Smith backing Martin’s bid

Tommy Martin and trainer Barry Smith

Tommy Martin and trainer Barry Smith - Credit: Archant

Trainer sure his fighter can claim title

East London boxing trainer Barry Smith relies on his inside knowledge as he predicts his fighter Tommy Martin will beat rival Ricky Boylan when they meet for the vacant English light welterweight title at The O2 on January 31.

“I have trained both boys and I know I will be in the winner’s corner at the 02 - Tommy will beat Ricky, probably on points after a good fight, “ said the gravel-voiced Smith.

Martin is also confident of victory and says he will earn family and friends some handy cash on the night.

The 20-year-old is from Cambridge but moves to east London to train for his fights and said: “I’ll make them some nice dough when I beat him.

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“The fight with Boylan is going to be a cracker, I have no problem with him, its business and we’re in each other’s way – I have got to remove him.”

Since the recent closure of Canning Town’s TKO gym the pair have been based at Lansbury gym in Poplar, just a short walk from trainer’s home.

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There is clearly a close bond between the heavyweight coach and the 140lb fighter, who is unbeaten in 10 professional fights and said: “Barry has done so much for me he is a main reason I want to win the title.”

Martin will not be 21 until March but scoffs at a suggestion that he is too young to be facing the 26-year-old Boylan for the title.

“Why would I not take this opportunity? To be English champion at 20 years old would be great. It’s the fight I have wanted for some time,” he added.

Martin and Boylan both fought at the 02 in October, with Martin stopping tough Matty Tew in the seventh round before Boylan dropped a majority decision against Tyler Goodjohn for the English strap - his lone defeat in 13 fights.

Martin added: “It’s a step up, but that’s what I am here to do. I believe Ricky is made for me.”

Martin’s clash with Boylan is part of a big night of title fights in London, although Olympic hero Anthony Joshua MBE has suffered a back injury and cannot defend his WBC International heavyweight title against Kevin Johnson.

Kevin Mitchell, 30, knows he has to be a winner when he faces tough Mexican Daniel Estrada for the vacant WBC Silver lightweight title in an eliminator for the world title.

John Ryder defends his WBO Inter-Continental middleweight title against experienced Australian Les Sherrington, while John Wayne Hibbert risks his WBC International light-welterweight title against Tyler Goodjohn.

Team GB star Charlie Edwards, a former Repton amateur, makes his pro debut and Ohara Davies and Ben Hall - two other former Bethnal Green club amateurs - also appear.

n Promoter Frank Warren’s show booked for York Hall on Saturday has been postponed and rescheduled for the same venue on March 27.

Two Southern Area title fights are planned for the show, with a super-middleweight clash between Tom Baker and Kevin Greenwood and a light-heavyweight duel between Miles Shinkwin and Richard Horton.

Gary Corcoran, Louis Adolphe, Kirk Garvey, Romeo Romaeo and Mitchell Smith feature in supporting bouts on the bill.

n Local fans get the chance to see top GB boxers in action as the British Lionhearts meet the China Dragons in the World Series of Boxing at York Hall tomorrow night (Thursday).

The match features five weight categories and the home team includes four 2014 Commonwealth Games medallists in middleweight Anthony Fowler, bantamweight Qais Ashfaq, light-welterweight Sam Maxwell and Welsh light-flyweight Ashley Williams.

Tickets are available on the night priced £10 adults, £5 children, with the boxing starting at 8pm.

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