Ajose Olusegun: “I’ll Fight Garcia Next Week”

UNDEFEATED British light welterweight champion AJOSE OLUSEGUN insists that he is more than ready to face newly crowned WBC champion, DANNY GARCIA.

The 32-year-old is the mandatory challenger for the title, having defeated Frenchman Ali Chebah in California in September of last year and was ringside as Garcia defeated ageing Mexican icon Erik Morales in Houston last Saturday.

Olusegun believes that a fight with Garcia would be tremendous for fans worldwide and states that 2012 will be his yearto conquer the world stage. The Nigerian confronted American Garcia at the post-fight press conference and claimed that he could easily take the title from him.

The New-York based Olusegun has had a somewhat nomadic life in the world of boxing, from representing Nigeria at the 2000 Olympic Games to arriving in Britain and conquering the light welterweight scene. Now Olusegun could reach the pinnacle of his career if he is able to defeat “Swift” at some point this year.

Speaking EXCLUSIVELY to ScotBoxNation, Olusegun admits that Garcia is a talented boxer however he believes that Garcia had an easy fight against Morales.

“I think Danny Garcia is a good fighter and he did what he had to do to get the victory”. He said

“But it would have been different if Morales had come to win. Morales simply showed up for the fight, instead of defending the title like a champion and that made it easier for Garcia.

“Morales has done very well in his boxing career but I think he should retire gracefully and enjoy spending time with his family.”

Olusegun has spent a lengthy waiting period to receive a world title opportunity, having previously been the number one contender earlier last year, he was made to fight another title eliminator against Chebah.

However now that he has finally been granted a world title shot, the slick southpaw believes he will cut short Garcia’s championship reign.

He said: “Garcia has no choice but to fight me, if he doesn’t then he will be stripped of the title, simple as that.

“I am ready to fight him next week. I hope he chooses to actually fight me as it will surely be a great fight for all boxing fans.

“Two unbeaten boxers going head to head can only bring one thing – excitement.

“When I challenged Garcia at the post fight press conference, he said that he is a warrior and he can beat me, let’s see if he really means it.”

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Classy Kell Targets World Domination After Hatton Victory

KELL BROOK fully solidified his status as Britain’s best welterweight after a punch perfect points victory over MATTHEW HATTON at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield in front of a crowd of over 10,ooo.

The fight billed as “The War of the Roses” was expected to be a back and forth battle between the very best of Yorkshire and Lancashire. However, it was a largely one-sided affair as hometown hero Brook was a class above Mancunian Hatton, who was sent to the floor in the ninth round.

Brook won by a unanimous decision with the judges scoring the fight 118-109, 119-108 and 119-107 in front of a rapturous crowd. Brook immediately found success in the early rounds with stiff jabs and straights, rocking Hatton’s head back and forth.

It was revealed that Hatton had broken his nose as a result and Ricky’s younger brother just couldn’t cope with Brook’s phenomenal handspeed and precision.

Hatton was forced into a shell throughout the opening rounds with Brook’s barrage continuing to rain down from all angles on Hatton’s bullseye nose.

However, Hatton bravely refused to concede and fought back in the seventh round, landing looping right hands to attempt to break the rock solid foundation’s of Brook’s assault. Hatton’s attempts were futile however, as a right hand from “Special K” stiffened his legs going into the eighth.

Brook’s sharp hands and crosses steadily chipped away at Hatton and his dominance in the centre of the ring made him look like a true superstar in the making. The 25-year-old finally decided to step up his assault and a fierce flurry of shots wobbled an off balance Hatton in the 10th and sent him spinning to the canvas.

Hatton tried to fight back in the final few rounds but the damage had already been done and Brook was victorious in the Sheffield showdown.

“The Special One” now insists that after his easy defeat over his nearest rival, the world is his oyster and that 2012 is set to be a bumper year for him.

