OUR FIGHT NIGHT doubleheader brought about plenty of thrills and one or two spills but, for the most part, our crop of young talent took some significant steps forward at the Copper Box Arena.
I expect the headline attraction from Saturday’s event will have caused the biggest stir, with Willy Hutchinson suffering a first professional setback against Lennox Clarke. It was always going to be a tough fight and, with the British and Commonwealth super middleweight titles at stake, it is the way it should be.
Willy has got a fantastic pedigree and hadn’t put a foot wrong previously in picking up valuable experience. He – and ourselves – felt the time was right to take a chance and, on this occasion, it hasn’t worked out. It is not going to affect him in the long run and his lofty ambitions are still very much in play.
He just needs to take stock, examine where it went wrong and come back stronger.
Congratulations to Lennox, we signed him some months ago and knew full well he would be giving it his absolute all to take the belts home with him. I have publicly backed Willy and made no secret of the fact I felt he has enormous potential. When I am asked in interviews who I think is going to win a fight, I give an honest answer and don’t hedge my bets.
It doesn’t mean we show favouritism to one fighter over another and Lennox will now reap his rewards as we push his career forward.
Sticking with Saturday, I thought Louie Lynn was terrific in winning his first title against a really good opponent in Sebastian Perez. The Spaniard is a tough cookie and he came to win, no doubt about that. He held a 12-1 record and one of his wins was over Ionut Baluta, who has recently become a slayer of the Irish in beating TJ Doheny and David Oliver Joyce, with his next opponent being Michael Conlan on April 30.
Louie came at him like a steam train before showing great maturity and slowing down his work – just a touch – when he accepted Perez was no fall guy. Louie is now the proud holder of the WBC International Silver featherweight title and I couldn’t be more pleased for him because he is a quality individual and an excellent, all-action fighter who can go a long way in the sport.
The same can be said for Mark Chamberlain, who issued a big statement in, literally, taking the wind out of the tough Jordan Ellison. The North East man is drafted in generally as a learning fight for young hopefuls, but only the best prospects actually stop him and never before has he been put to his knees in the first and been unable to continue.
Mark is starting to make a real name for himself and he is rapidly closing in on a significant fight where he will be able to put the lightweight division on notice.
Nathan Gorman reminded the heavyweights that he remains a big force to be reckoned with and applying a quick finish to his fight with Pavel Sour, who has a decent record, will do his confidence no harm at all. Nathan looks rejuvenated after dusting himself down following his only defeat to Daniel Dubois and his fast hands and nimble footwork will be a problem for anyone as we return him to the title picture.
Our Friday feast of boxing was topped by Zach Parker doing a job on the capable Vaughn Alexander, who had not previously succumbed to a stoppage. You could say that Parker has put down a marker in the super middleweights and introduced himself to BT Sport viewers in style.
Zach does hold the No.1 spot with the WBO but has no wish to sit on his ranking, so we will keep him active until we can pin him down a shot at the world title.
Dennis McCann picked up further vital experience with a useful eight-round workout against the durable Mexican Luis Moreno. Dennis did what he had to do in following instructions to win by a wide margin on the cards with a textbook performance but, hopefully, in forthcoming fights we will see that unpredictable devil in him come to the fore again.
It is his spontaneous brilliance that sets him apart and makes him such a popular young fighter.
Brad Foster moves from strength to strength and recorded a landslide win over Alvaro Rodriguez in what was rare international experience for our British super bantamweight champion. Brad has been so successful on the domestic front in winning his Lonsdale belt outright and picking up the Commonwealth title too, that this was his first international assignment over championship distance.
He really deserves credit for making huge strides in such a short space of time and I am certain that more belts will come his way as we develop his career further.
Congratulations also to Danny Ball, who successfully defended his WBC International Silver welterweight title against the previously unbeaten Sam Gilley in what was an excellent fight to kick-off Friday evening. It was a close-ish run thing, but the right man won in my eyes and Danny can now push on to pursue bigger fights when we return to the Midlands when fans are back at ringside.
Also a big well done to Sam Maxwell, who dealt with a robust late substitute in Ben Fields, and David Adeleye continuing his progress with a bludgeoning quick finish to his heavyweight date. I would also like to give a mention to a few of our other young talents who made a positive impression over the weekend. Eithan James looked sharp in moving himself to 5-0 in the super lightweight division, while our two recent Irish signings, welterweight Edward Donovan and middleweight Jason Harty got their professional careers off to a winning start.
GOOD LUCK TO our man Carl Frampton for his three-weight world title mission over in Dubai on Saturday when he takes on Jamel Herring for the WBO world super featherweight title. We’ve got a big month of world title business coming up, with Carl looking to make history for his country, Liam Williams heading to Miami to do battle for Demetrius Andrade’s WBO world middleweight title and then Sunny Edwards going for the IBF world flyweight title against Moruti Mthalane on April 30.