Basildon’s Paul Hilz (2-2)will be vying for the British Challenge super-middleweight belt on September 23rdat the Grays Civic Hall against Lewis van Poetsch (4-45) over eight three-minute rounds.
After enjoying a successful stint in the thriving unlicensed boxing scenein Essex, winning 12 of his 14 fights and collecting the IBA British and European cruiserweight titles, Hilz turned professional under Carl Greaves’ management in 2014.
The 35-year-old’s next fight in September will be for the newly-formed Challenge belt, recently created in place of the Masters titles, which have long since been disbanded.
Boxing fans became dismayed with the many different versions of Masters belts, diluting the credibility of the titles.
The new Challenge belt came about via a group of promoters with the British Boxing Board of Control agreeing to act as quality control agents of the contests that the promoters’ present, and either approve or decline the fights, accordingly.
The former unlicensed boxing champion explained what winning the belt would mean to him, “Carl [Greaves] said he was happy to put me forward to fight for it but that he has to present it to the Board first, which made me think this is serious stuff!
“Because of my late start, it’ll probably be the best and biggest achievement that I can win in boxing.
“I work so hard for my capabilities and put in what I can, so to have something to show for all that work would mean a lot to me.
“It’s the loneliest sport in the world and I do it for the kids to be proud of and look back on.
“I shouldn’t even be here doing boxing but I’ve pushed through the boundaries to be here and achieve my goals to show that you can do it despite people telling you that you can’t.”
The British Challenge belt has previously been won by former English super-lightweight champion Shayne Singleton who fights Bradley Skeete next for his British welterweight belt.
Likewise, Craig Bunn, a former ABA championcurrently unbeaten in 10, has won the super-middleweight version with a fifth-round stoppage win over ‘The Fighting Fireman’ Dean Gillen earlier this year.
Unbeaten in eight, bantamweight prospect Thomas Kindon also has a British Challenge belt proudly sitting at home to add to his hoard of amateur accolades being a six-time national amateur champion.
The belt clearly carries a lot more credibility than its predecessor – the Masters title.
September 23rd will provide Hilz with his second crack at the strap, previously falling short in his last challenge to Scott Douglas (2-3-2) in December 2015.
It was the 168-pounder’s second eight-round contest in just his fourth pro bout, also doubling up as his maiden title fight.
“I felt that I had a lot going on at the time and fight night coming around was a relief!” said Hilz. “When I lost, and in the way that I did,it opened my eyes to pro boxing.
“I gave my everything and Scott Dan just did what he needed to do in there, stuck to his game-plan, kept jabbing and not getting involved. I was chasing him around the ring and, it being only my fourth pro fight, he was more experienced with a better boxing craft.
“I went in there fighting and he handled the pressure brilliantly.
“It means more to me now because I lostand I have to come back from that, so for Carl [Greaves] and Kevin [Lilley] to give me another chance shows that they believe in me, which means so much to me.”
Standing in his way this time is 25-year-old ‘Poochi’ from Gloucestershire, another experienced opponentwho will be entering into his 16th bout of this year.
Boasting twice as many wins as Hilz, van Poetsch is essentially a journeyman but carries a vaster experience with him into the contest.
The soon-to-be 50-fight veteran has defeated unbeaten prospects and shared the ring with English, British and Commonwealth champions in his four-year long career.
Hilz has left nothing to chance in his preparations for fight night, “I’ve been working so hard for this one, I work hard anyway but I’ve taken it up even higher for this one by sparring with Anthony Ogogo, John Ryder and Ted Cheeseman.”
Keeping his feet on the floor, Hilz hasn’t allowed himself to look past this next fight in September, stating, “I would love to defend the title next but it’sstupid of me to even think of that before I’ve even fought for it; I just want to concentrate on that night first to make sure that win is mine.”