By Paul Mason
After a fair few weeks of wall to wall action on both sides of the pond, it’s a relatively quiet weekend of action this week. The highlight on these shores is Matty Askin defending his British Cruiserweight Title for the very first time against resurgent Scotsman, Stephen Simmons. The card takes place at the spiritual home of Boxing, The York Hall, Bethnal Green.
Always good for British fight fans is that the card is free to air on Channel 5 and Dave, as 2016 Olympic Silver Medallist, Joe Joyce is also in action, continuing his professional education.
Here is my preview:
Matty Askin (22-3-1, KO14) v Stephen Simmons (18-2, KO7) – 12 Rounds For The British Cruiserweight Title
Barnsley born, Blackpool resident, and current British Cruiserweight Champion, Matty Askin, is currently in the form of his professional life. His last contest saw him lift the coveted Lord Lonsdale belt after one previous failed attempt. A pro since November 2008, Askin recorded nine straight wins, all in the North West, before a breakout win came over decent domestic operator, and also 9-0 at the time, Neil Dawson (TKO6) to pick up the Central Area Cruiserweight Title in Wigan. Three stoppage wins over Argentine, Czech and Hungarian imports bought Askin a shot at the vacant English Title.
His opponent on that April 2012 night was Jon Lewis Dickinson, a man with a decent amateur pedigree, and the Newcastle man boxed his way to a comfortable points win, inflicting Askin’s first professional defeat. After a comeback win in Blackpool, Askin took a chance, and travelled to Warsaw, Poland to take on the unbeaten and dangerous Krzystof Glowacki. Askin put in a spirited performance, but the man who would later become the WBO World Champion would eventually catch up with Askin and knock him out in the eleventh round.
Askin bounced back immediately, and picked up the English Title, outpointing the previously unbeaten China Clarke in Blackpool. He would defend once, stopping Menay Edwards in nine rounds, before challenging Ovill McKenzie at the York Hall for his British and Commonwealth Crowns. In a messy contest, where Askin had two points deducted for persistent holding, and McKenzie docked one for hitting on the back of the head, the Derby based Jamaican prevailed on wide ranging scorecards. Judge Victor Loughlin’s 113-113 drawn card was widely over ruled by Bob Williams’ 115-111 card, and Dave Parris’ 116-109 card in favour of McKenzie. It would be back to the drawing board again for Askin.
After a routine comeback stoppage win, Askin again challenged for the English Title, meeting then Champion, Lawrence Bennett. Both fighters fell through the ropes and out of the ring in the first round. Askin injured both his back and ribs, and was taken to the hospital on a stretcher. The fight was controversially called a technical draw.
What has followed since has been the best form of Askin’s career. A routine win over Jiri Svacina ended 2015, and Askin followed this up by taking away the unbeaten records of Simon Barclay (TKO2) to pick up the English Title, Tommy McCarthy (Unanimous), and in his last contest, in May last year, Askin knocked out Craig Kennedy in the Welshman’s back yard in six rounds to finally capture the British Title . He comes to the East End of London in good form.
A 2010 Commonwealth Games Bronze Medallist, 33 year old Edinburgh native, Stephen Simmons gets a first shot at domestic honours this Saturday. Turning professional in March 2011, eight straight wins got Simmons up and running in the pro ranks, picking up the Celtic Title along the way.
He then unanimously outpointed the unbeaten David Graf to pick up the WBC Silver International Title, and followed this up by stopping Wadi Camacho in the tenth and final round in June 2014. After a marking time win over Courtney Richards in Leeds in October, Simmons tasted defeat for the first time against the rejuvenated Jon Lewis Dickinson, who stopped the Scotsman in eight in Newcastle.
Simmonds rebounded with four straight wins on small hall shows in Glasgow and Edinburgh, before he too took a gamble like Askin did against Glowacki. Simmons travelled to Germany to take on the then 21-0 Noel Gevor, and came away on the wrong end of a split decision. This was in October 2016, and Simmons has fought three more times, all in 2017. He defeated two journeyman before, in his last outing, clearly outpointing another common opponent in Simon Barclay to set up his shot at the British Title this weekend.
I have a feeling this could be a scrappy affair, but feel Askin may just know too much for Simmons to fiddle his way to a clear points win.
Joe Joyce (2-0, KO2) is certainly on a fast track to the top. His debut was a ten rounder in which he stopped former British Title challenger, Ian Lewison. After following this with a knockout win against the overmatched import, Rudolf Jozic, Joyce now meets AmericanDonnie Palmer (9-1-1, KO8) on the York Hall bill.
The plan for Joyce and his handlers, Hayemaker Ringstar, is for him to face Dereck Chisora or someone of similar stature as soon as possible. I can only see a blowout knockout win for Joyce on the weekend as Palmer comes with a heavily padded club scene record.