Former European champ Kerry Hope will look to get his career back on track, and exorcise the memory of his 2012 KO defeat to Darren Barker, when he boxes on the undercard of the English super-featherweight title fight between Jon Kays and Kevin Hooper at the Oldham Sports Centre on October 5.
Although there is no disgrace in losing to a top talent like Barker, who has since gone on to become world middleweight champion, Merthyr Tydfil’s Hope feels that circumstances didn’t allow him to shine on his big night against ‘Dazzling’ Darren.
“You can’t take anything away from Darren, he’s a world class fighter,” stated Kerry, whose bout, along with the rest of the show will be streamed live and free on VIPBOXING.TV, “but I know how I felt going into that fight and I’m very disappointed I took it.
“Looking back, we knew what we had to do. Darren had been out of the ring for a while and there was the chance of ring rust with him, but I’d had a busy 14 months and I felt tired and lethargic. I wasn’t fresh and I’m disappointed I took the fight, as I’ve said. I didn’t do what was asked of me. So, I’m so thankful to Steve Wood, my manager, for sticking by me and getting me back into it.”
Hope’s next two bouts could prove to be career-defining. On the Oldham show, that features a terrific line-up line-up including local star Ronnie Heffron and former Prizefighter winner Terry Flannigan, Hope is slated to face the hugely experienced Max Maxwell. Two weeks later and the 31-year-old takes on Eamonn O’Kane for the Celtic middleweight belt. Win these bouts and he’s back in the British title picture, lose and options become limited. Knowing it’s make-or-break time, the Welshman is taking it one step at a time.
“All I want to do is get in and do what I do best, and box to instructions. I want to get some ring rust off [against Maxwell] and then approach the O’Kane fight. He’s a tough kid, but you don’t get handed European titles for being an average fighter. I’m a tough kid myself and it should make for a good fight.
“I’ve had my back against the wall before now. I’ve had disappointments and I’ve come back fighting from them. That not only shows a test of character but also says a lot about me as a person. Anything is possible. I’m not going to make any big predictions. I just want to win against Maxwell and then O’Kane and that should set me up for future big fights.”
Promoter Steve Wood said: “Kerry has never had the chance to fight for the British title, but I’m convinced it’s a belt he can win. He’s proved his quality by being a European champion and I still think there’s a lot left from him. The headliner between Kays and Hooper will be a great fight, and with the likes of Kerry and Terry Flannigan appearing, this Oldham show is going to be a great evening of boxing. Tickets are still available and the show will be streamed live and free.”
VIP Promotions presents Jon Kays versus Kevin Hooper for the vacant English super-featherweight title at the Oldham Sports Centre on October 5. The undercard will feature boxers from across the Northwest including Merseyside’s Louis Cuddy and Gary Ormrod; Middleton’s Alex Rutter and Curtis Gargano; Manchester’s Sam Omidi and Terry Flannigan, Oldham’s Ronnie Heffron, Ashley Mayall and Marvin Greaves; Denton’s Callum Cooke, and Morecambe’s Isaac Lowe.
Tickets, priced at £30 (General) and £50 (Ringside), are available from all boxers or at www.vipbe.co.uk
The show will also be streamed live and free at www.vipboxing.tv
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