NEW: Our fighting talk feature on what’s said and done inside – and outside – of the ropes, this week featuring Beefy pondering piling on a bit of beef, Umar Sadiq on his online exploits and how a gaming network played matchmaker for Caoimhin Agyarko…
Hooks & Jabs By Richard Hubbard
LIAM SMITH IS aiming to make his ring return in December, but the burning question remains over whether he will afford himself some extra poundage and reinvent himself as a middleweight.
The former WBO light middleweight world champion found himself on the wrong end of the judges’ score totals when he sought to reclaim his title against Jaime Munguia in July and the suggestion of shifting up an extra six pounds was mooted in some quarters as a potential way forward for the 30-year-old Scouser.
The man himself dismisses the theory that it would represent a logical progression and insists he remains a light-middle – ok, super welter – but he doesn’t rule out stepping up if the opponent – and purse – tickles his fancy.
You could say he is open minded on the matter.
“I’ve had a bit of a meeting with Frank and I’ll be out in December in my quest to become world champion again,” revealed Beefy.
“I gave it (moving up a weight) some thought a couple of fights ago when it was starting to get a little bit tough for me, but it got tough for me coming off of two bad injuries.
“I had a good camp for the Munguia fight and I done the weight well so, as of now, I am still a 154 pounder until something comes on the table at 160 that appeals to me.”
Liam went on to admit that, had he overcome Munguia as he anticipated doing, breaking up with the light middleweight division would have been easier to do.
“To be brutally honest with you – and I told everyone close to me – that when I beat Munguia and didn’t get a Kell Brook or Amir Khan fight, or a unification fight, then I was going to move up as champion and get a shot straight away at somebody else.
“That is what I envisaged beforehand and obviously it didn’t go to plan, but that was what I thought so it was in my mind. But I did the weight well for Munguia and looked in good shape.
“Again, if it is worth my while, offer me something at 160 and if it is worth the move then I’ll do it.”
Having already held the distinction of being a world champion, Liam agrees that it is not like he has unfinished business in the weight class, but it is more about his urge to make good on his pledge to win back his lost property.
“No definitely not and the only situation is that I lost and I was heartbroken and said I would get it back. I just had the chance to and I know I failed at it but I am still massively confident I can get it, but I am not ruling anything out at 160.
“Frank said he will have something for me on the table. So if he comes to me with a 160 offer or a 154, I am still open to it.
“It is watch this space.
“He has got a few middleweights and if Frank was to come to me and say I would offer you this much money for say Billy Joe Saunders I am not going to knock that back because I am big enough for middleweight and a lot of people are telling me they want to see me at 160.
“A few people close to me think 154 is taking a little bit out of myself. So I have thought about it and, again, if Frank came to me with a decent offer for someone like Martin Murray I would bite his hand off for that.
ALL IN A DAY’S WORK
UMAR SADIQ MAY have come up a little short on the cards in his battle of the unbeatens against Zak Chelli last weekend, but he has won plenty of plaudits for his social media activity in promoting himself ahead of fights.
The 30-year-old accountancy graduate does not miss a trick when it comes to creating awareness of his exploits, even to the extent of trawling a shopping centre inviting shoppers to view some footage of his big-hitting opponent, as well as regular and entertaining vlogs charting his daily routines.
For Umar, it is not so much a sideline or hobby, he views it is as part of the job of being a boxer.
“Funnily enough I look at it as work,” said the super middleweight. “Because of that I give it the time and effort it requires and I get the success that I do from it.
“In this modern day and age you need to engage with fans in order to attract more fans and you need to keep people entertained. I like to do things properly so I will do my social media to the best of my ability whilst training and not affecting that.
“People are engaging and taking notice, sharing things. The more people who are interested in what you’re doing, the better.
“We live in an age where attention + product = money so the more people I can attract, ultimately, the better off I will be financially.”
A MATCH MADE ON PLAYSTATION
THERE ARE PROBABLY plenty of tall stories knocking about as to how the unions between trainers and boxers first came about, but the origins of Caoimhin Agyarko’s relationship with his mentor Alan Smith really is a tale of the unexpected.
Caoimhin enjoyed a successful debut under the watchful eye of the iBox Gym guru last weekend at Brentwood, defeating Ladislav Nemeth over six rounds in the show opener.
The Belfast boy actually ended up turning pro in Bromley due to a connection with unbeaten super middleweight Lerrone Richards made across the PlayStation network.
“That’s it, a couple of my friends know Lerrone and he was on the game with them,” confirmed Caoimhin. “I joined the game and know him through that. One day me and Lerrone were on together and I was telling him my plans to come over and he said I should come and see his coach.
“It is mad how things work out over the silliest things like playing PlayStation with someone, and now him being my teammate.
“He said to Al about me coming over and when Al was in Belfast for Johnny Coyle’s fight I got chatting to him and he said to come over and see how things go.
“I came over and there is a top bunch of lads here, while Al is a great coach as well.
“We just clicked straight away and all the lads made me feel welcome, so there was no need for me to go anywhere else.”
Game, set and match.Tags: Caoimhin Agyarko, Liam Smith, Umar Sadiq