Tommy Philbin Interview – As Tommy Gets Ready To Fight He Tells Us Just How Brutal The Boxing Business Has Been To Him

Tommy Philbin Interview – As Tommy Gets Ready To Fight He Tells Us Just How Brutal The Boxing Business Has Been To Him

In boxing it is imperative that you get yourself noticed as it is vital for fighters to be ticket sellers , so when Tommy Philbin won his Celtic Title against Rhys Pagen in a domestic fight of the year contender last November live on BoxNation he could have been forgiven for thinking that door’s just might be about to open for him , but as so many have found out doors are rarely opened for fighters , they usually have to be smashed in . Since winning the title in October Tommy has yet to defend it and his inactivity has left a sour taste in Philbins mouth .

” I have never felt about boxing how i feel now , i just felt like saying fuck this shit . I put myself through a lot and spend a lot of time away from my family . Twice i have been due to fight on shows and they have been called off , one of them was on the day of the fight . I was offered a fight in Wales fighting a guy who is 12-0-0 i said yes il take it until i found out they were offering £2500 , no chance when i was paid £3000 for winning the title . I want to be out there fighting trying to build a bit of momentum ”

Tommy who delivers fish as a day job talks me through what a usual day is like for him whilst getting ready for a fight .

” I get up at 3am get a shower and I’m out the door at 3.15am and i travel to Perth from Edinburgh and start work at 4am and I don’t get back home until 2pm . I get another shower and food then I’m back out the door for 3pm and off to the gym and that’s me until 7pm I get to see my kids for a wee while before they go to bed then I watch some tv and spend some time with my missus then I’m in bed for 10pm ”

As is so often the case with when talking about any pro boxers they need a strong a family behind them to pick up the slack and hold a family together , as a fight may only last 4,6,10 or 12 rounds but the camps can last 10 weeks and that means you need a strong partner to take on the responsibilities of both parents at times . Tommy has that in his long term partner Lauren who looks after there two children Charlie (6) and Anna Bella (4) . I asked Tommy where his and Laurens story started .

” She was a friend of a friends but she was a few years older than me but we had known each other for years . One day i was coming back from the gym on the bus and she came on the bus . We got talking and it just started from there ”

As is so often is the case in life when you are down the world can throw you a life line from nowhere . Last week Tommy Philbin got a call out of the blue asking home if he would be willing to fight on the Josh Taylor undercard in Glasgow on 11 days notice , an offer he couldn’t say no to .

” This is going to be brilliant and already the ticket enquiries have been going well because of the kind of bill I’m involved with and hopefully i can get a good win and push on from there .”

After a few week’s of confusion and anger being aimed at the Boxnation TV platform due to it’s lack of direction they announced a 12 fight deal with MTK which could be great news for guys like Tommy when the deal kicks off in August at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow’s east end .

” I have been asked to be on it (Glasgow show) provisionally . I am just outside the top 10 in Britain now and have an opportunity to build my profile even more and i need to make sure i get the fire back in my belly , pick up the win and push on ”

Tommy will be part of the biggest boxing card in Scotland recent years , if you want to be part of it get in touch with Tommy via Twitter @TommyPhilbin1 for tickets .

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Iain Trotter ” I Want To Be The Best “

Iain Trotter ” I Want To Be The Best “

About seven month’s ago i was waiting to interview Tommy Philiben as he got ready to fight for the celtic title . Before he was ready for the interview he was sparring  Iain Trotter ( Middleweight)  . As i watched on i was very impressed with Iain’s strength and how he turned Tommy in the ring  , which made for a fantastic watch as these two lads put on a good show . After the session had ended i turned to Billy Nelson (Iain’s trainer)and told him i was really impressed with Iain to which he replied ” Next Year you will see Iain make big strides in the sport ” .DSC_0072.JPGThis weekend Iain Trotter will look to reach the first milestone in his professional career when he takes on Marc Kerr for the Scottish title in only his seventh pro fight at a packed out SSE Hydro . I caught up with Iain as his training camp is coming to an end .

Q. With this being your first title fight is there anything your doing different to prepare ?

Iain . Not really to be honest , the fight is more rounds so thing are more intense in training camp and we are doing more rounds in sparring more regularly .

