A Brit Of Alright

By The Way - Weekly Columns

ByTheMinBoxing

Hello from me Julia @teddyred as I roundup just *some* of the British bouts coming our way these first two months of 2018. There’s a LOT of action in store. MTK Scotland have a Burns Night special, though a day later, on 26th January in Glasgow. Gary Cornish faces David Howe at Heavyweight. Cornish lost to Sam Sexton in October in a fight for the Lonsdale so this is an important return for him. It’s 6’ 7” Cornish v 6’ 8” Howe so I should think all ticket holders will get a great view of the action. On 2nd February Dennis Hobson is putting on a 10 fight card in Sheffield. Josh Wale defends his British Bantamweight title against Bobby Jenkinson and the undefeated Loua Nassa is up against Brad Watson for the vacant English Super Flyweight title. Matchroom are at the O2 on 3rd February and the two big fights are Reece Bellotti defending his Commonwealth British Empire Featherweight title v Ben Jones and Lawrence Okolie v Isaac Chamberlain at Cruiserweight. Entitled ‘British Beef’ the card highlight for me is Okolie v Chamberlain - someone’s 0 has to go - and these two popular and stylish fighters promise a great display. To the wonderful venue of the Copper Box at Stratford on 10th February for a bumper Frank Warren (Queensberry Promotions) card. Two of my personal favourites are on the bill - Bradley Skeete and Boy Jones Jr - and I’ll be there to cheer them on. Boy Jones Jr will have his first outing since stepping up to Lightweight and I’ll be very interested to see how he does. The headline is Zolani Tete v Omar Andres Narvaez for Tete’s WBO World Bantamweight title. And Anthony Yarde faces an as yet to confirmed opponent for the EBU (European) Light Heavyweight belt and his current WBO Inter Continental Light Heavyweight title. Exciting Heavyweight Daniel Dubois is also on the bill and on Monday afternoon it was announced that undefeated Super Featherweight Zelfa Barrett would also feature. Jamie Moore tweeted that Barrett is “one of the best prospects in the country” which is high praise indeed coming from such a respected voice. Back to Bradley Skeete. I’m a huge fan and love to see him; unlike all the opponents who keep ducking him. *cough* Jeff Horn *cough*. They are right to fear his skill and determination, which has brought him the gorgeous Lonsdale belt outright - something really to be applauded and celebrated - and the WBO European Welterweight Title. I had a brief catch up with Bradley on Monday afternoon and queried the Wikipedia entry which says he turned to boxing after giving up on ballroom dancing.... With a lot of laughter, Bradley said that this was fake. I’m a bit gutted really - as I’d quite like to see him on Strictly. Back in reality, today Bradley has been in Birmingham sparring with fellow British Champ, Middleweight Tommy Langford, and as ever he looks in top condition. So does Tommy Langford, who on 10th February defends his British Middleweight title against Jack Arnfield in Blackpool. My beloved York Hall is occupied by Hayemaker Promotions on 16th February; John O’Donnell defends his English Welterweight title v Tamuka Mucha and the card also features the very talented and popular Luton boxer Linus Udofia, undefeated in his 6 pro fights to date at Middleweight. Watch out Manchester, Kalle is in town on 17th February, as Sauerland showcase two quiet and unassuming chaps when George Groves faces Chris Eubank Jr. At stake are Groves’ WBA Super World Super (sic) Middleweight belt and Eubank Jr’s IBO World Super Middleweight belt in this World Boxing Super Series Super Middleweight Semi-Final. SUPER. Also on the bill, Ryan Walsh defends his British Featherweight title against Isaac Lowe (14-0-2) and undefeated Arfan Iqbal defends his English Cruiserweight title v Simon Vallily. Birmingham will be cheering headliner Frankie Gavin on 23rd February as he goes for the vacant IBO World Welterweight title against Bethual Ushona. And on 24th February Doncaster will see Lee Appleyard defend his English Lightweight title v Marcus Ffrench and Curtis Woodhouse faces John Wayne Hibbert at Welterweight; that could be a real banger. But I won’t be in Doncaster, oh no, as I’ll be venturing to deepest Kent to see another favourite in action - as Martin Hillman faces Tom McGinley for the British Challenge Belt at Featherweight. I’m a big fan of Martin Hillman; he still works full time and somehow manages to fit in an arduous training regime. I get exhausted just reading his tweets about his day. Martin stepped up to Super Featherweight last year for what turned out to be a contender for domestic FOTR against Boy Jones Jr for the Southern Area title and this bruising and enthralling encounter delighted a packed Brentwood Centre. Though he didn’t win the belt, Martin impressed a lot of people with his performance and he was still on top form in interviews after the fight. Catching up with Martin earlier today, I asked him for his thoughts on the upcoming fight with Tom McGinley “I know he’s a good up and coming prospect and coming off a great 1st round knockout win so I’m taking the fight very seriously but at the same time I feel confident about winning, I don’t think he’s ever been in with someone like me and I think my experience will tell on the night”. So, there ends my roundup. I need a sit down. There is clearly plenty of action across the U.K. which is just fantastic for British boxing and I urge you to get along to the smaller shows in particular to see for yourself. I’d love to hear your predictions and thoughts on the fights above so do please slide into the comments. Bye for now!

The Untouchables - 10th February 2018

Alistair Sargent

Great round-up Julia. Exciting months ahead. Outside the obvious choice of Groves - Eubank I'm excited by Okolie - Chamberlain. I saw Chamberlain has been sparring with Oleksandr Usyk, can't get much better preparation than that! And the untouchables card is great. I love watching Dubois and Yarde and it's always a pleasure to see Bradley Skeete. Tete is a special talent as a non-UK icing on the stacked UK cake.

Julia @teddy_red

Thanks Alistair! I agree with your top picks and I’m excited to see how they and others including Zelfa Barrett get on.