NXTGen Boxing Report

By Cain Bradley on September 2, 2017
NXTGen Boxing Report
Buatsi again showed patience and accuracy in stopping Baptiste Castegnaro. (Sky Sports)

The latest edition of the Eddie Hearn’s NXTGEN boxing saw the return of boxing after the summer ended on Friday night…

The latest edition of the Eddie Hearn’s NXTGEN boxing saw the return of boxing after the summer ended on Friday night. It took place at the legendary York Hall and saw some of the best prospects in the Eddie Hearn camp.

Joe Córdina (4-0) put in his best performance of his professional career. The 2016 Olympian tore apart Jamie Speight (15-13) with lovely hooks to the body. He was accurate and punishing with his punches, looking very classy finishing Speight in the first round. On first look, he beat Speight in a manner that some impressive professionals could not, but Speight is naturally a featherweight and could not handle the size and power. Josh Kennedy, the super bantamweight, actually stopped him the quickest in three rounds and for Córdina it would surely be better to see him against someone with at least the size to match. He has been sparring with Jorge Linares and the Venezuelans camp suggest Córdina is one of the best he has sparred. If that is the case then he should probably be being stepped up to at least boxers of his own size with a similar resume to Speight to see how good he really is. Tony Sims suggested that Córdina was better with “lightweight suiting him better.” Jordan Ellison perhaps?

Lawrence Okolie (5-0) was taken the distance for the first time by Blaise Mendouo (3-4). It was the first time he was taken past the first round but he won a comfortable decision (59-54). This was the kind of bout I want to see the boxers in. It was a test and we saw what Okolie lacked. He did not fall over when Okolie hit him, roughed him up on the inside and used his awkward movement to evade Okolie. Mendouo may not have the best record but his losses have come against Simon Hyde, Simon Vallily and Daniel Dubois. The bout against Vallilly, a top ten British Cruiserweight, showed his skill as he came very close to victory and only Dubois, a heavyweight, stopped him. Mendouo showed he was a tough opponent. Okolie wobbled Mendouo a couple of times before dropping him with a great right in the fourth round. Okolie has frightening power and length but he has not learned to used it. The knockdown came from a long straight right, while his best work has come at range off a one - two. Too often the jab was non existent as he pawed with it to get inside where he threw too many arm shots. His lack of feints and movement made it hard for him to find openings to land his big punches. Mendouo was a relative non puncher and given Okolie was stopped in the amateurs and has thin legs he should probably try and be less hittable. Let’s remember Okolie was a real novice even at amateur level and has had less than 40 total bouts. Dave Allen tweeted “the first time someone starts fighting back as a professional is a horrible scary time.” Fellow London boxer Isaac Chamberlain, who Okolie has exchanged words with, sat ringside and claimed Okolie “was not ready.” The movement of Chamberlain would still present a huge challenge for Okolie. Perhaps we see recent Chamberlain victim Wadi Camacho in with him next?

Jake Ball (10-1) continued his rebound from the loss to JJ McDonagh when beating Joe Sherriff (11-1) in an eliminator for the light heavyweight English title. He won a 97-94 decision in a fun action packed fight. It was another well matched fight despite what the pre fight odds suggested. The quick starting southpaw impressed with his early accuracy and dropped Sherriff in the second round. When he got up Bell chased him with accurate power punches and dropped him for a second time. As he got up and Ball went for the kill, Sherriff landed more than one nice clean shot but ultimately did well to survive. After that Sherriff begun to come into the contest, landing accurate shots with the lack of head movement for Ball beginning to cost him. It begun to turn back to Ball but Sherriff was always in the fight and landed clean a couple of times in round eight. Ball looked a bit one dimensional to me and will struggle against power punchers as he seems too hittable. Up next for Ball it would be nice to either see a JJ McDonagh or fight for the English title against the winner of Joel McIntyre v Liam Conroy.

Danny Dignum (4-0) looked impressive against Lewis Van Poetsch (5-50-1) although will perhaps be upset not to stop Poetsch when winning a 40-36 decision. The accuracy and combinations of the Essex southpaw trouble Poetsch all night. As the commentators said he belongs at least down at super middleweight.

Connor Benn (8-0) showcased his athleticism when impressively stopping Kane Baker (4-1) in the second round. Benn has always struck me as more of an athlete than boxer who will be in trouble when his level increases. He is only twenty though and if he can harness the speed and power with boxing skill he will definitely be at least dangerous.

The main event was Joshua Buatsi (2-0), the GB 2016 Olympic bronze medalist. He got a good win over Baptiste Castegnaro (8-13) when he stopped the Frenchman in five. Buatsi once again showed patience and accuracy. It was a tricky fight for Buatsi as the Frenchman looked to attack and spoil the work of the Croydon boxer. It would have been nice to see him set his work up with more attacks to the body although he uses feints well. His head movement, so good in the amateurs seemed to have disappeared.

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