Q. With this fight being a ten rounder have you been working on pacing your gas tank ?

Iain . Yeah this a step up from four rounds for me but this was to big an opportunity to turn down . From day one in Billy’s (Nelson) Gym Billy told me i am not going to be a four a round fighter , that we were striving to be the best . So from the get go I’ve been working toward this anyway .DSC_0377.JPG

Q. This is going to be the second massive show you have been part in , does that bring any added pressure ?

Iain . No if anything its something more to look forward to . The last show in Edinburgh I couldn’t believe it , i was the floater and got on right before Josh ( Taylor ) so the place was packed which has stood me in good stead . Once you get in the ring it’s just you and the other man that’s there .

Q. That must be a skill in itself to be able to block out the crowd .

Iain. Well i had a good amateur career with 50 fights so I’ve done it for long enough to know what to expect and how to shut it out and just focus on getting the win .

Q. This could be your first milestone picking up your first title , are you ready for the added pressure that come with that ?

Iain . This is why i am in the sport . It is going to be my first milestone and one of many . I am always in the Gym and i am always ready I’ve already took fights on short notice in my short pro career .

Q Are you ready to become a target for people ?

Iain . 100% i want to be the best so that means fighting the best .

I would like to thank Iain Trotter for his time and we wish him the best of luck come fight night . Scotlands finest Card in Glasgow will take place this weekend but there is still time to get Tickets , Contact Iain on twitter @IainTrotterBox or Billy Nelson on twitter @BillyNelsonBox .

Full Interview

Regis Prograis Q&A ” I Should Get My Chance At A World Title “

Regis Prograis Q&A ” I Should Get My Chance At A World Title “

Last year the Super Lightweight Division got something that is becoming so rare in boxing , an Undisputed Champion of the World in Terrance Crawford . Now Terrance Crawford has moved up to Welterweight and that leaves the Governing bodies with a load of vacant or near vacant titles . On the 9th March Regis Prograis will fight Julius Indongo who replaced the injured Victor Postol , for the WBC Interim Title . We caught up with the highly rated Regis Prograis mid camp for a quick Q&A .

Q- Regis how are things going ?

A- Its all good , the camps gone . We’ve had a change of opponent from Viktor Postol to Julius Indongo but everything is the same except sparring partners because its a little different with Indongo being a south paw .

Q- Is it just a change in sparring partners ? Will your game plan stay the same ? .

A- Yeah for me its the same gameplan , i don’t study fighters , i never study fighters so it wasn’t like i was studying Postol . The only difference is Indongo is a southpaw , he is around the same height as Postol so i will go in there and do what i gotta do and that will be enough .

Q- Indongo is a former Unified World Champion , if you could put in a performance against Indongo you really could announce yourself to the world , have you thought about that ?

A- That’s exactly it and a good thing about it is with him being a foreign fighter he will have different countries behind him so if i can go out there and do what i got to do i will walk away with a lot more fans from around the world . I think this switch in fighter is a good thing for me .

Q- Who do you think is the better fighter Indongo or Postol ?

A- I think its a better switch of fighter i mean Indongo is a two time world champion . My promoters came to me and said who do you want brought in and i said i want a name , a former world champion or something , someone that’s been at the top and they came back with Indongo . I don’t wanna fight nobody’s i wanna fight the best now .

Q- Over here in Scotland we have a fantastic Super Lightweight called Josh Taylor are you aware of Josh Taylor ?

A- Yeah i know Josh Taylor I’ve seen him fight and he’s a real good fighter , a very good southpaw .

Q- If you beat Indongo would you consider coming over to Scotland for the Josh Taylor Fight as he’s ranked No5 with the WBC ?

A- Maybe one day yes , that would be a huge fight because he has all the Scottish fans and he’s a former Olympian to . One day I definitely do see that fight happening .

Q- Where do you want to be at the end of this year ?

A- Definitely a World Champion and fighting the big fights . One of the biggest fights at 140lbs is Mikey Garcia and if i do real good against Indongo that could be a potential fight or i could fight the winner of Jose Ramirez vs Amir Imam as they fight the week after me and Indongo. . Hopefully at the end of 2018 I should get my chance at a World Title .

I would just like to thank Regis Prograis for taking the time out during a busy camp to come and talk to us , he was an absolute gentleman and now looking to take his career to the next level we wish him the very best of luck in what should be a great fight against Indongo , and you never know we could see him over here in Scotland taking on Josh Taylor soon .

