AFTER his extraordinary victory over Ted Cheeseman, one of the most exciting fights of 2021, Troy Williamson makes his first defence of the British super-welterweight title on Friday (March 25). He will take on challenger Mason Cartwright at the Newcastle Arena.

Williamson showed his mettle in his national title winning effort. Troy had begun the first half of that fight well. He didn’t neglect his defence, keeping his gloves high, but looking for body shots as well as landing strong double jabs. Cheeseman though is a warrior, renowned for his busy, all action style. Even when Williamson stunned him, Ted came roaring back, hurting Troy. To complete the drama, the new champion scored a sensational knockout in the 10th round. Williamson reigns as the British champion in a quality domestic division.

Unlike the unbeaten Williamson, Cartwright has suffered two defeats. Darren Tetley handed him his first loss on the Josh Warrington-Lee Selby undercard in 2018. The following year, in his Ellesmere Port hometown, just as Cartwright seemed to be getting on top of Danny Ball, the latter caught him, hurt him and drilled in headshots to stop Cartwright on the ropes. Cartwright has only fought twice since then, winning both.

Williamson though has been more active and has beaten the better standard of opposition. It’s likely that the champion will be able to exploit the holes in Cartwright’s defence and force an inside the distance win.

An exciting pro debut on the bill sees Olympic silver medallist Pat McCormack turning over. The Washington welterweight has been arguably the best boxer pound-for-pound to come out of the GB programme over the last 10 years. The consistency of his achievement has been impressive, medalling at major tournament after major tournament, with European golds, a World silver medal and much more all in his trophy cabinet. He was the world number one going into the Tokyo Olympics but met a brilliant and in-form Cuban, London 2012 champion Roniel Iglesias, in the final. Even then McCormack showed heart, fighting back in the last round while down in the cards.

The challenge for him will be to put that Olympic disappointment in his past and show that he can adapt his superb amateur style to the professional ranks. His success in the World Series of Boxing suggests that he can do just that.

It all starts off for him against 6-7 Nicaraguan Danny Mendoza.

Forest Hall’s popular Lewis Ritson continues to rebuild from last year’s punishing loss to Jeremias Ponce. He takes on Dejan Zlatiĉanin, a 2014 Ricky Burns opponent. The Montenegran, a former holder of the WBC’s lightweight belt, was stopped by Mikey Garcia five years ago. Now 37, Ritson’s power punching ought to overwhelm him.

Thomas Patrick Ward is waiting for his shot at featherweight honours. He has a 10-rounder scheduled against Alexus Boureima Kabore. The visitor from Burkina Faso lost on points to Archie Sharp last year and Ward should be too fast and too sharp for him. Ward is likely to outclass Kabore.
Local middleweight Mark Dickinson is another elite prospect. In his third pro fight he gets his first opponent with a winning record, 11-4-3 Hungarian Peter Kramer. Dickinson will hunt for another stoppage and should look good in the process.

Well-supported Joe Laws, the “Benwell Bomber” who’s always happy to brawl, is also on the bill. Joe Maphosa, the super-flyweight who suffered a surprise defeat to Craig Derbyshire in an English title fight last year, remains a talent and the 27-year-old continues his rebuild. Ben Rees, an England Boxing Elite champion as an amateur, makes his pro debut too.

Probellum promote and Discovery+ televise.

The Verdict There is real talent in North East boxing right now.