By: Hans Themistode
Whenever a fighter has yet to taste defeat inside of the ring, it can become difficult to get him or her to take on a real challenge. That 0 in the loss column is just too important to place in harm’s way. Unless, of course, if the price is right then that’s a completely different story.
Other than a ridiculous payday, the risk never seems to outweigh the reward.
In the case of undefeated Heavyweight contenders Daniel Dubois (14-0, 13 KOs) and Joe Joyce (10-0, 9 KOs), they’ve both decided that they are ready to put everything on the line at such an early stage in their careers.
On paper, this contest seems like an evenly matched one. It seems like the right call, after all, they are a couple of heavy hitters and for the most part, are viewed as the brightest young stars in the division. With both men knocking out all but one of their opponents, it’s safe to say that the judges are going to have a night off when they clash at the O2 Arena, in London.
As is often the case in boxing, there’s a storyline behind everything. For Dubois, he’s already faced off against Joyce. Well, in sparring that is.
Back in 2016, Joyce was gearing up for the Olympic games. Dubois was one of many sparring partners who was brought in to give Joyce some work. The results of that sparring session weren’t exactly competitive to say the least.
With that being said however, it was several years ago and many things have changed since then.
“I’m a different animal now,” said Dubois during a recent press conference. “You are going to become an old man that night. When I look at you I see a massive target and I am going to let loose. This is my era of boxing and I will dominate after this. All his fans will become my fans. You are getting destroyed. This is a new chapter, this is the next step in my career.”
You would think that since these two have a bit of history together, that there would be some sort of friendly atmosphere between them. Think again. Not only did the two go back and forth, but Dubois made sure to say how he felt the night will end.
“I don’t feel it is going to go the distance, he is going to be taken out in devastating style.”
For a fighter with only 14 professional fights under his belt, Dubois talks a good game. Yet, when juxtaposed with his opponent Joe Joyce, he actually has the edge in terms of the number of fights. But that doesn’t entirely tell the whole story. Joyce is already 34 years of age, with a Silver medal dangling around his neck. He also has two notable wins already. One came in the form of one-time title challenger Bryant Jennings and the other against former Heavyweight titlist Bermane Stiverne.
Both Stiverne and Jennings aren’t exactly in their respective primes anymore but hey, the names on his resume are impressive. Dubois on the other hand, has no one even remotely close to the opposition that Joyce has found himself in the ring against.
“Nathan Gorman is you’re only credible win,” said Joyce. “I rate him, you’re on the way up, but maybe you are not ready for me. You are a good fighter, you have great potential, but you are going to unravel in this fight.”
At this point, it’s difficult to say who has the edge going into this one. Each Heavyweight can make a rock solid case for themselves as to why they are going to win this upcoming contest. But no one wants to hear a debate between these two. The fans simply want to see them end the discussion in the ring. Thankfully, that’s exactly what will happen on April 11th.
By: Ste Rowen
At London’s famous Royal Albert Hall, Daniel ‘Dynamite’ Dubois took less than two minutes to dispatch of his latest challenger, Ebenezer Tetteh, claim the Commonwealth title just one fight removed from having won the British heavyweight strap.
Earlier this year, Tetteh of Ghana was at the back end of the Commonwealth rankings, and with a record of 19-0 (16KOs), a credible opponent on paper. Real fights aren’t fought on paper, and even as the two men faced off before the first bell, Ebenezer had a look of a man who had made a huge mistake in his eyes.
‘Dynamite’ Dubois fired off his jab immediately, continuously rocking the away-fighters head back, but it was with 1;15 left of the first that Dubois unleashed the ferocity that matches his hype. Daniel, who most recently conquered domestic rival, Nathan Gorman for the British heavyweight title, first landed two consecutive left-rights to knock down his foe for the first time and added a combination of body shots to ensure Tetteh hit the canvas for the second and end the night as early as many expected.
A minority in the crowd felt the referee waved the fight off a little too early; they may have had a point, but this Commonwealth fight was going in only one direction. Daniel Dubois now, 13-0 (11KOs) added the rainbow belt to his ever-expanding belt cabinet.
Speaking post-fight, now arguably Britain’s most high profile ‘prospect’, the 22-year-old laid down the challenge to any heavyweight’s brave enough to step in with him including fellow unbeaten Brit and Olympic silver medallist, Joe Joyce.
On the undercard…
Fighting for the WBO flyweight word championship, Nicola Adams, 5-0 (3KOs) heading into tonight, had her biggest professional test to date as she went the distance with four-time world title challenger, Maria Salinas.
