by Dominic Hadi
In a bubble of British boxing where the pinnacle of venues is usually the o2 Arena or Wembley stadium, Eddie Hearn is looking to make a new home for his champions as we see both World & Domestic titles on this Saturday’s bill at the Copper Box Arena.
For headliner Charlie Edwards, he had many options turning professional in regards to how many fights he wanted before facing the top tier of the Flyweight division. This question was answered rapidly when at only 8-0 the then twenty-three-year-old took on Johnriel Casimero for the IBF Flyweight title in what was Casimero’s first defence of the belt. Casimero had more stoppage wins as a professional than Edwards had had fights, but despite this Charlie Edwards took Casimero into deep waters at times until ultimately being finished in the tenth round by the hard-hitting Filipino.
This wouldn’t deter Edwards from his goal of becoming world champion putting together an impressive five-fight win streak which finished with him getting the crack at the WBC Flyweight strap in December 2018 against then reigning champion Cristofer Rosales. Rosales was gaining a reputation of spoiling the party of a hometown favourite; winning the title in Japan against Japanese fighter Daigo Higa and then retaining it at Windsor Park against Belfast born Paddy Barnes. It was a different Kettle of Fish against Edwards though when they faced off on the Whyte/ Chisora card in front of a packed o2 crowd. What we saw was the skill and composure Charlie Edwards has learnt in his fourteen-fight pro career. Edwards picked Rosales apart unanimously winning the decision to become the new Flyweight King.
Saturday brings a slightly different challenge for Edwards who has been a champion before, but defending a world crown brings different pressures. Standing in front of him is Spanish fighter Angel Moreno who may not have the name or notoriety of Edwards, but who will understand this is the biggest opportunity of his career. He will be walking into enemy territory on Saturday night and he has to be prepared for the best version of Charlie Edwards which is a terrifying sight for any flyweight or super flyweight in the future.
Supporting the exciting main event we see Croydon boy Joshua Buatsi looking to continue his monumental rise in the light heavyweight division as he takes on the always game Liam Conroy, for the vacant British title. Many appear to write this one off to Buatsi already, but Conroy is aware he has a golden opportunity on Saturday night and with no pressure, anything can happen. The light heavyweight division is in need of top contenders to face off against world champions like Dmitry Bivol or Artur Beterbiev and Buatsi definitely has the capability to reach that stage. However, after this fight, the fans will be calling for Joshua Buatsi and Anthony Yarde to finally square off creating the biggest domestic light heavyweight bout in recent years.
Arguably bringing the biggest support to the show is Hackney born and raised Cruiserweight Lawrence Okolie fighting Canning Town resident and #TeamSouthpawJab’s own Wadi Camacho. In only eleven professional bouts Okolie already holds the British and WBA Continental titles and on Saturday he aims to reclaim the Commonwealth belt in this hotly contested battle.
Camacho was Okolie’s mandatory for the Commonwealth Title when Okolie vacated and won the belt against former foe Iqbal, putting on arguably his career best performance dominating his former conqueror before injury forced Iqbal to quit. The injury resulted in Camacho winning via a wide technical decision crowning him the new Commonwealth champion. Can Camacho produce another career best performance and add the British title to the Commonwealth he already owns, or will Okolie be too much and stop Camacho as he has predicted he must do?
Additionally we see Lewis Ritson return from his first professional loss back in his home town of Newcastle in October where he dropped a split decision to Francesco Patera for the vacant European Lightweight title. Ritson returns to the Super-Lightweight division in the Copper box against gritty Argentinian-German Argentino Benitez. Ritson will be looking to show why he is such a hot commodity in UK Boxing scene.
Finally closing out the card are two undefeated prospects and a debutant all looking to show why they deserve to be on this incredible card. Middleweight Jason Quigly faces Mathias Eklund, while Sean McGoldrick looks to continue his rise by defeating Sean Cairns in an interesting Super bantamweight bout. As if Matchmaker Paul Ready hasn’t already put enough great fights on this show we witness Shannon “The Baby Face Assassin” Courtenay make her long-awaited pro debut against an unnamed opponent as of yet. Matchroom have been very vocal about Shannon’s potential star power and on Saturday night we see it come to fruition.
Matchroom Boxing Presents: Edwards vs Moreno takes place on Saturday 23rd March at the Copper Box Arena.