By: Oliver McManus
This weekend sees Frank Warren promoting at the Brentwood Centre, live on BT Sport and streamed on ESPN+, with, his highly-touted light-heavyweight, Anthony Yarde defending his WBO Inter-Continental belt against Walter Gabriel Sequeira; Johnny Garton and Gary Corcoran face off for the vacant British Welterweight belt; and imposing prospects Umar Sadiq and Zak Chelli put their unbeaten records on the line at an early stage of their career.
Anthony Yarde looks to move 17 and 0 against an opponent who, truth be told, is underwhelming and whilst it’s understood that Sean Monaghan was initially touted for the bout, the calibre of Sequeira fails to impress.
Photo Credit: Anthony Yarde Twitter Account
Ranked number two by the World Boxing Organization, Anthony Yarde has dealt with his 16 previous opponents in convincing fashion and the widely held frustration of the reluctance to progress him faster seems to be holding him back from truly being appreciated.
The muscular stature of the Hackney-born fighter is imposing with the tattooed physique of Yarde looking bulky, even for the 175lb division, and the speed and power in his hands mark him out as a real threat throughout the duration of his bouts; the first man to stop Nikola Sjekloca and a merciless number over, vastly-underrated, Chris Hobbs are a testament to Yarde’s ability to turn up the heat.
Since that win over Sjekloca, back in December, that heat has cooled ever so slightly with Joshua Buatsi catching the eye of the British public with his consistently explosive performances and Yarde’s performances against Dariusz Sek and Tony Averlant this year seeing him look less energetic than we have become accustomed too.
A man of ferocious talent with anger in his hands, Anthony Yarde has all the assets to reach the top and it’s just a matter of WHEN we see him get that opportunity to showcase his skills; Walter Sequeira will not be that man that allows Yarde to really cement his authority as a player on the global stage – the Argentine national champion has fought once away from his home country, in his 25 professional contests, and lost convincingly to Avni Yilidrim in doing so.
Expect this to be a convincing display from Anthony Yarde and, if it’s not, I’d start to get a little worried.
Johnny Garton, 22-1-1, and Gary Corcoran, 18-2, will be facing off against each other for the vacant British welterweight title – relinquished by Bradley Skeete earlier this year – in what promises to be an enthralling encounter.
For Garton, now aged 31, the title shot has been a long-time with Skeete – close friend and gym mate – having the belt since the turn of 2016 but ‘The Pexican’ has more than earned his crack at the strap having pieced together an impressive CV over the past few years.
Having turned pro in 2011, Garton claimed the vacant Southern Area welterweight belt in 2014 with an 8th round knockout over Adam Battle and since then has overcame plenty of domestic challengers – Nathan Weise, Martin Welsh, Ryan Fields and Tyler Goodjohn – as he added the English title to his name.
Late last year the Peckham-man registered an explosive performance to dispatch with Mihail Orlov in the 10th round of their contest for the IBF European title. Garton made hard work of his opponent and didn’t look as fluid as we know he can but, typically, when he gets into a fight it is easy pickings with Garton working through the motions and piecing together his shots nicely.
Corcoran, on the other hand, will be in his second fight since losing out to Jeff Horn, for the WBO world title, in December last year and Hellraiser goes into the contest off the back of a 5th round TKO win in June.
A second crack at a British belt for Corcoran, who’s previously lost out to Liam Williams for the super welterweight strap, he’s likely to approach it as he does every other fight of his career with a brash, fast-paced, attacking nature.
Known for his fast starts, Corcoran will seek to catch Johnny of guard early doors and impose his own rhythm on his contest; in all honesty this has the hallmarks of a fire fight and both men will probably engage from the centre of the ring – a style particularly suited to Corcoran.
Perhaps the most fitting testament of Corcoran’s ability to mix it at a high level with a mixture of both technique and slug-fest guts is his split decision win against Larry Ekundayo, in July of last year, in a performance that gained the plaudits from all corners of the boxing community – if he brings that level of performance into the ring on Saturday then we’ll be in for a thrilling contest.
Moving onto the clash of the unbeaten super-middleweights as Umar ‘Top Boxer’ Sadiq looks to settle a rivalry against Zak Chelli that has been quietly bubbling under the surface for the past few months.
Possibly the classiest man both inside and outside of the ring, Umar Sadiq has already attracted a huge fan base thanks to his impressive performances and innovative use of social media.
What really matters is his ability in the ring and having come from a strong amateur background he already looks at ease, moving through the motions quickly, and stamping his authority over his three opponents thus far.
Back in June Umar looked at his most complete, yet, with a masterful control of the fight tempo, insightful shot select before unfurling a vicious left hook into the body of Kamil Al Temimi to send the Polish fighter crumpling to the canvas with consummate ease.
Arguably the most terrifying thing about Sadiq is that he’s not even looked out of breath upon the conclusion of his three professional fights – I know they’ve only been four and six rounders, thus far, but it bodes well for the big bouts.
And this is the first real “big” bout of Umar’s career – and, for that matter, Zak’s – because this is going to stand as the acid test for who is the real deal and Chelli, whose father was also a fighter, is supremely confident in his ability to be “Warren’s number one super-middleweight”.
Hand-speed is his biggest asset with a frightening aggression and killer instinct, once he locks onto a target then shots will rain down on his counterpart in an explosive flurry. It’s easy to make comparisons with Chris Eubank Jr because of that style of fighting and Chelli is used to sparring with the Brighton man and that’s where he says he’s doing most of his development –
“When it comes to sparring I find it quite easy to transfer the skills into a fight performance, what I learn on the pads I put to practice in the ring and I treat sparring as a fight so it’s the same, for me”
“I can tell where I’m getting better, when I first started I was rushing things and trying to prove stuff but I learned from Adam Jones that, actually, you don’t need to go chasing knockouts all the time, believe in your ability and the performance will materialize. At the start I was trying to force the knockout but I’m definitely more relaxed now.”
Despite being just 20 years of age, Chelli is freakishly mature in the way he speaks and handles himself out of the ring but equally he’s begun to mature in it, too, as he himself admits he is far less likely to rush out of the gate than when he first started and Sadiq, well he’s Umar Sadiq, he’s silky smooth in whatever he does. This is going to be a great fight – fight of the night, you heard it here first!
October 20th at the Brentwood Centre, Frank Warren showcases some sensational talent and as the Hall-of-Fame promoter himself would say, “IT’S ON!”… BT Sport and ESPN+.
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