British Beef

By Cain Bradley on February 4, 2018
British Beef
Lawrence Okolie is by no means the finished article. (Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom Sport)

Chamberlain wanted a boxing match and Okolie just would not let that happen looking to use his length and strength…

Lawrence Okolie (8-0) dominated Isaac Chamberlain (9-1) on his way to a unanimous decision. It was a disappointing scrappy fight but Okolie will not complain about the result. Chamberlain looked nervous and came out slow. He was dropped in round one by a soft looking shot that was not much more than a jab and a right hand that grazed him. In round two he was deducted a point for holding but he begun to feel his way into the fight in the third round. The sheer size of Okolie was obvious as he bullied his Brixton opponent to the ropes. It made the fight scrappy though and not as enjoyable as many expected. Okolie was finally deducted a point in the ninth round but scores of 98-89, 97-89 and 96-90 summed up the bout. Chamberlain wanted a boxing match and Okolie just would not let that happen looking to use his length and strength. As he begun to attack more, Okolie caught him with a counter right and Chamberlain touched down in the sixth. Okolie is by no means the finished article and we did not even get to answer questions on his chin. We could see him against the winner of Arfan Iqbal and Simon Vallily who clash for the English Title. For Chamberlain it is not the end. We have seen many British prospects lose in a battle of undefeated fighters and still bounce back. He will hope to be another.

Joshua Buatsi (4-0) looked impressive as ever against Jordan Joseph (7-2-1). The first minutes of the bout showed the accuracy and speed of Buatsi. Perhaps more impressive was his patience which meant he never looked vulnerable. Joseph just did not have the power or movement to keep Buatsi off him and he rocked him in the first up against the ropes. The second round saw him land a big right hand and jump on Joseph, landing ten punches before the towel came in. He is wise beyond his years and says all the right things. I do think Buatsi is the least likely of all the Olympians to have a poor career. He took on someone ranked higher than him here according to Boxrec and if that continues it would be intriguing to see him in the ring with Liam Conroy or Joel McIntyre. Eddie Hearn called him “the truth” and I would not disagree.

Ted Cheeseman (13-0) enhanced his reputation when he took on his most dangerous opponent yet in Carson Jones (40-13-3). He impressed when taking a decision, with scores of 99-91 twice and 100-89. I scored the bout 99-90 for Cheeseman after a point was deducted for low blows. Cheeseman was a capable amateur and his comfort at the professional level has only grown with his experience. It was a mature performance and his head movement and accuracy was obvious from the start. He came forward, as usual, pressuring Jones but Jones showed his level as he also landed on Cheeseman. Cheeseman showed that he could come through adversity, being hurt and even seeing blood come from his nose. Those who saw him in the amateurs will remember those traits and you wonder whether at the highest level they could stop him. He won the vacant WBA International Super Welterweight Title and at only 22, looks a serious prospect. It is an intriguing division with a lot of good British prospects including JJ Metcalf, Asinia Byfield and Joe Pigford. It will be intriguing to see if Hearn looks that direction, steps him up even further or slows the hype down. Jones is a capable veteran who came close to defeating Antonio Margarito in his last fight and beat British prospect Ben Hall in the previous fight.

Reece Bellotti (12-0) successfully defended his Commonwealth Title with a victory over Ben Jones (22-7-1). Unlike his last fight which saw him perhaps too eager to trade with Jason Cunningham, he outboxed Jones, looking to open holes in his defence. The impressive amateur was constantly twitching with his front hand, switching to the body and looking for a big right hand. The body shots eventually got to him, as he took a knee from a left hook in the fourth. The right hand found its home at the beginning of the sixth round and Ian John Lewis stopped a still shaky looking Jones. Bellotti did show some vulnerabilities, getting caught with silly shots including an uppercut which you would hope he improves upon before stepping up. Ryan Walsh and Isaac Lowe compete for the British Title on the Groves undercard and the winner could be an intriguing fight, which was mentioned by Eddie Hearn in the post-fight interview.

Nick Webb (12-0) added to his burgeoning reputation by defeating Ante Verunica (3-5-1). It was a huge overhand right which came as Verunica moved backwards. Verunica was not of the standard really to tell us anything new about Webb. He was put up to fight for the English title against Daniel Dubois, but that bout seems unlikely. Clashes with Sam Sexton, Nathan Gorman, Dave Allen or Joe Joyce would perhaps be intriguing tests.

Felix Cash (8-0) got another win working the body and mixing it up with accurate punches. James Hagenimana (8-7-1) look overwhelmed from the very beginning but managed to survive five rounds, Cash becoming the man to take him out in the quickest time. He was dropped with a big right hand in the fourth but managed to survive the round. The fifth saw him go down to a body shot and the empathetic referee called it off in the fifth. Cash is too easy to turn up the ropes and his pressure leaves him open occasionally, especially to a good uppercut. In the post-fight interview, Area and English Titles were mentioned.

Paul Butler (26-1) continued his push for a title shot when he got a last round stoppage victory over Jefferson Vargas (5-8). He became the first man to stop the stubborn Spaniard with a lovely combination and left hook to the body. He is highly ranked by the WBA, whose titles are held by Ryan Burnett and Jamie McDonnell. A big domestic clash could await.

Charlie Edwards (12-1) also put on a big performance when stopping Ricky Little in one round (3-2-1). He is looking to fight Kal Yafai, in another potential British unification. Sean McGoldrick (4-0), the 2010 Commonwealth gold medallist, got his second stoppage against Michael Barnor (14-20-3). Gamal Yafai (14-0) got a win over Jose Hernandez (4-17-1) with a third round stoppage in preparation for his big bout with Gavin McDonnell on the Kell Brook undercard.

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