FIGHT trainer Mathew Ellis is tipping cruiserweight Matty Askin to ‘steal he show’ when he boxes for the English title at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens on April 20.
Askin had been preparing for a contest with Wadi Camacho, but that boxer lost the English title last month in a bout at Wembley Arena, retiring in the seventh round and ceding the belt to China Clarke, of Leeds.
The fight ended inside the scheduled distance - Camacho sustained a cut right eye in the first round and was down in the sixth session.
Ellis said: “I was surprised that Clarke won because I was expecting Camacho to come out on top.
“But it didn’t happen that way - If I am honest, I don’t think that Camacho looked in shape that night.”
Ellis only took over Askin’s training recently and his boast is that his new charge is already showing the benefit.
He said: “I strongly believe that Matty has it in him to be British champion, and I am willing to put money on that.
“I love working with Matty.
“He has been working hard and we have a good rapport and have become good friends.
“You will see a different fighter on April 20 - he has had a few trainers already, and that can’t have helped him, but he is more settled now.
“From the first bell, I want Matty Askin to assert himself, work behind his jab and put Clarke on the back foot.”
Clarke has won 11 of his 12 fights, the other contest being a draw.
The Askin/Clarke fight is in the undercard of the Sky-televised top-of-the-bill at the Winter Gardens when Brian Rose boxes for the WBO inter-continental title at stake when he takes on Joachim Alcine, the Haitian-born fighter, who is now based in Canada and promises to be far and away Rose’s hardest opponent to date.
Rose, the British light-middleweight champion, is hoping that a win would set up a meeting with current WBO champion Zaurbek Baysanguro.
For Askin the stakes are high too.
He missed out on a previous attempt to win the English title, succumbing to subsequent British champ Jon-Lewis Dickinson.
His last fight was in Poland when he lost to the durable Krzysztof Glowacki, boxing on the East European’s home turf.
Askin, like Ellis a former ABA champion, and Clarke know plenty about each other, having both sparred together at Brian Hughes’ gym in Manchester in the not-too-distant past.
It is an important time too for Ellis as he tries to build up his reputation as a trainer.
Askin is the first fighter under his wing, and, if he has his way, it will be the first of many.
Ellis is opening up a new gym in Allenby Road, St Annes, which he wants to expand and take on more professional fighters.
He said: “Blackpool boxing is booming at the moment with Brian Rose, Scotty Cardle, Matty Askin and Adam Little, and I have already had interest from other boxers who want to train with me.
“There is no need for boxers to go to Manchester or Liverpool to train when we have facilities in this area once my gym opens up.
“That was one of the problems that Matty Askin had to deal with.
“Travelling all the way to Manchester to train was taking it out of him.”
Ellis plans to call his new facility the St Annes Wild Card Gym.
He added: “I have a lot of experience that I can bring as a trainer.
“I have travelled all over the place to box - I had 140 fights as an amateur and over 30 as a professional, so I have picked up a lot of knowledge along the way.”
Ellis concluded confidently: “I am backing Matty to steal the night on April 20.”
Olympic captain Thomas Stalker, who is now operating in the professional ranks, is one of the boxers featuring on the under-card, along with Lee Selby, having his first bout under the Matchroom banner.