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British boxing buzz: Bradley Skeete, Jason Booth, Stalker vs. Evans & Nurse vs. Jenkins rematches

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Credit: Frank Warren

Bradley Skeete Looking for Stoppage Win

WBO European Welterweight Champion Bradley Skeete aims to stop Merseyside’s Steve Williams when they headline Frank Warren’s annual dinner show for the music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins on Monday November 23rd at the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane.

Nordoff Robbins is dedicated to transforming the lives of vulnerable children and adults. The national charity works with people with a range of challenges such as autism, dementia, depression and physical and learning disabilities through the power of music.

Skeete, from Penge, London, will make the third defence of his WBO European crown against Williams as he continues on his march towards a second shot at a British title. He’s won his last three fights with back-to-back stoppages since his close and controversial loss to Frankie Gavin last year and is aiming for a British title chance next year.

He faces a tough challenge against Williams, known as the ‘Wallasey Express’, who has won the English title at super-lightweight and claimed the undefeated records of Kirk Goodings and Karl Place, but is now intent on making his at 147lbs.

Skeete said, “Williams is a good strong fighter, but it’s the end of the line for him in London on Monday night,”

“I know he’ll bring his A-game to the fight, he’ll be looking to upset me at home, but I’ll have too much for him in every department,”

“I can’t afford any slip ups here so it’s crucial that I get the win, I’m on track for a second British title shot and Williams isn’t going to derail me,”

“It’s going to be a strong and dominant performance from me on the night and end my year on a high before focussing on 2016,”

“Importantly, the evening is also about Nordoff Robbins and raising as much money as possible for the charity so I’m delighted to give them my full support.”

Jason Booth: I am desperate to make British title history

Jason Booth he’s warned Ryan Burnett that he’s desperate to make history and become a three-weight British champion when they meet for the vacant British Bantamweight title at the Manchester Arena on Saturday night.

Booth has held the Lord Lonsdale belt at Flyweight and Super Bantamweight and challenges for the Bantamweight strap for the second time, having met Lee Haskins for the strap in November 2013.

That was Booth’s 25th title fight in a 19-year career that has seen him challenge the likes of Scott Quigg, Kiko Martinez and Steve Molitor at British, Commonwealth, European and World level, and the 38 year old Nottingham man believes there’s still some magic left in him that will come out against Matchroom Boxing’s latest signing.

“I’ve got ambitions to be a three weight British champion and I feel that this is my time to make history,” said Booth. “There is no one in our generation that has won it in three weight classes, I think you would have to go back to the 1940’s until the last time it was done.

“Ryan is a decent fighter and so far he’s ticking all the boxes. He’s with Adam Booth who is a top trainer so I’m expecting the very best from him. I’ve been trying to get a British title fight all year and it has left me slightly inactive, last time I boxed was November last year – but look at my record, you can see I don’t suffer from ring rust.

“The pressure is all on Ryan as he’s touted as the next big thing and people are expecting a lot from him – let’s see what he’s got and what all the fuss is about.

“I feel in great shape, I’m hitting harder than ever and I’m feeling good. I’ve kept this fight a bit quiet and I’m doing it for my family as it is a huge opportunity for us. I’ve got plenty in the tank and those that think I’m over the hill are very much mistaken.

“It doesn’t bother me being the underdog in this as many will expect Ryan to walk through me – but I won’t give up without a fight and he’s in for a tough evening to grab that British title. I’m determined to make history winning the British title in three weight classes before I retire.

“You name them and I’ve fought them – Scott Quigg, Kiko Martinez, Kid Galahad; if Ryan Burnett is as good as they say he will have to bring his A-game as I’m not going to make it easy for him.”

Booth and Burnett clash on a stacked bill in Manchester topped by the rematch between hometown favourite Anthony Crolla and Darleys Perez for the Colombian’s WBA World Lightweight title.

Also on the card…

Nurse: I’ll leave no doubt in Jenkins rematch

Tyrone Nurse says he won the first meeting with Chris Jenkins for the vacant British Super-Lightweight title – and will leave the result in no doubt when they meet again on Saturday.

