Adam Azim improved to 7-0 with a destructive display to dismiss Rylan Charlton, considered the first true acid test of his super-lightweight abilities. Elsewhere, Sam Gilley defended his English super-welterweight title and called for the Troy Williamson vs. Josh Kelly winner, before Mikael Lawal dug deep against familiar opposition to earn British cruiserweight gold in the co-main.
Azim aces Charlton test with flying colours
R2, 0:42 – Adam Azim bt. Rylan Charlton via KO
Sometimes when pressure and expectation is at its highest, the subsequent display underwhelms. There were no such worries with Azim and he wasted no time showed why, scoring a ruthless R2 knockout against Charlton – billed as his first real challenge beforehand.
He admitted being overeager afterwards, searching for a fourth consecutive R1 KO, and trainer Shane McGuigan insisted more tests and rounds will soon arrive. Good luck matchmaking him.
As British super-lightweight champion Dalton Smith was among an intrigued audience ringside, the 20-year-old wasted no time getting to work – a direct contrast with his protracted entrance after pyrotechnics and a singing performance, lasting more than five minutes.
Sky’s Andy Scott described it as a spiteful, sensational display during the post-fight interview and truthfully Charlton was made to quickly look out of his depth. This, for context, is a boxer who boasted 59 rounds in 13 previous bouts – more than four times’ Azim’s in-ring time.
He dropped unbeaten Albanian welterweight Florian Marku (12-0-1, 7 KOs) before losing via R8 TKO last February and had developed a reputation as a spoiler since turning pro back in 2018.
His manager Dan Naylor waxed lyrical the week prior about how this would prove a step too far for Adam. Instead, his charge was fortunate in surviving the final bell to finish the first round.
Charlton’s face was increasingly cherry red after being hit clean a few too many times without any resistance early on, and it would only worsen as the pressure mounted.
After a flash knockdown, where it didn’t seem like he was hit at all, there was no denying the 30-year-old certainly was with an uppercut seconds before the round ended.
The referee assessed him, and after a standing eight count, the Norfolk man was dismissed back to his corner. Exhale, allow yourself a chance to recover. Not for long.
As phones frantically pressed record, everyone could see the finish coming. Azim duly delivered with a counter overhand right catching Charlton clean as he threw a looping left of his own.
The referee had already began the motion to wave off the contest, before his face was quite literally greeted with Charlton’s corner throwing in the towel.
Lawal wins cruiserweight title the hard way, Jamieson retires
Mikael Lawal knew he had a tough task on his hands, against a motivated former foe in David Jamieson no less, and was thoroughly pushed during a back-and-forth affair.
It wasn’t the way he would’ve liked to, but the 27-year-old clinched the British cruiserweight title all the same as the Scotsman retired with a jaw injury before the start of R9.
Jamieson began purposefully, a body shot the pick of his early punches as Lawal was kept honest by the threat of what was coming back his way.
His one-punch power drew some gasps, flickering a few shots without warning as Jamieson clinched and wanted to keep him moving backwards.
Jamieson boxed to a gameplan, while Lawal loaded up haymakers and was drawn into a firefight in the second after being hurt up – body-head-body shots pinning him against the ropes.
Lawal looked tentative, almost as if he was waiting to counter Jamieson coming in, and so it proved as he connected on a series of lefts to rock the Scotsman back.
R4 resembled more of the same, Lawal landing the more powerful shots but Jamieson finding joy on the front foot and walking him down. Considering he fought more recently and took this opportunity on short notice, it’d be interesting to see how his cardio held up in the later rounds.
Lawal’s chopping overhands didn’t deter Jamieson from unloading uppercuts and body punches, aware that he was having sustained success for a more active output.
Lawal began snapping the head back with uppercuts in the pocket, and one in particular stirred the crowd into thinking a knockout was imminent. It was still even after six rounds. Lawal started the seventh behind his jab, a stance he should’ve adopted much earlier.
After being warned for a low blow, they exchanged clubbing blows in the pocket once more and Jamieson produced the better work from their furious flurries. Despite finishing the round strong himself, you had to be wondering if Lawal did enough to edge a swing round on the scorecards?
You could say the same after R8, as they again went blow-for-blow and looked determined to match one another’s best shots, before Jamieson’s jaw injury rendered him unable to continue.
I had it four rounds apiece heading into the ninth and, all things considered, things were still finely poised before Jamieson’s retirement.
Lawal acknowledged it wasn’t a good display from him personally, but was happy to win – and stressed he’d be back in the gym – after a difficult week where he too was tempted to withdraw.
Then, there was one particular name who made his presence felt during the post-fight interview:
Gilley retains English title after tussle, outpoints Robinson
98-91, 98-91, 97-93: Sam Gilley bt. Sean Robinson via UD, retains English super-welterweight belt
Robinson was the busier of the two early, trying to establish his jab and defending champion Gilley was guilty of waiting too long before firing off a response in the early minutes. Robinson’s scoring shots and success from doubling up the left proved decisive during a reassuring start.
