By: Oliver McManus
Boxing returns to British soil for the first time since March with a five fight card broadcast live on BT Sport and, in the States, ESPN+. Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren leads the way with two title fights on Friday night beamed from the BT Sport Studios.
Lichfield’s Brad Foster tops the bill in defense of his British and Commonwealth super bantamweight titles with James Beech Jr in the opposite corner. Foster, 22 years old, has already produced a memorable performance in 2020: he stopped Lucien Reid in six rounds of their rematch back in February. That fight, if we’re honest, was largely built up as Reid’s opportunity to “right some wrongs” from the majority draw they fought to in September.
Foster hushed any remaining critics with a performance much more mature than his years. His well-measured approach to the sport is a testament to his tough paper round of development: this will be his sixth title fight on the bounce in which he’s defeated a former British champion, a defending Commonwealth champion and two unbeaten contenders.
Bloxwich’s James Beech is another young fighter looking to seize big opportunities. The 23 year old is a two weight Midlands Area champion – at super feather and featherweight – but told Boxing Insider before this fight was made that he felt super bantamweight suited him best. His last bout was in December 2019 with a tough ten rounds against Luke Jones. That fight, for the Midlands super featherweight belt, saw Beech develop over the second half of the fight and, you suspect, over 12 rounds the gap would have widened.
Long and rangy super welterweight Hamzah Sheeraz defends his WBO European title against Paul Kean in a contest scheduled for ten rounds. Sheeraz has been touted by Warren for a long time as possessing something special and, at 21 years of age, he’s got plenty of time to show it. He collected the first title of his career in November with a sixth round stoppage of Ryan Kelly: a fight in which Sheeraz looked really spiteful and chomping at the bit for a stoppage.
Dundee’s Paul Keen is a wee shorter – by two inches at 6ft even – than his counterpart but carries that southpaw nuisance in his back pocket. The 27 year old, a professional for four years, has boxed largely out of Paisley’s Lagoon Leisure Centre but has never ducked a challenge; half of his fights against men with positive records or for a title of sorts. The sole loss on Keen’s record came against Stefan Sanderson, who passed away on June 23rd, for the Scottish title in September 2018.
Three hot prospects will feature on the undercard with hard hitting Mark Chamberlain up against Stu Greener over six rounds whilst heavyweight action comes courtesy of Dorin Krasmaru vs Phil Williams and David Adeleye vs Matt Gordon.