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Chris Bourke exclusive: I’m always looking for the knockout



Chris Bourke exclusive: I’m always looking for the knockout

Chris Bourke exclusive: I’m always looking for the knockout

Chris Bourke believes that luck will have nothing to do with matters when he fights Ash Lane for the vacant British bantamweight title on Friday night. For all the latest fight odds, visit our sportsbook.

It is two years since Bourke boxed Marc Leach for the vacant super bantamweight title and came up short after a hard twelve rounds. But rather than believing that it will be a case of second time lucky, the 29-year-old from Streatham seems to follow another old adage; ‘The more I practice the luckier I get.’

“I feel good at bantamweight”

Chris Bourke

Bourke suffered a damaged nose and broken hand in the early stages of his fight with Leach but battled his way to the final bell. Leach won a decision but Bourke learned plenty about himself.

After taking almost a year to recover and regroup, Bourke returned as a bantamweight. Since then, he has been outstanding, racking up three dominant victories and earning his second opportunity to fight for the British title this weekend. This time, Bourke finds himself in a much better place physically and armed with the experience of his first title tilt, he insists things will be different this time.

“Physically it’s much better. I had a few injuries going into the fight with Leach. I don’t have that this time so I don’t have that worry. I’ve had a really good solid camp. I feel good at bantamweight and I’ve had lots of sparring. Sometimes I can struggle getting sparring but for this camp I’ve managed to get some good rounds in,” Bourke told 32Red.

“I’ve done the twelve rounds now. I know exactly how it feels and I was forcing the pace too. I know it’s not going to be a problem.

“The fight with Leach was a bad day and I’m looking forward to rectifying that and pushing on in my career. That’s why I’ve been asking for this British title for so long.”

“I’m a lot bigger and stronger in this division”

To many, the 4lb difference between super bantam and bantamweight may not seem like much at all. A lot of people reading this will probably wake up at least that much heavier after a good night out. For a professional fighter, it can make a huge difference.

Most fighters move up through the weight divisions believing that making weight was restricting them and reasoning that they will be bigger, stronger, faster and fitter if they can eat and drink a bit more, lift heavier weights and don’t have to worry about spending the final couple of days before a fight sweating out pounds that they don’t really have left to lose.

The heavy handed Bourke has done things differently and has noticed significant benefits from dropping down a division.

“I was talking to my team about this. I almost wish I had done bantam sooner,” he said. “There are a lot more opportunities and I might be at a different stage of my career. You never know until you’ve done it though and I was having success at super bantam. I was knocking people out. I still feel like I’m one of the best super bantamweight out there. That set back I had, I’ve used it as an opportunity to try doing bantam and it’s worked out.

“Ultimately it just feels like I’m still a super bantamweight, I’m just fighting in the weight division below. I’m a lot bigger and stronger in this division than I was at super bantam. I still feel like I have that power too. That’s going to be a problem for these bantamweights.

“I always bring it on fight night”

Chris Bourke

“I’m not fading as the rounds go either, I’m getting stronger.”

To say Lane has had a patchy career is an understatement, he has been a professional for 13 years and has played almost every role. He has been an opponent and a champion. He has headlined shows at home in Bristol and been brought in to test Britain’s brightest prospects.

Last June he boxed Jordan Purkiss for the English bantamweight title. He produced arguably the best performance of his career, dropping the previously unbeaten Purkiss three times and stopping him in the seventh round. That is the version of Lane that Bourke has spent the past few months preparing for.

“He’s had a lot of ups and downs but he’s been pro for a long time. He did it in good fashion too. That’s what I’ve got to prepare for and it’s not as if he did it a few fights ago. It was his last performance so that’s where he’s at. He’s the English champion so he’s a good, valid opponent for the British title. It’s got people excited for it.”

“The tickets are selling well. Everyone’s excited and I think they can see how much it means to me. I always bring it on fight night. I’m always looking for the knockout and people appreciate that.”

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