Tag: Smokin’ Joe Frazier


Marston Impresses On Debut – Stops Roman In First Round!


Marston Impresses On Debut – Stops  Roman In First Round!

Marianne Marston, the exciting protégé of legendary Heavyweight Champion of the World Smokin’ Joe Frazier and two time IBF Cruiserweight Champion of the World Steve ‘USS’ Cunningham, made an impressive start to her long awaited professional career at York Hall in Bethnal Green, London, on Saturday night.

Marianne, who was discovered and trained by the aforementioned Smokin’ Joe, until his landmark North Philadelphia gym closed in 2008, has had a succession of false starts to her career over the past few years, was clearly fired up for the fight against Hungarian Gabriella Roman.

Following an entertaining ring walk, which included Marianne shadow boxing until her entry track reached a crescendo, after which she began her entry in style, dancing and banging gloves with her many admirers that lined the route.

On entering the ring Marianne once more showed her appreciation to the highly vocal and appreciative crowd, before turning to her own legion of fans, many wearing ‘Team Golden Girl’ t-shirts, which set of a cacophony of cheers that resonated throughout the famous home of British boxing.

Her ring entry must have taken close to four minutes, well over twice as long as the actual fight itself lasted.

Right from the opening bell Marianne went hard on the attack, with a mix of solid jabs and double handed flurries, within a matter of seconds Roman was sent to the canvas for the first time.

It could only have been thirty seconds later that the Hungarian girl was back on the canvas, this time following Marianne backing her into her corner and letting rip with big looping right hands followed by wickedly vicious lefts to the head.

The instant referee Ken Curtis finished the count, Marianne went back on the attack in similar vein, this time though Roman couldn’t keep her guard up, which allowed Marianne to pick her off with a barrage of massive left and rights, until the aforementioned Ken Curtis stepped in to save Roman further punishment, after just one minute and forty seven seconds of the first round.

Speaking earlier today Marianne spoke briefly on her sensational maiden victory.

“I’m ecstatic that I won, it wasn’t my intention to stop Gabriella, I just fought the way Joe (Smokin’ Joe Frazier), Marvis (Frazier) and Val (Colbert) drilled into me all those years ago.

I suppose really I would have liked to have put a few rounds under my belt just for the experience, but at the end of the day the win is the important thing, especially as I dedicated the victory to Joe.

If it wasn’t for Joe’s total belief in me, I am sure I would have given up on my dream after all the setbacks of the past few years.

I only wish he was still with us, he always said he would be there at my first fight, he may not have been there in person for obvious reasons, but I believe he was there in spirit.

I’m also dedicating the win to Rio (Gianluca Di Caro), he above all others encouraged and supported me through all the ups and downs of the past few years. He is my rock, he never waivered in his support or encouragement, no matter what.

I would also like to say a huge thanks to my coach Barry Smith at the TRAD TKO Gym in Canning Town, he’s a great coach, really is one of the best around, he never tried to change my style, from that Joe had instilled, just built from it to make me a more rounded fighter.

I also have to give a massive thanks to my sponsors, Optimax, Winkball and BoxFit, they have stood by me since 2010 and I’m so pleased to finally carry their name into action.

I mustn’t forget to thank Dave Murphy and Bruce Baker, for giving me the chance to fight on their show, and finally I’d like to thank Gabriella Roman for taking the fight at such short notice.

Now it’s onwards and upwards. I can’t wait for my next fight, I hope it comes soon as I really want to be busy now I’ve finally got started.”



Marston Dedicates 27th April Fight To Smokin’ Joe


British Featherweight Marianne Marston is to dedicate her upcoming fight, against Latvia’s Aleksandra Jasjukevica at York Hall, Bethnal Green in London on Saturday 27th April 2013, to the memory of her recently departed mentor, Legendary Heavyweight Champion of the World Smokin’ Joe Frazier.

Following an accidental meeting with Smokin’ Joe at a coffee shop in Philadelphia, Marston was invited to try out at his North Philadelphia gym.

The trial was clearly a success as Smoke immediately invited her to join his female boxing team, which also included Heavyweight Dee Moses and Welterweight Faatimah Balmer.

After a series of extended trips to Philly, from her home in London, to be coached by the legend himself and his son Marvis, Marston relocated to the City of Brotherly Love, in order to thoroughly prepare for her planned professional debut.

Unfortunately within a few months of her moving to Philadelphia, Smokin’ Joe Frazier’s Gym unexpectedly closed.

