The growth of boxing in this country has been so rapid that we are looking at a bumper set of cracking bills overseas and in the UK! Next week it gets bigger with boxing back in Glasgow – it all feels like the hype surrounding our status really is making a massive impact throughout the sport.
Tonight, Saturday the 24th of February in Nuremberg, Germany the World Boxing Super Series Semi Final 2 give us the first pull out of the tournament as super middleweight, Callum Smith will not face Jurgen Braehmar as he has pulled out but the Dutch unbeaten super middleweight Nieky Holzken. Despite the disappointment of not getting to fight the guy who has fought to get to the ring with you, this is a tough fight for Smith, make no mistake, though we all believe that Smith will deal with it well and progress to the massive final between him and George Groves; cannae wait.
Tonight, in York Hall Warren promotions are back with heavyweight Nathan Gorman, heavyweight Daniel Dubois facing DL Jones for the Southern Area title and no-one I know thinks Dubois will lose, there is also a cracker of a fight for the IBF East/West European title fight between Zelfa Barrett and Ronnie Clark. I love Clark and hope he can do it, but he is getting into scraps that he is expected to lose but the Dundee boy can bang and box so I am really looking forward to this one.
Top of the bill is the WBO European and intercontinental title fight between Anthony Yarde and Tony Averlant. Yarde is expected to win this but it shall be a very real challenge.
In Doncaster there is a super welterweight contest between the returning Curtis Woodhouse and John Wayne Hibbert which is an unbelievable fight that ought to be the one you cannot tear yourself away from the side of the ring for as it should be utterly compelling.
Also closer – slightly – to home and in Aberdeen Paul Graham gives us welterweight Mathew Wilton, super lightweight Shaun McShane up against Liall MacKenzie, super bantamweight Billy Stuart has Ricky Starkey to beat whilst super featherweight Kristen Fraser is on the next leg of her journey against Claire Ciantar. Top of the is another fantastic fight for the Scottish super lightweight championship between Eddie Doyle, the holder, and Darren Traynor – the local lad. Doyle remains favourite, but has been out the ring for a wee while…
In Bolton there are 11 contests, in Portsmouth no fewer than 7 fights including super lightweight Harleem Eubank facing Ivan Godor, in Derby 6 fights, Maidstone 7 fights and in Bradford we have 7 fights on a BIBA bill.
On Sunday the 25th of February we are back home and in Manchester as Matchroom and Eddie Hearn give us light heavyweight Hosea Burton facing Josip Perkovic, super featherweight Natasha Jonas is back and fighting Karina Kopinska, bantamweight Qais Ashfaq makes his debut with a contest against Johnson Tellez, featherweight Jordan Gill faces a tough fight with Jason Cunningham and the British lightweight title fight between Lewis Ritson and Joe Murray tops the bill.
The whole bill starts with some great tune up fights and an exciting debut. We have got the next step for Gill which should be great and then two of my favourite underground fighters. They have been under the radar but particularly, Ritson, are fighters who have had us are talking about them for some time. It could be argued that Murray has been under performing but this should propel him back into the spotlight that saw him, in 2011, a atop tip for a world title. I would love a draw…
Also, in Dunstan we have 3 fights
During the week we go oversea to see, on Wednesday the 28th of February in Tokyo, super bantamweight action between Daniel Roman and Ryo Matsumoto, whilst on Thursday the 1st of March we have the WBC bantamweight fight between Luis Nery and Shinsuke Yamanaka and the IBF contest between Ryosuke Iwasa and Ernesto Saulong. There shall be plenty of eyes from the UK watching who wins for future contests here!
We end the week on Friday the 2nd of March in Manchester with the welcome return of super welterweight Denton Vassell against Evaldas Korsakas – only one winner for me…
In York Hall middleweight Harley Benn continues the Benn/Eubank references for the last two months as he is up against Gary Cooper. We also have in Leicester 7 fights, in Frome 3 fights and in Leeds no fewer than 7 fights.
Saturday 3rd March
Brooklyn – WBC heavyweight fight between Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz, super middleweight Andre Dirrell faces Jose Uzcategui for the interim IBF belt and heavyweight Charles Martin faces Curtis Harper.
Madison Square Gardens – light heavyweight action for the WBO title between Sergey Kovalev, Igor Mikhalkin and the WBA title will be settled between Dmitry Bivol and Sullivan Barrera
Sheffield – the return of Kell Brook against Siarhei Rabchenko is supported by super middleweight Rocky Fielding, super welterweight Sam Eggington, featherweight action with Kid Galahad fighting Irving Berry, the Commonwealth title rematch and last chance saloon for Lenroy Thomas and Dave Allen, and the WBC title fight between Gamal Yafai and Gavin McDonnell.
York hall – 19 fights including Harlem Eubank v Fonz Alexander
King’s Cross, London – 12 fights
Brentwood – in amongst 17 fights we have the welterweight Larry Ekundayo
Swindon – 4 fights
Walsall – 8 fights
Glasgow – at the SSE Hydro we have super middleweight Iain Trotter, super bantamweight Joe Ham, super bantamweight Lee MacGregor v Sam Allan, heavyweight Martin Bakole Ilunga, lightweight Charlie Flynn faces Ryan Collins for the Scottish title, lightweight Chantelle Cameron is up against Myriam Dellial, super lightweight Jason Easton is in against Glenn Foot and top of the bill is the WBC silver title fight between Josh Taylor and Humberto Soto.
Blackburn – 7 fights
Oldham – 10 fights
Friday 9th March
Bournemouth – 9 fights
Cleethorpes – 5 fights
Northampton – 6 fights