James Beech Jr hopes to amend family history when he takes on Scotsman Nathaniel Collins for the British and Commonwealth Featherweight Titles in Glasgow on March 10 writes Jack Heather.
The Bloxwich boxer is a second-generation fighter and “Would love nothing more” than to win the British Title, not only for himself but also for his father.
Jimmy Beech Sr fought a plethora of top domestic names in the 2000s such as Gavin Rees, Willie Limond and Michael Gomez, but was never able to capture the illustrious Lord Lonsdale belt.
Beech said: “I would watch boxing with my dad as a kid and he would say to me ‘go and win me one of those belts’, so I would love to win it for him and hand it to him after the fight.
“He would appreciate that, and I would love nothing more.
“When you think of all the big names that have won the British Title that you have watched growing up, you want to be there yourself and here I am.
“It would be like a dream.”
The BCB promotions-managed fighter will travel to Thistle Hotel, the same venue where his father suffered his first professional defeat more than two decades earlier.
Despite the unkind history, the 25-year-old Englishman won’t be fazed by the hostile atmosphere that awaits and has become accustomed to being behind enemy lines.
He said: “In my last fight, as I walked out in Coventry, Raza Hamza had about 500 fans there.
“I love it, it spurs me on.
“I prefer it if I’m being honest, it gets the grit between your teeth.”
Beech fought for the British Title on the first boxing show post-lockdown back in 2020 but fell short against Brad Foster over 12 rounds.
It has been almost three years since that defeat and despite subsequent losses to Dennis McCann and Chris Bourke, Beech has worked his way back into contention.
He said: “I have lost a couple now but that doesn’t mean anything, most people haven’t been in proper fights, I have.
“It has been a long road back, and I have worked my way back up and earnt my opportunity.
“I feel like I have definitely earnt it.”
“I have never shied away from any challenge and have boxed everyone that has been asked of me.
A unanimous decision victory over the previously undefeated Raza Hamza last time out meant Beech was mandated to fight for the title by the British Boxing Board of Control.
He said: “Raza Hamza was supposed to be fighting for the belts, but I beat him so now it’s my chance and that is how boxing should work, you beat people and move on.
“That win was definitely the best of my career.”
Beech trains out of Great Wyrley ABC under the tutelage of 2019 Midlands Trainer of The Year, Pete Hickenbottom.
“I leave it to my trainer now to come up with a gameplan and I just focus on myself,” Beech explains.
“I haven’t watched too much of Collins because I have studied opponents in the past and got obsessed with them, watching them nearly every night and then you get in the ring, and it is completely different.
The Walsall native boasted an impressive 50 wins from 80 bouts as an amateur boxing out of Pleck ABC before turning professional in 2017 whilst still a teenager.
Beech admits he has made mistakes in the past but believes he now has the ability, to not only compete but win at this level.
He said: “I know where I have gone wrong in the past and I am looking to put it right this time.
“I am training as hard as ever.
“I am definitely coming into my best form, I am becoming a man now.
“I turned professional young, I was only 19 so I was still a kid really whereas now I’m punching harder, feeling stronger and more experienced.”
Beech has the opportunity to add the British Title to his collection of belts, having already secured Midlands Area Titles at both super-featherweight and featherweight.