It has taken British boxing a while to get back to its feet after the unavoidable disturbance caused by the recent global pandemic but this week, we finally get to witness the first instalment of Matchroom’s ‘Fight Camp’ series.
‘Fight Camp’ will be held in a purpose-built bubble that has been constructed on the grounds of the Matchroom HQ in Essex. Promoter Eddie Hearn has never been a man to do things by half measures and he has invested millions into building what looks to be a game changing concept. This weekend is the first of four consecutive fight cards in August and finally boxing fans in the UK have something to get excited about.
Sam ‘The Savage’ Eggington and Ted Cheeseman headline this first card and both men desperately need a win to find some momentum as they continue to navigate themselves through the highly competitive 154lb light middleweight division.
Eggington has put four wins together since his stoppage defeat to Liam Smith in 2019, including an impressive second round stoppage in Italy where he entered the ring as a sizeable underdog, but this will be his biggest test since that defeat.
‘The Savage’ is no stranger to losing with six defeats in his thirty-four professional fights but his ability to bounce back is extraordinary and when combined with his all action, fan friendly style he continues to be one of the most exciting fighters in the country.
At the beginning of 2019, Ted Cheeseman was undefeated in fifteen and was being fast tracked towards a world title. He unexpectedly ran into the unknown but skilful, Sergio Garcia and was beaten convincingly. Since then, he has failed to register a victory and needs a win here to remind everyone of his talent.
In the chief support, it is a clash between Ireland and Wales as ferocious punching James Tennyson takes on Gavin Gwynne for the British lightweight title. Tennyson challenged for a world title at super featherweight but was ultimately outclassed by Tevin Farmer over in America and subsequently moved up to lightweight. Since the move in weight division, he has knocked out all four opponents and looks much more comfortable.
Gwynne is a step up in class for Tennyson at lightweight and he enhanced his reputation when he pushed highly touted Joe Cordina all the way to the judges’ scorecards. But, with just two stoppages on his record, he may struggle to get the respect James Tennyson and the Irishman will be looking to add another stoppage to his record.
Perhaps the most evenly matched contest on the card is between Jordan Gill and Reece Belotti in the featherweight division. A couple of years ago, both men were undefeated and seemingly on a collision course to clash as undefeated prospects. Ultimately, things didn’t go to plan and they now meet after embarking on respective rebuilding missions.
Gill is the more well-rounded of the two but Belotti carries equalising power and will know a win here is imperative for his future career. On paper, this seems like a classic puncher vs boxer matchup and with Gill starting as the favourite, he should have enough ability to use his superior boxing IQ and win this one the judges scorecards.
Two young prospects also feature this weekend, in the first competitive fights of their careers. Heavyweight sensation Fabio Wardley, who is managed by Dillian Whyte, takes on the unpredictable Simon Valilly for the English Title in what could be fight of the night.
Wardley has plenty of admirers in the boxing world but this is a big step up and if Valilly turns up in the right frame of mind, he could cause some problems for the young prospect.
Former Team GB member, Dalton Smith, rounds off the card in an eight rounder against Nathan Bennett. Smith is highly regarded and has not put a foot wrong since turning professional in 2019 and although this is the most competitive fight of his career, to date, he should come through in impressive fashion once again.
RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
Jordan Gill to win by decision. 2pts @ 21/20 with starsports.bet
James Tennyson to win between rounds 7-9. 1pt @ 11/2 with starsports.bet
Eggington and Cheeseman fight to go the distance. 1.5 pts @ 11/10 with starsports.bet
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(Excluding Cheltenham 2021 antepost, Six Nations Outright, Six Nations Specials)