Joe Joyce successfully saw off a tough assignment in outworking and outpointing seasoned Philadelphian contender Bryant Jennings in front of a capacity crowd at London’s Arena, winning via unanimous decision.
The ‘Juggernaut’ started the fight in characteristically aggressive style while his American counterpart circled, looking for openings, and sensationally hurt the Londoner with a crunching left uppercut to the midsection in the opening stanza.
A grimacing Joyce rallied furiously with a combination, but was ultimately unable to penetrate Jennings’ guard with any meaningful punches throughout the first half of the fight, despite asserting his authority on the contest with his sheer relentlessness and volume.
However, the Londoner was unable to break a tenacious Jennings down, who at times abandoned his economical approach in favour of trading punch-for-punch at close quarters, occasionally getting the better of these exchanges courtesy of his superior hand speed and seemingly sharper punching.
Jennings was consistently stubborn in the face of Joyce’s perpetual forward momentum, while Joyce struggled with Jennings’ slippery style, not landing many significant headshots and frequently smothering his own work.
Despite this, Joyce showcased different dimensions to his game in terms of increased head movement and a varied shot selection – aspects that are a hallmark of Booth’s training philosophy – but these on the night were insufficient to make the knockout statement he desired against a respected heavyweight.
Daniel Dubois produced a virtually punch-perfect performance in demolishing Nathan Gorman inside five rounds, claiming the British heavyweight title in the process.
The Londoner thoroughly dominated from the outset, putting his counterpart immediately on the defensive with assertive footwork complemented by a ramrod left jab.
‘Dynamite’ mixed up his rhythm effectively to nullify the threat of Gorman’s counterpunching, before finding the mark in the third with a devastating combination that dropped Gorman, in addition to opening up an unsightly gash above his left eye.
Nantwich native Gorman courageously answered the count and appeared to have recovered well as the bout degenerated briefly into something of a shootout in the fourth round, as the left side of Gorman’s face became increasingly bloody.
Gorman, a tenacious competitor whose will to win was plainly evident, attempted to work his way back into the fight but shipped a powerful right hand in the fifth round and ultimately could not recover.
The clinical manner in which Dubois dispatched of his opponent – showcasing poise, balance and intelligence that belies his young years – greatly enhances his credentials on the British heavyweight scene, especially following Anthony Joshua’s shock defeat to Andy Ruiz.
Stablemate Joe Joyce, who outpointed Bryant Jennings in a relatively underwhelming affair on the undercard, is certainly a potential opponent for the near future.
David McWater, the analytics focused boxing manager, has described boxing as the last frontier for analytics. McWater is an advocate of the concept of ‘Moneyball’ in boxing, and used a proprietary analytics formula to predict a fighter’s likelihood to fight for a World title.
The McWater Moneyball method is based largely on discovering undervalued prospects based on their amateur gyms, meaning that it is promoter and trainer neutral. This method has led him to discover the likes of Ivan Baranchyk and Teofimo Lopez, and now he boasts a sizeable stable of largely unheralded prospects, who he believes have the tools to go all the way.
So what is Moneyball in boxing? The central premise is that the collective wisdom of boxing insiders (including fighters, managers, trainers, analysts, and promoters) over the past century is subjective and flawed. The concept of Moneyball was popularised in 2003, when Michael Lewis’ award winning book ‘The Art of Winning an Unfair Game’ looked at Oakland Athletics baseball team and its general manager Billy Beane methods of uncovering talent.
The baseball team’s general manager took an innovative approach in focusing on analytics and statistics to assemble a competitive baseball team despite Oakland’s small budget. Often to the disgruntlement of his own scouting department and the fans.
Aside from Baseball, the idea of Moneyball has been cross-pollinated into Football, American Football, Ice Hockey and other team sports. However, it’s not as prominent in individual sports, because it’s harder to find undervalued athletes, as an individual’s performance doesn’t correlate into a team performing better.
