BOXING IS BACK. This Saturday sees boxing return to Sky Sports as the first of four fight camp fight nights gets underway at Matchroom Boxing HQ. On an action packed five fight card, Sam Eggington takes on Ted Cheeseman in a thriller as the main event with a cracker of an undercard. We'll be taking a look at all five fights and we'll have a nice little request a bet with SkyBet from our picks.
Fight Camp Week One Preview
Dalton Smith vs Nathan Bennett
To kick off Matchroom Boxings fight camp series the highly rated Dalton Smith (5-0-0) takes on Liverpools Nathan Bennett (9-1-0) in a cracking lightweight contest.
Smith has only been pro for just over a year but in that period he's accumulated five victories from his five fights, four of them by stoppage. A former member of the GB podium squad, Smith is the son of Grant Smith, trainer to the likes of Sunny and Charlie Edwards and Lee McGregor. Despite the lack of quality opponents he's faced so far in his short career, one victory that does standout on the Sheffield mans record is the stoppage victory over the usually durable journeyman Ibrar Riyaz back in July of last year. Well known on the circuit to many boxing fans, it was just the fourth time Riyaz had been stopped in 190 career fights.
Bennett meanwhile is the lesser known of the two. Having turned over in November of 2017, the rangy scouser has picked up nine wins from his first 10 fights as a professional with his only loss coming to the highly rated 'journeyman' Ben Fields back October of last year.
It's by no means a one sided fight to kick off the night but in our eyes, Smith will be just too good. He's shown maturity and ring craft beyond his years in his five fights to date and his shot selection is simply admirable. Bennett's large frame should suit Smith too a tee and if he can get find a way to get inside the Liverpool man's jab which we expect him to be able to do, he should find plenty of success downstairs and get the stoppage mid to late rounds.
Prediction: Dalton Smith rounds 5-8 (15/8 @ SkyBet)
Fabio Wardley vs Simon Vallily
Now for the big boys, the unbeaten East Anglian Fabio Wardley (8-0-0) vs 2010 Commonwealth Gold Medalist Simon Vallily (17-2-1).
From a white collar background, Wardley has so far made a faultless start in the pro ranks with eight wins from eight fights including seven stoppage victories. This form caught the eye of heavyweight star Dillian Whyte who recently signed the young star up to his management company.
Vallily hasn't had a bad career himself and after claiming gold in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, he's gone on to amass 17 victories from his 20 professional fights so far. His two losses have come to the hands of world cruiserweight champion Mairis Briedis and the hard hitting Craig Glover however he's made an impressive return to heavyweight with four wins and three stoppages coming from his last four fights at the weight.
With this fight, it's a no brainer that experience is on Vallily's side. However, youthfulness and momentum will be in our eyes, the defining factor. Wardley hasn't fought for over a year whereas Vallily has been out of the ring for just under eight months but what stands out for us is Wardley's natural size and power. Valilly is a big man and he can whack but Wardley is clearly the more stronger of the pair and Vallily has shown on numerous occasions both as an amateur and a pro that he can be hurt. If Vallily decides to box clever though, he could make this a really difficult night for the younger man but we believe that eventually, Wardley will get to him and get him out of there.
Prediction: Fabio Wardley rounds 6-10 (11/4 @ SkyBet)
Jordan Gill vs Reece Bellotti
A fight we weren't expecting to see, but are more than happy to see it. The slick Jordan Gill (24-1-0) versus the hard hitting Reece Bellotti (17-3-0) in an exciting featherweight encounter.
Gill was part of the infamous Ingle gym in Sheffield for five years but after changing camps to be managed and trained by Dave Coldwell, the Cambridgeshire man has thrived and has since picked up the Commonwealth title and WBA International title at featherweight. He did however suffer a major blip last year after getting defeated by the game Mario Enrique Tinoco in Nottingham. It was confirmed after the fight by Gill that he had been suffering from food poisoning in the hours before the fight, something which he didn't tell anyone in his camp about. It's usually frowned upon fighters making excuses for defeats but in this case, you can only sympathise with Gill.
