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Prizefighter-Welterweights II Report – The King Is Dead, Long Live The King

by on Jun.08, 2011, under Fight Reports

Prizefighter-Welterweights II Report – The King Is Dead, Long Live The King

Photos and report by Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro

Last night boxing fans from all over the country converged on York Hall for the season finale of the highly successful, Matchroom Sports promoted, Prizefighter series and boy were they treated to a show full of intrigue, drama, controversy and most importantly plenty of world class action.

The bookies had expected former World champions, and former foes, Junior Witter and Colin Lynes to meet in the final, well they were half right as Junior Witter made it all the way and faced London based Moroccan the Showman himself – Yassine El Maachi.

So the scene was set King of the ring Junior Witter against the man many thought of as a pretender to the throne Yassine El Maachi. Before we get to final here is a quick review of how they got there.

Quarter Final 1 – Kevin McIntyre Vs. John Wayne Hibbert

The opening bout of the night see former British Champion Kevin McIntyre against unbeaten prospect John Wayne Hibbert.

It started out as quite a scrappy affair, but settled down once Hibbert slowed his pace instead of rushing in wildly. McIntyre’s southpaw stance was causing the Essex youngster all kinds of problems, which see him easily picked off by the far more experienced Scot.

McIntyre championship stature really came to the fore, whereas Hibbert would rush in lunging, McIntyre stayed calm and collected and was taking the early rounds easily with his clean, crisp and accurate punching.

A great final round for Hibbert, who plain worked his socks off in an attempt to turn the tide in his favour. At one point he forced McIntyre back on to the ropes with a flurry of straight shots, he also landed a couple of excellent head shots and a cracking short hook to the body. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all one way traffic, anything but as McIntyre landed a series of punishing big scoring uppercuts and body shots.

The judges each scored the bout 29-28 in favour of Kevin McIntyre

Quarter Final 2 – Junior Witter Vs. Nathan Graham

Round one of the second quarter final starts with a short sharp exchange of jabs between the protagonists. As both settle down former World Champion Junior Witter starts to dictate the pace with razor sharp jabs and uppercuts, of which almost all catching the Graham as he closes in. Graham shows guts and determination but as most of the meaningful punches came from Witter I scored this round to the former World Champ.

Round two sees the patented Witter distraction strategy come into play, waving his leading hand Witter switches to southpaw briefly before lunging in with big shots to the body or double handed attacks. Witter toys with the less experienced Graham and picks him off regularly with vicious body shots. Another clear round for Witter.

Graham steps up the pressure in the third round but gets regularly caught by some powerful countering from Witter. Keeping up the pressure Graham lands some excellent straight rights, but Witter soon regains control and keeps Graham at distance and just picks him off at will. No surprise that Witter gets the nod from all three judges, by a 30-28 (twice) and 29-28 margin.

Quarter Final 3 – Colin Lynes Vs. Bobby Gladman

It was a real cagy start between the two TKO gym fighters in their quarter final meeting, most of the first round consisting of jabs with a couple of combinations thrown in for good measure. As the round progressed former World Champ Colin Lynes started to exert his authority, on his less experienced gym mate Bobby Gladman, with flurries of shots to the body and head. Gladman held his own and countered with stiff jabs and the occasional right. I see this as Lynes’ round but only by a very close margin.

A much brisker start to the second round which see Gladman in a much more fighty mode, letting rip with some neat combinations and stronger jabs. The only problem for Gladman was Lynes countered with crisper, sharper combinations. During one of the later exchanges Lynes visibly shakes the youngster with a vicious body shot and then a little later catches Gladman with a beautiful uppercut followed by a hook to the head. Easy round to call in favour of the former World Champ.

More of the same in the third round until Gladman catches Lynes on the chin with an uppercut. After a short clinch it was back to the boxing, with Lynes in full control. Gladman tried to give as good as he took but Lynes’ greater experience see him easily control the bout. The final bit of real action see Gladman on the receiving end of a punishing hook to the body followed by a hook, cross, hook to the head.

No one was surprised when the judges scorecards showed Colin Lynes the winner by a unanimous 30-27 points margin.

Quarter Final 4 – Yassine El Maachi vs. Peter McDonagh

In the build up to their match up there had been many verbal exchanges between Peter McDonagh and Yassine El Maachi, one thing was clear from this McDonagh was determined to rattle El Maachi as much as possible, so it came as no surprise that McDonagh takes the fight to El Maachi. Big mistake, El Maachi calmly picks McDonagh off each time he would charge forward.

As the round progressed El Maachi starts to take the ‘Connemara Kid’ apart with crunching upper cuts and hooks to the head. McDonagh lands a few shots but El Maachi just shakes them off and begins punishing him again. No doubt the first blood, sorry round, goes to the Moroccan.

More of the same in the second and third, about the only difference is McDonagh goes on the back foot as El Maachi chases him around the ring trying to finish the fight early. Whilst this may sound like it was all one way traffic it wasn’t McDonagh showed so much heart as he tried to wrestle control from El Maachi, just El Maachi was far too strong and savvy. Again no surprise El Maachi was declared the winner by 29-28 (twice) and 30-27 points margin.

Semi Final 1 – Junior Witter Vs. Kevin McIntyre

Witter starts strongly, using swift fluid motion culminating in some neat combinations and ‘Witter’ style jabbing until McIntyre catches him with a wicked cross. Witter does what Witter does, great movement and distraction tactics until the opportunity arrives for him to attack, fast and with punishing combustion lands a vicious hook to the body, McIntyre sinks to his knees and takes the count. For the rest of the round Witter targets the body, dishing as much punishment as possible. Each punch landed clearly hurts the tough Scot but doesn’t put him down for a second time. Easy round to call – Witter.

Starting off the second where the first finished Witter goes for the body without too much success so changes tack and starts letting rip with uppercuts and hooks to the head and body whenever the opportunity presents itself. It wasn’t all one way traffic, McIntyre catches Witter with a cracking left that drives the former champ back to the the ropes, before McIntyre can take full advantage Witter amazingly finds a little space, counters and moves out of harms way.

More of the same in the third, other than a change of stance and plenty of showboating it was business as usual for the former WBC champion. I personally see it as three clear rounds for Witter, one of the judges felt the same and scored it 30-27, whilst the other two see it 29-27 for Witter.

Semi Final 2 – Colin Lynes Vs. Yassine El Maachi

El Maachi starts the round aggressively and takes Lynes back to the ropes, but fails to capitalise. Lynes keeps his head and boxes in a neat and tidy way, picking off the rushing El Maachi with ease at times. As the round progress El Maachi starts to get a bit ragged and messy, between the clinching lets rip with wild rangy shots, of which very few actually make any contact. Lynes remains calm throughout . It was a hard round to call so I called it even, the judges could easily see it in favour of either of them.

Lynes changes tactics for the second instead of trying to box the highly unorthodox switch hitting El Maachi he turns the pressure up, forcing the Moroccan onto the back foot with flurries of punches and then grabbing hold before El Maachi can counter. Whilst this was the main feature of the round there were some excellent exchanges. The best of these was when Lynes landed a solid hook to the head of El Maachi and then followed up with a cracking body shot.

Round three see more of the same flurry-clinch tactics from Lynes dominate the round. Again there were some excellent exchanges , the best of these see El Maachi and Lynes simultaneously throw hooks. In another El Maachi powers to the body and in another Lynes forces El Maachi back onto the ropes with crunching combination to the body.

At the end of the bout my instant reaction was that Colin Lynes had won two rounds clear, with the first round so close it could go to either of them. I thought the tactics employed by Lynes’ coach Jimmy Tibbs were sublime and had surely earned Colin his second Prizefighter final place and a date with old foe Junior Witter. One judge agreed and scored the bout 30-28 to Lynes but the other two scored it 29-28 in favour of Yassine El Maachi.

Final – Junior Witter Vs. Yassine El Maachi

Due to Witter and El Maachi both having a similar style those in the know had predicted that the final would be horrible to watch, and to a degree they were right, but there was plenty of action and drama to make up for some of the messier and plain boring times.

First round was an untidy affair, plenty of posturing and wrestling interspersed with a little boxing. Most of the good work and meaningful punches came from El Maachi, including a flurry of punches that culminated in a shot to the head that sent Witter to the canvas, only to be waved off by the referee as a slip. Not to be deterred El Maachi just got back to business and again catches Witter with a solid hook to the temple as the Bradford man rushes in.

The best way to describe the second round is an untidy brawl, it was a mess. Both fighters spent the majority of the round holding and shoving. It was a hard round to score as neither had done anything worth scoring!

El Maachi get his shots under control again in the third and catches Witter with a sharp cross hook. During one of the increasingly frequent wrestling sessions Witter receives a cut over the right eye and then shortly after during yet another wrestling session Witter flips the Moroccan over his hip and to the canvas. El Maachi’s responds with some wild and erratic shots that fail to make any contact, but soon calms down and attempts to take some control of the round by gesturing to Witter to come in.

