Darren Barker, Lee Purdy and Gavin Rees share top billing on
Matchroom's 'Christmas Cracker' bill at the London Olympia on
Purdy locks horns with tough American Carson Jones, who returns
to the UK after giving Kell Brook an almighty scare in Sheffield in
Purdy put in a career-best performance when he claimed the IBF
International welterweight title with a fourth round stoppage of
unbeaten Argentine Gumersindo Carrasco, and the Colchester man
cannot wait to tackle the big hitting 26-year-old from
"This is why I love what I do, being a part of a big show and
fighting big names," said Purdy. "I love to please a crowd and
fighting Jones is going to do exactly that.
"He is ranked really high and when I knock Jones out, people
keep talking about Kell Brook, Amir Khan and Matthew and Ricky
Hatton but when I beat Carson it puts me amongst them."
Barker's clash with Kerry Hope marks a return to action for the
Barnet man some 14 months after his last fight, a gallant world
middleweight title challenge against Sergio Martinez in Atlantic
The two former European champions both have ambitions on getting
back into the title mix, and Barker says that a string of big
domestic middleweight dust-ups could be on the horizon with the
likes of Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray.
"There is a pot of gold at the end of this fight," said Barker.
"Whoever wins this gets those big fights and I believe I am world
class, as are the other fighters in the division, and there is some
really big domestic match ups and the division internationally is
exciting. I feel I am a big part of it and I cannot wait to get
"Being a domestic fight makes it that much bigger. I respect
Kerry but I honestly think fighting me now is dangerous. When I
look at my career I look at it in stages and when I look at the
last chapter I hit rock bottom, it was horrible.
"Physically and mentally I was in a bad way but now I am ready
to turn the page. I am feeling good mentally and physically I am
getting better by the hour. I am ready to take this middleweight
division by the horns and ride it to the finish line now, which is
ultimately me winning the World title."
Hearn said that Rees will box in a big fight on the show and
that he is close to naming an opponent in the next week, and also
cleared up the position with the Welshman and the vacant WBA World
"There are a number of big domestic fights out there for Gavin
and we have made a significant offer to John Murray with no
options," said Hearn. "That offer been accepted by John and his
management team which is awaiting approval from his promoter Frank
"Gavin is in a very interesting position at the moment. He is
number two in the WBA, we have just relinquished the European title
and he is still British champion. The WBA rulings state that a
vacant title must be contested by the first two available
contenders. Richard Abril is No.1 and we are No. 2 and very much
available. We were asked by Gilberto Mendoza to make the fight
between Richard Abril and Gavin Rees for the vacant title and even
agreed terms. As such, since then, Richard Abril has agreed to
fight Sharif Bogere later this year.
"We believe, and our legal advisors believe, that fight can't be
made for the WBA title without our consent, so our team are now in
touch with Mr Mendoza and the WBA to reassure them that Gavin is
very much available to fight for the WBA title."
English light middleweight champion Erick Ochieng will be
stepped up a level by Hearn on the bill, while John Ryder fights
for his first professional title as he meets English middleweight
champion Kreshnik Qato.
There's a tasty rematch on the bill as Chris Evangelou gets the
chance for revenge against Danny Connor, who won the vacant
Southern Area light welterweight title at Alexandra Palace in
September in a tight classic. A number of Matchroom Sport's young
guns continue their pro education on the card, with ex-Olympian
bantamweight Kal Yafai, former Team GB star and 7-0 lightweight
talent Scotty Cardle and unbeaten cruiserweight Wadi Camacho among
those set for action.