Ward a favorite to beat Froch; Selby defeats Simpson, Saunders stops Tolan, More!

Andre Ward(Photo credit: Tom Casino/SHOWTIME - By Dominic Sauboorah: It really is a pick ‘em fight. Andre Ward (24-0-0). The flashy, handsome and charismatic fighter showed to many that he’s one for the future when he managed to win a Gold Medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.

He’s still undefeated as a professional but despite this some say that he lacks much power, due to his low knockout rate. Nevertheless at this moment in time he’s the reigning WBA super-middleweight champion which has to count for something.

Ward is considered to be one of the best defensive fighters in the world and is also seen to many as one of the pound-for-pound greats in the world, alongside the likes of Wladimir Klitschko and Floyd Mayweather Jnr. His style of fighting has attracted many people from around the globe to watch him, picking his opponents off at range, wearing them down and generally outclassing them from start to finish. He’s beaten the likes of Mikkel Kessler, Allan Green and Arthur Abraham. All hard hitting and pressurizing fighters, yet he managed to walk them down and prove to many how he’s the best super-middleweight in the world. Nevertheless his next opponent from Nottingham might beg to differ.

Carl Froch (27-1-0). Easily one of the most exciting fighters Britain has to offer and this is proven by the fact that he’s the reigning WBC super-middleweight champion. His record speaks for itself whereby he’s won 20 of his fights by way of knockout. Quite clearly Froch is a powerful puncher. He’s proven that against the likes of Jean Pascal, a natural light-heavyweight fighter and Glen Johnson, the man who successfully beat Roy Jones Jnr. Carl Froch is considered to have the best chin in the sport of boxing as he’s taken the best punches of Pascal and Johnson yet refused to switch into defensive mode, let alone hit the canvas. He fights like a man on a mission. His grit and determination in fights astounds many as he’s able to throw heavy handed and quick shots yet never appears to break a sweat. Froch tends to throw caution to the wind, going toe-to-toe with most of his opponents, due to the fact that he was quoted as saying “I want to defend my title in style.” Despite Carl Froch losing to Mikkel Kessler by a unanimous decision, he still showed a lot of heart by taking a lot of punishment, barely looking hurt and then responding with heavy and sharp combinations. Froch struggled to settle for most of the fight, but still held his own and fought through till the end.

Both these warriors have it all to lose. This fight has been hyped up to be the fight of the year and why not? Andre Ward. The undefeated American star who makes it impossible for fighters to hit him. Carl Froch. The hard hitting Brit, who has taken disastrously heavy shots and managed to come back with something better.

This fight is based on one man who naturally knows how to break down his opponents and one man who knows how to walk through punches. Class against guts. Speed against power. Andre Ward against Carl Froch. It’s going to be biblical.

Fight Report: Selby And O’Meara Retain Titles, Saunders and Turner Impress In Style

by Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro: Frank Warren knows a thing or two about putting on a top class fight night and boy has he put some great shows on over the years. Usually his real all action extravaganzas are reserved for the bigger venues around the country, places like the O2, Excel, M.E.N., Echo Arena etc. however last night the King of British Boxing pulled out all the stops for a small hall show at the York Hall in Bethnal Green.

Heading up the classy lineup was Lee Selby’s first defense of the British and Commonwealth Featherweight straps he won back in September, with a fantastic eight round stoppage of Liverpool’s Stephen Smith.

Right from the off Selby went on the offensive, effectively using his jab to keep the super tough, and former holder of both titles, Simpson at bay. Each time the Scot made any move forward the Champ just stood his ground before throwing out a series of stiff jabs to push him back. Nice nonstop action opening round that was easy to score in Selby’s favour.

Second round was even livelier, Simpson just kept going forward, but as before Selby just resorted to his jab for the early part to thwart every move Simpson made. Frustration was already starting to settle in and by the end of the second minute Simpson started to throw some wild shots, problem was he left himself open to be picked off by some nice double handed counters. Another excellent round for the Champion.