The next bit of real action causes huge concern to many present, during a rushed attack El Maachi sidesteps and Witter is sent of balance and through the ropes, where he crashes into a Sky cameraman before hitting the floor. Witter is straight up and back into the ring to everyone’s relief.

Normal service resumes with minimal action between the ubiquitous wrestling, during one exchange El Maachi catches Witter flush on the chin and in another Witter is sent to the canvas, again it was a punch that sent him down, albeit on the back of the head this time so quite rightly waved off. Both resumed where they left off until the final bell.

After a short delay MC John McDonald reads the scorecards out, one judge sees the bout as a 29-29 draw and both the other judges called it 29-28 in favour of Yassine El Maachi.

So there we have it, it may not have been a classic encounter but either way former ring King Junior Witter is deposed and a new King has been crowned – Long live King Yassine El Maachi.

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Junior Witter Interview – Junior Talks Prizefighter, Lynes, El Maachi Plus More

by on Jun.06, 2011, under Interviews

Junior Witter Interview – Junior Talks Prizefighter, Lynes, El Maachi Plus More

Interview and Photos by Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro

Last week I was fortunate enough to catch up with one of the UK’s most decorated Champions – former multi British, Commonwealth, European Union, European, WBF, WBU and WBC Light Welterweight Champion – Junior Witter at the Prizefighter-Welterweights II promo shoot at the Sky Television Studios in Osterley.

This Tuesday night Junior will be back in action at the aforementioned Prizefighter – Welterweights II along with former foe, European and IBO World Champion Colin Lynes, former British Champion Kevin McIntyre, current International Master Champion Yassine El Maachi, former European title challenger Peter McDonagh, former British Masters title challenger Nathan Graham and unbeaten prospects John Wayne Hibbert and Bobby Gladman.

I’m sure that Junior doesn’t need any introduction to any boxing fan anywhere in the World, as he’s fought nearly every big name out there at Light Welter, but here is his brief(ish) championship bio.

His first title came on his thirteenth professional outing, unlike most it wasn’t a domestic area title, no not Junior he went straight in for a World title, the WBF version, and won it. His victim, sorry his opponent, nah I was right the first time, was former British and Commonwealth title challenger Malcolm Melvin. The fight lasted just four minutes and thirty three seconds before Junior knocked out Melvin to claim his first pro championship title.

Just over a year later Junior stepped up to the plate and challenged Zab ‘Super’ Judah for his IBF title, on the undercard of Mike Tyson versus Lou Savarese.

Junior received the call, to face Judah, with just nine days notice but still took the fight. It was a cracking fight but Junior’s lack of time to prepare came into play and after twelve hard fought rounds all the judges cards read in favour of the Champion.

This, his first loss, caused Junior to take a long hard look at his future, in doing so Junior and his team decided to to change tack and target another World title shot, but via the more traditional route, via Domestic and European titles.

Six fights after the loss to Zab Judah see Junior make his first challenge for a domestic title, the vacant British Light Welterweight belt against Alan Bosworth. Having enough time to prepare for the fight showed as Junior cruised to an early victory, having stopped Bosworth in the forty fifth second of the third round.

Junior’s very next fight see him add the Commonwealth belt to his collection, following the second round stoppage of Ghanaian Champion Laatekwei Hammond.

Two second round stoppages followed, the first over Lucky Sambo in a non-championship bout and then over Giuseppe Lauri in a WBO title eliminator, before Junior challenged, and beat, Juergen Haeck for the European Union crown.

Another couple of non-championship fights followed, against Fred Kinuthia and Oscar Hall – both wins for Junior by stoppage finishes, before Junior challenged Salvatore Battaglia for the vacant European title. No surprise here Junior lifted the belt with a second round stoppage finish.

Yet another second round stoppage victory, over Krzysztof Bienas, followed on Junior’s first defense of the European title.

Junior’s first fight of 2005 see him not only successfully defend his Commonwealth title, against Lovemore N’dou, but in doing s also win the WBC World Light Welterweight Title eliminator.

His second fight of the year see him successfully defend his European crown against Andriy Kotelnik. Which set him up nicely for his final fight of the year against fellow Prizefighter – Welterweights II competitor Colin Lynes.

Domestically this was a massive fight with Junior’s British, Commonwealth and European titles all on the line. Junior came through in flying colours to retain the titles by unanimous points decision – 117-112, 116-112 and 115-114.

It was almost a year before Junior was back in action, and having cleaned up the domestic scene his eyes were firmly on a major World title. On the 15th September 2006 at Alexandra Palace in London Junior took on Washington DC’s former WBO Light Welterweight World Champion DeMarcus Corley for the vacant WBC World title.

Junior plain bedazzled and frustrated Corley throughout twelve tension filled rounds, after which the judges scorecards read 118-112, 117-111 and 116-114 all in favour of the British star.

2007 see Junior convincingly defend his crown twice, the first time against WBO Inter-Continental champion Arturo Morua ended with a ninth round stoppage. Hs second defense see him finish former WBA World champion Vivian Harris with a spectacular seventh round knockout.

For his third defense Junior came face to face with the formidable Timothy Bradley – the current unified WBC & WBO Champion. Junior fought with the heart of a Tiger but Bradley proved too good for him. Junior survived a scare in the sixth round, after a massive overhand right sent him to the canvas, to lose by a close 112-115, 114-113 and 115-113 split decision.

Six months later Junior was in action at York Hall, where he will be again on Tuesday night for Prizefighter – Welterweights II, for a non-championship ten rounder against former Argentinean Champion Victor Hugo Castro. Yet another early short day in the office for Junior as after just one minute and ten seconds into the third round he sent Castro to the canvas for the second and final time.

Nine months later Junior was back on the Championship trail, this time it was Saint Louis, USA’s then unbeaten star Devon Alexander in the opposing corner. It was a seriously tough test, but one Junior was more than capable of undertaking. Unfortunately the fight was cut short when Junior was forced to retire on the stall at the end of the eighth due to a serious injury to his left hand.

It would be eighteen long months before Junior returned to the ring, and his final title challenge to date. In February this year Junior winged his way across the Atlantic to face Canadian Champion Victor Lupo Puiu, for the WBC International Silver Welterweight Title, at the Hershey Centre in Ontario, Canada.

Witter’s Welterweight debut didn’t quite go to plan, as at the end of the ten round championship bout the judges scorecards read 95-94, 97-91 and 96-93 in favour of the Romanian born Canadian.

So there you have it, we’re bang up to date, well sort of. Junior has been drawn to face Nathan Graham in the first round of Prizefighter – Welterweights II on Tuesday night. OK so now we are up to date, so without further ado I am proud to present a Prizefighter Q&A with Junior Witter.

Rio – Thank you for talking with me today. My first question is what are your thoughts on the Prizefighter series?

Junior – It’s an interesting idea, it’s good, tests you. It’s a completely different game to a normal boxing title fight.

It brings the less talented on to a more level playing field with the talented, especially when you are talking about fighters like me who use skill, timing., accuracy, that sort of boxer, it takes it away from them and gives it to the less skillful fighters.

At the same time if you are quick, accurate, sharp and powerful you’ve got that power to make it all good.

Rio – The Prizefighter format is a maximum of three three round fights in quick succession, six of your last seven fights were twelve round World title fights and fifteen of your last seventeen fights were title fights, a mix of commonwealth, European and World titles. How do you see yourself making the transition to three rounders?

Junior – It’s not going to be a problem, because the way I’ve trained for it. With sparring the way Dom (Dominic Ingle) pushed me. Sparring I’ve had Kell Brook, Kid Gallahad, all the other names. It works, we’ve done short, sharp, fast and they’ve hammered me.

It’s just the way I train in the gym, hammer people and they hammer you. The idea is not to get beat so with that I’ll be OK, it’ll all be good.

Rio – You’re still right up there at the top and used to competing for titles. It seems that the winner Prizefighter gets a title shot shortly after, did that influence your decision to take part?

Junior – I wanted to do it anyway. I’ve always wanted to do it since I first heard about it because I like fighting, I like boxing, I like the action and it’s three fights in one night.

I can remember back in the amateurs fighting two fights in one night. Yeah it’s hard work and it’s pressure. I enjoy that and that’s what it’s going to do for me so yeah I wanted it.

I’ll get another title fight after this one, most definitely.

Rio – OK, now onto your thoughts on the other fighters in the competition, firstly an old foe Colin Lynes.

Junior – He’s done well for himself, been up, been down. He’s a good fighter, he’s a little bit awkward but on a bad night myself he couldn’t beat me in a twelve rounder but in three rounds, well.

I’ve got no worries about him myself, I’m not worried about any of the fighters because you can’t concentrate on any particular fight because you don’t know who you are going to get. Up to now all I’ve done is concentrate on myself, which is what I like doing anyway.

Rio – Another former Champion is next, Kevin McIntyre, what’s your thoughts on him?

Junior – He was British Champion, out of all them the last fighter I see was Kevin McIntyre and that was against Kell Brook and he struggled with the power and you all know how hard I can hit, I’ve got no worries.

Rio – OK, we’ll move onto Yassine El Maachi then.

