If being a real nice guy won you championships in professional boxing, then Sunderlands Tony Jeffries would be a two weight world champion and creeping up the pound 4 pound top 10 rankings list by now. Unfortunately it doesn’t.
On Friday night Jeffries was involved in something of a shambles, when controversially losing his 100% professional record against Michael Banbula, when the fight was declared a draw at the Rainton Meadows Arena in County Durham.
But that is not where the shambles lies, that was when after six rounds of the eight round scheduled fight, Jeffries believing the contest was over and looking relieved it was, went over to have his arm raised as the winner, only to be told by the referee to go back to his corner has there was still another two rounds to complete.
|Jeffries may move to the US to further his career
|The fight had been originally set for the eight rounds but then two days before the fight, Jeffries’ camp changed the fight to six rounds, after the 25-year-old strained a bicep in his right arm two weeks earlier, apparently a fax sent to SkySports changing the distance of the fight never seemed to have arrived?
(Do people still use fax machines?)
Having just edged the first six rounds against Banbula, Jeffries had to fight the last two rounds exhausted, which had as much to do with his mental state has his stamina, having only trained for the six rounds and finding it hard to concentrate and get his head around, that he had to compete another two sessions. the fight was eventually scored 77-77 a draw by the judging referee.
There has been a lot of support for Jeffries in the after-math of the fight, but also criticism has been pointed his way too, which prompted Jeffries to make a video on his Facebook page explaining his views and opinions on what went wrong with complete honesty and humility.
|Jeffries Olympic Bronze medalist
An extra two rounds in boxing might not seem a lot after doing six previous, and anyone who boxes or who has boxed will testify, but it still doesn’t disguise a sluggish display in the previous six rounds, which Jeffries has put down to his arm injury suffered in training. Having said that we had him just winning the fight after winning five of the six rounds.
Regardless of the rounds ‘cock up’ problem, there also seemed to be a lack of focus on the fight ahead, for Jeffries, he was fighting in front of his home fan’s and the occasion seemed to have got the better of him and has suggested on one fight forum, DJP said. “His whole approach seemed un-professional. Jeffries was laughing with the crowd and shaking hands with fans on his way into the ring instead of staying focused, and then the pre-fight MC announced Tony as a GOLD medal winner which led to another loss of concentration to a laughing Tony just before the first bell, (who answered “I wish”) This isn’t a game Jaffa lad. Get your head screwed on and act professional or get flattened. Its as simple as!”
After the fight Jeffries who is an avid social networker posted this response to his performance on his Twitter page prior to making the video.
“I hate excuses I really do, I was going to pull out the fight cos I tore my bicep 2weeks ago so Maloney knocked it done to a 6 rounder cos my preparation was crap couldn’t throw punches or spar, and I never found out it was a 8 rounder until after the 6th round when the fight shud of been finished.
“I cudnt believe it, I was wrecked, if I knew it was a 8 rounder I wud of pulled out, cos preparation was crap!
“Sky sports fault, now I have a blemish on my perfect record- still undefeated but to me a draw feels like a loss,that wasn’t suppose to happen.” Tweeted Jeffries.
Jeffries is now going to go on holiday with his family, to nurse his wounds and battered pride and then make a decision on the path his boxing career will take from here, with talk of another trainer switch and the possibility of a move across the pond.
Jeffries promoter Frank Maloney will be speaking to the Olympic bronze medalist and his father and manager Phil regarding where Jeffries goes from here? with the talk suggesting that he could now up sticks and start a training camp in the United States high on the agenda.
According to the North East’s www.journallive.co.uk They aim to make a decision before Tony goes on holiday this week, although things surely don’t need rushing at this point, has far as long term future decisions are concerned.
|Jeffries training on the pads and body bag with Rimmer
A move to America wouldn’t be a bad option, It doesn’t take away the fact that current coach, Manchester’s Bobby Rimmer is a good trainer, and it would be unfair if he was to be made a scape goat for the post fight fallout.
Jeffries has been working with coach Rimmer, a member of Ricky Hatton’s team, since splitting with another Manchester trainer, (2009 trainer of the year) Joe Gallagher in April 2009 and the two have become good friends.
That will not stop Maloney making a change of trainer if he thinks it will enhance Jeffries’ chances of fulfilling his potential suggests team Jeffries.
“There’s going to be some big changes in Tony’s camp,” said Jeffries senior. “Frank’s very concerned because Tony’s one of his star boxers.
“We might be looking at Tony going to America to get some coaching over there.”
There will also be a post-mortem over the length of the fight.
“It was a big cock-up,” said Phil Jeffries. “I wanted to pull him out of the fight. He would have done about ten rounds of sparring.
“Bobby and Tony wanted to fight to keep the show going. But he just prepared for a six-rounder.
“Frank showed us the fax that he had sent to Sky before the fight started. Once the bell had gone for the first round you can’t change it.
“He’s still got his unbeaten record and this might give him a kick up the a***.
“It might even take a bit of the pressure off him.”
Whatever direction Jeffries takes from here, there is no doubt about it, he is a good fighter and good fighters have there off nights, Jeffries needs to learn from this experience, take it on the chin and after his holiday, get back in the gym as soon as possible for the his next proposed fight on 11th September and tackle that as if his whole career hangs on it, focus, application and fitness the key.
I’m sure I echo every Jeffries fan opinion when I say that, next time we see the Sunderland hero back in the ring, he has put this slip up behind him, he is focused on the job at hand and is in the best possible condition he can be, not just enough to go six or eight rounds, but ready and able to fight the championship distance whenever called on, because that is where he and his fans want to see him.
And finally lets not forget to congratulate Michael Banbula on his performance in giving hot prospect Jeffries all he could handle on the night, regardless of the controversy. But if Jaffa is to progress even past British title level, the Surrey based Pole is the kind of opponent that he should be beating comfortably, maybe this was the heed he needed to progress?
By Chris Maylett reporting for British Boxers
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