News: Elcock vs Macklin; Andy Murray; Alfonso Gomez

British middleweight champion Wayne Elcock says he’s happy to let mandatory challenger Matthew Macklin talk the talk ahead of their massive all Birmingham clash on a Hennessy Sports show at the Aston Arena in the city on March 14th live on ITV4. Macklin is predicting a knockout win over his local rival but Elcock and his trainer have blasted Macklin saying, “Talk is cheap”. The champion though says he won’t be drawn into a war of words ahead of the mouth watering showdown..

“I know there’s local pride at stake and maybe Matt’s feeling the pressure to say these things,” said Elcock. “He’s nice kid and we’ve got on quite well in the past but all his talk has only served to fire me up even more.”

Macklin had previously accused the champion of avoiding him but Elcock believes that he should be careful what he wishes for. “He’s said all these things and let’s be honest, the fight is big enough on its own. It doesn’t need all the hype to sell it but he’s definitely been disrespectful and that’s only made me more determined to keep my title. I didn’t need any added motivation for this fight as it was but I suppose all his talk has made it into a bit of a grudge match.”

Elcock’s trainer, Paddy Lynch was even more forthcoming about the clash. “Wayne is a pretty chilled out lad but he’s working so hard for this one. There’s a quiet determination about him. Macklin’s great at drumming himself up but talk is cheap. Wayne will do all his talking in the ring.

“You only have to compare their records and look at the calibre of their opposition. Who’s Macklin fought? He got beat by a journeyman for the English title at light middle and then he got knocked out and put in hospital when he fought for the British title. That fight was at light middle as well – and that was supposed to be the best performance of his career!

“Wayne on the other hand has beaten top quality guys like Howard Eastman. In fact he was the first European to beat Eastman. He lost in a world title fight out in Germany against Arthur Abraham but there’s no disgrace in that. He was winning that fight until the stoppage and I believe Abraham’s the best middleweight in the world right now.”

Lynch and Macklin have a storied history with the Dublin born trainer having guided Macklin through the early part of his pro career before they split following his English light middleweight title defeat to Andrew Facey.

Lynch says he has not seen any improvements in Macklin since going their separate ways. “Look at his last fight (a points win over Geard Ajetovic), he was terrible. We got all the usual talk beforehand about how he was in the best shape of his life and everything but on the night he was rubbish and that was against a guy who was hardly throwing anything back. It’s a good job too because if he had been this fight next month probably wouldn’t be happening!”

Lynch also poured scorn on Macklin’s decision to change trainers following his last outing, something that has been a constant feature of the Birmingham man’s career. Macklin has had stints with Lynch, Peter Harrison, Billy Graham, Buddy McGirt and Richie Woodhall but is currently based out of Joe Gallagher’s gym in Manchester.

“It’s the same old story,” said Lynch. “When you can’t blame yourself, blame your trainer. He’s changed trainers again for this fight but you know the old saying you can’t put in what god left out. My old amateur trainer in Dublin used to say, I can only show you how to fight, you have to be able to fight yourself. Trainers don’t make fighters, fighters make trainers, that’s the way it’s always been in boxing.

“We know all about Macklin and what you see is what you get with him. There are no surprises. He was beaten comprehensively for the British light middleweight title so what business has he fighting for the middleweight title? It doesn’t make any sense for him to be fighting as a middleweight because he wasn’t even a big light middleweight. How’s he going to deal with Wayne’s strength and maturity? He’ll get busted up and stopped.

“The more Macklin gobs off the better as far as I’m concerned. He’s started off saying Wayne wouldn’t go four rounds with him, then it was six and the latest I heard was eight so he can’t make up his mind. The more talking he does the more pressure he’s putting himself under but we’ve got our game plan and there’s only one winner in this fight and that’s Wayne.”

While Elcock isn’t as outspoken as his trainer he’s in total agreement with him about the outcome of the fight. “I’m confident that I’ll beat Macklin whatever way the fight goes. My biggest strength is my boxing ability but if he wants to get into the trenches and have a war I’ll beat him there too. I’m exceptionally strong, Howard Eastman found that out and it surprised him and Macklin will find out as well. As long as I’m switched on mentally then there’s no way I’ll lose this fight.

“I’m not one for making predictions and naming rounds, I’ll leave that to other people. The only thing I will promise is that I will deliver on the night be it a points win or KO. I don’t mind how I win but I can assure you that the Lonsdale belt will be staying with me.”

Fighting on the exciting undercard: The new Heavyweight Sensations Tyson Fury, Eddie O’Rourke, Sid Razak, Callum Archer, Chris Male, Quinton Hillocks & Joel Walton

Tickets for Elcock – Macklin: The Battle of Brum at the Aston Arena, Birmingham on the 14th of March are available from the Ticketline box office on 0871 424 4444 or via www.ticketline.co.uk.

Andy Murray gets European Union title chance at The O2

With two Irish titles to his name and a perfect record of 14 straight wins Cavan star Andy Murray is ready to turn his attention to European affairs. Murray will make a bid for the European Union Lightweight title at The O2 Arena, Dublin on Saturday, March 21st in a featured attraction on the Hunky Dorys World Title Fight Night.

A sensational night of boxing is headlined by Bernard Dunne’s challenge for the WBA World Super Bantamweight title against Panamanian, Ricardo “Maestrito” Cordoba while Olympic heroes Kenny Egan and Paddy Barnes will also be in action alongside reigning World and European Champion, Katie Taylor as professional and amateur boxing come together for a historic night of Irish sport.