Junior – What, he’s got a big mouth. He has he’s got a big mouth, he thinks he’s the bee’s knees. I mean the difference is I know what I know, I’m not thinking, I’m not saying one day I’m going to be there, I am there, been there and I’ll be back on top again so who you name out of all of them I’m not bothered, I’m not worried about any of them.

Rio – Next up is someone you know well, Nathan Graham, what’s your thoughts on him?

Junior – That’s right. He looks in good shape, he boxed one of my friends, he beat him.

He’s awkward but he’s a completely different fighter to me so him beating him didn’t mean anything. If I get him I’ll just take it as it comes.

Rio – OK, your thoughts on Peter McDonagh?

Junior – He’s been around, he’s been out speeded before. He’s a good fighter but he hasn’t boxed anyone with my speed, my size and my accuracy.

Forget the power yeah he’d been outworked before because they were to fast for him. I’m faster.

Rio – John Wayne Hibbert’s next, your thoughts on him?

Junior – Decent enough fighter but he’s never really been tested.

Rio – Last but not least your thoughts on Bobby Gladman

Junior – I don’t know much about him other than he’s unbeaten.

Rio – Thank you so much for talking to me today, is there anything else you would like to add.

Junior – I’m not disrespecting anybody in it because everyone that’s in it it is in it because they’ve done something and it’s giving them a chance.

Everybody has a chance but I know what I’ve got, the best chance and all I’m going to do is concentrate on being the best I can and win on the night.

Prizefighter – Welterweights II, featuring Junior Witter, Yassine El Maachi, Colin Lynes, Kevin McIntyre, John Wayne Hibbert, Bobby Gladman, Nathan Graham and Peter McDonagh, takes place at York Hall, Bethnal Green in London on Tuesday 7th June 2011.

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Colin Lynes Draws Gym Mate Bobby Gladman For Prizefighter Quarter Final.

by on Jun.02, 2011, under Buzz

Colin Lynes with his European and IBO World championship belts - Photo Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro

Colin Lynes Draws Gym Mate Bobby Gladman For Prizefighter Quarter Final.

An unexpected twist at the Prizefighter – Welterweights II draw sees TKO Boxing Gym mates Colin Lynes and Bobby Gladman meeting in the quarter final of the Matchroom Sports promoted Prizefighter – Welterweights II, that takes place at York Hall in Bethnal Green, London on Tuesday, 7th June 2011.

The full line for the quarter finals of Prizefighter – Welterweights II are:

Kevin McIntyre Vs. John Wayne Hibbert

Junior Witter Vs. Nathan Graham

Colin Lynes Vs. Bobby Gladman

Yassine El Maachi Vs. Peter McDonagh

Following the draw for the Prizefighter season finale, which was held at the Skysports studio, former IBO Light Welterweight Champion of the World Colin Lynes spoke briefly on the prospect of facing gym mate Gladman on Tuesday, “I was up for anyone that got drawn out and it so happens that our own gym mate got pulled out, Bobby Gladman, but on the night we’ll get down to business and both give our all.

I know I’m certainly going to be in there to win it, so yeah looking forward to it.”

Lynes then went on to speak further about the Prizefighter – Welterweights II, “Once you get through the first round you’re going to face any of the top names, because it’s been seeded, I’m ready for whoever it might be Yassine El Maachi, Kevin McIntyre or Junior Witter who are also seeded.

Saying that Peter McDonagh always comes to fight, puts on a good show and he’s used to this format. I know he was a substitute but he’s used to the setup so it could be a surprise there, we’ll have to wait and see.

My being in Prizefighter before is going to be an advantage, but it’s such a quick series of fights and you have to work hard in each round of every fight that experience isn’t going to play a big factor but it’s certainly an advantage.

We’re third on so you don’t get much of a turn around before your back in there so again we’ve covered that in training. I’ve sparred and had a lesser rest and gone back in there and I’ve sparred and had a bigger rest. My body is geared up for whatever they throw at me.

I’m confident, Colin Lynes in the final and Colin Lynes winning Prizefighter.”

Prizefighter – Welterweights II, featuring Colin Lynes, Junior Witter, Kevin McIntyre, Yassine El Maachi, John Wayne Hibbert, Bobby Gladman, Nathan Graham and Peter McDonagh, takes place at York Hall, Bethnal Green in London on Tuesday 7th June 2011.

Tickets, priced £35 (Unreserved), SOLD OUT (Ringside), and SOLD OUT (VIP) are available now at or in person at the TKO Boxing Gym, Gillian House, Stephenson Street, Canning Town, London E16 4SA or call 07960 850645

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Interview – Yassine El Maachi Talks Prizefighter

by on Jun.01, 2011, under Interviews

Interview – Yassine El Maachi Talks Prizefighter

Photo and Interview by Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro

On Tuesday 7th June the season finale of the highly successful Matchroom Sports promoted Prizefighter series takes place at York Hall in Bethnal Green.

Matchroom Sports have really pulled all the stops out for the season finale with Prizefighter – Welterweight II. The lineup features no less than two former World Champions, Junior Witter and Colin Lynes, a former British Champion, Kevin McIntyre, the current International Masters Champion Yassine El Maachi, a former International and European title challenger, Peter McDonagh, an International Masters challenger, Nathan Graham and two undefeated young prospects, Bobby Gladman and John Wayne Hibbert.

Over the past week or so I have been fortunate to have interviewed Colin Lynes, John Wayne Hibbert and Bobby Gladman, as well as the legendary coach Jimmy Tibbs, who trains Colin Lynes.

Today I managed to catch up with one of the most exciting young fighters taking part in Prizefighter – Welterweights II, Yassine El Maachi.

I’ve seen Yassine fight twice now, and have to admit to being a huge fan. He’s highly entertaining switch hitter that oozes supreme style and panache.

I honestly believe that the TV exposure from Prizefighter could sky rocket Yassine’s career. He’s someone that will excite the fans, in the same way as Prince Naseem did at the turn of the new millennium.

OK, enough of my hyping Yassine, he really doesn’t need me for that, he is more than capable of doing that himself. So without further ado here is a little Q&A with Yassine El Maachi

Rio – You’ve often stated that you have wanted to take part in Prizefighter – Why have you tried so hard to take part in the series?

Yassine – I was waiting to get into Prizefighter for a couple of years now and now they have given me the chance to be in Prizefighter Welter.

I want to be on it to show the people I can do and to prove myself to see how capable to go against the big names taking part.

Rio – What do you think of the Prizefighter series?

Yassine – It has the best fighters in the country, being in there is great. It’s full of former champions. To fight them for thirty two thousand pounds.

For me Prizefighter is geared for people to see eight fighters fight on one night. The winner has to fight three fights, that’s the best thing for me.

A title shot, that’s what I want to be honest with you. That’s what I’m doing it for, I’m in it just for that, to see if I can get a title after that. To beat these guys in Prizefighter is what I want.

For me to just beat these guys to get to a title I’d fight them all at the same time, I would fight seven fighters in one go, I don’t want to fight three of them I want to fight them all in one go.

Rio – OK, interesting idea. Now onto the fighters you may face on the night – give me your thoughts on Junior Witter.

Yassine – Junior is a lovely guy, he can box, he can move. He’s one of the great boxers in the World. He used to be a former WBC, I think, or WBA (ed. WBC) Champion of the World. In 2008 or 2009 he lost it and he want to get it back.

I feel really sorry for him if him and me are going to fight together. I will feel really sorry for him if we meet in the final because he’s only going to make a little bit of money, £16,000, because he’s going to lose to me, because I’m too good.

Rio – If you don’t get Junior you could meet another former World Champion, Colin Lynes, what’s your thoughts on him?

Yassine – Colin Lynes, he got beaten up by Junior Witter. Simple as that, no more to say.

Rio – Next up is British Champ Kevin McIntyre, give us your thoughts on Kevin.

Yassine – To be honest I don’t know who is Kevin McIntyre, but probably he’s going to be the same as other boxers, hands up and comes and box. I love to fight people like that.

Rio – OK, the former WBF Intercontinental and European title challenger Peter McDonagh’s next, what’s your thoughts on him?

Yassine – I don’t know him as well, but he will be the same to be honest with you. Hands up, come forward. I’ll pick him off with punches and tell him goodbye.

Rio – Bobby Gladman’s next on my list. What do you know of Bobby?

Yassine – Bobby Gladman is undefeated, he’s got one draw. He’s a good prospect coming up. It’s too early for him to be in Prizefighter.

Rio – I’m sure you know John Wayne Hibbert as you’ve fought on the same show before, so what’s your thoughts on him?

Yassine – John Wayne Hibbert is a nice guy, he’s undefeated but he’s not going to win if he comes up against me.

Rio – Finally an old gym mate of yours is next – Nathan Graham, give me your thoughts on him?

Yassine – Nathan Graham he’s a nice, good fella. We used to train at the same gym. I wish not to get a draw with him in the first fight, or in the second. If it going to go then go in the final. But if he does I can’t do much I’ll just have to beat him.

Rio – Thank you for taking the time to talk with me, finally is there any thing else you would like to say?

