I first saw Luke Simpkin fight in 2001 against future British title challenger John McDermott in, if memory serves, the walk-out bout on the Danny Williams v Kali Meehan show at Bethnal Green. Dogged and willful the bearded brawler belied his tender years and gave a solid account of himself against the then unbeaten Essex man. Britishboxing.net report the Derbyshire trier has replaced Ian Millarvie in the second installment of the Prizefighter series next month.
Despite his ugly record, the tournament will be richer for his participation. A 10-29-3 slate is unlikely to draw the attention or support of punters but for those heavyweights ill-prepared for the tournament he will prove a far stiffer test than his record suggests.
During one phase of his career as an opponent Simpkin drew with Pele Reid, pushed Michael Holden, snapped touted prospect Fola Okesola’s unbeaten record and, seemingly, his desire too before taking a fading Julius Francis to a draw over 6 rounds. It was a period of form for the man from Swandlincote and though it didn’t prove to lead to a Kirino Garcia type resurrection he demonstrated his ability to hang with capable heavyweights.
Turning professional at 19 in 1998, within a year Simpkin had faced Danny Watts, American prospect Owen Beck, Albert Sosnowski, Mark Hobson and Mark Potter and within two had added Keith Long, Wayne Llewellyn, McDemott and Mark Krence to his impressive roster of opponents. Simpkin’s apprenticeship was served in the ring with British champion level fighters almost from the outset.
With this context considered his losing record is less instructive and though he will likely start the tournament, which features Lee Swaby, Pele Reid and David Ferguson among others, as the rank outsider, he is capable of springing a surprise.
And its always good to see a solid servant to the British game get his ’15 minutes’ of fame.
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