Ochieng’s clash in Germany called off

Hackney fighter’s opponent pulls out of contest

Stoke Newington’s Erick ‘The Eagle’ Ochieng’s clash with Ecuadorian Jack Culcay this Saturday in Germany has been called off.

Ochieng, who lost his first ever professional bout last week to Luke Richardson, was all set for his first fight abroad since turning professional, but Culcay’s trainer decided to call the fight off, according to Ochieng’s manager Brian Lawrence.

“It looks like they have seen Erick on Youtube and they don’t want their man to fight him,” he said.

“Erick was supposed to have a HIV check (standard procedure in Germany) Wednesday morning and we were supposed to fly out on Thursday.

“It is a shame because it would have been a great fight for Erick, fighting eight rounds in a different environment, but it is not to be.”

Lawrence has had great success in Germany with former WBO World heavyweight champion Henry Akinwande twice winning there, while another Lawrence boxer Henry Senior was also victorious.

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It was a trend the Clapton trainer thought was set to continue.

“I thought they must be crazy to match this kid with Erick,” Lawrence said.

“He is 24, but he hasn’t fought anyone anywhere nearly as hard as Erick has and Erick would have been too good for him.

“He has been sparring 10 rounds with Sam Webb and looked good.

“I have had offers from other promoters for fights against Erick, but nothing has really happened yet.”

Another Lawrence-trained fighter is hoping for a return to the ring shortly is Ian Napa.

The Clapton-based super-bantamweight was scheduled to fight on a Frank Maloney show this Saturday in Sunderland, but has his eyes on a bigger prize.

The 33-year-old has not fought since losing a British bantamweight bout in June last year, but manager Lawrence is hoping to place Napa on the James Degale versus George Groves undercard in six weeks for a British super-bantamweight title eliminator against Ryan Walsh.

“I want to put him into a 10-rounder and if he wins that I want him to fight for the British title,” Lawrence said.

“I am not worried about rustiness, he doesn’t need any six-round warm-ups or anything like that. The eliminator will be his warm-up, that’s his thing.”

Despite his long absence from the ring, the Hackney fighter has continued to train and Lawrence is confident about his fighter’s ability to be in fighting shape should the bout be staged.

“Ian is in good shape and it is feasible he would bee ready to fight on the Degale Groves undercard,” Lawrence said.

“But Ian has to work hard to get to super-bantamweight, so we will see what he weighs then if I am happy, I’ll make the call to Frank Warren.”