Ted Cheeseman became the new IBF international light middleweight title on Saturday night with a unanimous points decision over Sam Eggington in a terrific back and forth battle. Cheeseman used his boxing skills to claim the early rounds, but Eggington came back strong in the last third of the contest, with the last two rounds a battle of will and heart.
Cheeseman punched the air in delight on hearing the scores read out, having battled back from a gambling addiction last year - when he also became a father for the first time. There was a deep embrace from trainer Tony Sims who helped Cheeseman get help at the Tony Adams Clinic, his 24-year-old protege now in a position to head towards world title challenges.
Earlier in the evening, James Tennyson became the new British lightweight champion after the Belfast fighter stopped Welshman Gavin Gwynne inside six rounds.
It left the world title as the only belt left to claim as Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing returned for the first time since March 7 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
On the opening of “Fight Camp” at the Matchroom headquarters in Essex, Tennyson emerged victorious after a thrilling battle, on a night when Hearn had pledged “50-50 fights”.
So it proved. It was power of Tennyson that told in the sixth round as he overwhelmed Gwynne to project himself towards world title contention once more. Tennyson, after his IBF super featherweight world title defeat by Tevin Farmer in late 2018, now looks destructive at 135lb at the age of 26.
Hearn has exciting plans for Tennyson after he claimed the British title in spectacular fashion against Gwynn, insisting his fighter would be getting a world title fight when travel across the pond becomes possible again. Tennyson has certainly proved that he is an exciting exponent of the sport.
Elsewhere, Fabio Wardley could not find many faults with his stoppage win over Simon Vallily to claim the English heavyweight title, and was eager to fight again on the Dillian Whyte vs Alexander Povetkin undercard on Aug 22. Wardley had no amateur career but was discovered by Whyte on the white-collar boxing circuit and persuaded his protege into the professional ranks.
The first fight back for Matchroom Boxing in Manchester led to featherweight Jordan Gill putting in a fine performance to outbox Reece Bellotti, who doubles in his fighting life as a lighting technician on films. Bellotti may have lost on points in the 10-rounder, but will soon be back in action in the movie world having worked on the Harry Potter series and James Bond films.
It was not quite Monaco and Casino Royale last night, but there were times when the lighting and setting looked like the spectacular set from a movie.
Unbeaten Terri Harper is eyeing dream fight nights in Las Vegas and a possible step up in weight divisions if the 23-year-old can continue her progress by defending the World Boxing Council women’s super-featherweight title against Natasha Jonas in the second of Hearn’s Fight Camp events next Friday.