FEROCIOUS PUNCHING SUPER featherweight Ryan ‘The Piranha’ Garner will make his long-awaited return to the ring, with the Southampton starlet having been added to the undercard of the IBF world flyweight title encounter between Sunny Edwards and the decorated champion Moruti Mthalane on Friday April 30, live on BT Sport.
In chief support to Sunny’s shot at the star from South Africa, Belfast favourite Michael Conlan enters into his opening assignment at super bantamweight against the in-form Ionut Baluta from Madrid, plus Troy Williamson and Kieran Smith will do battle at super welterweight in a final eliminator for a British title challenge.
Garner, 23, has long been touted as one of Britain’s brightest prospects and he last saw action in February of last year in the final Queensberry show before lockdown restrictions took hold. Several setbacks over the last couple of years resulted in his promising career threatening to not reach its potential, but the 9-0 Garner is determined to push on and move from strength to strength.
“I cannot wait to get back in there after more than a year and I am in the best shape – both physically and mentally – that I have ever been in,” said the Wayne Batten-trained puncher, who takes on Birmingham’s Paul Holt over six rounds. “It is up to me to make it count and put on a show.
“This is a sort of relaunch for my career and I will give it my absolute best shot. There is no turning back for me and once I get this fight and maybe one more under my belt, I want to jump into big fights that will really show everyone what I am all about.
“I intend to remind people who watch boxing why I was considered one of the best young talents a couple of years ago. My apprenticeship is coming to an end and I want to be in the title mix by the end of the year.
“This is an amazing show to be on, headlined by a big world title fight, which is where I want to be before too long.”
Reading’s Joshua Frankham goes into his third fight at super welterweight, having made his debut in September of last year and moved to 2-0 in November.
“I am so happy and grateful to be out for a third time since restrictions came in last year,” said the 22-year-old. “I know I am lucky and I am being well looked after by Frank Warren, so it is up to me to repay the faith that has been shown in me and put on a big performance.
“I was pleased with my first two fights, but there is so much more to come from me and I want to showcase the improvements I am making on a daily basis working hard with Wayne (Batten) in the gym.
“It is quite something that three of us from our gym are getting on this show and it is a tribute to the hard work Wayne puts in with us young fighters.”
The third of the Southampton-based Batten’s trio on the card is the debut-making super welterweight Levi Frankham from Cranleigh, who is cousin to Joshua and new Queensberry recruit Charles Frankham.
“This is the most fantastic stage to begin my professional career,” said the 20-year-old former winner of two Junior ABA titles, a Three-Nations, an NABC title and National amateur champion. “I have had to wait for quite a while and be fairly patient, but it will be well worth the wait to get out under the lights on such a massive show.
“The only thing that could make it better would be if my family and friends could be there to see me and fans were allowed in, but that will be something else to look forward to.
“I have worked so hard preparing for this moment and I am determined to make the most of it and make a big impression on my promoter and those watching on TV.”
Completing the card is the debut of Muswell Hill super welterweight Jonathan Kumuteo, who will be trained by Ross Pearce has targeted five fights in his first 12 months as a professional
“I’m not too excited at the moment because I have been waiting for 12 months to make my debut as the pandemic caused a big delay,” said the former London ABA Champion.
“It is what it is, but once I go into the bubble, have my COVID test and jump on the scales to weigh-in I will know it is real.”
In 2016, Kumuteo was diagnosed with a rare skin condition that needed several operations and wearing dressings for two years.
He added: “I’ve been through a lot of at times, but it made me believe and prepared for this.”