In the context of boxing, which doesn’t have as many statistics readily available as most other sports – largely due to boxing’s sole data provider, Compubox, only tracking punch statistics. A relatively crude instrument to assess boxer’s true capability. On the other hand, unlike many other individual sports boxing managers and promoters assemble stables of fighters, who ultimately contribute to the success of their stables.
Based on the principles of Billy Beane’s Moneyball, we’ve tried to translate these into concepts that can be implemented in building a stable of fighters, which might be bypassed by other managers and promoters. The aim is to achieve this by highlight biases that boxing advisors and us fans alike use to predict future success, resulting into potential title level fighters being overlooked.
Of course, the reality is that ticket sales and appeal to TV networks prohibits signing some fighters. Fighters that have been glossed over by a many promoters and uncovered by savvier ones include the likes of Dillian Whyte, Isaac Dogboe, and Anthony Yarde.
The eight principles of Boxing Moneyball1. Don’t needlessly focus on highly touted amateur stars from boxing hubs
The economics of boxing mean that most televised boxers hail from Greater London, Liverpool, Sheffield and Manchester. This means that large parts of the United Kingdom are glossed over. Former and current World Champions, such as Lee Selby (Wales) and Josh Warrington (Leeds), hail from lesser known fight cities. Neither of whom was signed for a big promoter at the early stages of their careers despite having a decent amateur pedigrees.
Certain gyms up and down the country are synonymous with boxing talent. Meaning that to an advisor that doesn’t subscribe the principles of Moneyball in boxing, they are likelier to sign a fighter from Dale Youth ABC with a similar amateur pedigree than someone from a boxing gym in Lancashire, or Southampton.
Making thus fighters like Sam Bowen and Ukashir Farooq less attracting prospects until they reach title level. Scouring the lesser known gyms and attending amateur competitions up-and-down the country serve as a good way of discovering those diamonds in the rough, who aren’t showcasing their talents at the Haringey Box cup or other metropolitan tournaments.
2. Don’t only sign fighters who have impressed against journeymen
They’re likely to be overvalued on a single performances and past performance is no indication of future pedigree, especially when they’re fighting against journeymen. There’s countless examples of fighters, who look impressive against journeymen, but aren’t able to adapt or come through adversity against a game opposition.
The reality is that boxing promoters and managers build-up fighter’s records without matching them against opponents that ‘come to win’. Long-time belt holders have often fought against a plethora of styles and gone through adversity before reaching title level – conversely these fighters don’t won’t hold the same knockout ratio or haven’t been as destructive as some of their peers.
3. Some nationalities are overrated, like Cubans, Americans, Brits and Ukrainians
Fighters from certain countries, which have highly-regarded amateur programmes, are rightly considered blue chip talented prospects. Particularly when looking at signing fighters from abroad promotional outfits, such as K2, MTK and Sauerland, have found a lot of value in dipping into the Scandinavian, non-fashionable Eastern European and even African regions to uncover talented fighters. Recently MTK has made strides in this by signing Kazakh fighters and even at small hall level promoters are looking further afield to sign prospects.
4. Don’t focus on the fighter’s trainer and gyms
Trainers and fellow fighters are great advocates of their stable mates and pupils. This often means that promoters veer towards fighters that work with a marquee trainer. Many times talented pugilists at lesser known gyms are overlooked in favour of those that work with the likes of Adam Booth or Joe Gallagher.
The storied history of the sport shows us that boxing coaches’ names are made through one fighter’s success. In the concept of boxing Moneyball, advisors need to look beyond the skill associated with a stable and focus on the fighter’s individual attributes, rather than overvalue the impact of a named trainer’s ability to maximise the fighter’s natural ability.
5. Sign fighters in their early-to-mid-twenties, which avoids the problems with not developing properly, and means previous results have greater value
Similar to any other sports the learning curve in combat sports is accelerated in the infancy of any professional career. In many cases a relatively small sample size, sometimes at small hall and amateur level, can help indicate the future potential of a fighter.
