Lee Purdy withdraws from Carson Jones fight, Barker/Hope tops bill
Despite the disappointment, I'll still be ringside. For updates, follow @dvano1 Here's my piece:
British fight fans were left disappointed this afternoon after Lee ‘Lights Out’ Purdy was forced to withdraw from Saturday’s ‘Christmas *******’ show with a virus. Colchester’s Purdy was due to take on former Kell Brook victim Carson Jones in an IBF ‘International’ title fight which would have seen the winner in line to challenge for world honours. ‘Thanks for all the kind messages from everyone. I’m absolutely gutted that I can’t fight. Hopefully get it on early next year’ said the hard hitting Welterweight on Twitter.
This is not the first cancellation to weaken the show. Late last week, European Lightweight champion Gavin Rees was left without an opponent for the December 8th show after Manchurian John Murray failed a medical.
While Welshmen Rees has been pulled from the card completely, it remains to be seen whether Oklahoma’s Jones will fight a late replacement.
The card, shown live on Sky Sports, still goes ahead, with Darren Barker (23-1) vs Kerry Hope promoted to main event.
Having lost his unbeaten record at the hands of Middleweight king Sergio Martinez in October last year, Barker has suffered a frustrating 12 months. The Barnet man was forced to undergo surgery to resolve a hip problem, and was then forced to withdraw from his comeback fight against Simone Rotolo back in September having damaged tendons in his arm while sparring.
During that time, Merthyr Tydfil’s Kerry Hope (18-4) has fought four times. He ended 2011 with a Majority Decision win over Tony Hill, and then shocked the world by outpointing the hard hitting Grzegorz Proksa to win the European Title in March. While Proksa avenged the loss in 8 rounds just four months later, Hope’s performance in the pair’s first fight makes him a live underdog going in. The Welshmen will look to close the distance and outwork Barker on the inside, but ‘Dazzling Darren’ should have enough class to win unanimously on the cards.
Erick Ochieng will defend his English Light Middleweight title against Birmingham’s Terry Carruthers. Carruthers (14-13-6) fights just a month after being stopped in the Light Middleweight Prizefighter final against Larry Ekundayo. But it was his quarterfinal war with Peter Vaughan which secured this fight. Erick ‘The Eagle’ has lost just once in his twelve fight career, and captured the vacant English 154lb crown by stopping Nick Quigley in January. Since then the Kenyan born Londoner has successfully defended his title on the big stage, boxing on the Carl Froch / Lucian Bute and Bellew / Miranda undercards, and he should win again here on the judges’ scorecards.
Islington prospect John Ryder faces his toughest test in the professional ranks as he tackles the unbeaten Eamonn O’Kane in what is likely to be an eliminator for the British Middleweight title. Southpaw Ryder is six years the younger man and has impressed audiences with his hard punching body attack which has seen him win all 12 contests (7 early). But Northern Ireland’s O’Kane (8-0) represents a significant step up in class. Back in May, ‘King Kane’ battled his way through the Middleweight Prizefighter line up to claim the £32,000 cheque, and followed it up by outpointing Terry Carruthers four months later. But Ryder’s superb body assault and fast hands should see him win comfortably on points.
There is also place on the stacked card for the talented Bantamweight Khalid Yafai, who takes on Spanish Champion Jorge Perez. Former Olympian Yafai improved to 5-0 last time out (4 KOs) and will look to end matters early once more. The fight may be a case of ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ with Perez having been stopped on previous three occasions.
The Evangelou brothers Chris and Andreas are also in action over six and four rounds respectively, while Martin Ward (Lightweight, 3-0), Callum Smith (Super Middleweight 1-0), Dale Evans (Welterweight, 3-0) and Cruiserweight Wadi Camacho (5-0) look to build on their early success.