Salinas did as Mexican fighters do, swinging ferociously, closing the distance well and stopping the former world class amateur from any kind of easy night. ‘The Lioness’ even at times switched to southpaw in the later rounds, to fool her opponent. But Maria was in no mood to allow Adams’ amateur experience overwhelm her sheer tenacity.
By the final bell it seemed close in most viewers opinion, even as Salinas was lifted aloft by her corner and raised her arms to the crowd. However, the actual ten-round scorecards came back as, 96-94 Salinas, 97-93 Adams, and 95-95, calling it a split draw which drew boos from the crowds and anger in the Mexican’s corner.
WBO ‘European’ super-featherweight champion, Archie Sharp improved to 17-0 9KOs) with a superb knockout of 19-4 challenger, Declan Geraghty inside four rounds. Both men were turning out of an exchange, aiming with left hooks, but it was Sharp who landed first, landed hardest and ended his and his opponent’s night early after a somewhat promising start from Geraghty.
Archie ‘Sharpshooter’ sat ninth in the WBO rankings before tonight so, with the likes of Avery Sparrow, Masayuki Ito, Jason Sosa and Sam Bowen below and above him, if Sharp is up for it, there are big fights to be made in the near future.
By: Ste Rowen
The famous Royal Albert Hall this weekend will see Daniel ‘Dynamite’ Dubois, the heavyweight flavour of the year ever since his comprehensive fifth round stoppage of domestic rival, Nathan Gorman. The two unbeaten men put it on the line early on in their careers to claim the prestigious British heavyweight title, but it was Dubois, now 12-0 (11KOs), who was underrated in his technical ability beforehand, but he broke down Gorman round after round before finishing the previously 16-0 fighter before the halfway mark.
But that victory has set a precedent. Now fans, at least knows who’ve watched his previous bouts, know Daniel has both the skill AND the power to take out opponents, so his next opponent, Ebenezer Tetteh, for the Commonwealth belt, should surely be, if anything a slight step down.
If you’re following boxing twitter, Ebenezer Tetteh, 19-0 (16KOs), of Ghana is probably most famous for literally taking a twirl midway through a fight, showing off to the crowd and then continued fighting to a victory. The 31-year-old Ghanaian is rough; if the British champion doesn’t lay down his marker early, he could be in for a long, awkward night that coud end up ripping away the momentum ‘Dynamite’ has multiplied after his impressive win over Gorman.
The British champion spoke to the media during the week, both trying to hype his fight and keep one keen eye on the future,
‘‘I believe this is the ideal step up for me against an unbeaten fighter with a lot of KOs to his name…I cannot wait to get back in there and do my thing.
I’m carving out my legacy. All I have to do is fight and knock out whoever is in front of me.
I’m going to create my legacy and become a legend in this sport.’’
In defence of Dubois, the route from British to Commonwealth, and beyond is common and logical and certainly not the ‘Dynamite’s’ fault that Tetteh is the chosen challenger the rainbow belt rankings could come up with but, if Dubois really wants the momentum to continue, the young steamroller should make easy work of, according to Boxrec (I know, I know their rankings can’t be trusted), Ghana’s second best heavyweight. For the record, Dubois has already diminished Ghana’s supposed top heavyweight boxer in Richard Lartey last April within four rounds.
On the undercard…
Amateur flyweight legend, Nicola Adams is vying for her first proper world title in just her sixth fight. Adams, 5-0 (3KOs) will step into the ring with 21-7-3, Maria Salinas of Mexico for the vacant WBO world title on the line.
Salinas loves throwing punches in bunches, but Adams’ precision and prowess should be more than enough to claim her first world title, and if she claims it within single digits of the pro game she’ll share the stage with the likes of Claressa Shields and equal Jane Crouch’s record of winning a world title so early in her career.
And, the ratio of underwhelming of top fighter to opposition goes to Archie Sharp, 16-0 (7KOs who is on the card but without an opponent so far.
Also FYI, Jane Crouch’s book, The Final Round – buy it now.
By: Jonah Dylan
After a weekend that featured barely any fights, it was – in theory – nice to see so many fights this past weekend. Yes, the fights weren’t necessarily great, and we didn’t have any superstars in action, but at least it was something. At least there were choices if you didn’t like what you were watching. Whether or not it was particularly important, a lot of stuff happened. So let’s talk about it.
1. We’ve been underrating Daniel Dubois. A lot.
First of all, seeing two legit undefeated prospects fight each other was great, and it’s something that almost never happens, especially in the United States (speaking of heavyweight prospects, Jermaine Franklin is nowhere near Dubois and got away with an absolute robbery decision against Jerry Forrest on Friday night). Dubois was favored against Nathan Gorman, but we didn’t really know much about either guy, and there were a lot of people who picked Gorman to win the fight.
