This week saw the announcement that Gloucester born IBF European Champion boxer Akeem Ennis Brown will defend his title against Bilal Rehman and following the news Severn Sport caught up with Brown to get his thoughts on the fight and more.
Brown, also known as Riiddy, won the title and took his pro record to 12-0 with a victory over Darragh Foley at the back end of 2018 and will face off against fellow 12-0 fighter Rehman on 1st March at the Vale Sports Arena in Cardiff.
“I’m excited to get to defend my title against a very good undefeated fighter and I am happy to get a chance to go out there and make some magic. Facing a good fighter allows me to show just how good I am and to do it in a place like Cardiff is great.” Brown said.
“I’m expecting a hard fight. You have to expect that, if you expect anything less then you are setting yourself up for a shock. So I’ll be expecting the hardest fight possible to make sure that mentally I stay right.
Bilal is a good kid, he is 12-0 the same as me and he has done his thing down his side of the country and I have done my thing down my side, so it is going to be a great fight with two talent and skillful fighters. Put our styles together and you’re going to see a fight of the highest quality.
No disrespect to Bilal but I think my skills put me above him and I’m going to show that on the night.”
Brown vs Rehman appears on a stacked MTK Global show and it sees the Gloucester based fighter travelling to Cardiff for a fight the first time and the young fighter expects to experience a new type of crowd whilst looking for his Gloucestershire supporters to make the trip to Wales for the event.
“I’m very happy to be fighting in Cardiff. It’s somewhere I have never fought before but I am always looking to fight and put on a show in new places. I know Cardiff has been known for hosting some good boxing fights and it’s a live place so there will be a load of people there.
It will be good to be seen in front of a different crowd, to get my name out there and to enhance my reputation as a fighter. But as I said it’s a live city and everyone goes out there to have a good time. Hopefully we can see as many Gloucester faces as possible though to show them how we do it!”
The 23 year old spoke to Severn Sport ahead of March’s fight and we were looking to discuss whether Brown sees himself as a role model for young people, especially those in Gloucestershire. Brown pointed out that being from a small city like Gloucester means you have to work harder to make it, but encourages everyone to find reach their full potential.
“In this day and age I do see myself as a role model in some ways, especially to young people. I am a young boy from the city, who hasn’t had the easiest start in life but I am showing that even if you have a hard start you can still achieve some big things and turn your life around.
In other ways I don’t see myself as a role model as I still have a lot to achieve and a lot to do with my life, to show and to prove. I want to be a role model not just to the people of Gloucester, but the whole world, for them to look up at me and say ‘yeah. he’s the man. The one to be looked up to.’
When it comes to Gloucester, I don’t think there is enough people in Gloucester doing something with their talent, because there is a load of talent there. It isn’t even down to the individuals, I just don’t think Gloucester as a city gets the exposure. People get side stepped at times, especially the youth.
For example, you can be the baddest footballer in the team and if you are from London or the major cities you get a look in but in Gloucester you don’t. That is that. Boxing is the same really, as is music, we have a whole host of musical talent just waiting to be heard. Any form of talent and skill you don’t get the look in as it’s a small city.
But I’m looking to show people that even if you don’t get a look in, you just need to stick with it and make the biggest noise possible and you can make enough heads turn so that people have to take a look at you and you will get your time!”
Brown finished by issuing a rallying cry to his Gloucester fans to head to Cardiff and make their voices heard.
“I encourage people to come and get tickets, coming and show your boy some support from the front row. Obviously Bilal will be bringing a massive following from the centre of England, right now I want my Gloucester people to join me. Let’s go out there and let’s make sure our title stays in Gloucester!”
You can watch Brown vs Rehman live at the Vale Sports Arena in Cardiff on 1st March by purchasing tickets from Brown and his team online, in person and through social media; or you can watch the card live on iFL TV