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McAllister Secures Third World Crown, as Robb Exacts Revenge On Higgy and Beattie Wins First Title In Aberdeen.

Fight Report: McAllister Secures Third World Crown, as Robb Exacts Revenge On Higgy and Beattie Wins First Title In Aberdeen.

Report by Gianluca Di Caro
Photography by Stephen Dobson

The ridiculously inclement weather on Saturday night didn’t deter the local fans turning out in force at the stylish Beach Ballroom in Aberdeen to show their support for local hero, former two division World Champion Lee ‘The Aberdeen Assassin” McAllister, as he sought to secure the World Boxing Foundation (WBF) Welterweight World Crown on just his fourth outing since returning to the fray in November last year, following a close to four year sabbatical from the sport due to injury.

McAllister, who won the World Boxing Foundation Intercontinental title back in February to add to the many accolades that fill his overflowing trophy cabinet, such as British Masters, BBBofC Scottish Area, WBF International as well as Commonwealth and WBU World Crowns at both Lightweight and Super Lightweight, he had secured in the first part of his career.

On Saturday evening McAllister faced former WBC Youth World title challenger, the big hitting Ghanaian Frank Dodzi, who had nineteen wins on his record, seventeen of whom he beat in knockout fashion, including a victory over WBA Pan-African Champion Dodzi Kemeh, the only loss sustained by Kemeh to date.

The atmosphere inside the Beach Ballroom was electric as MC Douglas McAdam announced the impending headline bout. The Scottish fans in full party mood gave Dodzi a noisy and genuinely warm reception as he made his way to the ring, however just minutes later when their main man’s impending entrance was announced the decibel levels went through the roof.

Right from the off the Ghanaian went on the attack and clearly intent on yet another knockout victory to add to his record as he let rip with big looping right hands. McAllister is as ring savvy as they come and with exquisite movement glided out to avoid the looming haymakers before gliding back in to let rip with a big left to the body followed by silky smooth combinations to body and head.

The second round started at a more realistic pace and took the form of a tactical chess match from both sides, Dodzi utilizing his height and reach advantage in an effort to keep the highly mobile McAllister at a comfortable range as he sought the opening to let rip with another powerful exocet style attack, McAllister on the other hand danced his way around picking his punches and landing them at will.

As the round progressed McAllister began targeting the body of the Ghanaian with great effect, so much so that in the second half of the round the Scot was able to land a pin point accurate shot to the solar plexus, forcing Dodzi to take a knee in order t get his breath back.

The crowd went ballistic, each believing that victory was in sight for their man, but no, on the restart Dodzi regrouped and took a more defensive approach, enough to see him make it safely to the end of the round.

Round three started in similar vein to the second, however the canny Scot had clearly sussed out his opponents weakness and started to work on opening the Ghanaian’s excellent defenses, before letting rip with a massive left to send Dodzi crumbling to the deck.

McAllister ran straight to the corner to celebrate in front of the partisan crowd, however his celebrations were cut short as Dodzi somehow found the strength to begin rising to his feet.

McAllister halted his premature celebrations and prepared to resume battle, but just as he did Dodzi dropped to his knees and clearly in distress signaled he was unable to continue at which pont referee Lee Murtagh waived the bout off on the one minute and seven second mark.

Immediately the crowd jumped to their feet once more as McAllister resumed his victory celebrations once more.

Preceding the McAllister-Dodzi World title fight was a British Masters Cruiserweight Championship rematch, featuring current Champion Manchester’s James Higgy against old foe Nairn’s Sandy Robb.

Higgy secured the Masters Crown, over Robb, back in April with a good solid 98-94 points victory, many observers were expecting the same result after the Mancunian dominated the first stanza in similar vein to their first encounter.

The local fans kept urging their man on in the second but Robb seemed more than happy to just soak up the punishing shots peppering his frame and just let rip with a big right hand when an opportunity presented itself.

Going into the third Robb forcefully maneuvered his way to the centre of the ring and began backing Higgy onto the ropes, before letting rip with powerful hooks and uppercuts at every opportunity.

Robb utilized similar tactics in the fourth and continually walked his man back before letting rip with powerful close range shots to the head, then just as the round was heading to it’s conclusion Robb let rip with a massive shot to the body to send the Champ to the deck in spectacular fashion.

Initially there was much concern about Higgy’s condition, as he lay prostrate in the ring that Referee Lee Murtagh waived the fight off at the 2 minute and 35 second mark so that the medical team could assist the distressed fighter

Once recovered and seated in his corner, even though it was a body shot that ended the bout, the concerned officials decided that an immediate scan with a portable infra-scanner, that detects bleeds to the brain, must be undertaken in the ring, rather than the usual post fight in the changing room due to the number of big punches to the head Higgy had sustained in the preceding round.

Prior to the Higgy-Robb Masters title fight was another Masters championship bout, this time between the Granite City’s very own Nathan Beattie and Riga, Latvia’s Igors Dubovs, for the International Masters Novice Crown.

Dubovs started hard and fast taking the fight to Beattie, however the Scot kept his cool, utilizing his powerful jab to keep the hard charging Latvian from inflicting any major damage.

For the first minute or so both men fought hard to secure centre ring, much to the delight of the partisan crowd, Beattie then began to exert his authority, landing a couple of cracking head shots that had the desired effect of forcing Dubovs to raise his guard, leaving an opportunity for Beattie to switch his attention to the body, which he took in magnificent style with a short sharp shot that sent the Latvian to the canvas gasping for breath. Dubovs tried so hard to beat the count but just couldn’t catch his breath enough to do so, leaving referee Sammy Hill no option but to waive the fight off on the one minute and fifty four second mark.

There was one further fight scheduled, between debuting Super Flyweight Andrew Cuthbert and Manchester’s Thomas Murry, however Murry had failed to make it to the venue due to transport problems.

However, Belfast’s Marty Kayes, who was at the event as part of Lee McAllister’s corner team, stepped up to the plate and offered to fight the stellar former amateur, albeit in a contest deemed by the officials to be classified as an exhibition.

It may have been classified as an ‘exhibition’, but clearly neither protagonist was interested in taking part in just a glorified sparring session, as believe me this fight was as competitive as they come, both men going for it full on.

Cuthbert showcased his immense skills in front of his home crowd, don’t for one minute think it was all one-sided though, it wasn’t by a long shot, anyone that has seen Kayes in action will know what I mean, when he’s in the ring it’s to fight, end of, but the young Scot boxed exquisitely throughout the four rounds to rightfully have his hand held up as victor by Referee Edward Law, who scored the bout 40-36 points in his favour.

All in all a fantastic event, great venue, great crowd and even though the main Championship bouts all ended early, each fight was all action and ultra competitive so the fans went home with their appetite for pugilistic action well and truly sated.

Buncey’s Big Fat Short History Of British Boxing


Boxing is Steve Bunce’s game. He has filed thousands and thousands of fight reports from ringside. He has written millions and millions of words for national newspapers previewing boxing, profiling boxers and proselytising on the business. He has been the voice of British boxing on the airwaves, both radio and television, with an army of loyal fans. And now it’s time to put those many years of experience into penning his history of the sport of kings on these isles. It’s Bunce’s Big Fat Short History of British Boxing.

Starting in 1970, the beginning of modern boxing in Britain, Bunce takes us from Joe Bugner beating Henry Cooper to an explosion then in the sport’s exposure to the wider British public, with 22 million watching Barry McGuigan win his world title on the BBC. All boxing royalty is here – Frank Bruno taking on Mike Tyson in Las Vegas; Benn, Watson, Eubank and Naseem; Ricky Hatton, Lennox Lewis and Calzaghe; Froch and Haye – through to a modern day situation where with fighters as diverse as Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, we have more world champions than ever before. And besides the fighters, there are the fixers, the managers, the trainers, the duckers and divers…

Bunce’s Big Fat Short History of British Boxing will have every high and impossible low, tragic deaths and fairy tales. It is a record of British boxing, British boxing people and fifty years of glory, heartache and drama.

The book is in the shops today and costs £18.99 – a must read for all British Boxing Fans as well as those involved in the sport here.

Life Saving Brain Scanners Debut at Exclusive Boxing Event in Malta.

Life Saving Brain Scanners Debut at Exclusive Boxing Event in Malta.

Damon Booth in action against Ireland’s Marty Kayes

Last Friday evening the cream of Maltese Glitterati descended on the Le Meridien Hotel in St Julian’s, Malta, for a rather exclusive Professional Boxing event, sanctioned by the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) in conjunction with the Malta Boxing Commission (MBC).

With tickets priced at almost ten times the normal for a boxing event in the Mediterranean haven, joining the rich and famous from the Islands were in excess of sixty international high rollers, each and every one of them attending to support Damon Booth as he made his professional boxing debut, against Ireland’s Marty Kayes, as well as to watch the highly decorated multi-World Champion Scott Dixon in action against England’s Will Cairns

However, those in attendance for the swanky event were totally unaware that in the background was an historic event also taking place, as for the first time on the Islands and only the second time ever at a professional boxing event anywhere in the World, the ground breaking hand held Infra-Scanners, that can detect bleeds to the brain of the combatants, were in action both pre and post fights.