Zolani Tete Interview – Born in Apartheid to Champion of the World

Zolani Tete Interview – Born in Apartheid to Champion of the World

Let me take you back to South Africa 1948 . This is the year that laws where implemented that would be a stain on humanity for the best part of 50 years , these laws where called Aparthied . Apartheid comes from an Afrikaans (A White south African person who’s decended from Europe , Holland) word meaning Apart-hood . These laws enforced racial segregation in every aspect of life such as education , employment , housing and Government . South Africa had segregation since the turn of the 20th Century but in 1948 these newly passed laws allowed legal enforcement of racism . As time passed political anti-aprthied movements had started with groups like the ANC , but there protests where met with deadly force and even further restrictions where added to the Apartheid laws .Tete's home Township

Now lets fast forward 40 years to 1988 . The world has finally started to take notice of the oppression happening in South Africa . Trade embargo’s , political pressure and a campaign to have ANC leader’s such as Nelson Mandela set free from prison had seen to it that this was the beginning of the end for Aparthied . This is also the year that Zolani Tete was born in the Township of Mdantsane on the eastern cape . Born to a pastor father and a Mother who Zolani describes as a gift from God , Tete has nothing but appreciation to his parents for how he was raised .

” My father is still a Pastor to this day and he has grown us so well . My parents taught us to love and respect our elders and went out of there way to make sure we got a good education and a better life “

On 11th February 1990 Nelson Mandela was freed from prison after serving 27 years locked up , and over the next few years Apartheid Crumbled and the “Rainbow Nation” was born with Mandela being elected President in 1994 . I asked Zolani what was life like growing up in post Apartheid South Africa ? .

” It’s been the best feeling for us youngsters because we never wanted to experience what our mothers and fathers experienced in the past , we where all happy about that . ”

“It’s been good to grow up past the Apartheid times , just think i wouldn’t have been fighting all over the world experiencing what i have experienced and getting all the opportunities i have now . I must give thanks to our former President and the late Mr Nelson Mandela and his colleagues . “

Growing up in Post Apartheid South Africa didn’t mean that Zolani was sheltered from the sometimes cruel world that children in schools and communities from every country face . I asked Zolani if he had always dreamed of being a professional boxer

“I only got into boxing as a way of defending myself with my brother . We were bullied at school from a very young age , i never knew that through boxing you could you could support your family and make a good living , so i might say thank you to those guys who used to bully us at school “.

Zolani had a successful amateur career with 400 fights and only 3 losses so and with life at home being difficult on the family financially he decided that it was time to turn professional.

“It was around 2005 when i thought i could stand a chance at being a World Champion and at that time my family was going through a tough time . My parents were struggling to get work at the time , sometimes my mum would get a job and earning so little it barely put food on the table , so i decided to turn pro so i could help “.

In 2014 Zolani Tete finally realised his dream of being World Champion when he won the IBF Super Flyweight Champion after a unanimous decision win against the Japanese fighter Kinoshita in Japan . I asked Zolani how he was received on returning home to South Africa as a World Champion .

” People give me credit and respect as their champion , i walk down the street and people salute me as i pass by . Boxing is a very popular sport in South Africa thanks to people like Vuyani Bungu and Welcome Nita to mention a few , who have brought glory to this country . People love boxing here especially in my home township of Mdantsane is the known as the Mecca of boxing so you could imagine how they received me .”

Zolani Tete is a name that is now growing in the UK and has been on the rise since Knockout win over Paul Butler in Liverpool . Since that night in Liverpool Tete’s talent caught the eye of Frank Warren and since then Tete has teamed up with Warren in what looks like a good partnership.

“Frank Warren is one of the best promoters in the world . I met with Frank after the Butler fight when he spotted my talent and he wanted me to partner him . We saw this as a great opportunity and we grabbed it with both hands . It has been amazing working with Frank , Queeensberry is my only home now .”

In Zolani’s last fight he became a world record holder when he Knocked out Siboniso Gonya in Belfast whilst defending his WBO Bantamweight title In just 11 seconds , a result that surprised even Zolani .

“I have to admit i was shocked , i knew i was going to win that fight by KO by I didn’t expect it to happen that quickly and in that fashion . Today i am a record holder which is music to my ears .”

