Maidstone vs Medway in all-Kent championship clash
Maidstone’s Chris Matthews (10-2) will face Medway’s Jack Budge (4-0) for the vacant Southern Area featherweight title on April 27 at Mote Park in Maidstone, Kent.
It will be an all-Kent affair as the two JE Promotions fighters clash on the last weekend of April on the packed ‘Make or Break 2’ show.
Promoter Joe Elfidh commented on the tantalising title fight, “It’s a genuine 50-50 fight! It’s an all-Kent battle, Maidstone vs Medway, and I don’t know if there’s ever been a Southern Area title fight between two Kent boxers held in Kent before.”
Matthews has won 10 from 12 fights and has three times the experience in the pro ranks than Budge, who is unbeaten in four.
However, Jack Budge, 24-years-old from High Halstow, enjoyed a stellar amateur career with a long list of accolades from his first fight in 2007 to beating the world no.1 at 52kg in 2012.
Every year from 2007, the talented youngster either reached the ABA tournament semis or finals. In 2012, he finally won the ABA’s, but counts a Three Nations win as his crowning moment, defeating a Commonwealth Games bronze medallist and World Champion Oliver Simpson to win the gold medal.
Unfortunately, his career stalled when he suffered an horrendous injury whilst working as an apprentice jockey, badly breaking his nose and cheekbone.
His occupation in Lambourn, Berkshire, led Budge, when fully recovered from his injuries, to sign a pro contract with local promoter Chris Sanigar. Whilst there, he benefitted from sparring countless rounds with British flyweight champion Andrew Selby as well as Commonwealth super-bantamweight titlist Ashley Lane.
He debuted in Bristol in April 2016, aged 21, but eventually returned home to Kent and signed contracts with Joe Elfidh. The Medway man now trains with Billy Beck at has old amateur gym, Brompton ABC, as well as also training with Pat Hawley at Moore’s Gym in Rochester Health Club.
Despite only experiencing one six-rounder, his amateur pedigree and Team GB experience qualified the fledgling pro for the Area title shot.
Maidstone’s Chris Matthews gets his chance after making it to double figures on his win record on February 23 after slipping to two points defeats in the previous 12-months.
The popular featherweight made a move away from JE Promotions to Goodwin Boxing in his last fight but came straight back after tasting his second defeat at the York Hall last November.
Now the 24-year-old super-featherweight is back with his old trainer, former world champion Johnny Armour, and back fighting under the JE banner.
Elfidh added, “It was good to have Chris back and now he’s with his old trainer Johnny Armour, he’s looking like his old self again.
“When Chris is on his A-game, he’s better than anyone and he raises his game when he boxes someone better.
“Budge has an astounding amateur career and Chris has the vaster experience in the pro game, so this will be a close, competitive fight, and the fans are in for a treat!”
It will be the second time that prestigious Southern Area featherweight belt has visited the Mote Park venue – Martin Hillman challenged Jamie Speight for it, unsuccessfully, in May 2017, which was the last time it was contested. JE Promotions has only ever had one Southern Area champion in it’s four-year history, which was Grant Dennis, who won it at middleweight, away from home in Brighton.
Both Budge and Matthews are signed to JE Promotions, so the promotional outfit are guaranteed a second Area champion on April 27.
Also on the bill is Maidstone’s ‘Main Man’ Lenny Fuller (5-0). The ambitious 24-year-old welterweight has already experienced two six-rounders and is eyeing title fights next.
Super-featherweight prospect Jack Raines (5-0) is back in action after being forced to withdraw from the last event in Maidstone through injury. The 130-pounder from Sittingbourne, trained by Johnny Cole at the Boxers Stable in Longfield, is eyeing a Southern Area title fight in 2019.
Welterweight Danny Barrett (2-0), 26 from Stoke in Kent, heads back out, looking to make it a hat trick of wins. The Haringey Box Cup gold medallist, trained by Paul Wiffen in Rochester, has not had easy opponents to kick start his career, but has adapted well to the tricky customers to win all eight rounds so far.
Paul Brown (3-0), a 28-year-old light-heavyweight trained by Mario Michael at Pej All Stars Gym in Margate, enters into his fourth professional contest.
Three-time Southern Area title contender Martin Hillman (13-6) will be back in action for his 19th professional contest. He is a firm favourite at the Mid Kent venue due to his all-action style and high work rate.
‘The Real Deal’ Danny Shannon (4-7-1) stole the show last time at Mote Park when he stopped Scott Hillman (0-39), to get his arm raised in his first ever home fight in his five-year pro career.
The 27-year-old super-middleweight from Chatham, trained by Ray Askew and Sam Latham at the Invicta Gym in Sheerness, was JE Promotions’ first ever signing way back in 2014 and has ambitions to win a Challenge belt in 2019.
Debutants Jimmy Peckham, Dave Matthews and Jordan Smith will all make their pro bow on the same night.
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