Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

Isaac Chamberlain soundly defeated Mikael Lawal to win the British and Commonwealth cruiserweight titles at York Hall in Bethnal Green on Saturday night.

Too fast on his feet and too clever in their exchanges, he handled Lawal over the course of 12 rounds, winning a unanimous decision to claim the British championship his London rival held and pick up the vacant Commonwealth title.

All three judges scored for Chamberlain, 119-111 and 118-111 twice.

Lawal can’t catch Chamberlain with his power punches

Their first round was cagey, with Chamberlain rightly wary of his opponent’s power. But the Brixton man built on his work with the jab as he began to direct Lawal round the outer fringes of the ring.

Chamberlain, up on his toes, bounded in and out, letting Lawal miss with an arching right. He smacked a left hook into the British champion and bored forward. He mauled Lawal against the ropes, clattering punches off him.

But Lawal looked to counter in the third round. A power-puncher, the British champion let loose another right and forced a left hook of his own through.

Chamberlain, however, exerted greater control. When they leaned in together, he worked up close, trying to hack uppercuts through, and in the fourth round an attack tilted Lawal back making him look ungainly.

With both flinging punches, they collided. But it left them up close again, where they smothered their own work.

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Andy Scott and John Dennen look back at a thrilling night at York Hall as Isaac Chamberlain beat Mikael Lawal to become the new British and Commonwealth cruiserweight champion.

Lawal swung his left hook from too far out and Chamberlain, the quicker man, easily stepped clear. But a solid cross did smack into Chamberlain’s jaw. He took the power.

Thinking he had an opening, Lawal pressed in only for Chamberlain to line up repeated rights and drive him off with spite.

He led with a left hook as Lawal came on. But for his part the British champion was absorbing the shots coming his way.

Nevertheless Chamberlain looked in command after the first half of the fight as Lawal sought to make his power tell.

Chamberlain makes good use of his jab in the early going

In the eighth round, Lawal did land that right flush on Chamberlain’s jaw, swinging in a big overarm shot. But rather than capitalise and keep Chamberlain on the end of long punches, he was drawn back to the inside. He chopped punches at Chamberlain but in the pocket the Brixton man outworked him.

Chamberlain applied his jab once again to tag Lawal and continue to offset him. He whipped a tight left hook into Lawal’s body. Chamberlain swung a right uppercut through and curved that right back in over the top.

Trailing in the late stages of the fight, Lawal needed to find something to shift the momentum of their contest. But, for all his strength, he could not catch Chamberlain cleanly.

Isaac Chamberlain is now a champion

Instead, turning Lawal into his own corner, Chamberlain thumped his left hook into the head.

By the last round the bout was almost entirely out of Lawal’s grasp. He needed a knockout, yet Chamberlain would not let himself be pinned down. He stayed clear, or tied up Lawal when the British champion charged in.

He finished the fight, ducking a right hook and celebrating before the final bell had even chimed.

For Chamberlain it was a moment of vindication.

“I didn’t have the best amateur career, I had nine fights, they chucked me in the deep end and I kept going,” he said.

“When I was younger I had low self-esteem, but I said I’d believe in the ability I have. Even though I had niggles coming to this fight, I said ‘it’s now or never’.

“I’m very grateful.”

‘He can punch like an absolute train!’

Sam Gilley defeated Louis Greene to win the Commonwealth super-welterweight title.

He won a unanimous decision, 117-110, 118-110 and 116-111 on the judges’ card, but this was a tremendous, intensely fought battle.

Gilley broke through in the fifth round, planting a tremendous left hook into Greene’s side that dropped the champion to his knees.

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Highlights of Sam Gilley win over Louis Greene to become Commonwealth super-welterweight champion.

A proud man, Greene hauled himself upright and fought back. In the seventh round he hurt Gilley, heavy hooks colliding with the challenger’s head as the contest opened up.

In the next round Gilley probed for openings with those long hooks as Greene swayed into the ropes. But the champion forced him back with a right cross to the body.

They met each other head on. As Gilley snapped a right uppercut into the chin, Greene instantly fired his cross back over the top.

Gilley dropped Greene with a body shot

Gilley hurt the champion once again in the 10th round. Casting a right down saw Greene’s legs stutter beneath him. Gilley followed up with a burst of punches that shook Greene visibly.

Yet in the 12th and last round, the champion could still deliver a grandstand finish.

A strong left hook clipped Gilley and Greene smashed a right in after it. That hook hurt and, with the last minute ticking away, Greene piled in.

“That was the first time in my career I’d felt my legs go, this man can punch like an absolute train, he doesn’t look like he’s putting it in,” Gilley said afterwards.

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Sam Gilley and Louis Greene discuss their epic bout with Andy Scott which saw Gilley become the new Commonwealth super-welterweight champion.

“It was heavy. Luckily I’ve got a good chin.”

Gilley’s resolve held firm, answering Greene’s effort with a shuddering right hook of his own.

“This is our moment, me and Louis. What a fantastic fight. We promised it would be good. What a champion this man is, came in and put his belt on the line, I called him out and he gave me a shot, what a legend of the sport he is,” Gilley said.

“He deserves another shot to come back and fight again.”

As for what’s next – “I’ll try and win a British,” Gilley said, but first: “Me and Louis are going to go for a beer!”

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