Yassine – It’s going to be hard for any of the fighters, I feel sorry for the undefeated fighters especially. I wish them all luck but if they fight me they will lose.

I mean the fight with Jimmy Colas, number four in Europe, he was looking to fight against Ryan Rhodes. He was going to fight against the best, he’s former WBC or WBO champion, European Champion. He’s the guy that had twenty eight wins and only three or four losses, and I beat him so easily.

I was picking him off so easy. He was coming to fight. That’s why I say to you I’m a fighter, I’m a boxer. If they don’t want to come and fight I’ll box them, that’s me.

That’s what happened with Jimmy Colas, he came to fight but he found a different type of boxer. I was just playing with him. Everyone see what I did to him in the eight, nine and ten round, I was just playing with him.

I was so much winning the fight, winning the first round to the six round and he just start running away. In the round eight , nine and ten I thought I could easily knock him out, I tried but couldn’t because he was tough, he was strong, but I beat him up badly.

That’s what I will do at Prizefighter, but three times. I’ll beat three fighters.

I wish every fighter good luck, but I will win the Prizefighter.

Prizefighter – Welterweights II, featuring Yassine El Maachi, Colin Lynes, Junior Witter, Kevin McIntyre, John Wayne Hibbert, Bobby Gladman, Nathan Graham and Peter McDonagh, takes place at York Hall, Bethnal Green in London on Tuesday 7th June 2011.

Tickets, priced £35 (Unreserved), SOLD OUT (Ringside), and SOLD OUT (VIP) are available now at or in person at the TKO Boxing Gym, Gillian House, Stephenson Street, Canning Town, London E16 4SA or call 07960 850645

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Interview: Jimmy Tibbs On Colin Lynes and Prizefighter – Welterweights II

by on May.30, 2011, under Interviews

Mark Tibbs, Colin Lynes and Jimmy Tibbs at the TKO Boxing Gym in London - Photo Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro

Interview: Jimmy Tibbs On Colin Lynes and Prizefighter – Welterweights II

By Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro

During his half a century in boxing Jimmy Tibbs has done it all, a highly decorated amateur and professional boxer, manager and promoter, but of all his pugilistic talents he is without doubt best know as the UK’s most successful boxing coach and fight strategist.

Among the veritable Who’s Who of champions that have benefited from Jimmy’s expert knowledge are Nigel Benn, Chris Pyatt, Steve Collins, Lloyd Honeyghan, Denis Andries, Charlie Magri, Barry McGuigan, Alex Arthur, Frank Bruno, Wayne Alexander, Jimmy McDonnell, Mo Hussein, Michael Watson, Gary Mason, Danny Williams, Gary Stretch, Nicky Wilshire, Horace Notice, Mark Kaylor, Tony Wilson, Maurice Core and Manning Galloway.

Now that’s a pretty impressive CV, but it doesn’t end there as Jimmy’s class of 2011, at the TKO Boxing Gym in Canning Town, includes former IBO Light Welterweight Champion of the World Colin Lynes, two weight Inter-Continental Champion Kevin Mitchell and his brother Vinny, former Olympian Billy Joe Saunders as well as rising stars Freddie Turner and Billy Morgan.

It’s clear that if anyone knows what it takes to win in the ring it’s Jimmy Tibbs, so with that in mind I caught up with him to gather his thoughts on one of his current charges, the aforementioned Colin Lynes, as well as his view on the other fighters Colin may face at the upcoming Prizefighter – Welterweights II on June 7th.

Rio – Jimmy, you’re currently preparing Colin Lynes for the Prizefighter – Welterweights II on June 7th, what are your thoughts on Colin and his chances in the competition?

Jimmy – I’m impressed with Colin Lynes, He’s in good condition, he’s always in good condition. The way he lives his life, he lives like a proper athlete, nothing’s too much for him, whether it’s three rounds or twelve rounds.

For Prizefighter he’ll be in condition to go as far as it goes, he’ll do it.

Rio – What are your thoughts on the Prizefighter series?

Jimmy – Well I think Prizefighter is a good competition. Three rounds, you’ve still got to train hard for three rounds, if you want to win it you’ve got to be in there very fast.

I think it’s a good competition and a good eye opener for prospects as well as old campaigners. People have gone on to British or other titles. It’s a good stepping stone . I like it.

The Prizefighters I’ve been to and worked in I’ve really enjoyed. I’m sure that every fighter I’ve worked with enjoyed it as well.

Rio – Colin may come up against an old foe Junior Witter, what’s your thoughts on him?

Jimmy – You’ve got Junior Witter, he’s a good fighter. He was World Champion and he lost the title to Timothy Bradley, which was down to himself really.

He’s still a good fighter, he’s still dangerous, good puncher, a switch hitter. I think he’ll be in condition for the fight, he’s been a good pro for a few years. Yeah we’ve got a lot of respect for him. We’re ready for him.

We’re confident, it doesn’t matter who we come up against. It’s no good me saying we’re going to beat Junior Witter because Junior will say the same thing about us.

We’re confident about the way we’ve trained, in three rounds we’re capable of beating anyone in the competition.

Rio – Another TKO Gym fighter is also in the competition, Bobby Gladman, give us your thoughts on him.

Jimmy – Bobby’s a good fighter, he’s a little inexperienced, which may find him out I suppose, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Rio – Your thoughts on Yassine El Maachi?

Jimmy – We’ve seen Yassine El Maachi a few times. He’s another switch hitter. He’s a good puncher, but what you can’t hit you can’t hurt.

Rio – OK, what about Nathan Graham?

Jimmy – Another good fighter, but as I say we are ready for them all.

Rio – You obviously know about John Wayne Hibbert as he used to train here, so what’s your thoughts on him?

Jimmy – John Wayne Hibbert, yeah I know a lot about John actually. He sparred with Kevin Mitchell for the Prescott fight. Very game, if he gets fit he could get better than he is.

As I say we are going to show respect for all the fighters in the competition and we’ll be ready and we’re confident we’re going to win it.

Rio – Next up is Bermondsey’s Peter McDonagh

Jimmy – Peter’s an old campaigner, never lets you down, he’ll be in there trying.

He’ll be trying, plugging away. For three rounds he’ll be dangerous, he could nick it off you. We’re very aware of Peter.

Rio – OK, the final one on the list is Kevin McIntyre

Jimmy – Well I haven’t seen much of Kevin so I can’t really comment. The only thing I’ll say is that we’re ready for anyone that’s in the competition.

Prizefighter – Welterweights II, featuring Colin Lynes, Junior Witter, Yassine El Maachi, Kevin McIntyre, John Wayne Hibbert, Bobby Gladman, Nathan Graham and Peter McDonagh, takes place at York Hall, Bethnal Green in London on Tuesday 7th June 2011.

Tickets, priced £35 (Unreserved), SOLD OUT (Ringside), and £100 (VIP) are available now at or in person at the TKO Boxing Gym, Gillian House, Stephenson Street, Canning Town, London E16 4SA or call 07960 850645

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Yassine El Maachi – Watch Me, I’m Going To Be So Good In Prizefighter

by on May.24, 2011, under Buzz

Yassine El Maachi and Jimmy Colas in action at York Hall in London - photo Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro

Yassine El Maachi – Watch Me, I’m Going To Be So Good In Prizefighter

For the past year or so International Masters Light Middleweight Champion Yassine El Maachi has stated his dream is to compete in the top rated Matchroom Sports promoted Prizefighter series.

El Maachi, and his promoter Steve Goodwin, believe the tournament format would be the perfect platform to showcase El Maachi, and his sensational all action fighting style, as he strives to break into the lucrative World Championship circuit.

It now seems that El Maachi gets his wish, as he was recently named as one of the eight contestants for the Sky Sports televised Prizefighter – Welterweights II, which takes place at York Hall in Bethnal Green, London on Tuesday 7th June 2011.

El Maachi, who is currently ranked #46 in the World, joins a star studded line up that includes former WBC World Light Welterweight Champion Junior Witter, former IBO World Light Welterweight Champion Colin Lynes, former British Welterweight Champion Kevin McIntyre, former Southern Area Light Welterweight Champion and WBF International title challenger Peter McDonagh, former International Masters Welterweight Challenger Nathan Graham as well as unbeaten young prospects John Wayne Hibbert and Bobby Gladman.

Earlier today El Maachi spoke briefly of his upcoming appearance on Prizefighter – Welterweights II, “I would love to get Junior Witter the first fight, Colin Lynes the second fight then the third fight would be nice and easy for me. That’s my plan, me and my trainer Don Charles and Kevin Murray, that’s what we are trying to do.

Hopefully if it goes like this I would love to but it doesn’t matter which way the draw goes I’m ready for it. I’m coming there with two hands, two legs and like a Tiger, or more like a Cheetah as I’m so fast, good things, oh God watch me, I’m going to be so good in the Prizefighter.”

Prizefighter – Welterweights II, featuring Yassine El Maachi, Colin Lynes, Junior Witter, Kevin McIntyre, John Wayne Hibbert, Bobby Gladman, Nathan Graham and Peter McDonagh, takes place at York Hall, Bethnal Green in London on Tuesday 7th June 2011.