The Infra-Scanners, that were successfully introduced by the BIBA just two weeks prior, at an event in Paisley Scotland, following a number of high profile life changing head injuries incidents at professional boxing events in the UK last year, most notably the death of Scottish Boxer Mike Towell, even though these tragic incidents were on events sanctioned by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) and not by themselves.

The Infra-Scanner is a hand held brain scanner that is designed to detect bleeding on the surface of the brain inside the skull, so epidural and subdural bleeds, which are the common bleeds associated with an impact to the head, ones that can commonly cause life changing injuries or in the worse case scenario, death, in a short space of time.

Within Boxing, the Infra-Scanner is not intended to replace an MRI scan, which is required annually for Professional Boxers, but allows Doctors at Ringside to undertake a two or three minute scan, to determine if as a result of the boxing match that a boxer may have sustained an epidural and subdural bleed to the head.

Should the scan produce a positive result this will enable the Ringside Doctors to ensure that the Boxer is admitted immediately to the nearest specialist unit, where the appropriate care can be undertaken.

Dr Mark Xuereb undertakes scan on Damon Booth post fight

Malta Boxing Commission (MBC) Chief Medical Officer and British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) Medical Advisory Committee Member Dr Mark Xuereb spoke briefly after the successful introduction of the Infra-Scanners at the special event.

“My comments as a Boxing Doctor for both the MBC & BIBA and having been in this profession for in excess of ten years, I can say I’ve seen a lot of boxers and sometimes as a clinician the team has a dilemma do you refer to hospital or don’t you, which is a crucially important decision because you are potentially toying with death.

Without wanting to dramatize, this is a fantastic tool, the Infra-Scanner is a crucial tool to aid in that decision process. It’s easy, it’s simple, any paramedic or doctor can be trained to use it and it helps with the triage system, which is crucially important decision, because we decide what is current urgent versus future important.

We have guidelines for head injuries charting, whether to refer or not refer, as always this will not replace clinical assessment, however shall we say it fortifies and confirms your clinical hunch.

So easy to use, perfect, would I use in the future, absolutely, the research results are undeniable, and it’s making waves all over the world, so I would really like to thank whoever invented it because it is really going to help us as health & safety in any sport is first and foremost, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, five stars and hopefully as it develops it will get smaller and lighter, although saying that must say it is already lightweight and reasonable in size, so brilliant all round.”

Billy Corito becomes the first Maltese Boxer to be scanned using the advanced technology hand held Infra-Scanner

Maltese Heavyweight Billy Corito, who had attended the event became the first Maltese boxer to be scanned, even though he wasn’t boxing on the event had this to say about the technological breakthrough.

“I was overwhelmed to be asked by Dr Xuereb to be the first Maltese boxer to have a Brain scan using the infra-scanner.

Could not believe this little remote looking device can save a boxers life! It was so quick and easy to detect if I have an injury or blood on my brain or anyone else’s.

It was over in just a couple of minutes, so just imagine if all boxing federations have one of these on every boxing event how quick lives would be saved.

As the saying goes, boxing saves lives, well now its Infra-scanners who are saving lives”

Dr Mark Xuereb scans Scott Dixon following his bout with Will Cairns

Scott Dixon, who was the actual first competitor to be scanned post fight at the event also spoke about the infra-scanners and the positive effect he believes having them ringside will have on the sport.

I think it’s an absolute revelation that BIBA have now bought in the head scanners to Malta, before and after every contest, this is the way forward, the only way forward.

There have been a few fatalities in the ring and most notably when I had my first fight on Friday the 13th October 1995 my best friend James Murray died in the boxing ring.

It took me a long time to get over that and I always hoped and wished that the rules would become more stringent. Back then it was British Boxing Board of Control, but hey now the British & Irish Boxing Authority are ruling the waves now with their pro-active approach to boxer safety.

BIBA make it their number one priority to look after the fighters and that’s the way it should be, their regulations are amazing, so I’m delighted to be a BIBA license holder and to be the first boxer to undertake a scan after my fight here in Malta, forget the rest BIBA’s the best.

I came to Malta eleven years ago and when I came here boxing was virtually nonexistent, they never knew a left hook from a fishhook, but now they’ve progressed and moved forward, so much so that having the scanners here are leading the charge in boxer safety.

Scott then went on to praise the BIBA on their professionalism with regard to another of their procedures, this time regarding dope tests, particularly due to an unsavory brush with the local doping authority, who not only failed to follow correct procedures at one of his previous fights that was sanctioned by the Malta Boxing Association (MBA), but then decided to charge him with failing to undertake a doping request, which is currently under appeal.

“I’m also delighted that tonight BIBA even regulated the doping screening, I volunteered to take the tests as they were going to pick them at random which is standard procedure, but I volunteered as I have nothing to hide.

The true procedure is that you are notified before that you will be subject to dope testing, obviously like I said, I volunteered, I done one test before the contest.

After my fight I was escorted, to the dressing room, by BIBA officials, to make sure there was no dodgy business, I went straight to the dressing room and was observed and did another doping test.

Obviously both were clear, as always, because I’m a professional athlete, I’ve been a professional 23 years now.

Now I’ve done thirty dope tests during my career in total, the correct procedure is you be notified and like I said BIBA followed the correct procedure and in an appropriate manner.

I’m so pleased to be part of this set-up, I mean listen there are so many cowboys in this sport, let’s be honest you have the MBA here in Malta for an example, so if you want to join a circus you go with them, if you want to be part of a truly professional set up you go with MBC or BIBA, as they look after the fighters safety first and foremost and that’s the only way forward and that’s why we’ve gone with the top of the chain.”


Life Saving Infra-Scanners Introduced This Weekend at UK Boxing Events

Life Saving Infra-Scanners Introduced This Weekend at UK Boxing Events

Jonah Roche and Professor Michael Graham with Infra-Scanner

In February the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) announced that they were set to introduce hand held Infra-Scanners, that can detect Brain bleeds, ringside at events sanctioned by themselves in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, following a number of high profile head injuries incidents and the death of Scottish Boxer Mike Towell.

The Infra-Scanner is a hand held brain scanner that is designed to detect bleeding on the surface of the brain inside the skull, so epidural and subdural bleeds, which are the common bleeds associated with an impact to the head, ones that can commonly cause life changing injuries or in the worse case scenario, death, in a short space of time.

Within Boxing, the Infra-Scanner is not intended to replace an MRI scan, which is required annually for Professional Boxers, but allows Doctors at Ringside to undertake a two or three minute scan, to determine if as a result of the boxing match that a boxer may have sustained an epidural and subdural bleed to the head.

Should the scan produce a positive result this will enable the Ringside Doctors to ensure that the Boxer is admitted immediately to the nearest specialist unit, where the appropriate care can be undertaken.

Yesterday, InfraScan Inc. representative Jonah Roche, from SkillShop.Eu, travelled to the United Kingdom to deliver the first of the Infra-Scanners as well as undertake a training session for a number of the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) Ringside Doctors and affiliated Chief Paramedics, ahead of launching the use of the Infra-Scanners at an event in Paisley, Scotland this coming Saturday.

The British & Irish Boxing Authority had made the decision to introduce the potential life saving scanners following four major head injury incidents at events in the United Kingdom last year, even though these catastrophic injuries were sustained on events overseen by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) and not on events sanctioned by them.

In January 2016, Tommy Martin suffered a bleed to the brain following the Commonwealth and WBC International Championship bout against John Wayne Hibbert.

In March 2016, Nick Blackwell was put in an induced coma due to a bleed in the skull following his British Title fight with Chris Eubank Jr, and once again in November following a sparring session.

In September 2016, Mike Towell suffered a bleed to the brain during the British Welterweight Championship Eliminator contest against Dale Evans and passed away shortly after due to the injury.

In November 2016, German based Kazakh Eduard Gutknecht collapsed in the dressing room following the WBA International Championship bout against George Groves and was rushed to hospital, where he underwent surgery to relieve swelling on his brain and, whilst still in a coma, was transported to Germany in December.

In February this year BIBA Vice President Gianluca Di Caro wrote to BBBofC General Secretary Robert Smith, offering the use of the scanners for any boxer licensed by themselves, should they be suffering headaches or nausea following sparring or a contest, however this offer was refused and shortly after Mr Smith made the following statement to Boxing News Magazine.

“We’ve looked into it and we’re still looking into it,” Robert Smith tells Boxing News.

“We want to make sure they are accurate, and ensure the people using them are qualified to do so. We have asked many doctors, and received many opinions.

Ultimately, it seems it is too early to tell if this technology will be suitable for boxing. We will continue to look into the possibility of implementing them because safety has been paramount to us for many years, and will continue to be so.

“Nobody has said to me that this is definitely the way to go, because at this time, it’s just too early to say. In the future, after further research, they might be. It will be discussed in detail at our medical seminar in the summer.”

Chief Paramedic Martyn Morgan undertaking scan on Jonah Roche as Professor Michael Graham looks on.scanners

Following the introduction training course, Renowned Sports Forensic Scientist and BIBA Deputy Chief Medical Officer (D-CMO), Professor Michael Graham MBChB; JCPTGP; PhD; FRSM; MPhysoc; BASEM; MICR; MCSFS; PCCMH; APIL Expert; FSB, stated;

“The growing recognition of sports-related brain trauma creates an ideal application for the Infra-Scanner.

