Akeem Ennis-Brown clashes with Commonwealth champion Philip Bowes for the vacant British super-lightweight title on Wednesday, September 2nd on another huge midweek #MTKFightNight at Production Park Studios in Wakefield.
You can watch live in the US on ESPN+ in association with Top Rank, and worldwide on iFL TV right HERE.
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MARK MCKEOWN vs. LEVI DUNN
Coatbridge's Mark McKeown (2-0) steps up to six-rounds for the first time against debutant Levi Dunn.
It was a bright start by McKeown, who wasted no time in closing Dunn down. The 26-year-iold was busy, positive and energetic. The away fighter quickly learned to get on his toes and keep moving.
McKeown was a bit too keen in the opener, but held his shape better in the second stanza, popping out a sharp jab to begin with, but was soon hunting his third opponent around the ring constantly. A lovely uppercut landed in the last minute of the round and a flush left hook. McKeown caught up with the debutant in the final minute and was told by his corner to work the body.
Dunn settled into his role as the hunted man very early on but was finding it increasingly harder to evade the oncoming attacks.
Frustated by the fourth, the referee called time out to warn Dunn for turning his back and McKeown for hitting on the back of the head.
McKeown was getting through with too many right hands and left hooks to the body. He pulled Dunn down but he was allowed to continue.
Scotsman 'Sparky' McKeown was too much for the Mancunian by this time, who was retired by the referee Mark Lyson towards the end of round four.
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HARLEM EUBANK vs. MARTIN MCDONAGH
Unbeaten Harlem Eubank (9-0, 2KOs) takes a step up in levels as he tackles Medway's Martin McDonagh (8-1) over eight-rounds at super-lightweight.
An interesting first round saw both boxers landing well. Cousin to Chris Eubank Jr, Harlem was on the front foot right from the start. Sheppey's McDonagh landed a lovely, long straight left midway through the opener, but Eubank scored a couple of good right hands right on the chin in the last minute. Quite an even round and eventful three minutes to kick off with.
A lovely short right hand landed from McDonagh in the middle of the second round. McDonagh boxing clever on the back foot, keeping his shape and countering well as Eubank came rushing in a bit too overeager. Second round was McDonagh's.
Eubank looked more like Nigel Benn in the third round as he came forward like a man possessed. He dipped his head and landed a left hook heavily on McDonagh who shook it off well. The third round was all Eubank as McDonagh was sent flying into the ropes on several occasions. Harlem was still too eager and missing wildly but he was also landing a few too. Even in the dying seconds, he missed massively and hit the target too.
In round four, Harlem was letting his hands go, desperate to land his right hand, but McDonagh was slipping it expertly. That was until McDonagh began to come forward hmself, throwing jabs and one-twos until a huge left hand landed from Eubank that rocked McDonagh visibly. More huge shots followed and McDonagh somehow made it to the bell for the fifth.
Harlem landed some more big shots during the fifth stanza but slowed the pace slightly and McDonagh was able to get through another round.
A single swiping left landed on McDonagh's chin 40 seconds into round six. The Kent boxer stuck to his boxing, kept his shape, popped out the jab and ended the round with a successful shot.
Eubank upped the pace in the seventh and penultimate round. Both boxers boxed well and threw plenty of punches but McDonagh looked to fade towards the end of the round after a huge uppercut from Harlem landed flush. He looked drained of enough energy to slip the same shots he was slipping in the earlier rounds.
McDonagh started the final round a little lighter on his feet, digging deep to find something to finish the one-sided fight on. A smashing left hook spun McDonagh's head around and whilst momentarily dazed, he was caught by another three hooks and went down for the first time in the fight. He bravely rose to his feet but took a long time to so and the fight was rightfully waved off.
Eubank moves up to double figures, but McDonagh would have earned plenty of fans after that gutsy performance. It was a shame he didn't reach the final bell because he thoroughly deserved to.
Post-fight, 26-year-old Harlem Eubank paid credit to his opponent stating, "He's a tricky southpaw, never been stopped amateur or pro."
ELLIOT WHALE vs. COREY MCCULLOCH
Sidcup's six-foot-tall welterweight Elliot Whale (2-0) also takes a risk against another unbeaten opponent in Scotland's Corey McCulloch (4-0).
As he was being closed down in the corner, Whale waited for McCulloch to throw his right hand so he could land a left uppercut to ribs, which downed unbeaten Scotsman and he couldn't recover, with less than a minute on the clock.
