Red-Hot Chelli storms Super-Middleweight Tournament, wins long-term BOXXER contract
– Zak Chelli storms tournament live on BT Sport and ITV to secure a long-term promotional contract with BOXXER
– Florian Marku mauls Mweemba in under two minutes, then issues warning to UK welterweight division
– Mikael Lawal extends unbeaten run to 13-0, ready to climb the ranks
Two outstanding performances in back-to-back fights earned Zak Chelli (9-1-1, 4 KO’s) victory in the four-man Super-Middleweight Tournament at Tuesday’s BOXXER Fight Night.
Chelli first shut out Bulgarian hopeful Vladimir Georgiev (4-1), ranked #2 in his home country, before stopping Mike McGoldrick (7-1, 2 KO’s) in the final to claim tournament victory and secure himself a long-term promotional contract with BOXXER.
“They were all undefeated fighters and I like to take their ‘0’. I don’t believe [the tournament] was a risk – a fighter has got to fight anyone to be the best. Now I want a European title, British title, any title,” said Chelli afterwards.
His feat was aired live to sports fans across the UK by both BT Sport and ITV 4, with the simulcast making the BOXXER event – presented in association with ‘Blu, Lucozade, RDX and Bad Monday’ – available to over 90% of UK households.
A product of the Dale Youth ABC set-up which spawned super-middle world champions James DeGale and George Groves, the one-time World Youth quarter-finalist can expect doors to start opening now that he has earned a promotional berth on the upwardly-mobile Boxxer roster.
The youngest fighter in the four-man competition, the 22-year-old ‘Chelli Sauce’ was too frisky and technical for the 35-year-old McGoldrick, scoring three knockdowns via raking right hands and savage body shots before referee Bob Williams called the fight at 1:31 of the second round.
McGoldrick had booked his spot in the final by besting Scouse starlet Harry Woods (4-1) in a three-round war. A decade older and two inches shorter, the 5ft 11in Cumbrian dragged the undefeated England amateur international into a short-range slugfest from which he emerged with a unanimous decision win.
Prior to the tournament final, Albanian welterweight Florian Marku (7-0, 5 KO’s) entered the ring to face Sheffield veteran Muma Mweemba (4-2, 2 KO’s). The fight was waved off exactly 101 seconds after it began, with Marku knocking him down twice before finishing him off.
“When I wear 8oz gloves I feel like I have bombs in my hands. I knew I would finish this guy – nothing personal, but [fighting] is my life. For me this is not a hobby. I do this to survive, to make my family live better,” said the hammer-handed Albanian afterwards.
“I will clock out every opponent they bring me. [Next] I want to fight with Conor Benn. I hope he accepts, but he is scared, he knows what I can do with him… When he is in the ring with me, he will understand I am a real man.”
In the show starter, Shepherds Bush cruiser Mikael ‘Lethal’ Lawal (13-0, 7 KO’s) stretched his unbeaten streak by whitewashing seasoned Willesden fight vet Ossie Jervier (6-14, 5 KO’s) over six rounds. Referee Kieran McCann scored it 60-54.
Returning from a 16 month lay-off, the 25 year old – a reformed ‘street kid’ who started boxing whilst on tag – took a few rounds to shed some rust but, once he warmed to the task, his superior strength and short game saw him a comfortable winner.
Formerly a spar hand to the likes of Oleksandr Usyk, Tony Bellew and Lawrence Okolie, the UB4 Crusierweight Tournament champion is now ready to advance to eight- and ten-round level.
BOXXER: Tuesday Fight Night – Official Results
Zak Chekki def. Mike McGoldrick – TKO, 1:31 R2
Wins BOXXER Super-Middleweight Tournament
Florian Marku def. Muma Mweemba – TKO, 1:41 R1
Zak Chekki def. Vladimir Georgiev – Unanimous Decision R3 (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Mike McGoldrick def. Harry Woods – Unanimous Decision R3 (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Mikael Lawal def. Ossie Jervier – Wins on Points, R6
When the Magic Man takes the mic on Tuesday night he will deliver once again.
Paulie Malignaggi won world titles at two different weights and met the very best of his generation during his boxing career.
One night in 2006 at a sold-out Madison Square Garden in The Big Apple he went 12 savage rounds with Miguel Cotto.
Cotto was on a bloody and brutal run of six knockouts in six consecutive world title fights. Cotto was unbeaten in 26 and the Garden was his home.
Cotto had destroyed Kelson Pinto, Randall Bailey, DeMarcus Corley, Muhammad Abdullaev, Ricardo Torres and Gianluca Branco – the six men had a combined record of just nine losses in 168 fights before Cotto ruined them.
But, Paulie was also unbeaten and a local New Yorker – the fight was hard from the first bell. Paulie never quit, Paulie pushed the great Puerto Rican to 12th and last bell in a war. Cotto kept his world title on points – Malignaggi won the hearts and minds.
Malignaggi then won the IBF light-welter and WBA welterweight world titles later in his 44-fight career.
However, it was the night and fight against Cotto that showed what Paulie is all about. It’s always been a privilege to work next to him.
Malignaggi will be working as part of the commentary team on Tuesday night when Boxxer returns live on BT sport and ITV 4.
