Luke Jones is anticipating a “cracker” when he challenges for the Midlands featherweight title as the under-dog next month.
Jones will jostle with unbeaten favourite James Beech Jr over 10 scheduled rounds, with the vacant area crown on the line.
They headline BCB Promotions’ offering in the Stadium Suite at the Banks’s Stadium, Walsall Football Club, on Saturday December 7. The bill is titled ‘Battle at the Banks’s.’
The two former sparring partners vie for a belt last held by Leigh Wood, who has since gone on to win Commonwealth honours.
Wood never defended the strap he claimed in 2016 by beating Lee Glover, who had been paired with Jones at one point before Beech came into the reckoning.
Another incentive is their meeting doubling up as an eliminator for the English title, which is expected to be relinquished by Reece Mould.
Jones must take the ‘0’ of Beech and thwart him from becoming a two-weight Midlands boss to sample glory on fight night.
The 25-year-old has a chequered pro record of six wins, two defeats and one draw from nine pro outings, with the latter stalemate the only time he’s failed to complete the distance.
That ended in a technical draw after just one round against Alec Bazza, with both men unable to continue after they were left badly cut from an accidental clash of heads.
His first loss later came to Dean Evans, a journeyman who upset the odds to end Jones’ undefeated streak by two rounds on points, with a 39-37 scoreline recorded.
Jones was then entered into a tournament where the Midlands title at super feather was the prize, taking on former champion Paul Holt in a six-rounder.
After a thrilling affair, Holt squeezed past him by a point to put a second pro setback on his standing, but the 58-57 verdict proved it was close.
Jones has since added more victories over Russ Midgley and Waqas Mohammed, who were outpointed like Joe Beeden, Harvey Hemsley, Qasim Hussain and Andy Harris before him.
Beech will be in his backyard, as he comes from nearby Bloxwich, but Jones will have less than 10 miles to travel from his home in Chasetown.
He said: “I’ve been after the Midlands title for a while, I originally thought it was going to be me and Lee, I never expected it to be James instead.
“It was only a few months ago we were sparring. We had a couple of good, hard sessions, you’d have paid money to watch us.
“The spars between us were close, so we’ll both go in there thinking we can win, so I reckon this one is going to be a cracker.
“It’s a 50-50 fight and that’s what I want to be involved with. I relish the opportunity and I’m sure he’s doing the same.
“He’s unbeaten, I’ve had a couple of defeats and a draw but also some good wins. I always rated beating Waqas as the best of them.
“He would have boxed my head off, if I’d let him, but I showed what I can do and won every round in the end.
“It was a strange one against Alec Bazza, we butted heads in the first 30 seconds and then it was over. He came off worse, I got glued up but he had eight stitches.
“When I lost to Dean Evans, I got caught cold in the second round and managed to recover. I felt it was enough to win, but it’s difficult to get back over four rounds.
“Then there was Paul Holt. The referee came to the wrong decision, even Paul told me afterwards he thought I won. I knew it was close, but I thought I’d edged it.
“Everyone that was there that night really enjoyed the fight, so imagine what it’s going to be like between me and James. It’s going to be even better.
“James will know he’s got to be switched on against me. I’ll come forward, I’ve got good fitness, I can box and mix it up.”
Hot prospect Liam Davies leads the way on the under-card, with another significant contest expected after an impressive impact last time out.
His bout with Jose Aguilar was scheduled for six, but was over in the fourth when Davies kept up his undefeated streak with a second TKO as a pro.
Davies had previously taken out Pablo Narvaez in two as part of his five wins from five outings, with all three of his other opponents visiting the floor but seeing the final bell.
Edward Bjorklund, Stefan Slavchev and Khvicha Gigolashvili climbed off the canvas and clung on against Davies, who has yet to drop even a round.
The 23-year-old super bantamweight, who hails from Donnington in Telford, comes from good stock after a stellar amateur career, where he racked up exactly 100 contests.
He recorded 78 wins and represented England at youth level, becoming a 2010 Schoolboys champion in the process.
The second generation fighter is the son of ex-pro Tristan Davies and represented his father’s Donnington Boxing Club in the unpaid ranks.
Troi Coleman, from Burntwood in Staffordshire, is also 5-0 as a super middleweight having reeled off a series of points victories since switching sports from kickboxing.
‘The Hawk,’ who still trains out of the Platinum gym in his hometown, has seen off Lewis van Poetsch, Darryl Sharp, Kevin McCauley, Scott Hillman and Owen Jobburn.
Cole Johnson, of Stoke-on-Trent, seeks his fifth paid success, after recording four points victories starting with his debut last year.
The lightweight hopeful hasn’t conceded a round so far as a pro and has a good grounding, having previously become a national titleist as an amateur.
Johnson claimed England Senior Development honours in 2017, representing Orme Boxing Club, and wants to build a path towards further accolades.
Southpaw Lauren Johnson, from nearby Willenhall, will lace on the gloves for the first time in nearly 18 months and is going up a weight to super welter.
‘The Black Widow’ returns after claiming the eight-round British Challenge strap in her previous outing, by making it a hat-trick of paid points results.
Dudley’s Ruben Campbell will be looking to have his hand raised for the third time, as a pro, after outpointing Ibrar Riyaz and Matt ‘MJ’ Hall so far.
Another second generation boxer, Campbell is planning to campaign as a super lightweight, where his dad Ray ‘Raza’ Campbell featured in the early 1990s.
The show will start at 6pm and end by 9pm, where screens will then be used at the venue to broadcast the world title fight between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr.
Joshua attempts to regain his WBA ‘super,’ WBO, IBF and IBO belts from Ruiz in Saudi Arabia, who are three hours ahead of UK time.
Tickets for the bill at Walsall FC are on sale now, which are priced at £35 standard or £65 VIP with a hot fork buffet.
They are available by calling the BCB Box Office on 07493 582 261 or online here:
It will be £40 for entry on the door.