BJ Flores targets Kayode; Sweeney-Waldron on 8/12; Zanders Named 2012 Olympic Head Coach

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA (August 4, 2011)—World Ranked Cruiserweight, BJ Flores wants to make a statement and he has pinpointed the man that will not only make a fan friendly fight with, but be a fight of importance.

Fresh off his 5th round TKO victory of highly rated Nick Iannuzz on July 23rd, Flores wants world rated and undefeated cruiserweight Lateef Kayode next. Flores has a date in Springfield, Missouri in October and is more than willing to bring in the highly rated rugged Nigerian as his next opponent.

Flores is 25-1 with sixteen knockouts.

Kayode, 17-0 with fourteen knockouts is ranked Number one by the World Boxing Association (WBA); Number three by the World Boxing Organization (WBO); number four the WBC; and Number five by the IBF.

"I wanted Kaydoe after the fight he had with Iannuzzi. For whatever reason, they went in another direction. Now I have another date in Springfield, Missouri at the end of October and Lateef is on the top of my list! I contacted his promoter today and still waiting for a response. I want to clear up any confusion about who the top US cruiserweight contender is. This is a new phase in my career”, said Flores

"We had a wonderful turnout at the O’Rielly Center and had over 2100 people at the event! The guys at the O’Rielly are very excited to do another show as are we! I will be fighting here every 3 months until I get a shot at a title! If Lateef Kayode will take the fight then he will be the next victim. If not that, I will fight another highly rated US contender."

“Kayode is rated higher than me and I'm willing to prove in the ring that I can beat him. It’s nothing personal but he has something I want and that’s a number-one ranking by the WBA and top five rating by all three other sanctioning bodies. He stands in my way of returning to a title fight and I want to set the record straight that I will fight any cruiserweight that is in my way of a title shot"!


Rivals Sweeney and Waldron talk tactics ahead of the "Western War"

While Henry Coyle will be bidding to keep the World Boxing Federation (WBF) Light Middleweight title belt in Mayo when he takes on Elio Cotena at The Royal Theatre, Castlebar on Friday, August 12th local bragging rights will also be fiercely contested on the undercard when Michael "The Storm" Sweeney and John "The Warrior" Waldron clash in an all Mayo battle on the undercard.

It's a must win fight for both men with the duo coming into this fight on the back of Irish title defeats. Ballyhaunis native Waldron lost his Light Heavyweight title to Ciaran Healy last November while Ballinrobe's Sweeney missed out on the Cruiserweight title on a close points defeat to Ian Tims. The two local rivals traded verbal blows at last months press conference to announce the fight and both remain equally confident of the outcome when the talking stops at the first bell on Friday week.

Waldron who is now based in Castlerea in Co. Roscommon says he's relishing the role of underdog going into the fight and is determined to prove the doubters wrong. "I know that some people have already written me off and said that it's a formality and he will knock me out in a round or two but I love hearing that kid of stuff," said Waldron.

"Sweeney suggested at the press conference that I wouldn't turn up but you'd have to break both my legs for me not to step into that ring on August 12th. People are saying he's the bigger guy, he's had the better amateur career and is more experienced but all that just fires me up even more and will make it all the sweeter when I win.

"This is a huge opportunity for me. It's only a few months ago that Sweeney was being lined up for a European Union title shot so once I beat him maybe it will put him on the scrap heap and put me in the frame for those kind of opportunities.I know it won't be easy, I'm prepared for 8 tough hard rounds and I'll be willing to get in the trenches and dig deep to get the win."

The two men sparred extensively in the amateur ranks but neither man is reading too much into the time they have already shared in the ring. "We've sparred plenty of rounds and it's always been good sparring," revealed Waldron. "I remember one day in particular where we both dropped each other in a spar so if the fight is anything like that it will be worth watching.

"The last time we were in the ring together was at an outdoor exhibition in Claremorris around 6 years ago when we were both still amateurs but we haven't sparred since. I think once we went pro we both knew that we'd clash somewhere down the line so that's probably the reason why we stopped sparring."

Sweeney who is now based in Galway had his own reflections on those sparring sessions. "When we were amateurs John was only just up the road from me in Ballyhaunis so we sparred constantly and we've easily done over a hundred rounds together down through the years. We're vey familiar with each other and we know what makes each other tick.

"I know John has sparred with Ian Tims for this fight but if he thinks that will give him an edge over me then he'll be disappointed. I'm a completely different fighter to Tims so I'm not sure what benefit sparring him would be to John, maybe he thinks that by sparring the guy who beat me that he will get inside my head or something but it won't work. I know Tims was slagging me off and calling me "the light breeze" but we'll see, its all about what happens on the night and I'm very confident about the fight."

Sweeney has racked up some quality sparring partners of his own since turning professional in 2007 having travelled the world to share the ring with the likes of world heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko, former middleweight champ Arthur Abraham and former light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson with the most recent of those sessions being a stint at "Bad" Chad's training camp earlier this year.

"It's great experience sharing the ring with top fighters like that. I was in the U.S. sparring Chad Dawson before his last fight in May and he's lined up to fight Bernard Hopkins now for the WBC Light Heavyweight title in October. I really enjoyed the stint over there and once I got back home from that it was straight into training again and I've been hard at it in the gym since then."

