By: Oliver McManus
Wembley hasn’t completely been left in the mire following Anthony Joshua’s temporary relocation to America, with Wembley Arena (the stadium’s little brother) the venue for Frank Warren’s latest promotion.
It’s a case of big bruising heavyweight action topping the bill as Daniel Dubois looks to collect his eleventh professional victory, against Richard Lartey. Last in action seven weeks with a destructive second round knockout over Razvan Cojanu, the Peacock prodigy is not looking to hang around and has multiple routes available to him.
He could, in theory, replicate Anthony Yarde in building his way up the world rankings, thanks to his WBO European title, whilst a win against Richard Lartey puts him in good standing with the Commonwealth Boxing Council. Of course there is the small matter of being mandated for the British title against Joe Joyce – a fight, he says, he wants.
Against Richard Lartey he will be a heavy betting favourite but the contest is a good opportunity to work on the areas that served him so well last time out. Targeting the body is the best asset for Dubois and he got right into that rhythm from the off against Cojanu, creating early success for the 21 year old. We’ve still yet to see how he reacts to a live opponent and having to take a shot in retaliation but, offensively, Dubois looks like he can trouble anyone.
His Ghanaian opponent will touch down in England for only his second fight outside of his home country since turning professional in 2013 – in which he’s amassed a record of 14-1. Initially signed up to face Joe Joyce in June last year, Lartey failed to turn up, he finally has an opportunity to topple a high-flying British prospect.
From what little footage that is available Lartey, who also competes as Richard Harrison, has typically fought from within the clinch as he looks to slash big right hooks across the face of his opponents. The WBO Africa champion looks physically imposing and stands tall throughout his contests. Quick to wrap his hands tight around his face, he seems flinchy in defence and leaves his body exposed at times.
He’s in with a puncher’s chance but that’s about it.
Lerrone Richards will return to the ring after a 13 month absence to face Tommy Langford for the vacant Commonwealth and WBO International super middleweight titles. Richards, a former WBO European champion, was last in action against Chris Dutton last March and endured a frustrating 2018 as he was limited to just that sole outing.
The 26 year old is undeniably gifted and this fight with Langford is a real opportunity to make up for lost time. Certainly the sternest challenge of his eleven-fight career, the southpaw is a nine time national amateur champion and will exude confidence going into the contest. A slick boxer who fights with bundles of energy, you suspect it will be Richards who pushes the tempo of the contest but he’s got a whole bag of tricks up his sleeve should he need to dig deep.
Langford, of course, is not simply turning up to get paid. This is, afterall, his route back into the big time. Having once been promoted by Warren and lined up for a title challenge to Billy Joe Saunders, it all went wrong in thunderous fashion against Avtandil Khurtsidze – for an interim world title. The likeable character quickly came back to win the British title with a victory over Jack Arnfield before two, fight-of-the-year contender, losses to Jason Welborn prompted a move up in weight division.
He finds himself, after a routine six round win over Baptiste Castegnaro, with a shot at immediate title redemption. The 29 year old has been vocal in his belief that Richards is far out of his depth, having “never fought anyone”, but for it is Langford who finds himself with a point to prove. In both contests against Welborn he showed an inability to adapt to the style and pressure coming his way – sticking blindly to his form that had, previously, earned him vast success. He needs to allow himself not to get dictated to by Richards and emerge looking to stamp an air of authority over the fight.
The talented Sunny Edwards returns with a scheduled defense of his WBO European title. The super flyweight is slated to face Pedro Matos (7-1) though that’s yet to actually be officially announced. Edwards has been upfront about his desire to test himself against domestic challengers, as opposed to those from the continent, with Tommy Frank the target of his rhetoric over the last month or so. Frank, Commonwealth champion, seems to have decided he’d rather head in a different direction and who can blame him, Edwards has looked peerless since turning professional.
Ranked eighth by the WBO, he is clearly held in high regard and recently penned a contract extension with, promoter, Frank Warren. Matos has campaigned at bantamweight for the duration of his career with the Portuguese fighter having turned professional in January 2016. His sole loss comes to Juan Hinostroza – who he also holds a win over – via seventh round TKO but his level of opponent has been dire, to say the least. Expect Edwards to get the job done convincingly.
Zak Chelli will vie for the first title of his career as he takes on Jimmy Smith for the vacant Southern Area super middleweight title. The introverted 21 year old has been preparing for his University exams alongside his training for this contest and will look to build on his steady momentum. A convincing victory over Umar Sadiq, which featured in a build-up in which they became fierce rivals, saw Chelli praised for his work-rate; a first-round knockout of Ladislav Nemeth, in March, served as a reminder of his ferocity.
A full undercard features Jack Catterall against an as yet to be named opponent; Denzel Bentley, Hamzah Sheeraz and Caoimhin Agyarko look to extend their unbeaten record over the course of six rounds and; Alfie Price, Chris Bourke and Mohammad Bilal Ali will look to seize their moment on the big stage in four round contests.
All of the action gets underway on BT Sport 1 from 8pm this Saturday, April 27th from Wembley Arena.