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News: O’Connor Defeats Jimenez, Egan,Taylor, Barnes, Jeffries, More

BRITAIN’S Olympic bronze medallist Tony Jeffries has signed a three year promotional deal with Frank Maloney. ‘Jaffa’, 23, will be managed by his father, Phil and trained by Joe Gallagher. Jeffries will steal a march on his fellow Olympians when he becomes the first member of the British squad to have a professional contest.

He debut takes place at Barnsley Metrodome on Friday 27th February and will be televised live by Sky Sports.

Although the Sunderland boxer had Olympic glory at light-heavyweight he hopes to eventually campaign professionally as a super-middleweight.

Jeffries has 95 amateur fights, represented England 56 times, and won seven national titles, five European medals and nine multi-national medals before his success in Beijing.

After becoming the first Olympic medallist from Sunderland, Tony was voted BBC North East’s Sports Personality of the Year.

He said: “Once I met Frank it was a very easy decision for me to sign with him even though there was another offer that was better financially.

“It is not always about money and I felt comfortable talking with Frank. I had a list of things and he ticked every box.

“As soon as we met I knew he was serious and offered me that date at the end of February.

“I love training, but it feels even better in the gym now that I have a date for my first professional fight. All I want to do is get in the ring and fight.”

Maloney expects Jeffries to box at least twice in his hometown this year and added: “I am sure Tony is going to have many great nights in Sunderland that will always be remembered.

“The north-east has been starved of top quality professional boxing in recent times, but Tony is about to change all that.

“This is a long term project and I believe that with the right opponents picked by myself and his dad, Phil he will become a world champion.”

Maloney is the only British promoter to have two Olympic bronze medallists in his stable. Jeffries joins Ireland’s middleweight bronze winner Darren Sutherland.

Sutherland, 26, is also campaigning as a super-middleweight and a clash between the pair is a and 0871 226 1508.

Top of the bill on this historic night in Barnsley is Rendall Munroe’s (17-1) European super-bantamweight title defence against Spaniard Kiko Martinez (20-1). Also on the bill Derby’s Scott Haywood (19-2) challenges WBC ranked number three light welterweight Ajose Olusegun (25-0) for the Commonwealth light-welterweight title. natural.

Maloney predicted: “In 18-24 months it will be one of the biggest fights anywhere and there is nothing to stop it happening.”

For all the latest updates on the best prospect in British boxing check out Tony’s fantastic website or

Tickets for Tony’s professional debut are on sale priced £35 and £75 from


2008 Olympian Billy Joe Saunders has teamed up with renowned trainer Jimmy Tibbs ahead of his professional debut on February 28.

The 19-year-old was initially working with amateur trainer Danny Hoy, but because of personal commitments he decided to step aside.

Instead Tibbs will now take over the reins – and Saunders couldn’t be in better hands.

That’s because the East End trainer’s resume is like a Who’s Who of British boxing with names that include Nigel Benn (Former WBC World Super-Middleweight Champion), Chris Pyatt (Former WBO World Middleweight Champion), Charlie Magri (Former WBC World Flyweight Champion), Lloyd Honeyghan (Former Undisputed World Welterweight Champion), Frank Bruno (Former WBC World Heavyweight Champion), Barry McGuigan (Former WBA World Featherweight Champion) and Alex Arthur (Former WBO World Super-Featherweight Champion).

“To go to the Olympics at the age of just 19 was an incredible achievement,” said Tibbs. “In just two weeks or so working with me Billy Joe has picked up so much.

“He is as good as any of the fighters I have trained, he really is one hot prospect.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with him and he has got as good a chance to make it to the top as anyone I’ve worked with.

“Billy has also got a great promoter in Frank Warren, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he became a world champion like some of the other fighters I’ve worked with.”

Saunders, who will make his professional debut at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham at the end of the month will now be based at the world famous Peacock Gym, and will also spend time at the TKO in Canning Town.

“Jimmy is a fantastic trainer and he’s taught me a lot already,” said Saunders. “Danny did a fantastic job for me and I’m sorry to see him go, but I’ve got the ideal replacement in Jimmy.”

“He’s worked with the biggest names in British boxing over the last 30 years and if anyone can get me to the top it’s Jimmy.”

“I’m just knuckling down into some really hard training now and looking forward to entering the professional ranks on February 28.”

Saunders will be joined at the N.I.A by fellow 2008 Olympians James DeGale and Frankie Gavin on a card topped by Matt Skelton’s Commonwealth Heavyweight Title fight against Martin Rogan.