“It was a spectacular night and we’re going on to bigger and better things”, he told Sky Sports. “Now there’s no-one to touch me in Britain, I’ll leave it up to the big man (his promoter Eddie Hearn, of Matchroom Sports) to sort out some fights.”

Brook also praised Matthew Hatton for his brave performance.

“What a gallant effort from Matthew Hatton,” he said. “It was his 50th fight and he knew how to hold on and get through the rounds.

“It was one against two, Eddie Hearn knows how to put on these big shows and we haven’t had one of these for many years, and now we should get more of them.”

Hearn paid a glowing tribute to Brook and vowed to stage another Sheffield fight in the coming months.

“It was a tough fight, but he didn’t get out of first gear, he’s got five gears”, he said. “He’s going to be very special and he’s going to be around for a long time.

“Sheffield has embraced him and he’s going to be back in the summer for a big fight.”

Martinez Too Good For Macklin In St Patrick’s Day Showdown

MATTHEW MACKLIN fell short in his quest to become world middleweight champion after SERGIO MARTINEZ retained the Diamond and Linear titles by technical knockout at the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The 29-year-old put in a brave performance against the Argentinian kingpin and put the champion under a great deal of pressure and even managing to knock down Martinez in the seventh round (albeit a rather lucky knockdown) raising hopes of a huge upset in front of a partisan Irish-American crowd.

However, this only seemed to snap Martinez into action, who almost welcomed the knockdown and as a result a bloodied and battered Macklin was knocked down twice in the 11th round leaving his trainer Buddy McGirt with absolutely no choice but to stop the fight.

Macklin boxed cleverly in the opening rounds, firing hard with powerful punches and dominating the centre of the ring, with Martinez not being able to land the quick and punishing shots that have elevated him to world status.

The Birmingham based brawler was buoyant, measuring Martinez’s incoming straights and retaliating continously to the Argentine’s slack defences. However, it could be argued that Macklin’s confidence hampered his concentration, as Martinez changed his position and began to unload with dangerous uppercuts.

Eventually towards the end of the fourth, a powerful uppercut shook Macklin to his knees but bravely resisted collapsing to the canvas. However, the wiley and intelligent Martinez refused to retreat and both men surrendered to a machismo style of fighting, flailing with wild and ferocious punches bringing the sell-out crowd to their feet.

Despite Macklin being ahead on the scorecards, Martinez remained in control and fully confirmed his dominance in the ninth round as he landed crisp and clinical punches to Macklin, whose face had reddened and was clearly exhausted.

Macklin’s dream then evaporated before him as Martinez knocked him down with a perfect straight right hand, sending the 29-year-old crumbling into the ropes. Macklin got up but was then toppled again in the exact same manner, insisting he was okay.

However, the wise and experienced McGirt knew the truth and correctly decided that Macklin was in no shape to continue.

“I’m never going to quit”, said a deflated Macklin, speaking to HBO after the fight. “It was Buddy’s call but he’s a good trainer. I just wanted to do myself justice.

“I wanted to do everyone around me justice. I hope I’ve done that. I’m so disappointed.”

Even after Macklin’s early success, McGirt knew however that the end would be near for his fighter.

“For six or seven rounds it looked like he had the fight in his pocket,” said McGirt. “But he strayed from the gameplan and he got punished. He has nothing to be ashamed of though – Martinez is a great fighter. I thoroughly expect Matthew to be a world champion in the future.”

Matthew Macklin is a genuine fighter, what you see is what you get. His drive and determination is almost unrivalled amongst his fellow contenders and always puts up a great fight. But this fight proved many of Sergio Martinez’s doubters wrong, the Argentine thoroughly deserves the full title of WBC middleweight champion.

The only factor preventing this from occurring is the childish politics being played by the organisation. Macklin can hold his head up high as he has proved on a world stage that he can mix it with the best, he was controversially robbed of a win over Felix Sturm last year but against Martinez he was simply beaten by the better man.