Only recently British promoters and managers have opened their cheque books to sign fighters, such as James DeGale and Dereck Chisora, late in their careers, both of whom have failed to reach the heights of past glories.
6. Highlight-reel knockout artists are overrated
Many fighters build up knockout records against journeymen and smaller opposition, but this doesn’t always translate into power at the highest echelons of the sports. Padded records make fighters seem a lot better than they are – think about it for a moment. Ask yourself the how many of the current belt holders got there by knockout power alone?
Many knockout artists have gone through their careers without having their boxing ability tested at a higher level and often without fighting in the championship rounds. Knockout artists make great TV, but this percentage isn’t a key indicator of title credentials.
7. Don’t write off fighters coming off a loss, particularly when it’s in away territory
Fighters with blemished records at small hall level, are written off in the immediate aftermath. You only have to look at some of this country’s most successful recent champions in Jamie McDonnell, Lee Selby and Anthony Crolla to realise that fighters can take longer to mature. There’s lots of factors that go into a fighter losing, but without analysing these factors and looking on what a fighter is looking to do to address their shortcomings it’s hard to look beyond the lack of an ‘0’.
Small hall fighters regularly end-up as cannon fodder for Olympians or take short notice fights against hometown heroes, only to find themselves at the wrong side of the judges’ scorecards. With the right backing a handful of these fighters are capable of reaching title level, thus making them perfect targets for Moneyballers.
8. Find value in fighters at less appealing weight classes
The World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) concept has made many boxing fans open their eyes to the Cruiserweight division, which has historically been undervalued. Ultimately fans want entertaining and competitive fights, which the likes of Usyk, Breidis and Dorticos have undoubtedly delivered. This serves as a stark reminder that divisions, such as the Cruiserweights and lower weight classes (Featherweight and below), can be ripe pools of talents for boxing advisors that are thinking about utilising a Moneyball strategy.
The fact that purses are lower and they are commercially less appealing than some of boxing’s oldest division is a mere bonus. The WBSS and the HBO Super Flyweight tournament demonstrate that it’s seemingly easier to make good match-ups and uncover fighter’s hidden gems in passé weight categories. The common denominator of both weight classes being that fighters in these visions tend to herald from less mature boxing markets.
The lack of data available in boxing makes it hard to uncover undervalued fighters. In an environment where promoters and managers are struggling to find the next superstar it’s easy to focus on heralded amateurs and not look beyond the Elite Institute of Sport in Sheffield. These guiding principles of boxing Moneyball should at the very least provide food for thought and questions the inherent biases we all have towards what makes a future star.
Hughie Fury registered a fairly comfortable victory over Samuel Peter via seventh-round TKO at the King Abdullah Sports Center in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The Mancunian favourite was virtually landing at will from the outset with a stabbing left hand but struggled to set up any more meaningful shots earlier on against his rugged counterpart.
However, Fury largely appeared to be in control as the Nigerian stalked languidly without any real purpose or conviction, occasionally attempting to bowl over an audacious haymaker and invariably missing.
The bout degenerated into a somewhat sloppy and ugly affair throughout the middle rounds, especially when Peter was cautioned on multiple occasions for low-blows and hitting after the break, and was ultimately deducted a point in the fourth. Fury maintained his conservative approach, however, until the fight ended in thoroughly bizarre circumstances following a scrappy exchange in the seventh round between the pair, before Peter recoiled in agony with a seemingly dislocated shoulder.
Amir Khan made a successful return to action, blowing away late replacement Billy Dib inside four rounds in his Middle Eastern debut to claim the WBC International welterweight title.
Fighting in front of a capacity crowd in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Khan stalked his considerably smaller opponent from the outset looking for openings, as Dib elected to backpedal out of danger.
Dib – resurfacing from retirement after losing his IBF super-featherweight title to Tevin Farmer – was clearly content to concede the early rounds to Khan in an effort to capitalise later on in the fight, but paid the price for his willingness to engage in the second round when a left hook from Khan dropped the Sydney native to the canvas.