More of the same in the third, Simpson’s shots were getting even wilder and again were leaving him open for Selby to counter, which he did with more force than in the earlier rounds.

Simpson’s trainer, Billy Nelson, obviously gave him a good talking to between the rounds as he came out and took the fight to Selby in a much more controlled fashion, so much so that he was actually getting some good success, landing some big shots. Selby responded in similar fashion and this lead to some great exchanges. Much closer round, but I still felt it was Selby’s round - just.

It was more of the same in the fifth, but as before it was Selby that seemed to be getting the better of each exchange. The round was a real firecracker that had the fans on the feet from almost the opening bell right through to the second minute mark, when Selby let rip with a peach of a left hook to the body that sent the Scottish challenger to his knees.

Simpson made it to his feet to take the count, but referee Marcus McDonnell could see that he was in no fit state to continue and waved the fight off on the 2 minute 2 second mark.

In doing so handed Simpson his first stoppage loss in his illustrious career. Selby, now with five stoppages in six outings, proved without doubt he’s the best domestic Featherweight and ready for a shot at the European crown.

As with virtually every Frank Warren Promotions show supporting the main event is another title fight of similar stature, last night’s was no exception. West Drayton’s Steve O’Meara stepped in to defend the Southern Area Light Middleweight belt he won back in September, with a sensational first round knockout of then champion Ryan Toms.

O’Meara’s opponent, Thamesmead’s super slick ‘Sugar’ Nathan Weise, bought to the table a 7-1-2 record that included a recent draw over previous champ Toms.

No surprise that the Mark Tibbs trained Weise went straight on the attack forcing O’Meara onto the back foot. O’Meara remained calm as he looked for an opening, he didn’t have to wait too long though, as around the fifty second mark Weise stepped in to let off yet another jab O’Meara released a wickedly fast left jab-right hook combination that sent Weise crashing to the deck in an instance.

A hush fell across York Hall as referee Ken Curtis instantly waved the fight off and the ringside doctor and paramedics rushed in to assist the prone Weise. It was a good few minutes before Weise was raised to a stool - the crowd responded with a standing ovation - but it was clear that Weise still wasn’t one hundred percent, the paramedics kept administering oxygen for a few more minutes before leading him from the ring to the waiting ambulance.

It has to be one of the worse knockouts I have seen in a long, long time but I can assure everyone that Nathan is one hundred percent OK, he turned up at the TRAD TKO Gym, to let his manager Johnny Eames, myself and all the fighters here know that he is OK literally as I was writing this report.

One of Frank Warren Promotions brightest stars, former Olympian and Nathan Weise’s gym mate Billy Joe Saunders, was drafted in at the last minute to face Belfast’s Tommy Tolan following Gym mate Ediz Hussein’s fight being called off, due to his coming down with the flu.

Slick southpaw Saunders went straight on the offensive and landed a massive left that shook Tolan to the core. In an instant Saunders stepped up the attack and literally chased Tolan from one corner to the next and beyond before landing another powerful left. Tolan legs had gone but he managed to stay on his feet, but referee Jeff Hinds had seen enough and just as Saunders was about to let rip with another shot stepped in and stopped the fight on the one minute and seven second mark.

Unbeaten in twelve, with five stoppages out of his last six outings and the Southern Area title already firmly in his grip, it’s clear that Saunders is ready to step up for a shot at either Nick Blackwell (English title) or Martin Murray (British title) for their crowns in the New Year, either of which would be a mouthwatering prospect.

Prior to Saunders-Tolan see unbeaten Welterweight George Michael Carman in action against the ubiquitous ‘Rockin’ Robin Deakin.

Now I hate writing negatives on any fighter, I know how much hard work precedes a fight and it takes serious guts to step into the ring, but having seen Carman in action twice now, the first when he managed to receive a highly dubious ‘draw’ result against Tom Bowen at Wembley in November - back then I, and it seems most of those present, felt Carman lost every single round by a country mile - I really can’t see why he is being so protected.

