“When You Work This HardYou Appreciate It More” – Lewis Paulin Interview

“When You Work This HardYou Appreciate It More” – Lewis Paulin Interview

For boxing fans it is easy to be drawn to the very top of the sport , whether it be the glitz of Las Vegas , A massive stadium fight at Wembley or even watching the glamours World Boxing Super Series , following some of the biggest names in the sport . I think it would surprise a lot of armchair boxing fan to find out that some of the best fights actually happen in sport centres and halls all around the country , right on our doorsteps . On December 16 Lewis Paulin will fight for the Scottish Super Featherweight title against Stephen Tiffney in the Lagoon Leisure Centre in Paisley . This fight see’s two lads from Edinburgh go head to head to see who is the best in Scotland and someones “0” has to GO and Lewis Paulin can’t wait .

“With us both coming from Edinburgh we are deffo fighting for bragging rights , we know each other , we are roughly the same age , we turned pro around the same time it makes sense for us to meet now and the winner will hopefully progress on.” 

MTK Scotland have some great card on this year but this “Christmas Cracker” did seem a little a strange as its in Paisley which is West of Scotland but the show is headlined by two fighter from the east coast .

“Yeah it is strange that its in Paisley but to be fair the venues in Edinburgh aren’t that great for boxing , Glasgow area does seem to have the better venues “

Hopefully it will be busy with i being Christmas time , I know the public response shows there is a lot of people buzzing about this fight so i think it will be a busy show and it should be a good atmosphere”

The winner of this fight could be in a great position to push on to challenge for the British Title which is currently vacant , something that Lewis has thought about .

 ” Of course i have thought about that but i can only look at one fight at a time , hopefully i can dominate Scotland and then push on to the bigger things , but that is deffo a road we would look to go down “

At the start we touched on the Glitz and Glamour at the very top end of boxing but i wanted to know what it was like for guys like Lewis who have to find the right balance of  working there family lives and work around boxing .

‘ It is difficult and it is an issue , unless you have big sponsorship and enough backing  do this full time and you don’t have to worry about working , but we aren’t all as fortunate as that . I do work full time , but my work have been really good giving me time off to travel away to England for sparring so thats helped massively and my sponsors have helped so i am appreciative of that . Hopefully after a big win i hope to get another couple of big sponsors and that would make it more likely i could go full time “

The life blood of any sport comes from the grass roots and in the cut throat world of boxing it is so hard hard to make it as there just isn’t enough money to go round . The landscape is filled with young boxers who just couldn’t get the breaks or funding and regardless of there talent have just gave up on the sport .

“Unless you are one of the lucky ones who have made it to the olympic games its very difficult to get sponsorship , those first few years are very hard . Its once you start to prove yourself thats when more sponsors want to come onboard . Right now i train before work , go to work and then train at night , you don’t get any free time . When you work that hard you will appreciate it more .  

When Lewis was starting out as a young amateur boxed for the famous Meadowbank Amateurs who has brought thru some of the best talent this country has produced , a club which is now under threat due to its home in the Meadowbank Sports Arena going thru a revamp which has seen the club evicted with nowhere to go , I asked Lewis about the full situation .

“I am pretty gutted , the Meadowbank does need refurbished but the club have effectively been made homeless which is pretty poor. The club get a lot of people through the door no they lads have to go train in other gyms which isn’t great . 

“Hopefully they get something set for all the young guys coming through” 

Lewis Paulin vs Stephen Tiffney will take place on December 16 in Paisley . For tickets get in touch with Lewis Paulin through this link or here MTK Scotland .

Full Interview Click Here

Steven Donnell

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Rigo vs Loma~ Preview + Prediction

Rigo vs Loma~ Preview + Prediction

Well what a year of boxing we have had , a year packed with massive fights and a year that has made me fall in love with boxing all over again . From watching AJ pull one out the bag and stop Wladimir Klitschko to GGG and Saul Canelo Alvarez finally getting in the ring together in another fantastic fight , then there was Andre Wards controversial yet fantastic win over Sergey Kovalev in there rematch . This weekend we have a fight that has the potential to top all of the above when Guillermo Rigondeaux takes on Vasyl Lomachenko in bout which is a boxing wet dream in New Yory on Saturday night and i for one cannot wait .

