Trainer Sims set for big night

John Ryder, Tony Sims, Kevin Mitchell and Ohara Davies face the camera ahead of the big January 31 s

John Ryder, Tony Sims, Kevin Mitchell and Ohara Davies face the camera ahead of the big January 31 show at the O2 Arena - Credit: Archant

East Londoner prepares for O2 show

The show goes on for east London trainer Tony Sims on the capital’s first big boxing night of the year at the 02 Arena on Saturday January 31.

Olympic heavyweight gold medal hero Anthony Joshua MBE has had to cancel his fight on the show due to a back injury, but is replaced in the main event by another fighter from the Sims’ stable in top lightweight Kevin Mitchell.

Former West Ham amateur Mitchell is promoted to top-of-the-bill status on the Eddie Hearn promotion, when he faces Mexican Daniel Estrada for the vacant WBC Silver lightweight title in an eliminator for the world title.

And Bethnal Green’s Sims feels his fighter deserves the recognition, saying: “The top of the bill status is justified as Kevin knows the fight means everything for his future.

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“He must beat Estrada to land his world title chance. Simple as that.”

Although disappointed that destructive heavyweight Joshua is missing, Sims faces a busy night as two other fighters based at his new Brentwood gym are also in action on the show.

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Top middleweight John Ryder and bright lightweight prospect Ohara Davies, a former Repton boxer boasting an unbeaten amateur and pro record, are booked to appear.

Mitchell has suffered just two setbacks from his 40 pro contests, in his biggest fights against Aussie Michael Katsidis and Scot Ricky Burns.

He has shaken off those losses to get back into contention, but having turned 30 in October he knows time is getting short and a third defeat would surely end his world title dream.

WBO Inter-Continental middleweight champion Ryder faces Argentinian Billi Godoy, who replaces his original opponent Australian Les Sherrington.

The powerful Matchroom bill also features Tommy Martin against Ricky Boylan for the English light-welterweight title as John Wayne Hibbert risks his WBC International light-welterweight title against Tyler Goodjohn.

Supporting bouts feature former Repton favourites Ben Hall and Charlie Edwards and tickets for the 02 show are available from 07946 383318.

n East London’s amateur club hopes will be chasing England Youth title success in a three-day boxing bonanza at the TA Centre in Lewisham next weekend.

The action includes the NE London finals on Friday January 30 with the winners going forward to the London semi-finals the following day.

The London finals take place on Sunday February 1 and the new champions can then look forward to the national rounds of the competition.

Included in the NE London finals is an all-east London clash in which Repton’s multi-titled Jimmy Smith faces Lansbury’s former national schools finalist Terry Conroy in the 75kg decider.

The 49kg final sees Repton clubmate John Fallon facing Paul Claydon (Romford), while several other area hopes aim to qualify for the NE finals in qualifying contests this week.

Broad Street’s Yusuf Thaiman faces Dagenham’s Conor McNicholas in the 56kg semi-final and another Broad Street hope Sheikh Ahmed meets Owen McGroary (Newham) at 60kg.

Lansbury’s Tony Buttigieg faces old rival Louis Isaacs (Lion) in the 64kg semi-finals.

n East Londoner Lawrence Okolie hopes to make his long awaited debut for Dagenham after moving from Bethnal Green’s Repton BC last summer.

Power-punching heavyweight Okolie, a National Universities champion, has been let down by opponents making last-minute withdrawals this season, but hopes to meet home club heavyweight Jonathan Palata on the Balham Show.

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