News: Tony Castellano; Eric Hunter; Michael Sweeney

From WBC President Jose Sulaiman: It is with great sadness that we express our sympathy for the passing away of one of the absolute best judges that I have met in my life of boxing, Tony Castellano. The World Boxing Council declares January 15 as a day of mourning. Tony was the judge in fights of some of the greatest fighters ever, including Floyd Patterson, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Sugar Ray Robinson, and all of the great ones of the last half century. Even in recent times, he was still appointed as a judge by the WBC without ever being criticized for a wrong scoring..

Tony was one of the very best judges, and one who founded the group of those judges in 1971 when they created the ten point system.

I remember Tony as a judge for being always untouchable by the reactions of the public or the corners; for his total dedication to our sport and for his unwavering loyalty to the institutions, as well as I remember his wife, our unforgettable Carol.

May he rest in peace, and please accept the deepest sympathy of all the members of the WBC at this moment when one of our great friends is joining mighty God.


LAS VEGAS, NV (January 15, 2009) Featherweight prospect Eric “THE OUTLAW” Hunter has signed an exclusive promotional agreement with Las Vegas based TKO BOXING Promotions, it was announced today by its President, Chet Koerner. The 22 year old Philadelphia prospect, carrying a record of 10-1-0 (4KO's), will appear in an eight round bout at the inaugural “FIGHT NIGHT AT THE PLAZA” professional boxing series event in Las Vegas on Friday, January 23rd at the Plaza Hotel and Casino.

Said Koerner, “Eric’s got all the skills to be a world champion. He’s an all action fighter with fast hands and deceptive power. It’s a terrific signing to our stable and we look forward to his performance in Las Vegas next Friday night. Our plan is for him to fight at least six times in 2009 with the right fights and exposure for him to earn a spot in the world rankings by the end of the year.”

Hunter is coming off an impressive eight round decision over veteran Robert Daluz on August 1, 2008, an outstanding performance in which he swept all three judges scorecards towards the shutout. On August 3, 2007, he made his national broadcast debut with an eight round unanimous decision win over Tyrell Samuel on the Showtime boxing series, SHOBOX.

Hunter is guided by noted boxing manager Cameron Dunkin, whose list of fighters includes world champions Kelly Pavlik, Steven Luevano and Nonito Donaire.

Presented in association with Reno, Nevada’s “Let’s Get It On” Promotions and Rattlesnake Events, tickets for “FIGHT NIGHT AT THE PLAZA” are priced at $99.50, $59.50 and $24.50 and are available through the Plaza Hotel and Casino Box Office (800-634-6575).

The evening of boxing will take place in the Plaza Hotel and Casino Convention Hall, with doors opening at 6pm, first bell scheduled at 7pm. The Plaza Hotel and Casino is located at 1 South Main St. at the west end of The Fremont Street Experience in Downtown Las Vegas

The Plaza offers an array of innovative table games and slot machines; a new restaurant called Lombardi’s Italian Kitchen; the DOME, Las Vegas’ only ultra sports lounge; the largest race and sports book downtown; the hottest show in town – the Rat Pack is Back; free live entertainment right on the casino floor in the Aqua Lounge; the Lucky 7’s Buffet; and a host of other amenities including a roof top swimming pool and tennis courts. Guests may call (702)386-2110 or (800)634-6575 or visit for more information and/or hotel reservations.

Mayo’s Sweeney a fighter not a lover

Michael Sweeney will fight in France on February 14 in St Quentin on the under card of the Cristobal Cruz versus Cyrill Thomas’s IBF world title fight, as the first Irish fighter to benefit from the Banner Promotions Tommy Egan Promotions joint venture.

MUCH to his wife’s disappointment fighting will be all that Michael Sweeney will have on his mind in the country of love, France on Valentines Day, as he begins an exciting fresh dawn with his premier World Championship card bout.

There does however, appear to be some semblance of romance in the teak tough Mayo pugilist, as he claims his upcoming bout is another step in a sequence of positive events that has seen him fall back in love with the boxing game.

