By Elliot Foster
Simon Vallily has been handed an opportunity which could take his career to new heights.
The undefeated Middlesbrough cruiserweight (9-0, 2 KOs) is set to be the man in the opposite corner to Mairis Briedis in Liverpool next month.
Briedis, the WBC Silver champion at 200lbs, has a ring record of 20-0 with 17 early endings and will face Vallily on October 15, as part of a Sky Sports-aired card.
The pair will clash over 10 rounds in a non-title fight at the ECHO Arena, on the undercard of Tony Bellew’s first WBC cruiserweight world title defence against colourful Californian BJ Flores, with the winner stapling down their spot as the mandatory challenger to the global honour.
Vallily, 31, was most recently in action in July, when he stopped Croatia’s Toni Visic inside three of six scheduled rounds in Sunderland –– and a fight against 31-year-old Briedis of Latvia, who beat Olanrewaju Duradola via stoppage in round nine back in May to win the aforementioned WBC Silver crown, would provide a significant spike to a career which started in May, 2013.
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman confirmed this week that the winner of Bellew-Flores must face Briedis next.
But Commonwealth Games champion Vallily will have other ideas as he returns to the ECHO Arena, which was the scene of his defeat of Danny Price to win the GB Championship title in the headguard and vest after striking victory at the Games in Delhi six years ago.
Valilly’s trainer, Michael Marsden, has spoken of the opportunity that has been presented to his charge, telling the Middlesbrough Gazette: “Nothing else was jumping out at us and Simon has got what he wants.
“We haven’t even seen the outskirts of what he is capable of in the ring yet and now it’s time for him to turn up and produce.
“That’s all there is to it.”
Boxing Scene contacted Briedis' manager, Al Siesta, to get his take on the fight.
"[The fight is] 100 per cent [locked in and signed] for the Bellew-Flores undercard," he said.
"The fight was suggested by Matchroom [Boxing]. I don't know why, but they must see something in [Simon] Vallily. Maybe it's because he's sparred [Tony] Bellew.
"Providing everything goes well and both Mairis and Tony win on the night –– this is boxing, it only takes one punch –– we will be looking to have the mandatory fight by the end of February at the latest."
The clash between Briedis and Vallily is flanked by a whole host of tasty domestic clashes on Liverpool’s docklands as Luke Campbell defends his WBC Silver lightweight title against Scouse fans’ favourite Derry Mathews, Ryan Burnett takes on former European ruler Ryan Farrag in a defence of the British bantamweight crown and Sean Dodd meets Gary Sykes as he defends his WBC International lightweight trinket for the first time.
Meanwhile, Tom Farrell will fight for his first title and there will be action for heavyweight hero David Price, WBC International super-middleweight titlist Rocky Fielding and Skelmersdale’s Steve Brogan, alongside Ged Carroll and Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning undefeated prospect Scott Fitzgerald.