STRAND ON TRACK FOR TITLE JOY
LIVERPOOL SUPER BANTAMWEIGHT Brad Strand is aiming to emerge from the shadows when he bids to win his maiden professional title belt at York Hall on Friday, live on TNT Sports.
The stylish Strand, 26, hails from the rough and ready finishing school, the Everton Red Triangle Gym, where veteran trainer Paul Stevenson carries out the role of uncompromising headmaster.
Alongside him, working out in the no-frills basement, is WBC No.1 contender Nick Ball and previously WBC International Silver champion Andrew Cain, as well as heavyweight Boma Brown and Olympian Peter McGrail and his brother Joe.
So the 10-0 Strand is keeping tough company, which stands him in good stead for his challenge for the WBO European title against unbeaten Welshman Joshua John on Friday.
Strand has had to be patient, but he believes this will be rewarded with a shiny title belt in his luggage for his return trip from Euston to Liverpool Lime Street.
“I am really looking forward to it and I’ve wanted a step-up for ages,” explained the devout Liverpool FC fan. “Obviously it has been a bit slow for me this year so it would be nice to finish the year strongly with my first belt.
“I’ve only had the one fight in March and it feels like I’ve been waiting and waiting, but this will deffo make up for it. I am gonna get a good win and then, hopefully, as soon the New Year comes around I’ll have fight news and the fights will get bigger and bigger.
“That way I can keep improving and pushing on,” added Strand, who knows this is his chance to get himself noticed.
“That’s it, it is my chance to break out of the shadows.”
Typically, very much like his ERT comrades, Strand insists he has no particular knowledge of his forthcoming opponent. John, 29, from Port Talbot, is 8-1 as a pro with his single career blemish coming against the undefeated Scot Mark McKeown for the Celtic featherweight title.
John, who has fought all his fights, bar one in Bristol, in his home nation, holds a notable win over former English champion Michael Ramabeletsa.
“I don’t know much about him, you know. I literally haven’t got a clue about him and I wish I could tell you more! I did look on his Boxrec and saw he fought Ramabeletsa over eight rounds. He is gonna be 8-2 soon. He’s getting it, regardless, even if he’d had eight stoppages.
“I will take this with both hands. We’ve had a good win for Nick and I will take another belt back to add to the collection at the gym.”
Even though the likes of Ball and Cain grab the plaudits and attention for their explosive exploits, the more refined Strands insists he has no intention of attempting to emulate the dynamic duo.
“I am still gonna be myself, but I will show everything I’ve been working on in the gym for the last six months. I haven’t fought since March but I haven’t had a day off and have been in every day, obviously just working on getting better.
“So I will be putting everything we have been working on out there for people to see. Our trophy cabinet will be chocca soon, won’t it?”