In a stacked card at the Copper Box Arena, a 10 rounder between Isaac Chamberlain and Luke Watkins stands out as the highlight of the night.
The two Cruiserweights have defeats to Lawrence Okolie on their records – Chamberlain on points and Watkins inside 3 rounds. But their respective styles should gel better with one another in this contest.
Watkins 13-1(9KO’s) has the better experience coming into this bout as the former Commonwealth champion, but it is Chamberlain who learnt the most from his defeat to Okolie.
Chamberlain 9-1(4KO’s) will believe he can find Watkins with the same shots that felled the Wiltshire man against Okolie. That belief should inspire an explosive start that will be a theme of the fight.
Watkins can survive an early knockdown, to see out the full 10 rounds, but despite losing some of his early lead, Chamberlain will comfortably win on the cards.
It is a huge opportunity for the enigmatic Asinia Byfield to announce himself on the big stage when he meets the touted Ted Cheeseman for the vacant British Super Welterweight crown.
Byfield 14-1(6KO’s) had too much of everything for Sammy McNess (W TKO 5) in a battle of London last year, but has not fought in over 12 months.
Cheeseman 14-0(9KO’s) is on a roll and will be full of confidence following wins over Carson Jones (W UD 10) and Paul Upton (W TKO 4).
Byfield brings the flair, but Cheeseman is technically the better and hits the harder too. Byfield is competitive early on, but past 5 rounds Cheeseman takes the initiative. Byfield’s ability to counter quickly when in danger makes this is a fun one, with Cheeseman taking the decision.
Ryan Doyle’s stunning upset of Reece Bellotti (W TKO 5) in June sees him defend the Commonwealth Featherweight title he won that night against another unbeaten prospect.
This time it is the swift Jordan Gill 21-0(5KO’s) who takes the step up against the hardened and determined Doyle 17-2-1(9KO’s).
On paper this should be a thrilling fight, but while Bellotti’s willingness to engage suited Doyle down to the ground, Gill’s quick hands and feet should prove a nightmare match-up for the champion.
Doyle remains competitive, but Gill takes the belt away from him on points.
Popular John Ryder takes up the main event spot, and the experienced Londoner is yet again tasked with a tall order.
Having already been around the block with the likes of Billy Joe Saunders (L UD 12), Jez Wilson (W TKO 9), Nick Blackwell (L TKO 7), Jack Arnfield (L UD 12), Adam Etches (W UD 12), Rocky Fielding (L SD 12), Patrick Nielson (W KO 5) and Jamie Cox (W KO 2).
His four most recent fights have shown great improvement from Ryder, showing he is capable of producing his very best in the big fights.
Russian opponent Andrey Sirotkin 15-0(4KO’s) has been handled well and comes in as a highly rated fighter with many of the world governing bodies, and comes in with great confidence ahead of his WBA title eliminator.
Ryder 26-4(14KO’s) must be at his best to win this one, but Sirotkin looks like he could be a serious player on the Super Middleweight title scene in a few years’ time and takes a deserved narrow win on points.