After the cancellation of this ridiculously stacked card in October, Frank Warren was handed a lesser – but still hurtful – blow this week, when Ahmet Patterson was forced to withdraw from his headlining clash with home favourite Liam Williams and also Billy Joe Saunders’ WBO middleweight title clash put back to December 3rd.
The British Super Welterweight scrap was set to crown the best British fighter at domestic level, but an attack this week while out running has left Patterson unable to fight on Saturday night.
The disappointment however should not take away from what is still a great night of boxing.
However this weekend Terry Flanagan still makes a defence of his WBO crown, Tommy Langford fights for the vacant British title with Sam Sheedy, and there is a third instalment of the Thomas Stalker and Craig Evans saga.
Flanagan 31-0(12KO’s) is desperately waiting on a defining night as WBO Lightweight champion, and it may not be far away, with Mikey Garcia and Vasyl Lomachenko seemingly names that could come calling.
For now, he must settle with former Featherweight world title challenger Orlando Cruz 25-4-1(13KO’s).
Cruz is the first openly gay boxer, but he will want to make his name recognisable to boxing fans for his in-the-ring triumphs, and he can certainly do that if he manages to unseat Flanagan.
But he has suffered three stoppage loses as a Featherweight, and he comes in as a significantly shorter man.
Terry is without a stoppage this year, and fell short of expectations when he was projected to walk through Mzonke Fana in July. Anything less than a knockout win against Cruz would be a huge disappointment.
Flanagan should take this year’s frustrations out and do exactly that, inside 9 rounds.
Tommy Langford 17-0(6KO’s) could steal the show, but Sam Sheedy 17-1(4KO’s) could steal the Lonsdale belt from Langford’s grasp in an enthralling contest.
The vacant British Middleweight title is on the line, and both boxers are coming into the contest in top form.
This should be a battle of unbeaten fighters considering Sheedy was extremely unfortunate to come out with a defeat in a 2015 match-up with Navid Mansouri, a 10 -rounder he seemingly dominated.
But Andrew Robinson may also dispute that fact after losing a split decision in July, and ‘D’Animal’ certainly believes he should be in the opposite corner to Langford after Chris Eubank Jr pulled out of their original contest.
Sheedy is an extremely awkward customer, but came under heavy pressure in the second half of his contest with Robinson. In a 12-rounder there would have been very few to argue that Robinson would have come out on top.
Langford will take note of that, and while he drops to an early deficit, he can rally back, winning the contest by 3 or 4 rounds on the cards.
Thomas Stalker 11-1-3(2KO’s) and Craig Evans 15-1-2(3KO’s) will be hoping to find a definitive result in their series of fights, following back-to-back draws last year.
The pair just seem destined for another close contest, but one must hope that it is less scrappy than the previous two.
Both are unorthodox boxers, but something must give in the trilogy. The pick is for the home crowd to roar Evans over the line and through to a narrow victory, that may leave Stalker calling for a fourth crack.
24 hours prior Frank Warren will be busy keeping a close eye in Essex as Bradley Skeete 24-1(11KO’s) matches up with Scotland’s John Thain 16-2(1KO).
Skeete makes the first defence of his British Welterweight title won against Sam Eggington in convincing fashion this March.
Thain meanwhile, moves down a division, having put together a good run of wins following back-to-back defeats against Ronnie Heffron and Kris Carslaw.
Thain is a good boxer, but he should be no match for the slickness of Skeete, who can emerge as a wide points victor.
Also on the card, the aforementioned Andrew Robinson 18-2(6KO’s) will hope to set up a match with the winner of Saturday’s British Middleweight contest.
But to close in on the victor, he must dethrone Lee Markham 16-3-1(7KO’s) of his English Middleweight belt.
Markham won the belt on points vs. Joe Mullender in May, but has lost previously to both Jahmaine Smyle and Luke Blackledge – both on points. While arguably his best result to date came when he drew with Frank Buglioni.
Robinson is also familiar with Buglioni, having been handed his first defeat in a belter over 10 rounds.
Robinson will be hoping that the 10-round distance will not be a hindrance again – as it has been in both his defeats as a pro. Robinson often starts contests slow, but is a hard man to dishearten when he has momentum behind him.
A natural Middleweight, Markham may not be able to keep the bigger Robinson at bay, either succumbing to a late stoppage or losing narrowly on points.