rash decisions may have cost him more dearly had he been in the ring with the likes of Deontay Wilder.

Who Is Next?

Joshua’s first 20 fights have seen him end the challenges of Wladmir Klitschko, Eric Molina and Dillian Whyte. All wins achieved by knockout. In doing so, he now seems to have set his sights on the bigger characters in 2018.

The WBC and WBO belts still elude Joshua, and belts that he will no doubt make an assault on in the new year. Which puts Joseph Parker, as the WBO holder, and Deontay Wilder, who possesses the WBC belt, firmly in his crosshairs.

A showdown with Parker has already been ignited from the pair’s press exchanges. At this point, it is merely respectful words as they attempt to force through a package agreement. But it gives Joshua time to reassemble after coming through the woods against Takam.

Takam himself has good reason to want to see Joshua again, clearly vexed by the manner in which his defiance against the Watford-born tank came to an end. Having gone ten rounds with Joshua on just twelve days preparation, it would interesting to see just what the 36-year-old can do with several months to assemble his arsenal.

For now, Joshua has to review a fight that was a heavy lesson in itself. He will then assess who is next to face him. For 2018, Joshua looks determined to make it his biggest.


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Tricky night or business as usual for heavyweight king Anthony Joshua?

AJ Heavy


Anthony Joshua’s rapid rise to superstardom has been a joy to watch. Ever since he won gold in the London Olympics in 2012 he has conquered all who have stood in his way. 19 professional boxers have stood in the opposite corner to the man mountain and not a single opponent has gone the distance. In Cardiff Joshua will face a different situation. Kubrat Pulev pulled out due to a shoulder injury and Carlos Takam takes his place. A change of opponent can sometimes cause problems but can the regular outcome continue for Joshua?

Physically all the advantages point to a hard night for the new opponent. Joshua comes in at his career heaviest of 254 pounds. Promoter Eddie Hearn suggested that the undefeated Brit would come in lighter than he did in his last fight against Wladimir Klitschko. The thinking behind the theory is that Joshua looked too heavy and when he was hurt by Klitschko it took him longer to recover due to the extra muscle he was carrying. With AJ coming in even heavier it suggests that he feels he can blast Takam out and does not expect the fight to go deep.

By contrast Takam weighed in at 235 pounds. However, he also looked in unbelievable shape. While he may be giving away 19 pounds in weight he still carries a threat. He has claimed 27 knockouts in 35 wins and only been stopped the once by Alexander Povetkin in 2014. His last defeat came by way of unanimous decision in 2016 against Joseph Parker. Styles make fights and Takam is powerful and will certainly have a go at AJ.

The difference in weight is understandable when you look at the difference in height between the fighters. Joshua holds a 5 inch height advantage. He has the option to use that in the early stages if there are any thoughts that Takam could cause him problems. Given the way Joshua usually operates he may not give his opponent that chance. At heavyweight any mistake is costly and with Joshua’s power and boxing skills he will want to get the job done as soon as possible.

Takam and Pulev are completely different fighters. Pulev is more technical due to his vast experience at amateur level. Takam is more physical and with him lacking in height against Joshua it could play into his hands. If he can bob and weave and close the distance between him and the champion he will be able to throw powerful hooks to the body and may even look for the uppercut on the inside.

There is no doubt Joshua will want to keep the fight at distance. Using his jab to set up his straight right hand to soften up Takam. Once the damage is done on the outside and Takam takes a backward step the AJ onslaught will start. That is perhaps the perfect night for the World Champion.

How much can the French challenger bring to the table? The feeling in the casual section of AJ’s fans is not much. But the pundits believe it may be more difficult than that.

“Takam has to get in close, get to his chest, throw that right hand that he’s got to land on the temple of AJ because he’s showed that he keeps that left hand low, too low at times.” (Jonny Nelson, Sky Sports pundit)

While Nelson concedes that Takam is a threat to Joshua’s unblemished record he goes on to say that the fight is more about AJ. He goes on to say that if he plays to his strengths he should win the fight. If he is sloppy and underestimates the replacement opponent it could be a difficult night for the champion.