Macklin does not yet merit the unflattering title of a nearly-man fighter, he gave it everything he had against Martinez and could yet again challenge for a world title later this year. The luck of the Irish simply was not with him on the night, but he is sure to have still brought back more pride to the Emerald Isle.

Back From The Brink: Can Scott Harrison Turn Back The Clock?

TEN years is a long time in the world of professional boxing. In that time contenders can moulded into champions and champions can become legends.

However, it has become a far too familiar story to see some of the world’s finest fighters plummet into the abyss.

In June 2002, under the guidance of his father Peter and promoter Frank Maloney, Scotland’s top fighter SCOTT HARRISON defeated Victor Santiago in his hometown of Glasgow to become the WBO featherweight champion and write his name into Scottish boxing folklore.

After spending years battling his way up to the top of the domestic ladder, Harrison had reached the pinnacle of his career by becoming world champion and it seemed like nothing and no-one could stop “The Real McCoy”.

However, instead of being elevated to even greater heights Harrison’s demons sent him spiralling out of control.

The Bellshill-born brawler was gripped by alcohol and drug abuse, which plagued him throughout his career. In addition, Harrison suffered with bouts of depression, was stripped of his world titles, his boxing licence, driving licence, was declared bankrupt and spent three years in a Spanish jail for serious assault.

His notorious lifestyle has made him one of the most controversial figures in British boxing history and has regularly been shamed and exposed in the tabloids.

However in December last year, Harrison was granted a renewed boxing licence by the British Boxing Board of Control after having spent over six years out of the ring.

Now, ten years after his famous win against Santiago, Harrison is preparing for what would be an incredible comeback at the age of 34 and has sensationally claimed that he will be world champion again in September.

His last fight was supposed to be a defence of his WBO title against Nicky Cook in 2006, however Harrison failed to make the weight for the fight and was stripped of his belt.

He is now scheduled to make his return on March 31st on Frank Maloney’s show at Winter Garden’s in Blackpool and has insisted that he is in the best shape of his life and vows that he will make up for lost time, having spent the majority of his exile behind bars.

Observers have been quick to dismiss Harrison’s claim, but there have been plenty of fighters before him that have made extraordinary comebacks to the squared circle.

The legendary George Foreman retired from boxing in 1977 but eventually returned to the ring a decade later in order to raise money for a church he was involved with.

Then in 1994, Foreman shocked the world by defeating Michael Moorer to win the WBA and IBF heavyweight titles at the age of 45 in what is regarded as one of, if not the most incredible comeback in boxing history.

Even in the modern era, there are older fighters that are better now than when they were younger. Top boxers such as Bernard Hopkins, “Sugar” Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez will undoubtedly be an inspiration to Harrison, who still feels he has a lot left to prove.

His desire and determination to become the very best yet again could not be more evident, as on the day he was released from prison, the first place he went was to his father Peter’s Phoenix Gym in Glasgow to prepare for his impending return.

Harrison is certainly no angel, but if his passion is anything to go by then it would appear that he is a reformed character. Harrison had previously grew disillusioned with boxing after struggling to make the weight limit for many fights but when speaking to the media he insisted that he his back for good.

“I’m feeling good and can’t wait until March 31st because I have a lot of lost time to make up for”. He said

“My plan is to win the world title at super-featherweight in September then move up to lightweight and win that. It will probably be the WBO title but if there’s a chance to challenge other champion’s I’ll take that.

“I don’t believe that fighters are finished when they reach 30. I feel better now than I did in my 20’s. You can become unfit but you don’t forget how to fight – and I have kept myself fit.

“I also wasn’t involved in any wars when I was champion. No one bashed me up.

“It’s going to be a miracle when I win the world title. It’s a hard task but fighting is in my blood.”

Only time will tell if Scott Harrison can reclaim his former glory. If he is able to win two or three fights throughout the year then without question he would have to be in contention for a world title shot. Harrison let slip that WBO super featherweight champion, Adrien Broner is firmly in his sights.

