Promoter aims to bring big time boxing back to Wales

TOP OF THE BILL: St Joseph's star Lee Selby, left, fights for the European title on February 1. Picture: Lawrence Lustig

TOP OF THE BILL: St Joseph's star Lee Selby, left, fights for the European title on February 1. Picture: Lawrence Lustig

First published in Sport

PROMOTER Eddie Hearn has promised to bring big time boxing back to Wales on a regular basis if February’s ‘Reloaded’ show is a success.

The February 1 bill at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena is topped by St Joseph’s star Lee Selby, who takes on Rendall Munroe for the vacant European featherweight title.

Chief support comes from fellow St Joes fighter Gary Buckland and Newbridge ace Gavin Rees, who put their friendship on hold to finally meet officially after years of sparring against each other.

Hearn is excited by the line-up, which also includes Olympic champion Anthony Joshua against Dorian Darch, and says there could be more big shows to come in Wales.

“I’m delighted to be back in Cardiff. We’ve had a lot of calls from Welsh boxing fans to put on a big show here and we feel that we’ve done just that,” he said.

“This is a big chance for boxing in Wales and from the response we’ve seen I think we’re going to sell out the arena.

“And if we can do that then we can make it a regular fixture.

“If we’re doing 20 shows a year there’s no reason why we can’t do three or four a year in Wales.”

Hearn expects Selby to deal with Munroe but says Rees against Buckland is much tougher to call.

“I make Selby the favourite, I think he’s very special and there’s a big personality there, but it will be a very close fight,” said Hearn.

“Winning the European title would be great for Lee.

“Rees v Buckland is a crunch clash for both of them,” he added. “I think if Rees loses he may well call it a day and Buckland is younger but it’s a tough way back for him.

“It’s a high pressure fight with everything on the line. Obviously they know each other well, they’ve sparred together and any boxing fan will be desperate to see that fight.

“Think about the style of both fighters. It is going to be a potential fight of the year candidate already in February.”

And Hearn insists that Aberdare heavyweight Darch will prove tricky for London 2012 star Joshua.

“The best thing about this fight is that Anthony is coming into someone’s back yard to fight,” he said.

“He’s used to being the golden boy everywhere he goes but here it’ll be different.

“I wouldn’t like to say he’s going to get booed into the ring but Darch is going to get cheered in and he’s going to have a lot of support there so it will be a new challenge for Anthony.

“It’s a big test,” he added. “We know what Darchy can do. He’s tough and he’s game but ultimately we’re looking for a top performance from Anthony.”

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