Conor Benn made another big statement in the 147lbs division to cement his place as the number one welterweight in the country with a devastating, highlight-reel knockout of Chris Algieri at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena. The co-main event meanwhile saw another successful defence the Undisputed Lightweight Championship from Ireland’s Katie Taylor with a unanimous but hard-fought points decision against Kazakhstan’s Firuza Sharipova.


The portion of the bill dubbed as ‘Before the Bell’ by Matchroom consisted of four contests, the first being the professional debut of Liverpool’s super-bantamweight Joe McGrail, forcing his opponent Francisco Rodriguez to retire between the second and third sessions following a brutal beatdown in the opening six minutes, McGrail pounding the Spaniard with an accurate jab and swift speed with both hands and feet before sending him to the canvas with a minute remaining in the second after a punishing right hand down the middle crashed against his chin. The bout may have only lasted for two rounds, but it was a vicious six minutes from McGrail who moves to 1-0 in his professional career.  

Also making his professional debut was the North East’s 140lb fighter Calum French, who cruised to a comfortable shutout victory over Russia’s Rustem Fatkhullin. The southpaw French looked confident throughout, consistently pawing a measured jab to determine the range of his opponent, quickly flinging a straight left-cross down the centre line immediately after. Like McGrail, French moves to 1-0 as a professional.  

When the card was announced at the end of October, Jordan Gill was slated to challenge for the European title at featherweight against Karim Guerfi before the Frenchman pulled out due to illness only a week before fight night. Gill was slotted much further down the bill as a result, and his bad luck continued into the ring after an accidental headbutt caused a cut above the Peterborough man’s hairline, forcing the bout to be halted in the third round. Due to the fact four rounds had not been completed, referee Bob Williams was forced to announce the bout as a technical draw. It concluded a disappointing conclusion to 2021 for ‘The Thrill’, but providing the cut heals quickly as is expected, he should be ready to challenge for the European early in 2022.  

The pre-broadcast segment of the card finished with the third professional outing of former professional footballer turned boxer Paddy Lacey, the former Accrington Stanley prospect running out a comfortable winner over four rounds against Vasif Mamedov, John Latham scoring the bout 40-36 respectively. Chants of ‘there’s only one Paddy Lacey’ echoed around the arena as the Liverpudlian moved to 3-0 as a pro as the engrossing Paddy Lacey story marches on.  


At just gone 7:00pm, the main DAZN broadcast was underway, first witnessing featherweight and Tokyo 2020 Olympian Peter McGrail’s second professional fight. Standing opposite him was Nicaragua’s Engel Gomez, who was left flat on his back in the second of six scheduled rounds following a devastating one-two by the home southpaw. Gomez’s head had been rocked back numerous times in the lead up to what proved to be the pivotal moment of the bout, McGrail seemingly effortlessly landing with sharp one-twos, the straight left constantly rocking the Nicaraguans chin.

A left uppercut followed by a left hook again caught the chin of Gomez with just over a minute remaining of the second round which appeared to stiffen his legs, and his fate was sealed moments later with the punishing left hand down the middle. McGrail has looked almost flawless in his first two outings as a professional with exciting times ahead for both McGrail brothers, both training outside the Red Triangle Gym in Everton.  

Making his Matchroom and DAZN debut was the undefeated middleweight prospect Caoimhin Agyarko, who maintained his unbeaten record with a ninth-round knockout of California’s Noe Larios Jr in a scheduled ten round bout. The American’s record appeared to be very padded heading into the contest, and many would have been forgiven for predicting an early blowout for the exciting Agyarko.

Larios Jr did show heart and grit however and absorbed a lot of pressure from Agyarko early on, which is no surprise given his extensive experience fighting predominantly in Tijuana, Mexico up until this point. As the rounds grew on, Agyarko began to close the distance, enjoying particular success with the jab followed by sharp left hooks in the fourth. Agyarko was eager to impress in his first fight under Eddie Hearn and perhaps at times looked to be trying to force a stoppage, loading up with hooks and straight crosses with his back hand. Larios, to his credit, displayed a solid chin all night, absorbing a lot of hard blows from the Irishman, but ‘Black Thunder’ finally found his breakthrough with around a minute remaining as he walked the oncoming Larios Jr on to a brutal left-hook. The shot left the American staggering across the ring, his hands dropped to his side as his brain scrambled. Agyarko set about him immediately, unleashing a flurry of hooks before referee Howard Foster waved the fight off. Perhaps the stoppage was a tad premature, but the writing was likely on the wall for Larios who had taken a lot of heavy shots in the previous nine rounds. Agyarko later admitted on social media that it was not his greatest performance, but it was a solid effort in his first bout on DAZN, showing great shot selection and impressing with his switch-hitting ability, often varying his stance from southpaw to orthodox. Agyarko now moves to 10-0 as a professional.  

