Okolie-Massey and Fitzgerald-Rose Confirmed for July 6 in Manchester

Lawrence Okolie will defend his British and Commonwealth Cruiserweight titles against Jack Massey on the same night that Scott Fitzgerald defends his WBA International Super-Welterweight title against Brian Rose in a huge Preston vs. Blackpool derby at Manchester Arena on Saturday July 6, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.

Full details of the bumper summer bill in the North West, including main event confirmation and ticket details, will be formally announced next week.

Okolie (12-0, 9 KOs) added the Commonwealth title to his British belt with a fourth-round TKO of London rival Wadi Camacho at the Copper Box Arena last time out in March and the Rio 2016 Olympian puts both belts on the line once more against unbeaten Chapel-en-le-Frith man Massey.

‘One Smack’ (16-0, 8 KOs) has been chasing a fight with Hackney banger Okolie for the past year and the 26-year-old juggernaut says he is ready to propel his name to the top of the domestic 200lbs division in his first major title opportunity.

“Jack Massey is a fighter with pedigree.” said Okolie.

“He has a lot of strength, a lot of ability and a lot of hunger. I’m going to enjoy beating him in front of all of his fans. He’s another undefeated fighter that I will inflict a first career defeat on.

“He has criticised me publicly and openly and I want to use my frustration to beat him in the most convincing way possible.”

“I’m over the moon to be getting this shot at the British and Commonwealth titles.” said Massey.

“I have been waiting for my chance to test myself and I cannot wait until July 6th.

“I have the utmost respect for Lawrence Okolie, he boxed in the Olympics, won the British in just his 10th fight and is ranked in the top 10 by the WBA. I know it’s a huge step up for me but I’m ready.

“I’ll be bringing a big crowd on the night and promise to put on a show. I have heard some of the other fights that will be on the night and it’s going to be an amazing show to be on.”

Fitzgerald (13-0, 9 KOs) secured a thrilling victory over bitter rival Anthony Fowler to land the WBA ranking title at the M&S Bank Arena Liverpool in March, settling their feud after dropping his former Great Britain teammate in the final round to claim a split decision win and hand Fowler a first defeat in the pros.

The ‘Mad Man’ puts his belt on the line for the first time against former World title challenger Rose (35-1-1, 8 KOs) in a massive Lancashire showdown that will see the former British champion move back down to 154lbs in an attempt to fire his name back into to the mix in the latter stages of his career.

“It’s going to be a mad atmosphere with all of the Preston and Blackpool fans packed into Manchester Arena.” said Fitzgerald.

“I’m confident of doing a good job on him. I’ll outjab him all night and get the win. This could be his last night in the sport so he’ll want to go out with a bang.

“He’s number two at Middleweight at the moment on BoxRec. He’s a good opponent. He’s a little older than me but experience is on his side. Before I ever even had an amateur fight, I knew who he was. He was the top boy around Lancashire, where we’re from. It’s a fight that I thought about before I even turned pro and now it’s happening.

“I wanted to fight Ted Cheeseman for the British title but this one was next on my list. It’s a big local rivalry and one that all of the Preston lads will get behind massively. The Cheeseman fight will still be there after I beat Rose, I want to take that belt off a champion.

“I made my debut at Manchester Arena. Preston is about the same distance from Liverpool as it is Manchester so there’ll be a lot in there again, probably more this time because there’s a lot of people buzzing off me right around Britain.”

“I’ve worked really hard at getting a big fight again so I’m made up that we’ve got this fight live on Sky Sports and DAZN.” said Rose.

“I’ve had two wins since coming back and I’ve felt really good, so I can’t wait to step into the ring with Fitzgerald.

“I have a lot of respect for Fitzgerald for giving me the opportunity, and I don’t think people realise how big this fight for Blackpool and Preston. This is a huge fight for Lancashire and it’s going to be a great night for the fans, so may the best man win. 

“I’ve worked really hard getting back to where I am and by moving back down to Super-Welterweight, which is where I achieved everything, I’m giving myself the best chance of making an impact. I won the British title and challenged for a World title at that weight, so I’ve already done what Fitzgerald is hoping to achieve in his career. 

“It was only up at Middleweight where I came unstuck, but at this weight I know what I’m capable of, so this fight makes so much sense. It’s going to be a great fight, and I promise that I’ll be the best I’ve ever been. When I win this fight I can hopefully get a top ten ranking and then who knows what can happen.”

