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  • Dexter Hastings/Dan Mole

Two Horse Race

Conah Walker has been lined up to get a shot at the now-vacant Midlands welterweight title on his own turf in April. Walker and former foe Nathan Bendon have been paired to contest a 10-rounder that should decide a new champion, after Kaisee Benjamin relinquished the belt. They are set to clash at the Holiday Inn Racecourse, which is next to the Dunstall Park track in Wolverhampton, on Friday April 24. Brummie Benjamin turned in the area crown, ahead of his English title eliminator against Southern area boss Shaquille Day, a contest he won.

Unbeaten Walker, from Warstones, will now get the chance to claim the strap in his ninth pro outing, with seven wins and a draw racked up so far. It came after a successful amateur career, with 30 victories from 33 fights, claiming two national titles in the England Development Championships for Merridale Boxing Club. The 24-year-old turned pro in 2018, first going under the tutelage of boxing legend Ricky Hatton at the former world champion’s Hyde base, with the two parting ways last year. ‘The Wolf’ is now being trained closer to home, at the RG Box Fit gym in Bilston where coaches Richard Ghent and Robert Wright are both ex-pros.

Of the seven successes on his pro record, Walker holds a six-round verdict over Bendon, who was outpointed by two rounds in a 58-56 scoreline.

Walker has landed two TKOs against Jan Prokes and Arvydas Trizno, but could not be parted fromOhio Kain Iremiren in a 57-57 stalemate. Bendon, making the short trip from Sutton Coldfield, drew with Nathan Hardy in the last action of his sixth pro bout. He additionally has three wins to his record, including beating the undefeated Levi Kinsiona by seventh round stoppage. He’s lost to Walker and Florian Marku, both on points.

Wolverhampton is represented on the rest of the card through Kyle Williams, Sid Bowater, Antony Woolery, Leon Dodd and Clayton Bricknell. Thomas Essomba, Elliott Hurley and Lennox Clarke also feature.

Bantamweight Williams, from Whitmore Reans, will be determined to bounce back from two title setbacks, the last for a WBO European bauble. A split decision went against him against Ionut Baluta, making it a second pro defeat after an unsuccessful crack at British champion Kash Farooq. Williams has been a Midlands and English champion, though, and has 11 wins on his pro ledger with three TKOs, seeing off Essomba for the national crown in 2018.

Unbeaten Bowater, a welterweight from Wednesfield, has accumulated five victories (one TKO) from six pro affairs, the other a draw against Hardy. He’s been a pro since 2015, but took two years out from the sport between 2017 and 2019. He’s already had his hand raised twice since his ring return.

Cruiserweight Woolery is a Deansfield lad, but now resides in the Staffordshire village of Dunston. He has two wins and a couple of losses, all over-the-distance, on his pro slate. He last vanquished Elvis Dube, adding to a previous success over Remigijus Ziausys. He was beaten by the much-heavier Dmitrij Kalinovskij on his 2017 debut. ‘The Bull’ was a part of last year’s Ultimate Boxxer competition, too, and went all three rounds against eventual tournament winner Mikael Lawal. He challenges Brummie Matt Sen in a Midlands Area Cruiserweight Eliminator.

Bricknell, also of Whitmore Reans, is back on track after seeing off Daryl Pearce, by two rounds in a 39-37 points call, last time out. It came after consecutive losses to Stu Greener and Tion Gibbs, who took his ‘0’ and remained unblemished himself through 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, 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.

Cameroonian Essomba, a 2012 Olympian as an amateur, is living in Wolverhampton after relocating from Ryhope in Tyne and Wear. Essomba was ousted by Williams on a split, but has held the Commonwealth crown at flyweight. He remains at bantam, though.

Clarke, from Halesowen, was last edged out of becoming the British and Commonwealth super middleweight champion in slender fashion. He lost to Lerrone Richards on a split decision and, with no rematch forthcoming, aims to unload his frustrations towards his next opponent. ‘Dangerous’ has seven stoppages from his 19 pro victories, five of those inside the first round, with Richards the only man to beat him in a hotly-disputed decision. The puncher’s best points scalp came over former English boss Jahmaine Smyle, which landed him IBO Continental honours.

Brummie super lightweight, Hurley, and Wolves light heavyweight, Dodd, complete the card.

Tickets for the show are on sale now, priced at £35 standard or £65 VIP ringside with buffet and waitress service. To buy, call the BCB Box Office on 07493 582 261.

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