Ifilm interview with Fury; El Maachi Talks Prizefighter; Murray-Rees on Saturday night

iFilm London Productions presents an exclusive interview with the English Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury. iFilm London's Kugan Cassius caught up with Tyson at 'The Big Brawl' press conference at Wembley Arena, ahead of his British & Commomwealth title clash with Dereck Chisora on 23rd July 2011.

British and Commonwealth Heavyweight Title

Tyson Fury vs Dereck Chisora

Saturday 23rd July.

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**Please note. All Gold, Silver and Bronze ringside seats purchased have exclusive access to the resturant bar and includes an all inclusive drinks package. Included in the drinks package are House wine, bottled and draught beer and soft drinks. The bar will be open from 5.30pm - 11.30pm.

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Interview - Yassine El Maachi Talks Prizefighter

By Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro: On Tuesday 7th June the season finale of the highly successful Matchroom Sports promoted Prizefighter series takes place at York Hall in Bethnal Green.

Matchroom Sports have really pulled all the stops out for the season finale with Prizefighter - Welterweight II. The lineup features no less than two former World Champions, Junior Witter and Colin Lynes, a former British Champion, Kevin McIntyre, the current International Masters Champion Yassine El Maachi, a former International and European title challenger, Peter McDonagh, an International Masters challenger, Nathan Graham and two undefeated young prospects, Bobby Gladman and John Wayne Hibbert.

Over the past week or so I have been fortunate to have interviewed Colin Lynes, John Wayne Hibbert and Bobby Gladman, as well as the legendary coach Jimmy Tibbs, who trains Colin Lynes.

Today I managed to catch up with one of the most exciting young fighters taking part in Prizefighter - Welterweights II, Yassine El Maachi.

Iíve seen Yassine fight twice now, and have to admit to being a huge fan. Heís highly entertaining switch hitter that oozes supreme style and panache.

I honestly believe that the TV exposure from Prizefighter could sky rocket Yassineís career. Heís someone that will excite the fans, in the same way as Prince Naseem did at the turn of the new millennium.

OK, enough of my hyping Yassine, he really doesnít need me for that, he is more than capable of doing that himself. So without further ado here is a little Q&A with Yassine El Maachi

Rio - Youíve often stated that you have wanted to take part in Prizefighter - Why have you tried so hard to take part in the series?

Yassine - I was waiting to get into Prizefighter for a couple of years now and now they have given me the chance to be in Prizefighter Welter.

I want to be on it to show the people I can do and to prove myself to see how capable to go against the big names taking part.

Rio - What do you think of the Prizefighter series?

Yassine - It has the best fighters in the country, being in there is great. Itís full of former champions. To fight them for thirty two thousand pounds.

For me Prizefighter is geared for people to see eight fighters fight on one night. The winner has to fight three fights, thatís the best thing for me.

A title shot, thatís what I want to be honest with you. Thatís what Iím doing it for, Iím in it just for that, to see if I can get a title after that. To beat these guys in Prizefighter is what I want.

For me to just beat these guys to get to a title Iíd fight them all at the same time, I would fight seven fighters in one go, I donít want to fight three of them I want to fight them all in one go.

Rio - OK, interesting idea. Now onto the fighters you may face on the night - give me your thoughts on Junior Witter.

Yassine - Junior is a lovely guy, he can box, he can move. Heís one of the great boxers in the World. He used to be a former WBC, I think, or WBA (ed. WBC) Champion of the World. In 2008 or 2009 he lost it and he want to get it back.

I feel really sorry for him if him and me are going to fight together. I will feel really sorry for him if we meet in the final because heís only going to make a little bit of money, £16,000, because heís going to lose to me, because Iím too good.

Rio - If you donít get Junior you could meet another former World Champion, Colin Lynes, whatís your thoughts on him?

Yassine - Colin Lynes, he got beaten up by Junior Witter. Simple as that, no more to say.

Rio - Next up is British Champ Kevin McIntyre, give us your thoughts on Kevin.

Yassine - To be honest I donít know who is Kevin McIntyre, but probably heís going to be the same as other boxers, hands up and comes and box. I love to fight people like that.

Rio - OK, the former WBF Intercontinental and European title challenger Peter McDonaghís next, whatís your thoughts on him?

Yassine - I donít know him as well, but he will be the same to be honest with you. Hands up, come forward. Iíll pick him off with punches and tell him goodbye.

Rio - Bobby Gladmanís next on my list. What do you know of Bobby?

Yassine - Bobby Gladman is undefeated, heís got one draw. Heís a good prospect coming up. Itís too early for him to be in Prizefighter.

