BEN SHALOM and Boxxer have not had much luck with injuries of late and you can add this show to the list of those badly affected by a pull-out.
Adam Azim, perhaps the most exciting prospect in their stable, was supposed to headline here in a step-up fight against 22-1 Aram Faniian. Azim went the distance for the first time in his last outing, on February 1 and this was his chance to get back among the knockouts live on Sky Sports on Friday night.
However an injury to the 21-year-old meant he was officially withdrawn from the bill early on fight week although news had begun to filter through late last week. It is understood, he cut his knuckles in a training session last month and has sustained an infection in the wound.
But even in the absence of the headliner, Boxxer have decided to press ahead with the show and have renosed it as ‘In the footsteps of giants’. Make of that what you will but the suggestion is Friday night is a chance for the country’s future stars to make ‘milestone steps’ at the York Hall, like previous British greats.
It appears as though Frazer Clarke will officially top the bill, as he faces the tough yet ageing Mariusz Wach.
Clarke is fighting for the first time since he hit the headlines when Boxxer withdrew him from a purse bid for a clash with British heavyweight champion Fabio Wardley. Shalom insists they still want that fight, but not before Clarke has boxed a few more rounds.
He had said that he should not be in a 12-round fight against Wardley until he’s at least had a 10-rounder. Well this aint it, with the pair scheduled to have a maximum of eight rounds in the Bethnal Green sweatbox.
Wach is still going at the age of 43 but knows how to look after himself, particularly for only eight rounds. In September he went the full 10 with Kevin Lerena, a former cruiserweight but somebody who did drop Daniel Dubois three times last year.
There is no doubt that Clarke could smother and stop Wach early here but the Pole knows enough to nullify him and make this one ugly.
There is also a big step up for Caroline Dubois, as she takes on highly ranked Yanina Lescano over eight-twos at lightweight. The 22-year-old is 6-0 (5) and has designs on fighting Mikaela Mayer before the year is out but can’t afford to slip up in what is the hardest fight of her professional career by some distance. Even so, she will win clearly on points.
Earlier, Smithborough’s highly rated middleweight Aaron McKenna takes on the first undefeated opponent of his career in the ‘Monstro’ Uisma Lima.
McKenna, who upped sticks from Ireland to relocate to Los Angeles along with his boxing brother Stevie, has done everything right over the course of his 16-0 (8) career to date and victory here, live on Sky, in a well-matched fight will do wonders for his profile.
But he may have to walk through some fire against Lima, a middleweight livewire with a record of 10-0 (8). Three of his last four fights have been won inside the first three rounds and he knows a victory here will change everything for him. Even so, McKenna should have enough class to beat him late on in this 10 rounder, if his chin holds up.
There is also a rematch between cruiserweight prospect Viddal Riley and Anees Taj who tangled on the Azim-Reyes card in February. That fight, a north London derby of sorts between Tottenham’s Riley and Watford’s Taj, had been shaping up nicely until the latter suffered a bad cut from a punch.
The ringside doctor called it off, handing Riley a fourth-round TKO, but Taj has now been given a second bite of the cherry four months on. However, another Riley stoppage is the pick.
Another British cruiserweight, Isaac Chamberlain, has also been given a six-round run-out after his British title fight against Mikael Lawal, scheduled for Bournemouth last month, fell through. He was supposed to still box on the south coast but ended up with nothing so he will face Daniel Bocianski here instead.
There are also six-rounders for Azim’s elder brother Hassan, at welterweight, and Sam Gilley faces Ellis Corrie over six at light-middleweight. Earlier, Roman Fury, brother of Tyson, has got a four-rounder. The 26-year-old, who won 40-36 against Ryan Hibbert on his debut in October, will face Erik Nazaryan.