In contact sports like Boxing, Football, Karate, Mixed Martial Arts and Rugby, and others, the Infra-Scanner can provide field-based diagnosis and assist in the decision whether to evacuate an injured athlete to a hospital for immediate investigation and medical or surgical management.

The Infra-Scanner has been subject to a substantial number of Controlled Research Studies, around the World, and has already proven 80-100% selectivity and 90-100% specificity.

In addition there are over two hundred Infra-Scanners in use by the American Military, as this equipment was developed specifically for them for use in the field, as well is currently undergoing further trials at St Mary’s Hospital and The London Air Ambulance.

The Infra-Scanner is proven to accurately detect intracranial haematomas using the unique light-absorbing properties of haemoglobin, which is located within blood, and the non-invasive, non-ionizing nature of Near Infrared (NIR) technology.

Enormous advantages of the Infra-Scanner for speed of diagnosis are:

Portability, Infra-Scanners weighs just 400 grams.

Patient measurement is completed within 2-3 minutes.

The Infra-Scanner detects haematomas greater than 3.5 ml in volume, as well as detects haematomas up to 2.5 cm deep from the surface of the brain, or 3.5 cm from the skin.

I expect that such technologically advanced equipment will become mandatory at all public and private events, within a very short period of time.

Failure, by sporting organisations, to have the Infra-Scanner and personnel trained in its use will ultimately invalidate sporting licenses and insurances and result in enormous medical negligence claims.

Already it is clear in Boxing alone, that deaths from intracranial haemorrhages could have been prevented, if the Infra-Scanner had been present and used as a diagnostic tool.

As such we at the British & Irish Boxing Authority are extremely proud to introduce this technology at events sanctioned by ourselves, as we believe they will prevent future tragedies in the sport.”

The Infra-Scanners will be introduced Ringside at the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) sanctioned event promoted by Gerard Boyle-Welsh at the On-X Centre, in Paisley, Scotland this coming Saturday.

Fight Report: Fireworks In Liverpool – Turner & McConville In KO Form, Gallagher & Kennerdale Score Impressive Victories.

Fight Report: Fireworks In Liverpool – Turner & McConville In KO Form, Gallagher & Kennerdale Score Impressive Victories.

Ringside Report by Gianluca Di Caro

Photos: Col Armstrong


On Friday evening, just 24 hours before local hero Tony Bellew’s showdown with David Haye, Merseyside fight fans turned out in force for a little pugilistic aperitif at Hanger 34 in Liverpool for an event hosted by local promoter Kyle Gallagher.

Boy oh boy were they in for a cracking night of boxing to whet the appetite for the big fight, as in terms of action and drama the fights themselves were quite possibly not that far off being on par with those from the 02 in London the following night.

Heading up the event was local unbeaten prospect Dayle Gallagher, in action against Northern Ireland’s Michael Kelly, however as the Liverpool lad had elected to open up the professional element of the show, for a change I’m starting the report from the first fight rather than last.

Right from the off Gallagher took centre ring and began to pressure his more experienced opponent. Kelly though used his vast experience to good effect to contain the fast starting scouser.

As the round progressed opportunities arose for Gallagher to let rip with some cracking body-shots, Kelly though is well schooled defensively wise, which prevented the young prospect getting too many opportunities before the end of the round.

Round two was a much more open affair, so much so that there was some great toe-to-toe action, much to the delight of the assembled crowd.

Gallagher started to get into a good flow in the third, often backing Kelly up before letting rip with short sharp flurries to body and head. The Irishman held his ground and comfortably boxed his way out of trouble on numerous occasions.

More of the same in the fourth, albeit being fought at higher pace compared to the earlier rounds, Gallagher backing Kelly up before letting rip with combinations to body and head, as before Kelly countered with good effect.

With the fans egging their man on, the pace in the final minute or so was nothing short of frenetic, with both men landing some seriously heavy shots as they slugged it out.

After four highly entertaining rounds, it was Dayle Gallagher’s hand held aloft by Referee Matt Scriven, who scored the bout 40-37.

Following Gallagher-Kelly see local lad Jonny McConville making his professional debut against Northern Ireland’s Phil Townley.

What a fight, McConville really was impressive in his controlled approach, taking the fight to the Irishman and dictating the proceedings for much of the time.

Considering it was his debut pro contest, the youngster had the confidence to showcase his skills to great effect, throughout the fight McConville was able to cut off the ring in style before landing some classy combinations as well as some seriously big shots.

Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all one way traffic, Townley is always game for a good scrap and was more than happy to trade shots, landing some crackers of his own, but it was the young Liverpool lad that was definitely in control.

Townley got cut from a big punch late in the third, which seemed to ignite the blue touch paper for the young Merseysider, who noticeably stepped up the pace.

In the final round McConville kept up the pressure, backing his opponent up on numerous occasions before letting rip with big shots, followed by some classy combinations.

In the final thirty seconds of so of the round McConville stepped up the pace once more and backed the Irishman onto the ropes before letting rip with a torrent of power shots, Townley struggled to counter so opted to cover up, with no counter punches in sight from the Irishman, referee Matt Scriven had no option but to step in and stop the fight on the two minute and forty five second mark.

Next up was the highly anticipated Heavyweight bout between Sean Turner (1-0-0) and Belfast’s debuting Ryan Kilpatrick.

What a cracking contest, for as long as it lasted that is, both lads went to war right from the opening bell. The crowd were on their feet as the big men went toe-to-toe, each letting rip with a salvo of powerful exocets.

As the clock edged towards the second minute, Turner found the slightest of openings, stepped back a touch and let rip with a massive shot to the body to send the big Irishman to the deck. Amazingly Kilpatrick managed to get back to his feet before the count concluded.

Right from the restart Turner went on the attack, letting rip with further big shots, the final salvo producing a pin point accurate massive shot to the oblique that sent Kilpatrick to the canvas for a second time.

Unfortunately no matter how hard the Irishman tried to get up in time to beat the count again, he just couldn’t do it, leaving referee Matt Scriven no option but to wave off the contest on the one minute and twenty six second mark of the first round.

Side note on this bout, both men really did excel, the quality of the shortened fight was nothing short of sensational. I for one can’t wait to see both fighters in action again and hopefully in the future against each other once more.

The final fight of the night see unbeaten Craig Kennerdale in action against the highly entertaining and experienced Irishman Marty Kayes.

Right from the off Kayes went on the front foot, taking the fight to his younger opponent. The savvy Irishman then proceeded to make life as difficult as possible for Kennerdale.

Kennerdale responded well and as the round unfolded managed to get himself on equal ground, which wasn’t easy as Kayes kept digging into his well stocked locker for shots, and let’s say entertaining ‘professional’ moves, to throw a spanner in the works and disrupt the Merseysider’s game plan.

As the second round progressed Kennerdale began to turn the tables on the Irishman, showing Kayes that he too has a well stocked bag of tricks and clever moves, so much so that for long periods of time he was able to keep the wily Irishman on the back foot.

More of the same in the third, however the forth was a much closer fought affair, with the upper hand being equally shared between the two protagonists throughout the round.

After four highly entertaining, action packed rounds Referee Matt Scriven scored the contest 40-38 in favour of Craig Kennerdale.

Top class event featuring closely matched all action fights, what more could anyone ask for, as such plaudits to promoter Kyle Gallagher for hosting what can only be described as the perfect prelude, for the Merseyside fans that is, ahead of the impending big London fight night.



Fight Report: Khan, Decastro and Christopher in Knock Out Form!

Fight Report: Khan, Decastro and Christopher In Knock Out Form!

Ringside report: Gianluca Di Caro

Photos courtesy of: Joe Ibbotson

It may have been extremely windy and absolutely bucketing down with rain in Bradford on Sunday evening, but even the ridiculously inclement weather couldn’t deter around six hundred plucky fans turning out for a special four bout dinner show at the Connaught Rooms, headlined by a ten round non-championship International contest between local hero, two division World Champion Tasif Khan, and top class opponent, Ghanaian Ekow Wilson (16-2-0, 14KOs).

The atmosphere was electric when the MC announced the impending headline bout, each and everyone in attendance were on their feet enthusiastically clapping and cheering as Ekow Wilson made his way to the hallowed ring. However, in comparison the noise level went through the roof when their man Tasif Khan began his ring-walk.

Khan started hard and fast, much to the delight of the partisan crowd, and took the fight to his esteemed opponent. It was clear that Wilson hadn’t made the trip from Africa to just make up the numbers though, as he responded to every Khan attack with equal venom.

The first round was a cracker, both men standing toe-to-toe slugging it out for much it. Round two was fought in a very similar manner for much of the time, however Khan had really started to get into a dominating flow, throwing some sensational body-shots that clearly affected Wilson. Don’t get me wrong, Wilson held his own for long periods and landed some wicked shots of his own.

Round three was definitely the turning point for Khan; he started strong again and landed some fantastic shots to both head and body. By about the midway point Khan stepped up the pace and landed a seriously vicious body-shot that completed winded Wilson, forcing him to take to drop to his knees.

