By Anthony Cocks
JEFF HORN VS TERENCE CRAWFORD NOT THE ONE-SIDED FIGHT MANY EXPECT
While not many people are giving Jeff “The Hornet” Horn a snowball’s chance in hell of retaining his WBO welterweight title when he takes on Terence “Bud” Crawford at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada this Saturday night, 1`there are some people close to the action who insist that this will not be a one-sided whitewash.
It’s no secret that the “Fighting Schoolteacher” will come out hard from the opening bell, initiating the action and closing the distance on Crawford as he seeks to rough-up the naturally smaller man and force exchanges on the inside.
But what has been widely overlooked are the techniques that Horn will use to make the 30-year-old unbeaten Nebraskan fight his kind of fight.
“A lot of people don’t look at the real details,” said one boxing insider. “They don’t see his feints, his angles, his punch selection. Things like that, those are the things that I look at, the things that he does that are different, that are unorthodox and can frustrate a fighter.”
ESPN boxing analyst and former two-weight world champion Timothy Bradley Jr, who was ringside for Horn’s surprise win over former eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao in Brisbane last July, gave his view on how the fight will play out.
“I think Horn, being a bigger guy, likes to move in quick, likes to get inside early, likes to work the pace and dictate the pace,” Bradley told News Corp. “I think he’s going to try to close the gap on Terence really. I think he’s going to try to push Terence back.
“I think Terence is going to struggle in the beginning only until he finds his rhythm. Once Terence finds his rhythm, meaning Horn’s rhythm, then I think things will open up and Terence can control the distance from the outside and time Horn as he comes in.”
Bradley insisted the fight won’t be the type of rout most people are predicting but rather a competitive contest in which a brave and game Horn acquits himself well in what is ultimately a losing effort.
“I think that Horn will put up a good fight, but I think Terence Crawford has too much precision, too much boxing IQ,” he continued. “He’s a great counterpuncher. He can punch in between shots. There are just so many dimensions to him as opposed to a guy like Jeff Horn.”
By now you might be wondering who the boxing insider was at the start of this article who gave Horn credit for his angles, feints and unpredictability in the ring. Here’s a hint: he is fighting for the WBO welterweight championship at the MGM Grand this Saturday night and his name is not Jeff Horn.
“I feel like he’s gonna come in there and try to bully me, and use his strength,” Crawford continued. “And that’s something that we’re gonna be up for. He fights to win. I love a person to fight to win, because I’m coming in there to fight to win and that’s gonna make for an exciting fight.”
KRIS GEORGE READY TO DEFEND HIS COMONWEALTH CROWN AGAINST BRITISH HOTSHOT JOSH KELLY
Commonwealth welterweight champion Kris George 14-1 (8) is putting the finishing touches on his preparation for the biggest fight of his career when he takes on one of the golden boys of British boxing Josh Kelly 6-0 (4) at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England on June 16.
The 24-year-old Kelly, a former Olympian who won bronze for Great Britain at the 2015 European Games, is a classy boxer-puncher who has the sort of flash about him that attracts media and crowd attention.
“The reason that everyone is liking him, the reason he’s getting such credentials is because he’s a flashy fighter,” George told WIN News. “He has his hands down a lot, he has a lot of good movement.”
George will entering the ring a decided underdog, but that’s nothing new for the 28-year-old from the Queensland city of Toowoomba.
George burst onto the scene in 2016 with his Commonwealth title winning effort against highly-regarded Australian Olympian Cameron Hammond, who was 16-0 (8) at the time, in a fight he wasn’t supposed to win.
Victory over Kelly will launch George’s career on the world stage.
“Just a win in itself in front of their audience, in front of Eddie Hearn who’s his promoter, is going to get us huge publicity and get us to the next level. So this is really make or break,” he said.
The key to victory, according to George, is to keep the pressure up for every minute of every round.
“If I can hit hard and hit often for 12 rounds, there’s not many people that can withstand it,” he said.
George isn’t expecting any support from the Newcastle crowd, who will be turning up in their droves to see their local hero claim the scalp of the Aussie upstart.
“I know it’s going to be a hostile crowd,” he said. “I know Newcastle is a known bad area and I’m fighting their golden boy, so I don’t expect too many friends over there.”
BLAKE CAPARELLO WALKS THROUGH TRENT BROADHURST WHILE MICHAEL ZERAFA AND JOEL CAMILLERI WIN BY DECISION
Some people picked Blake Caparello. Others thought Trent Broadhurst would win. Regardless of whom people picked almost everyone agreed this was a 50-50 match-up and that it would, in all likelihood, go the distance.