Nurse and Jenkins shared a majority draw for the title here in July, but the Huddersfield man believes he ran away with the fight at the end. One judge handed the contest to him by five rounds with the other two calling it even, and while Nurse agrees with Jenkins that the 117-112 was too wide, the 25 year old expects to claim the win on Saturday and take over the 135lbs division in Britain.

“Having watched it back, and on the night as well, I felt that I had won by a couple of rounds,” said Nurse. “Watching it back I am more than certain that I won by a good three or four rounds. Down the stretch I probably had it even eight or nine rounds in and after that I thought I won the last few rounds. But that is life and there’s not much you can do about that, it is what it is and we have the rematch and I will do a better job this time.

“The outcome will be different on Saturday – I am winning this time. It all depends on what Chris comes with this time tactics wise; is he going to come with the same game plan but be fitter, I don’t think he can get any fitter than he was.

“Some of the rounds he might not be landing much but he was working and that is down to my style at times; a few people have said that because I was that comfortable I was making it look like I wasn’t doing anything but that is for us to make changes. I can see why some of the judges had it close but I am I own biggest critic and I thought I would.

“I think five points might have been a touch wide to be honest but I thought I won by three or four rounds. Some of the rounds were very close and maybe you could have had it that wide; it is an opinion-based sport when it comes to judging rounds.

“I can’t imagine him thinking he can outbox me on the back foot but at the same time that doesn’t mean he won’t try and come out and try and outbox me. He was catching me with jabs when I was switching off and that is what might be their game plan. The fight will all depend on what tactics they employ. We have our own game plan to suit each different style of fight he brings.

“Going into last fight his team were probably fairly confident that I was going to be much of a fight for him. People in boxing thought that Chris was the next big thing in the division and I prove that wasn’t the case. Maybe the surprise as to him knowing that and in terms of knowing the level of ability might be gone but maybe our game plan might be a surprise.

“I was gutted when the decision was read out but at the same time I didn’t really know how to feel. All my feelings were lost, I was all over the shop. I wasn’t happy, that is the only thing I can say. I was a bit numb at first, I didn’t really know how to react but it is what it is.

“I’m always hungry when I get into the ring. I’m always hungry for the victory, that is all goes through my mind and I’ve always said that there is nothing worse than a draw in my head and I’m going to go and correct that.”

On the other side…

Jenkins: I’m fully fit for Nurse rematch

Chris Jenkins believes the top-class sparring he’s had in training camp will be the difference in his rematch with Tyrone Nurse.

The Welshman faced Nurse in July at the same venue, with a tense first fight ending in a majority draw – a result that disappointed the 28 year old, despite it following a spell of bad luck out of the ring that left him undercooked.

Jenkins’ British title tilts have been cursed with bad luck, after he had fights in December 2014 and January cancelled then was set to face Willie Limond for the belt in April before illness ruled him out.

‘Rok n’ Rolla’ has left no stone unturned to prepare for the return with the Huddersfield stylist, having travelled to Essex to spar with Tony Sims’ talented duo Martin J. Ward and Ohara Davies, and believes the fully fit Chris Jenkins that Nurse will meet this time will have too much.

“I have watched the fight back three times,” said Jenkins. “I know what I did wrong and we have worked on it in camp. That was me probably boxing at about 50 per cent and him boxing the best he has ever boxed. I will raise my game and bring what I’ve been doing in the gym into the ring and I won’t have any issue winning but I’m expecting a tough, hard 12-round fight.

“This camp has been second to none, I didn’t have this type of sparring last time round and we wanted it to be harder than what we anticipated the fight to be. I’ve sparred Ohara Davies and Martin J. Ward at the Matchroom Boxing gym in Essex and also Tamuka Mucha. The three of them are very talented kids, I’ve spent six weeks travelling so it has been tough being away from my family – but it will be worth it next Saturday when I lift that British title.

“I had had nine months out of the ring before the first fight, and in 15 months I had only boxed one round in the ring. It was a case of getting in there and push it for round one and I might of gone a bit too fast for the first eight and then after eight I was tiring a little bit and doing stupid things which I shouldn’t have done.

“What was working was working well but I got cut in round four and it was hard to see after that. I honestly thought that I had won the first, possibly six, rounds. I probably lost rounds eight, nine and ten and came back in 11 and 12 and I did think I had done enough to win the fight.

