Category Archives: Champions TKO Boxing Gym

Fight Report: Ozgul and Khan Secure Titles In York Hall Thriller

Report by: Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro

Let’s face it, with the amount of column inches dedicated to Mayweather-Pacquiao over the past few weeks, you could easily be forgiven thinking that there were no other boxing events that took place on May 2nd.

Well, there was another fight card, and I’m pleased to say that I was at that event – the Mark Lyons and Billy James-Elliott promoted Lords of the Ring event at the iconic York Hall in London.


OK, admittedly York Hall in Bethnal Green doesn’t have anywhere near the cachet of being at such a mega fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, but when it comes to drama and excitement, sorry you just can’t beat small hall boxing, especially when it’s at York Hall.


When the event was announced it was due to feature fourteen bouts, but immediately after May-Pac was announced a significant number of the bouts were cancelled, as the fighters wanted to be ringside in Vegas, then in the final build up further fights were off the card, due to injuries, leaving a seven card fight show on the night, or was it.


The card was further reduced on the day, after one of the fights was cancelled on safety grounds – due to a 5kg difference in the weight between the two debuting fighters – and if that wasn’t bad enough Manny Muhammad’s opponent, Rafael Snow failed to turn up, leaving just five fights on the night.


First up was a six rounder between Liverpool based Russian hot prospect David Agadzhanyan, against Czech Republic’s Josef Redlich, who stepped in at the last minute to save the bout, following Ghana’s Isaac Owusu being forced to pull out due to illness.


It took Agadzhanyan just forty five seconds to send Redlich to the canvas for the first time and about the same again to put him down a second time.


Redlich was plain outclassed so no surprise that when he went down for the third time that referee Ken Curtis decided to call a halt to proceedings on the two minute and twenty five seconds mark.


I’ve seen Agadzhanyan in action a couple of times, including the excellent win over then unbeaten Daniel Bazo back in March, so was really looking forward to seeing him in action against Owusu, a tough uncompromising former Ghanaian Champion and Commonwealth title eliminator challenger, but that’ll have to wait until later this month when the rescheduled bout takes place in Liverpool.


Next up was WBF Inter-Continental Champion Paul Economides, in a non-championship six rounder, against another late replacement, Czech Republic’s Petr Gyna, following former British Champ Andy Bell pulling out the week prior and then the original replacement pulling out just two days before the show.


Economides is another class act, so no surprise that Gyna was on the canvas within just thirty seconds, on the restart Gyna decided that attack is the best form of defense, however in taking the fight to Economides he played straight into his hands, literally as Economides punished him with a big right, that sent the Czech down to the canvas for a second and final time, on the one minute and twenty five second mark.


With both the opening fights finishing early and the live TV broadcast not due to start until 9pm, the promoters had no option but to have quite long interval before the next bout, a six round Light Heavyweight contest between Champions TKO’s unbeaten Hackney based Turkish prospect Onder Ozgul and the entertainer himself Jody Meikle.


Throughout the first four rounds Ozgul just walked Meikle down, letting rip with massive right hands at every conceivable opportunity, Meikle is as tough as they come and seemed content to absorb the punishment dished out by the man dubbed ‘Little Mike’ by the Turkish fans.


Ever the joker, Meikle played down the punishment he was taking, happily playing to the crowd, as well as infuriating his opponent, by pulling faces and insinuating that there was no power in the Turkish lads shots, however by the fact that Meikle had toned down his antics, clearly showed that Ozgul shots were indeed having the desired effect.


Meikle toned down the playfulness of his tactics even further in the fifth, as Ozgul stepped up his attacks, putting even more power into his shots.


Right from the start of the sixth it was clear that Ozgul was intent on punishing Meikle even further, backing the Scunthorpe man onto the ropes before letting rip with big double handed flurries, one of which, a cracking body shot, literally knocking the wind out of Meikle and forcing him to take to one knee.


On the restart Ozgul went in for the finish, this time Meikle went defensive, no further playing to the crowd, to see it through to the final bell.


After six highly entertaining rounds Referee Ken Curtis scored the bout 60-53 in favour of Ozgul.


I thoroughly enjoyed the fight, I know it wasn’t a classic, but boy oh boy it was very entertaining.


The fourth bout of the night see Bradford’s Tasif Khan in Championship action for the first time, against Georgia’s Mikheil Soloninkini, for the International Masters Silver bantamweight title.


Khan started fast, boxing beautifully behind his jab the Bradford man kept his slightly more experienced foe on the back foot for the majority of the bout.


By midway point Khan slowed the pace slightly, at the same time keeping the pressure on Soloninkini, however about midway through the sixth, during a routine exchange Khan was a little slow bringing up his gloves, leaving an opening for the Georgian to let rip with a big right, which sent Khan to the canvas.


On the restart Soloninkini went full out in attack, Khan remained calm and got behind his jab again, the Georgian was well hyped and continued to come forward at pace before throwing huge bombs.


During these skirmishes Khan sensibly grabbed hold until referee Lee Murtagh issued the order break. This tactic worked and Khan was able to clear his head enough to turn control back round to himself.


Khan had his hands full for the final three rounds though, as Soloninkini had the bit between his teeth and was pushing hard, however Khan is a cool character and seemed content to box of the back foot each time the Georgian made a forceful foray.


After ten rounds of excellent boxing, the judges scorecards read – Ken Curtis 99-94, Obie Garnett 98-90 and Matt Hamilton 98-91, all in favour of Tasif Khan.


Jennifer Burton, the Northern Region Secretary of the Malta Boxing Commission, presented the familiar blue International Masters belt to the victorious Tasif Khan.


Have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the fight, even though it was quite one sided for a lot of the time, let’s face it that’s not a statement on the quality of Soloninkini, as his pedigree is well known, this kid’s a tough nut to break, as proved by having taken Jamie Williams the distance, when they fought for the Bronze Masters back in March, as well as fought the sensational Charlie Edwards a couple of weeks later, but to my mind the one-sidedness of the fight as well as the result shows just how good Tasif Khan fought.