However a fight with the high-flying American is a million miles away at this moment in time.

If Scott Harrison can pull off the unthinkable and become a three-time world champion after coming back from his living hell then surely he would have to be ranked up there as not only Scotland’s greatest boxer, but one of Britain’s finest also.

However, with Harrison things can change in an instant but many will hope that he repent for his previous sins and win back the respect and admiration of the boxing universe.

Big Fight Preview: Sergio Martinez Vs Matthew Macklin

MATTHEW MACKLIN will hope that the luck of the Irish is on his side on Saturday night as he gets set to challenge SERGIO MARTINEZ for the Ring Magazine middleweight title on St Patrick’s Day at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The 29-year-old is almost certain to receive a rapturous reception from the New York crowd, in a city that is home to thousands of Irish Americans.

Despite being a native of Birmingham, Macklin’s parents are both Irish and he embraces his heritage with tremendous pride. Macklin often spent summer’s in the Emerald Isle where he was a talented hurler in his teens before going on to become ABA champion.

Standing in Macklin’s way of glory however, is a man who is not only considered to be the best middleweight in the world, but pound for pound the third best fighter in the world.

Sergio Martinez is a highly skilled and very dangerous opponent, who always has a game plan. The 37-year-old Argentine’s last win came against Britain’s own Darren Barker back in October, whom he defeated by knockout in the 11th round in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Macklin was ringside for that fight and will know more than anyone what kind of a threat Martinez possesses.

After his highly controversial loss to WBA champion Felix Sturm in Cologne last June, Macklin will feel that he has gained enough experience from that fight to be able to dethrone Martinez.

This fight with Martinez is likely to play out very similar to his previous fight with Sturm, as the German kingpin was unwilling to go hammer and tongs with “The Tipperary Tornado” and neither will Martinez.

Macklin lost the fight with Sturm by a head-scratching points decision, with even the German media scoring Macklin at least four points ahead of the home favourite.

Macklin has been known to chop and change trainers over the years and for this fight has relocated to New York to work under a new trainer, Buddy McGirt and a new promoter, Lou DiBella having recently parted ways with top British trainer, Joe Gallagher.

He has been criticised for this somewhat nomadic approach but he thrives on change and aims to prove that it is for the best.

Sergio Martinez was catapulted to stardom back in November 2010 after he defeated Paul Williams with a blistering one-punch knockout in the second round. The fight was revenge for Martinez after Williams had won their last fight in 2009 by a questionable majority decision.

Unfortunately, due to the constant political issues within the World Boxing Council (WBC), Martinez is not officially recognised as their world champion. That title instead has been given to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, with Martinez having to settle for the “Diamond Belt”.

Nevertheless, if Macklin can pull off such a daunting task then he will undoubtedly be recognised as the best middleweight in the world, despite not having a “real” world championship to prove it.

Martinez has phenomenal timing as a fighter, but likes to set a slow pace during the first couple of rounds. This was a tactic that was implemented by Felix Sturm also, but Macklin managed to brake through his defences and land a good number of shots that troubled Sturm throughout.

However, Macklin may find great difficulty in doing the same to Martinez and he proved against Darren Barker that he has enough patience to eliminate opponents late in a fight, even if he has been troubled early on.

“I was very disappointed not to get the decision against Sturm but this is the silver lining,” he said.

“Everyone in America saw that and they were way more outraged than we were in England or Ireland. Maybe it was because they love the aggression side of boxing, which I showed, and so most in America barely had Sturm even winning three rounds.

“Everyone thought I won it, but over here they felt I really dominated him completely.

“It’s a great, great honour to fight at Madison Square Garden and a lifetime dream on St Patrick’s Day,’ he admitted. ‘It makes me quite emotional.

“It’s like a fairytale”.

If Macklin wants to come through this fight victorious, then he must be able to set the pace from the start. Instead of using long, powerful shots like he did against Sturm, Macklin will have to use little bursts to attack, then cover up and try to keep himself fresh enough to last all 12 rounds.