They definitely breed them tough in Ghana, as he made his way back to his feet before the count reached six. However Khan could sense an early victory and went straight back on the attack.

Wilson clearly wanted to protect himself from more body-shots so came in close and once again it reverted to a sensational toe-to-toe slugfest, that was until Khan did a little step back and let rip with another evil body-shot in the final minute, that forced Wilson to once again drop to his knees and catch his breath, again the tough Ghanaian was on his feet well before the count reached six.

Wilson’s team clearly switched to Plan B for the fourth round, the canny lad covering up more to protect his body, in an effort to prevent further Khan Exocets finding their target. It was a fantastic round, fought in a far more technical way than the previous ones.

More of the same in Round five, but unfortunately for Wilson, Khan once again found the smallest of gaps in his defense and landed another potentially rib breaking shot, to force the Ghanaian down to the canvas once more.

Amazingly Wilson not only made it to his feet but in the final seconds of the round made life a little difficult for the local hero.

Round six was another cracking round, once more Wilson had decided to keep Khan tied up on the inside, much to the delight of the fans as the duo went at it hammer and tongs.

The crowd, who had remained on their feet throughout the contest, were treated to one helluva seventh round, both men came out with serious intent and what followed can best be described as a full on War!

It was clear that Wilson had decided to revert back to Plan A and loading up some serious big shots, however that meant that opportunities were there for Khan, and boy oh boy did he take them when they opened up, landing some sensational body-shots once more.

As the seconds ticked down towards the final minute Wilson left a gap in his defense, Khan didn’t need a second invitation and immediately let rip with a superb short sharp shot to the body to send the Ghanaian down once more.

The crowd went absolutely mental, believing the fight was over, as Wilson struggled to get to his feet, but no, Wilson once again beat the count, just. What’s more on the restart had clearly decided attack was the best form of defense and a seriously entertaining toe-to-toe slugfest ensued until the bell.

About half way through the minute break Wilson’s corner summoned referee Matt Scriven, after which the referee turned to the officials’ table and signaled that the fight was over, what followed next was pure pandemonium, Khan, his team, which was headed up by former Two Division World Champion and current WBF Intercontinental Welterweight Champion Lee McAllister, and the fans began celebrating in style.

So enthusiastic were the celebration that it would be a good ten minutes or so before the official result could be announced and the winners hand raised, after which the TV crews from both the UK and Pakistan entered the ring along with Khan’s enthusiastic extended team, four of whom proudly carried Khan’s Championship Belts, and surrounded him as the TV commentators tried to interview him.

Eventually Khan was able to undertake the interview, in which he said.

“Ekow Wilson is a dangerous fighter with a very good record and high percentage knock out ratio; out of his sixteen wins, fourteen came by way of Knockout.

Ekow did a lot of talking in the build up to this fight, claiming he has wanted this fight for a long time, but my team had refused because we were scared, that was utter nonsense.

I didn’t respond as I wanted to let my performance in the ring do the talking for me, I respect all my opponents and all who get into the ring to fight and to a certain extent my team and I did respect his power and trained accordingly.

This fight wasn’t about titles and belts this time, it was about pride and setting the record straight, as well as making Ekow show me the respect I deserve as a fighter, we believe we did just that.

I believe at points I could have made it easier for myself and stuck to my boxing skills, but as we both promised fireworks there was no doubt at some point that’s exactly what the fans were going to get.

Again I’d like to thank everyone in attendance for making it such an electric atmosphere and a very, very special night, I really appreciate the support and my very enthusiastic fans motivate me to perform at my best.

I want to say a massive thank you to my sponsors; Kingsland Business Recovery, Broadway Solicitors, Janan Fashion, SouthPaw Fight Gear and Vista Gym, for their continued support in allowing me to give boxing 100%.

Thanks to the venue Connaught Rooms, a wonderful historic venue in my hometown, after tonight I think this could well be our new home for special events.

Also thanks to “Made in Leeds” TV, Geo News, and all other media channels in attendance, also thanks to the British & Irish Boxing Authority team for sanctioning and officiating another great event.”

Preceding Khan versus Wilson was another ten rounder, this time between unbeaten in eight and current MBC International Super Middleweight Champion Nathan Decastro and late replacement Latvian Dmitrijs Ovsjannikovs, following original opponent John Akulugu not receiving his visa in time.

Pre-Fight Decastro was so fired up, a determined mindset he later carried into the ring, clearly determined on making a massive statement ahead of his upcoming American debut fight in May.

The fight may have only lasted 34 seconds, but in that short time Decastro let rip with a handful of potential knockout shots to the head before letting rip with the literal rib-breaking shot that ended the fight so quickly.

Prior to Decasto versus Ovsjannikovs was a rematch between Scotland’s Nathan Beattie and Wales’ Anthony Christopher. The two originally met in Glasgow just a couple of weeks ago on the 4th February. On that occasion Christopher got the nod by a very close 39-38 points decision.

Beattie was clearly intent on revenge and started hard and fast, taking the fight to the Welshman. The Scotsman dominated most of the round constantly hunting down his man like a stalking Tiger throughout the three minutes.

Having clearly won the first round Beattie stepped it up a little further in the opening moments of the second, appearing intent on gaining a stoppage victory, however it was this approach that proved to be the undoing of the Scot, as in doing so he left himself open and boy oh boy did Christopher take advantage, landing a pin point perfect massive shot to the ribs to end the fight on the two minute and twenty seven second mark of the second round.

Opening up the show was due to be Chris Wood versus a returning Lee Noble in a four rounder, however that bout had to be pulled at the last minute, so instead James Higgy and Paul Smith stepped up to the plate for a four round exhibition bout.

Normally I wouldn’t cover an exhibition bout, but for this I’m going to make an exception, as this was one seriously top class and highly entertaining contest.

Both Men came to fight, this wasn’t a glorified sparring session like most exhibition matches, oh no this was one serious Battle Royale, that see both men going all out for victory from start to finish.

I really enjoyed the bout, as did the attending fans, and can only hope that one day these two will face each other again, if they do I will definitely be there for another slice of pugilistic heaven.

What a great night of fights, OK there may have only been four of them and three finished early, but in all honesty that didn’t matter one iota, I for one came away very, very satisfied, having really enjoyed each and every fight.


Up Close and Personal With Liverpool’s Rising Prospect Dayle Gallagher

Up Close and Personal With Liverpool’s Rising Prospect Dayle Gallagher

Interview by Gianluca Di Caro.

Photo: Team Gallagher

The subject of this interview is Dayle Gallagher, who is proving to be one of the most exciting young prospects to emerge on the Merseyside boxing scene over the past few years.

On Friday March 3rd Dayle is set to compete in his toughest fight to date, a six rounder at the Hanger 34 Club in Liverpool, against Belfast’s Michael Kelly, a proven Championship campaigner, who in the past year or so has fought France’s Mohamed Larabi for the WBF International title and more recently Scotland’s Lee McAllister for the WBF Inter-Continental belt, as well as competed on huge televised events in Russia and Sweden.

Unbeaten in four outings to date, two by early stoppages, against Alekseis Nikitenko, in May 2015 and Jak Johnson in December 2016, and two by solid points decision, Marty Kayes in April 2016 and Phil Townley in June the same year, Dayle has already caught the eye of some of the biggest names in the sport, including two time World Champion Amir Khan.

In fact courtesy of Mr Khan and his team, Dayle firmly earned his place in the History books of the sport, as the very first winner of a Professional Boxing contest in Pakistan, following his excellent win over Belfast’s Phil Townley back in June last year.

More on that later, as right now I think its time to get on with the interview.


Thank you for talking with me today Dayle, whilst obviously this interview is regarding your professional career, especially the upcoming fight against Michael Kelly on March 3rd, I would like to start the interview off with you telling the readers a little about your non-professional boxing, especially your amateur career, which I have understand started out with a victory over one of the top guys in the division at that time.


I started boxing at the age of 14, after training for over a year I had a few inter-club events before having my first amateur bout which was on short notice to represent Liverpool my home city, which was against the Welsh number one at the time in his home city Wrexham.

I always remember my coach saying no one wants to fight this lad so go knock him out, and in the second round after putting him down twice already the referee had no choice to stop it.

I was told by numerous of people I had a bright future in the sport but my focus at the time was to become a professional football player which ended in a real bad injury and after 18 months of physio and rehabilitation on my injury.

I finally got back into boxing for fitness and immediately fell back in love with the sport, after just a few months of training I took a white-collar fight in Newcastle.

After winning that I got loads of good feedback and realised I need to start taking this serious and see how far I can go in the sport, I won Northern area, British and European titles on the unlicensed scene then realised I need to turn to the professional side of the game.


Your pro career got off to a flying start, with a stoppage victory over Latvian Aleksejs Nikitenko, firstly how did it feel boxing in the professional ranks for the first time and secondly can you give your view of the fight please?


Even though I had been in the ring plenty of times before, my professional debut had me more nervous then any other fight, but the feeling couldn’t of been better.

The fight didn’t last long about 1 minute I think before the referee had to interfere and call a halt to the fight which led to my first win in the professional ranks and is a day I will never forget.