Guillermo Rigondeaux or Rigo for short is a fantastic fighter who has been a casualty of his own ability . It is widely suspected that many boxers including Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg have avoided fighting Rigo , and for good reason . When it comes to skill Rigo is one of the best boxers on the planet , a man who will punish any mistakes with devastating power and accuracy helped by his superb footwork which always sees him in position to get big shots off . This counter punching style has drawn criticism from of the boxing media , with detractors like Dan Reafel who will swear flat out that Rigo is overrated and boring , which for me is crazy talk . Dan is the kind of guy who thinks walking forward is skill , he has no appreciation of the science of boxing of which Rigo is a master . If Rigo does have a flaw it could be his temperament as we seen in his last fight against Moises Flores .In that fight Rigo was really turning it on against the Mexican when inexplicably Rigo floored him a few seconds after the bell , which seen the fight result in a no contest . Rigo is also coming into this fight as the older, smaller man which could also have an impact on how this fight plays out but admittedly Rigo looked in fantastic shape at the public workouts .

Vasyl Lomachenko is the most exciting boxer in the world . A man who’s majestic footwork is an absolute pleasure to watch . He doesn’t just beat his opponents , he breaks them psychologically by outworking , outmanoeuvring and outthinking them , showboating the whole time , like we seen against Nicholas Walters which seen Walter just quit like a dog on his stool . A massive advantage Lomachenko has is that his style is so unique i really don’t see how his opponents can prepare for him in sparring . Loma is so much more than a mover tho, due to his fantastic footwork we see Lomachenko get into unusual position and unload with devastating power , which sees him score some photogenic KOs . Lomachenko has not come up against anyone near the class of Rigo before so this unique style will be put to the test which just makes this fight even more intriguing .

Prediction:

This fight has an outrageous amount of skill and boxing smarts so picking a winner is proving very difficult . I can see a positive outcome for each fighter , I wouldn’t be surprised if Rigo walked Lomachenko onto one and KO’d him, i also wouldn’t be surprised if Loma just beats Rigo down . How do I think it will go ?. I think after a quick and frantic start the pace of the fight is more than Rigo i used to . In the later rounds i think Rigo will feel everyone of those 37 years of his age which might see Lomachenko get the KO . Realistically i think Rigo will have enough street smarts to see the fight out , which will see Loma win quite convincingly on the cards , maybe after a shaky start .

Steven Donnell

The Rogue Anthony Joshua

The Rogue Anthony Joshua

I’m sure every man fantasises about being a multi millionaire , I’m sure we would all love to live a life of excess , travel the world , and I’m sure we have all fantasised and dwelled on the illusion that our lives would be trouble free due to our bulging bank accounts . I’m sure that as young boys we all fantasised about being a sports star, for me personally i used to dream of being a footballer , playing in the champions league in front of 60,000 adoring fans , granted i was an average when it came to talent as a young footballer but that’s the great thing about imagination , it doesn’t need any substance and it can defy the rules of reality . Today along with millions of other average Joe’s i go watch all sorts of professional sports and support guys who had the talent and watch them inspire the next generation to dream .

Antony Joshua is all of the above , he is a boxing superstar in the UK , he is a man that has came from humble beginnings to one of highest paid boxers on the planet, a man living all our dreams . A major factor in AJ’s success is the way in which he has been promoted by Eddie Hearn , Hearn has created an image of AJ that everyone can buy into and in doing so he’s created a product that big business will fall over themselves to be associated with , it really is the blueprint on how to make a superstar , but lately is there signs that this facade has started to crack ? .

A couple of weeks ago as Eddie Hearn was in New York seeing the launch of his first Matchroom show in the US when a very a out of character tweet to Tyson Fury from AJ’s verified account said ” @Tyson_Fury get fit you fat fuck” , this tweet flew into the face of the squeaky clean image that Eddie Hearn has tried so hard to project of Joshua , but what ensued next between IFL’s Kugan Cassius and Rogue AJ was actually entertaining and refreshing , have a look .

Then a week or so after this twitter exchange there was something even more bizarre and a bit more sinister to come from Rogue AJ on twitter . Eddie Chambers took to twitter claiming Joshua had sent him a tirade of abuse on twitter , and even a slight undertone of racism , again have a look .

I am the first to admit that this really doesn’t feel like AJ but for me Matchroom and Joshua’s silence has bee deafening . Eddie Hearn went on the defensive and claim it was a fake account , then 5 days later changed his story to he thinks the account has been hacked , but between these tweets Joshua had been active on his twitter posting pictures of his holiday in Dubai . Rouge Joshua has not limited to twitter , this week he took to snapchat and gave his views on Zimbabwean President/Tyrant Robert Mugabe being forced to resign due to pressure from his own people and the international community , a man who has ruled with an iron fist , using torture and greed to force his country into near starvation aswell as promoting Anti White propaganda . Here is what Rogue AJ had to say .