I mean Deakin is a Super Featherweight, Lightweight at best, with a negative 1-41 record, yet Carman couldn’t even handle him - in my between round notes I said that I wasn’t sure if this was boxing or handbags at fifty paces and that it is hard to think that there is only one journeyman in the ring, sorry but yes it was that bad.

The first three rounds were scrappy to put it mildly, with Deakin keeping the Slough man on the back foot for most of the time. It was only in the fourth that Carman actually started to get the better of the much lighter Deakin.

I have to admit that when he did get ‘fighty’ he was quite slick, but in all honesty it was still totally ineffective work. Deakin was deducted a point in the final round, not sure what for as I didn’t see any wrong doing from where I was. Anyway that aside at the end of the fourth referee Jeff Hinds scorecard read 40-35 in favour of Carman.

Canning Town’s Freddie Turner must have been a little surprised that it was the original opponent Kevin McCauley, and not stated replacement Michael Frontin, that he faced on the night. No matter either way to the Jimmy and Mark Tibbs trained fighter, he was just happy to get a decent opponent for him to showcase his sublime talents.

Round one was a bit of a cagey affair, as both fighters took their time to suss the others tactics. Whilst neither were in the zone yet Turner worked the hardest and landed the most meaningful shots to take the round in my book.

The second however was a much livelier affair, Turner was on the offensive in the early part and landed a couple of big scoring shots. As the round progressed McCauley started to push forward and managed to back Turner onto the ropes before letting rip with double handed flurries. Turner, taking a leaf from fellow TRAD TKO gym mate Kevin Mitchell’s book, just dipped and swayed to avoid every single shot. Another easy round to call, it was Turner’s all the way.

More of the same in the third, including Turner, back to the ropes, luring McCauley in and after a little dipping and swaying effectively countering with stiff jabs and big lefts. The lack of effect really started to get to McCauley, who started to resort to some dirty tactics, including late on in the round backing Turner up before blatantly head butting, which opened up a nasty gash over Turner’s right eye.

Needless to say this fired Turner up when he came out in the fourth, the Canning Town youngster went hard on the offensive, in response McCauley decided to stand and trade - which suited Turner fine, but not Jimmy and Mark Tibbs, who could be heard shouting at their charge to keep calm and just box McCauley.

With four rounds firmly in Turner’s favour McCauley decided he needed to step things up and started targeting the cut, albeit to no avail as Turner’s defensive skills are second to none. McCauley frustrations were clear for all to see as he started throwing wild shots in the hope that something will actually land. Turner responded with some cracking counters that clearly were hurting McCauley, both physically and mentally.

McCauley comes out hard and fast for the final round and tries to plain bully Turner, big mistake as this just allowed Turner to showcase his excellent ringcraft to even more effect as he see his way to a shutout 60-54 points victory.

Turner-McCauley was a seriously cracking fight, as was the fight that preceded it - when Cranham’s Lee Markham took on fellow Essex boy Danny Brown.

The first round was a close fought affair, with both determined to win the battle of the Essex boys, however Markham’s was just a little more effective and took the round in my book.

Markham stepped it up more in the second and landed a wicked shot to the body that caused Brown to take one knee. Brown made the count and continued, however deciding not to take too many chances overly protected his body which allowed Markham to land some big shots to the head.

Still protecting the body Brown came out on the offensive in the third and took the fight to Markham. For three minutes the pair exchanged punches in equal measure. However, as Brown was still wary of being on the receiving end of another big left to the body kept leaving his head unprotected, which made easy pickings for the Cranham boy big right hand.

More of the same in the fourth and final round, both letting rip with big shots as they again went to war for the full three minutes, much to the crowd’s delight. At the end of four excellent rounds no one was surprised that referee Ken Curtis scored the bout 39-36 in favour of Markham.

The opening bout of the night was an all action cracker too, between nineteen year old Alfie Smith and Jason Nesbitt.

Smith showed his intentions right from the start, attacking the body of Nesbitt with big left and right hands. The highly experienced Nesbitt tried to cover up to negate the onslaughts, which only encourage the teenager to play upstairs before returning to the body in style.

