Boxing: Oakey ready for Barney's test

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The Independent Online

Tony Oakey is not one of British boxing's best known world champions but he is an honest campaigner and he is often in exciting fights.

Tonight will be no exception when Oakey risks his World Boxing Union light-heavyweight title for the fourth time in an unexpected local derby against Southampton's Matthew Barney at the Mountbatten Centre in Oakey's home town of Portsmouth.

Barney, who is the current British super-middleweight champion, finally agreed terms for tonight's fight less than 48 hours ago after a succession of opponents fell away with illness or were ruled out because of incompetence. Oakey against Barney is potentially one of the most entertaining all-British fights this year.

In addition to the two fighters coming from rival south coast cities there will be an intriguing confrontation between siblings Frank and Eugene Maloney. Frank will be in Oakey's corner and his younger brother Eugene will be in Barney's corner.

In an ideal world Oakey against Barney would be taking place at a far larger venue, but as the days past this week and a crisis appeared over the quality of Oakey's planned opponents there was no other option but to bring in Barney.

* Welshman Enzo Maccarinelli has won the prestigious Young Boxer Of The Year award, voted for by members of the British Boxing Writers' Club. The 23-year-old Swansea cruiserweight joins an illustrious list of recent winners including compatriot Joe Calzaghe, Ricky Hatton and Alex Arthur. Maccarinelli claimed the vacant WBU cruiserweight title from Bruce Scott in Cardiff in June.