The headline fight of the night see a rematch between Champions TKO’s unbeaten Hackney based Turkish prospect Siar Ozgul, yep brother to the aforementioned Onder, against Nottingham’s Matt Scriven and this time there was a Championship on the line – The MBC International Welterweight title.


When these two first fought, back in October last year, it was an out and out war, Ozgul won but the rounds were so close it could have been a very different result.


The bout started in a very similar manner to their October showdown, neither man wanting to concede any ground, however just before the end of the first round Ozgul let rip with a massive right to Scriven’s body, which forced the Nottingham man to cover up to see the round to it’s conclusion.


The shot to the body must have really hurt Scriven as he seemed more intent on defense, rather than full on attack, from the start of the second, a pattern that remained for the rest of the bout.


Ozgul made most of the running throughout, however Scriven more than held his own during the many skirmishes that ensued, although have to admit he was a little more cautious than during the opening round.


After ten rounds of superb boxing the judges scorecards were read out – Lee Murtagh and Matt Hamilton scored the bout 100-90 and Obie Garnett 100-88 all in favour of Siar Ozgul.


This was followed by the presentation of the MBC International belt to Siar Ozgul by his fellow Champions TKO gym mate and the current MBC International Super Bantamweight Champion Marianne Marston.


All in all I thoroughly enjoyed the event, especially the final three bouts, however I was a bit disappointed that some of the planned fights, such as those featuring Iain Weaver, Antonio Counihan, Mark Prince, George Hillyard and the aforementioned Marianne Marston, failed to materialize, because to my mind if they had taken place I feel this almost certainly would have been one of the best shows at York Hall this year, as it was it still was a highly enjoyable and entertaining evening of pugilistic action and a fitting prelude to the May-Pac fight, which promoters Mark Lyons and Billy James-Elliott arranged for the boxers, their teams and attendees of the event to watch live via satellite at a private function room.


Ozgul-Scriven II – Title On The Line For May 2nd York Hall Rematch

Back in October last year unbeaten Hackney based Turk Siar Ozgul and late replacement opponent Matt Scriven campaigned in one of the closest, all action, battles of the year.


It was a true small hall classic that really deserved at least to be nominated for the accolade of ‘Fight of The Year’, if not be the outright winner, however that was not to be as somehow it managed to slip under the radar of the majority of the British media.


On Saturday May 2nd, these magnificent warriors will once again enter the arena, at the York Hall in Bethnal Green, London, this time in a ten round contest and with the added incentive of a Championship being on the line – the vacant MBC International Welterweight title – on the Mark Lyons and Billy James-Elliott promoted LORDS OF THE RING event.


The October Ozgul-Scriven Battle Boyale was reminiscent of the first of the Mickey Ward-Arturo Gatti trilogy of fights that took place in 2002/3, without doubt one of the all time greatest trilogy of fights this sport has ever witnessed.


If Ozgul-Scriven II matches the intensity and drama of their first encounter, we could well have another action filled bout, one that equals any of the Ward-Gatti fights, right here in our own back yard, something no boxing fan, or British sports writer should miss.


To give an idea of just how sensational their first showdown was, here’s the write up on the bout from the published report by the Canadian Sports Channel


“Fifth bout of the night see London based Turk Siar Ozgul in action against Nottingham’s Matt Scriven.


What a fight, without doubt the fight of the night, as both protagonists went to war.


Ozgul came out hard and strong, initially putting the Nottingham man on the back foot, however Scriven soon started to exert his authority and then the fireworks really began.


By the third round the non stop action started to take it’s toll on the Turkish youngster, which allowed Scriven to land some sensational power shots of his own.


The final round was a cracker, Ozgul backed Scriven into a corner and let rip with massive right hands, one of which sent Scriven’s mouth guard flying into the crowd ringside.


Once the errant mouth guard was retrieved and the bout restarted it was Scriven who went hard on the attack, one such attack late on in the round see Scriven land a massive right that shook Ozgul to the core, Ozgul sensibly went on the defensive for the remaining seconds to see his way to securing his fifth win.


Referee Lee Murtagh scored the bout 39-37 in favour of Ozgul, the correct verdict without doubt, but one that really doesn’t express how great this fight was or how close each and every round was.”


Siar Ozgul versus Matt Scriven, for the vacant MBC International Welterweight Championship, headlines the Mark Lyons & Billy James-Elliott Wise Guys Promotions LORDS OF THE RING event, that takes place at the York Hall in Bethnal Green, London on Saturday 2nd May 2015.

Sanctioning for this event will be provided courtesy of the Malta Boxing Commission (MBC) –

Tickets priced £35 (Standard seating) and £65 (Ringside) are available direct from Siar at the Champions TKO Gym in Hackney – call Mehmet on 07825 618018 – on-line or call the TKO ticket line on 07960 850645

Haywood Set For Pepper Showdown On May 2nd

Champions TKO’s Jerome Haywood is set to face Scunthorpe’s Matthew Pepper on the Mark Lyons and Billy James-Elliott Wise Guys Promotions LORDS OF THE RING event, which takes place at York Hall in Bethnal Green, London on Saturday 2nd May 2015.


Jerome will be making his return to York Hall, the scene of his successful professional debut in October last year, where he scored a well earned points victory over Rolandas Cesna.


Back in October, after a slightly hesitant start, Haywood soon settled down and took the fight to his more experienced opponent, pressuring the big Lithuanian with stiff jabs and heavy rights to the body.


Haywood’s work to the body began to take a toll on Cesna, so much so that by mid way through the third Cesna was clearly struggling to cope with the constant punishment to his ribs.


In the fourth Haywood stepped up the pressure even further, which in turn forced Cesna to cover up to protect his bruised and battered ribcage.


After four excellent rounds Referee Alf Sprung scored the bout 40-38 in favour of Haywood.


Haywood’s opponent on May 2nd is Scunthorpe’s Matthew Pepper, who will be making his first visit to the famous home of boxing in the Capital City.


Following a training session, under the watchful eyes of his coach Brian O’Shaughnessy at the Champions TKO gym in Hackney, Haywood spoke briefly about the upcoming showdown with Matthew Pepper.


“Glad to be fighting again, it’s been six months since my debut fight.