More of the same tactics, in the second, from Smith which was really beginning to take a toll on Nesbitt, who was huffing and puffing before the midway point. I had a good long hard look at Nesbitt between rounds and he really looked down hearted and honestly didn’t expect him to stay the course, but I was wrong.

For the final couple of rounds Smith continued his all out assault on Nesbitt’s body. The Brummy battler tried his hardest to take a part of the fight but each time he did the Rottweiler like Smith let rip with big left and rights to push him back. I would think Nesbitt was very happy to hear the final bell, although not as happy as young Smith who has the second win under his belt, and by a tidy shutout 40-36 points margin.

I have to say that as the final major fight show of the year Frank Warren did us all proud, it was a great show which had it all, drama, excitement and three stoppage victories. I know that after such I for one can head into the Christmas break happy in the knowledge that my appetite for boxing is well and truly sated and will see me through to the first big show of the New Year, Leon ‘Solid’ Williams’ first defense of his British Cruiserweight title at York Hall on Friday 13th January.

Russo, Benchabla, Wang, Groguhe, Derevyanchenko... All the big guns are out

Lausanne, Switzerland, 15 December 2011 - With it being the last round of fixtures before the World Series of Boxing (WSB) winter break, all teams will be eager to end the year on a high. And with six matches scheduled over the weekend, there are some mouth-watering ties to look forward to.

What a blockbuster Friday evening we have in prospect with four high quality match-ups kicking off this action packed fifth round of battles. Venky's Mumbai Fighters open proceedings when they welcome the Astana Arlans before a strong Paris United outfit make the trip to Germany to face an impressive Leipzig Leopards. Prepare for fireworks in our match of the week when the unbeaten star-studded Dolce & Gabbana Milano Thunder host the powerful Dynamo Moscow. A resurgent Beijing Dragons then travel to Turkey to meet the Istanbul Bosphorus. Saturday sees in-form Baku Fires go head-to-head against the solid unit of the Mexico City Guerreros. The weekend concludes at the Music Box in the heart of Hollywood as the Bangkok Elephants make their long awaited debut in the competition against the confident Los Angeles Matadors in a match that transcends sport. For this one WSB has teamed up with SOS Children's Villages in aid and support of the young victims of the devastating floods suffered in Thailand. To find out more or to donate, please visit

Intrigue throughout our six matches as the teams battle it out for positions with quarter-final qualification looming large. All the big hitters are back with top ranked boxers as well as WSB title holders taking to the ring in what promises to be a week of pure boxing entertainment. Must-see contests as teams bring out the elite for more top quality boxing action. Five matches will be broadcasted LIVE on

Match of the week
Irresistible so far, the Dolce & Gabbana Milano Thunder have really set this competition alight with some sumptuous displays. Taking nothing for granted against an extremely powerful Dynamo Moscow side in Group A, the Italian outfit have once again stuck with the core of the team that destroyed Astana Arlans 5:0 the last time around. The irrepressible Ukrainian top ranked Middleweight Sergiy Derevyanchenko will make his presence felt against Dynamo's Maxim Gazizov. Explosive Frenchman Ludovic Groguhe, who is brimming with confidence after his show of pure dominance against Abdelhafid Benchabla, will face solid counter-puncher Eduard Yakushev. The crowds in Milan will be rubbing their hands in anticipating of the night's Heavyweight contest when Italian superstar Clemente Russo struts his stuff on the canvas. Last year's WSB Individual champion will have to be wary of his opponent Arslanbek Makhmudov who knocked out Trent Rawlins with a stinging overhead right in his last outing. The atmosphere at the Mediolanum Forum in Milan is sure to go through the roof for this one.

Fight of the week
Stefan Haertel has been class this season, looking comfortable and dominant in both his Middleweight fights so far. However he faces a real test of his credentials when he faces French southpaw Michel Tavares as Leipzig Leopards play host to a Paris United intent on making up for a slow start to this year's competition. Both technically gifted fighters, this match-up promises to be an enthralling contest with the German looking to prove he belongs amongst the top WSB contenders. Tavares is able to boast a six wins one loss WSB record with two victories in the play-offs as Paris United's stormed to the title last season.