It was almost a year before you were back in the ring, against Marty Kayes back in April last year, but even with such a long time between fights you were in top form, beating Marty on points. How did you manage to keep motivated during this time and again please give the readers your view of the fight?


It was very hard because I was going through a lot of complications with my promoter at the time and couldn’t fight and I thought I might never fight again, but after a long period out, my brother helped me and got me a fight.

I knew a lot about Marty and knew it wouldn’t be easy knowing how experienced he was, but I wanted to show everyone that even with all this time out how good I can be and got the win and felt like I’d never had time out of the ring.


Your next fight, against Phil Townley, came just a few months later and what’s more was overseas on an historic event, the first Pro Boxing event ever to take place in Pakistan. Can you please tell the readers firstly how this came about and also tell the readers not just about the fight but also the whole experience?


I didn’t really believe it was true when I first found out about Pakistan. I had just come back from my holiday and next minute am on the phone to Amir Khan’s uncle about a possible fight in Pakistan.

Even though I knew I wasn’t at my fittest or at my preferred weight I couldn’t miss out on the opportunity so I stepped up two weight classes just for the opportunity.

Within a couple of hours of the fight getting offered to me I was in Bolton at the Amir Khan Academy filling out all my paper work and my visa and literally three days later was on a plane going to fight in Pakistan.

On arriving in Pakistan I was treated like royalty, my bags where collected and carried for me. I was greeted by the Pakistan Army and Police and escorted to my hotel.

I could never thank the people enough from Pakistan on how they made my time there so welcome, it’s a great country with great people even when I fought they where screaming my name, so much so that I thought I was back in Liverpool with a home crowd.

It was one of my most amazing experiences of my life and one that I will have for the rest of my life as I made history as the very first professional boxer to fight and win on Pakistan soil.


Your fourth fight, against Jak Johnson back in December and on home turf once more, was both dramatic and I would expect anti-climatic for you. I was there so know all that occurred but could you enlighten the readers about the dramas that unfolded that night from your view please?


If you’ve seen the whole fight it looks like I wasn’t too happy at the end but that’s because am a fighter and all I want to do is fight.

I trained so hard and felt in the best shape of my life so when the fight was over In 30 seconds it annoyed me but that’s just something I have to deal with its boxing and fights can be over with one shot.

After watching it back I was happy with my performance and I’m blessed with punching power that can pop someone’s shoulder out of its socket with one shot.


On the 3rd March you’ll be in action once more at the Hanger 34 in Liverpool, where you are due to face Ireland’s Michael Kelly. Do you know much about Michael and his fighting style and also how do you see this fight panning out?


I know about the people he’s fought and what he’s achieved I know it will be a tough fight but that’s why my team and me asked for the fight.

I don’t watch my opponents on old fights because they could turn up an box a completely different fight so I like to figure them out when am in there.

I think it will be an entertaining fight for people to watch, but I see it ending with a knockout, if I hit anybody at welterweight with one of my power shots in eight-ounce gloves I will be shocked to see anybody still standing there in front of me.


So out of the fights you’ve had to date, whether pro or not, which has been your favourite and why?


My favourite has to be Pakistan making history and challenging myself, it was a big risk stepping up two weight divisions but I like a challenge and this is why I’m in this fight game, and also boxing in front of two time World Champion Amir Khan and getting great feedback from him, you can’t ask for anything better than that.


How would you describe your fighting style?


My fighting style I believe is different to the average British style boxer which I think makes me stand out more, I’m a counter fighter with power, I’m a southpaw and I know I can be a nightmare for any boxer out there on the boxing circuit.


Should you be successful on the 3rd March, you will be unbeaten in five, whilst perhaps it’s still a bit early to be thinking of Championship accolades, I’m sure that you must have been thinking about opportunities like that already, as such could you please outline your future plans for the readers.


I’m in the sport to win titles, it’s a dream of mine that I know I can achieve and when the opportunity comes I will take it.

I will keep climbing the ladder winning fights and when my team think the time is right, I will get my title shot and I will become Champion.


I’m sure you must have been an avid watcher of pro boxing even as a youngster, as such my next question is which fighters, past or present, have had the most influence on you and your career?


Growing up from a young age I used to watch videos of Roy Jones Jr, I love his cockiness and confidence.

I always wanted to be an entertainer and give people the feeling I had when watching him.

My favourite fighters that I like to watch a lot of now is Floyd Mayweather, Adrian Broner, Chris Eubank Jr and Errol Spence Jr, these are the type of fighters I like to take a lot from and try to make into my own style.


Moving away from the fights etc., who are the main people that make up Team Gallagher?


Even though I’m the one who gets in there to fight I couldn’t do it without my team, from my brother Kyle who prepares me for every fight, to all my teammates at engine room.

It’s not just my team though; my sponsors also help me to get ready for fight night, Goodness Grill, who prepares my food, which help me with my diets. Spartan Dynamic who train me for my strength and conditioning and get me in great shape and make me feel stronger than ever.

James Harris who helps me with everything behind the scenes like interviews.

My friends my family and my girlfriend these all help me behind the scenes when I’m moody from weight cutting and preparing for fight night.

But the most important people on my team are the people who believe in my dream and buy tickets off me for my fights, because what a lot of people don’t realise without ticket sales fights can’t happen and I will always be thankful to every last person who buys a ticket from me!


Where do you train and what is your training schedule?


I train in Engine Room Boxing Club, Sports Direct Fitness and Spartan Dynamic, my normal routine for fight night is 6am I wake up have a banana then straight to Sports Direct Fitness for my running.

I like to get between 4-6 miles in every morning then I will do a bit of bag work and get a sauna, then I will go home and rest then at 10:30am depending on which day Monday, Wednesday, Friday I will be at Engine Room until at least Midday working on my boxing.

Tuesday and Thursday I will be at Spartan Dynamic until Midday working on my strength and conditioning, then I will go and pick up freshly prepared meals from Goodness Grill and then have work from 2:30pm until 9:30pm.

It’s a hard routine to maintain but for my dream it’s all worth it.


What would you say your favourite part of training is?


I don’t really have a favourite part of training; my favourite part is probably getting told I’m finished because it’s really hard work.

It’s an addiction training that I couldn’t go without, but if I had to choose one thing it would probably be sparring. It’s the closest thing to fighting and there’s nothing better than landing devastating punches on opponents.


Outside boxing, what is your favourite sport?


Outside of boxing my favourite sport is football, I love to watch my team Everton but any game in general I will just watch for entertainment


Besides sport how else do you relax outside boxing?


Boxing is constantly on my brain when I have spare time I watch boxing videos or talk about it to people who don’t really care but it’s in my blood and I just can’t help it


These days Social Media is very much an important tool for professional sports people; do you utilize Social Media to engage with your fans?


I find social media is very important these days for professional athletes and I always interact with fans, because anybody who takes time to ask me anything about my career deserves a reply, I’m not a big name in the sport yet so to have people asking me questions about my boxing really means a lot to me.


Finally is there anything you want to say to your fans?


Thank you to everyone who follows my career and believes in me it won’t be long until I’m at the top, thank you.

Dayle Gallagher versus Michael Kelly headlines the Kyle Gallagher Fight Club Promotions event at Hanger 34 in Liverpool on Friday 3rd March 2017, which will be broadcast on BOOM TV. Tickets are available from boxers competing or call Fight Club Ticket Line 07711 098025.

Hand Held Infra-Scanners, That Detect Brain Bleeds, Introduced by BIBA For Professional Boxing Events In The United Kingdom.


Hand Held Infra-Scanners, That Detect Brain Bleeds, Introduced By BIBA For Professional Boxing Events In The United Kingdom.


The British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) are set to introduce hand held Infra-Scanners, that can detect Brain bleeds, at events sanctioned by themselves in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.

Sky News’ Health & Science Correspondent, Thomas Moore, highlighted the benefits of the use of the Infra-Scanners, that can detect brain bleeds with an accuracy of 90%, often before any symptoms such as headaches or confusion become apparent, following the death of Mike Towell last year at an event sanctioned by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC).

In the article Mr. Moore stated “Compulsory brain imaging using Infra-Scanners could be “massive” for boxers who risk death from professional competition.”

On announcing the introduction of Infra-Scanners, that will be available ringside at events sanctioned by them, BIBA Vice President Gianluca Di Caro said.

“We are extremely proud to be the first to introduce Infra-Scanners at events in the United Kingdom and Ireland, as we whole heartedly believe having them ringside will significantly prevent further tragedies within our sport.”

Before expanding further and explain what had led to the decision to introduce the use of Infra-Scanners at BIBA events;

“Following two major head injury incidents last year, one that resulted in the death of Mike Towell, even though neither were on events sanctioned by ourselves, the BIBA board had decided to actively seek solutions regarding improving the way that injuries such as these can be detected as quickly as possible. The first move we made was to appoint renowned forensic sports scientist Professor Michael Graham PhD to our Ringside Medical Officer & Medical Advisory Board.

Professor Graham led the esteemed team that produced the internationally published papers “Direct Hits to the Head During Amateur Boxing is Associated With a Rise in Serum Biomarkers For Brain Injury” & “Should an Increase in Cerebral Neurochemicals Following Head Kicks in Karate Influence Return to Play?”

