Friday night at the Bolton Whites Hotel sees another MTK promoted card packed full of talent. IFL’s YouTube channel in the UK, and ESPN+ in the USA, are the places to see another busy bill.
There are two bill toppers, with a pair of WBO European titles on the line, both over ten rounds.
At Welterweight, Belfast’s Lewis Crocker (12-0, KO7) defends his 10st 7 belt for the first time, as he takes on continental opposition in Germany’s Deniz Ilbay (22-2, KO10).
24-year-old, Crocker is a real talent and will be looking for a statement win against Ilbay to further enhance his credentials.
‘The Croc’ has made steady enough progress thus far, and picked up the vacant belt he now owns in August 2020, impressively stopping Louis Greene in seven rounds, having the Kent man on the floor three times in the process.
Ilbay will represent a step up for Crocker, and the Cologne native is experienced and has 24 fights on his slate at just 26-years-old.
The German has held various lightly regarded belts, and is durable, and his only losses have come on the cards. Former world title challenger, Egidijus Kavaliauskas won every round of eight in April 2016, but Ilbay then won six on the spin before dropping a split decision to Jonathan Jose Eniz in March 2019.
He was last seen nine months later, knocking out Milos Janjanin inside a round.
Prediction: Crocker looks a talent, and he will get much needed rounds and experienced against Ilbay here I feel. After a start where he will attack, Crocker will eventually likely have to settle for a wide points win.
The vacant WBO European trinket is on offer at Lightweight, and Ireland’s Gary Cully (11-0, KO5) takes on Kazakhstan’s Viktor Kotochigov for the title.
Cully is 6ft 2 and massive for the weight, and is still very much learning in his early career.
This was illustrated in his last fight, where he went a scheduled eight rounds for the first time. He very nearly slipped up too, as Craig Woodruff dropped Cully in the fifth and had him hurt as the fight was heading for disaster. Cully survived and his early work won him the fight, getting his hand raised by just two points.
Kotochigov will represent a step up for Cully, but the Kazakh is coming off a defeat in his last outing. Maxi Hughes upset Kotochigov, who also was dropped during the contest as he shipped his WBC International belt.
Prediction: Although both were on the deck in their last fights, Cully was very careless, and was asking for trouble with his hands down against Woodruff.
Maxi Hughes is a better boxer than he is given credit for, and Kotochigov will learn from his errors. I think the Kazakh can wear Cully down after the halfway mark.
Isaac Lowe (20-0-3, KO6) has been accustomed to the bright lights of Las Vegas in his last three contests, all on Tyson Fury’s undercards, and he returns home here in a six round, cobweb shaker.
The Morecambe Featherweight takes on Jonny Phillips (5-6, KO2) over six rounds. Phillips has never previously been stopped, and Lowe should take the win comfortably on points.
At Welterweight, Bolton’s Sahir Iqbal (8-0, KO1) meets Liam Wells (7-1, KO2) over eight. The pair are well matched, but I lean towards Iqbal to take this one on the scorecards.
There are two debutants on the bill. At Super Middleweight, Jordan ‘The Wanderer’ Reynolds has a tricky assignment against ‘Camden Caretaker’ Robbie Chapman (6-6, KO2).
Chapman is durable and has taken decent talent rounds, so it’s likely that Reynolds will need the six round distance here.
At Middleweight, Carl Fail, who was on the Team GB squad, and is a former ABA champion, makes his pro bow against Jordan Dujon (4-0, KO0). Again, it looks like one that will need all six rounds, with Northampton’s Fail emerging as the victor.
At Lightweight, Mace Ruegg (3-0, KO0) may very well score an inside the distance win in his scheduled six rounder with the experienced Johnson Tellez (10-55-5, KO7).