Tyrone Nurse (37-6-2) is the latest Briton to attempt to take the scalp of Kerman Lejarraga this weekend, with the 30-year-old travelling to Marbella to contest a 10-rounder at 154-pounds, which will stream on FITE TV.
Lejarraga is unbeaten against fighters not named David Avanesyan and is looking to add Nurse’s name to Denton Vassell, Bradley Skeete, and Frankie Gavin who he has previously stopped on home turf (all inside four rounds).
Unlike the majority of shows since COVID-19 surfaced, Nurse and Lejarraga are fighting in front of a small crowd inside the Marbella Arena in Puerto Banús. It’s not the lion’s den of the Bilbao Arena where the “Revolver” has had the majority of his defining nights, but Nurse is still expecting some hostility away from home.
“They’ve put 1,500 tickets out, and they sold straight away,” Nurse told me a week out from his 46th professional contest. “To be fair, the idea of boxing without a crowd doesn’t appeal to me, so I’m glad there’ll be fans in the arena. Whether the crowd is with you or against you, it makes no difference to me. Once you get in the ring, you can’t hear them saying ‘knock him out’ or anything like that. It’s just noise. You can’t differentiate who the crowd is backing, so I’m glad there will be some fans in there.”
After losing his European welterweight title to Avanesyan last September, Lejarraga is looking to rebuild at 154-pounds, using Nurse as a yardstick to his potential at light-middleweight.
“Tyrone Nurse is an experienced, hungry boxer that is coming to win,” Lejarraga told The Ring through promoter Inigo Herbosa of MGZ Promotions. “I’m very motivated about fighting such a great opponent.
“He is very slick, rangy and tricky, and you always have to respect a 45-fight veteran that has never been knocked out. He has frustrated most of his opponents with his awkward style.”
“There are many boxers in the U.K. that could engage in a good fight with Kerman, but most of them are linked to promoters that rarely send their boxers abroad,” Herbose concluded. “Maybe this situation changes it all or just the opposite. We have to adapt to these difficult times to keep boxers active and entertaining boxing fans – that’s our duty.”
For Nurse, this marks a massive opportunity for him to spring a surprise on Lejarraga. He told me he had spent a majority of lockdown drinking, eating and baking, with this opportunity coming out of the blue.
“Originally, I couldn’t see myself fighting this side of Christmas,” he explained. “I didn’t see anything occurring until 2021, so I knocked training on the head and had a bit of time off to properly rest and recover. It was all a bit of a surprise when this one popped up. I got a phone call from my Dad [Chris Aston] and heard that we had been offered a fight.”
“I’m that type of guy,” Nurse added. “If I’ve got enough time to make weight, I’m happy to fight anyone. It’s just a shame that a belt isn’t on the line.”
Fighting “scared” is a tactic that Nurse will be looking to implement in Marbella. Having spoken with some of the Spaniard’s former conquests and sparring partners, the Yorkshireman is wary of the 28-year-old’s power.
“I’ve been told that if you fight scared and are wary of him, not getting hit, it’ll frustrate him into making mistakes. It’ll help to give you that bit of edginess, that bit of sharpish with your eyes. I don’t ever recall getting in the ring and being scared, but I understand what they are saying by it.
“I’ve gone into fights with punchers before knowing that they can hit me and not being overly cautious of that, but with this guy, if he hits me he could cause some serious damage. It’s obvious, but the less he hits me, the better.
“Movement from myself is going to frustrate him; he’s a bit of a one-pace plodder,” he added. “His right hand is his danger weapon more than his left hand. His left hook is a little unorthodox but quite easy to read, and he steps in with a nice stiff jab, but there’s not a great deal of variety. When he does get to you and gets you on the ropes, he headhunts. This is stuff I have picked up from other people, but when we are a closer to fight night, we will get our game plan spot on.”
Nurse is the fourth Briton to play roulette with the “Revolver” and hopes that a return to his infamous slick style can see him dodge a bullet or two.