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Middleweights Stokes and Hilz to clash for British Challenge belt on May 12

Middleweights Tom Stokes (8-0) and Paul Hilz (3-2) will face off on May 12th for the British Challenge belt at the Holiday Inn, Birmingham.

The pair will meet at 160lbs over eight three-minute rounds on the Black Country Boxing Promotions event titled, ‘The Next Step’.

Both fighters have won different versions of the Challenge belt already – Essex boxer Hilz triumphed over Lewis van Poetsch (4-46) on points to claim the International Challenge belt at super-middleweight last September and West Bromwich’s Stokes defeated Cristian Hoskin-Gomez (5-20-3), also on points, at the Holiday Inn in December.

The aforementioned Lewis Van Poetsch represents a shared opponent – Stokes won all four rounds in his points victory over the journeyman last July at Walsall Town Hall.

This will provide Hilz, 35-years-old from Basildon, with his first fight at middleweight having started his career at light-heavyweight, thencompeting for the last few years at super-middle.

Stokes, 22-years-old, is used to mixing it with heavier fighters, having experienced many rounds of sparring with super-middleweight Lennox Clarke from nearby Halesowen.

A former Wednesbury ABC fighter, young Stokes has been relatively pleased with the start he has made in the paid ranks but is looking to push on in the coming months, he said, “I was hoping for the Midlands Area title fight next but it wasn’t to be so I’ll be looking for that later this year.

“I just want to get that Midlands Area title round my waist to get my name out there then hopefully jump on one of these big shows around Birmingham soon.”

Hilz joined boxing late but took to the sport quickly, enjoying a successful stint in the thriving unlicensed boxing scene in Essex, winning 12 of his 14 fights and collecting the IBA British and European cruiserweight titles along the way.

The 35-year-oldfather of four is trained by Kevin Lilley and managed by Carl Greaves.

He commented on the forthcoming fight, “My teamhave had a few phone calls with offers so I’ve been staying ready for the right opportunity.

“Basically, I chose this fight because it’s for another title andI believe I’ll be the winner.

“On paper, Tommy looks a better boxer than me but I’m confident and I’m coming to win with the best mind-set.

“My fitness is always great as I’d hate to be in there asking for it. In all my years in boxing I’ve learnt that if you’ve got nothing there but your fitness then the battle is half won.”

Hilz has the advantage of living close by to the Matchroom Gym in Hainault and benefits from top level sparring there.

“This week I’ve sparred with English title contender Joe Mullender and his workrate and tank is something else!” he confirmed.“I’ve already sparred with the likes of John Ryder and Craig Richards and I’ll actually be going awayfor a mini-camp to hit the roads and really get my head down.”

The Next Step will showcase a crop of unbeaten prospects in Josh Stokes (1-0); Leon Gower (3-0); and Lauren ‘Black Widow’ Johnson (1-0).

Former IBF World cruiserweight champion Glen McCrory will be in attendance as a guest speaker at the show.

For tickets to the next show please call 07956 723 636

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