After Zolani’s impressive performance in Belfast he called out IBF and WBA Champion Ryan Burnett . This a fight that all of boxing would love to see and really had fans buzzing for a bit until Eddie Hearn (Burnett’s promoter) shot down all talk about the fight being made . I asked Zolani what he thought about Burnett turning the fight down .

“It is so disappointing that Mr Hearn and Mr Burnett refuse to fight me , i dont know why ….maybe they doubt Ryan’s ability or something . I am hopeful that the fight will happen this year .”

There is a bit momentum building up behind Zolani Tete . With BT Sport now in partnership with Frank Warren , Tete is now more known to a bigger audience , so i asked Zolani what he wants to do in the coming year .

“My plan is clear . I want to unify the division . I want Luis Nery and Ryan Burnett . Once i have all the belts i will chase down the monster (Nagoya Inoue) and trust me that will be a fantastic fight .”

I would just like to to finish up by saying a massive thank you to Zolani Tete and his team for arranging this fantastic interview for us .

Steven Donnell

Gary Sweeney “I’m Back In The Swing Of Things

When i hear the the old Cliche “Boxing is in my DNA” i pass it off as a template answer , something to fill in a blank ….well that was until i caught up with Irish Cruiserweight Gary Sweeney (23) . Gary comes from a real fighting family with four older brothers being Amateur Champions in Mayo Ireland , with his brother/mentor and now trainer Micheal Sweeney also being a former professional but Gary says it all goes back to his Grandfather .

“My Grandfather never liked talking to us about boxing because he never wanted us fighting and stuff , but he was a bareknuckle boxing champion . He didn’t want us getting into bareknuckle game , he wanted us to just get into the ring and start  boxing “

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Gary’s family comes from a traveling background which seems to go hand in hand in boxing nowadays with stars like Billy Joe Saunders and the Fury’s being some of the biggest name in the UK boxing today . Embarrassingly boxing is not the only thing that seems to go hand in hand with the Traveling community .

“My father used to box back in his day but when he finished he opened an amateur boxing club due to discrimination because he was from a traveling background . So we opened our own boxing club and from there i won 7 ameatur titles.”

Gary was inspired to get into boxing after watching his brother’s . Going to watch them in tournaments at eight years old he decided he wanted to have a go at the sport for himself .

“I remember when i was eight years old i remember i would get hit a punch and i would just smile . Once i was in boxing i just loved it “

Like any young Sportsperson the biggest fear is injury and in 2017 Gary found that out when a back injury kept him out for most of the year , which halted the momentum he had been building .

“It was very frustrating , i have lost 13 months of boxing and the full time I’ve been watching all these fights on TV and on Youtube and i was just eating myself . I had all these injuries with my back and i broke my hand so i had to just sit back and watch all these fights . Then finally christmas was gone and i got myself a fight , and now I’m back in the swing of things ”

“I was meant to go for surgery before my last fight but the surgery didn’t take place so what they done was drain it so its still a bit sore but it’s good enough to get me back in the ring , until i can get the surgery in the summer” .

Image result for gary sweeney boxer

Gary will be fighting in a six rounder on the MTK London card on March 3rd and although Gary doesn’t know who his opponents is yet , he is expecting it to be someone who will put him through his paces so he is coming over to Scotland to get some sparring with British Title challenger Stephen Simmons .

“Two weeks before my fight i will be Scotland and I’m going to get a good hard week with Simmons . You couldn’t ask for any better than that , going out and getting rounds of sparring with these guys is good for me. I am part of the MTK Global team and they have me out sparring all over the place which is just brilliant “

Fighting on this MTK London card will give Gary the opertunity of some big exposure in a small hall context due to there partnership with IFL TV who stream the cards on youtube .

“This card will be streamed again on youtube , which is brilliant . Last time they got over 140,000 viewers . To be on any sort of TV is brilliant but anybody can get this for free.

The Full Uncut Interview Click Here

We would just like to thank Gary Sweeney for taking the time out to come and have a chat with us and we are looking forward to seeing him back in the ring . For tickets to the show Saturday 3rd March 2018 Ticket hotline 07876 238286 Ticket prices Tiered seating £40 Ringside tables with waitress service £60 / £70 Doors open 4.30pm . 