Professor Graham and his esteemed team are currently researching the short-term and long-term effects of head injuries in Rugby as well as preparing, in conjunction with ourselves and a prestigious UK University, a long term research project to assess cognitive function following brain trauma.

Around the time of the appointment of Professor Graham, our CMO, Dr. Louise Eccles, proposed that we should investigate obtaining Infra-Scanners, as the use of these would massively assist in detecting problems such as a bleed on the brain quickly, especially as there is only a limited amount of time to assess the location of such an injury.

Following Louise’s advice, I contacted the manufacturers and am extremely proud to say that the initial trial unit will arrive later this month, hopefully in time for the 26th February event in Bradford, that features two ten round International contests.

We have initially ordered two Infra-Scanners which will be operated by Professor Graham and Dr Eccles at our events, and are aiming to order a further eight units over the coming twelve months, so that every BIBA Ringside Doctor will have an Infra-Scanner available by 2018.

Both the appointment of Professor Graham and the introduction of Infra-Scanners, are just two pro-active decisions made by ourselves with regard to Boxer Health & Safety, there are more to come, as Professor Graham and another of our Ringside Medical Officer & Medical Advisory Board, Dr Mark Xuereb have also proposed the introduction of further safety measures, one of which is the introduction of Cognitive Testing, which will come into force very soon.

We believe that Boxer Health & Safety is paramount, as such we will continue researching procedures that can assist us provide the very best medical evaluations possible.”

Up Close and Personal with Two Division World Champion Tasif Khan.

Up Close and Personal with Two Division World Champion Tasif Khan.

Interview by Gianluca Di Caro

Photo courtesy of Team Tasif Khan


For this edition of ‘Up Close and Personal’, the featured boxer is two division World Champion Tasif Khan, who is set to face Ghana’s Ekow Wilson in a non-championship ten round contest on the Saorise Promotions event at the Connaught Rooms in Tasif’s home town of Bradford on Sunday the 26th February 2017.

During the early part of his career Tasif was already competing on the undercard of some big shows, including Matthew Hatton’s European title fights against Yuriy Nuzhnenko and Roberto Belge, as well as the Amir Khan versus Paul McCloskey WBA World title fight at the M.E.N. Arena.

His successes were gaining the attention of the national media, so much so that in 2010, following his victory over Pavel Senkovs on the Hatton-Belge undercard, no less than BBC Sport were hailing him as a future British Champion.

Life can be so cruel sometimes and just over two years later Tasif was out of boxing, due to a spat of quite serious injuries, without getting the chance to challenge for the Northern Area title, let alone the coveted Lonsdale Belt that BBC Sport were so sure he would claim.

It would not be until just over two years later before Tasif had suitably overcome the injuries that had bought the early part of his career to an end in such a cruel manner, and finally stepped back in the ring for a competitive contest, against Richard Voros at the York Hall in London in January 2015

A couple of months later Tasif was back in action, this time at the Central Hall in Liverpool, where he scored the second stoppage victory, this time over Ladislav Miko, since his return to the ring.

Tasif finally achieved his dream of Championship boxing a few months later, when on the 2nd May 2015, at York Hall in London, he challenged Georgia’s Mikheil Soloninkini for the International Masters Bantamweight title.

He showed real guts and determination throughout, having been sent to the canvas during the contest, and bounced back after the setback to secure the first Championship accolade of his career.

Tasif was then lined up to challenge for the WBU and GBU World titles on the undercard of the ill fated Roy Jones Jr. versus Tony Moran WBF/MBC International Championship headed event which was due to take place in Liverpool on the 12th September 2015.

It wouldn’t be until the 2nd February 2016 before Tasif finally went head to head with Isaac Quaye for Championship honours.

Just over twelve months after returning to the fray and in front of a highly enthusiastic home crowd Tasif secured the WBU & GBU World titles with a sensational performance that culminated with a sixth round stoppage victory.

Tasif rounded out the year with a second World Championship bout, this time against Michael Barnor for the recently introduced World Boxing Confederation Bantamweight title.

Again in front of a home crowd, Tasif secured victory by stoppage, this time just 48 seconds into the third stanza, to secure the Championship and be crowned a two division World Champion.

As we entered into 2017 Tasif had intended to defend his WBU & GBU crowns, but due to an issue involving one of the championship organisations, his team decided instead to have a non-championship bout against Ekow Wilson, at the Connaught Rooms in Bradford on Sunday 26th February, whilst the issue is ironed out.

OK, enough from me, it’s time to hear what the man himself, Two Division World Champion Mr Tasif Khan, has to say.



You’ve had quite an eventful couple of years since returning to the fray following a three year sabbatical from the sport between 2012-2015, whilst obviously you will be keen to talk about your meteoric rise since your return to the ring in 2015, as well as your upcoming fight against Ekow Wilson on the 26th February, I’d like to initially concentrate on the early part of your career, especially when you were fighting on big events at the Reebok and M.E.N., as such can you tell the readers about your early career?



I have been very privileged and blessed to be on some great events since the start of my career.

My first fight I took on the #7 ranked boxer in Britain, as an away fighter on his home show. I believe this was one of my clearest wins, but was given a draw.

The journey began from there, my supporters and followers just grew and I won the next few fights in a row.

Then I boxed undefeated Stuart McFadden on a Frank Maloney show live on Sky Sports. Again I fought on my opponent’s home show, even though I was selling all the tickets.

It was a great fight and I felt more than comfortable, knocking him down in round three, but was given the decision against me in a four round points loss.

Until date that has been my only loss. From then on we went from strength to strength. I was winning fights, travelling the gyms sparring top kids and waiting for my title shots.

I then boxed on a number of Hatton Promotion’s shows including Quigg Vs Munroe, Hatton versus Belge and Khan versus McCloskey at the M.E.N. Arena.



Back in 2010, following your win over Pavel Senkovs, on the Matthew Hatton undercard, BBC Sport stated that you were a genuine contender for the British title, which they predicted you would fight for within the following twelve months, however that coveted title shot failed to materialize. So my question is what happened, why didn’t you get the opportunity to fight for the Lonsdale belt during the remaining two years that you still campaigned on the first part of your career?



That was a great opportunity and Pavel Senkovs was a seasoned and experienced fighter who was naturally bigger fighter campaigning at super bantamweight.

In this fight I believed I showed skill, speed and power. I put Senkovs down in the fight.

The British title was something we talked about always and was pushing for that as we had that and more so the English title in sight.

The reason being we were set back once again due to me breaking my leg and being out of boxing due to injury. I broke my leg playing football – which yes I should never have been playing, but I played competitive football at a good standard and never really felt I would get injured to that extent and be out of boxing.

It kept me out for a period of time and set me back from title contention. That was the day I decided to make my mind up, and realised I cannot be a ‘jack of all trades’ so needed to concentrate on my career one direction and choose one sport which I did – Boxing.

I returned to training with a different mid set and giving boxing my 100% attention and decided to take my boxing to another level.

In 2011 I chose to give up working and box full time, which was only made possible by my sponsors.

I was added to the Khan-McCloskey bill at the Manchester M.E.N. arena, this was a awesome event and gave me the opportunity to be alongside some of the greats in boxing including, Oscar de la Hoya, Freddie Roach, Amir Khan, Martin Murray, Mathew Macklin, Scott Quigg etc.

Also the event gave me a taste for the limelight and big stage and for this event I sold £22,000 plus worth of tickets and had a massive following in attendance.

In the build up to the fight we tried to get a title fight like the English title etc., but politics within the sport put a stop to this.

Following this fight, we put forward for various titles within our reach and capabilities, but again was knocked back due to politics and unfair reasoning.

I started to doubt if the opportunity of fighting for a title would ever happen, even though I was a good ticket seller. It seemed I was being used for shows on a four or six rounds basis.

I picked up a hand injury once again, which set my knuckle further back in my hand. We rested a little and thought rest would be sufficient, but during training camp for a title eliminator we damaged the hand once again, then one injury led to another.

I was out from boxing for a few years with injuries and setbacks. So it was very difficult to keep focused and determined to fulfil my goal of becoming a champion!

I ticked over whenever I could in the gym, staying fit and trying to keep motivated.

In 2014 I returned to full fight training after changing gyms to the Bethlehem Boxing Club, where under the guidance of Lee Murtagh and Martin Stainsby I not only got my fight fitness back but also took on a totally different mind-set, a very focused one.

I believe overcoming the hurdles and gaps from the sport made me mentally much stronger and experienced and equipped me with the right tools to go to the top.



In January 2015 you made a successful return to the ring, with a stoppage victory over Richard Voros at York Hall in London, two months later you had another stoppage victory, this time over Ladislav Miko and then just two months later successfully challenged Mikheil Soloninkini for your first Championship accolade, the International Masters Bantamweight title. Firstly how did you feel making the return after three years out, was it different to you debut, or were the feelings you felt similar to that of your pro debut? Also can you tell the readers how you felt securing your first Championship accolade as well as a little about the fight?



Yes, I can honestly say it was the best feeling ever to get back in that ring at York Hall in London after a long time out, to showcase my skills.

