Tag Archives: Anthony Yarde

‘Boxing for an athlete is a lose-lose’

British boxing has undergone a major resurgence in recent years, with the likes of Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury thrilling global audiences and enjoying huge rewards for doing so.

But the story of Dwayne Jones highlights the darker side of what former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis called the ‘sweet science’.

A good prospect in the light-heavyweight division, Jones is undefeated in five professional contests, but he hasn’t fought in over 14 months and has informally announced his retirement from boxing at the age of 26.

He told Elephant Sport: “I lost the hunger. When you turn pro, you maybe start to see hundreds of thousands of pounds and this glamorous life, but I wasn’t seeing that.

“Plus I was losing my appetite to fight because [I feel like] I’m a bully, and even if I fight someone on my level, what am I fighting for? I’m not getting paid life-changing money and I can get knocked out, or they can get knocked out.”

‘Dirty sport’

Jones continues:  “When you come into boxing, you don’t realise how dirty it is; everyone is in it for themselves, it’s a dirty sport, trust me. Look at it like this – you have journeymen who fight; they know they are going to get knocked out.

“But fighters like me train to some extreme level for pence and at any time I could lose my life or knock someone out.

‘Promoters don’t fight and they can promote until they’re 100. I can only fight until I’m 40, maybe. So in that time I have to train so hard, what for? Boxing for an athlete is a lose-lose.”

‘Even when I’m on top like AJ I’m going to be knocking people out who I don’t hate and potentially giving them brain damage, and all they are trying to do is feed their family. What kind of job is that?’

Some might say that, for a fighter with so much promise, Jones is being impatient in ending his boxing career so soon.

But for many fighters like him, especially those from humble beginnings, financial security is the be-all and end-all of the fight game.

“Many fighters come into boxing with that [money] aspiration. But they don’t know what they are signing up for. If you look at AJ for example, he’s a multi-millionaire; then you look at [his promoter] Eddie Hearn – who do you think has more money?

“AJ is the biggest boxer in the country and he still earns less than a promoter, because promoters can do 60 shows a year, taking 20% of each fighter’s purse, Hearn ain’t getting punched in the face.

“As a fighter you can only fight three times [in a year] maximum, and in between that you’re training – and you don’t get paid to train. Training is the hardest part, waking up at 6am to run, eating bland food; everything you put in your body has to be checked.

“And even when I’m on top like AJ I’m going to be knocking people out who I don’t hate and potentially giving them brain damage, and all they are trying to do is feed their family. What kind of job is that?”

Hunger

Jones admits he started boxing “for all the wrong reasons”.

“I never really had a hunger to fight, and I just can’t be arsed to train, to be honest. To be a top level fighter, you have to train hard, and I have no incentive. So I’m setting myself up for failure.”

Despite his decision to quit the ring, Jones can look back on a successful time in the sport which included sparring with some of England’s best prospects.

British welterweight Chris Kongo

‘I was training at a high level, sparring with some good guys at the time, people who coming through the ranks.

People like Chris Kongo, Joshua Buatsi, Richard Riakporhe, Isaac Chamberlain. I even sparred with Anthony Yarde for one round, but he was a beast, he hits hard.

‘To me all of those guys can [get to the top], but Yarde was an animal, non-stop attack, like I was landing shots and he was still coming forward.

‘Riakporhe is cruiserweight, so that was actually better for me because in my mind I was thinking if he beats me it’s because he’s bigger so it made me fight with less pressure.

“Kongo he will be a great fighter, in fact if I had to put money on it I’ll say he will go the furthest.

“He was probably the hardest fighter to fight I’ve ever had to fight. I like to land punches; if I don’t land then I get disheartened, and I was swimming when I was fighting him. He is great defensively.

‘Buatsi I sparred with years ago, like before all of the other guys and he dropped me so, it is what it is.”

On a whole it is a great time to be a British boxing fan due to the emerging talent coming through and it will be interesting to see who goes the furthest.

With that said, boxing has in Jones lost a fighter who could have been a real star.

