Former European middleweight champion Kerry Hope has switched stables to join the growing group of boxers under the guidance of trainer Gary Lockett. Merthyr Tydfil’s Hope had previously been with Karl Ince, enjoying five wins and a European title with the Bolton based trainer but the distance from home came at a cost – Hope’s family life. Training commitments saw Hope miss the birth of his daughter but now he’s loving training back at home. He said, “I’ve got a young family with a new born baby so now I can be with my family. I’ve missed so much with training away, it was hard. At least now after a training session I can go home to my family and I feel more content with that.” “My lad has started getting in to sports and things, he’s only six. Now I’m not missing anything, I can be in his world and see that and it’s a good feeling knowing that I’m there to see my kids growing up.” The relationship with Ince ended on a loss in July, with Grzegorz Proska getting a revenge win over Hope to regain his middleweight title. Despite this, Hope says the bond ended well. He said, “It did end on good terms but obviously he’s taken it a bit harsh. We know we over trained but I’m not blaming him for the loss, I’ve explained it to him and said ‘please don’t take it personal’. It’s just solely down to my family commitments.” Back with his old gym-mates Lockett, Gavin Rees, Enzo Maccarinelli and Tony Doherty for the first time since the Newbridge days, Hope feels they’re rekindling the flame that saw the group reap so much success years ago. He explained, “I’m back with my old stable-mates and it’s good to be back. They’re a good bunch of lads and there’s so much talent there. We’ve all gone our separate ways and come back together but there’s a certain individual who’s not there now so it’s better (than the Newbridge days) and we all get along really well.” Continuing, “We all help each other. Gavin’s going for a world title soon and he’s European champion, Tony Doherty is one of the most talented fighters I’ve ever sparred with, that’s including the likes of Joe (Calzaghe). There’s good characters here and also the banter… Gavin’s mad and Tony’s a good talker and it can help when we’re training hard.” With Grzegorz Proska agreeing to fight for the WBA’s ‘regular’ world title against Gennady Golovkin, he may have to vacate his European title and Hope would love the opportunity to fight for his old title again. He said, “I never even thought I’d fight for a European title, to actually win it … I can’t put it in to words. It’s a shame I didn’t hold on to it for longer but that’s boxing. I know my mistakes and why I lost the title but that’s boxing. If I got another shot at it I’m sure I won’t make those mistakes again.” “I’m not sure of what my chances are with getting another shot at that with it being my former title, I’d love another shot. If not, perhaps I could get in the mix for another title but all I can do is go with what they put in front of me.”

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