By Anthony Cocks
TEAM HORN UNFAZED BY BOB ARUM CALLING TERENCE CRAWFORD THE “BETTER BOXER”
Veteran promoter Bob Arum says that there is “no question” that welterweight world title challenger Terence Crawford 32-0 (23) is a better boxer than WBO champion Jeff Horn 18-0-1 (12) but concedes that the physicality of the unbeaten Australian could cause the former unified 140-pound champion all sorts of problems when the two meet at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 9.
The 30-year-old Horn will enter the ring a decided underdog against the unbeaten Nebraskan, but that will be nothing new for the “Fighting Schoolteacher” who overcame the odds to defeat eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao in Brisbane last July.
"If Horn wins it’s a tremendous victory for him. He becomes the boss," said Arum last week. "He remains the welterweight champion and he goes into the records in boxing as one of the most elite fighters in the sport.
"If you talk about boxing skills there’s no question they belong to Crawford but when you talk about size, strength and determination you have to give Horn a very good chance.
"I don’t know who will win this fight, a lot will depend on the determination of the two boxers.
"All I know is that it will be a good, hard fought competitive match. The winner of this fight will be considered the big superstar of the welterweight division."
Horn has been putting the finishing touches on his campaign with Philadelphia fringe contender Ray Robinson 24-3 (12) who has been brought out to Australia to spar 40 rounds with the Brisbane world champion. The 20 rounds the two have already sparred have proven invaluable in sharpening up Horn’s defence.
“We can’t afford to let Crawford nail Jeff with a big shot, because once Crawford lands a heavy punch that’s when he goes from being a very elusive, defensive fighter into an extremely dangerous hunter,’’ trainer Glenn Rushton told New Corp this week.
“His punches are laser sharp, pinpoint accurate and he throws them very fast and in combinations. Jeff will be going out there to put Crawford under enormous pressure and to throw him off his game.’’
While Horn is known for his aggressive, brawling style, Rushton is quick to remind Crawford and his outspoken trainer Brian “BoMac” McIntyre that his charge is a former Olympian who progressed to the quarter-finals at London 2012.
“Crawford and his team have described Jeff as a crude brawler and lacking in skills,’’ Rushton said.
“They forget that after just four years in the sport Jeff made the quarter-finals of the London Olympics. Despite his reputation, Terence couldn’t make the American Olympic team.’’
JACK BRUBAKER LOOKING TO THE UK AFTER TYRONE NURSE FIGHT
Cronulla welterweight “Gelignite” Jack Brubaker 13-2-1 (7) is looking to open doors in the United Kingdom with a win over English boxer Tyrone Nurse 35-3-2 (7) at the Star Casino in Sydney, Australia tonight.
“I want to win a world title. To do that I have to beat Tyrone Nurse,” he told the St George & Sutherland Leader.
“It’s a step in the road. I believe I can beat him 100 per cent. If I walk in and I’m 100 per cent on the night, no-one in the world can beat me.
“I’m expecting a lot of exposure. This will open up a lot of doors in the UK. He’s a great European fighter, he’s well known and well liked over there. Beating him convincingly is going to set up some big fights.”
The 26-year-old lost his last bout to skilful Queenslander Kris George 14-1 (8), who will travel to Newcastle in the UK to defend his Commonwealth crown against hot prospect Josh Kelly 6-0 (4) at Metro Radio Arena.
In the George fight Brubaker was stopped on cuts in sixth round of a close contest.
“Kris George is fighting [Josh] Kelly over in Europe in a month’s time. It’ll be interesting to see the outcome. Kelly would be a great scalp to have in the UK. There’s more world champs in the UK than the US right now,” said Brubaker.
“They’ve got some great boxing programs and who knows, after this fight and this win I’ll have a bit of a name, if I can do a training camp at a facility over there and get my name out there. That would be the ideal outcome, to get recognised by one of the big boxing promotions that do the big fights over there.”
But first he has to get by the experienced Nurse, who has had twice the number of fights as Brubaker and mixed with a higher class of opponent. In his last outing the 28-year-old Yorkshireman dropped a close decision to highly-regarded southpaw Jack Catterall 21-0 (12) in a fight for the BBBofC British junior welterweight title.
“He’s tall and lean, same sort of build. He’s got mad boxing skills. Slick, crafty, all the punches in the book,” said Brubaker.
“He lacks a bit of power. I’m going to box and be sharp and fast. It’s going to be a great fight. Stylistically it’ll be a great match up. He doesn’t mind standing in the pocket and trading them and I definitely love that. I’m definitely going to be the stronger man on the night.
“I’m right where I need to be. I’m the perfect age right now. I didn’t start boxing until late, I was 18 when I had my first amateur fight. I’m still a pup in boxing, I’ve got room to grow.
“Physically I’m at my best. I’ve done a 10-week camp for this, I brought on Jock Campbell as my new running coach. But mentally I’m so switched on. I’ve got no distractions outside the gym. Everything outside boxing is helping me towards my goals. I’m in the best position of my life.”
