Tag: Luke Campbell
TEAM AMERICA, All-Star Elite Fighting Force, Set To Invade London.
An All-Star fighting force, code name ‘Team America’, comprising of Lightweight sensation, and the new UNBC World Light Welterweight Champion, Hammerin’ Hank Lundy, UNBC Super Middleweight Intercontinental Champion, Daphir ‘No Fear’ Smith, WBC Continental Americas Light Heavyweight Champion, Brian ‘Bionic Bull’ Cohen, Heavyweight contender, Gerald ‘The Jedi’ Nobles, Eric ‘The Outlaw’ Hunter, Tim Witherspoon Jnr, Nathalie Brown and Christina Leadbeater, are set to invade London in the coming weeks.
Following in the tradition of the American armed forces code of honour, which dictates that a fallen or captured comrade is never left behind, this veritable army of Philadelphia’s boxing elite are set to travel to London, England on what has been described as a ‘rescue mission’ of adopted daughter, Philly trained British Super Bantamweight, Marianne ‘Golden Girl’ Marston.
Supporting ‘Team America’ on this mission are some serious ‘Big Guns’ in the form of World Champions, Steve ‘USS’ Cunningham, ‘Terrible’ Tim Witherspoon, Buster Drayton, Robert ‘Bam Bam’ Hines and, hopefully, the man who ‘discovered’ and brought Marianne to America in the first place, the legendary Heavyweight Champion of the World Smokin’ Joe Frazier.
The whole operation went into the planning stages following Philadelphia boxing journalist, Kerry O’Connor, highlighting Marianne’s visa woes, which prevented her from debuting in America earlier this year, and encouraged readers to contact the American Embassy in London to lobby on her behalf.
This soon became a full blown world wide campaign culminating in many boxing luminaries, on both sides of the Atlantic, working together to create the UK vs USA two part event titled The TransAtlantic Challenge. The first event will take place in London, tentatively planned for Marianne’s birthday on the 31st October providing a British promoter partner is secured in time, with the return ‘home coming’ show planned for February 2010.
Marianne, who was trained by Smokin’ Joe and his son Marvis, until their gym closed in March 08, before becoming part of IBF Cruiserweight World Champion Steve ‘USS’ Cunningham’s team, based at the James Shuler Memorial Gym in West Philadelphia, flew back to London in February this year to unsuccessfully apply for the visa required for her professional debut on the undercard of Brian Cohen’s WBC Continental Americas title fight on the 9th May.
Promoters, Bionic Bull Promotions, offered Marianne a second chance to debut, this time on the undercard of Hammerin’ Hank Lundy’s UNBC Light Welterweight World title challenge on the 26th September, again the visa, she was advised to apply for, was refused and she was advised that now she requires a professional athletes P1 visa and would need to compete in an international event to become eligible.
Veteran boxing manager Ivan Cohen, one of the main driving forces behind Team America and the rescue mission, led a similar American invasion on London in 1984. Ivan’s charges 25 years ago, James ‘Bonecrusher’ Smith and Buster Drayton, destroyed their esteemed, and previously unbeaten, British opposition of Frank Bruno and Mark Kaylor in knockout fashion.
Ivan Cohen, who is clearly intent on producing a similar result for Team America on this sortie, mapped out his battle plan. “How could we possibly forget Marianne, we’re coming to rescue her and get her back to the United States soon. We really miss her over here. The US Embassy in England doesn’t know what it’s talking about when they say Women’s Boxing is a hobby, let them get in the ring and try it themselves. They don’t know what they are talking about.
We’re coming over to England to rescue Marianne and we’re coming in style. We’re bringing over some of the most exciting and talented fighters in America today.
We’ve got the new UNBC Champion Hammerin’ Hank Lundy, This kid can fight, he’s one of the most exciting fighters in the United States right now. Fighters are running away from him, they’re frightened of him, they’re changing weight class to get away from him.
He’s one of the most exciting fighters anyone has ever seen, he’s talked about all over the World. You see how he took the UNBC title so easily, he dominates everyone. He’s World Champion now and he’ll bring the title to England for this fight.
It’s not just Hank, all the fighters coming over to England are exciting quality fighters, fighters like Brian Cohen, Light Heavyweight/Super Middleweight. He’s got seven title belts, World belts. Daphir ‘No Fear’ Smith, the current UNBC Super Middleweight Intercontinental Champion, Heavyweight contender Gerald ‘The Jedi’ Nobles, the exciting Eric ‘The Outlaw’ Hunter and Tim Witherspoon Jnr.
We’ll also be bringing over Nathalie Brown, from Canada via Jamaica. She’s going to fight for a title against Angel McKenzie. Last but not least we’ll be bringing Marianne’s long time sparring partner, Christina Leadbeater, to fight her.
Hey, I’m telling ya Marianne can fight, I’ve seen her in the gym, my fighters have seen her in the gym. We’re coming to England to rescue her. That’s what we’re coming to do.”
Marianne’s team boss and American coach, Steve ‘USS’ Cunningham, who had sat quietly nodding his head whilst Ivan spoke burst into life as soon as he had finished. “What a great event this is going to be, I can’t wait to see Team America represent our country, but as Ivan said there’s something even bigger we will be fighting for that night, we will be fighting for a promising fighter to get a shot at pursuing her dream to become a top contender in women’s boxing in America.
I know first hand how difficult the boxing business can be, but Marianne is getting stopped before even getting in the ring and that is a shame. I know that she has a great work ethic and given the opportunity to come to America and fight professional, I believe she would give it her all. I truly hope that after this fight, she is given her visa and with that her chance at pursuing the American dream.”
Without doubt Ivan and Steve have made Team America’s objectives crystal clear, but don’t go thinking this is a solo effort by them though, it’s anything but, this is definitively a joint UK-USA operation with many British boxing ‘heavyweights’, including former Olympic coach Terry Edwards MBE, top Irish manager and trainer John Rooney Jnr, former WBC Intercontinental Cruiserweight Champion Bruce ‘Lionheart’ Scott, Former European Bantamweight Champion Ian ‘Dappa’ Napa, Erick ‘The Eagle’ Ochieng, Ben Murphy, Britain’s first European Amateur Bantamweight Champion for 47 years, Luke Campbell, and Big Brother star Angel ‘The Artist’ McKenzie, to name but a few, putting their collective weight behind Marianne and the TransAtlantic Challenge.
On the announcement of TransAtlantic challenge various of Marianne’s supporters including Karol ‘Dr KO’ Ozimkowski, Ben ‘The Entertainer’ Day, Ian ‘Dappa’ Napa, Ben Murphy, Erick ‘The Eagle’ Ochieng, Ben ‘White Sugar’ Doughty, Darren ‘Mr R&B’ Hamilton etc, dropped into Rooney’s Boxing Gym in South London, where Marianne is currently training, to show their support.
Further announcements are expected shortly as so far only Marianne and Angel McKenzie are confirmed for TEAM GB. The TransAtlantic Challenge organisers are confident that the full lineup for the British squad will be named shortly, as will be a firm date and venue for the historic London event.