NEW YORK (Oct. 25, 2011) – With a shot at the biggest fight in Super Middleweight history on the line, undefeated superstar and International Boxing Federation (IBF) Super Middleweight Champion Lucian Bute will make the ninth defense of his 168-pound title against ageless former light heavyweight champion Glen “The Road Warrior’’ Johnson on Saturday, Nov. 5, live on SHOWTIME® (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).
The largest box office draw in Canadian boxing, the undefeated, Romanian-born Bute will enter the ring at Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec with an unblemished record of 29-0 with 24 KOs. Bute has registered knockouts in seven of his eight title defenses and has only gone the distance five times in his professional career.
Johnson (51-15-2, 35 KOs), a legend for his bouts against Roy Jones Jr., Bernard Hopkins and Antonio Tarver, will make his 10th appearance in a world title fight. The 42-year-old Jamaican-born Johnson has fought out of Miami for almost two decades. The former world champ, who earned the nickname “The Road Warrior” for never shying away from challenging an opponent in his home turf, will once again travel to enemy territory for a shot at a championship.
The winner of Bute-Johnson could likely meet the winner of the Super Six World Boxing Classic, which concludes on Saturday, Dec. 17, on SHOWTIME. World champions Andre Ward (World Boxing Association) and Carl Froch (World Boxing Council) will clash in the Super Six Final in a showdown that will determine the world’s best 168-pound fighter.
What the fighters had to say on Tuesday’s call:
LUCIAN BUTE: “We’re getting ready for a big fight. The fight will take place in Quebec City. As you know, I’ve been in camp for seven weeks with one week left to go this week. I have a good feeling – it’s like I’m getting involved in the Super Six. I feel that kind of feelings right now getting involved in a fight with Glen Johnson, who has so much credibility that I’m kind of finally part of the Super Six. Glen Johnson has seen everything in boxing. He has tremendous experience and I know him as a friend. But I am also getting ready for my fight. I’m very confident, I’ve been working hard as usual and I’m confident on Nov. 5 I’ll give a great performance.”
GLEN JOHNSON: “It’s going to be a tremendous fight – I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be very exciting.”
Lucian, what are your feelings that Mikkel Kessler and Kelly Pavlik declined to fight you?
BUTE: “As you know, we made several offers. I don’t know why they turned it down. It’s hard for me to say why. What I know is I have no control on their decision. Unfortunately, they would have been great fights, but at the end of the day I’m very happy that we ended up with Glen Johnson. I believe that he will make things very interesting.”
Lucian, what was it like to spar with Glen Johnson?
BUTE: “It was two years ago that both of us were preparing for our respective fights. He was getting ready for Chad Dawson; I was getting ready for Librado Andrade. We know that sparring is always different than a real fight. He’s been training hard the last few years and I’ve been doing the same on my side.
“I think from the two of us I gained the most in that sparring. I came there and built my confidence. It was hard sparring, we wanted to win every day. It was competitive, it was great and I think I improved and proved my confidence after sparring with Glen Johnson.”
Glen, what were your thoughts on sparring with Lucian Bute?
JOHNSON: “I don’t know how many rounds we sparred, but I think it was around 96.
“It was great work. Both of us accomplished our goal. We were doing hard work and I believe both of us got better. Obviously, I was fighting a better guy than Lucian was fighting. I came out on the losing side and he came out on the winning side. It is what it is, and we move forward from there.”
Can you each compare the step-up that each of you offers each other? Lucian, how does Glen compare to your opponents?
BUTE: “Glen Johnson has seen almost everything in boxing. He’s always there and he’s always in great condition. He’s faced all the great boxers – Jones, Tarver, Dawson twice, he even fought Hopkins in the beginning and he looked good even if he lost it. I can say by far that he is the best opponent with the best credibility. His resume speaks for itself, so for me it’s a major step up.”
Glen, how does he compare to your opponents?
JOHNSON: “He’s a great fighter. He has a lot of talents, a lot of skills. He shows a lot of guts in his fights. He has fast hands, he’s strong. He ranks amongst the best guys, but this is not sparring, this is fighting. It’s a whole different level of fighting.”