LIAM PARO CLAIMS WBO YOUTH TITLE WITH TWO-ROUND DEMOLITION OF SEBASTIAN BYTYQI
Australian junior welterweight champion Liam “The Prodigy” Paro 14-0 (10) claimed the vacant WBO Youth title with a two-round demolition of Sebastian Bytyqi 11-1-1 (8) of the Czech Republic at Southport Sharks on the Gold Coast on Saturday night.
“I know if I hit someone clean, they’re not going to get up,” said Paro after the fight.
The 22-year-old southpaw, who is perhaps best known as a regular sparring partner for WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn, had the 20-year-old visitor on the deck in the second round courtesy of a lead left hand and finished the job moments later with the same punch.
“It was a flash knockdown,” said Paro. “He got up pretty easily, his legs didn’t look too buckled. We just took our time, loaded the next one up and it landed clean again and that was it.”
Paro’s trainer Alfie Di Carlo didn’t expect such an early night.
“It was probably a little bit more than I expected, to be honest,” he said. “He’s very patient, I’ve always known that, but I didn’t expect it to finish so early. I’m very proud of what he did.”
Next up for the Brisbane-based North Queenslander is a tantalising clash with former Australian lightweight champion Valentine Borg 14-2 (8) that is expected to take place in Melbourne in July.
“That’s a great fight for these two young stars, there’s a big wrap on both these boys,” said Di Carlo.
“We’ve always been big believers in cleaning out as much as you can in Australia and I think Val Borg is a great name. I respect him a lot, I think he’s very talented and I think it’s a fight we should have and hopefully we will have by the end of July.
“I think it’s one of the biggest fights that can be made in Australia this year and we look forward to it happening to be honest.”
JAI OPETAIA HEADLINES MAIDEN FUTR CARD AGAINST KURTIS PEGORARO
WBO number 11 cruiserweight Jai Opetaia 15-0 (12) will headline the inaugural FUTR show by DDP Sports when he takes on Kurtis Pegoraro 11-3 (1) at the Pullman & Mecure Hotel in Brisbane on June 29.
The 22-year-old Opetaia is a fast-rising star of the Australian fight scene. The youngest ever boxer to represent Australia at the Olympics, the proud Samoan-Australian southpaw is being groomed for a crossroad bout against former world title challenger Mark “Bam Bam” Flanagan 24-5 (17) later this year.
Flanagan lost a 12-round decision to Russian WBA world champion Denis Lebedev 30-2 (22) last year, lasting the distance but losing a wide decision on points.
But before Opetaia can start thinking about Flanagan he has to get past Pegoraro. The 28-year-old from Ipswich is coming off a 10-round virtual shutout over German Eugen Buchmueller 11-2 (8) in a heavyweight clash in Guangzhou, China last December.
In March last year Pegoraro, weighing 216¼ pounds, defeated Bob Mirovic, Ben Sosoli and Moses Havea in one night to win an eight-man heavyweight elimination tournament at the Melbourne Pavilion in Melbourne, Australia.
Pegoraro has competed exclusively at heavyweight for the past two years but should have no problem dropping the 16-pounds required to get below the cruiserweight limit of 200-pounds.
Opetaia was last in action in April when he stopped German Lukas Paszkowsky 9-2 (3) in two rounds on the undercard of the junior middleweight clash between Dennis Hogan and Jimmy Kilrain Kelly.
Also on the card, one of Australia’s top amateur boxers will make his pro debut when Liam Wilson joins the punch-for-pay ranks in the lightweight division.
The 22-year-old Queenslander is a five-time national champion and leaves the amateurs with a record of 123-14.
Wilson represented Australia at the 2018 Commonwealth Games where he reached the quarter finals and has also represented his country at the 2014 Youth World Championships and 2012 Junior World Championships.
Wilson’s style in the ring has been likened to English fighter Ricky Hatton, who ended Kostya Tszyu’s career in 2005.
He was also an early teammate of WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn, who had nothing but praise for the talented youngster when asked about Wilson by News Corp last year.
“Liam is the real deal as a fighter,” said Horn. “He’s very tough, very aggressive and every fight he has is all action.”
DDP Sports announced the launch of FUTR last month, a new platform designed to help new and emerging professional boxers develop their brand and become household names.
“FUTR is a platform specifically designed to develop young talent by giving them ring-time and acting as a feeder program for our bigger shows,” said Paul Keegan, managing director of DDP Sports, at the time.
“Professional boxing has never had a development program to assist boxers get started in the pro game. We believe that by helping young boxers stay busy we can assist them with building their brand, establishing a fan base, and helping them navigate some of the trickier aspects of the sport.”
REAGAN DESSAIX TAKES ON UNKNOWN GHANAIAN PETER ATO RICKETTS THIS SATURDAY
Sometimes boxing is like the proverbial box of chocolates: you never really know exactly what you are going to get.
That’s the case for Sydney light heavyweight Reagan Dessaix 13-1 (9) who will be flying blind this weekend when he tackles Ghanaian Peter Ato Ricketts 17-2 (11) over 10 rounds for the vacant IBF International and WBA Oceania titles at Seagulls Rugby League Club in Tweed Heads, NSW on Saturday night.