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

Ticket Factory
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0871 888 9991

O’Connor splits glove in win

Legends are made from incidents like 2008 U.S. Olympic first alternate Danny O’Connor experienced last weekend in Canada, when his glove split after he pounded pro-debuting Greg Jimenez’s body with monster-like hooks en route to a win by 4-round decision off-television on ESPN Friday Night Fights show, headlined by the IBF light welterweight title fight between Juan Urango and Herman Ngoudjo at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

The 23-year-old O’Connor (3-0, 1 KO) turned in the best performance of his young pro carer, but what fans there will remember is seeing Danny hit his opponent so hard that his glove literally split. “I don’t know what happened and nobody there had seen anything like it,” O’Connor explained. “I hit him with a clean body shot and the stuffing and padding started coming out. They had to stop the fight, cut-off my gloves, and put on a new pair. It had to be a 7-minute ordeal.”

“Danny had been hitting him with some really effective body shots and after one good shot in the third round,” O’Connor’s head trainer and co-manager David Keefe added, “his glove split open and the fight had to be stopped. He had the kid hurt but never put him away because of the long break.”

O’Connor won on all three judges’ scorecards – 40-36, 40-36, 40-34 – and his impressive performance locked-up his first ESPN Friday Night Fights appearance in the opening bout February 27.

“I had a great time in Canada,” Danny remarked. “It was a very well run show in a great atmosphere. Everybody was nice to me. It was my best performance as a pro. Each fight is a learning experience for me. I fought real well and was relaxed during the entire fight. I felt so good I could have easily fought six rounds.

“Fighting on ESPN means a lot to me, not just because it’s national television, but so many of my fans haven’t been able to watch me fight. Now, they won’t have to wait until they read about my fight the next day. They can watch with their own eyes. I’m very excited to showcase my tools on ESPN to a lot of people who’ve never seen me fight before.”

O’Connor, fighting out of Framingham (MA), won last year’s US Future Stars National Championship, in which he was named Most Outstanding Boxer, as well as the 2008 National Golden Gloves Tournament. Danny, who signed a promotional contract with Seminole Warriors Boxing, defeated 2008 Olympic Gold medalist Felix Diaz, of the Dominican Republic, last May as an amateur in a USA-Dominican Republic dual meet.

“We’re all very excited about Danny fighting on ESPN,” Keefe commented. “When (co-manager) Rob (Valle) and I wanted to go with a promoter, one of the keys was signing with a promoter who could get Danny exposure like this and had a plan that we can work with. (Seminole Warriors Boxing executive director) Leon (Margules) has that plan and getting Danny on ESPN in only his fourth pro fight is another step towards getting Danny to the top. It’s a great marketing tool for a good, young boxer. Fighting in Montreal on that card was a great experience for all of us because we were around Team Urango and saw first-hand what it’s like and takes to win a world championship.”

For more information about Danny O’Connor go online to

Irish Amateur Heroes added to Hunky Dorys World Title Fight Night

The Hunky Dorys Fight Night has officially become the biggest event in Irish boxing history with the news that Ireland’s finest amateurs will also be in action at The O2, Dublin on Saturday, March 21st. Olympic hero Kenny Egan, World and European champ Katie Taylor, Olympic medallist Paddy Barnes and World Junior champ Ray Moylette will all face international opposition as our best professionals and amateurs fight side by side at The O2.

Headlining the event is the WBA World Super Bantamweight title fight as Dublin’s own Bernard Dunne challenges for the ultimate prize against World Champ, Ricardo Cordoba while Dublin’s Jim “The Pink Panther” Rock and hot Cavan prospect, Andy Murray will also be in action.

Promoter Brian Peters believes it all adds up to one of the biggest sporting events to hit Ireland in a long time. “We have the first World title fight in Dublin in 13 years with a Dubliner getting to challenge for the World title in his hometown for the first time ever.

“Then when you add some of the biggest achievers in Irish amateur boxing history like Kenny Egan, Katie Taylor, Paddy Barnes, Ray Moylette and top pro’s like Jim Rock and Andy Murray you have a recipe for a historic night of Irish sport.

The unique event came about after Peters struck a deal with the Boxing Union of Ireland and the Irish Amateur Boxing Association so that both the professional and amateur codes can share the spotlight on the same event.

Dominic O’Rourke the president of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association said, “We’re very happy to be part of the event at The O2. It’s a big occasion for Irish boxing and will give our amateur boxers the kind of platform they have always wanted. We’re very happy to be working with Brian on it and hopefully it will be a big success.”

The President of the Boxing Union of Ireland, Mel Christle echoed his counterparts sentiments saying, “This brings the promotion of Irish boxing on to a whole new level. To have the cream of Ireland’s boxers both professional and amateur on the same bill is a dream come true.”

Peters revealed that the IABA are working on a mouth watering clash that would see Kenny Egan fighting a rematch of his Olympic final against China’s Zhang Xiaoping. Egan says he would relish the opportunity to set the record straight with his Olympic rival at The O2.