Source: Matchroom Boxing [Press Release]

The post Okolie-Massey and Fitzgerald-Rose Confirmed for July 6 in Manchester appeared first on Boxing Social.

Heavyweight Hopeful Hughie Fury Returns In Manchester

This Saturday night at the Victoria Warehouse, Manchester,  heavyweight hopeful and former WBO title challenger Hughie Fury faces the unheralded – albeit undefeated – Canadian Chris Norrad in a ten-round bout.

 

Fury last year captured the British heavyweight title in spectacular fashion, showcasing underrated punching power to halt Sam Sexton in five rounds; enthralling his local fans at Bolton Wanderers Football Club, as well as a national audience live on Channel 5.

 

The Sexton fight marked a successful return to action following a devastating setback to then-WBO champion Joseph Parker in September 2017 at the Manchester Arena, after the Stockport-born challenger was controversially outpointed by the New Zealander. Many felt that Fury was somewhat unfortunate not be declared the victor following twelve scrappy rounds.

 

Following the Sexton fight, Fury embraced a daunting challenge in October when he travelled to Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria, to face seasoned contender and local favourite Kubrat Pulev in an eliminator for the IBF heavyweight title.

 

Although Fury started the bout in lively fashion, he sustained an unsightly cut in the second round and struggled from that point onwards to make effective adjustments in the face of Pulev’s forward momentum, as the confident Bulgarian – buoyed by vociferous home support – largely cruised to win unanimously on points.

 

Not much is known of Fury’s opponent apart from the fact that he is unbeaten in seventeen fights with eight knockouts. Ultimately, however, Norrad is not expected to extend his perfect record to 18-0 and observers will be keenly analysing the manner in which Fury dispatches of his latest opponent. Indeed, his trainer and father, the respected Peter Fury, has insisted that his charge is equally eager to make a statement with his latest performance.

 

Highly-touted prospect Michael Hennessy also makes his debut on the undercard, while Hughie Fury’s stablemate Hartlepool native Savannah Marshall – the only person to defeat current unified middleweight champion Claressa Shields – also returns to the ring en route to a potential future high-stakes showdown with her old nemesis.

Article by: Navi Singh

Follow Navi on Twitter at: @DarkMan________

The post Heavyweight Hopeful Hughie Fury Returns In Manchester appeared first on Boxing Social.

PREVIEW: Devin Haney Headlines In Maryland

Undefeated lightweight prodigy Devin Haney, Matchroom Boxing’s latest acquisition and – according to promoter Eddie Hearn – the future of American boxing, makes his DAZN debut this Saturday night at the MGM National Harbour, Maryland against Antonio Moran.

 

Haney punches with surgical precision and blistering hand speed, and as a result has amassed an impressive record of 21 wins with thirteen of them being inside the distance. His slick style and scintillating combinations have even prompted comparisons from certain quarters – no doubt also considered hyperbolic and premature by some – with Floyd ‘Pretty Boy’ Mayweather.

 

 

The youngster last year delivered a spiteful beatdown to the then similarly undefeated Mason Menard; showcasing physical strength, poise and patience beyond his years, coupled with a predatory finishing instinct that many consider a necessary attribute to succeed as a professional.

 

Haney also produced an impressive display in February with a comprehensive rout dangerous South African Xolisani Ndongeni on the main event of a Showbox card.

 

The self-proclaimed ‘Dream’ is undoubtedly a major coup for Eddie Hearn as the British promoter endeavours to make significant inroads into the American market, and it was recently speculated that Haney would be challenging Luke Campbell for the WBC title vacated by Danny Garcia.

 

Unified lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko took precedence over Haney, however, and the young American will continue to bide his time and look good before the inevitable world title shot materialises.

 

After two sensational performances at heavyweight, it would have been reasonable for Michael Hunter to believe that he had hit the jackpot when his countryman Jarrell Miller tested positive for a plethora of performance-enhancing substances; something which left unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua without an opponent merely weeks away from a scheduled appearance at Madison Square Garden.

 

Hunter, an accomplished boxer-puncher and former cruiserweight World title challenger, was at one point the betting favourite to ultimately be announced as Anthony Joshua’s opponent for June 1st. Indeed, he would have been a respectable opponent and someone who would have certainly brought some interesting attributes to the table against Joshua.

