News: Olympic Trio Join The Warren Stable; DeGale blasts ABA “jokers”; UK Women's Boxing Team

James Degale, Billy Joe Saunders & Frankie Gavin to turn professional - Frank Warren today unveils the latest additions to his boxing stable with three of the British 2008 Olympic boxing team joining his promotions and management company. Gold medalist James DeGale along with Billy Joe Saunders and Frankie Gavin will make the leap from amateur to professional boxing at the turn of 2009. The announcement, to be made in Islington this morning, confirms weeks of media speculation about the future of these highly regarded British boxers..

Frank Warren, the British Boxing Board of Control licensed promoter and manager, has guided the careers of many British world champion boxers in his time including Frank Bruno, Naseem Hamed, Nigel Benn and more recently Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe. In advance of today's announcement, Frank Warren commented: "These guys are the future of British boxing - James, Billy and Frankie are all fantastic lads, determined to prove themselves in the professional boxing arena."

"They all have a great pedigree at amateur level and are under no illusions of the hard work and commitment required to succeed. Their amateur records are second to none and I have no doubt that these boys are British world champion boxers in the making."

The three young boxers will embark on a national tour in 2009 with fights scheduled to take place in six major cities across Great Britain with them all appearing on the same bill. Details for the tour are yet to be confirmed but their debut professional outing is likely to take place in February.

Prior to today's unveiling, 2008 Olympic gold medallist James DeGale said: "My first aim was to win Olympic gold and the second is to become a professional world champion. Frank has a proven track record of nurturing young British talent and I can't wait to get started with him. I have seen British boxers win world titles and think 'that's me all over' - the big stadiums, the crowds, the lights!"

The youngest member of the trio, 19-year-old Billy Joe Saunders continued: "Boxing has always been in my blood and the opportunity to turn professional under Frank is a dream come true. I know I'm young and have a lot to learn but feel I have what it takes to make it to the top and the sooner I start, the sooner I'll achieve my ultimate goal of becoming world champion."

Britain's first ever World Amateur Champion, Frankie Gavin commented: "I'm had an amazing amateur career and making the British Olympic team was great even if it did not turn out as planned. The fight game is not without its ups and downs and I look forward to the challenges ahead as a I turn professional with Frank Warren and his team in my corner."

With a busy 2009 in store for the three young British hopefuls, further announcements will be made in January regarding the tour venues, dates and boxers' opposition.

DeGale blasts ABA “jokers”

Olympic gold medallist James DeGale has launched a scathing attack on the Amateur Boxing Association and UK Sport. DeGale, who today signed a professional contract with Frank Warren’s Sport Network, described them both as “jokers.”

In an interview shown on Setanta Sports News DeGale said he had been “mugged off.”

“They promised me meetings; they still owe me a medal bonus, a big, big medal bonus. Now they’re telling me that, because I’ve turned professional, they won’t give it to me.

“They’ve fined me for not going up to squads. It’s a joke. Since I’ve come back from the Olympics I’ve had no advice. They haven’t sat me down for talks or anything.”

DeGale expressed his concerns for Britain’s up and coming amateur boxers as they prepare for the London Olympics in 2012.

“They [the ABA] don’t treat you very well. They think they give you the world, but they give you nothing.”

DeGale, who signed with Warren along with fellow Olympian’s Frankie Gavin and Billy Joe Saunders, will make his professional debut next year. DeGale is already talking about where his first fight will take place.

“I’ll be fighting very early next year, probably February. I think it’ll be in London, there’s talk of it being at the O2, which is massive.

“This has been my dream since I was a little boy, when I used to watch Prince Naseem (Hamed) box in Las Vegas under the big lights.

“If I get a world title fight, maybe in London, that would be fantastic. At Loftus Road, QPR, imagine that? That would be fantastic wouldn’t it?


England was represented for the first time at the Women’s World Championships which took place in Ningbo, China finishing on Saturday 29th November. The England team of four boxers out of maximum team of 13 were confident of making their country proud, but in reality they EXCEEDED all expectation coming 15th out of the 42 nations that entered.

