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IABA UPDATE (CONLAN TO MAKE WSB DEBUT FOR USA VERSUS LIONHEARTS THURSDAY)

Irish Amateur Boxing Association

Irish Elite champion Michael Conlan will be aiming to make a positive start to his World Series of Boxing (WSB) career this week – but a current European champion and AIBA 2011 World Championships silver medallist is standing in his way.

Conlan, a bronze medal winner at London 2012, makes his eagerly anticipated WSB debut for the USA Knockouts at York Hall, London on Thursday night against Wales’ Andrew Selby of the British Lionhearts.

The five-round Celtic derby at the spiritual home of British boxing is a repeat of the 2011 AIBA World Championships flyweight quarter-final which Selby edged 25-24 won en route to silver in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The pair, who have moved up to bantamweight for the WSB, qualified for London 2012 by virtue of reaching the last-eight in the Azeri capital. They also occupy No.1 and No.3 berths in the AIBA World flyweight rankings, Selby commanding pole position.

Conlan, 21, can’t wait to answer an opening bell in the WSB, and the St John Bosco BC (Belfast) ace acknowledged that Selby, who has won two from two for the Lionhearts this season, is a formidable opponent.

He said: “Selby is a top class boxer; he has been very impressive in the competition so far. We know each other very well and have fought each other before; he has incredible speed and fitness.

“I am feeling great at the moment and know I can win on Thursday. I really enjoy the professional style of WSB, it suits my style better. I also really enjoy not wearing the headgear and vest”.

Meanwhile, two Olympic silver medallists cross swords at the Bethnal Green venue on Thursday evening.

Ireland’s John Joe Nevin and France’s Daouda Sow, finalists at the 30th and 29th Olympiads in London and Beijing, meet over-five rounds at lightweight.

Nevin will be seeking to bounce back from his split decision reversal to Serbia’s Branimir Stankovic last time out. Sow also suffered defeat in the WSB this season, the French lightweight dropping a unanimous decision to Volodymyr Matviychuk of the Ukraine.

Current European champion Joe Ward (Moate BC, Co. Westmeath) meets Croatia’s Marko Calic in England’s capital looking to improve to three wins from three this term.

If the 2009 and 2010 AIBA World Junior and Youth champion – he’s yet to drop a round in the WSB – does see off the challenge of Calic he’ll edge a step closer to the summit of the WSB Individual light-heavyweight rankings.

The 19-year-old southpaw, who will be targeting a third Irish Elite 81kg title in-a-row in Dublin next month, wants to see the Lionhearts go all the way in the World Series.

He said: “I am thoroughly enjoying WSB and I really like the five round format. I feel it suits my style as you do not have to rush to a fast start and it gives me time to establish my authority on the bout”.

On team spirit, he added: “I enjoy boxing as part of a top level team in an exciting and competitive league. There is a bit of added pressure and excitement knowing that you are boxing not only for yourself, but also for the team. As a team we hope to go all the way this year.

“The support has been really good so far and improving with every match. York Hall is an iconic boxing venue and I look forward to boxing there”.

The Lionhearts, unbeaten at home this season, can reclaim second spot in Group B with victory on Thursday. The Knockouts are bottom of the six-team group.

Tickets are still available for Thursday’s York Hall match. For information visit http://britishlionhearts.com/tickets www.britishlionhearts.com

British Lionhearts v USA Knockouts York Hall, London January 17th (8pm)

Bantamweight (54kg): Andrew Selby v Michael Conlan

Lightweight (61kg): John Joe Nevin v Douda Sow

Middleweight (75kg) Kaupo Arro v William Williams

Light-heavyweight (85kg): Joe Ward v Marco Calic

Heavyweight (91kg+): Joe Joyce v Gibson Avery

Tony BOOM BOOM Ferrante to face undefeated Isa Akberbayev on HBO undercard Saturday January 19

PHILADELPHIA (JANUARY 15, 2013)— Northeast Philadelphia native, Cruiserweight Tony “Boom Boom” Ferrante is heading up I-95 to face undefeated cruiserweight prospect Isa Akberbayev 10- 0 (7KO’s) on Saturday January 19th inside the MECCA of boxing, Madison Square Garden. Ferrante recently moved up in weight from light heavyweight to cruiserweight. Ferrante had struggled in recent years trying to cut nearly thirty pounds at a time trying to make weight at 175lbs.

“Since the loss to Omar Shieka, I came to the realization that I was killing my body trying to make 175lbs. Now I feel stronger. I hit harder. I feel like I am able to move in the ring the way I need to move to demonstrate my skills. I’m working with a new trainer and I feel better and more importantly, healthier than I ever been in my career.”

Ferrante began his career with nine straight wins, but in 2010 making the light heavyweight limit of 175lbs began to really effect his power and stamina with suffering two loses. He would go on to KO three in a row, but really hit a wall with his weight, losing decisions to Dhafir Smith and Omar Shieka, but gaining twenty rounds of experience. It was at that point Ferrante decided enough was enough.

“I was just destroying my body trying to cut that weight. I knew it was time to move up”. In late 2012, nearly six months after losing to Smith, Ferrante hired trainer Mike Cassell of Philadelphia.

“I knew Mike was very familiar with my style. We come from similar backgrounds. He is a good fit. “

Cassell who was training fighters at Rocco MMA in NE Philadelphia reveled at the chance to work with Ferrante.

“Tony’s boxing IQ is through the roof” said Cassell. “I always thought he was a tremendous talent that wasn’t reaching his true potential. I saw a lot of real natural punching ability and raw natural power. I think Tony relied on that too much, and as he grew into his body and attempted to cut weight, it really displayed what he was lacking. The kid has a brain. He just needed to find more patience and discipline in the ring. I think he turned a big corner.”

Saturdays fight will be Ferrante’s debut at cruiserweight, and with his newly found discipline, he will be doing a lot of damage in the cruiserweight division. But first things first, he must face Isa Akberbayev on the biggest stage in boxing Madison Square Garden. There are some much bigger names on this card, but Ferrante is very confident he will make some fans on Saturday.

ORLANDO “Siri” SALIDO will defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) FEATHERWEIGHT title against undefeated No. 1 contender MIKEY GARCIA; undefeated World Boxing Association (WBA) / International Boxing Organization (IBO) middleweight champion GENNADY “GGG” GOLOVKIN will look to extend his reign into its third year against world-rated contender “King” GABRIEL ROSADO and two-time WBO junior lightweight champion ROMAN “Rocky” MARTINEZ will put it all on the line when he goes mano a mano with No. 1 contender JUAN CARLOS “Mini” BURGOS. All three fights will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark®, Saturday, January 19, beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT.
These six warriors have a combined record of 170-18-3 (123 KOs) — a winning percentage of 89% and a victory by knockout ratio of 72%.

Promoted by Top Rank® and K2 Promotions, in association with Tecate and Madison Square Garden, remaining TICKETS, priced at $200, $100, $50 and $25, are currently available for purchase at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008) and online at WWW.TICKETMASTER.COM or WWW.THEGARDEN.COM.


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