Famous Fighter of the Week: Peerless Jim Driscoll

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By Matthew Baker

When Jim Driscoll, a desperately impoverished Welsh boy who was born of Irish parents in the Newtown district of Cardiff, lost his father in a railway accident, he was less than a year old. It might have been easy to dismiss his future as dismal and hopeless. But, early in his youth, Driscoll displayed a peerless talent for speed and agility, and a solid left jab to boot. While working as a printer’s devil, he made extra money boxing in carnival booths. Soon, he would take the professional boxing world by storm.

Driscoll won his first 15 bouts as a professional and beat the great George Dixon, the inventor of shadow boxing, three times (twice by decision and once by KO). As his star rose and his fortune grew, he stayed close to his roots – both Welsh and Irish, maintaining his home in Cardiff and donating money and services to his favorite charity, the Nazareth House Orphanage – all his life.

After 7 years boxing in Wales and England, Driscoll finally made the jump to America, besting every fighter he faced and earning the nickname “Peerless Jim” from American reporters. But the “No Decision” rules of his day permitted Featherweight Champion of the World Abe Attell to retain his title if Driscoll didn’t knock him out. Dominating their 10-round fight, Driscoll found his opponent still standing and no world title in his possession.

Although managers, promoters, and fans were all scrambling for a rematch between Driscoll and Attell but it was not to be. Driscoll boarded a ship home to Wales the day after the fight, having promised to appear in an exhibition match to benefit Nazareth House. “I never break a promise” he said. And he didn’t. Today, he is considered one of the greatest fighters never to win a world title.

Never returning to America, Driscoll went on to become the only featherweight to win the Lonsdale Belt. Soon after, he served in World War I. Attempting a post-war return to the ring, his health stood in the way and he lost his final fight, due to sheer exhaustion in the later rounds. Frail and tubercular, he contracted pneumonia and died in Cardiff at age 44. To this day, his funeral is remembered as one of the largest in the city’s history.

Enrique ‘Kikin’ Collazo luce grande en Guaynabo‏

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Peleando ante casa llena en el Coliseo Mario ‘Quijote’ Morales de Guaynabo, el olímpico de Londres 2012, Enrique ‘Kikin’ Collazo (6-0-1, 6KO’s) lució grande ante su gente, al sumar a su récord otra victoria por la vía rápida.

“Gracias a Dios salimos con una gran victoria en una noche histórica para el boxeo en Puerto Rico y sobre todo para mi hermanito Félix Verdejo. Entre un poco frío, pero supimos hacer los ajustes para entrar en calor y conectar fuerte las manos. Lo lastimé varias veces, pero supimos mantener la calma. Sabía que el nocáut iba a llegar”, manifestó el púgil natural de Barrio Obrero, quien entrena en el gimnasio Wilfredo Gómez Arena de Guaynabo.

El cotizado prospecto peso mediano logró implantar su ritmo de pelea, derribando a Daniel ‘La Roca’ Rodríguez en el segundo asalto y despachándolo en el cuarto episodio.

“Demostramos el trabajo increíble que hemos estado realizando en el gimnasio con William (Cruz), Che Che (José Sánchez) y en la pista con Lestter (Villa). Ahora quiero seguir elevando el nivel de oposición para tener la oportunidad de ir por mi primer título antes que concluya el año”, finalizó diciendo el púgil.

Se espera que Collazo regrese al cuadrilátero para finales del mes de mayo.

Badou Jack takes WBC title from Anthony Dirrell

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Badou “The Ripper” Jack, outfought Anthony Dirrell, to win the WBC super middleweight championship. It was the main event of a card presented at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois, USA, as part of the PBC series.

Jack used power and accuracy, a high level of discipline and came on strong towards the end, mostly controlling the overall rhythm of the fight. The Judges decision was: 115-113, 116-112 in favor of Jack, and 114-114 draw.

With this triumph, Jack’s appreciably more than all right record is 19-1-1, with 12 KO´s. While Dirrell lost his undefeated mark. His record is now 27-1-1, with 22 KO´s.

