Craig Kennedy aiming to seal Tony Conquest clash for 2016
Undefeated Cardiff cruiserweight Craig ‘The Kid’ Kennedy knows that victory on November 14 in Bristol can pave the way for a British title shot in the new year, but is quick to stress he’s taking it one step at a time.
The talented 30-year-old outscored Courtney Fry in an eliminator for the British title in June and, should he remain undefeated next weekend, can expect to meet Tony Conquest in a final eliminator for the Lonsdale belt by the end of next February.
“I’m not overlooking the opponent,” said Kennedy. “I never overlook anyone. But my main focus is obviously on that final eliminator in the new year. If I take care of business on November 14, it will be all systems go for the Tony Conquest bout, which has to take place before February 2016. That’s the plan.
“I’ve been searching for these fights for God knows how long. Tony Conquest is a very good fighter, but the better the opponent, the better I perform. I think I’m a few levels above him and I just can’t wait to show Britain what I’m capable of.
“I want to attack these top ten fighters and make my mark now. That’s all me and my team have been gunning for. I want to thank Tony for taking the opportunity. He wants the same thing I want. It makes for a very good match-up.”
Londoner Conquest, a professional for six years, may boast an edge in experience over Kennedy, but the unbeaten Welshman is adamant he possesses the greater power and durability.
“I feel I’m better all-round,” he said. “I know he’s quite fond of hitting the canvas. He’s been there a few times. And even though my record only shows a 50% knockout ratio, I can punch with both hands. If he comes to fight, which I know he will, there’s a very good chance he won’t see the final bell.”
Kennedy’s initial tune-up fight, scheduled for last Friday (October 30), fell through following the withdrawal of his opponent, but, much to his delight, he has found his way on to the bumper Bristol bill on November 14. As such, his preparations were able to continue without a hitch.
“It was really good news for me and the team after all the hard work we’ve put in lately,” he said. “We’ve made adjustments, we’ve been away to Russia for training, and I desperately wanted the fans to see the improvements.
“Mick Hennessy and the Sanigars have done us a massive favour. All the training is worth something now and I can’t wait to show off my skills to a different audience and show the Bristol people what I’m all about.”
A man now very much in-demand, Kennedy, 12-0 (6 KOs), recently spent three weeks in Russia sparring WBC number two-ranked cruiserweight Dmitry Kudryashov, a terrifying puncher who has won each of his eighteen professional fights within the scheduled distance. Fear not. Kennedy not only lived to tell the tale, he also held his own.
“I learnt an awful lot,” he said, “both in terms of boxing and my life outside of boxing. I just feel like I’m a different person heading into this fight.
“This game is all about mental strength. When you go there and hold your own with fighters who are ranked miles ahead of you, it can only do good things for your confidence and self-belief. It’s only going to make me stronger as a person and as a fighter.”
*** For tickets to BANG BANG: The Knockout Kings, please contact the Ticketline Box Office on 0844 888 4402, the Sanigar Events Box Office on 0117 949 6699 or visit www.hennessysports.com ***
*** Blackwell vs. Matthews will be televised exclusively on Channel 5 from 10 pm, Saturday, November 14. Meanwhile, Hughie Lewis Fury, Craig Kennedy and a pick of the Bristol undercard will be televised earlier in the evening on Spike ***