Keates could be the danger man as Essuman steps up to title level
THE vacant English welterweight title will be on the line when undefeated Ekow Essuman, 8-0 (2), locks horns with the game and durable Andy Keates, 13-7-1 (1), at the Harvey Hadden Sports Village in Nottingham on Saturday (October 20).
Originally from Botswana, now based in Nottingham, Essuman, 29, has dominated the usual order of Eastern European journeymen since turning pro in December 2016 and it’s high time he was tested. In Keates, he gets that test.
Keates, two years younger than his opponent, has won only one of his last five fights but has been matched tough – matched tough from day one, in fact. A Midlands Area champion at super-lightweight and welterweight, the Staffordshire native has fallen short in English lightweight title fights against Kevin Hooper (pts 10) and Ohara Davies (rsf 4), as well as one at superlightweight against Joe Hughes (pts 10).
Below that level, though, Keates has managed to beat the likes of Jordan Cooke and Luke Paddock, taking their undefeated records in the process, and also Ryan Fields, against whom he successfully defended his Midlands Area welterweight title last October.
Although Keates is the more battlehardened, and the one with title-level experience, the result of this fight will largely depend on what Essuman, still something of an unknown quantity at this level, brings to the table. If he’s going places, he should be backed to get past Keates and continue his rise towards other domestic titles. If, however, he’s found wanting, or has been rushed into this English title fight, Keates, a man accustomed to upsetting the applecart, is the last opponent he’ll want in the other corner.
But the pick is the former. Essuman should nab the title on points.