Connor Parker: I’ll Do a Lomachenko!
(November 18th) Connor Parker joked that he might attempt to carry out an impression of Vasyl Lomachenko when he steps in the ring with Sam Maxwell at Arena, Birmingham on November 30, with Maxwell’s WBO European super lightweight title at stake.
Maxwell, famously, twice fought the great Ukrainian during his amateur days representing Team GB and gave a good account of himself, but ultimately failed to defeat the now pound-for-pound great.
The 24-year-old Parker from Derbyshire and the 31-year-old Scouser share an identical professional record of 12-0, but the East Midlands man accepts it is advantage Maxwell in terms of amateur experience, KOs recorded and being tested over ten rounds as Maxwell was by Sabri Sediri in a helter-skelter battle in March.
For Parker this is opportunity knocking in the Second City and he was happy to place his original fight plans on hold when he got wind of a title tilt.
“I was sat at home when I found out,” said the southpaw. “My dad told me about it then I had to hang on and wait for confirmation. I was so hoping I would get this shot, I had another fight scheduled for a couple of days after, but now I can’t wait for this one.
“It is a massive opportunity and I think I am ready for fights like this. Our records are similar and the only difference is Sam has got more knockouts than me. Record-wise that is the only thing and he has had a tough fight over ten rounds.
“The footage of his fights is all there to see right from his amateur days. He has been around for years, hasn’t he, and there is plenty to pick up on what he does. I might look at the Lomachenko tapes and do an impression of him!”
Parker has just a single stoppage on his ledger but he insists this is a misleading statistic that is down to the limited ambition of the opponents put in front of him. He is happy to back himself in the trading of bombs.
“I’ve boxed my fair share of journeymen and then won a Midlands title in my eighth fight. I beat Kevin Hooper for the Midlands and it was a good win that was because he has been English champion. Since then I have just been keeping busy.
“I’ve won the Midlands and I’ve got to prove myself against better opponents now. Hooper was the first one to really hit me back and I enjoyed it more because he was not just there to survive and, if anything, I felt more comfortable in there. I liked it.
“This show is as much as I could have asked for because, at the minute, not many people know who I am, but after this fight they will know and I can’t wait. If I win this fight it will just get bigger and bigger,” added Parker, who does not underestimate the magnitude of the task in front of him.
“I think Sam is a good, technical boxer with a strong back hand. You can tell he is schooled well. I sort of take something from the way Sabri Sediri got to him but it could have just been and off-night and we need to prepare for the best Sam possible and that is what we will be doing.
“True, he got put down two or three times and you do take confidence from it, but I am preparing for a hard fight. My record doesn’t suggest it, but I can punch.”
Sam Bowen vs Anthony Cacace for the British super featherweight championship features on a stacked night of title action at Arena, Birmingham on November 30. WBO world bantamweight champion Zolani Tete defends his title against mandatory challenger John Riel Casimero features on a stacked night of title action at Arena, Birmingham on November 30. British and Commonwealth welterweight champion Chris Jenkins makes a defence against Liam Taylor, Lerrone Richards also takes on Lennox Clarke for the Commonwealth and vacant British super middleweight belt, while East Midlands favourite Sam Bowen makes a second defence of his British super featherweight title against mandatory challenger Anthony Cacace. Sam Maxwell defends his WBO European super lightweight title against the also unbeaten Connor Parker from Derbyshire.
Hamzah Sheeraz will fight for his first major title at super welterweight, with thrilling prospects Dennis McCann, Shabaz Masoud, Eithan James and George Davey also featuring on the bill, along with talents from the local region in Nathan Heaney and River Wilson-Bent.
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Sam Bowen: You Beat Damaged Goods!
(November 5th) Sam Bowen believes his domestic super featherweight rivals have simply been feasting on his leftovers while he has been out of action.
‘Bullet’ Bowen has been marked absent since March when he made a first defence of his British title against Jordan McCorry in Leicester, stopping the Scot in the ninth round of a roughhouse encounter that saw McCorry docked two points for illegal manoeuvres.
The 15-0 champion was then sidelined with a back injury that saw him miss out on a summer defence of his crown, which will now take place against the avoided Belfast man Anthony Cacace at Arena, Birmingham on November 30.
During Bowen’s enforced absence, both Archie Sharp and Zelfa Barrett took the opportunity of measuring themselves up against the game McCorry. Sharp defended his WBO European title with a points victory, while Barrett put his Commonwealth belt on the line and won via a ninth round stoppage.
Sharp and Barrett both delivered impressive performances and laid claim to be leader of the Brit Pack, but Bowen questions the validity of the statements posted by the pair because he suspects the motivation of McCorry was diminished following the bruising defeat to himself.
