Rotherham fighter Lee Appleyard not taking easy options in push for English title

ROTHERHAM boxer Lee Appleyard is in no mood for messing about as he prepares to step back into the ring tonight.

He takes on Kieran McLaren from Stoke on the undercard of Josh Wale's challenge for the British super-bantamweight title at the Barnsley Metrodome.

McLaren has won all 12 of his pro fights and Appleyard could have picked an easier opponent as he looks to hit back from an unlucky points defeat to another previously unbeaten fighter, Bilal Rehman, in Doncaster in November.

But, at 31, tick-over fights are not on the agenda as the Bramley man plots a way forward with manager Stefy Bull.

A former English champion at lightweight, Appleyard should get a crack at the English super-lightweight crown should he win tonight and admits the better opponents help keep him motivated.

“I said to Stefy ' I'm not young now, I'm a championship-level fighter,” Lee told the Advertiser.

“I'm not a four or a six-rounder, I don't enjoy that. I put myself through hard, gruelling training camps whatever, so if I'm going to work my socks off for eight weeks I might as well go into a proper fight.

“I sent Stefy three names over. They were all undefeated lads and this lad took it.”

After hopefully doing the business tonight, Lee will be an interested observer when English champion Sam O'Maision, from Sheffield, defends the English title against Kay Prospere at York Hall on March 16.

Appleyard added:  “If Sam wins, I'm pretty sure he will move on and it will become vacant. If Kay wins, we will be looking for that fight straight away. It would give me a chance of becoming a two-weight English champion, which would be fantastic.

“It's a very active division at the minute, there are literally fights going on all through March. There are a lot of good names in it, it's buzzing, and I'm glad I've moved up and I'm in the mix with all these people.”

More on this in today's Advertiser.