Contenders ready for battle
After a break this week, the Wray and Nephew Welterweight Contender 2016 series will resume next week Wednesday, June 8, with the first of two semi-final bouts between Tsetsi 'Lights Out' Davis and Richard 'Frog' Holmes.
The second semi-final, which is expected to be a thrilling affair, will be between DeMarcus 'Chop Chop' Corley and Michael 'The Wasp' Gardener a week later on June 15.
Three of the semi-finalists were ranked in the top four after the preliminaries: Corley at No. 1, Davis in the No. 2 slot, and Holmes No. 3.
The unranked Gardener broke into the top four by defeating the number four-ranked Ramel 'Sub Zero' Lewis by unanimous decision on May 4.
There is an interesting subplot to the Davis versus Holmes battle. Both boxers also clashed in the semi-finals last year, and after eight bruising rounds, Holmes came away with a majority decision. It was a very close fight, which, as the scores showed, could have gone either way, but Davis was very unhappy with the decision. He has, therefore, been itching for a return fight against Holmes and sees this as his chance for redemption.
Last year's contest was in the middleweight division at 160 pounds, but this year, the boxers are fighting as welterweights, with an upper limit of 147 pounds. Holmes has had no difficulty making this weight, but Davis has struggled, and this could be a factor next week.
Holmes also has his challenges, however, as he suffered a cut over his right eye in his fight against Iwan Azore on May 18, and this has caused him to limit his sparring sessions so far.
His trainer, Carl Grant, told The Gleaner yesterday that Holmes was fine as "the cut has healed nicely". He also volunteered that Holmes has been doing a lot of pad work.
He then volunteered that "Richard will be all right. He will be ready next week".
Davis has stated that his weight is in the right place at this time and that his training is going well.
"I want this one. This is my year," he stated confidently.
The 22-year-old Gardener's aggressiveness and power have caught the interest of boxing fans, and despite having only two professional bouts, he is seen as a great prospect. He taunted Corley last week after the 41-year-old warrior had disposed of Revlon Lake in only 55 seconds. He called him "old and the past" and boasted that he, Gardener, was the future.
Corley saw this as "disrespect" and has promised that "I am going to hurt that kid".