UK - The English super welterweight title fight between Lee Cutler (14-1, 7 KO’s) and Kingsley Egbunike (8-3-1,1 KO) was a real clash of styles.
Egbunike tall, loose limbed and boxing from a wide stance while the more compact Cutler crept forward. He showed good head movement and although he was giving away couple of inches in reach, the pair traded jabs.
Cutler began to make it his kind of fight in the second. A short right hook got Egbunike’s attention and he also landed a clean left hook as he pressed Egbunike into the ropes. Egbunike kept the jab moving but aware that he lost the second round, he came out looking to reset the tone in the third. He managed to keep more distance between them and his fast, long jab began to find the mark more regularly. Visibly growing in confidence he felt assured enough to run some eye catching combinations off that jab and work at a higher pace. There was no panic from Cutler but he suddenly had some problems to solve.
A fight broke out in the fourth. Egbunike found the mark with a two handed combination early in the fourth but Cutler found a clean left hook of his own. He capitalized on that success by closing the distance and working at a higher pace. Cutler definitely had the heavier hands but cleverly, he didn’t load up.
He started the fifth positively too, and for a brief spell it looked like he may be getting on top but Egbunike refused to go anywhere and answered back with combinations of his own. They took it in turns to let their hands go, both finding the mark regularly and the last minute of the round was spent almost exclusively in Egbunike’s corner. Cutler closed the distance and worked away but Egbunike looked comfortable and picked some excellent counters.
The sixth again began to look like a breakthrough round for Cutler. He managed to engage Egbunike in exchanges from the start and had him looking slightly hurt and disorganised with a two handed attack that had Egbunike’s head rocking about.
Cutler now had the fight where he wanted it but was maybe surprised by the tall Egbunike’s resilience and ability to find room for his punches when they worked inside. The rounds were attritional but following a pattern. Egbunike would fight hard and well but slow down as the round progressed.
The eighth was a quieter round and Egbunike seemed to relish the extra time and space. There were no real hurtful shots landed but he smartly boxed, moved and kept his back off the ropes and gave himself hope as the fight moved into the final two rounds.
That momentum continued in the ninth and Egbunike caught Cutler cleanly as he walked in. Cutler was a fraction slowly in closing the distance now and Egbunike was able to time his attacks better. Cutler’s output had dropped but, again, he landed the hurtful, eye-catching punches as the round drew to a close. A right hand hurting Egbunike and looking to have emptied his gas tank.
A really good fight went to the tenth and final round and Cutler looked the stronger fighter. Suddenly, a right hand opened a bad cut over Cutler’s left eye. The sight of blood inspired Egbunike and he let both hands go. Cutler calmly waited for the storm to pass and answered with a flush right hand of his own. The fight ended with Egbunike stumbling backwards, exhausted and hurt after a late burst from Cutler.
The fight went to the scorecards. John Latham scored the fight 96-95, while Lee Every and Reece Carter both had it 97-93, all for Cutler.
The former Southern Area champion is now the English super lightweight champion and will hope to earn a British title fight in 2024.