Grimsby's Kevin Hooper knows better than to look at the form
book ahead of his Midlands Area title challenge on Friday
The unbeaten 28-year-old faces reigning lightweight holder Amir
Unsworth at the Beachcomber Club in Cleethorpes.
And while Unsworth has lost in his last two outings, Hooper says
he cannot afford to take the Sleaford soldier lightly.
"His last performance was a shock defeat to a journeyman
(William Warburton) that he should have beat, but I can't read too
much into that," Hooper, 12 - 0 (3 KOs), told HattonBoxing.
"He'll be wanting to come back and get a good win under his
belt, which I'm not going to let happen."
The pair know each other well after sparring many rounds
together in the past and even share the same manager, Carl Greaves.
But when the bell rings on Friday evening, friendship will go out
of the window.
"It's just one of those fights that has to happen," Hooper
explained. "It's for the area title but the board have now made it
an eliminator the English title so this is the only way I can move
"It's unfortunate we have to meet, but I know I'll giving
everything to win that title and he'll be giving everything to keep
it. It's business."
The weight of expectation lies heavy on Hooper's back because he
is from a part of the country better known for fish produce than
But he says that the fact his local community are pinning their
hopes on potential merely serves to galvanise him.
"There's a lot of pressure but that only makes me train harder,"
"It gives me the incentive to perform ten times better. There's
going to be so many people being there wanting me to win and I plan
on giving them a night to remember.
"The Midlands Area is massive and winning it would be good for
the area. It's not been done round here since Mike Duffield and
Steve Lewsam so it means a big deal."
If he can emerge victorious, Heywood's Kieran Farrell would be
next for the vacant English bauble.
However, a fight that has interested Hooper for a long time
would be against Hull's Tommy "Boom Boom" Coyle.
Coyle himself was nominated to face Farrell earlier this year,
but instead opted to take a different route before eventually
signing up for Prizefighter.
Hooper said: "It's a fight I'd gladly take. People want to see
him box unbeaten fighters and my name seems to have popped up from
"He was meant to be fighting for the English title at one point
and that didn't happen and then he was then fighting for the WBC
silver belt and then he ended up in Prizefighter so I don't know
what route he's going down, but I'm sure we'll meet in the