Saturday night marks the eagerly awaited return of local favourite Josh Warrington, who meets little known Italian Davide Dieli for the vacant EBU Featherweight title at the impressive First Direct Arena in the heart of his beloved Leeds.
Eddie Hearn and Matchroom have taken the opportunity of what promises to be a raucous occasion to assemble a deep card, packed with notable names from their growing stable.
Returning to action in the chief supporting bout, this time at Light Welterweight is former two-weight World Champion Ricky Burns. The Scotsman contests what appears to be a routine 8-rounder against Frenchman Alexandre Lepelly (17-1-1 3KO’s). Burns (36-4-1 11KO’s) now under the tutelage of Tony Sims, comes into the fight on the back of 3 straight defeats (If you correctly count the Raymundo Beltran debacle as a defeat) and will take the opportunity to feel his way into a new weight class, against a fighter not renowned for his punching ability.
There have been worrying signs from Ricky Burns of late, which began when he toughed out a bizarre victory over the blatantly superior Jose Gonzalez, who was stopped in his corner due to an apparent lack of heart when up on all cards. The culmination of which was the departure from long-term trainer and father figure Billy Nelson and a jaunt into the 10st (140lbs) class.
Ricky has put these struggles down to difficulty shifting the weight, I certainly hope that is the case and we see the return of the busy, exciting Burns of old. Should he win well, which I fully expect him to do, look for him to challenge British and Commonwealth title hold Willie Limond in a domestic scrap in keeping with the current vogue. However, designs on World honours seem far-fetched at this stage; however, write Ricky Burns off at your peril.
In keeping with the theme of fighters looking to rebuild, Light Middleweight Brian Rose (25-2-1 7KO’s) is back in action against the latest product of Eddie Hearn’s famed South American opponent production line Ignacio Lucero Fraga (11-7-3 5KO’s). Rose will be looking to feel his way back with a routine nights work, following his brave, but ultimately devastating defeat to WBO ruler Demetrius Andrade in Brooklyn.
Also on the undercard, Callum Smith (13-0 10KO’s) widely regarded as one of World Boxing’s most exciting prospects, warms up for the biggest test for his career to date against Nikola Sjekloca in Liverpool on 22nd November. Rafael Sosa Pintos (48-10 19KO’s) will provide the resistance on what promises to be a long night for the seasoned Uruguayan, who will face Smith in spiteful mood, following events in Kiel this past Saturday. If you haven’t seen Callum Smith to date, make the effort to do so, as every time is a real treat.
Tyrone Nurse, Stephen Simmons, David Brophy and Callum Johnson all feature on the remainder of an excellent card, which will be backed fittingly by a hot atmosphere in one of the countries most passionate cities.