Rising Stars Scott, Towl and Hopewell Impressive on Saturday’s Historic First UK All Female Pro Boxing Event.

 

Review by Gianluca Di Caro

Photographs courtesy of Alistair Campbell.

On Saturday 24th April History was made when six time, five division World Champion and Promoter Lee Mcallister promoted the first ever all female professional boxing event, titled LET BATTLE COMMENCE – THE LIONESSES, to take place in the United Kingdom. The event, which took place behind closed doors at the Northern Hotel in Aberdeen and was broadcast live and free to view on FITE TV as well as globally on numerous linear and digital channels.

Back in September last year, when McAllister originally announced the history making event, which then was due to be co-headlined by WIBA Minimum Weight World Champion Denise Castle and returning MBC International Champion Marianne Marston it went viral, female fighters and boxing fans around the world retweeting and sharing the social media posts. 

However within weeks of making the announcement fate dealt the Aberdeen Assassin a massive blow, as both the British and Scottish Government announced that the countries would go into full lockdown for the entire month of November.

McAllister set a new date was for January 2021 but just three weeks prior to the new date the UK once again went into lockdown. Frustratingly McAllister had to reschedule the date once more, this time to the 24th April 2021.

Early in April it looked like the event may have to be rescheduled again, as it was clear that, due to the pandemic, travel restrictions were introduced, a number of the overseas boxers contracted to fight would not be able to travel to the UK. 

It wasn’t just ‘away’ fighters affected, such as the proposed opponents of the co-headline fighters Castle and Marston, but also Ellie Coulson, Hollie Towl, Sophie Varley and Jaime Bates’ opponents Ester Konecna, Angela Cannizzaro, Ivette Garcia and Jane Kavulani respectively, but also ‘home’ fighter Swiss based World Boxing Council (WBC) Muay Thai World Champion Natacha De Almeida, who was due to make her Professional Boxing Debut was unable to travel due to local restrictions.

Undaunted McAllister decided to continue with a reduced card of just six fights featuring UK based fighters only, well that was until just a week before showtime, when Manchester based Sophie Varley and Nicola Hopewell’s opponent Juliette Winter, who had been preparing for the fight in France, both had to pull out.

If that wasn’t enough for McAllister to contend with, just the day before the event Ellie Coulson’s replacement opponent Sarah Smith pulled out. 

Frantic phone calls by McAllister and others already in Aberdeen including matchmaker Giles Carter, eventually paid off and a new opponent secured for the highly talented Coulson, but the new line-up was dramatically different from the original one planned for last year, as now the event featured only five fights and no big names or title fights to head up the card.

As Tasha Boyes’ original fight against Sophie Varley was off and Juliette Winter couldn’t get back from France McAllister decided that the planned future rematch between Hopewell (2-0-0) and Boyes (0-2-0) would be bought forward and headline, Coulson (1-0-0) would now face pro boxing debutante Becky Jameson, a Glasgow based pro BKB fighter. Hollie Towl would face Belfast’s Cara MacLochlainn, a former Kick Boxing star and Irish Amateur Champion making her pro boxing debut, debuting Angelica Finch would now face Jaime Bates (1-3-0) and the original match-up between two former elite Amateur stars Estelle Scott and Kirsty Biswas remained the same.

The aforementioned former amateur stars Scott and Biswas was the opening fight of the night, and boy oh boy was it a close fought all action affair.

Right from the off both protagonists went at it hammer and tongs, letting rip with big shots to body and head throughout, the round reminded me of the wickedly intense first round war between Graham Earl and Michael Katsidis back in 2007.

As with the first stanza both returned to Gladiatorial ways and continued to battle at close range in both the second and third rounds and whilst the action slowed a little in the fourth the action was just as intense, just now the big bombs were flying.

The pace of the action clearly affected Biswas more than Scott, as the Middlesbrough based warrior slowed considerably, which opened the door for South Shields based Scott to take control and dominate the proceedings in style, backing Biswas up on occasions and letting rip with big flurries of shots.

At the end of the fifth Biswas looked very drained, so much so that on returning to the corner her coach voiced his concerns and following a short discussion with Biswas summoned referee Carla Fox and retired his charge in the corner.

Wow, that was one helluva battle, the battling Scott and Biswas threw down the gauntlet to the others competing on the night, and sure as eggs is eggs they did.

Next up see Worksop’s Ellie Coulson (1-0-0) face very, very late replacement Becky Jameson. 

Coulson, a three time national finalist and England amateur boxing national youth middleweight champion, wasn’t fazed one iota facing a bigger fighter from a different pro discipline, she calmly picked her shots each time Jameson came into range. 

Jameson is a plucky as they come, clearly outclassed by the elite former Amateur star she kept coming forward wanting to make a fight of it, but at a cost, Jameson was sent down just under a minute into the fight and after that Coulson’s class shone through. 

The Worksop lass landing big shots to Jameson’s head each time she came forward, when I say big shots I mean seriously solid straight rights that sent Jameson’s head back. As the fight went past the ninety second point Coulson landed yet another Exocet that rocked the Glaswegian to the core, Referee Carla Fox was clearly concerned at the amount of powerful shots Jameson had taken in the first ninety seconds or so and stepped in and waived the fight off on the one minute and forty two second mark.

