Posts Tagged ‘Interview’
Interview: New Central Area lightweight champion Kieran Farrell
Talks Witter, Purdy and Future Aspirations
Photos and Interview by Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro
Back in May 2011 I interviewed former IBO Light Welterweight World Champion Colin Lynes, just as he was preparing to take part in the excellent Matchroom Sport promoted Prizefighter series. It was a real pleasure, as here was a man who during his illustrious career had done it all, won British, European and World honours, yet he seemed to genuinely enjoy discussing all aspects of the sport and his career.
Unfortunately Colin didn’t win Prizefighter, having lost to eventual competition winner Yassine El Maachi in the semifinal, by a highly dubious points decision.
Some five months later Colin was back in action, this time challenging Lee ‘Lights Out’ Purdy for his British Welterweight title. After twelve scintillating rounds Colin once again strapped the coveted Lonsdale belt around his waist.
I have to be honest and say other than republishing my fight report in it’s entirety I couldn’t possibly get across just how good that fight was, I mean it truly was ‘Fight of the Year’ material – it was a seriously great fight. OK, so you get the gist I really rated the fight, anyway back to business.
I did intend to catch up with Colin after the victory over Purdy, but somehow never quite got round to it. So with the news that this Saturday, almost a year to the day after I last interviewed him, Colin will defend the title for the first time, against former WBC World Light Welterweight World Champion Junior Witter, I felt now would be a rather good time to catch up with him again.
Rio – So Colin, you are defending your British title for the first time, against Junior Witter, and it’s a mandatory, not the usual voluntary, why is that?
Colin – Yeah, Junior Witter is the mandatory and I’m looking forward to it really.
They’re all good fighters in the top ten so, people say would you like to pick this one or pick that one, but I’m happy with whoever it is and Witter will come and make a good fight of it.
It’s a chance to get one back for me, as he beat me two years ago on a close points decision.
I’m a better fighter now, he may have improved and be a better fighter himself, so that makes me look forward to it even more and it’ll be fireworks on the night, a good defense for myself and the chance to get one back.
Rio – By rights you should have been facing Junior earlier than this, in the final of Prizefighter back last June, what are your thoughts on the rather contentious decision that sent Yassine El Maachi to the final and not yourself?
Colin – Yeah, I wont go too much on that, everyone knows what happened and that. It just didn’t happen on the night so I got over that and won the British title and I’m faced with Witter again who I should have faced in the final that night and people have got that final now.
Rio – Do you think that your performance in Prizefighter helped to get you the British Title fight?
Colin – Yes and No. I mean El Maachi won Prizefighter and I think if he had been a British national at the time he would have rightly got the shot, except he wasn’t.
Witter had been a bit out of sorts that night, he’d openly admit that and of course everyone thought I should have gone on and been in the final.
I fought Purdy at short notice, as no one else could have stepped up in the time given for the fight, so I went for it and came off the winner.
Rio – I didn’t realise it was a short notice call, mind you your trainers, Jimmy and Mark Tibbs, both say you are the consummate professional and are always ready, always fit.
Colin – That’s very true, by the same token you have to have a trainer with you that knows, because you are always in the gym ticking over, that it’s a special care that you don’t overstep the mark when you are in the gym ticking over and Jimmy and Mark are superb, they’re the men for that.
Rio – Who have you been sparring for Junior, as his style is not the easiest to replicate. I can only think of a few people with a similar style at this weight.
Colin – There’s not that many, but they are out there and thankful enough we know of them.
I’ve been doing enough sparring with some switch hitters, but we’ve also been doing plenty of sparring with our normal partners to get the rounds done.
Now we’ve bought some tricky customers in and that’s been going well and we’ve still got a little time to go with those tricky opponents.
It’s good that you don’t know them, you know of them and they know of you but they’re not out of the TRAD TKO Gym and they’re not from the same area and it’s good because they come with that bit of spite and it’s all in good stead for the fight.
Rio – I know you don’t look past any fight, BUT you win, you defend your title, will you stay on the domestic scene or will you move back to the International scene, say a shot at the European title.
Colin – I’ll never vacate a championship until I have the next fight inked in, so until that time I’ll never just vacate as I know how hard it is to work your way back, not just winning fights to earn your way back but being given the chance.
Once a set of doors shut on you, people can make it very hard, they haven’t got to take you on and then you’re on the ‘who needs him’ list because of how fit you are, so I will never vacate a Championship unless I have another title fight inked in on the contract.
Saying that of course I want to get into the European mix, you’ve got an Italian champion, who’s defending against another Italian, no matter what it stays in an Italian camp and it’s very hard to prise Italian’s out of their camp.
We all know what happened last time I went over there, so I wouldn’t be too quick to be invited over there and I don’t think I would accept an invitation to go over there to be honest, with what goes on there, so it could be a long waiting game for that.
Having said that, with Kell Brook beating Matthew Hatton I go into my fight knowing that doors have been opened, which motivates me even more.
It’s a waiting game but I am looking very much beyond British level.
