Ultimate Boxxer tournaments are coming thick and fast lately, and the Indigo O2 in London is again the setting for the fifth edition of the event, as eight 154 pound boxers square off against each other.
Two months after Mikael Lawal scorched through the Cruiserweight field, the quintet of Super Welterweights attempt to change their boxing lives and finances.
BT Sport hosts the live action in the UK.
The Outright favourite with MansionBet , the tournament sponsor, is Northern Ireland’s Steven Donnelly (5-0, KO1), at 27/20.
The Ballymena man narrowly missed out on a medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and has two Commonwealth Bronze medals to his name in 2014 and 2018. Donnelly is a stylish switch hitter, and has won every round so far in his paid career. He scored his first inside schedule win last time out, with a fourth round stoppage of Edwin Palacios in Belfast in May.
His first assignment in London is against late replacement, Ish O’Connor (2-0, KO0) with the Ipswich man not expected to trouble Donnelly. 30 year old O’Connor has scored two four round points wins so far.
Second favourite for the Golden Robe is Ruislip’s Sean Robinson (9-0-1, KO0), and the current Southern Area Champion is unbeaten in ten. Robinson won the belt against Joshua Ejakpovi, who also features in this tournament, in March, clearly outscoring “Hollywood Josh” over ten rounds. He retained last time out in June, but had to settle for a draw against John Brennan. He meets Kent’s fellow unbeaten, Lewis Syrett (6-0, KO2) with the 31 year old feasting on the usual diet of continental journeymen thus far.
The aforementioned Ejakpovi (12-1, KO3) starts his campaign against 33/1 rank outsider Kaan Hawes (5-1-1, KO0). Ejakpovi has fought in a scheduled ten rounder twice, while 33 year old Hawes is a raw novice, losing in his last outing, but in a previous Ultimate Boxxer tournament, to recent British Title challenger, Kieron Conway. Marylebone resident Ejakpovi should ease to victory in this one.
The first quarter final sees Kingsley Egbunike (4-0, KO1) take on Lenny Fuller (6-0, KO0) in another battle of unbeaten. Fuller is a squat Super Welter, and is an unknown quantity after a spell on the unlicensed circuit. Egbunike has sparred with the likes of James DeGale, and has a decent amateur pedigree.
With the two favourites, Donnelly and Robinson, scheduled to meet in the semi finals. I can’t see any other outcome than the pair having to face off. With Donnelly a slippery switch hitter, he can stay out of trouble for three rounds against Robinson to secure victory.
The other half of the draw is wide open, but I lean towards Josh Ejakpovi and his experience to be the difference, and he can reach the final with wins over Kaan Hawes, and then, in my opinion, Kingsley Egbunike. With Ejakpovi tiring in the final, Donnelly can take full advantage and cruise to an impressive points win. I think the Irishman’s amateur background is too strong for the field, and he should justify his favourite tag.