As it turned out, it wasn’t close to 50-50. And it most certainly didn’t go the distance.
Light heavyweight contender Blake Caparello 27-3-1 (11) made amends for his 12-round decision loss to world-rated Isaac Chilemba in March in the most emphatic way possible, stopping local rival and former world title challenger Trent Broadhurst 20-2 (12) in just 125 seconds.
That’s right, we’re measuring the duration of this fight in seconds rather than rounds such was the abridged nature of the contest.
Almost without exception the crowd at the Melbourne Pavilion last Friday night was expecting a long and protracted battle with the eventual winner proving to be the one with the best scientific approach and the ability to make subtle adjustments on the fly. In short, it was to be “one for the purists”. Instead, the 31-year-old Caparello treated the crowd to a side of himself that we don’t see too often.
Rumours of Broadhurst’s shaky whiskers have persisted for years, but no-one expected him to fall – so quickly and so often – to the supposedly light-punching Caparello.
Both boxers were in need of a victory to reboot their respective careers. Broadhurst had been on the sidelines since getting trounced in a single round by WBA light heavyweight king Dmitry Bivol in November while Caparello had inexplicably given away the championship rounds and with it the fight to the fast-finishing Roy Jones Jr-trained Isaac Chilemba in March.
When the first bell rang Broadhurst was quickly out the gate, but it was Caparello who got the jump on him, backing the visitor into a neutral corner and unloading on him with both hands. A flurry of left hand punches about 40 seconds in and Broadhurst hit the canvas, sprawling flat on his stomach.
Broadhurst was stunned. He took the mandatory eight count on his knees then got back up.
Caparello, who was dismissed by the 29-year-old Brisbanite before the fight as being unable to punch, did exactly what he was told he was incapable of: he hit Broadhurst. With left crosses. With looping left hands. With left uppercuts.
It was a left uppercut that sliced through Broadhurst’s guard and sent him down for the second time in the fight.
Things were getting dire for the Queenslander but he had no recourse, no rear-guard action that would stave off this first-round blitzkrieg from the suddenly enlivened Caparello.
And while he was trying to figure out what to do, Caparello was lining up his left hand again. Another uppercut caught Broadhurst on the point of the chin and he crumpled to the canvas for the third and final time of the fight.
Three knockdowns in little more than two-minutes was enough for referee Allan McColl to call the fight. It was over.
Prior to the fight Caparello had addressed the claims he had no power.
“He says he’s going to walk me down because I can’t punch, he’s going to walk me down and stop me,” Caparello had told the popular Fox Sports program Fight Call Out.
“Well Trent, I hope you live up to your word, I want you to walk me down. After round three or four you’re going to wish that I could punch.”
If only it went three or four rounds.
“It was good to get the first round stoppage last night,” WBO number 14 Caparello posted on social media after the fight. “Trent and myself both knew we had to leave everything in the ring last night. Full respect to Trent and his team for making the fight happen which the Australian public wanted to see.”
The fight was marketed as “Make or Break”.
While Caparello can celebrate getting his career back on track, Broadhurst must now take some time to do some serious thinking about his future.
On the undercard current Commonwealth junior middleweight champion Michael “Pretty Boy” Zerafa 24-2 (13) scored a 10-round points decision win over Wade Ryan 14-7 (3) to claim the vacant WBA Oceania title.
The 26-year-old Melbournian took over in the second half of the bout to secure a clear-cut points victory over the Gunnedah southpaw. The Commonwealth title wasn’t on the line.
Also on the card popular Melbourne boxer Joel “CamaKO” Camilleri 15-4-1 (7) won his first title as a pro when he outpointed Sydney’s Yao Yi Ma 15-4-1 (10) over eight rounds to annex the vacant Victorian state junior middleweight belt in his third attempt at the belt.
Camilleri and Ma battled it out to a majority draw in October last year, but the 27-year-old substitute schoolteacher showed marked improvement on that performance to secure the win.
JAYDE MITCHELL LINES UP KERRY FOLEY BOUT AFTER VIJENDER SINGH FIGHT FALLS THROUGH, BILAL AKKAWY HEADS TO THE USA IN AUGUST
WBC #11 and WBA #15 super middleweight Jayde “J-Mitch” Mitchell 16-1 (9) has narrowly missed out on a shot at the vacant Commonwealth crown against WBO number six Vijender Singh 10-0 (7) of India.
