UK Boxing: Paul Smith; Jamie McDonnell; Erick Ochieng

Paul Smith has told promoter Frank Warren not to prepare world title shots for just Kevin Mitchell and Nathan Cleverly. That's because the scouser is determined to join his fellow Brits in their charge to the top. Smith defends his British super-middleweight title against local rival Tony Dodson at the Liverpool Echo Arena on March 12 live on Sky Sports 1. It's his first fight since winning the Lonsdale belt in a thriller against Tony Quigley. And the 27-year-old says that a second victory against another Liverpudlian can take him a step close to a world title opportunity..

Currently number four with the WBO, Smith says he's been inspired by the exploits of Mitchell and Cleverly at the weekend.

"British boxing is buzzing right now and I want to get in on the act," said Smith.

"I watched Kevin and Nathan on Saturday night and they were a real inspiration.

"They are ready to make a step up to the next level, but so am I.

"Hopefully we can all be boxing for world titles before the end of the year and really get the sport going again.

"I remember a few years ago when we had seven or eight world champions.

"We've got three at the moment but everyone wants more and I think that is going to happen in the coming months and years.

"I've told Frank not to forget about me when he's sorting out world title fights for Cleverly and Mitchell!"

Smith, who has lost just one of his 29 fights, knows that his clash with Dodson could be the hardest of his career.

"I'm not underestimating Dodson at all," he said. "He's a tough fighter and I have a lot of respect for what he can do between the ropes.

"But I need to beat these guys if I want to win a Lonsdale belt outright. That's always been my ambition and hopefully I can do that and then move on to bigger and better things."

Tickets for 'The Pride of Merseyside' are priced at £40, £50, £100, £150 and £200 and are available from:

Liverpool Echo Arena Box Office
0844 8000 400

See Tickets
0871 2200 260

Smith v Dodson headlines a huge night of boxing at the Liverpool Echo Arena that also features British sensation Kell Brook in a WBO Intercontinental Welterweight title challenge and final Eliminator for the WBO World title against Poland's Krzysztof Bienias; Tony Bellew in a Light-Heavyweight Championship contest; former WBO World Cruiserweight Enzo Maccarinelli; plus hot prospects Stephen and Liam Smith, Ronnie Heffron, Thomas Costello, Tobias Webb, Joe Selkirk and John Thain.


JAMIE MCDONNELL'S controversial points win over Ian Napa has put him on the verge of stardom.

The classy Yorkshireman (13-2) who took Napa's British bantamweight title last month will now challenge Frenchman Jerome Arnould (22-3-1) for the vacant European crown in Le Cannet on Saturday March 20.

Its Napa's chance that McDonnell has taken and the British Boxing Board of Control have ordered the pair to meet once the Doncaster man has faced Arnould.

Promoter Frank Maloney said: "Although I thought Napa won their fight, you can't take anything away from Jamie.

"I know from talking to his team they really fancy their chances of causing an upset against Arnould.

"What the win against Napa proves is that a couple of losses early in your career doesn't mean you are finished.

"British boxing fans are the world's most knowledgeable about the sport, but perhaps we are all guilty of writing people off too quickly.

"A rematch against Napa is what I would like and I'm delighted the Board have mandated it, but if Jamie beats Arnould away from home he will deserve a world ranking."

Co-trainer Steffy Bull believes his 23-year-old protégé can cause an upset on the French Riviera when he meets the former world title challenger.

He says: "Arnould is world class and this is a big test for Jamie, but I don't think the kid is any better than Napa.

"Whatever happens it will be a great experience for Jamie and he's got nothing to lose."

Erick 'The Eagle' Ochieng Swoops Into Belgium To Spar 'Sugar Jackson' Osei Bonsu

Rising Light Middleweight star Erick 'The Eagle' Ochieng (3-0) has left his home in London to travel to Belgium to assist former IBC and European Welterweight Champion 'Sugar Jackson' Osei Bonsu prepare for his IBF welterweight eliminator against Randall Bailey on the 19th March.

Ochieng, who is proving to be quite a sensational discovery by veteran trainer manager Brian Lawrence, is already being tipped as a star of the future even though he has only had three professional fights.

On his debut 'The Eagle' convincingly dominated the proceedings against the vastly experienced Matt Scriven (13-54-0) winning every single round. His second fight, which he took with just over 24 hours notice, against the debuting Prince David Davis was a slightly closer affair, but still a very convincing win on his opponents home turf.

The resounding way Ochieng dealt with the highly experienced Jon Harrison (10-16-1) in only his third professional fight has made everyone sit up and take notice of this 22 year old from Stoke Newington.

The wily veteran Harrison used every trick in the book to try and halt Ochieng’s constant onslaught, as he took every opportunity to stifle and hold, but the patient Ochieng adjusted his fight plan and started working away on Harrison's body until the opportunity arose to finish him off with the most vicious left hook in the second round.

After training with fellow Brian Lawrence charges, former European, British and Commonwealth Bantamweight Champion Ian 'Dappa' Napa and the new Southern Area Lightweight Champion Ben Murphy at Rooney's Boxing Gym in South London, the ever cheerful Ochieng spoke of how the opportunity to spar with 'Sugar Jackson' came about. "My manager (Brian Lawrence) called Frank Warren to see if he could get me some more fights. He didn't give me a fight right away but offered me some sparring with Jackson Osei Bonsu in Belgium.

Obviously I said yes to the sparring, he's an ex-European Champion. I'm excited, you know. It's an opportunity for me to learn a bit more, get more rounds under my belt, which will make me a better fighter."

The IBF Welterweight eliminator between 'Sugar Jackson' Osei Bonsu and Randall Bailey is on Friday the 19th March at the Lotto Arena, Merksem, Antwerpen, Belgium.

The undercard for this event includes Selajdin Koxha Vs. Domingos Nascimento Monteiro for the vacant BeNeLux Super Middleweight title, Nefzi Ayoub against Jindrich Kubin in a Light Middleweight clash and in a battle of the Heavyweights Kertson Manswell takes on Werner Kreiskott.

Article posted on 17.02.2010

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