KENNEDY CAPS OFF PERFECT FIRST YEAR

Last night at the Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff, Craig ‘The Kid’ Kennedy (7-0, 5KO) capped off a perfect first year as a professional by stopping late replacement Iain Jackson (3-17-2, 1KO) in three rounds and scoring his seventh win in 10 months. There was a lot of disappointment when Wayne Brooks withdrew from a Welsh title fight on Wednesday, it was a step up that the customers and Kennedy wanted. ‘The Kid’ knows he’s a level above fighting journeymen now and although he’s the ultimate professional in his preparation, which included a training camp in the mountains of Tenerife, any boxer can sub-consciously stagnate and become half a step slower if they know they’re that much better than their opposition. In excess of 60% of the crowd will have got their tickets from Kennedy personally, it felt like all of east Cardiff were there and their man can be built in to an attraction. To them, it doesn’t matter who he faces, Kennedy has small scale cross over appeal in his part of Cardiff and it’s evident in the diversity of his fans. For example, more and more women attend boxing but they make up a surprisingly significant section of Kennedy’s fan base. Boxers in the heavier weights tend to gain larger followings but Kennedy’s carnival is unique. Matchroom Sport come to Cardiff on February 1st and they’d be wise to include Kennedy on the undercard. He’d be willing to remake a Brooks Welsh title fight again but there will undoubtedly be questions over his reliability. So, one Welshman who could fit the bill is Cefn Hengoed’s Hari Miles who faces French champion Youri Kayembre Kalenga next week. It may appeal to Matchroom as Miles has been in an undercard war before but it’s likely to appeal to them more because it’ll sell well and pay for itself. Back to last night, it was typical that on Friday 13th, almost everything that could have gone wrong to potentially derail the show, did and that deserves to be noted. There were pull-outs and cancellations left, right and centre. It left Kennedy with the only opponent he could get, a career light-heavyweight who was half a stone lighter and half a head shorter. Such was the worry of value for the ticket buyer’s money, Mitchell Buckland’s post-wedding period was interrupted and he met Craig Woodruff for the third instalment of their series, a light-hearted exhibition. Observers are all too eager to criticise promoters but those on the small hall scene rarely make money, so credit should be given to Warrior Promotions for going through with last night when problems arose that were out of their control. Dewi Powell BoxingWales Editor

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