Last weekend we had some overseas action that kept us all on our toes along with the domestic fair that was filled with further action and tension. Last Saturday the 20th of March inMoscow light heavyweight powerhouse Artur Beterbiev kept the WBC and IBF crowns as he knocked out Adam Deines in the 10th round. After such a long lay off there were fears he would not be razor sharp and a few have claimed that he wasn’t. There were criticisms that the opponent was not the calibre he could have been – he wasn’t. but there was little doubt that Beterbiev was able to deal with what was put in front of him and come away with another stunning and talked about win – he remains the only world champion with a perfect 100% knockout win rate.
In Texas on the same nightthe WBO international belt was at stake between Vergil Ortiz Jr and Maurice Hooker at welterweight with Ortiz Jr also managing a stoppage win as Hooker went down in the 7th and was unable to recover. Ortiz Jr answered every question there may have needed to have been asked and next up could well be world honours and, on this showing, he looks in perfect shape to take them as he too has stopped every man put in the ring to stand against him.
DAZN and Sky Sports in association with Matchroom took us to the Wembley Arena bubble on the same night too. Ellie Scotney at featherweight looked the real deal as she disposed of Mailys Gangloff with a wide points win. Also, at featherweight Ramla Ali dominated Bec Connolly, winning on points. Connolly, a late replacement deservedly heard the final bell but it was a shut out win for another very exciting women’s boxing prospect.
The return of super featherweight Joe Cordina against Faroukh Kourbanov, saw Cordina in a sharp return where he wasvery much in control though once more there was a scoring anomaly as one judge was watching another fight and gave it as a draw. The other two sorted it out as a majority win for Cordina.
Super welterweight Anthony Fowler did not leave it to the judges as he viciously stopped Jorge Fortea for the WBA international title in three rounds. Powerful, impressive and impervious – it was a motif for later.
The WBA continental cruiserweight title fight between Chris Billiam-Smith and Delon Jumah ended with Billiam-Smith getting the points win after hammering Jumah over the 10 rounds. A decent contest and a real test for Billiam-Smith, Jumah refused to stay down and pushed Billiam-Smith all the way. It ended a points win and really decent test of Billiam-Smith’s credentials.
Top of the bill was the WBO cruiserweight title fight between Lawrence Okolie and Krzystof Glowacki. If there was anyone doubting Okolie and his abilities, this display shall have stopped them dead in their criticism. He was impressive. He was world level. He was class. After so many could have been, should have beens in British boxing, Okolie showed people how it was done with a masterclass on winning a world title. A former world champion was stopped in the sixth round in Okolie’s 16th professional fight – the same number of contests that it took Anthony Joshua to win his world title. Next would appear to be the biggest name in the division – Mairis Breidis and whilst Okolie bucked the trend of British fighters falling short I would love to see him take on the lesser world champions, build up his experience and then take on the best – learning from how others have faltered would be critical, I think…
Later on, on Thursday the 25th of March in San Juan, Puerto Rico the WBC and WBO featherweight titles were defended by Amanda Serrano who knocked out Daniela Romina Bermudez in the 9th round to lay her claim to be one of the best female boxers in the ring at the minute – or any other minute.
Finally, last night, Friday the 26th of March at the Copper Box, London, super middleweight Zach Parker was back with a contest against Vaughn Alexander, and managed a 2nd round stoppage for the vacant WBO international title, the IBF super bantamweight international title fight between Brad Foster and Alvaro Rodriguez meanwhile went the distance and Foster got the win and the title. The WBC international silver welterweight title fight between Danny Ball and Sam Gilley also went the full 10 rounds with Ball getting the nod whilst the Commonwealth and British title fight between Akeem Ennis Brown and Sam Maxwell did not go ahead as Ennis-Brown got injured so Maxwell kept in trim with an 8 round points win against Ben Fields.