News: Jennings Warns Cotto; Billy Joe Saunders; Larry Olubamiwo

British welterweight Michael Jennings will give it “100%” when he takes on Miguel Cotto for the vacant WBO welterweight title at Madison Square Garden in New York on 21st February. Jennings has hit out at claims in the American and Puerto Rican press that it was “a done fight”. Speaking to Setanta Sports News Jennings said: “They were trying to say that he’d already beaten me. Some Puerto Rican press asked me what I thought about Cotto having already arranged his next fight with [Antonio] Margarito in June..

“I said ‘he shouldn’t count his chickens’.”

Jennings described Cotto as his toughest opponent to date and is under no illusions that the odds are stacked against him. He added:

“People can say what they want about me getting knocked out. I know it’s going to be a hard fight. But I’m a proud English man. I’m not going over there lose, I’m going over there to win.”


Trainer Danny Hoy says 2008 Olympian Billy Joe Saunders won't be at his peak for another six years.

And with hot talent Saunders, still just 19, he is already being tipped as a potential world-class operator given his form as an amateur, Hoy's statement will give light-middleweight rivals a few sleepless nights.

Saunders will make his professional debut on February 28 at the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham, alongside fellow 2008 Olympians Frankie Gavin and James DeGale.

Hoy will be in his corner, and is backing his man to achieve big things.

"Training has been going fantastically well," said Hoy.

"Mentally and physically, Billy Joe is spot on at the moment and he can't wait for sparring to really get going next week.

"But what's really impressed me is that Billy Joe has said that he doesn't want to be rushed and doesn't see himself fighting at the highest level until he's 25.

"I agree that he won't be at his peak until then, although even that age is quite young these days for a light-middleweight.

"We've only seen a fraction of his potential at the moment, and he can really push on from what his achieved already. The sky is the limit."

Saunders is in good company turning professional at a young age - the likes of Naseem Hamed, Ricky Hatton and Amir Khan were all punching for pay when they were still teenagers.

And if he does make it to the top, one of the men he'll have to thank is Hoy, who has been his trainer since he began boxing.

"I remember Billy Joe coming into the gym when he was seven or so, and we'd just let him punch a bag or get on with something in a corner somewhere," remembers Hoy.

"People ask me if I always knew he was special, but when kids first begin boxing properly when they are 10 or 11, it's really too young to tell if they have got it or not.

"But by the time Billy Joe was 13 I felt we were on to something. At the age, he had the ability to switch tactics mid fight depending on who his opponent was, and that's quite a rare skill for someone so young to have.

"He just kicked on from there. Although he's always had great strength, I've concentrated on his boxing skills so he didn't become reliant on it, and now he can box and he can fight."

Hoy says he is looking forward to Saunders' professional debut - although it will be a first for him too as he's not had a pro fighter before.

"I'm learning about the pro game as well, but I've already had some great advice from the likes of Dean Powell and trainers Johnny Eames and Alan Smith and I know Billy Joe we are going to be just fine," he added.

Tickets, priced at £30, £50, £100 and £150, are available from: Ticket Factory 0844 338 8000

The War Machine Marches On Stoke-On-Trent

Britain's most destructive heavyweight prospect will be in action this Friday, January 23, as Larry Olubamiwo has been added to the Chris Edwards vs. Wayne Bloy British and Commonwealth flyweight title bill at Fenton Manor Sports Complex in Stoke-On-Trent, England.

Standing 6 feet 4 inches and weighing in at a solid 260 pounds, Olubamiwo, 2-0 (2), has earned his "War Machine" nickname by obliterating both opponents put before him since turning professional in October of last year.

The 30 year old Hackney based bomber impressively dispatched seasoned heavyweights Vlado Szabo and David Ingelby in the first and second rounds respectively, despite neither man having been stopped in their previous 16 contests.

But Olubamiwo will face a tougher test on Friday as he will meet a trickier adversary in Romania's Mihai Iftode, 3-25-1 (0).

Iftode has campaigned as a heavyweight since 2003 but turned pro as a super middle, winning his country's domestic title earlier in his career and flooring current IBF cruiserweight champion Tomasz Adamek in a losing effort that went the distance in 2002.

The 29 year old from Lasi has also finished on his feet in competitive but unsuccessful losing bids against recent WBA cruiserwight champion Firat Arslan, ex-WBA light heavyweight titlist Stipe Drews and three time world title challenger at cruiserweight and light heavy, Christophe Girard.

Olubamiwo will be confronted with superior boxing skills from Iftode and must show that he can cut off the ring and force the quicker Romanian to trade in close quarters if he is to win a far different contest than he has yet to experience.

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.

Article posted on 22.01.2009

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