News Notes: Andrew Selby, Liam Williams, Alex Hughes, Dale Evans vs Tony Dixon, Chris Jenkins, UFC comes calling and more
On Saturday, Andrew ‘The AC Superstar’ Selby (8-0, 5KO) added a third belt to his collection by shutting out WBC International champion Ardin Diale (32-11-4, 15KO) in Welsh boxing’s most recent episode.
All three judges scored the 10 round title fight in favour of the 2012 Olympian courtesy of 100-90 scorecards at the London Olympia venue. The Poxon Sports promoted show took place on ITV’s debut venture in the pay-per-view market.
Selby maintained his elusive movement throughout the 30 minutes and aside from a brief sixth round rally, Diale struggled to get to grips with the switch-hitting maverick, like many others have too. Selby seemed to settle in to cruise control as the rounds progressed, but there was still a point when the Filipino visitor was forced to suck up a savage attack in the ninth session. He did and dug in deep to deservedly hear the final bell.
Yesterday, it emerged that London’s Charlie Edwards has again opted against facing Selby. The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) ordered Edwards to challenge for Selby’s British flyweight title but he has decided to head north to super-flyweight and face Scotland’s Iain Butcher, another operator who decided against the challenge.
Liam ‘The Machine’ Williams (16-0 11KO) will share a two-city media tour with domestic rival Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith (23-1-1, 13KO) ahead of their 8 April showdown at the Manchester Arena, live on BoxNation TV/BT Sport.
Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren will host a press conference in Liverpool on Monday 13 February, followed by another one 24 hours later at City Hall in Cardiff.
Whilst the super-welterweights are fierce competitors, they’ve remained respectful and professional to spare the public any scripted pre-fight insults – an all too common occurrence in the modern click bait climate. Still, the forthcoming proceedings may be more lively because the public are invited to both, which start at midday.
It’s still unclear whether the WBO world title will be vacated and put on the line but Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez has confirmed he won’t defend the title in his next fight.
Instead, the Mexican star will take on countryman and former middleweight belt-holder Julio Cesar Chavez in a super-middleweight catchweight contest at 164lbs. It will happen on 6 May in Las Vegas.
Williams will soon be in Las Vegas himself as he prepares for the biggest fight of his six-year career. The 24-year-old Welshman is set to arrive stateside in early March to spar Shawn Porter and Jessie Vargas – both have been world champions at welterweight.
He will be joined by his coach/manager Gary Lockett and rising Rhondda super-middleweight prospect Alex ‘Bad News’ Hughes (9-0, 3KO). His next outing is close to being confirmed and it should be on Frank Warren’s 22 April show at the Leicester Arena, BoxingWales.com understands.
St Clears’ Dale ‘Big Boy’ Evans (12-3-1, 4KO) and Mountain Ash’s Tony ‘The Welsh Terrier’ Dixon (8-1, 2KO) will meet in a mouthwatering match-up for the vacant Welsh Area welterweight title.
The tasty trade fight will headline Sanigar Events’ show at the Rhydycar Leisure Centre in Merthyr Tydfil on Saturday 25 March with highlights being shown as part of S4C’s debut ‘Y Ffeit’ programme on the following Wednesday 29 March.
Evans will, theoretically at least, be risking his status as mandatory challenger in waiting for Bradley Skeete’s British title. The BBBoC have a log jam at 147lbs with Skeete first set to make a delayed mandatory defence against Shayne Singleton, before being granted a voluntary and then having to face Evans, if he remains unbeaten in the meantime.
The 24-year-old has recently switched to Tony Borg’s St Joseph’s Boxing Club in Newport and not fought since September, when opponent Mike Towell tragically passed away. Dixon, who has often been resigned to taking tough tasks on the road like Evans, has fought once since suffering his only career defeat – a first round knockout to Belfast’s Paddy Gallagher for the Celtic title in May.
Garnant’s Chris ‘Rock n Rolla’ Jenkins (16-1-1, 8KO) has been added to Cyclone Promotions’ event at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on Saturday 11 March, headed by Craig Kennedy’s British cruiserweight title fight against Matty Askin.
Following two contestable decision losses to reigning British champion Tyrone Nurse and Irish slugger Phil Sutcliffe Jnr, the exciting super-lightweight surprisingly finds himself without a win in 16 months.
28-year-old Jenkins, who has held the WBC International strap and won the now-dormant Prizefighter tournament, is expected to be involved in a 10 rounder and new trainer Lockett is keen for some sort of belt to be on the line.
The undercard, which will be shown on Spike TV before the main broadcast on Channel 5, has been boosted by a series of additions, including; Blaenavon’s super-welterweight Mason Jones (3-0), Barry’s lightweight Jason Sillett (5-1, 1KO) and Ebbw Vale’s bantamweight Ashley Brace (5-0, 2KO), Wales’ only active professional female fighter.
Ireland’s Conrad Cummings (10-1-1, 4KO) will also rematch Germany’s Ronny Mittag (29-2-1, 14KO) for the IBF Inter-Continental strap. The middleweights fought in November and Mittag went away with the belt following a decision that was questioned by Cummings, who stopped Cardiff’s Frankie Borg on his last visit to the city in May.
26-year-old Dan Barton will make his professional debut at the Newport Centre on Friday 7 April. The experienced middleweight was often in exciting fights as an amateur in the Welsh Senior Championships, which is due to happen on the same night in Newport. Sanigar Events will promote the show but are yet to formally announce it.
After recently joining the Team GB set up in Sheffield, Blackwood’s heavyweight (91KG) Kody Davies has also been selected for the British Lionhearts squad. The southpaw will take part in the World Series of Boxing (WSB), which pits top amateurs against each other in a professional styled format, competing over five rounds without vests. Davies wasn’t involved in last night’s opening fixture which saw the British Lionhearts lose 3-2 to Italia Thunder.
One show that has been confirmed is Mo Prior’s, who will return to Wales at the Brangwyn Hall in Swansea on Saturday 15 April. It will feature Pontyberem’s Zack Davies (6-1, 1KO), should the lightweight come through next Friday’s outing at London’s York Hall unscathed.
UFC newbie and charismatic bantamweight Brett Johns is tapping in to the knowledge of Swansea’s Ricky Owen, the southpaw super-bantamweight who was once a rising force in Wales. Owen amassed an impressive 15-0 record between 2004 and 2011 – however, his biggest opponent was inactivity and he left the sport with his ceiling unknown.
He joins former British, European and WBA world champion Gavin Rees as a punching/striking coach and consultant to an MMA professional. Rees, who retired in 2014, is a key part of the training team for Jack Marshman, who was the first Welshman to sign with the UFC. The serving para-trooper made his debut at middleweight on the same show as Johns in 2016 and both won.
Marshman’s next fight will be held in Halifax, Canada on Saturday 19 February and Johns will appear at the UFC’s London event on Saturday 18 March.
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