In less than three short weeks, British and Commonwealth Champion Graham Earl will boldly come face to face with the most dangerous European fighter in the talent laden lightweight division, Yuri Romanov, as the two headline Maloney Promotions' exciting fight card from Goresbrook Leisure Centre in Dagenham, England on Friday, January 27th. Earl is coming off a riveting performance last summer that saw the Luton man outgun hardened campaigner Kevin Bennett to add the Commonwealth crown to his existing British title but this time Earl may have bitten off more than he can handle. The Eastern European titlist, Romanov has already seen off some of the best men at lightweight that the UK has to offer in the form of Bobby Vanzie and Steve Murray, and the Belarussian spoiler is determined to do the same to Earl in front of a nationwide audience that will watch the highly anticipated contest on Sky Sports. For Graham Earl, this isn't just a bout that will build upon his current # 9 ranking with the WBO and propel him into true world class standing but also a mission to defend the honor of boxing in the United Kingdom.
Graham Earl, 23-1 (12), rose to prominence by reeling off twenty two consecutive wins during the first seven years of his professional career, winning the British and Southern Area Lightweight titles in the process. Along the way Earl belted out hammer fisted hardman Steve Murray on two separate occasions, not to mention victories over such respectable domestic and Continental notables as Mark Winters and Nikolai Eremeev. But it was the twenty seven year olds two contests with the magnificently difficult and awkward Bobby "the Viper" Vanzie that stand out and also may have a bearing on this month's showdown with Romanov.
Earl registered razor thin wins over Vanzie in both 2003 and 2004, winning the British title on both occasions but in each instance the one point victories caused a great stir, sharply dividing the UK boxing community. Next came the second Murray fight for Earl but disaster then struck immediately afterward as the big hearted domestic titlist was shockingly outboxed by an unbeaten yet far less experienced Scotsman, Ricky Burns, in February of last year during a non-title bout. Afterward, Earl claimed that he was no longer able to motivate himself against lesser opposition such as Burns, who just a year later is now facing Alex Arthur for the European, Commonwealth and British Super Featherweight titles.
In stark contrast to Earl's tooth and nail struggles against the octopus-like Vanzie, Yuri Romanov, 17-1 (11), couldn't have dominated the Bradford speedster more completely. Six months before Earl defeated Vanzie for the first time, the relentlessly tough Belarussian, just twenty years old at the time, soaked up the best his opponent had to offer and simply beat "The Viper" from one side of the ring to the other, canvassing his adversary five times before the action was mercifully brought to a close by referee Micky Vann in the eighth round. Throw in a bruising ten round stoppage of Murray, and it's safe to say that the man from Minsk has no qualms about facing yet another Englishman on British soil.
Graham Earl proved that his stunning loss to Burns last year was an aberration by posting a brilliant performance and stopping powerful Commonwealth champion Kevin Bennett in the ninth round this past June during a give and take nail biter but he'll have to pull of an even better showing if he is to keep Yuri Romanov from taking back the hide of one more top British lightweight back to Belarus. To buy tickets or learn more about this tremendous fight card taking place at the Goresbrook Leisure Centre in Dagenham on Friday, January 27th, log onto www.frankmaloney.com
or call Maloney Promotions at 020 8692 6313.