Castleford bareknuckle boxer prepares for world title shot

Antony Holmes is set to go toe-to-toe with bareknuckle boxing’s knockout king.

Friday, 15th October 2021, 8:00 am
World title bid: Antony Holmes.

The 36-year-old from Castleford aims to take the world super-middleweight championship off Daniel Lerwell at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday, November 20.

Lerwell has chinned all his opponents, but Holmes has revealed he has added motivation to dethrone the heavy-handed Welshman.

He will be the last to fight out of the Ludus Magnus gym in Doncaster before it shuts and is also driven by the memory of his late father, Dean.

Holmes said: “I’m a fan of Daniel.

“I love how game he is and the way he finishes fights off. I actually think he’s underrated.

“From the first time I saw him I wanted to fight him. I wanted the challenge.

“I know it’s going to be my hardest fight so far, but I can see holes in his boxing as well.

“I’m confident I will win and I want to give the gym a good send off. I’ve been there for 12 years and I will be the last fighter to represent them.

“I’m the last gladiator from the Ludus Magnus gym!”

Holmes was scheduled to fight for world honours last May, but the coronavirus pandemic meant the show was postponed and tragically, Holmes lost his father, Dean, on the day he hoped to be crowned world champion.

He said: “I want to get his world title for my dad. He was my biggest fan.”

Holmes gets his shot after a comprehensive points win over Ryan Barrett in his last fight.

Barrett had won his previous fight by knockout and had a solid amateur boxing background, but he struggled to lay a punch on Holmes in a one-sided fight.

“I’m having to lose four kilos for this world title shot,” explained Holmes. “So I will move a lot faster and I have gears people haven’t seen yet.

“I have a good IQ for fighting. I knew Mason Shaw was weak to his body and I knew Ryan Barrett was slow on his feet.

“I can adapt to whoever is in front of me.”

Holmes was tipped for the top in the cage before he lost his way.

“I was signed to fight MMA for BAMMA and had sparring partners who fought in the UFC,” he added.

“I blew my knee out and lost myself for six years. I went out partying and got into trouble.

“I found my way back to the gym and (trainer) Neil (Wain) thought I should try MMA or professional boxing. But when I saw bareknuckle boxing I thought: ‘This is a new sport with a great stage, I want to become a world champion at this.’”