Trained by Alan Smith and Eddie Lamm, the Bexley boxer said afterwards, "I knew as soon as it landed, I heard him groan. He was coming in quite open so I saw the opportunity and landed it."
He then dedicated the win to Nemesis Gym, which was forced to close its doors forever due to COVID-19.
PADRAIG MCCRORY vs. MICKEY ELLISON
'The Hammer' from Belfast Padraig McCrory (10-0, 4KOs) has his second eight-rounder against Darwen's Mickey Ellison (12-2, 4KOs).
The 32-year-old Irishman won the vacant Celtic super-middleweight title in his last fight over eight-rounds against Steve Collins Jr (14-4-1, 4KOs) in August last year. 30-year-old Blackburn boxer, Ellison, fell slightly short in his one and only title tilt against Jack Sellars (7-4-1, 1KO) in March 2019, losing out on the vacant Central Area super-middlewight belt by a single point on the scorecards. In his last fight, he blitzed through prospect Christian Kinsiona (9-2-1, 3KOs) in less than two-minutes.
McCrory's power was evident right from the start, landing with shuddering right hands, the final overhand right dropped Ellison very heavily and the fight was instantly stopped despite the Blackburn boxer rising to his feet. The time was recorded at 1:10 in the first round as Padraig McCrory moves up to 11-0 with five KOs).
Post-fight, 'The Hammer' remarked, "I feel great. He came to win so it was good to get it done early.
"I'm in the gym with Lewis Crocker and we have some great sparring. I have full belief in the team and I'm looking forward to the future."
10x3 English light-heavyweight title
DAN AZEEZ vs. ANDRE STERLING
English light-heavyweight champion Dan Azeez (11-0, 7KOs) was defending his title to sparring partner Andre Sterling (11-2, 4KOs) in a clash for bragging rights in South London, where the warring pair reside.
Both began tentatively, Sterling was wide-eyed and focused, but a little too rigid and breathing heavily, while Azeez was landing his ramrod jab cleanly and copiously. The pair traded a few times towards the end of the opener to give a glimpse of the kind of fight it could become. Not much to seperate the pair in the first round, but 'Super' Azeez likely landed cleaner to take the points. His counter right was effective for him early.
Round two was busier for Sterling and he boxed well, first to the punch often, but a clash of heads caused a cut on his left eye.
In the final third of the third round, Azeez utilised his jab well, but Sterling landed a lovely right hand as the klaxons sounded.
Azeez slipped a jab to land a great right hand in the start of the fourth. Everytime Sterling came in close, the champion caught his shots on gloves and returned fire. The challenger was warned a second time by the referee for holding. Azeez pounced on the scolded challenger and the fight ignited for the rest of the round.
Sterling started the fourth with two big body shots, so Azeez fired in a jab followed by a right to the body in return. Sterling closed the gap and was instructed by his corner to stay in there, but was caught with a left from Azeez. The champion then turned up the pace of the contest after receiving a long right hand from Sterling and the pair traded for the remainder of the round. Azeez's sneaky, short shots were getting through repeatedly.
A significant occurrence came in the first minute as a flash knockdown saw Sterling touch down, partly a slip and partly due to a shot. The 31-year-old enthused champion was then firmly on the front foot, but the battle swung back and forth, excitingly.
By the seventh stanza, Azeez seemed to have taken control of the contest and Sterling was looking worn and weary with a swollen left side, due to the effective right hands from his ring rival.
29-year-old Sterling's gumshield came flying out in the first minute of the eighth. Azeez barely took a step backwards as he came on strong in the final rounds.
Trained by Brian O'Shaughnessy, both Azeez and his coach were calm and collected in the corner, knowing their game plan was in effect ahead of the penultimate round.
Sterling looked spent by then midway point of the ninth and suddenly he stopped boxing as Azeez looked perplexed until both he and referee Howard Foster realised the towel had been thrown in by his corner.
It was the right hands from Azeez that landed from the very first round that took its toll on the New Cross man after over 28 minutes of boxing.
The English light-heavyweight champion spoke after his win, "The build-up had that drive to it and I wanted to punish him and get him out of there. I knew I caught him with some big shots but he kept coming." He then thanked the NHS for nursing his poorly mother back to health.
'Super' then declared his ambitions to fight for Shakan Pitters' British title as well as Lyndon Arthur's Commonwealth strap.