“I felt as though I had done enough to nick it but after the fight everybody was saying I would be happy with a draw, well I was rather peed off if I am honest. I thought I done enough to nick it. I was being professional and not saying stupid things or showing any bitterness, and people were saying I must be happy with the draw but it felt like a loss because I thought I had won.

“Tyrone is a good fighter, I was impressed with his movement and he’s the most awkward fighter in the country. He’s got the shoulder roll off to tee, which is why we picked Ohara, he has the low hand stance and utilities the shoulder roll very well too.

“I think the fight will be the same as the last one from Tyrone, he boxed at his best last time – but I was at my worst. There is another 20 per cent to come from me and I know what to expect from him.”

Stalker and Evans to Rematch

The first fight was a brutal all-out war and declared a draw, now rivals Tom Stalker and Craig Evans are set to do battle once again to finally decide a winner on the huge Manchester Arena show on Saturday December 19th.

Stalker v Evans II features on the title packed undercard of Andy Lee’s WBO World Middleweight title defence against Billy Joe Saunders and Liam Smith first WBO World Super-Welterweight title defence against Jimmy Kelly, plus five further big title fights, exclusively live on BoxNation.

Stalker and Evans carry on where they left off last month at the same venue with the Vacant WBO European Lightweight Championship on the line again and both men are looking to emerge the victor.

After ten pulsating rounds of action with the momentum swinging between both men who were throwing and landing plenty of big shots – and a controversial knockdown of Stalker in the ninth round that was ruled a slip – the judges scored it 96-94 (Evans) 97-93 (Stalker) and 95-95.

Liverpool ace Stalker, who many felt had done enough to win the first encounter, says this time he will leave nothing to chance and will be the one holding the belt high.

“The first fight wasn’t bad was it!” Said southpaw Stalker.

“It’s a great Christmas present for the fans and for me to end the year as the WBO European Champion,”

“I’ve been in the gym since that fight and knew that it was going to happen again. I respect Evans, he’s a tough kid, but he can’t bring anything different this time around,”

“I know what I’ve got to do this time, I’ll be throwing more punches and as the fight goes on I’ll be getting stronger and stronger,”

“I’ve watched the fight over and over again and I’m convinced that I won, as did many that night, but if the judges saw it different what can you do? At least we’re doing it again and I know that this will be my moment.”

“If he’s expecting the same Tom Stalker he’s in for a big shock.”

Welsh hardman Evans is convinced he won the fight and says this time he’ll stop Stalker late.

“I’ve watched it back plenty of times and still believe that I won,” Said Evans.

“It was a great fight and the fans will get to see us go at it again, but this time it will have a different ending with me taking the title back to Wales,”

“I didn’t fight to the best of my ability last time and I know that this time I will be one hundred percent ready for him,”

“He’s shown me everything he’s got, what else can he bring to the ring? He’ll have to knock me out and he hasn’t got the power to do that,”

“For whatever reason the short right hand punch I dropped him with wasn’t scored so this time when I land I have to make sure he doesn’t get up again,”

“My preparations will be spot on and I ideally I don’t want to let it go the judges’ again so I can see me stopping him late.”

Jimmy Kelly Threatening the Upset Against Liam Smith

Wythenshawe wizard Jimmy Kilrain Kelly is ready to pull off a huge upset against WBO World Super-Welterweight boss Liam Smith’s maiden defence at Manchester Arena on December 19th.

A former five time national junior champion and regular Young England rep, the bespectacled Mancunian has triumphed in all 16 fights since vaulting to the pros as a teenager and was always destined for the top. The opportunity simply arrived sooner than anyone envisaged after Kelly inked a deal with promoter Frank Warren in September.

‘When I signed, I said to Frank I wanted a world title fight and he delivered,” says the WBC Youth and WBO Inter-Continental champion, a huge Manchester United fan.

‘I kind of knew Liam was likely to feature in my future but expected I’d have to wait in line. Though it’s sooner than I expected, I definitely think I’m ready and I’m happy to jump in. We’ve both already got large followings so there’s no real need to wait to build things up.’

