BOXING: Eithan James aiming to make if four from four in front of BT Sport cameras

Eithan James (centre) at the Team Show-Box gym in Northampton, with James Conway (left) and Alex Le GeuvelEithan James (centre) at the Team Show-Box gym in Northampton, with James Conway (left) and Alex Le Geuvel
Eithan James (centre) at the Team Show-Box gym in Northampton, with James Conway (left) and Alex Le Geuvel
Northampton boxer Eithan James is aiming to show what he is all about to the nation and beyond when he fights live on BT Sport on Saturday night.

James takes on Kris Pilkington at the York Hall in Bethnal Green, with the four-round bout the first on the undercard for the the world super lightweight title fight between Scotland's Josh Taylor and Apinun Khongsong from Thailand.

Also a super lightweight, James is making his fourth professional appearance, having won his three previous bouts, and with the fight being broadcast throughout the UK as well as in America on ESPN, he is looking forward to making his mark on to the big stage.

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"It is a big opportunity to perform in front of thousands of people, more than would normally be in the stadiums" said James, who now trains out of James Conways's Team Shoe-Box gym in Northampton and is managed by Frank Warren.

"It is showing in America as well so there is an international audience, and I have got to make sure I perform."

James was originally scheduled to fight a fellow unbeaten youngster in Nathan McFarlane from Telford, but he was withdrawn from the bout by his team, and the Northampton boxer has now been paired with 32-year-old Pilkington.

Hailing from Gateshead, Pilkington has 10 professional fights under his belt, and he won two and drew one of his first three, but has then gone on to lose seven in a row.

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The late change of opponent is not ideal, but James, who last fought in February, is taking it in his stride.

Eithan James's fight will be broadcast live on BT SportEithan James's fight will be broadcast live on BT Sport
Eithan James's fight will be broadcast live on BT Sport

"It was a bit of a shock because I had been training to take on a lad who was undefeated and is probably a bit of a different style, but nothing has changed," said the 20-year-old, who enjoyed an outstanding amateur career while with Kings Heath ABC.

"I am still going out there to win and put on a good performance no matter what anyway.

"Kris Pilkington has been around a lot, his record is not as good as McFarlane's, but I am not going in there thinking about that, I am going in there thinking he is the lad I was supposed to be fighting.

"I have to stay sharp and not switch off."

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Pilkington is 12 years James's senior, so is it difficult for a young boxer used to fighting against people his own age in the amateur ranks to adjust to that sort of age difference?

"It was strange at first, but all of the lads I have fought so far have been a lot older than me and around the same age as Kris Pilkington," said James.

"So it was a bit of a shock at first, but there is no real challenge just purely on age."

James has checked out Pilkington's style, but he insists he is going to be concentrating on his own fight rather than what his opponent can bring.

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"I have watched a videos of him on YouTube, but I don't want to read too much into any of that, because obviously it might not be the same on fight night," he said.

"But it does mean you can how he boxes a bit, see what shots he throws more often than not, but apart from that, that's it.

"I am looking more at what I am going to be forcing him to do on fight night."

Due to Covid-19 regulations, James has been in quarantine in a London apartment since Monday, and he admits it is going to be a strange experience fighting behind closed doors and in an empty York Hall.

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"I fought at York Hall in my last fight, and the crowds were brilliant, so it is going to be a bit of a difference when there is nobody there," said James.

"Even in the amateurs there were always still quite a few people there watching, but I am there to fight anyway and when I am in the ring I don't really listen to the crowd. It should be okay."

Although there will be no fans at ringside, there will be plenty watching on the TV at home, and they will have the added bonus of their man being the first fight, so they can plan their night around it.

And James is even hoping he can make it back to town in time to join them.

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"I am first on after the show starts, so I would say I would be in the ring by 7.40pm or 7.45pm," said James.

"I have already told everybody back home so they all know, and hopefully I will then get back before the pub shuts so I can go and see everyone!"

The fight will be shown on BT Sport 1, with the programme starting at 7.30pm.

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