Jameson was game taking the fight at such late notice, no question about that, she came to fight BUT Coulson is a seriously class act, personally think even after only two pro fights she’s definitely one of the best Female fighters in the Super Welterweight/Middleweight divisions worldwide and it’s just a matter of time before everyone in the division will begin avoiding her.

Third fight of the night pitted the sensational teenage former five time National Amateur Champion Hollie Towl (1-0-0) against the seriously tough former Kick Boxing star and Irish Amateur Champion from Belfast Cara MacLochlainn, who was making her professional boxing debut.

Initially both protagonists began cautiously feeling out the other and then the fight just exploded into action and when I say action, wow what a round, these two Warriors exchanged blow after blow. it was pure poetry in motion. As the round progressed Towl’s class began to shine through, as she started creating openings before firing scintillatingly fast and hard body shots at the torso of her Irish opponent.

Round two started similarly to the first, however Towl shifted up a gear and started targeting the body of the ‘Belfast Bomber’ and landing wickedly vicious shots MacLochlainn is one talented and tough cookie as not only did she just shake off the shots but would fire her own Exocets in return.

Round three was a WAR, both Warriors went in hard and fast, once again Towl shifted up another gear and began landing massive bodyshops, this time though MacLochlainn appeared to be struggling coping with the onslaught, at around midway through the second half of the round Towl landed a massive shot that sent the MacLochlainn reeling across the ring, I honestly thought the fight was over as it seemed her legs had gone, but somehow the tough Irishwoman managed to make it to the end of the round.

MacLochlainn looked drained when she came out for the fourth, which only encouraged Towl to come in hard and fast and land even more body shots, seemingly at will.

After such a hard round I was surprised when MacLochlainn came out looking ready to go to war again in the fifth, she put up a good fight but again Towl landed some incredible shots throughout the round. 

The sixth and final round mirrored the second to a degree, without doubt Towl won the round with her incredible skill, but MacLochlainn kept the teenager honest and made a great fight of it.

No surprise that referee Carla Fox’s scorecard showed Towl as victor, by a 59-55 points margin, but plaudits to MacLochlainn she went the distance, a big surprise considering the amount of vicious body-shots she absorbed in the fight.

Quite rightly Towl-MacLochlainn was declared Fight of the Night and Hollie Towl the Fighter of the Night. The quietly spoken Towl seemed surprised when Sportanarium Radio’s Trevor Lake announced the accolade before presenting her with the Sportanarium ‘Fighter of the Night’ Belt. 

Next up was Boston, Lincolnshire’s former three time ABA Champion Angelica Finch, who was making her Professional debut, against York’s former PBC international Champion Jaime Bates (1-3-0).

This was looking to be a sensational match-up in the first minute or so as both protagonists approach virtually mirrored the other, literally as Finch was fighting in a southpaw stance and Bates boxes orthodox. 

Just as the action was really warming up, Referee Carla Fox signalled Finch into the neutral corner where the doctor awaited to check a bad cut sustained shortly before. 

The doctor advised the contest be waived off and as such the result was declared as Referee Stops Contest (RSC) on the one minute and forty two second mark of the first round.

Following the result Finch’s corner requested a review of the result, as they believe the cut came from an accidental clash of heads just before the final exchanges of the shortened contest. Their request has been submitted to the British & Irish Boxing Authority competition panel to review and ascertain if the result should stand as is.

Regardless of the result of the review, Finch vs Bates II is being discussed between the teams and promoter with the anticipated rematch coming in the very near future – I for one can’t wait for that as this fight had all the hallmarks of being a classic Battle Royale.

Time for the main event – Nicola Hopewell versus Tasha Boyes II.

Back in September last year Hopewell vs Boyes took place on LET BATTLE COMMENCE II – here’s my write-up on the first meeting between them.

OK, now were onto the fight I was really waiting for, Worksop’s Professional Boxing Council (PBC) International Silver Champion Nicola Hopewell versus York’s Tasha Boyes

I’ve been particularly looking forward to this contest since hearing about Tasha Boyes performance against Maria Cecchi in Italy a few weeks ago, which had earned high praise from the Italian media and I know just how good Nicola is, as was lucky enough to be ringside when she beat Ghana’s Anita Addy to lift the PBC crown back on March 7th. 

This fight had all the makings of being a classic, and the way it started out it surely would have been, Hopewell came out hard and fast and let rip with fast double handed combinations, which coincidently is how I had anticipated Boyes would approach things!

Boyes is as savvy as they come and soon began to use her height and reach advantage to get back in contention, but Hopewell’s magnificent ringcraft and oodles of talent soon put an end to that and as the round was heading to its conclusion backed Boyes up and began letting rip with a barrage of shots, somehow Boyes managed to find a way out but only a temporary respite as Hopewell went in for the kill and let rip once more to send Boyes to the canvas. 

Boyes must have landed awkwardly on her arm and aggravated the training injury she sustained in the week, as when she rose to her feet she was holding her arm and clearly in a lot of pain, her coach Giles Carter was so concerned he summoned Referee Graeme Beauly and retired her in the corner at the end of the round.

Have to admit that was a disappointing end to the highly anticipated contest, but there is some good news for Boyes as Hopewell has agreed to a rematch, I for one am really looking forward to that.

OK, the scene is set so now let’s get to Saturday night’s Hopewell-Boyes II showdown.