Helping SOS Children's Villages as Bangkok face LA
With the Bangkok Elephants resuming their WSB season on Sunday 18 December against the Los Angeles Matadors at the Music Box in the heart of Hollywood, USA, World Series of Boxing has joined forces with SOS Children's Villages in aid and support of the young victims of the devastating floods suffered in Thailand. In an unprecedented move, the whole weekend of action will be dedicated to raising awareness of the plight of these children.

Since September, 63 of Thailand's 77 provinces have been continuously fighting against the incessant flooding that has wreaked havoc throughout the country. Supply chains have been disrupted, buildings destroyed and infrastructure damaged. A human tragedy that has left several hundreds dead, thousands homeless and many children without parents. The Bangkok Franchise, directly affected by these events, has shown a great desire to overcome adversity and rejoin the ranks of WSB. So in support of the team and of WSB's chosen charity SOS Children's Villages, creating lasting support structures for children affected by disasters in Thailand, please get involved and donate

Rest of the action
Once again the Venky's Mumbai Fighters welcome opponents at the T-Box Mobile Arena (Read more about it) at the In-Orbit Mall in Mumbai, India, with this time a hot reception reserved for the visiting Astana Arlans. Having delighted the crowds last week, the Fighters will look to do the same against the Kazak outfit in Group A. However the away team has come equipped with the top ranked Lightweight Yerzhan Mussafirov and Light Heavyweight No.1 Abdelhafid Benchabla leading the charges, the latter facing the explosive young Belarusian Leanid Charnabayeu. A tough task for the Mumbai Franchise who will be counting on home support to carry them to a second successive victory. A lot of the pressure will rest on the tall Heavyweight Krishan Kumar against Benchabla's vastly experienced Algerian compatriot Chouaib Bouloudinats.

European rivals now with the highflying Leipzig Leopards hosting a Paris United team keen on kick-starting their season. This will be a close one to call with both teams evenly matched. Look out for 22-year-old battle-hardened Irishman John Joseph Nevin who will look to overawe the promising Dane Rashid Kassem, who surprised quite a few with his speed in his first WSB match. The Leopards were taught a lesson in efficiency by the Baku Fires last week and it will be interesting to see what they learnt from that sobering experience. Paris United on the other hand have the know-how to quickly climb the Group B table. This will be a tight to the bitter end, guaranteed.

Istanbul Bosphorus vs. Beijing Dragons will witness both teams going all out for the win in Group B. With this the last fixture of the calendar year, expect the Franchises to line-up their best boxers and fight for what would be a priceless victory before the winter break. With both teams evenly matched, many expect Chinese superstar Zhimin Wang, last season undisputed WSB individual Champion, to make the difference in Turkey.

Still undefeated and completely dominant in Group B, Baku Fires will look once again to assert their authority as the Mexico City Guerreros come to town. Unrelenting in their pursuit of perfection, the Azeri outfit have blown all before them in the early stages of this season's competition. Can the Guerreros stem the tide? It will all depend on how WSB fans' favourite Kennedy Katende and experienced American youngster William Williams fare in their matches. Mexican Bantamweight southpaw Aaron Alameda is a rising star in his homeland and will look to surprise Baku Fires' Gairbek Germakhanov in the first bout of the evening. This could be the closest fight the home team have found themselves in this season.

Boxer to watch
This week pay special attention to the skills of one of Ukraine's finest exports, Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Much admired by his colleagues and rivals alike, the tough orthodox fighter is the reigning WSB Individual Middleweight Champion after a flawless season last time around. Winning both his opening fights for the Dolce & Gabbana Milano Thunder by TKO, the 26-year-old is even more frightening this season, looking so comfortable in the ring and showcasing time and time again what an accomplished fighter he is. A tall order for Dynamo Moscow's Maxim Gazizov to face with Derevyanchenko able to pull the trigger from any angle at any given moment.

Article posted on 15.12.2011

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