Glyn Rhodes is backing Keanen Wainwright to have a successful pro career, despite the Sheffield fighter not boasting a perfect record. After a winning debut, Wainwright was dropped heavily before losing on points to Boris Shikunov in his second fight in July last year, but has since won three on the trot. Russian Shikunov looked very strong on the night and his pro boxing record of one win, two draws and two losses belied his ring craft, honed in an extensive kickboxing career.
Wainwright is next out on December 11 on the UK’s first ever drive-in boxing show at Sheffield Arena, which is topped by his ‘Steel City’ gym mate, Tommy Frank, taking on Mexico’s Hugo Guarneros for the International Boxing Federation Flyweight (IBF) Title, live on Eurosport. Keanen, 22, will face Gateshead’s Kris Pilkington over four rounds in what should be a good learning fight. Pilkington may have lost eight of 11 contests, but he’s only been sopped once [on a cut] and will come to win.
Ahead of the night, experienced trainer and former pro Rhodes says he is happy with Keanen’s progress.
“Kris [Pilkington] is a good fighter, I’ve seen him a few times, he’s a southpaw and comes to fight, so this has all the ingredients of a good test for Keanen, who is just a baby and still learning the game. He’s lost once, which is not necessarily a bad thing. When prospects have these unbeaten records it can be hard to get them matched but because he’s got a defeat, people think ‘he can’t be that good’, but he is.
“When he boxed the Russian, they had us ‘around the corner’ with that fight because he had a lot more experience than they were letting on, and when we saw him on the night he was a completely different fighter to what I’d envisaged. The guys that made the match knew the Russian had had a load of kickboxing fights and he was a lot better then they tried to make out.
“Keanen actually showed us a lot in that loss though because he was dropped heavily, but he got up and fought through it. Don’t be fooled by that one loss of Keanen’s, he’s a very good fighter. There’s no pressure on him at all, and I’m looking forward to his fight with Pilkington. I’ve had Keanen since he was a baby, he’s never boxed with anyone else. I know him, he’s a good fighter, and we won’t rush him.”
Dennis Hobson Promotions presents an evening of boxing at Sheffield Arena on December 11, headlined by Tommy Frank and Mexico’s Rosendo Hugo Guarneros contesting the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) Inter-Continental Flyweight Title.
Chief support sees Kane Salvin and Sufyaan Ahmed fight for the Central Area Super Featherweight belt. Also appearing will be Sheffield’s Perry Howe and Keanen Wainwright, Lancashire’s Josh Holmes and Zak Miller, Belfast’s Cathy McAleer, and Rotherham’s Kash Ali.
The action will be broadcast live by Eurosport.
For ticket information, call 0114 243 4443.
Photo credit: @Sporting Captures