LAWRENCE Bennett’s manager Keith Mayo admits he is taking a risk by putting his Southern Area champion up against the big-punching Chris Keane.

The 31-year-old will tackle the former Midlands Area champion on June 7 at the Oasis Leisure Centre as chief support to Kelvin Young’s first defence of his IBO super-middleweight inter-continental title.

And while no belts will be on the line for Bad Boy or Keane, the pair will be slugging it out in a British title eliminator to face current champion Jon-Lewis Dickinson.

Bennett’s sudden rise in 2014 is in stark contrast to the previous year which saw the Swindon cruiserweight lose the last of his two bouts in 2013.

But with the Southern Area strap around his waist following a 98-94 points win over Jack Morris in March, Bennett, who has only had six fights as a professional, is, according to Mayo, much more dedicated than before.

“It is a bit of risk (the fight against Keane) but these chances don’t come along very otfen,” Mayo said.

“The chance could put him straight in the big boys league, you just don’t know, you have got to take the chance.”

Mayo says that securing Bennett a British eliminator, which was rubber stamped by the British Boxing Board of Control on Wednesday, was not on the agenda for this summer.

Instead the focus was finding an opponent for Bad Boy to defend his Southern Area title.

“I was more interested in getting an opponent for Lawrence to defend his title, but being Southern Area you are limited to who he can face,” Mayo said.

“We were looking at a couple opponents and then this came along.

“I was shocked, I wasn’t looking at that, I said to Lawrence ‘You’ve got to go for this, it is a tough one for you, just train hard and stay focused’ which he is, he is more dedicated than he has ever been before.”

Walsall-based Keane will come into the contest on the back of two points victories as he rebuilds his career following his second stoppage defeat to Neil Dawson for the WBO international strap.

Prior to that loss, Keane had been on the crest of a wave securing the Midlands Area title with a third-round stoppage over former British champion Shane McPhilbin, who controversially lost his Lonsdale belt to Enzo Maccarinelli on points in 2012 when the first round was stopped 47 seconds early with the Welshman in dire trouble.

“He’s a tough lad (Keane) he’s had 13 fights, won 12, five of those are knockouts and he has lost one,” Mayo said. “But then Lawrence is improving big time.”

Tickets for the June 7 show at the Oasis Leisure Centre are priced £1,000 for a ringside table for 10 people with a three-course meal, £850 for table of 10 in row two with meal, £60 ringside seats and £35 unreserved.

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