The seventh instalment of the Ultimate Boxxer series lands on UK TV screens tonight - BT Sport and ITV4 from 8pm-10:30pm - as four super-middleweights clash head-on in an explosive, one-night knockout tournament.
Ben Ridings (3-0) was removed from the competition just one day before the event date due to testing positive for COVID-19. The Derrick Osaze vs John Telford undercard was also cancelled for the same reason.
Fight #1 - From 8:20pm
Michael Lawal vs Ossie Jervier
6x3 Cruiserweight contest
UB4 winner Mikael Lawal (12-0, 7KOs) kicks of the event against Southern Area title contender Ossie Jervier (6-13, 5KOs).
25-year-old Lawal established his jab and range early, and started to load up on body shots midway through the opener. He was guilty of overloading with his right hand a couple of times and swiping air, but he landed a nice combo towards the end of the round when 39-year-old veteran Jervier lingered on the ropes for too long.
Nigerian-born Lawal landed a clean right hand to the temple just one minute into the second stanza. Jervier was up on his toes for most of the round but, as the pair exchanged on the klaxons, Lawal landed on the back of off-balanced Ossie's head and pulled him to the ground, resulting in a knockdown, but referee Kieran McCann ignored the count from ringside.
In the third segment, Lawal tripped on the canvas and his opponent seized the opportunity to jump on his unsteady foe. Lawal retreated back to the corner, dodged a few shots then traded blows for a spell.
Jervier came forth in the fourth and even had Lawal on the ropes for a while, although he was there by choice attempting to counter. There was a few more exchanges, with Lawal throwing two great short right hooks from in close. Steve Bunce made the point that Lawal was being walked down during this round by Jervier and was forced to think for the first time in this fight and made to work.
In the fifth, Jervier continued to pressure Lawal, trying to fatigue him, and there was plenty of jabs exchanged, but Lawal landed a heavy hook to Ossie's chin that looked painful. Lawal slipped again towards the end of the stanza and the pair ended in another brief shootout before the bell for the final round sounded.
In the last round, Lawal and Jervier got tangled up a bit and Jervier was able to land a few of his own, but Lagos-born Lawal was still landing his crisp jabs throughout and was made to go the six-round distance for the third time in his two-and-a-half-year career.
Mikael Lawal won the contest 60-54 on points, scored by referee McCann.
Currently placed at no.10 in BoxRec's rankings, Lawal is now 13-0 with seven KOs, which is the exact same record as English cruiserweight champion Deion Jumah (13-0, 7KOs), who is five places above him. In the post-fight interview, he called out Luke Watkins (14-2, 9KOs) next. The pair have been ordered to fight in a British title eliminator by the BBBofC in their most recent circular, with the winner to challenge for the British cruiserweight title, currently in Richard Riakporhe's (11-0, 8KOs) hands - Jumah is the mandatory challenger.
Fight #2: From 9pm
Semi Final #1
Zak Chelli vs Vladimir Georgiev
3x3 Super-middleweight contest
Fulham fighter Zak Chelli (7-1-1. 3KOs) showed why he was tournament favourite with his poised, composed style, holding the centre of the ring, undaunted and unmovable. Georgiev (4-0) exerted a lot of energy, but Chelli looks like he's pacing himself for a 10-round title fight. Chelli completely in control.
Two strong right hands on Georgiev's cheek forced the Bulgarian boxer to hold on during the first part of the second. Unbeaten Georgiev's mouth was open whilst Chelli was boxing like a man who knows he's got another fight to get to next.
Chelli clearly won all three rounds, but stand-in opponent Vladimir Georgiev gave a great account of himself in the third and final round, despite looking completely worn out. Chelli controlled the three rounds with his jabs and counter-punching but he looked like he was trying to force a stoppage towards the end, needlessly.
All three judges scored the first of the semi-finals 30-27 to Fulham fighter Chelli, who advances to the final with the dominant performance.
Chelli congratulated his brave opponent and called him "a slippery fighter". He also added "That wasn't 100 per cent of me in there."
Semi Final #2
Harry Woods vs Mike McGoldrick
3x3 Super-middleweight contest
Trained by Paul Stevenson at the thriving Everton Red Triangle Gym in Liverpool, 25-year-old Harry Woods (4-0) is an exciting, young prospect up against a man 10-years his senior in Mike McGoldrick (6-0, 2KOs), 35 from Cumbria, in the second of the semi-finals.
