DeGale picked to beat Sanavia on Saturday; Saunders-Hill, Turner-Morris on 4/28

PUNTERS on Betfair are backing James DeGale to successfully defend his European super-middleweight title against Cristian Sanavia in Denmark on Saturday. With just one points defeat on his record, DeGale is a huge odds-on favourite for victory at just 1-8.

Despite coming into the fight off the back of a five match winning run, customers on the betting exchange donít give Italyís Sanavia much hope. The 37-year-old has been talking up his chances, but odds of 9-1 suggest heís full of hot air.

Betfairís Alex Bake said: ďSanavia is a two time European champ and he briefly held a world title back in 2004, so the class is there. But DeGale is considerably younger and quicker than his opponent and the punters canít see past him winning.Ē

DeGale v Sanavia Ė Betfair bet: 1-8 DeGale, 9-1 Sanavia, 41-1 the draw

Freddie Turner vs. Jay Morris on 4/28

Exciting welterweight Freddie Turner aims to take his record to 6-0 when he features on the big Royal Albert Hall show on Saturday 28th April.

Turner takes on Scunthorpeís experienced Steve Spence over four rounds on stable-mate Billy Joe Saunders undercard.

Boxing writer Glynn Evans talks to Turner about his career and background.

Born: Romford, Essex

Age: 23

Family background: I live with my mum on a farm over Upminster way (Essex). Iíve two older sisters and two younger brothers. The youngest plays cricket for Essex and is on the national development squad.

Trade: Iím a utilities engineer. I work on gas and water mains.

Nickname: Donít really have one yet but ĎFreddieí isnít my real name. I was Christened Luke but, as a kid, I had really long hair and apparently looked like a character called ĎFredí from the TV programme Bread. It just stuck.

What age did you become interested in boxing and why? At primary school, I had a lot of energy and aggression. I was a rough, tough, physical kid and could be very disruptive. An uncle suggested I try the boxing and it was a good move. Boxing really helped me out with my discipline. Iíd train so hard I was too tired to be disruptive.

What do you recall of your amateur career? I started at the Alma club in Upminster and, in my first year, I got beat by a kid from Northside (Manchester) in the national schools final. Second season, I joined the Repton club in Bethnal Green (east London) but again got beat by the same kid in the schoolboys final.

That was my only loss in three years at Repton. Darren Barker and Audley Harrison were there at the same time and we went away on some fantastic trips. I had an unbeaten run of about 25 to 30 bouts, coached by Cliff and Bradley Spronge but I was the same weight as Gary Barker (late brother of recent world middleweight challenger Darren) and the club tried to force me to drop a weight so Repton could win two national titles. I werenít happy so moved to West Ham which caused a bit of friction.

In my first start with West Ham I got stopped by Luke Gray of Stevenage and the Repton mob rubbed it in a bit but I went on to have over 100 amateur bouts. I only lost about 12 and got back (avenged) most who beat me. Trained by Mickey May and Brian OíShaughnessy, I went on to win two national schools titles, the junior ABAs, the NABCs plus a junior Four Nations gold. I boxed for England three times.

I went in the senior ABAs twice. First time, in 2007 at lightweight, I got beat by Frankie Gavin in the quarter finals. That was a highlight in my career because heíd just won the Commonwealth Games and I was completely written off but gave him a tough fight. Even Frankie admits that.

In 2009, up at light-welter and back at the Repton, I lost in the London semis to Bradley Skeete. Brad won fair and square Ė he was fit and very awkward - but Iíd really bashed him a few weeks before in sparring and was looking past him. I really shouldíve won the ABAs that year. I was training with Jimmy Tibbs at the time. Heíd slowed me down and made me more pro, stylewise. Jimmy put a lot of work into me. He advised me to take the week off work but I worked right up to, and including, the day of the fight and gave a bad display. Jimmy was fuming and we parted for a while.