Right from the opening bell both fighters moved to centre ring, initially just feeling out the other but seconds later Boyes moved in and let rip with a straight left followed by a left-right combination, Hopewell responds with a big right to kick off the proceedings. What an absolutely fantastic highly technical, all action first round.

Thoroughly enjoyed the first stanza, however the second was even better as Hopewell shifted up a gear and used her fantastic ring craft to circumnavigate Boyes’ superior reach to land some seriously awesome shots.

Don’t get me wrong Boyes landed some first class shots too but Hopewell’s class and experience really shone through, especially in the second half of the round, culminating in a scintillating powerful body-shot that sent Boyes to the canvas. Boyes surprisingly raised to her feet before the count reached its conclusion, but clearly was still in a lot of distress, so much so that Referee Carla Fox didn’t hesitate to waive the fight off on the one minute forty two second mark of the second round.

Some nine years after amateur Female boxing hit the headlines at the London 2012 Olympics, finally the first female professional event took place in the UK, interestingly LET BATTLE COMMENCE – LIONESSES was not only the first all female pro boxing event in the UK, but I believe is also the first event to be officiated by female official in the main roles – these were; Supervisor/Official Recorder Alejandra Ramirez, Referee Carla Fox and Chief inspector Jennie Boyle.

The entire event is still available free to view on FITE.TV (go to replays)

My final words on this historic event is that it was a great show, one that goes to prove you really don’t always need big names or Championship fights, even for a televised event, especially when the fights are as good as these were.

#LetBattleCommence

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JONAS: TAYLOR HAS BEEN UNFINISHED BUSINESS SINCE 2012

‘Miss GB’ out to avenge Olympics loss
Tasha Jonas says she has “unfinished business” with former amateur foe Katie Taylor and has promised to settle the score when she faces the Irish star for the Undisputed Lightweight World Titles at the AO Arena, Manchester on Saturday May 1, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and on DAZN in all markets excluding the UK, Ireland, China, New Zealand and Samoa.

‘Miss GB’ came agonisingly close to winning her first World Title at the age of 36 last summer when she battled to a thrilling draw with WBC and IBO Super-Featherweight Champion Terri Harper at Matchroom Fight Camp. It was the first time that two British women had competed against each other for a Word Title, and the all-action fight more than lived up to the occasion. 

The Liverpudlian met Taylor in the quarter-final stages of the London 2012 Olympic Games, losing out on points to the eventual winner of the tournament. The pair meet again nearly ten years down the line this weekend, and Jonas is confident of avenging her loss and handing a first defeat to the icon of women’s boxing. 

“I’ve finally established myself at world level which is where I always wanted to be,” said Jonas. “I think I was a bit unlucky that night. I’ve always said I’m not going to keep banging on the door of Terri Harper. I’ve put myself in mandatory positions and I’ll make the fight have to happen again, but I’m not going to wait around and I haven’t done that. Other opportunities have come forward and they’re the ones that I have taken. 

“Ever since I turned pro that’s always been the fight that everybody has wanted to see. There was 12,000 people in the arena at the time and we got the loudest crowd participation – that was the Irish and the Scousers going at it! It was brilliant. My amateur coach had been all around watching boxing, some of the biggest fights, and he said he’d never heard an atmosphere like it. It’s a little bit sad that fans won’t be there this time, but it was a spectacle and that’s what we hope to do again. 

“All eyes will be on us again and I think both of us will step up to the plate. I know I have to be better than I was last time. Without disrespecting anyone, she’s in a different league to any other opponents before. I’ve fought her before, and I’ll be ready. I’ve always wanted to be a World Champion, one fight could give me that, and everything else. It’s a huge moment for me and my career. I have to be better than I was before, which I’m prepared to do. 

“People say you have these turning points in life. As successful as my amateur career was, I didn’t achieve things that I wanted to. That was the whole point of me coming back and being a pro. There was unfinished business. Katie Taylor has been the unfinished business since 2012. To come back and not only beat her and win her Titles, to become Undisputed – what more could you ask for as a professional boxer? That’s everything. You’ve done it all within one fight. 

“Even throughout her amateur career she’s always set the bar really high and we’ve always had to catch her up. She presents herself well. She’s very positive. She’s been a great role model. That’s carried on into the professionals. When we step into the ring on fight night, she’s going to have to earn that respect. I’ve got all of the admiration and respect for her outside of the ring, but in the ring, you have to earn it. That’s what I’ll do.

“I don’t visualise anything if I’m honest. I prepare myself for every eventuality. That’s what I did with Terri and that’s probably the only time we’ve done that. That’s probably what I’ll do this time. Whatever Terri came with, I had an answer for. I think I’ll do the same with Katie. I’ll prepare for every best version of Katie. Any way that she can come at me, I’ll have an answer for it. The best version of me is a tough fight for anyone, Katie included.”

Taylor vs. Jonas is part of an unmissable night of action in Manchester, Derek Chisora (32-10, 23 KOs) and Joseph Parker (28-2, 21 KOs) collide in a huge Heavyweight clash, undefeated WBA Light-Heavyweight World Champion Dmitry Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs) puts his Title on the line against Craig Richards (16-1-1, 9 KOs), Chris Eubank Jr (29-2, 22 KOs) returns against Marcus Morrison (23-3, 16 KOs), Belfast’s James Tennyson (28-3, 24 KOs) faces Mexico’s Jovanni Straffon (23-3-1, 16 KOs) for the IBO Lightweight World Title, Preston Super-Welterweight Scott Fitzgerald (14-0, 9 KOs) makes his long awaited return and Lightweight prospect Campbell Hatton (1-0) fights in his home city for the first time as a pro. 
 
