Copperbox 16/7/22

Middleweight Hamza Sheeraz had to climb off the floor to beat Francisco Torres in a real firefight at the Copperbox on Saturday night. The fascinating scrap was a fitting finale to a very entertaining night’s boxing in front of a sparse, but lively crowd. A crazy third round, that had echoes of Hamed v Kelley, saw both men on the deck with Torres down first from a stiff jab and then Hamza finding himself sitting on the canvas as he walked onto a right hand chasing the finish. Hamza composed himself and floored Torres again before the bell and then closed the show in the 4th with a big right hand. Torres beat the count but his legs had gone and the referee quite rightly stepped in. Sheeraz gets the WBC silver strap for his troubles.

Chief support was Lennox Clarke vs Mark Heffron for the British and Commonwealth supermiddleweight titles, as well as some IBF intercontinental thingy. Both fighters came out of the blocks with intent and Heffron had Clarke wobbled in the 1st but Clarke recovered to give a better account of himself in the 2nd. Both had shifted a few tickets so the crowd was becoming increasingly loud. When Heffron stopped Clarke on his feet in the 4th with a big flurry, there was a lot of cheering as well as some fairly vocal dissent as many thought that Clarke was OK to continue. I thought it was a fair stoppage as Clarke’s legs had completely stiffened and he was taking unanswered punches. An emotional Heffron was clearly delighted to have won the Lonsdale belt and it’s good to see that this still means more to the fighters than any of the myriad alphabet soup knock offs that are now taking sanctioning fees from just about anybody.

Hot prospect Dennis McCann also picked up a WBC International Silver belt at Super Bantam after stopping the very tough James Beech Jr. McCann, who walked out to the Minder theme tune, started fast and dropped Beech Jr in the 1st but Beech Jr is made of stern stuff and came back hard. McCann was always bossing the fight but Beech Jr scrapped for every inch. McCann finally managed to overwhelm Beech Jr in the 8th and the corner threw in the towel. An Impressive win for McCann and proper titles can’t be far away.
Nick Ball also collected a WBC Silver bauble at Featherweight, finally halting the coffin nail that is Nathaniel Kakololo in the 12th round. Ball hammered away round after round with Kakalolo firing back intermittently and the fight looked to be going the distance until Kakololo finally capitulated with 93 seconds left in the contest. This was harsh on both him as his heart and bravery was phenomenal and me because I’d bet on the fight to go the full twelve rounds. Boxing can be cruel.

I missed much of the undercard because it was a right mission getting to the Copperbox due to Overground and Central line shenanigans. The Copperbox is a great venue for boxing and it’s a shame that it was only half full for this excellent fight card. In a cost of living crisis, increasingly expensive tickets to boxing shows are probably not a priority. Maybe promotors can look at reducing ticket prices in order to sell more? Whether it was cut backs that led to there being only one ring card girl I do not know but the empty chair next to her was filled by at least ten blokes over the course of the evening, including the entire St John’s ambulance crew, all just checking on her wellbeing I’m sure. I wonder if she gets paid double for having to hold up the card for every round.

Sheeraz v Torres: The Copperbox July 16th