This evening Matchroom boxing presents a JD NXGEN bill that includes three highly rated prospects at the ‘Mecca’ of British boxing, York Hall, Bethnal Green.
In the cruiserweight division we have a very intriguing match-up between two undefeated fighters in British No.2 Luke Watkins (13-0, 9KOs) and No.4 ranked Lawrence Okolie (8-0, 6KOs).
Commonwealth champion Watkins has accumulated 65 rounds in 13 bouts with a 69% knockout ratio and a combined opponent record of 99-85-4.
Hackney-born Okolie is looking for his second title in only his ninth fight after picking up the continental version of the WBA strap when he defeated another prospect Isaac Chamberlain earlier this year.
The 25-year-old has fought 25 rounds in 8 pro fights with a knockout percentage of 75 and a combined opponent record of 48-46-1.
Although Watkins does have slightly more experience he is 4-inches shorter then Okolie who also has a longer reach.
Okolie’s awkward style and long leavers will cause the 28-year-old problems but he does possess a solid right hand. The Swindon fighter has stopped nine of his thirteen opponents so it could be a matter of who lands first.
I’m expecting the usual fast start from Okolie so it wouldn’t surprise me if this one ends earlier. Watkins will need to weather storm and hope he lands a clean shot if he is to stand a chance. I’m picking the former Olympian Okolie to win by stoppage in the middle rounds.
Reece Bellotti (12-0, 11KOs) makes the third defense of his Commonwealth featherweight title against Ryan Doyle (16-2-1, 8KOs). The Watford-born fighter is gradually becoming a top contender in the 126lb division which is stacked with some excellent talent in Britain and Ireland.
Currently ranked at No.6 in the UK the 27-year-old has an impressive 98% knockout ratio after 58 rounds of boxing in just 12 fights. His combined opponent record stands at 140-182-13 which may not look great on paper but he has fought some tough journeymen which has given him valuable experience.
‘Bomber’ is up against a guy that has fought predominantly at the 130lb limit but has failed to successfully make the grade when stepping up in class. Manchester-born Doyle is a ranked outsider but is 2 inches taller and will probably come in bigger than Bellotti. Unfortunately I don’t see that making much difference as I can only see one winner and that is Reece Bellotti picking up his twelfth career stoppage.
In the super-welterweight division Bermondsey boy Ted Cheeseman (13-0, 8KOs) is also in action against undefeated Londoner Paul Upton (15-0, 3KOs). The 22-year-old is currently ranked at No.5 in Britain after only 13 fights he has fought 63 rounds with a knockout ratio of 62% and a combined opponent record of 152-104-13.
Fresh from a unanimous decision victory over the durable Carson Jones I can’t see Cheeseman slipping up against Upton. The one dangerous aspect will be that the 29-year-old is more of a natural middleweight which could pose a slight threat. But I’m going for a Cheeseman to win via stoppage.
Also on the bill we have exciting middleweight Felix Cash (8-0, 6KOs), the Kazakhstan with a big future Daniyar Yeleussinov (1-0, 1KO), Southpaw Danny Dignum (5-0, 2KOs), Sean McGoldrick (5-0, 2KOs), Louie Lynn (1-0, 1KO) and Craig ‘Spider’ Richards (11-1, 5KOs)
Looking forward to a quality night of boxing. Enjoy Ladies and Gents!