There’s a marathon card at Arena Birmingham this Saturday, as Frank Warren promotes “Midlands Mayhem” in the Second City.
BT Sport in the UK, and Top Rank/ESPN are the broadcasters in the UK and USA.
It’s a real bumper bill, and the most significant fight sees the return of “Tete Time”. South African WBO Bantamweight champion, Zolani Tete (28-3, KO21) returns from a 13 month layoff to make a fourth defence of the belt he won in Leicester in April 2017. Tete is also a former IBF super flyweight champion, and came to UK prominence in hammering Ellesmere Port’s Paul Butler to a one sided eight round defeat in a defence in Liverpool in 2015. He won the interim title in the East Midlands, and was then upgraded, and he then stopped Siboniso Gonya in just eleven seconds in Belfast in November 2017. He defended on points against Omar Narvaez, and then entered the World Boxing Super Series. He won his quarter final match against Mikhail Aloyan, but then injury prevented him from taking his last four place against Nonito Doniare.
He looks to get back on track against Filipino John Riel Casimero (28-4, KO19) in Birmingham. After failed world title attempts at light flyweight and flyweight, Casimero won the IBF flyweight crown with a rematch fourth round knockout of Amnat Ruenroeng in May 2016, after losing a gruelling points verdict a year previously. He defended with a tenth round stoppage of Charlie Edwards, but then moved up and suffered a shock loss to the then 13-3 Jonas Sultan in September 2017. Since then he has won four on the bounce, and is the current interim WBO champion. He was last seen knocking out Cesar Ramirez in ten rounds in August in his native Phillipines.
Prediction: Tete has grown and grown in stature since moving up the weights, and his reputation has grown as a result. He possesses knockout power in each hand, and Casimero will need to be on his mettle early on. If the Filipino can weather an early storm, it should be a simple Tete points win.
There is British title action aplenty on the bill, and another man returning from a lay off puts his Lonsdale Belt on the line.
Ibstock, Leicestershire’s, super bantamweight champion, Sam Bowen (15-0, KO11) returns after eight months out to defend for the second time against Belfast’s Anthony Cacace (17-1, KO7).
Bowen has overcome Sciatica, and has now given up his day job of manual labour at Caterpillar in the city to fully focus on his career. Bowen won the belt in April last year, stopping Maxi Hughes for the vacant title. He won a WBO fringe belt, before defending the British in a wild affair with the teak tough Scot, Jordy McCorry in nine in Leicester back in March.
Bowen and Cacace were slated to meet in London, then in Belfast, but the fight finally lands on this bill. “Apache” Cacace has been patiently waiting for his shot, and has only one professional defeat, a July 2017 close points loss to Martin J Ward in a challenge for British and Commonwealth crowns. He has won two straight since, last boxing at the O2 in London in February with a points win against Alan Isaias Luques Castillo over eight.
Prediction: This is a real intriguing fight with both men having strong credentials for victory. Carl Frampton has described Cacace as the hardest puncher he has ever sparred with, and Bowen will need to negate this early. Bowen has good movement and a decent skillset, and I favour him to come through on close scorecards.
The vacant British super middleweight title is also on the menu, with Lerrone Richards (12-0, KO3), taking on Halesowen’s Lennox Clarke (19-0-1, KO7) for the prestigious belt.
Richards is rising fast, and last time out he claimed the vacant Commonwealth and WBO International belts with an eye catching points win against Tommy Langford at Wembley Arena in April. He had previously held the WBO European title.
Clarke has fought almost exclusively in the Midlands, and his only setback came in an eight round draw with Czech import Karel Horejsek, then 8-7-1 in May 2017. Clarke was badly cut during the fight. He also holds a points win against Jahmaine Smyle, and his only 2019 appearance came in September in a four round points win against Darryl Sharp.
Prediction: Richards has slightly more seasoning than Clarke, but the two are well matched. I lean towards Richards to take a close points verdict.
The third of the British title bouts takes place at Welterweight, where Chris Jenkins (22-3-2, KO8) defends against his mandatory challenger in Lancashire’s Liam Taylor (21-1, KO10). Jenkins’ Commonwealth belt is also on the line.
Welshman Jenkins won the belt at the third attempt in March, with an impressive points scalp of Johnny Garton, but was fortunate to retain in August in Belfast, when a cut ruled him out against Paddy Gallagher in nine rounds. Jenkins was down in the sixth, but managed to keep the title with a contentious points win, with the cut caused by an accidental head butt.
Taylor has only one blemish on his record, an April 2015 points reverse to Tyrone Nurse after being knocked down. “Dynamo” has since avenged this, winning a tight split decision against the Huddersfield man in May last year in what was an eliminator for the belt at stake. Last time out in May, Taylor won every round of a six round workout with Edvinas Puplauskas in Manchester.
Prediction: Jenkins was fortunate last time out, and the ten stone seven belt has become a hot potato in recent times. Taylor has only really stepped up against a fading Tyrone Nurse, however, I feel that Jenkins is far more experienced at this level. Jenkins can retain via late stoppage here.
Someones ‘0’ has got to go at super lightweight. Sam Maxwell (12-0, KO10) defends his WBO European title against Derbyshire’s Connor Parker (12-0, KO1).
A decorated amateur, Liverpool’s Maxwell has mixed it with the likes of Vasyl Lomachenko in the unpaid code. He very nearly came unstuck in the pro’s in Leicester back in March, when Sabri Sediri snatched defeat from the jaws of victry. Maxwell was down twice, and on the way to a heavy points defeat, before Sediri decided to showboat in the final round, and was wiped out with less than 20 seconds remaining. He last appeared in July, knocking out the limited Oscar Amador in two rounds.
Parker doesn’t carry much power, with only one stoppage win on his slate. This came in his win for the vacant Midlands title in September last year, forcing Kevin Hooper to retire after five rounds. Parker has won four straight since, all against journeyman type opposition.
Prediction: Maxwell should have too much for Parker, despite Connor being unbeaten. He can force a stoppage sometime after halfway here.
Rising talents Shabaz Masoud (6-0, KO1) and Dennis McCann (4-0, KO3) also feature on the card.