Trainer Glyn Rhodes accepts Sheffield fighter Sam Sheedy will be the underdog in the derby battle with Rotherham’s Nav Mansouri - but says his man has the style to pull off a shock.
The pair compete for Mansouri’s English light middeweight title at the Magna Centre on July 4. The holder claims he is a level above unbeaten Sheedy.
Rhodes accepts Mansouri has the better pedigree: “Nav is the favourite because of the quality of opposition he has faced compared to Sam” he admits.
“But I believe Sam is the fresher - Nav has had problems and changes in his management and training and that can disturb boxers in their preparation and mindset. He also had an injury which prevented him from fighting Liam Smith for the British title.
“Sam is the more stable, he has been in the same camp since he was a kid. Nav has a very good trainer in Oliver Harrison but I honestly believe Nav thinks he is better than he is.
“I am not saying Nav is not a good fighter but he will think it is a step down fighting Sam.”
Mansouri has said that Sheedy’s most notable win against Bradley Pryce came with the Welshman over the hill. “Pryce was dangerous and after losing to Sam went on to fight someone (Damian Jonak) with a world rating. So hopefully Nav is being complacent.
“Nav is a bit of a puncher, an aggressive come-forward fighter who keep his hands up and is clearly a dodgy fight for Sam. He’s the best opponent Sam has ever faced and Sam will have to be on his ‘A’ game.
“But unbeaten records are there to be tested so people can find out whether a boxer is the real deal or not” said Rhodes.
Rhodes admires Mansouri’s style but says he is: “just the sort of opponent I’d want Sam to face.
“Sam’s a counter puncher who looks for opportunities when the other guy comes at him. I expect Sam will be on the back foot because he’s not as effective going forward. Not all boxers look good on the back foot, but if he makes Nav miss and then counters he’ll do well.
“Later in the fight Sam will go in the trenches with him.”