After my last fight, I was hoping to get out again as soon as possible and I should have, I was due to fight in March, but had to pull out of that one as I came down with a bug about a week or so before I was due to fight.


My first fight, yeah I enjoyed that, I was well prepared for it, he was tough but nothing I couldn’t handle.


I don’t know too much about Matthew (Pepper), but we’ve been working hard in the gym, so hopefully I’ll put a good performance in for my fans, who I can’t thank enough for their fantastic support.”


Jerome Haywood versus Matthew Pepper features on the Mark Lyons & Billy James-Elliott Wise Guys Promotions LORDS OF THE RING event, that takes place at the York Hall in Bethnal Green, London on Saturday 2nd May 2015.

Sanctioning for this event will be provided courtesy of the Malta Boxing Commission (MBC) –

Tickets priced £35 (Standard seating) and £65 (Ringside) are available direct from any of the boxers taking part, on-line or call the TKO ticket line on 07960 850645


Turkish Prospect Ozgul Set For London Showdown With Miekle On May 2nd


Champions TKO Gym’s unbeaten Light Heavyweight prospect Onder Ozgul is set to make his fifth professional outing in just over a weeks time, when he takes on the highly entertaining Jody Meikle, from Scunthorpe, in a six round contest, on the Mark Lyons and Billy James-Elliott Wise Guys Promotions LORDS OF THE RING event at York Hall in London on Saturday 2nd May 2015.

Ozgul, has built quite a reputation, as a seriously tough and uncompromising boxer, over the past year or so, following top class victories over the likes of Lithuania’s Dmitrij Kalinovskij, Bighton’s Iain Jackson, Lithuania’s Remigijus Ziausys and most recently over the Czech Republic’s big punching Karel Horejsek.

With a boxing style and approach uncannily similar to that of a certain ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Ozgul’s Turkish fans have nicknamed their man ‘Little Mike’, a name that the British fans that have seen him in action have started to adopt too.

That aside, Ozgul’s resolve could be mightily tested by Miekle, who last time out scored a good solid draw against Portsmouth bruiser Sam Couzens, no surprise there as the Lincolnshire man not only likes a good old fashioned toe-to-toe slug fest, but also has a very entertaining mischievous streak.

Speaking at the famed Champions TKO Gym in Hackney, Ozgul spoke briefly about the upcoming showdown with the man they call ‘The Entertainer’.

“I’m happy I am fighting a six rounder, I’d be happy if it was an eight, I train for twelve rounds, so six is easy for me.


The way we look at it is if you can run a marathon, then running a half marathon is easy, that’s why we work so hard in the gym, so it is easy in the ring.


My last fight I trained hard, I trained for twelve rounds then too, the opponent was strong and durable but it was still an easy fight for me.


It will be the same next week, I will be ready for whatever Jody Meikle brings, I’ve been told Jody is tough, good that means we’ll have a very good fight.


I’m really happy that my brother Siar has got a title fight on May 2nd and even happier that I will be fighting on the undercard of his title fight and hope that everyone comes out and gives us both their full support.


I want to thank my sponsors and all those fans that come and support me and my brother (Super Welterweight Siar Ozgul), Thank you for supporting us, on May 2nd you’ll not be disappointed, I will be fighting at my best.”


Onder Ozgul versus Jody Meikle features on the undercard of Siar Ozgul – Matt Scriven MBC International Welterweight title fight that headlines the Mark Lyons & Billy James-Elliott Wise Guys Promotions LORDS OF THE RING event, that takes place at the York Hall in Bethnal Green, London on Saturday 2ndMay 2015.

Sanctioning for this event will be provided courtesy of the Malta Boxing Commission (MBC) –

Tickets priced £35 (Standard seating) and £65 (Ringside) are available direct from any of the boxers taking part, on-line or call the TKO ticket line on 07960 850645

Great Start To The Year – Seven Wins Out Of Seven For TKO

We may only be just forty days or so into the New Year, but Johnny Eames and the Champions TKO team are already very, very happy with the way everything is going for them in 2015. First off, they secured new premises for the famous gym and now just over two weeks into the new Boxing year have had a string of seven successes for their ever growing stable of boxers.


Earlier today the aforementioned Mr. Eames took a little time out from his busy schedule to talk about the excellent start to the year, for his highly talented young prospects.


“Yeah, what a great start to the year for the Champions TKO boys.


First up we had four boys out at York Hall on the 30th January, unfortunately I couldn’t get to the show because my boiler burst and my house was flooded, but I kept in touch with everyone to make sure the boys were alright.


First in action was Antonio Counihan and from what I heard he put in another stunning performance, stopped his opponent in the third, after dominating the fight from the start.


As promised he now has an eight rounder in his next fight, on the Stephen Vaughan show in Liverpool on the 20th March.


Then hopefully he’ll get to do something up in Birmingham for an MBC International title or similar.


Next up on that show was Tasif Khan, boy did he shake the rust off, short and sweat, stopped his opponent in just sixty-five seconds.


From what I heard he put on a fantastic display, gutted I missed it but hopefully get to see him next time he’s out, which is also on the Stephen Vaughan Liverpool show in March.


Apparently the fight of the night was our Onder Ozgul’s, a real barnstormer Rio (TKO’s Gianluca Di Caro) said, all action and at a high pace as per usual from Onder.


This kid’s ready to move onto six rounders now, like his brother Siar, to be honest with you.


As I just said Siar did his first six rounder, again a cracking fight by all accounts, everyone’s so pleased with his performance on the night.


It sounds like he’s learned to judge his pace now, rather than go hammer and tongs for the whole six rounds, he paced himself nicely for the full six rounds.


On the following night we had Charlie Edwards, making his debut, and Tommy Martin fight for the English title at the O2.


Charlie, what can I say he was f**king tremendous.


For a kid having his professional debut, I was so impressed with his attitude and professionalism, he never wavered from what he had to do and the occasion never got to him.


When he got in the ring he was nice and cool, listened to every word that Brian (coach Brian O’Shaughnessy) said.


I told him that he didn’t have to impress, because he’s very good anyway, so no need to try and be good, as he is.