Nicola Adams a student at Bradford College, stole the show winning a silver medal in the 54kg weight category. “I’m ecstatic about it and I really can hardly believe it’s happening,” said Adams.

Amanda Coulson from Hartlepool was eliminated from the tournament in the early stages by the ex-world champion from Canada. Natasha Jonas from Liverpool and Lucy Abel from the Royal Navy achieved quarter final stage. Bout reports follow in the editors notes.

This marks a momentous time in women’s boxing in England. The Amateur Boxing Association of England is extremely proud of the team and a hopeful of a bright future for this growth area of the sport. “The England Women’s Boxing Team is amazing women who are an inspiration to others. Promoting and helping to develop women’s boxing throughout England. I was very proud to be part of such an amazing team.” said National Women’s Coach Amanda Groarke.

Amateur boxing is currently the only Olympic sport that does not include events for women. The Amateur International Boxing Association has submitted their proposals to the International Olympic Committee to change this position and the Amateur Boxing Association of England support such an attempt.

Editors Notes – Bout Information

Nicola started well, not planting her feet and giving her strong opponent opportunity to connect with her powerful shots, the first round ending 1-0 up. Nicola returned into the second fast, phasing and frustrating her opponent causing her to hold, Nicola retaliating throughout, holding her ground, just in distance to get her shots off and away, looking relaxed and classy taking her into a 3-1 lead. Determined to attack as soon as the bell went into the third, Hrytsay came forward, Nicola meeting her, slipping every shot the Ukraine threw countering connecting with flurries of shots to head and body, making the experienced Ukraine look very ordinary giving her a well deserved 8-1 win.

Amanda entered the ring knowing she would have to pull out all the stops against the ex world champion, treating this Prelim as if it were the final. The Canadian was to take the first point, Amanda struggling to get in range against her tall opponent, ending the round points down with a score of 1-3. The second much like the first with Amanda trying hard to get inside, throwing combinations but unable to score, ending the second with a score of 1-7. Amanda still composed and focused knew she had to stop her opponent in order to win, throwing powerful combinations, scoring three points instantly, her Canadian opponent started running, Amanda chasing, trying to close her down, although her tricky opponent continued moving ending in a 4-13 defeat, and a very disappointed Amanda.

Nicola entered the ring confident and focused. The first round started well with Nicola scoring the first point, looking very relaxed, catching her opponent with powerful hooks, although failing to register set her for a powerful back hand rocking her opponent, the round ending in a low scoring 2-1, after knowing she had to pick up her game, Nicola went straight into the second fast and busy, catching Bondarenko with back hands, switching her stance, confusing her Russian opponent, causing her to get frustrated throwing Nicola to the floor. Nicola continued throwing and moving, the Russian becoming angry holding and grappling Nicola, not phased by this Nicola just continued to box and move with a score of 8-1 after the second round. Going into the third, Nicola relaxed and sharp continued to frustrate the Russian, resulting in the Russian pulling faces at Nicola, trying to get some reaction, Nicola just continued slipping and throwing combinations of screw shots and hooks, doing a little Ali shuffle to taunt her opponent, who was unable to connect a shot know matter how hard she tried, finishing the contest seven points up with a final score of 9-2 and a well deserved place in the semi finals.

Lucy started the first taking the fight to her opponent throwing combinations of back hands and left hooks, putting Malene on her back foot, and out of her comfort zone taking Lucy ahead at the end of the first with a score of 2-1. Malene just kept moving in the second, the awkward southpaw doing everything she could to keep Lucy away, almost pulling of her head guard off trying to hold and drag her around, the ref constantly intervening, ending the second with neither girl scoring. Lucy entered the final round determined again trying to cut her opponent off the Dane again holding doing anything she could to prevent Lucy from scoring, Lucy punching in the clinch then breaking away throwing powerful body shots forcing the Dane back, a very awkward contest with a final score of 4-2 and Lucy a place in the quarter finals.

