There really is a major difference between watching a fight on TV and being ringside. A person gets to taste the atmosphere, energy, and passion for each fight. The crowd’s cheers, jeers, and celebrations make watching live boxing a memorable experience. Plus if you are lucky you might grab a selfie with a legend or up and coming boxing star. This is why during the night had to tweet and congratulate Matchroom Boxing on their superb show. But also remind people that we shouldn’t just watch and support the super fights. These up and coming cards are still filled with talent, rivalry, and exciting fights.
My personal favorite rivalry for the night was the war of words instigated by Isaac Chamberlain at the direction of Lawrence Okolie- both are up and coming cruiserweights but only one has Olympic pedigree. Only time will tell whether this is will be a professional difference maker or merely a difference in amateur CVs.
Both fighters fought impressive but different fights. Okolie continued his first round TKO streak, whereas Chamberlain returned from injury with a second round TKO. Okolie has the better amateur pedigree and obvious physical advantages. Only time will tell whether Chamberlain’s bite is as fierce as his post fight bark.
It is hard to choose the standout fight of the night. The main event between Buglioni and Summers was a real war. With both men putting their bodies and emotions on the line, in a fierce encounter that saw Buglioni declared the winner by decision.
Another decision decided the bout between Richards and Pavanito. Richards was the better boxer. But Pavanito certainly did not travel all the way from Portugal just to pick up a cheque. He fought valiantly and really asked questions of Richards. However, Richards did enough to secure the victory, despite a war of a last round.
Many people were looking forward to the debut of Olympic medalist Joshua Buatsi. The Olympian did not disappoint! I was fortunate enough to be able to sit next to his Olympic compatriot Lawrence Okolie. Through Okolie’s impromptu commentary I was able to truly realize why so many people are excited about Buatsi’s future in boxing. Okolie grew in excitement and pride each time Buatsi showed his technical skill and sheer unrivaled power. He knocked down his opponent in the first round and finished him off in the second. Another Olympian proving their amateur pedigree does transfer into professional ability.
Fan favorite for the night was Conor Benn. He was accompanied to the ring by his legendary father, Nigel Benn, who himself is making a return to the ring. Conor was able to secure the victory in front of his father with a TKO in round 3. Conor Benn certainly showed his is developing good head movement and defense to go with that trademark Benn power.
Ted Cheeseman drew equal applause as he put on a show for his growing followers and fans. He was able to pick apart Ryan and become the new English Super-welterweight champion.
Highlights of the night
6 x 3 mins Cruiserweight contest
ISAAC CHAMBERLAIN v RYAN CRAWFORD
(Brixton) (Uxbridge)The round two TKO from Isaac Chamberlain came after an exciting bout of power versus technique. Ryan Crawford entered the ring looking the far bigger man and reportedly didn’t make weight. He managed to land some solid shots on Chamberlain in the opening round. However, technical ability, talent, and power were all found in Chamberlain’s corner. The Brixton man was able to find his range and eventually dominate the fight through a series of jabs and shots to the body. It was those body shots that wore down the bigger Crawford, who wasn’t able to beat the count. On his way out of the ring, I overheard Crawford stating he had misjudged the count as he was trying to regain his breath. Whether misjudged or simply unable to continue, Chamberlain really showed desire and to power wear down the bigger man. Yet it was outside of the ring where the real shots and jabs were thrown in the direction of Lawrence Okolie. Chamberlain believes he should be getting more of the shine, notoriety, and credit. He has instigated a war of words with Okolie. But when Okolie was asked about Chamberlain, he responded with ‘who?’. Setting up what could be a great fight in the future.
6 x 3 mins Cruiserweight contest
LAWRENCE OKOLIE (14st 4lbs 5oz) v RUSSELL HENSHAW (14st 2lbs 4oz)
(Hackney) (Ilkeston)Round 1 and done again for Lawrence ‘source’ Okolie. Lawrence Okolie completely dominated Russell Henshaw from the onset. Okolie’s combination of speed and power proved to be far too much for Henshaw. After two knockdowns, the referee ended the fight after 2.22minutes. I personally thought Henshaw’s size might offer some kind of resistance to Okolie’s power but Okolie soon proved me wrong. Okolie’s physical advantage alone can overpower most opponents; however, with every fight Okolie grows in technical ability. All more impressive from a man who only started boxing 5 years ago. As Eddie Hearn said in Okolie’s post fight interview, Okolie has a long way to go but he has the talent to dominate the world scene in due time.
This was another fight that did not get to showcase Okolie’s true skill level. However, Okolie has been sparring with heavyweights so no doubt he has far more in his locker yet to be shown to his growing following and reputation.
