There may be lots of talk of the heavyweight action on Channel 5 this weekend between British champion Sam Sexton and Tyon Fury’s younger cousin Hughie in Bolton, but 250 miles away in Kent there is another fine domestic fight that has gone quietly unnoticed.
English super-bantamweight champion Josh Kennedy (10-0) is matched against former Commonwealth titlist Bobby Jenkinson (11-4-1) at Mote Park in Maidstone on a packed JE Promotions event.
The warring pair will face off over six three-minute rounds at the featherweight limit in a fight that could see the winner land a Commonwealth title shot against super-bantamweight champion Ashley Lane (12-8-2) next.
The headlining fight on promoter Joe Elfidh’s ‘Young Guns’ card has slipped under the radar somewhat, “It’s that time of year, people got other things on their mind like booking holidays,” offered Kennedy. “It is a big fight, he’s a tough opponent, but I’m gonna’ win though.”
From Lincoln, 26-year-old Bobby ‘Dazzler’ has a track record of upsetting the home favourites. In September 2015, he stunned Frank Warren prospect Lewis Pettit in the 11th round to lift the vacant Commonwealth super-bantamweight title, despite entering the fight as the underdog in the away corner.
“He was losing that fight to Lewis Pettitt, but he’s got a good engine, he keeps throwing punches and that’s what boxing is all about,” said Kennedy. “Can’t take anything away from him at all, he’s got good technique and he’s a great fighter.”
‘Jenko’ has only won two of his last five bouts, but that trio of defeats all came in major title fights against Gamal Yafai (8-0) and Robbie Turley (17-6), with the Commonwealth super-bantamweight title on the line, and most recently to British bantamweight champion Josh Wale (25-9-2), just last February – all three title tilts ending in stoppages.
His two six-rounders slotted neatly inbetween the losses each ended in shutout points wins for the former Midlands Area titlist.
Their recently shared opponent – Michael Barnor (14-20-3) – managed to deck Jenkinson in the fourth round of their October 2017 meeting in Cleethorpes but lost the fight 55-60 on points. The Ghanaian also lost to Kennedy on points, but didn’t achieve the same success, losing all six rounds 54-60.
Kennedy, 26 from Folkestone, nicknamed ‘Handsome’, has a had a recent change in training camps by moving from his old amateur gym and trainer to the famous Peacock Gym in Canning Town with Martin Bowers.
“I’ve never been in a pro gym before, I’m twice the boxer I was already, and it’ll be good demonstrating that to people on the night,” he enthused.
“I’m training alongside Daniel Dubois [current Southern Area heavyweight champion] and sparring with decent unbeaten pro’s. When I won the Southern Area featherweight title against Jamie Speight, I only sparred with two different boxers!”
The unbeaten Southern Area and English titlist wants to continue adding belts to his growing collection.
“I’m looking to push forward for the Commonwealth title next, I got offered the [Ashley Lane] fight before but said no from a business point of view.
“Once I get this fight out the way then I’m going for that belt. No disrespect to the champion Ashley Lane but I know I beat him.
“Everyone’s got fights they want to do, I want to work my way into the mandatory position for the British title, but I’ve got my heart set on that Commonwealth belt next.
“I’m a bit gutted I didn’t say yes on the first time it was offered but the money was literally nothing, but I just want that belt now.”
Managed by Chris Aston, Kennedy claims to be hitting harder than ever before and thriving under Bowers’ tutelage at the famous Peacock where he is surrounded by top professionals.
“I’m jabbing stronger and improving, and I've lost a few bad habits that Martin picked out as soon as I walked in the gym!”
He concluded with a thanks to sponsors, “I’d like to say thanks to Mark Mason, he’s sponsored me since day one, so it wouldn’t be possible for me without the backing of him and Civil Rail Solutions.”
Also on the card is Maidstone’s Chris Matthews (8-1), looking to bounce back following his sole career loss in his last outing three months ago, dropping a contentious 57-58 points decision to Jules ‘The Wasp’ Phillips (2-12).
Sittingbourne’s Jack Raines is straight back to action also after he moved up to 5-0 with a shutout points win over Hull’s Luke Fash (2-33-2) in his first fight signed to JE Promotions last February.
Former apprentice jockey, 23-year-old featherweight Jack Budge (1-0) from High Halstow makes his first appearance under the JE Promotions banner against Luke Fash (2-37-2) over four three-minute rounds.
Margates’s Paul Brown (1-0), 27, kicked off his paid career last February with a 40-36 points win over Scott Hillman (0-25), and now he’s straight back to business in another four-rounder against Dinnington’s Darren Snow (5-23-1).
Welterweight Danny Barrett, from Stoke in Kent, makes his eagerly-awaited pro bow on the night. The 25-year-old is a Haringey Box Cup winner and will have over 100 fans roaring him on from ringside.
Barrett trains out of the Paul Wiffen Academy in Rochester and started his combative career as a 12-year-old kick-boxer before switching to boxing, aged 20 so it seems rather fitting that opposing him on his debut is a former kick-boxing champion in Rudolf Durica (1-19), 38 from Slovakia.
Fellow debutant Lenny Fuller is pitted against Hyde’s Dale Arrowsmith (1-14-1) as his initiation to the paid code. The 23-year-old middleweight, known as “The Main Man”, won titles in IBA, EBA and UKBC unlicensed scene.
Promoter Joe Elfidh commented on his next event, “I’m keen to get some of the guys back to winning ways after suffering their first defeats, such as Chris Matthews.
“I’m also really looking forward to seeing the new faces of JE Promotions get off the mark. I’ve got very high hopes for Jack Budge, who was an incredible amateur boxer and the two debutants, Danny Barrett and Lenny Fuller.”
For tickets to the next show, visit https://www.facebook.com/JEsportsnetwork/ or call 07883 943994