Alexander Povetkin’s stunning knockout of Dillian Whyte closed the curtains on a spectacular month of boxing, with four consecutive shows from the unique setting at Matchroom Fight Camp.
With all the buildup and anticipation for the series of shows, we look back at some of the key takeaways as British boxing now prepares to embark on its next step of navigating the global health pandemic.
‘The Brown Flash’ can bang
In arguably the most explosive knockout of Fight Camp, Zelfa Barrett produced a powerful left hook to end the hopes of the slick southpaw Eric Donovan in round eight of their week three battle.
The explosiveness of the shot was heightened by the fact that when it landed the Manchester fighter was behind on the scorecards. However, being able to adjust, changing the gameplan and finding a home for his fearsome lead hand meant Barrett got his Matchroom career of to scintillating start.
Speaking to BBTV after the bout, Barrett underlined just how important it was that he had adaptability: “Good fighters have more than one gameplan, good fighters have more than one style, good fighters can change. Some fighters can’t do that – they have one style and one style only, they can only box, I can box, I can fight – I can do everything and I have just shown everybody that.
“I just beat a pure boxer, a pure awkward southpaw boxer, he’s a fighter’s worst nightmare. You put him in the ring with a fighter and he will just tear them apart.
“This is the process of becoming a champion because when you fight everybody you know you can beat them. You can smell a champion from a mile away as a fighter, a boxing pundit or boxing lover and for me to come back, dig deep, get caught with a good shot but pull out a spectacular knockout like that – only special fighters do that. That’s the ingredients of a champion.
“I have shown that I can adapt, boxing connoisseurs will see that I saw my style at the beginning wasn’t working so I changed it, boxing connoisseurs will read that a mile away and know that I’m going to go far.”
Women’s boxing is thriving
A key feature of the Fight Camp cards was a plethora of engaging and exciting women’s bouts that captured the imagination of British boxing fans.
All close battles that went to the scorecards and sparked much debate, affirming that the future of women’s boxing is incredibly bright.
The opening clash was the first ever all British women’s world title bout as Natasha Jonas challenged Terri Harper. The champions from Doncaster entered the bout as a clear favourite, however, the oddsmakers were proved dramatically wrong as Jonas dominated for long parts of the bout.
At the culmination of 10 incredible rounds of action, the judges couldn’t split the pair and the fight was deemed a draw, seemingly making a rematch inevitable.
Another rematch that seems highly likely is between Midlands fighter Rachel Ball and previously undefeated Matchroom prospect Shannon Courtenay.
Having hit the canvas in the opening round, Courtenay rallied back only to lose a close decision on the scorecards. The bout not only paved the path for a big rematch but it also thrust the name of Rachel Ball into the spotlight and created another star within British boxing.
Felix Cash has serious credentials
In a dominant victory over the veteran Jason Welborn, Commonwealth middleweight champion Felix Cash underlined that he has the potential to mix it at world level.
Cash, who was competing for the first time since his fight of the year candidate against Jack Cullen last year, displayed power in abundance and dispatched of Welborn in round five.
Accelerate the apprenticeship
There were a host of fights that saw prospects stepped up quicker than they would have been in normal circumstances, whether it was John Docherty, Dalton Smith or Hopey Price, all stepped up to the mark.
The benefits were obvious for the fighters, who were forced and overcome opponents that were desperate to make a name for themselves and cause an upset. Meanwhile, for fans, it created for a far more engaging and exciting spectacle as we really saw prospects tested in back and forth battles.
It’s unlikely that this phenom will stay in its entirety, however, we may see some of the lessons of Fight Camp transcended into the post COVID era, a reluctance to pit prospects against opponents with winning records may well be eradicated – creating more exciting shows for fans.
There’s no room for error in the heavyweight division
The main headlines of Fight Camp were sealed with the very last punch of the four shows as the momentum of Dillian Whyte was thunderously halted by a venomous left uppercut from Alexander Povetkin.
When the Russian crumbled to the canvas twice in the fourth, it seemed the news headlines were already being written touting Whyte with a clash against either Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua, however, emphasising the turbulence of the heavyweight division, it all changed with one shot.
At 40-years-old, the left uppercut of Povetkin, which was beautifully set up by a goading a jab, brought the fight to a halt and changed the landscape of the heavyweight division. Not only setting up a huge rematch between Whyte and Povetkin, but also potential removing a hurdle for a superfight between Joshua and Fury.