6 x 3 mins Super-Middleweight Contest
CRAIG RICHARDS (12st 1lbs 3oz) v RUI MANUEL PAVANITO (11st 11lbs 4oz)
(Crystal Palace) (Lisbon)
After a cagey start, Craig Richards started to dominate this bout against Portuguese Champions Rui Manuel Pavanito. Richard’s use of the jab began to trouble his shorter opponent. However, Pavanito remained unwavered in his attack as he looked to try and gain some dominance with body shots and inside work. Richards’s countered by allowing his opponent to potentially punch himself out, whilst having to defend himself with Richards looping hooks and haymakers.In Round 3, Richards let loose a flurry of punches as soon as the bell rang. This initial had Pavanito on the back foot, but he remained resilient in his defense and attempted to narrow the distance between them. Although, this enabled Pavanito to limit the effectiveness of Richard’s jab. It also made him an easy target for head and body shots from the far more in control and dominant Richards.
Round 4 began in a similar fashion to round 3 Richards looked to press the advantage and Pavanito looked to narrow the distance between the two and looked to land some inside shots. Pavanito certainly proved he could take a shot, as he was able to withstand an onslaught of relentless jabs and hooks from Richards. This lead to a slight come back from Pavanito later in the round and Richards looked like he had worn himself out from not having landed the knockout blow.
Round 5 began in Pavinto’s favor as he managed to put real pressure on to Richards, landing a solid left hook that warranted worrying cheers from the crowd. Pavinto was beginning to prove he could not just take a punch but also deliver them. Richards looked to regain dominance by getting back to the success he found in earlier rounds from jab and move.
Round 6 commenced with both men having put on a brilliant fight. Richards was obviously ahead on points but Pavanito had proven a Portuguese champion was no easy stepping stone. With both men looking to seal the W, the last round was a real war. Each fighter traded blows and as fatigue kicked in, it was a truly open fight with both men able to hold their heads high. The decision was left to the judges who scored the fight in favour of Richards. Pavanito to his credit acknowledged the better boxer by raising Richards’s hand. Yet, he had also performed well despite losing and warranted the applause he too received.
10 x 3 mins Vacant WBC International Silver Featherweight Championship
REECE BELLOTTI (8st 12lbs 2oz) v JAMIE SPEIGHT (8st 12lbs)
Bellotti and Speight began their opening round with very little between the two boxers. It was a round surmised by two men gauging the quality of each other’s defense.
Round 2, began with Bellotti taking the centre of the ring and looking to dictate the pace of the fight. Speight seemed happy to counter punch, but he was by no means a passenger in the fight. Yet, Bellotti’s strong crowd support became warranted with a classy flurry of punches that looked to have shaken Speight and ignited the fight. Throughout the round, the pair began to exchange flurries with the pendulum of dominance swinging occasionally in Speight’s favour, but Bellotti was on top for most of the round.
Round 3 began with both men trying to dominate the centre of the ring. A flurry of punches from both boxers resulted in Bellotti once again securing the centre of the ring and pressing the point with dominance using inside hooks and body shots.
Round 4, began in a more cagey manner with Bellotti looking to secure the jab and Speight happy to counter punch. After taking some good combinations from Bellotti, Speight began to try to gain more dominance in the fight. Bellotti, probably did enough to edge it on the judges’ scorecards. However, as we approached half way through the fight, both men were very much still in the fight.
Round 5, began in a similar manner but midway through the round Bellotti really pressed ahead with strong work Belloti pinned Speight against the ropes and hit him with a flurry of body shots and combinations. Speight was able to weather the storm. But he looked to have lost another round.
Round 6, Bellotti head movement was causing a lot of trouble for Speight. His inability to land clean and clear shots meant he was working hard for little reward. However, Bellotti had now given up the centre of the ring, until he once again pressured Speight on to the ropes with a relentless flurry of body shots.
Round 7, Bellotti was once again the aggressor with the far cleaner shots landing. After landing a jab and hook seconds before the end of the round, Speight was very saved by the bell.
Round 8, with Bellotti sensing Speight just need a good shot to take him out, he continued his relentless pressure and attack. After once again pressuring Speight to the ropes. Bellotti pressure, accuracy, and dominance convinced the referrer that Speight had become little more than a punching bag. Bellotti was winner by TKO and new WBC International Silver Featherweight
10 x 3 mins English Super-Welterweight Championship and Eliminator for British Super-Welterweight Championship
MATTHEW RYAN (10st 13lbs 2oz) v TED CHEESEMAN (10st 12lbs 4oz)
Round 1, began with both boxers seeking to establish their jab. Cheeseman was able to find his range first with a flurry of powerful body shots, which came from great head movement to evade Ryan’s jab.
Round 2, began with Ryan desperately trying to stop the dominance Cheeseman had showed at the end of round 1. Ryan looked to keep maintaining a good distance between himself and Cheeseman’s combinations. Cheeseman’s head movement still made it increasingly difficult for Ryan to establish his jab or land clean headshots. However, he was beginning to find occasional success with counter body shots. Yet Cheesman was very much the man in charge of the pace of the fight.
Round 3, began with Cheeseman upping his level of pressure. By unsettling Ryan with his pace and movement, he was able to land the first knockdown of the fight. Seeing that Ryan had no answer for his speed of punch, within seconds Cheeseman had knocked Ryan down for the second time to secure TKO victory, as the referee deemed Ryan could no longer continue the fight. Making Ted Cheeseman the new English Super-welterweight Champion.
