So here we are, January has flown past, only seemed like yesterday it was Christmas.
As a big Arsenal fan, I’m disappointed we didn’t go out and make a statement of intent in the January transfer window. Effectively surrendering our slim lead to Man City and will no doubt result in a scrap for 3rd/4th.
Moving on, let’s take a look at this past week in the world of boxing and the major talking points:
Reloaded – Cardiff Motorpoint Saturday 1st February
European Featherweight title
Lee Selby v Rendall Munroe
Gavin Rees v Gary Buckland
Anthony Joshua v Dorian Darch
Erick Ochieng v Dale Evans
Chris Jenkins v Christopher Sebire
Matchroom Boxing kick off their 2014 Boxing season with a show at Cardiff Motorpoint Arena on Saturday evening.
Headlined by Lee Selby v Rendall Munroe, supported by Rees v Buckland and Anthony Joshua’s first fight as an away boxer, it gives the Welsh capital some home-favourites to get behind and for Selby to grow his fan-base as he works towards a potential World Title tilt.
I’ve been to the Millennium Stadium to see Joe Calzaghe v Peter Manfrendo many moons ago and it is definitely a part of the UK that has a very passionate and vocal boxing fanbase. They will be delighted to have some shows back there as they have only really had Nathan Cleverly to follow and support since Calzaghe retired.
For Selby and Rees, they both have “must-win” fights for two very separate reasons. Selby, needs to put in big performance against Munroe, as his past two outings haven’t displayed the usual “swagger” we have come accustomed to when you think of Selby, if he is truly going to make that step up to the World Title table via Final Eliminator’s and Mandatory Challenger bouts.
In a division that contains Orlando Salido and Future Superstar Vasyl Lomachenko, (who face one another on March 1st) the time is nigh for Selby to show the UK what he is capable of.
Gavin Rees will be keen to put a forgetful 2013 behind him, with losses to Anthony Crolla and Adrien Broner respectively. Rees faces fellow Welshman Gary Buckland, who is stepping up a weight-class and was on the wrong end of my KO of the year against Stephen Smith late 2013.
If Rees was to lose a 3rd fight in a row, you wouldn’t blame him if he decided to call it a day and retire, so it is a delicately poised match-up that I believe is a 50-50 fight.
The one fight I’m excited to see is the return of Anthony Joshua. After a short lay-off late 2013 due to injury, Joshua will be the “away” fighter against Dorian Darch on Saturday.
For Joshua, it will be a test of character having a partisan crowd backing Welshman Darch. I feel he will thrive in that environment and put on an emphatic performance stopping Darch within 4/5 rounds.
This is Belfast – Odyssey Arena, Saturday 4th April
Undefeated Ulsterman Carl “The Jackal” Frampton has announced his next fight this week against Mexican Hugo Cazarez in a Final Eliminator for the WBC Super-Bantamweight belt.
The winner will have a shot against Champion Leo Santa Cruz in the summer, the stakes couldn’t be higher for Frampton.
Cyclone Promotions headed by British Boxing great Barry McGuigan has pulled a master-stroke lining up this encounter. They initially offered Kiko Martinez, IBF Champion and former foe a rematch against Frampton, but Martinez declined and has decided to fight in Japan instead. The 26 yr old knocked out Martinez in devastating fashion last year, it is apparent that the Spaniard fears the same fate this time.
You would have to back The Jackal to win in emphatic style at his spiritual home the Odyessy Arena. If he is successful on April 4th, it will set up a Summer Showdown with Santa Cruz.
We often hear many boxers proclaiming that 2014 will be their year, but Frampton is one I feel will have defining one.
If he is successful winning the WBC strap against Santa Cruz, attention will then turn to a huge World Title match against WBA Regular Champion Scott Quigg. It’s a fight that polarises opinion on who would come out on top, I for one hope and pray we get to see this late 2014 as it will be a monster match-up.
Ok guys, a short and sweet one from me today.
I’m off to leave a 6-pack of Red Bull out for Jim White and pray he brings me two new signings by midnight.
Have a great weekend and catch you next week.