MTK Fight Night in Liverpool Preview
By Elliott Grigg
The Eventim Olympia hosts MTK’s Liverpool #FightNight on Friday with a loaded bill that sees Rocky Fielding, Martin Murray, Gerard Carroll, Terry Flanagan and Natasha Jonas all in action.
Former WBA (regular) super middleweight champion, Fielding (27-2), headlines, having not fought in 11 months, the longest hiatus of his professional career. He was due to appear on the previous MTK show, held at the Olympia in July and also featuring Murray, Carroll, Flanagan and Jonas before the unfortunate injury of a broken toe meant that he had to withdraw.
Describing himself as ‘rejuvenated’, ‘motivated’ and ‘ready to go again’, Fielding hopes that this fight will be the commencement of his resurgence back to world title level. He concedes that Friday’s opponent, Abdallah Paziwapazi (26-6-1) is a ‘game kid, with a good record’, yet in truth, Paziwapazi has fought mostly in his native Tanzania and against a level of opponent significantly below those whom Fieldling has contested pound-for-pound supremo, Canelo Alvarez (53-1-2), John Ryder (28-4) and Callum Smith (26-0)).
However, with the fight being shown live in the US on ESPN+ and in the UK on IFL TV, this is a great chance for Fielding to return, showcase and win, and once again move towards world title contention.
Martin Murray (38-5-1) continues espousing the sentiment that he is now boxing for enjoyment rather than motivated by the stressful, tantalising ambition of world title success. Aged 37 and defeated in four world championship attempts, he is certainly within the fading twilight of his career.
However, having finally been granted a visa to travel to the US (this time in support of gym mate Carl Frampton, who fights Tyler McCreary (16-0-1) at the end of November), an enduring hangover and obstacle from his delinquent youth, Murray holds fighting in the United States as one final aspiration he would love to achieve.
‘It’s looking like something may happen next year,’ Murray told MTK, ‘but first and foremost I’ve got to get through this fight on November 15th.’
His opponent is 27-4 Bosnian, Sladan Janjanin. His record doesn’t boast the illustrious names of Murray’s, although at 28-years-old, he is entering the prime of his career.
He is also predominantly a super welterweight who has only limited experience campaigning at middleweight. This will be his debut at 168-pounds and will likely be a chastening step-too-far and unwelcome by the veteran Murray.
Tying up the notable fights occurring upon the undercard. Undefeated lightweight prospect Gerard Carroll (11-0) moves up in class for an all British showdown against former Southern Area champion, Jeff Ofori (9-1).
This is Carroll’s first eight round contest, whereas Ofori has experience completing the 10-round distance. Barely able to mask his enthusiasm, and equally excited by the televisation of the event, Carroll told MTK:
‘I’m absolutely buzzing to be back. I was lucky enough to be live on ESPN+ last time, it’s good exposure for me and I’m sure I’ll put a solid performance in.’
Experienced former British, European and WBO lightweight champion, Terry Flanagan (35-2) fights Honduran Jayro Duran (14-6) in an eight-round contest. Flanagan’s continues the rebuilding of his lightweight career, which was halted by successive 2018 defeats to Maurice Hooker (26-1-3), where he lost his WBO world title, and during the quarter finals of the World Boxing Super Series against the eventual losing finalist, the distinguished Regis Prograis (24-1).
Duran has never fought anyone of Flanagan’s class, in fact, his record has victories over 5 debutants and only one other victory against an opponent with a winning record. It’ll be Terry’s third fight this year, and likely his easiest.
Liverpool’s Natasha Jonas (8-1) continues her climb up the lightweight rankings fighting Hungarian Bianka Majlath (3-3).
In her last display at the Olympia, Jonas treated her hometown fans to a 4th round TKO of Bec Connolly (3-6). This is her third lightweight fight of a busy 2019 and evidences her renewed focus and dedication since taking an 8-month break following an August 2018 defeat to Viviane Obenauf (14-6) for the WBA International super featherweight title, her only loss as a professional.