“I know Carlos Takam quite well because we had him in for sparring on a few occasions when David Haye was world heavyweight champion, in my opinion he’s potentially more of a threat than the original opponent Pulev” (Adam Booth, trainer of Ryan Burnett)

As he says above, Booth knows more than most about Takam. He thinks that underestimating the new opponent could have horrific consequences. The point is valid. Takam will challenge and test Joshua’s chin if he is given the chance were as Pulev would look to take the fight deep and out-box the Brit.

Heavyweight boxing is at times unpredictable. The main thing to take away in the build up in this fight is that if Joshua has taken this seriously, trained well and performs well on the night – he wins. Going further than that if he ticks all those boxes he wins by knockout. Anything less than that he may find something difficult as Takam has all the attributes in his locker to cause an upset.

The card features some other good fights that will showcase British boxing talent, so the card is not reliant on the main event. Joshua’s heavyweight rival Dillian Whyte will be in action against ‘the Nordic Nightmare’ Robert Helenius. Katie Taylor features on the card attempting the win the WBA World lightweight title against Anahi Sanchez who vacated the belt after missing weight yesterday. The Irish Olympic gold medallist can still win the belt but her opponent cannot.

Also Frank Buglioni fights Craig Richards, Dave Allen is in action and will fight Lenroy Thomas and Kal Yafai goes in against Sho Ishida.


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Two weight champ Andre Ward hangs up his gloves

S.O.G


He is a polarising figure in the world of boxing but he leaves an incredible legacy.

Andre Ward – ‘the Son of God’ won all of his 32 fights initially fighting at super middleweight and then moving up to light heavyweight. The American Olympic gold medallist, which he won in Athens in 2004, captured belts at both weights and was widely considered the pound for pound number 1 after Floyd Mayweather retired. Citing his lack of drive due to the toll training camps have taken on him over the years as his reason on retiring we take a look back at his career.

Before we look back at Ward’s career it is important to understand why he has retired. He turned professional in 2004 which makes it a 13 year stint in the pro game. His words after the announcement spoke volumes;

“People see what I do fight night. They see under the lights, but they don’t see the toil, they don’t see the grind, they don’t see just the pain, the physical pain that you go through, not just in the fights, but to prepare and to get ready for those battles.”  (Andre Ward)

It is true that fight fans both casual and more intense forget the hard work that the fighters put in. The preparation to get into the right shape to be able to get into the ring is intense and it only increases as bigger fights are made. The level Ward competed at for so long effects a person and it cannot last forever. In his mind he has achieved everything he has set out to do and the effort and work needed to prepare for fight night just does not seem worth it any more.

It is difficult to see why Ward is not universally loved by fight fans. He is a game fighter who has moved up weight and became a two weight world champion. His slick skills make for an interesting watch but perhaps not the most entertaining style. Issues with promoters may have had an effect on Ward’s career. A long time feud and a court case, which meant he missed some time in the sport, with Dan Goossen changed the public opinion on Ward. The boxing community turned on the fighter and the media changed their opinion because of that.

There were complaints from the critics saying that the standard of fighter Ward came up against after returning from the court case were not good enough and that he was just going through the motions. His style was also under more scrutiny. While he was never the biggest puncher it was now suggested he was a fighter set up to ruin fights. To negate the opponents strengths and edge through.

Through his career he has faced top class opponents at both weights he campaigned at. Victory in the Super Six World Boxing Classic between 2009 and 2011 saw he beat Carl Froch in the final. Froch became a critic of Ward’s style and the pair have exchanged comments in interviews since then.

