Conor Benn stayed unbeaten, while Ted Cheeseman retained his British title via controversial draw.
Conor Benn, the second generation welterweight prospect, stayed undefeated with a second round stoppage of Jussi Koivula today at York Hall. That sentence might lead you to think it was a simple thrashing, and in a way it was, of course, but Benn didn’t just walk right over Koivula, either.
Koivula (24-7-1, 9 KO) came to fight, and he clipped Benn and backed the younger man down a couple of times in the first round, which went Koivula’s way on the cards, surely. But Benn (15-0, 10 KO) cracked the Finnish veteran in the second round with a left hook, putting him on the canvas and pretty much ending the fight there.
Koivula did get up and fight on, but Benn put him down again, and then after a bit more action, the referee rightly stopped the fight. It was a fun five minutes of action, again showing that Benn is still a flawed, learning fighter, and that maybe there’s only so much he’s going to learn.
But even if Benn never becomes a huge superstar or world title winner, he’s going to have a fun career. His flaws, energy, and offensive ability make him enjoyable to watch pretty much no matter what. Obviously he’ll hope to be more than that, but if nothing else, we’ve got an action fighter with him.
Otha Jones III TKO-1 Michael Horabin
Horabin (2-12, 0 KO) had no hope against Jones (2-0, 1 KO), a 19-year-old Toledo prospect making his UK debut. Jones was a very good amateur, has a lot of flashy skills and raw talent, but emphasis on “raw,” of course, at his age and stage. There’s a long time to go, and since we see so many prelim fights on shows these days with extended broadcasts, he might be another kid that people get too anxious over once he’s had 10 or 15 or even 20 fights. Horabin was down twice and the referee stopped it at 1:40.
Ted Cheeseman D-12 Kieron Conway
A pretty surprising draw, for the fans at York Hall, for Cheeseman, probably for Conway, and for me. Cheeseman deserved the win. Commentators had it 117-111 and 118-110 for Cheeseman (15-1-1, 9 KO), I had it a bit tighter at 116-112, and Conway (12-1-1, 3 KO) did have some success. It’s not to discount his effort or anything, but Cheeseman deserved this win.
The scores that matter were 115-114 Cheeseman, 116-113 Conway, and 114-114. It’s extremely hard to see the even score, let alone the Conway score. That said, it was a fun fight — Cheeseman always presses the action, and Conway was never overwhelmed.
“I believe I clearly won by three or four rounds. I think he knows and everyone in here knows the real result,” Cheeseman said, sitting next to Conway after the fight. “I trained like a warrior for eight weeks. I fought my heart out in there tonight.”
“I weren’t scoring the fight. It is what it is. It was a good fight, it was a hard fight,” Conway said.
Cheeseman is likely going to face Scott Fitzgerald next, as Cheeseman still has the British 154-pound title. That was the plan going in, and according to Eddie Hearn, remains the plan.
Craig Richards UD-12 Andre Sterling
If you ever read through recaps looking for hints or notes indicating whether or not you should watch something you missed, let me be clear: this is not really a fight worth watching if you’re pressed for time. It wasn’t a horrendous fight, but it never sparked at all, the styles just didn’t mesh for action.
Richards (15-1, 8 KO) is now in line for a British light heavyweight title shot, as this was a final eliminator. He got the duke on scores of 115-112, 116-111, and 117-111. BLH had it closer at 114-113 Richards, but this was a fight with a lot of debatable rounds, I thought — Richards was kind of throwing a punch at a time, never really made any adjustments during the fight, but got a win without any controversy.
Sterling (10-1, 4 KO) was down in the sixth round and in some real trouble, which is what made the difference for me, but obviously he’d have lost on the cards with or without that knockdown. He had his moments, but not enough of them. The British title is currently held by Joshua Buatsi, and Buatsi-Richards could happen this fall, if Buatsi intends to defend the British belt.
Shannon Courtenay TKO-2 Valerija Sepetovska
Courtenay stays undefeated, going to 3-0 with her first stoppage win over short-notice opponent Sepetovska (0-2), a Latvian teenager who tried her best but was way out of her league. Courtenay, a 25-year-old bantamweight, has skills and a clear future in boxing, and is a likable sort with a fun personality, so when she’s ready to be marketed, she’ll be marketable. Sepetovska went down in the first round and the referee stopped the mismatch in the second. Eddie Hearn said it’s time for Courtenay to step up.
Charles Frankham KO-1 Ilgvars Krauklis
Frankham (2-0, 1 KO) came into the pros with some solid amateur hype, and is the grandson of Johnny Frankham, a former British champion. Young Charles, 19, fought for the first time about six weeks ago, and made quick work of Krauklis (1-5, 1 KO), who went down about as soon as he could. Frankham (2-0, 1 KO), a super featherweight, should be back on TV soon.