It was never really close. Gorman was cut in two places and you could tell it was bothering him, but Dubois didn’t just use his power. He boxed Gorman and consistently hit him with clean shots before finishing him in the fifth round. Before this fight, both Dubois and Gorman had been doing pretty much the same thing and fighting washed up guys who had no business being in a boxing ring. Now, Dubois has a legit win on his record, which is more than most prospects can say.
It’ll be really interesting to see what Frank Warren does with Dubois moving forward. No one is suggesting he’s ready for top-level guys yet, but this was a major step-up and he could see himself in the world title mix sooner rather than later. I’d like to see him in with a top-10 guy in the near future.
2. Shakur Stevenson is ready for a title fight
Or, as ready as he’ll ever be. Watching him knock out no-hopers is a useless exercise at this point. After Stevenson dominated a respectable opponent in Christopher Diaz, it was clear his time as a prospect had come to an end. If the point of Saturday’s fight was just to headline and fight at home, fine. But there’s no reason for him to do it again.
So who should he fight? Leo Santa Cruz is with PBC, and Gary Russell has already made his annual appearance and probably won’t be heard from until next April or May. That leaves Josh Warrington and Oscar Valdez.
Warrington just escaped with a very close decision in an ugly fight with Kid Galahad, but on the surface he might have some difficulty finding opponents in the near future. He’s with Frank Warren and his fights stream on ESPN+, so it’s realistic that Warren and Bob Arum could get together to make this fight. It’d be a really interesting style matchup for Stevenson, who throws lots of combinations and has elite speed. Warrington has almost no power but just overwhelms guys with his work rate. Stevenson would probably be favored here, but Warrington has been the underdog for two of his three world title fights, and that hasn’t been a problem.
Valdez hasn’t committed to staying in the featherweight division, and honestly I think he would rather fight Carl Frampton than Stevenson. As I’ve said before, it makes no sense to me why Frampton would get a title shot before Stevenson, considering he just lost a clear decision to Warrington in December. He’d probably lose to Valdez, too. Stevenson-Valdez would be a little less interesting than Stevenson-Warrington, if only because Valdez has been fighting with an extremely cautious style since breaking his jaw and will probably be moving up after the fight regardless. Let’s make Stevenson-Warrington in the UK and see what happens.
3. It’s tough to figure out what to make of the junior featherweights
Rey Vargas outpointed Tomoki Kameda on Saturday to keep his WBC strap, but the fans weren’t exactly thrilled with Vargas’ cautious performance. He’s a really interesting fighter. On one hand, he can always use his height and reach advantages to win decisions, but once in a while he chooses to engage and hasn’t been perfect, like when he got dropped in the second round of his last fight. On Saturday, Kameda wanted a war, but Vargas didn’t give it to him and stayed calm on the outside.
This makes me think Vargas against WBO titleholder Emanuel Navarrete would be a very intriguing matchup. In both fights against Isaac Dogboe, Navarette used his height and reach to land a barrage of uppercuts and stop Dogboe from ever getting close to him. I feel like we really don’t know anything about Navarrete until he fights someone else, but a fight down the line with Vargas would be a fascinating matchup.
Then there’s unified WBA/IBF titleholder Daniel Roman. You probably have to consider him the best in the division due to his win over T.J. Doheny in their FOTY contender in April, but I’m not sure where he goes next. He has to make a mandatory next but has said he’d like to unify against Vargas, which would be a quality fight for three belts. I’d rather see Vargas test himself against Navarrete, but Navarrete is with Top Rank and probably won’t be going anywhere near any DAZN guys for a while. Then again, this is what we said about Jose Ramirez, so maybe it’s possible. One can hope.
Follow me on Twitter @TheJonahDylan.
By: Oliver McManus
Daniel Dubois looked to impress in front of, new stablemate, Joe Joyce ahead of a potential British title fight with the Juggernaut. Though each passing day does see that “agreed contest” seemingly further apart. Dubois had to deal with his latest challenger, anyway, as he took on Richard Lartey for the WBO “Global” heavyweight title. The English and WBO European champion was up against an imposing Ghanaian sporting a ginger beard – not much was known about Lartey and any available footage was grainy and untelling.
Indeed Lartey was supposed to face Joe Joyce in the Summer of last year, for the Commonwealth title, but failed to turn up for the fight. He emerged looking to swing, landing a right hand with his long levers as he sought to immediately derail Dubois’ momentum. Dubois looked unfazed in the face of an erratic opponent, despite getting dragged into a clinch, and was popping away with a measured jab.