Steven Donnell

“When You Work This HardYou Appreciate It More” – Lewis Paulin Interview

“When You Work This HardYou Appreciate It More” – Lewis Paulin Interview

For boxing fans it is easy to be drawn to the very top of the sport , whether it be the glitz of Las Vegas , A massive stadium fight at Wembley or even watching the glamours World Boxing Super Series , following some of the biggest names in the sport . I think it would surprise a lot of armchair boxing fan to find out that some of the best fights actually happen in sport centres and halls all around the country , right on our doorsteps . On December 16 Lewis Paulin will fight for the Scottish Super Featherweight title against Stephen Tiffney in the Lagoon Leisure Centre in Paisley . This fight see’s two lads from Edinburgh go head to head to see who is the best in Scotland and someones “0” has to GO and Lewis Paulin can’t wait .

“With us both coming from Edinburgh we are deffo fighting for bragging rights , we know each other , we are roughly the same age , we turned pro around the same time it makes sense for us to meet now and the winner will hopefully progress on.” 

MTK Scotland have some great card on this year but this “Christmas Cracker” did seem a little a strange as its in Paisley which is West of Scotland but the show is headlined by two fighter from the east coast .

“Yeah it is strange that its in Paisley but to be fair the venues in Edinburgh aren’t that great for boxing , Glasgow area does seem to have the better venues “

Hopefully it will be busy with i being Christmas time , I know the public response shows there is a lot of people buzzing about this fight so i think it will be a busy show and it should be a good atmosphere”

The winner of this fight could be in a great position to push on to challenge for the British Title which is currently vacant , something that Lewis has thought about .

 ” Of course i have thought about that but i can only look at one fight at a time , hopefully i can dominate Scotland and then push on to the bigger things , but that is deffo a road we would look to go down “

At the start we touched on the Glitz and Glamour at the very top end of boxing but i wanted to know what it was like for guys like Lewis who have to find the right balance of  working there family lives and work around boxing .

‘ It is difficult and it is an issue , unless you have big sponsorship and enough backing  do this full time and you don’t have to worry about working , but we aren’t all as fortunate as that . I do work full time , but my work have been really good giving me time off to travel away to England for sparring so thats helped massively and my sponsors have helped so i am appreciative of that . Hopefully after a big win i hope to get another couple of big sponsors and that would make it more likely i could go full time “

The life blood of any sport comes from the grass roots and in the cut throat world of boxing it is so hard hard to make it as there just isn’t enough money to go round . The landscape is filled with young boxers who just couldn’t get the breaks or funding and regardless of there talent have just gave up on the sport .

“Unless you are one of the lucky ones who have made it to the olympic games its very difficult to get sponsorship , those first few years are very hard . Its once you start to prove yourself thats when more sponsors want to come onboard . Right now i train before work , go to work and then train at night , you don’t get any free time . When you work that hard you will appreciate it more .  

When Lewis was starting out as a young amateur boxed for the famous Meadowbank Amateurs who has brought thru some of the best talent this country has produced , a club which is now under threat due to its home in the Meadowbank Sports Arena going thru a revamp which has seen the club evicted with nowhere to go , I asked Lewis about the full situation .

“I am pretty gutted , the Meadowbank does need refurbished but the club have effectively been made homeless which is pretty poor. The club get a lot of people through the door no they lads have to go train in other gyms which isn’t great . 

“Hopefully they get something set for all the young guys coming through” 

Lewis Paulin vs Stephen Tiffney will take place on December 16 in Paisley . For tickets get in touch with Lewis Paulin through this link or here MTK Scotland .

Full Interview Click Here

Steven Donnell

Dejan Zlaticanin Interview : An Old Skool Fighter

Dejan Zlaticanin Interview : An Old Skool Fighter

Before we get started let me paint you a picture , lets roll back a few years , back to a summers night in Glasgow 2014 . There is an air of optimism surrounding the bout for the WBC International Lightweight title in Braehead Arena , a night where Ricky Burns was going to get his career back on track after a contentious draw with Ray Beltran that was followed up by the loss of Burns WBO Lightweight title to future P4P superstar Terrence Crawford .The general consensus was that Burns would win this fight and get into position for a shot at the WBC Crown, all that stood in Ricky’s way was Dejan Zlaticanin , a little known 18-0 fighter from Montenegro , Well we all know what happened next .

