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The Blackwell Tragedy: In Defence of Lockett & Loughlin

Each one becomes harder to process, more difficult to rationalise. He was doing what he loved. He climbed through the ropes of his own free will. He lived to fight. We know that. We only hope his family and loved ones manage to salvage some modicum of comfort from those cold, now past-tense facts. The […]

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A Portrait of the Fighter as a Young Man

When we watch prize fighting, we see only the final external product of the two protagonists, and the feats or flaws we witness in the ring are almost exclusively physical in nature.  But at the elite level of boxing, a point where athletic excellence and intense dedication are a given, internal factors are often what differentiates the combatants: it is what they have or feel […]

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Ray, Jake & the St Valentine’s Day Massacre

The numbers and statistics that can be pulled from the great Sugar Ray Robinson’s record are truly extraordinary. A rapid and exemplary 85 and 0 amateur career preceded exactly 200 professional bouts, spread thick and heavy across a full quarter of a century. In that time he took on all-comers, from 129lb featherweights to 173lb […]

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The Heavyweight King

Tyson Fury knows what the alphabet gangs do not: They don’t decide who the real champ is. Showtime’s Brian Custer recently referred to Deontay Wilder as the “world heavyweight champion” and so contributed to the mass confusion in boxing. Would-be fans —precisely the demographic the sport needs to attract— scratched their heads and wondered what […]

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The Gypsy who would be King

In the build up to the biggest night of Billy Joe Saunders’ career, I travelled to Hatfield and Marbella to talk Travellers, discrimination, the Irish, bare-knuckle boxing and fighting Andy Lee with the pride of the Romani Gypsy community The taxi driver eyes me suspiciously in his rear-view mirror as we cruise along the leafy […]

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Behind the Scenes on the Frampton Quigg Press Tour

When Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg signed the contract for their much anticipated IBF and WBA super bantamweight unification fight live on Sky Sports News, it was an indication that, as sporting events go, this is a particularly big one. That fact was brought into even sharper focus last week as the boxers and their […]

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The Sergio Prado Interview

When Jon Slowey withdrew from Friday night’s All On The Line card in the Waterfront Hall, it looked like the Marco McCullough curse was still going strong. The likeable Shankill featherweight hasn’t had the best of luck in 2015, with injuries, cancellations and shock defeats combining to make this year look like one he’d quickly […]

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The Conrad Cummings Interview

On the eve of the biggest fight of his life, I tracked down unbeaten middleweight prospect Conrad Cummings at his London training camp. There’s a likeability about Barry McGuigan’s 7 and 0 middleweight prospect, Conrad Cummings. Time in his company gives you a strong sense that what you see is what you get with the […]

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The Josh Taylor Interview

Five or six years ago, Barry McGuigan was telling anyone who would listen about a kid he had that was going to take over the world. “Calm down Barry,” we all thought, “go easy on the hyperbole.” That kid’s name was Carl Frampton, the current IBF super bantamweight champion of the world. Today McGuigan is […]

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Segundos Fuera: Friday Fight Night in Madrid

Earlier this year I penned an article in the Guardian questioning why a sport-obsessed country like Spain displays such indifference towards the sweet science. I described Spanish boxing as having been subject to a standing eight count for more than a generation and, while most involved in the sport here reluctantly agreed with my assessment, […]

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Postponed but Not Forgotten

Another year, another Tyson Fury opponent rendered unfit for purpose before the big man has had a chance to lay a glove on them. It is true that, given the limits fighters push themselves to and beyond in training, injuries and postponements have long been accepted as part and parcel of the bloody game. Fate, […]

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147lbs After Floyd: Al Haymon’s Private Playground?

And just like that, as mysteriously as he arrived, he was gone. For a while, anyway. The displays of faux indifference and cries of good riddance were to be expected in the aftermath of Floyd Mayweather Jr. outclassing Andre Berto in a glorified Vegas sparring session last weekend and subsequently confirming his retirement. A vocal […]

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Three Minutes: Corrales v Castillo I Round 10

Diego “Chico” Corrales should be celebrating his 38th birthday today. He should be waking up to hugs and presents from his wife and five adoring kids. He should be spending the day with his loving mother, step-father and two brothers that idolise him. Basically, he should be enjoying his existence and easing towards middle age […]

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Let the Clamour for Frampton v Quigg Intensify

At one point it looked like their respective first bells would chime simultaneously, like final-day-of-season football games in which one team’s result could affect the performance of another. And despite the ire of the millions desperate to enjoy both, perhaps that would have been fitting. Yesterday, at around 10pm in Manchester and 4pm in Texas, […]

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From Belfast to Banús: Jamie Conlan is Primed for the Big Time

“He’ll be a world champion within two years.  I’m absolutely certain.” Boxing trainer Danny Vaughan, a softly spoken Liverpudlian with over 20 years’ experience in the sport, is not one for hyperbole so when he tells me this, I know he believes it. The subject is his newest charge, Jamie Conlan, and we are standing […]

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Floyd & Manny: The Greatest Fight Ever Sold

Almost a week has now passed since I sat silently alone in an incipient Madrileño dawn to absorb the biggest prize fight of a generation.  My solitude was a function of the general indifference the average Spaniard feels towards the sweet science: particularly bouts that take place at 6am on a Sunday morning.  The silence […]

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Three Minutes: Pacquiao v Márquez IV Round 6

It is as jarring an image as we’ve seen in an elite-level boxing ring this century.  A recumbent Manny Pacquiao, prostrate and unmoving on the canvas floor, momentarily oblivious to the bedlam descending around him.  Some, his trainer and promoter among them, later confessed to having feared the very worst.  His wife and teenage sweetheart, […]