Boxing returns to Royal Albert Hall

Boxing has returned to one of London’s most famous venues, the Royal Albert Hall, with Frank Warren’s Queensberry promotions.

The bill featured the return of highly-touted prospect Anthony Yarde, Daniel Dubois and British middleweight champion Liam Williams.

The grand old arena hosted many memorable British bouts throughout the 90s with fighters such as Frank Bruno and Prince Naseem Hamed, but has seen a massive reduction in fight nights.

This is the first card held in this prestigious hall for seven years and only the second since the turn of the millennium.

As with most fight nights, the masses didn’t enter the venue until the headliners came out. Despite the subdued atmosphere, the few fans that were present early on witnessed some amazing undercard bouts, including a destructive performance by British super-flyweight Harvey Horn.

The 23-year-old Londoner took his professional record to 5-0 with a terrific first-round knockout, and appears to have a bright future ahead of him.

The super-flyweight division is very competitive, but Horn have the talent and potential to upset the apple cart.

Harvey Horn after a explosive performance

Heir to AJ’s throne

As the night wore on, the fans slowly started to pile in, and the venue’s 5,000 seats began to fill. It was then the turn of heavyweight prospect Dubois to take to the ring.

Still only 21, the Greenwich-born fighter is already seen by many as the heir to Anthony Joshua’s throne, and was taking on former world title contender Ravzan Kajanu.

Dubios came out to prove a point, going to war from the first bell, which brought the entire arena to their feet. Both heavyweights were trading leather in the centre of the ring, but it was the Londoner who was getting better of the exchanges.

The British heavyweight showed absolutely no respect for Kajanu’s power and it was only a matter before he got the stoppage.

The animated crowd, wishing the war could go the distance, was left disappointed when Dubois stopped the experienced Romanian in the second round.

However, the fans didn’t have to wait long to witness more explosive action as the next contest, between Johnny Garton and Chris Jenkins, was easily the fight of the night.

Garton was defending his British welterweight belt in what was billed as a crossroads fight for him.

Is the South Londoner ready for world and European level fighters, or is he still better off at domestic level?

Despite these doubts, he was still seen as favourite to win the contest. However, Jenkins was looking to claim the title at the third time of asking, so wasn’t lacking in motivation.

Momentum

From the first bell, the champion was getting out-worked and it was clear that Jenkins had come for his belt. The Welsh fighter won plenty of new admirers as he dominated the champion and pressed the action.

However, as the bout entered its later stages, Garton started to take over and attempted to regain some momentum. The pair left it all in the ring until the final bell which triggered all in attendance to rise to their feet and applause.

Despite being a huge underdog, Jenkins rightfully won the contest by unanimous decision.

Emotions were running high after that contest, and reached fever pitch as the co-main event boxers came out. The No.1 British middleweight, Williams also had his British title on the line against Joe Mullender.

Despite the pre-fight chat billing this as a 50-50 fight, Williams refused to waste any time and went to work from the first round. Keen on putting the contest to bed early on, the Welshman, 26, got the stoppage late in the second round.

Ring rust

The final fight saw the No.1 prospect in the country in action as Yarde returned after five months out of the ring to take on America’s Travis Reeves.

Based on how the night had gone so far, the fans was expecting nothing but action from the start. Unfortunately, Yarde’s entrance was the only thing that brought the crowd to their feet.

‘The Beast’ definitely was trying to work off the ring rust and ease his way into a fight which wasn’t expected to go beyond two rounds, and this only served to dampen down the excited crowd.

It wasn’t until the fifth that Yarde started to push on and land clean shots. Unfortunately, for the eager audience, the fight was stopped before he really began firing off his deadly combinations.

Overall, the return to big-time boxing to the Royal Albert Hall was a big success, with some amazing action and an electrifying atmosphere. It raises the question, why isn’t this a regular venue for the sport?

The venerable arena, unlike others in London, wasn’t built upwards which allows everyone in attendance to get a great view of the action.

Its intimate seating arrangement makes it feels like the crowd is right on top of the ring, which creates a much better feel as a fan. Hopefully, this prestigious arena will host more nights like this and boxing doesn’t turn its back on a great place.