Big-time boxing returns to Blackpool tomorrow but this Winter Gardens show will be a little different.
VIP Promotions’ latest fight night won’t boast local hero Brian Rose at the top of the bill after the British champion moved on to the Matchroom stable.
Indeed, tomorrow’s show is without Fylde coast fighters after a hand injury forced Kirkham’s Adam Little to withdraw.
The main attraction is the Welsh super-featherweight title bout between Mark Evans and Chuck Jones.
The undercard is packed with North-West interest as Middleton’s Liam Taylor, hard-hitting Tomi Tatham from Lancaster, Southport’s Scott Moonan, Chorley’s Jack Catterall, Morecambe puncher Isaac Lowe, Mancunian-American Adrian Gonzales and Cumbrian Rick Skelton will feature on mammoth 13-bout bill which also features debutants Gary Ormrod from St Helens, Leigh’s Ashley Peyton, and Preston’s Reece Fowler.
The supporting cast features some thrilling young talent who see Blackpool as the perfect stage to emulate Rose and move closer to a title shot.
Welterweight Taylor aims to live up to his ‘Dynamo’ nickname and to take out his frustration on the experienced Donny Dontchev after failing to gain a place in next month’s televised Prizefighter tournament in London.
Unbeaten in six bouts, former junior and senior ABA finalist Taylor will be tackling his first six-round contest.
He is used to last-minute changes off opponent and won’t be fazed if that happens again in Blackpool.
Taylor, who is yet to lose a round as a pro, said: “I know I’m going to step up sooner rather than later, so I’m ready for whoever Steve (Wood, promoter) chucks at me. He’s tried to get me three decent opponents for this fight and they’ve all pulled out, but every training camp I’m working really hard and I feel fitter than ever. Whatever opponent Steve gets me I know I’ll beat them.”
That sort of confidence means Taylor believes he can follow Rose in becoming a British champion with VIP.
But he is in no hurry, adding: “I’m only 22, so I’m still learning and don’t want to get chucked in at the deep end yet. I know I’d do decently against the top British lads at the minute but there’s no rush and I’m building my way up slowly.
“Obviously it’s down to Steve and my trainer but in 12 months we’ll be looking at titles, whether it’s Central Area, British Masters or English. Next year is definitely going to be a big year for me.
“For now I’m just looking forward to Blackpool. It’s a really good place to fight because the Winter Gardens is a different venue to the usual sports centres. It’s only 40 minutes from Manchester too, so it’s good for everyone to come down to.”
Explosive Tomi ‘TNT’ Tatham is looking to bomb out Scunthorpe’s wily Jody Meikle.
Unbeaten Tomi, who has KO’ed every opponent to date, is sure joker Meikle won’t be clowning once he feels his power.
“It will be nice to get some rounds in and get more ring experience,” said the exciting light-heavyweight, who will be having his fourth fight.
“We’ve had a bit of craic over Twitter and Jody seems a nice enough guy. He openly admits he’s the biggest clown of all the journeymen but I’m just going to try to keep my head and focus.
“I think he’ll muck about but when I land a solid shot he’ll think, ‘I need to stop messing about’.
“It will turn into a good bout because I don’t think he’s a holder. He’s only been stopped twice in 40 fights, so he’s obviously got a chin of granite, but I’ll work the body shots and if I do get the stoppage it’ll be a real statement.”
The Winter Gardens crowd has already witnessed Tatham’s punch power last December, when he stopped Elvis Dube.
“He told me he’d never been stopped like that before in his life, and I thought it was really good of him to say that,” explained Tatham, who won 20 of 25 amateur bouts.
“ I got caught with a few silly shots in that fight, and got a slap from my trainer during rounds. In the third though we both threw the same shot and it was a really good finish.”
But coming back to the present, he added: “This will be a mint show.
“It’s always a good atmosphere at the Winter Gardens and I like the walk out. There are also some really good fighters on too, like Isaac Lowe, Rick Skelton, and Scott Moonan.
“ I’d love to get to British title level, though, and then see where we go.”
Tickets for tomorrow’s show are still available, priced at £30 and £50 (ringside), via www.vipbe.co.uk