Boxing: Sometimes you need a knock down to win...

Written by Donald C Stewart.

Let’s begin on a positive. Nicola Adams, thanks to the Amateur Boxing Association of England accepting some reforms that AIBA, the world governing body, requested, will be at the Commonwealth Games.

Now... This week has all been about the Pac Man being back and St George getting a raw deal. Before you think this column has turned into a Marvel comic let me explain. Manny Pacquiao bossed and out boxed Brandon Rios in Macau to win on points and wipe out the memory of his last two fights which he lost. St George... that comes later...

David Price now has his date to get back in the ring thanks to his new deal with team Sauerland. He travels to Neubrandenburg on the 14th December to face the Russian Evgeny Orlov. This will be the first time he has been in the ring under new trainer Adam Booth so we are watching with real interest.
Amir Khan, when he is not suggesting people retire seems to be sending off I am facing Floyd Mayweather Jr next vibes. Expect the unexpected as they might say over 4 nights in a London theatre with Monty Python in 2014.

Tommy Coyle and Darren Hamilton are the latest high profile domestic boxers to pitch up at Matchroom. Eddie Hearn hopes to have Coyle in some decent domestic action in 2014 whilst Hamilton will be looking for a European belt come the New Year.

Unfortunately we need to finish on a negative as former World heavyweight boxing champ, Herbie Hide has been jailed for 22 months on a drugs related charge.

Flash Back

With more controversy attached than a Daily Mail headline the Groves – Froch card in Manchester has filled the back and front pages for weeks and days after. Even before the main event there were a lot of negative online comments about the undercard being mismatched but the main event was something else entirely... But first the hors d’oeuvres...

Andy Lee stepped up and took down Ferenc Hafner in the 2nd and it was as I thought it might be and was a comfortable night for Lee.

Luke Campbell faced late replacement Chuck Jones who took Campbell the distance and whilst Campbell was never in trouble this was a very useful workout against a fighter who stood fought and got a lot of plaudits for so doing.

Jamie McDonnell managed to stop Frenchman Bernard Inom in the 7th round and did indeed to put this to bed quite easily. Next should be a step back up towards the IBF title of which he was stripped. Lightweight Scott Cardle got a perfunctory points win against Krzysztof Szot and was rarely troubled.
Super featherweight Stephen Smith won the WBC Silver International title against the durable Sergio Manuel Medina by stopping Medina in the 8th round. This was Smith’s shout out into the big time and it will be difficult to ignore the noise he made.

Anthony Crolla beat Stephen Foster Jr in the 6th round. With so many contests being stopped in the ring there was by now a Tsunami of thought on Twitter et all that the matchmakers had got it wrong... Oh had they waited longer they would have been more righteous... Hold on they were incensed and righteous but it all started at the beginning of the night with Rocky Fielding blasting Luke Blackledge in the first round. I thought it would have been a close contest but it turned into a breeze for Fielding.

The undercard ended with super bantamweight Scott Quigg successfully defending his WBA super bantamweight title against Diego Oscar Silva. He managed to do this by stopping Silva in the 2nd round. It was a devastating display and Quigg can relax into Christmas as a real World Champ.

Then we had the main event. The headlines will read Carl Froch in the 9th round stopped George Groves after having been sent to the canvas in the first. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. George Groves told Carl Froch what he was going to do in the ring. Froch’s camp asked for and was given a tight ring because it was believed that Groves would come out early and box before tiring later in the fight. The Londoner would try and use the ring to bob, weave and hide launching attacks that Froch would need to be able to chase after. Groves entered the ring to boos and jeers. Froch entered to Oasis’ Morning Glory and a crowd that became as partisan as his song choice.

The opening exchanges were all about Groves. He did what he said he would and knocked Froch down. Froch struggled until about the 6th round when we saw Froch finally pick it up a notch and some of the middle rounds are hotly debated as to whom they belonged. By the 8th Froch was starting to take command. In the 9th he pounced and had Groves on the ropes. He hit Groves with some very decent shots and knowing how much of a warrior Froch is and the reputation that Groves has for being “chinny” the referee took a view. In a split second he deemed it that Groves was not defending himself, had turned from Froch and needed to be protected.

The crowd went wild.

In fact they went bloody livid.

Groves took a little longer to explode but the stoppage was in everyone’s eyes – apart from the referee’s, Froch’s camp and the British Board of Boxing Control – premature. It was too early and the brave George Groves who had come in as the underdog and had his day, had also had it ruined. Groves left the ring to his own evening glory; Froch left to boos and jeers.

The history books will tell a story for those who wish to read it. The statistics will not explain that story. Groves wants a rematch. Andre Ward has suggested he would like one too with Froch. Some people are saying, Carl it is time to retire... They have included Amir Khan and the thing is... I never thought that he was finished just yet.

