STom Stokes will be determined to make the most of an unexpected second chance at the Midlands middleweight title later this month. He has been called up to co-challenge with Nathan Heaney for the vacant crown, which has been relinquished by Tyler Denny.
It was Denny who outpointed Stokes in September 2017 to claim the strap, which he never ended up defending. Hometown hero Heaney was due to take on Ryan Aston, who has pulled out. They were set to headline BCB Promotions’ show at King’s Hall, in Stoke-on-Trent, on Friday June 21.
Stokes, from West Bromwich, will now step in and take Aston’s place in the main event, with unbeaten Heaney standing between him and glory. Heaney is Stoke born and bred and has raced to 6-0, with two stoppages, the last success coming over former Gennady Golovkin opponent Daniel Urbanski over eight rounds. Stokes is also on the back of a win, though, and was already due to feature on the King’s Hall card in a keep-busy contest.
It will come 27 days after Stokes beat Chris Blaney, one of Ricky Hatton’s proteges, on points when they were a part of the BCB show at the Deco in Northampton. He became only the second man to beat Blaney, who has been lined up for a shot at the Irish title, in outpointing him by a round, recording a 58-57 result. Pro fight No 13 certainly wasn’t unlucky for Stokes, who improved his ledger to 11 victories with two in a row since back-to-back disappointments. He racked up eight points successes and a maiden TKO, over Paul Hilz, before defeats to Denny and Nicky Jenman, the latter his only stoppage loss. He’s rebuilt by vanquishing Lewis van Poetsch and Blaney on points and has now been handed a golden opportunity at the top of the bill.
Stokes said: “I was over the moon with my last win, I got a text with two weeks notice asking if I fancied it and I’d seen Blaney box before.
“It looked like a good 50-50, on paper, and it turned out to be close, so it was nice to have something go my way. I had nothing to lose, so I went for it and the gamble paid off. It was a bit scrappy, he was trying to be awkward and tie me up. I think he was trying to get his own shots off and then smother my work, but I kept going and felt like I deserved to get it.
“I’d seen him gas, in what I’d watched, so I was pretty confident that I could outwork him, even though I was only about 80 per cent fit. I had a couple of days off, after the fight, and then I was straight back on it. I’ll be 100 per cent by the time I get to Stoke and I want to take this shot with both hands.”
The undercartd feature a further four fights.
Luke Caci, from Newcastle-under-Lyme, is another product of the Orme gym in action and is unbeaten himself, with seven points successes. The 29-year-old is maneuvering his way down to the super middleweight division, having boxed mostly at light heavy so far. He hasn’t conceded a round so far as a pro and has a good grounding in the sport, having become a national titleist as an amateur.
The 29-year-old is maneuvering his way down to the super middleweight division, having boxed mostly at light heavy so far.
Former Midlands welterweight champion Rob Hunt hails from Stafford and will be undertaking his 33rd bout, at 33 years old. Hunt, who has been a pro for 13 years, recorded his 25th and last victory under the King’s Hall lights, outpointing Ryan ‘Stewart’ Davies for British Challenge honours.
Liam Davies, from Donnington in Telford, is another hopeful making his way as a pro after success in the unpaid ranks. The super bantamweight, 23, has already secured three wins, with his maiden TKO last time out with an impressive second round stoppage of Pablo Narvaez.
It came after two spotless points results in his favour, easing past Georgian Khvicha Gigolashvili by whitewash before bashing around Bulgaria’s Stefan Slavchev. The son of former Midlands champion Tristan Davies previously racked up 100 amateur contests for his father’s Donnington Boxing Club and boxed for England.
Midlands Super Lightweight Champion, Connor Parker, completes the card. The Swadlincote boxer fights for the first time in 2019 after being laid low with a neck injury.
Tickets, priced at £35 standard or £65 VIP ringside with a buffet and waitress service, are on sale now. It will be £40 for entry on the door. For more information, contact the boxers.