Clayton Bricknell admits it’s “all or nothing” next time out when he attempts to arrest a barren run and get back to winning ways. Bricknell endured a winless 2019, where a technical draw and two points defeats stunted his growth as a professional. Crunch time will now come when BCB Promotions are in the Stadium Suite at the Banks’s Stadium, Walsall FC, on Friday February 14, for the ‘St Valentine’s Day Massacre’ show. He’s tasked with getting back to form against Brummie Daryl Pearce, as the two are set to go toe-to-toe in a West Midlands derby. Pearce may only have one victory from eight pro fights, outpointing Mohamed Mahmoud on his 2018 bow, but he’s only failed to complete the duration once. He boxed seven times last year and only Sam Noakes could get him out of there early, by third round stoppage. Bricknell has two wins on his ledger, from his introductory year in 2018, where he saw off Jamie Quinn and Dylan Draper by some distance and without losing a round. The 27-year-old, from Whitmore Reans in Wolverhampton, was then prevented from beating Youssef Al Hamidi by a technical draw. Their meeting was over, in less than a round, much to the frustration of Bricknell, with Al Hamidi pulled out of proceedings due to injuring himself. He then stepped up to six rounds and took on fellow unbeaten prospect Tion Gibbs, who kept him at bay to record a 60-56 scoreline. Bricknell then surprisingly came off second best to Stu Greener, his debutant opponent prevailing by a 39-38 verdict.
That leaves ‘Karma’ with work to do, but he’s determined to get back on track, as he did more than once in his amateur career. In 27 unpaid bouts, he had his hand raised 17 times and claimed two area titles in national competition, for Wolverhampton Boxing Club and Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter gym. He said: “Greener definitely brought much more to the table than I expected, so I can take nothing away from him for that. I have to hold my hands up. “I thought I’d done enough to get a draw, at least, but it was close to call, which it shouldn’t have been if I was at the top of my game. “It was, obviously, not the best of performances from me. I felt a little drained and wasn’t as fluid as I would have liked, because my legs were heavy. “It’s a struggle for me to get down to lightweight, I boxed most of my amateur career at super lightweight, which seems to be better for me. “I could still do lightweight, at a day before weigh in, if I can refuel and be ready to go the night after. That would solve the problem. “I’m coming in heavier for this one, which we’ve set for 10st 3lbs on the day, and it’s the most important fight I’ve had, as a pro. “It’s all or nothing, because I can’t afford to be set any further back with another defeat. I probably need another two wins to get back to where I was. “Daryl is clearly a fighting man, who brings the heat, and I’m not underestimating him, because I know he’s a lot better than his record shows. “He’s got an aggressive style and I like to mix it up, but I’ve come across as a brawler in my last couple. I’ve got far more skill than that. “We’ve worked on a few things in camp, because I can’t expect to keep doing the same things and get a different result. I should be boxing aggressively, not loading up. “If I box to my best, for all four rounds, I believe I’ll come out on top and that’s what I’ve got to aim for. There really isn’t much room for error.”
Also on a collision course for fight night, in a super middleweight affair, will be Kearon Thomas and Ryan Whitehead, the latter making his pro debut. Walsall’s Thomas sees pro action in his hometown for the first time, still searching for his maiden win at the eighth attempt. He’s been on the road ever since his bow, with six losses (two TKOs) but mostly to foes with a winning record. He did draw with Cory Hardy along the way. Whitehead, from Telford, will put his best efforts into preventing Thomas from breaking his duck. He’s another graduate of Donnington Boxing Club.
Co-headlining in the Stadium Suite is Kane Baker and Liam Davies, who both undertake six-rounders with future title tilts in mind. Birmingham’s Baker, from Bartley Green, is a former Midlands lightweight champion who relinquished his crown without making a defence, to get a shot at English boss Myron Mills. He was outpointed by Mills by majority decision, with three judges after 10 rounds. Two lodged tallies of 98-92 and 97-94, with the third going for a 95-95 draw. Baker has since bounced back and got another six rounds under his belt, vanquishing Joe Beeden. He’s now determined to have his hand raised again, for the 13th time as a pro. His best scalp remains against Ishamel Ellis for the area strap, dethroning him by a point, and his six defeats have all come when facing top-level opposition. Conor Benn, Gary Cully, Sanjeev Sahota, Sam Maxwell and Darren Surtees were all unbeaten and highly fancied, at the point of battle.
Davies, a proud resident of Donnington in Telford, is chasing vacant Midlands honours at either super bantamweight or bantam. The promising Shropshire starlet has six wins, with two TKOs, and no defeats or draws. He got the full six rounds under his belt, for the first time, last time out. His most recent opponent, Stefan Nicolae, did pinch a round off him but lost the other five, with Davies a wide 60-55 victor. A previous tussle with Jose Aguilar was scheduled for six, but was over in the fourth when Davies took him out, having halted Pablo Narvaez in two prior to that. Two of Davies’ other adversaries, Edward Bjorklund and Stefan Slavchev, were put down but climbed off the canvas and clung on, seeing out the distance. Davies turned over at the end of 2018 with a points landslide over Khvicha Gigolashvili, who had his nose bloodied in the process. The second generation fighter is the son of ex-pro Tristan Davies, a former Midlands champion himself, and represented his father’s Donnington Boxing Club in the unpaid ranks. He racked up exactly 100 contests, coming out on top 78 times, and was an ABA Schoolboys national champion in 2010. He went on to represent England at youth level.
Completing the line-up is West Bromwich’s Matt Gordon, the big heavyweight who steps back through the ropes intent on ramping up his ring return. He’s been a pro since 2015, but spent three years out of the sport after a draw with Lukas Horak. He’d previously outpointed James Oliphant and Jindrich Velecky. Gordon returned in November, away from home in London, but was removed in less than a round by heavy-handed Ukranian Dorin Krasmaru. Tickets for the bill in the Stadium Suite are on sale now, priced at £35 standard or £65 VIP with buffet, and can be purchased by calling the BCB Box Office on 07493 582 261.