Will you have any problem fighting a friend like Lucian after all of the time you’ve spent with him?
JOHNSON: “I have a lot of respect for Lucian, but you’re fighting for your career, you’re fighting for everything here. I’m going to go out there and give it my all and resume our friendship later. But I’ve got to go out there and do what I need to do to win the fight.”
BUTE: “Exactly like Glen just said. We’ve got mutual respect for each other, also our team respects his team. I really cheered for him when he fought Allan Green and also when he fought Carl Froch. But with this my career is on the line. It has nothing to do with respect or the friendship. If I have to fight I’m going to give it my all. There are no friends in the ring; we’re going to be friends after the bout. They can’t take away what I’ve been working for.”
Lucian, did you do anything different for Glen Johnson as compared to your other fights?
BUTE: “Every camp is a camp to become a better fighter. I work very hard and I know what’s on the table. I know Glen is working very hard. I know he has a strategy and we’ll have a great fight on Nov. 5.”
How would you describe Glen Johnson?
BUTE: “With Glen Johnson, what you have in front of you is what you get. He’s an aggressive fighter, he sets everything up with a nice jab, he’s got a really dangerous right hand and he likes to put on the pressure. He wears his opponent down and if he puts that pressure on me all night it’s going to be a long night. If I pick my moments here and there with the angles I think I can have a great evening.”
Glen, what is your philosophy on retirement and what do you expect out of yourself in this fight?
JOHNSON: “I have plans on going on and moving forward. I feel great. I look to putting on a tremendous performance. I expect to come out of the fight victorious. For me, it doesn’t have anything to do with age. I feel great and I’m just looking forward to putting on a great fight.”
Do you have any trouble making 168 pounds?
JOHNSON: “I have no problems making the weight. The weight is not an issue. We’ve made the weight the same way when we came to this class. We’ve made it fairly easy and it’s getting easier each time so weight is not an issue.”
Lucian, obviously your opponent has quite the record. What would it mean to you to stop Glen Johnson or are you just looking to go 12 rounds and get the win?
BUTE: “As a fighter I’m going to bring it to the ring and I want to win as many rounds as possible to get the win and to keep my belt. If there is an opportunity, like any fight I’m going to jump on it. I’d be happy and privileged to stop Glen Johnson, but I don’t think about that approaching the fight. I’m just going to go there and do what I always do and do it the best way I can to give a great performance.”
Lucian, what does Glen Johnson bring to the table?
BUTE: “He’s got credibility. He’s been with all the best guys in the world so nobody can say anything about Glen Johnson. Nobody can blame him about being an opponent – he’s been with the best guys and he’s been beating almost everybody. That’s what he represents for me.”
Do you believe beating Glen Johnson would finally make you considered one of the best fighters in the world?
BUTE: “I’ve been looking to fight everybody. I want to fight anybody. I was always looking to fight the best fighters in the world. If they’re not available then this is not my problem.”
Glen, how will you fight Lucian?
JOHNSON: “I got my game plan and I just have to be smart about what I’m doing. If you watch on Nov. 5 on SHOWTIME you’ll see exactly what I need to do.”
Are you concerned about his uppercut?
JOHNSON: “When you go in the ring you’ve got to be concerned about anything your opponent does well. I’ve got to prepare for that particular style and take care of business.”
If you win, how long do you expect to stay at super middleweight?
BUTE: “There are lots of fights available to me at 168 and I’ve got some good business in that category.”
How do each of you view the Andre Ward-Carl Froch Super Six Final?
JOHNSON: “It’s a close fight. I will have to go with the American because the fight is in America and I would assume that he would get the benefit of the doubt.”
BUTE: “I think it’s going to be a nice, spectacular fight. I think it’s going to be a close fight. The question is how Andre Ward will cope with the strength and the power of Carl Froch. If he’s able to handle it, I think he’s got the ability and the boxing movement and I’d go with him. But, let’s see first how he will react when he gets hit by Carl Froch.”
Glen, how you access your performance against Froch?
JOHNSON: “Poorly. I was very disappointed in what I was doing. It was a close fight and it was an exciting fight and I know I have plenty more in me than what I showed him.”
