By Scott Whitney
I would not class myself as being Frank Warren’s biggest fan however Box Nation TV appears to be one of his better ideas.
Warren often guides world class fighters from his stable into matches against good contenders avoiding top class challengers. This has sometimes seen Warren lose fighters such as Joe Calzaghe and more recently Amir Khan as they strive for a real challenge to enhance their legacy.
Box Nation (sky channel 456) however puts Warren up in my estimations. It will show the fights from England, United States and around the World every weekend repeating the fights at more sociable hours during the week.
This means that the majority of the best fights can be seen by the British public which hopefully will increase the popularity of the sport in Britain again. I don’t think you can just love boxing and there is always a fight that makes you fall in love with the sport. Mine is Nigel Benn vs Gerald Mcllelland shown on ITV. If ITV did not show that fight I may never of had this passion in my life.
Saturday Box Nation showed the emerging talent of Rocky Fielding already a popular fighter in Liverpool which is where the event was held. James De Gale show his talents in winning the European belt as well as his weaknesses. Hopefully De Gale watched Cleverly and Bellew exchange blows after as both fighters approach and style would have taught De Gale a lot. De Gale showed spirit after being tagged a couple of times in the fight to stay on his feet and see the round out.
What impressed me most though was his hand speed on the inside at times however he needs to combine this with equally impressive footwork. Calzaghe threw punches from many angles moving his feet so when his opponents realised what was happening he had either moved out again or he moved to the side. De Gale’s lack of footwork in this situation and ring presence allowed his opponent to tie him down to often and counter some good work he had previously done. De Gale was eventually victorious and should look to progress his skills before stepping up to World level not just add to his win column.
The main event showed heart, determination, passion, a good jab and that was all from the loser, Tony Bellew. I would not be surprised if Bellew as a result of that loss has climbed rankings as not many people gave the Liverpudlian a chance. Those who follow Bellew though knew he had a lot more than a punchers chance against Nathan Cleverly and he demonstrated lots of skills but unfortunately was not good enough on the night.
Cleverly entered the ring in fantastic condition as he has done in previous fights. Growing up training with Calzaghe he would have had work rate and stamina drilled into him by both Joe and Enzo. Cleverly has now stepped out of Joe’s shadow and announced himself on the world stage. Bellew landed some very good shots on Cleverly , especially in round 10 however the Welshman’s conditioning allowed him to take the punch. Cleverly has very good hand speed and appears able to adapt mid fight instead of impressing himself early on an opponent.
Cleverly’s foot work is impressive which he uses as his main form of defence. He is able to box at distance or in close simply outworking his opponent. When scoring this fight I had three tied rounds with Cleverly winning 113-112. Many of the tight rounds Cleverly won purely on work rate and I almost gave him a couple of the tied rounds however ignored my instincts thinking that would have been harsh on Bellew seconds later. Both fighters have enhanced their reputations with this fight and although Cleverly did not rule out a rematch hopefully Bellew will win a World Title of his own before this happens.