by Paul Topliff
19th May 2019
This was always going to be a cracker of fight, and so it proved to be. Right from the first bell, both fighters came out with gusto, exchanging jabs at the centre of the ring, until mid-way through the 2nd minute when Ryan almost imprisoned Sonvico into the corner in a fashion designed to determine alpha dominance. Noticeably Sonvico's cocky shoulder rocking and foot shuffling against her semi final opponent Che Kenneally was absent. The first minute was all about claiming territory, and Ryan had clearly proved her point, by leading with the left and on one occasion following up with a boomer of a blow that had the commentator raising his voice to her name. Had it made full contact Sonvico would inevitably have been in trouble at that point. As they exchanged a flurry of jabs Sonvico grabbed Ryan in a hold as Ryan was coming in; Sonvico having her head and shoulders low. Ryan was having none of it though and proceeded to lift 69kg of Sonvico off her feet with her neck alone. Sonvico must surely have known by this time that Ryan was the much stronger of the two. Sonvico was clearly cautious at the ferocity and above all power of Ryan's shots. Ryan began to tease, and Sonvico was holding her ground by playing the waiting game until she could see a window of opportunity for herself to let rip with a flurry of shots. Ryan though was fast and showed beautiful agility to dance back and forth avoiding danger while getting her jabs in. Sonvico now claimed the centre and it was clear that Ryan absolutely agreed with her. Ryan was more than happy to take the outside as she seemed to prefer the space to move around, encircling her, while placing Sonvico into a false sense of security, until the end of the first when Ryan had Sonvico against the ropes only for the bell to go.
The second round bell rung out, and Ryan began feigning jabs as Sonvico moved to her familiar central position of the ring. As Ryan closed it Sonvico held Ryan around the shoulders, only to be cast aside by Ryan's strength again, and ended up on the canvas. She got to her feet and moved back to the centre, throwing long jabs that barely made contact. Ryan seemed to have immensely long arms from the outside and continued to let fly with thrusts of power: left and right. Ryan began moving beautifully in and out with her feet, reminiscent of the great Muhammad Ali. Again Ryan moved in, and again Sonvico grabbed Ryan around the body. This time Sonvico landed on the canvas staring up at Ryan, as Ryan stood over her like a boss with both arms straight down and slightly apart. You have to understand here too that Sonvico is an extremely well built, muscular fighter, going to show that Ryan is an absolute force to be reckoned with to be able to dominate the French girl like this. Had Ryan not been so powerful herself, there was no doubt whatsoever that she would have been bullied. The pair resumed trading, with both fighters getting in one-two combinations until once again Sonvico attempted to grab hold of Ryan only to bend her body double with head down as if to attempt to illustrate to the judges in front of her that Ryan was somehow holding her, which she clearly wasn't. The fight resumed once again and Ryan moved around, circling Sonvico, with lefts and rights, often while moving slightly backwards. The bell goes and Sonvico I'm sure would have been disappointed at not being able to make her mark. At the half-way stage it was 2-0 to Ryan.
Round three, and both fighters start lively yet again. Ryan again the more dominant of the two leading with the left and combining sharp jabs left and right. Sonvico trades the same with some powerful jabs of her own from a lower central gravity. Grappling begins in the corner and the referee eventually breaks it up. Again the pair end up against the ropes jabbing each other in the sides followed by both fighters holding as the frenetic tempo ebbs away for a breather. Again both fighters bounce into the ropes with Sandy Ryan as usual on the outside, and Sonvico steadily getting cornered again, and looking like she's done a day graft. As the referee breaks it up and they move to the centre of the ring to resume, only for the final bell to go, and it's job done. Sonvico, who will have learned an awful lot during this bout, will know, and probably be thankful that she will not be in a tougher bout for a very long time.
by Paul Topliff
So who is Angel Fernandez?
Angel Fernandez Boxing Academy, Sutton, Surrey.
Angel Fernandez » The next generation
Searching for fulfillment in the sport he’d grown to love had dragged Angel Fernandez from Galicia, North West Spain, to Surrey. Studying the work of fabled trainers Jorge Rubio and Ismael Salas first-hand, the young Fernandez revealed his journey from Spanish kickboxing to training some of the sport’s most exciting talents, when speaking exclusively to Boxing Social.“Are you ready? Take a cup of tea… Sit down”
For those unfamiliar; the smiling, passionate gentleman holding pads for Matchroom cruiserweight star, Isaac Chamberlain or working extensively on drills with World Amateur Championship silver medalist, Sultan Zaurbek, is new to this. Growing up in Spain, Fernandez had initially embarked on a career which focused on his feet, as much as his hands. Now, living in South West London and fully dedicated to his life as a head trainer, it wasn’t always a career outside of the ropes that had interested Angel.
