THE Ted Cheeseman-Sam Eggington war may be topped for action when Eddie Hearn promotes in the back garden of his family’s Essex mansion again on Friday (August 14). In the top-of-the-bill fight, Felix Cash defends his Commonwealth middleweight championship against Jason Welborn and it’s a 12-round clash that should entertain viewers on Sky Sports and DAZN.
The Board named Welborn’s British title win over Tommy Langford in their first fight as the best seen in a British ring in 2018 and last time out, Cash came through a scorching scrap with Jack Cullen (17-1) in Manchester in November to keep his Commonwealth belt.
Cullen stood 6ft 3ins tall, was spirited and had the crowd behind him. Cash beat him with the weight and quality of his punches, his fitness and his defence.
The 27-year-old from Wokingham, Berks, slipped and slid away from punches on the inside and when he was caught, he took the punches well and fired back.
Cash’s punches – especially the right hand – were more damaging. He had Cullen down inside the opening minute, again late in the seventh and the local ticket-seller was out on his feet in the next, leading to referee Howard Foster’s intervention.
Now 34, Welborn has the edge in experience – he has completed 12 rounds twice, Cash has only been beyond eight rounds once – and though the challenger has had back-to-back stoppage losses, they were against good opposition in Jarrett Hurd (22-0) and James Metcalf (19-0).
Welborn got that unlikely shot at Hurd for the IBF and WBA belts at 154lbs on the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder I undercard in Los Angeles in December 2018 and while it’s stretching it to say the fight was competitive, there were signs Welborn was making the champion uncomfortable – until Hurd’s punches strayed low.
That set up a fourth-round body shot knockout and there was a similar ending when Welborn met Metcalf for the vacant Commonwealth super-welterweight title in Leeds last June. Metcalf was docked a point for low blows moments before finishing the fight with a body shot in the eighth. In fairness, Metcalf did appear to be winning that fight with his jab.
Welborn is remembered for bursting the bubble of Marcus Morrison (14-0) in March 2017, putting it on the untested Mancunian for round after round and winning on points over 10. Perhaps he can do the same on Friday night?
Welborn has the better names on his record and though Frankie Gavin and Liam Smith both beat him in British title clashes, he was in both fights. Cash hasn’t boxed anywhere near that level, but he is the younger, bigger man in this fight and he has impressed. The Tony Sims-trained box-puncher has four wins inside a round since turning over after an 80-bout amateur career – including the demolition of Rasheed Abolaji (11-4-1) at the O2 Arena last February that brought him the vacant Commonwealth title. The Nigerian was over from a stiff jab and then a right hand decked him and left him too dizzy to find his feet again.
Welborn is certain to put up more resistance than that. Asked to name his strengths before he challenged Hurd, Welborn said: “Hardness and self-belief,” but the question is, how much does he have left?
In the Cullen fight, Cash showed that, at this level, he can have a war without taking too much punishment and he can beat Welborn on points – after a really good fight.
Also on the show, Zelfa Barrett, the Commonwealth super-featherweight champion, makes his debut under the Matchroom banner, taking on Irish southpaw Eric Donovan (12-0) over 12. Barrett produced a career-best performance last time out, dropping willing Scot Jordan McCorry (18-6-1) three times for a ninth-round stoppage, a result that compares well with contemporaries Sam Bowen and Archie Sharp. The 27-year-old, trained by uncle Pat Barrett, has won all four since a majority points loss to hard-as-nails Scottish southpaw Ronnie Clark (20-4-2) in February 2018. Barrett showed a lot of spirit at York Hall that night to get off the deck in the sixth after being dropped heavily – and then to ask for a rematch that didn’t happen due to Clark’s health problems.
In Donovan, Barrett goes in with another left-hander. The 35-year-old from Athy has won Irish honours at 126lbs since turning pro just before his 31st birthday following a lengthy amateur career that included a win over Domenico Valentino in March 2010, just six months after the Italian had won the World Championships.
As a pro, Donovan has fought journeymen, with the exception of Stephen McAfee (5-0-1), who he dispatched with a third-round body shot for the vacant Irish title last March. Barrett, a good size for the weight and good on his feet, has the look of an improving fighter and he could prove to be too sharp for Donovan. Barrett on points is the pick.
The 154lb division is possibly the most talked about in domestic boxing following the Cheeseman-Eggington punch-up two weeks ago and the spotlight next falls on Kieron Conway and Nav Mansouri when they meet over 10 rounds. Northampton’s Conway (14-1-1) held Cheeseman to a split draw – BN had him a point up – and since then, he’s had points wins over Konrad Stempkowski (9-1) and Craig O’Brien (11-1), possibly making hard work of the latter. Mansouri is a former English champion at 154lbs who twice pulled out of British title challenges, to Liam Smith and Liam Williams, through injury. The 31-year-old from Rotherham hasn’t been seen in a British ring since 2017 when he outpointed Jordan Grannum over six in Sheffield. He’s been fighting in Spain and last time out, Rotterdam, where Stephen Danyo (16-3-3) outpointed him over 12 rounds.
It takes a good fighter to beat Mansouri – and Conway is good enough to beat him on points.
The Verdict Cash and Welborn should combine for an exciting fight.