Chisora, Selby, Okolie, and Benn all win on Prograis vs Taylor undercard

Dereck Chisora defeats Artur Szpilka
Dereck Chisora is on a good run of knockout wins. Here he Ko’s Artur Szpilka in 2 rounds at the O2 Arena.

On what must be one of the best boxing cards of the year so far, Josh Taylor and Regis Prograis treated us to a classic battle in their WBSS 140lb final at the O2 Arena in London.

Dereck Chisora vs David Price

On the undercard, Dereck ‘War’ Chisora did what was expected of him by stopping former British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion David Price in 4 exciting rounds. Chisora, at 35 years of age looks like a danger to any heavyweight out there, even the thought of him and Deontay Wilder letting it all hang out is a mouth-watering prospect. Chisora’s decision to link-up with former foe David Haye raised a few eye brows when it was first announced, but Dereck has looked in the best shape of his career since subjecting himself to Haye’s rigorous fitness lifestyle.

David Price is going to leave boxing at some stage remembered as a ‘what could have been’ type of fighter. Anyone in the sport can recognise the talent he possesses, even at 36 years of age. At 6’ 8” he has all the physical attributes that set Tyson Fury apart from his contemporaries and the sort of punching power that ‘the Gypsy King’ can only dream of, and yet each time he has been put in with a world class operator after running up a 15 fight unbeaten streak, he has failed miserably.

The British boxing fans love David Price, but I hope he calls it a day and moves on to the next phase of his life. He is a warrior with nothing left to prove.

Lee Selby vs Ricky Burns

In what turned out to be a really enjoyable fight between two former world titleholders, former IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby showed that it was he that has retained more of his skills. Looking more like the man that destroyed Evgeny Gradovich at the O2 in 2015 to win his world title, Selby used his still speedy footwork to outmaneuver the 36-year-old Burns who just keeps proving his doubters wrong.

For those that have Ricky’s best interests at heart, it might be the right time to advise retirement. The Coatbridge man has succeeded way beyond his wildest dreams. When he lost to Alex Arthur in 2006, and Carl Johanneson in 2007, it seemed that he may not be successful even at domestic level but when in 2010 he won the WBO world super-featherweight title from Puerto Rican Roman Martinez he had improved 200% as a fighter. Two more weight divisions were conquered and the rest is history.

Burns kept Selby honest throughout the 12 rounds so he can come again, but what for? He has now lost 3 of his last 5, Call it a day ‘Rickster’. Scotland’s only 3-weight world champion, you’ve done it all, no more to prove.

Lawrence Okolie vs Yves Ngabu

Hackney’s Lawrence Okolie won the European cruiserweight title from the formerly unbeaten Belgian Yves Ngabu and adds it to the British and Commonwealth belts he had already collected.

No-one can argue with Okolies success, he is unbeaten (14-0-0, 11 Ko’s), but his problem is that he is not good to watch. He is relatively inexperienced even though he is an Olympian and holds 3 professional titles.

We have seen this phenomena before in boxing. Johnny Nelson quite frankly stunk the joint out on more than a few occasions in his early career, but he became a smooth punching, fast footed performer that made 12 successful defences of his WBO world cruiserweight title. Okolie, is far more confident than Nelson was at this stage of their careers, but he needs to learn how to hit and move instead of constantly grabbing his opponent whenever they initiate an attack. The fans don’t want to watch a grabbling match.

That said, the finish was impressive and I can see Okolie winning a world title now that Oleksandr Usyk has left the division.

Conor Benn vs Steve Jamoye

Conor Benn moved to 16-0-0, 11 Ko’s, with a 4th round stoppage of Belgium’s Steve Jamoye (26-8-2, 5 Ko’s).

The 23-year-old from Ilford in Essex took his time before catching his opponent with a crunching right hand that led to a heavy knockdown. Benn lost a point for low blows but otherwise it was the straight-forward outing that we expected for the fastimproving prospect.

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