There is a lot of pressure on Martinez, at 37-years-old he is inevitabely nearing the end. However, he will be sure to use his priceless experience to try and control and ultimately dominate Macklin.

Martinez proved against Williams that he still has unbelieveable sources of power that can end an opponent in an instant, which is something that Macklin will be sure to be wary of.

One way or another, this is bound to be a tremendous fight, if Macklin is able to dethrone the Argentinian king it would be an incredible feat that would elevate him to the top of the middleweight tree. The bookies have Macklin as a huge underdog going into this fight, but the Irish are sure to come out in force on St Patrick’s Day.

If Macklin can pull it off, then the Big Apple may be painted green, white and gold before the night is over.

Anderson’s Left Fuming As Groves Postpones Wembley Showdown

BRITISH super-middleweight champion GEORGE GROVES has sensationally postponed this Friday’s title defence against KENNY ANDERSON citing a back injury.

Groves was set to face the Scot in a rematch of their battle back in December 2010, in which Londoner Groves won by a sixth round stoppage after an incredible comeback.

However, 29-year-old Anderson (pictured right),  has branded Groves a coward and believes that the fight will not materialise as Groves has plans to challenge Robert Stieglitz for the WBO title.

He blasted: “The injury must have been his arse collapsing. I was told it was his toe but I reckon his arse and heart fell out of it.

“This is a sad day for boxing and it’s a shame for everyone who had spent money to see a late postponement.

“No wonder people are steering clear of boxing – it is being ruined by politics. Groves didn’t give me a rematch originally and he was forced into this fight by thr BBBC. This shows he is a coward and how much he feared me.

“Guess who his manager is? David Haye. People like this are ruining boxing.”

On the possibility of a new date for the bout, the Edinburgh brawler said: “Don’t make me laugh. This is a joke and it’s ruining boxing.

“I think he will vacate it now and I should fight for the vacant title.”

Unfortunately, Groves’ withdrawal from the fight has led to the entire show being cancelled, with promoter Frank Warren admitting: “It is bitterly disappointing for us and for all the boxers involved.

“With George withdrawing from the main event I have no choice but to postpone the whole card until a later date.

“Once my team have spoken to Wembley Arena about a new date I hope we can get this fight on very soon.”

Legend Barrera Targets Rematch With Khan

MEXICAN icon MARCO ANTONIO BARRERA has sensationally revealed that he would be very interested in a rematch with Britain’s AMIR KHAN.

The 38-year-old nicknamed “The Babyfaced Assassin” is disappointed with how his time in the main event boxing limelight after losing to Khan by technical decision in Manchester in March 2009 following an accidental clash of heads in their lightweight bout.

Now, Barrera is keen to settle the score with Khan, who is currently training for his big rematch with Lamont Peterson in Las Vegas in May. However Barrera revealed that his MOTHER has been the one stopping him from having another fight.

“I said to my mother that I want to fight one more time. She said: ‘Come on – you’ve had a great career, stop now.’ But I feel very sad that I fought Amir Khan with the cut and I want one more fight to prove who I am.

Barrera was in the UK for a brief tour which culminated with his appearance on Sky Sports show Ringside.

He said: “Amir Khan never fought with me – he only hit me with his head. He just needed my name but he never fought with me.

“I don’t think Khan can be a great champion. He looked good in the fight with Peterson, which was a tough fight, but he cries. In Manchester when he fought me, the commission gave him a big present when he hit me with his head.

“If they stopped the fight, ‘no contest’ should have been the decision. And there was no rematch – yet he demands one with Peterson. I would fight him again – not for Amir Khan but for all the people here in England who want to know who Amir Khan is.

“He’s very fast but he doesnt have a punch. He does have a head made of stone though! I respect him but he doesn’t respect the people in England because he knows he didn’t beat me fighting.”