Granat ready to explode

Luke G. Williams
06/05/2016 9:01am

Appropriately enough for a man whose surname - roughly translated from his native Swedish - means ‘hand grenade’, Adrian Granat is a talent who is set to explode into the top rank of the heavyweight division over the next couple of years. You’d think that Granat’s surname would have earned him a typically hyperbolic nickname, such as the ‘Grenade’ or ‘The Swedish Bomber’, yet he is instead known as ‘The Pike’. Not knowing much about fish I’ve always been puzzled as to the derivation of this somewhat unconventional moniker. However, the man himself is pleased to explain to Boxing Monthly the suitability and derivation of his aquatic nickname. “I got the nickname from my old amateur trainer,” he says. “I was thin, tall and could punch hard. Just like the pike. This fish is very common in Sweden and it is the best hunter in the sweet waters of Sweden. My old trainer gave nicknames to everyone, and I guess mine stuck.”

May 2016

On sale NOW!

The May 2016 Boxing Monthly includes feature interviews with Dominic Breazeale, Joseph Parker, Orlando Salido, Lucas Browne, Sergey Kovalev, Hosea Burton, Jim McDonnell, Jack Catterall and Colin Hart, casts the big fight spotlight on Anthony Joshua's IBF title win, previews Deontay Wilder vs Alexander Povetkin and much, much more. On sale now in stores, by subscription or via app on iTunes or Android.

Khan: A gamble worth taking

Terry Dooley
05/05/2016 9:18am

When Boxing Monthly last caught up with Amir Khan (31-3, 19 KOs) the former WBA and IBF light-welterweight titlist was chasing big money showdowns in America against the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather opted for Andre Berto; Pacquiao is likely to bow out after beating Tim Bradley in April, which left Khan seemingly twisting in the wind while some British fans poured cold-water scepticism over his claim that a mega-fight was within reach. Many assumed that his only other viable option was a domestic showdown with IBF welterweight title-holder Kell Brook. There were rumours that it was close at one point. However, Khan’s handlers were also locked in secret negotiations with Saul Alvarez, the lineal and WBC middleweight champion. The discussions bore fruit. Brook was left disappointed when Khan announced that he would meet ‘Canelo’ in Las Vegas on 7 May - Cinco de Mayo weekend - in a move that few saw coming. Surprises are rare in the age of social media so it was refreshing to see Alvarez-Khan come flying out of leftfield. As Khan explained, his team has learned some harsh lessons in recent years, most notably when and when not to go public about a fight. “I left it down to my team and [advisor] Al Haymon to do the deal,” explained Khan. “We kept it quiet, we never let anyone know what we were doing or risked it getting out in anyway. We learned that when stuff gets leaked out it can prevent fights from happening.

Canelo-Khan breakdown & prediction

Michael Montero & Tiffany Lam
04/05/2016 6:53pm

Michael Montero lends his insight to the 155lbs catchweight fight between Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and Amir Khan. The popular Mexican defends his WBC middleweight title belt against England's Khan on Saturday 7 May in Las Vegas. 

The Neutral Corner - Episode 37

Michael Montero & Tiffany Lam
04/05/2016 1:23pm

In this episode of The Neutral Corner, Michael Montero discusses PBC action from last Friday and Saturday including contrasting victories for the Dirrell brothers, a questionable draw between Badou Jack and Lucian Bute, a contested win by James DeGale over Rogelio Medina and a beautiful uppercut KO by Andre Berto over Victor Ortiz, then breaks down the entire Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez vs Amir Khan event including the undercard, free boxing streams and more!

Gallagher's recipe for success

Terry Dooley
04/05/2016 6:41am

In September 2001, Joe Gallagher led Stephen Foster Junior to the ring at the MEN Arena for the youngster’s winning professional debut. Gallagher was turning pro, too, after a successful stint as an amateur coach. The Manchester boxing scene was starting to blossom and bloom back then and, as is always the case with spring and summer, it felt like the season of success would last forever. Boxing is cyclical, though, so it came as no surprise when the city’s fortunes dipped a little following the Ricky Hatton era. Sure, fighters such as John Murray and Salford’s Jamie Moore kept the scene vibrant with a series of FOTY candidates; however, Liverpool was on the rise, the MEN was used for concerts and shows with boxing only sporadically on display at the Arena. Now, though, the wheel has turned full circle again. Manchester is booming, and the proud 47-year-old Mancunian and his Bolton-based stable of fighters are regular features at what is now known as the Manchester Arena. “I am very proud that we’ve got top boxing back at the Arena after a few quiet years and times when boxers from outside were headlining, like we saw with [Carl] Froch against [George] Groves and [David] Haye’s fights,” said Gallagher when speaking to Boxing Monthly

Below The Belt - Episode 4

Below The Belt
03/05/2016 9:44am

Welcome to Episode 4 of Below The Belt. The BTB team are joined by boxing journalist Scott Hammerton and discuss the Fury vs Klitschko press conference, Martin vs Joshua fallout and the possibility of a Fury vs Joshua unification fight. They ponder the outcome of Canelo vs Khan and the future for both men, discuss Groves vs Murray, Lee Selby and the future of the welterweight division post Mayweather and Pacquiao. And much, much more. 