It was an absolutely perfect match for his first fight, not a walkover that some of the big names get, he was a very tough kid, who came to fight and really believed he could win, which played right into Charlie’s hands.


The kid got a systematic beating from round one to four, but that don’t take away from the kid’s own effort, because he was really trying and then Charlie caught him good with about six seconds to go and that was it.


It was just unbelievable, unbelievable I was just so impressed with Charlie.


Then we had our Tommy Martin, what can I say this kid walked into our gym two and half years ago now, just eighteen years old and I took a little gamble on him and I told his dad after his first fight, actually before the fight that I’d guarantee him ten wins and then I’ll let him off the lead, we delivered from our end, we got him ten out of ten.


I have to admit I was nervous going into the fight, obviously having trained his opponent, Ricky Boylan, previously so knew Ricky is a tough kid and thought he may outman Tommy, but it was totally the other way round, Tommy outmanned him to be fair.


Tommy slowed around the sixth round and I was worried that he had left something in the gym, but no problem he came back stronger.


I can honestly say I think Tommy only lost two rounds, perhaps one or two could have been shared, but that would be being kind to Ricky, that’s how much Tommy dominated the fight.


The scores were 99-92 and 97-93 twice, as you can see they were massively in favour of Tommy and rightly so.


Fair play to Ricky he never stopped coming, as we knew he would, but for me Ricky didn’t have enough movement, he was moving his head when out of range but wasn’t when he needed to.


Now onto our latest debutant, Mickey O’Rourke, but first I must thank all the fans that turned up for him.


He sold two hundred and twenty tickets but more turned up and bought tickets on the night, so probably had about two fifty turn out to support him.


They were great, very, very boisterous, they made it a great night for him.


Mickey was a bit nervous in the first round, once he got back to the corner Brian (coach Brian O’Shaughnessy) sorted him out.


Either way he still won the first round comfortably, the other kid made it hard for him, like holding all the time, but Mickey negated everything he tried to do.


Luckily the referee also was quick to break them up every time the kid grabbed Mickey, plus we got Mickey to let go with more than one shot to keep him from coming in to grab him.


He won the bout 40-36 but the way he boxed in the last round the other kid did well to hold on to the end.


In fairness the kid came up to me after the fight and said ‘Johnny sorry but if I didn’t hold him, he’d have stopped me.’


I’m happy with that, he was just doing his job and I think Mickey learned a lot from the fight.


The fans loved it, the first round as I said was a bit nervy but the next three rounds were exciting, Mickey’s going to be a crowd pleasing fighter, there’s no two ways about it, and I’m glad to be part of his journey.


My mate Colin sent him over to me and he’s been very well schooled at Dale Youth, which has made my job a bit easier and I look forward to his next fight on the 21st March.


I hope that all the fans that attended come again, as he needs all the support he can get as without ticket sales the journey stops and this kids too good for that to happen.


What can I say, fantastic results for all the boys and of course Champions TKO, seven out of seven, you can’t get better than that, hopefully we’ve set the trend for 2015.”



From Left to Right: Shyam Batra, George Hillyard and Marianne Marston.


Report and Photo: Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro


On Friday night boxing fans from around the country made their annual pilgrimage to the York Hall in London for the first event, the Shaym Batra promoted, WBU Championship headed, LEGENDS & PROSPECTS, in the Capital in 2015.

There may have only been five fights, following the loss of both Australian Pierre Karam, who failed to obtain a visa in time to compete for the WBU International Heavyweight title, and the UK’s very own Steven Bendall, whose opponent fell through at the last minute, but the fans, including those that travelled all the way down from Birmingham, to support Antonio Counihan, and Bradford, to support Tasif Khan, must have felt it was well worth it, as it was a truly memorable night of boxing.

Heading up the show was Nazeing, Essex’s George ‘Hit Hard’ Hillyard against a late replacement in the Czech Republic’s Michal Vosyka.

From the off it was Vosyka taking control of the proceedings, the Czech fighter stylishly dominated the early part of the opening round, working off his mighty left hand jab to keep Hillyard at a safe distance.

Hillyard, was more than content to bide his time as Vosyka moved around the ring flicking his jab at Hillyard as soon as he made any move to close the distance.

Don’t get me wrong Hillyard did land some shots early on, but it wasn’t until around the second minute mark that the Essex lad managed to make any real impact but when he did it was with one of his trademark right hand exocets, a fantastic shot that virtually stooped the Czech in his tracks.

In a flash Hillyard let rip at the disoriented Vosyka with a sensational double handed assault to send him down to the canvas.

Vosyka boxed beautifully in the opening minute or so of the second stanza, albeit a little more cautiously, his constant strong jabs and double handed flurries left Hillyard no option but to play the waiting game once more, looking for an opening so that he could let a big right hand go.

More of the same in the third, but as in the first Vosyka made the fatal error of giving Hillyard the opportunity to capitalize on an opening, Hillyard’s no slouch, he was in there like a flash, letting rip first with a big right and then a double handed barrage to send Vosyka to the canvas for the second time.

Vosyka was much, much more cautious in the fourth, he was also more open than previously, which provided Hillyard even more opportunities to punish him big time.

Hillyard backed Vosyka towards the corner before letting rip with powerful lefts and rights before letting rip with a lightning quick left to the body, Vosyka had no option but to take to one knee, in order to get his breath back.

The moment referee Mickey Vann finished count, Hillyard literally shot across the ring and let rip with a massive right hand to the head, as Vosyka reeled back, off balance and heading back to the canvas, Hillyard let rip with a massive right to the head, sending Vosyka down and out fro the count.

Referee Mickey Vann was down at the side of the prone Vosyka in a flash, as was the ringside doctor and paramedics as a hush fell over the hallowed York Hall.

A minute or so later the silence was shattered as a round of applause from the crowd rang out, as Vosyka was helped to his feet.

Once Vosyka was given the all clear by the ringside medical team, MC Steve Holdsworth made the official announcement, which was followed by the WBU International Championship belt being presented to a clearly elated Hillyard by WBU Ambassador Marianne Marston.

