2018 Senior ABA champion Bradley Strand (1-0) will tackle Batley’s Nabil Ahmed (0-2) over four-rounds at super-bantamweight on the Black Flash Promotions’ ‘September Showdown’ event at the Greenbanks Sports Academy in Liverpool on September 21.
The former standout amateur said of his next fight, “I just train as hard as I can because I don’t really know much about the opponent, so I just train to be the best I can be. There’s no plan really, I never really think about stopping them or the fight going to points, I just go out there and do what I do all the time – start off by getting behind your jab and just work from there.”
Strand, 22 from Kirkby, had over 70 fights as an amateur, only losing around 15 of those, culminating in winning the Senior ABA Elites in 2018.
“I won the Elites then the Tri-Nations and then I was meant to be fighting for England against Team GB, where the winners from the ABA’s and Tri-Nations fight the lads from the Team GB squad, they do it every year in Sheffield, but that fight never happened, so I didn’t want to wait around for another year,” he explained.
The thriving Everton Red Triangle Gym has a talented young group of prospects all coming through the professional ranks together, trained by Paul Stevenson.
“We’re all in the same position, all pushing each other on,” confirmed Strand. “We’re all similar weights to each other so the sparring is perfect. We all fight on the same shows, so if there’s any let downs then it’s good to have the lads with you in the same position, so when the last show fell through and we all experienced it together.”
Strand aims to double his win tally then get back to the gym to concentrate on his next fight just a few weeks later, “November 30 I’m back, I think, yeah. I feel like it’s got a lot more serious in the pro ranks, even though I was training hard as an amateur, but I’m actually working a lot harder now as a pro and there’s more attention to detail. The difference with opponents in the pros is that they are stronger, I boxed another debutant on my debut and they’re just quite tough, if you know what I mean.”
County Durham’s Lee Stevenson, now 0-2, was forced to retire at the end of the second round due to a badly swollen left eye, courtesy of a Brad Strand right hand, back in March.
Now Brad heads back to the ring for the second time in his professional career and if his next two outings this year, in September and November, go according to plan, then he could finish 2019 at 3-0.
Looking ahead to next year, he said of his ambitions, “This time next year, hopefully I’ll be about 6-0 and pushing towards titles and things like that.”
Joining Strand on the card is his old amateur teammate Nick Ball (9-0). The unbeaten super-featherweight headlines the talent-packed card, searching for his 10th professional victory against former London 2012 Olympian Abdon Cesar (3-9).
23-year-old Haringey Box Cup winner Jonathan Walsh (2-0) joins teammates Brad and Nick, as he looks to complete a hat trick of wins against 41-year-old Syrian veteran Youssef Al Hamidi (16-124-5) over four rounds at super-lightweight.
Former England amateur representative Harry Woods (2-0), 24-years-old, is aiming for his third professional win against London-based Italian boxer Victor Edagha (2-63-3); four-time national amateur champion Andrew Cain (3-0) and three-time national amateur champion Connor Butler (3-0) each strive to continue their winning runs on the undercard.
Carly Skelly (1-0) looks to build on her debut win over Bec Connolly (2-5) in another four two-minute rounds contest at bantamweight.
Jack McKinlay, described by his coach Paul Stevenson as a good amateur and a big hitter, will make his pro debut at welterweight against the seasoned Fonz Alexander (7-101).
Middleweight southpaw James Heneghan (1-0) has his second professional contest five months after his debut points win over Genadij Krajevski (0-3).
Debutants Michael Hedges (lightweight) and Junior Thompson (super-welterweight) complete the card.
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