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BySteve Wellings

A Hard Night’s Work for Joseph Parker in World Title Win

By Steven Donnell

Steven takes a look over Parker’s WBO success over Andy Ruiz Jnr on Saturday

This fight was a great change of pace for us over here in the UK (something I could definitely get used to). Up and out of bed at 9.30 AM on Saturday morning. Sober, fresh and ready to watch the highly-rated Joseph Parker take on Andy Ruiz (a man who might not look like a professional athlete but is still talented all the same) for the WBO world title that had been stripped from Tyson Fury. 

The last time I had watched Parker I wasn’t too impressed if I’m honest, but I was willing to put it down to just one of those nights that every boxer has once in a while. I was looking forward to seeing how he coped with Ruiz, and when the fight got started, his quick hands, power and movement looked as if it was going to be big a task for the American.

As Parker came out for the second round he must have been thinking the same as me, and if he was thinking like that, he wouldn’t be for long. Ruiz had been told to throw solid jabs to Parkers midriff and that is exactly what he did while easily taking the second and the third rounds and as his shots were landing you could see Parker wince. Going into the middle rounds, Parker was noticeably reluctant to engage as any time he did, Ruiz was getting the better shots in. The middle rounds are where the fight was won in my opinion.

parker-ruiz-boxing

Parker was still not engaging or allowing Ruiz to tie him up, and was using those fast hands of his to establish his jab perfectly  but Andy Ruiz was just letting the shots land before following Parker, rather than closing him off and tying him up. He needed to draw Parker out his comfort zone and into a fight, where Ruiz looked too much for the big Kiwi. You could tell Ruiz had never been 12 rounds before. He looked wary of closing Parker down, as he might gas going into the later rounds and it was this decision that I believe cost him this fight. This was a close fight and going into the 10th I had Parker up by two rounds, but in the 10th you got the feeling that the tide was starting to turn towards Andy Ruiz. Surprisingly, it was Parker who was slowing up and Ruiz was finding it easier to get in range (it even looked like he shook Parker up on the bell). I gave Ruiz rounds 10 and 11, making the last round vital, which you had to give to Parker who went back to his jab-and-run tactic to stop the rot. 

 As it went to the judges cards, I couldn’t help but think that with Parker being the local lad, he would be up by seven rounds or something crazy like that. Watching fights in the UK can do that to a person, but when the first card came in as a draw, you knew there wasn’t going to be any funny business here. The other two judges gave it to Parker 115-113 and you couldn’t really argue with any of the cards. However, I couldn’t help but think that if Ruiz just had more faith in his gas tank then there would have been a big upset in New Zealand. The middle rounds hurt Ruiz as Parker did not win those rounds, so much as Ruiz gave him them.  

So to sum it up, again Andy Ruiz was a pleasant surprise. For a guy carrying so much excess fat, he really can shift (and by the looks of it can go 12 rounds no problem), but is he world level? Well, I wouldn’t go that far just yet but he is a decent prospect. As for Joseph Parker, I was underwhelmed to say the least. He didn’t win this fight by being a better boxer, he won this fight by being a taller person.

The jury might still be out for me with Parker but I am leaning towards him being nothing more than a hype job when it comes to fighting at world level.  

 Steven Donnell @Dinobhoy86 

Photo Credits: BoxNation and TVNZ

BySteve Wellings

MMA Striking vs. Boxing

By Aaron Richardson

Since its inception MMA has been considered the purest form of ‘fighting’ and some throughout the world would agree.

Judo/wresting/sambo – Grappling
Karate/Mui Thai/Takewondo – Kicking (primarily)
Boxing – Punching

But boxing, or ‘striking’ as MMA fans and enthusiasts like to call it, is pivotal in an MMA fight. It helps create distance, it is used as as a set up for a takedown, or it is used just like boxing for a knockout. When there is a ‘major’ crossover it doesn’t happen often but the outcomes depend solely on the arrogance of the participants.

1. Former heavyweight champion Ray Mercer knocked out former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia in eight seconds.

2. Former UFC HW/LHW champion Randy Couture submitted former lineal middleweight champion James Toney at UFC 118.

James Toney had such an insane fall from grace. From a 2003 beating of Evander Holyfield to not being able to make money boxing, to a second shot at the limelight in the UFC (which in reality, given his known attitude, Toney was never going to become a grappling expert in three months). All-American Wrestler Randy Couture beat Toney with absolute ease using just that – his grappling. He never let Toney use his impressive hand skills.