Chief support see the stylish, unbeaten, Hackney based Turk Siar Ozgul step down a weight to Welter as well as undertake his first six rounder, against super tough competition in the form of Czech Republic’s Vladimir Fecko.


Right from the off Ozgul secured control of centre ring, utilizing his seriously strong jab to great effect, Fecko though was intent on wrestling control from the young Turk, which lead to some fantastic toe to toe action.


Both protagonists stepped up the pace in the second stanza, Ozgul really seemed to get into a flow, allowing himself to make some decent openings to test the mettle of the Czech lad, as he let rip with solid body shots.


More of the same in the next couple of rounds, but by round five Ozgul, who was well ahead on referee Ken Curtis’ scorecard, really went for it, what a round, Ozgul showcased his immense skills in fine style, picking off Fecko at every opportunity, from an array of angles.


Fecko, who was well aware to win he needed a knockout, came out hard and fast for the final round, Ozgul firmly stood his ground and what followed could only be described as a toe to toe battle royale ensued for virtually the whole round, much to the delight of the ~York Hall faithful.


After six sensational rounds of boxing referee Ken Curtis’ scorecard read a shut out 60-54 points victory for the younger Ozgul brother – although have to say Fecko made this fight what it was, yes Ozgul out-boxed him to secure each round but Fecko deserves praise for his performance also.


Prior to the third bout of the event MC Steve Holdsworth introduced a special guest to MC the bout, none other that sixties super star singer and actor Jess Conrad OBE, who then announced that it would be Siar Ozgul’s older sibling, Onder, that would be next in action, against Czech Republic’s Karel Horejsek, in a four round Light Heavyweight contest.


Without doubt the fight of the night, younger sibling’s Siar fight was first class, but Onder’s was to another level altogether.


It was an out and out war, it was all action from start to finish, with neither protagonist being willing to concede any ground whatsoever.


For the full twelve minutes of ring time, these two just went hammer and tongs at each other and for large amount of the time they seemed tied to each other as they fought it out at close quarters.


Praise has to be lavished on both Ozgul and Horejsek for such a magnificent display of the pugilistic arts, unfortunately there has to be a winner and a loser and it came as no surprise to anyone that Referee Ken Curtis scored each round in favour of Ozgul, as virtually every punch he threw not only landed but were by far the most meaningful, however as I said you can’t take anything away from the Czech lad as he made this fight what it was, he really came with one intention, to win, just this time he was against one of the toughest Light Heavyweights around, well the Turkish fans don’t call Onder ‘Little’ Mike (a comparison in style with ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson) for nothing.


The second fight of the night see the return of Bradford’s Tasif Khan to the ring, following a two year sabbatical from the sport, where he faced Richard Voros, a highly experienced boxer and kick-boxer from Hungary, in a four round Super Bantamweight contest.


Voros sprung from his corner as soon as the opening bell rang and went straight on the attack, forcing Khan to cover up, however it didn’t take the Khan too long to turn things around, with a good strong jab, before letting rip with a scintillating double handed flurry, which forced the Hungarian to cover up.


With the bit between his teeth Khan took full advantage by letting rip with super fast combinations at will.


The power and accuracy of Khan’s shots paid dividends almost immediately and on around the thirty second mark Voros was unceremoniously sent to the canvas for the first time with a massive right.


Khan really started to get into a rhythm, so much so picking off Voros with powerful shots to body and head with impunity, albeit for only a short while as on just before the minute mark he let rip with another cracking right to send Voros to the canvas for a second time.


Voros made it to his feet, only to be subjected to another huge barrage of punches, which forced Voros to cover up in a vain hope of making it to the end of the round, no chance, Khan just kept up the barrage until referee Ken Curtis had seen enough and stepped in to save the Hungarian from any further damage on the sixty fifth second mark.


The opening bout of the night featured one of, if not, the top British young Lightweight prospects, Birmingham’s Antonio Counihan, in a six rounder, against Hungary’s David Kis.


Counihan, who came into the fight with an unbeaten in four pro outings record, put in another World class performance, yes this kid is that good, out-boxing Kis, a twenty-five fight veteran, with ease from start to the early finish.


Counihan controlled the bout from the start, in doing so showcased the skills that not only earned him a place on the England amateur squad but also the accolade of becoming the England team captain.


Rounds one and two were more like an exhibition by Counihan, seemingly picking off his more experienced opponent at ease, his punches were clinical and powerful to the extreme, so much so that Kis made a visit to the canvas in both the first and second round.


By midway through the third Counihan stepped up the pace a little, in doing so put Kis way outside his comfort zone that the Hungarian had no option but to just cover up and hope that he could make it to the end of the round, unfortunately for him unsuccessfully, as on the two minute and fifteen second mark Counihan landed a peach of a right hand to send Kis to the deck for the third and final time.


The Brummie youngster has really taken to the pro game in style, Kis is no walkover, by a longshot yet Counihan made it look far too easy and his record now stands at five bouts, five wins, four by stoppage finish.


These were great performances, not just from the home fighters, praise must go to all the opponents too, more so to the likes of Karel Horejsek and Vladimir Fecko, who really did bring their A game, but each of the opponents came and did their best, just Counihan, Khan, the Ozgul brothers and Hillyard were just plain sensational on the night.


If this is the standard of events we can expect in 2015, I for one can’t wait for the next – bring it on!


Martin Aiming to ‘Gun’ Down Boylan This Saturday

St Neots, Camb’s Tommy ‘Da Gun’ Martin has the biggest fight of his young career this coming Saturday, when he challenges Carshalton’s Ricky Boylan for the vacant English Super Lightweight title, on the Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Sport promoted CAPITAL PUNISHMENT mega show, at the O2 Arena in Greenwich, London.

Tommy, who’s just twenty years of age, has already amassed a career record of ten bouts, ten wins and three of those victories came by way of stoppage finishes.

Back in April last year, Tommy secured his first Championship win, the British Masters Bronze, with a shutout points victory over Michael Maloney.

Whilst young Tommy was busy celebrating his success, he was totally unaware that this victory had bought him to the attention of the UK’s two top promoters Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren.

