Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing returns with a huge PPV card headlined by an intriguing heavyweight clash between Olympic gold medallist and former unified cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk and perennial heavyweight contender Dereck Chisora. The second post-pandemic pay-per-view taking place on these shores also brings with it competitive world, European and British level fights filling the undercard, as well as the return of PPV king Dave Allen.
Ukashir Farooq vs Martin Tecuapetla
Ukashir Farooq (13-1, 6 KO’s) finally makes his long awaited Matchroom debut ten months after he put pen to paper on a multi-fight deal following his close split decision loss to fellow Scottish bantamweight contender Lee McGregor. ‘The Untouchable’ is a former Scottish Area and British champion at 118 lbs and originally hails from Pakistan, moving to Glasgow in 2002 aged six. The 24 year old will face Mexican journeyman Martin Tecuapetla (15-12-4, 10 KO’s) in an eight round contest to open Saturdays card. Tecuapetla actually fought for a world title at light flyweight, losing a split decision to Akira Yaegashi in 2016, and has also fought notable opponents Julio Cesar Martinez, Cristofer Rosales and Tommy Frank. Expect Farooq to use his size and superior boxing ability to overwhelm the smaller man on route to a stoppage victory in the later rounds.
Amy Timlin vs Carly Skelly
Up next is a commonwealth super bantamweight scrap between undefeated duo Amy Timlin (4-0, 0 KO’s) and Carly Skelly (3-0, 0 KO’s). The 20 year old Timlin, managed by Dave Coldwell and trained by Kieran Farrell, made a perfect start to her pro career last year, going 4-0 whilst winning every round along the way. Thirteen years her opponents senior, Carly Skelly enjoyed a successful amateur career despite finding the sport late, reaching an ABA final and boxing for England before turning pro in May of last year. Three wins from three has earnt the Scouser a shot at the vacant commonwealth title and with the current boom women’s boxing is enjoying, a win could see either woman boxing for a world title on a big show in the not too distant future. Expect a tough 50/50 fight between two unbeaten prospects to possibly go long, with our money on the younger woman to squeak out a close decision victory.
Tommy McCarthy vs Bilal Laggoune
Tommy McCarthy (16-2, 8 KO’s) hasn’t fought since a career best victory on away turf last October got his career back on track and now looks ready to make another meaningful step up in competition. Twice coming up short at domestic level in losses to Matty Askin and Richard Riakporhe, the Northern Irishman stunned the Italian crowd in earning a split decision over the previously undefeated home town favourite Fabio Turchi last time out, earning a shot at the vacant European cruiserweight strap in the process. In his way stands Belgian Bilal Laggoune (25-1-2, 14 KO’s) who’s only career loss came at the hands of former world title challenger Doudou Ngumbu three years ago. Having drawn with Dmytro Kucher for the vacant European title in 2015, Laggoune will be itching to finally get his hands on the coveted belt, but McCarthy should have enough to secure his first major title.
Dave Allen vs Christopher Lovejoy
Doncaster’s very own Dave Allen (18-5-2, 15 KO’s) returns to his box office home as he faces undefeated American Christopher Lovejoy (19-0, 19 KO’s) in a bout scheduled for ten rounds. The ‘White Rhino’ was originally slated to face Christian Hammer in what would have likely been a very stern test for the 28 year old, but after a positive Covid-19 test Hammer was ruled out and in stepped Lovejoy. Perhaps best known for a spar with Tyson Fury that depending on who you ask went a number of different ways, Lovejoy has padded his resume while competing in the fight capital of the world, Tijuana, and has only once fought an opponent with a winning record. With his larger than life persona often overshadowing his in ring ability, Dave Allen really must win this fight if he is to be known as anything other than a novelty act, and with his new found dedication coupled with Lovejoy’s advancing age, lack of preparation time and questions over his actual ability, expect an early Allen finish.
Savannah Marshall vs Hannah Rankin
Savannah Marshall (8-0, 6 KO’s) has run through eight opponents to earn her first crack at world honours and the former decorated amateur has long been touted as a world champion in the making. With medals in the World Championships, European Championships, Commonwealth Games and being a member of the 2016 Olympic team, the ‘Silent Assassin’ is one of the best women amateurs this country has ever produced and now has the chance to become the first British female middleweight champion. Hannah Rankin (9-4, 2 KO’s) has fought for world titles in three divisions, coming up short on all three occasions and has challenged herself against the best the sport has to offer. With invaluable rounds banked against the likes of Claressa Shields and Patricia Berghult, the Glaswegian will have to use this pro experience if she is to stand a chance against Marshall, but the surging 29 year old is unlikely to be denied.
Lee Selby vs George Kambosos Jnr
In the co-main event former IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby (28-2, 9 KO’s) battles undefeated Aussie George Kambosos Jnr (18-0, 10 KO’s) for the right to be undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez’s first mandatory challenger. Selby has rebuilt valiantly since his crushing defeat to Josh Warrington in 2018, claiming decision wins over Omar Douglas and Ricky Burns to force himself up the lightweight rankings, and now finds himself only one win away from another huge fight. ‘Ferocious’ Kambosos has gained top quality experience sparring with Manny Pacquiao at the Wildcard gym, and now trains with Javier Centeno in Miami. The 27 year old beat former world champion Mickey Bey in his last outing and should have the youthful exuberance to overcome Selby, utilizing his size and hand speed to get the job done.
Oleksandr Usyk vs Dereck Chisora
If you’d have said Dereck Chisora (32-9, 23 KO’s) would be headlining Pay-per-views at the ripe old age of 36 a few years ago, not many would have believed you. But here we are, true to form Chisora hasn’t gone about it the easy way, but he now finally looks to have fully dedicated himself to the sport and the results are there to see. Brutal wins over Carlos Takam, Artur Szpilka and David Price mixed in with a classic Chisora snooze-fest against Senad Gashi and loss to Dillian Whyte in a fight he was winning have enabled his career to remain fresh so late into its exsitence, and made a fight with the seemingly invincible Oleksandr Usyk (17-0, 13 KO’s) seem on the surface at least, competitive. With an Olympic gold and four cruiserweight world titles stuffed into his back pocket, it is thought the only thing that can pose a threat to the undefeated Ukrainian is a bigger man, something his long time friend and training partner Vasyl Lomachenko learnt the hard way just two weeks ago. The smart money is on Usyk to run rings around the older, slower Chisora, but don’t be surprised if ‘Del Boy’ pulls something incredible out of the bag against all odds.