By Phil D. Jay
Newly-crowned European middleweight champion Kerry Hope is taking a well-deserved week’s break from boxing following his dogged performance last Saturday night in Sheffield as the Merthyr Tydfil fighter shocked heavy favourite Grzegorz Proksa to claim the title.
The southpaw was a rank outsider going into the bout at the Motorpoint Arena - with not many boxing people ringside giving the three-time beaten Welshman a chance of taking the formidable Pole’s EBU belt.
The 30 year-old rallied throughout the bout though, capitalizing on a cut the opened up of Proksa’s left eye following a clash of heads and knocking the previously unbeaten champion completely out of his stride.
Hope out-worked Proksa for the closer rounds to take a majority decision and immediately sparked talk of a rematch between the two after what turned out to be the fight of the night, although Hope is in no rush to bow to Proksa’s hopes of a return.
“I will take a rest for the next week with my family and then let my team decide which direction we want to go,” the new champion told World Boxing News.
“ Although I'm not ruling out a rematch at this stage. I know I have proved myself coming in as an opponent against Proska and beating him. But now I think he has to work himself back to me.
“I want to move on and test myself against fighters with bigger credentials, but I will always be fit for anyone and you never know what happens in boxing.”
Proksa, 27, produced a lifetime best victory in his previous bout to easily take the title from former world champion Sebastien Sylvester, hence the long odds on a Hope win and may now have to put a rematch to the back of his mind and get back to winning ways as soon as possible.
Phil D. Jay covers boxing for worldboxingnews.net