Boxing: Hobson Puts British and Commonwealth Titles on Line

Boxing Talk
March 12 2004

Hobson Puts British and Commonwealth Titles on Line
By Curtis McCormick

March 12, 2004; Cruiserweight Mark Hobson headlines Ringside
Promotions big Saturday night fight card from the Huddersfield Sports
Centre in Huddersfield, England as he defends his British and
Commonwealth titles against opponent Tony Moran. In the main
co-feature Commonwealth Flyweight champ Dale Robinson challenges IBO
Super Flyweight king Jason Booth over twelve scheduled rounds. Also
on the card is former Commonwealth light middle champ Michael Jones
as well as prospects Kevin Anderson and Danny Wallace. Sky TV
broadcasts the action live in the UK on Sky Sports One starting 8PM.
Boxingtalk.com caught up with Mark and his trainer/co-manager Chris
Aston as they were preparing to defend both the British and
Commonwealth titles against a dangerous six foot seven opponent.

Mark Hobson returns to the ring for the first time since beating Rob
Norton this past September and in the process added the British title
to the Commonwealth belt he already owned. This time around Hobson,
21-3-1 (10), faces a tall order. Opponent Tony Moran is a six foot
seven inch cruiserweight and is on an eleven fight winning streak.
Hobson, six foot five himself, isn’t concerned however, despite
enduring the longest layoff in his seven year professional career.
“It’s been six months since I last fought but I’ve been in the gym,”
he said. “I was supposed to fight in December but had to pull out
with the flu after training a good four weeks. As soon as I knew this
one was on I was back in training straight away. I was never really
out of the gym anyway but the rest I took when I was sick probably
did me good. I feel fit, strong and I’m just ready to get in there.”

The man making sure the British and Commonwealth champion goes into
this fight in top condition, trainer and co-manager Chris Aston,
enlisted a variety of sparring partners to participate in Hobson’s
training camp and liked the results. “Everything has been superb in
regards to Mark’s preparation,” he said. “We’ve been sparring a kid,
Bagarat Ohanyan, who’s been boxing in the states. He’s had five
fights in Las Vegas, won them all, with four by knockout. He’s from
Armenia, was the world amateur champion and is a serious handful.
He’s a good fighter and a heavyweight so Mark had to keep it together
and box cleverly.”

“It was superb sparring but it wasn’t ideal for this fight to be
honest because Mark will be facing a guy six foot seven and Ohanyan
is about six foot two. I have two kids in the gym, Neil Dawson at six
foot five and an unbeaten cruiser, and Pinky Burton who’s fighting
for the British Masters Cruiserweight title, that were better suited
stylewise to preparing Mark to fight Tony Moran. So, we did get some
good sparring in plus real top quality work in with Ohanyan.”

Tony Moran, 11-2 (4), is a former British karate champion who’s won
his last eleven fights after losing the first two of his career. The
thirty year old from Liverpool is coming off of his biggest victory
to date, a fourth round stoppage over Matthew Ellis this past
October. Ellis was former British amateur champion at heavyweight and
is the only fighter on Moran’s resume to possess a winning record.
“I’ve never fought anyone taller than I am and with me at six-five
and Moran at six-seven, it’s probably the tallest cruiserweight fight
in history (laughs),” said Hobson. “It’ll be a puzzle to solve but
I’m looking forward to it. I want to keep pressure on him from behind
a strong jab, keep him on the back foot, be aggressive and make him
work. I don’t think he’s been past six rounds before and it may take
a couple of rounds until I figure him out but at some point I will.
I’m going to go after him from the first round on and if he makes it
into the later rounds, fair enough, but at some point I’ll land some
of my bigger stuff and hurt him.”

The cruiserweight division is one of the more competitive in Britain
today as three main figures have stirred the imagination of fight
fans across the country. “I want Mark to go out and dominate Moran,”
said Aston. “He’s a double champion and I want him to make a
statement because in this country they tend to be talking about David
Haye and Enzo Macarrinelli alot and I think Mark is the better
fighter out of the three. We sparred with David Haye and
Maccarinelli, I’ve seen one or two chinks in his armor already. He’s
a bit left hand happy and his chin looks suspect, as does Haye’s.”

“These guys all have weaknesses and Mark is a hard enough puncher
with the right hand to get respect from anybody. He had Rob Norton
down three times and he’s still the only fighter to have ninety four
fight veteran Paul Bonson down on the canvas. The fight I really want
for Mark, though, is against Carl Thompson for the IBO title. I think
that would be the perfect fight for Mark and I’m hoping that his
promoter Barry Hearn and manager Tommy Gilmour can put something like
that together.”

Mark Hobson earned his titles the hard way and has no intention of
letting anyone share the top of the hill. With a fight against WBO
champion Johnny Nelson a long shot due to competing promotional
outfits, as well as Nelson likely being at the twilight of his
career, Hobson knows that his main competition will likely come from
Haye, Maccarinelli and Thompson. “I think that David, Enzo and Carl
are all fantastic punchers and good boxers but I don’t think they can
take it as good as they can give it,” he said. “It remains to be seen
but Haye was definitely knocked out in the amateurs by a guy I
certainly wouldn’t say was fantastic. Maccarinelli was knocked out as
a professional and so was Thompson, so the writing is on the wall.”

“I don’t know if I’ll end up fighting any of them, because there’s so
many different factors and roadblocks involved. There’s a lot of
water that has to flow under the bridge before those fights are going
to happen. I’m just going to concentrate on this fight against Moran
because there’s no point in me saying I want to fight Carl Thompson
next if I go out and lose this one. I want to make sure I win on
Saturday night and look good doing so. If I keep doing that the big
fights will come anyway. All you have to do in boxing is keep winning
and it all will come to you.”

Boxingtalk.com would like to thank Mark Hobson, Chris Aston and John
Wischhusen for making this article possible.

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