Leek’s Andy Keates is ready to take his second chance at the English Lightweight Title.
The Midlands Area Super Lightweight Champion stepped down in weight to challenge holder, Kevin Hooper, in November; losing on a paper-thin majority decision.
However, he has been given a second shot at the title, vacated by Hooper who goes in search of British honours, when he faces unbeaten Londoner, Ohara Davies, at The O2 on April 9, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
The fight features on the undercard of a huge Matchroom show headlined by Anthony Joshua MBE’s IBF World Heavyweight title clash with Charles Martin.
“It’s a massive opportunity for me,” Keates told www.uko-boxing.com. “When (manager) Errol Johnson called, I was made up.
“I have been in training since January as I have had three fighters pull out on me, so the short notice doesn’t concern me. I have learnt a lot of things since boxing Hooper. I am always looking to improve and the fights are getting bigger and better.
“I have watched Ohara Davies and have seen his KO record but, to be honest, he has never been tested. He’s a very good boxer but, as with a lot of young fighters, he’s been in with a lot of journeymen. That’s not me. He’s never stood and done 10 rounds
“I am expecting him to come for me to knock me out to keep up his perfect record but I know I don’t box like a lightweight and my punch power is testament to that. I have been sparring with bigger, heavier boxers than Ohara so his shots are not going to affect me like they have others.
“The opportunity is just incredible and I’d like to thank Errol and Matchroom. I come from a small town so to be handed this chance is just amazing. I’m so proud of myself and I know my family are extremely proud. My kids are my life and I do everything for them. I deserve to be in these kind of fights just as much as anyone and I’ll show that on the night.
“I didn’t think this would happen for a couple more years and to be on an ‘AJ’ undercard makes it even more exciting. I’m a big fan of his.”
Also on the card, Lee Selby defends his IBF World Featherweight title against Eric Hunter, while there’s a key Middleweight battle between former World title challengers Matthew Macklin and Brian Rose, three-time World Super-Middleweight title challenger George Groves meets unbeaten Scotsman David Brophy, plus more fights to be confirmed soon. Visit www.matchroomboxing.com for more information.Davies boxes for a first title in the paid ranks, racing to 10-0 and adding an eighth stoppage win to his impressive resume in January at The Copper Box Arena in London.
‘Two Tanks’ will look to win the crown in style, aiming for a fifth straight win inside the distance on his fourth outing at the Greenwich venue, but Keates will be looking to land the belt in his second tilt at the title, having been edged out by Kevin Hooper in November.
“I’m delighted to finally get the chance to fight for a title as a pro,” said Davies. “It’s a big step for me from the six-rounders I’ve had so far – this is my first title fight and first fight over 10 rounds. I’ve had to tailor my training to be ensure I’m fit for the latter stages – if it lasts that long.
“Andy is a Southpaw so I’ve had to prepare for that. I’ve watched some of his fights on YouTube and his fight with Kevin Hooper was good – but I’m confident I can stop him in three rounds.
“My apprenticeship is over now and after this I’m ready to start challenging for British title and beyond.”
Davies’ clash with Keates is part of a huge night of boxing at The O2 as Anthony Joshua MBE challenges Charles Martin for the IBF World Heavyweight title.
Lee Selby defends his IBF World Featherweight title against Eric Hunter, while there’s a key Middleweight battle between former World title challengers Matthew Macklin and Brian Rose, three-time World Super-Middleweight title challenger George Groves meets unbeaten Scotsman David Brophy, plus more fights to be confirmed soon.