CHANNEL FIVE cameras are in Bolton on Friday night when light-heavyweight punchers Lyndon Arthur and Braian Suarez meet over 12 rounds. The fight was originally set for March 24 at the same De Vere Whites Hotel but, the day before, Suarez had an unspecified medical problem and had to pull out.
The Argentine was replaced by Boris Crighton, a Scot Arthur knew well having sparred him ahead of his fights with Anthony Yarde.
Mostly, it was an interesting 10-rounder rather than an exciting one. Crighton was reluctant to commit, and Arthur was content to peck away with his jab. There was drama in the third after Arthur circled onto a right, but he held himself together well enough to make Crighton miss with his next six punches.
George Groves, commentating on the fight for Channel Five, had them level after five, but for two of the judges, Arthur was doing enough.
He made sure of a unanimous points win with a knockdown in the dying seconds; a chopping right hander sending Crighton to the canvas moments after the Scot had some success himself. Arthur said he felt “flat” and had been preparing for “a completely different style.”
Suarez is aggressive, whereas Crighton stood off.
Perhaps more should have been expected of Arthur against a late replacement who had a stoppage loss to Diego Costa on his 10-1 record.
But then Arthur is Arthur. The 32-year-old can drift through fights looking to do just enough to win, unless he is hit hard or his trainer tells him off.
Coach – and cousin – Pat Barrett has had to remind Arthur of his level when he has got too comfortable against the likes of Davide Faraci and Walter Gabriel Sequeira. Arthur stopped both after Barrett read him the riot act.
He was switched on from the opening round against puncher Anthony Yarde in their first fight and landed enough jabs to claim a career-best win but appeared undermotivated for the rematch – he believed he deserved more than going over old ground – and was subsequently overwhelmed in four rounds.
Arthur has had three wins since, stoppages of Sequeira (25-9-1) and English champion Joel McIntyre (20-4), and the points win over Crighton.
We should see a good version of Arthur on Friday night. Suarez has the reputation – 15 wins inside three rounds on his 17-1 record – to switch him on from the opening bell.
If the 31-year-old starts throwing bombs at Arthur, he’s likely to throw heavy shots back at him.
We know Arthur is a good finisher and Suarez has been stopped early, by Venezuelan southpaw Albert Ramirez (13-0), a real knockout specialist who boxed at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Suarez was down twice in the first.
He has also shown he can get off the floor to win, beating Durval Elias Palacio (9-1) in seven after being down in the first last March.
He looks to be a similar size to Arthur – possibly half-an-inch shorter than the Mancunian’s 6ft 2ins – but Arthur looks to have the quicker lead hand and when he stiffens it, there’s weight behind it. Expect Athur to hurt Suarez and then finish him around the middle rounds.
The vacant British super-welterweight championship is also on the line in Bolton.
Ellesmere Port’s Mason Cartwright meets Samuel Antwi for the belt vacated by Josh Kelly, who took the title from Troy Williamson with that masterclass last December.
For both, it is their second shot at the Lonsdale Belt. Cartwright lost narrowly to Williamson (Darlington) in a challenge for the 154lbs title last March.
That was one of 2022’s best domestic fights, Cartwright losing a unanimous decision by five rounds on two cards and one on the other after scoring a second-round knockdown and rallying late.
Antwi challenged Nottingham’s Ekow Essuman (17-0) for the British and Commonwealth welterweight titles on the Joe Joyce-Joseph Parker undercard in Manchester last September and lost by five, three and one rounds.
The South Londoner celebrated at the final bell, convinced he had done enough.
Antwi says his corner told him he was ahead.
The 31-year-old has made a change since and will have Gary Logan in his corner on Friday night.
Logan is part of Adam Booth’s team and made two unsuccessful bids for the British super-welterweight title himself, being stopped in six by Manchester puncher Ensley Bingham in April 1996, and five by Jamie Moore seven years later, the Londoner’s last fight.
Antwi admitted he wasn’t planning to box for titles at 154lbs. He has had a couple of wins around the weight, over imports Omir Rodriguez (13-4-1) and Ruben Angulo (8-7-2), but says it wasn’t a career move.
Rather, he needed to fight and that was the weight where he found a match.
Regarding this shot, he said: “It’s not every day you get a chance like this come along.
“I’m not going to rule out going back down to 147, but I know I can handle myself at 154.”
Cartwright has also fought at 147lbs and 154lbs in his 19-3-1 career and admits the move up may make Antwi “feel 10 times better.”
Cartwright has looked better at the higher weight. At 147lbs, he was stopped on a cut by common opponent Darren Tetley and outgunned by Danny Ball, but he went 12 hard rounds against Williamson, forcing the strong champion to box rather than brawl after dropping him and hurting him early.
Antwi has a stoppage win over fighter Cartwright has lost to (Tetley), but that was at 147lbs. He is unproven at super-welter.
Cartwright, who’s had routine wins over Angel Emilov (10-40-1) and Vasif Mamedov (3-31-3) since, is an inch taller than Antwi at around 5ft 9ins, but the Londoner has long arms and fires a fast right-hand counter.
Essuman beat him – as he beats all his opponents – with his work-rate.
Cartwright, trained by Danny Withington and managed by Steve Wood, is more likely to rely on his aggression and strength.
He will have around 300 supporters cheering him forward and we go for Cartwright to send them home happy by grinding out a points win.