NEW YORK (Sept. 8, 2005) – Junior middleweights Ossie Duran and Neil “Sinky” Sinclair will meet in a scheduled 12-rounder for the British Commonwealth title as “ShoBox: The New Generation” crosses the Atlantic for its next telecast on Friday, Sept. 23, 2005, from London, England. In the eight-round featherweight co-feature, undefeated English featherweight champion Andy “The Wythenshawe Warrior” Morris will take on Kevin “Sweet Pea” O’Hara.
SHOWTIME will televise the Frank Warren’s Sports Network doubleheader from the London Hilton on Park Lane at 11 p.m. ET/PT. The telecast represents the 65th in the popular “ShoBox” series, which debuted on SHOWTIME in July 2001.
Duran (19-4-1, 9 KOs), of Accra, Ghana, captured the British Commonwealth light middleweight title on June 26, 2004, in Belfast, Ireland, when he uncorked a sweeping right hand that had Jamie Moore out on his feet. The referee immediately stepped in at the 1:06 mark of the third as Duran drove forward, attempting to tag Moore with another right hand.
Following a third round knockout over Frank Daabisi on Dec. 18, 2004 in Accra, the Ghana Boxing Authority declared Duran the 2004 “Boxer of the Year.”
“It was nice to be honored like that back home,” Duran said. “But I am looking for a world title belt. I think that this fight with Sinclair on Sept. 23 will show everybody that I am ready to take it to the next level.”
The Ghana native snagged the World Boxing Federation (WBF) European welterweight title on Dec. 13, 2001, with a 10-round decision over Delroy Mellis in London. Two years later on Dec. 26, 2003, Duran captured the vacant British Commonwealth welterweight crown by registering a 12-round decision over Joshua Okane in Accra.
Sinclair (28-4, 22 KOs), of Belfast, Ireland, battled Daniel Santos for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title on Dec. 16, 2000, in Sheffield, England. Both fighters were dropped in the first round before Santos won by knockout in the second.
“Even though the fight with Santos only lasted a couple of rounds, I believe I learned a lot,” Sinclair said. “The experience I gained by being involved in a world championship contest on a massive bill will be invaluable to me as I embark on another crack at the world title.”
Sinclair, who captured the gold at the 1994 Commonwealth Games, reeled off nine consecutive victories after the Santos fight. During the streak, he won the British welterweight title with a fifth-round knockout over Harry Dhami on Nov. 19, 2001, in Glasgow, Scotland. He successfully defended the belt three times.
The hard-hitting Irishman dropped his last outing on March 18, 2005, when a clash of heads with Taz Jones 80 seconds in resulted in a cut so severe that Sinclair was unable to continue.
Morris (11-0, 3 KOs), of Manchester, England, has impressed since pulling on a pair of boxing gloves at age 10. The young fighter looked sensational in his pro debut at 19 years of age by winning every round against the experienced Jason Nesbitt on Jan. 18, 2003, in Preston, England.
In his last contest, Morris captured the English featherweight title with a stellar points win over Rocky Dean on May 20, 2005, in London. The referee scored it 99-92. Morris’ superior skills, great hand speed and underrated power were on display from the outset.
“I have done my apprenticeship and now cannot wait to make a name for myself as a pro,” Morris said. “No disrespect to O’Hara, but come Sept. 23, he will wish he never took this fight.”
O’Hara (10-2, 3 KOs), of Belfast, Ireland, opened his pro career on Nov. 2, 2002 by stopping Mike Harrington in the opening stanza. Slick combinations and brutal punches crushed his opponent.
The Belfast bricklayer continued his winning ways by defeating his next eight opponents. O’Hara has shown that he can fight with power, but many boxing insiders say he needs to tighten his defense.
O’Hara has dropped two of his last three fights, including an eight-round affair in his “ShoBox” debut against Choi Tseveenpurev on May 6, 2004. The judge scored it 78-75.
“This is it for me,” O’Hara said. “My back is against the wall and I have no other option than to beat Morris like a drum. I am ready for this fight and to keep my boxing career going.”