European Boxing Notebook: Khan, Laight, Taylor, and more….


By: Oliver McManus

Seeing as it’s the start of the new season, it seems only appropriate to resurrect the European Boxing notebook from its extended summer break so, without any further ado, let’s get straight into the action –

That Khan’t Be Good –

Amir Khan continued his comeback at the weekend just gone up in Birmingham with a unanimous points win over Samuel Vargas, taking the contest by scorecards of 1119-108, 119-109 and 118-110.

That level of comfort far belies how unimpressive the Brit looked over the course of 12 begrudging rounds – looking comfortable in the opening couple of rounds, Khan looked agile on his feet and was unleashing combinations in flurries as large as eight or nine.

Dropping Vargas to the canvas with a straight right in the second round, it looked as though this could be routine for Khan before a rocking overhand right from his opponent sent Khan sinking to the floor.

He was up as quick as he was down but he looked shell shocked and in fear of another crushing defeat, he worked his back into the fight and controlled the pace with ease and whilst he did far more of the busy work and, save for a spell in the 10th round where he was caught again, looked in control throughout.

Controlled, yes, but equally on the edge and wary, fighting on fear, a shadow of his former self.

Khan wants Manny Pacquiao next, potentially in December, putting the proposed showdown with Kell Brook on the backburner – perhaps for good – but if the Amir Khan from Saturday turns up in his next fight then there’s every chance he could be in for a very rude awakening.

Mr Reliable retires

The experienced and robust Kristian Laight recently called time on his career, bringing the curtain down on a show that had 300 showings – winning 12, drawing nine and losing the remaining 279.

But Mr Reliable, as he was known, was one hell of a boxer who prospects just getting started were fed to on a regular basis and, more often than not, taught the cold, hard, brutal reality of the sport.

Four rounds with Laight were worth far more than a thirty second knockout over your, traditional and stereotypical Latvian plumber, and over the course of his sixteen years in the pro game he was stopped a mere five times.

Cyclone set for a whirlwind return

Cylone Promotions – whom Josh Taylor fights under – have announced a stellar line up for their latest card, to be held at York Hall on October 13th with no less than three title fights and a further eliminator already added to the bill, live on Channel 5.

Lee McGregor headlines in only his fifth professional fight with the fiercely impressive IBF Youth champion challenging for the vacant Commonwealth Bantamweight title against Thomas Essomba – Essomba, 8 and 4, was originally slated to face Iain Butcher in a rematch on September 14th but the Scotsman has since pulled out.

Martin Bakole will defend his IBO Continental heavyweight belt against Michael Hunter, the former challenger to Oleksandr Usyk and will be looking to send a statement as he seeks to knock the American out in convincing fashion. Having target a bout with Joe Joyce, Bakole’s trainer Billy Nelson has not minced his words in calling the former Olympian “hypocritical” for claiming Bakole need to bring more to the table.

Chantelle Cameron and Chris Billam Smith round up the card announced thus far with Cameron defending her IBO World title against, vastly experienced and fluid, Dahiana Santana whilst Billam Smith fights in a Commonwealth eliminator against Robin Dupre.

Ritson goes for European glory

Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing’s card on October 13th, at the Metro Radio Arena, is starting to take healthy shape with plenty of fights, and fighters, to get excited about already-

In the headlining bout, the Geordie Golovkin, Lewis Ritson fights for the vacant European Lightweight title against Francesco Patera, former champion, after Edis Tatli vacated the belt and, first contender, Marvin Petit withdrew from the contest (an Oliver McManus exclusive, that was).

Glenn Foot will battle Robbie Davies Jnr in what promises to be an enthralling contest – Foot recently famed for his wars with Josh Leather and Jason Easton will look to add the British super lightweight title to the Commonwealth strap he already owns and will be doing so against one of Hearn’s latest signing, a ferocious Liverpudlian with the energy of, to be frank, a Chihuahua.

David Allen will continue his quest towards a British title with a fight against someone who isn’t Senad Gashi despite all the rumours surrounding the potential fight. It will, however, be against someone of a similar quality in order to best prepare for a potential title challenge in December.

