British Boxing: Tyson Fury; James DeGale; Matthew Thirlwall; Samson Onyango

Heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury has called Frank Maloney’s bluff after the promoter challenged him to fight his prospect Larry Olubamiwo. The 6 foot 9 inch Fury has won his two professional contests to date with impressive stoppages against European opposition and faces Russian Daniel Peret next time out in Norwich on February 28th live on ITV4..

Fury has had to look outside Britain again after a series of British rivals rejected the fight including Olubamiwo and Prizefighter champ, Sam Sexton. Olubamiwo who calls himself the “War Machine” is unbeaten in his three pro fights but his victims had a less than impressive combined record of just 11 wins from their 93 pro fights. Despite Maloney’s talk though Olubamiwo clearly wasn’t ready to go to war with Fury.

Fury’s trainer and uncle, Hughie Fury explained, “We read a piece after Olubamiwo’s fight last month that Frank Maloney was going around shouting, ‘Bring on Tyson Fury’. I thought great, here’s a British fighter who’s not afraid to take on Tyson. So I rang Maloney up and told him that if his man wanted it he could have it for February 28th in Norwich.

“He started backing down straight away and said he was actually talking about 18 months down the line. What’s he on about? His man is already gone 30 so what’s the point in waiting another year and a half for the fight to happen. That’s the difference between Tyson and these other guys, when he says he wants a fight he wants it.

“Frank says he has the best heavyweight prospects in the UK, with guys like Olubamiwo, Scott Belshaw and Tom Dallas. Well if Olubamiwo isn’t ready why doesn’t he turn up with one of his other heavyweight prospects for Tyson’s fight in Birmingham on March 14th?




“Sam Sexton was the same, I believe he was moaning that he never gets to fight at home in Norwich so when Tyson offered him the chance to fight him at the Norfolk Showground’s there on February 28th all we heard back was excuses.

“We talk about fighting these guys because we want to fight them but you get other people talking about it just to get a headline for their man. We want a British title shot and beating any of these other British fighters is the quickest route to that. We’d rather fight anyone in Britain sooner than these East European’s but at the moment they’re the only guys who will step up to the plate and fight Tyson.

“People say we’re trying to rush him but some fighters have enough class that they can be pushed on quickly. Anyway it’s not like we’re calling out the Klitschko’s or anything. We’ve only mentioned the British heavyweights and let’s be honest it’s a dead division at the moment. He’s sparred some of the top heavyweights around and none of them have bothered him so we know what he’s capable of. That’s why we want a British title shot as soon as possible.

“Part of the problem is to get sparing in the amateurs we travelled around to spar with a lot of these guys. The sparring was enough to put them off. They all know they wouldn’t last in a fight with Tyson so they’re all running ‘down the line’.”

Fury’s promoter Mick Hennessy revealed, “Tyson’s only had two fights but I believe the rest of the British heavyweight contenders are already running for cover. Peret should be a good yardstick for him because he’s already beaten Scott Belshaw and has never been stopped by any of the other British heavyweights he’s fought like John McDermott or Derek Chisora.”

Featuring on the exciting undercard: Danny McIntosh v Matthew Barney for the English Light Heavyweight Title (subject to Boards approval), also appearing Lee Purdy, Matthew Thirlwall, Earl Ling and making his pro debut ABA Senior Featherweight Champion 2008 & awarded the best boxer of the night Royston’s Bradley Evans.

Tickets for Fury – Peret which is part of the undercard of Jon Thaxton’s first European title defence at the Norfolk Showground, Norwich on the 28th February are available from the Ticketline box office on 0871 424 4444 or via www.ticketline.co.uk.

SAUNDERS AND DeGALE TEAM UP

Billy Joe Saunders and James DeGale are recreating the spirit of the 2008 Olympics – by working together ahead of their professional debuts.

The deadly duo will have their first fight in the paid ranks on February 28 at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham under promoter Frank Warren.

And to ensure they are both in tip-top condition they have been sparring together ahead of their big night.

It’s a throwback to the Beijing Games where they represented Great Britain, DeGale going on to win Olympic gold.

“It’s great working with James again,” said 19-year-old Saunders, who has been sparring a number of fighters across the South East in preparation for his debut.

“We must have sparred hundreds of rounds together when we were up in Sheffield at the Institute of Sport, and we are always learning from each other.

