In September 2010 Frank Warren staged a show in Birmingham that showcased seven of the biggest names in British boxing, writes Matt Bozeat
NATHAN CLEVERLY V KARO MURAD
Cleverly Age: 23
Record: 19-0 (9)
Murat Age: 27
Record: 22-0 (13)
THE outstanding performance of the night came from Cleverly, a few months after he gained a degree in Pure Mathematics.
Murad went into the eliminator for the WBO light-heavyweight title with a spotless 22-0 record, whereas Cleverly had won his previous six inside the distance.
Cleverly battered the German. Told to keep the fight long by cornerman Dean Powell after he took a few in the fourth, Cleverly, the British and Commonwealth champion from Cefn Forest, ignored him.
Cleverly kept walking up to Murad and unloading power punches until the German couldn’t take any more. Murad shipped a lot of shots before referee Mark Nelson wouldn’t let him out for the 10th round.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?
Cleverly won the interim WBO title in his next fight by outpointing late replacement Nadjib Mohammedi and was upgraded to full belt-holder after Juergen Braehmer pulled out four days before they were set to meet in May 2011.
Cleverly made a high-profile defence against Tony Bellew before the belt was lost to Sergey Kovalev in Cardiff August 2013, a crushing four-round loss that Cleverly struggled to process.
He was listless in a rematch with Bellew at 200lbs, but went to become a champion at 175lbs again, stopping Braehmer more than five years after they had been originally scheduled to meet.
Cleverly lost the title to Badou Jack and retired with a 30-4 record. There have been ongoing concerns for his mental health, particularly after he made bizarre social media posts as ‘Clev the G.’
Four years after losing to Cleverly, Murad started promisingly against 48-year-old Bernard Hopkins in another worldn title challenge before Hopkins took over to win unanimously.
MATTHEW MACKLIN V SHALVA JOMARDASHVILI
Macklin Age: 28
Record: 26-2 (18)
Jomardshvili: Age 23
Record: 27-2-1 (19)
THE plan had been to top the bill with local hero Matthew Macklin challenging Darren Baker for the British and European middleweight titles.
The same venue, the NEC in Birmingham, had staged the first Nigel Benn-Chris Eubank contest two decades earlier but Macklin-Barker didn’t happen. Barker was ruled out with a hip injury, leaving Macklin to face Shalva Jomardashvili for the vacant European championship that Macklin had previously held.
The Georgian had 15 wins inside three rounds against questionable opposition, but on a previous visit to Britian, he had taken a couple of rounds off Martin Murray in a six-rounder. Jomardashvili was strong, but no match for Macklin, who was trained for the fight by Freddie Roach.
Macklin had reeled off nine straight wins after moving up to 160lbs following a knockout loss to Jamie Moore in 2006’s best domestic fight and was always in control.
He bloodied the Georgian’s nose and dazed him with a thumping left hook in the fifth, a punch that appeared to sicken Jomardashvili. He didn’t come out for the sixth.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?
Nine months later, Macklin lost a split to Felix Sturm in a WBA title challenge, in 2012 he was stopped in 11 by Sergio Martinez and, in his last shot at a world belt the following year, crushed in three by Gennadiy Golovkin. Macklin retired after a points win over Brian Rose in April 2016, taking his record to 35-6.
Macklin today works as a commentator and pundit for Sky Sports.
Jomardashvili was still fighting last year, a first-round loss to Hussein Muhamed (16-0) in Germany 14 months ago was his third straight loss inside two rounds. That result left his record 34-19-2.
SAM SEXTON v DEREK CHISORA
Sexton Age: 26
Chisora Age: 26
Record: 13-0 (8)
TWO years earlier, Chisora and Sexton had been paired together in a six-rounder when they were 4-0 and 7-0 respectively.
Chisora won that fight at the York Hall with a stoppage just 26 seconds from the final bell and when they met again, both were champions. Chisora was British king after dethroning Danny Williams and Sexton had the Commonwealth championship.
From Norwich, Sexton had twice beaten Martin Rogan in Belfast, jabbing his way to a clear win in the rematch after a controversial ending to their first fight. He would find it harder to land his lead hand on Chisora, who raised smiles at the weigh in.
Previously fined and suspended for biting Paul Butlin and punished again for kissing Carl Baker, Chisora pulled a pair of socks out of the front of his underwear as he stood on the scales.
He was straight down to business the following night, however, scoring with flurries to take an early lead on the scorecards. Sexton rallied to close the gap to a single point on two of the cards and one on the other after eight. Chisora then went up a gear. He smashed several rights off Sexton’s jaw to leave him badly dazed and referee John Keane jumped in to wave the fight off.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?
Thirteen years, two world-title challenges and three losses to Tyson Fury later, the 39-year-old Chisora is still fighting and something of a cult figure among British fans. Chisora, who goes by the nickname ‘War’ having started out as the rather more fun ‘Del Boy,’ says he wants three more fights to reach 50 before he walks away.
Sexton became British champion four years later, outpointing Scotland’s Gary Cornish. The title was lost when Sexton ran onto a Hughie Fury right hand in 2018 and he didn’t box again. Sam recently became a father for a second time and is a successful personal trainer in his home city.
KELL BROOK v MICHAEL JENNINGS
Brook Age: 24
Record: 21-0 (14)
Jennings Age: 33
Record: 36-2 (17)
AFTER three postponements, Brook and Jennings finally met. Brook, the British welterweight champion, had won already the Lonsdale Belt outright in a combined total of only 13 rounds and Jennings was seen as the next step in his career.
He had his moments against Miguel Cotto in a world title challenge at Madison Square Garden before being overpowered in five rounds.
Following that second career defeat, Jennings, trained by Brian Hughes, had a pair of low-key wins – and then went in with Brook, who had stopped his previous six.
