Louis Norman -Thomas Essomba 2nd March, King Power Stadium, Leicester
One for the purists here as the English Bantamweight title is contested. Louis Norman (12-4-1) challenges for the vacant strap against Cameroon’s 2012 Olympian, Thomas Essomba (7-3). Essomba burst onto the North East scene after making his way to Sunderland, following the London Games. His career has stalled in recent times with question marks over his work ethic and 2 successive defeats halting his progress.
Both men have boxed in the lighter divisions and will be hoping the step up to bantamweight for a championship contest will see their fortunes improve.
Oscar Valdez – Scott Quigg 3rd March, StubHub Centre, Carson, California
The only bout on this list to take place outside of the UK. Bury’s Scott Quigg will challenge the Valdez for the Mexican’s WBO Featherweight World Title in what should be nothing less than all out war. Both men are happier on the front foot and rarely like to take a step back. Valdez, who has shown he can be hurt, will want an improved showing on his last defence, against Genesis Servania, where he was dropped hard.
Quigg on the other hand is undefeated since moving up in weight under Freddie Roach. He will want to continue this momentum but Valdez should prove a tougher test than his other recent foes.
Jason Easton – Glenn Foot 3rd March, SSE Hydro, Glasgow
Another clash for a vacant title. The Commonwealth Superlightweight version gets the treatment on former champ Josh Taylor’s undercard. Jason Easton will go in as the slight betting favourite over Sunderland’s Glenn Foot. Foot is coming of the back of a highly contested loss against local rival Josh Leather and Edinburgh’s Easton will be looking to extend his unbeaten start to the pro ranks.
Like Quigg and Valdez, both men enjoy coming forward and looking to push the action. This should result in an absolute barnstormer and it wouldn’t be a shock for this one to be the pick of the fights this weekend.
Gamal Yafai – Gavin McDonnell 3rd March, FlyDSA Arena, Sheffield
Something of a crossroads bout for the two Matchroom men. Yafai had been linked with a British title shot so this one has come a little out of the blue. McDonnell is a former British, Commonwealth and European champion so definitely holds the advantage in experience. He also challenged for the WBC World title this time last year, so will probably see this as a step down.
He can’t overlook the dangerous Yafai however, who will be looking to use McDonnell as a stepping stone on his own journey to belts.
Matty Askin – Stephen Simmons 17th March, York Hall, London
Once postponed, this could be last chance saloon for Simmons who has already hinted at retirement this year. That decision could be made for him if defending British champion Askin can continue his own renaissance.
Askin is a prime example of how a boxer can bounce back from disappointing defeats and come back stronger. Since losing against Oville McKenzie, he is unbeaten in six bouts and will be full of confidence against the man they call “Monster”
Liam Conroy – Miles Shinkwin 31st March, Guild Hall, Preston
Two boxers that we are all too familiar with at BBB, having interviewed them both in the early stages of our existence. We have also watched both men live in the past, so have an extra keen eye on this clash which sees Conroy defend his English Light-Heavyweight title against the more experienced Shinkwin.
This is contest where one man is on the up, Conroy, and the other, Shinkwin, is desperate to get back in the mix for the Lonsdale belt. Shinkwin holds the advantage in experience having shared the ring with Hosea Burton and Jake Ball over the past few years. He underperformed against Burton but emerged from the Ball defeat with a lot more credit, in a tough stylistic matchup.
Conroy has boxed his way to the English title on small hall shows with the backing of MTK Manchester and will see this as a sizeable scalp on his way to bigger belts.
Joe Cordina – Andy Townend 31st March, Principality Stadium, Cardiff
Much was made of the Welsh Wizard not boxing on the previous AJ undercard in Cardiff. Well, he should get the chance to do so this time round. While Cordina has faced elite competion during his amateur days, the former Olympian is undoubtedly making a step up in terms of professional opposition.
Townend is a tough, seasoned pro with heavy hands. In short, if Cordina isn’t on his game he could become unstuck very early on in the paid ranks. There is a reason though that many are tipping Cordina to reach the top. His speed and skills should be enough to see him through but he deserves credit for taking on someone with a 21-4 record after just his seventh pro contest.
Michal Syrowatka – Robbie Davies Jr 31st March, BT Convention Centre, Liverpool
Who doesn’t like a rematch? More specifically, who doesn’t like a rematch of a fight where one man was winning comfortably then got stopped in the 12th and final round? Good because that’s what we have got here. Amiable Merseysider Robbie Davies Jr gets his chance at revenge when he steps through the strands against Michal Syrowatka.
To be honest, if Robbie boxes as he is capable, he should get the win comfortably, as he should have done first time. The fact that he did lose, adds spice and a little bit of intrigue to this one so we will be watching keenly.