Castleford world champion Anthony Holmes prepares for next test against American fighter Chad Kelly

Castleford’s Anthony Holmes says he is fighting to be remembered as a bareknuckle boxing great.

By Tony Harber
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 10:00 am

The 37-year-old is back in action next month when he defends his world middleweight championship against Chad Kelly at the Indigo at O2 Arena on Saturday, June 11.

Kelly is coming from America to challenge for the belt as part of the link-up between promoters BKB TM and BYB Extreme Fighting Series.

Kelly booked his title shot with a one-punch knockout in Florida in March and Holmes sees beating him as a stepping stone to greatness.

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Anthony Holmes is preparing to defend his world bareknuckle boxing title.

He said: “I won’t quit fighting until I’m in the bareknuckle boxing Hall of Fame.

“I want to stay undefeated for the rest of my career.

“I believe I have the heart, determination and skill set to achieve that. The only person who can stop me achieving my goal is me.

“I want to leave my mark on this sport and I believe I’ve made a good start.”

Holmes barely took a punch in points wins over Mason Shaw and Ryan Barrett and then claimed world honours in spectacular style last November.

Daniel Lerwell was looking to become a two-weight world champion, but Holmes stopped him in three rounds to keep the promise he made to his late father, Dean.

“I’m not really interested in rematches with anyone,” he said. “I put them all down and beat them well.

“None of the fights I’ve had have been close.

“I’m 37 years old and I’m looking to progress, not go back and beat fighters I’ve already beaten.

“I’m looking for the biggest fights out there and I will jump up and down the weights to fight the biggest names. I’m happy enough if they keep bringing big names over from the States to challenge me.”

Holmes expects Kelly to give him his toughest test so far.

He said: “I haven’t faced the sort of pressure he will bring before. He’s a very in-your-face fighter, but will leave a lot of openings.

“I believe I will get him out of there before the final bell.”

Holmes is also building a stable of fighters and had two winners on the last BKB TM show.

Aaron Slimane and Ellis Lacy both train with Holmes at his Yorkshire Gladiators gym and used the skills and precision punching that has taken Holmes to the top of the sport on their debuts.

Holmes added: “I showed them the long arm stance and the movement that’s worked for me and both of them pulled it off. “They were very cool in there and got the job done.

“I was pleased with both of them and I’ve got more good lads coming through, but I’ve got unfinished business in bareknuckle boxing myself.”