Boxing

Manners: Corcoran-Johanneson could be fight of the year

06.07.06 - Carl Johanneson’s trainer Rick Manners believes that fight fans are in for a treat when his charge meets Billy Corcoran for the vacant British Super Featherweight Title next Wednesday on the Hennessy Sports ‘Fifty-Fifty’ event at the York Hall in Bethnal Green being shown live by Sky Sports..

"I think this could be one of the fights of the year," said Manners, who also manages Johanneson. "It’s going to be intriguing and it will get explosive. Like the fight poster says this fight is ‘Fifty-Fifty’ in most people’s eyes. Both fighters are talented kids, old-fashioned gunslingers as I have said before."

Unsurprisingly, he sees things being more in favour of his man. "Billy has always been good. But we have been working on how we want to achieve our win against him. Carl is on the ascendancy, since I have been training him he has done more than I have asked of him. The only person who can beat him is himself."

Manners is upbeat, despite some small difficulties in training. "Training has gone quite well, but it could have gone better," he admitted. "There were some problems in getting sparring, people were asking for more money to spar than to fight, but we managed to get some people in to help us out. In general we are very happy with how everything has gone."

The confidence in the Johanneson camp is understandable, given his impressive two round knockout of Andrew Ferrans in February in a final eliminator for the British Championship.

"He knocked him out in style," said Manners. "I was very pleased with the win and it wasn’t a fluke. That kid can’t do anything else but fight. You take the problems that he has had in the past out of the equation and you have a fighting machine."

On only one occasion has he looked anything but since he decided to relocate back to Leeds in March 2004. In December of that year Russian Leva Kirakosyan knocked him out inside a round, but he wasn’t himself going in.

"Carl should never have been in that fight," Manners, who wasn’t in his corner at the time, explained. "He took it just for the money. He wasn’t in any kind of shape and paid the price."

It wasn’t until after this fight that the pair teamed up. They had, however, known each other before from the amateur scene before Johanneson moved to America to train and fight as a professional in 2000.

"The minute Carl got stopped in that fight, it appeared that his so called team at the time lost faith," Manners continued. "It seemed like they didn’t want to know. Carl started to look for another trainer and we spoke. He knew what I had done in the past with a couple of other fighters and that I had contacts.

"I was warned off him. I was told don’t do this, don’t do that, but I have always liked him. All you have to be with me is humble and I knew he had talent. He was a bag of bones and I really felt for him. We sat down and I told him that he needed to dedicate himself for three solid years and that we could build a solid platform. You are seeing the benefit of that now, he is in the best form of his career."

Understandably, Manners feels the future looks bright, particularly now he is working with Hennessy Sports. "It’s a good relationship to have," he said. "We treat our fighters in the same way, unlike a lot of promoters we seem to have a bond with our fighters, we love them personally. There is a bit more to it than just a business relationship."

The respected trainer also appreciates the respect that has been shown between the two camps. "I’m glad this fight hasn’t become a slanging match. It didn’t need it; it’s exciting enough without all of that. The guys are both consummate professionals. They will do their business in the ring without the need to mouth off."

That is not to say that both boxers haven’t spoken confidently. Corcoran has predicted that he will become the fourth member of the Hennessy Sports team to currently hold a British Title without the need to hear the final bell. Johanneson has countered.

"Carl is a man of few words," said his trainer. "But he is really up for this in his own quiet way. When I told him that Billy had said he was going to win early, he just shook his head and said ‘no way, that’s not going to happen’".

‘Fifty-Fifty’ takes place at the York Hall in Bethnal Green on Wednesday 12th July. Sky Sports televise. The undercard features Junior Olympic Gold Medallist John O’Donnell, Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist Darren Barker and WBC World Youth Champion John Murray. For the latest bill please visit www.HennessySports.com. For tickets please phone 0870 060 1795.

Article posted on 06.07.2006



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