This Friday night behind closed doors in Redditch, Mick Hennessey promotes a night of boxing on terrestrial television, with a Midlander in the main event.
Sam Eggington (28-7, KO17) has had a long old career, but is still only 27, and Stourbridge man takes on a twelve round assignment at the head of affairs against a man at the tail end of his career in former British champion, Ashley Theophane (48-8-1, KO17).
Eggington still harbours cracking the top level of the sport, and is championed by none other than Barry Hearn, who has always had belief in ‘The Savage’.
Eggington’s early career defeats came in Prizefighter tournaments, and he quickly built a reputation at welterweight with eye catching wins over Denton Vassell (TKO8) Shayne Singleton (TKO5), and he also collected British and Commonwealth titles along the way.
He was flat in losing the belts on the cards to Bradley Skeete in March 2016, but bounced back to record more impressive wins over Frankie Gavin (TKO8) and a faded Paulie Malignaggi (KO8).
Sam won the European title with a brutal tenth round knockout of Ceferino Rodriguez in May 2017, but then quickly lost it in a split decision loss to the tricky Mohamed Mimoune in his first defence.
Worse was to follow after two quick comeback wins at super welterweight, as little known Tanzanian, Hasan Mwakinyo stunned Sam inside two rounds to leave his career in tatters.
Liam Smith stopped Eggington in five in March 2019, but six months later saw him breathe new life into his career with an away win over Orlando Fiordigiglio in Italy, winning the IBF International belt in a second round knockout win.
Eggington was last seen in the Matchroom Garden in August, losing a hotly disputed points verdict to Ted Cheeseman in a thriller.
40-year-old Londoner Theophane is very much on his last chapter in a long career that began in 2003. ‘Treasure’ originally travelled between the UK and USA, losing a razor thin split decision to Danny Garcia in 2010, before winning the Lonsdale Belt at super lightweight a year later, outpointing Lenny Daws.
He defended twice, but then lost the belt in a flat points reverse to Darren Hamilton in May 2012. 2013 led to a move to America, and Theophane was under the Mayweather Promotions banner for five years, appearing on a few of Floyd’s bills down the card.
His last real run ended in April 2016, when Adrien Broner stopped him in nine in a challenge for the vacant WBA title.
Since then, Theophane has been on a long farewell tour of sorts, taking on very low level opposition in Hungary, Ghana, Poland, Mexico, Dubai, Romania and, in his last contest, Denmark, where he outscored faded veteran, Kassim Ouma over ten in October 2019.
Prediction: Eggington, although with miles on the clock in a long career at a young age, should have far too much for a faded Theophane, who looks like it could be a final payday in his home country.
Theophane will probably put the pressure on Sam early on, as Eggington was vulnerable when losing early to Hasan Mwakinyo.
Once Eggington comes through that, he should force a stoppage or corner retirement in around six rounds.
A Midlands Area title clash at welterweight is on the undercard, as the champion, Birmingham’s Kaisee Benjamin (10-1-1, KO2) defends against Ben Fields (10-8-2, KO0) in a local derby.
Benjamin’s last outing was a points win over ten against the then 13-0 Shaquille Day back in March, and he won the belt in November 2018, stopping Alex Fearon in seven.
Fields won the vacant Midlands title at super lightweight last time out in September, also beating Fearon, but on the scorecards. The pick here is for Benjamin to retain on the cards.
There are also appearances undefeated super lightweight and red-hot talent Stephen McKenna from Monaghan, Ireland against Brierley Hill’s MJ Hall, in a six-round contest; his equally talented brother Aaron McKenna (appearing courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions) takes on Islington’s Jordan Grannum over six rounds at light middleweight.
Sevenoaks middleweight prospect Michael Hennessy Jr. meets Hyde’s Dale Arrowsmith and the flash, brash and exciting unbeaten Birmingham star Idris Virgo faces Stourbridge’s Kevin McCauley in a four-round middleweight contest.
Brighton heavyweight Tommy Welch makes his pro debut against West Bromwich’s Matt Gordon.