Opinions that Kelly is under qualified to tackle the unbeaten Scouse champion are largely ill informed and ignorant as the trade grapevine ripples with reports that he has held his own, sparring some of the nation’s elite.

‘Let’s have it right, no one is expecting anything from me. People think Smith will blow me out early but I’m young and guarantee I’ll arrive on December 19th bursting with heart and ambition. I know I’ll not fold. I’ll rise to the occasion,’ says fast-jabbing Jimmy who’ll enjoy a three inch fight advantage.

‘Even if I were to lose in good style, it’s a win. My stock will rise and I’ll gain. All the pressure is on Liam. He dismisses me, saying I’m his ‘Christmas wages’ but, at 13-2 against, expect a lot of Wythenshawe kids to be riding new bikes this Christmas. All the locals are on me!’

The nattily attired Kelly who boasts 12 GCSEs and a BTech in Sports Science is dismissive of those who acknowledge his talent but insist he lacks the seasoning to deliver a meritable challenge to the formidable Liverpudlian.

‘I’ve been around boxing and boxing people since I was four years old; watching, listening to stories, learning from the best,’ states the Lee Beard managed prospect whose father had over 100 amateur contests

‘Just because I was off TV doesn’t mean I didn’t learn my craft. I’ve served a quality apprenticeship on smaller shows and as a sparring partner to top guys like Matty Hatton, Frankie Gavin, Tommy Langford, Brian Rose, Prince Arron and Vijender Singh.

‘Also, I’ll have the support of Ensley (‘Bingo’ Bingham, ex British light-middle king) and Maurice (‘Hard’ Core, ex British light-heavy boss) in my corner, should things get tough. I’ve all the experience from their big title fights to tap into. Both have known me since I was a young kid so they know which of my buttons to push.’

The Scouse-Manc shootout serves as the chief support to Andy Lee’s WBO World Middleweight title defence against Billy Joe Saunders.

‘Liam’s a quality kid – the best of the brothers in my opinion – so, win or lose, I know it’ll be a very tough night for me. He’s very patient and cuts the ring off well,’ assesses Kilrain who travelled ten rounds for the first time when outclassing Argentina’s Martin Fidel Rios at the Arena in October.

‘But I believe I’ve the strengths to overcome him. Both myself and my manager Lee Beard – who’s been around Smith’s camp – have identified a few shortcomings from his recent fights which we believe we can exploit. I’ve also derived a lot of confidence from all the hard work I’ve been putting in at the gym.

‘It’ll possibly start out a bit technical and cagey but it’ll catch fire. This is Liverpool-Manchester!’

‘I don’t doubt for one moment that Liam will train really hard and turn up in shape but, whereas I’ll be massively focussed, mentally he could be looking past me and arrive a bit flat. Big mistake if he does!

‘December 19th will be my sister’s 25th birthday and I intend delivering her a WBO Super-Welterweight belt as the perfect pressie!’

Kindon added to Hennessy Sports TV show on December 5

Just days after extending his unbeaten run at London’s York Hall on November 7th, super-bantamweight prospect, Thomas Kindon (6-0) received news of his next fight scheduled for December 5th at Carshalton’s Westcroft Leisure Centre on a Hennessy Sports show, to be televised live on Channel 5.

The 20-year-old Surrey boxer defeated 30-year-old Croatian, Mirsad Ahmeti (2-5) in his first six-rounder of his pro career on the Bonfire Night weekend in what was his debut showing at the historic ‘Home of Boxing’ in Bethnal Green.

The ‘Pocket Rocket’ from Guildford commented on the win, “I felt the best I’ve ever felt in there and probably the best I’ve ever boxed.

“He was a strong opponent, he hit me with good shots but it didn’t faze me. I took the centre of the ring and never touched the ropes, I was pressing all the time.

“It was scored at 60-55 to me, I won every round in there but I think they gave the first round as a draw.”

The show headed by Olivia Goodwin also saw stoppage wins from heavyweights, AJ ‘Big Dog’ Carter (8-2) and David Abraham (3-0).

The most notable result of the evening was hot prospect, Rakeem Noble (9-1) losing his perfect record to unbeaten rival, Ivan Njegac (5-0) in a narrow points defeat.

