Rice relishes chance to begin fighting for titles

Charlie Rice (white/blue) shorts defeats Charlie Haines

Charlie Rice (white/blue) shorts defeats Charlie Haines - Credit: Philip Sharkey/TGSPHOTO

Islington fighter Charlie Rice will contest a championship belt for the first time when he returns to the ring on Friday.

The 21-year-old former Times ABC amateur will fight for the vacant British Masters bronze lightweight title at the Camden Centre, Kings Cross.

And Rice hopes the contest, against an opponent yet to be confirmed, will be a stepping stone towards a 2014 bid for the Southern Area title at light-welterweight.

Carshalton southpaw Tony Owen, who currently holds the Southern Area strap, is due to defend it against Ricky Boylan next month.

“I’ve sparred both of them and know that I’m capable of beating them,” said Rice, whose only defeat in his seven professional outings came at the hands of Danny Connor in last summer’s Prizefighter light-welterweight tournament.

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“Tony is a good pal of mine, so I would rather box Ricky. If we had to fight, the friendship would go out of the window for 10 rounds, although I’m sure we would still be mates afterwards.

“I’m really pleased to be fighting for a title – it’s come early in my career, but the longer the fights, the better I will be. I’ve always been a slow starter and will get stronger as the rounds go by.”

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Rice had been due to box at the end of September, but a tooth infection put paid to those plans and the Camden Centre show will be his first appearance since he began working with new trainer Barry O’Connell.

O’Connell replaced Colin Wilson, who had trained Rice since his Times days but stood aside after the Prizefighter bill due to increased work commitments.

Rice added: “You’re definitely going to see a lot more from me now – I’m not just a come forward fighter any more.

“Barry hasn’t changed me – he’s just added to what I do and it’s working. He has got me thinking a lot more. I’m not just rushing in, I can box off the back foot and set things up.”

The show also features unbeaten Islington middleweight Joe Duffy, while former Islington BC light-middleweight Aarron Morgan makes his professional debut.

Tickets for the show are available on 07400 826326.

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