Tickets, priced £35 (Unreserved), £60 (Ringside), and £100 (VIP) are available now at or in person at the TKO Boxing Gym, Gillian House, Stephenson Street, Canning Town, London E16 4SA or call 07960 850645

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Interview: Bobby Gladman Talks About His Upcoming Appearance in Prizefighter.

by on May.23, 2011, under Interviews

Interview: Bobby Gladman Talks About His Upcoming Appearance in Prizefighter.

Photo and Interview by Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro

On paper the upcoming Prizefighter – Welterweights II looks set to propel either former WBC World Light Welterweight Champion Junior Witter or former IBO World Light Welterweight Champion Colin Lynes back onto the World stage – although saying that with eleven out of his twelve previous outings being championship bouts, including having fought Victor Puiu for the WBC International Silver Welterweight title in February this year, Junior Witter is well and truly a current big player on the Championship circuit.

However, the excellent Matchroom Sports promoted series also has a habit of creating new stars, with the winner often gaining a title shot within a short while of lifting the coveted trophy. A prime example of this is the recent British Light Middleweight title fight between Sam Webb and former Prizefighter winner Prince Arron.

Prior to winning Prizefighter the nearest Prince Arron got to a title shot was to compete for, and win, the British Masters Middleweight title. But his sensational victories over George Hillyard, Bradley Pryce and Brett Flournoy at Prizefighter – Light Middleweights, in February ‘10, see him earn a shot at Sam Webb’s crown – oh and of course Prince Arron win in spectacular style.

Come June 7th, we could well see another lesser known fighter upset the apple cart and lift the trophy, as well as rocket up the rankings to earn a future title shot.

There are a few candidates for this role, Yassine El Maachi, John Wayne Hibbert, Peter McDonagh, Nathan Graham and Bobby Gladman. – I know I didn’t mention Kevin McIntyre but as a former British Champion I place him right up there with Junior Witter and Colin Lynes.

Anyway, back to where I was. What potentially makes Prizefighter – Welterweights II the best of the series yet is that each of those named has the potential, and more importantly the experience, to cause a massive upset, even bigger than Prince Arron’s victory in the Light Middleweights.

Late last week I caught up with one of these potential upset merchants, Cheshunt’s unbeaten Bobby Gladman, at his training camp at the TKO Boxing Gym in Canning Town.

Before I get onto the interview here is a brief boxing bio on Bobby.

Bobby turned pro just over two years ago, in April ‘09, and gained his first win at the expense of Birmingham journeyman Karl ‘Plug’ Taylor by a shut out 60-54 points margin.

Just under two months later Bobby took on William Warburton at York Hall. A cracking close battle ensued, Bobby was well and truly tested throughout but came through with flying colours to secure his second win by a close 39-38 points margin.

The start of the new season see Bobby back in action against super tough Kristian Laight. After another hard battle Bobby secured his third win by a 40-37 points margin.

In November Bobby traveled to the Troxy in Limehouse, where another war ensued – this time against Barnstaple’s Jimmy Briggs – and another points victory.

Bobby’s final fight of ‘09 see him take on Birmingham’s Andrew ‘Paddy’ Patterson at the Colosseum in Watford. After six hard fought rounds referee Dave Parris scored the bout 59-56 in favour of Bobby.

It wasn’t until June ‘10 that Bobby got some ring action. St Albans’ unbeaten Danny ‘The Devil’ Murphy made the short trip to Bobby’s home town of Cheshunt and gave him another serious test. Once again Bobby came through a six round war to secure the win by a close 58-57 margin.

A full six months later Bobby rounded of the year against Tooting based Bulgarian Danny Dontchev at the excellent ‘Judgement Day’ event at York Hall, an event I covered – my report read:

‘The opening fight of Judgement Day was Light Middleweight contest between Bobby Gladman and Danny Dontchev. Gladman showed some serious class to keep the lively Dontchev under control, after a close first round Gladman found his range and totally dominated the middle two rounds. Dontchev came on hard again in the final round and although enjoyed some success Gladman landed the more meaningful shots to secure a tidy 39-37 points victory.’

Bobby’s last fight, against Matt Scriven, featured at the ‘Return of the Mac’ event, in Newmarket on the 30th April, which I also covered – below is my report.

‘On paper this looked a no brainer as Scriven’s record shows his last win was twenty fights ago. Saying that Scriven is known as a tough battler who always comes to fight.

There wasn’t that much action in the first round as both the protagonists seemed to be feeling the other. The second round on the other hand was a totally different affair.

From the opening bell Scriven went on the attack, forcing Gladman to utilise his jab in an effort to thwart ‘The Scrivs’ many forceful forays.

Round three see a total turn around, instead of just using his jab Gladman started to counter with heavy hands each time Scriven let rip. In the first minute Gladman let rip with a big right hand that clearly shook his opponent. However Scriven seemed undaunted by this and just stepped up the pace. Another close round, one I felt Gladman had done just enough to win.

The final round was another punch fest, Scriven did the more work, whilst the clearly tiring Gladman landed the more telling shots. At the end of the bout I feel referee Mark Green was one hundred percent correct declaring the bout a draw.’

So there we have it, Bobby’s fight record to date, so now to the interview.

Rio – Thank you for talking with me today, please tell the readers your thoughts on the Prizefighter series

Bobby – Well, it’s a jumping stone, it’s a good little competition. If you win it you’re up there aren’t you. It’s a good thing, it’s on Sky live.

Rio – OK, we’ll move on to the fighters now – first up give us your thoughts on Junior Witter.

Bobby – Yeah I know about Junior Witter, he’s been about. I think he’s past his sell by date but we’ll see on the night.

Rio – Next up is former IBO World Champion Colin Lynes, who also trains here at the TKO Gym.

Bobby – I’ve watched the videos of Colin Lynes, don’t know too much about him. He’s a twelve round fighter, very fit. We’ll see what he’s got on the night.

Yeah he does train here, not at the same time though. We’ve got different trainers.

Rio – Another former Champ is next, Kevin McIntyre

Bobby – He’s southpaw, Scottish, been about. He’s 33 years old. I’ve watched videos of him to see what he’s about and that. Nothing special about him.

Rio – OK, next in line is current International Masters Champion Yassine El Maachi

Bobby – Don’t really know anything about Yassine El Maachi, except that he throws a lot of punches. Another southpaw, strong, keeps coming forward. We’ll see what he’s got on the night.

Rio – Next up is John Wayne Hibbert

Bobby – I’ve watched John Wayne Hibbert box in the amateurs, so I know quite a bit about John. He’s not a bad little boxer, moves well, but we’ll see what he’s got on the night.

Rio – OK, next on my list is Peter McDonagh

Bobby – Peter McDonagh, right. An Irish warrior, as they say. That’s all I can say about him really, there’s nothing too special about him. He comes forward and he’s got a good heart, that’s about it.

Rio – the final one is Nathan Graham

Bobby – I know nothing about Nathan Graham, never heard of him, never seen him. I’ll have to look him up on YouTube and see what he’s about. Other than that we’ll have to see what he’s got on the night.

Rio – What type of training are you doing to prepare for Prizefighter?

Bobby – I do pads with Johnny Eames, started sparring now, do a circuit with Barry (co-trainer Barry Smith) or do a circuit with Johnny, depending on what time I get in. Training’s going all right at the moment.

Rio – You said you just started sparring, who have you been sparring for this?

Bobby – I’ve sparred with a geezer called Sam (Sam Standing), Daryl (Daryl Setterfield) and today with an amateur southpaw called Faheem. It good sparring.

Rio – Due to the format of Prizefighter – 3 rounds, then if you win a short rest, then the next three rounder etc. How do you think this is going to affect you?

Bobby – After doing the first three rounds I think I can recover quick enough to do the next three rounds and then easily recover again to do another three. It’s all about the recovery time really. That’s what I have been working on. It’s just like the amateurs really.

I wasn’t a bad amateur so we’ll see what happens on the night, see who turns up.

Rio – If you win the tournament that could lead to a title shot, which seems to be standard with Prizefighter these days – how does that motivate you?

Bobby – Yeah, I’m in it to win it, I’m not in it to be a loser. That title shot, Lee Purdy – I don’t think he’s all that, but he’s the Champion so he’s the one I’ve got to go to if I want to be the Champion. There’s quite a few good people in Welterweight at the moment, it’s looking lively.

Rio – finally is there anything you would like to say to the fans?

Bobby – Yeah, get down and watch it, it should be a good night. Loads of action and the winner at the end of it being me.

Prizefighter – Welterweights II, featuring Bobby Gladman, Colin Lynes, Junior Witter, Yassine El Maachi, Kevin McIntyre, John Wayne Hibbert, Nathan Graham and Peter McDonagh, takes place at York Hall, Bethnal Green in London on Tuesday 7th June 2011.

