By Oliver McManus @OliverGMcManus
Ultimate Boxxer V takes place this coming Friday, back at the O2 Indigo, with the super welterweights heartily embracing the opportunity to take home a chunk of the £50,000 prize pot and the all important golden robe.
Here are the contenders:
Sean Robinson (9-0-1)
Entering the tournament as one of the more proven fighters, Robinson is a Southern Area super welterweight champion having taken the vacant belt with a win over Joshua Ejakpovi earlier this year. Since then he has drawn with John Brennan in the maiden defense of his belt but has jumped at the opportunity to get three names on his record in quick succession. The 23 year old is trained by Terry Steward and possesses a record of nine wins and one draw.
Lewis Syrett (6-0)
Robinson faces, Goodwin Boxing stablemate, Lewis Syrett in their quarter-final with his Tonbridge-based opponent making the drop down to 154lbs. The full-time builder has recently changed jobs to one far closer to him and switched back to Sevenoaks, his amateur club, to team up with Andy Knight. Syrett has been eager to get involved with Ultimate Boxxer since the middleweight tournament which Derick Osaze won and has emulated Osaze by sparring a number of amateurs in preparation.
Joshua Ejakpovi (12-1)
All roads lead to Sean Robinson, seemingly, with Ejakpovi in the opposite corner for Robinson’s Southern Area title victory in March. This will be Hollywood Josh’s first outing since that defeat – a tepid, tactical affair – and the Marleybone southpaw enters the tournament as the most experienced man in the bracket. The 33 year old, managed by Mickey Helliet, has boxed largely over four rounds with the exception for three of his thirteen bouts and has always gone about his work in a measured fashion. We could be in for more tactically condensed work or perhaps Ejakpovi will spring a surprise and have a scrap. Probably the former.
Kaan Hawes (5-1)
In the opposite corner will be a veteran of the Ultimate Boxxer format in Kaan Hawes; a man who looked to take his chances in the middleweight format in May. Hawes faced Kieron Conway, a firm pre-tournament favourite, in that first round and lost in game fashion but the Essex fighter returns to his natural weight class for his second bite at the Ultimate Boxxer cherry. The 33 year old took up the sport aged 25 after injuring his knee having been a promising footballer – will the Golden Robe be heading for the Hawes’ house?
Steven Donnelly (5-0)
A prestigious signing for the organisers of Ultimate Boxxer who have snaffled up their first Olympian and Steven Donnelly had his eyes set on golden glory from the moment the weight class was announced. The double Commonwealth Games bronze medallist (2014 – Welterweight, 2018 – Middleweight) has the pedigree on paper to walk the tournament but, as we have seen in previous incarnations, pedigree counts for nothing in this more gung-ho of tournaments. The 31 year old has adapted well to life as a professional with a flawless first five fights topped with a sumptuous left hook to sink his latest foe, Edwin Palacios.
Ish O’Connor (2-0)
The late replacement for this edition, there’s always one (or two, or three), and Ish O’Connor snapped up the opportunity to further his record from 2-0 to 5-0 in the space of one night. Ish is trained by Jamie Monk in Ipswich and is another fighter represented by Goodwin Boxing in their most represented field of fighters to date, his two wins have come against Paul Cummings and Jordan Grannum. Previous fight week entrant David Jamieson advanced to the second round before being defeated by eventual tournament winner Mikael Lawal, could it be an omen?
Lenny Fuller (6-0)
The ‘Main Man’ from Maidstone, Lenny Fuller has been flying the flag high for his hometown under the Joe Elfidh banner and, six fights in, gets another crack at the big time having been showcased by MTK in May. The 25 year old has spent more than half of his life involved in boxing, beginning when he was 12, before venturing into the unlicensed scene and has yet to encounter a hitch as a professional.
Obi Egbunike (4-0)
Our final competitor is Kingsley ‘Obi’ Egbunike who has looked perennially dangerous in each of his four professional outings. The 26 year old has been developed by Mark Prior as part of a growing stable of fighters and has the most outrageously vociferous support at every one of his contests. Their energy matches the work-rate of Obi who is relentless in the ring and has been consistently knocking on the knockout door – registering the first of his career in his latest bout. Guaranteed support, guaranteed energy and guaranteed explosivity.
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