His final encounters with Kovalev stands out as the exclamation point on his career. Kovalev is a monster at light heavyweight and up there in the pound for pound rankings with Ward. This was the biggest test of the American’s career. Winning the first fight even after being dropped early in the fight was not enough for most of his critics. Home advantage was put forward as the reason Ward took the victory. In all honesty the fight was a close one. Kovalev started quickly but Ward was able to come back into the fight down the stretch. The decision could have gone either way.

The rematch was an obvious one to make. Kovalev wanted another crack at Ward and for some reason the winner of the first bout had not done enough to convince the world he won the first encounter. It gave Ward the stage to make a statement and he did. The fight was competitive but Ward’s work to the body was he key to success. He was able to slow his opponent down and take the wind out of him. The stoppage may have been controversial but it was a double over Kovalev that confirmed Ward as a legend in the sport.

As Mayweather says you need something extra to be the best. Who knows what that is? It is hard to say. Ward had a great amateur career, great skills and the ambition to push himself to fight the best. Boxing is changing. To be the top draw you need a certain personality trait that makes you stand out. It is not enough to simply be one of the best boxers of your generation any more. Ward was certainly that. One of the best boxers to compete in his generation. Perhaps over time his legacy and standing in the sport will be increased to were it should be.


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Hughie Fury stepping into the spotlight

Hughie Fury


For the first time in his 4 year career Hughie Fury will fight in his home city of Manchester when he takes on New Zealand world champion Joseph Parker. Not only will that be new to the family member of former heavyweight king Tyson Fury but he will also be fighting to emulate his older cousin. It is Hughie’s first attempt fighting for a world title and perhaps Parker is the best opponent for him. The other champions at heavyweight are Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder and while Parker does represent a step up in class for the young contender, Joshua or Wilder would  be a step too far at this point. When the fighters get in the ring how will it play out?

The fight itself has not caught fire. The build up has been slow and the fact the fight was scheduled to take place in New Zealand back in May this year has taken the momentum out of the occasion.

However, the weigh in sparked interest as it broke out in a brawl between the two camps. Has the time passed for hype? It is too little too late to unfortunately to sell the fight on a feud basis. It may be by design as Hughie distances himself from his cousins antics. Tyson Fury is well known for his outspoken nature and the mind games he plays. Hughie by contrast is quieter and more reserved. It is good to see him stick to his guns and not try and be something he is not. But as the weigh in shows he does have a something about him. Maybe it was the Fury camp egging him on. Tyson Fury was present encouraging Hughie to ‘nut him’ – basically calling for a head-butt.

Both fighters come into the fight unbeaten – so somebodies 0 has to go! Parker has held the WBO World Heavyweight title since December 2016 when he defeated Andy Ruiz Jr on a majority decision. He has defended it once against Razvan Cojanu who was a replacement for the fight Hughie pulled out of. Before the majority decision and the unimpressive unanimous decision win over Cojanu Parker was known for his power. At the time he had 18 knock-outs in 21 fights. His last two performances have not been as impressive. It lead to Dillian Whyte calling him out after his first defence. Is this him adjusting to the step up in class? Yes it is. The worrying sign for Fury is that he is winning even when he is not at his best.

Fury has had a battle of his own in recent times. A rare condition called acne conglobata which severely hindered not only his training process but his performance on fight night too. He recalled in a recent interview the times in training when the marks on his back would crack in sparring and he would have a bloodstained training top by the end. The condition affected his stamina also as it would sap his energy in fights. After taking powerful medication for 8 months Fury is now free of the condition and looking to kick start his career.

Hughie seems to be relishing being the main man in the Fury family. Maintaining that Tyson and himself were born to fight he is taking up the mantle of his cousin. Meeting Manchester United players, headlining a bill in Manchester and fighting for a world title show you that they are building him up. At the end of the day he needs to do it in the ring. Parker is a step up for the challenger. He has not fought anybody at the standard of the Kiwi and will have to rise to the challenge. As Parker himself has shown it takes time to adjust at a higher level.