Dib courageously answered the count, however, Khan at this point was smelling blood and visibly eager to gratify the raucous Jeddah audience with a spectacular finish.
The Bolton man continued to pummel Dib with blistering combinations, showcasing his trademark hand speed and mixing it up with punishing shots to the midsection, before a destructive array of punches in the fourth round prompted Dib’s corner to intervene in order to save their gutsy fighter from sustaining any further punishment.
Anthony Yarde will challenge long-standing World champion Sergey Kovalev for his WBO World light heavyweight championship in Chelyabinsk, Russia on August 24. The fight will be broadcast live and exclusive in the UK on BT Sport.
Yarde, 18-0 with 17 Kos, has again accepted the delayed mission of heading into the home nation of the World champion known as Krusher in order to fulfil the first part of his dream of holding multiple world title belts and ruling the division for years to come.
The 27-year-old now gets the opportunity to take on the most experienced and formidable of the current world champions, with the 36-year-old having clocked up 28 Kos from his 33 wins. Kovalev has operated in world title competition since parting Nathan Cleverly from his WBO belt in August 2013 in Cardiff.
“This is my time now and I am going to show the world what I am all about,” said the challenger, the self-styled Beast from the East of London. “Waiting for my time to come around could have been a frustration but we turned it into a positive and I am even more ready to seize the moment.
“Everything has fallen perfectly into place for me, this will be my coronation as world champion and I am going to realise my dream by beating the most decorated of the current world title holders.
“I am more than happy to achieve my goal in Russia and I think it is only right that a great world champion such as Kovalev is given the opportunity to defend in his home country. He has earned that right.
“What I know is that on August 24 another world title belt will be under British ownership and I will have done it the hard way, one that nobody will be able to question.
“My promoter and my manager have made all the right moves to get me into this position and I thank Frank Warren and Tunde Ajayi for creating this opportunity for me. They have done their part and it is now up to me to deliver.”
Frank Warren said the self-belief of his light heavyweight star was the key to accepting a mandatory challenge on away territory.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for Anthony and he has earned his shot by working his way to the No.1 spot in the rankings,” said the promoter. “He has showed what he is all about by being prepared to go into Kovalev’s back yard and it demonstrates the confidence he has in his own ability.
“Everybody knows Kovalev is a tremendous puncher and a fearsome presence in the ring. It is something we first saw over here when he fought Nathan Cleverly and he has continued to operate at the very highest level.
“Anthony possesses tremendous self-belief and we back him to come away with the spoils but, whatever does happen in the fight, it is one that he will take a lot of valuable experience from.”
Yarde’s trainer-manager Tunde Ajayi added: “We’re here now! It’s been stage by stage, it’s been calculated and everything is timing, which I have said from the start.
“The time is now and we are about to shock the world. I cannot remember a fighter with so little experience going over to another man’s back yard to take on a great champion, so I don’t want to hear any excuses when Anthony knocks him out.
Heavyweight boxing legend George Foreman insists Daniel Dubois is the future of the heavyweight division.
The former World champion and one of the most feared punchers in boxing history has been wowed by the devastating power of Dubois.
Big George cannot wait to see how British boxing’s latest KO King Dubois (11-0, 10KOs) gets on in Saturday’s (July 13) vacant British heavyweight title clash against slickster Nathan Gorman (16-0, 11KOs) at London’s o2 Arena.
Foreman has been following Daniel’s career from his Texan home and gave him ‘The Punching Preacher’s’ seal of approval, roaring: “I can’t see many opponents standing up to him for many rounds.
“It is obvious that Daniel Dubois will walk the trail of fame that only true heavyweights punchers can travel to.”
Foreman first won the World heavyweight title against Joe Frazier in 1973 and reclaimed it almost 21 years later in 1994 when he knocked out Michael Moorer and at the age of 45 became the oldest ever World heavyweight champion.
