Frontline Diary: When Rigondeaux came to Cardiff

Chris Williamson
25/07/2016 5:05am

There's a long and proud history of Welshmen appreciating lighter weight boxers in their capital city. "Peerless" Jim Driscoll was the first ever British featherweight champion, claiming the inaugural title by stopping Jack Roberts in the seventh of a scheduled 15 rounds 110 years ago at the National Sporting Club in London. A Cardiff legend, Driscoll's name is immortalised in the International Boxing Hall of Fame and a statue was erected 20 years ago in the city centre, where Driscoll's likeness stands calm and proudly with his livelihood, his hands, linked behind his back and gently pressed against his boxing shorts.

Frontline Diary: I went to be a part of it...

John Evans
14/06/2016 5:52am

The novelty of visiting New York during fight week will never wear off for me. Last week I ventured to the United States to see Vasyl Lomachenko take on Roman Martinez and Felix Verdejo face Juan Martin Martinez. Rather than spending all of my time eating, drinking, roaming around, and mixing with the regulars in Jimmy’s Corner like usual, I decided to combine those staples with some actual work.

Frontline Diary: The Warrior Returns

James Oddy
19/04/2016 7:12pm

One of the most endearing tropes of boxing is the hometown ticket-seller and, on Saturday, one of British boxing’s biggest Josh Warrington made his return. The featherweight loiner (native of Leeds) doesn’t seem a likely ticket-seller at first glance. At a smaller weight and without knockout power, with a style built around intelligent industry, he could have been one of the many enjoyable to watch boxers who get lost in the shuffle. However, an engaging and humble personality - alongside the opening of Leeds’ first and long overdue arena - have catapulted him to the status of the ‘next Ricky Hatton’. Like Hatton, his fan base is boisterous, intimidating and, in some parts, alcohol fuelled. It was fascinating to imagine what Japan's Hisashi Amagasa, Warrington’s opponent, made of it all.

Frontline Diary: Rumble on the Wear

Andrew Harrison
08/03/2016 11:44am

West Rainton’s Tommy Ward impressed in Tyne & Wear this past weekend. Ward (17-0, 1 KO) comprehensively outboxed the ever-game Robbie Turley (16-6, 3 KOs) of Wales, Saturday, at Rainton Meadows Arena to clinch this 10-round final eliminator for the British super-bantamweight title via scores of 97-93, 98-92 and 96-94. The last of those cards (turned in by Graeme Williams) made absolutely no sense whatsoever – especially considering that Turley’s strong-arm tactics had seen him lose a point in round 7 for holding and hitting (Boxing Monthly scored it 99-90 in Ward’s favour).

Frontline Diary: Reflections on Bad Intentions

Mark Butcher
14/12/2015 12:59pm

At times, the hype for Saturday’s ‘Bad Intentions’ pay-per-view promotion reached dizzying levels yet, when the dust had settled on a night of breathless action, the O2 Arena show somehow managed to exceed pre-fight expectation and we were left to reflect on British boxing’s card of the year. ‘Bad Intentions’ had just about everything and intriguingly illustrated that heavyweight juggernaut Anthony Joshua is human after all.

Frontline Diary: Benbecula to Belfast

John A. MacDonald
26/11/2015 4:36pm

If I were to say Cyclone Promotions to you, there is a very real chance your mind would instantly jump to Carl Frampton. It’s understandable as the promotional outfit have played pivotal roles in securing ‘The Jackal’ his world title shot against IBF super bantamweight champion - Kiko Martinez, having his first defence against Chris Avalos broadcast on terrestrial television, teaming up with influential advisor Al Haymon to allow Frampton to make his U.S debut and - along with Matchroom Sport - they finalised a unification with domestic rival Scott Quigg. Fighter and promoter have become synonymous with each other.

Frontline Diary: ‘Heavy Duty’ and illegal cough sweets

Mark Butcher
13/09/2015 7:25pm

Gone in 97 seconds. That was all it took for the Anthony Joshua juggernaut to roll over Scottish behemoth Gary Cornish. The 6ft 7ins Scot possessed many natural physical advantages, but after he tasted Joshua’s power the fight was a formality. The one-round blowout was greeted with wild euphoria in the O2 Arena. An Anthony Joshua fight is often more of an event than sporting contest and, while that may irk some purists, it's transcending boxing in the UK. It’s no different from the fan bases created by national heroes Frank Bruno and Ricky Hatton in times gone by. Rather than criticize the journey, roll back your seat and enjoy the ride.

Frontline Diary: Superman Stevenson shrugs off Kryptonite

Shawn Smith
13/09/2015 1:43am

The mood amongst supporters of Tommy Karpency was jovial as the main event started in Toronto. They cheered loudly as his name was announced, blowing kisses and waving. It didn’t take long for the cheers to turn to tears. Premier Boxing Champions hosted their first event in Toronto on Friday night, and the first world championship fight in the city since 1984. Lineal light-heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson did what many expected he would be able to do, dismantling Karpency in the third round thanks to his explosive power.

Frontline Diary: Oh what an atmosphere

Andrew Harrison
10/09/2015 11:59am

During a brief sojourn in a bar situated inside the complex, Twitter tipped me off that Tyson Fury was in the building. Dressed in a grey two-piece tweed jacket and waistcoat with matching flat cap, Fury looked happy - like a man temporarily released from the rigours of training. Tall, slim and unmarked he appeared to be on weight; fit but perhaps a tad tired. Fury has an easy manner and is popular inside the boxing community. He shakes plenty of hands. He’d called in to cheer on an undercard fighter on the Warrington-Brunker bill, and was scheduled to resume training the following day to commence a crucial phase in camp. “I’m here to support my little team mate Isaac Lowe, a little featherweight who’s fighting for the English title tonight,” he told me cheerily. “Training’s going good. Six weeks in now, another six weeks and I’ll be ready. I’m sparring Monday. I’ll let you know how many times I get chinned in sparring - give ‘em a bit of confidence.”





Frontline Diary: (Well over) 22 Twos

Terry Dooley
24/07/2015 2:38pm

It was a tale of two comebacks: Anthony Crolla’s return to action after being attacked by would-be burglars in December and Boxing Monthly columnist Billy Graham’s first ringside appearance in the U.K. since he worked Ojay Abraham’s corner in August 2008, the night both men retired from boxing. Graham was Sky’s guest of honour. It was a chance for him to mingle with boxing fans at a fight for the first time in almost a decade in a venue he once called home yet has only visited twice since Ricky Hatton’s win over Kostya Tszyu in June 2005. “It is fantastic,” said Graham. “I’ve had an unbelievable reception. I am overwhelmed by the way the fans have treated me. It’s taken me a couple of rounds to adjust to the velocity of the punches and get a feel for it all again. Don’t forget, it’s the first time I’ve been ringside for a long time."