Latest Blogs

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

Byad min

Is Frank Warren’s stable strong enough for the new BT Sport deal?

By Jack Price

As you may/must have heard by now, British boxing promoter Frank Warren has landed what he believes to be “British boxing’s biggest ever deal.” The veteran promoter’s BoxNation TV launched its collaboration with fast-rising sports channel BT Sport last week at the BT Tower in London.

 

This is a deal that has been speculated for a while now, and something boxers and boxing fans should be very excited about. BT Sport has become a must-have channel for football fans over the past few years and it looks like they’re looking to do the same in boxing now too, showing just how much boxing has grown and popularised once again over recent years.

 

According to Warren the first big show will take place in early 2017. Following this, BT Sport will be showcasing 20 live domestic fights a year with BoxNation planning on showing 60 worldwide fights, 30 of them being domestic (including the 20 on BT). Making the deal even sweeter, users that are subscribed to BT Sport will get BoxNation for free.

 

So, like I said, this can only really be great news for boxing all round! The fighters currently with Frank Warren will be buzzing at this new platform they’ve been given. Whilst BoxNation was a great channel for hardcore boxing fans, it was rare to find a casual fan that was subscribed to the channel, meaning Queensbury Promotions’ talented young fighters weren’t getting the exposure they maybe deserved. Whereas now, millions of people will be watching them fight and following their career, so expect some new stars to be bursting onto the scene next year!

 

The question I will be asking and maybe answering in this article though, is this: Is Frank Warren’s current stable of fighters strong enough for the new deal?

 

Warren does claim to have almost 60 fighters on the books, two of them being world champions. WBO middleweight world champion Billy Joe Saunders and WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan are the two leading stars under Warren’s wing right now. They are both undefeated and are looking to be in massive international fights very soon, so this deal has come at the perfect time for them.

 

However, when you look through the list of fighters he has, there are not a lot of other names that stand out as being potential domestic and worldwide stars right now. You’ve got the likes of Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith who recently took on Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, falling short and losing his world title, former bantamweight world champ Paul Butler who has bags of talent, Liam Walsh who also looks very talented and set to try his luck on the world stage soon, and 2012 British Olympian Tom Stalker who currently owns the WBO European title but seems to be finding it harder than he thought to make an impact on the pro scene since turning over. Not forgetting the man that beat Stalker – undefeated Lancashire star Jack Catterall.

 

But when you look at the British stars Eddie Hearn has over on Sky Sports right now, this list doesn’t really compete. That’s nothing against the Warren boxers because they are clearly all talented fighters, but they just seem to be lacking the star appeal that the likes of Anthony Joshua, Kell Brook and Ricky Burns have developed over the past few years. Maybe it’s just because they haven’t had the same exposure, I don’t know. But if Frank Warren wants to put on some big, mouth-watering fights he’s going to have to start turning his fighters into stars and getting the fans really interested.

 

In my opinion, he could do with signing some new names, or maybe persuading a few Matchroom fighters to jump ship, something he has hinted at himself. I don’t expect many of the Matchroom men to be tempted because Sky Sports is still the No.1 channel in sports television at this moment, and probably will be for some time, and Eddie Hearn is doing a top-notch job with his fighters right now. But then again there will be some fighters that are either unhappy with the deal they’ve got with Hearn or feel they are not getting enough of the limelight. So in swoops Warren and he’s got himself some new potential stars. Obviously it’s unlikely to be any of the big names but I’m sure there will be a few looking over thinking that maybe the grass is greener on the other side.

 

There’s also the likes of David Haye who isn’t tied down to any specific TV channel or promoter at this moment in time. I’m sure he will be more than willing to have his fights televised on BT Sport as long as the money’s right. Furthermore, Frank Warren would now have a heavyweight superstar to showcase. Right now the only two big men actually signed to him are Alexander Ustinov and Hughie Fury. Whilst Fury, Tyson’s little cousin, may go on to do big things in his career, Haye is head and shoulders above these two in the eyes of many casual boxing fans, still being one of the most popular British stars out there right now. I expect to hear a deal announced between these two very soon.