Bellotti meanwhile has had a rather up and down career. After getting to 12-0 with 11 stoppage victories and picking up the Commonwealth belt in the process, he suffered a shock defeat to the hands of Mancunian Ryan Doyle, the man Gill stopped to win the title four months after. Since then he's suffered defeats to current British Champion Ryan Walsh and was massively unlucky not to get the decision on away turf last time out against Francesca Grandelli.
You look at the records of both of the fighter and you see this fight as a classic case of the boxer versus the puncher. However, Gill's punch power is massively underrated and likewise Bellotti's boxing ability. Despite this, Gill's ability to mix it up on the inside and box at an elite level off the back foot should be enough to win him this fight. His fast feet and impressive lateral movement is likely to frustrate Bellotti and that will leave opportunities for Gill to land his bigger shots both to the body and the head.
Prediction: Jordan Gill by KO/TKO/DQ (2/1 @ Betway)
Jsmes Tennyson vs Gavin Gwynne
In what looks to have the potential to be fight of the night, James Tennyson (29-3-0) takes on Gavin Gwynne (12-1-0) for the vacant British Lightweight Title.
Tennyson has won titles at featherweight, super featherweight and lightweight in his 29 career fights with his biggest fight to date coming back in October 2018 when he fought for a world title against Tevin Farmer. It was no secret however than the Northern Irishman did have huge problems making the weight and since stepping up to 135lbs, he's seemed revitalised with four consecutive stoppage victories which has enhanced his reputation as one of the biggest punchers in not just the UK at lightweight, but the world.
Gwynne hasn't had a bad career himself. His only career loss to date has come at the hands of former GB Olympian and the highly rated fellow Welshman Joe Cordina in August of last year, a fight in which he was just simply outclassed in but nevertheless gave a brilliant account of himself in. He does himself though have notable domestic victories over the likes of Myron Mills.
All the signs before this fight point to a Tennyson win. He's got the experience, he's got the bigger punch power and he's got the momentum at lightweight. Gwynne however cannot be written off. He showed his toughness in the Cordina fight however in our eyes, Tennyson is literally like a steam train at the moment and whoever stands in his way, he's going to get through them. The fight will ultimately tell us if all this hype around the Northern Irishman is legitimate, which we think it is.
Prediction: James Tennyson to win by KO/TKO/DQ (11/8 @ Betfair)
Sam Eggington vs Ted Cheeseman
Now for the biggy, one of the domestic clashes of the year. Sam Eggington (28-6-0) versus Ted Cheeseman (15-2-1) for the IBF International light-middleweight title.
When you hear the phrase "phone box fight" in boxing, both of these fighters spring to mind. So when you put them together in one ring, it's more than likely going to be one of those sorts of fights.
Eggington comes into the fight off arguably a career best performance in Italy where walked through the highly rated Orlando Fiordigiglio in two rounds. He then followed that up with another stoppage win against Daniel Urbanski at the end of last year.
It's been a different story of late for Cheeseman though.
After getting to 15 fights unbeaten, he was outclassed by the Spaniard Sergio Garcia before two hugely controversial decisions. The first one was a draw against Kieren Conway, a close fight but one where if there was a winner then it was clearly Cheeseman. The second one is probably the worst of the two. Cheeseman took on Scott Fitzgerald for the British 154lbs title and heading into the fight, everyone expected a war but Cheeseman showed something he's not shown before with wonderful skills off the back foot. He tired late on but still looked the clear winner, however the judges didn't see it that way and the win was awarded to Fitzgerald.
This fight though is a real belter. Both are vastly experienced and for someone so young, Sam Eggington has had an immensely tough paper round amassing 34 fights in less than eight years. However, this fight mainly depends on the sort of fight Cheeseman chooses to fight. If he chooses to box off the back foot similar to what he did against Fitzgerald, he has the potential to make Eggington look silly. But if he decides to take the fight to Eggington, he'll run the risk of turning it into a slug fest and when there's a slug fest, the fight is anyones.
Both lads are tough, immensely tough and to be honest, we can't pick a winner. However, the fight go to the distance looks terrific odds at 11/10 with SkyBet. We expect it to be a chess match early on but then the pair to go at it for eight or nine rounds. Neither has the one punch power to put either out cold and this is why we can see it been left to the judges.