Poland’s Grzegorz Proksa, the former EBU middleweight champion, will be attempting to win back his title in a rematch against Welshman Kerry Hope at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, England on July 7. Hope beat Proksa by a close majority decision in March by scores of 114-113, 115-112, and 114-114. It was Proksa’s first loss as a pro and it dropped his record to 26-1 with 19 KOs while Hope improved to 17-3 with one KO.
The 27-year-old Proksa fought in brief spurts after the fourth round in their first match and the 30-year-old Hope took full advantage of it by backing him up onto the ropes with quick combinations. It looked like Proksa was overconfident and took Hope lightly due to his low knockout record. But while Hope might not be the hardest puncher around, he’s got enough boxing ability and determination to win fights.
Proksa’s defence was lacking in their first match. He kept his guard down way too low and he doesn’t have the speed or footwork to get out of the way of incoming shots. He didn’t match Hope’s work rate and paid dearly for it. Proksa’s a southpaw who stands 5-foot-8 while Hope’s also a lefty who has a couple of inches on him in height at 5-foot-10.
It’s possible that Proksa simply took Hope too lightly in their first match and will make the adjustments necessary to win his title back. He travelled over to Hungary May for a tune-up bout and stopped Rudolf Varga in the third round. If the Pole hopes to regain his belt he’s going to have to be much busier than he was back in March.
Hope looked the much bigger man in their first bout and he stood up well to Proksa’s power. It led many to believe that Proksa may be better off moving down in weight to compete in the junior middleweight condition due to his lack of size. If Proksa hasn’t improved over the past few months and worked on some of the basics in the gym, there’s a good chance Hope will beat him again.
Proksa’s defence definitely needs some work and he has to throw more combinations and be less robotic. He did several things wrong against Hope in their first fight and it’s hard to see him making the same mistakes again. He also suffered a bad cut over his left eye in the first meeting due to an accidental head butt and had trouble seeing for the rest of the bout. Even though he was handicapped slightly by the cut and had an off night, he still came close to pulling off a win.
With a few adjustments here and there Proksa should be able to do enough to regain his crown by a decision over Hope in their rematch.
Sportsbook 5dimes.eu has the current odds of a Proksa victory at -530 with a Hope win at +350. Visit 5Dimes.eu to bet on this fight now. Also check out our many other boxing predictions for the weekend.
Written by: Ian Palmer