 

Another deal I think we could see struck up soon is one with Cyclone Promotions, Barry McGuigan’s, who’s known for not seeing eye-to-eye with Eddie Hearn, promotional company who manage arguably Britain’s most talented fighter Carl Frampton. This would again be another great move for Frank Warren because Frampton is another fighter that has massive star appeal, not just domestically but worldwide too. We’ve seen him appear on most people’s pound-for-pound top 10 lists in recent months.

 

Chris Eubank Jr and Amir Khan are two more names that spring to mind when you try to think of who Warren will target. The Eubank’s are very hard people to deal with but I think its fairly clear to see they won’t be working with Eddie Hearn again so this will be the next best place to go. And obviously Amir Khan is promoted by Golden Boy in America who have a good relationship with Frank Warren and BoxNation so this is another likely move.

 

And finally, you’ve got the big man Tyson Fury who will sure to be leading the way, making noise, if he does return to the ring soon. The Manchester giant is the most notorious fighter in the world right now and it’s guaranteed entertainment and fireworks every time with him so I’m sure everyone will be tuning in if he does return on BT Sport.

 

So yeah, things do look on the up for Mr Warren right now and I’m sure the 64-year-old is immensely excited for the coming year. You never know, we could see him take over and become the UK’s No.1 boxing promoter again. Boxing’s a crazy, unpredictable sport. It’s unlikely that will happen with just the fighters he’s got now, but if he can secure some deals with some of the guys I’ve mentioned it will be a good year for everyone involved because there are so many big fights to be made in 2017, and when it comes down to it that’s all we really want to see isn’t it; big fights being made and boxing growing bigger and bigger!

 

For now, we’ll just have to wait and see!

Jack Price @PriceyJ97

Byad min

What next for Luis Ortiz?

By Dominic Chapman: After Saturday nights one sided but very lackluster victory over Malik Scott, there will be a lot of questions on boxing fans minds today. Main one’s being is Luis Ortiz really as good as he has been portrayed? And How does he fit into the heavyweight picture now?

Before last nights fight in Monte Carlo, Luis Ortiz was one of if not the most feared heavyweights in the world. No one really wanted a piece of the 6ft 4in Cuban Southpaw. After recently signing with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing and Hearn himself admitting he wanted Ortiz to be active, it was up to him to find a suitable match for the dangerous Ortiz. Up stepped 36 year old American Malik Scott (38-2-1, 13KOs) who talked his way into the fight.

Scott, once being compared to a ‘Rolls Royce’ by Dereck Chisora due to his slick style and movement around the ring. In what was supposed to be a good fight and fair test for Ortiz, not to mention an opportunity for Scott to cause an upset and throw himself into the heavyweight mix, it became apparent very early on that Scott was just there to survive. It was a very frustrating night for Ortiz who failed to cut off the ring well enough at times and land heavy enough shots to get Scott out of there. Despite knocking down Scott three times in the fight it was a very boring affair and a long 12 rounds before Ortiz got a unanimous decision to take his record to 26-0 (22KOs)

Ortiz’s poor performance could well be a blessing in disguise for the Cuban. A lot more fights will surely open up for him now with other fighters seeing weaknesses in his game. Over night he has went from being the most feared heavyweight struggling to get fights, to a heavyweight with a few flaws in his locker and a growing list of future opponents ready to expose them flaws. I can see Ortiz seeing this as a good thing considering he is 37 years of age, time isn’t exactly on his side. Last night could have just been a bad day at the office and now he could be about to have fighters lining up to face him which if he manages to overcome will propel him to a tittle shot in the near future.

Next in the pipeline for Ortiz is a December 10th bout in Manchester, on the Anthony Joshua Vs Eric Molina under card and with no opponent confirmed as of yet, it will be interesting to see who steps forward to try snatch away his unbeaten record. Especially with many strong opponents out the running with fights of their own around the same time or in the not to distant future.

There is no denying Luis Ortiz is still a powerhouse and feared opponent, but after being heavily scrutinized last night it will interesting to see how his career plays out from here and find out how good he really is.