Zak Chelli gained some compensation for his Fight Camp disappointment as he won the latest super middleweight BOXXER tournament at the BT Sport Studios in London.
It was an easy night’s work for Chelli, as he comfortably beat Vladimir Georgiev on points in his semi-final before dropping Mike McGoldrick three times on the way to a second-round stoppage in the final.
Chelli had towered over this event. Despite being 22, he is already a seasoned performer closing in on a British title fight, in with three comparative novices. He had looked the victim of a terrible decision when he drew with Jack Cullen during Eddie Hearn’s Fight Camp, but things could have panned out better here, as he met a late substitute in his first fight and then a boxer who had exhausted himself in winning his semi-final.
“My one-hour runs were harder than this,” Chelli said. “I don’t believe it was a risk. If you are going to be the best, you have to be willing to fight anyone.
“Now I want titles. A European title, a British title, give me a title.”
McGoldrick had no answer to Chelli in the final. The Londoner found McGoldrick from the opening bell with hard shots and dropped him midway through the first with a body shot, followed up by a right to the jaw.
Sat on his stool at the end of the round, there seemed no hope for McGoldrick and it did not take Chelli long to put him over from a body shot again. Referee Bob Williams waved it back on, only for Chelli to instantly drop him with another body shot. This time, it was waved off at 1:31 of the second round.
Chelli had reached the final with a comfortable three-round points win over late substitute Georgiev. The Bulgarian, who lives in Somerset, had the disadvantage of coming in at late notice, Chelli had a huge advantage in experience and he had a huge size advantage. Georgiev stuck at it, though, and lasted the distance despite Chelli’s attempts to finish it early.
In the other semi-final, McGoldrick produced something of an upset as he beat Harry Woods via a three-round unanimous decision in a hard-fought contest.
The hard pace suited McGoldrick, who stamped his authority on matters in the first round and then landed the better shots as the younger man got more and more frantic in his attempts to turn the tide. Two judges scored it 29-28, with the third going 30-27.
Florian Marku dropped Muma Mweemba three times on his way to a first-round stoppage in a scheduled welterweight six.
The Albanian-born Marku went after Mweemba from the first bell and dropped him with a right to the head, followed by a right to the body. Mweemba beat the count, but it didn’t take long for him to go over again from a clubbing right.
It should have been over then, as he fell over when trying to regain his feet, and stumble when he was upright, but referee Keiran McCann allowed it to continue with predictable consequences ad Mweemba was dropped heavily moments later. It all lasted 101 seconds.
“I feel I have bombs in my hands, I knew this guy wouldn’t survive,” Marku said. “Nothing personal.”
Mikael Lawal boxed for the first time since winning the Boxxer cruiserweight event in the summer of 2019 as he recorded a six-round points win over fellow Londoner Ossie Jervier, referee Keiran McCann scoring it 60-54.
Jervier kept Lawal honest, but never really threatened to win a round. Lawal, in turn, was busy, but never threatened to stop a man he had sparred regularly against. The 25-year-old Lawal extended his unbeaten record to 13 fights.
“I was trying to get the rounds in, I tried to get him out of there in the later rounds, but he got a bit comfortable in there,” Lawal said. “He wasn’t really falling for my tricks as I hoped he would. I’m learning, there is more to come.”
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.