It’s instalment six of the popular Ultimate Boxxer tournament this Friday at Planet Ice in Altrincham, with the Heavyweights taking centre stage. There should be action aplenty for the paying customer, as eight men vie for the Golden Robe, as well as the lion’s share of a big purse on offer.
Jonathan Palata (7-0, KO3) will arguably start as betting favourite for the Golden Robe, and the Londoner begins his campaign against the green Danny Whitaker (2-0, KO 0).
Palata defeated fellow UB combatant Chris Healey in his last fight by a two point margin, while Whitaker only turned professional in August this year, and has picked up two points wins so far.
Prediction: Palata should have too much for the raw novice Whitaker, and I fancy him to comfortably deal with the Yorkshireman on points.
A dark horse for the competition is the rapidly improving Pole, Kamil Sokolowski (8-15-2, KO3).
Barnstaple-based Sokolowski has transitioned from journeyman to real threat in recent times. He has only been stopped by Dillian Whyte and Nathan Gorman, and has been the distance with David Price, Martin Bakole and Lucas Browne, who he dropped.
The 33-year-old also holds a win against fellow participant Nick Webb, and took Alex Dickinson’s unbeaten record in June in Leeds, deservedly winning by a single point. Last time out, he won every round of six against Phil Williams in October.
His opponent in the quarter finals will be Halifax’s Josh Sandland (4-1-1, KO0). The Yorkshireman’s only loss came in October 2017 when he was stopped by Tom Little in four rounds.
He then returned after a 17 month lay-off to draw with Nottinghamshire’s Ellis Machin. He has won two on the bounce since, including a points win over another man in the field, Jay McFarlane, in September.
Prediction: Sokolowski has a real shot at winning this tournament, and Sandland is still very much inexperienced. I lean to the Pole taking this one early.
The aforementioned Jay McFarlane (10-4, KO5) is a man with a colourful back story. He spent time in a Caribbean orphanage as a young boy, after a family holiday was overshadowed by a drugs run.
The 21-year-old Glaswegian is still very much a novice, having lost twice to the often stopped David Howe on points in 2017. He did avenge these defeats in November last year by blasting Howe out inside a round.
He dropped to Cruiserweight prior to the Howe win to pick up the Scottish Area belt, and did go seven unbeaten before coming unstuck in his last fight against Josh Sandland, losing every round of six.
“A family holiday with my mum’s boyfriend was actually a drug run. I ended up in an orphanage in the Caribbean…”
McFarlane takes on Doncaster based Mark Bennett (5-0, KO1) who is unbeaten in his professional career thus far. Bennett holds wins over Kamil Sokolowski and Chris Healey (both four round points wins) who both feature in this competition.
Prediction: Bennett has already scored decent wins so far, and should have enough to beat the younger McFarlane. A points win for Bennett is the pick.
Two men that have met previously clash as Nick Webb (13-2, KO11) faces Chris Healey (8-6, KO2).
Webb’s went unbeaten in his first twelve contests but his career came crashing down in July last year, when a monster right hand from Dave Allen wiped him out in four rounds at the O2 Arena.
The 32-year-old returned to stop Dorian Darch, but then was upset by Kamil Sokolowski in three rounds in his last outing a year ago. It will be interesting to see if Webb carries scars from these two crushing defeats.
Webb defeated Healey in January 2017, stopping the Stockport man in three rounds, so it would be hard to bet against the same happening in their rematch.
Healey is 2-5 in his last seven appearances, and fellow Ultimate Boxxer representative, Jonathan Palata outscored Healey last time out in September at The Royal Albert Hall.
Prediction: Webb should be able to gain confidence here by going over old ground. An inside schedule win should be the result in this one.
My prediction for the overall winner is Kamil Sokolowski. He is enjoying a real renaissance since moving from opponent to a man that comes to win. His experiences with quality opposition thus far in his career can carry him to victory here.
BT Sport will broadcast live in the UK.
This is a warrior sport, these guys are fighting 3 times in one night – @ultimateboxxer Heavyweights are this Friday at 8pm @btsport #UltimateBoxxer pic.twitter.com/OeNqN1ar0L
— Amir Khan (@amirkingkhan) December 10, 2019