Back again WCB’ers from Blighty and hoping all’s well with you all and thank you for reading again. Before I start, please give me your feedback and if you have any constructive criticism then by all means, let me know.
January is generally a quiet month in the UK with everyone getting back into the swing of things after the festivities of Christmas and New Year, the first big show came from Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom promotion on February 3, with what was billed “British Beef”. This was a headline clash between two London boys who put their undefeated records on the line at an early stage of their careers, Lawrence Okolie from Hackney, East London against Isaac Chamberlain from Brixton, South London. These two lads were 8-0 and 9-0 respectively. The fact that these two had been calling each other out since their amateur days and the fact that they managed to nearly sell out the 02 arena in that there London (anyone whose not from that London sneeringly refers to it as THAT London, flash gits, think they’re the top dogs, etc.) is nothing short of remarkable. When you consider that Anthony Joshua calls the O2 as his second home, him being from Watford, north London and sells that out, it was anticipated that the fight would live up to the hype. Unfortunately, it didn’t. Apart from the first round were Lawrence dropped Chamberlain, the rest of the affair was like a wrestling match and in the 2nd the ref docked off Isaac a point and in the 9th Okolie was docked a point as well. It was pretty tedious to watch and when I’m watching my boxing on the box, if I’m fiddling about with my phone then I know it’s a shit match. For what it was worth anyway, they were contesting the WBA cruiserweight intercontinental strap. Talk about a Mickey Mouse bauble, hardly “intercontinental” when the two participants are from 20 miles apart from each other. Go figure. I won’t bore you with the scorecards as it was that dire. The winner was by submission, probably. Okolie actually won it, if you care to give a shit.
The undercard provided some interesting bouts with the chief support being Ted “The Big Cheese” Cheeseman up against American gatekeeper Carson Jones. Some of you may recall Jones giving Kell Brook a hell of a test before he contested for world honours and also upset former world title challenger Brian Rose over here in one round. Albeit that was controversial in it being a stoppage, it sure was funny seeing Rose trying to get the referee to explain himself and referee Ian John-Lewis who was a former pro fighter himself, having to hide in his locker room until Rose had cooled off! Cheeseman was 11-0 going into the contest and was expected to get a good workout and a good workout he did. Another inter-two bob title was on the line and Jones was 4 pounds over the 154 limit. That tells you his ambition in the sport, saying that, he’s had 56 bouts with 40 wins, 13 losses and 3 draws, it’s fair to say he is winding down on his career. Mind you, if he’s getting a good wage for coming over here, he won’t complain. Ted bossed the fight for the most part, occasionally Jones had little success and that was reflected in the scores of 99-91 twice, and 100-98.
Another kid worth looking out for is Reece Bellotti, who had another contestant failing to weigh in, (a pound over) in Ben Jones. Reece is from Crawley which for any of you Amerikaners have flown into that London Gatwick airport, it’s down that way. Which isn’t too far from where my brother lives which is Horley and quite well to do, no peasants allowed! Not saying my brother is a posh git but he’s earning more than me!! Bellotti didn’t have much to worry about in what was for the Commonwealth title. The ‘Commonwealth’, is what used to be the British Empire, which we don’t have anymore, in case you were wondering. Bellotti did the job just 19 seconds into the 6th, this kid has a very bright future.
Another bright hope from our Olympians in 2016 and light heavy bronze medallist, was Joshua Buatsi from Croydon, south London who blasted out Jordan Joseph in 2 rounds. You might recall back in Rio in the Games he was blasting everyone out until he met the Cuban (I think) who was a bit too savvy and experienced but nevertheless getting to the semi-final he displayed his punching prowess.
I have to say we have some special lads coming through as well as those at the top of the tree already. I should mention Northern Ireland’s Carl Frampton, former IBF super bantam champ and former WBA featherweight champion is up against Nonito Donaire on the 21st April over 12 rounds for an intercontinental strap of one of the Alphabet Boys. Regardless, a top scrap is in store and just before I fly away to sunnier climes in the Canary Islands on the 24th, my better half’s 50th birthday! My treat to her 😉
Now, if you have been keeping abreast of the World Boxing Super Series and the cruiserweight division and over this side of the pond, where all the top dog cruisers are European (except one!), there were two scraps that were semi-finals between Oleksander Usyk (WBC champ) of the Ukraine and Mairis Breidis (WBO champ) of Latvia. I didn’t see this contest ‘live’ on the gogglebox but did eventually catch up with it on YouTube and I wasn’t disappointed after reading about it. These two went toe to toe for 12 rounds and this was a great example of sportsmanship and respect also. Usyk won on a majority decision and two judges giving it to Usyk with the other a draw. If that wasn’t good enough for you, the other semi-final between Russian Murat Gassiev (IBF champ) and Cuban Yunier Dorticos (WBA champ), then this was virtually non-stop all the way! These two could have fought in a phone booth, it was that intense. Gassiev won by Ko in the 12th and had Dorticos was down at 1:02 prior to being knocked out the ring when the ref called time. Dorticos fought his heart out and it reflected in the press conference after when he wept unashamedly and again, showing courtesy and sportsmanlike behaviour, Gassiev went over and consoled his foe. Class act. The final is another to watch out for in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia- wot?!! Scheduled for May.
And finally, Roy Jones Jr. has had his last professional contest and hopefully that will be the end of it. Seeing as he won, maybe he can ride off into the sunset. Unlike some column inch hogging pain in the arse called Floyd Mayweather who’s now telling us he’s getting into MMA! Good luck with that, you’ll end up looking silly like James Toney did.
Thanks for reading again, be in touch soon enough.