“They’ve only boxed the lad I boxed in March,” pointed out the 27-year-old from Ibstock. “He’s been beat and wasn’t really that bothered. Another loss to him was nothing.
“So they’ve gone and beat him, which was expected,” added Bowen, who doesn’t feel that McCorry boxed with the same intensity against Sharp and Barrett as he did when up against himself.
“He was quite dirty when he fought me, with avoiding body shots by going low. The when he fought Sharp he started off a bit slower than I thought he would, where I thought he might have a chance.
“I said to Carl (trainer/manager Greaves) the other day that if Zelfa knocked him out in the first round it wouldn’t really mean a lot to me because he’s had a few losses and knows he hasn’t got many more fights left in him and he was being paid half-alright for it.”
Bowen was also an interested viewer when Sharp subsequently fought the lively Irishman Declan Geraghty at the Royal Albert Hall and suspects he has identified a weakness in the ‘Sharpshooter’ that Geraghty was unable to exploit due to being of the same ilk as a fighter.
“They both boxed very, very similar – hands low, flashy, moving – and looked exactly the same when I watched it. Then he caught him and knocked him out with a good shot.
“He don’t like pressure though, I know that. The last few rounds when he boxed McCorry he was just on the back foot and I could tell he was uncomfortable.
“I thought, if that was me and I was landing the shots and hitting him, he ain’t gonna like that, Sharp or Barrett.”
So, should Cacace be accounted for in Birmingham at the end of the month, which name out of Sharp and Barrett would be written on the bullet?
“Either, I’m not fussed. I think if I fought Sharp it would probably be more awkward because I’d have to track him down as he would be running. With Zelfa it would be more of a scrap because he likes to trade a little bit.
“I’d beat them both though so it makes no difference to me.”
Zolani Tete: Inoue Knows He Needs to See Me
If He Wants to Be Bantamweight King!
(November 4th) Zolani Tete has thrown down the gauntlet to bantamweight rival Naoya Inoue, who is hot favourite to overcome Nonito Donaire in the final of the World Boxing Super Series this week.
Boxing fans across the world were hoping for a dream Tete-Inoue match-up in the final of the WBSS when the Queensberry Promotions-backed South African joined the strong field of 118-pounders in the eight-man tournament that also included then world champions Ryan Burnett and Emmanuel Rodriguez.
Tete, the WBO king, unfortunately had to withdraw from the competition ahead of the semi-final stage – where he was set to meet Donaire – after defeating Mikhail Aloyan in his quarter-final.
Veteran ring legend Donaire went on to beat the replacement Stephon Young – via a 6th round KO – in the semi-final and booked himself a meeting with the hot ticket of the division in Inoue, who made short work of his passage to the final by beating Juan Carlos Payano in 70 seconds and then Rodriguez courtesy of a 2nd round KO.
If Tete has his way, the fans won’t be denied the tantalising prospect of a showdown between himself and the 18-0 knockout-artist Inoue.
“Inoue knows he needs to see me if he wants to be bantamweight king,” he warned, ahead of his own return to the ring against mandatory challenger John Riel Casimero at Arena, Birmingham on November 30.
It is unfortunate I had to pull out of the tournament but I am now fit and healthy again.
“I have a tough fight against Casimero on November 30 but, God willing I come through, I definitely want to fight Inoue, added the man from Eastern Cape, who tips Inoue to prevail in his collision with the popular Filipino.
“I believe he will beat Donaire but he knows he must beat me before he can call himself the real king.”
Bowen Gives Up Day Job!
(November 1st) Sam Bowen insists he is now back firing on all cylinders after being marked absent through injury and has recently removed the toil of manual labour from his daily routine.
The British super featherweight champion famously combined his boxing career with tough shifts at the Caterpillar plant in Leicester, which he now accepts left him drained and vulnerable to illness and injury.
A back injury initially delayed the mandatory defence of his Lonsdale belt against Anthony Cacace that will now go ahead at Arena, Birmingham on November 30 on a show featuring five other major title collisions.
Being gainfully unemployed has rejuvenated the unbeaten 27-year-old who reports a clean bill of health after being on the missing list since his successful defence against Jordan McCorry in March.
“I’m fine now, finally, and ready for it now,” said the 15-0 Ibstock man. “It was sciatica, which I had years ago and then I injured myself again so my back was bad and my sciatica horrendous. I couldn’t even train.
“I was off sick from work because I couldn’t do that either, but I am back to normal now and back at it, although I am not working now.
