Ranking the heavyweight champions: No. 32 Jess Willard

Luke G. Williams
13/02/2016 10:07am

In this series, I am rating all of the lineal heavyweight champions across five categories, with the fighters then being ranked from 1 down to 38 depending on their final score out of 50. Today I'm looking at the man who finished No. 32 in my standings – Jess Willard. At a little over 6' 6" in height, the ‘Pottawatomie Giant’ was one of the tallest and most physically imposing heavyweight champions of all time. He was the 'great white hope' who finally deposed the legendary black champion Jack Johnson - to the delight of much of white America – but, aside from that famous KO victory in 1915, Willard’s career had few major highlights. 

February 2016

On sale NOW!

In the February 2016 issue of Boxing Monthly, we preview the titanic showdown between rival world champions Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg with an eight page special including interviews with both fighters. We also talk to Welsh boxing legend Joe Calzaghe about his life, movie and the current fight scene and meet trainer Peter Fury who masterminded nephew Tyson’s upset win over Wladimir Klitschko. The edition also features Mexican star-in-the-making Gilberto Ramirez, British bantamweight champion Ryan Burnett and European 118lbs king Ryan Farrag, middleweight contender Tommy Langford, British 140lbs champ Tyrone Nurse, fighter with a conscience Jose Ramirez and much, much more. Available in stores now and via app on iTunes and Android.

Humble hardness: The Savannah Marshall story

Paul Zanon
12/02/2016 11:25am

When you earn the nickname of Silent Assassin, one could easily assume it’s a description of someone who’s perhaps void of character, quiet, yet aggressive in the ring. Savannah Marshall is certainly not void of character and was, without a doubt, not quiet for this 30 minute interview. In terms of aggressive in the ring – far from it. She’s a calculated, elite athlete who leaves nothing by chance and has a hungry mentality which stops her ever taking anything for granted. As opposed to many who started boxing as a result of a family member inspiring them, the Marshall boxing bloodline started with Savannah. The pugilistic pioneer explained. “One of my friends used to box and he came round to my house and showed me his trophies. I remember thinking, ‘I’d like to win one of them. I wonder how hard it can be?’” Marshall told Boxing Monthly.

Lafreniere-St.Juste and the greatest fight I’ve ever seen live

Shawn Smith
11/02/2016 11:15am

Through five fights, the night had done little to excite boxing fans. The arena, while not quite full, had been loud at points when the hometown fighters were victorious, but it was not thunderous by any means. Many had yet to even focus on the ring at all. Grotesque, oversized men pranced around the floor area of Montreal’s Bell Centre with their trophies, women with dresses a little too short and heels a little too high, as if they were trying to impress the hounds in the stands. But before either Kovalev or Pascal could take to the ring, even before the HBO cameras started rolling, something magical happened. If you’ve ever been in the arena when a breathtaking fight happens, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The kind of bout that even the trophies stop and admire in sheer shock for the brutality the men put themselves through. Renan St.Juste and Francis Lefreniere accomplished the unlikely feat on 30 January. “I wanted to fight inside with Renan because he's a big puncher,” Lefreniere said of his gameplan. “When you receive one punch, it's okay, but if he lands two, three, four big punches, he can be dangerous. That's why we wanted to stay inside.”

What the hell is going on with 2016?!

Michael Montero & Tiffany Lam
10/02/2016 11:36am

Michael Montero rants on the lacklustre boxing schedule in the first half of 2016, big fights falling apart, catchweights, diva moves from fighters and broken promises to fans.

Lion Garton ready to roar

John Evans
10/02/2016 11:05am

There is something distinctly old fashioned about Johnny Garton. The South Londoner is following a well-trodden title route through one of boxing’s traditional weight classes. A raucous group of fans follow him across the Thames from Peckham to his adopted home at London’s home of boxing - the York Hall in Bethnal Green - and he is willing to risk defeat in order to get where he wants. Garton (16-1-1, 5 KOs) has defended the Southern Area welterweight belt twice and gets the opportunity to add the English title to his collection when he faces the returning Tyler Goodjohn on 12 March. The fight will be 28-year-old Garton’s ninth consecutive appearance at the York Hall and it seems certain that he and Goodjohn will create the type of fight that, if they were competing in the 1950s, would see them double their purses by collecting nobbins after the final bell.  