The New Year means a new era for Sweeney. He has joined forces with fellow Western and Irish boxing legend, Rosmuc’s Sean Mannion to train for the most important fight in his career to date.

He also finds himself the first Irish fighter to benefit from the new Banner Promotions Tommy Egan Promotions venture and as a result will begin 2009 on the under card of the Cristobal Cruz Cyrill Thomas’s IBF world title fight.

It’s a far cry from where Sweeney, a fighter who has been compared to Steve Collins, found himself this time last year. The undefeated hard hitting light-heavyweight was previously some what disillusioned with the business end of the fight game.

That, however, is now a problem of the past and Sweeney claims he is now excited about the year to come and his boxing future.

“I am really excited about this year and the fight coming up. Things have changed dramatically; my career has jumped from zero to one hundred percent. I am delighted to be with Banner Promotion and Tommy Egan. They have given me a great opportunity and I am going to grab it with both hands. I am going to be fighting all over the world this year and on some top class shows. I was really excited when I fought on the under card of Bernard Dunne and Andy Lee, but being part of a World Title show, you can’t get better than that. I fought in Boston last year and the reception was great. Now I am in France on Valentines Day. My wife is really excited about that, but all I will be focused on will be fighting and winning. A lot lays in store for me now. Tommy Egan has been great and has done brilliant work for me and could do a lot for Irish boxing,” Sweeney enthused before explaining how things have changed for him in recent months.

“There is a big difference now. When I started out training and trying to get into the game I found it difficult. It’s the same for all fighters. Then you get on a show you have to sell tickets which is also a nightmare and can affect your training, which in turn can affect your performance. That’s a thing of the past now, I have guaranteed fights, and on great cards. Also my training isn’t interrupted by worries of ticket sales. Every fighter wants to fight for World Titles and I am no different. That is up to my team though, but I would like to fight for an Irish Title in the summer if possible.” he added.

Not having to worry about ticket sales or the business end of the pro game will not be the only improvement to the Mayo fighter’s preparations, however. Sweeney will ready himself to take on a yet to be named opponent in Saint Quentin on February 14 under the guidance of the man who went 15 rounds with the great Mike McCallum, Sean Mannion.

“We have high hopes for Michael and we have put him in with Sean Mannion because we think he can help him reach his potential,” Sweeney’s manager Tommy Egan explained.

“Sean Mannion is an Irish boxing legend. He has fought five world champions and he will be a great asset to Michael. To have such experience and knowledge in his corner will really benefit Michael. I have the greatest admiration for Sean. He was the toughest Irish fighters of all time. He was never put down in 59 fights in America. In 1984 he went 15 rounds with the famed Mike ‘the body snatcher’ McCallum a fight which was joint top of the bill with Marvin Hagler and Mustafa Hamsho in Madison Square Garden. Sean is a legend of Irish boxing, but like most that went to America little was know of him here. Every time I go to the States people can not speak highly enough about him. He would have really benefited from the Banner Promotion Tommy Egan deal. It’s a pity this type of deal didn’t exist then and Sean himself has said that and commended what we are doing for Michael and Irish boxing.” Egan added before explaining why they feel it best Sweeney trains with his fellow Westerner.

“Sean is, like Michael, from the West and Michael can live and train from home. He won’t be away from his family for long periods which means he will be happier and train better. Michael will also have the full attention of Sean and his training team going into what is a huge fight for him, which again is another advantage. Also Michael just has to worry about fighting and getting ready for the fight. None of my fighters will have to worry about selling tickets. I want them to concentrate on progressing their career. It’s unfair to expect them to worry about getting people in the door. Ticket sales are a promoters responsibility fighting is a fighters. Michael’s performances will make ticket sales easy he will entertain and win in the ring but he will never have to physically sell a ticket,” former amateur Egan added.

“Michael has the chance to display his talents on a World Title under card and in front of a global audience. He will be on American, French and most likely Irish TV and if he proves himself can benefit from the Tommy Egan Banner Promotion joint venture and eventually secure European and World Title shots, and we think his fellow Westerner Sean can prepare him for such bouts.”

Article posted on 16.01.2009

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