It wasn’t the main event we all expected two weeks ago, but the show did go on after Dillian Whyte’s withdrawal. Chantelle Cameron and Mary McGee put their junior welterweight belts on the line in London, and put on a much better show than the final scorecards would suggest.
Cameron (15-0, 8 KO) carried the night on 100-90, 99-91, and 99-92 scorecards, but McGee (27-4, 15 KO) fought a very game, come-forward fight. Things started off quickly with lots of good action from both ladies, and the shape of the fight changed after McGee appeared to be pushed down at the bell after a heavy exchange of punches at the end of round 2.
McGee didn’t complain of any injury or damage in the corner, but she spent the rest of the night throwing strangely, pushing rather than snapping punches, and often firing her hands in a way that seemed like her weight wasn’t behind the punch.
McGee showed a ton of heart, moving forward for most of the fight and exchanging often. But, she never seemed to damage or threaten Cameron in any significant way.
All action #CameronMcGee pic.twitter.com/jWdhKyqE4j— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) October 30, 2021
Cameron really took control in the middle rounds, pounding McGee in the 7th after backing McGee up against the ropes. Both women unloaded heavy shots in the 8th, landing power punches up to and perhaps a little past the bell.
What an exchange #CameronMcGee pic.twitter.com/CKJ83nHvOb— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) October 30, 2021
With the victory, Cameron unifies her WBC junior welterweight belt with the IBF title formerly held by McGee. Matchroom and DAZN spent all night setting the table for a potential showdown between Cameron and Kali Reis, the current WBA champion who also fights for the vacant WBO belt on November 19th.
Reis was on the broadcast team all night, and was specifically mentioned in the post-fight interview as the future plan for Cameron. Assuming Reis handles her business against Jessica Camara on November 19th, the table is set for an undisputed unification sometime in early 2022.
Alen Babic KO-2 Eric Molina
Eric Molina stepped in as a substitute opponent for Alen Babic (9-0, 9 KO) on just 13 days notice, and delivered a performance that questions whether he really wanted to be there at all.
Molina (28-8, 20 KO) was on the canvas within six seconds of the opening bell, and didn’t put up much more resistance after.
ALEN BABIC DROPS ERIC MOLINA AFTER FIVE SECONDS pic.twitter.com/zJZ97HFVGw— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) October 30, 2021
To call Molina’s performance halfhearted would be an insult to anyone waiting for double coronary bypass surgery. Babic spent the entire fight in search-and-destroy mode, Molina fell down three more times, and the fans enjoyed a fun, if not exactly challenging, performance from Babic.
After the fight, Babic said the night was easy enough that he could be ready to fight again in just seven days. And, for boxing fans outraged at Eric Molina’s presence in another televised fight? Eddie Hearn said that Molina has banked his last paycheck from Matchroom. If true, that’s a win for everyone other than Molina’s financial advisor.
Johnny Fisher KO-2 Alvaro Terrero
Johnny Fisher (4-0, 4 KO) was on this card to build up his record and sell tickets, and he delivered on both counts. Credit to Terrero (5-14-2, 3 KO), who could have turtled up and fallen over after any number of first round punches. But, he didn’t, and even picked himself up three times within a minute once the knockdowns started in the second.
The referee finally decided the crowd had seen enough local violence, and waved things to their conclusion with less than a minute left in the second round.
A FURIOUS SECOND ROUND BRINGS JOHNNY FISHER THE WIN pic.twitter.com/Jvy9SFkLxK— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) October 30, 2021
Craig Richards KO-6 Marek Matyja
Richards (17-2-1, 10 KO) started well, jabbing effectively in the first two rounds and reddening the face of Matyja (20-3-2, 9 KO). But, a leaky or lazy guard from Richards let several big punches through, and Matyja picked up some momentum and energy in the third round.
Richards showed a renewed effort in the fourth, working more power shots and combinations than he’d shown earlier in the fight. Then in round 5, Richards resumed fighting like he was allergic to combinations of more than two punches.
Just as it appeared we might be in for a few more rounds of cruise control, Richards landed a powerful shot in the 6th that put Matyja on ice skates. Matyja didn’t fall down, didn’t take a knee, but he also wasn’t fighting back. After a rock-em sock-em shot while up against the ropes, the ref stepped in for a stoppage that was arguably a bit quick, but undeniably merciful.
Craig Richards gets the win after a brutal sixth round pic.twitter.com/y3nQcssd3m— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) October 30, 2021
Jorge David Castaneda MD-10 Youssef Khoumari
The opening fight of the night was a fun, well matched, professional back-and-forth between Jorge Castaneda (15-1, 11 KO) and Youssef Khoumari (13-1-1, 5 KO). Both men did their work in the first half, exchanging cleanly and avoiding any clinches through steady, even action.
Fireworks began in the 6th, with both men clocking power hooks to the delight of the crowd.
Stand and trade #KhoumariCastaneda pic.twitter.com/pwJxs68z9O— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) October 30, 2021
The difference maker came in the eighth round, when Castaneda landed a staggering punch to the temple that rocked Khoumari and put him in retreat. Khoumari managed to survive through the remaining two minutes of the round, but didn’t put up much resistance while doing it.
It was the turning point of a very tight fight, and Castaneda finished strong to take the victory. Final scorecards were 97-94 and 96-94 for Castaneda, with the third card coming in at 95-95.