MTK Golden Contract: Super Lightweight Preview
By Shaun Rye
The York Hall, Bethnal Green will once again provide the setting for the second installment of MTK Global’s Golden Contract tournament.
November 22nd will see eight super lightweight fighters face off in a bid to make it through to the semi-finals and move a step closer to securing ‘The Golden Contract’.
In this case the metaphorical ‘Carrot’ on offer for the tournament winner being a 2 year, five-fight contract with a top promoter and a guaranteed 6 figure purse for every fight.
The wily introduction of the way the draw is made (fighters only learn of their opponent on the Tuesday of fight week) an additional £5,000 bonus for a knockout win, with a bunch of enigmatic, ambitious boxers thrown in, means you have a concoction potent enough to satisfy even the most demanding of boxing fans.
How the draw will be made
1. Eight balls are placed in a bag; four blue (numbered 1-4) and four red (not numbered)
2. The eight fighters will each take their turn picking a ball from the bag.
3. Once all fighters have picked a ball, those who draw a blue ball will (in numerical order) choose who they wish to face from those who have drawn a red ball.
A look at the eight contenders and their prospective chances
The ‘Marmite’ fighter of the competition, the ‘Pantomime Villain’, the ‘Trash talker’. So many phrases conjured by the mere mention of his name amongst the boxing fraternity, but the simple fact is, he is a fighter who will draw attention. Someone the public are familiar with. Whether that’s more to do with the occasional irreverence with which he treats his opponents, I’m not sure but the recent fracas with Tyrone McKenna, captured by IFL TV has certainly intensified the attention on the forthcoming competition. ‘Not a bad marketing ploy at all’ the cynics will sneer.
In terms of boxing ability, Davies showed plenty of early promise and skill, however in his biggest tests he has been found wanting, losing emphatically against Josh Taylor where he was bamboozled to the point of not wishing to continue and being out-pointed in a somewhat insipid affair against Jack Catterall.
Since then he has tasted victory against Miguel Vasquez and will be looking to this competition to further substantiate his comeback credentials with a convincing win at The York Hall on November 22nd.
Anthony Yigit as to be considered as one of the main protagonists. The Swede is a former European champion who has also challenged for the IBF belt. His World title challenge was a bruising, brutal encounter which saw him succumb to the powerful Belarussian Ivan Baranchyk in round 7 after a brave effort.
That is the only defeat of his career to date and few would bet against him finishing the tournament with only that one blemish on his record. His vast experience will be key in a venue like The York Hall, which-at it’s full capacity-is renowned for its intimate, cauldron-like atmosphere, where raucous fans on the balcony feel within touching distance.
After two wins in Germany and a win at the York Hall in June of this year, Yigit will be eager to get back to facing a better class of opposition and this is the perfect platform to do it.
Another southpaw, a very rangy one at that. Standing at 6’1 McKenna is massive for the weight and is likely to have a reach and height advantage over all of his fellow quarter finalists. Whether that can be transferred into wins is another matter.
Some would argue that he hasn’t got the same resume as one or two of the favourites but if the Belfast man can utilise the aforementioned attributes then he can certainly be a danger.
Fascinating to see whether-given the opportunity-he picks Davies out after their simmering feud over the past few months.
This Twitter post from MTK Global suggests he will, with McKenna stating unequivocally that he hopes to get “Blue ball one, him to be red ball, me to pick him and knock him out”. Davies was more coy on his strategy, refusing to commit to his plan should he draw a blue ball.
Another unbeaten prospect and current IBF European Champion, former English Champion and was also WBC Youth World Champion. The skilful Gloucester fighter doesn’t lack confidence and has a good pedigree with 13 professional bouts to his name, beating the likes of Chris Jenkins and Freddy Kiwitt.
Ennis-Brown could have the makings of something special. He has elite level sparring with Josh Taylor, Lee Selby and also Luke Campbell. That’s some trio which will stand him in great stead for the competition and although it is early in his career, he won’t be fearing anyone. Expect him to make the last 4 barring a disastrous draw.
He may not be Kazakhstan’s favourite boxing son just yet but if his last performance is anything to go by, his country will have plenty more to celebrate. Turarov obliterated Mauro Godoy to secure the WBO inter-continental super lightweight title on an MTK Global event in his native country.
The general consensus is that Davies and McKenna will be among the leaders in the betting but Turarov won’t be far behind, largely because of his explosive power and knockout prowess. If he was to get a red ball, I would be hugely surprised if anyone would pick him voluntarily. He is one of those boxers that, given the format (only eight rounds) you would probably want to avoid. Some UK boxing fans may not be familiar with Turarov as he is not a regular here in the UK though did fight in Cardiff earlier this year and you can be assured that the other seven competitors will have an eye on him.
Formerly a welterweight, where he managed to pick up the European strap by beating Sam Eggington in Manchester. The ex-European Champion, nicknamed ‘The Problem’ will be hoping to prove just that for the other contenders as he aims to put the disappointment of his recent defeat to the evergreen Viktor Postol behind him.
With only an 8% knockout ratio, he won’t be the biggest puncher in the competition, but the Frenchman is a slick southpaw operator and shouldn’t be overlooked.
The competition is a mix of familiar fighters who have not quite hit the heights on the world stage and prospects who hope to do just that. Darren Surtees falls into the latter category. The unbeaten fighter from Thornley, County Durham has a healthy knockout record in his first 12 fights, with 8 coming inside the distance.
Having only fought for an area title so far, he will be in with far more experienced operators and you would expect that his opponents will fancy their chances, however this format can throw up the unlikeliest of heroes and Surtees may look to upset the narrative and go for a knockout bonus.
The clear outsider of the tournament. At only 21 years old this shouldn’t define the American’s career should he not be successful. Has operated at welterweight so should be interesting to see if he carries some power down. Has 16 wins with no defeats but no real scalps to this point. Would be a huge upset if he were to navigate his way to the final.