Wolverhampton’s latest fight club have fired the first shots of their efforts to make a name for themselves in professional boxing.
Richie Carter’s Pro Boxing Stable are up and running after Andy Owen’s stoppage victory, in front of the cameras, earlier this month (Friday June 11).
Carter was in the corner, after leading a boxer into a paid ring for the first time as head coach, following on from his own pro career.
It’s been almost 30 years since the 50-year-old hung up his gloves, calling time with a pro record of 10 victories from 12 contests.
He made his pro debut on his 18th birthday, the year after becoming a national amateur champion in the 1987 junior ABAs.
Carter has gone on to become a successful local businessman and boxing trainer, coaching amateurs and his pro stable at Wolverhampton Boxing Club, on Willenhall Road.
Owen became the first of that group to turn over, live on new boxing channel Fightzone, as part of a card staged in the car park at the Sheffield Arena.
The Perton-based light heavyweight caught the eye of the audience, along with boxer-commentators Dave Allen and Anthony Crolla, through a blistering performance.
Opponent Ryan Hibbert’s face was left bloodied by a fierce uppercut, which forced his retirement at the end of the second round.
Owen made his mark and is immediately focussed upon securing his second ring date, of the opinion there is no time to waste at the age of 34.
He said: “It was a brilliant result for me, I had great support and it was loud when I got into the ring. I couldn’t wait to get going.
“I sold 50 tickets, in just a couple of weeks, and that got me the home fighter spot. I think I could do a lot better, on the tickets, with a bit more notice.
“I was supposed to be fighting another debutant (Matty Heppenstall), but he couldn’t get medically cleared. I would have been in the away corner for that.
“The lad who came in had boxed on television before, in good company, which I’d seen so I knew he was durable. For me to get him out of there early made a statement.
“I’ve got the taste for stoppages now and that’s what you will get from me – my style is to come forward, which is exciting to watch.
“I feel like I’m on a roll now and I want to ride the momentum, so I’m looking to get another date to box again quickly, while there is a buzz there.
“I want to get as many in as possible this year, either at light heavy or super middle. It’s not a huge stretch for me to make super middle.
“I’m already back training, I can’t take breaks at my age and I want to do as much as I can with my career. What a place to start.
“Being on Fightzone was a wonderful experience, I enjoyed everything about it including being in the ‘bubble’ (isolation zone away from the general public). I want to do it all again.
“Richie (Carter) was chuffed with my win and it’s given the lads in the gym, who are waiting for their debuts, a lift. It just shows what chances can come up.”
Carter has teamed up with BCB (Black Country Boxing) Promotions, who will manage his pro fighters and seek out opportunities for them.
BCB are hoping to stage their own shows again, as soon as the government eases restrictions relating to indoor sporting events.
Spots on the televised platforms are in high demand, meaning Carter’s boxers have largely had to wait for their introduction into the pro game.
All Alex Round, Lewis Morris, Ollie Cooper, Ryan Cotterell and Jermaine Osbourne can do is keep ticking over in the gym, a situation Owen hopes will soon change.
He said: “It’s been frustrating, I applied for my pro licence a little while before the rest of the lads and I still waited over a year to make my debut.
They have all got a lot to offer, we have a great coach behind us in Richie and BCB (Promotions) can help us get to where we need to be.
“From my point of view, I would love to get back on Fightzone and then a BCB show right here in the Black Country. That would be awesome.
“Imagine how much support we would all get, on a home show, putting Wolverhampton on the boxing map again. Believe me, you will be impressed when our gym gets out there.”