It’s a massive weekend for local boxing as Peterborough professionals Cello Renda and Karl Wheeler hit the title trail.
First up tomorrow (Friday) night is Renda, who fights for the vacant Southern Area super-middleweight championship, and then on Saturday it’s the turn of Wheeler as he boxes in the Fight Cup final, which is also a Southern Area cruiserweight title eliminator.
Both bouts are in London and over 10 rounds.
Renda is bidding to become the first Peterborough boxer to win a Southern Area belt since Gary De Roux and Dave Pierre captured the featherweight and light-welterweight titles respectively on the same night at the Mallard Park Hotel in December, 1990.
Standing in his way is unbeaten Alan Higgins and Renda holds no fears.
Higgins (28), from Kentish Town, has won all 11 of his fights so far - six of them inside the distance - but Renda insists: “He hasn’t really fought anyone yet. He may well have six stoppages on his record, but who against?
“He’s had things all his own way so far but he certainly won’t get his own way with me. I’m going to give him a helluva fight.
“I’m always the underdog and he’s always the favourite but not this time.He hasn’t been through what I’ve been through. I’ve beaten better fighters than him in my career and I have to be the favourite.”
Renda (31) hasn’t boxed since March. That was a six-round points win over Mike Byles in front of the Sky Sports cameras in Birmingham and it was possibly the best he has ever boxed in his 12-year, 41-fight career.
Renda added: “I’m raring to go. I’ve only had four weeks’ notice but I’m ready. This fight could open a lot of doors for me.”
Victory would make Renda a champion at three different weights having previously won Masters honours at middleweight and light-heavyweight.
Wheeler heads into action at York Hall, Bethnal Green, on the back of a fantastic scrap in the semi-final of the Fight Cup last month.
He fought back from the brink to outpoint Ossie Jervier 94-93 after twice being knocked down.
“The fight was close and I couldn’t have argued if the decision had gone the other way. I’ve had close decisions go against me in my career, so I will take it,” said Wheeler.
Wheeler (34) now faces Ryan Crawford in the final. The 29 year-old from Uxbridge was handed a bye through to the decider after Biloa Kudus withdrew.
Wheeler has a record of 13 wins from 20 fights (one draw) while Crawford has had only four professional contests, winning two, drawing one and losing one.
Wheeler will be favourite and the winner will be the mandatory challenger for the Southern Area title.
Wheeler added: “After all the ups and downs and all the blood, sweat and tears, I feel as though I’m finally getting somewhere.
“The Southern Area title is a major, recognised belt and that’s the one I want.
“I’m getting close now.”