Tickets, priced £35 (Unreserved), £60 (Ringside), and £100 (VIP) are available now at or in person at the TKO Boxing Gym, Gillian House, Stephenson Street, Canning Town, London E16 4SA or call 07960 850645

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Interview: John Wayne Hibbert Talks Prizefighter, Witter, Lynes, El Maachi and more

by on May.19, 2011, under Interviews

Interview: John Wayne Hibbert Talks Prizefighter, Witter, Lynes, El Maachi and more

Photos and Interview by Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro

With seriously big names, such as former World Champs Junior Witter and Colin Lynes and former British Champion Kevin McIntyre, grabbing all the headlines in the build up to the highly anticipated Matchroom Sports promoted Prizefighter – Welterweights II, which takes place at York Hall on Tuesday 7th June, I decided to buck the trend a bit, well my last interview was with Colin Lynes, and make a concerted effort to catch up with some of the lesser well known names taking part.

As luck would have it earlier this week I was at the TKO Boxing Gym in Canning Town photographing Big John McDermott sparring with Ali Adams. Across the ring I spotted the familiar figure of John Wayne Hibbert chatting with Kevin Mitchell.

For those that don’t know him, yet, John has a crowd pleasing style and brings a large posse of highly vocal supporters with him. He lives up to his “John Wayne” moniker by donning a stetson into the ring.

The first time I see John in action was back in April last year, when he fought Matt Scriven, at the excellent Steve Goodwin promoted ‘Night of Rising Stars’ event. John impressed me with his performance, and his vociferous following who never let up their deafening support for their hero throughout.

That was John’s sixth bout and I have to be honest I was quite disappointed not to have seen any of his earlier fights and had made a mental note marking him down as one to watch.

I next got to see him in action the following December, at the superb Judgement Day event, where again he put on another excellent performance – as my fight report attests

“The assembled crowd at York Hall were on their feet and in full voice the moment they see the stetson wearing John Wayne Hibbert appear and didn’t abate throughout their heroes six round encounter with William Warburton.

Hibbert ensured that by putting on one of his trademark attacking displays. About the only time the decibel levels dropped was after Hibbert received a cut above the left eye in third round. Hibbert seemed unfazed by the cut as he kept on pressuring Warburton to secure a tidy 59-55 points victory.”

These may have been the only times I personally see John in action, but they are far from his only successes.

John was a successful amateur winning National titles at both schoolboy and Senior level, including representing England in international competitions.

John made his debut on Miranda Carter’s Left Jab promotions 2009 Father’s Day show, where he stopped Damien Jeffries in the first round.

Three months later John was back in action, this time his victim was Andrew Patterson, who he stopped in the second round.

Less than a month later John returned to York Hall, where he convincingly out pointed Kevin McCauley.

Next up just two months later was another second round stoppage victory, this time over Bheki Moyo.

It wasn’t until March 2010 that his legion of fans got to see him in action again, against Rick Boulter. As in three of his previous four outings this one also didn’t get to go the distance, as Boulter’s manager, Carl Greaves, pulled him out at the end of the second to save him further punishment, or worse being knocked out.

Which nicely brings us back to the fights I see him in, so without further ado here is John Wayne Hibbert talking about Prizefighter and his possible opponents on June 7th.

Rio – Thank you for talking with me today – first of all please tell me your thoughts on Prizefighter.

John – I think it’s a great idea for prospects and everyone that’s in it. It’s a great idea.

Rio – What do you think your chances are of winning Prizefighter?

John – I wouldn’t be in it it I didn’t think I could win it, I believe I can do well and nick it.

Rio – Now to the other fighters in the tournament – What are your thoughts on Junior Witter?

John – Can’t knock him can you. He’s been a World Champion, I’ve got all respect for him. He’s getting on a bit now, so I’m still young so I don’t see any problems there really.

Rio – OK, We’ll move on to Colin Lynes

John – Damn good fighter, another ex-World Champion. I’m not going to disrespect him. He’s got a brilliant jab. Take away his jab though, I reckon I can get underneath it and take it away and do the job though.

Rio – Next up is Kevin McIntyre

John – Don’t know too much about Kevin McIntyre so I’ll have to watch up on him.

Rio – OK, your thoughts on Yassine El Maachi

John – Dangerous fighter, very elusive. You’ve got to get close to him, take all his grin away. Yeah I reckon I can beat him.

Rio – Next is Peter McDonagh

John – Don’t know too much about him either. Going to have to look up on him, I aint seen too much of him.

Rio – Bobby Gladman’s next on the list.

John – Aint seen too much of him either, I know he’s quite a good upright boxer. I aint too fussed.

Rio – Last but not least Nathan Graham

John – I don’t know nothing about Nathan Graham. All I’ve seen is his record, I’ll have to watch him.

Rio – How do you think being on Prizefighter will affect your career?

John – When I go and win it I’ll go straight up the rankings, so it’ll be all good for me when I win it.

Obviously if I get a title shot because of it that’ll be brilliant, there’s a lot of good fighters at that weight. But I’m going to take this one step at a time and concentrate on Prizefighter, I’m not thinking about anything else yet. Just concentrating on that Prizefighter.

Rio – Talking about concentrating on Prizefighter, who have you been sparring to prepare for June 7th?

John – I’ve been sparring former Prizefighter champion Michael Lomax, Kris Agyia-Dua. I’ve been sparring all different people because I’ll be fighting all different people in Prizefighter. I’ve been sparring amateurs, all different people really.

Rio – Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today and good luck on June 7th.

John – No problem, thanks.

Prizefighter – Welterweights II, featuring John Wayne Hibbert, Colin Lynes, Junior Witter, Yassine El Maachi, Kevin McIntyre, Nathan Graham, Peter McDonagh and Bobby Gladman, takes place at York Hall, Bethnal Green in London on Tuesday 7th June 2011.

Tickets, priced £35 (Unreserved), £60 (Ringside), and £100 (VIP) are available now at or in person at the TKO Boxing Gym, Gillian House, Stephenson Street, Canning Town, London E16 4SA or call 07960 850645

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Interview: Colin Lynes Talks Prizefighter

by on May.17, 2011, under Interviews

Interview: Colin Lynes Talks Prizefighter

Photos and Interview by Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro

Recently I undertook an interview with former IBO Light welterweight World Champion Colin Lynes on his career to date. With the news that Colin is to take part in the Matchroom Sports excellent Prizefighter – Welterweights II on June 7th I took the opportunity to catch up with Colin again, this time to get his views on Prizefighter, as well as his opponents on June 7th.

Colin, a former finalist of Prizefighter, faced Gavin Rees in the final of the Light Welterweights tournament at Olympia last year.

Prior to meeting Rees in the final Colin first faced David Barnes in the quarter final. After three hotly contested, very close, rounds the judges were split. Two of the judges see it 29-28 for Colin, the third judge also scored it 29-28 but this time in favour of Barnes.

The semi final see Colin come face to face with former foe Young Mutley, who Colin had previously beaten for the European title in 2007. Again Colin would win by split decision, the fight was close throughout but a defining third round knockdown was enough to sway two of the judges to score the bout in Colin’s favour.

The final, against Rees, was a hard fought affair. Colin easily secured the first round with some excellent counter punching. Rees stepped up the pressure in the second and rocked Colin several times on his way to securing the round. With both fighters scoring a round a piece it was all to play for in the final round.

I was ringside on the night and scored the final round even, as did all press corps, and with each winning a round apiece I wondered how they would decide on a winner. Imagine my surprise when the scorecards were read out as 29-28 twice, Ian John-Lewis and Victor Loughlin, and 30-27, Mark Green, all in favour of Gavin Rees.

That’s all water under the bridge now as far as Colin is concerned, as he is back in training with legendary trainer Jimmy Tibbs and his son Mark at the TKO Boxing Gym in Canning Town to prepare for Prizefighter – Welterweights II.

It was at the TKO that I caught up with Colin, after yet another sparring session, for a quick chat about the Prizefighter series, as well as to get his thoughts on the other contestants on June 7th.

Rio – Hi Colin thanks taking the time to talk about the upcoming Prizefighter – Welterweights II that you will be taking part in. Please tell the readers your thoughts on the competition.

Colin – Yeah I’m really pleased, it’s a buzzing competition that everyone seems to want to go for. it’s thrilling for the fans, it gets everyone that wouldn’t normally get together get together and have a punch up on the night.

Even the likes of myself, I liked to be classed as a skillful boxer, on the night not just the once you have to prepare for going in the trenches a lot sooner than you would have to in a twelve round fight.

Rio – You’ve been in Prizefighter before, you made the finals of the Light Welters against Gavin Rees. How do you prepare for such a quick paced tournament?

Colin – Lots of stop and start training, you do your three shadow or your three bags or sparring and then you have a little rest and go back in. Sometimes it’s a ten minute rest sometimes it’s only five minutes.

In the Prizefighter last time it’s a good job I did prepare that way for it, because I think it was the quickest anyone had to get back in the ring. After winning the semifinal it was about two and half minutes before I had to get back in for the final.

So, it’s right to prepare, and that’s what I did. I’m ready for whatever they throw at me.

Rio – Let’s talk a little about your opponents on the night, Let’s start with Junior Witter.

