By Iain Dolan
An incredibly brave performance from Ted Cheeseman wasn’t enough to prevent him losing handily to Spain’s Sergio Garcia at the O2 on Saturday night but it did raise the question of whether his corner should have pulled him out before then end. Well behind on the cards of the two judges that hadn’t been spiked with a powerful narcotic before the fight, a fatigued Cheeseman continued to march forward, often with his hands down, offering Garcia free shots at his already battered face.The third judge somehow only had it by one point to Garcia after 12 so it’s conceivable that they actually had Cheeseman winning at some point. Just say no to drugs kids. Garcia isn’t a banger by any stretch but this sort of sustained beating can take years off a fighter’s career.
What looked on the surface to be an intriguing match up as chief support turned out to be a one sided blowout as Craig “Spider” Richards blasted Jake all out inside three rounds. Richards couldn’t miss with the straight right hand and Ball never found his way into the fight getting dropped three times before the fight was waved off. Richards brings with him a sizeable entourage of highly vociferous ladies, presumably relatives given their level of emotional involvement. They are very animated when Richards is fighting and little things like seating allocations, VIP areas, ringside security are not going to prevent them from getting ringside. There’s no malice in it, they’re just fanatical in their support. Probably best for everybody that Richards won though.
Lawrnce Okolie and Fabian Wardley both scored early knockouts on the undercard and in between times we were treated to the announcement of Okolie v Wadi Camacho at the Copperbox on March 23rd. An interesting match up. Camacho is never in a dull fight and Okolie is never in a good one.
Despite the relatively small crowd at the O2 (the upper tier was closed and the lower tier not full. 5,000-ish in the house at a guess) the atmophere was lively enough (and not just Spider Richards’ ladies in waiting). There was one small scuffle in the crowd that I was aware of but it was shut down quite quickly and caused more amusement than fear. I must question the choice of “I predict a Riot” as mood music immediately afterwards though.
There was quite a lot of negativity towards this card on social media, but I enjoyed the night (aside from one security guard, on secondment from Mordor, who reacted to me taking photos with an iPhone as though I was pointing a sniper rifle at Eddie Hearn).
Fingers crossed Cheeseman makes a full recovery and is back in the ring soon, with is hands up and moving his head a bit more.