American boxer goes from Madison Square Garden straight to Queens Road Sheffield

Boxing can be a glamorous game one minute....but brings you crashing back down to reality the next.
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Take American fighter James Wilkins.

His last outing was in the world-famous Madison Square Garden, New York.

His next will be the former ice rink in Queen's Road, Sheffield, on April 6!

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The Brooklyn banger (aged 28; W10, Lost 2,) has been taken on as a project by Roy Jones Junior, the one-time pound-for-pound great and world champion.

Jones sees potential in Wilkins and - through his relationship with Sheffield promoter Dennis Hobson - wants to give him some international experience.

So he'll be coming from his last bout in the Garden, which can hold 19,000, to Skate Central, which holds a modest 1,000.

Hobson loves the comparison.

Dennis HobsonDennis Hobson
Dennis Hobson

"How good is that!" he says. "That is the boxing world. Brilliant."

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Hobson has been keeping in touch with Jones, since his days promoting Sheffield's own Clinton Woods.

Woods boxed Jones back in 2002, when the American was in his prime.

These days, Jones, who older fans recall as an outstanding boxer of the Seoul Olympics in 1988, is focusing on bringing through talent that he feels has average-to-good records but could make the big time.

Clinton WoodsClinton Woods
Clinton Woods

"Roy just wants to see if he can get them to the next level and then go from there.

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"They are given their chance and if they don't step up to the plate, to the standard he wants, then he moves them on.

"I think he wouldn't be looking for an Olympian, that in a way is already made, he just wants to train kids who he can improve. He is putting something back into the sport and that should be emphasised because I think it is a breath of fresh air.

"This is a superstar giving kids a chance that haven't got undefeated records but could go to elite level.

Keanen Wainwright and team in his warm weather campKeanen Wainwright and team in his warm weather camp
Keanen Wainwright and team in his warm weather camp

"As for Wilkins, Roy rates him, but he'll have to deliver or he will get moved on.

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"Roy is also bringing a Swedish kid over with him, so we'll have a look at him too,"

Jones is now 55 years old but was fighting up until April last year.

He'd held multiple world championships in four weight classes when he was in his prime.

Woods, who is four years his junior, would relish an opportunity even now to beat him - he was stopped in the sixth round, 22 years ago.

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"If somebody was to put up enough money, and it would take a lot, we'd host it at Sheffield Arena and I'd smash his head in," said Sheffield's former IBF champion. "Seriously, it wouldn't take me long to get in shape for that."

Top of April's Skate Central bill will be Parson Cross southpaw Keanen Wainwright, who will defend his Commonwealth Silver Lightweight belt against Essex fighter, Louis Horn.

Woods said: "Keanen has lost a couple of fights but I enjoy watching him, he is a good fighter."

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