: “Why do they despise Robert Mugabe?” He later posted a selfie along with the caption: “Mugabe… is your view what you’ve been told?

““Or what you have learnt through research? Or what you’ve been programmed to know via media outlets?”

Now i am not one for letting a boxer influence my views on world affairs , especially not one who asked Kugan Cassius if Sri Lanka was in India , but this kind of talk is dangerous and irresponsible and if it is not the real Anthony Joshua , then Joshua and his team should be in the public eye trying to distance themselves from these image damaging comments. There is no doubt that Rogue AJ is far more interesting than the the AJ we have been spoon fed over the years but this race driven undertone doesn’t sit right with me . I do hope this is some hack but as i have eluded to , the reaction of his team does not fill me with confidence .

Steven Donnell

What We Learned About Carl Frampton- Frampton vs Garcia Review

What We Learned About Carl Frampton- Frampton vs Garcia Review

Sometimes as a boxing fan it is hard to see one of your favourites boxers start to suffer at the hands of every boxers nemesis , Father Time . We as fans find ways to justify the slide of our favourite fighters , it becomes difficult to know when your giving an honest opinion or if your just lying to yourself .On Saturday i found myself in such a position when watching Carl Frampton make his long awaited return to the ring in Belfast against Horacio Garcia .

As The Jackel made his way to the ring the atmosphere was electric as the Belfast crowd welcomed home one of there most famous sons . Across from him in the ring was a Mexican kid called Horacio Garcia who had a record of 33-3-1 but was pretty much an unknown and a massive outsider with he bookies . After 10 months out of the ring Frampton was looking for someone to give him rounds but from the off Frampton showed little signs of ring rust and after landing some massive shots in the first couple of rounds it did look like this one could be over early . After a shaky start to the fight it became apparent that Garcia had come into this fight in fantastic shape and just kept plodding away at Frampton .

Frampton had won every round going into the fifth but was starting to look a bit weary , his legs looked a little bit heavier also and with Garcia applying constant pressure there was no chance of getting a rest . As we past the halfway point Frampton had slowed considerably and Garcia was going from strength to , it must be said Garcia was in no way flashy with his work but he was consistent and was having success pulling Frampton into a scrap . The pressure was further still put on Frampton when in the seventh round a slip and well timed shot was enough to send Frampton down . There was glimpses of magic from Frampton , he was landing some fantastic shots but all to often he was getting caught against the ropes and Garcia was working the body which was taking such a toll on Frampton . Carl Frampton finally stopped the rot in the tenth and final round , where he dug deep and stood toe to toe with Garcia and got the better of him , and on my card Frampton needed the final round . Frampton walked out the clear winner on all the cards which didn’t really reflect on just how tough a fight it was…..Framptons swollen face did .

The Verdict:

This was Carl Framptons first fight since January and it did show at times , and it has to be said that the tough Horacio Garcia might not have been the best opponent to come back to depending on which way you want to look at it . The Ring Rust wasn’t what stood out to me , i thought some of Framptons shot selection, especially early on was fantastic he also looked to carry the more power of the two . What stood out to me was that Frampton really looked to be feeling the pace after four rounds and this where my dilemma lays , has time caught up with The Jackal in his extended absence ? . The jury is still out just now and I’m sure we will know better after Framptons next fight but i cant help but think that Leo Santa Cruz or Lee Selby will be licking there lips at the thought of going to Windsor Park in the summer .

Steven Donnell

Preview + Prediction~ Conlan vs Ancajas

Preview + Prediction~ Conlan vs Ancajas

Boxing is often called a gentleman’s sport , that is of course by those guys involved in the ring , for fans boxing can bring out our inner caveman . For most fans what we want to see is a bloody battle that pushes the boundaries of what punishment a human body can take ,pushing it’s limits to near exhaustion and that will be rewarded by plaudits , respect and in some cases it will take its place in history and looked upon for decades . It is often said that the Mexican style of boxing is the most entertaining , toughest and all round the best style the sport has to offer for fans . Now granted this balls to the wall style is not good for a fighters health nor his/her career longevity , for spectators tho it will give us the most memorable of fights . This weekend we will see Irelands Jamie Conlan take on Jerwin Ancajas for the IBF Superflyweight World Title

