Lockett vs Rhodes Set

23.12.05 - Power-punching middleweights Gary Lockett and Ryan Rhodes predict it will be an early night for one of them when they collide for the Vacant WBU World Middleweight title on Saturday 11 March at the Newport Sports Centre. Welshman Lockett, 29, is regarded as the hardest puncher in the domestic 160lb division with 17 knockouts in 25 fights with 15 of them coming inside two rounds and reckons Rhodes will crack under his heavy-handed assault..

The Rocket said, "We can both whack so I don't see it going the distance,"

"It's a 50/50 fight going in and it will come down to who wants it the most and who can out-gun who,"

"I know what Ryan can do, he's a strong switch-hitter with plenty of power but he holds his chin high and I know that if I land on it then it will good-night to him,"

"Jason Matthews and Lee Blundell stopped him early so I will have to jump on him from the opening round and not give him any time or distance to let him get into the fight."

Lockett fought in Rome last month on the undercard of the WBO World Cruiserweight title fight between Johnny Nelson and Vincenzo Cantatore and alongside fellow Welshman Enzo Maccarinelli but his performance was affected by a stomach bug despite beating Victor Kpadenue on points.

He continued, "That wasn't the best performance to date because of the illness but I got the job done and now I'm fully focused on March 11 against Ryan,"

"I'm delighted that the fight is Wales in front of my home fans, it's the opportunity that I've been waiting for and I'm sure that it's going to be the shoot-out that they are expecting."

During the mid-90's, Rhodes cut his way through the light-middleweights to become at 20 the youngest British Champion in 57 years and the fastest ever outright winner of the Lonsdale belt in just 90 days.

After splitting from the Brendan Ingle camp in Sheffield in February, Rhodes, also 29, then teamed up with former gym-mate-turned-trainer Dave Coldwell and returned to his original promoter Frank Warren and has since won four fights with three stoppages.

Rhodes, who has 34 wins from 37 fights with 21 KO's and 16 inside the first three rounds, is confident of knocking Lockett out as he aims for a successful third world title attempt after his two previous bids for the WBO crown against Otis Grant and Jason Matthews came short.

"This will be the most explosive fight that you will see next year," said Rhodes excitedly.

"It's not going to go beyond four rounds, it can't do by the way we both punch and I'm confident that I will be the one left standing,"

He added, "I've seen him fight plenty of times and have seen some weaknesses here and there in his style that I can exploit,"

"I respect his power but I know I've got the superior skill, power, strength and heart to take him out."

On the undercard Celtic Welterweight Champion Tony Doherty will have to take on Taz Jones again in a re-run of their scrap in September when Doherty got a close points decision.

Gavin Rees, Barrie Jones, Tony Morgan, Kerry Hope and Nathan Cleverley complete the card.

Tickets for No Mercy, priced at 30, 50 and 75, are available from the Newport Sports Centre Box Office on 01633 656 757, Body Tec on 07799 456 400 or Enzo Calzaghe on 07968 215 171.

Article posted on 23.12.2005

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