The Dirty Dozen, the Magnificent Seven, the Seven Dwarfs and now the BOXXER Four
You need a mix to make a group interesting – the evil one, the dopey one, the handsome one, the crazy one. You get the picture.The Boxxer Four all have something different, they all have their individual traits.
Mikael Lawal survived a season on the bloody and violent streets of Lagos when he was a teenager.In London he discovered boxing and it was his salvation: Now he is 12 and zero and the leading contender for the British cruiserweight title.
Florian Marku is unbeaten in six, will fight anybody at welterweight and is a fighting idol to Albanians everywhere in the world.Marku has the love and support of a nation – Lawal is battling for respect.And it is all about respect with Jack Fincham.
He is known for his smile, his charm and his victory on Love Island – but, he was an amateur boxer long before his Cupid days.He is a pro now, trained by Ben Davison, and his mission is to win… and hopefully convert a few sceptics on the way.And then there is Derrick Osaze and his pulpit. The Punching Preacher is unbeaten in ten fights, a contender for the British title.
He is the cool member of the Boxxer Quartet, the man with the casual confidence and belief.All four fight on Nov 10 – they are rivals for titles, rivals for success but united as part of the same team.
The weekend in words
The draw for the unique Boxxer four-man tournament will be made later this week.
It will provide three of the seven fights on the Nov 10 show – two semi-finals of three rounds and a final of five rounds. That’s fast.
And like all multi-fight formats the form book can be ripped up – the best boxer, the boxer with the best record and the best team rarely wins.The winners are the toughest, the bravest, the smartest and men that have either lost or come close to losing. The Boxxer tournament is no place for boxing’s protected pretty boys.
Zak Chelli might just be the closest thing to a boxing pretty boy on the night – Chelli can bang, has lost just once in nine fights. He starts as the slight favourite.
Ben Ridings is unbeaten, he has made his name sparring behind closed doors and he has a mission or two. He also needs the money – honesty is always welcome in the boxing business.
Charlie Schofield is probably the nice guy of the quartet, has lost just once in 16 fights. He has that calm way about him – he is not making bold claims, just promising a display.
And then there is the hard man Diego Costa. He is the senior man in the quartet, a veteran of a thousand sparring rounds with great boxers and unbeaten in seven fights. He has no fear.
Four men, three fights and one winner – there will not be a bad round.
THE “ALBANIAN KING” FLORIAN MARKU READY TO REIGN AFTER SIGNING WITH BOXXER
He’s sold out London fight venues, amassed an army of fans that boasts several Premiership players, now undefeated welterweight and Albanian superstar Florian Marku (6-0-0, 4 KO’s) has signed a multi-fight promotional agreement with new Millennial boxing brand BOXXER.
The power-punching 28-year-old has attracted a celebrity fan following with Albanian football stars in the Premier League all eager to watch him fight, including Liverpool’s Xherdan Shaqiri and Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka and Shkrodan Mustafi.
Marku’s first fight under the new agreement will be on Tuesday 10th November, when he features on UB7 Super-Middleweights alongside reality star and Love Island winner Jack Fincham, behind-closed-doors, at the BT Sport studio in Stratford, East London.
The brash and flash Marku is not shy calling out his rivals and one is firmly focused in his sights – Connor Benn. Marku has also given Benn’s promoter Eddie Hearn a tongue lashing as he looks to force a showdown with Hearn’s over protected asset.
Marku stormed, “I want this fight to happen. I’d like to see if Eddie (Hearn) wants to stop protecting this little girl. If given the opportunity, I promise my fans will fill the O2 Arena (in London) and I will knock this coward out!”
His fanatical and fiercely loyal followers have seen him sell out the iconic York Hall on his own, creating an unrivalled carnival like atmosphere and with huge queues outside hoping to get a glimpse of their idol.
Known as the “Albanian King”, Marku hails from Lushnje, Albania and moved to Greece when he was four. Now based out of Finchley, North London, he is extremely proud to fight for his home country where he is feted as a national hero.
The powerful 5′ 8½″ southpaw is famous in Greece and Austria and across Europe where he had over 100 kickboxing and MMA fights, winning three world titles and developed his reputation for action and KO’s. He switched to boxing after a kickboxing injury, but his combined unbeaten run in both combat sports still spans over 10 years.
Marku has featured previously on UB shows (UB5 & UB6) where he put on scintillating performances. There is plenty of buzz around UB7 following the implementation and announcement of new and exciting changes for the next thrilling instalment of the knockout tournament.
UB7 will present its first ever four-man competition format; the first ever UB tournament on a Tuesday Fight Night; simulcast LIVE on BT Sport and free-to-air ITV4; Fincham’s pro debut, plus UB Champions Derrick Osaze and Mikael Lawal on the undercard.
Marku said, “I am extremely happy to sign with BOXXER who I one hundred percent believe can take my career to the next level. I know that they have my ambitions and targets as a priority as we enter this new phase and I’m excited by what the future holds. BOXXER have placed their belief in me becoming a champion and I intend to deliver on that starting on November 10.”
BOXXER Founder Ben Shalom is delighted to welcome Marku to the team, “Florian is a superstar inside and outside of the ring. He’s an icon to his loyal followers and we love what he stands for. We’re really excited to welcome him to the BOXXER family.”