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News – Fury, Saunders, DeGale, Cleverly-Onyango, Camacho-Molina

Heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury has called Frank Maloney’s bluff after the promoter challenged him to fight his prospect Larry Olubamiwo. The 6 foot 9 inch Fury has won his two professional contests to date with impressive stoppages against European opposition and faces Russian Daniel Peret next time out in Norwich on February 28th live on ITV4.

Fury has had to look outside Britain again after a series of British rivals rejected the fight including Olubamiwo and Prizefighter champ, Sam Sexton. Olubamiwo who calls himself the “War Machine” is unbeaten in his three pro fights but his victims had a less than impressive combined record of just 11 wins from their 93 pro fights. Despite Maloney’s talk though Olubamiwo clearly wasn’t ready to go to war with Fury.

Fury’s trainer and uncle, Hughie Fury explained, “We read a piece after Olubamiwo’s fight last month that Frank Maloney was going around shouting, ‘Bring on Tyson Fury’. I thought great, here’s a British fighter who’s not afraid to take on Tyson. So I rang Maloney up and told him that if his man wanted it he could have it for February 28th in Norwich.

“He started backing down straight away and said he was actually talking about 18 months down the line. What’s he on about? His man is already gone 30 so what’s the point in waiting another year and a half for the fight to happen. That’s the difference between Tyson and these other guys, when he says he wants a fight he wants it.

“Frank says he has the best heavyweight prospects in the UK, with guys like Olubamiwo, Scott Belshaw and Tom Dallas. Well if Olubamiwo isn’t ready why doesn’t he turn up with one of his other heavyweight prospects for Tyson’s fight in Birmingham on March 14th?

“Sam Sexton was the same, I believe he was moaning that he never gets to fight at home in Norwich so when Tyson offered him the chance to fight him at the Norfolk Showground’s there on February 28th all we heard back was excuses.

“We talk about fighting these guys because we want to fight them but you get other people talking about it just to get a headline for their man. We want a British title shot and beating any of these other British fighters is the quickest route to that. We’d rather fight anyone in Britain sooner than these East European’s but at the moment they’re the only guys who will step up to the plate and fight Tyson.

“People say we’re trying to rush him but some fighters have enough class that they can be pushed on quickly. Anyway it’s not like we’re calling out the Klitschko’s or anything. We’ve only mentioned the British heavyweights and let’s be honest it’s a dead division at the moment. He’s sparred some of the top heavyweights around and none of them have bothered him so we know what he’s capable of. That’s why we want a British title shot as soon as possible.

“Part of the problem is to get sparing in the amateurs we travelled around to spar with a lot of these guys. The sparring was enough to put them off. They all know they wouldn’t last in a fight with Tyson so they’re all running ‘down the line’.”

Fury’s promoter Mick Hennessy revealed, “Tyson’s only had two fights but I believe the rest of the British heavyweight contenders are already running for cover. Peret should be a good yardstick for him because he’s already beaten Scott Belshaw and has never been stopped by any of the other British heavyweights he’s fought like John McDermott or Derek Chisora.”

Featuring on the exciting undercard: Danny McIntosh v Matthew Barney for the English Light Heavyweight Title (subject to Boards approval), also appearing Lee Purdy, Matthew Thirlwall, Earl Ling and making his pro debut ABA Senior Featherweight Champion 2008 & awarded the best boxer of the night Royston’s Bradley Evans.

Tickets for Fury – Peret which is part of the undercard of Jon Thaxton’s first European title defence at the Norfolk Showground, Norwich on the 28th February are available from the Ticketline box office on 0871 424 4444 or via


Billy Joe Saunders and James DeGale are recreating the spirit of the 2008 Olympics – by working together ahead of their professional debuts.

The deadly duo will have their first fight in the paid ranks on February 28 at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham under promoter Frank Warren.

And to ensure they are both in tip-top condition they have been sparring together ahead of their big night.

It’s a throwback to the Beijing Games where they represented Great Britain, DeGale going on to win Olympic gold.

“It’s great working with James again,” said 19-year-old Saunders, who has been sparring a number of fighters across the South East in preparation for his debut.

“We must have sparred hundreds of rounds together when we were up in Sheffield at the Institute of Sport, and we are always learning from each other.

“The team spirit in Beijing was superb, and I know we’ll be looking to recreate that when we box together as professionals.

“The professional side of things has a reputation for being a bit selfish.

