Matchroom Boxing’s latest card showcased a mix of both young prospects and established world champions, culminating in another punch perfect performance from Ireland’s Katie Taylor as she retained her undisputed lightweight crown.
Elsewhere there were big showings from Terri Harper and Rachel Ball, both victorious in important world title fights, an upset win for ‘Little Lever’s meat cleaver’ Jack Cullen in a compelling ten round scrap with John Docherty, and routine wins for both Kash Farooq and Thomas Whittaker Hart. But the real questions have only just begun, as we look at each fighter should go next.
Katie Taylor added further weight to her case to be considered P4P #1 with a dominant ten round points win against game but limited Spaniard Miriam Gutierrez. She consistently stung the 37 year old with blistering combinations, dropping her in the fourth on route to a unanimous decision win with scorecards of 91-99, 90-100 and 89-100. Taylor is now spoilt for choice with significant fights seemingly at every corner, from huge cross over fights with MMA star Cris Cyborg to fights closer to home with both Chantelle Cameron (WBC super lightweight champion) and Terri Harper (WBC super featherweight champion) not out of the question.
But the fight many feel is necessary for Taylor to truly be considered pound for pound number one is the much lauded showdown with Puerto Rican star Amanda Serrano. Staggeringly holding nine world titles in seven weight classes, Serrano hasn’t tasted defeat in eight years, spanning 24 fights and would offer both the kind of legacy defining fight that both surely crave at this stage of their careers.
Having put memories of her nightmare first WBC title defence behind her with a stunning ninth round finish of mandatory challenger Katharina Thanderz, Terri Harper reminded us she’s a force to be reckoned with at 130 lbs. Matchroom have signed both WBA and IBF super featherweight champions Hyun Mi Choi and Maiva Hamadouche, and Eddie Hearn made it perfectly clear post fight that Harper will be unifying heading into 2021. But it left a bad taste in many peoples mouths as former foe Natasha Jonas sat in the punditry booth, just as shocked as everyone else to hear she wouldn’t be getting the rematch anytime soon.
The pair fought to a split draw at Matchroom Fight Camp in what was in many peoples eyes the best fight of the four week series, with many people believing Jonas actually deserved the nod. It seems a natural rematch to make with both being under the same promotional banner, and would also better prepare Harper for unifications if she was able to right the only wrong of her so far glittering young career.
After a rollercoaster couple of weeks heading into Rachel Ball’s first world title bid, she was able to keep her composure and box well enough to earn a points victory. With the gloss of her achievement being slightly muddied by it being downgraded to an interim world title, it seems appropriate for the 29 year old to drop back down to bantamweight to face original opponent Ebanie Bridges for the still vacant WBA bantamweight strap.
Jack Cullen earned the biggest win of his career in upsetting highly rated John Docherty, climbing off the canvas to do so. Next for Cullen should be a warm up fight prior to his shot at Lerrone Richard’s British super middleweight title, with an Umar Sadiq or a Tommy Langford offering the perfect balance between tough British level contender whilst still being someone he should be able to beat.
It is perhaps unfortunate Kash Farooq shared the bill with so many other brilliant technicians, as his shutout win over Angel Aviles was a thing of beauty. After suffering a frustrating wait for his next bout following his first career loss to Lee McGregor last November, Farooq needs to stay busy and will gain little from facing another opponent of Aviles’ quality as the inevitable rematch with McGregor looms. With this in mind Kash should be looking to face a solid British/English level opponent in the mould of Jason Cunningham, who’s fought some very capable opposition in higher weights such as Michael Conlan, Reece Bellotti and Jordan Gill.
Tony Bellew protege Thomas Whittaker Hart overcame some tricky moments to beat Jermaine Springer in a light heavyweight contest and will now have his eyes set on fighting for titles next year. The big Scouser’s amateur pedigree should fast track him to some extent, but it was clear from Saturday’s performance that he’s not yet the finished article. With that in mind Hart should face Charlie Duffield, a 7-2 product of East London who was last seen stopped by Dan Azeez for the Southern Area title on a Matchroom show in July of 2019.