And so tonight we have a number of very intriguing cards to watch which, along with last night’s European card show that boxing is really beginning to rev back up again – even without crowds.
Starting in the iconic York Hall on Saturday, the 24th of April, we have the return of light heavyweight Callum Johnson taking on Emil Markic for the WBO Global title. Having come up short against Beterbiev, this is Johnson’s return to the heights of being a challenger. We expect Johnson to do a number on the man ranked number 15 by the WBO.
The British and Commonwealth middleweight title fight which headlines is between Denzel Bentley and Felix Cash. This looks very much like a chess match more than a stand your ground type of fight and for those of us who like such a thing, there is plenty to love about it. Cash has the greater expectations upon his shoulder and arguably a better record but that is debatable given the win Bentley recorded against Mark Heffron to win the British title. It’s a brilliant piece of match making, and we ought to be in for a treat, no matter the result.
Meanwhile over in Florida, the WBO featherweight title fight between Emanuel Navarrete and Christopher Diaz remindsus of how decent matchmaking is certainly an art as the man who has lost wide decisions to Shakur Stevenson and Masayuki Ito gets rewarded with a shot at title holder Navarrete; there is no matchmaking artistry here. There is little doubt where the smart money is being placed and it isn’t on Diaz causing an upset.
Later on, in the week we are back at the York Hall on Friday the 30th of April where the widely admired Frankham brothers are both in the ring with Levi Frankham making his debut at super welterweight against Paul Cummings and Joshua Frankham, at the same weight, taking on Naheem Ali in his third professional fight. A brotherly double is to be expected.
Scotland’s own Kieran Smith puts his unbeaten record on the line against the also unbeaten Troy Williamson and it is great to see him back out as his career was on an upward spiral before the pandemic. His eye catching abilities will be a critical part of the future progress of Scottish boxing; should be a Scottish win – surely?
Super bantamweight Michael Conlan takes on Ionut Baluta to get back in the ring and nobody expects thisto be anything other than a Conlan victory.
Such confidence is less certain in the top of the bill world title clash for the IBF flyweight title as Sunny Edwards takes on current champion Moruti Mthalane. Make no mistake this is a big ask for Edwards and whilst he has the skill and the ability, will he triumph and take the title? I have a sneaking suspicion he might, but it shall be very tough.
Saturday 1st May
Super welterweight Scott Fitzgerald and super featherweight Campbell Hatton are on a card that includes no less than three world title fights, and none of them are the headline! We have the IBO lightweight title fight between James Tennyson and Jovanni Straffon, the WBA light heavyweight title fight between Craig Richards and Dmitry Bivol and the WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF lightweight title scrap between Natasha Jonas and Katie Taylor! Oh, and the return of Chris Eubank Jr, at middleweight hoping to get his name back in that world title mix as he takes on Marcus Morrison. And then the grudge match headlines as heavyweights Derrick Chisora takes on Joseph Parker.
The WBA middleweight title is on the line for Erislandy Lara and Thomas Lamanna whilst the WBA interim title is being fought over at featherweight between Eduardo Ramirez and Isaac Avelar.
Friday 7th May
Liam Smith returns at super welterweight to take on Magomed Kurbanov for the WBO international title.