Wel­born up against it on huge L.A show­case, writes Daniel Her­bert

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Wel­born has the tough­est of chal­lenges against uni­fied world champ Hurd

BACK in 2016 Ja­son

Wel­born lost two fights in a row to do­mes­tic op­po­si­tion in jour­ney­man Wil­liam War­bur­ton and Mi­dands Area cham­pion Craig Cun­ning­ham.

Now, just over two years later, the man from Tivi­dale in the West Mid­lands is fight­ing in the chief sup­port of the Wilder-fury fight at the Sta­ples Cen­ter in Los An­ge­les.

He starts a mas­sive un­der­dog against WBA/IBF su­per-wel­ter­weight cham­pion

Jar­rett Hurd, but just se­cur­ing this chance rep­re­sents a re­mark­able ca­reer turn­around for the man whose Twit­ter page not only keeps his fol­low­ers up­dated on his box­ing ac­tiv­i­ties but also ad­ver­tises his skip hire busi­ness.

Wel­born, 32, has run up five straight wins, which in­cluded snap­ping the un­beaten record of prospect Mar­cus Mor­ri­son then twice out­point­ing touted Tommy Lang­ford in British mid­dleweight ti­tle fights.

That he must now de­scend from 160lbs to 154 is a prob­lem, but not an in­sur­mount­able one for a man who has con­tested the British ti­tle down at wel­ter­weight (147lbs). That 2013 fight saw him stopped in seven by Frankie Gavin, and the fol­low­ing year a British ti­tle crack at su­per-wel­ter brought a six-round, body-shot knock­out by Liam Smith – so Wel­born’s punch re­sis­tance at top level is ques­tion­able. His other in­side the dis­tance loss was a three-round KO by Tyan Booth at mid­dleweight in only his sec­ond pro out­ing, but it should be noted Ja­son did last the 10-round dis­tance against noted puncher Matthew Mack­lin in 2015. And he showed ad­mirable for­ti­tude to sur­vive both a sec­on­dround knock­down en route to out­point­ing Mor­ri­son over 10 rounds and then a per­fo­rated eardrum in the first Lang­ford fight. Both that and the equally ex­cit­ing re­match (in Septem­ber, his most re­cent out­ing) ended in a split de­ci­sion with Wel­born tri­umph­ing both times by the

clos­est pos­si­ble mar­gin: one point on two cards.

While he did have Lang­ford on the deck, only seven early wins from 24 (against six de­feats) un­der­lines Wel­born’s lack of power; some­thing that will prove much more prob­lem­atic at world level against a fighter of Hurd’s cal­i­bre.

The Mary­land man turned pro with lit­tle fan­fare but has bro­ken through over the last two years. He stopped tal­ented but chinny Tony Har­ri­son in nine rounds to be­come IBF champ, ham­mered ex­pe­ri­enced Austin Trout into 10th-round re­tire­ment to re­tain, and then climbed all over Eris­landy Lara for a split but de­served points vic­tory that brought him the WBA 154lbs belt.

Lara’s mo­bile south­paw skills once al­most beat Canelo Al­varez, but Hurd took the fight to him through­out and dropped him in the last to seal a win far more no­table than any­thing Wel­born has man­aged.

Hurd, 6ft 1in, is huge for the weight and talks of mov­ing up to mid­dleweight with the aim of fight­ing a Charlo brother. But as­sum­ing Hurd hasn’t taken this one lightly, it looks mis­sion im­pos­si­ble for the English­man with the cham­pion’s ex­cep­tional pres­sure and power clinch­ing vic­tory be­fore half­way in this 12-rounder.

The big LA show should pro­vide good ex­po­sure for Put­ney’s Olympic sil­ver medal­list Joe Joyce, who has his sev­enth

pro fight with a 10-rounder against Joe Hanks.

Joyce, 33, has won all his first six paid out­ings in­side the dis­tance and is start­ing to move up in class, although Hanks is some way short of world level. The 35-year-old from Ne­wark, New Jer­sey has won 23 of his 25 fights but lost to the two big­gest names on his record: Andy Ruiz stopped him in four rounds for the va­cant WBO In­ter-con­ti­nen­tal ti­tle in 2013, while Der­ric Rossy out­pointed him (ma­jor­ity de­ci­sion) over 10 the fol­low­ing year.

Ruiz is best known for los­ing nar­rowly to Joe Parker for the WBO belt two years ago, while Rossy was once stopped by Aud­ley Har­ri­son in a Prize­fighter tour­na­ment at York Hall.

Since re­lo­cat­ing to the USA a few months ago to train with Abel Sanchez in Big Bear, Cal­i­for­nia, Joyce has scored a five-round win over Iago Ki­ladze – who is about the same level as Hanks. Ex­pect Joe, 2ins taller at 6ft 6ins, to wear Hanks down by about the half­way point.

Two other British hope­fuls are set for ac­tion on the undercard. Big-punch­ing Il­ford light-heavy­weight An­thony

Yarde, 17-0 (16), boxes a 10-rounder against an op­po­nent yet to be named; while More­cambe feath­er­weight Isaac

Lowe, 15-0-3 (5), faces Lu­cas Baez over


Ar­gentina’s Baez, 33, has a 34-16-5 ledger with 18 wins in­side the dis­tance. He’s un­beaten in his last five, but Lowe has the su­pe­rior pedi­gree: he’s held the Com­mon­wealth crown, while draw­ing twice for the British ti­tle and once for the Euro­pean belt (when his op­po­nent was cut in­side four rounds).

Ex­pect the Lan­cashire trav­eller’s skills to earn him a clear win on points.

Else­where, for­mer multi-weight world cham­pion Robert Guer­rero, 33-6-1 (18) but loser of his last three, point­lessly comes out of re­tire­ment for a wel­ter eight-rounder against Adam Mate, 28-12 (21). Las Ve­gas-based Cal­i­for­nian south­paw Guer­rero, 35, can snap a three­fight los­ing streak against the Hun­gar­ian.

Luis Or­tiz hopes to re­main in the chas­ing pack at heavy­weight with vic­tory over 33-year-old gate­keeper Travis

Kauff­man in a 10-rounder. Or­tiz is ad­ver­tised as 39 (some have sug­gested he’s sev­eral years older) yet don’t ex­pect his ad­vanc­ing age to pro­vide much re­lief for Kauff­man, who last year was out­hus­tled by a 44-year-old lefty Amir Man­sour. Or­tiz is also a south­paw and con­sid­er­ably more skilled. The Cuban isn’t ranked by BN due to fail­ing mul­ti­ple drug tests, but with the sanc­tion­ing bod­ies far more le­nient, ex­pect him to look de­cent and se­cure a big fight next year.

THE VER­DICT A good pay­day is all that Wel­born is likely to bring back from the City of An­gels.


TALE OF THE TAPE JAR­RETT HURD JA­SON WEL­BORN @Swift_jhurd @wel­born12 Aug 31, 1990/28 DOB/AGE May 9, 1986/32 Ac­co­keek, MD HOME­TOWN Tivi­dale Amer­i­can NA­TION­AL­ITY English 22-0 (15) RECORD 24-6 (7) Or­tho­dox STANCE Or­tho­dox Sep 29, 2012/22 DE­BUT/AGE Dec 12, 2005/19 68 KO PER­CENT­AGE 23 1/100 ODDS 16/1 HUGE: Hurd is a big su­per­wel­ter­weight and a mas­sive chal­lenge for Wel­born


EX­CITE­MENT: Wel­born en­ter­tains in close British ti­tleghts with Lang­ford

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