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Ebanie Bridges Sends Message Of Support to Nicola Hopewell, Who Headlines Historic All Female Pro Boxing Event This Saturday – Watch Live and Free on FITE TV.

Just over a week after her spirited challenge against Shannon Courtney for the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) Bantamweight World Crown, Australia’s Ebanie Bridges took time out of her busy schedule to spend some time with her good friend Professional Boxing Council (PBC) International Super Flyweight Champion Nicola Hopewell, ahead of Nicola’s headlining LET BATTLE COMMENCE – THE LIONESSES the first all female professional boxing event to take place in the United Kingdom this coming Saturday, 24th April.

Over the three day visit Ebanie was ringside supporting Nicola during her final training session at the XBox Boxing Academy in Worksop, after which the dynamic duo headed to York to meet with indie Rockband Skylights. 

Wednesday’s schedule was just as busy as Ebanie and Nicola headed to Liverpool, where they visited The Inclusive Hub, an organisation that provide boxing based training for people with behavioural needs, Down’s syndrome, ADHD, Autism etc. 

Later in the day they met up with Natasha Jonas and chatted over coffee about Ebanie’s fight against Shannon Courtney as well as Nicola’s upcoming fight this Saturday and Natasha’s upcoming WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO unified title fight against Katie Taylor on the 1st May.

Yesterday Ebanie and Nicola travelled to Leeds as the Aussie bruiser wanted to visit Elland Road, the home of the Premiership club Leeds United.

Earlier today Ebanie headed to London ahead of her scheduled appearance on Soccer AM tomorrow and Nicola headed up to Aberdeen ahead of her headlining the Lee Mcallister promoted LET BATTLE COMMENCE – THE LIONESSES, in association with Thomson Dairies, Bounty Competitions, RDX, Empire Pro Tape and Go Sports & Entertainment that will take place behind closed doors at the Northern Hotel in Aberdeen on Saturday 24th April 2021 and will be broadcast live and free to view on FITE TV as well as further linear and digital channels globally (please check local listings)

But before she headed south Ebanie took the time to video a message of support not only to her friend Nicola, but also to LET BATTLE COMMENCE – THE LIONESSES promoter Assassin Boxing Promotion and Management as well as Nicola’s Xbox gym mates Hollie Towl and Eleanor Coulson who are also taking part in the historic event.

LET BATTLE COMMENCE – THE LIONESSES, in association with Thomson Dairies, Bounty Competitions, RDX, Empire Pro Tape and Go Sports & Entertainment that will take place in the United Kingdom from 7:30pm in the UK, 2:30pm EST /11:30am PST  in USA, on Saturday 24th April 2021 and will be broadcast live and free to view on FITE TV, AVO NETWORK, SPORTS CHANNEL NETWORK, SOWETO TV, PPV LIVE,  as well as further linear and digital channels globally (please check local listings)

#LetBattleCommence 

www.letbattlecommence.com

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Sportanarium Interviews Hopewell, Towl and Finch Ahead of 24th April Historic UK First Female Pro Event – watch Live & Free on FITE TV

Sportanarium Radio’s Trevor Lake interviews Nicola Hopewell, Hollie Towl and Angelica Finch ahead of them competing on the Historic first all female professional boxing event to take place in the United Kingdom – LET BATTLE COMMENCE – THE LIONESSES, in association with Thomson Dairies, Bounty Competitions, RDX, Empire Pro Tape and Go Sports & Entertainment that will take place behind closed doors at the Northern Hotel in Aberdeen on Saturday 24th April 2021 and will be broadcast live and free to view on FITE TV as well as further linear and digital channels globally (please check local listings)

Nicola Hopewell is a development national champion and regional and National amateur England boxing flyweight champion with multiple box cup titles. On the 24th April Nicola Hopewell will be making her third Professional outing and faces a tough test against Sheffield’s Juliette Winter

Hollie Towl is a 5 time ABA national champion! At three different weights won back to back over five years !! A huge accolade and unprecedented! Hollie is also a national England boxing youth lightweight champion and multiple box cup including Irish titles. Hollie Towl, who will be making her second appearance in the LET BATTLE COMMENCE series, faces former Kick Boxing rising star Cara MacLochlainn who makes her Professional Boxing debut on the event.

Former GB squad member and three-time ABA champion Angelica Finch, who will box at Featherweight. Angelica Finch has a tough professional boxing debut as she takes on Shrewsbury’s former PBC International Silver Super Bantamweight Champion Jaime Bates

Also featuring on LET BATTLE COMMENCE – THE LIONESSES, in association with Thomson Dairies, Bounty Competitions, RDX, Empire Pro Tape and Go Sports & Entertainment are;

Ellie Coulson is a three time national finalist and England boxing national youth middleweight champion with again multiple box cup titles. Ellie Coulson will also be making her second appearance in the series, this time she faces Ester Konecna from the Czech Republic. 

