Ashley Theophane, the British Light-Welterweight Champion, will need to adjust to a new opponent on Saturday night after original challenger Nigel Wright withdrew from the bout in Peterlee for what were simply described as ‘medical reasons.’ Instead, up steps Ben Murphy (8-4-1), the current Southern Area champion, who will contest the title on three days notice.
Theophane, 30-4-1, 8 KO’s and 31 years old, is something of a late developer, and is little known in the UK despite compiling a creditable record. He took the British title in February this year with a decision win over Lenny Dawes, defended in July by stopping the always tough Jason Cook, and will doubtless be looking to turn back Murphy to set up a fourth defence to ensure he earns a prestigious Lonsdale Belt for keeps.
For some years Theophane has languished around the journeyman level, but he holds a win in the United States over Demarcus Corley, and a respectable split decision loss there in 2010 to Danny Garcia, who has been making waves with wins over Kendall Holt and Nate Campbell recently.
Murphy, meanwhile, insists that he’s in shape for the fight, despite the late notice, and promises to give Theophane the “shock of his life”. The Londoner’s best result is a verdict over current British Super-Featherweight titleholder Gary Buckland, but there’s little else on his record to suggest he’ll topple this British Champion.
Theophane hasn’t lost on home soil for seven years, and Murphy’s come forward style should suit him down to the ground – so expect a mid-round stoppage in favour of the current champ.
On the other side of the country, in Liverpool, James Degale has cancelled his expected European Title defence against Jose Guerrero. No reason has been given by promoter Frank Warren, but one suspects that after George Groves was unable to joint-headline, Degale, who has yet to fully engage the British fight-going public, was unable to generate a satisfactory audience.
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