After meeting with both, Tommy decided that the chance to fight on the huge Matchroom Sport shows, whose events are broadcast live on Sky Sports, was his preferred choice.

As such his next fight see him travelling to Liverpool to face Ainsley Seivwright on the undercard of the Matchroom Sport promoted Tony Bellew versus Julio Cesar Dos Santos WBO International title fight.

With another solid victory under his belt, Eddie Hearn decided to really test his latest signing, by having him face Southampton’s Matty Tew in a ten rounder, needless to say Tommy came through with flying colours, stopping the highly experienced Tew in the seventh round, in doing so earning the right to make his first challenge for a major domestic title.

Following one of his final training sessions, a clearly elated Tommy spoke briefly about the upcoming showdown with Ricky Boylan.

“Yeah I’m over the moon, absolutely over the moon with it.

I’ve been training really hard for this for eleven, twelve weeks or so, I literally had a week off after my last fight and got straight back into the gym as soon as I heard the news about getting a shot at the English title.

I’m taking this opportunity with both hands, it’s what I want, I want to be fighting for titles, that’s why I’m boxing I want to be a Champion, not just any champion, I want to do this the old fashioned route, English, British, European and then go for the big one – World.

Everyone is saying this is as genuine a fifty-fifty fight as they come, not just the fight but also those forecasting the result. A lot of people are saying Boylan and an equal number of people are saying Martin, to my mind it is all going to come down to which Ricky Boylan or which Tommy Martin turns up on the night.

I honestly believe my plan A will be better than his plan A and my plan B is better than his plan B.

I can’t see him out-boxing me and I can’t see him out working me, I think I will be too quick and too sharp for him.

Winning the British Masters for me was a massive stepping stone, I absolutely loved the moment, it was an excellent stepping stone for titles like this one I have coming up. It gave me my first experience of Championship boxing, which puts me on the front foot on Saturday as I have already fought a title fight.

I want to say a huge thank you to close to five hundred fans that are coming down to support me on Saturday night, I really appreciate you getting behind me it means everything to me and hopefully I’ll give you a really good show and if all goes to plan I’ll have the English belt round my waist at the end of the night.

I promise I’m not going to make it easy for him, hopefully I’ll give him real problems on the night”

Tommy’s manager, the esteemed Champions TKO supremo Johnny Eames then spoke about his young charge and his upcoming showdown with ex TKO fighter Ricky Boylan.

“This is Tommy’s biggest fight to date, what’s more it’s against an ex-TKO fighter, Ricky Boylan.

It’s a genuine 50/50 fight, you can toss a coin to see who is going to win this one, it really is that close.

Obviously I lean towards Tommy, or else I wouldn’t have taken the fight on, but it ain’t going to be a push over.

Ricky comes to fight, he prepares himself well and he’s trained by my old mate Jamie Moore, with the Manchester boys, so we know he’s going to be well prepared.

I’m really looking forward to the fight, it’ll be a great fight.”


Former Team GB Star Edwards Primed For Explosive Pro Debut This Saturday

In just a few days time former Team GB amateur star Charlie Edwards is set to make his much anticipated transition to the professional ranks, when he faces Bentley, Yorkshire’s Craig Derbyshire on the Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Sport promoted CAPITAL PUNISHMENT event, at the O2 this coming Saturday, the 31st January.

Back in October, the former European Bronze Medallist announced his intention to move to the pro ranks. After a few weeks of discussions with his team and various promoters Charlie eventually made the decision to sign with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Sport organisation, a very savvy move indeed as not only are they the UK’s #1 promotional outfit, but more importantly all their events are broadcast live on Sky Sports, therefore ensuring excellent exposure for seriously talented multi-ABA Champion.

Charlie’s transition to the pro ranks has probably been a little smoother than for most young amateur stars these days, mainly because for the past year or so Charlie, as well as his younger brother Sunny, have been travelling to the famous TKO Gym in East London, the home to many of the UK’s top professional stars, both past and present, to be coached by Brian O’Shaughnessy.

As such the youngster enjoyed the best of both worlds, as Brian was a highly respected amateur coach, with a history of developing amateur champions, before applying for his pro license. Another bonus for Charlie being based at the TKO was the regular full on sparring sessions with many of the top prospects based there.

Following one of these sparring sessions, with Champions TKO gym mate Michael O’Rourke, both Charlie and Brian took some time out to speak about the youngsters upcoming professional debut, first up Charlie.

“I’m feeling great, my training’s gone really well and I’m in the best shape of my career so far.

I’ve been preparing at the Champions TKO with Brian (O’Shaughnessy) and my dad, I’ve got a strength and conditioning coach now, covering all angles to make sure I’m totally ready for my pro debut.

The hard work is really paying off, great shape, weight’s perfect, it’s been perfect for the past two or three weeks, so I am definitely in the best shape of my life and just can’t wait to get in there and prove that all the hype about me, because I know there’s a lot of hype about me and I have got a bit of pressure on my shoulders, with people expecting me to perform, so I’m going to go out there and box clever and make sure I perform.

I done virtually everything you can as an amateur, Olympic qualifiers, Commonwealth Games and I won seven National titles, ABA titles and GB titles, European Bronze medallist, European Gold medallist as a schoolboy, so have won a lot of titles.

I’ve had a look at my opponent, he’s on YouTube, he’s had two fights and lost two, he’s from Leeds or somewhere up in Yorkshire (sic – Bentley, Yorkshire) and his name is Craig Derbyshire.

He’s done cage fighting, he’s done a lot of Kick Boxing and that, he comes from a fighting background.

I know what he’s going to do, he’s going to come fighting right from the opening bell. The only thing is he comes flying in with his head so I’ve got to be clever and stay out of the way f his head and he’ll be there to be hit, I don’t need go looking, he’s going to come to me and I’m going to make him pay, that’s the way it’s going to go.

It’s another day at the office, I know it’s pro and everyone says it’s a big step up and it’s a different game, I’ve been winning titles without a headguard for about a year and half now, so it’s no biggy to me, it means I take my top off, which is better, I know when I take my top off in training I feel great, so yeah no big deal for me, I’m raring to go, I’ve fought in front of twenty thousand people up in Scotland, against a home fighter, so that’s the biggest thing I’m going to experience with everyone against me and on my back, so for me I get that extra buzz boxing in front of a big crowd, you can’t get batter.

