FORMER welterweight champion Derek Roche is predicting a mega future for Leeds youngster Damo Jones ahead of his second professional bout next weekend – in his hometown city.
Jones, 20, made the perfect start to his professional career last month when defeating Liam Griffiths in Glasgow and now the welterweight, who is on the books of Frank Warren, is getting ready to bring boxing home.
The Wortley youngster will headline next Friday’s Rebel Promotions evening at the Leeds Irish Centre on York Road and Roche – who runs Rebel Promotions – is predicting an illustrious career ahead.
Leeds-based Roche enjoyed a stellar career as a pro boxer – going 22 fights undefeated and winning the British welterweight title before losing to Harry Dhami in 2000.
And he is sure that with his whole boxing life ahead, Jones will go on to become a formidable force.
“Damo is our new little superstar and won his first fight hands down,” said Roche. “He won it with ease.
“He’s got so far to go, he’s still only 20 and I say it’s like Buzz Lightyear for him – to affinity and beyond.
“He trains twice a day, six days a week even though he is only doing these smaller fights at what is the beginning of his career.”
Jones’ opponent next weekend will be Midlands-based Andrew Patterson but while lavish in praise for the Leeds lad, Roche is still predicting a difficult encounter.
“Andrew Patterson has had over 40 fights and he has rarely been stopped,” said Irishman Roche.
“He’s a tough fighter and it will be an interesting fight.”
Also fighting at the Irish Centre will be Leeds-based Jamie Kelly against Phil Goodwin of Hull plus another Leeds boxer, Jonny Graham, who will fight the experienced Billy Smith of Birmingham.
Roche was upset to see the proposed fight between Leeds’ Lee Murtagh and Phil Fury fall through – a bout which would have been for the new Gaelic middleweight title belt.
“the fight is not going ahead through no fault of the boxers,” said Roche.
“Lee was gutted about that as there was loads of interest and he had got a lot of tickets sold, plus he could have been the first one to win that title.
“He was devastated but he still might be the first person to win it if I get my way.
“I’m still trying to get him an opponent for next week and will see what I can do.”
Doors open at 6pm for the eagerly-awaited evening next Friday with the boxing expected to start at around 10pm.
There will be a three-course dinner beforehand and Roche is excited about what will be one of the best nights of boxing in Leeds this year.
“There’s a couple of tables left but we’ve sold 30 and what’s left will be first come first served,” he said.
“There’s a three-course dinner, a comedian and an after-show party – it should be a really great night.”
For more information about the boxing evening at the Irish Centre or for tickets call 07774 660 8781.