“But with us all boxing on the same cards up and down the country, it’s a bit like being back in the elite squad, and we’ll keep driving each other on to achieve more and more.”

DeGale, 22, added: “Teaming up with Billy Joe is great. He’s improved so much since the Olympics – but hopefully so have I.

“Sparring has been fantastic and I feel so sharp at the moment.”

And the Olympic champion quipped: “We asked Frankie Gavin along to some of our sessions as well, but he’s lost so much weight recently we didn’t think it would be fair!”

Tickets, priced at £30, £50, £100 and £150, are available from:


Big-punching Samson Onyango says the most powerful man on the planet will be helping him out on Friday night – US President Barack Obama.

Onyango challenges Welsh star Nathan Cleverly for the Commonwealth light-heavyweight title at the Oasis Sports Centre, Swindon, on February 13, live on Sky Sports.

And the hard-hitting Kenyan says he has been inspired by Obama’s recent victory in the US Presidential elections.

Obama’s father was born in Kenya and spent most of his life there, and the President is a hero in the country.

“Seeing someone with Kenyan heritage do so well is such an inspiration,” said Onyango.

“If we can have someone with Kenyan blood in the White House then why can’t we have a Kenyan world champion at light-heavyweight as well!

“Cleverly won’t just be fighting me on Friday night – he’ll be fighting the spirit of all my people.

“I know it’s going to be a hard fight because Cleverly is a good champion but I’m going to be taking the title back to Kenya with me.”

Onyango, who comes from Nairobi, has an 18-3 record and has stopped 13 of his opponents, so could have the edge in punching power.

Undefeated Cleverly, 21, has stopped four of his 14 victims.

“I punch very hard, that’s why they call me The Hammer,” explained Onyango. “I don’t think Cleverly has been in with anyone who punches as hard as me, and he is going to be in trouble on Friday night.”

Thirlwall eyeing British Title title

Bermondsey middleweight Matthew Thirlwall returns to the ring at the Norfolk Showground, Norwich on February 28th Live on ITV4 to kick off what he hopes is going to be a big 2009.

By his own admission Thirlwall has yet to translate the undoubted potential he showed in the amateurs as an ABA Champion and regular England International into professional success. Having recently turned 28 he knows time is running out for him to turn potential into achievement. With his long term injury problems now behind him the Londoner believes he’s within touching distance of a title shot.

“Originally it was my knee but more recently it was an elbow injury that was causing problems,” explained Thirlwall. “I’m over the injuries now. It was very frustrating at the time because everything was so stop – start but I’m feeling great at the moment so I just want to keep as busy as possible this year and get some consistency.”

The Robert McCracken trained fighter says he’ll be keeping a close eye on the upcoming British middleweight title fight between Matthew Macklin and Wayne Elcock with a view to challenging the winner later in the year.

“I think it’s going to be a great fight and I’d love a shot at the winner. I keep changing my mind about who will win but at the moment I’m leaning towards Elcock.

“I suppose it all depends on the night really but I think Elcock’s a rough, strong kid and he could catch up with Macklin in the later rounds and stop him. Macklin’s capable of outboxing him too though so it’s a very hard one to call.

“I’d jump at that chance to fight the winner if it came along. If I can get a couple of good wins under my belt then I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t be ready for a fight like that. It would be a dream come true to fight for the British title and I wouldn’t care who was in the opposite corner as long as I got a chance to fight for the Lonsdale belt.”

Featuring on the exciting undercard: Danny McIntosh v Matthew Barney for the English Light Heavyweight Title (subject to Boards approval), also appearing New Heavyweight Sensation Tyson Fury, Lee Purdy and making his pro debut ABA Senior Featherweight Champion 2008 & awarded the best boxer of the night Royston’s Bradley Evans.

Tickets for Thirlwall’s next fight which is part of the undercard of Jon Thaxton’s first European title defence at the Norfolk Showground, Norwich on the 28th February are available from the Ticketline box office on 0871 424 4444 or via


On Friday February 13th, Star Boxing’s jr. welterweight prospect “The New” Ray Robinson (9-0, 3KO) will look to start the new year with a bang when he takes on fellow unbeaten prospect Darnell Jiles Jr. (8-0-1, 3KO). The bout is scheduled for eight rounds in the jr. welterweight division, and will be the co-feature bout for that evening’s ESPN2 “Friday Night Fights” telecast. In the main event of the evening, Star Boxing’s welterweight knockout artist Alexis Camacho (17-1,16KO) will look to close the show in exciting fashion when he meets the tough as nails Carlos Molina (14-4-1,5KO) in a ten round wetlerweight contest. For Robinson, who was named as one of the “Five Best Prospects to Watch in 2008” and as one of the “Sweet 16, Philly Boxing Prospects on the Rise”, it will mark the first time the young prospect will fight as a co-feature bout on national T.V.