I’m expecting nothing else, but victory all the way, like I said he’s going to come to fight, I’m not looking for no stoppage or anything, but I know in the way I am hitting, if he walks on to one, especially how open he is, I’m going to hurt him, so it may not go the distance.

I’m going in there prepared to go the distance, been doing a lot of sparring, eight threes, six threes, I mean I’ve just been sparring Mickey O’Rourke and he’s a sixty four kilo fighter and I’m not going to have anyone up against me like him, so I’m prepared a hundred percent, I’m leaving no stone unturned and really want to get in there and do the business.

I want to say thanks for all the support, it means so much when I put up stuff on Facebook and Twitter and get so much positive messages from so many people wishing me luck, I do that to show them I’ve been training, what I’m putting myself through so I can be successful, everyone is reacting so positively and showing that they are supporting me, I’m really grateful and going to really put a show on for every single one of my supporters.”

Then it was the turn of Charlie’s coach, the affable Brian O’Shaughnessy to talk about his young charge.

“Yeah, the 31st, not long to go now, just a few days.

It’s all looking good, Charlie’s been working hard, his transitioning himself for the pro ranks and it’s going really well.

Charlie first came to work with me at the TKO about a year ago, he says he’d been wanting to work with me for a few years, he’d seen me on the amateur circuit and liked the way I worked, so we got together last year and it’s all good.

I first see him when he was just a kid, you could see then he was going to be something special, so I was really pleased when he asked if I could start working with him.

Personally, I don’t see anyone in his weight division in this country, or Europe come to that, that would bother him, there’s not a lot of fighters in his category anyway and even the best ones we had seen as they progressed from the amateurs and they’re not a patch on Charlie.

The person he’s got on the 31st is a seasoned amateur, as well as has a Kick Boxing background, so we’ve always got to expect the unexpected, but we’re ready for that anyway, so expect a good, tidy win from Charlie.”

Praise For Counihan Ahead Of Jan 30th London Showdown With Kis


Solihull’s Antonio Counihan has a date with destiny this coming Friday, when he faces Hungary’s David Kis, on the Shyam Batra promoted LEGENDS & PROSPECTS event at York Hall in Bethnal Green, London on the 30th January.

A good solid win this Friday is sure to set 23 year old Antonio firmly on course for a shot at either a domestic or International title later this year, even though this will be only his fifth professional bout.

Antonio’s excellent amateur pedigree is already well documented, former England captain, oodles of domestic and international accolades overflowing in his trophy cabinet etc, but it’s his impressive performances since turning pro, in October 2013, that make this youngster stand out head and shoulders above his peers in the Lightweight division.

Four outings, four victories is not that unusual for any upcoming prospect, but it’s not just these wins that makes him such a standout, it’s the way he totally outclassed and dominated each and every one of his opponents from start to finish, so much so that three of his opponents failed to go the distance, with just the one, Marcin Ficner, managing to hang on to hear the final bell, albeit losing by a shut out 40-36 points margin.

With these four excellent wins under his belt, it comes as no surprise that Antonio has been making a serious impression on a number of luminaries of the sport, including one of the most respected manager/coaches in the business, Champion TKO’s Johnny Eames, who clearly believes that young Antonio is already a genuine Championship contender, as he made clear when he spoke earlier.

“What can I say about Antonio Counihan, this kid is really special.

Like I said previously Antionio is the jewel in the crown, unfortunately he doesn’t box on a British Board of Control license, that’s one of those things, that’s the British Boxing Board of Control’s loss, not anybody else’s.

He’ll definitely, definitely will end up a Champion of some sort, that’s no doubt, we’re talking about this coming season, not the next seasons or whatever.

Top class international amateur, unbeaten in four as a pro and has looked better and better each fight.

A lot of praise goes to his father Paul and trainer Jon Pegg, who bring him fully prepared each time, he has a great following, his fans are fantastic, they come down from Birmingham each time he fights in London, which ain’t cheap and they are very, very vociferous with their support.

Looking forward to seeing him fight on the 30th, always excellent value for the money, this time will be no different, he’s a class act.”

Following the praise lavished upon him, by the esteemed Mr. Eames’, Antonio seemed a little taken aback when he spoke.

“I don’t know what to say, thank you, I can’t thank Johnny enough for what he has done for my career already, as well as what he has planned for me in the future, I’m lost for words, what can I say, thanks Johnny.”

Antonio then steered the conversation to the upcoming showdown with David Kis at York Hall on Friday as well as touched on the possibility of a title fight in Birmingham later this year.

“Yeah, off to London again this Friday, I can’t wait.

Everything’s been going really well, training’s been very good and all the fans have been buying tickets again, yeah looking forward to it, can’t wait to get in there again.

I know David’s (Kis) record, he has a half/half record, but I’ve never seen him box or anything, so don’t really know too much about him, I do my thing so don’t really need to know much about him.

Hopefully I’ll get a title fight soon, I don’t know the timing of it but yeah I’m ready when my team says I am, I did a six rounder last time out and have a six rounder this time too, so yeah definitely ready for a title fight when the team says I’m ready.

I’d love to fight for the title in Birmingham, I haven’t fought here for a while now, even my last amateur fights were internationals, for England and Great Britain, in fact I can’t remember the last time I fought in Birmingham.

I’d sell a lot of tickets if it was here, I sell a lot of tickets for London but would sell a lot more, I always get people coming up to me saying to let them know when I next fight in Birmingham, so if I fought here I would sell some big numbers, it would be a massive difference.”

Antonio Counihan versus David Kis will feature on the Shyam Batra promoted ‘LEGENDS & PROSPECTS event, headlined by George Hillyard versus Michal Vosyka WBU International Middleweight title clash, that takes place at York Hall in Bethnal Green, London, on Friday, 30th January 2015.

