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Articles of 2004

Who is Boxer Jesper Kristiansen?

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Young Cruiserweight contender Enzo Maccarinelli makes the fifth defence of his peripheral WBU belt next week, and his handlers clearly hope to steer the big Welshman toward genuine world title honours (well the WBO at least).

The plan, made public by Frank Warren during the summer, is to pit veteran WBO champion Johnny Nelson against Maccarinelli in a fight that could bring down the curtain on the former’s long career. Not because Enzo is likely to win, but because Johnny is ready to hang ‘em’ up.

With several steps still to be negotiated in his fistic education, Maccarinelli is being kept busy and faces Dane Jesper Kristiansen on the September 3rd season opener in Newport, Wales. Kristiansen’s selection met with apathy from the boxing fraternity as it appeared another low-risk encounter and a chasm away from the level of opponent Nelson has engaged in his twenty-year career.

But just who is Jesper Kristiansen and what can we expect from him, is he really low-risk? An investigation of his record highlighted a failed European title tilt and mixed fortunes in minor title clashes. I caught up with Jesper to try and establish how serious his challenge really is.

So less than two weeks until you face Enzo, how has training been?

Training has been good. It’s been fine, and I will be ready come fight time.

Where have you been training?

I’ve just returned from my training camp in Cologne, Germany. Before that I trained in Aalborg, Denmark with my trainer Søren Larsen, and I will finish up my training in Aalborg as well.

Who have you been sparring with for preparation?

Mostly, I have been sparring with Rüdiger May, who will box the day after Enzo and me. Rüdiger, as you know, will challenge Johnny Nelson for the WBO title.

Have you seen tapes of Enzo? And what are you expecting from him in the fight?

Yes, I have seen tapes of him, and I expect him to come forward and try to knock me out. In fact, I’m very sure that’s what he is going to TRY!

Have you done anything differently to prepare for him?

Well, for the first time I’ve gone abroad for a training camp. Other than that I haven’t done anything extraordinary compared to my preparations for other title fights.

Enzo is being promoted as a puncher, and he does have some power, does this worry you? Algerian puncher Mohammed Benguesmia (KO2) stopped you early back in 2001.

I am not at all worried about Enzo being promoted as a puncher, or him actually being a puncher. I’m sure he IS a good puncher, but that doesn’t worry me at all. When Benguesmia stopped me, really that was a very lucky punch from him. I was controlling for every minute up until the point where he caught me, and it was simply a matter of me getting careless because things were going so well. And if there is one thing that Mohammed Benguesmia can do, it’s punch hard! I had him hurt badly with a body shot in the first round, and I’m sure I would have stopped him had I not gotten so careless. But Benguesmia* sure can punch!

*Benguesmia had lost to Yawe Davis for the EBU 175lb crown in his previous bout, but holds a stoppage win over a raw O’Neil Bell.

Most British and American fans probably haven't had the chance to see you fight before how would you describe your style? And what advantages do you feel you have over Enzo?

I am a technical fighter who does have some punch myself. Enzo is not the only one who can knock an opponent out, which my latest fights also show. My advantages? Hmmm, I won’t have any height advantage in this one, like I normally have. Actually he might be a little taller than me. I don’t know, maybe I have a little bit on the experience side when it comes down to it…

Which of your fights/victories give you the most satisfaction?

I think I am most happy with my fight against Garry Delaney. When I beat him, he was a better fighter than when Enzo beat him. I think I did a pretty good job against Delaney to win the WBO Intercontinental title**.

**Jesper stopped Delaney in 10 rounds in 2000. Enzo stopped Delaney with body-shots in the 8th round last February.

In a year when Britain's high-profile fighters have failed to secure BIG fights, the fans and media have been less than kind about your selection as an opponent? Do you think they, and the Enzo camp, have underestimated you?

Yes! Yes I do!

Your record suggests you've only fought twice in the last two years, what’s been the reason for your inactivity?

Well, that’s not entirely true David. I have had four fights the last two years***, but you are right about the fact that I haven’t been very active. But I had some managerial problems with former handlers, which kept me from fighting regularly. I switched from one promoter to another one, and after I fought for the European title I didn’t fight for almost a year. I signed with Risum Boxing and Fight Production early this year, and was actually supposed to fight Rüdiger May for the EU title in April. But then Rüdiger got a shot at the European title, and I was left without a fight. Since then I had one tune-up, but unfortunately injured my arm in that fight which also kept me out of the ring. But now I am ready, fit and I don’t feel rusty at all.