And of course, he took part in the most famous boxing match in history, ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’ when he was defeated by Muhammad Ali in 1974.
Foreman lending his support is a boost for Londoner Dubois ahead of what is one of the most intriguing domestic heavyweight title clashes for years.
Recent polls among fight fans have seen a surge in support for Nantwich’s Gorman to beat the young Londoner.
It is a fight not to be missed either in person or live on BT Sport this weekend.
Tickets for ‘Heavy Duty’ featuring Daniel Dubois v Nathan Gorman for the vacant British Heavyweight Title, plus Olympic silver medallist Joe Joyce v Bryant Jennings are on sale now. The show also features British Middleweight champion Liam Williams who clashes against France’s former European champion Karim Achour for the vacant WBC Silver middleweight crown.
Super-flyweight sensation Sunny Edwards meets Mexican Hiram Gallardo for the vacant IBF super-flyweight title. WBO super-featherweight champion Archie Sharp risks his crown against Jordan McCorry. Returning after an impressive debut is Kent bantamweight Dennis McCann. Hamza Sheeraz, Mark Chamberlain, Jake Pettitt,, Mickey Burke Jr and Florian Marku add to an exciting line up and tickets are available via AXS.com, Eventim and Ticketmaster and are priced as below:
British Light-Middleweight contender Kieron Conway has signed a promotional deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing.
Conway, 23, turned in an impressive performance in his British title fight with reigning champion Ted Cheeseman at York Hall last month, but was left frustrated as the contest ended in a split draw.
The Kings Heath Boxing Club product was aiming to create history by becoming Northampton’s first professional British boxing champion but had to settle for a hard-fought draw with scores of 116-113 Conway, 115-114 Cheeseman and 114-114 from the judges.
It was the first time the MTK Global-managed talent had contested 12 rounds but he dug in to show his grit and last the distance while showcasing his slick boxing ability with some accurate counter-work along the way.
Conway is excited to make his mark after announcing himself in the 154lbs scene and has already set his eyes on the winner of the slated Cheeseman vs. Scott Fitzgerald Lonsdale Belt clash later this year.
“I’m over the moon to team up with Matchroom Boxing and showcase my skills on Sky Sports and DAZN,” said Conway.
“I feel like my journey is only just beginning and still have so many improvements to make but this activity and experience on the big stage is going to lead me to major domestic fights that I will win in fashion and beyond.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn commented: “I’m excited to welcome Kieron Conway and I’m excited to see where his potential could take him. We had him on our Birmingham shows when he began his career and he’s always looked like he had the talent but after watching his British title fight against Ted Cheeseman recently, I think there is bundles more to come. He has great support from Northampton and I’m looking forward to seeing him in the domestic mix in what is a very exciting division.”
Hometown hero Jazza Dickens is honoured to be representing his city of Liverpool on tonight’s huge MTK Fight Night card when he takes on Nathaniel May for the IBF European featherweight title.
Dickens (26-3, 11 KOs) faces May (21-1, 12 KOs) at the Eventim Olympia live on ESPN+ in association with Top Rank and also live on iFL TV, and he plans on doing his loyal supporters proud with a big performance.
Dickens said: “There is no greater motivation to me than fighting in Liverpool. There’s so many good memories I have and so much love I have for the people of Liverpool.
“Everyone who is coming to the fight and has paid their hard earned money. I know it’s expensive to come, so for the support all I can say is thank you for believing me.
“When I go in that ring, I’m not going in with the mind of a 28-year-old man in the prime of my life, I go in with the mindset of a 12-year-old boy with a hunger of being World champion. I have to make that kid proud.
“I have to thank MTK Global for the opportunity too. If you’ve never seen me before, I’m always in exciting fights. You’ll see a world class Jazza tonight. I’m happy to put that out there because that’s how I feel. It’s not me having a big ego, it’s just how I truly feel.”
