Duran and Sinclair clash on September 23rd
In a top-drawer replacement contest, Ghana's 154 lb Commonwealth champion Ossie Duran, 19-4-1 (9), will face Belfast's hard-punching former British welterweight titlist Neil Sinclair on September 23rd at the Hilton Hotel, Park Lane.
The ITV2-televised show was originally to be topped by an intriguing English welterweight title clash between Matthew Hatton, brother of Ricky, and Ross Minter, son of Alan. Now, however, following the withdrawal of Hatton, Duran-Sinclair enters the fray and proves to be an even more absorbing blend of styles and personalities.
The new Commonwealth king Duran, of course, rose to prominence in June 2004 with a two-round stoppage of British and formerly Commonwealth champ Jamie Moore in Northern Ireland. He last boxed in December 04', in his native Ghana, and his protracted rumble with Sinclair will mark his first outing of 05'.
As well as the noteworthy victory over Salford's Moore, Duran also holds a points win over fellow Ghanaian Joshua Okine - a win which keeps looking better and better in light of Okine's recent Commonwealth welterweight title triumph over touted Brit David Barnes.
Irishman Sinclair, however, is nothing if not concussively powerful, and, despite campaigning at welterweight through much of his career, would appear to carry enough TNT to warrant respect from the rugged African. He's also 5'10, so carries the extra pounds well.
'Sinky' is 28-4 (23) and challenged for the WBO welterweight crown in December 2000 - losing to the classy Puerto Rican Daniel Santos inside two rollercoaster rounds. He decked the powerful Santos in the opening session, before being taken out in the second.
The 31-year-old is coming off an unfortunate cuts stoppage defeat to Taz Jones in March, and was actually scheduled to meet Jones again on September 10th, before news of this Commonwealth title challenge materialised.
The Sports Network-promoted charity event will assist DebRA, who help promote research into the cause, nature, treatment and cure of the skin genetic disorder Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), to raise the initial funding to develop the worlds first clinical research centre for EB at The Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London.