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Josh Kennedy vows to hit back after defeat to Jason Cunningham

By Cameron Hogwood

Josh Kennedy insists he will learn from his mistakes after losing to Jason Cunningham in Saturday's British title eliminator in Doncaster.

The Folkestone super bantamweight was on the wrong end of a unanimous points decision (99-91; 98-92; 98-93) as he suffered the second defeat of his professional career (11-2).

A shorter break from the ring has now emerged as a necessity for the 27-year-old as he strives to supplement his power with speed.

Josh Kennedy takes aim against Jason Cunningham. Photo by Andrew Saunders
Josh Kennedy takes aim against Jason Cunningham. Photo by Andrew Saunders

"It's my own fault for wanting to do things too fast," admitted Kennedy. "After I didn't win the European title (against Tyrone McCullagh in October) I didn't want to go back to boxing a nobody so I went for this British eliminator.

"It's been eight months since I fought, which is a long time to go at my age without that sharpness, I could feel it straight away. I wanted to do something and the sharpness wasn't there.

"Although I had regular sparring, there's a big difference between that and actually fighting. He had the sharpness and I didn't which was a bit disappointing. Fair play to Jason, that's the best I've ever seen him box and the best he's ever boxed in my eyes, he looked fantastic against me. He's a gentleman and a quality opponent, I'm happy for him."

Acknowledging he was behind in the contest, Kennedy stepped up his efforts in the later rounds in search of a decisive blow, only to see his pressure well-absorbed by Cunningham.

He added: "Half way through the fight I knew I had to get the stoppage which played into his hands a little bit more, I was going forward and trying to land the big shot, he was throwing really quick punches and trying to tie me up and do what he needed to do to survive and win the rounds. I managed to catch up with him in the ninth and caught a big right hand but he took that and a couple of body shots well.

"That's boxing, I should have taken a bit more of a professional view towards it, doing a big fight and then going back to a little fight. I've gone from a European title fight to a title eliminator. It wasn't smart on my behalf, it's my own fault for not getting my speed back up before the fight.

"I was meant to fight in March, if I'd have got a fight then it would have been a different story. I'm a very impatient man, I'm 27 but I've got the mind of a 20-year-old and want to do everything at 100mph.

"To do 10 rounds eight months ago and then do 10 rounds again with nothing in between was a bit foolish on my behalf, but I don't want to get to the end of my career and be showing off my record and it being padded out my nobodies. I want to look back and know I fought the best whenever the opportunity came up."

Josh Kennedy fighting Bobby Jenkinson in 2018
Josh Kennedy fighting Bobby Jenkinson in 2018

Kennedy is eyeing a return to the ring later this year in view of working his way towards another title shot in the not-so-distant future.

He said: "I'm boxing in September, I'm going to do a shorter six or eight rounder, get my speed back up and then pursue whatever comes up. I'm still ranked in the top 15 in Britain and still ranked by the WBO so I'll keep pursuing the British title.

"Just because I'm not mandatory doesn't mean Brad Foster, the current champion, can't voluntarily defend it against me. If we approach him and he says he'd defend it against me I'll box him for that.

"He's boxing Ashley Lane whose got the Commonwealth title so whoever wins that will have both belts, fingers crossed if I can get my hands on one of them lads I can go for both belts in one go.

"I'm looking at the positives out of this fight and I've just done 10 rounds with a former two-weight Commonwealth champion, I wasn't disgraced, he was just faster than me on the night. Next time I won't have such a tough fight with eight months out."

Read more: All the latest Kent sport news

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