Frank Warren’s second show back since lockdown ended features a tasty heavyweight showdown, a Southern Area championship contest, plus three up-and-coming prospects all looking to make a name for their selves.
BBN previewed the entire five-fight card that will take place behind closed doors at the BT Sport studios in Stratford on July 25:
‘Juggernaut’ Joe Joyce (10-0, 9KOs) gets a warm-up fight with Michael Wallisch (20-3, 13KOs) before his highly anticipated showdown with Daniel Dubois in October.
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The Munich man, managed by Erol Ceylan, has lost three of his last five fights and was knocked out in all of them before the midway mark.
Against Tony Yoka (6-0), who was the last man to beat Joe Joyce in the 2016 Rio Olympics super-heavyweight finals, Wallisch was very static and essentially used as a human punchbag for three rounds.
The same happened from the second round onwards when in with Efe Ajagba (9-0). The former German heavyweight champion made it competitive in the first round but was badly beaten up in the second.
Joyce has stopped all but one of his opponents – world title contender Bryant Jennings (24-3) – and it’s hard to see his 11th ring rival lasting the 10-round distance in this non-title fight.
‘JJJ’ will likely feel out 34-year-old Wallisch in the first three minutes and catch him a couple of times with his frequent jabs. As soon as he lands his powerful right hand, it’ll signal the beginning of the end and it’s hard to see Wallisch making it anywhere past the third round.
Chris Bourke (7-0, 5KOs) lands his first title shot against Ramez Mahmood (11-0, 2KOs). The unbeaten pair will vie for the vacant Southern Area super-bantamweight over 10 rounds.
26-year-old maths teacher, Mahmood, won the Southern Area featherweight title in September 2019 when he defeated prospect Jack Budge (4-0) by a wide points margin at the York Hall.
‘The Mathemagician’ has a rangy jab and likes to dig in with a left to the body, but he only has two knockouts to his name.
Streatham southpaw, Bourke, has stopped five of his seven victims, one of those was a stunning one-punch KO of English and British title contender Louis Norman (14-8-1).
He’s very sharp, quick on his feet and hard to nail. He paws his right hand out in his opponent’s face making it very awkward to fight against and applies constant pressure with a schooled, skilled style.
Trained by Martin Bowers, Bourke won gold medals for Team GB in international tournaments as well as competing in the World Series Boxing. The 25-year-old will have a slight height advantage standing an inch taller than Mahmood at 5ft 7in.
Mahmood has the upper hand in experience in the professional ranks, having already been crowned an Area champion, and has completed exactly double the amount of rounds as Bourke.
Despite this advantage, Bourke does appear to possess the better boxing ability and looks destined for bigger honours than Area titles.
Expect the championship clash to start off very even, but Bourke’s quality should allow him to begin to dominate soon after and will be tipped to win his first title on points.
Battersea banger Denzel Bentley (12-0, 10KOs) receives another test in his continued rise, with a 10-round middleweight contest against Mick ‘The Hammer’ Hall (15-2, 2KOs).
The Preston puncher’s two defeats came at the hands of the same man in Jack Arnfield (22-2), first in a Prizefighter tournament in 2015, then in a 12-round WBA International title fight in 2017, which ended in the 11th round when Hall suffered a large swelling to his head.
After 10 years as a pro, only one fight in the last three years, the 34-year-old in the away corner is going to have his work cut out against the heavy-handed Bentley, who has 10 knockouts from 12 victories.
All the 25-year-old middleweight’s stoppages have occurred in rounds one and two. He doesn’t waste time! When he was given his first real test against Midlands Area title contender Kelcie Ball (10-1), he took just 72 seconds to get rid of him, throwing big bombs right from the opening bell.
Mick Hall is a competent fighter, but he is out of his depth against Denzel Bentley, who will be fully expecting to continue his trend of winning inside two rounds.
Unbeaten Louie Lynn (6-0, 5KOs) also receives his first test with a six-round featherweight contest against Scottish Area title contender Monty Ogilvie (9-1, 1KOs).
24 from Banstead, Surry, ‘Loco’ Lynn is trained by Kevin Mitchell and was an ABA Elites champion in the amateurs.
Similarly to the Bentley-Hall fight, this is another mix of levels in the ring together. Lynn will likely go on to a high level in boxing, whereas Ogilvie hasn’t managed to prove himself at Area level yet. Lynn is very aggressive and will be looking to win inside the distance.
English welterweight champion Ekow ‘The Engine’ Essuman (13-0, 5KOs) was due to face Cedrick Peynaud (8-7-3), but the Frenchman, who dropped Conor Benn in their 2017 fight, rolled his ankle in training and won’t be fit to compete.
The 31-year-old Botswana-born, Nottingham-based welterweight is now waiting on confirmation of his new opponent.