On Friday, May 10 at The Indigo at The O2, 'The Punching Preacher' Derrick Osace was crowned the Ultimate Boxxer, live on BT Sport.
The third instalment of Ultimate Boxxer featured the middleweight division with eight contestants with a combined record of 69-3-2, with former Southern Area middleweight champions Tey Lynn-Jones (11-1) and Grant Dennis (12-1); unbeaten Kaan Hawes (5-0-1); Sean Phillips (5-0-1); and Kieron Conway (10-0); hard-hitting Josh Groombridge (7-1); Peckham puncher Derrick Osaze (6-0); and Clacton's unbeaten Joe Hurn (10-0-1).
In the first of the UB3 quarter-finals, the bookies favourite Kieron Conway (10-0) showed exactly why he was being favoured so heavily by cruising to a unanimous decision with all three scores at ringside called at 30-27.
Kaan Hawes (5-0-1) was relentless throughout the nine minutes, not wishing to waste his chance in the limelight, but was outclassed all the way through by the 23-year-old Northampton fighter's superior shot selection, living up to his moniker 'Too Class'.
In the second of the quarters, Derrick Osaze (6-0) won a clear first-round against former Southern Area titlist Tey Lynn-Jones (11-1), 24 from Essex, before decking him with an overhand right in the second stanza. The ‘Punching Preacher’ from Peckham coasted through the third segment to see out a points win of 29-27 on all three cards.
In a classic boxer vs. puncher match-up, Grant Dennis (12-1), another heavy favourite as a former Southern Area champ and English title contender, sat behind his sharp jab and judged the distance well in the opener against heavy-handed Joe Hurn (10-0-1).
Clacton combatant Hurn came into the contest with six KOs from 10 victories, far stonger than the 'Go-Getter's' two from 12, but it was the puncher that found himself grounded to a halt in the final right from a huge righ hand from Dennis. The Essex fighter rose to his feet but referee Mark Bates was forced to wave off the fight Hurn looking unsteady on his feet.
In the third of the quarters, fan-favourite Sean Phillips (5-0-1) blitzed his way through an aggressive Josh Groombridge (7-1) with a first-round stoppage.
The 22-year-old from Gravesend forced referee Kieran McCann to stop the fight at 2:22 with Uttoxeter's Groombridge caught on the ropes, taking too much punishment.
The first of the semi-finals was more of a tepid affair between two very good fighters in Kieron Conway (11-0) and Derrick Osaze (7-0), clearly respectful of each others talents. There was very little to separate either man but Osaze's higher level of aggression just tipped the split-decision in his favour to reach the UB3 final. Either man was deserving of a place in the final.
Chatham's Grant Dennis (13-1), who once fought heavyweight David Price in the amateurs, carried his excellent form into the second of the semi-finals, scoring a knockdown in round one over Sean Phillips (6-0-1), who didn’t look the same after that hard right dropped him. Despite leading on the way into the final round, it was then Dennis's turn to take a seat courtesy of a well-timed left-hook from Phillips.
Despite the late scare, Dennis advanced to the final with three 29-28 verdicts, much to the dismay of Phillips' vocal fans in attendance.
Worthy finalists Derrick Osaze (8-0) and Grant Dennis (14-1) set a high-pace from the opening bell and met head on in round one, clearly ready to lay it all on the line to clinch that Golden Robe.
It was a closely contested opener with Dennis perhaps looking slightly better to start with.
The high pace continued into the second stanza and was once again incredibly hard to seperate the warriors.
The final round of the tournament suddenly took an abrupt turn towards the Peckham 'Preacher' as he saw a heavy right uppercut hit home, followed by a couple more combos that dropped Dennis in a disastrious end to the 'Go-Getter's' UB3 campaign.
The final events of the fight saw Osaze awarded the majority decision to claim the tournament title by scores of 29-27, 29-27 and 28-28, the crucial knockdown awarding him the win.
Now 10-0 and the latest Ultimate Boxxer champion, the future will be bright for 'The Punching Preacher'.
Opening the fight card, 19-year-old Manchester prospect, Sean Fennell improved to 3-0 with a straightforward points win over Lithuanian Simos Volosinas (7-89).
Former Love Island reality TV star, Idris Virgo (3-0-1) found himself in a sticky situation against Czech Republic's Rene Molik (2-4-1). The Birmingham TV celebrity looked second best before the fight was halted due to an accidental head clash, resulting in a technical-draw.
Prior to the main event, Ultimate Boxxer II light-heavyweight tournament winner, Shakan Pitters (12-0) returned to the scene of that victory to score an easy points win over Lithuanian Dmitrij Kalinovskij (13-52-4), who coincidentally has taken part in two different eight-man tournaments in his native country at the start of his pro career.