Tag: Donna Cohen
Marianne Marston and Angel McKenzie Team Up For Key September Fights
Probably the two best known female boxers in the UK, Smokin’ Joe Frazier/ Steve ‘USS’ Cunningham protégé Marianne ‘Golden Girl’ Marston and Big Brother star Angel ‘The Artist’ McKenzie are working together at Rooney’s Boxing Gym, close to London Bridge, to prepare for their upcoming fights.
The two teamed up after Marston contacted McKenzie to arrange a sparring session for her BBBofC British professional license trial and the pair struck it off straight away prompting McKenzie to ask Marston if she would be available for regular sparring in preparation for her September fight against current GBC Super Featherweight Champion and British number one Lyndsey Scragg.
Marston, who was managed and trained by the legendary Heavyweight Champion of the World Smokin’ Joe Frazier and his son Marvis at their North Philadelphia landmark gym until it was unexpectedly closed in March 2008 was then taken under the wing of then IBF Cruiserweight World Champion Steve ‘USS’ Cunningham at the James Shuler Memorial Gym in West Philadelphia, has been training at Rooney’s Boxing Gym since returning to London earlier this year to obtain a visa for her planned professional debut on the undercard of Brian Cohen’s May 9th WBC Americas Light Heavyweight title fight in South Philadelphia &endash; a fight she failed to make after the American Embassy in London turned down her application even though she had been training in America on and off for the past two years.
Marston’s American promoter, Philadelphia based Bionic Bull Promotions, are hoping that her visa situation can be resolved in time for her to be at their South Philadelphia show on the 26th September, but with time running out this fight also looks in doubt. Not being one to give up on her dream Marston decided to apply for her British professional license, hence the call to McKenzie, with a view to debuting in England.
Taking a well deserved break after some serious sparring the ‘Golden Girl’ spoke of her training and the impending debut, “Everyone here, and I do mean everyone, at Rooney’s Gym have gone out of their way to help me be ready. Terry (former Team GB head coach Terry Edwards MBE) has given so much of his time, he really is wonderful to work with. He really knows how to get the best out of me.
It’s not just Terry though, Darren (Light Welterweight Darren ‘Mr R&B’ Hamilton), has been teaching me some of his neat defensive stuff. and the ringwork that Ben (Welterweight Ben ‘The Entertainer’ Day) and Karl (Light Middleweight Karol ‘The Dr’ Ozimkowski) have given me is just awesome. Even the boss, John Rooney, has taken time out to work with me.
What can I say about Angel, she has been awesome. When I called her and asked if she would mind sparing with me for my British license trial she didn’t hesitate to agree.
Sparring with Angel has been a real positive experience. She really has helped me improve, I just hope that I have done the same for her. It’s great to work with someone who has been there, I mean she’s fought 18 or 20 times in the pro ranks. Up to now I’ve either been sparring with girls that have had limited professional experience or guys. Don’t get me wrong they have all been great but Angel is another level altogether.
Another thing I like about working with Angel is she takes the time to go through things after we have sparred, you know, like a debrief, it’s great.
I just hope I can get my visa situation sorted before the end of the month, I really don’t want to let Ivan and Donna (promoters Ivan & Donna Cohen – Bionic Bull Promotions) down a second time. They really have been so supportive and I really want to make their 26th September show. But if I don’t Ivan has said If I can’t get my visa through in time he’ll find a British promoter to work with and bring over some American fighters, including an opponent for me, and put on a UK event for me to debut at!”
All the time Marston spoke the ever likable Angel McKenzie, who was evicted from the Big Brother house last month only to reappear live on ITV4 just two weeks later on a Mick Henneseyfight card, just sat patiently smiling and giving the occasional nod of agreement, but when the time came for her to talk on her upcoming fight her eyes lit up and she burst into life and purred in her distinctive, hundred mile an hour, Russian accented English, “Yes, Yes it’s on the 18th September against Lyndsey Scragg. We are trying to make it a British title fight. Maybe it’s a bit too late, usually we need some months to tell the British Boxing control we have the fight, so it may just be a normal fight. We will have to wait and see.
It’s Lyndsey Scragg and she’s won a lot of fights, eight or nine fights and she won the whole time. We’re trying to get an independent referee because many times I got home town decisions against me and I don’t want any more.
I’m training a lot. I train three or four times per day and I’m doing a lot of sparring to get back to weight. Yeah I’m improving with my body and I’m running at night, unfortunately that’s the only time I can run now because when I run in the day people stop me saying they love me from Big Brother.
I’m pleased with my sparring here. It’s a different world sparring here with Marianne at Rooney’s Gym, In my gym most of the time I am fighting men, sparring with men. You can learn something, it’s really slow. But when you spar with girl, when you fight with girls it’s a different world. With sparring and punches, they don’t hold down the aggression. If you are sparring with a guy they say ‘I’m not gonna hit you, I’m not gonna hit you” then as soon as you hit them they hit you back and then say ‘oh sorry I didn’t mean to hurt you Angel’. Sparring with boys is good but sparring girl is much better. When I spar boys I am keeping it to 60Kg maximum. I can learn very much more, you know, with girls. We want more girls in the sport.