Mitchell will instead face hard-hitting fellow Aussie Kerry Foley 19-3-1 (16) who is coming off a devastating one-punch knockout of Gutram Ngoya 11-1 (7) of Tanzania in Tweed Heads a fortnight ago. The intriguing match-up will pit boxer against puncher and, just as importantly, natural rivals Melbourne against Sydney when the two meet at the Melbourne Pavilion on July 7.
“Originally I was set to face world number six Vijender Singh for the Commonwealth title,” Mitchell explained on his Facebook page. “Myself and (my) team thought it was a done deal and in the dying hours of negotiations when we were expecting a signed contract only to be told they chose Paul Smith.
“Now only to find out he’s scheduled to fight Lee Markham… WHO DA FOOK IS THAT GUY?! He’s coming off a loss and hasn’t fought for a year!”
With 16 knockouts in his 19 wins, Foley remains one of the most dangerous punchers in Australia. It is not the fight that Mitchell wanted, but the popular 32-year-old from the Mornington Peninsula knows that he has to get by boxers like Foley is he wants his career to progress.
“Whilst Kerry Foley wasn’t on our radar, after his most recent outing a first round KO he called me out,” said Mitchell. “As Vijender’s team have ducked us for an easier option this is something I won’t do!
“I could have taken an easier option, but this fight excites the hell outta me. A great Aussie vs Aussie match up, boxer vs puncher! Kerry has 16 KOs in his 19 victories and is capable of knocking me out with either hand, but if I can’t pass this test I’m not ready for the bigger fights.”
Meanwhile in Sydney Mitchell’s local rival Bilal Akkawy 17-0-1 (14) just missed out on a world title shot against Dmitry Bivol 13-0 (11) for the WBA light heavyweight title in a fight that would have been shown live on HBO in the USA.
"This would be the first time Bilal will fight for a title at light heavyweight and although this would be a tough and risky fight, we have expressed interest but we want a better contract," manager Ahmed Akkawy told the Daily Telegraph earlier in the week.
“I’m not really sure where that will end but if it doesn’t come off I’m sure there will be other opportunities in for Bilal in his regular weight division at super middleweight, we just have to be patient.”
But on Thursday Bivol’s team announced that they would be facing Isaac Chilemba 25-5-2 (10) at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City on August 4 instead.
“I am glad that my next opponent will be a tough and well-known boxer in Chilemba!” Bivol said. “I will do my best to put on another exciting performance for all my fans!”
Despite missing out on the fight, WBA number 12 and IBF number 13 Akkawy is expected to be back in the United States soon to re-join Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s training camp if the rematch with middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin manages to get rescheduled.
"Bilal is a hard hitter as is GGG and Bilal’s spars are always high intensity and with a busy work rate," said Ahmed Akkawy.
"Canelo has requested for Bilal to join Canelo’s sparring camp once again. This may happen sometime in August 2018."
TEJ PRATAP SINGH HAS SAM SOLIMAN IN HIS SIGHTS
The sleeper of the middleweight division Tej Pratap Singh 13-4-2 (7) is set to face former IBF 160-pound champion Sam Soliman at the Melbourne Pavilion on July 8.
Southpaw Singh dominated the highly-regarded Jake Carr 16-2 (6) in a fight for the WBA Oceania title in March, stopping him in six rounds after Carr suffered a perforated eardrum. All three judges had the fight in favour of Singh 59-55 at the time of the stoppage.
The following month Singh won the Auckland Eight middleweight boxing tournament in New Zealand, beating three opponents including two by stoppage en route to claiming victory in the one-night eight-man single elimination competition. Now he faces the biggest test of his career against the ageing Soliman, who was held to a draw by Perth’s Wes Capper in March.
“Tej has been highly underestimated by the whole boxing fraternity in Australia,” said his coach Gerry Murphy. “We will stop Soliman as we have spotted a huge weakness in him after watching Soliman’s fight against (Sergiy) Derevyanchenko, who knocked him out.”
Singh will be making the first defence of his WBA Oceania title.
KYLE WEBB ENJOYING HIS BOXING AHEAD OF STATE TITLE DEFENCE AGAINST MATHEW FRESHNEY
Big-hitting southpaw Kyle “Big Bad Wolf” Webb 5-0-2 (5) will make the first defence of his Victorian state cruiserweight title when he takes on Mathew Freshney 2-4 at the Belmont Civic Centre in Geelong, Victoria this Saturday night.
The 31-year-old from Geelong, who now lives in the inner city suburb of North Melbourne and is trained by Tony Salta and Sam Soliman, is fast making a name for himself amongst the new generation of Aussie boxers. As a self-described “annoying long southpaw”, the 6-foot-4 Webb knows how to use his size and stance to frustrate his opponents before knocking them out.
