Boxing


Rios vs. Abril on Saturday on BoxNation; Nielsen-Vega on 4/21

Box Nation’s commitment to delivering fans live coverage of the very best fighters and fights from all around the globe continues this weekend when they showcase Brandon ‘Bam Bam’ Rios, arguably the best lightweight on the planet, attempt to regain the World Boxing Association (WBA) title he surrendered to the scales last December.

On Saturday night, Rios fronts up to Cuba’s Richard Abril at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas on Saturday live on BoxNation (Sky Ch.456/Virgin Ch. 546). If the contest is anywhere near as feisty as the physical exchanges at the pre-fight presser have been, this one is going to be unmissable.

Rios, the 25 year old former juvenile delinquent from Garden City, Kansas has latterly emerged as one of boxing’s most colourful and controversial characters, both in and away from the ring.

Between the ropes, the one time national amateur champion and 2004 US Olympic alternate at featherweight has racked up a 29-0-1 pro card (22 stoppages, several spectacular) and a reputation for ‘coming to war’ each and every fight, regardless of who is advancing from the opposing corner. For those yet to witness him, he is extremely fan friendly; a bull strong, aggressive, undervalued combination puncher with dangerously heavy hands.

Debuting in July 2004, ‘Bam Bam’ first generated attention in September 2010 when he dropped 30-0 Anthony Peterson (brother of Lamont) and threatened to run him clean out of the ring. Shamelessly, Peterson ‘copped out’, delivering a string of low blows which earned him a red card and safe exit.

Now based in Oxnard, California where he is trained by ex IBF superfeather king Roberto Garcia, Rios claimed the WBA title in February 2011 with a three knockdown, ten round annihilation of dangerous Venezuelan banger Miguel Acosta. After a savage three round rub out of Urbano Antillon last July, he forfeited his title by flunking the weight ahead of his

December 2011 defence against Manchester’s John Murray. That said, he didn’t appear short of gas or condition when halting the industrial tough Mancunian in 11 hectic rounds. Rios has since enrolled a nutritionist to his team and is adamant that strimming to 135lbs again won’t be problematic.

His adolescence was spent in and out of correctional institutions or on probation as he warred on the streets and became involved in drugs. He has a longstanding public feud with ex world welter champion Victor Ortiz who also originates from Garden City. Lately, he claims to have been tamed by his new wife Vicky, a social worker. We’ll see!

In Abril, he faces one sinister looking hombre who certainly appears primed for the job. Having bagged the WBA ‘interim’ belt with a triple knockdown 12 round decision over the aforementioned Acosta in Panama last October, the 29 year old Miami based Cuban gatecrashed his way to the Rios gig by bitch slapping ‘Bam Bam’ at a presser for the aborted Rios- Yurikios Gamboa spat!

Born in La Isla De La Juvented, Abril won Cuban juvenile titles and boxed on the national junior squad during a stellar 213-5 amateur career. He turned pro in Florida under Dream Team Boxing Promotions, with state blessing, in December 2005 and the two reverses on his 17-2-1 CV were both contestable 10 round split decisions to useful Breidis Prescott and Henry Lundy.

Despite his aggressive recent antics and ‘El Tigre’ ring moniker, the 5ft 11in Abril is a gangly, unorthodox and elusive operator. With just eight stoppage wins to his name, one senses he’ll be best served cutting the machismo and attempting to outfox Rios.

Following that tact, he could enjoy early success but, provided Rios can indeed make 9st 9lb healthily, I doubt Abril can sustain it for the full championship trip. Rios carries the bombs to flatten him at any stage but will most likely be staved until the fight’s final third before formally reclaiming his belt.

JOHN MURRAY ASSESSES BRANDON RIOS

Ex British, Commonwealth and European champion John Murray shared 11 brutally hard rounds in bad boy Brandon Rios’s company last December, before being stopped, still vertical, with the vacant WBA crown up for grabs.

Murray says: ‘Beforehand Brandon had his ‘game face’ on but we had a good chat after and, speak as you find, he was a really nice fella.

Brandon’s very good. Stylewise, he’s pretty similar to me but was just better on the night. The way to beat him is simple. Hit him harder and more often than he hits you!

In the ring, he was absolutely huge and towards the end I found him very heavy handed. He probably didn’t hit me as hard as Kevin Mitchell did but I’d say he was physically stronger than Kevin. That’d be a great fight between them two.

I was in great shape and tried to drag Rios into a tear up but he’s nice and compact and remained very composed. He’s not the fastest – you could see his shots coming - but he throws real good combinations and he’s very accurate. His uppercuts through the middle done me. He just broke me down.’

Live coverage of Rios v Abril on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546) nwill start at 2am on Sunday morning.

BoxNation is the first dedicated subscription boxing TV channel in the UK to bring together the biggest names in amateur, domestic and international boxing with an unbeatable schedule of matches from across the globe.

For just £10 per month BoxNation offers unbeatable value for money for all fight fans. To subscribe to BoxNation simply go to www.boxnation.com and hit the “Subscribe Now” button and choose your subscription package. Simple!

