By Terence Dooley
The BBBoC's latest Championship Circular has produced some solid domestic match-ups as well as clearing up the British title picture in two divisions. The biggest news is that Liverpool's Tony Bellew, 19-1- (12), has lost his British light-heavyweight title outside the ring as the Board have declared it vacant. Bellew faces a rematch with Isaac Chilemba on May — a WBC Silver light-heavyweight title defence on the undercard of Carl Froch's meeting with Mikkel Kessler — and the BBBoC have opted to put Ovill McKenzie and Bob Ajisafe, who have both lost to Bellew, forward for the vacant belt.
McKenzie versus Ajisafe has been sent out to purse bids, which are due by midday on June 12th, and the contest has to take place by September. McKenzie, 21-11 (10), floored Bellew twice en route to an eighth-round TKO loss in December 2010., but Derby's finest barely laid a glove on "The Bomber" when dropping a decision in their July 2011 rematch. "The Upsetter" has forced his way back into contention with wins over Jeff Evans, Tony Dodson and Enzo Maccarinelli.
Ajisafe floored Bellew in round four of their September 2010 meeting only to drop a lopsided decision. The 11-2 (3) southpaw has been waiting for a second crack at Bellew and will now have to switch his attention to McKenzie. Wins over Darren Stubbs, Travis Dickenson and Carl Wild, and his acquisition of the English belt in the Stubbs win, have pushed Ajisafe back up the rankings.
Brian Rose's decision to relinquish his British belt in order to move on has led to the possibility of a stirring clash between Liverpool's Liam "Beefy" Smith, 13-0-1 (5), and London's Erick "The Eagle" Ochieng, 13-1 (4), which has also been sent out to purse bids and must take place before September.
The Board also confirmed that Bristol's Darren Hamilton, 13-2 (3), will defend against Adil Anwar, 19-1 (7) and from Leeds, on Frank Maloney's July 6th bill at Liverpool's Echo Arena. They also rubber-stamped Lee Haskin's first defence of the belt he won by beating Martin Ward by fifth-round TKO last month. Bristol's British bamtamweight king, 27-3 (12), will face Barnsley's Josh Wale, 15-5-1 (8), in a voluntary defence on a Jamie Sanigar-promoted show in Bristol on July 13th.
Eddie Hearn of Matchroom won the right to stage Billy Joe Saunders's title defence against John Ryder, the date and the venue have yet to be confirmed. Saunders is 17-0 (10); Ryder is 14-0 (8); this one could be a British title classic.
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