British champ Askin still to hit his peak

Matty Askin
Matty Askin

Trainer Michael Jennings had this stark warning to anyone with designs on Fylde fighter Matty Askin’s British cruiserweight title: “As good as Matty was when he beat Craig Kennedy in Cardiff on Friday, we know there is even more to come.”

St Annes-based Askin made a clear statement in toppling Kennedy at the Motorpoint Arena to take the vacant title with a stunning sixth round knockout, poleaxing his opponent with a hammer-hard right hand punch over the top,

Jennings, who trains Askin with his brother Dave at a gym in Coppull, said: “Matty is even better than he showed against Kennedy.

“We knew he had that kind of power from the way he had been going in training. If Matty hits you, then you are going to stay down.

“It’s every credit to Kennedy that he got up from the first knockdown in the first round. Matty has so much power that people will not want to fight him.

“We knew exactly what was going to happen when Matty fought Kennedy and it turned out that way.

“There were a couple of rounds when Kennedy barely landed a punch on him.

“This title has been a long time coming but it is worth the wait.”

Jennings added: “Maybe Matty will have one more defence and perhaps we will go for something even bigger after that.

“It opens up a lot of opportunities for him, maybe outside Britain.”

Askin’s victory continues a remarkable winning sequence for the Jennings brothers’ training operation.

Askin’s triumph made it 25 successive victories for fighters in their stable, which is starting to build a reputation not just in the north-west but on the national scene.

Jennings said: “It is 25 but it is not something we think a lot about. We train some good fighters – like Matty, Jack Arnfield, Mark Jeffers, Scott Fitzgerald and Adam Little.

“Some people were writing off Matty and Jack, saying they were finished, but they have shown that to be wrong.”

Kirkham fighter Little is the latest to join their stable and Jennings said: “Adam has gone under the radar. He has a lot of talent and I am sure he is going to do well.”

Jennings added that new champion Askin had come through the Kennedy fight virtually unscathed. He said: “Matty’s hand is slightly sore but he will be all right,”

Askin had hinted he could quit the fight game had he come up short against his former sparring partner Kennedy.

He said: “We have come through a lot and it is down to my manager Paul Speak and my trainers Michael and Dave Jennings that I am here. It has been a long time coming.

“I could have got him out of there earlier but the Welsh crowd kept him going.

Craig was very tough and massive credit to him. He took my shots like a champion.

“A lot of people would not have got up from those shots in the first round.”

Askin said emotions almost got the better of him as the realisation of what he had achieved started to sink in.

“I was getting a bit teary but it is a brilliant feeling to win the British title,” he added.

The Kennedy fight was originally scheduled for March but to fight had to be postponed due to Askin’s hand injury.

Askin said: “As you saw, there was nothing wrong with my right hand!”