‘BOMBER’ STEPS UP

Bel­lotti gets his big­gest test against Cun­ning­ham, writes Daniel Her­bert

Boxing News - - Previews -

THE lat­est edi­tion of Matchroom’s NXTGEN show­case for ris­ing fight­ers hap­pens at York Hall, Beth­nal Green to­mor­row (Fri­day Oc­to­ber 13) and fea­tures two in­trigu­ing ti­tle 12-rounders, with Sky Sports Ac­tion tele­vis­ing.

Main event sees ex­pe­ri­enced Don­caster south­paw Ja­son Cun­ning­ham, 23-3 (6), de­fend his Com­mon­wealth feath­er­weight crown against Wat­ford’s Reece Bel­lotti, who has won all 10 fights while liv­ing up to his “Bomber” nick­name by end­ing nine in­side the dis­tance.

Bel­lotti punches hard but this is his first sched­uled 12-rounder and the fur­thest he has ever gone was his eighth-ses­sion stop­page of Jamie Speight last time out in July. And Cun­ning­ham will be the first south­paw he has faced in the pros.

The cham­pion has mixed in much bet­ter com­pany, while chang­ing weights. In 2015 he went the dis­tance in a Bri­tish su­per-fly­weight ti­tle fight with Khalid Yafai (now WBA king) and six months ago he won the va­cant Com­mon­wealth 126lbs belt with a split de­ci­sion over Ben Jones at York Hall.

Ja­son also holds a win over Speight, but on points – which sug­gests Bel­lotti holds the edge in power. That can prove de­ci­sive as the Wat­ford man wins clearly on the cards.

The other ti­tle bout is also qual­ity as Ep­som’s Bri­tish su­per-fly­weight cham­pion Char­lie Ed­wards, 10-1 (4), de­fends against Matthew Chanda, 7-1 (2), from Hack­ney.

Just over a year ago Ed­wards failed (l rsf 10) in an am­bi­tious IBF fly­weight ti­tle bid against John Riel Casimero, since when he has re­built with two wins, the most re­cent on points over Iain Butcher for the va­cant na­tional 115lbs belt.

Chanda hasn’t boxed since los­ing a gru­elling de­ci­sion to Ghana’s Duke Micah for the Com­mon­wealth ban­tam ti­tle in Oc­to­ber 2016. Drop­ping in weight may pay off given Matthew is only 5ft 3ns tall, but Ed­wards’ skills can see him re­tain on points.

THE VER­DICT Matchroom’s NXTGEN idea will thrive with good matchups like th­ese.

Photo: AC­TION IM­AGES/AN­DREW COULDRIDGE

ONE TO WATCH: There is a buzz sur­round­ing top prospect Belotti

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