Since his return from the U.S. Sweeney has been training with former World title challenger Sean Mannion at the Rosmuc native's gym in the heart of the Connemara Gaeltacht and he's been very happy with his preparations.

"We've had 3 guys in from the UK for sparring and I've been very happy with my form. I went away for a couple of weeks to Croatia as well last month just after the press conference for some warm weather training as well and the weight is spot on right now. I'm only 4 pounds over the weight with over a week to go and the way I'm training right now I feel I could make super middleweight.

Waldron though remains unimpressed. "As far as I'm concerned he can go where he wants to train but a boxing ring is a boxing ring no matter what part of the world your in whether it's Croatia, Castlerea or Castlebar! He can spar with whoever he wants as far as well because once that bell rings you can't bring Wladimir Klitschko, Chad Dawson or any of these other guys into the ring with you, it will be just me, him and the referee.

"I'm peaking at just the right time now and as long as I fight the way I know I can then I'm very confident about the result. I feel like I'm hitting harder than ever and when you put the work in you get the results out. If I'm honest I haven't been doing that in some of my fights to date, particularly the last one against Ciaran Healy and when you cut corners in preparation you get found out in the ring. It was a hard lesson to learn but I've learned it."

Having previously travelled to Dublin for training Waldron says he's now happier basing himself closer to home. "Training couldn't have gone any better for this fight. I'm based at home in Castlerea now, training out of the new boxing club there and it's the perfect set up. I'm trained now by Finton Gylnn, we have been friends for years and grew up boxing together but once we go through the doors of the gym the friendship is put aside and he pushes me very, very hard in the gym. He's been looking after my strength and conditioning as well and I've really put the work in for this fight so there will be no excuses from me afterwards."

Despite all the verbal jabs between the two fighters Sweeney says that ultimately the two will resume their friendship after the fight. "John's a nice lad and his family are a good boxing family like my own so I'm sure after the fight we'll all have a laugh about it but until then I have to look at it as strictly business. I have big plans after this fight and I want to move on with my career so John Waldron is an obstacle that I need to get out of the way before I can move on."

The Sweeney V Waldron clash is part of an exciting undercard at the Royal Theatre. The chief support bout features Dublin's unbeaten Patrick Hyland as he bids to stretch his perfect record to 24 and 0 against Italy's former European title challenger Fabrizio Trotta.

A second title fight on the bill will also hold huge appeal for Mayo fight fans with Westport's unbeaten Finbarr "The Rock" Eade bidding to lift the Irish Super Featherweight title against London based southpaw Mickey Coveney. Another all Irish affair on the card will see Roscommon's Darren Cruise look to extend his unbeaten record against Leeds based Belfast southpaw Lee Murtagh while the Hyland family will be hoping for a double celebration when former European title challenger, Paul Hyland joins his older brother Patrick on the card when he takes on Welsh opposition in the shape of Dai Davies.

Tickets for the August 12th event priced from €30, €40, €70 and €100 are on sale from the Royal Theatre Box Office on 0818 719 300, / 0818 719300 and the boxers on the bill.

USA Boxing National Coach Joe Zanders Named 2012 Olympic Head Coach

(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – USA Boxing National Coach Joe Zanders (Long Beach, Calif.) has been named the Head Coach for the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. The upcoming Olympics will be the second for Zanders, who served as an Assistant Coach at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

President Harold Adonis and the USA Boxing board of directors supports the philosophy that Zanders has brought back to the United States. “Coach Zanders will be a key element in USA Boxing’s resurgence on the international scene. His coaching philosophy and leadership will be a valuable resource in our efforts to return the United States to its rightful position as a powerhouse at the Olympic Games and key international competitions.”

“Being selected as the Olympic Head Coach for the 2012 Olympics is a tremendous honor as well as a great challenge,” Zanders said. “The Olympic Games is one the largest stages in sport and having had the opportunity to take part in it before, I truly understand the magnitude of the task in front of me. With the 2012 Olympics being the first for Women’s Boxing, London holds even more importance for our sport and the significance of that is not lost on me.”

Zanders, who was named USA Boxing’s National Coach in January, has been coaching amateur boxing for over three decades. He has extensive experience working with youth both in the sports field and out, having spent 30 years as Youth Counselor with the Department of Juvenile Justice for the state of California before retiring a year ago.

“Joe Zanders has provided tremendous guidance to U.S. boxers during his career and the honor of being the Olympic head coach for boxing solidifies his position in the United States as a leader,” said Anthony Bartkowski, USA Boxing Executive Director. “We have redefined the U.S. Olympic boxing team’s preparation plan for athletes and Joe has been a significant player in this movement. This new vision is instrumental to the long term development of boxing and the United States’ success in 2012 and beyond.”

Throughout Zanders’ three decades in boxing, he has coached at every major national and international competition. In addition to serving as a 2004 U.S. Olympic Coach, Zanders has led U.S. squads at the World Championships, Goodwill Games, and numerous international duals and tournaments.

The full Olympic Staff for the 2012 Olympic Games will be announced at a later date. The U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Men’s Boxing are currently taking place in Mobile, Ala., and Zanders will head up the team’s preparation for the 2011 AIBA World Championships, September 22-October 10, which will also serve as the first international qualifier for London. Zanders’ appointment is pending final approval by the USOC Chief Executive Officer.

USA Boxing, as the national governing body for Olympic-style boxing, is the United States’ member organization of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) and a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

Article posted on 04.08.2011

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