Samuels aims to start new chapter with Jones defence

Jerome Samuels (5-5, 1KO) is ready to start a new chapter of his career and it starts by defending his Welsh Area light-middleweight title against former champion Barrie Jones (20-10, 7KO) on 13 March. The pair are set to clash in Samuels’ hometown at the Newport Centre and the ten rounder will be part of Sanigar Events’ triple header, ‘Unfinished Business’, with Eurosport (Sky Ch. 410) televising the action. Speaking to BoxingWales.com shortly after the fight was made, Samuels said: “I want to fight at home for as long as I can now, I want to build a fan base and keep my record going, get my wins up. At the end of the day, I can’t really afford another defeat and I won’t let it happen.” The fight will mark almost a year to the day since Samuels won the Welsh Area strap by a single point, collecting the same belt his father Paul owned 16 years earlier. In winning, Samuels recorded his fifth straight victory and evened his record, having lost his first five fights as a professional. However, a long period of inactivity quickly commenced. The 21-year-old has now split from his trainer Richie Garner, he did briefly team up with Tony Borg at St Joseph’s Boxing Club, returning to the gym where he won schoolboy titles as an amateur but he’s now settled with former British champion Steve ‘Sammy’ Sims, who he turned professional with in 2012. Speaking of his extended break and the period of transition, Samuels said: “It’s been a long time coming, 12 months and by the time I defend it… it’ll be a year to the day actually, which is ironic. I had a break and my partner had our baby, I’ve just enjoyed spending her first few months as a family but now I’ve got to get on with the business. “Things have changed quite a lot. I’ve split with Richie Garner, it was a case of he has another job, I really hoped for 100% attention. You could call it selfish but boxing’s a selfish game. We left on a good note, though.” Samuels hopes to eventually progress to Celtic title contention but standing in his way is the experienced Barrie Jones, a crafty southpaw with a wealth of experience against some of the best domestic talents. Jones was unbeaten in the first 15 fights of his career, before being outfoxed by veteran Tony Doherty and then stopped by future world champion Kell Brook in a British title fight. After a period of taking late notice losses in the away corner, that included a robbery against former world champion Souleymane M’baye, Jones bounced back with a Welsh Area title win over Gary Cooper at middleweight before Lee Churcher sprung a come-from-behind knockout in Jones’ first defence. It sent Jones in to 30 months of inactivity and he finally returned in October, linking up with Sanigar Events and winning a close four rounder, leaving Samuels is wary of what to expect when they meet in six weeks’ time. Samuels said: “I’m ready for whatever comes my way, it’s probably be a chess match. I know it’ll get exciting at times, it’ll catch fire but Barrie Jones is skilful and I think he’ll try his upmost to keep it awkward. There’s plenty of game plans and plenty of counter game plans, though. “I’ve got nothing but the upmost respect for him, at the end of the day, it’s only a game that we’re in. “He’s a southpaw, so I’ll stick to my game plan and not get involved, I’ll box him. I’ve never had trouble with southpaws in my amateur career. I’m confident that when I box him, there’s only going to be one winner.” Also appearing on the show will be a non-title rematch between cruiserweights Craig Kennedy and Wadi Camacho, plus Frankie Borg rematches Chris Ware in defence of his Welsh Area middleweight title. Tickets start from £30 and are available by calling Sanigar Events on 0117 949 6699.

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