“The injury done it for me because I thought if I am getting injured and can’t train then I’ve got to pick one. I picked boxing and I have finally done it now so hopefully training should go well for this one.
“I only left a couple of weeks ago because I had to get better first before making the decision,” he added, also explaining that hanging up his tool kit and making such a big lifestyle change will enable him to devote so much more of his energy reserves into preparing for fights.
“It should make a big difference and hopefully I should feel a bit fresher in myself. Hopefully I also get the win otherwise I will be going back sooner than I think!
“I get more time with the little one and missus, but I am training full-time so I am still pretty busy.
“The way things were going I was just tired, getting injured a lot and being ill. It was because my body was being pushed through it and it was time to make a decision.
“I can get a job any time, but hopefully things go well for me in the boxing and I needed to put my 100 per cent into something.”
Frampton: Cacace Hit Me Harder Than Anybody Ever Has!
(October 31st) Two weight world champion Carl Frampton believes the power of Anthony Cacace will be too much for British super-featherweight champion Sam Bowen.
Frampton’s fellow Belfast boxer, Cacace (17-1, 7 KOs) challenges Bowen (15-0, 11KOs) for his title on Frank Warren’s big night of action on Saturday November 30 at Arena Birmingham, live on BT Sport.
Bowen is the bookies favourite, but Frampton felt the force of Cacace when they used to spar regularly.
Frampton said: “Anto has a very tough fight against Bowen who is a similar style fighter. Both have long arms and are fantastic punchers.
“Anto Cacace is the hardest person I have ever been hit by. He has got freakish power. He whips his shots in and it’s frightening.”
Looking at the records of Ibstock’s Bowen and Cacace it suggests the champion holds the aces when it comes to power.
Unbeaten Bowen who will be risking his title for the second time has 11 KOs in his 15 wins, while Cacace only has cut down seven of his 17 victims inside the distance
Frampton added: “Anto doesn’t have the KOs that his record should have but that is probably more to do with the way he fights. He fights a bit lazy.
“I fancy Anto but it is going to be a good fight. No, it’s going to be a great fight.”
Lennox Lays Down the Gauntlet!
(October 25th) Lennox Clarke is promising to ‘steamroller’ Lerrone Richards when the pair meet at Arena, Birmingham on November 30 with the British and Commonwealth titles at stake.
The unbeaten super middleweight from Halesowen knows that Richards, who holds a perfect record, prefers to turn boxing into an art form and picks his shots with mesmeric precision.
The Commonwealth champion has, however, been accused in some quarters of occasionally enjoying his own work a little too much during fights, preferring to dominate opponents over the distance instead of making a statement with an early finish.
Clarke insists he will be afforded no such luxury when he ventures onto enemy territory at the end of November.
“He is not going to enjoy it with me,” growled the 28-year-old. “He is not going to be able to because I know what he is going to bring. He is a boxer who tends to frustrate a lot of opponents with his movement, but I am prepared for everything he is going to come with.
“I will bring my A-game and I believe I am going to get the win.
“Lerrone is a boxer-mover and not a puncher. I am going to steamroller him and bring it to him, that is what our game plan is.
“I can’t let him do what he needs to do because he is very good at that. He is a very good fighter and our job is to stop him being good.”
Clarke has had to bide his time when it comes to competing for major domestic titles and was originally left in the waiting room following his nomination to challenge for the English title against Darryll Williams in a fight that never happened.
He now gets to fight for a bigger prize and he views it as a perfect storm with the opportunity coming on a show in his home city in front of his band of followers.
“Yeah I’ve had setbacks but this is what is going to bring me back on to the big stage now. I’m ready, I’m more than ready and I’ve been ready for a few years.
“Things happened with dates against Williams and then last time I pulled out because I wasn’t well. It was just one of those things that wasn’t meant to be, but I was fully confident in smashing him up. He would have been an easier fight than Lerrone.
“The first perfect scenario now is me knocking him out in the first round, which would be perfect.
“This is the biggest stage I will have been on, it is in my home city and for the biggest titles I’ve challenged for,” added Clarke, who rejects the notion that boxing in Birmingham is a tough sell for boxing and says his fans will come out in numbers on the night.
“My fans will, one hundred per cent. I do well and that is why we are boxing up here because Lerrone couldn’t sell out a phone box in London. This is why he is boxing up here because I’ve got a lot of followers.”
Lerrone Richards v Lennox Clarke for the Commonwealth and vacant British super middleweight belts features on a stacked night of title action at Arena, Birmingham on November 30. WBO world bantamweight champion Zolani Tete defends his title against mandatory challenger John Riel Casimero, British super featherweight champion Sam Bowen defends his belt against Anthony Cacace and British and Commonwealth welterweight champion Chris Jenkins makes a defence against Liam Taylor.
