BOXING: Gareth savouring screen test against Saunders
GARETH Heard is preparing a shock for 2010 Commonwealth Games medallist Bradley Saunders when the two step into the ring in London on Monday night.
The 30-year-old, from Bradford on Avon, has agreed to step in and take on Durham fighter Saunders (6-0), who won silver for England in the light-welterweight category in Dehli in 2010.
Saunders was also part of the Great Britain team for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing alongside James DeGale and David Price, with Monday’s fight taking place at the Lancaster London hotel, near Hyde Park.
Welterweight Heard (5-1) is hoping to draw on the spirit of Contender Gym stablemate Nick Blackwell, who travelled the Ukraine to take on European champion Max Bursak last month, when he challenges 27-year-old Saunders in front of the TV cameras next week.
“When I was offered the fight, there was no pressure on me to take it but Nick went to the Ukraine to take on someone world-class and I wanted to take a leaf out of his book,” said Heard, who won the British Masters Bronze welterweight title against Faheem Khan in his last outing in June.
“It’s a big opportunity for me and fighting in front of TV cameras has been a big goal of mine that I’m going to be able to tick off. He’s got a great amateur record but although the principle’s the same, amateur boxing is much different to professional boxing – if he thinks that he’s in for an easy fight, then he’s made a mistake.
“Both of us have never gone eight rounds before and there’s no chance that he’s going to out-fight me.”
Heard is also due to be in action on Saturday, October 26, at the postponed Trowbridge Civic Hall show, with the Bradford fighter taking on Welshman Leon Findlay.
Trowbridge’s ‘Bang Bang’ Blackwell will also return to action after his controversial WBA continental middleweight title loss in Ukraine as he fights Birmingham’s Max Maxwell for the British masters belt.
Experienced 34-year-old Maxwell has won 16 of his 45 pro contests and challenged Brian Rose for the British light-middleweight title in March 2012.
Contender Gym trainer Mark Kent said: “It’s out there that nobody in this country wants to fight Nick but Max Maxwell said ‘I’ll do it’.
“I’ve spoken to his trainer and he said that he sees this is a big chance for him to do something. He’s tough and he’s been in with a lot of top guys.”
Fellow Contender Gym fighters Luke Martin and Dan Blackwell will also be in action, with Malmesbury Joe Hughes also on the Trowbridge bill.
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