Kennedy expecting the best of Fry on Friday

Kennedy expecting the best of Fry on Friday

Cardiff’s cruiserweight Craig ‘The Kid’ Kennedy (11-0, 6KO) is expecting the trickiest and toughest night of his career on Friday.

The 30-year-old will face Courtney Fry (19-6, 3KO) in a British title eliminator and the 10 round contest headlines Sanigar Events’ ‘Unleash The Dragon’ show, which will be broadcast on Matchroom Fight Pass.

Fry, a Londoner who lives in Liverpool, enjoyed a successful amateur career that included a gold medal at the 1998 Commonwealth Games and an appearance at the 2000 Olympics.

Respectful of that pedigree, Kennedy said: “Not only is he the trickiest, he’s definitely the most experienced. As you know, his amateur record speaks for itself. He’s been to the Commonwealth Games and won a gold medal, he’s been to the Olympics and been in with the top of the professional game.

“So, he’s got experience on his side and age. With all that in consideration, I’ve left no stone unturned. With him coming off a massive win against Jon-Lewis Dickinson, I’m expecting for him to be hungry and raring to go.”

Life has been tougher to Fry as a professional and at times, inconsistent. The 40-year-old has scored notable wins against the likes of Ovill McKenzie and more recently Jon Lewis-Dickinson but been stopped when he stepped up against former world champions Nathan Cleverly, Enzo Maccarinelli and Roy Jones Jnr.

Kennedy said: “He’s coming off a big win, the biggest of his career and it was against a former champion. His confidence is going to be up there, he’s turned 40 and unfortunately his professional career hasn’t gone where people expected it to.

“So, this is his last chance saloon. This is his last crack at the whip, so I’m expecting the best Courtney Fry to turn up. Unfortunately for him, it’s coming at a bad time. I’m young, hungry and no way am I leaving without the W.

“We’ve based our training for it to go the distance, we always do. Anything other than that is a bonus. In my opinion, I’m expecting a tough fight early on and then maybe about the midway, it’ll start going my way and eventually, I will catch up with him. I think it could potentially be a late stoppage.”

Having originally competed at light-heavyweight, Fry moved 25lbs north to cruiserweight in 2014 and while he may be seen as a gatekeeper in Kennedy’s way to domestic belts, the Everton Red Triangle Boxing Club member will bring his own title ambitions.

However, the Newport Centre has been a happy hunting ground for Kennedy, who is trained by former WBO world featherweight champion Steve Robinson, and he has hardly lost a round at the venue on the five occasions he’s performed there.

He said: “It’s always great to be fighting at home but at the same time, when you’re in that squared circle and the bell goes ‘ding-ding’, you’re at home. So, even for him, it’ll just be another boxing ring.

“When the going gets tough and you feel like giving up, if you’ve got a thousand people chanting your name then it helps, of course it does.”

Over the last two years, two of Kennedy’s best performances came at the Newport Centre, including his first title win, a shut-out points win over Moses Matovu for the British Masters Bronze title, and a breakthrough knockout of former Prizefighter champion Wadi Camacho. Despite this, the Trowbridge native admitted a win over Fry would eclipse anything he’s done as a professional so far.

Kennedy said: “I’ve already put all of that behind me. You can’t dwell on wins for too long, you’ve got to keep driving forward. The Wadi win and the British Masters Bronze win were big achievements in my career but that’s all they was.

“They’re behind me, I’ve got bigger fish to fry now. Winning this would be the best achievement of my career and I’m determined to do it.”

After a steady start against the usual suspects, Kennedy was keen to start making a name for himself in 2014, only to be disappointed when numerous Welsh Area title bids fell through, through no fault of his own. Since then, Kennedy’s link up with Sanigar Events has proved fruitful, providing him with a platform on Eurosport and two fights against the aforementioned Wadi Camacho.

In the Welshman’s next outing, he’ll be on another platform, Matchroom Sport’s online streaming service, ‘Fight Pass’. Having recently met Eddie Hearn at the Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao mega-fight in Las Vegas, Kennedy has caught the eye of Britain’s most prominent promoter and now he plans to establish himself as one of the country’s most promising prospects.

He said: “I was lucky to meet him [Hearn] in Vegas. We had a little chat and the conversation was like, make sure I do a job and he’s going to be watching me do it, along with the rest of Britain. I’ve got to do the business on the 19th and fingers crossed, we’ve got plans together in the near future.

“It’s a good platform for up and coming prospects like myself. Unfortunately, there are only so many shows and he can only get so many fighters on the big Matchroom nights. With this Matchroom Fight Pass, it gives boxers like myself a chance to be included and get a taste of what it’s going to be like on the next level.”

In the past, Kennedy has been plagued by niggling injuries, some of which were picked up years ago when he played football as a centre forward. The cruiserweight has often used a physio from Cardiff City FC but that number hasn’t been called ahead of his biggest fight yet.

Concluding, Kennedy said: “I’m injury free and my weight’s where it should be, so I feel in tip top shape. I’m in the best shape I’ve been in as a pro, so I’m expecting me to be the best I’ve been on the night.

“In the past, if it’s not one thing then it’s another. If it’s not my back, it’s my ankle but this time, fortunately I’ve got through sparring fine. It’s all over now, it’s just about sharpening up now. I’m mentally and physically in a different place to normal this time. He’s caught me at a very, very bad time.”

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