UK News: Ryan Rhodes; Tyson Fury; Fans vote for Setanta boxing awards

British light-middleweight champion Ryan Rhodes admits he gains little from beating Anthony Small on March 28, but remains eager to shut the mouth of his London-based challenger at the Echo Arena in Liverpool. Since both agreeing to the bout over Christmas, a war of words has ensued, with Small accusing Rhodes of previously ducking him. Eager to prove a point on March 28, Rhodes’ fire has been ignited..

“I’m defending my British title and that’s great, but I’m not really gaining much else from taking this fight,” admits Rhodes, 41-4 (27 KO). “I’m rated higher than Small in the British, Commonwealth, European and world rankings. I won’t move any higher from beating someone like Small. Shutting his mouth up is all the motivation I need to take this fight.”

Rhodes discovered the extent of Small’s ‘mouth’ in January when the pair met at a Liverpool press conference to announce their contest.

“I expected it (Small’s vocal outburst),” says Rhodes. “It wasn’t a shock to me. Everything he brings to the table is stuff I’ve seen before. His actions, his words and his attitude are nothing new to me. I was brought up with Naz (Naseem Hamed) and his press conferences, so Small’s outbursts don’t faze me one bit. He can talk all he likes.

“In his mind he has to beat you with words first. Then he can build his confidence up and hopefully beat you in the ring.

“The only two fighters he’s faced who weren’t fazed by him and were supposed to give him a good fight – Walter Wright and Bradley Pryce – both gave him more than he could handle. Wright had Small out on his feet in the eighth round, and would have knocked him out in a 10-rounder. Then Pryce did knock him out when the going got tough.

“I’m his third genuine test and it’s going to be third time unlucky for him.”

Boasting an edge in experience, Rhodes – a former two-time British light-middleweight champion and two-time WBO middleweight title challenger – believes his knowledge of his own unorthodox style will ultimately win the day.

Both possessing slick, rangy, switch-hitting styles, Rhodes and Small appear to be cut from the same cloth. Crucially, Rhodes has mastered his style since February 1995, the night he turned pro

“I’ve trained and sparred in gyms where it’s basically like fighting yourself in a mirror,” adds the 32-year-old. “I’ve sparred with countless kids who do exactly the same as I do. It’s difficult dealing with a style like mine.

“The thing is, Small’s never sparred or boxed anyone that has a style like him. I’m the first fighter to ever give Small a taste of his own medicine. On March 28 he’s going to be shadowboxing in a mirror and getting hit and hit hard. Let’s see how he likes it.”

Where Rhodes boasts knowledge and experience, Small relies on exuberance and swagger. Though similar in fighting style, Rhodes believes his better grounding in reality may prove key on March 28.

“He’s (Small) mentioned Herol Graham fighting Mike McCallum and Naz (Naseem Hamed) fighting Marco Antonio Barrera as examples of how he’s going to beat me,” continues Rhodes. “If he’s watching those fights it suits me down to the ground. I don’t think I fight anything like Naz did or anything like Herol did. One thing’s certain; Small isn’t McCallum or Barrera.

“He thinks he fights like Roy Jones and ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard. I asked everyone in the room at the press conference whether that was true and not one person agreed with him. What he sees in the mirror I just don’t know.”

*** Ryan Rhodes’ British title showdown with Anthony Small is the co-main event at HAYEMAKER 6: ‘The Mersey Beatdown’ at the Echo Arena, Liverpool, on March 28. Also featured on the stacked card is local lad Tony Dodson’s British title challenge against champion Brian Magee, as well as the English title clash between Tony Quigley and Paul David and the British title eliminator between John Watson and Martin Gethin.

*** To purchase tickets to HAYEMAKER 6: ‘The Mersey Beatdown’ visit or call 0844 8000 400.

Fury claims Price isn’t Right for Pro Game

Unbeaten heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury has launched another scathing attack on his British rivals ahead of his fourth pro fight in Birmingham this weekend.

