Lofty lightweights signal return of world-famous York Hall next month

Frank Warren

BOXING is coming home next month with a show topped by the two loftiest lightweights in the world ! The York Hall in Bethnal Green is set to stage a show on Saturday, July 31.

There hasn’t been boxing at the iconic East End venue since March 14, 2020.

Mo Prior is the promoter taking boxing back there and said: “Everyone knows how special the York Hall is.

“I’ve been going there since the 1980s to watch fighters like Colin Derrick and Mark Kaylor.

“I’m just hoping that if they let 45,000 people into a football match, we can try to fill the York Hall. 

“I wanted to put shows on (during the pandemic), but it didn’t add up. It was impossible to do it without television. 

“I feel sorry for the fighters. I’ve been getting ‘phone calls every day. For some of them, it’s their only income, but what could I do ?”

The vacant Southern Area lightweight title is on the line next month, with Boy Jones and Connor Marsden clashing.

Jones stands 6ft tall – and Marsden is around four inches taller!  

Boxnation and BT Sport viewers remember Jones as a fan-friendly fighter compared to Leo Santa Cruz by Barry Jones, who was out of luck in his last major fight.

The 24-year-old from Chingford was outpointed by Shaun Cooper in Stevenage in May 2019 for the vacant WBO Youth title, a result that left Tyson Fury and BT Sport viewers baffled.

Jones said: “I thought I won comfortably. 

“That’s what my corner was telling me, and that’s what the commentators thought. Once they announced the decision, I walked out of the ring and saw Tyson Fury sitting there. 

“I said to him: ‘What did you make of that ?’ He got up, patted me on the back, and said: ‘Welcome to the club. Now you know how it feels to be robbed as well.’

“These things happen in boxing. I’m not a sore loser. Craig Poxton and Craig Evans beat me fair and square. But I don’t believe Shaun Cooper did.

“I told people I had retired after that. People were asking: ‘When’s your next fight? Who’s next ?’ After I got robbed, I was not too fond of boxing. I didn’t want to talk about it. 

“To stop people asking, I just said: ‘I’ve retired.’ I wanted to concentrate on other things in life. I’ve got a young boy, Chester, and I wanted to be a dad, not a boxer. 

“I had a lot going on in my life that I needed to sort out. Friends were keeping away from me because they didn’t want my bad luck to rub off on them !”  

Jones says his luck changed when Ben Davison rang asking if he was available to spar Taylor before meeting Ramirez for all the super-lightweight belts. 

“I wasn’t sure how many rounds I had in me,” said Jones.

“I wasn’t even in the gym when I got the call. But I had just done two or three sessions, and I ended up doing over 50 rounds with him.

“He wasn’t trying to beat me up. It was controlled sparring. He was working on things. But as we both got fitter, the sparring got more competitive. 

“That sparring made me realize I can still win titles in this game, that I’m not a mug.”

The return of Jones is good news for Essex fight fans who have followed him in their hundreds since he turned professional at 18 with only a handful of white-collar fights behind him.

“I announced the fight (on social media), and within 30 minutes, I had sold 75 tickets,” said Jones, who’s sponsored by Artek Electricals, Essex Heating, The Still Building Company, Fast Lane Motors, E & J Grab Hire, and Mustard Brickwork.

“I have missed boxing, other people have missed my boxing, and even Chester has missed it!

“He’s only three, but he’s been watching his dad’s fights on YouTube.”

Jones’s career highlights include winning the Southern Area super-featherweight title, and he believes the fight with Marsden should create a few more memories.

“We had a move around two or three years ago, and it should be a good scrap,” said Jones. He’s around 6ft 4ins, so he’s miles taller than me. We must be the two tallest lightweights in the world!

“It’s a good 50-50 fight, and whoever loses can come again.”

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