Olympians produce the goods on Matchrooms Summertime Brawl
Eddie Hearn on behalf of Matchroom brought us a card entitled summertime Brawl,the 02 arena in London being the venue.
Before the televised portion of the show took place Aberdare’s talented super middle Morgan Jones looked to take his unbeaten record to 12-0. Morgan oozes confidence and rightly so, but he needed to be on his game as his opponent was a bit of an unknown quantity. South African Jade Karam brought to the ring a respectable 9-3-2 record but all his fights had taken place in his hometown of
Johannesburg. Fighters from the continent of Africa are famous for their toughness, so it was even more impressive that Jones ended matters quickly landed solidly to register another TKO victory. Morgan broke down and stopped noted hard man Harry Matthews in Wales as well ,showing that he has a fair degree of power to go with his silky skills.
Next up for Morgan Jones must surely be a title fight, hes knocking on the door to the domestic top 10 and hopefully a fight can be made on a show in Wales perhaps in September.
The first fight shown live on sky sports as part of the Summertime Brawl bill was a title fight with the vacant WBC International Silver featherweight and a higher
ranking on offer to the two combatants. In the Red corner weighing 8st 12 was Devons experienced Jamie Speight (15-11)who had taken this opportunity at very short notice.
Fighting out of the blue corner was amateur standout and a man that had earns plenty of admirers already in his young pro career,Watfords Reece Belotti(9-0)
It was clear from the first bell we would see a match up between youth and experience with Belotti grabbing his favourite spot of ring centre and Speight tentatively circling on the outside.
Round 2 saw belotti finding his range and unloading with some damaging looking lead left hooks and also a right hand.Belotti was looking very dangerous as Speights leaky defence ensured that more clean left hooks landed on the target. Speight was looking vunerable in the next round, he tried to call on his experience by leaning in and attempting to tie Belotti up.
Round 4 saw Speight ship more punishment as Belotti added hard accurate body shots to his already impressive arsenal. The early body work from Belotti was certainly paying off as the teak tough Speight began to slow down, the Devon man also showed an impressive chin as he was constantly being hit clean and with both hands to head and body. Speight was still hanging tough in round 7 despite not having the power to keep Belotti off of him. Belotti landed a huge right hand just before the bell which put Speight in big trouble. Belotti sensed the writing was on the wall and picked a perfect left hook to the liver which finally sent his opponent down. Speight bravely beat the count but more hurtful hooks forced Referee Mr John-Lewis to intervene. Respect to Jamie Speight for coming in at short notice but it seemed Reece Belotti didn’t get out of first gear and will surely get a shot at the British title which is expected to be vacated shortly by Ryan Walsh. With master trainer Jim MCcdonnell and of course the promotional power of Matchroom behind him, the future looks very bright indeed for the Watford featherweight.
The first olympian and fighting as a pro at cruiserweight was Hackneys Lawrence Okolie.The man with the dubious task of becoming the first man to take Okolie past the first round was Derbyshires Russ Henshaw.The contest
was very tentatively scheduled for 6 rounds although Henshaw had proven he could hold his own a, lbeit in company a fair few levels below Okolie. As the bell to start the first round went it was clear Okolie was not interested in getting rounds under his belt.
Using all his physical advantages he immediately hunted down Henshaw and landed numerous flush over hand rights. If you are not familiar with the sport the innocuous right hand that felled Henshaw could be seen as a soft punch.These body shots really do hurt even the toughest fighter though and an okolie right to the stomach felled his opponent following a delayed reaction. The brave man from Derbyshire was unfortunately well out of his depth and a heavy left hook to the ribcage resulted in the referee completing his count of 10 at 2-10 of the very first round. Of course this win wont tell us anything we already did’t know about Okolie but its clear that his team may struggle to find suitable opponents for him to learn his trade. Isaac Chamberlains name has been mentioned but surely Eddie Hearn will be saving this mouth watering for later on down the line
Next up was another title contest, on the line was The English super welterweight title as well as a possible future British title opportunity. Champion Matthew Ryan(14-1)
of Manchester found himself in the away corner as his opponent Ted Cheeseman(8-0) had already collected a sizeable following from nearby Bermondsey.Despite not having an olympic background much has been made of the very talented Cheesman and it was the Londoner who settled quickly. Cheeseman seemed to have little regard for Ryans punching power has he confidently marched forward while displaying an impressive shot selection.Ryan who is noted as a non -puncher just could not halt Cheeseman’s advances and had already taken plenty of heavy artillery as the bell sounded for the end of round 2
Round 3 and Cheesman stepped it up, a nice double jab right hand combination set up a flush right uppercut which sent Ryan down for an 8 count. He was given the benefit of the doubt from the referee but was quickly dropped again, this time more heavily , by a left right combination.Ryan rose on very unsteady legs and referee Mr Williams quite
rightly halted the contest raising the hand of the new and exciting English super welterweight champion from Bermondsey,London Ted Chesseman. “The Big Cheese” is highly thought of by Eddie Hearn and matchroom so expect to see him competing for more major titles in the future.
