News: Cotto vs Jennings; Thaxton vs Mezaache; Phillip Ndou

Welterweight hot-shot Kell Brook is backing Michael Jennings to beat Miguel Cotto on February 21 - so he set up a huge all-British showdown with his rival. Jennings will face Cotto in Madison Square Garden in New York on February 21 for the vacant WBO World title, and Brook will be keeping a close eye on the outcome. The 22-year-old, one of boxing's brightest prospects, makes the second defence of his British welterweight title at York Hall tomorrow night (Friday 30 January) against Stuart Elwell live on Sky Sports, following his first round blow out of Kevin McIntyre last year..

And the confident youngster is already dreaming of world glory.

"Jennings is the fight that I want and a lot of the public want," said unbeaten Brook, who has stormed to a 18 wins with 11 knockouts.

"If Miguel Cotto has underestimated Jennings then he's going to be in trouble.

"Jennings is a very talented boxer and he might end up snatching the title off Cotto.

"If that happens I'll be knocking on Frank Warren's door asking him to make me against Jennings - and I think I could win that fight. It's the one everyone wants to see."

Meanwhile Brook has vowed not to take Elwell lightly in front of the Sky Sports cameras - and given the Midlander's former career, hasn't cut corners in training.

"He's a former Royal Marine so he's going to be tough and hang on in there, but I'm keeping my belt," said the Brendan Ingle trained fighter

"They're calling me Special K at the moment and people will be seeing plenty of sparks at York Hall on January 30."

French Champ out to spoil Thaxton's feel good story

If Jon Thaxton’s life story came before a Hollywood producer they’d probably give it the tagline of “the feel good story of the year”. However following a spectacular one punch KO to win the European Lightweight title last time out the Norwich man says the credits won’t be rolling on his career any time soon.

Thaxton makes the first defence of his crown on February 28th at the Norwich Showground, the scene of his knockout win over Juan Carlos Diaz Melero to claim the title last October.

The 34-year-old will be back in front of the ITV 4 cameras again with French Champion, Anthony Mezaache looking to make his reign a brief one. However Thaxton who has proved that nice guys can finish first believes he’s getting better with age.

“I’m like a fine wine,” joked Thaxton. “The confidence that comes with winning the European title has made me a better fighter. When I’m at my best it’s going to take a hell of a fighter to beat me and especially when I’m on home ground.”

Despite being a pro since 1992 the southpaw puncher says he’s hungrier than ever for success and he’s not looking to rest on his European laurels. “If my promoter, Mick Hennessy can line up a world title fight for me then I’d jump at the chance. Who wouldn’t? I’m looking to make a few defences of my European title but a world title fight would be the icing on the cake.”

Thaxton is also not ruling out a double title clash with British champ John Murray. The unbeaten mancunian successfully defended his title with an impressive win over Lee McAllister last month and Thaxton was ringside to provide analysis for ITV.

“I’ve no problem with that fight, I’ll carry on defending my European title against whoever is put in front of me be it John Murray or anyone else. Murray’s a very good fighter and I think that would be a great fight. At the end of my career nobody will be able to say Jon Thaxton ducked anyone so if Mick can line that fight up then we’ll get it on.”

For now though Thaxton is concentrating on Mezaache although he admits he is still in the dark about his French opponent. “I don’t know anything about him as the fights just been confirmed but rest assured I’ll do my research and I’ll know everything I need to know by the night of the fight.

“I’m the champion and he’s coming to my backyard so really he has to worry about me but I don’t underestimate anyone because I’ve been in his shoes and it’s a great position to be in. He’s got nothing to lose and everything to gain. It’s a banana skin for me but I won’t be slipping up.”

Featuring on the exciting undercard: Danny McIntosh v Matthew Barney for the English Light Heavyweight Title (subject to Boards approval), also appearing New Heavyweight Sensation Tyson Fury, Matthew Thirlwall, Steve O’Meara, Daniel Herdman, Earl Ling and making his pro debut, ABA Senior Featherweight Champion 2008 & awarded the best boxer of the night Royston’s Bradley Evans.

Tickets for Jon Thaxton’s European title defence at the Norfolk Showground, Norwich on the 28th February are available from the Ticketline box office on 0871 424 4444 or via


Golden Gloves president Rodney Berman and Banner Promotions president Art Pelullo will co-promote South African contenders Phillip “Time Bomb” Ndou and Zolani “Untouchable” Marali.

Art Pelullo said, “I’m really looking forward to working with Rodney in co-promoting Ndou and Marali. Both are very talented fighters, and I think both are capable of winning world titles in the near future.”

A former world title challenger at lightweight, Ndou will return to the ring in the jr. welterweight division on February 14 in St. Quentin, France, in an eight round bout against Tony Drilzane on the undercard of Cristobal Cruz’ first defense of the International Boxing Federation featherweight world title against Cyril Thomas.

It will be Ndou’s first fight since May, 2004. The South African Press Association called it, “The eagerly anticipated return of one of the country’s most devastating punchers.”

Before his retirement, Ndou, of Johannesburg, was considered South Africa’s top fighter “Pound for Pound.” He was voted South Africa’s “2001 Boxer of the Year,” and his fight against Cassius Baloyi in November, 2001, was voted South Africa’s “2001 Fight of the Year.” Still only 31 years old, he has a record of 31-3 with 30 knockouts. He also represented South Africa in the 1996 Olympics.

Marali, who is also 31 years old, is a lefthanded jr. lightweight with a record of 19-2 with 13 knockouts. A native of Mdantsane, South Africa, who is also a musician and rap artist, he is scheduled to fight for the vacant IBO world title on March 21 in Johannesburg against Fahsai Sakkreenin of Thailand. Zolani said, “I don’t care who the IBF, WBA or WBC champions are, I’m looking to hunt them down, one at a time. My skills are such that I don’t consider losing, and this will be the year when the whole of the world knows my name.”

Marali previously held the IBO jr. featherweight world title, as well as the South African jr. featherweight title

Article posted on 29.01.2009

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