Rio - Iím sure you know John Wayne Hibbert as youíve fought on the same show before, so whatís your thoughts on him?

Yassine - John Wayne Hibbert is a nice guy, heís undefeated but heís not going to win if he comes up against me.

Rio - Finally an old gym mate of yours is next - Nathan Graham, give me your thoughts on him?

Yassine - Nathan Graham heís a nice, good fella. We used to train at the same gym. I wish not to get a draw with him in the first fight, or in the second. If it going to go then go in the final. But if he does I canít do much Iíll just have to beat him.

Rio - Thank you for taking the time to talk with me, finally is there any thing else you would like to say?

Yassine - Itís going to be hard for any of the fighters, I feel sorry for the undefeated fighters especially. I wish them all luck but if they fight me they will lose.

I mean the fight with Jimmy Colas, number four in Europe, he was looking to fight against Ryan Rhodes. He was going to fight against the best, heís former WBC or WBO champion, European Champion. Heís the guy that had twenty eight wins and only three or four losses, and I beat him so easily.

I was picking him off so easy. He was coming to fight. Thatís why I say to you Iím a fighter, Iím a boxer. If they donít want to come and fight Iíll box them, thatís me.

Thatís what happened with Jimmy Colas, he came to fight but he found a different type of boxer. I was just playing with him. Everyone see what I did to him in the eight, nine and ten round, I was just playing with him.

I was so much winning the fight, winning the first round to the six round and he just start running away. In the round eight , nine and ten I thought I could easily knock him out, I tried but couldnít because he was tough, he was strong, but I beat him up badly.

Thatís what I will do at Prizefighter, but three times. Iíll beat three fighters.

I wish every fighter good luck, but I will win the Prizefighter.

Prizefighter - Welterweights II, featuring Yassine El Maachi, Colin Lynes, Junior Witter, Kevin McIntyre, John Wayne Hibbert, Bobby Gladman, Nathan Graham and Peter McDonagh, takes place at York Hall, Bethnal Green in London on Tuesday 7th June 2011.

Tickets, priced £35 (Unreserved), SOLD OUT (Ringside), and SOLD OUT (VIP) are available now at or in person at the TKO Boxing Gym, Gillian House, Stephenson Street, Canning Town, London E16 4SA or call 07960 850645

"Quiet Man" Murray ready to Rock Rees

He has been christened "The Quiet Man" of Irish boxing but unbeaten Cavan man Andy Murray is determined to make plenty of noise in Cardiff this Saturday night by lifting the European Lightweight title when he takes on former World Champ Gavin Rees live on Sky Sports.

It's 6am on a Monday morning in April in the beautiful but barren landscape of the Connemara Gaeltacht, where Ireland's western edge meets the Atlantic ocean. When the sun is shining this part of the world can seem like a little piece of heaven on earth but on this particular morning the sun isn't shining. To misquote an old U2 lyric, there's a howling wind and a stinging rain and the first shafts of early morning light are struggling to break through the black clouds. It's dark, cold, wet and forbidding but Andy Murray would not have it any other way as he pounds out the first few miles of roadwork at the start of a 6 week training camp that will culminate in his challenge for the European title in Cardiff this weekend.

In the opposite corner will be Gavin "The Rock" Rees, a former World, British and Prizefighter Champion with just one defeat in a 35 fight pro career that has spanned 13 years. Given his CV Rees is understandably matter of fact on the prospects of adding the European title to his already impressive resume.

"After I win this fight, the next step is world level," declares Rees. "I want to fight for a world title and become a two-weight world champ. I want to win this European title, get world-ranked with the bodies and get a shot."

In a nod of the head to this weekend's encounter there is talk from Rees about needing to "concentrate on Andy" but it's clear that Rees' sees Saturday's bout at the Motorpoint Arena as merely a stepping stone to a second World title. The Welshman's former stable mates and fellow World title holders Joe Calzaghe and Enzo Maccarinelli have already tweeted their votes of confidence while promising to be ringside to cheer on their friend and compatriot.

Murray doesn't feel slighted, as far as he's concerned everyone is entitled to their own opinion but as a general rule Murray keeps his to himself. "The Quiet Man" has no time for the hype and bluster of pro boxing noting that, "Nobody ever won a fight by talking, all that stuff goes out the window once that first bell goes."

The Cavan native is comfortable in his role as a 5/2 underdog, after all he has over come far greater odds to reach this point in his life having suffered from a debilitating hip condition known as Perthes in his childhood. A long abandoned wheelchair which now sits in his fathers attic is a powerful symbol of his inner resolve and the fighting spirit that belies his laid back and unassuming nature.