6 x 3 mins Welterweight contest
CONOR BENN v MIKE COLE
Round 1, Cole began the round trying to prove he was not another stepping stone for Benn. For the first 30 seconds, he looked to try and dominate the fight, but Benn soon took charge with a series of powerful shots. Benn showed great movement and shot selection, as Cole proved he was not unbeaten by luck alone.
Round 2, saw Cole recompose himself and try to land some shots of his own on Benn. Ringside was Benn’s father, who accompanied him to the ring, Nigel Benn watched and shadowboxed alongside his son, as Benn Jr turned the tables of the round. Connor landed combinations that brought Cole to the canvas for the first time in the fight. Cole came back to his feet and was able to survive the round through evading Benn’s power punches and counter punching with his own. Benn still looked the far more dominant fighter.
Round 3, began very much how the middle of round 2 had gone. Connor Benn’s power and movement was far too much for Cole. Cole had fought bravely up until this point. But as he found himself on the ropes, Benn was able to land another trademark power shot that brought him to the canvas once again. The referee decided Cole had taken enough punishment and ended the right. Connor Benn was awarded another TKO for another impressive performance.
6 x 3 mins Light-Heavyweight contest
JOSHUA BUATSI (12st 7lbs 9oz) v CARLOS MENA (12st 8lbs 8oz)
Round 1, from the onset Joshua Buatsi really showed his pedigree. I joined Lawrence Okolie after his fight and managed to get to row 2 ringside. It was from this distance that I could really see and feel the power behind each one of Buatsi’s body blows. The man shifts mountains with those punches. Despite that Mena fought valiantly despite a fight round knockdown, he was able to survive until round 2. But Joshua’s power and class came through as the refer ended the fight in round 2 after a series of knockdowns.
Having taken 10 months away from boxing to finish his degree, some people expected to see a rusty display from Buatsi. However, he was able to truly show his olympic pedigree with a class and exciting display.
12 x 3 mins British Light-Heavyweight Championship
FRANK BUGLIONI (12st 6lbs 4oz) v RICKY SUMMERS (12st 6lbs 7oz)
(Enfield) (Tipton) 13-0
The main event had a lot to live up to, with some tremendous fights taken place before it; it did not disappoint!
Round 1, both boxers kept a strong defense as neither boxer wanted to give up an inch of ground to their other. After exchanging light jabs, Buglioni was able to start putting light pressure with a series of body shots. But Summers, was able to reply with combination to the head of Buglioni. Summers used this tactic throughout the round with differing levels of success. Round 1 was very much evenly matched.
Round 2, began with Buglioni looking to gain command of the ring. His head movement really started to make it harder for Summers to land a power shot.
Both men looked to gain pressure with inside work, with a series of body shot exchanges. Buglioni ended the round well
Round 3: Midway through the round Buglioni was able to land a hard right that had summers rocked. But he was able to stay on his feet until the bell rang.
Round 4: Buglioni looked to bob and weave his away through Summers’ defense to land another decisive blow. However, Summers seemed to have regained a second wind. Summers manage to land some nice counter punches. However, Buglioni was still very much the aggressor. After a series of overhand rights, Buglionio had Summers on the ropes but he was once again saved by the Bell.
Round 5, midway through the round both the intensity and the anger between the two boxers flared up. With a series of power shots exchange between the pair. They had to be separated by the referee as the Bell rang.
Round 6: Summers started the round the stronger of the boxers but Buglioni soon came back with a series of combination shots. The round continued in this vein.
Round 7: with no love lost between the two boxers, the fight continued at its pendulum-like back and forth pace. With no boxers able to clearly dominate the fight but the referee had to stop the fight to warn both boxers about the legality of their punches.
Round 8/9: both men were evenly matched and this round was another Buglioni of exchanges that did not result in a clear winner.
Round 10: Summers looked to be handling the pace of the fight better than Summers. He was able to show far more dominance in this round than the previous. With a series of jabs and combination shows he was able to regain his position as the aggressor. Buglioni began to choose his shots at will. But Summers was still able to survive the round, but do little else.
Round 11: Buglioni looked to take home the advantage but despite a drop in intensity from Summers, he was still able to fight his way to the last round. Even if the fight had become mainly defense with occasional counter punching.
Round 12: Buglioni most likely believed he had done enough clean work to win the fight on a decision. However, neither fighter had given up hope of securing the knockout. The round saw Summers seek to try and secure the knockout first as his corner must have warned him about a potential loss on the judges score cards. Buglioni looked to regain his dominance but as the last round drew to a close, both boxers looked spent. Buglioni had shown the cleaner shots throughout the contest but Summers had also a claim for the victory through his counter punches. However, it was Buglioni who won the contest by the judges’ decision.
I felt Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing had put on an event that had enough quality talent to satisfy a neutral and up and coming boxers for the more experienced boxing view. The atmosphere was great and would have been a great show for someone to go to with friend, family or partner.