Trabzon to welcome European elite

Lausanne, Switzerland, 13 April 2012 - After the AIBA Asian Olympic Qualifying Event came to an end in Astana, Kazakhstan, yesterday, focus is now switching to the European boxers who are preparing for their assault on the remaining 26 London 2012 Olympic Games quota places available for the region at the qualification tournament to be held in Trabzon, Turkey, from 13-21 April.

The European continent secured 46 qualification places for the Olympic Games at the AIBA World Boxing Championships Baku 2011 with three further boxers having acquired their quotas following their success during the World Series of Boxing Individual Championships last year. 211 boxers from 44 nations are expected to take part in this AIBA European Olympic Qualifying Event.

Europe's top boxing nations, Russia and Ukraine both have six athletes already qualified but they will be going all out in Trabzon to get a maximum number of ten boxers competing at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The Russian squad will consist of former AIBA World Champion Albert Selimov, current European Champions Maksim Koptyakov and Magomed Omarov. Former AIBA Junior World Championships silver medallist newcomer Artem Zaytsev was chosen to represent the nation at Light Welterweight, where only one place quota remains.

The Ukrainian team will be travelling to the qualification event with multiple National Champion Denis Shkarubo, newly crowned National Champion Oleksandr Shepelyuk, former European Junior Champion Pavlo Ishchenko and AIBA World Boxing Championships silver medallist Roman Kapitanenko, who will be competing at Super Heavyweight.

London 2012 Olympic Games host nation Great Britain will want to reach the maximum number of ten participants with five places still to fill. Former AIBA Cadet World Champion Anthony Ogogo, European Championships bronze medallist Charlie Edwards and European Youth Champion Martin Ward are the best hopes in the English squad. Joining them in Trabzon will be Scotland's Commonwealth Games silver medallist Josh Taylor and Welshman Joseph Cordina.

The Irish national squad's spearhead will be 18-year-old current European Champion and AIBA Youth World Champion Joseph Ward, who will look to make a big impact in the Light Heavyweight class. European Champion and Beijing Olympic Games bronze medallist Patrick Barnes also stands a good chance of increasing the number of boxers from Ireland that qualify for London 2012.

The France squad only secured three Olympic places from Baku so will be travelling to Turkey with a team that has seven fighters. Nordine Oubaali and Abdelkader Bouhenia both took bronze medals in past AIBA World Boxing Championships so will be front-runners to qualify while Youth Olympic Games winner Tony Yoka and Rachid Hamani are also in the frame to get those all important quota places.

Azerbaijan will be competing with five boxers in Trabzon and with the city's proximity to the country, many fans are expected to travel and lend their support. Top Light flyweight boxer Salman Alizada, who is the youngest European Elite Champion in history, will seek to advance to the semi-finals to qualify for the Olympic Games.

The Germany squad will also have several talented boxers taking to the ring in Trabzon with European Champion Denis Makarov, AIBA World Championships bronze medallist Ronny Beblik, European Championships bronze medallist Eugen Burhard and Johann Witt all involved in the team.

Armenia will travel with former European Champion Hovhannes Danielyan, who has moved up to Flyweight, while current European Youth Champion Koryun Soghomonyan will compete in the Light Flyweight class.

Hungary's top boxer Balazs Bacskai has got great chance to reach the quota in the Welterweight class while Croatia's AIBA Youth World Champion Filip Hrgovic, Belarus' Athens Olympic Games silver medallist Viktor Zuyev and WSB star Vazgen Safaryants, Moldova's current European Champion Veaceslav Gojan and Bulgaria's Tervel Pulev will also be in the mix for London 2012 quota places in Trabzon.

There is huge anticipation for this event with the quality expected to be at an all-time high. Some mouth-watering showdowns will take place when the fierce competition for those life-changing quota places gets underway.

Patrick Nielsen vs. Gaston Vega on April 21

Patrick Nielsen (13-0, 7 KOs) plans to take another giant stride towards a world title fight when he faces Argentinian Gaston Vega (17-4, 6 KOs) at the Nordic Fight Night in Frederikshavn. A victory on April 21 would make Nielsen the World Boxing Association (WBA) Intercontinental Middleweight Champion at the age of just 21. He could follow the path of former IBF Middleweight World Champion and Team Sauerland stablemate Arthur Abraham, who was 24 when he won the same belt Nielsen is chasing next week. “This is a big fight for me,” Nielsen said. “I am excited to fight for such a huge title. Abraham´s career really took off after winning that belt, so it would be great if I could do the same. I am ready to give Vega a beating!”

Back in September 2004, Abraham made his name known in the boxing world when he knocked out Nader Hamdan to become WBA Intercontinental Middleweight Champion. He moved on to win the World Title the next year and dominated his weight class for years. “We take a high risk by letting Patrick fight for the Intercontinental Title at such an early age,” promoter Nisse Sauerland said. “But we believe in him. We think he is ready for the big stage. This is the ultimate test, the ultimate stepping stone. A victory over Vega will pave the way to the top.”

Together with his coach Karsten Rower, Nielsen has been training in Berlin. “Things are going very well,” he said. “I have a lot of energy. I really want that title and I will get it!”

Tickets for the Nordic Fight Night at Arena Nord are available at www.arenanord.dk.

Article posted on 13.04.2012



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