Unbeaten prospects Sam Stokes (4-0), Ryan Crawford (3-0), Jamie Arlain (3-0), Adam Hart (2-0), Spiros Demetriou (2-0), and Jimmy McClean (2-0) all improved on their winning records.

With barely any time to relax after the dust had settled from the event, the Leeds-born super-bantamweight received confirmation of his next paid contest on the show titled, ‘Destiny’, promoted by Mick Hennessy in Carshalton on the first weekend of December.

“My coach, John Edwards knows Mick Hennessy quite well so that’s how the opportunity came about, I’ve still got to sell tickets but I’m not complaining,” Kindon explained.

“The show is on Channel 5 and Lenny Daws is fighting, I’m just gonna’ do my normal thing and box and if I make it on TV then it’s a bonus. If the stoppage comes, then it’ll come,” the 122-pounder concluded.

Ben Day and Ryan Taylor set to clash for vacant Southern Area title on December 5

Unbeaten Teignmouth-born boxer, Ben ‘The Entertainer’ Day (7-0-1) is due to fight Londoner Ryan ‘Crash Bang’ Taylor (10-5-1) on December 5th at London’s York Hall for the now vacant Southern Area super-lightweight title.

The Goodwin Promotions show will feature two Southern Area clashes on a packed event boasting a whopping 18 scheduled fights.

Taylor, 27-years-old, will be hoping it’s third time lucky on that first weekend in December after challenging for the Southern Area title twice before back in 2013.

Trained by Johnny Greaves out of the famous Peacock Gym in Canning Town, ‘Crash Bang’ first competed for Southern Area honours in March 2013, losing out on a three-point margin to Liam Shinkwin at Wembley Arena for the lightweight version.

A second crack at the same crown nine months later in December ended disastrously for Taylor, having a point deducted in round one for use of the head, suffering a knockdown in round two before referee, Richard Davies halted the contest at just past the minute mark in round four after two thunderous left hooks landed straight on the button from the victor, Floyd Moore.

For Day, 37-years-old, it’ll be his second title fight after winning the International Masters Bronze lightweight strap with a first round KO of Latvian opponent, Ilja Sovdra in March this year, also at the York Hall.

The London gym owner, unbeaten in eight fights and four years said of his forthcoming opponent, “I know he’s had 70 amateur fights so that’s 70 more than me!

“He’s a come-forward fighter, had a glittering amateur career; fair play to him, he wants to win.

“I like that he said in an interview that he’s not taking me for me granted. I’ve got fresh legs, I’m awkward, and I’ll do what I do and hit and move.”

Day continued to add, “I’ve been getting some good sparring down at RJ’s in Chingford with Andrew Joicey and Tyler Goodjohn. It’s a great gym and Rod Julian has been giving me some great advice.”

Taylor has competed in twice as many paid contests as Day, as well as boasting a decent amateur pedigree so certainly possesses an advantage in experience going into the title fight.

Day responded, “It should give him an advantage, he’s fought for this title twice already. Behind every misfortune is an opportunity but it’s down to the individual whether he sees it as a loss or experience, it could either make him or break him. It’s not nice going into a fight having lost it before but it’s how it sees it.”

The Devonian boxer only turned pro aged 32 with just a couple of white collar boxing fights to count on as experience.

“When I first turned pro I wasn’t even thinking about winning a fight let alone a title!” he laughed.

“A lot of people have told me to give up boxing but there’s no reason for me to do that whatsoever. I’m not punchy, not been in many hard fights,” he firmly stated.

A close friend of Day’s, Darren Hamilton, won the British title in his mid-thirties against the odds by stepping in as a last-minute, stand-in opponent to defeat the title-holder, now signed to Floyd Mayweather, Ashley Theophane on points.

Day draws inspiration from the Bristolian still fighting on, aged 37, “If you don’t want to fight for the British title then you shouldn’t be in boxing, that’s the ultimate goal,” he affirmed.

“People would have thought I was mad challenging for the Southern Area a few years ago so look at it that way.”

The Devonian boxer is the owner of a boutique boxing gym in Central London and balances his time between his demanding business and professional boxing career.

“It’s hectic but I’d like to say thanks to Greg White for looking after my business, Ringtone Boxing Gym, so I can concentrate on training,” he concluded.

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