Sanctioning for this event will be provided courtesy of the Malta Boxing Commission (MBC) –

Tickets, priced £30 (Standard Seated), £40 (Gallery) and £65 (Ringside) – are available direct from Paul Counihan – tel: 07976 735729 – from any of the boxers taking part in the event, on-line at or call the box office on 07960 850645


Busy Month Ahead For TKO & Johnny Eames – New Gym, New Signings & Fights Galore

It’s been a rather busy start to the New Year for the ever hardworking Johnny Eames and his entire TKO crew, whilst most of us took time off to enjoy the Christmas and New Year festivities, not so for Team TKO, who were busy at work, either with the rebranding and a move to new facilities for the famous TKO gym, or preparing for upcoming fights.


The gym, which had been based in Canning Town for the past eight years, has now relocated to Hackney and has been rebranded as the Champions TKO Boxing Gym.


With such a major project to undertake over the holiday season you would expect that some other elements of the multi-disciplined TKO would be put on the back burner, but no, Johnny has been as active as ever in signing new boxers, as well as burning the midnight oil getting fights for his stable of boxers, or negotiating Championship fights for the senior prospects in the squad.


When he finally found a spare few minutes, in between the seemingly never ending stream of phone calls, the affable Mr. Eames spoke briefly about the major changes, his exciting new signings, as well as the upcoming fights for his charges.


“Exciting times, it’s been hard work, but I’m sure it will all be worth it.


There’s still a lot of work to do with the gym, at the moment we’re only using half the floor space available, so we’re only training the pros there until we get to knock through to the other unit, then and only then when the gym’s completely finished will we start operating it full time.


The change of location has done us a big favour, we’ve got rid of a lot of the dead wood we had around us, now we have a really good strong team here, there’s myself, Rio (Gianluca Di Caro) and Mehmet Aba on the I suppose management side, if you can call it that as it’s the running and marketing of everything.


On the coaching team side, we have Brian O’Shaughnessy, Mo Hussein, Brian Lawrence, Mark Lowe, Mark Reefer, Larry Edwards, Dave Butcher, Mehmet Aba and of course myself.


As I’m going to concentrate mainly on boxers management and coaching, if any fighters out there are looking for management or coaching, they should give me a call.


Talking about management, we’ve just had two first class young former amateur stars sign with us, the first is Mickey O’Rourke, who used to box for Dale Youth, he’s a very good fighter and I really do think this kid is going to go all the way, he’ll cause a few upsets along the way.


The other is young Danny Arnold, he’s nineteen years of age and has won everything there is to win in the juniors and I mean everything.


He’s an absolute natural talent, I put him right up there with the natural abilities of our Kevin Lear.


Only his application is all wrong at the moment, he’s going to be a challenge but I’m looking forward to the challenge and if I can make this kid train right we’ve got a Champion for definite.


Fighters wise, we have seven out in quick succession, it all kicks off this week with four of the TKO boys out at York Hall on Friday, the 30th January.


From the gym itself, we have Onder and Siar Ozgul, they’re both good boys, Siar steps up for his first six rounder and Onder remains on a four for this fight.


They’re always crowd pleasing boys, always bring a good crowd to the table and I’m sure it will be a good night for the boys.


Also on this show is Antonio Counihan, who is probably the jewel in the crown of the TKO fighters, this kid is outstanding, he’s not trained by us here at the TKO, but he’s managed by myself and is probably the jewel in the crown as I said.


He’s got everything, absolutely everything, what’s more he’s got a great team around him in his dad and Jon Pegg.


He always brings a big crowd down with him and always puts on a great performance.


After this fight we’ll probably have him fight for a title, probably MBC International or similar, so let’s see how it goes, either way I’m really looking forward to it.


Also on this show Tasif Khan will be making his maiden outing under the TKO banner, he’s totally new to us, I haven’t seen him fight yet, he’s been out of the game for a couple of years, but he’s got a decent record and if enthusiasm wins titles then this kid’s already a Champion, because he drives me mad on the phone wanting to know everything, which is good, I like that in a fighter.


He’s seven and one, but as I say I’ve never seen him fight so can’t judge him on ability, but what I can comment on is if he fights as good as his enthusiasm then he’s a very good fighter and with seven good wins under his belt already am sure he is.


Tickets for the 30th January York Hall show are available on our Box Office, so if anyone fancies a real good night out on Friday, go to the TKO gym or the TKO Box Office website


Next up we have Tommy Martin, who has an English title fight against Ricky Boylan coming up on the big Matchroom show at the O2.


It’s a tough 50/50 fight, it’s a fight I believe Tommy can win, otherwise I wouldn’t have put him in it.


I have a lot of respect for Ricky, as he was once a TKO fighter, you don’t expect easy fights when you’re at this level, so obviously it is going to be a tough fight, but I’m pretty sure Tommy will come through the winner.


Also on the 02 show on the 31st is Charlie Edwards, who will be making his highly anticipated debut.


Big things are expected from this kid, it’s our job at the TKO to keep this kids feet firmly on the ground and make sure he does his job right.


If training wins titles, then this kid is a World champion already, he just doesn’t stop training, he totally lives and loves the game.


He’s got a great trainer in Brian O’Shaughnessy, he’s doing a fantastic job with him and from my side it’s an honour to be part of young Charlie’s journey.


Next up on the 7th February, is our debutant, Mickey O’Rourke, who will be fighting on the Mickey Helliet show at the Camden Centre.


I’m really, really excited about signing Mickey, I’ve not been that excited about a new kid’s debut since Kevin Lear days, I really do rate this kid, I really do believe this kid is going to go a long, long way, in the boxing game and I’m certain he’s going to be a big ticket seller, he has a big family and I’m looking forward to meeting them all.


We’ve also got a few boys out in March, Freddie Turner, Joel McIntyre as well as some of the boys I’ve already mentioned, I won’t say too much yet as I’m sure Rio will be putting out interviews and releases on these nearer the time, but will say I’m really excited about the coming year, we’ve got some big plans, as well as big fights for our boys, and girl, this year, can’t wait.”


For further information on Champions TKO Boxing Gym and their stable of boxers, please see the website also please follow on Facebook and on twitter @ChampionsTKO.