Facing Canelo

John A. MacDonald
02/05/2016 7:29am

When Canelo Alvarez meets Amir Khan on 7 May, it won’t be the first time the Mexican superstar has fought for a WBC title against a fighter from Greater Manchester at a catchweight limit. On 5 March 2011, Alvarez faced Matthew Hatton for the vacant super-welterweight title at a contracted weight of 150lbs, at the Honda Center, in the Los Angeles suburbs. “Obviously, it wasn’t the most pleasant experience for me,” Hatton told Boxing Monthly over the phone, as he recalled the fight. “[I was] very impressed with Alvarez, he’s certainly the best fighter I’ve been in the ring with. I think the thing that struck out for me was just that he’s immensely strong, physically he was just so strong. I’d boxed and sparred with bigger guys before but he was freakishly strong really. Again, [he was] very accurate with his punches, [he] didn’t waste many shots, powerful puncher but physically very, very strong.”

Preacher: No-one can knock Khan

Billy 'The Preacher' Graham
01/05/2016 6:41am

I nearly fell off my chair when I got a text from boxing writer John Evans telling me that Canelo is fighting Khan. I couldn’t believe it. I thought he was just suggesting it as an option. That fight had never even crossed my mind. Thinking about it more deeply - and I’ll be honest, I thought of nothing else that night - Khan is in a no-lose situation and Alvarez is in a no-win position. If I was looking after Alvarez, I wouldn’t be interested in taking it at 155. If he knocks Khan out people will say “So what?” Any other type of win will be talked down. Alvarez talked about going up to 160. He said himself he wouldn’t do 155 again, so he obviously struggles at that weight. He came in at 155 against Cotto, but wasn’t made to work hard and at a fast pace. He will have to work hard to pin Khan down.

 

Comparing Joshua-Breazeale

Kurt Ward
30/04/2016 2:35pm

British fight fans are not happy. Well, some clearly aren't, that's for sure. And there's nothing like a Matchroom card proudly presented to you by Eddie Hearn for only £16.95 on Pay-Per-View to really get fingers smashing on keyboards around the country in a furious frenzy of anger. That annoyance intensified this week when it was announced that IBF heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua will be making the first defence of his strap against unbeaten American Dominic Breazeale. The PPV argument will rumble on and on, and it can be discussed each and every day on various forums and social media, but this article is a response to the negative reaction to the actual defence against Breazeale and only that. The challenger isn't expected to beat Joshua and, for most, won't even offer much of a test, but is this a rarity for champions in the sport, or more specifically since we're discussing Anthony Joshua's first defence, the heavyweight division? Let's take a look at some heavyweight titlists over the last few years and how their maiden defences stack up to what will take place at the O2 Arena on 25 June.

Ortiz and Berto seek to rekindle former glories

Shaun Brown
30/04/2016 7:00am

It was the thrilling welterweight spectacle that boxing fans hoped would happen in Michigan three months earlier. In January 2011, Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander met in a unification contest that on paper had the potential to be something special but instead had the life sucked out of it before it even got going. Step forward Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz to provide us with a wild slugfest that contained four official knockdowns, one unofficial and one of the broadcasting moments of the year when the late Manny Steward yelled “OH MY GAWD!” in the sixth round of HBO’s fight coverage. A great round for Berto that saw Ortiz go down from a heavy right hand only to get back up and detonate a left of his own to buckle the legs of his opponent and drop him. That night Ortiz would become WBC welterweight champion and fulfill some of the potential that had been thrust upon him at an early age. Five years later they meet once again (tonight 30 April), both at a crossroads stage of their career but expecting the Californian crowd in Carson to get their money’s worth once again. “I like exciting fights. I like to give fans what they pay for,” Ortiz (31-5-2, 24 KOs) told Boxing Monthly when we asked him why he was taking this fight on. “It’s a fight that I didn’t really prepare like I needed to. He came in there and was definitely prepared. I just wasn’t at my best that night and he came out to win,” said Berto (30-4, 23 KOs) to BM when he recalled the night Ortiz took his undefeated record.

 

 

 

Deas and Wilder take the road less travelled

John Evans
29/04/2016 6:38am

For all but the fortunate, the road to the heavyweight title is filled with bumps, dead ends and detours. Jay Deas has taken the scenic route to the summit of the sport. Deas has trained and managed Deontay Wilder from rank amateur to the WBC heavyweight title. From the outside, their journey to the top of the world seems to have been as straightforward as it is possible to get but, while Wilder has been able to concentrate solely on the business of knocking people out as quickly as possible, Deas has meandered through his career taking in the sights and sounds and breathing in the unique landscape of professional boxing. Deas was happily sequestered in Florida when his brother called to ask for his help in setting up a gym. The pair made their way back to their hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and opened the Skyye Boxing gym in 1997. Deas swept floors, wrapped hands and became the gym’s in-house sparring partner before adding matchmaking duties to his CV and eventually becoming Alabama’s first ever, licensed promoter. It is the type of education that money can’t buy. “When you live in Alabama you have to do it all. We don’t have too many boxing people here so you end up wearing a lot of hats,” Deas told Boxing Monthly. “We started the gym in ’97 with some amateurs and a few professional fighters. We went around the world with the professionals. We went to Montreal, Germany, England, Dubai. Russia. That really served us well because we got to know who was who and how the game worked."