Jamie “The Mexican” Conlan

Jamie Conlan is known and loved by fans for his all action “Mexican Style” which see’s his fights usually involve multiple Knockdowns for Conlan and his opponent , with all the blood and guts to go with it . When people talk about Conlan they sometimes tend to forget that he is a skilled boxer , who has good power with very good shot selection which seems to be over shadowed by his willingness to get into a battle , which is great to watch but means you are playing with a time bomb . Just last year we seen Jamie nearly come unstuck in last years fight of the year contender against Anthony Nelson for the Commonwealth Tittle fight . As both men got tore into each other we seen the pendulum of the fight swing countless times before Conlan finally got the stoppage . Nelson like so many others found it to easy to hit Conlan at times , something you may get away with at Domestic/European level but not at world level . I have no doubt Jamie will have worked on his defence and more importantly staying disciplined for this fight , he has know exactly when to throw and more importantly when not to throw .

Jerwin Ancajas

It wasn’t to long ago Ancajas was being tipped to be the next Manny Pacquiao and although Ancajas might not have reached that elite level of the Pacman yet it does show the kind of expectation on this lads shoulders . I will admit i have only seen Ancajas twice but both times he did look very impressive . Ancajas has a variation of styles , he can switch from lethal counter puncher to a pressure fighter in the blink of an eye . I was also very impressed with how he timed opponents attacks beating them to the punch . There are times when Ancajas wildly lunges in to attacks which could be the eagerness of youth or just lack of respect for lower level opposition as each time he was never punished for leaving himself open , an invitation I’m sure Jamie Conlan will be praying comes his way .

Prediction

I have been a fan of Jamie Conlan for a long time now , i love willingness to risk everything in every fight . I love the fact that Jamie never wants to be in a dull fight but sadly i think the battler in him is going to be his downfall . Ancajas is a top quality opponent who carries power in both hands and has the quality to match . I think as Ancajas frustrates Conlan , Conlan may get desperate and leave himself far to open . For me this fight doesn’t get past the middle rounds , i think Ancajas will get the stoppage . I will say this , i have never wanted a prediction to more wrong than this one , if Jamie Conlan can somehow pull this off it will be the best title win this year for me .

Steven Donnell

A Heavyweight Conundrum

A Heavyweight Conundrum

Back in the the early to mid 90’s Heavyweight Boxing was as strong as it had been at any time through history , guys like Evander Holyfield , Riddick Bowie , Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson to name a few filled the top ten , bizarrely there was even a time in 1995 when there was not a Champion in Ring Magazines top 5 . Now those days have past , and to be quite frank I’ve long since accepted that they will never return , heavyweight boxing has lost that glamour , that glitz and most of all that kind of talent .IMG_0023

Fast forward to 2017 and after an optimistic few years the division is again looking very weak and that is causing big problems for British Heavyweight Anthony Joshua . Joshua is nothing short of a marketing phenomenon , from Olympic Hero to Heavyweight Champion of the World and still keeping his media friendly “boy next door” persona intact , has seen Joshua and Eddie Hearn sell out the biggest stadiums the UK has to offer , AJ truly is a once in a generation marketable asset in boxing …..There is just one problem , competition .

As i write this there are two other World Champions in the mix in Joseph Parker and Deontey Wilder , both of whom have nowhere near the status of Joshua but that might not matter when it comes to negotiations . This week we have heard Parkers promoter David Higgins say that Eddie Hearns offer for a unification was “An insult” , reports suggest that the offer was in the region of 10% , which would be Parkers biggest ever pay day but with Higgins suggesting they where looking for closer to 40% both parties seem way off and it’s a similar story with Wilder as he is demanding a 50/50 split which again seems crazy , or is it ?.IMG_0022

It seems to me that Parker and Wilder have realised that the lack of talent at the top of the heavyweight division increases there stock to a more than there talent or popularity deserves to be valued at . It would also seem that Joshua needs Wilder and Parker more than they need him . I have no doubt that Wilder and Parker would happily fight other lower opposition leaving AJ and Hearn in the cold with more and more pressure building on them as each fight passes from there massive fan base to get the unifications made , Hearn will need to pay far more than Wilder and Parker are actually worth to get these fights made , this could bring a whole new meaning to “Earn with Hearn ”

Steven Donnell

Dejan Zlaticanin Interview : An Old Skool Fighter

Dejan Zlaticanin Interview : An Old Skool Fighter

Before we get started let me paint you a picture , lets roll back a few years , back to a summers night in Glasgow 2014 . There is an air of optimism surrounding the bout for the WBC International Lightweight title in Braehead Arena , a night where Ricky Burns was going to get his career back on track after a contentious draw with Ray Beltran that was followed up by the loss of Burns WBO Lightweight title to future P4P superstar Terrence Crawford .The general consensus was that Burns would win this fight and get into position for a shot at the WBC Crown, all that stood in Ricky’s way was Dejan Zlaticanin , a little known 18-0 fighter from Montenegro , Well we all know what happened next .