The Dubliner southpaw said, “I’m keeping my fingers, toes and everything else crossed that it comes off. The offers out there for him so hopefully he’ll accept. It would show great sportsmanship on his part to come over and give me a rematch in Ireland. The last time I boxed him was in a huge venue full of Chinese people so it would be nice to fight him in a huge venue over here full of Irish people this time!

“There’s no bad blood between us or anything and when all is said and done he beat me in the Olympic final. He has the Gold medal and I’ve no problem with that but it certainly would be nice to have another shot at him and this time on home ground.”

Double World and European Champion Katie Taylor is another of our amateur starts relishing the opportunity of fighting at The O2.

The Bray woman said, “It’s a huge opportunity for me to fight in front of a big crowd and it will be a tremendous experience. It’s really going to be a big night for Irish boxing and a great chance for me to perform on a big stage so I’m looking forward to it.

“The atmosphere at Bernard’s fights is normally amazing so I can only imagine what it’s going to be like in The O2. I’m sure it will be jammed out.”

A man no stranger to big fight nights in Dublin is Jim Rock and having made his pro debut at the old Point Theatre in 1995 he’s delighted to be back there in the new O2.

“It’s always been a fabulous venue but the new O2 is out of this world. It’s going to be a fabulous event so hopefully the public will come out in their droves to support it because I don’t think there’s ever been a night like it for Irish boxing. It’s great to see the amateurs on it as well and especially Katie Taylor and Paddy Barnes because they’re my neighbours! I often train alongside Katie at the gym in Bray and when I’m up at Belfast in John Breen’s gym Paddy Barnes is only up the road from me.”

Despite having set a record by becoming a four weight Irish Champion last time out Rock is refusing to rule retirement in or out ahead of his fight with Italian, Alessio Furlan on March 21.

Rock who will turn 37 on March 12th said, “I’m not going to cry wolf anymore and say that this will be my last fight although it would be the perfect way to end my career. People don’t believe me any more when I say I’m retiring so I’m not go to say anything this time. I made my debut at the old Point in 1995 and when I fought there in 2007 I said that would be my last fight but two years later I’m still going. I’ll see how I do in this one and I’ll make a decision after the fight.”

The March 21st event will be all new to unbeaten lightweight Andy Murray with the Cavan man yet to step foot in the new O2. “I’m actually going to a gig there next month so I’ll get a taste of it then but for the moment I’m just focusing on my fight in Craigavon at the weekend.

“Once I get that out of the way I’ll look ahead to The O2 fight but it’s something to look forward to alright. To box on an occasion like that will be something special and something to remember for the rest of your life. These are the kind of nights you want to be involved in and with the pro’s and amateurs on the same card as well it should be a great night.”

Meanwhile have released their odds for the top of the bill World title clash between Bernard Dunne and Ricardo Cordoba with the Panamanian a 1/3 favourite while the challenger is a 9/4 shot. The draw is available at 20/1.

Tickets for the Hunky Dorys World Title Fight Night are priced from €50 and are available now from Ticketmaster (phone 0818 719 300 or visit Tickets are also available from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.

Egan and Taylor primed for Hunky Dorys World Title Fight Night

Following their medal winning exploits in 2008 it’s hard to believe that 2009 could be any better for Olympic hero Kenny Egan and reigning World and European champ Katie Taylor but 2009 is already shaping up to be another great year for both amateur stars.

Egan is set for a busy few months culminating in his bout on the Hunky Dorys World Title Fight Night at the O2 on March 21st. The Dubliner is hoping to lure Olympic rival Zhang

Xiaoping to Ireland in a rematch of their Olympic final In Beijing last year but first he has some domestic business to attend to. The Irish Senior Championships get underway at the National Stadium this weekend with Egan looking to make it an incredible 9 Irish titles in a row.

“The seniors are my main focus right now,” said Egan. “The weigh in’s are on Friday and I can’t let anything else distract me from that at the moment. It’s going to be a busy few months because we have an International against the U.S. coming up too at the end of February but for now all I’m looking at is the Seniors and winning that ninth title.”

Egan admits that the lure of the professional game was attractive but having made his decision to remain faithful to the amateur code he says he’s a lot more content.

“I made the decision to stay amateur, it was a tough decision and I agonised over it for 4 months but I’ve made my decision now to stay amateur and aim for the London Olympics in 2012. I’ve no regrets and I’ve no intentions of turning professional.

“It’s definitely back to business now, I enjoyed my time off after the Olympics but since I’ve made the decision to stay amateur I’ve been keeping the head down and training hard. In the last couple of years there has never been more than 3 entries at light heavyweight but there’s 8 entrants this year so people obviously want to get a crack at me and I’m there to be shot at now.