 

For example, speed, movement, and accurate combination punching that enabled him to spring a surprise against the bigger and stronger Martin Bakole, before pummelling Alexander Ustinov into submission throughout nine rounds. In April 2017, Hunter also produced a decent showing against current pound-for-pound superstar Oleksandr Usyk, seemingly frustrating the Ukrainian slightly in the early rounds, in addition to demonstrating incredible toughness to withstand a late onslaught from the southpaw in the last round.

 

‘Bounty’ Hunter will now be looking to augment his heavyweight credentials and assert himself well and truly as one of the bonafide ‘big boys’ against Fabio Maldonado, an unheralded albeit heavy-handed Brazillian who has knocked out all but one of his victims. Maldonado, a former mixed-martial artists, was previously scheduled to face Nathan Gorman before withdrawing with an injury.

Article by: Navi Singh

Follow Navi on Twitter at: @DarkMan________

The post PREVIEW: Devin Haney Headlines In Maryland appeared first on Boxing Social.

Tyson Fury surprised by Dubois-Gorman: “I wouldn’t let them fight each other!”

Heavyweight star Tyson Fury has expressed his surprise that unbeaten prospects Daniel Dubois and Nathan Gorman are meeting so early in their careers. The young up-and-coming duo clash for the vacant British heavyweight title on Frank Warren’s ‘Heavy Duty’ card at The O2, London on Saturday July 13, live on BT Sport.

Dubois (11-0, 10 KO’s) and Gorman (16-0, 11 KO’s) are both tipped to reach the top by promoter Frank Warren, who believes the loser still has the time and quality to climb to the sport’s pinnacle.

Fury – who fights Tom Schwarz in Las Vegas next month – has confirmed he will be attending the bout, and has been training alongside Gorman in Manchester.

He said: “It’s a good fight and if it was up to me, I wouldn’t let them fight each other because they are both young and unbeaten prospects.”

Also on the card is Olympic silver medallist Joe Joyce (9-0, 9KOs), who could face the winner later this year.

Fury added: “I study heavyweight boxing and they are all good lads. I’ve sparred with Joe, Dubois and Gorman. They are all unbeaten prospects and all big men. Why can’t they do it? It’s there for them to do and it’s not impossible if they dedicate and sacrifice their lives.”

The post Tyson Fury surprised by Dubois-Gorman: “I wouldn’t let them fight each other!” appeared first on Boxing Social.

Five Potential Opponents For Deontay Wilder

With the jury somewhat out on the current state of the heavyweight division, WBC World champion Deontay Wilder was quick to remind the boxing fraternity that he remains one of the sport’s most captivating, controversial and entertaining characters on Saturday evening. After sustaining months of below-the-belt verbal abuse, challenger Dominic Breazeale had his chance to derail his brash compatriot at the Barclays Centre before a capacity crowd.

Wilder – in typically instinctive mood – caught his opponent early and went in for the kill. During the chaos that unfolded, the 33-year-old Breazeale did wobble Wilder as he pursued an early finish – causing the long-reigning heavyweight champion to re-gather himself for a few seconds. Moments later, however, the action was over. The self-dubbed ‘Bronze Bomber’ landed a straight right hand of nuclear proportions – leaving Breazeale with close-to-no chance of beating the count.

Deontay Wilder showed the fans and media alike once again that not only is he blessed with freakish power, but he also has clear vulnerabilities – adding to the must-watch nature of his all-or-nothing fighting style. After nine title defences and months – if not years – of he-said-she-said public negotiations with the division’s elite, where does the 33-year-old go from here? We assess five different avenues that Wilder could be heading down in the near future.

LUIS ORTIZ (31-1, 26 KO’s)

Following a fan-friendly first encounter between the then-unbeaten pair back in March 2018, Ortiz has remained vocal about righting the wrongs of his stoppage loss. The Cuban – who was considered by many to be the ‘Bogeyman’ of the division – had his moments during a competitive contest.

After scoring a knockdown himself in the 5th round, Wilder was fortunate to survive an onslaught from Ortiz in the 7th. The bell prevented what looked an inevitable stoppage, after a barrage of heavy shots rocked the home favourite. The WBC champion showed his powers of recovery, however, as he produced a finish of predatory proportions in the tenth round to close the show.

The 40-year-old Ortiz entered the ring after Wilder’s first round destruction of Dominic Breazeale on Saturday evening, with a post-fight interview perhaps signalling that the rematch is most likely to come next for the ‘Bronze Bomber’.