It was a successful return and yes it did feel a lot like my debut again, as I had hundreds of fans travel from the North to support me. This fight was to thank them for all their support, help and their for them sticking by me throughout.

The aim was to stay busy, as I believe a good fighter is a busy fighter.

The next few fights we had up and down the country, Liverpool, then London again etc. and on a winning streak.

Then in May 2015 I was given the opportunity to box for the International Masters Silver title, for ten rounds against Mikheil Soloninkini.

Now, I’ve seen Soloninkini box Charlie Edwards at the 02 Arena in London, so knew what I was up against. He’s a tough kid who doesn’t mind a fight.

We trained very hard for this fight; I had a dietician, nutritionist, strength and conditioning coach etc., to take me to the next level.

I always believed I had the attributes and self-belief to become a champion, and being mentored by my good friend, former WBC World Champion Junior Witter was very much a factor in that.

Having so much support and advice from such a renowned Champion as Junior, as well as Naddeem Siddique, who was also a stable mate for much of my early career really helped give me the much needed self belief I needed in my early career.

We really performed well in the ten round contest and scored a clear points decision victory to claim the International Masters tile, have to say it felt like winning a World title fight that night.

That fight answered so many questions for me, first off doing the full ten rounds, but I suppose the biggest question answered was that of “heart”, as I got knocked down during the fight, but got up off the canvas and fought the fight of my life to make sure I got the win.

The fight was at a weight higher than usual for me, Bantamweight, not Super Flyweight, but wasn’t going to turn down such an opportunity.

I felt my dream had come true, first getting the opportunity and of course winning my first title.



Just over a year from your return bout you were fighting for both the WBU and GBU World Super Flyweight Championships against Isaac Quaye. I was there so know what the atmosphere and your performance were like, but can you let the readers know from your perspective how you felt about getting the opportunity as well as the fight itself and how you felt being crowned World Champion for the first time?



Words alone cannot possibly describe how I felt just getting the opportunity, let alone being crowned World Champion.

It was from a dream come true, from the first time I walked into a boxing gym at the age of ten. Having lived and brought up in Bradford, to then have the opportunity to not only fight for a World Championship, but fight for it in my home town was more than a dream, it was unbelievable and literally ‘Making History’ being the person that fought the first World Title fight ever in my home town of Bradford.

When I initially got the call from my manager and promoter Stephen Vaughan, he asked, “Would you like to fight for the WBU World title against Isaac Quaye from Ghana?” I was lost for words, I mean Stephen said that they had asked for it and then asked would I take it.

I thought it was a joke and laughed, I really thought he was playing a prank on me and was about to put the phone down but his tone changed and he then said, “I’m serious”.

My eyes lit up and I immediately said yes, I didn’t even hesitate. I was just so excited, I didn’t even ask about the purse, fight details or anything.

The whole team were excited and we began our preparations. The fight was due to take place first in London, but that show got cancelled, then Liverpool, again got cancelled due to flight issues and Isaac never made it to the UK in time for the weigh-in let alone the fight.

It was getting to the point where I thought this isn’t going to happen, then Stephen managed to get the fight finalised and made in my hometown of Bradford.

Finally my chance to make history arrived and everyone who was present on the 6th February 2016 played their part in “Making History”. It was an amazing atmosphere and to top it up a second world title was added to the night GBU world title.

We won the fight by a sixth round Knockout, but before doing so had put Isaac down three times.

The atmosphere was electric, the support was electro and it made my performance that much more electric and sweet.

I dedicated this fight to all those fans and supporters who have been there supporting me from day one, for my sponsors, Kingsland Business Recovery, Broadway Solicitors, Janan Fashion, Vista Gym, SouthPaw Fightgear, as well as to my family, for their continued support and my old Amateur trainer Mr Allan, who had passed away (RIP), who took me under his wing at age 10 and grounded me with skill, attributes, discipline and respect to become a World Champion.

For weeks after, I still couldn’t believe I had won the World title, particularly the WBU title, I mean I grew up watching Ricky Hatton win and defend the WBU title several times, to now have that same belt framed in my own room is beyond excitement and beyond any words.

I have to say a massive thank you to Stephen Vaughan for making this possible and bringing world championship boxing in my hometown of Bradford.



Last November you were back in World Championship action, this time against Michael Barnor, however you weren’t defending either the WBU or GBU titles, but campaigning for the recently launched World Boxing Confederation Championship. My first question has to be why did you choose to campaign for a different Championship rather than defend the GBU and WBU titles? Also could you tell us a bit about the fight and how it felt to secure your third Wold Championship belt?



Firstly the intentions to defend my belts were clear and in the plans for this fight, however due to the politics and behind the scenes issues with the WBU I needed these to be sorted first.

Secondly I was given an opportunity to box for a third World Title at the weight above mine, so shouldn’t have affected the status of my WBU and GBU titles as this was fought at Bantamweight.

If there was no WBC (World Boxing Confederation) belt at stake at Bantamweight, I would have happily defended my Super Flyweight titles.

Winning a third World title was awesome and it felt just as sweet as the first time.

I believe having World titles in two different divisions, will open more doors for me in the future, maybe even with fights in America.

The fight was a potential banana skin fight for me, I mean I was fighting someone naturally bigger than myself, he’s 5’9” tall, and he’s an awkward and rangy southpaw. Worse still we had no real fight footage, so all in all had all the ingredients to make it a very difficult night for me were there.

After the first round it was clear that Michael Barnor was not there just keep me at bay and take the opportunities when they arose, but was keen to stand and fight, which actually played into our hands as our game plan was to get inside his reach and work his body.

We stood in the middle of the ring and traded blows; I felt very comfortable and enjoyed it. I felt the body shots were taking their toll and were definitely slowing him down. Then in third round I caught him with a lovely body shot, which ended the fight.

I can honestly say I am feeling stronger and stronger each fight. Winning three world titles is awesome.

The hunger and drive is still there in fact even more so, I go into each fight thinking and behaving like the challenger. My aim is to Continue winning and if possible add more silver wear as well as get those over seas fights in America I crave.



Since winning the World Championship I understand you’ve also been receiving various accolades from the Political World, both locally and Nationally for your achievements.



Yes indeed, after I won the WBU and GBU titles the Lord Mayor of Bradford arranged a Civic Reception to celebrate my success, I’m still speechless over this, I didn’t expect this at all, thinking about it still blows my mind, even today.

Then in October I was invited to the Houses of Parliament, along with Amir Khan and singer Imran Khan, where I was awarded a British Asian Achievements Award.

I didn’t expect or even dream that I would have my achievements recognised at this level. Receiving recognition in this way is so humbling.



OK, back to Boxing now, on the 26th February, at the Connaught Rooms in Bradford, you’ll be in action once more, in a ten round non-Championship contest against Ekow Wilson. How much do you know about Ekow and how do you see this particular fight unfolding?



Yes next fight Feb 26th 2017 at the Connaught rooms. It will be a ten round international fight.

Ekow is a fighter who has had a lot to say, claiming he will knock me out, like he has done many of his opponents.

Yes I agree, he has a very good record with 16 wins, 14 by way of knockout and only 2 losses, one of which was against the highly ranked Duke Miccah.

Basically I believe this is a tough fight, but one we can over come and win. This is not about anything this is about pride; he claims I have avoided him. He claims I have been running scared. So as you can see this is a fight to prove to him and myself that I belong here at the top and I will prove my worth.

Wilson is promising a Knockout, but I believe talk is cheap and I intend to prove my worth in the ring on Feb 26th.



Now we’ve covered your career I must ask, out of the fights you’ve had to date which has been your favourite and why?



All my fights have they own special meaning to me, for example fighting on the undercard of Amir Khan versus Paul McCloskey, to be on such a huge show was so special to me, but for me my most favourite is my WBU & GBU World title fight in Bradford on February 6th 2016 against Isaac Quaye as that was “Making History”



How would you describe your fighting style?



I believe my style to be a come forward counter puncher.



Should you be successful on the 26th February, what are your future plans, will we see you back in Championship action again soon?



Yes most definitely, I will be taking this fight and after I win will look to continue with Championship career. My future plans lie with my campaigning at Super Flyweight only and I aim to continue winning Championships, as well as breaking into the America scene.



Moving away from the fights themselves, who are the main people that make up Team Tasif Khan?



On the training side the main people are Martin Stainsby and Lee Murtaugh, however the Team is much more than that.

Besides the support I get from my family and my sponsors: Kingsland Business Recovery, Broadway Solicitors, Janan Fashion, SouthPaw Fight Gear, Vista Gym Benidorm, Junior Witter, Naddeem Siddique, Vyomax Nutrition and last but not least all my fans.



Where do you train and what is your training schedule?



I train in Leeds at the Bethlehem Boxing Club as well as the Coda Fitness Gym in Bradford, for my strength & conditioning sessions. I Train twice a day, six days a week, with just Sunday off to recover, relax and recuperate



What would you say your favourite part of training is?



My favourite part of training is the intense pad work sessions, working on timing, and combinations to execute in the ring.



Outside of boxing, what is your favourite sport?



Football and Cricket



Besides sport how else do you relax outside boxing?