Lucian, how would you describe fighting in your homeland in Romania and your adopted home of Canada?
BUTE: “Everybody knows I call my home Montreal and Quebec City. I feel comfortable fighting here. It was a privilege for me to fight in Romania. I took it as a privilege – a great experience.”
Lucian, do you feel any pressure to put on a better performance against Johnson than Froch?
BUTE: “I don’t feel any pressure trying to do better than Carl Froch. I have my own style and he has his style. That was their fight and this is my fight. I’m going to fight it the way I’m going to fight it and I don’t give myself any additional pressure to do better than him.”
How do you respond to some people saying this is the toughest opponent you ever faced while at the same time saying it’s a potential mismatch?
BUTE: “We sparred together but I know one thing – this fight is going to be hard. It’s not a mismatch at all. It’s going to be a hard, tough fight.”
Lucian, do you think you match up better with Andre Ward or Carl Froch?
BUTE: “I think I could challenge both fighters, but if you ask me about my style I would love to face Carl Froch.”
Glen, in the past few years you’ve been in with the top 168 and 175 pound fighters in the world. Do you want to go in there and really compete with Lucian or really beat him?
JOHNSON: “We’re in it to win it. We’re not about just competing. We’re in it to win it.”
Do you see any weaknesses in Bute?
JOHNSON: “Bute has some weaknesses, we recognize them and we have our game plan and strategy to deal with those things. I’m not going to say any of those things, but if you watch Nov. 5 on SHOWTIME you’ll see for yourself.”
Who do you think you match up better with Andre Ward or Carl Froch?
JOHNSON: “I would prefer to fight Froch because I want to avenge my loss. But I think they’re both great fighters and being in the super middleweight division for me is fighting the best fighters.”
The world title fight is promoted by Interbox, DiBella Entertainment and Warriors Boxing.
Steve Albert will call the action with Al Bernstein and Tarver providing color commentary and Jim Gray serving as ringside reporter. David Dinkins Jr. is the executive producer of SHOWTIME Sports with Ray Smaltz producing and Bob Dunphy directing.
McGuinness stops Gaudet, captures NABA title
TORONTO (Oct. 26, 2011) – Hometown hero Logan Cotton McGuinness knocked out former world title challenger Benoit Gaudet in the 11th round last Saturday night in the main event on a provincial rivalry card, pitting Ontario and Quebec fighters against each other in a statement showdown, to capture the vacant North American Boxing Association (“NABA”) super featherweight title at The Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.
McGuinness (16-0-1, 7 KOs), presently rated No. 10 by the World Boxing Association (“WBA”) in the lightweight division, relinquished his NABA lightweight crown to fight Gaudet for the lower weight belt.
“This was the biggest fight of my career,” McGuinness said. “He had nearly 200 amateur fights and fought in the Olympics, so he had an experience advantage over me as a professional and amateur. Right from the get-go, I pressured him, cut off the ring, and broke him down. The last three rounds he felt my power, even my jab. I hit him with a good jab and the ropes held him up. He isn’t known as a puncher and I walked through his punches.”
McGuinness, captain of Team Ontario, was the aggressor from the opening bell, forcing the pace against counter-punching Gaudet (24-3, 10 KOs). An accidental head butt in the second round opened a deep cut over McGuinness’ left eye. Logan cut Gaudet over his left eye in the sixth round. In the 11th round, McGuinness’ pressure paid off in dramatic fashion when the Irish-Canadian fighter unloaded a powerful right-left combination that dropped Gaudet, who reached his feet but was unable to continue as the referee halted the match.
“I like fighting as a super featherweight,” Logan added. “I had no trouble making weight and felt stronger. I weighed in at 128, two pounds under, and was 132 the day of the fight. I’m not sure what’s next but I’m ready for anything my promoter, manager and trainer agreed to.”
“What a show,” exclaimed promoter Adam Harris (Hennessy Sports). “We hope to get Logan back in the ring in a few months. This impressive performance puts him in the mix for a title shot next year. He wants to continue fighting as a super featherweight. We’ve also been contacted by people who want to showcase him on U.S. television. The sky’s the limit for Logan Cotton McGuinness. Ontario also showed boxing people that Quebec isn’t the only hotbed for talent in Canada. Ontario won all three rivalry fights.”
