Kerry looks to find Hope in Australia

FORMER European middleweight champion Kerry Hope has moved to Brisbane and looks set to relaunch his professional career with his revamped all-Australian team.

Hope, 32, has fought some quality operators over the course of a nine-year career that has seen the well-travelled Welshman share the ring with fighters such as former IBF middleweight titleholder Darren Barker, as well as former world title challenger Gregorz Proksa – who Hope dethroned in a European title fight – which stands as Hope’s biggest victory to date.

“Kerry brings a number of things to the Australian scene, namely another big name and further quality at the top end of the middleweight scene,” said Hope’s new manager Adam Wilcock in an exclusive interview with Aus-Boxing.

“He is experienced and is a super-smart boxer. He’s been on the rough end of a few decisions recently, but that’s just the way the game plays out in the UK and this is a fresh start and fresh challenge,”

“He’ll have a target on his back straight away I’d imagine, with many in the division wanting the big name and his scalp on their résumé,” he continued. “Importantly he brings experience, he is also an important learning resource in the gym and quality sparring for anyone in the country. Kerry is ready to go and is at a level where he’ll fight anyone in Australia. The hardest part will be finding anyone to fight him.”

Despite being on the receiving end of two relatively questionable decisions in his last three fights, Hope (20-7, 1 KO) will fit right into a thriving middleweight division domestically.

As it stands, the middleweight division boasts high profile names such as Sam Soliman, Daniel Geale and Jarrod Fletcher, but it is the possibility of fights with the fighters beneath them that will make things interesting. Given Hope’s experience in addition to the quality of opposition he has faced, he should provide most with a good gauge as to where they stand in the grand scheme of things.

“At this stage I’d put him right in the mix. He’s very talented and experienced. He’s fought at the top level in both the UK and US. Give him a couple of fights and he’ll be challenging anyone in the country.”

“I imagine Geale might be looking for a top experienced name towards the end of the year, so I’m sure there’ll be more options opening up,” Wilcock explained. “I’d like to see Kerry show Australia what he has and make a statement on the domestic level first. Guys like Carr, Dunn, Sherrington, Brown, Bryant, Carroll, Ritchie and Zerafa. All fights to be made depending on where the teams sees their respective boxers.”

“From there we’ll see what opens up either domestically or overseas. Kerry is with a great trainer and team with Gareth Williams, so I only see him building on his career accomplishments.”

Hope will be based out of Brisbane, where he will be schooled by respected trainer Gareth Williams. Williams is best known for his work with former Australian light welterweight champion Chris McCullen. Williams also trains highly touted prospect Damien Hooper as well as undefeated Irishman Paddy Murphy.

“Kerry is a great guy around the club, he’s very respectful and dedicated to his craft,” added Hope’s new trainer Gareth Williams of The Boxing Shop.

“He is a great asset to the gym and he brings a wealth of invaluable knowledge and experience that can help our young kids coming through,” Williams continued. “We would love the opportunity to fight Australia’s best middleweights and then start pushing towards international honours again.”

Photo: The Courier

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