Tim Sylvia has stated in the years since his brutal knockout loss to Mercer that his plan was to takedown and submit the veteran boxer. Holly Holm vs. Ronda Rousey was slightly different as Holm had been competing in MMA for a few years (sucsessfully). That being said, Holly Holm was a decorated boxer before she began MMA. This fight stood out as Rousey had her own striking credentials to brag about, most notably KOing Bethe Correia. And a couple of other half decent ‘strikers’. Rousey came into the fight thinking her boxing was on par with Holm’s and instead of doing what others did, which was play to their own strengths, she thought she could outbox the boxer and was outclassed in every ‘striking’ aspect possible.

To any MMA fans/purists reading this, it’s the equivalent of submitting three or four whitebelts in Judo or Jujitsu then you face a blackbelt and they wrap you up like a Xmas present and choke you out.

Boxing in MMA is taught differently in MMA Gyms

I’ve personally coached in one in my town and trained at a couple throughout the North and the lack of both knowledge and understanding of the basic fundamentals is unbelievable. Timing is slower, footwork can be an afterthought and defence is taught with kicking variations (it has to be to be fair). Boxing is still just one aspect of fighting that has diehard MMA fans chomping at the bit whenever there is someone who could become a threat to the ‘king of all disciplines’ rule.

Like Conor McGregor…..

McGregor was a standout amateur boxer as a youth and teenager who made the transition to MMA in his teens. Charismatic, cocky and talented he has undeniably taken MMA to the next level in terms of popularity and revenue. Every win he gets is a KO or a stoppage, usually from a specific combination or a precisely-timed punch. That’s all boxing because of his background. That’s not MMA Striking. Because of this fact, many MMA websites size Conor up against top boxers like Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather to try and say, “We’ve got a guy who can throw down too” and pretty much have him as a product of MMA who happens to be a fantastic boxer. In reality he is a good boxer with a lot of power AND basic footwork. Which in my opinion further illustrates the lack of boxing talent in MMA, but it wasn’t done with Holly Holm, possibly as Holm has a heavily decorated Boxing backgound. Forgetting that when Conor began, his base was boxing.

Ultimately, each side has its detractors but being a boxer I’d have to side with or very own brand of fisticuffs.

@RampageDuke82

Photo Credit: Empower Network

BySteve Wellings

Does Anthony Joshua hold the credentials to become one of the greatest boxers ever?

By Shay Sillitoe

I am going to begin my first piece on the name that is upon the lips of every boxing fan and professional alike – Anthony Joshua. The man is an absolute animal, punishing every opponent that dare step in the ring with him. Boasting an impressive 18 fights, 18 wins and 18 knockouts record he is well on his way to establishing himself as one of the most feared fighters not only in Britain, but the world.

 After a comfortable and professional win over a frightened looking Eric Molina last night, promoter Eddie Hearn announced the super fight all Joshua fans are asking for – a bout with former world champion Wladimir Klitschko. I firmly believe that if Anthony Joshua can win this fight on April 29, he could beat anyone. This will certainly be his most difficult fight to date and will prove a huge test for Joshua, having never gone further than the seventh round, this will not only be a test of strength but also the stamina that Joshua has.

This is going to be a massive step up for Joshua. He has boxed fighters that haven’t really been household names but he has done it professionally and comfortably. His biggest stumbling block came against Dillian Whyte who shook Joshua in the second round with a good combination, something Joshua hadn’t experianced in his professional career. However, Joshua did knock out Whyte in the seventh round and proved once again how much of a professional he is and despite many critics and professionals saying he may not have the stamina to get to the late rounds, he did and he did it very well indeed.

Last night was a completely different fight to the bout against Whyte. Joshua was boxing a very, very negative Eric Molina. He expressed in the post-fight interview that it was difficult to fight a negative boxer as they do not create many opportunities, so you have to create them yourself. This just shows that Joshua is a very intelligent fighter, that may not have the experience of a Klitschko or Haye, but has the knowledge of what to do when coming face to face with different types of boxers. Joshua will probably find that, especially when climbing to the top, he will very rarely come across another opponent like Molina, who was almost flinching at every punch Joshua threw. But it is great experience for him and it will add to the vast fighting knowledge he already has.

So does Anthony Joshua hold the credentials to become the greatest? Could we have another Muhammad Ali amongst us? I believe we do. He is fast, he is accurate, he holds an incredibly hard punch and above all, he is very intelligent, which is an important trait in a future boxing legend.

 Follow @ShayDSillitoe

Other articles you might enjoy: Was David Haye right to verbally assault Eddie Hearn?

BySteve Wellings

Was Haye Right to Attack Hearn?

By Dean Henwood

Hayemaker made friends with Hearn verbal assault but was the rant justified?

After nearly four and half years since his last big fight, the Haymaker David Haye looked to have that hunger and desire back and it was great to see. But after Tony “Bomber” Bellew finished having his say, what was to come from Haye came as a bit of a shock to say the least. Instead of firing straight back at Bellew he decided to quickly interrupt Eddie Hearn’s introduction of him and go straight on the attack at none other than the Matchroom promoter himself.

