By Oliver McManus @OlvierGMcManus
The Altrincham Ice Arena plays host to the latest installment of Ultimate Boxxer – fourth in all – as eight cruiserweights compete for the top prize of £16,000 and a lovely satin Golden Robe. Here’s a short and snappy glance at those taking part.
Mikael Lawal (9-0)
Tipped by many to be the eventual winner of this tournament, Lawal is no stranger to a big stage having competed on various World Boxing Super Series shows. Six of his fights have finished inside the distance and the 24 year old has really hit a stride with his strength in the two years since his debut with a clinical nastiness about him. A counter could be made that due to the relentless nature of his workrate he could blow hot and cold as the bouts wear on. He’ll face Antony Woolery (1-1) in the first round.
Antony Woolery (1-1)
Brought into the tournament in a change to the announced line-up, Wolverhampton’s Woolery is eager to make up for lost time and bad luck: starting off with a tough fight against Lawal. His last fight was a routine rout of Remigijus Ziausys (40-36, in June 2018) but the 34 year old has struggled with, firstly, a calf niggle and then a broken shoulder in the months following. Now with a serious chance to fast-track his progress there will be no lack of hunger from Woolery but it’s hard to see him scampering past the first round.
Tony Conquest (18-3)
The most experienced man in the field, by some margin, Conquest enters the tournament off the back of a 7th round KO loss to Fabio Turchi in November. A series of noteworthy wins precede that, however, stretching back to his time as Southern Area champion some eight years ago. The level headed fighter was forced into a two year absence between the end of 2015 and 2017 but still has plenty to offer, certainly, with his wiley ringcraft. He faces Rhasian Earlington (5-0) in the first round.
Rhasian Earlington (5-0)
In contrast to Conquest, the second oldest in the tournament, Earlington is the youngest at a tender 21 but he’s actually been around as a professional for just over two years. His debut came in June 2017 and he’s racked up a series of no-nonsense wins since. Against Taha Mirhosseini he was able to finish the fight within the first round but that’s the only stoppage on his record. Instead you imagine it will be Earlington who looks to box the most in the tournament as opposed to search for a knockout. A good match-up, then, between him and Tony Conquest who are both good tactitions and it’ll be intriguing to see who gets the better.
Damian Chambers (7-0)
My personal pick to take the win, Dukinfeild’s Chambers is another fighter who debut in 2017 and he’s built up a significant run of momentum since. The Matt Hatton fighter is probably the hardest hitter in the field and his four first round knockouts, all against bogeyman journeyman, are a testament to that. The 30 year old seems to have gone under the radar domestically but he’s creeping up on titles and an explosive performance on Friday night could just do the trick. He faces Matt Sen (5-0) in the first round.
Matt Sen (5-1)
‘Slugger’ Sen and Damian Chambers is the ideal fight for neutrals wanting a tear-up because both guys absolutely love ‘having a fight’. Sen, 32 years of age, was a former bodybuilder and you can see that in his muscular physique but it’s not just for show with genuine power in his punches. The West Midlands man won a ‘challenge’ belt last July with an impressive knockout over Josh Burke but lost his unbeaten record a fight later, to Taha Mirhosseini. He won’t be taking a backwards step, you can be sure of that.
Dan Cooper (7-0-1)
Cooper’s career is rather lopsided having began in 2016 and getting four fights out of his system within eight months; he’s had just four more in the following 31 months. Indeed the Ruskington fighter hasn’t been in the ring since a 40-35 win over Imantas Davidaitis in February 2018. What better way to exorcise those frustrations than potentially rattling three fights off in one night? Another fighter who, you suspect, will be more tactical in their approach but in these modified format really anything is possible. Don’t write him off just because of his inactivity, that would be a fool’s move. He’ll face David Jamieson (4-0) in the first round.
David Jamieson (4-0)
The latest of late replacements to the extent that Ultimate Boxxer are unwilling to confirm he’s actually involved. Nonetheless Jamieson has been making some noise since turning professional and has probably going to be the loosest, more rhythmic, of fighters on the night. He’s had four fight since September and three of them have ended inside the distance; the only one that didn’t was against Miles Willington, a heavyweight. A very solid outside bet to win the tournament.
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