McGoldrick surprised many by landing some big shots early on in the first round. The pair went for it and exchanged lots of blows, but the older man McGoldrick came off worse by the end of it all with a little cut under his right eye. Very even round, with both landing in close, but Steve Bunce had Woods losing from ringside.
It was another exciting three minutes with non-stop punching, this time Woods looked to just get the better of the many exchanges, setting up the perfect final round. Woods landed the best punch of the fight with a lovely clean left uppercut.
The final round was a carbon copy of the first two, as the pair traded off in close quarters for the entire three minutes. Woods slipped as overloaded on his left hook in the last 15 seconds, and it's an extremely hard contest to judge.
Mike McGoldrick wins by unanimous decision - 29-28, 29-28, 30-27 - to meet Chelli in the final, who will be licking his lips seeing the amount of energy the winner exerted in there.
Post-fight, McGoldrick said his game plan was to make himself compact and to close the range and go to war, which is exacty what he did, to the letter.
Florian Marku vs Muma Mweemba
6x3 Welterweight contest
Unbeaten Albanian Florian Marku (6-0, 4KOs) came out with wicked intention and had Muma (4-1, 2KOs) down with a right then left hook to the body in just over a minute. The second knockdown was under duress and was a bit of a pulldown, but the finish was stunning. There was a leaping left hook that landed on the retreating Sheffield man that ended the contest around the midway mark in the first round.
Florian 'TNT' Marku secured win no.7 in just 101 seconds and the savage welterweight moves up to 7-0, with five KOs.
In his home country, he had over 150 kickboxing fights and is mobbed wherever he goes because of his celebrity status.
Post-fight, he said he felt he had bombs in his hands and knew he would take him out. He also revealed he planned to work the body first, then the head later, which was proven by his knockdowns.
He also called out 147lbs rival Conor Benn (16-0, 11KOs) and referred to the 24-year-old constantly as 'she' as he did so. Benn is preparing to defend his WBA Continental welterweight title for the third time to former IBO World welterweight champion Sebastian Formella later in the month.
Zak Chelli vs Mike McGoldrick
3x3 Super-middleweight contest
Londoner Zak Chelli (8-1-1, 3KOs) has had the longer rest between fights and barely broke a sweat anyway, as he cruised to victory with ease. It was the exact opposite for Mike McGoldrick (7-0, 2KOs), who is 13 years older than Chelli, as he left it all in the ring with Woods in an epic three-round battle and with a shorter rest inbetween - only 36 minutes in total.
Steve Bunce believes that McGoldrick had left every ounce of himself in that fight with Woods, whereas Chelli said he'd had harder runs than that fight.
McGoldrick pumped his chest as he entered the ring, sporting a little nick under his right eye.
Underdog McGoldrick did very well for the first half of the round as the pair exchanged in close, but he soon tired and Chelli let his hands go with speed and power, making McGoldrick eat very many punches straight down the pipe until he scored a knockdown with a right hook to the head followed up with a right to the temple. Bloodied and bruised McGoldrick somehow made it to the bell.
Chelli opened the second stanza by picking McGoldrick off on the outside at range, and was soon floored twice more with brutal body shots. He kept getting back up but it was clear by the picture on his face he could withstand no more punishment and the bout was rightfully called off by referee Bob Williams midway through the second - 1:32 on the clock.
22-year-old Chelli was bestowed with the Golden Robe upon winning the entire tournament and moved up to 9-1-1. He also signed promotional contracts with BOXXER as part of the triumph.
In the post-fight interview, he revealed he had been woken up by his father Zak Chelli Sr every morning at 4am for an hour-long run to prepare for this competition. He ended by stating his desire to fight for titles, naming the British and European in particular.
Golden Robe Winners:
UB1: Drew Brown, Welterweight
UB2: Shakan Pitters, Light-heavyweight
UB3: Derrick Osaze, Middleweight
UB4: Mikael Lawal Cruiserweight
UB5: Steven Donnelly,Super-welterweight
UB6: Nick Webb, Heavyweight
UB7: Zak Chelli, Super-middleweight