Claiming that whilst he has been away from big fights he has sat back and noticed that it’s become the Eddie Hearn show and this will give him the chance to shut his mouth. Does he have a point? Or is this a bit of jealousy kicking in? Over the last three or four years British boxing has risen and a big part of that is down to Sky and the Matchroom stable. But as Haye pointed out, Eddie Hearn does seem to love the limelight. If it’s on a YouTube video, Twitter, walking his fighters to the ring, sharing their interviews or even announcing and asking questions at the press conferences – even when head of Sky Sports boxing Adam Smith is sat right next to him!

Haye claims that Eddie is not letting his boxers become the stars that they deserve to be as he is always there poking his head in front of the camera. What we can say is that Hearn is a top promoter and has helped provide a platform for his fighters, delivering title shots for many of his stable, but other than Anthony Joshua, there are not many of his fighters who have become world stars. If you take Kell Brook for example, a super-talented boxer who came through the hard way and finally got his shot and won the IBF Welterweight title beating Shaun Porter in the US. Now you would of thought this would have made Brook into a big star and open all sorts of doors especially in the States. But since winning that title Brook has gone on to fight low level opponents such as Jo Jo Dan, Frankie Gavin and Kevin Bizier. Yes GGG was a huge fight but it was also a huge mismatch.

In a weight division that has big names such as Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Timothy Bradley, Jessie Vargas, Amir Khan and even Manny Pacquiao coming back into the mix, Brook has not fought any of these names, yet Porter has fought Thurman and had a big fight with Adrien Broner. Thurman is now fighting Garcia while Vargas just had a big fight with the Pacman.

So yes, Hearn is delivering, but is he delivering big and is he allowing his fighters to become mega stars?

Two fighters who are big names globally are David Haye himself and Amir Khan, who is huge in America, and they are not with Matchroom.

So is the Haymaker right? I’ll leave it with you.

Follow @deanhenwood84

Read more: It’s decision time for Billy Joe Saunders after middleweight return

Photo Credit: Mirror.co.uk

BySteve Wellings

Decision Time for Billy Joe Saunders

By Steven Donnell

For a few years now I have been on the Billy Joe Saunders hype train. I mean, how could you not love a man who “skooled” Chris Eubank Jnr and then had no problem rubbing it in his face at every opportunity? So when I heard Saunders was coming to my hometown of Paisley, I was buzzing as I was going to get to see the man himself after a 12-month absence from the ring due to injury, or if you believe some of the rumours it was due to him just not being arsed.

Donnell disappointed after Saunders’ laboured WBO title defence

Saunders’ opponent was Artur Akavov, an unknown who I had never heard of (I had even called him a bum before the fight and openly slated the guy on twitter) but I was willing to give Saunders a pass on this fight just to see him back in the ring and putting on a show. As both men entered the ring, I was already planning where my friends and I were going after the fight and whether we should order a taxi as this wasn’t going to last long. But halfway through the first round, that didn’t look like it was going to be the case. Billy looked to be struggling with guy who looked, well to be honest, very basic.

Akavov you could tell had very limited ability but was a pressure fighter. He just seemed to keep charging forward swinging. Granted he was missing most of the time but he was forcing Saunders onto the ropes and even more worryingly, Saunders wasn’t countering these wild swings for the first four or five rounds from what I could see. That famous Saunders jab was nowhere to be seen and Billy really did look to be in trouble. All the credit in the world has to go to Akavov for that – this guy had balls and came to fight. To be fair to Saunders he did get better as the fight went on, but at the end of the 12th round I thought Akavov had done enough to dethrone Saunders but obviously that was never going to happen. Not here in the UK, anyway, where we witness some of the worst decisions in boxing today. These judges made sure that Billy left with his belt but his pride must have been bruised and battered.

So what’s next for Billy Joe Saunders?

Well Billy is at a crossroads for me and here is why: there are some massive fights out there for Billy, like Canelo Alvarez and GGG yet I have serious doubts as to whether he has the hunger and the desire to make them. Billy has to ask himself if he wants to be a professional or part-time boxer and decide if he want to keep his World Title and get these big fights made or does he want to lose it to a nobody like Akavov? Billy is at a stage of his career where he can’t be going up to 210lbs as it is killing him to get back down to 160lbs and every time he does this, a bit of him will go with it. Am I saying Saunders is finished? Absolutely not! For me Billy Joe Saunders is still one of the best talents in the UK but Saturday night was a sign of things to come if he doesn’t change his ways.

Steven Donnell @Dinobhoy86

Photo Credit: Getty Images