Lartey, not pronounced like the coffee, was warned about his constant bear-hugging before taking time-out due to an accidental low-blow. Dubois was finding his target by now, halfway through the second, but wasn’t allowing himself much variety – staying focussed on the jab. The 27 year old Ghanaian fancied his chances at catching Dubois with an overhand right and after being caught with a flush left to the chin he simply swung for glory. Warren’s bluechip heavyweight stumbled across the ring but didn’t look seriously troubled.
Photo Credit: BT Sport Twitter Account
This was the first fight of Dubois, eleven contest, career in which he was actually taking meaningful punches and he seemed to pass the chin-check comfortably – though, of course, Lartey’s power is of unknown proportions. In the fourth round Lartey was slow in pulling up his defence and was battered with a stunning right hand, thrown over the top, that slammed into the cheek of the Ghanaian. Catching him with his feet stock square, Dubois felled his man like a tree.
A fourth round knockout against a livewire opponent saw Dubois advance his record to eleven without defeat in thunderous fashion.
The most evenly matched contest, certainly on paper, saw Lerrone Richards and Tommy Langford battling it out for the vacant Commonwealth and WBO International titles. The fight marked a return to the ring for Richards after a considerable thirteen months away from the ring; Langford was in just his second fight at the weight, having moved up at the turn of the year following a disappointing 2018.
Langford hit the scales marginally heavier at 167lbs and despite being a former British champion at middleweight he was a considerable betting underdog with odds of 13/5 available as the bell rang. Richards, sporting furry bumble bee shorts, carried the greater aesthetics with foreboding shoulders but the opening rounds were cautious, to say the least. Richards edged forwards against an opponent who was looking to engage but, perhaps weary of his previous losses, refused to commit.
No meaningful punch was landed in the first round and the same could be said for the second, though there was more action. Richards extended his jab but didn’t really look for variety whilst Langford was frequent in changing levels, flexing at the knees, and looking to land a lurching hook to the body of his opponent. The younger gentleman was wise to this threat and was able to take a step back and move out of range.
The fight had echoes of Ohara Davies vs Jack Catterall, with the lure of the limelight leaving both competitors overly cautious and not wanting to over-commit. In honesty this was Langford’s last opportunity to a level whereby he can really push on – a loss and you feel as though he has found his ceiling. At the third-way mark the Langford corner urged their charge for “a big, really clear round”, in order to gain a foothold in the contest. The workload was comparable but it always seemed as though Richards was on a upwards trajectory whereas Langford was remaining stagnant in first gear.
Sniper the Boss was living up to his nickname with a preference for precision punching as opposed to a machine-gun splatter of shots. He was holding his ground now, no longer stepping back out of range when Langford looked to come in low but countering the Birmingham man.
Langford, who in his two losses to Jason Welborn made a similarly slow start, was loosening up with his feet within the middle rounds and began to land shots with more frequency. Certainly he wasn’t getting dominated by Richards but it was his opponent who was picking up the rounds in, relatively, comfortable fashion. The former British title holder was looking to force openings with the worried words of his corner ringing in his ear. There was a distinct feeling of frustration and an acceptance he was behind, as he began to chip forward with more urgency.
This renewed urgency prompted a more composed Richards to find greater success, timing his shots to perfection to counter the come-forward nature of Langford. A superb technical display from the New Malden fighter, a former Tesco worker, who showed the ability to adapt to style of Langford and control the contest at will. A spiteful combination in the tenth round showcased just how in-tune he is with timing and precision, landing his shots on the duck’s beak – a thrilling South American football expression.
A mature display from Lerrone Richards who showed just what boxing has been missing over the last thirteen months; it started off cautiously but he relaxed into the contest and found a rhythm easily enough. 118-110, 116-113, 118-111 all in favour of the 26 year old who becomes the new Commonwealth and WBO International champion – well deserved, no bones about it, and a fighter with plenty more to offer.
Sunny Edwards was the co-main event for this Wembley card and the 23 year old defended his WBO European title in comfortable fashion against Pedro Matos, from Portugal. His opponent was eight years older and has campaigned at bantamweight for much of his career and found himself a punch-bag pretty much from the off. Edwards, switching stances, was chopping punches with vigour. A left hand to the side of the head would set up a brutal left hook, landing around the ear-drum, and the face of Matos was reddened by the halfway stage of the first round.
It’s fair to say Matos was overmatched but, at the end of the day, it is very hard to find consistent tests for developing European flyweights simply because there is a limited pool to choose from. Edwards, in fairness, has stated his desire to test himself at a domestic level against the likes of Tommy Frank or Jay Harris so it’s hunger is not a criticism you can direct towards him.
