Dave Oakes previews Friday's light-middleweight clash between Jamie Cox and Obodai Sai.
Jamie Cox takes what seems like a step-up in class this Friday when taking on Commonwealth light-middle champion Obodai Sai at the Hilton Hotel, London, as the headline fight on Frank Warren’s annual DebRa charity show.
Both boxers are unbeaten in fifteen fights, with Sai having one more knockout to his name than Cox, who has nine on his résumé. Unfortunately, that’s about all I can tell you about the Ghanaian. Despite being the current title holder, nothing much is known about Sai, with video footage seemingly impossible to find.
There have, of course, been comparisons with Azumah Nelson, the Ghanaian great. Having been told that every time a Ghanaian has boxed over here, I think it’s wise to wait until we’ve seen Sai in the ring before believing any proclamations of that ilk.
Whilst little is known of Sai, Cox is fairly well recognized amongst boxing fans over here. A lot was expected when he turned pro the year after winning gold at the Commonwealth Games. Whilst it’s been steady progress in terms of opposition faced, Cox has come in for some criticism over his antics in and out of the ring.
Cox only boxed once last year due to him having his licence suspended by the BBBofC after being convicted of assault. He’s also done himself no favours with some unsavoury behaviour in the ring, with him miming stamping on Mark Lloyd’s head after the latter had slipped to the canvas during their bout.
The Lloyd fight is a great example of Cox as a fighter, he showed odd glimpses of class but they were overshadowed by him getting involved in a foul infested brawl when he didn’t need to. His overeagerness leaves him prone to smothering his work; he looks like a world beater when he’s taking his time and picking his shots but he gets carried away and tries to be a slugger, which inevitably turns a lot of his fights into messy bar-room brawls.
I sense Cox feels this is a new chapter in his career, he changed trainers after his ban ended, teaming up with the John Costello, and seems to have rededicated himself to boxing. The talents always been there, it’s the mental side of things Cox has struggled with at times, if he gets everything right, he has the potential to go a long way.
It’s hard to make a prediction for this fight due to Sai being an unknown quantity, I expect him to be tough as old boots, a trait of 99% of Ghanaian’s, but how talented he is remains to be seen. One thing I do know is that if Cox is on form and boxing with a sensible head, he’ll be a hard fighter to beat.