Turley to end 14 months of frustration in most important fight yet

Turley to end 14 months of frustration in most important fight yet

Cefn Fforest’s Robbie Turley (16-5, 3KO) is ready to end 14 months of frustration with the most important fight of his career.

The super-bantamweight hasn’t fought in a meaningful fight since shutting-out Southern Area champion Jamie Speight at Bristol’s City Academy Sports Centre in November 2014. However, 29-year-old Turley has secured the contest he craves and will face County Durham’s Thomas Patrick Ward (16-0, 1KO), brother of world title challenger Martin Ward, at the Rainton Meadows Arena.

Saturday’s scheduled 10 rounder will headline the show promoted by Phil Jeffries, father of Olympic medalist Tony, and double up as a British title eliminator for the 122lb championship.

Turley said: “He’s a good boy. If I beat him, then I’ll be ready [for a title challenge]. It’s a tough fight but that’s what I want now, I don’t want any was fights.

“To be honest, I don’t like watching my opponents because I end up overthinking. I come up with a plan and if it doesn’t work, you’ve got to go to plan B then. I’m not very good with fighting to set plans. I’d rather go in there and suss it out when I’m in there, go off my reactions. When I don’t watch tape and go in there, out smart them on the spot, I just flow then.”

Although it’s not a final eliminator, Turley’s hopefully that victory will secure mandatory challenger status for the Lord Lonsdale belt. The switch-hitter’s dominant aforementioned victory over the strong Speight was also recognised as an official eliminator but the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) have now ordered another eliminator.

He said: “To be honest, I thought I’d have a straight shot [after beating Speight]. I’ve had to have two little four rounders in between and they haven’t been enough for me. I’ve been disappointed, I’ve not made much money. This should be it, though. I deserve to be mandatory if I win this.”

In all of 2015, Turley only appeared in the ring twice. The St Joseph’s Boxing Club member didn’t lose a round against journeymen Dmitrijs Gutmans and Jean Noel Alvarez but admits that low profile ‘keep busy’ outings do little for his career.

He said: “It’s never been about the money for me but when you’ve only had a pair of four rounders and you’re trying to make a career out of boxing, it’s hard. You just can’t do that. I’m not getting great, great money but it’s enough to sort me out for a couple of months and keep me going to a British title shot.

“They were weak opponents and they don’t try to win, so they don’t make mistakes for me to capitalize on. Sometimes with a journeymen, they’ve just got their hands up and they’re hard to hit but someone who comes to have a fight, you can make them make a mistake.

“I’m a counter-puncher, make them lead, miss and pay for it. That’s what I do best. Journeymen just run away, they’re hard to look good against – I’d rather face someone who’s coming to have a go at me like Ward will.”

The former Welsh and Celtic champion will be accompanied on the 300 mile journey by 30 fans, who will make the five hour cross-country commute to the North East of England. Turley, who is coached by Tony Borg and managed by Chris Sanigar, often sells a ton of tickets to his home supporters but insists that the away-day brings benefits, too.

He said: “Sometimes it’s nice when you shut your opponent’s crowd up. It’s just as nice a feeling when it’s silent as when you have your own crowd.

“This is boxing, it’s obvious I’ve got to win clearly to get a decision. That’s how the game works. I didn’t want the stress of selling tickets, chasing money I’m owed and having all the pressure. Plus, I’m having a lot more money by going away by three-quarters of what I’d have if it was at home.”

This time last year, Turley had just shocked observers by agreeing to face a two-time world bantamweight champion. Typically, funding for the surprise shot at Panama’s excellent Anselmo Moreno fell through and the eight round bout was scrapped. 12 months later, British champion James ‘Jazza’ Dickens has seized an equally surprising opportunity in his home city of Liverpool to face almost untouchable Guiellermo Rigondeaux. The Cuban maestro, rated as one of the best pound-for-pound stars in the world, will fend off the Turley target on 12 March.

Turley said: “Until I watch them in the ring and they’re ready to go, I don’t think it will happen. Like me with Moreno, that was going to happen, too. These big fights, they’re wildcards and sometimes, they don’t seem to happen, like [Gary] Sykes v [Adrien] Broner. I’ve heard of a couple and they don’t seem to happen, they’re cut short at the last hurdle. It is quite a wild fight, if it happens and it would be great to watch.”

If ‘Jazza’ was to stun everyone and dethrone the undefeated legend, the Scouser would be catapulted to the world scene. Ever since turning professional nine years ago, Turley has fantasied about a chance for the British title – would he have a preference if it was against Dickens or vacant? Not really.

Explaining, he said: “Beating a champion is great but just winning the Lonsdale belt is just as great, anyway. You know, having the belt around my waist would be nice regardless of who I beat for it.”

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