“I was in Spain doing kickboxing. I was gonna fight for the country with one coach who was there. I was doing sparring at the same time with the super-middleweight champion [of Spain] who was a professional boxer. That’s how I ended up falling in love with the boxing side. I started doing more boxing than kickboxing."
Source: Craig Scott - boxingsocial.com
Here's what Light Heavyweight Markus Williams had to say »
Battersea born 29 year old Williams, who's been boxing since he was 12, first met Fernandez at West Ham Boxing Club. Since Williams turned pro his fight record stands at 3-0, and was initially coached by legendary Hall of Fame coach Jorge Rubio with Fernandez as Rubio's assistant. Williams believes that Fernandez is destined to go to the very top of the sport, and says:
“I truly believe he has the opportunity to become one of the best coaches in the game. He literally just appeared down West Ham one day, I have quite an inquisitive mind so got talking to him and wanted to know more about him.
I asked him to take me on the pads and as they say the rest is history. I was so impressed that when he left West Ham to start his new gym in Surrey I came over with him. He is open to learning, he looks at your style and works on it rather than changing it. I have benefited so much from the structure he provides. We get on really well, I think we both see boxing the same way. We appreciate the technical aspects of the sport.”
...We even listen to Salsa music when we train
“I feel like I am constantly learning under Jorge and Angel, we are doing things differently but it’s very enjoyable. We are doing lots of footwork drills now and there is a lot more emphasis has been placed on finding and creating angles. We even listen to Salsa music when we train so we can work on our rhythm, it’s different and some might find it strange but it works. You put this with the sparring I have been doing with Isaac (Chamberlain) and it would be hard for anyone not to improve.”
Sandy thrilled and excited
In an interview last Friday, Sandy spoke of her excitement at the prospect of working with Angel Fernandez. Almost stumbling on her words to break the news, she could hardly contain herself for what she believes lies ahead. Initial contact with the Camp was made through Sandy watching videos of some of the fighters online. A friend of Sandy's then went to watch one of the boxers, Sultan Zaurbek (6-0): Lightweight, live. One thing led to another, and eventually contact was made between Sandy and Angel. Sandy then travelled down to Sutton to meet Angel and run over views and possibilities. The meeting was exceptionally worthwhile, and upon exchanging views about boxing, they soon discovered that each had much to offer the other.
"From the first moment I met him, he's the exact same person in reality as the guy everyone talks about. That's another reason why I love his approach so much. He wants the best out of his fighters and will put 100% into doing so. He brings new innovative ideas to the table, and his love and enthusiasm for the sport is unquestionable. Many people are talking about him going right to the top and I can see why. His approach is very refreshing I have to say. He talks about improvement mostly rather than change, and says that he wants to maintain the good progress I've made with [Team] GB leading up to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Obviously when the time comes for me to turn professional, a different approach will be needed, and Angel has big plans in that direction too to take me to another level. He talks about adapting to different fights and using different skill-sets. He follows his passion which I do to, and focuses on improving power, speed, rhythm and balance."
"The camp is based in Sutton in Surrey (South West London - close to Croydon), and is obviously a fair distance from Sheffield where I'm based with [Team] GB, but that's not going to be a problem either. I'm based in Sheffield from Monday to Thursday. Then I head back to Derby, and on Friday Paramount Chauffeur Services [official Partner] will be on hand to transport me from Derby to Sutton, where I'll be accommodated at the Team Camp. Then after training on both the Friday and Saturday in Sutton, Paramount will pick me up and take me back home to Derby which works out perfectly. I'll then have a rest day on Sunday to do my yoga and swimming, so it's a win-win situation for me."
When a flower doesn’t bloom you fix the environment in which it grows. Not the flower.
Sandy Ryan 16th April 2019
I am delighted and proud to say that Sandy Ryan and I will be working together as a team towards our goals. That being said, the first and far more important thing for me is keeping her focus and working towards the Olympics in Tokyo 2020 with Team GB. Working with me won’t change Sandy’s style as my main priority until 2020 is to add and support the coaches she has in Sheffield. I would like to thank Sandy, and also my team for believing in me from day one. Without them I wouldn’t be where I am today. I truly feel blessed with the addition of Sandy to our stable, which is what our team needed to be complete. Now it's time to focus on this amazing challenge. Let’s do this team.
Angel Fernandez 17th April 2019