By Ian Aldous: In the intimate setting of the Indigo at the O2 Arena in London – Ultimate Boxxer returned to UK TV screens on 5Spike and streamed live on SPORTbible’s Facebook page. Eight light-heavyweights battled it out to win their share of the £50k prize pot and cement themselves among Britain’s best 175lbs fighters. Here’s what went down in the one-night elimination tournament.
In the first quarter-final, Joel McIntyre floored Darrell Church heavily with a right-hand in the first-round en route to a unanimous decision victory. Church deserved kudos just for surviving the bout after his leg buckled badly beneath his weight as he went down.
Dec Spelman battered Sam Horsfall and advanced to the semi-finals with a second-round TKO including three knockdowns. The pace in this one was furious. Horsfall fought back valiantly, with some success, after being hurt, but ultimately Spelman had too much firepower.
After a cagey opening-round, 6’6” Shakan Pitters burst into life in the second-round of his quarter-final to have Sam Smith on the verge of being stopped. He cruised through the third to book his place in the final four with a unanimous decision.
The fourth quarter-final kept up with the frenetic pace as Georgii Bacon and Jordan Joseph traded a knockdown each in the first stanza. Late-replacement, Bacon surprised most in attendance scoring a dubious split-decision win.
In a bizarre first semi-final, Dec Spelman and Joel McIntyre were both hurt in round two, yet shockingly, each man scored counter-punch knockdowns when their opponent was on top! There was little else to separate them. A bloodied Spelman took the majority decision.
Shakan Pitters boxed smartly behind his jab against Georgii Bacon in semi-final number two. He then switched to the body and eventually broke Bacon down before the referee counted him out after a second knockdown in round two.
In the final, Pitters once-again aimed for the body as he began to dominate Spelman and score a first-round knockdown. Spelman tried to bully his way into the fight, but Pitters remained smart behind his long jab. He deservedly won the decision and became the second-ever Ultimate Boxxer and holder of the ‘Golden Robe’, presented by Paulie Malignaggi.
On the undercard, former ‘Love Island’ reality TV participant, Idris Virgo, slugged his way to a four-round decision win over Lithuanian journeyman, Vaidas Balciauskas.