RISING British super-featherweight Sam Bowen (11-0, 8 KOs) has been given a tough match-up for his 12th professional fight.

The unbeaten 25-year-old nicknamed ‘Bullet’ will meet 30-year-old Mexican Juan Ocura (13-11-1, 6 KOs) over six rounds on September 9 at Braunstone Leisure Centre in Leicester. Ocura has been in the opposite corner against former Ohara Davies opponent Andreas Scarpa, losing on points over six rounds and went the distance with Luke Campbell conqueror Yvan Mendy this year.

Bowen is now mandatory challenger for Martin J Ward’s British super-featherweight title after the withdrawal of Craig Poxton and Zelfa Barrett from eliminators and Ronnie Clark’s boxing licence being suspended.

Boxing News spoke to Bowen’s promoter, manager and co-trainer (Bowen’s father also trains his son) Carl Greaves about the fight and the difficulties he’s had in matching a fighter who has been gaining something of a ‘best kept secret’ reputation for himself.

“This is why I’m having to go harder than I wanted to at this stage,” Greaves said.

“The reason being I can’t get him a British opponent for starters. Nobody in Britain wants to fight him. When we go down the foreign route the names we’re getting, on paper, have got a decent record but I’ve seen them fight and they’re not going to last a round or two with Sam. The bottom line is he’s not getting any experience or learning anything from them sort of fights.

“This Juan Ocura is a tough boy. His last fight went the distance with Andreas Scarpa, he went the distance with Yvan Mendy and pushed him tough. He’s had some good wins but I watched him fight and I think Sam’s more than capable of beating him. Obviously it’s a risky fight and it’s a risk we didn’t have to take with him having mandatory for the British at this stage. But if he’s going into a British title fight we want him to have a few more rounds under his belt and I’m sure Ocura will give him rounds. I’m hoping Sam will be victorious.”

“It keeps Sam busy. I spoke to the [British Boxing] board and they can’t give us a date or put the purses out for the Martin Ward fight because he’s not due a mandatory. He beat his mandatory the last time [Cacace] and he’s got a bit of time before he fights another mandatory. The board suggested keeping him busy, getting some rounds and this is what I’m trying to do.

“Ocura is a good fighter and is naturally a weight above Sam. But I’m not going to keep wasting money. I’m not like other trainers and managers who like their fighters beating up on lads. I like my lads to be in testing fights. If Sam did stop him what a statement that would be.”