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British Scene: Kerry Hope vs Grzegorz Proska & Gavin Rees vs Derry Mathews Previews

Grzegorz Proksa and Kerry Hope.
Grzegorz Proksa and Kerry Hope.

Dave Oakes Previews the Brook-Jones undercard, featuring Kerry Hope vs Grzegorz Proska and Gavin Rees vs Derry Mathews (after the jump).

The Brook-Jones undercard is packed with great fights, most noticeably the rematch between Kerry Hope and Grzegorz Proska for the European middleweight title. Hope edged a majority decision earlier this year, benefiting from a nasty cut above Proska’s left eye early in the fight. The cut looked to be a potential fight finisher but Proska’s corner worked wonders to stem the bleeding. Proska was clearly bothered by it though and boxed below his capabilities after sustaining the wound. I still had Proska edging the fight, although no-one could begrudge Hope after the sterling performance he put in.

This fight could come down to who has learnt most from their first meeting. No-one expected Hope to win and he’ll be confident of repeating the feat, whereas Proska should be better for going through the experience and will be more aware of what Hope brings to the table this time around.

Much like the Brook v Jones fight, I believe the biggest difference between the two is ability. Proska is the better fighter technically, whereas Hope, who does have decent skills, is more about heart and determination. In rematches like this, I nearly always favour the better skilled, more intelligent operator. Hope will be as good as he was in the first fight, I just feel Proska will raise his game enough to gain the victory this time, most probably on points.

The other European title fight on the bill is another rematch, this time between the defending champion Gavin Rees and British champion Derry Mathews, whose belt is also on the line.

Their first meeting was brought to an abrupt end after head clash left Mathews with a horrendous looking broken nose. The bout was scored a technical draw due to four rounds not being completed.

It was a shame the bout ended when it did, Mathews had started brightly but Rees was just starting to find his range and rhythm. Hopefully this fight will be able to come to a proper conclusion.

Rees’ only fight since was when he defended his title in France against Anthony Mezaache. Rees was punch perfect that night, picking his shots and putting his combinations together beautifully, bullying the fancied Frenchman from the opening bell. Mezaache looked relieved when the one-sided drubbing was brought to a halt in the Seventh round.

Mathews, ever the enigma, has produced his best and worst performances of his career in the two fights since the first fight between Rees and himself. He was butchered by Emiliano Marsili inside seven rounds early this year before rebounding with an unexpected win against Anthony Crolla for the British title this April.

This could be the fight of the night, neither man will take a backward step and both will believe they have what it takes to stop the other. Trying to predict a Derry Mathews fight is becoming an almost impossible task, he may well turn up looking like Mia Wasikowska and bedazzle Rees with his pretty eyes and Hollywood smile, I’m really not ruling anything out when Derry fights anymore.

If the fight goes the way of hindsight, then Rees should prevail by late stoppage. I wouldn’t bet on it though, all bookies should have a ‘Beware of the Derry’ sign placed on the front door, the lad is predictably unpredictable.

There are plenty of other enjoyable fights on the undercard; the one to keep an eye out for is the debut of Khalid Yafai. The flyweight prospect takes on Delroy Spencer over four rounds. Yafai was an exceptional amateur and has all the attributes needed to go a long way in the pro’s. He has the ability to become a world champion but it’s very early days and I feel it’ll better to judge him in two years time once he’s had plenty of learning fights under his belt.

e-mail Dave Oakes

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