Surrey lightweight Cassius Connor has been forced to withdraw from his scheduled July 12th fight against number one ranked Bulgarian Yordan Vasilev 16(4)-36(12)-2 for the vacant International Masters Silver lightweight title due to a back injury sustained in training.
A sparring session at the Tony Sims Gym in Essex with unbeaten 21 year old light middleweight Ben Hall caused the back problem that has thwarted Connor’s plans to challenge for his first title of the year.
The unlucky lightweight commented, “I'm over sparring in Hainault and pull a muscle right up my back, Physio says I can't train for three weeks minimum! So now I have to pull out of the fight on July 12th, just my luck!”
The 28 year old has had a string of bad luck in recent months with opponent switches, cancelled title fights, a family bereavement and now an injury to add to the woes.
Further disappointment was that Connor’s July title fight was due to take place on a talent packed Goodwin Promotions show, easily the biggest and strongest show they have ever staged with headlining fight between KO artist Richard Commey and tough Welshman Gary Buckland in an enticing match up for the vacant Commonwealth lightweight title.
The silver lining for Connor is the next scheduled fight is for September 6th in the form of Southern Area super featherweight champion Michael Devine 11(3)-1(1)-0 for the vacant British Masters lightweight title. The show dubbed ‘To Hell and Back’ promises to continue the impetus set by the July summer blockbuster ‘Azonto Time’.
The 25 year old Devine from Luton has a very respectable record from the outside but has failed to step into the ring with any noteworthy opponents in his five year professional career. Connor will be the biggest test to date and arguably a big step in class for the fledgling pro.
Connor voiced his plans to convert his recent plights into pain for his opponent, “September 6th I'm back to the ring against 12-1 prospect Michael 'Chunky' Devine. The fight’s gonna be at York Hall Bethnal Green, and after all the shit that's gone on recently I'm determined to punch holes in this kid. All my anger and frustration is gonna get taken out on this guy, it’s gonna be violent, explosive and it's gonna be over quickly, I'm gonna walk through this guy and make him sorry for ever stepping up to me.”
Leaving nothing to chance Connor had really raised his game in preparation for the title challenges by sparring regularly with IBF super bantamweight champion Carl ‘The Jackal’ Frampton and British light welterweight champion Curtis Woodhouse.
Connor commented following the high-octane sparring session with Tiger Bay’s super bantamweight king Frampton, “Six rounds of sparring with someone so skilful and accurate will always be beneficial for me. This guy will be world champion one day and sparring regularly with a fighter of that calibre is only going to improve me in every aspect.”
Barry and Shane McGuigan’s protégé Frampton used the sparring with Connor as valuable training experience for his forthcoming rematch with Kiko Martinez in Belfast on September 6th to defend his IBF crown.
Connor had also twice made the trip north to David Coldwell’s Rotherham gym to gain valuable ring experience with the footballer-turned-boxer Curtis Woodhouse.
The sparring was welcomed by the Lonsdale title holder and ex-Sheffield United player as vital preparation in gearing up for his first title defence against Commonwealth light welterweight king Willie Limond, in a winner takes all contest on June 27th in Glasgow as chief support to Ricky Burns’ comeback fight.
Following a three week rest Connor plans to get straight back out into the mix again with Frampton and Woodhouse to continue the sparring sessions that have provided him with such beneficial education and experience already.
Come September 6th boxing fans can in no doubt expect to see an aggressive, determined, focused Cassius Connor looking to add the vacant British Masters lightweight title to his waist.
Headlining the Goodwin Promotions bill is the super middleweight match up between Peckham’s Diego Burton 4-4(1)-1 and Essex southpaw Danny Brown 4-14(3)-2 over 10 rounds.
Also sharing the bill are light middleweights Robert Lloyd Taylor 19(5)-7(2)-0 and John Cash 3-0-0 in separate six rounders against unconfirmed opponents.
Connor’s old foe, light welterweight Tyler Goodjohn 10(4)-3(1)-0 competes in a six rounder with opponent to be confirmed.
Lightweight Ohara Davies 2(1)-0-0 and light welterweight Rakeem Noble 5(2)-0-0 also participate in six round contests with opponents unnamed so far.
Light middleweight Danny Shannon from Chatham Kent 0-2-1, debutant super middleweight Sonny Whiting and light welterweight Tommy Watson all have four round fights with opponents unconfirmed at this stage.
Debutant Mickey Diggin begins his professional journey against 39 year old Yorkshire boxer Graham Fearn 5(1)-24(3)-2 in a four round light welterweight contest.
The third debutant to perform on the show is Dagenham’s Jose Lopes starting out against 34 year old Prestonian Paul Morris 5(3)-23(7)-2 in a clash at cruiserweight level.
For tickets to the action packed ‘To Hell and Back’ event call 07568 347755