For Stoke boxers major titles are like buses; you don’t get one for ages and then three come along all at once. On 15th June Gary Reid will follow stable-mates Scott Lawton and Chris Edwards, both of whom have already challenged for British and Commonwealth titles this year, when he contests the vacant Commonwealth light-welterweight title. Reid will become the third Impact boxer to attempt to emulate the achievements of the Potteries last major champion, Tommy Harrison, who won British, Commonwealth and European honours during the 1920’s.
Gary will face Nigerian born Ajose Olusegun on a Frank Maloney promoted card at The National Sports Centre, Crystal Palace. Reid was offered the same opportunity against Olusegun last June at short notice consequently, after discussion with his management team; Reid had no option but to decline the offer on that occasion.
Reid is coming off the back of an impressive 5th round stoppage victory over Dean Hickman last month for the vacant Midlands Area light-welterweight title. With a record of W 13 (8 KO) L 16 D 1 Reid is currently ranked 10th in the UK light-welterweight division. Olusegun has won all 19 of his professional starts to date and has finished off 10 of his opponents within the distance and as the reigning African champion is ranked at 12 by the WBC.
At 5’ 9”, compared to Reid 5’ 5”, and with a superior record the 27 year old southpaw Olusegun will start as an overwhelming favourite. Reid however has caused his share of upsets in the past; in October 2003 Gary knocked out Oscar Hall in the second round, until then Hall had been undefeated in 24 professional starts. Last year Reid stopped former British title contender Kevin McIntyre in 6 and then, less than three weeks later, destroyed Leo O’Reilly in two rounds.
Impact Boxing too are accustomed to preparing their fighters to overturn the odds; in November last year Chris Edwards confounded all the pundits by securing an eighth round stoppage victory over Dale Robinson and went on to prove that it was no fluke by taking Robinson 12 rounds in a British and Commonwealth flyweight title bout earning a draw.
“Gary will start as the underdog,” said Impact spokesman Karl Stubbs, “but he goes in there with a decent chance. He has phenomenal punching power as he proved against Hickman last month and against McIntyre and O’Reilly last year and therefore Gary is a danger to anyone.”
“Olusegun represents the toughest opponent of Gary’s career and the fight is the biggest opportunity that he’s ever had so you can be sure that Gary will be focused and determined.”
“Four weeks notice for such an important fight is less than we’d have liked but he’s often taken important fights at much less notice.”
Reid himself added: “This is the opportunity that I’ve been looking for, I’ve always wanted to challenge for major titles and now I’ve got the chance to show what I can do. It’s the best news that I’ve ever had and I’m so excited I think it’ll take me a while to come back down to Earth.”
“Olusegun is a very formidable opponent but I don’t care if he’d won a hundred fights I’ll be ready for him. Mentally I’m ready to fight anyone at the moment and I’ll work harder than I’ve ever worked before to prepare for this one. I know that my trainer, Lindon Newbon, and the other lads in the Impact gym will have me equipped for the challenge but once I get in the ring it will be up to me. I can promise that I will do everything that I can to bring that belt back to Stoke.”
Frank Maloney Promotions presents “Back From The Brink’ at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, Ledrington Road London SE19 2BB on June 15, 2007. Tickets are priced at Â£70 and Â£40 and are available by logging onto www.frankmaloney.com or by calling the Box Office at 0871 226 1508. The fight is also televised live on Sky TV.
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