One half of the Croydon Klitschkos – his brother Charlie, the WBC champion – it’s fair to say he offers more entertainment than either of those, former,heavyweight kingpins. Not only in his shot selection but his fleet footwork, making use of the full ring dimensions and switching between orthodox and southpaw with a lucid fluidity. Matos was swinging with gusto, gleeful in letting his gloves go, but Edwards returned with interest. Chopping shots straight down the gully, busting up the nose and snapping the head back on frequent occasion. A huge shot on the bell of the seventh saw Matos grab the rope for balance, he emerged for the next round a shaken man and started to soak up the punishment. The ref jumped in, rightfully so, calling a halt to the contest in the eighth round.
The rest of the undercard saw Zak Chelli claim the first title of his career with a scrappy, yet comprehensive, performance against Jimmy Smith. Chelli won the Southern Area super middleweight belt by 100-89; Denzel Bentley battered Pavol Garoj but didn’t look to force the stoppage against a durable opponent, 60-54; Jack Catterall and Caoimhin Agyarko both registered third round stoppages, against Oscar Armador and Martin Kabrhel, respectively; Chris Bourke made it three stoppages from three fights, stopping Stefan Slavchev in two; Umar Sadiq forced Chris Dutton to retire on his stool following two rounds whilst Archie Sharp and Hamzah Sheeraz also picked up second round finishes; Shakiel Thompson’s Queensbury debut lasted just one round and; Mohammed Bilal Ali and Alfie Price secured convincing points victories over four rounds.
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.
Frank Warren’s 2018 kicked off with an emphatic bang last night as his brightest prospects made decisive statements at York Hall, Bethnal Green, to lay the foundations down for an enthralling 2018.
Photo Credit Box Nation Twitter Account
The Untouchables featured three mouth-watering fighters in title bouts as Anthony Yarde defended his WBO Inter-Continental and European titles against Tony Averlant, Daniel Dubois looked to retain his Southern Area strap against DL Jones and Zelfa Barrett took on Ronnie Clarke for the vacant IBF European Super Featherweight belt.
Light-heavyweight Yarde was the headlining act for his 15th professional fight and was up against a durable Averlant, who’s a fair bit better than his 26-9-2 record suggests, in a scheduled 10 rounder. An obvious step-down from, Yarde’s previous opponent, Nikola Sjekloca this was all about putting in a performance in order to set-up exciting clashes against fellow Top 25 opposition for the duration of 2018.
Averlant was looking to prove he had what it takes to compete at the European level with the 33-year-old having fallen short at every other opportunity, most notably from a crunching body shot courtesy of Juergen Braehmer back in 2013.
The fight didn’t start off quite as you’d expect with Yarde opting to patiently sit back and wait for Averlant to approach him before unleashing a handful of heavy right-hand punches against the body of the Frenchman. Movement from Yarde was the prime skill displayed over the opening three minutes as he evaded the shots of Averlant and did well to cut off the ring for his opponent.
That momentum and unfamiliarity of style continued into the second round with Averlant goading Yarde into an opening attack before landing his own series of shots on the WBO #2 – Yarde seemed relatively unfazed and hit back but, nonetheless, Averlant seemed to be a trickier test than many anticipated with Yarde reluctant to be drawn into a firefight.
Order was restored with the bell to mark the beginning of the third round with Anthony Yarde giving reason to his Beast nickname, unloading on his opponent with thunderous shots to both head and body. Often with his hands down by his side, Frank Warren’s prospect slammed his right hand into the head of Averlant, following through with his whole body, reddening the face but no real combination shots to add to the pain.
A quiet fourth and fifth round followed with Yarde undoubtedly dominating but just wearing down Averlant as opposed to seeking to expel him from the ring – the sixth round saw him step the fight up a notch with a plethora of body shots, similar to Juergen Braehmer’s tactics, fatiguing the ribs and solar plexus before a slaughtering shot at the ropes dropped Averlant on the 90 second mark. Mere seconds later and the Frenchman was down again, he hung on until the end of the round but Yarde was ready for the kill.
Averlant had proven to be as durable as can of baked beans but with blood in the water, Yarde wasn’t going to mellow on the Frenchman and battered the body so bad you could order it at your local chippy! Survival mode kicked in for Averlant but his spirit never died regardless of the sheer bombardment coming his way.
With the referee reluctant to stop the fight and Yarde look set to bounce Averlant out of the ring, the French corner pulled their man out at the end of the 7th round to give Anthony Yarde the win AND an enhanced ranking with the WBO. He retains the European and Inter-Continental version of their titles so the only question left is ‘who’s next?’.