The fight with Jiles, on paper, will be the toughest to date for Robinson. Just like Robinson, Jiles is a young up and coming undefeated prospect. The southpaw Robinson took time out of his busy schedule to sit down and talk about his upcoming fight against Jiles, what it means to be the co- feature bout on ESPN2, why he wears a shirt and tie at his weigh-ins and his plans for 2009.

Q: Ray, thanks for taking time out of your schedule to sit down with us, how has everything been going?
RR: Everything is going great right now. I have had a great training camp for this fight and I am just really looking to getting in the ring on the 13th and starting the New Year with another win.

Q: What do you know about your opponent Jiles?
RR: Well honestly we are very similar. We are both tall, undefeated, talented southpaw fighters. I saw his fight against Lundy on ESPN and know that he is going to be a good opponent for me.

Like every fight I have I am very confident going in. I don’t really worry so much as to what my opponents are going to bring to the table fight night, as long as I go in there and execute my game plan I know I will always come out victorious. I have been boxing for so long I know there is nothing that Jiles will do that I haven’t seen before. Whatever he does I will be able to adapt to it, and then I will make him pay for his mistakes.

Q: This will mark the first time you are fighting as the co-feature bout of the evening and also the first time you are in a scheduled eight rounder. Can you give me your feelings on both of these first time events for you?
RR: I am excited and feel very good that the fight is scheduled eight rounds. Knowing that the fight is going to be eight rounds and also that it is my first scheduled co- feature has really pushed me to work that much harder in training. Being the co-feature is amazing. I work hard in training to see results, and the fact that I am going to be the co-main on ESPN in just my ninth pro fight is a testament to the hard work I have put in. It shows that I am getting better, and also that people are eager to see me perform. I can’t express enough how much I really appreciate this opportunity my promoter Joe DeGuardia has given me.

Q: Now Ray, we know you are a class- act inside and outside the ring, but I can’t remember the last time you were seen without wearing a suit. Even for your weigh-in you step on the scale in a shirt and tie. What is your reasoning behind that?
RR: I am a professional and I want to always look the part. If I were a banker, a lawyer, an accountant or any business professional I would have to wear a suit at all times. Boxing is my career, this is the profession I have chosen. I take my boxing career very seriously and I want people to see that wherever I go. I know it might not be the norm to weigh-in in a suit and tie, but I want to be different. It’s just me being me.

Q: You had a great year in 2008, what are your plans for 09?
RR: I want to just continue to keep busy and not only to continue to win but continue to win impressively. At this stage of my career I use every fight I have as a learning experience. I know that I have things to still work on and so many things I can and need to improve on. I want to just keep working and keep learning from my mistakes so that I can continue to improve and continue to get better each fight out. The fact that I am fighting as the co-main and that it is scheduled for eight rounds shows that I am making improvements from 2008.

Mainly I just want to continue to work hard, continue to learn, and continue to give boxing fans what they want to see. I am still young, I am in no rush right now. I am taking my career step by step. Sometimes young guys get rushed along, especially when you have talent. But my team at Star Boxing has really moved me the right way and I am very excited for what the New Year is going to bring. I just want to keep fighting, keep learning, and when the opportunity for a big fight comes my way I will be ready.

Q: Thanks Ray, anything you want to say in closing?
RR: I just want to thank my family and friends for all the support they have and continue to show me. I want to thank all my fans who come out to watch me fight and look forward to putting on a great performance on the 13th. I want to thank my team for getting me ready for this fight the opportunity to fight in the co-feature on ESPN “Friday Night Fights” next Friday.

The show is promoted by Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing, in association with The Hustler Club. Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased through all livenation outlets or by going online to or Tickets can be purchased for $200, $100, $75, or $40. V.I.P tables are also available for purchase, for details call Star Boxing at (718) 823-2000. Roseland Ballroom is located in New York City at 239 W. 52 Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue. Doors open at 6:30 PM with the first bout scheduled for 7:30.

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