What promised to be one of the night’s highlights proved to be something of an anti-climax. Brook took control of the fight with his jab and then put together a burst of punches in the fifth round that sliced open a cut on Jennings’ right eyebrow.
Referee Terry O’Connor inspected the wound and then waved the fight off.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?
Brook went on to win the IBF championship in August 2014, outpointing Shawn Porter on a deserved majority vote in Carson, California. He made three defences before dethroned by Errol Spence having jumped up to 160lbs to face Gennadiy Golovkin in his previous fight and losing in five.
Brook announced his retirement after settling with lengthy feud with Amir Khan by stopping him in six rounds last February, but at 37 years old, he doesn’t appear to have completely dismissed the idea of fighting again, with a match against Conor Benn mooted.
Jennings didn’t box again and has gone on to become a successful trainer of both amateurs and professionals; Jack Cullen is the British and Commonwealth super-middleweight champion, while Mark Jeffers has the English belt at 168lbs. In the amateur ranks, Jennings has had four boxers representing England recently and teenage son Mikey is showing promise.
JAMES DEGALE v CARL DILKS
DeGale Age 24
Record: 7-0 (5)
Dilks Age 26
Record: 14-2 (5)
This was the first real test for 2008 Olympic champion DeGale in the pros. The two losses on Dilks’ record were disputed, including a loss to Charles Adamu for the vacant Commonwealth belt 10 months earlier.
DeGale and Dilks were never going to get on ahead of their British title eliminator. DeGale was a flashy Londoner who knew he wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste – calling himself a ‘Marmite’ fighter – while Dilks, rather more grounded, was a labourer from Liverpool who had also worked on the doors after leaving the Army.
DeGale hadn’t made the best of impressions on the Birmingham public when he made his pro debut, picking up a warning for slapping during a routine points win.
There was nothing wrong with the punches DeGale aimed at Dilks in the 2-54 the fight lasted, however. DeGale, who had been a pound over the super-middleweight limit when he first got on the scales, soon bloodied Dilks’ nose with punches he didn’t see coming, then got him on the ropes and unloaded to force the stoppage.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?
In his next fight, DeGale took the British title from Paul Smith with a ninth-round stoppage and went in the record books as the first British fighter to win Olympic gold and world honours in the pros by outpointing Andre Dirrell for the vacant IBF belt in Boston in May 2015.
There was a gruelling draw with Badou Jack when DeGale tried to add the WBC belt and he went on to lose and then regain the IBF belt in fights with Caleb Truax. DeGale went into their first fight a 1/100 favourite.
DeGale had long grown sick of boxing politics before he retired after a points loss to Chris Eubank Jnr in February 2019.
Dilks went on to lose a Merseyside derby to Rocky Fielding for the English belt at 168lbs before retiring with an 18-8 record.
MATTHEW HALL V LUKAS KONECNY
Hall Age 26
Record: 23-2 (16)
Konecny Age 32
Record: 44-3 (21)
THIS battle of sluggers for the vacant EBU super-lightweight strap was always likely to be a highlight of the show and so it proved.
Hall got his chance after Ryan Rhodes pulled out through injury.
The sad-eyed puncher had been preparing to face French southpaw Cedric Vitu and didn’t think twice when offered fight with Czech, who had boxed at the 2000 Olympics and lost a world title challenge up at 160lbs a couple of years previously.
It was a fight Hall, a pro at 18 and with Anthony Farnell in his corner after splitting from Hughes, had fancied from a while. He felt he could beat anyone who chose to stand in front of him – and that was Konecny’s game.
Hall and Konecny only threw hooks at each other – and the Czech had the edge. His defence was tighter, he had more ideas and cracks started to appear in Hall in the fifth.
After Konecny buckled his legs with a left hook in the sixth, the Czech went for the finish. He dropped Hall twice and it was waved off.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?
Hall announced his retirement after the fight – “I’m not as good as I think I am, so I’m going to do something else” – but had a rethink.
He went on to get a shot at the British and Commonwealth middleweight titles in March 2013, and was soundly outpointed by Billy Joe Saunders. Hall had the last fight of his 26-7 pro career in 2015.
Now 39, Hall, a father of three girls, is planning to return to the Collyhurst and Moston gym where he started out as an amateur coach.
Konecny challenged for world honours twice more, losing unanimous decisions to Zaurbek Baysangurov and Peter Quillin, at 154lbs and 160lbs respectively. His last fight was as recently as February 2021 when, as a 42 year-old, he posted a 52nd win in 57 fights.
ENZO MACCARINELLI v ALEXANDER FRENKEL
Maccarinelli Age 30
Record: 32-4 (25)
Frenkel Age 25
Record: 22-0 (17)
FRANK WARREN had urged Maccarinelli to quit after back-to-back KO losses to Ola Afolabi and Denis Lebedev.
The Welshman carried on and after a pair of routine one-round wins, he went to Russia and chinned Alexander Kotlobay inside a round for the vacant European belt.
Frenkel could punch himself – 17 early wins on his 22-0 record – but at the halfway stage, the German was behind on two cards and appeared to be losing interest.
Everything changed in a split second in the seventh. Both loaded up on left hooks and Frenkel got there a split second first, leaving Maccarinelli flat on his back. Though groggy when he got up, Maccarinelli was allowed to carry on. Frenkel soon sent him crashing again and it was waved off.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?
Macacrinelli went on to fight for world honours at 175lbs and chinned Roy Jones before retiring. Financially comfortable, Maccarinelli has toyed with the idea of having another fight, what would be the 50th of his career. As yet, that hasn’t happened. Enzo has instead concentrated on running the amateur club he inherited from his late father, Bonymaen, and he also does some commentary work.
Frenkel never boxed again, with injury and mental health cited as possible reasons.