A Closer Look At The Upcoming Matchroom Shows
By Michael Joyce
Recently we have seen the announcements for five Matchroom shows set to take place over the first quarter of 2021.
A welcome return of boxing to our screens following the British Boxing Board of Control’s decision that no shows were to take place throughout January due to the ongoing pandemic.
World championship fights, 50/50 match ups and debuts are all set to feature in the series of shows.
Week one sees the return of Josh Warrington, facing off against the Mexican Mauricio Lara. The original plan for the fight was to be a title unification against Xu Can, since then, Warrington has vacated his IBF title but must now deal with Lara before setting up bigger fights further down the line in 2021.
David Avanesyan v Josh Kelly: Arguably the most anticipated main event of the bunch has been delayed multiple times between the two welterweight prospects which promises to be a great showdown. With the European welterweight title at stake it sets the winner up for a lofty position in the world rankings.
Will it be revenge or repeat in Alexander Povetkin v Dillian Whyte 2 following the shock knockout in their first contest? This is a must win for Whyte who needs to get himself back in the mix at the top of the heavyweight division.
Former Team GB Olympian Lawrence Okolie can become a world champion in just his 16th professional fight against a battle hardened fighter in Krzystof Glowacki in a fight that was delayed from last year.
Conor Benn headlines the final show, looking to showcase further improvements against seasoned veteran Samuel Vargas and potentially set up an all British showdown with Josh Kelly – should both be victorious.
James Metcalf v Ted Cheeseman (British super-welterweight title)
A true 50/50 contest for the vacant British super-welterweight title. Cheeseman who never seems to be in a dull fight, with his come forward style is back in action after his British fight of the year candidate in 2020 against Sam Eggington.
Undefeated Metcalf blasted his only 2020 opponent out inside a round and the common perception here is that he has the all round better boxing skills of the two. This has all the ingredients for a British title fight classic with both fighters who like to come forward.
Fabio Wardley v Eric Molina (heavyweight)
Wardley had a breakout year in 2020, impressively stopping both Simon Vallily and Richard Lartey in the early stages of both fights.
Molina however, is a former world title challenger and has competed against some of bigger names in the division so could present a step up in class despite just over a year of inactivity. It will be interesting to see if the fast rising Wardley can continue to impress against an opponent who has competed at world level.
Florian Marku v Rylan Charlton (welterweight)
This promises to be an all action affair as soon the first bell rings. Popular Albanian Marku was very unlucky not to be given the nod in his Matchroom debut in December, the contest was ruled a draw, with a few eyebrows being raised when the verdict was announced.
Charlton looked impressive when he upset the apple cart by stopping Joe Laws in the third round back in October. The styles should gel perfectly and will surely be entertaining for as long as it lasts.
Chris Billam-Smith v Deion Jumah (British cruiserweight title)
Hard hitting Billam-Smith – one of the fastest rising prospects in the country takes on Deion Jumah for the vacant British cruiserweight strap.
An intriguing contest, undefeated Jumah has victories over Sam Hyde and Waidi Camacho domestically and will be looking to announce himself to a wider audience with a victory here. Should Billam-Smith emerge victorious he will be looking at continuing his march towards European honours.
Savannah Marshall’s return: Although the opponent is yet to be announced, fans should be looking forward the WBO middleweight champions return. Marshall had one the finest displays by a British boxer in 2020. With a great skill set and knockout power, the “Silent Assassin” will look to send a statement to rival Claressa Shields, hopefully setting up a fight between the two before the year ends.
Rachel Ball v Shannon Courtenay 2 (WBA bantamweight Title)
A rematch following a narrow points decision in 2020 where Ball got the nod, a knockdown in the first round being the deciding factor.
This rivalry is set to continue with the bonus of a world title awaiting the winner. You are likely to see much of the same with Courtenay having to work her way on the inside to land her power shots, whilst Ball using her physical advantages and boxing at range. Expect another close encounter.
Chantelle Cameron makes the first defence of her WBC super-lightweight crown. Cameron simply had too much skill and ability when winning her world title on points last year. Making a first defence against Melissa Hernandez, Cameron will be looking for a repeat dominant performance in the hope of tempting Katie Taylor into a showdown for later in the year.
Anthony Fowler continues his climb back up the rankings, the Liverpool fighter looked like he had made improvements under the tutelage of Shane McGuigan in his last outing during Fight Camp back in the summer.
Fowler will be hoping to make a statement, keeping on the heels of his rivals in the red hot domestic super-welterweight scene.
With other bouts sure to be announced in the weeks ahead, hopefully the schedule can stay the course as Matchroom look set to start 2021 in a big way.