Rio – I know we touched on it earlier but time to get back to ‘Lights Out’ – What a performance, I think it was clear Fight of The Year, please tell the readers your thoughts on the fight.
Colin – Yeah, it was a good performance, something I knew I was well capable of, and Jimmy and Mark trusted me, had faith in me.
It surprised some people, because as I said, rightfully so people were asking questions, has he still got it, is he over the hill, seen him before he goes so many rounds then…
I’ve always said, hand on heart, that was down to my body not coping with making the weight.
I made the weight correctly, I didn’t struggle or kill myself or gone without food or water but my body just wasn’t having it any more at the lower weight. It took perhaps one fight too many at that Light Welter level for me to decide and talk to Jimmy and Mark and step up a weight so onwards and upwards.
It may surprise people but I have put that performance behind me now, because I’ve got a new job, a new opponent, new style and it’s a different fight and I’m not dwelling on what I did to Purdy, so Witter is a new challenge and I’m going to be up for it.
Rio – You’ve already been World Champion – Is that where your looking towards again?
Colin – Yeah, I mean I don’t get carried away and with the names you’ve got in my division at the moment, I would be silly and a bit foolish to say I want to fight Mayweather or I want this one, so I’ve got to take it step by step because it’s a rebuilding campaign.
I’ve stepped up a weight and I’m doing those things, so it’s a building process but I want to get there, I believe I can get there, but I’m not one of those to shout out and call people out. I feel I have got to prove my right to be in that mix.
What is quite attractive is Kell Brook beat Matthew Hatton, he’s in the same camp, that should earn Kell Brook a World title shot and my being in the same camp and when he’s due a voluntary I think that’s a fight that can be made.
I know Kell’s flying high at the moment, he’s a step above, but he was at my last fight commentating so I had a bit of joking like banter with him afterwards, I said ‘I know you’re a step above but I’m pushing to get there and I’m going to catch you up, I’ll get there you know and then the fight’s on after.
Rio – You touched on it earlier, you were struggling at Light Welter, how are you now finding life as a Welterweight?
Colin – I’m not going to be the biggest Welter, I said that when I first moved up but it’s not about being the biggest at the weight, it’s about being right.
It’s great being at Welterweight, I’m not worrying about food, in fact I can take on more carbs, more protein and I’m really enjoying training.
The weights not an issue, I’m really enjoying training, I’m strong as an Ox and as I said it’s a fine line and the Tibbs’ are making sure I don’t overstep the line.
Rio – Thank you so much, I would say give us a prediction but I know you don’t give predictions, so may I just take this chance to wish you all the success on the twelfth.
Colin – You’re right and thank you.
Colin Lynes defends his British Welterweight title against Junior Witter at the Hennessy Sports, in association with Alma Ingle, promoted ‘Pride of Yorkshire’ event, which will e headlined by the WBC International Super Bantamweight clash between Kid Galahad and Josh Wale, at the Hillsborough Leisure Centre, Sheffield on Saturday, 12th May 2012. The event will also be broadcast live on Channel 5
Colin Lynes celebrates winning the British Welterweight Title
Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro
By Michael J. Jones
Scheduled for his third bout since losing his British title to Lee Selby, Stephen Smith is a man on a mission. The 14-1 (8) former amateur star has had plenty of drama crammed into his short career.
The 26-year-old, nicknamed “Swifty”, was considered one of the best young fighters in the sport when he dethroned teak-tough Scot John Simpson in only his eleventh pro fight. In lifting the Commonwealth featherweight title, Smith boxed with a maturity that belied his modest ring experience.
Unfortunately for the scouse slickster, a damaged hand kept him out of the ring for seven long months before he came back to edge dangerous Simpson in a bravely taken rematch.
Alas, as good as Stephen looked winning that gruelling contest, his progress was brought to a shuddering halt by Welshman Lee Selby just five months later. The bout was in the balance when a big left from Selby brought a sudden, dramatic end to the bout.
Since that bout though Stephen, trained by Joe Gallagher, has looked better than ever scoring two first round knockouts in his two subsequent comeback fights.
Stephen is scheduled to box a TBA opponent at York Hall, Bethnal Green, London, United Kingdom on the 1st June, 2012.
Part of the famed Smith fighting brothers, I caught up with Stephen as he was putting the final touches to his fight preparation -
MJ) So Stephen, you obviously come from a boxing family, when did you first start boxing and who first taught you the basics?
SS) I first started boxing aged nine and Jimmy Albertina taught me everything at the Rotunda ABC.
MJ) You were a brilliant amateur, a two-time ABA champion and 2006 Commonwealth Games Gold medallist among your many other achievements over 150 or so bouts. Which tournament was your own personal favourite to compete in and why ?
SS) My favourite tournament was definitely the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. They really love their sport in Australia so we were all treated like kings there. They were really lovely people and it was a great place. Happy memories.