However, Gilley gradually began to get more comfortable and landed punches of his own. He grinned after landing a clean hook in the third, one which pushed Robinson back up against the ropes momentarily, as you got the first real look at the power disparity between the pair.
That moment foreshadowed what was to come in the middle rounds. Before then though, Gilley jabbed his way forward in the fourth with single shots while connecting on more power shots as neither was willing to back down from the other when they exchanged in the pocket.
Robinson’s decision was duly punished, as he found himself rocked up against the ropes as the bell sounded – a timely reprieve. Gilley controlled centre ring and again applied pressure in the fifth during another competitive round, but the fight’s tempo certainly suited the champion.
Gilley started the sixth by timing a right as they came upclose, scoring an impressive knockdown and could smell blood despite Robinson propping straight back up from the canvas:
The onslaught continued fleetingly, though Sean kept his wits about him and showed good ringcraft to survive the round intact. That adversity served Robinson well as he had a better seventh and landed a series of lefts, but was allowing the champion an opportunity to coast.
Gilley’s single shots returned in R8, as a nice uppercut saw Robinson recoil momentarily and their contrasting body language – even after Sean’s encouraging moments up close – spoke volumes. Unless something drastic came in the final two rounds, Gilley would reign supreme.
So it felt fitting that Robinson got the crowd going after hurting him to start R9. Gilley responded by goading him forward and was consciously trying to land haymakers with little wind-up.
Robinson needed a finish, or at least a clear 10-8 round in the final stanza and Gilley refused to relinquish favourable positions as easily as you might think. He absorbed a sneaky uppercut and multiple single shots on the inside, but fired back all the same despite being increasingly weary.
It typified a deceptively clever, calculated display and after defending his title, Gilley naturally wants a step-up to bigger challenges. Newcastle’s main event next weekend springs to mind:
Ryan improves to 4-0, eases past Ivanova
At the Camden Media Day, super-flyweight prospect Shannon Ryan was sharp and displayed her punch power with whipping shots during her brief workout on the pads.
It was more of the same in competition against Bulgaria’s Ivanka Ivanova, who despite having 28 fights to her name, was largely a standing target against the 25-year-old. That allowed her to land head shots and digging body attacks as time wore on and their speed disparity obvious.
Shannon unloaded fast combos, threatened a knockdown in successive rounds and frustrated the Bulgarian so much in the final moments that she landed a wild hook after the final bell.
That the 36-year-old was ranked 21 places above Ryan (#55) in the divisional rankings on BoxRec before this bout, speaks to more seasoning rather than skill. As she alluded to afterwards, they’ve steadily upped the competition since her debut. So, expect more of the same in 2023.
“I started boxing in 2018, so it’s phenomenal where I am. I work hard in the gym, you saw that she came to fight – another six rounds – didn’t get the stoppage but I wish there were three-minute rounds!”
Super-welterweight prospect Michael Hennessey Jr secured the second stoppage of his budding career after unleashing a R4 punch flurry overwhelming James McCarthy before the referee deemed he’d seen enough. The 23-year-old told me he’s planning a February or March return.
At super-featherweight, Jimmy Lee overcame adversity after a slow start and suffered his first cut – outpointing 36-year-old southpaw Jahfieus Faure. Elsewhere at 130lbs, Wales’ Rhys Edwards logged a decision victory of his own (60-54) against Alexis Boureima Kabore and is now 13-0.
Welterweight youngster Hassam Azim absorbed some damage but showed his pop in flashes and got the crowd engaged as the 22-year-old, Adam’s older brother, improved to 5-0 with a UD win (60-55) against Nestor Amukoto on the Namibian’s UK debut to round out the undercard.
An hour after the main event, Tottenham heavyweight Jeamie Tshikeva improved to 3-0 as his friends and family cheered him on – needing just 90 seconds to blast Joel Ducille into submission after an uppercut and unanswered combo pinned the Birmingham man against the ropes.
At middleweight, Sheffield’s Shakiel Thompson improved to 9-0 in the day’s opener, picking his shots smartly and ultimately finishing Gabor Gorbics. Then, George Mitchell threatened a stoppage of his own but instead logged four valuable rounds (UD 40-36) against Greg O’Neill.
Other notes, tidbits
Richards-Chelli shelved, for now
In the super-middleweight division, disaster struck on fight day as news filtered through that Lerrone Richards was forced to withdraw from his scheduled matchup against Zak Chelli.
They intend for the bout to be rearranged for a later date, with reports claiming Richards sustained a concussion after fainting in the hotel the night before.
What did Pauls say?
Brad Pauls, mandatory contender for Tyler Denny’s English middleweight title, told me there’s a purse bid for that matchup to come on December 12 – so he’d like to be back out in March 2023.
Having last fought to a split decision victory over Ryan Kelly back in mid-May, that timeframe would mean a ten-month gap between fights for the 29-year-old. It’s not exactly ideal and he spoke about wanting to be more active – a bout before Christmas – but couldn’t secure one.
Picture source: BOXXER/Lawrence Lustig