This country is the home of boxing and we need much more female boxers here. Germany is a very good scene and America is good. America and Germany is paying good money now. In this country it’s still like a hobby. I have learned the last seven years that they don’t take it serious. I think it will take many years before things change and then female boxing will become like female tennis and we’ll get good money.
But it’s still a lot of pressure, a few weeks ago I made history. I made the first boxing match live on TV in history. It was fun but I only had two weeks notice so was not my best. It was very short notice, but not a problem, I’m always ready to fight. I still believe that London will have some World Champions. In this country we do not give it much attention. It won’t change until we have a World Champion, then every one will say ‘Ah, we have a World Champions here. I’m trying to fight a World title, but I don’t think it will be here. I’ll have to go to Germany or France. Believe me it will be a different thing because in those countries they try and support the boxer.
In France they have three World Champions in different divisions and they do well, they have sponsorship. In France they try to keep female boxers in the country. Here we’ve just got eight professional female boxers. Just eight in this country. It’s very sad, they don’t help fighters to get fight. It’s hard to even get sparring partner here.
Ah, sparring. Marianne is very strong, that’s the most important thing in boxing. In my life I met a lot of girls who have come to my gym, but soon as a punch comes they see it’s painful, because female boxing as male boxing is can you hold a punch. If you can no problem then. Marianne, she can hold a punch. That’s the first thing, the second is in boxing it’s not how strong you are in the muscle, it’s how strong you are in the heart. It’s all about fitness. She got fitness. After we fight she’s not ‘Aha aha aha’ she breathe normal. She’s got a lot of power and a lot of heart. Boxing is about skills. It’s like you can’t start talk Japanese or other language. It’s the same about the language of your body. All the time I spend in the ring it’s like learning new words, new words. It’s all about learning. The other thing is movement. Boxing you need to move. When I see her I think yeah she’s a boxer. The more you spar the more you learn.
You need to keep believing in yourself. It’s all right if you are Frank Warren, yeah. But boxing is all about heart. Here they make you an underdog and have to fight above your weight. It’s hard but in female boxing if you fight here you will fight once a year. You will lose a dozen fighting above your weight. It’s different in America you fight female boxers in your weight.
People don’t forget September 18th when I fight Lyndsey Scragg, come and see Angel fight.”
If all goes according to plan both Marianne ‘Golden Girl’ Marston and Angel ‘The Artist’ McKenzie will both be in action next month. The ‘Golden Girl’ in the Bionic Bull Promotions event on the 26th September at a brand new venue on 23rd and Snyder in South Philadelphia. Whilst on the 18th September ‘The Artist’ will be facing Lyndsey Scragg at the Civic Centre in Wolverhampton.
For tickets and further details for the Bionic Bull Promotions event at South Philadelphia please contact:
ABBCorp, Inc. & Bionic Bull Enterprise
Tel: 215 755 8155
Support For Marianne Marston After US Embassy Refuses Visa For Her To Fight On May 9th.
Philadelphia trained, British Super Bantamweight Marianne ‘Golden Girl’ Marston may still be reeling from the American authorities decision to refuse her a visa, so she can compete on the under card of Brian Cohen’s WBC Americas Light Heavyweight Title fight in South Philadelphia on 9th May 2009. However, her American training team, headed by former IBF Cruiserweight World Champion Steve ‘USS’ Cunningham; promoter Donna Cohen of ABBCorp, Inc./Bionic Bull Enterprises and her sponsor P.U.G. Athletic are all standing by her and working together on a solution.
Mike Gregory, P.U.G. Athletic’s commercial manager, made it clear that P.U.G. would continue to support Marianne as she is a strategic part of their plans to launch the brand into the American sportswear market in 2009 when he said. “We’re not going to back out of our support for Marianne. She is an extremely talented boxer and has been an excellent ambassador for P.U.G. Athletic over the past eighteen months. We are keen to continue our involvement in her career for a long time to come.
We are in discussions with Team ‘USS’ Cunningham, who represent and train Marianne in America, as well as the promoters of the May 9th event in Philadelphia, ABBCorp, Inc. and Bionic Bull Enterprises, on this matter. Marianne is contracted to them for 12 fights between now and the end of 2010, so hopefully between us we will be able to sort the visa situation out.
If a quick solution isn’t available one alternative option we are exploring, should a suitable opponent be found, Marianne debuting in the UK, or even Europe, in order to secure the ranking required to be eligible for a P1 Professional Athlete visa, rather than the B1 she had applied for on advice from the London Consulate.”
Marianne, who is still hopeful of competing next month in Philadelphia, is currently training at Gleason’s Gym near Tower Bridge, London. Should the visa problem be resolved before May, Marianne’s professional debut will be on the under card of Philadelphia’s Brian Cohen’s WBC Americas Light Heavyweight title fight on May 9th 2009 at the South Philadelphia High School. Promoter Donna Cohen is a big supporter of Women’s boxing and every event she promotes includes at least one female match-up.
For tickets and further details for the event at South Philadelphia High School please contact:
ABBCorp, Inc. & Bionic Bull Enterprise
Tel: 215 755 8155