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Dave Woodhall previews the opening card of the West Midlands boxing season, with a show at Wolves Civic – which includes a womens’ world title clash.

A new Midlands boxing season get underway on Friday, and unsurprisingly it’s a First Team bill at Wolverhampton Civic Hall.

PJ Rowson and Errol Johnson must be the busiest promotional team in the country and their first headline bout of the season is a British Masters contest at light-welterweight between Walsall’s Steve Saville and Syrian-born Yousseff al Himadi, now fighting out of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.

It’s a late change of opponent for Saville, originally down to fight Baz Carey for the Midlands area lightweight belt, and the Walsall boxer will be looking to get back to winning ways after losing his only previous fight this year, to Gary McArthur in the Prizefighter tournament held in Glasgow last March. This was also Saville’s only defeat since returning to the sport at the start of 2008 after six years out of the ring. His record currently stands at 19-5, with eight of those wins coming inside the distance.

32 year old Al Himadi boats an unimpressive 5-20 record but has only been stopped once and has fought in good company, going the distance with several past or future British champions. Nevertheless, fighting in front of his own fans, Saville should have enough ability to take a comfortable points victory.

The main talking point of the night could well be a womens’ world title clash between local champion Lyndsey Scragg and Big Brother contestant Angel McKenzie of London.

Scragg won the Global Boxing Council’s female super-featherweight crown by stopping Kristien Shergold in the same ring last June despite suffering a bad cut to the eye, taking her record to 9-1, and should triumph over her Russian-born challenger, a better fighter than a 3-15 record suggests. 

Again, this one could well go the distance.

Local boy Ben Wilkes, who seems to drop another weight category with every fight, seeks to extend his unbeaten record to four out of four, this time at light-middleweight. The local favourite is scheduled to fight Nottingham veteran Matt Scriven, whose best days are long behind him and who at the age of 36 should be no match for the promising Wilkes, 14 years his junior.

Unbeaten Ombersley middleweight Alex Strutt will be in action against Scunthorpe journeyman Davey Jones. Birmingham lightweight Chris Truman, winner of his professional debut at the Civic in July, faces Craig Dyer of Swansea, who has lost all his previous 12 contests. Myles Holder of Willenhall, winner of his first two pro contests, is also in action.

Doors open at 7 and tickets, priced £30 and £50 are available from 0870 320 7000 or wolvescivic


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