Midlands Mayhem Presser!
(October 22nd) Frank Warren’sQueensberry Promotions held a press conference today to officially launch their “Midlands Mayhem’ card featuring six title fights at Arena Birmingham on Saturday November 30, live on BT Sport.
Ibstock’s Sam Bowen (15-0, 11KOs) will be well supported when he defends his British Super-Featherweight crown against Belfast’s Anthony Cacace (17-1, 7KOs).
Lerrone Richards (12-0, 3KOs) will make the first defence of his Commonwealth Super-Middleweight title and the vacant British championship is on the line when he meets local boxer Lennox Clarke (19-0-1, 7KOs).
Brilliant South African Zolani Tete (28-3, 21KOs) makes the fourth defence of his WBO World Bantamweight title against Filipino Interim champion John Riel Casimero (28-4, 19KOs).
Swansea’s Chris Jenkins (22-3-2, 8 KOs) risks his British Welterweight championship against mandatory challenger Liam Taylor (21-1, 10 KOs).
Liverpool’s Sam Maxwell (12-0, 10 KOs) defends his WBO European Super-Lightweight championship against Derbyshire’s Connor Parker (12-0, 1KO).
Hamzah Sheeraz (9-0, 5KOs) will also be involved in his first title fight.
The undercard features bantamweight starlet Dennis McCann (4-0, 3KOs), Eithan James (1-0), Shabaz Masoud (6-0, 1KO), George Davey (1-0), Nathan Heaney (8-0, 2KOs), Ryan Kelly (14-2, 7KOs) and River Wilson-Bent (5-0, 2KOs)
Here are a selection of quotes from the presser staged at Birmingham City FC.
“I went to watch Anthony when he boxed Martin J Ward because I thought we would meet sooner. He is a good lad and nobody can say I am fighting someone rubbish. I am excited for this one. I want to be busier, but I’ve been injured. If I had boxed Anthony when I was injured in August he would have beaten me. There are a lot of good fights in the super-featherweight division, but I am only bothered about Anthony.”
“This fight was meant to happen twice before and now it is happening. I know he is a good fighter and what he brings to the table. Sam is a hard man, but I can box southpaw or orthodox, move and fight. Can he do that?
“It is never going to be an easy fight for a British title and you have to find that little bit more to win it and I am expecting a tough fight. I give myself a C-minus for my performance against Tommy Langford, but you will see what I can do next month. Lennox can box a bit and fight. I respect him as a fighter and he will bring his A game.”
“Lerrone is a good boxer and I know what he is going to bring. We are six weeks out and I’ll be more than ready. Technically is he a good boxer, but I won’t allow him to do what he wants. I do a lot of tickets. That is why it is in Birmingham and hopefully I get a result. This is a massive opportunity and my chance to make a statement.”
“A lot of my recent success is down to my trainer, Gary Lockett. He is more than a coach but also a mentor and friend. I do get cut often, but I just get on with it and don’t panic. I just think, ‘stitches again, here we go.’ I know this will be a hard fight and I have been in camp for two weeks. I am a British level fighter so to win a Lonsdale belt outright is my world title. I need two more defences.”
“I’ve been waiting a long tome for this. I’ve been a professional for eight years and this is what I’ve trained for. Chris is a good boxer, skilled and doesn’t have many faults, but that is what you want for a British title challenge. Winning a Lonsdale belt would be special. The British title was my goal when I turned professional.”
“I got the exposure in my last fight with the KO going viral and people can relate to it. BT Sport still show it and long may it continue. Connor hasn’t lost a round so far and he is a good tidy boxer so I will have to be at my best. Connor doesn’t know how to lose and we will give it our all.”
“It is fights like this why I box and I cannot wait. Beating Kevin Hooper was big, but this is more. I can hit harder than my record suggests. Sam is really good and he will bring the best out of me. Last time there may have been a blueprint to beat Sam, but it may have been an off night for him until the knockout.’
“I am looking forward to fighting on a bill of this magnitude and winning my first title fight. I am heading in the right direction and this fight will be my breakout performance. In two to three years I want to be knocking on the door for world titles.”
“It looks like everybody got a buzz off my last performance. I have always known I was good and I want to show people what I’m about. I have a lot of family in Birmingham and there will be a big turnout.”
“I have been boxing since I was five years old and love boxing. I’m a traveller and lived in Birmingham for a while but would still travel to London three times a week for training at Repton. It has been going to plan and I should be stopping the opponents I have. That will continue when I step up.”