Zach Parker steps up to headliner after cruel luck rules Ennis-Brown out of appealing Sam Maxwell showdown, writes Matt Bozeat
QUEENSBERRY PROMOTIONS have back-to-back shows this weekend, starting on Friday night. Top of the bill was supposed to Gloucester southpaw Akeem Ennis-Brown defending his British and Commonwealth super-lightweight titles against Sam Maxwell at the Copper Box Arena. Ennis-Brown pulled out of the clash through injury and at four days’ notice, Ben Fields steps in to face the 14-0 Liverpudlian over eight rounds.
Fields, a 31-year-old from Birmingham last seen narrowly losing on points to Kaisee Benjamin (10-1-1) for the Midlands welterweight title, has snapped four unbeaten record records in his 10-9-2 career.
From the Eastside gym, Fields, who holds the Midlands belt at 140lbs, is sure to fight his heart out, but we go for Maxwell to beat him on points.
Ennis-Brown pulling out means Zach Parker (19-0), the recent Queensberry signing ranked No 1 by the WBO at 168lbs, now tops the bill. The 26-year-old switch hitter from Swadlincote, Derbyshire, sharpens his tools with a 10-rounder against 35-year-old American Vaughn Alexander (15-4).
For Parker, it is his first fight since he outlasted Aussie Rohan Murdock (24-1) and forced an 11th round stoppage at the Manchester Arena last March.
Parker looked to be edging a quality chess match and started to unravel the Aussie with body attacks in the 10th before finding the punches to drop and stop him in the next.
Parker has had back-to-back stoppages since undergoing surgery on his left shoulder. The shoulder went in the second round of his clash with Darryll Williams (17-0) in November, 2018. Parker won a split decision.
Alexander, the elder brother of two-weight world champion Devon, has proved durable in a 19-fight career that spans 17 years. Alexander turned over in 2004 with Don King, won his first five and then spent 11 years in prison. He’s found himself on the right-hand side of the bill recently with five of his previous six opponents being unbeaten.
Alexander knew enough to outpoint Money Powell IV (10-0) over eight, but last time out, he didn’t take many risks against the unbeaten Uzbek southpaw Bektemir Melikuziev (3-0) and went the full 10 rounds in December, 2019. We fancy that Parker will soon put Alexander into survival mode and beat him clearly on points.
At 154lbs, rangy box-punchers Danny Ball (9-0-1) and Sam Gilley (11-0) clash in what could be the fight of the night. Ball was snapped up by Queensberry after upsetting Mason Cartwright (15-1-1) in three rounds in October, 2019 , finding the punches to turn the fight his way after a rocky opening couple of rounds, and the 24-year-old from Kingswinford also has stoppages of the durable Paul Cummings and Kevin McCauley.
Gilley has five wins inside three rounds and is coming off a career-best points win over capable Curtis Felix jnr (10-1) for the vacant Southern Area belt.
The referee’s 96-93 scorecard shows Gilley needed a last-round knockdown to be sure of victory.
Styles should blend. Gilley fancies he will be able to walk Ball down, Ball plans to walk him onto combinations. It’s hard to pick a winner. We go for Gilley, provided he uses his jab.
Brad Foster, the 23-year-old British and Commonwealth champion from Lichfield ranked No 10 by the IBF, should get 10 rounds under his belt against 35-year-old Spanish champion Alvaro Rodriguez (10-3-1), beaten over 10 previously here by Thomas Ward and Tyrone McCullagh.
Rodriguez has been the full 10 in his last seven fights, winning four and losing two, and knows how to spoil, frustrate and pick his moments to land sneaky shots. Foster (13-0-2), who did appear to switch off in the middle rounds against Ash Lane and James Beech Jnr in his last fight, has had three wins and boxed 20 rounds since the last time Rodriguez boxed and though Foster fancies he may become the first to stop Rodriguez, we go for him to win clearly on points.
The Verdict The show must go on in the face of more disruption.