***Jesper has fought twice in the last 22 months

Should you beat Enzo, it will obviously lift your profile in the UK, where lucrative fights could exist with Enzo's domestic rivals like David Haye, Carl Thompson, Mark Hobson or even Enzo's Sports Network stable mate Johnny Nelson, what path are you hoping to take if you win on September 3rd?

Once I have beaten Enzo, I want to fight Johnny Nelson or Rüdiger May for the WBO title. It seems to me that Frank Warren have already lined up Johnny and Enzo to fight each other, but first these guys have to win on the 3rd and 4th against me and Rüdiger.

Would you defend the WBU title if you secured it?

Sure, why not?

How do you feel about the fact this fight is presented as a World-Title fight, when, with the greatest of respect, the fight is clearly some way short of that level. Do you think it misleads fans?

You know, I don’t worry too much about things like this. This is as much about beating Enzo as it is about winning a title. But I don’t think this fight has a lower level than so many other fights. I don’t worry about things like that though. I only concentrate on winning!

Will the bout be screened in Denmark?

No, it will not! TV in Denmark does not show much professional boxing, unfortunately.

Do you have any closing comments ahead of the clash?

All I have to say is that this will be no ‘walk in the park’ for Maccarinelli. I am coming to win!

Thanks Jesper, and good luck next week.

No problem.

Thanks to Jesper and Henrik Risum for helping to set up this interview.

Comments and feedback to dwpboxing@yahoo.co.uk

Articles of 2004

2004 Boxing Pound for Pound List

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The final boxing pound-for-pound list of the year for 2004.

1. Bernard Hopkins: The top guy from beginning to end, Hopkins took care of Oscar De La Hoya with a body shot in the biggest fight of 2004. Now, he'll wait for Jermain Taylor to progress a little further, or he'll go the rematch route with Felix Trinidad. Either way, Hopkins stands to earn a lot of money in 2005 and extend that all-time middleweight reign.

2. Floyd Mayweather: How long has it been since we've seen Mayweather in a meaningful fight? Certainly not in 2004, when he outpointed the difficult DeMarcus Corley. He's slated for a January outing against a no-name. Enough stalling, already, “Pretty Boy”. Fight someone we care about (preferably Kostya Tszyu), or you'll lose your #2 position sometime in 2005.

3. Felix Trinidad: “Tito” stormed back with a magnificent knockout of Ricardo Mayorga in 2004, and now hopes to capitalize on it with big money fights. He'd like nothing more than a rematch with his only conqueror, Hopkins, but he may also opt for old nemesis Oscar De La Hoya. Either way, Trinidad is sure to fight a big fight sometime in the coming year.

4. Kostya Tszyu: What a difference one fight makes. As recently as late October, the boxing world was wondering whether Tszyu was even serious about the sport anymore. We found out with a second round demolition of Sharmba Mitchell. And that made the junior welterweight division very attractive. Tszyu has several options now, including Arturo Gatti and Mayweather or even a hop up to welterweight to challenge Cory Spinks. Let's hope one of them happens in 2005.

5. Manny Pacquiao: Pacquiao fought twice in 2004, and what a fight the first one was. His thrilling war with Juan Manuel Marquez was the best brawl of the year, and there is a chance that the two rivals will go at it again in 2005. If not, Pacquiao has a list full of options: Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, etc. Pacquiao will fight one of them in the next year.

6. Marco Antonio Barrera: Another guy thought to be washed up when the year started, Barrera resurrected his career for the second time with a masterful victory over Paulie Ayala and a close decision over rival Erik Morales in another great fight. Barrera is obviously shooting for a return with Pacquiao, who decimated him in November 2003. Barrera says it was an off-night. Hopefully, we'll find out if that was the case.

7. Winky Wright: Winky entered the “superstar” realm in 2004 with a pair of decision victories over Shane Mosley. The first was very impressive, as Wright practically shut Mosley out. The second was closer, but proved once again that Winky was the superior fighter. He'd like a shot at Trinidad or Oscar De La Hoya, but neither will happen. He'd probably be best off shooting for a name like Fernando Vargas or Ricardo Mayorga.

8. Juan Manuel Marquez: After several years on the outside looking in, Marquez is finally in a position to make some money after his courageous performance against Pacquiao. He rose from three first-round knockdowns to wage the fight of his life in a fight that was ruled a draw. It would also be interesting to see Marquez against countrymen Barrera and Erik Morales.

9. Erik Morales: “El Terrible” fought another great fight against Barrera, but, again, it was in a losing cause. He has now lost two of three to his fierce rival, and probably wants nothing to do with him anymore. But, eventually, talk of Barrera-Morales 4 will come up again. In the meantime, Morales could shoot for Pacquiao or Marquez.

