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Chris Bourke, Dennis McCann, Ali, Itauma Win on Yarde-Arthur Card

Chris Bourke took a big step forward in is fledgling professional career as he blasted his way past Michael Ramabeletsa in two rounds becoming only the second boxer to stop the 39-year-old South African on the Yarde-Arthur undercard at Church House, Westminster.

Bourke was aggressive and smart, but when he started whipping over his left hand in the second round, Ramabeletsa crumbled.

The impact the punch had was obvious after the first round, as Ramabeletsa already had swelling around his right eye. But a minute into the second, a left caught him clean dropping him in a neutral corner.

He looked on unsteady legs when he rose, but Bourke was not going to let him off the hook. Ramabeletsa tried to battle back but was tagged with more hard, clean punches and after being rocked he was forced to take a knee. He beat the count but referee Ian John-Lewis waved it off at 2:43.

The win extended Bourke’s unbeaten record to nine fights and saw him claim the WBC international super-bantamweight title.


Dennis McCann remained unbeaten but was given his biggest test to date as he was taken the distance by Pedro Matos in their super-bantamweight eight-rounder.

When he concentrated, McCann looked very good. He throw good punches to head and body, often off the wrong foot, which made them difficult to pick, but he neglected defence at times and showboated.

McCann bounced around before the first bell as if he couldn’t wait to get started and spent most of the first two round pot-shotting but looked best when he started stringing together combinations. At the end of the second round, a right-left combination stood Matos up on his heels, but the Portuguese started to put some pressure, which meant McCann went on to the backfoot a bit more to good effect.

At times, though, McCann looked wide open and when Matos threw back he landed. Against a harder puncher, McCann needs to show a bit more respect. He also drew the displeasure of referee Marcus McDonnell for a host of infringements, including use of head and shoulder, and pushing off.

Matos was having his best round in the fifth, when McCann fired back with a good body shot that stopped him in his tracks. In the sixth round, too, Matos caught McCann with three hard hooks, which woke McCann up and made him put some more weight into his shots.

McCann finished strongly, showing plenty of stamina as he had one of his best rounds in the last. Referee McDonnell scored it 80-73.

Former Olympian Muhammad Ali bashed away at Jamie Quinn for all of their lightweight six-rounder, but he failed to put much of a dent in the journeyman, despite handing him another defeat.

Ali boxed at the Rio Olympics as a flyweight, but his hopes of going to a second Games ended when a failed doping test saw him banned for two years and thrown off the Great Britain squad.

He made a belated professional debut in February, winning on a second-round disqualification.

Ali did his best to try to punch holes in Quinn, but despite the constant aggression – every punch being accompanied by a full-throated roar – he never looked likely to stop Quinn. Indeed, Ali was making so much noise as he punched that his gumshield fell out twice.

Referee McDonnell scored it 60-55, meaning he gave Quinn a share of one round.

Karol Itauma, who was born in Slovakia but won a Youth Olympic gold medal for Great Britain in 2018, made a successful professional debut as he scored a shutout points win over Lewis Van Poetsch in a light-heavyweight four-rounder.

The 20-year-old southpaw kept pressure on Van Poetsch  for the whole fight, boxing well behind his jab and switching well to head and body. Van Poetsch was game throughout, wincing after Itauma landed shots to the body but throwing back to keep Itauma honest. 

The two exchanged blows in the final ten seconds, Itauma finishing with a left to the body than bent Van Poetsch double, although he remained on his feet.

Referee McDonnell scored it 40-36.

Ron Lewis is a senior writer for Boxing Scene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by Mick Higgs on 12-06-2020

Great wins for both Bourke & McCann. Be nice to see them fight at least 5 times a year & also get some overseas experience/exposure.

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