Victory vital as Ian defends his crown

BRITISH bantamweight champion Ian Napa knows he cannot afford any mistakes when he defends his title against Doncaster challenger Jamie McDonnell on Friday night at the Brentwood Centre, writes LEN WHALEY. Victory is vital for Dapa Napa, for it will ma

BRITISH bantamweight champion Ian Napa knows he cannot afford any mistakes when he defends his title against Doncaster challenger Jamie McDonnell on Friday night at the Brentwood Centre, writes LEN WHALEY.

Victory is vital for 'Dapa' Napa, for it will make certain that he will go forward to challenge Jerome Arnould for the vacant European championship in France on Saturday, March 6.

Promoter Frank Maloney warned: "Ian knows that if he lost to McDonnell, then the Arnould fight would be off. Before he speaks about Arnould, let's get what is a very tough British title defence out of the way."

There will also be plenty of interest in a talent-packed supporting bill which features rival heavyweight prospects in the Maloney camp - Tom Dallas and Larry Olubamiwo.

Dallas, 24, is undefeated in eight fights and firmly establishing himself as one of Britain's best young heavyweights with some impressive victories.

Olubamiwo, a former Repton amateur campaigner with just a single points defeat in his seven pro appearances, will be moved up in class on Friday's bill when he boxes Irish puncher Scott Belshaw.

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"My fight with Scott Belshaw is definitely a step up," says big-hitter Olubamiwo.

"I think he's a very good opponent for me and obviously he's still got ambitions himself, because he's still got a decent record.

"It's by no means an easy fight for me, but if I do what I'm supposed to do, and what I've been working on in training, I should come away with the victory.

"I know I punch hard enough that if I catch anyone clean, they'll go."

However, there is a different view from Johnny Eames who trains Belshaw at his TKO Gym "I can't see Scott losing unless he does something stupid," said Eames.

"Olubamiwo is very crude and raw, but very, very strong."

Peacock Gym-trained Dallas is matched with Bulgarian Yavor Marinchev - who dropped a points decision against Olubamiwo in his last bout at Nottingham, in November.

Another supporting bout booked for the Brentwood show is the meeting of featherweight Akaash Bhatia and Peacock Gym-trained fighter Mickey Coveney.

Also named for action is rising west London middleweight George Groves, a 21-year-old in a hurry to make the grade.

On the same bill, Cheshunt's Ashley Sexton, with eight straight victories on his record, faces a showdown duel with Usman Ahmed in an exciting clash to decide the vacant English flyweight championship.

On the comeback trail, is former British super-featherweight champion Carl Johanneson, who boxes for the first time since losing his British championship against Kevin Mitchell in March 2008 at the 02 Arena.

Tickets for Friday night's show are available online from www.frankmaloney.com or by phone on 08712 261508.

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