Certainly Froch took some decent shots and at 36 he will take longer than most to repair and be ready for his next fight. If I were him I would take on Ward and call it a day. If he had more in the tank a rematch with Groves would be good but if I was Groves I would take this most exquisite of defeats and chase another world title fight. He is more than ready. If he took on any of the other belt holders he might be in line for a fight against Froch at the end of 2014 that would truly be stratospheric..... I think that is the only way Groves will get a rematch as Froch has admitted a Las Vegas swansong might be the last step on his amazing journey. I don’t think he wants to pack George Groves into his suitcase...

The sour taste was highlighted after the fight by Peter Fury on Twitter. He suggested, and he does have a point, that fighters would think twice about coming over here and trusting the officials after this fight and what happened to Raymondo Beltran against Ricky Burns; it’s a thought.

On Monday the 25th in Glasgow at a slightly less controversial event, light welterweight Stuart Green won on points against Mark Laskowski, light welterweight Eddie Doyle beat Dougie Curran on points and lightweights Ryan McNicol also won on points against Ben Mulligan.

Fast Forward

The week ahead sees November come to an end with the big bang that is Derrick Chisora hitting Saturday night at the Copper Box Arena with his defence of his EBU heavyweight belt. It has seen a change of opponent as he will now face Ondrej Pala. Pala is no mug and should be a very different test for Del Boy. Del Boy has remained confident and I think he w=should come through this test without too many fears.

Frank Buglioni will take on Christian Pawlik for the WBO European super middleweight strap and we should be confident that he will be able to see himself through it unscathed.

Bradley Skeete fights Colin Lynes for the English welterweight title on the same bill and this is a genuinely intriguing contest. Skeete looks the favourite to me but Lynes is no mug. I would hope for a war here.

There was to be the Commonwealth cruiserweight encounter between Nathan Cleverley and Daniel Ammann but Cleverly has damaged his back and had to withdraw so we are denied his debut at cruiserweight.

The 30th also has light middleweight Sam Sheedy against Adam Jones at Sheffield whilst there are evenings of boxing at York Hall, Portsmouth and Wolverhampton.

However we are looking across to Canada as Adonis Stevenson runs into Tony Bellew in his light heavyweight world title fight. Stevenson is a right royal puncher and Bellew has been cautious going into this. Take away the two fights with Isaac Chilemba and Bellew has clearly been ready for this type of tear up for a while. I don’t think it will be easy but i truly hope the likeable Liverpudlian comes back home with the belt, I really do.

Future History

So what can we expect as the festive cheer? Well... on the 6th there are cards in Doncaster, Derby and Colne whilst on the 7th more action in York Hall and the Limehouse in London. In Glasgow on the 7th, in the Gorbals cruiserweight Stephen Simmons headlines a night of boxing that will include Kris Hughes v Jon Slowey for the Scottish featherweight belt; cruiserweight Stephen Simmons faces Hari Miles; middleweight David Brophy faces Alastair Warren; welterweight Craig Docherty faces Tomasz Mazurkiewkz; welterweight Michael Jamieson faces William Warburton and Hugh Gary and lightweight Alistair Black will fight Paul Haines.

The big one though is in Liverpool. It is there that Stephen Ormond faces Derry Mathews for the WBO European lightweight strap; Paul Butler and Ruben Montola face off for the WBO Intercontinental super featherweight belt; Joe Selkirk and Ronnie Heffron do battle for the WBO European lightweight strap; Paul Smith has a defence of his British lightweight belt; Liam Smith puts his British light middleweight belt on the line against Mark Thompson; and Enzo Macarenelli takes on Courtney Fry for the Commonwealth light heavyweight title. We can also look to Swindon for the IBO super middleweight fight between Kelvin Young and Baker Bakarat or Newcastle for the Commonwealth bantamweight fight between Martin Ward and Gabriel Odoi Laryea.

Lightweight Curtis Woodhouse is on a bill in Sheffield the following weekend whilst Gary Buckland is back in Cardiff. The 14th has the huge pre Christmas bill in London where the IBF Intercontinental lightweight fight is between Kevin Mitchell and Brunet Zamora; the EBU welterweight belt will be settled between Leonard Bundu and Lee Purdy; Anthony Joshua faces Dorian Darch; light welterweight John Wayne Hibbert appears; middleweight Martin Murray is back in the ring against Sergey Khomitsky; light middleweight Erik Ochieng faces Dale Evans; bantamweight Jamie McDonnell, middleweight Anthony Ogogu  and cruiserweight Wadi Camacho are also on the bill. Cruiserweight Matty Askins is in Wigan whilst there are fights scheduled in Liverpool too!

On Thursday the 19th middleweight Adam Etches and lightweight Scott Jenkins are in Sheffield whilst Terry Carruthers will face Jason Welburn in Birmingham.

The 21st has Stuart Hall v Vusi Malinga for the IBF bantamweight belt, welterweight Frankie Gavin v Joseph Lamptey and a light welterweight contest between Paul McCloskey and John Fewkes. The following night there’s a ne evening in Manchester as well as Jon Lewis Dickinson v Neil Dawson for the British cruiserweight title in Gateshead, Liam Walsh v Gary Sykes for the British super featherweight tile and Tommy Coyle and Luke Campbell in Hull!
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