Colin – When I fought Junior last I was a bit too much in awe of him. I worked well, I didn’t get outclassed or outgunned in any way but those rounds where the judges just didn’t know who they should give it to they rightly give it to the champion, so that’s what happened in that fight.

If I end up facing Junior again, no doubt he’s not worried about anyone. He’ll respect everyone in that lineup, he’s not going to be worried about anyone, he’s been there and done it twice over and he’s looking to make a name for himself again.

Because of whatever reason I haven’t spoke with him, I will do in the build up to this fight, something went wrong for him in Canada and people have slagged him off, give someone a chance, there’s probably reasons.

I’m not one and I’m looking forward to fighting Junior at his best.

Rio – Bobby Gladman also trains at the TKO Gym, what do you know about him?

Colin – I don’t know too much about Bobby, whether it’s because we miss each other, I train evenings he trains in the daytime so I don’t see too much of him, but I respect anyone that’s in there. I would never overlook anyone, I’d probably be more worried about those who know about me and I don’t know about them. I’ll have to do my homework on him to be honest.

Rio – Fair comment, we’ll move on now to Yassine El Maachi

Colin – I haven’t seen too much of Yassine, but I’ve heard a lot about him. I know I’ve seen him spar at the gym against Michael Lomax once.

He’s a tricky customer, switches and all this. With people like Yassine if you let them do what they are best at doing then he’s going to look great. If you take them out of their comfort zone or you put it on them and don’t give them a chance to do flash stuff then we’ll see what he’s got.

Rio – True, OK Nathan Graham, what do you know of him?

Colin – Nathan Graham, I was supposed to face him a few fights ago, but then I had the Bradley Pryce turnout, so I took the Bradley Pryce fight.

He’s had a fight since we were supposed to get it on, he came out the wrong side, I understand by reading the reports he done really well and he’s a danger man and a big banger no doubt.

Rio – Yeah, I was there at that fight. Next up is Kevin McIntyre

Colin – I’ve got a lot of respect for Kevin, I’ve know him, he’s been around a long time I think he was hard done when he had to vacate his British title. he got his shot back in the end but I don’t think it was at a time when he was expecting it and he got out of there pretty early. He’s come back and proved himself, shown his character and he’ll be up for this big time.

Rio – John Wayne Hibbert, what’s your thoughts on him?

Colin – Yeah, again John’s been around a while. I haven’t seen too much of him but I know people that have sparred him. He’s a tough customer, again rightly so he’s due every respect.

Rio – Peter McDonagh’s next on the list.

Colin, Yeah I know Peter really well, we’ve sparred many, many rounds before he’s always come by our gym and done us favours, we’ve returned favours and helped him out when he’s had big fights. So I know Peter really well.

Again a good tough pro, will always turn up, always gives lots of respect and he’ll be another stiff customer on the night.

Rio – You’re obviously looking to get through to the final again, this time go one better.

Colin – Obviously in my final last time I just tried, I didn’t change anything, I just thought with Gavin Rees being short and stocky, like a bulldog, I thought I’d try and box and outsmart him, but again I have to be honest I gave the first round up trying to do that and ended up having to chase the fight. It was close, I thought he deserved it because he did win the first round. Big first round and it just shows you that you can’t try and outsmart people, you need to get on with it in Prizefighter and that’s what makes it as exciting and entertaining as it is, you need to get on with things.

Rio – I know Jimmy (Tibbs) says you’re a contender, in fact he says you are more than that, he says you are in your prime and should be challenging for titles now. By taking Prizefighter was this a decision that came easily?

Colin – No, I spoke with Matchroom closely and you run the risk that if you mess up in Prizefighter you do jeopardise a title fight. To be honest with you I could have had the Purdy title fight come September. I heard he was quite comfortable defending against me but it meant sitting out and waiting and there’s nothing worse than sitting about being inactive. When you believe in yourself and you know what you can do I think just opting out and waiting for things to happen is the wrong way to look at it. You’ve got to get in there, prove, show, earn and get on with things. That’s what I have done by taking on Prizefighter again.

Rio – Over the past year or so it seems that every winner of Prizefighter gets a title shot. Did this influence your decision?

Colin – It did in a way, as I said I could have sat out and waited for the Purdy fight, but by winning Prizefighter that definitely determines that, in my circumstances, that you are next and I’m happy with that. I’m clear in my mind that by winning Prizefighter and I’ll get that title shot. Rather than waiting I’m going to make it happen.

Some people might disagree that Prizefighter is a short cut but you look at the names that go in Prizefighter, yeah it’s only three fights, but their prepared to go in there and put it on the line against other big names, rightly so you deserve a title shot from winning something like that.

Rio – Prizefighter seems to have risen in stature, originally featuring fighters at the end of their career mixing it with youngsters who’ve yet to get a break, but now it’s become a really important tournament for established stars and reaching audiences in excess of 5 Million, why do you think this is?

Colin – I’m not bowing my trumpet but when you get someone like me in it and someone like Junior Witter or Kevin McIntyre, then perhaps they can be a bit more selective on who goes in it. It will come back round when the guys that have had five, whether they won them all or not, their time will come. They’ve got to be patient unfortunately, but it will come around again.

It’s like the Contender series when that first come out and it was supposed to be for those who hadn’t been given their chance and as it becomes popular everybody wants to be in it and you start getting recognised names in it.

Barry Hearn is very good at what he does and that’s why he come up with this concept, and his Son mustn’t forget Eddie he’s a big part of this, he’s sort of geed his Dad up and it’s working really well.

They reach an audience that wouldn’t normally watch a twelve rounder because it’s long winded, which is more like a game of snooker or chess match init. They’ve geed things up and made it over in a little while. You can watch a fight and when it’s over go and make a cup of coffee and then the next one’s on. It’s brilliant and reaching a different audience.

Rio – Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today and good luck on June 7th.

Colin – Thank you Rio.

Prizefighter – Welterweights II, featuring Colin Lynes, Junior Witter, Yassine El Maachi, Kevin McIntyre, Nathan Graham, Peter McDonagh, John Wayne Hibbert and Bobby Gladman, takes place at York Hall, Bethnal Green in London on Tuesday 7th June 2011.

Tickets, priced £35 (Unreserved), £60 (Ringside), and £100 (VIP) are available now at or in person at the TKO Boxing Gym, Gillian House, Stephenson Street, Canning Town, London E16 4SA or call 07960 850645

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Fight Report: Essex Eruption – Conquest Cruises, McAleese Supreme But Jupp Robbed

by on Mar.20, 2011, under Fight Reports

Fight Report: Essex Eruption – Conquest Cruises, McAleese Supreme But Jupp Robbed

Photos and Report By Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro

On Saturday night Steve Goodwin undertook his first big event outside of London with his superb Essex Eruption, sponsored by Revolver Entertainment’s new to DVD action drama Fists of Rage, at the Goresbrook Leisure Centre in Dagenham.

The event was due to be quadruple headlined, but due to an injury to Yassine El Maachi and the BBBofC realising at the last minute that Leon ‘Solid’ Williams’ suspension, due to his being stopped on the 5th February, didn’t expire until the day after the event, it became a double header instead.

It wasn’t just the loss of two of the headline bouts, there were various other last minute injuries that reduced the event to eight bouts instead of the proposed fourteen. Either way those that were lucky enough to attend the off-TV show were treated to a fantastic evening of top class boxing.

With El Maachi and Williams out Romford’s unbeaten Tony ‘The Conqueror’ Conquest bout against current Ghanaian Cruiserweight Champion Prince George Akrong was elevated to main feature.

Right from the opening bell Conquest hunted down Akrong, whose ringname is the Hungry Lion, with a clear intention to get the African challenger out of there early. About two minutes in Conquest let rip with a huge right which missed Akrong’s chin but caught him on the shoulder and send him crashing unceremoniously onto his backside.

Throughout the second round Conquest pushed forward utilising every punch in his packed arsenal, but Akrong’s strength, and determination to shine in front of the British crowd, see him weather the constant onslaught as well as occasionally test the taller and bigger Conquest ‘s chin with massive overhand rights.

Much of the same in the third, that was until mid way through the last minute of the round when Conquest shook the big African to the core with a massive right. In a flash Conquest let rip with heavy lefts and rights as Akrong, with his back against the ropes, covered up in an effort to survive until the end of the round, which he did.

The fourth was all action, with Conquest determined to start of where he finished in the previous round. However Akrong showed his mettle by going forward and taking the fight to Conquest, at times going toe-to-toe exchanging bomb after bomb.

The fifth was almost a replay of the third, with Conquest pushing hard. Eventually the pressure paid off, Conquest backed Akrong onto the ropes and let rip with huge left to the body followed with a big right to the head. Akrong wobbled badly, but even though his legs had clearly gone he managed to stay on his feet. Conquest, who had stepped back expecting the African to drop, went back on the attack letting big lefts and rights go until the final bell.

Round six see Conquest step things up and hurt Akrong with a big right hand within seconds of the start. Conquest followed the African warrior around the ring letting off bomb after bomb. After about thirty seconds Conquest landed a peach of right to send Akrong to the deck again. The African got to his feet but looked severely shaken. The referee accepted Akrong’s pleas to allow him to continue but in an instant Conquest was on him letting rip with more big lefts and rights, Akrong didn’t respond or even seem to have any defense and the referee jumped in to call a halt to the proceedings after just one minute of the round.