Why did you decide to turn pro when you did? I took a bit of time out after Skeete but didnít want to turn pro after a loss. I won the Ricky Hatton Cup then a gold medal in Cyprus but the buzz of the ABAs had gone and I had a pro style so I turned pro with Tunde Ajayi. I had my first three pro fights with Tunde who was very good at getting you fit before patching things up with Jimmy.

Tell us about your back up team: Iím managed by Dean Powell promoted by Frank Warren Promotions and trained by Jimmy and Mark Tibbs.

Jimmyís head coach and heís so experienced. Technically, heís brilliant and heís also great with the conditioning. He appreciates Iíve a physical job so knows when to ease off.

Markís greatest quality is his attention to detail. He really analyses opponents, develops Plan A, B and C. He really puts the time in.

I also see a body health specialist called Warren Williams on alternate Sundays. He helps me with my diet plus keeping me healthy and injury free but doesnít upset the Tibbsís by interfering with the boxing side.

Whatís your training schedule? Which parts do you most and least enjoy? I have to schedule things around my work. Iím up at 4.45a.m and generally on site at 6.30 to start work at 7. I go the gym in the evening.

I train three times a week with the Tibbsís at the TKO gym in Canning Town; Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Iíll go for a light jog, do sprints or, if needed, take a night off. Iím always fit, donít drink or smoke and my jobís very manual so I only need two or three weeks to get sharp for a fight.

Iíll usually have a brief chat with Jimmy and Mark about the (pending) session, then, if Iím not sparring, Iíll start with six rounds intense shadow boxing, followed by three or four on the pads, a couple more shadow, a 10minute skip, groundwork, then finish with a good stretch and a shakedown. If I spar itís usually with either Colin Lynes or Lee Byrne.

Sparring or pads are what I enjoy most. Sparring allows me to fully utilise my talent, show how skilled I am, make the Tibbsís proud of me. On the pads, Jimmy really sucks the life out of ya. If you can manage four rounds on the pads with him, youíll manage 12 in the ring, no problem.

The worst aspect is training without a date for your fight. I never cut corners or cheat but, without a specific goal, it can be frustrating.

Describe your style? What are your best qualities? I like to think Iím a slick, slippery southpaw that doesnít get hit a lot. Iím a good counterpuncher with a naturally good grasp of distance. If drawn in, I can have a fight and be exciting but I prefer to go Ďin and outí, frustrate Ďem mentally.

What specifically do you need to work on to fully optimise your potential as a fighter? If I feel Iím winning comfortably, Iím prone to slowing the pace and coasting which isnít good to watch. I probably need to work at becoming more busy.

What have you found to be the biggest difference between the pro and amateur codes? Thereís a lot more roughness in the pros; heads coming together, elbows going in. Also the pace is a lot slower which suits a counterpuncher like me. The whole pro scene has a lot more glitz and excitement to it.

Who is the best opponent that youíve shared a ring with? When I was 15, I sparred (Ugandaís future Commonwealth featherweight king) Jackson Asiku at the Newham (ABC) gym. He was sharpening his tools with a fight pending when his sparring partner let him down. I did six rounds with him and started to frustrate him which made him wild, despite my age! He was very strong and a big puncher. That was a very tough spar!

All time favourite fighter: Pernell Whittaker or Joe Calzaghe. No point watching orthodox!

All time favourite fight: Corrales-Castillo I. They were evenly matched for power and talent so it came down to who wanted it most. Corrales victory showed Ďwill to winí in its extreme.

Which current match would you most like to see made? Kell Brook against Amir Khan at welterweight. Itíd be a great fight for Britain and, on their last performances, Iíd probably side with Brook.

What is your routine on fight day? Iíll get up at eight and, provided Iíve weighed-in the day before, mum will insist on making me a full cooked breakfast. After that, Iíll just make sure my gearís ready and chill out. Throughout the day I eat lots of nuts and berries plus small portions of beans on toast, stuff like that. In my mind, Iíll think through different scenarios: ĎWhat will I need to do if I get cut or dropped or hurt?í Mentally, I leave no stone uncovered.