Fury can win. He is slightly taller and rangier so if he can use his jab and neutralise Parker coming forward it will give him a great opportunity at taking the belt. He will have to work around the ring, moving and not letting Parker in close. Inside fighting is not Fury’s biggest talent so he will want to avoid those encounters. The  footwork of the challenger is key to the fight, if he can make Parker chase him and look flat footed the judges will notice. Parker has to get inside were Fury’s length and reach will not be effective.

The fight may not have caught the imagination of the boxing world, but be sure to tune in when the bell rings. Both men are looking to make a statement in the division and Parker as champion at 25 and Fury challenging at 23 shows just how good the future of the heavyweight division is. Both young men. Both at an incredible level of boxing. Both unbeaten. But both relatively unproven at the highest level. This is the chance for both fighters to make some major noise. Can Parker make it in Britain and raise his profile and standing in the sport? Can Hughie step out of Tyson’s shadow and become a world champion in his own right? There is only one way to find out. Enjoy the fight!


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Cool Hand Luke needs to be better than his best

JL v LC


Luke Campbell will have his chance to claim the WBA World Lightweight title (amongst others) when he steps in the ring to face Venezuelan champ Jorges Linares. It is a tall order for the Brit who comes into the contest off the back of a good victory over Darleys Perez. He will have to be bang on his best to claim the belt, anything less could lead to a long and embarrassing evening for the 2012 Olympic gold medallist.

Linares is a classy operator. He is also no stranger to British fight fans. They will remember him for the two victories he scored over Manchester’s Anthony Crolla in his own back yard. He completely overpowered and outclassed the man he took the belt off and then successfully defended it against 6 months later. His hand speed and movement were just too good for the hard working Mancunian.

The WBA World champion looks in great shape for the fight. Training camp has gone well for him and his boxing skills are on point. This is a top quality fighter that will be entering the ring at The Forum in Ingelwood, California. Linares also has above average power at the weight scoring 27 knock-outs in 42 fights. While he does carry that threat it will be the technical side of his style that will give Campbell the biggest problems.

There is hope for the Yorkshire southpaw as he travels to America to try and fulfil a dream. It could not get any more difficult for him as Linares does pose a massive obstacle to winning the belt. Linares has been stopped in the past. If Campbell can cause him some problems and ask questions of him the champ can start to unravel. Campbell will have to come forward and trade with his opponent it is a case of who can produce the cleaner more eye catching work.

Campbell looks in the good shape himself and at some point he will be put to the test. There will come a time in the fight when he will be asked to come through some bad spots. Whether he is hurt or tied up on the ropes he will have questions to answer. It is inevitable that in a fight against such a talent like Linares he will get on top of the fight. The vital stage of the fight will be when Linares is trying to kick on and move up the gears. How far can Campbell go? He will have to dig deep in stages and keep his head as well as showing heart. If he does that he will be in with a great chance of victory. If he does not, it will be another successful defence for Linares.

It is a step up in class for Campbell but one that he is ready for. He himself has a good boxing IQ and his strengths are similar to his opponents. He does carry power, in his 17 fights he has won 14 by way of knock-out. Campbell will be hoping to cause Linares to lose confidence coming forward by letting him feel his power. In doing so it will lead the champion to let up with the pressure he can put on. Campbell giving Linares something to think about early is vital for the Brit’s hopes of taking the W. If he is not able to do that Linares will just fight his own fight and by default win the contest.

The fight is upon us now. The hard work by both fighters has been put in. A new chapter for Campbell begins with this the fight of his life, so far. An impressive win in America would sky-rocket his profile and give him options moving forward. Defeat is not a disaster. He has lessons to learn and if this is one of those lessons so be it. He will come back. Can he pull of an upset and beat Linares? Absolutely. But it will have to be his level of performance that improves because Linares is showing no signs of slowing down. The champ wants to keep those belts – can Campbell take them?


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