‘The Welsh Wizard’ Joe Cordina maintained his unbeaten record with a comfortable points victory over ten rounds against Belgium’s Miko Khatchatryan by way of 100-90 and 98-92 (twice) respectively. Cordina was predictably impressive, displaying superb footwork and upper body movement throughout behind a pinpoint jab which were often followed with flurries of hooks to both head and body

Khatchatryan meanwhile was competitive, clearly arriving with intent of securing a victory, but was clearly not at the level of his opponent on a technical level. It is clear to see why Cordina was so successful as an amateur, his accuracy with the straight right-hand was particularly impressive, regularly rocking the chin of Khatchatryan. Many of the shots thrown by the Belgian man either sailed past the head of Cordina or slammed against the Welshman’s gloves. While the 100-90 scorecard may have been a little wide, Cordina was a clear winner as he moved one step closer towards a shot at a world title in 2022.  

One man who could be forgiven for being left disappointed at the explosive performance of Benn in the main event was Liverpool’s own Robbie Davies Jr, who heading into the headline act had put in by far the most impressive performance of the night. While his opponent Henry ‘Hank’ Lundy is nowhere near the levels he once operated at, Davies Jr should be afforded considerable credit for how quickly and confidently he dispensed of the former world title challenger, particularly given his devastating loss to Mexico’s Gabriel Gollaz Vanelzuela only ten months ago.

From the opening bell, Davies Jr jabbed to the head and body of the Philadelphian from the centre of the ring and looked comfortable despite the pressure riding on this fight with a loss for the home fighter surely proving detrimental to the continuation of his professional career. In the final moments of the opening round, a hard right-hand wobbled the legs of Lundy, leaving the Philadelphian unsteady as he stumbled around the ring, desperately holding on to see out the final seconds. It proved a sign of what was awaiting Lundy during the second, with the Liverpudlian again crashing a straight right-hand through the guard of the American, this time sending Lundy not only to the canvas but through the ropes. Referee Marcus McDonnell waved the fight off as Lundy struggled to regain his footing, securing a statement victory for Robbie Davies Jr who became the first man to stop Lundy since a certain Terence Crawford back in 2016. A year which looked to signal the beginning of the end for Davies has ended with the scouser optimistic for what might be awaiting him in 2022.  

The co-main event of the evening saw Ireland’s Katie Taylor make the fifth successful defence of her Undisputed Lightweight crown against Kazakhstan’s Firuza Sharipova by way of a competitive victory on the cards. While there can be no doubt that Taylor was a deserved winner on the night, there has since been talk on social media about whether Taylor was beginning to decline after a long, hard career as both an amateur and a professional. 

Taylor looked sharp in the first few rounds, landing the sharp jab and one-twos we have become accustomed to over the years, pushing back the oncoming Sharipova. Her accuracy was certainly as sharp as it has ever been, as was her hand speed, regularly finding the chin of the Kazakh in the opening few sessions. As the fight reached the middle rounds, the action was a lot scrappier as noted by Andy Lee on commentary for DAZN, and Sharipova was deducted a point in the sixth for hitting on the break, perhaps a little harsh from referee John Latham. Sharipova no doubt won a portion of the rounds on the night, succeeding with the jab and the straight right-hand, with Taylor seeming to neglect the jab at times which only encouraged Sharipova to come forth further as she sought to push the champion back. Credit should be afforded to the Kazakh, who caught a few by surprise, with many expecting a comfortable points victory for Taylor before she moves towards securing mega fights in 2022. No doubt Sharipova will come again, and it will be a surprise if this is the last time we see her at world level.   

There can be no doubt that Katie Taylor has become a victim of female fighters still fighting over two-minute rounds as although she has never been the most powerful puncher, the extra minute that is afforded to her male counterparts would surely allow her to pace the fight more accordingly and sustain pressure on those in the opposing corner, thus surely increasing the likelihood of more stoppages being forced. Credit lies in the idea that, at times Taylor often appears ‘bored’ in fights due to the disparity in quality between herself and those challenging her, arguably causing ‘KT’ to fight down to the level of her opposition, engaging in firefights on the inside that are ultimately unnecessary given her phenomenal ability from a technical standpoint. While there can be no doubt that Taylor is approaching the rear end of her career, it is difficult to judge her in fights against opponents who ultimately have not proven themselves to be anywhere near the same level as herself, a symptom of the lack of the depth that currently lies in the female code. Taylor has worked wonders for women’s boxing over the last decade, and unfortunately for her will likely not reap the rewards of what she has achieved both in and outside of the ring for the sport, but future generations certainly will. The ultimate judgement of where Taylor is at will surely come in fights against fellow pound-for-pound stars, namely the likes of Amanda Serrano and a rematch with Jessica McKaskill, as well as a potential showdown with England’s Chantelle Cameron where she will enter the ring with a genuine feeling that she is in a fight that she could end up losing. Regardless, history will look back very fondly on Taylor who has broken barriers in the sport at both amateur and professional level, providing a platform for future generations of female stars to grow and carry on the baton as women’s boxing continues to develop further.  