Natasha started the first round well, catching her opponent with accurate back hands, moving in both directions causing her opponent to over commit with her back hand then catching her when she came in, ending the first round 3-1. Natasha relaxed and confident went into the second much like the first using the jab as a range finder then connecting with the powerful back hand, knocking her opponents head back every time, the Vietnamese girl slapping and constantly getting warned, finishing the third 9-1. Going into the third Natasha knew all she had do was jab and move, her gutsy opponent still trying to score, throwing slaps resulting in the referee deducting a point with only seconds to go ending in a final score of 13-1, and an excellent win and place in the quarter finals for the long awaited Natasha.

Nicola entered the ring once again confident, knowing exactly how she would box the French girl. Looking relaxed and focused she glided around the ring, drawing her opponent onto her shots, connecting every time, ending the first 2-1 up, the second round and the pace picked up, Nicola setting only to throw her shots, and away again, switching stance, catching her opponent every time with a powerful back hand looking relaxed and a class above the experienced French girl, the second ending 6-1. The third round and Weaver desperate to score trying everything to catch Nicola, but Nicola was on form, not letting anyone or anything coming between her and a well deserved medal and place in the semi finals, with a final score of 7-2

Lucy entered the ring calm and focused catching her opponent with straight backhands to the head, although not registering, however her opponents scores were going up without punches connecting, ending the second 0-4, knowing what she had to do Lucy went into the second stepping in with all her shots, throwing powerful jabs knocking her opponents head back every time, phasing her attacks, although having to go forward and step in with everything she threw in order for it to register pulling back four points ending the second 4-5. The final round and Lucy boxed out of her skin, pulling even with over a minute to go, the Hungarian coming back all the time, Lucy in total desperation throwing everything she could catching her with combinations of head and body shots, none of which were scoring, finishing a nail biting 6-8 finish, and an absolute outstanding performance from Lucy.

Natasha entered the ring more relaxed than in her previous contest, throwing out the jab, trying to connect with her powerful backhand although getting caught herself when she threw. Moving to her left and straight onto her opponents back hand, finishing the first two points down 1-3. Picking up the pace in the second Natasha continued going to her left, finding it impossible to move right, getting caught again by the Russians powerful back hand, then countering with powerful two and three shot combinations of hooks and back hands ending the second 2-6, Still controlled Natasha returned determined and strong, throwing double backhands and right hooks pushing the Russian back, her opponent holding throughout the round, Natasha attacking body and head continuing to throw till the final bell ending with a score of 4-9, shattering Natasha’s dream of a medal.

Nicola again entered the ring calm and confident, knowing exactly what she must do, the American baffled by the speed and style Nicola performed. Nicola relaxed began to throw combinations of head and body shots, the American keeping a tight guard, Nicola then feinting her shot, and then reacting. Immediately connecting every time, taking her points up at the end of the first with a score of 4-0 going into the second and Nicola continued to keep composed, catching the American with devastating body shots, although failing to score, caused her hands to drop, then catching her with accurate screw shots, although not all seemed to score, ending the second 7-0. The final round and although well ahead on points Nicola continued to be busy switching head and body as well as stance, throwing combinations of powerful right and left hooks to the body, followed by hooks and uppercuts to the head once again looking a total class above her opponent, who was unable to lay a glove on Nicola throughout the whole of the bout taking Nicola to a 10-0 win and a place in the final of the World Championships and a place in England’s history books.

Nicola entered the ring focused, knowing she had to work hard and box clever, against the powerful Pol who had boxed well throughout the tournament. The beginning of the first and Nicola started points up moving well, catching her opponent when switching with the backhand, taking her four points up at the start of the first, but the Pol came back throwing combinations of left right lefts coming forward, ending the first 4-4, Nicola started the second knowing she would have to keep a tight guard, her opponent holding her a roughing her up, resulting in Nicola receiving a public warning putting the Pol ahead and Nicola on catch up. The third and Nicola trying to let her shots go, chasing her Polish opponent, every time she was in range her opponent would hold, the referee again warning Nicola of her head. Nicola throwing shots body head, could not seem to catch up ending in a 6-10 defeat, and the gold medal taken away.

Obviously Nicola was distraught she knows she can beat her Polish rival, although to come home from the first World Championships England have ever entered, and the biggest one ever with 27 entries in Nicolas category is a massive achievement; to come home ranked number two in the World, knowing you are so close to becoming number one is something to be proud of.

Article posted on 02.12.2008

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