SUNNY EDWARDS makes his Matchroom debut as the No.1 flyweight in the world but he is still the man doing the chasing in the division. Usually those atop the world rankings are the ones with the target on their back but Edwards spent much of the build-up to this show calling out the other players at 112lbs.
One man he did not speak too much about is Andres Campos the little known, 15-0 Chilean, who was selected by Matchroom as cannon fodder for Edwards to sweep aside before far more significant clashes in the second half of the year.
Both Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez and Julio Cesar Martinez are signed to Matchroom and Edwards is hoping his new promoters can make fights with either or both of those. That was the reason for the switch, following a spell with the now-defunct Probellum.
“It’s nice to be part of a big movement,” Edwards told Boxing news. “I feel like this platform will help me propel past Campos and into the bigger fights and really make the name for myself that I’ve been dying to.
“It was always a natural progression. People have always asked me, probably every single month of my professional career, ‘when are you signing with Eddie?’ Or ‘Why haven’t you signed with Matchroom?’
“They’ve probably been the best place for me to be for a little while because of the potential for in-house fights at the right times.”
You could argue that Edwards is currently the most talented fighter in Britain but he has not always been appreciated as such. His real breakout win against Moruti Mthalane is now more than two years ago and he is yet to secure a victory that betters it.
Beating Campos at Wembley Arena on Saturday will certainly not do that but it might just set up fights that will. It is almost impossible to see him dropping the ball here, either. Campos has boxed 13 times in his native Chile, once in Argentina and once in Australia. He has never mixed with anyone in the same league as Edwards, or even near it. Like Edwards, he’s got just four stoppages in his career to date.
Expect the trademark slipping and sliding from Edwards, who will bamboozle Campos, confuse him and beat him up but will probably do so for all 12 rounds. He has not stopped anyone for four years and two months now – so he is probably due one.
“I’ve got everything needed to be a promoter favourite, a fan favourite. It’s just about getting the right fights to keep people stimulated,” Edwards added. Given the context, this will do, but he will be expecting more next time out.
In the chief support, Ellie Scotney takes on Cherneka Johnson for the Australian’s IBF bantamweight title in a fight laced with storylines.
The pair were supposed to be part of the undercard in Dublin when Katie Taylor took on – and lost to – Chantelle Cameron. However Scotney was removed from the card at Cameron’s request due to the history between her and Scotney’s current trainer Shane McGuigan. The pair had previously worked together but split in 2019 amid a legal dispute.
Once the dust had settled in Dublin, Hearn managed to slot Scotney’s clash onto this card instead. And it has transpired that, since then, her close friend and stablemate Chris Billam-Smith has brought another world title back to Shane McGuigan’s gym. Scotney, 6-0, will no doubt be inspired by Billam-Smith’s home soil triumph as she welcomes Australian Cherneka Johnson to her city of London.
‘Neekz’ is the far more experienced of the two as a professional, having turned over back in 2016. She has since boxed 16 times, winning all but one, while chalking up six stoppages. Her entire career, however, has taken place Down Under so it is impossible to tell how fighting on the road may affect her.
Her last defeat came against her compatriot Shannon O’Connell, a split decision defeat over 10 rounds in Bendigo, Victoria. Despite the defeat, her next outing, which came 11 months later, was for the vacant IBF super bantamweight title, which she won. Johnson then made a successful first defence six months later, outpointing 44-year-old Susie Ramadan in Melbourne which brings us to Scotney.
The Catford resident, 25, was a Covid baby and had her first two professional fights behind closed doors after spending most of lockdown working in B&Q. She has emerged as one of the brightest prospects in women’s boxing since and claimed the European title in her last outing via a decision victory over Mary Romero.
She is yet to win inside the distance and that is unlikely to change this weekend. However, despite her relative inexperience, she will have more than enough to claim this one on the cards.
In the other women’s fight of the card, Nina Hughes takes on late replacement Katie Healy after Shannon Courtenay pulled out injured. Following her stunning win over Jamie Mitchell in November, it’s hard to see Hughes slipping up here.
In what could be the fight of the night, Wembley’s Youssef Khoumari takes on Metropolitan Line rival Reece Bellotti, of Watford, over 10 rounds at super-featherweight in an eliminator for the vacant British title. Entertaining Bellotti, however, has lost four of his last six outings so Khoumari has to be the favourite to win on points.
At cruiserweight, Chev Clarke faces his toughest test yet against Scotland’s former British title challenger David Jamieson. The Tokyo Olympian is 5-0 but was taken the distance for the first time in his last outing, when he beat Israel Duffus over 10. Jamieson, 10-2 (7), knows victory here could change the course of his career but Clarke should get the job done in the second half of the fight.
Another man who will likely enjoy a stoppage win is heavyweight Johnny Fisher but Puerto Rican New Yorker Emilio Salas will give it a go. Before that there are run outs for Shannon Ryan, George Liddard and Muhammad Mustafa Ali.
THE VERDICT – Simply a vehicle for Edwards to look good and set up bigger fights.