'The next King of Scotland': Cyclone Promotions presser

Paul Zanon
12/09/2018 8:33pm

Paul Zanon checks out the presser for Cyclone Promotions' 13 October show at York Hall, as heavyweight Martin Bakole vows to become "the next King of Scotland"...

Four fights, three belts on the line and a Commonwealth title eliminator.

I am, of course, referring to the Cyclone Promotions show on 13 October at York Hall.

mcG1I was fortunate to attend the presser for this event today at The Alma Hotel in Wandsworth Town, followed by a workout at McGuigan’s Gym, directly opposite, where the media were allowed to quiz the fighters.

The only bout without a belt on the line, but acting as an eliminator, will be between Bournemouth favourite, Chris Billam Smith [6-0] and Robin Dupre [13-1]. With only one loss to his name, which came by way of stoppage at the hands of Luke Watkins for the Commonwealth strap, Dupre represents a step up for Billam Smith, who boasts five stoppages in six outings. Without dismissing Dupre, a win for the south coast favourite could put him in line for some mouthwatering match-ups, against the likes Watkins, Okolie, Askin and Riakporhe. The domestic cruiserweight division is hotting up.

From 200lbs to 118lbs... Lee McGregor will be taking on Thomas Essomba for the Commonwealth bantamweight title, over ten scheduled championship rounds. The 21-year-old Edinburgh man currently has an impressive record of four wins, four stoppages and intends to extend his hard hitting resume to five clean victories. This, however, may be a tall order. Cameroonian Essomba [8-4] has never been stopped and is looking to become a two-weight Commonwealth champion. Among his eight wins he has lifted the flyweight Commonwealth strap and the English bantamweight title. McGregor will need to tread carefully against Essomba. Skills will pay the bills in this fight.

Chantelle Cameron will be looking to successfully defend her IBO world title for the second time against former world champion, Dahiana Santana, from the Dominican Republic. Without a doubt it's a stern test for the affable Northampton boxer and hopefully victory will bring her a step closer to a showdown with Ireland’s Katie Taylor.

However, for me, the contest which contains the biggest intrigue is between hard hitting heavyweights, Martin Bakole and Michael ‘The Bounty’ Hunter, from the USA. Bakole, unbeaten in 11 fights and fresh from sparring numerous rounds with Anthony Joshua, is confident he will win before the final bell.

Hunter, equally admitted: “My prediction is it won’t go the full ten rounds,” when the two men battle it out for the IBO Continental title.

It’s an interesting match-up. Today Hunter admitted to walking around at 220lbs, which in current day heavyweight terms is a cruiserweight in training camp, while Bakole, who weighted 270lbs in his last contest, has a visible height and reach advantage, not to mention a healthy knockout ratio.

However, Hunter, also possesses punch power and a stellar amateur pedigree, as well as only has one blemish on his 15 fight record against cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk, losing via a unanimous points decision in April 2017.

Barry McGuigan summed up the matchmaking perfectly: “These are two very talented heavyweights and that’s very rare these days.”

In other words, don’t blink…

For me, the most memorable part of the presser came towards the end, with a comedy moment. Bakole was being asked a question by one of the media in a clearcut English accent, but very gracefully apologised, explaining his comprehension of English wasn’t great. Trainer Billy Nelson then leaned over to Bakole,and with his thick Airdrie accent repeated the question and Bakole got it first time. Bakole said at the beginning of the presser that he wanted to be the "next King of Scotland" – I think he’s halfway there already!

Boxing Monthly’s very own Luke G. Williams will be ringside reporting on the show on 13 October and look out for interviews with Cameron and Bakole in the current edition of the magazine, in shops now.