Former Elite Amateur, South Shields’ Estelle Scott, will make her professional debut against fellow pro debutant Kirsty Biswas from Middlesbrough.

Manchester’s former PBC International Silver Super Bantamweight Champion Sophie Varley, who now competes at Super Flyweight, will face Natasha Boyes.

LET BATTLE COMMENCE – THE LIONESSES, in association with Thomson Dairies, Bounty Competitions, RDX, Empire Pro Tape and Go Sports & Entertainment that will take place in the United Kingdom from 7:30pm in the UK, 2:30pm EST /11:30am PST  in USA, on Saturday 24th April 2021 and will be broadcast live and free to view on FITE TV, AVO NETWORK, SPORTS CHANNEL NETWORK, SOWETO TV, PPV LIVE,  as well as further linear and digital channels globally (please check local listings)

#LetBattleCommence 

www.letbattlecommence.com

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HARPER AND CHOI MEET IN SUPER-FEATHERWEIGHT UNIFICATION ON MAY 15

Bumper bill features Buatsi plus three European Title fights
Terri Harper will put her WBC and IBO Super-Featherweight World Titles on the line against undefeated WBA World Champion Hyun-Mi Choi on a huge night of action at the AO Arena, Manchester on Saturday May 15 that also sees the return of rising Light-Heavyweight star Joshua Buatsi plus three European Title fights, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US and more than 200 countries and territories.
 
Harper (11-0-1, 6 KOs) looked sensational as she stopped Norway’s Katharina Thanderz in nine rounds to retain her WBC and IBO 130lbs crowns last time out in November at The SSE Arena, Wembley on the undercard of Katie Taylor’s win over Miriam Gutierrez. 
 
‘Belter’ clung onto her belts after a thrilling draw with Natasha Jonas at Matchroom Fight Camp back in August, but the 24-year-old produced a far more composed performance to ruthlessly halt her mandatory challenger Thanderz in just her 12th fight. 
 
Choi (18-0-1, 4 KOs), the longest-reigning world ruler in women’s boxing, beat China’s Chunyan Xu on her professional debut in October 2008 to claim the vacant WBA Featherweight crown before making seven defences of her World Title in the following five years. 
 
The South Korean became a two-weight World Champion when she landed the WBA Super-Featherweight Title against Thailand’s Siriwan Thongmanit in May 2014, and most recently defended it against Calista Silgado on her Matchroom debut at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
 
“It’s exciting that our dream of becoming Undisputed Super-Featherweight World Champion is taking a step closer to reality with my first unification fight,” said Harper. “I’m looking forward to the step-up and fighting an undefeated champion.
 
“Choi is the longest-reigning female World Champion and it will be an honour to share the ring with her. I’m more than ready. I’ve been training for this fight since the new year, even with my broken hand. I don’t just want to win; I want to win in style and make a statement.”
 
“I have waited a very long time for the opportunity to fight for the WBC belt,” said Choi. “I am so excited and looking forward to it. My goal has been to unify my weight division for many years and now the time has finally come.

“I know this fight in England will not be easy. Fighting in another country is extremely difficult but I am prepared for this adventure and challenge. I truly hope the best fighter will win. I have prepared for this opportunity my whole boxing career.”
 
Croydon’s Buatsi (13-0, 11 KOs) came through the toughest test of his career as he stopped brave Croatian Marko Calic in seven brutal rounds to retain his WBA International Light-Heavyweight Title in the main event at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes last October.
 
The 28-year-old has since switched trainers and will now be guided by Virgil Hunter in San Francisco, the renowned coach who oversaw Andre Ward’s legendary career that ended with a perfect 32-0 record and World Titles in two divisions. 
 
Undefeated Super-Middleweight talent Lerrone Richards (14-0, 3 KOs), the former British and Commonwealth Champion, steps up his pursuit for world honours as he takes on Italy’s Giovanni De Carolis (28-9-1, 13 KOs) for the vacant EBU European Title.
 
Belfast’s Tommy McCarthy (17-2, 18 KOs) captured the vacant EBU European Cruiserweight Title after a hard-fought majority decision victory over Bilal Laggoune – he makes the first defence of his belt against Romania’s Alexandru Jur (19-4, 7 KOs).
 
Birmingham’s Gamal Yafai (18-1, 10 KOs) puts his EBU European Super-Bantamweight Title on the line for the first time against Jason Cunningham (28-6, 6 KOs) after claiming it with an impressive unanimous decision victory over Italy’s Luca Rigoldi at the Allianz Cloud in Milan.
 
Fast-rising Super-Lightweight star Dalton Smith (7-0, 6 KOs) meets Doncaster’s Lee Appleyard (16-5-1, 5 KOs) for the vacant English Title after their February clash fell through at short notice due two positive COVID tests in Appleyard’s camp. 

“This is a cracking card and most likely our last in the U.K. behind closed doors,” said Eddie Hearn. “As Terri Harper continues her quest for Undisputed, she takes on the unbeaten champ Hyun-Mi Choi in a brilliant unification match-up. Joshua Buatsi returns to action under new trainer Virgil Hunter and we have three European Title match ups with champions Tommy MCarthy and Gamal Yafai defending and Leronne Richards going for the Super-Middleweight Title. Electric prospect Dalton Smith also steps-up in a great fight vs. Lee Appleyard for the vacant English Title as he continues his charge.”
 
