The British Middleweight title will be up for grabs at the Brentwood Centre in Essex this weekend when Commonwealth Champ Darren Barker aims to add the Lonsdale belt to his list of honours while Birmingham’s Wayne Elcock looks to regain his old title.
The Hennessy Sports event is live on ITV4 and the undercard will see a host of emerging young talent with their own title ambitions including Barker’s gym mates, Bradley “Buzzsaw” Evans and Bobby “Boogaloo” Ward.
The duo have identical records since turning pro earlier this year with two wins and a draw a piece. With both men competing in the lightweight division and training out of Tony Sims Gym in Hainault they have been able to provide each other with plenty of sparring as they serve their professional apprenticeships.
“For this fight I’ve actually mixed their sparring up a bit,” revealed Sims. “Sometimes when two guys spar so regularly they lose their edge a bit in the spars so I’ve freshened things up a bit for them for this fight by bringing in different people to work with them.”
Both Evans, who hails from Royston and Ward, a Romford native entered the pro ranks this year on the back of impressive amateur careers. Evans won the ABA title at featherweight last year and was awarded the best boxer of the night while Ward’s unpaid career included an English Schoolboy title by beating a certain Amir Khan in the final.
“They’re both excellent young prospects,” said Sims. “They both did well in the amateur game but it will take them a little time to transition to the pro game. Bradley’s still only 20 and Bobby’s only 22 so there is no rush with either of them.”
Neither man has to look too far for inspiration with Barker the leading light in Sim’s gym at the moment. “Watching Darren in the gym shows you the standard you need to get to if you want to be a success in the pros,” said Ward.
“Guys like Darren might have an awful lot of ability but they work harder than everyone else as well and that’s why they are as successful as they are and that’s something I’ve seen for myself at the gym.”
Saturday’s undercard also features Colchester’s Lee Purdy defending his Southern Area Welterweight title against Wokingham’s Mark Douglas while exciting light middleweight puncher Yassine El Maachi will also be in action alongside Daniel Cadman and Phill Fury.
Tickets for the bout priced £30 and £80 are available from the Ticketline box office on 0844 888 4402 or via www.ticketline.co.uk.