Resurgent Fonfara eyes Stevenson return

Shaun Brown
08/02/2016 3:23pm

From Radom to Chicago via Warsaw and from welterweight to light-heavyweight Andrzej Fonfara has found a settled life inside and outside the ring. The 28-year-old Pole was having some much needed R&R with his fiancée in Hawaii, when Boxing Monthly spoke to him recently over the phone, after that gruelling 12-round contest with Britain’s Nathan Cleverly on 16 October in the ‘Windy City’. It was a fight that gave fans one of the more memorable and entertaining dust-ups of 2015. One that broke Compubox records for the 175lb division with most combined punches landed (936) and most combined punches thrown (2,524). “I’m happy,” declared Fonfara. “Nathan was in best performance. He put up a lot of work in the camp and he showed this in this fight. He wanted to win the fight and all the rounds. I think even late in fight he go for broke. His face not so good but he still wanted to go forward and try and punch me."

Khan trumps Quaye

James Oddy
08/02/2016 3:02pm

Saturday night saw boxing return to the city of Bradford at Cedar Court Hotel in an, at times, uneven yet always entertaining card. The great and the good of Bradford political and business life were in attendance, alongside ex-WBC 140lbs champion Junior Witter and imminent WBO title challenger Derry Mathews. The Vaughan Boxing Promotions show featured five fights of varying quality, with the main event being local man Tasif Khan (11-1-2) taking on solid Ghanaian Issac Quaye (27-12-1). On the line was the ‘Global Boxing Union super-flyweight title’, a belt that, being perfectly honest, was obscure even for many people in the boxing world.

Ranking the heavyweight champions: No. 33 James ‘Buster’ Douglas’

Luke G. Williams
07/02/2016 8:55am

Whenever the history of sporting upsets is chronicled, the achievement of James 'Buster' Douglas demands a prominent position. In slaying Mike Tyson at the Tokyo Dome on 11 February 1990, he unforgettably punctured the aura of invincibility that had hovered menacingly over 'Iron Mike' as he cut a devastating swathe through the heavyweight division. In the lead-up to the Douglas fight, promoter Don King had commented of Tyson that: "It ain't about if he knocks a guy out, it's about how he knocks a guy out." In hindsight, this comment had hubris written all over it, but at the time it seemed a statement of cold, objective fact. To those who didn't grow up watching the young Tyson in action, it's impossible to explain just how unexpected Douglas' victory was. Famously only one Las Vegas bookmakers bothered to offer odds on the fight, and they rated Douglas as a 42-1 shot - quite ridiculous odds in a two-man contest. Statistically, as well as in every other way possible, Douglas' win remains the biggest shock in boxing history and as incredible a feat now, at a distance of 26 years, as it was at the time.

Preacher: In the gym, in the corner

Billy 'The Preacher' Graham
06/02/2016 9:35am

Over the years people have asked me if a good trainer makes a good cornerman and vice versa. Ideally, you should be both: the trainer should be good in the gym, know his job technically and at the very least be able to teach his fighter how to throw every shot in the book. The cornerman should be able to hold his nerve on the night. However, you get some cases where a good trainer isn’t as good in the corner and wicked cornermen who aren’t great in the gym. One thing I haven’t got an answer for is why great fighters don’t always make for great trainers. That always astounds me because they’ve lived it.

Old school Woodgate primed for Camacho

Paul Zanon
05/02/2016 9:08am

Whilst publicity for Carl Frampton vs Scott Quigg reaches fever pitch for their world title encounter on 27th February, down south, Dan Woodgate and Wadi Camacho will prepare to square off for the Southern Area cruiserweight title, headlining a massive 21 fight spectacle at the UK’s Mecca of small hall boxing, the York Hall. Boxing Monthly (BM) caught up with Dan Woodgate, several weeks ahead of the showdown. Having entered the boxing game at the ripe age of 22, Dan boxed 21 times as an amateur before making his debut as a professional at the age of 26 on 27 February 2010 – the very same day and month he fights Camacho. BM was interested to establish the reasons as to why Woodgate entered the prize ring so late in life. “I was overweight! I used to weigh 18 stone and wanted to lose weight,” said Woodgate. “Despite having one of my great grandparents and my granddad who were decent fighters, I don’t come from a long lineage of boxing blood.”