WE MAKE A speedy return to our own boxing bubble on Friday night with the third of our special summer series at the headquarters of BT Sport.
We are gathering some momentum now in putting boxing back on the box and I am happy to say that our young fighters are seizing the opportunity put in front of them. I must tip my hat to the young fellas for the way they kept in shape during lockdown, made themselves ready to fight and then adapted to the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in, with the confinement in the hotel and boxing behind closed doors.
On Saturday our guys certainly put a marker down when it comes to assessing how far they can go in the game. Our old stager for the night – in age terms, at least – was Joe Joyce and he put his best foot forward towards his hugely anticipated encounter with Daniel Dubois on October 24, subject to Daniel doing likewise on August 29 when he comes up against Erik Pfiefer.
Michael Wallisch gave it a good bash against Joe – at least for a round or so – and caught our man a couple of times. Daniel will have been watching those early exchanges with particular interest.
Once Joe had revved up his engine though, there was no stopping him and a typical assault on his opponent from all angles quickly followed.
Joe can now begin planning on how to counter Daniel’s many attributes while waiting for his young rival to approach his final hurdle before the big o2 Arena night.
Denzel Bentley wasn’t quite his usual explosive self against Mick Hall in what I am sure was a much tougher test in the flesh than it appeared on paper. Hall is a tough customer and wasn’t going to be anyone’s fall guy.
Denzel though, showed he is not just a one-trick pony and can win in more ways than one. When he suspected the KO wasn’t coming, he chipped away at the defences of his opponent and wore him down into retirement in the corner.
We will sort a big, marquee fight for Denzel next and very firmly in my thoughts is what would be an epic confrontation with Mark Heffron. There would be no quarter given in that one and it is a fight I am sure we can deliver for the fans, who would be in for a real treat.
His teammate at the Peacock, Chris Bourke, is now in possession of his first professional belt after an impressive victory over Ramez Mahmood for the Southern Area super bantamweight title. It was a quality fight between two previously unbeaten lads and they served up a little cracker for the viewers.
Louie Lynn will have to learn not to get carried away in future fights after taking a couple of careless potshots at his opponent Monty Ogilvie after he had retreated to the canvas. I would never want to dampen Louie’s enthusiasm because it is what makes him what he is, but he needs to be more careful in future because not all refs will be so accommodating.
Young Louie is a real whirlwind and a lot of fun to watch. He has showed us that he is well capable of stepping up into title contention.
One who won’t be far away despite his inexperience and tender years is Henry Turner. His class and quality shine through and his amateur pedigree is there for all to see. We are going to have a long and exciting journey with Our ‘Enry.
This Friday I would not imagine we will be seeing any patiently accumulated points victories. With the boys we have assembled for this card, it is just not in their nature and they all carry bad intentions.
Lyndon Arthur vs Dec Spelman for the Commonwealth light heavyweight crown has got all the makings of a real humdinger. We know what Dec is all about so the onus will be on Lyndon to show us all what he’s got and really set up his clash with Anthony Yarde.
Lyndon has got the impressive CV, the Team GB background and Pat Barrett right behind him in the pros. Now he needs to make a statement and show the nation he is the real deal.
Another tasty looking clash is between our young middleweight Caoimhin Agyarko and Jez Smith. CJ, as he is known by all at the iBox Gym, wants to be in a real tough fight and Jez will give him this.
Jez is tough as old boots and, even though he is jumping up in weight, he will come to fight – and win – in the hope of upsetting the odds.
This brings me on to our Liverpool 3 – Nick Ball, Andrew Cain and Brad Strand – from the renowned Everton Red Triangle Boxing Club.
I am really looking forward to showcasing these lads to the watching public and I am sure the fans will like what they see. These three – and there are a good few more where they came from – don’t just come to win, they come to entertain and deliver the goods for the fans.
Nick, a stocky featherweight, is the most experienced of the three at 12-0 (6KOs) and he really sets about his work with brute force and no shortage of skill. For me, he is not far off British title level already and we have got him an unbeaten opponent on Friday in Jerome Campbell (6-0).
Andrew is all speed and spite. Another who operates around featherweight or super bantam, he has notched up five straight stoppages and really looks the part. It is a huge opportunity for him on Friday to announce himself and then, who knows, imagine possible future fights against the likes of Brad Foster or Ryan Garner.
Brad is the more classy and patient of the three in that he probably needs six round fights to put away his opponents. The 3-0 super bantam is pretty tall for the weight and a more elegant operator than his two gym mates.
I am excited unleash all three onto the BT Sport stage and it is a group and a gym – with coach Paul Stevenson – that we will be pushing forward with and I expect big things.
I am delighted we have been able to further beef up our fourth show on August 15 with the stellar addition of Carl Frampton to the mix. Carl needs to keep active after his world title challenge to Jamel Herring was temporarily aborted due to the Covid-19 crisis.
Hopefully he will get a good night’s work from Vahram Vardanyan, the 21-1-1 man from Latvia. It has always been a pleasure to promote Carl and I am looking forward to the prospect of him becoming a three-weight world champion.
Carl’s fellow Belfast boy Michael Conlan has also been added to the card, which still retains the original headline acts of Archie Sharp and Troy Williamson, as well as our favourite little menace, Dennis McCann.
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