News April 2017

Matty Askin Sends Chilling message to Kennedy ahead of Brit title Clash


By Michael J Jones

BLACKPOOL’S MATTY Askin has revealed he is ready to take out all of his frustrations on Craig Kennedy when they meet on May 26th and has warned the undefeated Welshman; “You’re not in my class.” The two cruiserweight contenders collide in a sure-fire thriller to contest the vacant British title live on Channel Five and the 28 year old Askin has promised to brutally dispatch his Cardiff rival in front of his own supporters.

The two men were originally set to clash in March but the “Assassin” injured his hand in training. Kennedy was subsequently matched with tough Scot Stephen Simmons but that fell through also so the original match between Askin and Kennedy goes belatedly ahead at the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff.

The 6’4” Askin only boxed twice last year but recorded two of the finest victories of his nine-year career. Last March he destroyed the touted Simon Barclay in just two rounds to defend his English belt before flooring and out-scoring Irish prospect Tommy McCarthy eight months later to pave the way for this British title chance.

Matty, currently 21-3-1 (13), is presently in Poland for top-class sparring with former two-time world champion Krzysztof Wlodarczyk but Livefight grabbed him for an interview just before he left. We found the Blackpool bruiser in his usual confident mood with a month to go until his title bout with Kennedy.

“It’s not been a good year so far but I’m on a good run of wins at the moment and I think I’ve proven to people that I’m the best at the weight in the UK” Matty tells Livefight. “I see Craig Kennedy as a guy who has been spoon-fed poor opponents all through his career and there’s a world of difference in our (respective) experience.”

“All through my career I’ve been in real fights with dangerous men, I’ve fought guys at British, European and world level so there’s going to be a huge gulf in class between us on the night.”

Cardiff’s Kennedy has done little wrong so far in his 16-0 (8) career and has claimed a few decent scalps such as Wadi Camacho and Courtney Fry. He is a fighter who is always in great shape and is guided by former WBO featherweight champion Steve Robinson.

None of the above appears to phase the in-form Askin though as he continues…

“I’m aware that he’s confident and is boxing at home so my plan will be just to get him out of there as soon as I can. He can be hurt and put over and I’m durable so when my right-hand lands he’ll go down and hopefully he’ll stay there (laughs).”

“I watched his IBF (InterContinental title) fight from last year (against awkward Belgian Joel Tambwe Djeko) and I don’t know how anybody could have scored that for Kennedy*. Kennedy was dropped twice but, as it was down there in Wales, they gave him a split decision.”

“I don’t intend to let that happen in our fight.”

*For the record, Livefight scored for Kennedy 95-94 in his bout vs Djeko last May. The Belgian was massive at the weight and didn’t lack for confidence or power though Kennedy was always busier down the stretch.

“We got Kennedy in for sparring a while ago and we couldn’t even get rounds out of him before he was pulling out” the Blackpool puncher continues. “We paid him for the sparring and he couldn’t ever finish a session, obviously he’ll probably be better than that but I also can’t see how he’ll deal with my power or my speed.”

Askin has shown notable improvement over the last few years thanks to his gruelling work with trainers Mike and Dave Jennings. The wild-swinging brawler from the beginning of his career has been replaced with a cuter, more patient and defensively adept version though the power is still evident as both of last year’s victims would attest.

“Against Simon Barclay, he was a former two time ABA heavyweight champion and they were bigging him up but when the fight started I knew he didn’t have any real power so I could take more risks and go for the early KO.”

“I knew I was a better fighter than Tommy McCarthy but I realise many doubted me before that fight and there were people who still questioned if I could win those kinds of fights. My team all knew what I was capable of and so did I.”

The British title eliminator against McCarthy, who was 9-0 coming in, started tentatively with both looking for openings. Askin shaded two of the first three (on my card) but exploded in the fourth when he sent his foe down heavily with a well-timed right.

A follow-up flurry sent the dazed Belfast fighter down again as the bell rang and it looked at that point the fight was as good as over yet McCarthy gamely made it through the full twelve rounds to lose by scores of 117-110 and 116-111 (twice).

“I actually injured my hand after I dropped him so couldn’t quite finish him off but I just boxed his head off afterwards.”

McCarthy had looked sensational in his previous bout when out-scoring former British and Commonwealth champion Jon Lewis Dickinson. The beaten Geordie, who held a win over Matty, announced his retirement following the one-sided loss.

In 25 pro fights, Askin has only suffered the said decision to Dickinson, lost a short-notice fight in Poland to future WBO champion Krzysztof Glowacki and, in his last bid for the British title, lost a close decision to then British and Commonwealth ruler Ovil McKenzie.

The latter fight two years ago was a disappointing contest, neither fighter appeared to settle into any rhythm as styles often clashed horribly. McKenzie eventually prevailed by a debatable majority decision.

“I think there were some factors that caught up with me that night” sighs the 6’4” puncher when recalling his failed challenge and last defeat. “I’d had a year out before the fight, I felt I won the first seven or eight rounds comfortably but my body just folded from the inactivity and losing those two points towards the end (for holding) did me.”

“I feel I would have won that fight if I’d have been more active before it and I feel Tommy McCarthy is one of the best I’ve faced to show where I am now in my career.”

I enquire what the cruiserweight contender’s plans may be should he prevail on May 26th in Cardiff?

“I’m focussed on Craig Kennedy of course but if all goes well I’d just like to get a British title defence as soon as I can with the view of going onto the world stage in the near future. I boxed Glowacki in Poland and, despite not being in the best of shape, I still did well and competed with him and I feel confident I can mix it with the best at my weight.”

Matty views himself as the premier cruiserweight in the UK but there is currently one name officially above him in the British ranks as the world waits to see what could be next for the Haye-slayer Tony Bellew.

“Tony Bellew is a very clever man and has a brilliant business brain and he’ll do whatever makes the most sense. He moved up and scored that victory over Haye at heavyweight and total respect for that. I do see myself one day as making the move (to heavyweight) but I also want to achieve everything I possibly can before then in the cruiserweight division.”

“Tony Bellew is 34, I’m only 28 so there’s ample time before I go and mix it with those big fellas.”

“I just want to thank my team, all of my supporters and also my sponsors; Ma Kellys Blackpool, The Gentlemans Lounge, Stephen Pye Tree Services, Churchside FP and A&P Autos, Blackpool. Everyone tune in on May 26th to see the best cruiserweight in Britain do his thing and become the British champion.”

The big fight is scheduled to be shown live on Channel Five on May 26th and it’s sure to provide a thrilling contest between two hungry and hard-punching rivals. Based on experience, quality of opposition and chin, Askin seems the favourite though Kennedy, in front of his home crowd, surely won’t be coming to make up the numbers…

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