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Josh Kennedy opens up on coaching change ahead of British title eliminator

By Cameron Hogwood

Josh Kennedy admits his training regime has altered drastically since he made the decision to move on from long-term amateur boxing coach Barry Pluck.

The Folkestone man reacted to the first defeat of his professional career in October by teaming up with London-based professional trainer Derek Grainger.

He is now gearing up for a super bantamweight British title eliminator against Jason Cunningham in Doncaster on May 11.

Josh Kennedy
Josh Kennedy

Kennedy said: " He (Grainger) has just completely changed the way I box, my technique, my skills, he's completely broken them down to the start and changed it all together to make me box more like a pro rather than an amateur.

"I got as far as I did with my amateur coach and we got an English title together, but in order to do as well as I can as a professional I needed to be trained by a professional coach and Derek has been there and done it all himself.

"All respect to Barry (Pluck), we'd trained together for years but I hadn't really learnt anything new from Barry since I was a teenager, but I always felt comfortable with him.

"It wasn't me leaving Barry, it was Barry's idea. He said 'listen you haven't learnt anything from me in a long time, you need to be trained by someone who has been there and done it' so it was a joint decision and Barry still helps me with training when I can't make it to London.

"Now I'm getting trained by somebody that's telling me what I'm doing right, what I'm doing wrong, we're working on tactics.

"I believe with Derek in my corner there is no fight I can't win. I'm learning every time I train, every single day I'm getting faster, I'm getting sharper.

"He's changing me, not only for that fight but he's changing me in general, so I'm now working on throwing shots a lot harder rather than just scoring points. He said to me 'you're strong for the weight but you don't use it because you're trying to do things so fast' so he's got me digging in shots a lot harder. He's getting me to use my brain."

A fresh impetus in training has inspired the 27-year-old to believe he is capable of amending his loss to Tyrone McCullagh should he be granted a rematch in the future.

Kennedy added: "I'm proud to have boxed at European level, I'm disappointed I didn't get a win but I was getting trained by my amateur coach. Imagine what I could do now I'm being trained by a professional coach.

"Up until that point we'd won everything quite easily, we beat a former commonwealth champion in Bobby Jenkinson. Derek watched that fight (against McCullagh) back a few times and said 'you've given him that fight, you're faster than him, your technique is better than his and you're stronger than him but you didn't do the right things to win the fight.'

"I'm disappointed but I'm glad it happened and I'm going to make sure it never happens again."

The winner from Kennedy's clash with Cunningham is set to be rewarded with a shot at Brad Foster, who claimed the vacant British super bantamweight title with a win over Josh Wale in March.

Read more: All the latest Kent sport news

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