By Terence Dooley
British boxing fans will get their fair share of action this Saturday night, especially fans in the London area, who have a number of big bills to choose from. All the big shows will be split between heavyweight action and fights from the lower divisions. But which bill deserves the lead when it comes to a big fight night preview? There can be only one answer.
All eyes will be focussed on the Tolworth Recreation Centre, London as Ryan Toms faces fellow undefeated prospect Craig Windsor Junior. Both men boast identical 6-0 (2) records; ironic, then, that the show should take place in Surbiton, home of the fictional Stella Street, a TV series in which John Sessions and Phil Cornwell mimicked famous faces from stage and screen.
Windsor is travelling down from Scotland as he bids to continue his winning run. Toms hails from Middlesex, the 29-year-old will be equally eager to steal a march on his light-middleweight rival. The chief support comes in the form of Brixton's 29-year-old undefeated heavyweight Ian Lewison, 3-0-1 (2), who takes on Ireland's Colin Kenna, 16-12-3 (7).
There is also the small matter of the two other London bills. Frank Warren's York Hall show goes out at 8pm on Sky Sports HD1; Mick Hennessy's Wembley Arena bill will be televised live from 8pm on Premier Sports, Sky channel 433; boxing fans will have to clear the Sky Plus decks if they are to take in all the action.
Frankie Gavin, 8-0 (7), makes his return to the ring after a four month absence, headlining Warren's card in a twelve rounder against Michael Lomax. 'Funtime' has had a frustrating few days, original opponent Jason Cook was pulled from their proposed welterweight fight after failing a check weigh-in earlier this week. Lomax has stepped in at short notice, the 32-year-old won Prizefighter: The Welterweights in 2008, at 17-3-1 (2) he represents Gavin's stiffest test to date.
Larry Olubamiwo and 'Big Bad' John McDermott contest the vacant BBBoC vacant Southern Area title over ten rounds in the show's co-headliner. Larry is 10-1 (9) and is an impressive physical specimen. Although his stamina is suspect and his technique often lets him down, 'The War Machine' is riding a six fight winning streak going into this one.
McDermott has talent to burn but often fails to burn the calories, cutting a fleshy figure at times during his 32 fight career. John, though, has tussled with Tyson Fury, twice, Matt Skelton and Danny Williams. Williams was deemed fortunate to squeak through on points in both of his British title wins over McDermott.
Indeed, McDermott, 25-7 (16), pushed Fury all the way during an enthralling English title encounter in September 2009. Tyson faded during the middle stanzas of their 2010 rematch but managed to close the show impressively at 1:08 of round nine. John's been in good form in recent years yet he is 0-4 since his last win, a second round TKO of Pele Reid in 2008, and may have forgotten how to pull victory from the jaws of defeat.
Speaking of Fury, the 6' 9'' prospect seems to have learned from his struggles in the two fights with McDermott, bringing Emanuel Steward on board to iron out the flaws in his technique. Mick Hennessy has brought Marcelo Luiz Nascimento over from Brazil to provide the litmus test for Fury's new regime.
Like Fury, Nascimento is undefeated, 13-0 (9) and 13-0 (11) respectively; the 6' 5'' fighter is known as 'The Hammer' and is expected to give Fury his toughest test to date. Indeed, Luiz is coming off his biggest win, a WBO Latino heavyweight title victory over Latino title legend Gonzalo Omar Basile. Basile has held more Latin titles than a South American dictator (fitting given that his nickname is 'El Paton') and had decimated Argentina's heavyweight scene en route to compiling a 48-4 (23) record before running into 'O Martelo'.
Nascimento, like Fury, does not know how to lose, he has scored four clean KOs, there is every indication that he punches accurately and with some power. Manchester's 22-year-old heavyweight hopeful will have to tread carefully if he is to advance to 14-0.
Top of the bill sees John O'Donnell and Craig Watson vie for the British welterweight title vacated by Kell Brook. O'Donnell and Watson clashed in April 2009, the two southpaws produced a technical, intriguing fight in that first meeting, both are in fine form ahead of this eagerly anticipated rematch.
Watson moved to 19-3 (8) by beating Vasile Surcica on points last November, the 28-year-old stepped up in weight last April, flooring Badru Lusambya four times to collect the Commonwealth light-middleweight crown in two one-sided rounds. Watson vacated the title, his aim has always been to reverse his split decision loss to O'Donnell; the Oldham-based boxer has long maintained that John got the benefit of the doubt when taking away the Commonwealth welterweight crown in their first meeting.
O'Donnell, 24-1 (11), suffered his only major setback in May 2007, a second round icing at the fists of Christian Solano at the MGM Grand on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather Junior's win over Oscar De La Hoya. The Galway-born fighter has reeled off nine successive triumphs since that night, making this one a rare clash of in-form fighters on a big night of British boxing.
Writer's note: There have been no indications from the BBC that they are in the process of sweeping in and filming that Surbiton bill. This is the same broadcaster that shunted the sublime Stella Street into a graveyard slot, there is no accounting for taste.
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