Daniel ‘Dynamite’ Dubois was looking to explode into 2018 with a convincing win over his unbeaten Southern Area rival DL Jones who was going into the contest with 8 wins and a single draw – coincidentally that draw came against Dorian Darch, Dubois’ last opponent.
Weighing at his second heaviest career weight Dubois was still the lighter man as his 36 year old opponent weighed in at 110.2kg (243lbs) and behind that stocky frame was a fighter looking to cash in on his career high payday (reported to be near £15,000).
The first round proved to be the hardest of Dubois’s professional career with DL Jones looking to hold for the most part whilst trying to swing in from a crouched position – at times it was reminiscent of a wrestling bout but Jones was successful in subduing outlandish levels of power beheld by Dubois.
Dubois adjusted well into the second round as he begun to tee off against Jones by the ropes, aiming for the body of the Sheerness-born opponent. Visibly frustrated was Triple D but he kept the jab popping into the face of the former army veteran.
Biding his time before eventually unleashing an uppercut followed by a flurry of body punches, Dubois was picking off his challenger with ease whilst never really clicking into gear before relaxing in the third round and letting his natural power come through.
Pinning Jones against the ropes around the halfway mark of the third, Dubois shellacking his man with punishing jabs to the head along with big right hand overhead hooks – three, four in a row – enforcing the pain on Dave Jones. The smile on his face failed to mask the buckle in his legs and a concussive right uppercut-straight combination saw him collapse to the canvas.
A third round knockout for Daniel Dubois to make it seven wins, seven early baths, saw the 20 year old retain his Southern Area title and we’ll see him back out at the O2 on April 14th as he looks to make 2018 his year.
On paper the toughest fight for the three main protagonists came as Zelfa ‘Brown Flash’ Barrett faced Ronnie ‘The Shark’ Clark for the vacant IBF European Super Featherweight championship; Clark, the former British title challenger, represented the biggest step up for Barrett, 19-0.
Determined to steal the limelight from the start, the green-haired Shark gained the best of a tentative opening first round with neither boxer willing to impose their fight plans and both struggling to connect with anything clean and that rhythm followed into the second portion of three minutes with Clark doing well to pressure Barrett against the ropes but failing to ask serious questions of the 24 year old.
Voices from some corners described Barrett as “drawn” during the weigh-ins and public work outs and that started to show as the fight progressed with the, relatively big, super-feather finding it tough to adapt to the southpaw stance of his more experienced opponent.
The fourth round seemed to spark something into the Shark who was now finding the body of Barrett with increasingly alarming consistency to the extent that after switching to the head and landing with a sharp uppercut, the Dundee-man simply smiled.
Relaxed but effective best described the fighting style of Ronnie Clark but by no-means was he in the clear as his Mancunian opponent kept his head moving and shots firing – if not necessarily connecting – to make the first four or five rounds still 50-50.
Barrett was pressing his case across the opening minute of the sixth, upping the tempo and attacking Clark with real grit and gusto but, in a sudden switch, was hit by a stunning, straight, left-hand jab countered by a right hand uppercut that sent his body to the canvas, his teeth to the crowd and his head to the clouds.
From that moment Clark pursued Barrett in relentless fashion, throwing bombs for the remaining 90 seconds in a round of pure hell for the pre-right favourite; whilst Barrett regained his composure during the break between rounds, the only punch of note in the seventh was a left hand from the youngster that was deflected well by Clark.
Into the middle-to-late rounds we went and they seemed to mirror the opening three, after some scintillating rounds of boxing both men needed a breather. When the fight ignited again, around the ninth round, Zelfa managed to find a good flurry of shots to the body of Clark as he began to edge his way back into the fight from a shot which, to be fair , would have stopped many a lesser fighter.
The healthy flow of punches continued into the 10th round of super-featherweight action with both men exchanging leather, Clark trying to drive Barrett back towards the ropes but the Mancunian firing in with repetitive shots of his own.
Championship rounds are the ones that win fights and Barrett was aware of that, making a strong start to the 11th as he kept Clark in sight and having, by far, the better of the exchanges in terms of work rate and consistency but the more eye-catching skills were coming from the man from Scotland.
With both fighters wanting to seal the win the 12th round was always going to be an absolute belter and so it proved with both men giving it their all, sapping their energy with combinations from both men in a phone-box competition marred only by the Barrett’s gum shield dropping out. Clark kept the right hand leads flowing into the body of Barrett whilst receiving the full artillery from his opponent. Clark was static but sensational, Barrett lucid but lacklustre.
To the scorecards it went with no-one in the venue able to confidently predict the outcome; 116-111, 116-111, 114-114, a majority decision to the NEW IBF European Super Featherweight champion Ronnie Clark, but by five?