I always like to arrive at the arena before any punters, even before the ringís set up. In the changing room, Iím quite calm always happy and joking. Jimmy wraps my hands and Iíll be thinking: ĎIíve done all the hard work training. Now go out and perform to the best of my ability.í

Entrance music: ĎCanít Stop Thisí by the Chilli Peppers.

What are your ambitions as a boxer? Iím motivated by achievement; going through all the hardship to reach your goal. Iíve a good job which pays well so donít desperately need the money.

Ultimately, I just want to find my level. Dean Powell is already pushing for a 10 round title fight for me. In sparring, (stablemate and reigning British champ) Colin Lynes never holds back yet our spars are very close so I know Iím at a good level. Too many are anxious to protect their zero but Iím quite happy to fight the other unbeaten prospects, just as happens in the U.S.

How do you relax? I enjoy doing the maintenance on our family run farm. Itís a chance to learn new skills. I also watch a bit of tennis, cricket and athletics.

Football team: Iím not a fan but West Ham are the nearest one so I root for them.

Read: Iím not a big reader of books. I read Boxing News cover to cover plus The Sun.

Music: No selected genre. Easy listening. My favourite artist is Jack Johnson who does melodies.

Films/TV: I like deep, meaningful films, anything with Robert DeNiro in. I donít watch a lot of tv but Sky Plus all the boxing.

Aspiration in life: To live a clean, fair life and be well respected. Iím a humble person.

Motto: If you donít, somebody else will!

Tickets, priced at £40, £50, £75 and £100 are available from:

Ticketmaster: 0844 844 0444

Saunders v Hill and Hall v Webb is live and exlcusive on Saturday 28th April on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546). Join at

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 and hit the ďSubscribe NowĒ button and choose your subscription package. Simple!

Billy Joe Saunders - Tony Hill for Commonwealth 160lb title on 4/28

Billy Joe Saunders and Tony Hill will now challenge for the Vacant Commonwealth Middleweight title on the big Royal Albert Hall show on Saturday 28th April.

Saunders v Hill and Sam Webbís Eliminator for the British Light-Middleweight title against Matthew Hall headlines the first night of professional championship boxing to be held at the iconic London venue in nearly 13 years.

The show will be televised live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546).

Hatfield star Saunders was due to fight for the vacant English title on the show, but is delighted that he is now challenging for the title once held by British great Nigel Benn - who defended the belt twice at the Royal Albert Hall - before going on to world title honors.

ďFirst of all itís fantastic to be in one of the headline fights at the Royal Albert hall and also to challenge for the Commonwealth title which is one of the three titles I want to win before going for the world title,Ē Said the unbeaten 22-year-old.

ďTo win the title at the legendary Royal Albert Hall which is steeped in boxing history will be a real honour and seeing as one of my idols Nigel Benn, one of Britainís best ever fighters, fought and defended the title there will be a dream,Ē

ďIím expecting a good fight with Hill, Iíve seen from his comments that heís really confident and up for the fight which is great to hear because there will be no excuses when I knock him out,Ē

He added, ďOnce Iíve done Hill then Iím after the British and European titles to make it the famous triple.Ē

The undercard features some of the best talent in Britain including unbeaten welterweight Bradley Skeete; hard-hitting super-middleweight Frank Buglioni, light-welterweight Bradley Saunders; welterweights Freddie Turner and Dean Byrne.

Tickets, priced at £40, £50, £75 and £100 are available from:

Ticketmaster: 0844 844 0444

Saunders v Hill and Hall v Webb is live and exlcusive on Saturday 28th April on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546). Join at

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 and hit the ďSubscribe NowĒ button and choose your subscription package. Simple!

Article posted on 20.04.2012

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