THE women’s lightweight division is under the spotlight again at the Brentwood Centre on Saturday (July 20) when Chantelle Cameron meets Anisha Basheel in a final eliminator for the WBC championship. Katie Taylor holds all four major belts at 135lbs, of course. As do many others, Cameron believes Delfine Persoon is worthy of a rematch with Taylor after conceding a close majority points vote at Madison Square Garden last month following what Chantelle called an “amazing, edge-of-your seat fight.” The 28-year-old from Northampton is a believer in fair play and provided she gets past Basheel, she is happy to wait for her world title chance if, as expected, Taylor and Persoon meet in a return.
Taylor has been on Cameron’s radar since she first turned pro two years ago. As amateurs, Taylor had a win over Cameron in the semi-finals of the 2011 EU Championships. Chantelle is convinced the pros suit her better than Taylor. She’s a volume-puncher with a terrific engine.
Next for Cameron, now trained by Jamie Moore after splitting from the McGuigans, is Basheel, a 21-year-old from Blantyre, Malawi who stopped Leeds’ Sam Smith inside a round for the vacant Commonwealth crown at York Hall in June last year. That was her fourth victory inside a round and eighth straight stoppage on her 8-5 (8) record. On the evidence of those 68 seconds against Smith, Basheel is a long, lean fighter who knows how to finish opponents off once she has hurt them. Cameron has seen rather more of Basheel and says she “swings them from her boots.” She added: “I expect her to come out flying and I have to keep calm. I don’t think she has the gas to deal with my work rate. I can throw punches non-stop for 10 rounds.”
Cameron goes into every fight convinced she can fight harder and for longer than her opponent and so far, no one she has faced in the pros has been able to match her appetite for fighting. Former two-time world title challengers Myriam Dellal and Jessica Gonzalez both took her the full 10, but neither won a round. Dellal got through by staying away, while Gonzalez relied on her stubbornness.
At times in her pro career, Cameron, 10-0 (7), has just ploughed in without thinking about what is coming back at her. Against a puncher like Basheel, that could be her undoing. That said, Cameron knows what she is doing. She was a quality amateur, after all. Under Moore’s tutelage, she has had two straightforward stoppages. Moore says there are two sides to Cameron: “She’s so nice, but when she’s in the ring she’s an animal.” He gives the impression that he has never come across anyone quite like Cameron before and more than likely, Basheel has never fought anyone like her. The pick is for Cameron to triumph sometime in the second half of this 10-twos encounter.
Also on this MTK Global bill (live on iFL TV in the UK and ESPN+ in the US), rising Portsmouth welterweight Michael McKinson faces Russian banger Evgeny Pavko in a good-looking 10-rounder. McKinson, 16-0 (2), is known as “The Problem” and so far, none of his opponents have been able to fathom him out. The 25-year-old southpaw – coached by his father, Michael Ballingall – hasn’t been matched soft either. It’s true that veteran Colin Lynes was on the way down, but Ryan Martin was 7-0 and fighting at home, while bouts with Sammy McNess and Ryan Kelly looked 50-50 on paper. McKinson outboxed them all. Kopeysk’s Pavko, 27, has 13 early wins on his 18-2-1 ledger. He is a rangy hitter who is coming off a retirement victory over Fedor Vinogradov (then-8-0), but Ballingall warned him: “Nobody boxes like Mikey.” Ballingall fancies his son will make Pavko miss, frustrate him, surprise him with the weight of his punches and outpoint him. This prediction is likely to prove correct.
The Verdict A big opportunity for Cameron to earn a world title shot.