Here is a link to McGuinness’ knockout victory: http://t.co/pQLT52J7
The co-feature turned out to be a war, as predicted, between unbeaten Columbian welterweight Samuel Vargas (8-0-1, 2 KOs) and outspoken Ahmad Cheikho (6-4-2, 5 KOs), who were representing, respectively, Toronto/Ontario and Montreal/Quebec.
In a toe-to-toe, old-fashioned brawl, Vargas and Cheikho went at it from the start. A well placed shot to the liver by Vargas dropped Cheikho in the first round, but Ahmad caught Vargas in the second round, knocking him to the mat face first for the first time in his career. A bloodied Vargas survived the round and a little later, momentum shifted to his favor. In the fourth, Vargas pinned Cheikho on the ropes, blasting away with left hooks to the body, and Ahmad hit the deck once again. Vargas’ all-out assault continued in the fifth round, in which Cheikho was knocked down during the final seconds. He managed to beat the count but failed to answer the bell for the sixth.
“The card as a whole was one of the most exciting I’ve been involved with in a long time,” commented International Boxing Hall of Fame nominee Al Bernstein, who called the action live from ringside. “The main event and co-main event were outstanding. The Sam Vargas-Ahmad Cheikho match is a fight of the year candidate. It was a total slugfest and Vargas came back from the brink of disaster to win. Speaking of coming back…Logan McGuinness was being out-boxed by Benoit Gaudet, but he came back to stop Gaudet in the 11th when he needed a KO to win the match. McGuinness won his first big fight at super featherweight and probably found his best weight class.”
In the other Ontario-Quebec rivalry bout, Natasha “The Nightmare” Spence (3-0-1, 2 KOs) made it a clean sweep for Ontario as she won a four round decision (40-36, 40-36, 39-37) versus Lucia Larcinese, of Montreal..
Hennessy Sports’ newly signed fighter, Buffalo light heavyweight prospect Lionell “Lonnie B” Thompson (10-0, 6 KOs), kept his perfect record intact via a six-round shutout, taking a decision from former world title challenger and former Sudan Olympian, Abdullah Ramadan (15-11, 9 KOs).
Also on the undercard, Jeremy Abbott (3-2, 2 KOs) destroyed Harrison McBain (3-4-1) in one round, heavyweight Dillon Carman (2-0, 1 KO) needed only 39 seconds to stop Gord “The Gravedigger” Franjic, and light middleweight Brandon “Bad Boy” Cook (3-0, 1 KO) won a four-round unanimous decision (40-36, 40-36, 39-37) over Darren Fletcher.
Go on line at www.HennessySports.com for more information about McGuinness or any of Hennessy Sports’ boxers.
Hatton Promotions signs unbeaten prospects Bunn and De’ath
HATTON Promotions have showed their ambition again by signing unbeaten prospects Craig Bunn and Kallum De’ath to promotional agreements.
The Manchester pair have decided to return to the professional ranks and will be trained by Joe Pennington.
Super-bantamweight De’ath won both his professional contests, but was just 18-years-old when he returned for another spell in the amateurs in March 2008.
Pennington hopes the 22-year-old will box in December and insists: “Kallum is more mature now and is ready to make a real go of it.
“He has his own house, a missus and a baby. He has proven to me that he wants to be a success.
“Kallum was offered good money when he turned professional previously, but wasn’t ready.
“He had lost a controversial decision to Liam Walsh in the ABA semi-finals also so he took the chance to turn over.”
Bunn, 25, is unbeaten in five professional fights, winning four and being held to a draw on one occasion.
He will compete at light-heavyweight and like stablemate De’ath hopes to box before Christmas.
Bunn last boxed in December 2006, and quit the sport because of personal problems.
In preparation for his return, Bunn has been sparring with Tony Bellew.
Pennington added: “Craig was a bit of a wild kid, but has settled back into boxing and will be a real handful.
“He will stand down from no man and is very aggressive with a fan friendly style.
“With Hatton Promotions backing Craig and Kallum I am certain they will make the most of their second chance.”