“Sam is a massive influence on the way I fight. Not many bigger guys like to move and the way we train is with constant movement, which is a nightmare especially coming from a tall southpaw,” said Webb.
“All his little tricks and fakes are seen throughout all his current fighters and are drilled into people as soon as they come into the gym. It is really great to see and I love seeing Sam’s face when someone he teaches pulls off one of his moves.”
Former IBF middleweight champion Soliman recently opened his own gym called “Sam’s Stable” on the southern fringe of the Melbourne CBD. The renowned fitness fanatic works his boxers hard but his easy-going manner ensures he gets the most out of the fighters he trains.
“When I changed to boxing I was lucky enough to be training alongside, and then trained by, Sam Soliman, who is still my biggest idol,” said Webb, who started out his fighting career as a 23-year-old in Muay Thai and only moved across to boxing a couple of years ago. “His determination and constant development of style is second to none, not to mention the insane fitness and strength levels he takes us to.”
Like most kids growing up in regional Victoria, Webb’s early introduction to competitive sports came through Aussie Rules football. Although not a particularly skilled footy player despite his enviable size, Webb was always super-fit – an attribute that translated well to the fighting disciplines.
Since turning pro in August 2016, Webb has rolled through five of his seven opponents, winning by knockout in each of his victories and settling for draws in his other two fights. Yet despite his obvious power, the “Big Bad Wolf” insists he isn’t a knockout artist.
“I wouldn’t say I am a KO artist, although through working very hard with my strength coach and my trainers Sam Soliman and Tony Salta we have been able to fine tune the range and counters so we just make sure we are super fit and ready to go. The rest just happens,” he said.
On Saturday night Webb will be coming across a boxer who has his confidence up after winning his last two fights on the trot.
“I have watched Freshney box a few times and he will be a little shorter than me, so I will use what I have been working very hard on, which is my long range and accurate counters,” said Webb, who works as a project manager for Qest Environments by day.
If the big southpaw gets past Freshney as expected in front of his home crowd in Geelong he wants a crack at the Australian title, regardless of who he has to face to get it.
“I don’t have any individuals I’d like to target; I just want the Australian title so whoever has it when my turn comes, then I would love to fight them!” Webb said.
“I just want to fight some big fights and see how far I can get. The Australian title is definitely my main goal right now and I will do whatever I can to get it.”
With Sam Soliman and Tony Salta in his corner, anything is possible for Webb.
BILLY DIB VS TEVIN FARMER UNDERCARD TAKING SHAPE
The undercard for the IBF super featherweight title fight between Billy “The Kid” Dib 43-4 (24) and Tevin Farmer 25-4-1 (5) at Technology Park in Eveleigh in Sydney on August 3 is starting to take shape.
Tim Tszyu 9-0 (7) will challenge veteran Samuel Colomban 25-10-1 (11) for his Australian junior middleweight title over 10 rounds in what will be an excellent match-up of youth versus experience, while undefeated super middleweight Isaac Buckley 5-0-1 (1) will defend his NSW state title against Mateo Tapia 7-0 (4) in an eight-rounder.
Jeff Fenech’s hard-hitting 20-year-old bantamweight protégé Brock Jarvis 13-0 (12) will also appear on the card against an opponent to be named.
Perth’s undefeated junior middleweight John Krishna Jr 9-0-1 (4) will also be matched on the show.
LOUSIA “BANG BANG LULU” HAWTON SECURES STOPPAGE WIN IN HOLLYWOOD
Former WBO junior flyweight champion Louisa “Bang Bang Lulu” Hawton 8-1 (4) scored a stoppage victory over Elvia Trevino 2-4 when the 24-year-old Mexican stayed on her stool at the end of the fourth round at the Avalon in Hollywood, California on Wednesday night.
The Perth mother-of-two was fighting in the USA for the second straight time after signing a promotional deal with 360 Promotions earlier this year.
At the time of her signing well-known trainer Jimmy Montoya was emphatic in his praise.
“We got ourselves another young, prime Hector ‘Macho’ Camacho, what a talent!” he said.
Elvis Grant Phillips, of Grant gloves fame, mirrored his enthusiasm.
“I knew the first time I worked with Lulu in the gym, I called ‘Pops’ Montoya and told him, she’s a natural, another Camacho, born to be champion,” Grant said.
In her previous fight stateside Hawton dropped a close eight round decision to Anahi Torres of Mexico in a fight that she probably should have won.