York Hall has this wonderful ability to bring the best out of fighters and once again it showed the boxing faithful why it was so important that this legendary building was saved from demolition in 2004.
JD NXGEN is guided by Mathroom Boxing and is a bill that allows exciting young talent to headline small hall nights rather than being buried deep in a big names undercard.
The ‘Mecca’ of British Boxing was the perfect venue for a card sacked with London’s finest protégées. Knowledgeable boxing fans packed themselves into the small historic home of boxing on Wednesday to cheer on their favorite.
With the balconies drooped with supportive flags, beers flowing at the bar near where the fighters enter the ring and a chorus of songs echoing around the arena it was time to get down to business.
The three main stars of the night Ted Cheeseman (14-0, 9KOs), Reece Bellotti (12-1, 11KOs) and Lawrence Okolie (9-0, 7KOs) all produced performances that pumped up an already lively crowd.
Bellotti loses unbeaten record
Unfortunately for the predominantly London crowd it was the Watford fighter Bellotti that lost his ‘O’ against Mancunian Ryan Doyle. A loss for the featherweight is no big deal and he will learn more from this loss then the 12 fights before.
It was an absolute barnstormer of a fight until once again anxious referee Howard Foster waved off the fight prematurely following a right hand from Doyle that put Bellotti down in the fourth round.
Both fighters decided to have a tear-up instead of attempting to box clever. Not smart on the Londoners part especially against a more natural 130 pounder but York Hall does have this tendency to get into a fighters head. They seem to naturally want to impress the fans and take risks.
Bellotti made too many mistakes against Doyle which led to the stoppage. He continued to walk in straight lines with no head movement which resulted in him getting tagged far too often.
His distances were poor but when he found his range he looked impressive. Doyle threw a right hand that connected with the top of Bellotti’s head which rocked him before he hit the deck but Howard Foster waved off the fight before he was given the chance to recover his senses.
I’m almost certain the 27-year-old will look for a rematch but he will need to be more cautious. Congratulations to Doyle who was able to prove that he is a better fighter then many including myself gave him credit for.
Okolie becomes Commonwealth Cruiserweight Champion
The main event of the evening went according to plan and featured 25-year-old Okolie against Luke Watkins. ‘The Sauce’ entered the ring with fellow Londoner and unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua to the delight of the crowd.
The East Londoner controlled the tempo of the first two rounds using his extremely long reach while throwing solid right hand shots to the head and body. Luke ‘The Duke’ was unable to get beyond the huge frame of Okolie to cause him any trouble.
In the end it was a massive right hand that floored Watkins for the first time in the third but to his credit the Swindon fighter got back to his feet only to walk into a barrage of punches which inevitably ended the fight.
Many pundits have compared the Hackney fighter’s awkward and unpredictable style with American heavyweight Deontay Wilder. I have to agree with those comments to some extent but the former Olympian has already made improvements in only nine fights and will continue to improve unlike the WBC champion. Okolie has more than his right hand and uses his frame to good effect but he definitely looks very unorthodox like Wilder.
‘Big Cheese’ continues to shine
Super welterweight Ted Cheeseman produced another excellent display when he stopped Paul Upton in the fourth round. The Bermondsey boy blasted his opponent down to the canvas three times before the fight was finally waved off.
Eddie Hearn is looking to secure a Commonwealth title shot for the 22-year-old in his next fight. I would like to see the Londoner step up another level and face guys like Sam Eggington and Liam Williams who may still hold the commonwealth title?
The rest of the card
Danny Dignum (6-0, 2KOs) came through his toughest challenge to date when he picked himself off the canvas twice against Anthony Fox to win by one point 57-56 in the super-middleweight division.
Middleweight Felix Cash (9-0, 6KOs) went the distance against Francis Tchoffo to get the nod 80-71.
Craig ‘Spider’ Richards (12-1, 6KOs) knocked out Ivan Stupalo in the third round of a scheduled six in the light heavyweight division.
Kazakhstan welterweight Daniyar Yeleussinov (2-0, 1KO) recorded his second victory against Zoltan Szabo.
Bantamweight Sean McGoldrick (6-0, 2KOs) defeated Craig Derbyshire and Louie Lynn (2-0, 1KO) of the featherweight division knocked out Ricky Starkey in the second round.