Exciting prospect Goncalves to make long-awaited return against Bouteix in main event of Contenders 26
- Credit: Archant
Entertaining talent Andre Goncalves will return to the cage for the first time in more than two years in the main event of Contenders 26 in Norwich next month.
Goncalves will meet Julien Bouteix in a lightweight clash at the Epic Studios on May 18, in an event streamed live around the world on Fite TV PPV.
The 29-year-old, who fights out of Tsunami Gym Norfolk, boasts a pro record of 3-1-1 and looked set for the fast track to stardom, but injuries have seen fights on both BAMMA and Bellator fall through in recent times.
Now refreshed after a break from battle, Thetford’s Goncalves fully intends to make up for lost time.
In comeback foe Bouteix he faces a man with proven power – he stunningly knocked out the much-hyped Richard Mearns on the latter’s pro debut at Contenders 20 – who will be desperate to turn around a four-fight losing skid which has seen his record sink to 2-5.
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Typically, the bombastic Goncalves was bullish about his return to action.
He said: “I think it’s a good fight for me. If this man weighs in at 70kg I’m going to be about double his size – he’s going to find out that he won’t have a single advantage over me.
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“The break has been good for me. I’m hitting a lot harder than I ever have and I’ve grown and matured in the sport, and in life – my body is catching up with the pieces of the puzzle.
“My boxing coach Rocky Dean has brought me on so much. I’ve always been explosive, but this is a different level now.”
The only blemishes on Goncalves’ record are a thrilling draw with Aaron Khalid back at Contenders 15 – with Khalid now established as a rising star in Cage Warriors – and a first round KO loss to respected veteran Kimbo Thinghaugen at Contenders 17.
And Goncalves, who’s originally from Portugal, believes his comeback will see him fulfil the vast potential he’s always had.
“My level is world class,” he said. “I truly hope that this is the beginning of a new era for me. I want to have a few fights with Contenders and hopefully then move to the big shows, the likes of Cage Warriors, Bellator and whatever.
“I want to create my own legacy, make my two little girls proud and put my country on the map.”
Contenders promoter Steve Newman said of the main event: “It will be a good fight. Julien is tough, and he’ll fight anyone – it’s a great challenge for Andre coming back.
“But Andre is talented lad and comes from a great gym at Tsunami. He’s good on the floor and he’s got good stand-up – he’s got it all really.”
Other fighters confirmed for May are Konrad Jaskiewicz – who scored one of the knockouts of 2018 with a brutal flying knee at Contenders 24 – giant heavyweight boxer Jakub Adamski and popular Kings’ Lynn talent Stevi Levy, who will be having her last boxing clash in the cage before turning pro.
A mouth-watering 77kg K1 title rematch between champion David Balogh and the man he beat for the belt, Piotr Panczak, has also been confirmed.
Visit the Contenders website for tickets.