MJ) You turned pro in June 2008 with high expectations of you. You built a ten-fight unbeaten record before challenging tough Scot John Simpson for the Commonwealth title. For a first serious test they don’t come much tougher than Simpson but you pulled it off via split decision. It was especially impressive considering you damaged your left hand in the fourth round?
SS) Yes, I indicated to Frank Warren that I didn’t want to spend too much time fighting journeymen. I was a level above them and wanted to be tested at title level quickly, which I was. John Simpson is a great lad and a great fighter. It was definitely a very impressive result under the circumstances
MJ) Your hand injury kept you out of the ring for seven months; how frustrating was that period not being able to get back to action straight after your biggest win to date?
SS) Very frustrating. I was now a champion so I wanted to defend my title but couldn’t. I always prefer to fight regularly so it was even more frustrating for me personally.
MJ) Your first fight back was a rematch in Liverpool to Simpson who had defeated Martin Lindsey for the British belt in your absence. You seemed to hurt Simpson badly in the first but the rest of the contest was closely contested; you edged it on a majority decision. How sure were you at the final bell you had done enough ?
SS) To be honest, I thought I beat him better the second time round than the first, so I was very confident I had won. I probably should have got rid of him early after landing a great shot but rushed things and to be fair, all credit to him how he came back at me. He is as tough as they come.
MJ) In your next bout you lost your unbeaten record to Welshman Lee Selby. Most people say you just had your tactics wrong for that bout; would you agree with that statement and did you maybe underestimate Selby before the bout ?
SS) Not really, I was just flat. I was tired after a couple of rounds and had no legs so could only do what I did really; try to walk forward and grind out a result. Lee beat what was in front of him on the night and, fair play to him, but he knows as much as me that he didn’t see the real me and he certainly hasn’t seen the last of me either. I’m sure that fight will happen again down the line and I’ll put it right !
MJ) How much do you want a rematch; will it happen and how would you box him a second time? Also, would you be happy to return to the featherweight division again for the rematch ?
SS) As I said before, I definitely want the rematch, I will return to featherweight anyway and I do believe it will happen. I will have tactic’s prepared for the fight and believe I have more than enough to beat Lee Selby.
MJ) Lee went on to stop Simpson, the only man ever to do so, did you watch that fight and did you think it was a good performance or a case of the wars catching up with the Scot ?
SS) Yes I watched the fight and didn’t see anything to change my opinion of either. It was close, Simpson edging it if anything, then a body shot landed. It can happen to anyone, that’s boxing.
MJ) Since your only reverse you’ve won two bouts by first-round stoppage; do you feel you’re hitting harder than ever ?
SS) I have confidence in my punch power and believe, yes, I’m hitting harder now than I ever have.
MJ) Can you talk for a moment about the relationship you have with your brothers; you all seem very close. How does having brothers who also box help your own career ?
SS) I love all my brothers very much, we are a really close family. They are my best mates as well as brothers. I’m very lucky as they have all been through what I go through in the build up to fights, so are always there to talk to etc.
MJ) I noticed you have ‘Autism’ written on your shorts; do you support a charity that deals with Autism?
SS) Yes, we all back Autism and wear it on the shorts to raise awareness really. We have an Autistic little sister, Hollie, she’s amazing.
MJ) Boxing is a full-time, demanding job; what do you do to relax between training Stephen?
SS) To chill out between training I play a lot of snooker with my brothers and my dad.
MJ) Ideally, how would you like the remainder of the year to go in your boxing career ?
SS) For the rest of the year I’m hoping to get my British title back and move onto European level.
MJ) I know you have a lot of fans here in the WWBPL, what message would you like to give the ones who will be reading?
SS) A message to the WWBPL fans, thanks very much for all the support and I will keep giving it 100% to reach the top !
MJ) Many thanks for your time Stephen.
SS) Thank you mate
Michael J. Jones wrtes for The Worldwide Weekly Boxing Predictions League
Local professional boxer Daniel “The Spider” Micallef talks about the huge difficulties he faced en route to becoming a licensed professional boxer.
Although Malta has had a number of professional boxers in years gone by, Daniel is the first local boxer to turn professional while still living in Malta, nowadays he is based in Scotland.
Daniel talks about the necessity of having to sign-up with foreign management due to the local limitations and adopting Scotland as his second home.
Interview held at BoxWay Boxing Gym – Msida, Malta.
Film Credit: Justin Mifsud – Viking Media
Interviewer: Alexander Zammit – Malta Boxing News
Gladiators Promotions – Malta – This is one sport promotion that has fast established itself as an innovative leader in the Maltese Islands. Directors Isaac Chetcuti and Noel Mercieca are backed by a unique and professional crew.
In this interview Isaac and Noel discuss their success and their future plans for this fledging promotional company.
Isaac explains about the origin of the promotion and the future.
Noel talks about the introduction of MMA to the promotion’s portfolio and about the possibility of having one edition of the famous “Bigger’s Better” show, promoted in Malta.
One interesting point raised by the Gladiators directors is plans to introduce mandatory insurance policies to fighters participating under the promotions banner.