ADAM KOWNACKI (19-0, 15 KO’s)

Also ringside at Saturday’s heavyweight showdown was the undefeated Adam Kownacki, who seems convinced that he will be in line to face Deontay Wilder in the coming months. The Brooklyn-based 30-year-old has overcame a series of second-string heavyweights in the last two years – including a points victory over former-World champion Charles Martin, and early stoppage wins over Artur Szpilka and Gerald Washington.

Kownacki – who has a sizeable New York fanbase – is rumoured to be taking on former-Wilder foe Chris Arreola in  August, with a victory possibly enough to secure him a shot at the heavyweight World title in either late 2019 or early 2020. The likelihood of this fight being immediately next for Wilder is slim due to the availability of Luis Ortiz, though the Poland-born Kownacki seems nailed on to be next in line should the champion prevail once again against the Cuban.

DILLIAN WHYTE (25-1, 18 KO’s)

With his initial WBC World title eliminator taking place as far back as December 2016 against Dereck Chisora, Dillian Whyte remains in pursuit of a shot at the heavyweight crown. ‘The Body Snatcher’ was left frustrated recently, as the WBC declared Dominic Breazeale as the mandatory challenger for Wilder’s belt at his expense. Whyte had previously been ordered to face Breazeale in an ‘interim’ fight, with an immediate Wilder-Fury rematch in the works. That idea was scrapped, however, when Fury opted out of challenging for the WBC crown once again.

The 31-year-old remains at number one in the rankings of the WBC – meaning he may well get his long-awaited shot at Deontay Wilder in the next twelve months. Whyte must first avoid any potential banana-skin against the undefeated Oscar Rivas on July 20th in London, who should prove to be a tough night’s work.

TYSON FURY (27-0-1, 19 KO’s)

Having outboxed WBC champion Wilder for large parts of their highly-anticipated showdown back in December, Tyson Fury heard the final bell after making an astounding recovery from a seismic knockdown. ‘The Gypsy King’ appeared to have done enough over the twelve rounds to take the heavyweight title back to Manchester, though the fight was dubiously announced as a draw.

Following the largely-disputed result, the WBC ordered an immediate rematch to take place. Fury, however, opted to explore other avenues – with ESPN taking an interest in building his Stateside profile. The 30-year-old takes on Tom Schwarz on June 15th, and though differing television network loyalties may prove to be somewhat an obstacle, a Wilder rematch could still be on the cards if Fury prevails.

ANTHONY JOSHUA (22-0, 21 KO’s)

Keep the faith…

It could still happen. With months upon months of failed talks, finger-pointing and Twitter accountancy, the undisputed fight craved by millions around the world remains on ice for now. If Joshua overcomes Andy Ruiz Jr, however, both of the marquee division’s big guns will surely be eyeing up what would arguably be the biggest fight in the sport.

Personal conflicts, network deals and financial disagreements all complicate the process of making this super-fight. With so much on the line, though, there may come a time in the near future where both parties put their differences aside to give the world the fight the heavyweight division craves so badly.

The post Five Potential Opponents For Deontay Wilder appeared first on Boxing Social.

Devin Haney ready for Moran showdown: “I want to rule the sport as a pound-for-pound star!”

Top contender Devin Haney (21-0, 13 KO’s) firmly believes there is nothing that can stop him in his pursuit to conquer the lightweight division, as he gears up for his DAZN debut against Mexico’s Antonio Moran (24-3, 17 KO’s). The pair meet at the MGM National Harbor, Maryland on Saturday evening, with Haney eager to underline his World title credentials by producing a ruthless display.

Haney – known as ‘The Dream’ – should get an honest night’s work against Moran, who was edged out by former World champion Jose Pedraza over ten rounds in June. Moran has since returned to winning ways with a second round stoppage win in Mexico – but Haney will not let his journey be derailed before he’s hit the heights he believes his talent can take him.

“There’s nothing to stop me from getting to number one, it’s just time,” said Haney. “Timing is everything and my time is going to come. I am only 20 years old, the other lightweights out there better catch me now because I am only going to get stronger and faster so the top guys need to fight me now.
 
“Boxing is something that I love so it doesn’t feel like a job to me, but the job is not done, I want to be a multi-weight champion and I want to rule the sport as a pound-for-pound star. When I am the face of boxing down the line, who knows what will happen, but right now those big goals are keeping me motivated.
 