“The team spirit in Beijing was superb, and I know we’ll be looking to recreate that when we box together as professionals.

“The professional side of things has a reputation for being a bit selfish.

“But with us all boxing on the same cards up and down the country, it’s a bit like being back in the elite squad, and we’ll keep driving each other on to achieve more and more.”

DeGale, 22, added: “Teaming up with Billy Joe is great. He’s improved so much since the Olympics – but hopefully so have I.

“Sparring has been fantastic and I feel so sharp at the moment.”

And the Olympic champion quipped: “We asked Frankie Gavin along to some of our sessions as well, but he’s lost so much weight recently we didn’t think it would be fair!”

Tickets, priced at £30, £50, £100 and £150, are available from:

Ticket Factory 0844 338 8000 www.theticketfactory.com

Thirlwall eyeing British Title tilt

Bermondsey middleweight Matthew Thirlwall returns to the ring at the Norfolk Showground, Norwich on February 28th Live on ITV4 to kick off what he hopes is going to be a big 2009.

By his own admission Thirlwall has yet to translate the undoubted potential he showed in the amateurs as an ABA Champion and regular England International into professional success. Having recently turned 28 he knows time is running out for him to turn potential into achievement. With his long term injury problems now behind him the Londoner believes he’s within touching distance of a title shot.

“Originally it was my knee but more recently it was an elbow injury that was causing problems,” explained Thirlwall. “I’m over the injuries now. It was very frustrating at the time because everything was so stop – start but I’m feeling great at the moment so I just want to keep as busy as possible this year and get some consistency.”

The Robert McCracken trained fighter says he’ll be keeping a close eye on the upcoming British middleweight title fight between Matthew Macklin and Wayne Elcock with a view to challenging the winner later in the year.

“I think it’s going to be a great fight and I’d love a shot at the winner. I keep changing my mind about who will win but at the moment I’m leaning towards Elcock.

“I suppose it all depends on the night really but I think Elcock’s a rough, strong kid and he could catch up with Macklin in the later rounds and stop him. Macklin’s capable of outboxing him too though so it’s a very hard one to call.

“I’d jump at that chance to fight the winner if it came along. If I can get a couple of good wins under my belt then I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t be ready for a fight like that. It would be a dream come true to fight for the British title and I wouldn’t care who was in the opposite corner as long as I got a chance to fight for the Lonsdale belt.”

Featuring on the exciting undercard: Danny McIntosh v Matthew Barney for the English Light Heavyweight Title (subject to Boards approval), also appearing New Heavyweight Sensation Tyson Fury, Lee Purdy and making his pro debut ABA Senior Featherweight Champion 2008 & awarded the best boxer of the night Royston’s Bradley Evans.

Tickets for Thirlwall’s next fight which is part of the undercard of Jon Thaxton’s first European title defence at the Norfolk Showground, Norwich on the 28th February are available from the Ticketline box office on 0871 424 4444 or via www.ticketline.co.uk

ONYANGO INSPIRED BY OBAMA!

Big-punching Samson Onyango says the most powerful man on the planet will be helping him out on Friday night – US President Barack Obama.

Onyango challenges Welsh star Nathan Cleverly for the Commonwealth light-heavyweight title at the Oasis Sports Centre, Swindon, on February 13, live on Sky Sports.

And the hard-hitting Kenyan says he has been inspired by Obama’s recent victory in the US Presidential elections.

Obama’s father was born in Kenya and spent most of his life there, and the President is a hero in the country.

“Seeing someone with Kenyan heritage do so well is such an inspiration,” said Onyango.

“If we can have someone with Kenyan blood in the White House then why can’t we have a Kenyan world champion at light-heavyweight as well!

“Cleverly won’t just be fighting me on Friday night – he’ll be fighting the spirit of all my people.

“I know it’s going to be a hard fight because Cleverly is a good champion but I’m going to be taking the title back to Kenya with me.”

Onyango, who comes from Nairobi, has an 18-3 record and has stopped 13 of his opponents, so could have the edge in punching power.

Undefeated Cleverly, 21, has stopped four of his 14 victims.

“I punch very hard, that’s why they call me The Hammer,” explained Onyango. “I don’t think Cleverly has been in with anyone who punches as hard as me, and he is going to be in trouble on Friday night.”

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Boxing News British Boxing: Tyson Fury; James DeGale; Matthew Thirlwall; Samson Onyango