Also on the card we saw Nathan Gorman stamp his authority over Morgan Dessaux to move to 12-0 in the heavyweight division; Archie Sharp stopped Ivan Ruiz Morote in the 7th round to improve his record to 12 wins, no defeats, in the super-feather weight class; Ryan Garner returned to the ring after 6 months out with a points decision over Lesther Cantillano, The Piranha goes seven without defeat; in the super middle division, Umar Sadiq beat Yailton Neves comfortably to go to 2-0; Hamza Sheeraz obtained the same record at super-welter; Boy Jones Jr went 8 rounds in the lightweight division but enhanced his record to 15-1-1 whilst Harvey Horn moved to 2 and 0 in the flyweight division.
By: Oliver McManus
Billed as The Untouchables, Frank Warren presents his first night of boxing in 2018, coming from the iconic York Hall, Bethnal Green, and broadcast live across BT Sport and BoxNation; initially slated for a February 10th date at the Copper Box Arena, the card suffered a setback when headliner Zolani Tete had to withdraw from his WBO Bantamweight defence against Omar Narvaez following an injury to his leg and, then, Bradley Skeete’s opponent withdrew, resulting in us here on the 24th!
That’s the pre-preview complexities done with and now onto the so-called Untouchables of which Anthony Yarde, Daniel Dubois and Zelfa Barrett are touted as – realistically only Yarde and Dubois can lay some claim to such a title but, nonetheless, let’s take a look at the stacked card of action coming our way;
Anthony Yarde has the honour of headlining for the first time in his career and will be facing off against, Frenchman, Tony Averlant in a defence of his WBO European and Inter-Continental titles that he’s held since last year.
Having moved up to Number 3 in the WBO rankings and Number 7 within the IBF, Yarde has captured the attention of the world and will be looking to make a statement in his 15th professional bout, will Averlant be the 13th consecutive Yarde opponent to be stopped within the distance?
Averlant brings with him, across the Thames, a 26-9-2 record with losses scattered all the way across his record – the most recent being in September 201D6 against Dominic Boesel for the WBA Continental and WBO Inter-Continental Light Heavyweight titles, but he’s fought at full European level twice before.
Two inches taller than Yarde, Averlant undoubtedly marks a drop in quality from Nikola Sjekloca – who was Yarde’s last victim, via fourth round TKO – but the Top 75 fighter brings his own unique set of challenges to the explosive power of Frank Warren’s hot prospect;
A left hand that can best be described as enthusiastic will be his main asset, Averlant will look to keep that in Yarde’s face as often as possible in order to disrupt his game-plan, countering it with repetitive right hand jabs. Should Averlant be able to put Yarde off his rhythm then the key will be to keep popping shots into his face as that’s the only way he’ll be able to scupper the expected outcome.
As for Yarde there is no secret that he’s one of the Warren fighters hotly tipped to go all the way and capture a world title within the next 18-24 months and it’s clear to see why given the attributes he possesses;
The muscular stature of the Hackney-born fighter is imposing with the tattooed physique of Yarde looking more reminiscent to that of a cruiserweight as opposed to light-heavy and his hand powers stands further testament to that statement – power personified, Yarde became the first man to stop Sjekloca and has shown no mercy throughout his career as exemplified in his fight with, the vastly underrated, Chris Hobbs back in May last year.
Power isn’t his only asset, however, with the footwork off The Beast being arguably his best skill and one which is far more useful than one-punch knockout power – it’s one thing to knockout an opponent but it’s another to out-skill and embarrass the man.
Should The Beast come through this fight unscathed then 2018 will be set up as a big year and surely the quality of opponent will take a significant step-up after this card – Frank Buglioni for the British title and Karo Murat for the European strap, are just two of the names in the mix.
Daniel Dubois is the next of Warren’s “Untouchables” in a Southern Area heavyweight defence against DL Jones – who’s last fight was a draw against, Dubois’ previous opponent, Dorian Darch – in a contest that provides a plateaued quality of opponent ahead of a calendar year that has promised opponents of constantly-increasing calibre.
Dubois has long drawn the scorn of critics hell-bent on dismissing the 20 year old as nothing but a hype job owing to the destructive nature in which he’s dispatched the six previous men to have entered the ring with him in the paid ranks.
Scuppered twice by last-minute withdrawals – David Howe withdrew from Dubois’ debut fight and an unbeaten Mexican did the same for Triple D’s first title fight for the WBC Youth Heavyweight title – but has still shown raw power despite the opposition.
When fighting Darch, Dubois matched Anthony Joshua’s performance TO THE SECOND by dispatching the Welshman after 51 seconds of the second round against a game, front-footed fighter.
