Conah Walker believes his skill will have the beating of the next challenger for the Midlands welterweight title.
Champion Walker defends the belt for the first time, in his home city of Wolverhampton, against Jamie Stewart, who makes the trip from Stoke.
They will headline BCB Promotions’ show, at the Hangar Events Venue (Pearson Street), when fight night arrives this Friday October 1.Walker puts up the prize he claimed in May, outpointing BCB stable-mate Levi Ferguson, of Walsall, to seize the vacant crown, which was relinquished by Kaisee Benjamin.
Referee Darren Sarginson, scoring the contest, had them close at the finish, with Walker getting the nod by a slender 96-95 margin. Ferguson was counted for a knockdown in the sixth round, too, which made the extra point for Walker all the more telling, in the official’s opinion.
The unbeaten 26-year-old, who hails from Warstones, is now moving on to a title test with Stewart, who is capable of springing a surprise.
He may have a 2-2-1 pro record, but the stalemate was against the much-fancied Florian Marku, climbing off the floor early on to force an eight-round draw.
Stewart, 28, has also beaten Michael Hennessy Jr and Qasim Hussain, before losing to Elliot Whale and George Davey. He’s seen the final bell of every pro outing.
Walker has a 9-0-1 pro ledger, a draw with Ohio Kain Iremiren the only thing resembling a blip on that tally, He’s also scored two TKOs.
‘The Wolf,’ who used to be trained by Ricky Hatton, now has Richard Ghent as his coach, working out of the RG Box Fit gym in Bilston.
Walker was a successful amateur, too, graduating from Merridale Boxing Club with 30 wins from 33 bouts, leading to two national titles in the England Development Championships.
He’s had top-class sparring for this and his previous fight camp, entering the training ring with former world champions Kell Brook and, most recently, David Avanesyan.
Walker said: “Kell was so sharp and it’s just a war with David, even in sparring. You have to be switched on with them, all of the time. Now I’m a champion, I need that.
“I felt the scoreline was more convincing (against Ferguson), but I’m not taking anything away from Levi. I fought the best version of him, that’s for sure.
“I got the decision and that’s all that really mattered to me, now I get the chance to put the belt up at home. That’s given me such a buzz in training.
“I took over 150 lads to Sheffield (where the fight with Ferguson took place) with me and the atmosphere was brilliant. This time, I think it will be even better. It’s going to be electric.
“The commentators (in Sheffield, working for Fightzone) even mentioned how loud the lads were, so I can imagine what it’s going to be like back in Wolverhampton.
“I’ve fought at the venue (won on points against Edvinas Puplauskas, 2019) before, it was a wicked night then and now I’m top of the bill, I’m going to put on a show for everyone.
“I know my opponent is coming to have a go, he’s game and throws punches from awkward angles, but boxing skills are at a far higher level than his.
“It’s down to me to perform, find the jab, pick the gaps and punish him for any mistakes he makes. The only fight I’ve ever watched him in was against Marku, so I have to do better!
“I’m happy to defend my title, against anyone, but I’ll be looking for a step up after this one. If I can stay injury-free, I’d like to get out again, by the end of the year.
“I want to get in the top 10, which means I need to beat someone who is that highly ranked. Hopefully, I’ll get the chance to do that.”
Walker and Stewart weigh-in at The Hangar on Thursday at 1:30pm. The event is free to the public to attend and we’ll be giving away a pair of tickets to what is fast approaching a SELL OUT Show!
The undercard is stacked with local talent with Wolverhampton’s Kirstie Bavington, debutants Jermaine Osbourne-Edwards (Wolverhampton), Alex Round (Wednesfield), Lewis Morris (Walsall) and Ollie Cooper (Cannock) all in action alongside Dudley’s Ethan Collins
VIP Tickets for the Hangar bill have all sold out and there will be no ticket sales on the evening. A handful of standard tickets priced at £40 plus booking fee are available from MyFightTickets.com.