12x3 British and Commonwealth welterweight titles
AKEEM ENNIS BROWN vs. PHILIP BOWES
Bookies' favourite Akeem Ennis-Brown (13-0, 1KO) and reigning Commonwealth super-lightweight champion Philip Bowes (20-3, 3KOs) do battle on the same day in history that Frank Bruno defeated American champion Oliver McCall to win the WBC World heavyweight title. This championship clash is not quite as big as that historical event, but it's another great fight that's been a long time coming after a couple of cancellations in the past.
Bowes aims to make history as the 140lbs division's oldest ever champion at 36, but 'Riiddy' has other ideas himself, and the 24-year-old from Gloucester hasn't put a foot wrong in his five-year career so far, collecting English, WBC Youth World, and IBF European super-lightweight straps up to now and aims to bag another two titles tonight.
It was a bright and busy opener. Sporting the Jamaican flag on his shorts, 'Riiddy' was coming forward in his erratic way, frustrating Bowes, but the Commonwealth champ landed a huge left hand right at the end of the round, which taught Ennis-Brown a lesson.
'Quicksilver' Bowes landed another left hand in the first 30 seconds of the second. Ennis-Brown was keeping up the pressure throughout and was dictating the pace of the contest. It seemed like they had established their roles of pressure fighter and counter-puncher early on.
'Riiddy' was lively and energetic with his jab as the third begun. Bowes took a tumble but ruled as a slip. Ennis-Brown was far busier, dancing on his toes, landing pitty-patty shots plentiful but with little effect.
Akeem was applying all the pressure in the fourth and Bowes looked like he required respite from the constant attacks. Both boxers were warned sternly by Phil Edwards for not breaking when instructed.
Gloucester's Brown continued to pressurise Bowes in the fifth, who was still landing his flash left hands in response. the southpaws got tangled up a lot and prompted the punditry team to explain that even championship contests aren't pretty at times.
As the fight reached the midway mark, it was hard to score for the busy workrate of Brown or the heavy, cleaner shots from Bowes.
Ennis-Brown was really letting his hands go and scored some lovely right hands especially an uppercut that got through in the first minute of the sixth. Bowes guilty of sometimes waiting to long to react. It was a clear round for the unbeaten Brown, who suprisingly found himself hurled through the ropes in the dying seconds. Ennis-Brown is not rushing his work so much now and the class is beginning to really show.
Bowes was warned for holding in the seventh stanza. Ennis-Brown looked like he was starting to enjoy himself, dancing his way in and rolling his punches as he landed to body and head. Bowes looked like he had more urgency to his game, but his punches had stopped landing like before. Cutman Jamie Sheldon was still required to work on the Londoner's split left eye whcih looked to be under control.
In the eighth, Bowes was sill too slow to reply to 'Riiddy's' relentless attacks. Bowes was then deducted a point for holding and not following instructions when ordered to break. He was then trapped in the corner as Ennis-Brown got through with successive left hands to the head.
In round nine, Bowes wasn't connecting much and seemed to be running out of ideas and steam as he is persistently outgunned. From ringside, Spencer Fearon had Ennis-Brown 86-84 ahead on the scorecards.
As the championships rounds begun, Bowes came out like a man possessed and landed a huge right hand, possibly his best punch of the entire fight. A head clash or punch opened up a gaping cut on Brown's right eye, which immediately caused official Edwards to stop the fight for a doctor's inspection. The fight continued and it was an electric round. Bowes came out firing to score a big round just as he needed it most. The final two rounds will be firewirks if it continues in this way.
Ennis-Brown was under pressure and walked down for the first time in the fight as the 11th got underway. He was forced to hold on as Bowes came on strong. Referee Phil Edwards had asked the pair to keep it clean for the last two rounds but they soon became entangled and each ended up on the floor. The penultimate round was pretty ugly as they each unleashed everything they had.
It could all come down to this final round! Bowes still landing clean single shots but rarely compared to the persistant attacks of 'Riiddy'. It was another busy round and the three ringside judges are called to decide the winner.
It was scrappy, busy, entertaining, but not a very pretty affair for a British and Commonwealth title fight. The scores were unanimous as 115-112 twice, and 116-111 all in favour of the winner Akeem Ennis-Brown.
The new champion praised the referee for his performance and for reprimanding Bowes for his constant holding. He also revealed that his city of Gloucester has lots of boxing talent coming through.
He said, "I'm really pleased to win these belts. My whole city has been behind me backing me. I'm happy to be the first person from Gloucester to hold these belts.
"It's always been a rugby city but I want to change it to a boxing city. I'm hoping I've opened the door and shined a light on the city because we have lots of good boxers coming through."