With the undercard wrapped up, all that was left was the introduction of Chris Algieri and Conor Benn in the main event. Algieri entered the ring in phenomenal shape, donning a white hooded jacket lined with blue and gold velvet over the top of an Argentina football shirt. The American jockeyed around the ring as those in the M&S Bank Arena awaited the entrance of ‘the Destroyer’. Shortly after, Fugees’ ‘Ready or Not’ bellowed around the arena, Benn shadowboxing in a black and gold robe before marching towards the ring at the centre of the room as he sought to make another statement on his assent towards world level at 147lbs. Master of Ceremonies David Diamante fulfilled his final obligations with the in-ring announcements and attention then turned to both men.  

Immediately, Benn takes the centre of the ring and jabs to the head of Algieri before firing a right-hand to the American’s torso. A left hook to the body lands shortly after as well as a right hook upstairs, Algieri claiming it landed to the back of the head. The intent to land early on the body of Algieri was evident from the start, Benn regularly landing onslaughts with both left and right hooks. A right hand appeared to pierce the guard and stagger the American with just over a minute remaining in the first, causing Algieri to shake his head and therefore confirming that the shot had buzzed him. It was an impressive first round for Benn who, apart from the odd left-hook from Algieri was untroubled and looked much more measured than he did in his victory last time out over Adrian Granados in Leeds.  

The second saw Benn continue to unleash to the body of Algieri, also popping a sharp, nasty jab to the head of the former 140lb world champion. A hard one-two again rocked the chin of Algieri followed by yet another punishing left hook to the body, Benn demonstrating stark improvements as he sought to set up an opening against the experienced New Yorker. With around thirty seconds remaining, a right uppercut followed by a left hook upstairs sent Algieri tumbling towards the ropes and a count was administered by referee Bob Williams. The American contested the decision, claiming he had merely lost his balance, but replays confirmed the knockdown to be a legitimate one. In previous fights Benn might have gone all out there and then, but this time was patient, letting off one-twos but not overcommitting and putting himself at risk of getting caught. The bell soon rang to confirm the end of the round and Benn could sense a whiff of blood in the water.  

The third round was soon upon us, and Algieri landed an early left hook to the head of Benn, but the Englishman remained undeterred as more shots crashed against the torso of the American. A minute in saw Conor Benn make his opponent miss wildly with left and right hooks after he crashed several punishing right hands to the chin of Algieri, displaying superb upper body and head movement, the like we have not witnessed on too many occasions in his previous fights where he often seemed willing to take a shot to land one of his own. Algieri appeared to be tiring towards the conclusion of the third, and things were about to get much worse for the American in the fourth.  

The accuracy of Benn’s menacing jab continued into the fourth session, again followed up by a nasty right-hand down the middle with Algieri’s back to the ropes. Work to the body also continued, Algieri seeking to gain a foothold in the fight with jabs of his own, but Benn was not to be denied. The defining moment came in the final seconds, with Benn relaxed in the centre of the ring, Algieri again pushed back against the ropes after, yet another spiteful jab found his chin. A step-forward behind the jab allowed Benn to find himself in range to land a devastating straight right-hand which not only rocked the chin of Algieri but sent the American to the canvas with a heavy knockdown. The fight was almost immediately waved off and Benn had added another highlight-reel knockout to his repertoire, making an emphatic statement against a man who was meant to ask serious questions of the Essex man.  

While the knockout was impressive, the overall performance of Benn must have raised yet more eyebrows in that he had not lost a second of the fight up until that point and showed a remarkably patient approach behind the jab, demonstrating considerable ring IQ that many believed he did not possess, immediately setting out to target the body of Algieri from the opening bell in order to set up more damaging barrages upstairs, such as the one which ended the fight inside four rounds. Compared to his previous performance against Granados where he at times appeared to be loading up and overeager to score a knockout, Benn this time out looked secure in his knowledge that if he could ‘put money in the bank’ downstairs as the cliché goes then the openings would present themselves. There can be no doubt that Benn is the most improved British fighter of 2021, and mega clashes with the likes of Adrien Broner and David Avanesyan are being touted for 2022 as he continues his assent towards a shot at world honours in the near future. 

Thanks for reading and watching, hope you come back soon. Please Follow us on Social Media for updates…

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/britishboxers_bbtv
Twitter: https://twitter.com/britishboxers
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/britishboxers
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/britishboxersuk

boxing #britishboxing


No more articles

Thanks for visiting us? Please spread the word :)

  • RSS
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Instagram