News: Darchinyan/Arce Undercard; Walsh vs Haughian; Lawton vs Castle

NEW YORK (Jan. 13, 2009) – Before fan favorite Vic Darchinyan (31-1-1, 25 KOs) puts his International Boxing Federation (IBF), World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Association (WBA) super flyweight titles on the line against the popular, crowd pleasing Jorge Arce (51-4-1, 39 KOs) on Feb. 7, 2009, boxing fans will feast on a spectacular co-feature that will no doubt whet their appetite for the main event later that evening..

No. 5 ranked WBC lightweight challenger Antonio DeMarco (19-1-1, 13 KOs) will take on “Kid Diamond” Almazbek Raiymkulov (27-1-1, 15 KOs) in a 12-round lightweight bout for the North American Boxing Organization (NABO) title on Saturday, Feb. 7, live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING (SHOWTIME, 9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast).

Both 12-round fights are co-promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, and Bob Arum’s Top Rank, Inc., and will take place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

DeMarco, who had three ShoBox victories in 2008, is known for his aggressiveness and speed. The rangy southpaw is coming off a hard fought, split decision victory over Jose Reyes and while he is taking a big step up in opposition against Raiymkulov, the Mexico native is not worried.

"I already know every facet of Kid Diamond's style because I've been studying his fight videos," DeMarco said. "On Feb. 7, boxing fans will see that diamonds aren’t forever."

Shaw, who has two fighters on the telecast (DeMarco and Darchinyan) going up against two of Arum’s fighters (Arce and Raiymkulov), agrees.

"Tony DeMarco is the real gem of the lightweight division,” Shaw said. “He's going to prove it on SHOWTIME when he leaves Diamond in the roughest shape of his life.”

Raiymkulov, who was an Olympic representative for the former Soviet Republic of
Kyrgyzstan, is a crafty boxer with a solid left jab. His only defeat came in 2005 against current IBF, WBA and World Boxing Organization (WBO) lightweight champion Nate Campbell.

Raiymkulov feels his power punch will be the difference. "I am working hard in the gym preparing for my fight against DeMarco,” he said. “He is a good champion but I have a lot more thunder in my punching. He will find that out on Feb 7. I do not expect this fight to go 12 rounds -- not the way I hit."

SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING announcers Gus Johnson and Al Bernstein will call the action from ringside with Jim Gray and Karyn Bryant reporting from ringside. The executive producer of SHOWTIME Sports is David Dinkins Jr., with Bob Dunphy directing.

For information on SHOWTIME Sports, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video and photo galleries, complete telecast information and more, please visit the SHOWTIME Sports website at

Castle Plans To Storm Lawton's English Title

The past year has seen Henry Castle rip his way up the lightweight ranks in Britain, knocking off one seasoned rival after another until he now stands at the brink of gaining his first professional championship.

Castle will challenge English lightweight title holder Scott Lawton on Friday, January 23 at Fenton Manor in Stoke, England, as chief support to the Chris Edwards vs. Wayne Bloy British and Commonwealth flyweight championship bout.

The 29 year old Salisbury based Castle waged a brutal war with undefeated southpaw Ian Wilson in what many considered the fight of the year in March, 2007 before being stopped by the referee at the end of the fifth and such was the punishment taken by Wilson from Castle's vicious body assault that he has not fought professionally since.

But Castle was back in the ring later that year to comprehensively outpoint highly regarded Belfast man Kevin O'Hara before winning every round against iron-chinned Frenchman Frederic Gosset in February, 2008.

Just two months later, Castle began the most impressive stretch of his career to date with a three round pitched battle against current English super feather titlist Ryan Barrett, who like Wilson, held a massive height and reach advantage over the "Salisbury Silencer".

Castle showed the superb quickness and countering skills that made him an amateur champion and had succeeded in closing the distance before an accidental head clash forced a referee stoppage of Barrett in the third, putting a premature end to an exciting bout.

Next up for Castle was previously unbeaten Londoner Lee Cook, who was canvassed in a hail of left hooks in the fourth round when he tried to stand and trade in June of last year. After Cook absorbed a fusillade of rights at the end of the fifth, the bout was called to a halt.

Most recently, ex-British and Commonwealth lightweight champion Graham Earl picked the wrong opponent to come back against as Castle, 19-4 (11), looked sensational in gunning down the Luton man in a single shattering round that won him the right to face English champion Lawton, 25-4-1 (5), next Friday.

In Lawton, Castle will find a seasoned six foot tall opponent who will have the advantage of fighting in his hometown in front of an arena packed with his dedicated fan following. The 32 year old Stoke native is a smart boxer who has only lost over the the last three years to current European champion Jon Thaxton and former Commonwealth titlist Amir Khan.

Castle's aggressive style should serve him well in the early rounds against Lawton but the English champion will likely bid his time and apply his more vigorous efforts in the second half of the contest in what should be a thrilling test of wills.