When asked about the condition that left him to alternate between the wheelchair and crutches for extended periods as a child Murray brushes it off with typical understatement explaining that he had "a bit of a limp for a few years". It's something he has long banished to the memory bank but it remains a matter of curiosity to those who believe that the period may reveal a little more about his character.

Although somewhat bemused by the interest and dismissing it as "no big deal", Murray is happy to expand on it. "It was first noticed when I was six and the doctors diagnosed it as Perthes. It's fairly rare and they're not really sure what causes it but it's basically where the thigh bone doesn't get enough blood so it doesn't develop properly and eventually separates from the hip socket.

"I had it in plaster of paris for a couple of years and then after that I was on crutches for about a year-and-a-half but after that it was fine and it's never really been an issue for me. Thankfully it was diagnosed in time, the treatment worked and the hip bone set correctly so I was one of the lucky ones because I've seen cases where one leg is shortened by the hip not sitting in the right place and obviously that causes long term problems.

"It was frustrating because I was hyper as a kid and I wanted to do the same things as everyone else my age but I tried not to let it hold me back even though I drove the doctors and nurses mad. Even with the cast on I'd play in goals or try to be out doing something but I suppose everyone has their own story and that was mine."

Murray's condition ensured that he spent plenty of time watching television and he soon became enthralled by the thriving boxing rivalries of the late 1980's and early 1990's such as the bitter feud between Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn. It infused a desperate and seemingly futile desire in the youngster to step between the ropes himself. Finally after enduring over three years of intensive treatment Murray was finally free to stand on his own two feet and one of his first acts of defiance was to head down to Cavan boxing club to finally don a pair of gloves himself.

"I was mad to have a go at it but the doctors were worried that the hip still wasn't 100% and my Dad didn't really want me going down because of that. I used to have to sneak down to the boxing club in the beginning so that he wouldn't find out but I think in the long run the boxing training actually helped to strengthen the leg."

Murray's amateur coach Brian McKeown who has remained in his corner throughout his career picks up the story. "I can remember when he first came into the gym, he was tall for his age and a bit gangly and it was obvious that there was a problem with his leg but I was struck by how determined he was and the work he was willing to put in. He just wanted to learn as much as he could and train as hard as he could and that's the way he's always been.

"He actually lost his first fight but by the end of his first year boxing he was Irish Champion and he went on to win another 3 on the trot. In fact he was unbeaten for 4 and a half years in the amateurs and he went on to win 3 Irish Senior titles."

Now over 5 years and 24 straight wins into his professional career Murray is in no doubt about the task that lies ahead this weekend. "It's the biggest fight of my career for a major title against a former World Champion. That's why I set up training camp in Connemara. It's the first time I've done that in my career and I have really felt the benefits."

Murray has based himself in the village of Rosmuc in Connemara working out of a gym there run by former world title challenger and local hero Sean Mannion. The County Galway southpaw put Rosmuc on the boxing map when he challenged Mike McCallum for the World Light Middleweight title at Madison Square Garden in 1984 and now over a quarter of a century later the village is once again buzzing with talk of another big fight.

"It's an ideal setting for a training camp and the local people here could not have done more for me," said Murray. "It's a lovely part of the world, there's a great gym here and you have the Atlantic ocean right on your doorstep so I've even been able to jump in there for my recovery sessions.

"It's hard being away from home for such a long time but these are the sacrifices you need to make and ultimately I'm doing this for my family. I've been able to keep up with all the support from Cavan on Facebook and there seems to be a great buzz about the fight at home. I really appreciate all the support and well wishers and I know there is a big crowd travelling over to the fight as well so I'll be hoping to give everyone something to shout about and get my hand raised on Saturday night."

Murray's manager Brian Peters believes the investment in the training camp will pay dividends this weekend. "It's a massive fight but Andy has earned this opportunity. He's there on merit as the number one challenger and he's left no stone unturned for this fight. He's a fanatical trainer and being down in Connemara has allowed him to focus 100% on beating Gavin Rees. We've imported great sparring and Andy's also worked with a strength and conditioning coach for this fight so we're very confident that he can pull off a famous victory in Cardiff and bring the European title back home. I think you only have to look at the buzz around Cavan for this fight to see just how popular Andy is there. His story is an inspirational one and I think everyone will be willing him to victory on Saturday night."

Andy Murray V Gavin Rees is live on Sky Sports 1 from 10:30pm this Saturday night.

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Article posted on 01.06.2011

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