The latest in our weekly fighting talk feature on what’s said and done inside – and outside – the ropes
Hooks & Jabs
By Richard Hubbard
ON OCTOBER 21 a throng of many thousands will once again gather in support of Josh Warrington when he challenges for a mandatory tilt at the IBF world featherweight title against the unbeaten Dane Dennis Ceylan at the FD Arena in Leeds.
This boisterous congregation is something to be seen – and heard – and the support he receives from the natives of his home city is testament to Josh and the time and miles he put in right from the beginning in building up a loyal and passionate following.
The fanbase has been compared in many quarters to that enjoyed by Ricky Hatton back in his heyday, many of whom were supporters of his local football team, Manchester City.
Josh has also capitalised on the football fervour of his own city to great success, but he does go along with the thinking that it is all about timing.
Many a fighter seeks the backing of the football masses but, as ardent City fan Terry Flanagan once pointed out, it does help if the club in question is a bit down on their luck.
When Hatton was packing them in at the Manchester Arena and taking along a supporting cast of thousands to Las Vegas, Manchester City were nowhere near the footballing force they are today.
When he won his first professional title on February 27, 1999, City played on the same day in Football League Division 2 away at Chesterfield with defender Lee Crooks securing a point with a 51st minute equaliser.
Shaun Goater was the local hero at the time which is, with respect, a far cry from the likes of Aguero and co. The City fans were more than ready to latch onto a winner and Hatton was in the right place at the right time.
The day after Josh won his first title in November 2012, his beloved Leeds lost 6-1 at home to Watford and have been out of the Premier League since 2004.
Step forward a local hero to fill the void and replace distress with success.
“Definitely and I mentioned it a while back when I was doing an interview with Leeds United,” agreed Josh on tapping into the football ticket. “It does help, Leeds weren’t doing too well and they want something to jump on board with. I’m not saying we are all glory supporters but, when you are paying hard earned money to watch a load of s**t… And that is what they were doing.
“We weren’t doing so well, getting beat with no effort going in from players, it is demoralising. If there is a local lad doing well, who is proud of the city and making the effort, that is one thing the Leeds people love.
“If they watch the football team it doesn’t matter if you are not the most skilful, but if you show a bit of heart you will go a long, long way.
“At the time I was coming through we weren’t doing too clever and the fans got behind me. If I do well and the team does well, it will work both ways. So I can see where Terry is coming from, but Leeds is a little bit different in that if you are s**t, they will say you are s**t and if you show a bit of effort then they are behind you all the way.”
So the ideal team for boxers to support? A big team in decline punching well below their weight.
KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY
HE MAY BE a big puncher but Daniel Dubois is far from being a big talker, just yet. He is certainly not a natural when it comes to talking about himself – when his quiet reserve becomes evident – but when you ask him about two of his siblings, his eyes light up and the plaudits roll off his tongue.
Daniel is proud as punch of his sister Caroline and brother Prince, who are both following in his pugilistic footsteps.
“They are doing very well actually,” reported the heavyweight who challenges for the Southern Area title against AJ Carter at the Copper Box on September 16.
“Prince has just got a call up from the England selectors so he is getting there and will definitely be competing in big international tournaments soon.
“He is still only 13 and still on national level, still improving and still has a long way to go.
“Caroline, her aim is the 2020 Olympics. She is 25-0 as an amateur, a two-time European champion. I wanted to be a European champion as an amateur, but I never got it. She has done it and is progressing really fast.
“She will be looking to go to the Youth Olympics next year.”
This is one family that can fight its corner.
WHEN THAT ‘0’ HAS GOTTA GO
FIGHTERS REACT TO that dreaded first professional defeat in different ways. Some are philosophical and speedily reconcile themselves to the setback, some let it fester for a while before picking out the positives and for others, eventually, it is like a burden has been lifted because they can stop concerning themselves with protecting that cherished ‘0’.
For Gary Corcoran, who dropped his ‘0’ in a dramatic shootout against Liam Williams in July of last year, it took a good while for any positives to come to the surface and it is only in recent months he has used the experience as a force for good.
Had he remained unbeaten, Gary admits it would still be him calling all the shots, while letting all well-intentioned advice go in one ear and out the other.
“It did chew me up a bit, but it drives me on now,” he insisted, with the now welterweight winning the WBO Intercontinental title last time out in July. “If I didn’t lose that fight, I wouldn’t have changed. I wasn’t listening and was doing my own thing, now I am learning and coming on leaps and bounds. I think I am a whole different fighter now.”
Probably what pained him more than anything was not hearing the final bell in Cardiff, but with the catalogue of injuries he was contending with, reaching the back end of the 11th wasn’t bad going.
“Yeah it does gut me when I think about it, that I didn’t hear that last bell. Listen, Liam hit me with the same shot a few times before that, but later on in the fight you are going to start feeling it more with all the injuries.
“I just walked onto it, but I got up when a lot of people would’ve stayed down.”
Gary is now on the up again and records, as most boxers will tell you, are for DJs.
WHO SAID WHAT?
“No celebrations until after my fight as I’m in camp, but I’ll have a tin of tuna.” The chiselled Billy Joe Saunders revealed his diet plan on his 28th birthday on Wednesday
“Saunders is a little mouthy. I am a humble guy. It has me motivated, and come September 16th, he will have heck to pay.” Willie Monroe jr wants to shove the words of Billy Joe Saunders down his throat at the Copper Box
“I just thought it was a fraud, and I still think it’s a fraud.” Oscar De La Hoya still not holding back now the May-Mac circus has left town
“We were all pretty convinced that Floyd would win. We were just hoping that it wouldn’t be a disaster where people were going to say, ‘We’re never going to buy another pay-per-view.'” Triple-G promoter Tom Loeffler hopes the punters will keep faith now we are closing in on a real fight
“Can’t believe my beloved sport has turned into a freak show! I hope the public don’t expect this to be the new standard #MayweatherMcGregor” Jazza Dickens, not impressed with last weekend’s events in Las Vegas
“There’s one thing having a promoter and there’s another to having a promoter who backs you. It’s important and is such a privilege to work with Frank Warren and my trainer and manager. I’m doing what’s asked of me and they’re doing what’s asked of them and we’re working as a team.” Anthony Yarde believes his career is in safe hands