Preview: Jenkins set for second shot at British title history

Preview: Jenkins set for second shot at British title history

This weekend, Garnant’s Chris ‘Rock n Rolla’ Jenkins (16-0-1, 8KO) will again attempt to become Wales’ first ever British champion in the 140lb weight category but he’ll have to improve on last time’s effort to make history.

The all action 27-year-old fought to a close Majority Decision draw with Huddersfield’s tricky Tyrone Nurse (31-2-1, 6KO) in July and both super-lightweights left the ring with the sense they might have missed an opportunity.

Circumstances out of any anyone’s control meant that Jenkins entered the contest with less than one round under his belt in the previous 15 months and in the end, it seemed to take its toll. After a typically energetic start to his first ever 12 rounder, Jenkins’ work rate would dip in the final four sessions and Nurse shut-down the aggressor’s attacks with an increasing effectiveness.

The pair couldn’t be split by two judges, Steve Gray and Terry O’Connor, but the remaining one, Howard Foster, favoured Nurse’s counterpunching and posing to score the Yorkshire man ahead by five rounds. The variation in scoring suggests their styles gel well and that’s unlikely to alter on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.

After their first encounter, Jenkins admitted that he couldn’t find sparring partners to replicate Nurse’s defensive manoeuvres, identifying Barry Town’s IBF world featherweight champion Lee Selby as the ideal operator to help prepare him.

However, Jenkins and Cwmgors Boxing Club’s boss Ronnie Morris have expanded their search this time around, spending many miles on the motorway to visit gyms across England. In this training camp, Jenkins has locked horns with former titlist Adil Anwar in Leeds, long limbed prospect Ohara Davies in Brentwood and Southern Area champion Tamuka Mucha in Bristol.

As the title was vacant, the British Boxing Board of Control [BBBoC] ordered another episode and the rematch was originally set for 7 November at the Echo Arena in Liverpool but it was later rescheduled to take place two weeks later at the Manchester Arena.

The disruption may affect many but Jenkins has surely adapted to it, having seen his original bid for the belt delayed three times, courtesy of a series of unfortunate events. Jenkins, who is managed by Swansea’s Paul Boyce, is a dynamic offensive fighter, whose trademark left hook to the body may be modelled on Ricky Hatton’s, the hero of many locals that will attend Matchroom Sport’s ‘Pride of Manchester’ show.

While enjoying front foot momentum, Jenkins can be a whirlwind on the inside and it could be argued he was too willing to be so in the first fight, sometimes neglecting his underrated jab and falling in to Nurse’s type of fight. Meanwhile, Nurse will present a puzzle that takes patience to piece together. The bout will be Nurse’s 35th and although many of those have come at a lower level, they’ve been used to practice many old-school tactics.

Remarkably long and tall, Nurse often opts to hold when he’s up close, clipping opponents with eye catching flicks as they enter and exit exchanges. It’s a usually unseen style on the British circuit but Jenkins has seen it for 36 minutes before and with those rounds in the bank, plus even more in specific sparring, it should be easier to unravel second time around.

Expect another close decision that’s likely to be debated by both sides and finds in favour of Jenkins’ extra aggression.

Image by Matchroom Sport.

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