Adam Smith, Head of Boxing Development for Sky Sports, said: “Terri Harper tops a superb night of action, live on Sky Sports, in a high-class unification clash with rival World Champion Hyun-Mi Choi.

“Terri is one of our leading women’s fighters – we’ve followed her journey closely – and now she aims to propel herself into elite company as a unified champion.

“Joshua Buatsi continues his explosive pursuit of a World Title fight and it will be fascinating to see the influence of America’s highly-regarded trainer, Virgil Hunter.

“Lerrone Richards, Tommy McCarthy and Gamal Yafai also return in a triple-header of European Title action, while Dalton Smith against Lee Appleyard should be an enthralling domestic clash.”
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QUARTET OF NATIONAL CHAMPIONS STAR ON HISTORIC BRITISH ALL FEMALE PRO BOXING EVENT ON 24TH APRIL 2021

Six time, five division World Champion and Promoter Lee Mcallister and the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) jointly announced an historic all female professional boxing event, titled LET BATTLE COMMENCE – THE LIONESSES, in association with Bounty Competitions, RDX, Empire Pro Tape and Go Sports & Entertainment that will take place in the United Kingdom on Saturday 24th April 2021 and will be broadcast live and free to view on FITE TV as well as further linear and digital channels globally (please check local listings)

To date the LET BATTLE COMMENCE series, which were broadcast live on FITE TV and delayed broadcast in the UK on Sports Channel Network (Freeview/YouView Channel 265), has featured female contests on all events.

The inaugural LET BATTLE COMMENCE event took place on the 18th July 2020 and hosted the professional boxing debut of ten time Kick Boxing World Champion Caitlin Foran against PBC International Silver Champion Jaime Bates.

LET BATTLE COMMENCE II, which was broadcast live on Friday 4th September 2020, featured three female contests, the first featured PBC International Silver Super Flyweight Champion Nicola Hopewell versus Tasha Boyes, also featured on the card were Elite Amateur Stars Hollie Towl and Ellie Coulson who made their respective professional boxing debuts against Jaime Bates and Beccy Ferguson.

LET BATTLE COMMENCE – THE LIONESSES, in association with Bounty Competitions, RDX, Empire Pro Tape and Go Sports & Entertainment that takes place behind closed doors at the Northern Hotel in Aberdeen on the 24th April 2021 is set to enter the record books as the first all Female professional boxing event to take place not only in the UK but also the first in Europe.

The stellar card features no less than four highly decorated former Amateur Champions; 

Nicola Hopewell is a development national champion and regional and National amateur England boxing flyweight champion with multiple box cup titles. On the 24th April Nicola Hopewell will be making her third Professional outing and faces a tough test against Sheffield’s Juliette Winter

Hollie Towl is a 5 time ABA national champion! At three different weights won back to back over five years !! A huge accolade and unprecedented! Hollie is also a national England boxing youth lightweight champion and multiple box cup including Irish titles. Hollie Towl, who will be making her second appearance in the LET BATTLE COMMENCE series, faces former Kick Boxing rising star Cara MacLochlainn who makes her Professional Boxing debut on the event.

Ellie Coulson is a three time national finalist and England boxing national youth middleweight champion with again multiple box cup titles. Ellie Coulson will also be making her second appearance in the series, this time she faces Ester Konecna from the Czech Republic. 

The fourth is former GB squad member and three-time ABA champion Angelica Finch, who will box at Featherweight. Angelica Finch has a tough professional boxing debut as she takes on Shrewsbury’s former PBC International Silver Super Bantamweight Champion Jaime Bates

Joining the highly decorated quorum of Champions on the LET BATTLE COMMENCE – THE LIONESSES, in association with Bounty Competitions, RDX, Empire Pro Tape and Go Sports & Entertainment event are;

Former Elite Amateur, South Shields’ Estelle Scott, will make her professional debut against fellow pro debutant Kirsty Biswas from Middlesbrough.

Manchester’s former PBC International Silver Super Bantamweight Champion Sophie Varley, who now competes at Super Flyweight, will face Natasha Boyes.

LET BATTLE COMMENCE – THE LIONESSES, in association with Bounty Competitions, RDX, Empire Pro Tape and Go Sports & Entertainment will take place on the 24th April 2021 and will be broadcast live and free to view on FITE TV, AVO NETWORK, SPORTS CHANNEL NETWORK, SOWETO TV  as well as further linear and digital channels globally (please check local listings)

www.letbattlecommence.com

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MARSHALL – THIS IS A TOUGHER FIGHT THAN HERMANS

‘Silent Assassin’ faces former four-time World Title challenger
Savannah Marshall believes her late stand-in opponent Maria Lindberg will prove to be a tougher assignment than her original opponent Femke Hermans when they meet for the WBO Middleweight World Title tomorrow night, live on Sky Sports in the UK and on DAZN in the U.S. and more than 200 countries and territories.

Marshall (9-0, 7 KOs) stopped Hannah Rankin in seven rounds to win the vacant WBO crown last October, the former amateur World Champion was a class above her Scottish rival from the opening bell and managed to go one better than her old foe Claressa Shields by ending the fight inside the distance.
 