Joshua Buatsi will defend his WBA International light heavyweight belt on the bill whilst Simon Vallily and Craig Glover meet over 10 rounds in the cruiserweight division and Thomas Patrick Ward, Chad Ellis, Darren Reay, John Docherty, Joe Laws and Lawrence Osueke round up the bill.

October 13th… the night for British Boxing!

Talking of October 13th there’s a strong argument to be made for it being THE night for British boxing with an endless array of shows gracing the country – obviously Eddie Hearn is up in Newcastle with Lewis Ritson and Co and, as detailed above, Cyclone Promotions are at York Hall but stay within London and Steve Goodwin is promoting at Tottenham Green Pools & Fitness with a sensational card –

Jumanne Camero and Jeffrey Ofori will face off for Camero’s Southern Area Lightweight title in a bout that sees two real nice guys going at it, Kay Propser will look to position himself in line for the English title as he fights Cassius Connor whilst Curtis Felix Jnr and Justin Menzie also meet in an eliminator contest; Deion Jumah and Jose Lopes fight for the vacant Southern Area cruiserweight title in a mouth-watering contest and there are 11 other fights on the card.

In the Paisley Lagoon Leisure CENTRE, Craig MacIntyre and Marek Laskowski clash in a fight for the vacant Scottish Area super lightweight title whilst Andrew Mackay and Thomas Dickson will look to get back in the title mix – Calvin McCord is on the card and Monty Ogilvie and Trigger Wood, among others, will look to continue their development.

Frank Warren announce Top Rank on ESPN deal

Frank Warren announced an “exclusive, landmark multi-year licensing agreement” that will enable Warren’s UK shows to be broadcast live and exclusive on ESPN and ESPN+, the agreement begins with October 6th’s Leicester card featuring Daniel Dubois, Jack Catterall vs Ohara Davies and Nicola Adams and comes on the back of Top Rank securing an “exclusive output deal” with, Warren-founded, Boxnation.

Erkan Teper vs Robert Helenius and European round-up

Following the withdrawal of Edmund Gerber, Erkan Teper will now face Robert Helenius for the vacant IBF Inter-Continental Heavyweight title. Teper, 3 and 0 since losing to Mariusz Wach, is looking to force his way up the IBF ratings having opted to withdraw from a proposed EBU-EU contest, also with Helenius, before it went to purse bids.

Helenius, on the other hand, comes in to the fight – taking place on September 29th – knowing that his last three performances, a loss to Dillian Whyte and two wins against Yury Bykhautsou have been far from impressive and the Nordic Nightmare’s stock is distinctly falling. A win against Teper would be expected from the Helenius hype back in 2015 but now it’s anything but a formality.

Staying in the heavyweight division and the EBU-EE-EU (External European Union) vacant title will be on the line come October 20th when Umut Camkiran, of Turkey, faces of with Adnan Redzovic in Podgorica, promoted by SESBoxing.

The EBU European flyweight title clash between Vincent Legrand and Andrew Selby looks to be back on, after Selby previously announced he was retired, with Jamie Sanigar winning the purse bids and a date TBA.

EBU-EU champion Otto Wallin has been installed as the mandatory challenger to full European champion Agit Kabayel with the two parties in negotiations, meanwhile Kabayel will make a voluntary defence of his belt on October 27th in Germany.

EU flyweight champion Mohammed Obbadi has been ordered to defend his belt against Commonwealth champion Jay Harris and with the two parties having failed to come to an agreement on terms the contest will go to purse bids on September 26th; Jay Harris, 13-0, will defend his Commonwealth title against Ross Murray on October 12th after a frustrating year for the Welshman.

Elliott Matthews, first contender, will see a proposed bout with Andrew Francillette go to purse bids on September 17th but the former English champion will fight for the Commonwealth belt on the 29th of this month against Rasheed Abolaji,

Finally, brining it full circle, Robert Helenius has been mandated to fight Petar Milas for the vacant EBU-EU heavyweight belt with purse bids due on September 26th.

Final Word

The final word for this notebook goes to Ermal Dida, 2 and 0, from Bedford who says –

“I want to be Ermal Dida (in the ring), I don’t want to be an imitation

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