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Sheffield boxing - five to watch

Richard Towers
Richard Towers (right) is one of the boxers picked for a bright future in the sport

by Seth Bennett
BBC Radio Sheffield Sport

South Yorkshire has been a hotbed for British boxing for most of my lifetime.

Whether it has been fighters coming out of Brendan Ingle's St Thomas' gym, Glyn Rhodes at Sheffield Boxing Club, Dennis Hobson promoting some great talent through trainer Chris Smedley or Dave Cauldwell who is the latest trainer making waves in the sport, the region has always produced great fighters.

From Herol Graham to Prince Naseem Hamed, Johnny Nelson to Clinton Woods as well as Junior Witter, Sheffield has trained some of the most talented and classy boxers the sport has seen in the last 30 years.

Today there is a new breed of young boxer that is coming through and over the next 12 months I am going to chart the progress of five young professional boxers who have a shot at being South Yorkshire's next world champion.

KELL BROOK 20-0-0

Kell Brook is known as 'The Kid' but in the ring he has been anything but child's play in his career so far.

The 23-year-old has fought mainly at welterweight and light welterweight and seen great success, having already racked up 20 professional fights, including 13 knockouts and no defeats.

Brook started life as a youngster at Brendan Ingle's gym and he has that familiar, unorthodox, switch hitting style that has seen him compared to Prince Naseem.

Kell Brook
Brook is already British Champion at 23-years-old

There has never been a doubt about the ability of Brook, but his work ethic between fights has been a question mark in the early part of his career and saw him leave the Ingle camp to link up with Dave Cauldwell.

Kell has since returned to Wincobank to rejoin his former mentor and now works under the watchful eye of Dominic, John and Brendan Ingle.

Having already won the British Welterweight crown and the Lonsdale belt outright earlier this year by stopping Michael Lomax in Manchester, he was then named the Boxing Writers Club young fighter of the year, so the pressure is on for Brook to deliver.

The next year should see Kell move from national to international level with a European title shot not too far away.

The public would love to see a match up with Amir Khan, but that is unlikely to happen in the short term with both men in the Frank Warren stable.

I predict Kell Brook will have a fine next 12 months and hopefully he will start to gain the recognition both locally and nationally that a fighter of his skill and ability deserves.

He does not have the massive following a boxer of his calibre warrants so maybe as important as building the victories in the ring, Brooke needs to also work hard on his public profile.

Your say - Discuss Kell Brook on 606

CURTIS WOODHOUSE 11-1-0

Curtis Woodhouse is 29-years-old and so you may ask why I have included him in this list of five prospects to watch in the next year.

Well the reason is that Woodhouse is an interesting story. Two years ago he chose to give up life as a professional footballer and take up his real passion which is boxing.

Curtis Woodhouse
Woodhouse will step up in class in his next fight in November

As a footballer, Woodhouse started out at Sheffield United and moved to Birmingham City for £1 million in 2001 and won four England under 21 caps.

There are plenty of stories that suggest that during his time in football he frequently would head to the boxing gym in the afternoon without his manager's permission to keep working on his skills.

So a late comer into the sport he has already built up an 11-fight professional record with 10 wins, five by knockout and just one defeat.

Without any kind of amateur background Woodhouse is learning on the job and so far his all action style has won him plenty of support from his fans.

The Driffield Destroyers' sole defeat came at the hands of Jay Morris at the Ulster Hall in Belfast where he lost by a single point and most people watching that night felt he was extremely unfortunate not to win the bout by several rounds.

With Woodhouse only making his professional debut three years ago he has made massive progress in a short space of time and nobody really knows how far he can go in the sport or for how long.

He says he will quit if he ever becomes British Champion because that is his dream, but with the way he feels about the sport, if that ever happened he would no doubt be looking to make the next step up.

Curtis lost two stone when he began boxing and right now fights at welterweight which is a seriously tough division to have success in.

But with his football career still fresh in the mind he has a ready-made following, especially from Sheffield United supporters, so he is a promoter's dream in that respect. He is also great to watch because he loves a tear-up.

As to what he can do over the next 12 months, he must remain active and he needs to keep building his reputation as a boxer.

He has improved his temperament over his first 11 bouts, but he needs to work hard on not having a fight every time he enters the ring because he has enough ability to outbox opponents and that will take him closer to his dream.

Your say - Discuss Curtis Woodhouse on 606

RICHARD TOWERS 4-0-0

Richard Towers is 30 years of age and has the kind of history that will chill you to the bone.