10. Glencoffe Johnson: The newest entry, Johnson pumped some life into boxing in 2004 with a pair of upsets of Roy Jones Jr. and Antonio Tarver. Now, he's set to make some really big money in rematches with either, or a shot at old conqueror Hopkins. Either way, Johnson is better than anyone imagined.

11. Jose Luis Castillo: Castillo made some comeback noise of his own in 2004, beating Juan Lazcano for his old vacant title and decisioning Joel Casamayor for another big win. He says he wants Kostya Tszyu next, and if that materializes, boxing fans will be in for a treat. If not, Castillo vs. Diego Corrales is a great fight.

12. Oscar De La Hoya: Hard to erase that picture of De La Hoya grimacing in agony courtesy of a Hopkins shot to the ribs, but the “Golden Boy” had no business fighting at 160 pounds. He should drop down to junior middle or even welterweight again if he has any hope of regaining his past form. But 2005 could be the final year for one of boxing's all-time great attractions.

On the brink: Antonio Tarver, Diego Corrales, James Toney

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Articles of 2004

Heavyweight Joe Mesi Bringing Lawsuit

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As reported by the Buffalo News, Joe Mesi is suing the New York State Athletic Commission and the MRI center that conducted tests on the heavyweight boxer after his bout with Vassiliy Jirov. Mesi reportedly suffered brain injuries in the Jirov bout, which has left his boxing status uncertain.

The lawsuit alleges Mesi's medical records were improperly released to the NYSAC. The records, the lawsuit goes on to allege, were then released to the media, prejudicing Mesi's right to have his status reviewed by the appropriate boxing authorities.

The lawsuit does not seek specific monetary damages, as the extent of damages will be affected by whether Mesi is able to resume his career as a leading heavyweight contender.

Mesi hopes to have his status reviewed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission within the coming month. The ruling of the NSAC promises to be key in whether Mesi will be able to resume his boxing career.

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Articles of 2004

The Best in Chicago Boxing Returns

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Dominic Pesoli's 8 Count Productions and Bob Arum's Top Rank Incorporated along with Miller Lite presents SOLO BOXEO DE MILLER, THE ARAGON RUMBLE, another installment of The Best in Chicago Boxing on Friday, January 14th, broadcast live internationally as part of Telefutura's Friday night professional boxing series.

The newly remodeled Aragon Ballroom is located at 1106 W. Lawrence Ave. near the corner of Lawrence and Broadway in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood and is easily accessible, just 4 blocks west of Lake Shore Drive and just 4 miles east of the Kennedy expressway. There are three large parking lots located within a 1/2 block of the Aragon Ballroom. Additionally, the Howard Street Blue Line stops just across the street. Doors will open at 6pm with the first bell at 7pm.

Headlining the action packed card is the American debut of super-bantamweight Ricardo “PIOLO” Castillo, 12-2 (6KO's) of Mexicali, Mexico as he squares off in a scheduled ten rounder against WBO Latino Champion, Edel Ruiz, 24-12-3 (13KO's) of Los Mochis, SI, Mexico. Castillo will be accompanied to the ring by his brother, World Lightweight Champion Jose Luis Castillo.

In the co-main event of the evening, one of Chicago's most popular fighters, middleweight “MACHO” Miguel Hernandez, 14-1 (9KO's), battles hard swinging local veteran “MARVELOUS” Shay Mobley, 7-4-1 (2KO's), of One In a Million Inc.in a scheduled eight rounder.

The huge undercard bouts include;

Carlos Molina vs TBA, six rounds, junior middleweights
Frankie Tafoya vs TBA, four rounds, featherweights
Ottu Holified vs. Allen Medina, four rounds, middleweights
Francisco Rodriguez vs. LaShaun Blair, four rounds, bantamweights
Rita Figueroa vs. Sarina Hayden, four rounds, junior welterweights

Said Dominic Pesoli, President of 8 Count Productions, “it was a terrific evening last month and our fans were thrilled to be at the Aragon to watch David, Speedy and Luciano. David Diaz's fight against Jaime Rangel was a fight people will talk about for a long time. Our commitment to our fans is to make every event of ours better than the last one. This main event is terrific, both guys are very tough Mexicans who won't take a step back.

The fans love Miguel and Mobley figures to be a very tough opponent. Him and David Estrada had a six round war last June at our show. And the undercard showcases a lot of new, younger talent that is coming out of Chicago right now. Tafoya and Holifield have both had very successful beginnings to their careers and Francisco Rodriguez comes with fantastic amateur credentials and David Diaz says he has all the talent to be a great pro.”

“We've got big plans for 2005 and this show should take up right where last months show left off. The huge crowd loved the action last time and I'm sure they'll say the same thing this time.”

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