Yarde and DuBois Win In England
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.
The Untouchables Preview: Yarde vs. Averlant and Dubois vs. Jones
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.