Dickens vs. May is part of a massive MTK Fight Night that also features the return of four-time World title challenger Martin Murray (37-5-1, 17 KOs), as he goes up against Portuguese champion Rui Manuel Pavanito (10-8-1, 5 KOs), plus former world champion Terry Flanagan (33-2, 13 KOs) makes his long-awaited comeback, facing Jonas Segu (19-8-2).
Ex-Olympic star Tasha Jonas (7-1, 5 KOs) takes on Bec Connolly, while the likes of Sam Maxwell, Ged Carroll, John Quigley and Craig Glover make up a huge undercard in Liverpool.
Boxing is a game of snakes and ladders. As soon as they start making tangible progress, climbing the rankings or opening emails offering sought after bouts, fighters can often find themselves kicked back to square one, left in the cold and waiting for the phone to ring – especially in Scotland.
One man determined to grab another golden opportunity, is Cambuslang’s Jordan McCorry (18-5, 4KOs), set to challenge for the WBO European super-featherweight title this weekend, squaring off against unbeaten talent, Archie Sharp. Despite comfortably beating journeyman Alec Bazza last month, it was his fight with reigning British champion, Sam Bowen, that had opened doors for the Kynoch Boxing fighter, giving a great account of himself but ultimately falling short as a televised headline act.
I caught up with McCorry, a two-weight Scottish champion, as he settled into his hotel in London accompanied by a small team. He’d done it before, the journey South of the border, infact, he’d even recently travelled to Switzerland to fight for the less-heralded WBF title, losing to Patrick Kinigamazi in a tough scrap overseas. Boxing was about taking chances, he explained, as he looked ahead to Saturday’s contest, shown on BT Sports.
“They gave me more notice this time”, he explained, “But I think it was only a month or something. I fought about two weeks ago, so aye, it was only a month or so. Usually you want the longest camp you can get, just to get sorted, but you know what it’s like. Apart from Josh Taylor and guys like that, this is the kind of chances you’re gonnae’ get and you just have to take them. Up in Scotland, you get last-minute calls to fight the boys down South and if you don’t take them, you’ll never know. It’s risk-reward.”
With his second high-profile British dust-up looming, the reward seemed far higher than the risk. McCorry had been fighting on smaller shows in Glasgow, plying his trade in hotels or leisure centres, racking up victories and waiting to pounce on the division’s bigger names, should they come knocking at his door. In his fight with Sam Bowen, Jordan had tested the champion, somewhat unexpectedly, before being stopped in the ninth round.
Now aged twenty-eight, this year had been his most meaningful between the ropes. From a fighting city such as Glasgow, there had been pressure to perform, displaying grit for the televised audience. It was a far cry from his earlier days, doing keepy-ups and using his hands only to remain steady as he navigated himself through ninety minutes of a far safer sport. Glasgow and football are forever linked, and it was in an attempt to improve his physicality that McCorry first visited O’Neills amateur boxing club, in Westburn.
“Camby’ is alright. I like Cambuslang. Everywhere is the same, you have obviously got your nice bits and your rough bits. I like it, for me it was a good upbringing. My family weren’t well off, but we had alright money and it was good. It was a mix of Celtic and Rangers, so everybody in Cambuslang is brand new and that’s where I started boxing.”
“I used to play football and I was pro youth with Motherwell [Football Club], but I was kinda small. At they times, you had to be big and strong so my Mum kinda sent me into boxing to try and toughen me up a bit. I must have been about thirteen, I went for about six months [to boxing] and they put me in sparring. I must have took an absolute pasting in sparring and I never went back for about a year. When I went back I was about fifteen and I started fighting. I just kinda fell in love wae’ it from there. They kept me in fights regularly and I was fighting for Scotland about fourteen or fifteen fights in.”
The weekend’s card, staged at the wonderful O2 Arena in London, has two heavyweight clashes topping the bill, yet the Glaswegian’s visit to the capital has plenty of boxing fans up North intrigued. A heavy underdog, McCorry wasn’t short on confidence and spoke about learning from past defeats. That trip to Switzerland, his war with Bowen in Leicester and even an upset, suffered when fighting Andrejs Pudosovs four years ago had all taught him something.
