British Boxing: Four Title Fights Head To Head In Wigan
Yesterday in Wigan, England, promoters Frank Maloney and Steve Wood held the last press conference for their massive four title fight bill to be held tomorrow, Saturday, December 8, 2007 at Wigan's Robin Park Centre. The card will serve as the lead in on Sky Box Office's live broadcast of the Mayweather vs. Hatton bill in Las Vegas..
Article posted on 06.12.2007
"I'd like to welcome you all to the Robin Park Arena for the final face to face conference for the 'Home Guard' bill," said Maloney. "We've come up with four great title fights that will keep the viewers on Sky Box Office happy and the sell out crowd of just over 1,400 that will be in the arena on Saturday night. Those that are here in the arena will be able to watch the Hatton vs. Mayweather fight from Las Vegas after we finish the fights here in Wigan.
"There are four title fights on this show and out of this show, I believe that the new Ricky Hatton will be born for British boxing because we have to look for a new leader as Ricky is coming towards the end of his career. I do believe that one of the guys appearing here on Saturday night may be the new star of British boxing in the future."
Maloney's co-promoter for Saturday's show is one of the top fight figures in Manchester, Steve Wood, also the manager of Jamie Moore, who had given up the British light middle title to fight for the European crown at Wigan on Saturday until champion Zaurbek Baysangurov pulled out with a training injury.
"It's a shame that Jamie Moore's not here to fight for the European title," said Wood. "But he is really up for it and that's going to happen shortly. Frank has knocked together four title fights really quickly and they're all evenly matched. There are also eight good undercard fights so the boxing on Saturday night is going to be quality and we're all looking forward to it."
The eight fighters that will contest the two British and two Commonwealth title bouts were on hand and they squared off with their respective opponents as the Sky Sports television cameras rolled on.
London's Gary Woolcombe, 24-1 (9), and West Bromwich's Marcus Portman, 18-5-1 (3), will contest the vacant British light middleweight crown recently given up by Jamie Moore and Maloney predicts that the winner will likely meet Moore for the European title in the near future. Both men have had impressive careers to date with Woolcombe failing only in an English title bid against the awkward Andrew Facey and southpaw Portman is riding a six fight win streak.
Both men remain confident that they will be take this opportunity for the domestic crown with both hands, setting up what should be a hard fought twelve round contest of wills.
"I believe that it's my time to win the British title," said Woolcombe. "I've been pro for five years now, 25 fights and 24 wins and I believe it's time to fight for the British and I know I'm going to be victorious."
"I've been a pro for eight years now and I've fought some tough some geezers in my time," said Portman. "This is definitely my time to win the British title and I'm thankful for the opportunity of it. I'm going to bring that title back to West Bromwich."
English flyweight titlist Chris Edwards, 10-12-3 (3), and English bantam titlist Jamie McDonnel, 8-0-1 (2), will argue the inagural British super flyweight championship. Edwards is coming off two tremendous battles with Dale Robinson, the second of which ended in a draw for the British and Commonwealth flyweight belts while McDonnel is having a superb start after a sterling amateur career and will have a sizable height advantage once the bell rings.
"Jamie hasn't been in with fighters of the same class that I've been in with," said Edwards. "I don't have any doubts at all that the belt is coming back to stay with me."
"I've only had 10 fight so this British title fight has come fast," said McDonnel. "I'd just like to say that title is coming back to Doncaster."
Welterweight Ali Nuumbembe, 18-2-1 (6), defeated British champion Kevin Anderson in February for the Commonwealth title and will look to hold of the youthful aspirations of challenger Craig Watson, 11-1 (3), the man who put Amir Khan on the floor for what is now known as the longest count in amateur boxing.
Nuumbembe, known as "The Silent Assassin", first shot to prominence two years ago when he forced a draw upon unbeaten former British welterweight champion David Barnes. Watson comes into the bout on the strength of a four fight victory roll, including an impressive points win against previously unbeaten prospect Michael Lomax in July.
"I'm Commonwealth champion and have had 21 fights," said Nuumbembe. "I'm prepared for this fight, it's the first defense of my title and I'm not prepared to let it go yet. I will put on a good show and intend to keep my title."
"I've taken some hard fights in my twelve bouts and beaten some good kids," said Watson. "I'm chuffed to be here and would fight Nuumbembe here today if I could."
Former IBO super flyweight champion Jason Booth, 27-5 (10), meets Welshman Matt Edmonds, 5-1 (1), for the vacant Commonwealth bantamweight title. Booth is regrouping the second phase of a long career after dropping a close British title fight to Ian Napa recently while Edmonds will try to bring to bear his youthful advantage.
Also a past holder of the British and Commonwealth flyweight belts, Booth contended competitively for European honors on three occasions, losing narrowly in each instance and the Nottingham man is confident that this will bout will see the beginning of a new campaign for the Continental crown.
"I've forgotten how many fights I've had, (laughter erupts from room) but I'm ready for this one," said Booth. "I'm gonna do well in this one tommorow, (more laughter), I mean Saturday."
"I'd like to say thanks to Frank for giving me the opportunity to fight for the Commonwealth title, and I think this will be a great fight," said Edmonds. "Jason is a great fighter; I've watched him since I was a kid and it's a privledge to share the ring with him but I will be taking the belt back to Wales."
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