The Hartlepool fighter was due to face Belgium’s Hermans in her maiden defence until the European Champion was forced to pull out of their contest just days ago due to two positive Coronavirus tests in her camp. 
 
Sweden’s Lindberg, a former four-time World Title challenger, has shared the ring with the likes of Christina Hammer, Ema Kozin and Marie Eve Dicaire, and Marshall says she is prepared for a hard night’s work in her first fight of 2021.
 
“If anything, this is a tougher fight than the original fight we had,” said Marhsall. “Maria is very experienced, tough and been in with some of the best in the world – Christina Hammer twice. I’m expecting a tough fight come Saturday.
 
“I’ve had a twelve-week camp, so I’ve prepared for everything. Whatever Maria brings I’m more than confident I’ve got the answer for. I found out about Femke Hermans being off on Saturday and I thought there was no way they’d get me a replacement opponent at such short notice. 

 “Luckily Matchroom pulled it out of the bag and got me an opponent. She’s had three times as many fights as me so I’m sure she knows all of the little tricks of the trade. She’ll probably never get a chance like this again so really it’s the last roll of the dice for her. She’s definitely going to come all guns blazing.”
 
Marshall vs. Lindberg is part of a big night of action, rising Welterweight star Conor Benn (17-0, 11 KOs) defends his WBA Continental Title against Samuel Vargas (31-6-2, 14 KOs) in the main event, Watford’s Shannon Courtenay (6-1, 3 KOs) faces Australia’s Ebanie Bridges  (5-0, 2 KOs) for the vacant WBA Bantamweight World Title, Glasgow Bantamweight Kash Farooq (14-1, 6 KOs) challenges Alexander Espinoza (20-2-2) for the WBC International Silver Title, Glasgow Heavyweight Nick Campbell makes his professional debut and Takeley prospect John ‘The Gentleman’ Hedges (1-0) looks to build on his pro debut win last October.
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MARSHALL FACES HERMANS IN MAIDEN WBO MIDDLEWEIGHT WORLD TITLE DEFENCE

The ‘Silent Assassin’ meets European Champ on April 10
Savannah Marshall will make the first defence of her WBO Middleweight World Title against former World Champion Femke Hermans on Saturday April 10, live on Sky Sports in the UK and on DAZN in the U.S. and more than 200 countries and territories.

Marshall (9-0, 7 KOs) stopped Hannah Rankin in seven rounds to win the vacant WBO Title last October, the former amateur World Champion was a class above her Scottish rival from the opening bell and managed to go one better than her old foe Claressa Shields by ending the fight inside the distance.

Hermans (11-3, 4 KOs), another former opponent of Shields, took the American star the distance in a challenge for her WBC, WBA and IBF Middleweight crowns in December 2018, before falling short in a challenge for the IBF Super-Middleweight Title against Elin Cederroos four months later. 

She won the vacant WBO Super-Middleweight World Title by outpointing Nikki Adler on away territory in Germany back in May 2018, and will be hoping to cause another upset when she locks horns with Hartlepool’s Marshall. 

The 31-year-old from Londerzeel in Belgium picked up the vacant EBU European Middleweight Title with a unanimous decision against Russia’s Luiza Davydoza in December and her latest World Title challenge will be the first time that she has fought in the UK.

“I’m really happy and I can’t wait for fight night in three weeks’ time,” said Marshall. “I’m very aware of Femke Hermans, a very good fighter. She’s been in with the best, she’s a former WBO World Champion, so I’m sure she’s going to try and get her belt back.

“I know she’s no pushover and I’m looking forward to getting in there. For me, this is probably my toughest test to date. The reigning European Champion. She lost out on a close decision to the World Super-Middleweight Champion, so I know it’s going to be a tough fight. 

“I never go into a fight thinking I’m going to stop someone but I know if I land, whoever I land on, I will hurt them. I’m just looking forward to putting on a good display and showcasing my skills.”

Marshall vs. Hermans is part of a big night of action on April 10, rising Welterweight star Conor Benn (17-0, 11 KOs) defends his WBA Continental Title against Samuel Vargas (31-6-2, 14 KOs) in the main event, Watford’s Shannon Courtenay (6-1, 3 KOs) faces Australia’s Ebanie Bridges (5-0, 2 KOs) for the vacant WBA Bantamweight World Title, Glasgow Bantamweight Kash Farooq (14-1, 6 KOs) returns after his masterclass win over Angel Aviles and Takeley Super-Middleweight John ‘The Gentleman’ Hedges (1-0) looks to build on his pro debut win last October, with more fights to be added soon.
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COURTENAY FACES BRIDGES FOR WBA BANTAMWEIGHT CROWN

Australian steps in for Rachel Ball on April 10
Shannon Courtenay will face Ebanie Bridges for the vacant WBA Bantamweight World Title at a venue to be confirmed on Saturday April 10, live on Sky Sports in the UK and on DAZN in the U.S. and more than 200 countries and territories.

Courtenay (6-1, 3 KOs), who stopped Dorota Norek in seven rounds on the Saunders vs. Murray undercard last time out in December, was originally slated to rematch Rachel Ball for the WBA crown, but her Fight Camp nemesis is still recovering from the effects of COVID-19. 

Australia’s Bridges (5-0, 2 KOs) celebrated her return to the ring after more than a year out with a convincing points win over Carol Earl in Sydney. ‘The Blonde Bomber’ won the judges’ favour and secured a unanimous decision victory in Bankstown to extend her unbeaten run to five fights, including two knockouts.

