Dennis Hobson is hoping a ‘winner takes all’ clash between middleweight champions, Liam Cameron and Jason Welborn, can be arranged, after Welborn recently won the domestic crown.
In an upset, Midlander Welborn, 23-6 (7), gatecrashed the title scene after beating former British belt holder Tommy Langford via split-decision on May 4 in Walsall.
With Sheffield’s Liam Cameron, 21-5 (9), recently making a spectacular first defence of his Commonwealth strap by taking out Brighton’s Nick Jenman in just two rounds, promoter Hobson says a match between the champions makes sense, would be a great fight for the public, and would give the winner the perfect platform to move on to even bigger things.
“I think Tommy [Langford] and his team thought it was just going to be a routine defence against Welborn,” explained Hobson, who has guided Clinton Woods, Jamie McDonnell and Stuart Hall onto world titles. “We’ve wanted to do Langford versus Cameron for a while now but they’ve avoided it. Liam stopped Tommy in the amateurs and they haven’t wanted to know.
“They’ve done that defence [against Welborn] thinking they’ll then vacate and move onto the European Title but obviously he’s come unstuck. I think Welborn is similar to Liam Cameron in that he’s had some losses but those experiences have improved him.
“A fight against Welborn is one we’d definitely like to get involved in, or even Langford if he fancied a pop at the Commonwealth. We’d be happy to fight either, but Welborn would be great and we could put both titles on the line. It would be a great fight, and there’d be plenty of publicity. We’re up for it and it’s just a case of getting around a table with people being sensible, and hopefully we can get it on and have another great night of boxing.”
Pauly Upton is adamant he can spring a surprise at York Hall on June 6 by relieving Ted Cheeseman of his WBA light-middleweight ranking title.
Upton boasts an unbeaten record of 15-0-KO3 heading into the contest and while he accepts he’s yet to face a fighter as good as Cheeseman (13-0-KO8), insists the step up will inspire him to new heights in performance.
Upton said: “I can only beat who they put in front of me and I’ve beaten everyone to date. I know Cheeseman is my biggest test but I’m also his biggest test.
“I deserve more recognition and hopefully after this fight, the public will start to notice me more.
“It’s a massive chance. These are the kind of fights you can really get up for. In this game, nothing comes easy and that’s especially true when you don’t have a big promoter.
“In order to get the big shots, you’ve got to take risky fights like this and hopefully it will pay off in the end.
“They only gave us four-and-a-half weeks’ notice but I’ve been training and ticking over just waiting for a call like the one I got.
“Beating Cheeseman will earn me a top ranking in Britain and a decent ranking with the WBA. I want a massive year after this fight and some shots at titles. Beating him will ensure I get those.”
Upton’s team-mate Sean McGoldrick is also on the card at the prestigious east London venue with Luke Watkins v Lawrence Okolie the headline act.
If Josh Warrington and Nicola Adams presently sparkle as the jewels of the welcome Leeds boxing renaissance, Horsforth super-bantam starlet Jack Bateson is a strong tip to emerge as the city’s future diamond.
The 23 year old, who makes a sixth paid start on Saturday’s stadium bonanza at the city’s Elland Road football ground, has long been vaunted as one of the nation’s premier young fighting talents.
Son of local boxing promoter Mark Bateson, this classical stylist amassed seven national junior titles, a Commonwealth Youth gold medal plus a brace of Senior ABA titles and a European Seniors bronze gong, before his teenage years were through.
‘Thus far my pro career has gone great; five fights in eight months. I stopped a couple of imports and, in the last three, I’ve been able to try new stuff out against tough lads who were much better quality,’ says
Jack the Lad, who represented England in European and World Championships at both junior and senior level. Despite his youth, the talented Tyke is already something of a master of his craft, having triumphed in over 100 of 120 scraps in a singlet.
‘I only started boxing when I were about nine because me older brother Tom packed up and I felt a bit sorry for me dad who coached him,’ disclosed Bateman who is now trained by Dad’s twin brother Martin.
‘Before I knew it, I were unbeaten in 12 and boxing for England against Ireland. I lost by a point and cried my eyes out. I never wanted to experience that pain again.
‘I’d just started a Sports degree at Bradford University when I was called up to the Team GB set-up in Sheffield. I was at GB Monday to Thursday for five years and I made some really good pals. Living in our house was Joe Cordina, Frazer Clarke, Galal Yafai, and Qais Ashfaq. I had a really good time.
‘There was always a conveyor belt of talent to talk to and study. I became very good friends with Anthony Fowler. Anthony Joshua, a really humble guy, was also there with me. Daniel Dubois and me won gold medals together at the Tammer tournament in Finland. I attended hard training camps all around the world, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Russia … I had experiences that you can’t buy.’
One of the few experiences Bateson didn’t get to savour, alas, was participation in the Olympic Games and it still rankles with this most polite and placid of young men.
‘I just missed out on the 2012 London at 49KG when I was only just turned 18 but I didn’t feel I got a fair opportunity for Rio (2016) when I moved up to 52KG. I was injured, Muhammad Ali got in front of me and took my place. To rub salt into the wounds, it turns out he was on steroids!
‘Ali tested positive for Trenbolone (an anabolic steroid which aids muscle growth) at a recent WSB event in Morocco and, to me, he got off lucky with a two-year ban. We sparred thousands of rounds at GB and he was always massive for the weight. I’m a bit bitter that we didn’t have a box off before he was selected for the Olympic qualifiers as I’d previously beaten him in two of our three bouts. We were due to box again at the GB Championships but he conveniently pulled out with a ‘cut’.
Still, I’m very thankful for all the opportunities I had. The big amateur tournaments put you into ‘uncomfortable zones’. Day after day, you’d be facing fellow national champions without knowing who you’d be drawn against. You’d have to be capable of adapting to so many different styles, very quickly.’
The skilled and speedy slickster is now devoting his considerable ability and energy to the professional sphere where he hopes to acquire the major international trinkets that eluded him as an amateur.
‘I’ve always been extremely dedicated,’ says Bateson who confronts one Jose Hernandez, a third successive Spanish based Nicaraguan, over four rounds this weekend.
‘Though I’m right-handed, I’m a natural switcher, as good southpaw as I am orthodox. Some of my natural attributes and qualities were taken away by the GB coaches but I’m back with my Dad and uncle and they’ve been restored. Now I’m a different animal!
‘All I see ahead is world titles, topping bills at Elland Road, doing my city proud. People will remember me after I’ve been and gone.’