John Ryder v Andrey Sirotkin may be the main event on this weekend’s Matchroom bill, but this is a card that has good quality, well matched contests in several places on the card.
Top of a bustling undercard is a real “pick em” fight. The vacant British Super Welterweight Title is the prize, as Bermondsey’s Ted Cheeseman (14-0, KO9) meets Reading danger man, Asinia Byfield (14-1, KO6) for the coveted belt. Cheeseman is in good form, and his last few fights have seen him improve with each outing. He has picked up both the English and WBA International Titles thus far, and his best win came in February this year, widely outpointing tough veteran Carson Jones, who gave Kell Brook all he could handle twice, over ten rounds, coming through some tough moments in the process. He followed this up in June on a NXTGEN show at the York Hall, brutally stopping the previously unbeaten Pauly Upton in four rounds, knocking him down three times in the round. Byfield went about his business largely quietly after turning professional in April 2015, appearing on small hall shows under his manager, Micky Helliet. His sole defeat came in April 2016 in a challenge for the Southern Area Title, losing by a single point over ten to Arthur Herrman. Byfield would capture the Title two fights later in an impressive points win over Erick Ochieng at the York Hall. After a six round stoppage defence against John Brennan, Byfield accepted an invitiation to be the away fighter against the 7-0 Frank Warren prospect, Sammy McNess in July last year at the Copper Box. Byfield was relentless, eventually forcing McNess’ corner to throw the towel in under heavy fire in the fifth. He has fought once since, a low key outing against late replacement, Gabor Gorbics with a fifth round knockout win.
I feel this will be close nip and tuck fight, with Cheeseman’s heavy hands meeting Byfield’s slippery style. The two have exchanged words on social media and it should make for a crackling atmosphere inside the Copper Box. I think Cheeseman may have just enough to nick a split decision win.
Gorton’s “Ruthless” Ryan Doyle (17-2-1, KO9) makes the first defence of the Commonwealth Featherweight Title he wrenched from Reece Bellotti in June, but he’s handed another stiff test, against fast rising prospect, Jordan “The Thrill” Gill (21-0, KO5). Both men have waited patiently for their chances, and Doyle has had to take tough assignments to finally become a Champion. He was stopped in the last round of a ten rounder against the then 11-17-1 Ian Bailey in September 2014, but avenged this in July 2016 by wide unanimous decision to become English Champion. His only other loss came in June last year, when recent World Title challenger, James Tennyson stopped him in six. He also holds a draw against Isaac Lowe. His breakthrough came in June at the York Hall, stunning the previously unbeaten, and highly touted, Reece Bellotti in five rounds, so being an underdog will hold no fear for Doyle this weekend. Gill has come through quietly, and is highly rated himself by the likes of his gym mate Tony Bellew and trainer Dave Coldwell. More mainstream exposure has helped Gill, who impressed on a NXTGEN show in Manchester in February this year with a disciplined points win over Jason Cunningham over ten. He’s had two simple wins since, and if he can transfer his impressive gym work to the ring this Saturday, I expect him to take a comfortable points win.
A well matched contest up at Cruiserweight sees Isaac Chamberlain (9-1, KO4) take on Luke Watkins (13-1, KO9) over ten rounds. Both men share a common opponent in their last fights in British and Commonwealth Champion, Laurence Okolie. In January, Chamberlain met Okolie as they topped the bill at the O2 Arena in London. It was a good match up for two prospects, and the build up was grudge filled. Sadly the fight didn’t live up to expectation and it was a horrid, messy affair. Chamberlain was down in the opener, and the sixth, and was soundly beaten on points. Watkins is a former Commonwealth Champion, stopping Robin Dupre in six rounds in October last year. He backed this by defending against Mike Stafford (RTD8) before meeting Okolie in June at the York Hall. Watkins was simply outgunned, down twice, and then out in the third as Okolie took his Title. Chamberlain is rangy, has good boxing skills, and holds stoppage wins later on in contests, and I think he can stop Watkins by halfway.