News April 2019

Kerry Hope reveals OíKane post-fight confession, eyes rematch and Ryder in 2014


by @jamacd2011 (John MacDonald)

Former European Champion, Kerry Hope (19-6, 1 KO), is looking to put a disappointing 12 months behind him when he makes his first ring appearance of the New Year on February 1st at the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff.

Injuries and personal issues curtailed him to just two fights in 2013; a points victory over tough journeyman, Max Maxwell and a hard-fought decision loss to Eamonn OíKane in Belfast, both in October.

ďA back injury plagued me for a long time last year,Ē Hope told LiveFight.

ďI was out of the ring for a while before I fought OíKane. Since before the [Darren] Barker fight Iíve had a lot issues with my back, a lot of family members passed away last year but 2014 is a new year and Iím back on track. Iím healthy, happy and I just want to push for titles.Ē

The Welshman has parted company with Gary Lockett to return to Bolton to work with former trainer Karl Ince. The partnership has reaped success in the past with Hope defeating Grzegorz Proksa, against all odds, under Inceís stewardship and hopes they can rekindle the glory of that night.

ďIím back with Karl Ince. He was my trainer previous to Gary Lockett, Iím back with him now. Working with him [Ince] again hopefully Iíll get form back, get a few wins and push for titles.Ē

Since claiming the European title, the 32-year-old is 2-3; with defeats to the Pole in a rematch, former World Champion Darren Barker and most recently, the aforementioned OíKane. Despite these losses and fact that he is entering the twilight of his career, Hope maintains that the desire remains and that before long heíll be back in the hunt for titles.

ďIíve had a lot of setbacks because of the losses Iíve had recently. Fighting Barker, and the fight with OíKane didnít go to plan, I lost my [European] title to Proksa but I still believe that there is life in the dog yet. Thatís why Iíve come back to Bolton and surrounded myself with the people who were with me when I won the European Title.Ē

Of those losses, the defeat to OíKane has been the hardest one for Hope to accept. The fight, in his rivalís home city of Belfast on the undercard of Carl FramptonĖJeremy Parodi, was a gruelling affair. At various stages both fighters felt the pace, with the Welshmanís corner on the verge of withdrawing him at one point. He rallied back pushing OíKane to the wire only to drop a close decision on the scorecards.

ďThe fight with OíKane didnít go as planned. I had a lot of issues, itís not like me to look tired in a fight and anyone who knows how I fight will know that.

ďI definitely think Iím a better fighter. OíKane said to me after the fight ĎI thought you won that fight and I donít want to fight you again.Ē

ďWe asked for the rematch down in Cardiff for February 1st which didnít pan-out because of his side of negotiations. I want that fight to rectify the result and prove that I am the better fighter.Ē

With an immediate rematch seemingly out of the question Hope turned his attentions to his forthcoming appearance on the undercard of Lee Selby-Rendall Munroe, for the vacant European Featherweight Title, and his goals for the year as a whole.

ďMoving on, Iím fighting February 1st; whether itís a six-rounder, eight-rounder, or maybe even a Welsh title. After that, in the big picture, maybe someone like John Ryder. I canít see Billy Joe Saunders keeping hold of his title once he wins the Lonsdale Belt outright, heíll probably vacate.Ē

Ryder is seen by many as a top middleweight prospect, having narrowly lost to Saunders in his first title fight. Should a fight with Ryder come off, Hope would be an underdog but is confident of overcoming the odds once more.

ďIf Iím 100% Iím a hard person to fight. I think Iíve got the beating of Ryder. Against Ryder, Iíd be the underdog but that means no pressure on me then. I enjoy being the underdog and as youíve seen before, Iíve won a European Title when no one gave me a chance!Ē

Although any such fight would likely be for the British title, in Hopeís opinion, there is more than that at stake for the Welshman. Once again it all come back to that man; Eamonn OíKane.

ďIt would be nice to get a crack at someone like John Ryder, who has beaten OíKane. Maybe OíKane would accept the rematch then so I can prove that I am the better fighter!Ē

Tickets for 'Reloaded' Selby v Munroe are on sale now priced at £30, £40, £60 ringside and £120 VIP are available from or by calling 02920 22 44 88

VIP Packages priced £120 are available from or by calling 01277 359900

The show will be broadcast live on Sky Sports

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