IMAGE: BOXXER PROMOTIONS
River Wilson-Bent has warned Ryan Kelly that size matters as ‘River 2.0’ prepares to challenge for the Commonwealth Silver middleweight title.
The two will battle for the belt at the sold out Holiday Inn Queensway, in Birmingham city centre, during a Friday fight night, on October 27, under the BCB Promotions banner.
Wilson-Bent trains in the second city, but lives in Exhall, Coventry, with proud Brummie Kelly hailing from Chelmsley Wood. Both are former Midlands area champions.
There hasn’t been another area boss at middleweight since Wilson-Bent’s reign, while Kelly held the regional strap at super welter, although he has boxed as low as welter.
Wilson-Bent has twice challenged for the English crown, battling to a draw with Tyler Denny, before being outpointed, on a split decision, in the rematch.
Denny has gone on to shine and now has an opportunity at European honours, against champion Matteo Signani, at The Halls, in Wolverhampton, on November 18.
Who has the bragging rights between Wilson-Bent and Kelly will be decided by then, which represents a tasty tussle at domestic level, that is scheduled for 10 rounds.
Just three defeats are on Wilson-Bent’s pro ledger, with one to Denny and further losses to big-hitters Hamzah Sheeraz and Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams.
He’s also racked up 15 wins, containing six TKOs, and one draw, from 18 pro contests, with a new training team in place for his 20th paid outing.
The 29-year-old has vowed to get himself back on track, having been snubbed for a second chance at the now-vacant English title, with Brad Pauls and Mitchell Frearson next in line.
Wilson-Bent said: “This could put me into a better position and, when I got the call for the (Ryan) Kelly fight, I was licking my lips. We’ve been speaking about it for a while.
“I’ve shared rounds with Ryan, first when I was an amateur and then when I was a novice pro. They were good spars. The second time, he was getting ready for Hamzah Sheeraz.
“I’ve boxed Sheeraz, too, but the version that I faced was a different man and much further on in his career. It was three years after Ryan faced him.
“I wanted to try something new, so I’ve gone with a new coach (Paul Hudson). It was a hard decision to make, because Brendan (Norman) has trained me since I was an amateur.
“I’ve really gelled, with a new style, so just call me ‘River 2.0!’ I’m in great shape, too, because I’ve been working with Kyle (Wish) on my strength and conditioning.
“Training has been immense and I’m highly confident that I’ll get the win. I’m a big middleweight and, on fight night, Ryan will realise that.
“I just think that I’ll be too much for him. My game-plan is to take over and outbox him, either at range, on the outside, or in close. He doesn’t have a clue what I’m going to bring.
“I was hoping to get another shot at the English title, but it looks like that’s gone away. I don’t know why, because I was the closest result (points split decision) that Tyler (Denny) had.
“Brad Pauls is getting another crack at it, who Ryan has lost to, and I didn’t understand that. I believe that I can beat them both, particularly to become English champion.
“I’m made up for Tyler that he’s going for the European (title). There was silly beef between us, before both fights, but we’ve made up and sparred together since.
“Tyler is a phenomenal fighter and a hard night’s work for anyone. It wouldn’t surprise me if he pulled it off and brought the belt home. I’ll be there to support him.”
Tickets for the Holiday Inn bill are now sold out but you can still catch the show live and for free on BCB’s official YouTube channel.