In Jones he faces an unbeaten man looking to protect that 0 – a factor which always brings out extra grit in a fight – who should have won against Darch, but for a points deduction and a flash knockdown in the 2nd;
The Kent-based boxer looks impressive with a 6’5”, 245lbs (112kg) frame but, in spite of his size, lacks any significant power to trouble, even, journeyman such as Tomas Mrazek and Jiri Svacina – Dubois’, on the other hand, already has elite-level power.
46 rounds across his eight fights – all going the distance – has been evidence of Jones’ high work-rate which should be the key test for Dubois in attempting to break-down someone who’s gone eight rounds before and has strong stamina.
Frank Warren has already gone on record as being keen to get his protégé out again as soon as possible with an eye to getting him either on the 14th April World Title double-header at the O2 or the Selby-Warrington undercard on the 19th May.
For Dubois to attempt, at least, to silence his critics he will need to show more of his impeccable dynamism (he’s not called Dynamite for nothing) but, more specifically, his footwork that has impressed the likes of, former World Champion and GB Amateur coach, Richie Woodhall.
Having already imposed his right-hand jab to perfection and drawing comparisons with Lennox Lewis as a direct result, he’ll be looking to pop out the left-hook to effect more frequently at York Hall after punishing Darch with it last time out – all eyes are on Dubois with no-one really expecting Jones to cause an upset so the question is, just how good will Daniel look?
Our final in-depth preview takes a look at the third and final title fight on the bill as Zelfa Barrett battles it out with Ronnie Clarke for the IBF European Super Featherweight title with the winner of this 50-50 domestic dust-up securing a Top 15 world ranking as well as eeking their way closer to a challenge of Kenichi Ogawa’s short tenure as World Champion (unlikely but, hey, stranger things have happened).
Initially slated to face Ivan Ruiz Morote from Spain who is ranked around 350th in the world by BoxRec, the change in opponent means Zelfa Barrett now faces the most credible opponent of his 19 fight professional career.
Clarke, a former British title challenger, represents a whole new array of problems for Barrett who’s yet to be fully pushed to the limit and The Shark has already thought this year – making an outing against Dean Evans on the 3rd February – so is fully fight-fit and ready to launch an assault against Brown Flash’s perfect record.
Despite being 33 the best of Clarke is far from on the other side of the hill with, arguably, his best career performances coming in 2016 when he successfully beat Jordan McCorry for the Scottish Area super-featherweight title and narrowly lost to Martin Joseph Ward for the British version. Two years on and this is his first return to title level but his performances have been convincingly consistent to warrant such a match-up.
Typically a defensive fighter, the Scotsman is a rugged boxer who’s hard to break down so could test Barrett by taking him into the championship rounds – let’s not forget that Barrett has only gone 10 rounds once so is still a relative novice over that distance.
Having said that, Clarke is the first and, so far, only opponent to have dropped Ward in thanks to a scintillating over-head left-hand which goes to prove he’s by no means a one trick pony and if Zelfa decides to take his foot of the gas then, boy, he could be in for 10 rounds of hell.
For Barrett, then, the key is to stick to his basics – work the jab and not let his opposite man settle into any sort of rhythm. Against Chris Conwell last year, for the English title, Barrett was at his most impressive when he was oozing with confidence and able to be light on his feet, working that ramrod left hand into the body and head of the 31 year old whilst remaining fluid enough with his movement to avoid getting tagged.
Boxing at range is what he’s best at so it would be dangerous to get involved into a phone-box fight where he could, unnecessarily, be dragged into danger. Range can often be mistaken for a sign of timidity but for Barrett it allows him to dictate the pace of the fight whilst unloading his stinging left hand hook into the ribcage of his opponent.
Although initially I said this was a 50-50 fight, if you’re going to lean towards someone then it should be Barrett because, on his day, he is easily the best super-featherweight in Britain and to have such a unique combination of lucidity, defensive awareness yet powerful precision and explosive movement ensures a very successful career for the young man – on the proviso, of course, that he comes through this testing bout.
Also on the card; heavyweight Nathan Gorman looks to move to 12-0 following his win over Mo Soltby for the WBC International Silver title back in November whilst Boy Jones Jr (14-1-1) looks to make it four wins on the trot following his loss to Craig Poxton for the Southern Area Super Featherweight title back in February; Archie Sharp continues his ascent of the same weight division by attempting to move 12 and 0 with Ryan “The Piranha” Garner looking to go 7 without defeat in the paid ranks, also in the Super-Featherweight catergory. Umar Sadiq, Harvey Horn and Hamzah Sheeraz are all taking part in their second professional fights at York Hall and will seek to round of a successful night for Frank Warren’s brightest stars.