By John Evans
For too long, the British flyweight division has been a case of “King for a Day”. Over the past three-years, current domestic boss Chris Edwards and former champions Paul Edwards [no relation] and Shinny Bayaar have held the title hostage and competed in a round robin competition which has seen (deep breath) Bayaar beat Chris Edwards, Paul Edwards beat Bayaar, Chris Edwards regain the belt from Paul Edwards and then the remarkable veteran from Stoke successfully defend the belt with a decision over Bayaar. Bayaar did manage a draw with Ashley Sexton during his brief reign as champion but, that apart, it has been something of a closed shop.
The series of fights between the three have been closely fought and, at times, exciting but the sport thrives on the emergence of new, exciting fighters forcing their way into title contention.
Liverpool’s Kevin Satchell, 8-0 (1), introduced himself to a wider audience in May when he impressively stopped city rival Paul Edwards to take the Commonwealth flyweight title and, on the undercard of David Price’s heavyweight clash with Audley Harrison on October 13, the unbeaten 24-year-old gets the opportunity to add Chris Edwards’ British belt to his collection. Whoever comes out on top at Liverpool’s Echo Arena looks set to become the British flyweight division’s clear figurehead. Satchell’s trainer, Paul Stevenson, recently caught up with BoxingScene to talk about his fighters build up to the fight and his high hopes for the future.
“It’s going great,” the top man at the Everton Red Triangle club said. “We’re into week eight of a ten-week training camp and his running and sparring is going well. The weights coming down nicely and he’s all ready to go and in good shape.”
Against Paul Edwards, Satchell was able to use his range and slightly unorthodox style to keep his man at bay. Edwards is a talented, energetic fighter but was made to look sluggish on the night. Stevenson is adamant that controlling the range of a fight is crucial to victory.
“While Kevin could use certain tactics against Paul which would take away his shots, it’ll be a lot different against Chris,” he said. “I don’t like to say too much about tactics, but it hasn’t escaped my notice that it’s gonna be a totally different type of fight.
“In any fight, range is key. There are a lot of ways to skin a cat, as they say, but as long as the range is right for Kevin, then we’ll be happy. If the range is right for Chris, he’ll be very happy. There are certain things in my mind that — if he’s allowed to do them — will cause us problems. We’re working on not allowing him to do them and making the landscape right for us to work in those spots instead.
“There are a couple of roads open to us in terms of strategy. Some are riskier and some are safer but we have things in mind and hopefully it play out well.”
There always remains the possibility that as a flyweight renowned for his workrate and aggression, at 36, Edwards, 17-14-4 (4), could come to the end of the road right in front of our eyes. Unsurprisingly, the Satchell team aren’t banking on that happening.
“Nothing would give me greater pleasure than if he suddenly got old overnight!” laughed Stevenson. “I’m not expecting it and I’d be shocked if it happened. If you look at his career, all his losses are over six-two’s or six-three’s. Over 12, he’s always done well. He’s a twelve-round fighter and we have to prepare for someone who’s been an absolute beast in terms of his workrate since day one. I think Chris will be a tougher fight than Paul. Chris really loves to work. I like that about him and we have a lot of respect for him. We’re not gonna underestimate him in any way. I think he’s a tough opponent, especially on the fitness side of things.”
The age old boxing cliché dictates that a fighter improves once he becomes a champion so has Stevenson felt any added venom in Satchell’s padwork or noticed a Mo Farrah style improvement in his running since he picked up the Commonwealth belt?
“Over the last year Kevin’s skills have improved and he’s becoming more complete as a fighter,” said Stevenson. “They say that winning the belt gives you a lot of confidence and it certainly has for Kev’. In terms of preparation? He prepared just as hard for Delroy Spencer or Paul Edwards. We sit down at the start of camp and plan out every session for the full ten-weeks. There’s room for movement but Kevin just follows the programme really.”
Should Satchell triumph next Saturday, the future looks bright and Stevenson admits that he has cast a glance forward. He is unsure about the possibility of a series of exciting local derbies taking place though. Not through any fear of losing, it is merely a question of weight. “Paul Butler is doing well, John Donnelly’s always tough and I don’t know what Mike Robinson has to do to get a break. Those are all super flyweight’s though and despite what people think, Kev doesn’t overly struggle to make flyweight. He works hard to make weight but if we thought it was gonna weaken him, we wouldn’t be there.
“What I’d envisage in an ideal world would be for us to beat Chris in the way we plan to, make a defence of that title and maybe look towards the European. We’ll take it from there. Not counting any chickens, but once you’re British champion at flyweight or super fly there aren’t that many fights for you. Ideally though, move up to European and let him establish himself there. If he keeps improving the way he is we could even look at the world scene.”
So, on October 13 we have a promising unbeaten youngster taking on an aggressive, veteran champion in front of his home crowd for two belts and domestic bragging rights. If you are planning on watching Price’s clash with Harrison, rather than just tuning in for the main event, why not give the men some 150lb’s further down the weight scale a chance? You might just be rewarded with the fight of the night.
Follow on twitter @John_Evans79