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Boxing's Many Happy Returns

Coventry will see top quality professional boxing for the first time in ten years next month when local fighters Dean Pithie and Richard Evatt take to the ring.

Superfeatherweight Dean Pithie faces the toughest test yet in his bid to qualify for another crack at the WBO Intercontinental title when he fights Frenchman Alfif Djelti at Coventry Sports Centre, Fairfax Street on February 26th.

On the same bill Richard Evatt, also from Coventry, will be defending his IBO Featherweight Intercontinental title against the South African Andrew Mathabola.

Seating has been restricted to 1,200 in the Fairfax Street Centre and tickets are already on sale priced at 50 for the ringside seats and 20 for the remainder.

Pithie, a local hero, is still the last boxer to beat World Champion Naseem Hamed when they met as amateurs, and his only defeat in 18 fights was when he lost to Gary Thornhill last June.

Since then he has outpointed Keith Jones and knocked out Kelton McKenzie in a British title eliminator. Djelti, twice French Superfeatherweight champion, is described by London promoter Jess Harding as ‘a formidable opponent who had never been stopped’.

But victory for Pithie could set up a British title fight in May with Thornhill, the man who took away his WBO title. Harding said:

"If Charles Shepherd wins the Commonwealth title, then I expect him to relinquish his British title and Dean and Gary are the obvious contenders."

Evatt will find Mathabola to be a tough customer when he defends his IBO title.

"South Africans are always tough and durable," said Harding. "He has been in with some top people and it promises to be a difficult fight for Richard."

The undercard will include Coventry boxers Mark Payne and Neil Simpson, Darren Bruce (Grays) and Nicky Cook (Dagenham).

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CWN / Sport / Boxing / News / 22 Jan 99

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