 

 

Dejan recalls “I can remember almost every detail from the moment i stepped in the UK . There was so much excitement , not just because i had a tough test against a two weight world champion , but also the same day my had wife gave birth to my daughter Sofija. I was so excited and i knew nothing was goin to stop me beating him (Burns) and devoting the win to her” . That was the night Dejan broke my heart , but that was also the night Dejan Zlaticanin announced himself to the boxing world .Dejan really took Burns apart in Glasgow that night , even dropping Ricky in the process , no one knew Dejan Zlaticanin when he came to Scotland , but everyone knew him when he left .

Winning the WBC Internatinal Title in Glasgow moved Dejan up the ranking and it wasn’t long before he was fighting for the real thing . In 2016 Dejan Zlaticanin beat Bolivia’s  Franklin Mamani for the Vacant WBC Lightweight Title , He says ‘When i beat Mamani i made history and became the first man from Montenegro to win a World Title, I touched the sky that night and the feeling was unbelievable “. One would be forgiven for thinking Dejan would be a superstar in his home nation , i mean being the first person from your nation to be World Champion is a massive achievement , monumental even ?. Well you could imagine my shock when i asked Dejan if after achieving what he had achieved , has boxing became more popular in Montenegro and if that was his legacy , he answers “No ! They didn’t respect my achievements like they needed to do . If i was from the UK i would get all that respect . You know I didn’t even win sports  man of the year award because of some law . People in Montenegro don’t know what it means to be WBC Champion of the world “. But Dejan doesn’t let that lack of acknowledgement stop him from giving back to the children of Montenegro  “My Brother and I open our Boxing Gym and we get a lot of kids in there , and that makes me happy as it keeps them safe and off the streets” 

Once Dejan had won his World Title we seen the return of the “Champion in recess” Jorge Linares to the ring from a layoff with injury as “WBC Diamond Champion” who the WBC said should fight Zlaticanin to see who was the true champion of the division . This was a fight fans wanted to see but as time went by it became apparent that this was another case of a “Great Fight That Never Was” , Dejan says “Linares is a fighter who studies his opponents and will avoid them ,that’s what he did when he was supposed to fight me , that’s what he’s doing to Mikey Garcia now . Boxing fans don’t like that, he’s not an old school fighter ”  . Now that the Linares vs Garcia fight seems to have fallen through i asked Dejan if he would be trying to chase the Linares fight down for his return to the ring . “I would like to fight Linares , He doesn’t need to run from me now he’s seen i have a weakness ‘(referring to his KO loss to Garcia ) but i think he’s still scared to fight me , He knows i only need to catch him with one one good punch and fight would be over . We as boxers fight for the fans and give them the fights they want to see , if you avoid these fights that’s bad for boxing and means your not a real champion”

IMG_0014

In Dejan’s last fight he had hit the big time fighting in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas , the Mecca of boxing against the returning Mikey Garcia “The MGM is incredible . It was unbelievable for someone from Montenegro like me to go there and fight ” .The very talented Garcia was on top form that night and scored a third round KO , Dejan tells “I just wanted Mikey to stand in the centre of the ring like a real Mexican and we could exchange punch for punch , bur Mikey was to smart for that and he deserved the win”.  But although Dejan accepts Garcia deserved his win , Dejan tells us he didn’t have the best build up to the fight “There was a lot of thing that meant I wasn’t going to be leaving Vegas the winner . I had some difficulties in camp but I didn’t want to pull out this fight , i am a fighter but this time it just didn’t go to plan” . Mikey Garcia is widely viewed as one of the best in the business , a real fighter who only wants the best fights , i asked Dejan what it was like to share the ring with Garcia ? . ‘                                    “Garcia is an excellent fighter , he’s very intelligent and a big puncher but he looked better that night than he actually is because i was not in my element . That night it felt like i had been hypnotised and worst of all i was slow , i really don’t know what happened to me in that ring , i felt like it wasn’t me in the ring that night “. 

Dejan Zlaticanin is the kind of fighter that will always get fans tuning in , and i really look forward to his long awaited return to the ring . Dejan is the kind of boxer who will fight anybody and i cant help but think if Jorge Linares really wants to validate his CV here is a man ready and willing  .

Steven Donnell