“I was gutted to hear Rachel had pulled out but safety comes first so I wish her a speedy recovery and look forward to when we do have that rematch down the line,” said Courtenay.

“All that’s changed is the opponent, the outcome is still the same and on April 10 I will be crowned World Champion. 

“We‘ll put on a great, non-stop action fight for the fans but I’m more determined and focused than ever and that World Title is staying in the UK.”

“I’m very excited to be the first female from Australia fighting on a Matchroom card,” said Bridges. “When Eddie contacted me, it was really unexpected but I’m not going to say no to this chance. 

“I was gutted for Rachel as she’s a friend and I wish her well in recovery but opportunity knocks. This is a fight that fans have spoke about for a while now since I moved onto the British scene. I respect Shannon as a boxer, I think we’ll put on a great show but I’ll be the one leaving with the gold.

“This is a huge platform to showcase my skills and who I am, ‘The Blonde Bomber’, to the world. I’ll bring the fight to Shannon – I’m coming to win that World Title, buckle up!”

Courtenay vs. Bridges is part of a big night of action on April 10, rising Welterweight star Conor Benn (17-0, 11 KOs) defends his WBA Continental Title against Samuel Vargas (31-6-2, 14 KOs) in the main event, Hartlepool’s Savannah Marshall (9-0, 7 KOs) makes the first defence of her WBO Middleweight World Title after her emphatic win over Hannah Rankin in October, Glasgow Bantamweight Kash Farooq (14-1, 6 KOs) returns after his masterclass win over Angel Aviles and Takeley Super-Middleweight John ‘The Gentleman’ Hedges (1-0) looks to build on his pro debut win last October, with more fights to be added soon.
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HISTORIC BRITISH ALL FEMALE PRO BOXING EVENT SET FOR 21ST NOV – LIVE ON FITE TV

Five division World Champion and Promoter Lee Mcallister and the British & Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) jointly announced an historic all female professional boxing event, that will take place in the United Kingdom on Saturday 21st November 2020 as part of the LET BATTLE COMMENCE series, in association with PAPA JOHN’S PIZZA and NEON ENERGY DRINK and broadcast exclusively live on FITE TV.

To date the LET BATTLE COMMENCE series, which are broadcast live on FITE TV and delayed broadcast in the UK on Sports Channel Network (Freeview/Youview Channel 265), has featured female contests on all events.

The first took place on the 18th July 2020 and hosted the professional boxing debut of ten time Kick Boxing World Champion Caitlin Foran against PBC International Silver Champion Jaime Bates.

LET BATTLE COMMENCE II, which was broadcast live on Friday 4th September, featured three female contests, the first featured PBC International Silver Super Flyweight Champion Nicola Hopewell versus Tasha Boyes, also featured on the card were Elite Amateur Stars Hollie Towl and Ellie Coulson who made their respective professional boxing debuts against Jaime Bates and Beccy Ferguson.

The upcoming LET BATTLE COMMENCE III, which takes place on the 3rd October features two female contests; Sophie Varley versus Tasha Boyes and Elite Amateur Estelle Scott makes her professional Boxing debut against Carly Mackenzie.

The interim card for the 21st November LET BATTLE COMMENCE VI – THE LIONESSES event sees WIBA Minimum-weight World Champion Denise Castle and MBC International Champion Marianne Marston co-headlining, against yet to be named opponents.

The stacked card hosts the rematch between Nicola Hopewell and Tasha Boyes, following Boyes’ unfortunate retirement during their previous encounter due to an arm injury.

Former ten time Kick Boxing World Champion Caitlin Foran will make her second appearance in the series and will face Shrewsbury’s Beccy Ferguson.

Former English National Amateur Champion Ellie Coulson will also be making her second appearance in the series, this time she faces Ester Konecna from the Czech Republic.

Ellie’s esteemed team mate at the Xbox Academy in Worksop, Hollie Towl, faces Italy’s Angela Cannizzaro.

World Boxing Council (WBC) Muay Thai World Champion Natacha De Almeida from Switzerland, will be making her professional boxing debut against York’s Carly Mackenzie.

Former Elite Amateur, South Shields’ Estelle Scott, is back in action against debuting Kirsty Biswas from Middlesbrough.

Manchester’s Sophie Varley, who now competes at Super Flyweight, will face debuting Ivette Garcia.

Shrewsbury’s PBC International Silver Bantamweight Champion Jaime Bates will go toe-to-toe with the highly experienced Kenyan Jane Kavulani.

Further contests are planned, including a second World title fight between American Heavyweights Carlette Ewell and Gwendolyn O’Neil, subject to UK Government travel restrictions permitting.

Currently this event is being planned as a ‘Behind Closed Doors’ special event at the Northern Hotel in Aberdeen, however it is expected that Spectators will be permitted to attend events by November, subject to government restrictions, and if they are then it is expected that the event will take place in London, subject to suitable size venue availability.

LET BATTLE COMMENCE – THE LIONESSES, in association with PAPA JOHN’S PIZZA and NEON ENERGY DRINK, will take place on the 21st November 2020 and will be broadcast exclusively live on FITE TV (PPV @ $12.99)

www.letbattlecommence.com 

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