The Ultimate Boxxer 2: Shakan Pitters Shines
By Henry Walter
A hidden gem was uncovered by the second edition of Ultimate Boxxer in the early hours of Saturday morning. Unbeaten, but previously untested, light-heavyweight Shakan Pitters stormed to victory with a unanimous decision over a very game Dec Spelman in the tournament final.
Pitters’ win sees him move into double figures with a now 10-0 resumé (3 KOs). Spelman falls to 14-2 (8 KOs).
The victory sees the talented Pitters crowned the Ultimate Boxxer 2 Champion and has placed him firmly into the domestic light-heavyweight mix.
Pitters started the fight aggressively and immediately showcased his hand speed. A fast right hand to the body saw Pitters secure an early knockdown and his confidence, already high, seemed to increase even further.
Pitters used his excellent footwork, coupled with an accurate jab and fast hands to dominate the second round and Spelman finished the round looking bloodied and thoroughly discouraged.
To his credit Spelman came out strong in the third round and produced his best work. Still struggling to cope with Pitters’s height and reach advantage, Spelman used educated pressure to force Pitters into the ropes over and over, forcing him to showcase an impressive defence.
Spelman’s determination saw him scrape a close third but over the course of the fight he had been largely outboxed. The final scores were 30-26, 30-26 and 29-27 in Pitters’ favour. I scored it 29-27 for Pitters.
Pitters had made the final by destroying the brave Georgii Bacon in two rounds in the second of the semi-final matches. Pitters dominated the first round before flooring Bacon twice with spiteful left hooks to the body in the second. Bacon couldn’t beat the count after the second knockdown and fell to 2-2 (1 KO).
The first semi-final had seen Spelman earn a debatable decision win over Joel McIntyre, who fell to 18-3 (3 KOs). The first round was devoid of action as both men tried to counterpunch with neither wanting to lead.
The two livened up in the second after a stern talking to by the referee and both tasted the canvas in an exciting second stanza. McIntyre then seemed to edge a close third round with his sharp jab and stinging left hooks and looked to have done enough to win.
The decision went to Spelman and he progressed into the final having already taken a lot of punishment throughout the night.
The last of the quarter-final matches was also slightly blighted by a questionable decision as Georgii Bacon took a split decision verdict over Jordan Joseph.
Bacon scored a flash knockdown early in the first but Joseph got revenge with his own knockdown late in the round, courtesy of a hard right hand counter.
They both landed eye-catching punches in the second but Joseph did enough to win a close round.
The third saw Bacon continuously press forward in an aggressive but clumsy manner. His poor defence coupled with Joseph’s higher quality work seemed to cost him the round.
I scored the fight 29-27 in favour of Joseph but the official decision went to Spelman with one judge bizarrely giving him a perfect 30/30 score despite him being knocked down in the first.
The third quarter-final saw the very impressive tournament debut of the eventual champion Shakkan Pitters.
Pitters used his height and reach advantages to good effect over Sam Smith, now 5-2 (1 KOs). Pitters has brilliant footwork, especially for such a big man. His slick style coupled with his fast reflexes and rapid punches enabled him to dominate the first round.
He managed a knockdown of Smith in the second with a lightning fast straight right hand but got a little sloppy trying to force the knockout afterwards and was tagged hard by Smith on a couple of occasions.
Pitters won the third round fairly easily and advanced to the semi-finals as the man to beat courtesy of his opening showing.
The second quarter-final finished brutally as Dec Spelman opened his account for the night with a second round KO win over Sam Horsfall, now 2-1 (1 KO).
Spelman took the first round with his textbook left hooks. In the second he put Horsfall down but Horsfall refused to give up and showed tremendous bravery to storm back, hurting Spelman who briefly staggered.
Sadly Horsfall was knocked out for his bravery shortly afterwards when Spelman landed another perfect left hook flush sending him to the canvas. Horsfall remained down for some time and received oxygen before regaining his feet.
The opening bout of the night saw a decent first quarter-final between Joel McIntyre and Darrell Church. Church started the fight strongly before being dropped heavily with a knockdown that seemed to come from nowhere.
In the second Church used his jab to good effect but allowed himself to be bullied by the more experienced McIntyre. In the end McIntyre won at a canter and the three scores of 30-26 reflected this.
Shortly before the final a four rounder between former Love Island contestant Idris Virgo and Vaidas Balciauskas took place and allowed Virgo to improve his record to 3-0 (0 KOs) with an easy win. Virgo showed decent movement and punch variation but little power on route to a wide decision where he took every round.
The Ultimate Boxxer event ultimately proved to be a huge success and produced extremely exciting fights. It will be fascinating to see how far tournament winner Pitters can go.