From his polite, soft spoken manner you would never guess that he served half of a 13-year sentence for kidnapping. By his own admission, his time in prison has taught him to appreciate life and what he wants to achieve.

Richard Towers
Towers' imposing stature should see him have a good 2010

Towers now works hand-in-hand with the probation service, trying to use his chequered past to help steer youngsters away from making the kind of mistakes he did.

As a youngster he trained at Brendan Ingle's gym, but with his enforced absence from the sport, Towers has missed a lot of time and now has a steep learning curve if he is to achieve his ambition of becoming heavyweight champion of the world.

His professional career is just four fights old and he is yet to appear in his home town, which he will do when he fights at the City Hall in Sheffield in October. Towers has a perfect record including two knockout's and is yet to be seriously tested.

'The Inferno' is nearly seven foot tall and at 230lbs he is lean and very, very strong. The Ingle camp purr over his ability in the ring and his speed, footwork and movement is outstanding and his power and accuracy is improving with every fight.

Towers should explode onto the scene in the next 12 months and with the domestic heavyweight scene exciting with a number of prospects all coming through he should get some decent fights.

His main problem will be getting people to get in the ring, because the more established boxers in the division may not fancy it because he is such a big man and he is difficult to handle.

I hope for him he does not have another 12 months against journeymen where he can use his rangy jab to pick them off and cruise through the bouts.

I would love to see him tested this year and by the end of 2010 see him pushing for an English title. With Towers already being 30, he is in a hurry to impress and so the heavyweight scene better watch out

Your say - Discuss Richard Towers on 606

LIAM CAMERON 0-0-0

At 18-years-old Liam Cameron is the youngest of our five to watch and has the least experience in the professional ranks. He started boxing at 10 and over the last eight years he has had 51 amateur fights to hone his technique.

Liam Cameron
Cameron is desperate to prove himself as a professional

Cameron will start is career fighting at welterweight, but is expected to move up to middleweight as he fills out in his 6ft frame.

With great reach, he has fast hands, throws shots from lots of different angles which should entertain the fight fans.

He also has a tight defence honed in the amateurs helping him to become ABA Champion, Sheffield's first since Henry Hall in 1944.

Cameron also won 3 national British titles before joining up with Clinton Woods' promoter Dennis Hobson to turn pro.

Away from the ring Cameron has a fledgling second career as a model. He was recently flown out to Madrid for a photoshoot for a major international designer.

The buzz in the fight game is that Liam Cameron has every chance of making it and with Dennis Hobson's backing he will be given every chance possible to be a success.

Cameron still trains with Chris Smedley who has looked after him since he first began boxing.

This year will see Cameron enter the ring for the first time as a pro and I expect him to catch the eye as he wets his feet with a series of career-building fights that should allow him to gradually grow as a boxer and build up a loyal following.

Your say - Discuss Liam Cameron on 606

KID GALAHAD 2-0-0

His real name is Abdul Barry Awad, but boxes under the name Kid Galahad after the Elvis Presley film of the same name. To keep the theme he enters the ring to Viva Las Vegas.

Kid Galahad
Galahad has Prince Naseem-like traits

When you look at Awad, you do not think Elvis, more like a young looking version of Prince - Prince Naseem that is.

There is good reason for that. Like Hamed, Awad also has roots in the Yemen and he has a similar kind of cocky style that can see him make his opponent look stupid.

He can switch hit and fight on the front or back foot, as yet the power is still coming, but he is already a handful and at just 19-years-old he is still growing and filling out.

Kid Galahad has started his career as a bantamweight and I expect he will stay there for the time being, but as he develops he will be able to move through the weights as he wishes.

From a very early age he has trained with the very best that Brendan Ingle can throw at him and it gives him a real edge when he is in the ring.

Galahad is a craftsman and looks the part when sparing or working out in the gym and his big task will be to take that into the ring on a regular basis.

He loves to showboat and I have seen him on occasion embarrass others in the ring with him by dancing around them and even having the cheek to give the other a boxer a peck on the cheek.

When that happened, the other boxer tried to knock him out and the harder he swung the quicker the kid was out of the way and mounting his own counter.

This year will be about learning the pro game and figuring out when to dance and when he will have to dig in and fight.

He may find it difficult to find opponents as he goes up the rankings because at best, he makes you look stupid. At worst he beats you up in the process.

Your say - Discuss Kid Galahad on 606



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