Matchroom go from Milan last Friday and Hollywood, Florida last Saturday, to promoting in Barcelona, Spain this coming Friday, with a pair of European belts on the line with Sandor Martin clashing with Kay Prosper at the top of the bill.
European Super Lightweight champion, Martin (37-2, 13 KOs), will be taking part in his 40th contest this weekend, and will be defending his belt for the second time since winning the vacant crown in July 2019 against Luton’s former English champion, Prosper (14-1-1, 7 KOs) in Cataluña.
The contest takes part in Martin’s backyard, and the Spaniard will be keen to kick on this year. ‘Arrasandor’ first challenged for the European title back in September 2017, which was his last defeat when Anthony Yigit took a clear points win in Sweden.
The 27-year-old has won eight on the spin since that setback, and picked up the vacant belt he now owns by forcing Andrea Scarpa to retire at the end of nine rounds.
That was over 18 months ago, and there has only been one defence, but it was an impressive one, a December 2019 wide points win against the underrated Joe Hughes. Martin has been out since, and shed rust a year later, taking all eight rounds against Nestor Maradiaga in Milan.
Prosper, 36, looks a big underdog here, and he has been operating at low end domestic level through a career that began in 2013.
‘Special K’ has one loss on his slate, an October 2016 loss over ten against Rakeem Noble in a challenge for the Southern Area belt.
He is undefeated in six since, and, after drawing with Sam O’Maison for the English title in March 2019, Prosper won the belt in a tight points win in the rematch. He was last out in March last year, outscoring Bilal Rehman in a first defence of his crown.
Prediction: Martin has operated at a higher level to Prosper, and it should show here. He isn’t a noted puncher though, so this may give Kay a chance to last the distance, although I expect Martin to win most of the rounds in a landslide points win.
McDonnell clashes with Gago
The second European title offering should be a lot more tough to call. Bilbao-based Andoni Gago defends his Featherweight strap against somewhat of a forgotten man in Doncaster’s Gavin McDonnell, a former champion at Super Bantamweight.
Gago (24-3-3, 7 KOs) is unbeaten in nine outings since being stopped in nine by Lee Selby in March 2017, but a lot of the wins have come against limited opposition.
The 35-year-old picked up the vacant European belt in June 2019, taking a split decision against Jesus Sanchez, but has yet to defend it, instead ticking over against fighters with losing records.
He won a technical decision against Brayan Mairena last time out, after suffering a nasty injury to his left eye.
McDonnell (22-2-2, 6 KOs) has been mandatory challenger to Gago for over a year now, and the former two-time world title challenger is ready to breathe new life into his career having recently signed with MTK Global.
— Gavin Mcdonnell (@bigtwinnygav) April 19, 2021
The 35-year-old lost a majority decision in a bid for the vacant WBC Super Bantamweight title in 2017 to Rey Vargas and in October 2018, he gave a spirited display before being stopped by Daniel Roman in a WBA title tilt. He has won two low key fights since, the last a seventh round stoppage of Nathan Kirk in October 2019.
Prediction: Gago hasn’t overly impressed or improve since the Selby loss, but has to be respected as champion. The only issue for McDonnell will be ring rust, and he may take some rounds to get into the contest. Once he settles though, I favour the Englishman to take a clear points win.
Lejarraga meets Smith
Kerman Lejarraga is another man with a point to prove, and the former European Welterweight champion continues his rebuild after a pair of crushing defeats to David Avanesyan in 2019 in a ten round assignment against Londoner, Jez Smith at Super Welterweight.
Lejarraga (31-2, 24 KOs) has won three on the bounce since a one round rematch defeat to Avanesyan in September 2019 and his last was a wide points win against the faded Tyrone Nurse in August 2020.
Smith (12-2-1, 5 KOs) has been stopped late in each of his two defeats, firstly to Samuel Antwi in eight in February 2019, and then in nine to Caoimhin Agyarko five months later. He was last out in November 2019, taking all six rounds against the unbeaten Ben Ridings.
Prediction: Smith has been down multiple times in his career, and Lejarraga is a massive puncher, so the pick is for the Spaniard to score an early win before the halfway mark.
Bernard Angelo Torres was born in the Philippines but is now of Norwegian nationality, and the Featherweight takes on Colombia’s Anuar Salas over a scheduled six.
Torres (13-0, 5 KOs) squeezed past Costin Ion last time out via split decision over eight in December 2020, and although Salas (20-8-1, 12 KOs) has been stopped three times in eight defeats, he went the full ten rounds in his most recent fight, a points loss for the WBA Intercontinental Bantamweight crown against Elie Konki in France.
Prediction: The pick is for Torres to remain undefeated with a points win.
Tyne and Wear’s April Hunter (2-0) is another Brit on the bill, and the Welterweight is likely to need all four frames to defeat Frenchwoman, Elsa Hemat (1-3), who has never previously been stopped.
Luke Willis (9-0, 1 KO) hasn’t been seen since November 2018, and the Liverpudlian returns in Spain against the durable Ricardo Fernandez (9-5) in a contest that should go Willis’ way over the six round distance at Super Lightweight.