“This preparation we haven’t found any kind of footage of Ricketts,” revealed Dessaix. “But we’ve tracked a source who knows and who has seen him fight many times in Ghana before.
“We’ve put a good game plan together and I know myself I’ve prepared the best I could have prepared myself in the lead up to this fight, so we’re coming into the fight very confident and switched on (and) ready to go at the same time.”
Not much is known of Ricketts outside of his native Ghana where all of his pro fight have taken place, almost exclusively against other Ghanaians. In his lone fight against a foreigner Ricketts was matched against Nigerian Isaac Ekpo, now 32-4 (25) and ranked WBA number eight, in a bout for the vacant Commonwealth super middleweight title.
Ricketts lasted the distance but didn’t win a round. That was four years ago.
The 21-year-old Dessaix believes that Ricketts will be out of his comfort zone fighting away from home and that the foreign environment will take him away from his game plan.
But the real key to victory has been the quality sparring Dessaix has put in during his preparation for the largely unknown Ghanaian.
“We’ve been told Ricketts is a strong fighter who puts pressure on, so one of my main sparring partners has been amateur cruiserweight and stablemate David Hadfield, who is a strong, come-forward fighter,” said Dessaix.
“We’ve also don a lot of rounds with Faris Chevallier, who is the same build as Ricketts and keeps a high pace to every spar.”
In his last outing Dessaix scored a career-best win when he stopped experienced Japanese boxer Shintaro Matsumoto 14-6 (10) in four rounds at Tweed Heads.
“The fight against Matsumoto was my first big fight on the international stage and I felt myself that I learned a lot from it and really stepped up to the plate to be on the international scene,” said Dessaix.
“I want to take it to the next level and keep on improving myself each and every fight to bring out the best of me and be the best boxer I can be.
“Overall, I’m just looking forward to another great night come Saturday headlining Boxing Mania 2 and to show everyone what I can do and what I am capable of. I’m only 21 years old, still young and I believe the best is yet to come from Reagan Dessaix. Watch this space!”
TOMMY BROWNE ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT FROM BOXING
Two-time world title challenger Tommy “The Titan” Browne 38-7-2 (15) will hang up his gloves after one more bout in his hometown of Sydney later this year.
The 47-fight veteran will be back in action in the Macarthur region of Sydney likely on August 18 to bid farewell to his family, friends and fans who have supported him throughout16-year professional his career.
The 35-year-old won national and regional championships, including the WBC Youth title that led to a shot at rugged WBC featherweight champion In-Jin Chi of South Korea in 2005. Despite coming up short on the scorecard, Browne put in a tremendous performance to last the distance in what was an entertaining and hard-fought bout.
Later the same year Browne challenged Indonesia’s long-time WBA “regular” world champion Chris John, retiring at the start of the 10th round.
In 2008 Browne retired from the ring after losing a fight to future world title challenger Leonardo Zappavigna but returned five years later to put together an undefeated 11-fight four year run that culminated in a shot at Anthony Mundine for the vacant WBO Oriental middleweight title. Despite boxing well in the opening round, Browne got caught with a left hook and stopped in the second. Browne has had two fights for two wins since the Mundine loss, both taking place in the United States.
Maxboxing wishes Browne all the best for his career after boxing and thanks him for all the entertaining fights he gave the fans.
DARRAGH FOLEY SIGNS WITH MTK GLOBAL
Australian-based Irishman Darragh “Super” Foley 15-2 (8) has become the latest signing to international powerhouse MTK Global this week.
The WBA number six and WBO number 15 junior welterweight was last in action in March when he outboxed world-rated Canadian Steven Wilcox 18-3-1 (5) at the Star Casino in Sydney in March.
“I’ve won every major title in the Oceania and Asia Pacific regions and now it’s time to spread my wings in search of a world title. I know MTK Global will provide me with the opportunities,” said the exciting 29-year-old.
“I’d got as far as I could off my back. Now I’m ranked by the WBA and WBO it’s time to align myself with a powerhouse of the sport in MTK Global. Together, I’ll achieve my ultimate goal.
“I train under Tony Del Vecchio so it was just a natural fit. I see all the great things MTK Global is doing for its fighters and I want to be a part of it.
“I’ve got a lot of options when it comes to a route to a world title. Kiryl Relikh or the winner of Terry Flanagan v Maurice Hooker would be my first choices.
“I’m also prepared to do battle with the other super-lightweights at MTK Global. Jack Catterall and Ohara Davies are both excellent young fighters and I’d welcome the chance to get it on with those guys.”
MTK Global’s International Consultant Mike Altamura added: “I’ve known Darragh for a long time and it’s great to see him ranked so highly by multiple governing bodies.
“He’s clearly closing in on a world title fight so now it’s down to us to afford him more exposure globally and land him some opportunities in Europe.
“Darragh understands the business of boxing. He’s a great showman inside and outside of the ring. It’s fantastic to be working with him and a long-time associate of mine in his trainer, Tony Del Vecchio.”