Félix Verdejo se coronó campeón Latino Ligero de la OMB‏

CREDITO DE FOTO: Peter Amador / Top Rank

CREDITO DE FOTO: Peter Amador / Top Rank

Félix Verdejo ya no es un prospecto, “El Diamante” del boxeo boricua es ahora un contendor mundial, tras coronarse campeón Latino peso ligero de la Organización Mundial de Boxeo (OMB) al derrotar al mexicano Marco Antonio “El Kua Kua” López ante 5,800 fans que abarrotaron el Coliseo Mario “Quijote” Morales.

Verdejo, quien con la victoria ante López mejoró sus palmares a 17-0 y 13 nocauts, consiguió el primer cinturón de su prometedora carrera profesional, al apuntarse un emocionante triunfo por nocaut técnico a los 1:45 del quinto asalto ante el experimentado púgil azteca.

El boricua comenzó controlando el combate imponiendo un calmado tempo de pelea y explotando repentinamente con combinaciones que estallaban en el cuerpo y el mentón de López. Con cada asalto que pasaba, Verdejo iba subiendo cada vez más la intensidad de sus golpes. Continue reading

Klitschko Easily defends heavyweight title in New York; Sadam Ali remains undefeated with unanimous decision win

Photos: Will Hart

Photos: Will Hart

By Rich Mancuso

New York: The decade of dominance and the heavyweight championship remains with the Klitschko name and there was no doubt Saturday evening at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Wladimir Klitschko easily defended a major portion of the split heavyweight division titles with a unanimous decision win over the previously undefeated Bryant Jennings of Philadelphia.

Two judges at ringside had it 116-111 and the other 118-109 all for Klitschko, 64-3 with 54 KO’s who defended the WBA, WBO and IBF titles before 17,506 fans, many of Klitschko supporters from Kiev Ukraine.

Klitschko said about Jennings “He didn’t give me a chance to throw the right hand as much as I wanted. He is a great athlete. He would have beat a lot of top heavyweights.” Continue reading

Famous Fighter of the Week: Jersey Joe Walcott

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By Matthew Baker

An athlete’s legacy tends to be about records and statistics. Boxing is no exception. Numbers abound in this sport; the number of punches landed, the number of fights on a man’s record, the number of years he’s put behind him, the number of KO’s he’s handed out or received. Add to this the numbers that make the game; the minutes on the clock, the rounds in a fight, and the fateful counting of the referee over a downed warrior. The number of fighters who have made it into the record books more often than Jersey Joe Walcott is very small indeed.

Having made his pro debut at 16, the man who was born Arnold Raymond Cream had spent more than half his life as a boxer when he became the oldest man to fight for a world heavyweight title, at 33. The fight was against Joe Louis and there are many who feel that Walcott was robbed (even Louis himself, who was knocked down twice in the fight, is said to have been surprised by the decision). Later, at 37, Walcott became the oldest man ever to win that same championship and held the record until 1994 when George Foreman finally broke it at 45. In 1953, an hour after be-coming the first man ever to knock down Rocky Marciano, Walcott was knocked out and entered the record books yet again as having lost more heavyweight title fights than any other boxer, with six.

Walcott went into law enforcement after retiring from the ring and became the first black sheriff of Camden County, New Jersey. But boxing remained a part of his life as he pursued work as a referee. His career as the third man ended ingloriously on the night he bungled the count over Sonny Liston, who had apparently been on the receiving end of Muhammad Ali’s famous “phantom punch”. After nine years as chairman of the New Jersey State Athletic Commission, he stepped out of the ring for the last time. In 1994, he died of complications from diabetes at age 80.

David Haye challenges Deontay Wilder

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Fully recovered from a shoulder injury, former cruiserweight and heavyweight Champion David Haye, has on his sights set on undefeated WBC Champion Deontay Wilder.

During an interview with “The Independent”, Haye says he wants to fight in Las Vegas, and the wilder the better!

“Of course I would be very happy to fight in Las Vegas, I want to fight against the WBC champion. He is a great undefeated fighter, I really hope we can reach to an agreement. I know him well. We trained together in the past I think I can defeat him.”