CRUISER KENNEDY PLANS TO KEEP KNOCKOUT TRADITION

On March 8th at the Cardiff City House of Sport, Craig Kennedy (7-0, 5KO) and Hari Miles (9-9, 2KO) will bring the Welsh cruiserweight title out of it’s 15 year hibernation and Kennedy says he has plans to keep up the title’s 100% knockout record. Given the youth of the cruiserweight division, the title has only been contested for twice with both occasions ending in knockouts, most recently with Darron Griffiths stopping Tim Redman in seven rounds in 1999 and before that Abner Blackstop stopped Les Davies in nine rounds in 1986. Carrying on from that, Kennedy and Miles are more than keen to keep up the tradition. 28-year-old Kennedy said, “Going off my recent form, I think a knockout is possible. I know he’s a strong durable lad to be fair but I think we’ll get him late on. “I’m not coming away with anything less than a W. I’m too hungry, I don’t want an L on my record, he’s got an L on his, he’s used to losing. Even though it’s against good calibre fighters on short notice, he’s used to losing and it’s a good job he is because he’s going to lose again in March. “No way is he beating me, I’ve worked too hard. Not just this camp, I’ve worked all year since I turned pro. My lifestyle has had to change and I don’t want the adventure to stop now.” The pair shared a sparring session in the summer and although both have different interpretations about what happened, Kennedy believes that the spar will bare little significance when they face off for real. Kennedy, known as ‘The Kid’, said, “Like I always say, sparring is sparring. I felt comfortable when I was sparring him but I’m not going to read too much in to it, it could have been at any point in his preparation, I don’t know how fit he was but I do know now that he’s going to come prepared in March. “Hari’s got plenty of notice, he’s got eight weeks and I know a lot of his losses are down to the sheer fact that he always takes fights on short notice but I’m expecting the best Hari Miles to turn up this time. It’s his last chance saloon now, I think he’s going to really want this one. I’m going to cut no corners, I’m going to be in the best shape I’ve been in for any fight, it will be an explosive fight.” Kennedy was supposed to contest for the Welsh title against Wayne Brooks in December. However, when Brooks withdrew there was an offer for Miles to face Kennedy on three days notice at heavyweight but he believes that the bout happening in March instead is for the best. Kennedy said, “Hari is a lot higher ranked than me and Wayne, we can sell it right this time and it’s got the time to give it the full attention. If Hari would have took it on short notice, as a heavyweight bout then it wouldn’t have sold as well as it’s capable of doing. It’ll be better at cruiserweight too, Hari’s been at heavyweight a few times because he’s taken his foot off the gas and lost a bit of heart. I think the timing’s right for it, he’s going to be hungry for this one because it’s a good chance to put himself back on the map and get going in the right direction. “I would’ve preferred this one over the Wayne Brooks one but Hari Miles wasn’t available in December. It’s in our best interests to clear up, they’re the two names mentioned on the Welsh circuit if I want to prove I’m the best in Wales then I’ve got to beat one of these two. Hari Miles has the most respect out there, he’s higher ranked so he’s our first choice.” Although supremely confident of victory, Kennedy is also aware that Miles is a step up in opposition whose record doesn’t tell the full story. With the added factor that Miles is a southpaw, which is rare for a cruiserweight, Kennedy can’t afford to underestimate his opponent and he isn’t. Kennedy said, “He’s got a fifty-fifty record and the reason for that he fights high calibre fighters on short notice, so I’m not going to take him lightly at all. I know what he can ring at his best, he can cause problems with that southpaw awkward style. He’s a good boxer, that’s why he got to the Prizefighter final, you don’t do that by fluke, y’know? But I just really think it’s my time, I know my capabilities and I know I can beat Hari Miles if I’m in the best shape I can and stay injury free which is my main objective. “I’ll be working closely with probably the best southpaw cruiserweight in the country, that’s Wadi Camacho who has beaten Hari twice and he’ll have a few tips to give me. Southpaws are awkward, they’re very awkward for any orthodox fighter, they’re not something you jump at but at the same time, I’ve got plenty of time to prepare and I can’t wait, I can not wait. I’ve done it properly in my first year and I’m ready to step it up to the next level.” Much is made out of the carnival atmosphere and fan fare that Kennedy’s crowd brings, he needs them now more than ever and he aims to reward their support with a title. Kennedy said, “I’m doing it for all the people close to me who have obviously put a lot of time and effort in to me, it’s a big team thing going on here. I owe it to them and most of all, I owe it to myself. Enough of the journeymen, I’m 28 now, if it don’t happen now then it’s not going to happen. “They got promised that I was going to step up at the end of last year and it didn’t happen but they’ve stayed loyal to me through thick and thin. When I was fighting journeymen I was still getting 150 people turning up strong, now it’s time for me to step it up and test myself to see where I am.”

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