“Getting the fights I want has been a challenge, a lot of guys have turned me down, saying there’s no point or not making enough money, so that’s been a real challenge. It’s me versus me, when I am in the gym I am so far ahead of a lot of guys that it’s me challenging myself, pushing myself, seeing how far I can go rather than seeing how far I can outrun another guy – how fast can I push myself?

 

 
“The landscape is very interesting right now. A World title is very important to me, over money and anything else, being World champion is the ultimate goal. To be a World ruler at 20 would be history, the youngest in the game. My ring IQ at my age is crazy, I’m able to adapt and adjust, I’ve been in there with so many great fighters like Floyd Mayweather, Shawn Porter, Amir Khan, and I’m able to adjust.”

Haney’s clash with Moran is part of a big night of action in Maryland, where rising heavyweight Croatian talent Filip Hrgovic (7-0, 5 KO’s) will be taking on Gregory Corbin (15-1, 9 KO’s) on his US debut. Michael Hunter (16-1, 11 KO’s) tackles Fabio Maldonado (26-2, 25 KO’s), and WBC World super-lightweight champion Jessica McCaskill (6-2, 3 KO’s) looks to unify the division against WBA champion Anahi Sanchez (19-3, 11 KO’s).

The post Devin Haney ready for Moran showdown: “I want to rule the sport as a pound-for-pound star!” appeared first on Boxing Social.

Keith Thurman ready for Pacquiao showdown: “I’m doing to him, what he did to De La Hoya!”

Ahead of their mouth-watering showdown at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas on July 20th, world-class welterweights Keith Thurman (29-0, 22 KO’s) and Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KO’s) came face-to-face for the first time, with the 30-year-old Thurman promising gathered media that ‘Pacquiao will disappear’.

Thurman – known as ‘One Time’  – returned to action in January with a majority decision victory over Josesito Lopez. Though an entertaining affair, the WBA Super world welterweight champion admitted he was far from his best after a 22 month injury layoff, but now believes the time is right to show ring legend Pacquiao ‘where the exit is’. He said:

“Pacquiao wants a challenge and I’m very grateful to be sharing a ring with a legend. If you understand boxing history, you know that times change. I believe boxing is in a new era. Come July 20, Pacquiao will disappear. He’ll always be remembered in the sport, but I’m doing to Manny Pacquiao, what he did to Oscar De La Hoya.

 
“This is a big fight. I’ve waited 22 months to get back in the game. We had our ups and downs, but Keith Thurman is back on the rise. I’m going to make a big statement.

 

“I’m excited to be the guy who shows Manny Pacquiao where the exit is. He’s a legend who’s done great things. But I’ve never lost to a fighter who’s lost seven times. I have no intention of losing this fight and I don’t see him winning in any shape or form.

 

“Speed, power and overall ring IQ will be the difference. I’m one of the smartest fighters in the sport. I always find a way to win. I know Pacquiao comes in shape, but he’s going to fall short of that finish line.”

 

Eight-division world champion Pacquiao, now 40 years of age, reiterated that he remains hungrier than ever ahead of his clash with the American Thurman. The WBA Regular welterweight champion was quick to pay homage to his opponent, acknowledging he would be facing a ‘great fighter’. The Philippines icon, however, does believe that father time has not quite caught up with him just yet ahead of what he called a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ showdown.
 

 

“I’ve never been scared of a challenge. I’m so excited for this fight against an undefeated champion. He’s the kind of fighter that you can’t underestimate. His record and success gives me more motivation to work hard. I will make sure that I’m 100 percent and ready for this fight. We’ll find out what happens on July 20, but it’s going to be exciting. I like being the underdog for this fight because that gives me more focus in training.

 

“I chose Keith Thurman because he’s undefeated and I want to prove that at age 40 I can still beat a great fighter like Keith. My time is not yet over. My journey is continuing. I’m going to prove that and more on July 20. I will work hard for this fight. I haven’t felt this motivated and excited since the Oscar De La Hoya fight. I feel like I’m back against the best fighters in the world.”

 

“Fans should watch this fight because it’s a once in a lifetime showdown. We’re going to bring action and I’m confident I will be victorious.”

The post Keith Thurman ready for Pacquiao showdown: “I’m doing to him, what he did to De La Hoya!” appeared first on Boxing Social.