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MTK London: Battleground – Setting the Bar for Small Hall Shows

This Saturday gone I covered the stacked MTK London: Battleground show at the Brentwood Centre and I was very impressed overall. The production is second to none and the fights were all competitive. The whole team at MTK London deserve recognition for the work that goes into their shows. It was mine and Southpaw Jab’s first time covering one of MTK London’s shows and I can tell you I am personally looking forward to their next show already!

I’ll leave praising the production just for a while and start talking about the thing we all came to see; the boxing.

Like most small hall cards, fights were changed and cancelled due to things out of the promoter’s control. But MTK London kept their card in really good shape. Originally headlined by Siar Ozgul defending his Southern Area Super-Lightweight title against the well travelled and always ready Danny Cassius Connor, unfortunately that fight was scuppered when Connor had to pull out due to injury, but Ozgul still made his return to the ring after 15 months of inactivity. No longer for the Southern Area title, Ozgul closed the show against Innocent Anyanwu, a man who has only suffered 5 KO defeats in his 32 losses but a man who can bang in his own right with 15 of his 25 wins coming by KO. Anyanwu tried to take the fight to the unbeaten Ozgul, who stuck to working behind his jab more than planting and trading – something this writer has seen him do first hand in sparring. Ozgul ran out a comfortable winner on points over 6 in the end, improving his impressive record to 14-0. Hopefully it won’t be another 15 months until we see the talented Turk back in the ring.

The title fight on the card was between Sean Creagh and ID Hill for the British Challenge Belt. The fight ended in a draw and both men seemed disappointed not to have come away with the title. From my point of view the draw seemed a fair one, but as always in these extremely close fights it’s down to how you see each round. For me Creagh did the cleaner work but Hill had the bigger eye catching shots throughout the fight. Maybe the pair can get it on again? Hopefully if they do both will throw caution to the wind and try and take the win from the other, something that seemed to lack in this first encounter between the pair.

On the undercard there were a few show reel knockouts to pick from:

Charlie Duffield secured yet another stoppage victory to take his record to 5-1 with none of the fights he’s taken part in hearing the final bell! Duffield impressed with his work switching from the body to the head and is a real crowd pleaser with his style. After the fight trainer Mark Tibbs said he wants to make Charlie “more Tyson like” in his style, but I believe there’s someone from these shores who Charlie’s style can resemble with a bit of work – Ricky Hatton. If Duffield carry’s on with these show reel KO’s he’ll be a name on everyone’s lips in the near future.

Sam Stokes got only the third KO victory of his impressive now 9-1 record, stopping Dan Ballard in the third of their scheduled 4 rounder. Stokes has recently returned to his former coach Ross Woolgrove and the pair are plotting a route to the Southern Area title soon. Sam did his chances of securing that title shot no harm here with a disciplined performance.

Dan Azeez also got a stoppage victory in the third of his scheduled 4 rounds. The charismatic 28 year old isn’t hanging about either, having only made his debut in December he is looking to be out again in May and potentially June or July!

 There was disappointment for local lad Georgii Bacon who was stopped by Sebastian Slusarczyk in the first round of their scheduled four. Bacon was caught very early on by his game opponent and never seemed to recover. The 22 year old tried to fight fire with fire after that but when he was caught again and opted to take a knee the ref waved the contest off to hand Slusarczyk his surprise victory. Bacon is only young and can come back from this a better fighter if he can learn from the disappointment.

The ever popular Sammy McNess made his return to the ring after his loss to Asinia Byfield for the latters then Southern Area Title last July. Armed with a new coach, McNess pleased his adoring fans with a second round stoppage over Sonny Whiting. Now back on course, a second challenge for the Southern Area strap may be just what the Doctor ordered for McNess. If another fight is needed in the interim, this writer would like to see him square off against fellow MTK London stablemate Matt McCarthy who himself is looking to rebuild after dropping the Southern Area Title to Braintree’s Billy Boy Bird last time out.

Jack Healy made a triumphant return to the ring after 17 months out of the ring and there were impressive victories for Lewis Adams, Ben Smith, Kaan Hawes and Charlie Driscoll. Special mentions to Martin McDonagh and Mitchell Frearson who both got their professional careers off to a brilliant start, both picking up point wins on their debuts.

Getting back to my praising of MTK London: The Battleground card was a very entertaining one with fighters matched very well for their respective positions in their careers. Each fight was entertaining in its own way – whether it was the chess match between ID Hill and Sean Creagh or the fan friendly KO’s from Duffield or Azeez. MTK London’s local rivals could take a few notes and learn a thing or two from their production and matchmaking. If MTK London keep on like this they will be the small hall show to be on in the not too distant future – if they’re not already.

 

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