6:40pm Friday 13th April 2012
Halesowen kickboxing king Simon Akufo will have a familiar face in the corner for his first world title defence.
The WKF welterweight champion has confirmed long-time trainer Kash Gill will once again be putting him through his paces, ahead of the clash with Scot Taylor at Sutton Coldfield’s Ramada Hotel on May 13.
Four-time world champion Gill will be Akufo’s main sparring partner for the bout, just as he was ahead of the meeting with Chris Deakin in October which saw the Halesowen fighter crowned world champ.
Akufo said: “Kash is well up for it.
“The Deakin fight was the first time we had sparred together and I learned a lot, it’s pretty intense and Kash is a tricky customer.
“I know if I do exactly what I did before the last fight then I will win again.”
Akufo and Derby-based Taylor have been on collision course for the past two years, with two previous potential meetings derailed by postponement and injury.
While he is now two weeks into his training camp for the clash, Akufo has been keeping himself in good shape after turning promoter.
He and training partner Richard Waller held an unlicensed white collar boxing show in Birmingham last weekend and Akufo says he relished putting the novice fighters through their paces.
He said: “Organising the show gave us a taste for life on the other side of the ring. I was taking the fighters out running and teaching them in the gym.
“I was conscious I had my own fight coming up so it wasn’t tough, tough sparring.
“But it helped keep me focused and I’m probably in better shape at this stage of my preparation than I ever have been before.
“As always I’ve got to be careful. You feel like pushing yourself to the limits all the time.
“But it’s all about timing your efforts so you are in the best possible shape for the fight.
“You can’t peak too soon.”
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