The last week has been a very mixed week. It saw the wounds of stepping up a level hit home as failure was the result whilst the next level and generation of fighter made statements at the 02 which are very hard to ignore. Over in the States there was a fascinating number of contests that saw redemption delivered, statements made and intriguing future fights being touted.
Starting in the USA on Saturday the 2nd of February in Texas where the WBO light heavyweight title showdown and rematch between Eleidar Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev saw Kovalev deliver a masterclass and take back his WBO title on points. There are a number of rumours out there now that suggest he may vacate. Finding a better set of fights than the mandatory fighters circulating appeals because at the tail end of his career he is not looking for legacy but hard cash.
The IBF lightweight title action between Richard Comney and Isa Chaviev saw Comney win in the second round but damage his hand in the process. He was due to take on Lomachenko after and with that now in doubt due to the injury, our very own Anthony Crolla has stepped closer to a dream bout.
The WBO featherweight contest between Oscar Valdez and Carmine Tommasone ended in the 7th with defending champion Valdez keeping his title. It was a return to the ring for the champion, following him suffering a broken jaw when successfully defending his title last year against Britain’s Scott Quigg.
Domestically we had another great weekend with the spiritual home of British boxing, York Hall saw the Commonwealth super lightweight belt go to Phillip Bowes over Benson Nyilawila in a second round stoppage.
In Newport the super lightweight Welsh title action between Kieran Gething and Henry Janes saw Gething get the win in a 10 round decision.
In the Crowne Plaza, Glasgow Kynoch Boxing were back in the afternoon with a very enterprising bill as super welterweight Dean Sutherland won a 4 rounder on points against Jordan Grannum, cruiserweight Jay MacFarlane beat Miles Willington and flyweight Ross Murray beat Steven Maguire on points over 6 rounds.
At Villa Park Sam Eggington warmed up with a 4 round points win over Sam Omidi in advance of getting in the ring with Liam Smith later in the year.
The big domestic bill of the night was, of course, at the 02, London where Matchroom were back in the UK with heavyweight Fabio Wardley stopping Morgan Dessaux in the first round.
The super welterweight clash between Scott Fitzgerald and Radoslav Mitev didn’t get out the second round as Fitzgerald did what was asked of him.
The light heavyweight action between Jake Ball and Craig Richards, brought our first surprise of the night as Craig “The Spider” Richards stopped the much fancied Ball in the third round – it was shaping up to be a short old night!
Cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie was in on the stoppage action too as he managed to stop Tamas Lodi for the WBA continental belt, also in the third round. Okolie needed another big statement and he delivered – next up is the fancied match up with Wadi Camacho.
The Commonwealth title fight between Felix Cash and Rasheed Abolaji at middleweight was another early stoppage as Cash stopped Abolaji in the first round!
The major heartbreak of the night, and second surprise of the evening, was the super welterweight EBU European title fight between the unbeaten Sergio Garcia and Ted Cheeseman where we saw Cheeseman come up short. There was no shortage of effort and heart, but the skill level was just a little beyond Cheeseman. The drawing board is where he is now back at though a loss is never a bad thing but a very big learning trajectory. We have had three British fighters now come up to European level and fall short, all of them touted as future world stars. Let’s now see if each of them – Bradley Skeete, Lewis Ritson and now Cheeseman can rebuild and achieve the potential others have seen.
Finally talking of falling a tad short, our very own Denton Vassell went down under on Thursday the 8th to Sydney, Australia, for the super welterweight Commonwealth title with Tim Tszyu and returned empty handed, being stopped in the second round. As Tszyu is the son of Kostya Tszyu all eyes will be on him to see if, like other famous sons, he can emulate his father…E