Murray will lead the professional side of the undercard as he faces Italy’s Massimiliano Chiofalo with the European Union Lightweight title at stake. The 26-year-old from Cavan town won a bronze medal when he fought in the European Union amateur championships in 2003 but he’s confident that he can claim the top prize this time around in the pro ranks

“It’s great to get a crack at the European Union title,” said Murray who currently holds Irish titles at both lightweight and light welterweight. “It was actually an Italian that beat me in the semi finals of the amateur EU championships so maybe I owe them one now this time around. Fighting at European level in the pro’s will definitely be a step up for me but I feel I’m ready for it now.”

Chiofalo has lost just two of his fifteen pro fights and the winner of next months title fight could be in line for a shot at the full European Champion, Jon Thaxton. Murray’s manager Brian Peters says he’s confident of delivering that for Murray should he be successful against Chiofalo.

“I believe Andy is going to be Irish boxing’s next big star,” said Peters. “He has tremendous potential and now that he’s 26 the time is right for him to start moving up through the levels and I think he has the ability to do that with ease. We’ll see how he gets on against Chiofalo but I’m confident that having delivered home advantage for him and with a stage like The O2 to perform on he’ll be on fire on March 21st.

“As well as winning the EU title it would put him within touching distance of a crack at the full European champion, Jon Thaxton. I have a good relationship with Thaxton’s promoter Mick Hennessy and I’d be confident of delivering that fight for Andy when the time is right.”

While Murray is happy to be talked about in terms of a possible Thaxton fight he’s adamant that it will not distract him from the task at hand. “I’d love a crack at Jon Thaxton at some stage but I can’t afford to think about that right now. I just need to focus on one fight at a time and if I do that and keep winning then I’m sure Brian will keep delivering these kind of opportunities for me.

“Thaxton’s a hell of a fighter and I have an awful lot of respect for what he’s achieved in his career. He’s awkward and very strong but if the chance came along then of course I’d take that fight. At the moment though I just want to concentrate on becoming EU champion. That’s the next hurdle for me and it’s all that’s on my mind for now.”

Murray had a perfect warm up for next months scheduled twelve rounder with an impressive third round stoppage win over Ali Wyatt on February 7th. It was his first appearance under new trainer John Breen and Murray believes there is more to come. “I was happy enough with my performance. I hadn’t boxed since last summer so it was a good fight to get me comfortable working with John and Eamonn Magee. I felt a little rusty early on and my timing was a little off but from the second round on I started to improve and it was good to get him out of there because he’s a tough lad and doesn’t get stopped that often.”

Murray will be back in Breen’s gym in Belfast this week as his preparations for March 21st ramp up. “John is such an experienced trainer and of course Eamonn Magee brings so much experience from his own career so you couldn’t be in a better place to learn and develop as a fighter,” said Murray. “The sparring up there is second to none as well because you have so many top pros in the gym to spar with like Paul McCloskey, Stephen Haughian and Kevin O’Hara.”

Murray will get a taste of The O2 atmosphere in a couple of weeks time as a paying punter when he goes to see Snow Patrol in concert there. “I booked tickets to see them on March 1st before I even knew about the title fight. It will be three weeks to the fight so I’ll get a good chance to sample some of the atmosphere then but I’d say it will be something else come March 21st.

“I was there for the press conference a couple of weeks ago and it’s a phenomenal venue. I’m really buzzing about fighting on such a big event and I just can’t wait for the fight. The fact that it will be for the EU title makes it all the sweeter.”

Murray – Chiofalo will be one of two Ireland V Italy clashes on the professional half of the bill. The second duel will pit Dublin’s own, Jim “The Pink Panther” Rock against Turin based warrior, Alessio Furlan in a ten round middleweight clash. It will be Furlan’s third business trip to Ireland and having been beaten by both Matthew Macklin and John Duddy he will be hoping to make it third time lucky against the seemingly ageless Rock.

Meanwhile Bernard Dunne remains a 9/4 outsider with Ladbrokes.com to take the WBA World Super Bantamweight title from Ricardo Cordoba in the main event with the champion the 3/1 on favourite.

Tickets for the Hunky Dorys World Title Fight Night are priced from €50 and are available now from Ticketmaster (phone 0818 719 300 or visit ticketmaster.ie). Tickets are also available from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.

Alfonso Gomez Announces Release from the Contender

February 16, 2009, Los Angeles, Cal. – Boxer Alfonso S. Gomez announced today that the Tournament of Contenders (TOC) has granted his request to be released from his contract.

Gomez formally requested an early contractual release from his promoter last year. His long-time manager Gary Gittelsohn negotiated an unconditional release and reached a mutually agreed settlement with TOC.

“I will always be grateful for the opportunities provided by The Contender,” Gomez said. “But I’m happy to resolve this matter and move on to new challenges. More than anything, I’m eager to get back in the ring and do what I love.”

Gomez resumed training and conditioning months ago in anticipation of his next bout. According to manager Gittelsohn, that next bout may be around the corner, with talks well underway for another fight as soon as spring 2009.

Gomez has stayed busy during the intervening months, taking part in local charity events and fundraisers, developing his Little Men Big Heart Recordz music production company, and forming a new partnership with the World Boxing Hall of Fame. With a record of 18 wins, four losses and two draws, Gomez’s most recent fights include a fantastic performance against Arturo Gatti and a WBA title shot against Miguel Cotto.

For the latest news, video blogs and more, visit www.AlfonsoSGomez.com.

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Boxing News News: Elcock vs Macklin; Andy Murray; Alfonso Gomez