This Friday night sees the semi finals of both the Super Lightweight and Featherweight MTK Golden Contract tournaments, as the race for a lucrative contract with the promotional outfit intensifies.
The action comes live from the York Hall in Bethnal Green, with Sky Sports the place to see the drama unfold in the UK.
The final four line ups were determined by the boxer that picked out the “Golden Ball” in the draw, who was then allowed to pick his opponent.
Ohara Davies picked out the Golden Ball in the ten stone event, while Ryan Walsh was the recipient in the Super Featherweight edition.
Super Lightweight Semi Finals:
Ohara Davies (20-2, KO15) v Jeff Ofori (10-1-1, KO3)
The ever colourful Ohara Davies took the option to save a potential meeting with rival Tyrone McKenna for another day, by choosing Jeff Ofori as his last four opponent.
Prior to his quarter final meeting with Logan Yoon, Davies’ previous two performances were lacklustre to say the very least.
In October 2018 he was involved in a stinker in Leicester, in a points defeat to Jack Catterall.
He was then very fortunate to win on his return from that showing, when gifted a three point win against former Lightweight World champion, Miguel Vazquez in June last year, with many ringside and television observers clearly scoring a win for the visitor.
Davies turned in a much better showing in his encounter with Yoon though, returning to form with a dominant win, forcing the previously unbeaten American to retire at the end of the seventh round.
Former Southern Area champion, Jeff Ofori comes to York Hall on the back of the tightest of advancements in the tournament.
His match with Kieran Gething was a three way split draw officially, but, to split the two boxers a fourth verdict was needed from the referee, who awarded the contest to Ofori.
The 29-year-old, who is a construction site worker for the London underground, took the assignment at one week’s notice, after a late withdrawal gave him an opening into the competition.
Ofori had upset the previously unbeaten Gerard Carroll with an eight round points win, a week prior to his meeting with Gething.
Prediction: Davies is clear favourite in this one and for very good reason due to his superior professional pedigree compared to Ofori. Ohara can be heavy handed, but can also have a tendency to switch off at times. He should still have too much for Ofori, who I expect to come in fighting fit, but ultimately should be outgunned by ‘Two Tanks’ who should be able to stop ‘Jeffy’ in the later rounds.
Tyrone McKenna (20-1-1, KO6) v Mohamed Mimoune (22-3, KO3)
A final match up between Davies and McKenna is far from a foregone conclusion and Mohamed Mimoune will have a big say in the Irishman making the final at all.
The vacant WBC Silver belt will be on the line for the winner of this one.
Belfast man, McKenna enjoyed a dominant win over the limited Mikey Sakyi in his quarter final, winning every round on two scorecards. He also gave Jack Catterall all he could handle in a razor-thin points defeat back in June 2018 in his sole career loss.
Mimoune is a former European champion at Welterweight, as well as a former IBO champion at ten stone, and is a handful.
The slippery southpaw befuddled Sam Eggington on the way to a shock split decision back in October 2017, and advanced to the semi-final of the Golden Contract after overcoming a flash knockdown to impressively stop Darren Surtees in five rounds.
The Frenchman has one defeat in his last 12 appearances, with the talented former WBC champion, Viktor Postol widely outscoring him over ten in April last year.
Prediction: I’m going to go against the grain, and the dream final in this one, as I really rate Mimoune and feel he has the ideal skills to win the tournament, let alone this contest. I think it could be a really close fight here and may need extra judges, but I favour the awkward Frenchman to edge McKenna on the cards.
Featherweight Semi Finals:
Leigh Wood (23-1, KO13) v James “Jazza” Dickens (28-3, KO11)
In an example of how great these types of tournaments are, Leigh Wood v James “Jazza” Dickens has great fight written all over it for two quality operators.
Wood has really come into his own in the past year, first claiming the vacant Commonwealth belt with a second round knockout of Abraham Bonsu in Peterborough in March 2019 and then impressively defending it two months later at the Nottingham Arena with a tenth round stoppage of Ryan Doyle.
In his quarter-final match, he won the WBO European belt, as well as a nice £5000 bonus, with a ninth round stoppage of the previously unbeaten David Oliver Joyce and he comes into his last four match in supreme form.
The 31-year-old, who is managed by Dave Coldwell, has one career reverse a 2014 stoppage loss in a challenge for the British Super-Bantamweight title against Gavin McDonnell, in a chance that came too soon for him.
Dickens, 28, is also in career best form and the former British Super Bantamweight champion will be aiming to derail Wood’s plans for a final appearance.
The Liverpudlian, who is managed by former world Cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew has won his last six on the bounce after suffering back to back defeats in 2016/17.
He bravely challenged Cuban master Guillermo Rigondeaux for the WBA (Super) belt in July 2016 in Cardiff, but had his jaw broken and had to pull out after two rounds, he then lost his Lonsdale Belt to Thomas Patrick Ward after a technical decision after nine rounds, with Ward suffering a cut eye leaving him unable to continue.
Dickens has rebuilt, and after an impressive win against the Australian, Nathaniel May in July last year, he widely outscored Carlos Ramos to advance to the semi-finals after flooring the Spaniard in the fourth round.
Prediction: Wood really is on the crest of a wave and comes into this fight full of confidence. Although Dickens has rebuilt his career following two losses which were no disgrace, he does have weaknesses, especially to the body, that Wood can exploit. I can see body shots being a factor, and Wood has proven himself to be no slouch with work to the mid section. I think this could be fight of the night and I predict Wood will grind down Dickens for a stoppage win in the very late rounds.
Ryan Walsh (25-2-2, KO12) v Tyrone McCullagh (14-0, KO6)
The second semi-final and features a long-serving British champion, against a young and hungry, undefeated Irishman.
Ryan Walsh has held the Lonsdale Belt since September 2015 and is arguably one of Britain’s most under appreciated fighters. Cromer-based Walsh has made six successful defences of the coveted title, against good operators in James Tennyson (TKO5), Marco McCullough (TKO11), Isaac Lowe (Draw) and Reece Bellotti (Split decision) and the stylist is a match for most.
He reached the last four with a ninth round stoppage against Hairon Socarras.
29-year-old “White Chocolate” McCullagh safely negotiated the hurdle of Razaq Najib in his quarter-final and holds solid points wins over amateur star Joe Ham and Josh Kennedy in 2018. He has also held the WBO European belt at Super Bantamweight.
Prediction: Walsh is a criminally underrated boxer and his awkward style has tripped many an opponent up. I expect him to do the same to McCullagh here, and he can take a clear points win to advance to the final.