“I know I’m going to have to bring my A game to the ring. The other guys will be boxing out of their skin because if they were to beat me it would be a huge scalp for them.”

Although his current focus is on domestic affairs Egan admits that the bout at The O2 on March 21st is a very attractive proposition. “It’s going to be great to be boxing on such a big occasion at The O2 and especially on home turf. It’s going to be a super experience and I’m really looking forward to it.

“I went to see Coldplay there in December and it’s a very impressive venue. I was in there again last week when it was empty and it was great to get in there and have another look around and actually picture a boxing ring in there. It’s going to be some night, Brian Peters always puts on a good show and this has the makings of something special.

It will also be a special night for Neilstown in Dublin with both Egan and Bernard Dunne local to the area. Egan says the impact of their successes is clear to see in the locality. “My own club in Neilstown is full to capacity at the moment but it’s not just Neilstown, clubs all over the county are jam packed full of kids these days and the sport at amateur and professional level in Ireland is booming at the moment.”

Across the city in Bray, Katie Taylor is also gearing up for a big 2009 and she’s hoping for some big news before she steps between the ropes at The O2. Taylor has been waiting on the inclusion of women’s boxing into the Olympics for what seems like an eternity now but she’s hopeful that the sport will get the green light for the 2012 games in the next month.

“Originally it was looking like there wouldn’t be a decision made until October but I’ve heard that it might be brought forward so hopefully I might even know for sure before this fight comes around on March 21st. All the signs are positive that it will be included so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”

While a Gold medal in 2012 is the long term target Taylor believes that her bout at The O2 next month could also be a career highpoint – although she admits that the night will come with a few butterflies. “I’ll probably be a little nervous fighting in front of such a big crowd but I think that’s only natural. I’m always a little nervous before a fight but I’ve fought in big competitions like World and European Championships so I’m used to fighting under a bit of pressure.

“There’s always pressure to win now every time I go away to a major competition but I know if I work hard and put everything in to my training then I’m giving myself the best chance possible. The important thing is to enjoy the big occasions as much as possible and hopefully I can do that next month as well.”

Tickets for the Hunky Dorys World Title Fight Night are priced from €50 and are available now from Ticketmaster (phone 0818 719 300 or visit Tickets are also available from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.

Rock – “I won’t fall foul of Furlan”

Jim Rock predicts that he could be in for a rough night when he takes on Italian warrior, Alessio Furlan at The O2 on March 21st on the Hunky Dorys World Title Fight Night.

The “Pink Panther’s” clash with Furlan is just one of the supporting bouts to Bernard Dunne’s WBA World Super Bantamweight title challenge on what promises to be a huge night of boxing in Dublin. Rock knows plenty about the Turin native having provided expert analysis for RTÉ during Furlan’s fights with John Duddy and Matthew Macklin.

“He’s a tough, hard man,” said Rock. “He’s very experienced, very strong and to be honest he can be quite dirty too at times. He certainly isn’t shy about using his head so I’ll have to be careful of that but he’s someone I’ve always fancied having a go at. He’s a former Italian champ and also held an IBF Mediterranean title so he’s been around and fought some of the very best.”

Despite being considerably older than Macklin or Duddy the Dubliner says he will be out to make a statement by disposing of Furlan quicker than his Irish middleweight rivals. Duddy stopped Furlan with just seconds remaining in the tenth and final round of their clash back in July of 2007 while Macklin halted the Italian visitor in 8 rounds a few months later.

“My intention would be to get rid of him quicker that either Duddy or Macklin did,” said Rock. ”That won’t be easy because they’re both good fighters but I’m always up for a challenge and if I can stop him quicker then it might show that there’s life in the old dog yet!”

Furlan though believes the stoppage defeats in both of his previous visits to Ireland were unjust and he’s hoping it will be third time lucky. “I don’t believe I should have been stopped in either of those fights,” claimed the 32-year old. “I was still on my feet and ready to continue so I didn’t agree with the referee’s decision in either fight.

“I don’t think Rock is on the same level as Macklin or Duddy and he isn’t getting any younger so maybe I’ll finally get some luck of the Irish in Dublin this time around.”

As for Rock he joked that he’s looking forward to some “double time” on March 21st. “It’s great because I’ll get two pay cheques in one night! After I’ve fought I’ll shower and get changed and get ready to do some work for RTÉ on the other fights.”

Tickets for the Hunky Dorys World Title Fight Night are priced from €50 and are available now from Ticketmaster (phone 0818 719 300 or visit Tickets are also available from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide. Latest Odds

Bernard Dunne V Ricardo Cordoba – WBA World Super Bantamweight Title

Ricardo Cordoba 1/3

Draw 20/1

Bernard Dunne 9/4

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