- Dan Mole/ Dexter Hastings
Liam Davies will be determined to knock his next opponent for six after boiling down to a lower weight for fight night. Davies is planning to tip the scales at his lightest, as a pro, which will still come at super bantamweight but closer to the bantam limit. He’ll feature when BCB Promotions are in the Stadium Suite at the Banks’s Stadium, Walsall Football Club, on Friday February 14. The show is aptly titled ‘St Valentine’s Day Massacre.’ The 23-year-old, a proud resident of Donnington in Telford, believes the potential to compete in two divisions could enhance his opportunities. The Midlands titles at bantam and super bantamweight are vacant, with Davies and Brett Fidoe considered to co-challenge for the latter belt. Dropping to bantam could open the door to the possibility of Davies going up against Louis Norman, a former contender for the English crown at the weight.
First comes another six-rounder where he’s been paired with Daniel Mendoza, a Nicaraguan based in Spain who has 11 victories from 16 pro outings. A homecoming card is then in the works for Telford’s Oakengates Theatre, the same venue where the second-generation fighter’s dad Tristan won area honours. Davies Snr outpointed Carl Allen for the Midlands lightweight strap there in 2006 and worked his son’s corner, for the first time in the pro ranks, last time out. Completing six rounds in December was a first for Davies Jnr, who recovered from a shaky opening to comprehensively vanquish Stefan Nicolae.
The first round that was dropped is the only one Davies has conceded during his pro run, but he took the other five to become 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 whitewash over Khvicha Gigolashvili, who had his nose bloodied in the process.
His pro record stands at six wins, with two TKOs, and no defeats or draws. He was a centurion, at amateur level, and represented his father’s Donnington Boxing Club. He racked up exactly 100 bouts, coming out on top 78 times, and was an ABA Schoolboys national champion in 2010. He went on to represent England at youth level. Davies reckons he’ll hit harder and move even quicker, through the extra pounds shed, and is aiming to be punch perfect from the first bell to the last. He said: “I had a bit of a break after my last fight, but I never do nothing. I keep up with my runs and tick over. I have a Boxing Day training session every year.
“I’ve been working hard in this camp, I’m planning to come in at 8st 8lb at a day before weigh in. That’s only 2lbs away from bantam. “That means I could potentially go for the Midlands title at bantam or super bantam, which gives me a few more options. I’m not really bothered who it’s against. “We’re planning to do it in Telford, at the Oakengates Theatre, on Saturday April 4. I’d love to win a Midlands title at the same place where my dad did. “Things can and do change, but that’s what we are aiming for, to put Telford back on the boxing map once and, hopefully, for all. “I was at super bantam last time, but I felt like it was a bit too comfortable making the weight. I wasn’t pleased with my performance, mainly because of the slow start. “He caught me a couple of times, the one I remember the most was with a backhand after I’d stuck out a lazy jab. He came after me, for a while, after that. “He was still going for it in the second and third round, but I’d settled down and got myself going by then. I was cruising by the end. “The first round sticks out to me, I didn’t even look at the rest of it when I was dominating. Winning is the main thing, but I can do better. “I probably should have stopped him, he was holding a lot to prevent me from doing that and he hit me low on a few occasions. “I’d never done six rounds before, so it’s good to know that I can. I almost had to talk myself through it, having gone through three or four for most of my career. “It’s another six-rounder this time and I think I’ll be better prepared for it. I’ll be ready for the 10 after that. There will be no turning back.”
Co-headlining in the Stadium Suite is Kane Baker, the former Midlands lightweight champion who is targeting another shot at national honours. Birmingham’s Baker, from Bartley Green, relinquished the Midlands 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, squeezing past 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.
There will be no love lost between Clayton Bricknell and Daryl Pearce, who attempt to arrest winless streaks, at the expense of each other, when they meet in a lightweight contest. Bricknell, from Whitmore Reans in Wolverhampton, was last surprisingly beaten by Stu Greener, by a 39-38 scoreline in a point decision, last October. He’s also completed six rounds in a losing effort to Tion Gibbs, who took his ‘0’ and remained unbeaten himself by a 60-56 verdict. Bricknell had previously been frustrated by a technical draw with Youssef Al Hamidi, who was pulled out after less than a round due to injuring himself.
That came after two wins during his introductory year in 2018, where he outpointed Jamie Quinn and Dylan Draper after a decent amateur grounding. In 27 unpaid bouts, he recorded 17 wins and claimed two area titles in national competition, representing Wolverhampton Boxing Club and Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter gym.
Brummie Pearce may only have one victory from eight pro fights, 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, as he went down by third round stoppage. Pearce, from Rednal, does additionally have a solitary success on his pro record, defeating Mohamed Mahmoud by a 39-37 margin on his 2018 bow.
Also on a collision course in a super middleweight affair is Kearon Thomas and Ryan Whitehead, the latter making his pro debut. 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.
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.