Unbeaten Ekow Essuman (9-0) defends his English welterweight title against former British champion Tyrone Nurse (35-5-2) at the Harvey Haddon Sports Centre in Nottingham on a Scott Calow Boxing and JE Promotions co-promotion event.
‘The Engine’ returns to the site where he was crowned English champion in October last year by stopping Leek’s Andy Keates. The Nottingham fighter rose to the occasion and was just too destructive for the two-weight Midlands Area champion, Keates, 27, who was getting his fourth crack at the English crown in a third different division.
The Botswana-born Essuman, trained by Barrington Brown, dropped his opponent twice in the fourth round and the referee Shaun Messer had no choice but to stop the fight once he produced another assault in the fifth.
‘Triple E’ will be keen to earn another championship victory to further boost his ranking and chances of landing the mandatory spot for the new British welterweight champion Chris Jenkins’ title, who bested Johnny Garton at the Royal Albert Hall on March 8 to win the coveted championship.
Essuman makes another statement of intent as he goes up against the seasoned and successful Nurse, who has won Central Area, English and British titles during his 10-year career, as well as being a Prizefighter finalist and Commonwealth title challenger.
As Nottingham’s Essuman prepares for his 10th professional contest, 29-year-old Nurse will be entering the ring in what will be his 10th title contest.
Nurse fought the current British welterweight champion, Jenkins, twice in 2015, when contesting the super-lightweight version; the first ending in a draw and the second saw Nurse's hand raised. He held the Lonsdale belt for nearly two years between November 2015 to October 2017, before he conceded the strap to Jack Catterall, who looks set to challenge for the WBO world super-lightweight title next.
Prior to that defeat, he outpointed Essuman’s last victim Andy Keates over eight-rounds in May 2017, which proved to be the last time the Yorkshireman’s hand was raised, as he enters into this bout with three consecutive losses on his ledger – to the aforementioned Catterall; on the other side of the world to Jack Brubaker in Sydney; and lastly to Liam Taylor in November last year, who is mandatory for Jenkins’ British welterweight belt next. All losses were closely-contested points defeats.
The former British champ from Huddersfield will be looking for a win over the home fighter to get a step closer to becoming a two-weight British champion, with the prospect of fighting old foe Jenkins a possibility.
The Yorkshireman is unlucky to have had six British championship fights, yet still didn’t win the Lonsdale belt outright, as two of those defences ended in draws.
Nurse has experienced as many fights as his opponent has had rounds. His 42 bouts and 280 rounds completely dwarfs Essuman’s count of nine fights and 42 rounds. The Batswana will have the air of confidence that comes with being an unbeaten champion, but his opponent’s reverses, aside from the Prizefighter final, were all very close decisions in 10 and 12-round contests – two of those were on a split and a mixed decision.
History suggests that he cannot be halted and his widest points loss to WBO No.1 Catterall saw one ringside judge score it just one round out.
Essuman comes into the contest with momentum but he has never experienced those challenging championship rounds, which is where Nurse will try to drag him into; only three stoppages from nine suggests that this will go the full 10-rounds.
‘The Engine’ will need to rely on that alias to be able to match the seasoned veteran in those later rounds, which is where the contest looks destined to be decided.
On the undercard, unbeaten heavyweight Mark Bennett (3-0) hopes to carry on his meteoric rise up the rankings as he takes on tough southpaw Chris Healey (8-4) in only his fourth professional contest.
Bennett has already dispatched the likes of Dorian Darch (12-6-1) and Kamil Sokolowski (5-13-2) in his previous two outings and has now worked his way into the mandatory position for Kash Ali’s (15-0) Central Area heavyweight title, who next faces David Price on March 30 in Liverpool.
‘Bad News’ Bennett is in a hurry to claim titles and break into the top 10 and he is on track to achieve that if he can get through this latest test with Stockport southpaw Healy next.
Radford’s Omari Grant (7-0) can’t afford to have any slip ups as he takes on the durable Jamie Quinn (4-79-2), over six-rounds at super-lightweight, in his quest to contest the Midlands Area title this year.
Worksop’s super-middleweight talent Dylan Clegg (2-0) looks to make it three from three, as he makes his first outing of 2019.
The former schoolboys finalist, trained by Michael White at the Fighting Fit Gym, looked impressive in his first couple of outings, stopping his first opponent and flooring his second. No doubt, the 20-year-old will be looking to continue that momentum in his third pro contest against Lewis van Poetsch (8-94-1) over four-rounds.
Nottingham’s Paul Thompson (2-0) tackles Chris Adaway (8-52-4) and Clifton’s Ryan Amos (1-0) clashes with Karim Khan (0-8) in four-round contests.
Kyle Hughes of Ilkeston, Newark’s Regis Sugden and local lightweight Joe Underwood Hughes all make their professional boxing debuts on the undercard.
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