 

 

Dejan recalls “I can remember almost every detail from the moment i stepped in the UK . There was so much excitement , not just because i had a tough test against a two weight world champion , but also the same day my had wife gave birth to my daughter Sofija. I was so excited and i knew nothing was goin to stop me beating him (Burns) and devoting the win to her” . That was the night Dejan broke my heart , but that was also the night Dejan Zlaticanin announced himself to the boxing world .Dejan really took Burns apart in Glasgow that night , even dropping Ricky in the process , no one knew Dejan Zlaticanin when he came to Scotland , but everyone knew him when he left .

Winning the WBC Internatinal Title in Glasgow moved Dejan up the ranking and it wasn’t long before he was fighting for the real thing . In 2016 Dejan Zlaticanin beat Bolivia’s  Franklin Mamani for the Vacant WBC Lightweight Title , He says ‘When i beat Mamani i made history and became the first man from Montenegro to win a World Title, I touched the sky that night and the feeling was unbelievable “. One would be forgiven for thinking Dejan would be a superstar in his home nation , i mean being the first person from your nation to be World Champion is a massive achievement , monumental even ?. Well you could imagine my shock when i asked Dejan if after achieving what he had achieved , has boxing became more popular in Montenegro and if that was his legacy , he answers “No ! They didn’t respect my achievements like they needed to do . If i was from the UK i would get all that respect . You know I didn’t even win sports  man of the year award because of some law . People in Montenegro don’t know what it means to be WBC Champion of the world “. But Dejan doesn’t let that lack of acknowledgement stop him from giving back to the children of Montenegro  “My Brother and I open our Boxing Gym and we get a lot of kids in there , and that makes me happy as it keeps them safe and off the streets” 

Once Dejan had won his World Title we seen the return of the “Champion in recess” Jorge Linares to the ring from a layoff with injury as “WBC Diamond Champion” who the WBC said should fight Zlaticanin to see who was the true champion of the division . This was a fight fans wanted to see but as time went by it became apparent that this was another case of a “Great Fight That Never Was” , Dejan says “Linares is a fighter who studies his opponents and will avoid them ,that’s what he did when he was supposed to fight me , that’s what he’s doing to Mikey Garcia now . Boxing fans don’t like that, he’s not an old school fighter ”  . Now that the Linares vs Garcia fight seems to have fallen through i asked Dejan if he would be trying to chase the Linares fight down for his return to the ring . “I would like to fight Linares , He doesn’t need to run from me now he’s seen i have a weakness ‘(referring to his KO loss to Garcia ) but i think he’s still scared to fight me , He knows i only need to catch him with one one good punch and fight would be over . We as boxers fight for the fans and give them the fights they want to see , if you avoid these fights that’s bad for boxing and means your not a real champion”

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In Dejan’s last fight he had hit the big time fighting in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas , the Mecca of boxing against the returning Mikey Garcia “The MGM is incredible . It was unbelievable for someone from Montenegro like me to go there and fight ” .The very talented Garcia was on top form that night and scored a third round KO , Dejan tells “I just wanted Mikey to stand in the centre of the ring like a real Mexican and we could exchange punch for punch , bur Mikey was to smart for that and he deserved the win”.  But although Dejan accepts Garcia deserved his win , Dejan tells us he didn’t have the best build up to the fight “There was a lot of thing that meant I wasn’t going to be leaving Vegas the winner . I had some difficulties in camp but I didn’t want to pull out this fight , i am a fighter but this time it just didn’t go to plan” . Mikey Garcia is widely viewed as one of the best in the business , a real fighter who only wants the best fights , i asked Dejan what it was like to share the ring with Garcia ? . ‘                                    “Garcia is an excellent fighter , he’s very intelligent and a big puncher but he looked better that night than he actually is because i was not in my element . That night it felt like i had been hypnotised and worst of all i was slow , i really don’t know what happened to me in that ring , i felt like it wasn’t me in the ring that night “. 

Dejan Zlaticanin is the kind of fighter that will always get fans tuning in , and i really look forward to his long awaited return to the ring . Dejan is the kind of boxer who will fight anybody and i cant help but think if Jorge Linares really wants to validate his CV here is a man ready and willing  .

Steven Donnell