Co-headline to the Conquest-Akrong bout see the welcome return of Newmarket Light Middleweight prospect ‘Phat’ Pat McAleese, against Spain’s Fran Gonzalez.

There was no feeling out period, both protagonists went to work right from the opening bell. The action was nonstop and produced some of the best pure boxing of the show. For the full three minutes they matched each other punch for punch, it was that close throughout.

Round two see McAleese step things up to try and wrestle control of the round from the gutsy Spaniard. However Gonzalez had no intention to allow him to do so and countered every attack.

Round three see more of the same at first, but the tide was beginning to turn in McAleese’s favour around the two minute mark. McAleese added more venom to his attacks, in doing so forcing Gonzalez to go on the defensive.

Round four see McAleese continue in the same vein, often backing Gonzalez onto the ropes before letting rip with heavy flurries of left and rights to body and head. During one of the later attacks McAleese caught the Spaniard with a heavy left to the ribs, Gonzalez was clearly hurting and covered up. This encouraged McAleese to turn the pressure up another notch. McAleese was relentless playing Gonzalez’s ribs like a xylophone with wickedly fast ten-twelve punch salvos.

Round five was a cracking round for McAleese, who constantly backed up the tiring Gonzalez before letting rip with ten punch plus flurries. As the round progressed Gonzalez occasionally responded with the odd counter attack, but was often thwarted by the fast hands of the Newmarket man.

A sure fire stoppage finish looked on the cards in the final round, as again McAleese caught Gonzalez with a massive left to the ribs. However the durable Gonzalez survived the follow up salvos and went defensive to see out the final couple of minutes. The referee scored the bout 60-54 in favour of a delighted McAleese.

The sixth bout of the evening see unbeaten in four Light Middleweight Michael ‘The Zambezi Hitman’ Norgrove against the super tough Jan Balog from the Czech Republic.

Right from the off Balog went on the attack, forcing Norgrove to go defensive. Throughout the round Balog pressured and Norgrove could only respond with a good stiff jab.

Round two see Norgrove initially readjust his fight plan, choosing instead to go toe to toe with Balog. The only problem is the gutsy Czech only had one form of defense – attack. Norgrove was taking some big punches and by about midway through the round had a noticeable swelling over his left eye. Saying that Norgrove had responded really well and was out boxing his Czech opponent.

Balog pushed hard in the third, but had started to get a bit wild in his attacks, allowing Norgrove to pick him off with some good stiff jabs.

Round four was a lively affair. Norgrove was boxing beautifully and seemed to have neutralised Balog, that is until the second minute when Balog caught Norgrove with a heavy overhand right. Norgrove’s legs buckled and was on his way to the canvas. However thinking quickly Norgrove threw his arms around Balog but instead of it keeping him on his feet he just pulled Balog down with him. For some strange reason the referee decided not to give the count even though Norgrove had clearly been floored by a punch.

The tide turned in the fifth Norgrove used his superior boxing skills to dominate the round. Balog occasionally responded with a wild counter but there was little he could do to stop the constant hard and fast attacks.

Any chance of Balog causing an upset evaporated in the final round. Norgove stepped up the pressure against the rapidly tiring Czech and was controlling things beautifully. Norgrove had been using his jab and straight rights to good effect, however this changed early in the sixth when Norgrove started to go for the body. After the third attack to the ribs Balog took to one knee for an eight count.

When the bout resumed Norgrove went back on the attack in search of his first stoppage finish. It looked like he may just get it, following another cracking shot to the body that forced Balog to one knee for a second time. However Balog did get to his feet to see out the final seconds of the round.

After six scintillating rounds Michael Norgrove was declared victorious by a 60-54 points margin.

I have to add that I’ve watched every one of Michael Norgrove’s fights and I have had my doubts about him, I felt that he would come up short if actually tested. Well on Saturday night he was tested, and tested hard, but came through with flying colours and boxed the best I have seen to date. Also he showed resilience and an ability to mix it up when needed.

Next up was Carshalton Lightweight ‘Pretty’ Ricky Boylan against tall, tough and awkward southpaw Kristian Laight. Fireworks had been predicted and sure enough that’s just what we got.

Right from the opening bell both fighters made it clear they wanted centre ring, yet neither were willing to concede ground. Some great boxing from both protagonists ensued. It was a very close fought round but Boylan probably edged tit with the cleaner more meaningful shots.

Round two was more of the same, except the tide was flowing Boylan’s way more. Boylan had settled the fastest and concentrated on pure boxing to counter Laight’s attempts to force things by brute force.

Round three continued in the same vein, with Boylan out boxing his older opponent. About midway through the round Boylan landed a beautiful right to the body, Laight instantly winced and grabbed hold of Boylan to get his breath back. As the referee broke them apart Boylan went on the attack letting some cracking left and rights go in quick succession. Laight went on the back foot to try and see out the round, which he did.

Round four was all Boylan, he boxed superbly throughout to earn a tidy 39-37 points victory.

Less than a month after winning on his debut Kris Agyei-Dua was back in action on Saturday against Louis Byrne.

It is hard to think that Agyei-Dua has only had the single bout, he fought like a seasoned pro. From start to finish Agyei-Dua dominated the proceedings with some beautiful boxing. He never put a foot wrong, he jabbed with confidence and was happy to stand and trade when needed.

Byrne is a tough opponent at the best of times but didn’t seem to trouble Agyei-Dua at any time. Unsurprisingly Agyei-Dua secured his second win by a shutout 40-36 points margin.

The third bout of the night see the very welcome return of Luton’s Michael ‘The Real Chunky’ Devine, after a long layoff following a bad stoppage against Mark Alexander last year, against Sid Razak.

Devine was divine, he plain out boxed the resilient Razak throughout. Razak is no walk over at the best of times but Devine outclassed him from start to finish to earn a shutout 40-36 points victory.

Belvedere’s unbeaten Featherweight ‘Saint’ George Jupp was next up against Raffi Khan from Harrow.

Right from the opening bell Khan went on the attack, Jupp kept his cool and kept the aggressive Khan at bay with some solid jabs. Whenever Khan came rushing forward Jupp would use superior footwork, to move out of range, or solid jabbing to stop him in his tracks. Khan was getting some success but usually his shots were wide of the mark.

Whilst it was hard to call the first round, the second and third were clearly young Jupp’s, who had used his Jab to good effect throughout the two rounds. It wasn’t just his jabbing though, in the middle rounds Jupp showed that he is willing to mix it up when needs be.

Khan began to rush his attacks, backing Jupp towards the ropes, and letting rip with wild shots. Most times Jupp would just step around, leaving Khan punching at fresh air, but on a couple occasions Jupp countered with both hands and about mid way through the round Jupp landed a peach of a right which opened up a cut above Khan’s eye.

Clearly aware he was behind on points Khan became even more forceful with his attacks in the final round, often letting rip with multi-punch flurries. Jupp would counter with solid jabs as before but instead of backing off Khan kept coming forward. Khan kept the pressure up to the final bell.

When the referee’s score card was read out – 39-38 in favour of Khan – the crowd jeered, Jupp’s manager/coach Johnny Eames remonstrated with the referee and the assembled photo corps, of which I was one, all agreed that Jupp had won clearly won the middle rounds and probably had done enough to claim the first also.

I feel I should comment at this point that on Friday at York Hall Erick Ochieng suffered the same fate as Jupp, he clearly won two rounds and probably did enough to get a third but the decision went against him.

I bring this up because it seems that some referees and judges are often judging by aggression level mainly.

A prime example of this was Ian ‘Dappa’ Napa’s British and Commonwealth title loss to Jamie McDonnell last year. Napa clearly won the bout, having landed the most meaningful shots, as was proved when Sky televised highlights.

Sky were unable to find a single bit of footage where McDonnell had even landed a punch. McDonnell had been the more aggressive but had failed to make any impact due to Napa’s superior defense and countering.

The same goes for both Ochieng and Jupp in their bouts. in both cases they had exceptional defenses. In almost every attack their opponents made they failed to land a single punch and were easily caught by controlled counter punching.

I know that part of judging process includes aggression but surely ineffective aggression shouldn’t count for more than actual punches landed.

Anyway enough of my griping, the opening bout of the night see Danny Brown take on Iain Jackson in a Middleweight bout.

This was a cracking opening bout and really set the tone for the rest of the show. Both went to war from the opening bell, trading toe-to-toe for virtually the whole bout. Brown landed the most meaningful punches and rightly earned the victory by a 39-37 points margin.

As usual Steve Goodwin put on an exceptional show, one that deserved a much wider audience. It’s about time Sky started looking at some of the excellent small hall promoters, like Steve Goodwin, who constantly put on top class shows, instead of concentrating on the big three who parade out the same old names show after show.

Steve Goodwin’s next event will be at the York Hall on June 4th, miss it and you’ll miss one helluva show featuring some of the Capital’s most talented rising stars.

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