Finding an opponent for Connor Benn is never easy, so tremendous credit must go to Lemington Spas Mike Cole who took the fight at 24 hour notice following a number of withdrawals. Benn accompanied by his legendary father The dark destroyer himself Nigel Benn was coming back from a frustrating period of injury which had caused his momentum to halt slightly. You wouldn’t have know that though has Benn looking remarkably like his father as he menacingly stalked Cole and unloaded very heavy two fisted assaults as soon his southpaw opponent stood still. Benn was showing a good repertoire of skills.He looked calm, relaxed and patient and wasted very little energy as impressive body movement caused him to evade any shots thrown by Cole. Late sub Cole was impressing people with the grit and character he was showing. The man from Lemington Spa made it into the third round but you always felt it was a matter of time before Benn landed and so he did, initially with a left hook and then by a two fisted assault which prompted Referee Jeff hinds to end the contest at 44 seconds of round 3. Benn impressed, he showed improved poise and character aswell as the physical tools we all know he possesses. Expect him to remain as active as possible now that his injury woes seem behind him.
A mightily impressive display at the olympic games in Rio from Josh Buatsi captured the publics imagination. The extremely likeable light heavyweight from Crawley has already become something of a media darling.So it was with bated breath that a packed O2 arena and tv viewers awaited the professional debut of a man widely tipped to go all the way.
Facing a huge problem was little known Spaniard Carlos Mena who came to London with a record of 4-6 and had worryingly been stopped in his last 2 contests. Although this assignment seemed to be straight forward for Buatsi we didn’t quite know how a top amateur will adapt to the pro ranks and Mena was a man with nothing to lose and everything to gain. From the start though it was clear Buatsi was a fair few leagues above his opponent who looked unstable from the off.Buatsi remained patient though and clearly Mena was not fond of the body shots he was taking. A right uppercut from Buatsi had Mena on very unsteady legs and an accurate left hook to the body sent Mena down . Somehow he beat the count and made it out of round 1. Buatsi went straight for the finish and was rewarded following a two handed assault and another body shot that prompted Referee Mr jon-Lewis to intervene. Of course very early days indeed for Josh Buatsi but Matchrooms plans are to make him an household star similar to Anthony Joshua.Is the Croydon bronze medalist up to it? time will tell as much tougher tests await him.
Onto the main event of the evening which saw the always entertaining Frank Buglioni defending his British light heavy title against challenger Ricky Summers. Buglioni had of course captured the Lonsdale belt in a thrilling come from behind win over Hosea Burton. Summers was a much lesser know quantity. The man from Tiverton in the Black country had compiled an impressive perfect record of 13-0 under the radar.However coming from small hall shows into the main event of a matchroom card against a Frank Buglioni was a massive leap in class.It remained to be seen how Summers would handle the ocassion against a man that was used to boxing on big shows. Summers did seem a little in awe of the occasion as he prodded tentatively with his jab which was carried dangerously low. Buglioni, who has never been the hardest fighter to hit got caught with a few jabs but looked far more the menacing fighter and clearly possessed the bigger punch.A body shot towards the end of round 2 almost folded Summers up and he looked quite dejected on his stool. Buglioni sensed an early night but a back peddling Summers avoided most of the shots and even bravely fired back as a heavy buglioni right handed landed clean. Summers corner barked at their man to not show Buglioni too much respect and this is exactly what happened,Summers lost the fourth round but improved dramtically in the 5th and almost certainly had his best round in the 6th Buglioni was clearly getting frustrated and being hit far more regularly. Despite never going beyond 8 rounds Summers refused to fold and was now catching shots on a much higher guard then he had utilised before. Buglioni was still in charge for me as he landed cleaner blows and looked to have a lot more left in the tank. Round 9 saw good work coming from Summers but the best shot of the round was a buglioni right hook to the body which stopped Summers in his tracks. There was still no sign of Summers wilting and he more then held his own landing more regularly then his opponent who clearly had the edge in power. Buglioni upped his game in the final two sessions, and he had to, as Summers kept coming.Buglioni still was moving nicely and seemed to have a lot left at the end,Summers looked totally spent but had played his part in a very good British title fight. Final scores from the judges resulted in A unanimous point win in favour of champion Frank Buglioni.Judges cards of 118-111, 116-113,115-114, giving credit to a sterling effort by the unheralded Ricky Summers. For me Frank Buglioni has shown plenty of improvement under Trainer Don Charles and although his maverick style of trading punches always thrills the fans, it will be of benefit to his career that he is now more patient with his boxing and clearly looking to win first and foremost.
Certainly of interest to Welsh boxing fans was the news that Port Talbots Geraint Goodridge had took his record to 2 wins from 2 contests. The popular middleweight from Port Talbot looked delighted after earning a 39-38 points victory handed down by Referee Mr Coakley over Torquays Nathan Halton. Goodridge is next set to box at the LC2 in Swansea on the 22nd July.Please contact Geraint through social media for tickets to a show that
features a vast array of boxing talent that Wales is producing at the moment.
Photo credit Mark Robinson
Article by Michael Ward