With the winner likely to challenge the victor of the upcoming John Murray vs. Lee McAllister British title fight, the stakes couldn't be higher and Castle must wage his career best performance if he is to walk away from the ring with Lawton's belt around his waist.

Frank Maloney Promotions presents "Stoking The Fire", featuring Chris Edwards vs. Wayne Bloy for the vacant British and Commonwealth flyweight championships along with full undercard support on Friday, January 23, 2009 at Fenton Manor Sports Complex in Stoke, England.

Tickets are priced at £70 and £35 and are available by logging onto or by calling the Box Office at 0871 226 1508.

Sky Sports will televise the action live on SS1 starting at 10PM.

Walsh to defend title against Haughian

Irish Welterweight Champion, Billy Walsh wants it known that he’s not ducking Stephen Haughian – and to prove it he’s coming to what is effectively Haughian’s back yard next month to defend his title against the Lurgan man.

The two will clash at the Craigavon Leisure Centre on Saturday, February 7th and the undefeated Walsh is planning on keeping his title and keeping his perfect record intact. Promoter Brian Peters had thrown down the gauntlet to Walsh by accusing the Corkman of ducking Haughian but Walsh says he’s more than happy to step up to the plate.

“I had been in training for a non title fight in Youghal which was supposed to have taken place this Friday night but that fell through and then the offer to fight Haughian came along again,” explained Walsh. “I haven’t fought in almost a year since I won the title and I want to stay busy now.”

The former amateur star won the Irish title after a thrilling battle with Belfast’s James Gorman on Leeside last January but he has yet to defend the belt. “To win the Irish title was a dream come true and to do it in Cork was extra special,” said Walsh. “The atmosphere was great and I’m sure it will be just as good in Craigavon. I know it will be a pretty much a home fight for Stephen but I’ll have quite a few of my own fans there as well.”

Walsh got off to the best possible start in his title fight with Gorman but the Belfast man came back strongly in the later rounds before Walsh ran out the winner on a close points decision. “It was a real crowd pleasing fight,” recalled Walsh. “I’ve watched it back on DVD and I suppose my defence could have been better at times but that’s what made it so exciting. I’m not afraid to take a few punches as long as I can do a bit of damage myself, I have a good chin.

“I was very weight drained for that fight, even though it was for the welterweight title we had an agreement that we’d both come in well under the weight to suit James but I overdid it and was far too light. I was only a pound over light welter and it really took it’s toll in the last round or two. I was completely drained but I knew that I had started strong and won all the early rounds so it was just a case of gritting my teeth until the final bell.

“This time around I’ll be bang on the weight, welterweight is really my natural weight. Of course I have to work hard to make it but I feel very strong so I think that will make a big difference this time.”

Walsh knows all about Haughian and although he’s confident of retaining his title he admits it won’t be easy. “I saw Stephen box when he fought on my undercard in Cork a couple of years ago and I’ve seen him box on TV a few times since. He’s a nice boxer and a very nice lad but I’ll be putting that aside when the bell goes for the first round.

“I think a win over Stephen would raise my profile and hopefully lead to a big opportunity for me. It’s been frustrating to have been out of the ring for so long but hopefully this will be the start of a good 2009 for me.”

The bout headlines a top quality undercard which features former World title challenger and British Champion, Neil Sinclair as the Belfast puncher looks to build towards another title challenge.

Two weight Irish champ, Andy Murray from Cavan will also step between the ropes in Craigavon. Having just signed a managerial contract with Brian Peters the undefeated Murray is looking forward to a big 2009.

Another man hoping for a big year is Belfast’s Kevin “Sweet Pea” O’Hara. By his own admission O’Hara’s career has yet to live up to expectations but with 14 wins from his 18 starts “Sweet Pea” knows that he has solid foundations to launch a fresh bid for titles in 2009.

Michael Kelly is another man desperate for titles. Currently undefeated in 6 pro fights the Dundalk man has been out of the ring for almost 3 years but the former World Military champ says he’s hungrier than ever and wants to emulate the pro success of former amateur rival, Paul McCloskey.

Rounding out the card is popular Omagh prospect, Damian Taggart. The Tyrone man has been mentored by the county’s All Ireland winning football manager, Mickey Harte since turning pro just over a year ago and he’s hoping 2009 will be a massive year in his fledgling pro career.

Tickets priced £30, £40 and £60 are available from:

Stephen Haughian 07595672699
Maurice Haughian 07733413516
Woodville Arms 02838324005
Ashburn Hotel 02838325711
John Breen 07802898054
Breens Gym (above Monico Bar, Belfast) 02890278708
Neil Sinclair 07707971854
Damian Taggart 07746527958
Michael Kelly 0877618356
Coley Traynor 07779594007
Best Rate Bureau 02830252595

Article posted on 13.01.2009

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