James Beech Jr and Luke Jones are both in confident mood ahead of Saturday’s Midlands Area Featherweight Title showdown.
The local pair – Beech is from Walsall and Jones from Chasetown – clash for the vacant strap on the same night that Anthony Joshua aims to wrestle his world titles back from Andy Ruiz in Saudi Arabia.
The setting for Beech vs. Jones is a little different – they meet at Walsall FC’s Banks’s Stadium – but the occasion means just as much to the Midlands duo.
“I’m ready for this,” exclaimed Beech, who has already lifted a Midlands strap at Super Featherweight. “It’s a big one for both of us and I’ll be as fit, if not fitter, than when I boxed for the Midlands title before.
“I’ve got that experience, too, and I could have gone past the ninth
round then. I had more in the tank, so I know I can do the distance.
“I’m expecting this to be harder, it’s another step up for me and I’ve had good spars with Luke in the past. He’s a strong lad, but I pushed him back as well.
“No disrespect to Louis Fielding, but I think Luke is a better fighter.
He’s given a decent account of himself, against some good opponents.
“He’s only done six-rounders, though, and I’ve done six, eight and reckon I’ll be fine going 10. I’ve had my own tests along the way.”
“I’ve been after the Midlands title for a while,” added Jones. “I
originally thought it was going to be me and Lee Glover, I never expected it to
be James instead.
“It was only a few months ago we were sparring. We had a couple of good, hard sessions, you’d have paid money to watch us.
“The spars between us were close, so we’ll both go in there thinking we
can win, so I reckon this one is going to be a cracker.
“It’s a 50-50 fight and that’s what I want to be involved with. I relish
the opportunity and I’m sure he’s doing the same.
“He’s unbeaten, I’ve had a couple of defeats and a draw but also some good wins. I always rated beating Waqas as the best of them.
“He would have boxed my head off, if I’d let him, but I showed what I can do and won every round in the end.”
The two former sparring partners vie for a belt last held by Leigh Wood,
who has since gone on to win Commonwealth honours.
Wood never defended the strap he claimed in 2016 by beating Glover. Another incentive is their meeting doubling up as an eliminator for the English title, which is expected to be relinquished by Reece Mould.
Beech and Jones weigh-in at Walsall Football Club at 1.00pm tomorrow (Friday) and members of the public are welcome to attend.
Hot prospect Liam Davies leads the way on the under-card with a six-rounder against Romania Stefan Nicolaeafter an impressive impact last time out.
His bout with Jose Aguilar was scheduled for six, but was over in the fourth when Davies kept up his undefeated streak with a second TKO as a pro.
Another six-rounder sees Ricky Summers, from Tipton but now a resident of Wombourne, Wolverhampton, takes on Latvia Raimonds Sniedze.
‘Digger’ will be targeting a 17th paid victory, with five TKOs previously recorded, and there are still just two defeats on his pro ledger.
Summers was valiantly outpointed by then-champion Frank Buglioni for the British crown two years ago and again to Andre Sterling in a final eliminator last February.
Troi Coleman, from Burntwood in Staffordshire, is also 5-0 as a middleweight having reeled off a series of points victories since switching sports from kickboxing. He takes on the evergreen Londoner, Jordan Grannum over four rounds.
Cole Johnson, of Stoke-on-Trent, seeks his fifth paid success, after recording four points victories starting with his debut last year.
The Orme Boxing Club lightweight, a sister gym for BCB, takes on Telford’s Dean Jones who is trained by former BCB fighter, Kieron ‘Slammer’ Gray, over four rounds.
19 year-old Worcester warrior, Owen Cooper, will be looking to build on his impressive start to life in the pro ranks. Cooper turned over at Walsall Town Hall in September by going up against Paul Cummings, who was half a foot taller and came in a lot heavier.
Their clash went the four-round distance, with Cooper coming out on top through a 40-37 scoreline, dropping just a share of a session. He takes on road warrior, Fonz Alexander, again over four rounds, this time around.
Doors open at 5.00pm with the show starting at 6.00pm and ending by 8.30pm, where screens will then be used at the venue to broadcast the world title fight between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr.
Joshua attempts to regain his WBA ‘super,’ WBO, IBF and IBO belts from Ruiz in Saudi Arabia, who are three hours ahead of UK time.
Tickets for the bill at Walsall FC are on sale now, which are priced
at £35 standard or £65 VIP with a hot fork buffet.
They are available by calling the Walsall FC Box Office on 01922 651 414, extension 416. It will be £40 for entry on the door.