His opponent, Archie Sharp, was coming back following the biggest win of his career, defeating the flamboyant Leicester-based, Lyon Woodstock. The ‘Sharpshooter’ from Kent possessed stellar amateur grounding, yet had barely mentioned ‘Jordy’s’ name throughout the build-up, instead focusing on potential future pairings. McCorry felt Sharp had overlooked him, which renewed his confidence entering Saturday’s fight.
“He’s a really good boxer, isn’t he? I’ve seen a few clips from the Woodstock fight. He keeps everything at range, he’s big, he’s long and stuff like that. It will be a good fight. If I keep my tactics and my game plan, I’m sure we can beat him. I’ve seen interviews where he’s talking about fighting for world titles. No disrespect, he’s beat Lyon Woodstock, but should you get a world title shot after fighting him? He’s not showing me any respect, to be honest. I’m not coming there to get blown over – I’m coming to win, so fuck em’.”
McCorry continued, discussing another of his domestic rivals, “Zelfa Barrett, he’s another one. Ronnie Clark put him out, but because he’s come back and beat Lyon Woodstock, he’s a world beater, aye? As I said, I just need to take that into the fight. There’s no pressure on me, he’s [Sharp] the one fighting in his hometown.”
In the days leading up to the fight, the small, travelling Scottish contingent have been enjoying London. McCorry has been accompanied by a familiar face, his inseparable friend and fellow fighter, Ross Murray. Both had met over a decade ago, by chance, through boxing and had remained extremely close. They were known as the ‘Bomb Squad’ in Scottish boxing circles, constantly in each other’s company and encouraging mischief.
Both McCorry and Murray had taken the fights that others had swerved, travelling to test themselves and on occasion, falling short. Their approach to boxing was refreshing, as so often fighters avoid tests such as Sam Bowen, Archie Sharp or Sunny Edwards (who defeated Murray for a smaller version of the WBO European title). Both men worked full time jobs to support their boxing careers, so were fully aware of the impact of one big victory.
“Ross [Murray] used to stay in Cambuslang, so he used to come and pick me up for training. We’ve just struck a bond since then and I don’t think there’s a day where I’ve no’ spoke to him on the phone, text him or whatever. I think we’re about eleven years in, going strong!
“He’ll tell you the exact same. It gets to a point, I don’t care what anybody says, when you’re winning everybody loves you. I remember one time, I’d won, me and Ross were in the hospital – I was getting stitches. My phone was just booming and booming! Then another time, I’d got beat and I said to him, ‘My phone’s not going this time’. It just shows you at your toughest times, who is there for you. I trust Ross wae’ my life, I love the guy to death.”
Jordan McCorry’s fight with Archie Sharp may prove to be the toughest of a lengthy, twenty-five fight career, but it doesn’t matter to him. The harder the better. He’d rather be striving for greatness, entering the lion pit in London than bounding around the small hall scene that had served him well, once upon a time.
Now in his prime, those four weeks to prepare were a luxury for the landscape groundsmen. With those closest to him making the trip, he had all he needed. He had an opportunity to snatch the headlines once again and, this time, he really believed he could take it.
“I’m still fighting and I didn’t think I’d come this far. That last fight with [Sam] Bowen, it was on the telly. I didn’t think I’d get that far. I’m chuffed to bits and my next fight’s on BT Sport. This is why you start boxing. You start getting to a certain level where you think, ‘I’m decent enough here to go professional’. Then you get to another point and you’re fighting on the telly.
“I was in my Mum’s house and BT Sport was on, I think it was the football, it’s come up on the telly SAM BOWEN v JORDAN McCORRY and my Mum’s saying, ‘Go stand up next to the telly and we’ll get your picture taken!’. I was thinking, ‘Am I fuck, that’s a brass neck!’ – It’s class, man.”