Fury who has enjoyed a hat trick of stoppage wins since turning pro late last year features on Saturday night’s Hennessy Sports event which is live on ITV4. Top of the bill at the Aston Arena sees Wayne Elcock defend his British Middleweight title against local rival Matthew Macklin.

Fury though is already looking to the future and the possibility of renewing rivalries with one time amateur foe David Price. The Liverpudlian won a Bronze medal in last years Olympics but Fury believes that he’s destined for failure in the pro game. Price is set to make his pro bow later this month but former amateur rival Fury says he’s wasting his time.

“How can you have any chance in the pros as a heavyweight if you don’t have a chin?” questioned the outspoken 20-year-old. “Every time you hit him he’s on the floor and that was in the amateurs, imagine what he’s going to be like in the pro’s with no headguard and smaller gloves.

“I fought him when I was 17 and had just 10 amateur bouts total,” recalled Fury. “He was a double ABA champ and Commonwealth Gold medallist at the time. I put him down in the second round with an overhand right and it wasn’t even that good a shot. He got up and held on for dear life for the rest of the fight and got it on points.

“I sparred him after that and had him in all kinds of trouble straight away. They stopped the spar after a minute and they never let me spar him again. I believe that he was their golden boy and the amateurs were protecting him for the Olympics but it meant I didn’t get a fair crack at qualifying.”

Fury though believes that having got a head start on Price in the professional ranks their paths are unlikely to cross again. “The pros is a different ball game. In the amateurs he only had to avoid getting tagged on the chin for 4 two minute rounds and he couldn’t even manage that a lot of the time.

“In the pros the rounds are longer and the distances are longer so he’s no chance. I’d love to fight him because it’d be lights out as soon as I hit him but he won’t get as far as a fight with me, someone else will spark him out before then. He’s going to find out pretty quick that a decent chin is a lot more useful than a bronze medal in the pros.”

Alongside Fury the undercard for “The Battle of Brum” at the Aston Arena features Adnan Amar defending his English Welterweight title against Tom Glover. Also in action are Chris Male, Quinton Hillocks and Callum Archer. Tickets are available from the Ticketline box office on 0844 888 4402 or via

Fans vote for Setanta Sports News’ boxing awards

After a successful first year on Setanta Sports News, the Steve Bunce Boxing Hour is launching ‘the Bunceys’ - its very own awards that every boxer will want a shot at.

Every champion, contender and promoter that has hit headlines over the past 12 months has been on the show. There have been exclusive interviews with ring legends from both sides of the Atlantic including Chris Eubank, Don King, Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones Junior.

The Bunceys will honour the boxers that have had a truly knock-out year. Buncey will pick the winners in the following categories: best guest, best finish in a Setanta fight and most outrageous statement made on the show, while the ‘Fight of the Year’ gong will be voted for by show’s the viewers.

To vote for their ‘Fight of the Year’ boxing fans have to pick the most memorable bout from any of the fights broadcast on Setanta Sports between April 24 2008 and April 5 2009.

The contenders for ‘Fight of the Year’ include Joe Calzaghe’s demolition of Roy Jones Junior, David Haye’s heavyweight debut against Monte Barrett and Vitali Klitschko’s comeback defeat of Samuel Peter. A full list will be posted on

Joe Calzaghe, David Haye, Ricky Hatton, James DeGale and Carl Froch will fight it out for the ‘Boxer of the Year’ title, which will be voted for by leading industry figures including promoters, officials, matchmakers and journalists.

Setanta Sports News’ Steve Bunce said:

“From the start the show has been about generating discussion. Fans and boxers alike have used the show as a platform to have their say. I’m sure people will have a lot to say about the eventual winners of these awards.”

Setanta Sports News editor in chief Geoff Hill said:

“The Steve Bunce Boxing Hour is one of our most popular programmes because it offers a service like no other. Viewers know that by tuning into Steve they’ll get all the fight news, regardless of who the broadcaster is.

“The Bunceys is another great way to interact with our legions of fans and get them involved in what we’re doing.”

To register their vote for ‘Fight of the Year’ viewers should email The winner of the award will be revealed in an special awards programme on Thursday 23 April.

Article posted on 09.03.2009

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