Even though Marston had moved her training base across town, to The James Shuler Memorial Gym in West Philadelphia and later following her return to London, she and the Smoke regularly kept in touch, as Frazier had always been particularly keen on news of how his ‘Golden Girl’ was progressing, as well as taking any opportunity of reminding her that he wanted to be ringside at her first fight.

Following a training session at the TRAD TKO Boxing Gym in London, Marston reminisced about her time with the legend that is Smokin’ Joe Frazier.

“Joe was my childhood hero, he always was one of the biggest influences in my wanting to box in the first place.

Even though I was regularly in Philly on business, I never expected to meet Joe, at the time I didn’t even realize he still had a gym there.

To meet him was something else, I suppose because it was a totally accidental meeting it makes it even more special.

To actually be coached by him was a dream come true.

At times it was quite surreal, like the time I was at the gym and about to wrap my hands, Joe came over took the wraps from me and began wrapping my hands. I mean he’s my all time hero and yet here he was wrapping my hands.

To this day I still wrap my hands the way he showed me, I wouldn’t change the way I do them for the World.

Even after the gym closed we kept in touch, Joe always said to me don’t forget to let him know when I will be fighting, as he wanted to be there.

When Joe died I was not just deeply saddened but also felt a lot of anger, not at Joe, but at the ‘powers that be’ that had prevented me fighting professionally until recently.

Joe wanted to be at my debut, yet those morons and their prejudice against Women’s boxing stalled my career, it’s so disappointing that now I’m actually able to fight professionally Joe can’t be there in the flesh… but I know he’ll be there in spirit.

Joe supported Women’s boxing, not just because his daughter Jacqui boxed, but because he believed Boxing to be a sport for everyone. We were all treated the same in the gym, we were all boxers, not male or female.

Joe was so special and I owe him so much, not just because he trained me. Joe taught me so much and gave me so much belief in my ability, if it wasn’t for him I probably would have given up on my dream a long time ago.

Even after my return to London Joe’s support and kind words were a major factor in my determination to ‘fight the system’ and achieve my dream.

On the 27th April, I WILL win and WILL do it in style as I am fighting for the memory of one of the greatest people, as well as greatest boxers, I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, Smokin’ Joe Frazier.”

Marianne Marston versus Aleksandra Jasjukevica features on the undercard of Dean ‘Irish Lightning’ Byrne – Jay ‘IOW Assassin’ Morris International Masters Welterweight Championship clash which headlines Dave Murphy’s Thunderdrome Promotions ‘Thunder & Lightning’ event at York Hall, Bethnal Green in London on the 27th April 2013.

Tickets, priced £65 (Ringside), £35 (Floor)  and £30 (Balcony) are available on-line at www.tkoboxoffice.com and www.mariannemarston.com or in person at the TRAD TKO Boxing Gym in Canning Town, London E16 4SA – www.tkoboxinggym.com – or the Ringtone Gym in Euston, London NW1 2PB – www.ringtonehealthandfitness.com – Tel: 07960 850645 or 07557 641597 for further information.

TEAM AMERICA, All-Star Elite Fighting Force, Set To Invade London.


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.




Early in February 2008 British Featherweight Marianne Marston left her London home and travelled to America to train full-time under the watchful eyes of the legendary Heavyweight World Champion Smokin’ Joe Frazier – who, on Marianne, says quite simply “She’s going to be the Champ” – and his son, Olympic Gold Medallist & Heavyweight contender, Marvis Frazier at their gym in Philadelphia.

Marvis backs up what his father says and adds “Marianne is the hardest working (training), committed fighters I have seen in a long time” then with a huge grin continues “She’s very hard for any fighter to deal with” before expanding this by saying “she’s strong, fast and accurate, has lots of combinations and punches hard, so hard it’s like being hit by a Heavyweight.”

Travelling backwards and forwards across timezones and thousands of miles has made it hard for Marianne to maintain a consistent regime and so after taking advice from her main coaches, Marvis Frazier and Val Colbert, she decided it was time to commit herself completely to boxing by moving to Philadelphia to spend six months full-time training at Fraziers Gym and plans to make her professional debut under their guidance.

When asked why she chose Frazier’s Gym over the other first class gyms she has trained at, Marianne smiled and said “For me it wasn’t a matter of choosing, Frazier’s Gym feels like ‘home’ and the training team here are without doubt some of the best in the business, if not the best” and after a short pause she added “just look around this place, it’s full of boxing history. This is the gym that Joe trained at when he become World Champion and when he beat Ali – it fires me up, makes me want to work as hard as he did, and hopefully that will lead to me being as successful in this sport as he was”