Midlands Light Welterweight Champion, Andy Keates, hopes his victory over the previously undefeated Luke Paddock will kick-start his boxing career.
The 24-year old was awarded a narrow 96-95 decision, and the subsequent Area Belt, after a breath-taking contest with Paddock last month. Now, full of confidence and belief, the Stoke scrapper wants to demonstrate his technical ability in preparation for his English Title challenge in November.
“That fight changed a lot,” smiled Keates. “The way I prepared, I always said I’d have a chance and I knew it was the biggest fight of my career.”
“I said all along that winning the Midlands Area Title was like winning a world title for me.
“It’s definitely opened a few doors and people are really starting to talk now.”
Keates fell to his knees when announced as the new title-holder at the Banks’s Stadium last month and will make a return to the home of Walsall Football Club to face Matt Seawright this coming Saturday (10th October).
The Potteries pugilist was congratulated by his family and close friends at ringside last month and was quick to highlight them as his main source of motivation as he looks to move his career forward.
“They (family) put up with a hell of a lot,” he admitted. “I dedicate myself completely to boxing and they’ve been with me through it all.
“My little girl woke up the morning after and asked if her Daddy had the belt for her.
“She’s only 3 years old and she’s now starting to realise what I do; I take punches for a living. I do it for them as well as me though. For a better life for us all.
“To be able to take the Midlands home was just an amazing feeling.
“But this is just the start now.”
His war with Paddock began at blistering pace with the two men standing toe-to-toe from the outset.
Keates’ solid shots may have earned him the victory on the night but the 24 year-old is adamant there’s more to his repertoire than to simply trade punches and is keen to showcase his skills as much as his steel.
“I can do both. If people want to come to fight I’ll fight but I can box as well,” Keates continued.
“Some people will think I can’t and will expect me to just come forward in straight lines and that’s fine.
“I want to put the pressure on and then box as well at times. That said; I can’t be complacent because I can’t afford any hiccups at this stage.
“I need the ring craft and to get six good rounds in which I know Matt (Seawright) will give me.
“He’s a strong lad and he’s cocky in the ring at times as well so it will be tricky but I’m ready.
“The English title has to go to the back of my mind.
“I’ve had a great response from everyone since I announced the fight but lets get this one out the way first.”
Keates is fighting on Black Country Boxing’s ‘Fast and Fierce’ bill, headlined by Steven Pearce’s warm up fight with Arvydas Trizno, as he also prepares for an English Title shot – against Adam Little in December.
The show also features Sam Evans, Chris Keane, Manny Zaber, Anthony Upton, Kieron McLaren and Reuben Arrowsmith.
Tickets are still available from the Walsall FC Ticket Office. Prices are £30 for standard admission and £60 for stage and ringside seating. Call 01922 651 414 for more information.