Spending time with my family, friends and lived ones, I also enjoy watching movies.



These days Social Media is very much an important tool for professional sports people; do you utilize Social Media to engage with your fans?



Yes, I engage with my supporters and fans on Facebook and Twitter.

I have a Facebook under my name Tasif Khan and more recently a fan page. Tasif Khan- Professional Boxer and my Twitter is: @tasifkboxer



Finally is there anything you want to say to your fans



Thanks to everyone who has been with me throughout my boxing journey. We had a fantastic 2016 and with these guys support I’m sure we’ll have an even better 2017 – if you love boxing come and join the ride #TeamTasKhan.

I have also launched a social enterprise, the Tasif Khan Community Boxing Academy, to promote the health and well being of the youth and adults in the community, by tackling obesity, highlighting discipline and respect, as well as promoting life skills.


Tasif Khan versus Ekow Wilson headlines the Saorise Promotions event, that takes place at the Connaught Rooms, 34 Manningham Lane, Bradford BD1 3EA on Sunday 26th February 2017.

The British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) sanctions this event

Tickets: priced £30 (Standard Seated) and £60 (VIP Ringside) are available form any boxer taking part or call: 07944 655735.


Up Close and Personal with Rising QBL Star Gareth Gardner.

Up Close and Personal with Rising QBL Star Gareth Gardner.
Interview by Gianluca Di Caro
Photo courtesy of Queensbury Boxing League
For this edition of ‘Up Close and Personal’, the featured boxer is New Addington, Surrey’s top prospect Gareth Gardner, who is set to face Grantham’s Mickey Blackburn on the Queensbury Professional Boxing Series, that heads up the Ross Minter and Alan Foley promoted Queensbury Boxing League NO MERCY season opener event at Effingham Park Hotel, in Felbridge, Crawley, West Sussex on Saturday 4th February 2017.
I was very much aware of Gareth and his fights against Marty Kayes and Ideh Ochuko, however on speaking with QBL’s Ross Minter, who really piqued my interest when he said:
“Gareth Gardner is a true professional in all aspects of the word.
He has a very close training team who work incredibly hard together in the gym and also get out there to help promote Gareth which helps bring people to the shows and they are all very good to work with.
Gareth has a good fan base, which we have helped to build during his time in the league, who are very passionate, so it is always a great atmosphere when he fights.
After doing it all in the Queensbury Boxing League, we all decided it was time to turn Gareth professional.
Gareth campaigned mostly at middleweight (11.6st) and also at Light Middleweight (11st) during his time in the league. He is now boxing at his more natural weigh of Welterweight (10.7st), which means that he is no longer boxing people bigger than him, which is really showing in the pro circuit, with Gareth dominating the fights easier than he did when against the bigger opponents in the League.
Gareth should have a busy year this year and we are hoping that we can step him up to title honours towards the end of the year if all goes to plan.
We are really looking forward to seeing Gareth do the business on the 4th February.”
Anyone that knows Ross Minter, knows he’s a straight talker, he leaves any QBL hype to their publicist, so what he said really caught my attention, especially as I had intended to attend the Queensbury Boxing League Season end event last December, which he and Tommy Jacobs featured on.
Unfortunately that event fell on the same night of another event I was committed to be at in Wales, so didn’t get to be there, but on hearing he is in action on the QBL series opener on the 4th February, I decided to make sure that not only did I get to know more about Gareth but also put the show in my diary to ensure I’m there to watch him in action.
Gareth, who had a stellar sixty bout amateur career, which culminated in him fighting internationally for the England Amateur Squad, began boxing on the Queensbury Boxing League shows in 2011. During this time Gareth fought fourteen times, winning all but one, as well as secured five QBL championships in three different weight divisions.
In June 2016 Gareth turned professional and on his debut faced Belfast’s Marty Kayes in a four rounder on the QBL event at the Millennium Arena in West Sussex.
No easy fight for a debutant for sure, Marty is a tough customer at the best of times, as proved when he challenged and beat Gary Silverman for the WBU UK Regional championship just a few weeks later, yet Gareth came through the test to secure his first professional victory by a shutout points decision.
In December, on the Eurosport broadcast Queensbury Boxing League season finale event at the K2 Arena in Crawley, West Sussex, Gareth made his second professional outing, this time against Croydon’s Ideh Ochuko in a six rounder.
Gareth pressured Ideh from the opening bell and kept the pressure up for three full rounds, so much so that due to an injury picked up during the battle with Gareth, Ideh retired in the corner immediately at the end of the third stanza.
With two excellent wins under his belt, next up for Gareth is a showdown with Grantham’s Mickey Blackburn, on the upcoming Queensbury Boxing League NO MERCY season opener at the Effingham Park Hotel on Saturday 4th February.
So with the scene setting all done and dusted, let’s move on to the business in hand, the interview with QBL star Mr. Gareth Gardner.
Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today, whilst obviously the interview is about your professional boxing career and your upcoming fight against Mickey Blackburn I feel that it would be good to start with your amateur boxing career and as such could you tell the readers a little about your non-professional career?
I started boxing at the age of 9 years old at the New Addington Boxing Gym.
During that time I had 60 amateur bouts, boxed for London South East numerous times and represented England against Russia.
I then started boxing for the Queensbury Boxing League about 5 years ago. I had 14 fights for them and lost one bout, which was a Quest Knock Out Tournament.
I held five titles for the Queensbury Boxing League at three different weights – Super Middleweight, Middleweight and Light Middleweight.
Back in June 2016 you made your professional debut against Belfast’s Marty Kayes. Can you let the readers know how you felt, not only making your pro-debut but also securing your first Pro win, as well as your view of how the fight went?
It was an exciting night for my team. It was something we’ve always been working towards, but had never happened up to now.
The fight went the full four rounds and Marty was a tough and durable opponent.
We were very pleased we got the win.
In December, you had your second pro-outing, against Ideh Ochuko. Whilst I wasn’t able to make the event due to being in Wales for a different event, but had heard that it was a cracking fight until Ideh was forced to retire in the third, as such can you tell us a little about the fight?
Ideh was meant to be a step up in opponent for my first six round fight, but he didn’t make the fourth round due to my constant pressure and power.
As I mentioned previously you’re scheduled to face Mickey Blackburn on the Ross Minter and Alan Foley promoted Queensbury Boxing League Professional Boxing Series at the Effingham Park Hotel in Crawley on the 4th February. Do you know anything about your opponent and how do you see this fight unfolding?
I don’t know a great deal on Mickey. My coach has watched video footage of him boxing, so we’ve been working on various things in the gym on the back of that.
We’ve been told Mickey will go the full six rounds, but we’ll see come the 4th of Feb.
So out of the fights you’ve had to date, whether Pro or not, which has been your favourite and why?
It would have to be on the Queensbury Boxing League’s show at Alley Pally London, against Sam Holloway, which was a very close fight. I also learnt a lot about myself during that particular bout.
However I have loved every fight I’ve ever been in!
How would you describe your fighting style?
I’m a come forward aggressive fighter, but I can also box on the back foot if need be. Which I think makes me an all round fighter.
Should you be successful on the 4th February, you will be unbeaten in three, whilst perhaps it’s a bit early to be thinking of Championship accolades, I’m sure that you must have been thinking about opportunities like that already, as such could you please outline your future plans for the readers.
I’m hoping to be very busy this year and fighting ten-twelve rounds by the end of the year. Hopefully title shots coming early next year.
Moving away from the fights themselves, who are the main people that make up Team Gardner?
My team has been pretty much the same since I first started my boxing career and consists of my Dad (Will), John and Chris being my coaches.
My Wife and children, they are so supportive. Plus help from Warriors and Juggernauts Gyms.
Last but no means least all my fans that buy tickets for my fights; I would never be able to do this without their support! My loyal fans!
Where do you train and what is your training schedule?
I train at Warriors Boxing Gym in Felbridge four days a week, plus running, hill sprints, swimming and sparing at various different gyms.
I also have a full time manual job and work 6-7 days a week.
What would you say your favourite part of training is?
I don’t have a favourite part of training it all hurts, its always painful in our gym lol!
However a gym full of fighters chasing their dreams, is always good to be around.
Outside boxing, what is your favourite sport?
Carp fishing is my hobby, It’s the only time I get to relax and unwind.
Besides fishing how else do you relax outside boxing?
Catching up on lost sleep and being around family.
These days Social Media is very much an important tool for professional sports people; do you utilize Social Media to engage with your fans?
Yes, Social Media is great for advertising fights; it would be hard to get around to see all these people with such a busy schedule.
Finally is there anything you want to say to your fans?
Thanks for all your support over the years, Love ya Team Gardner.
Gareth Gardner versus Mickey Blackburn features on the Queensbury Professional Boxing Series that heads up the Ross Minter and Alan Foley promoted Queensbury Boxing League NO MERCY event at Effingham Park Hotel, West Park Road, Copthorne, West Sussex RH10 3EU on Saturday 4th February 2017.
Tickets, priced £35, £60 and £75 are available direct from Gareth, any fighter boxing on the NO MERCY event or from the Queensbury Boxing League Ticket Line: Tel: 0203 751 8599