Hometown hero Dylan Cheema (5-0, 1 KOs) emerged as the winner of the BOXXER Series lightweight tournament tonight as he beat Rylan Charlton (9-3-1, 4 KOs) by unanimous decision to claim the 40-thousand-pound prize at the Skydome Arena in Coventry, live on Sky Sports.
The former kickboxing world champion from Coventry didn’t have an easy road to the final however as Cheema had to fend off the likes of Scott Melvin (5-1, 1 KOs) and Otis Lookman (1-1, 1 KOs) on the way.
The final was an all-out war from the opening bell, both men landed powerful shots that had all in attendance grimacing. The pair were feeling the effects of the previous fights and were breathing heavily at the end of the round. It asked the question of who was hungrier to win.
Cheema and Charlton traded numerous punches in the second round and at times it seemed Charlton was flat out on his feet, but he kept mustering the energy to answer Cheema back.
The third and final round was one to go down in the BOXXER Series history books as all in attendance were speechless in what they were witnessing. Both men put the hard hours in during training camp and it showed in the ring with the end-to-end action. The Coventry crowd were treated to a great night of tournament boxing.
The BOXXER Series victory at lightweight not only led Cheema to an eye-watering amount of cash but a step in the right direction as more opportunities under the BOXXER and Sky Sports banner await the 25-year-old.
Cheema’s route to the final was a hard earnt one that had his home crowd of Coventry entertained. After an explosive first round stoppage victory over Otis Lookman in the quarter finals, Cheema faced Scott Melvin in the semis which was easily fight of the night until the final.
Melvin looked comfortable throughout the second round against Cheema, he wasn’t afraid to showboat in front of the Coventry crowd on the night. However, it was Cheema that was landing the more convincing punches.
The final round had the crowd in awe as both fighters bit down on the gum shield and came out swinging. Melvin was able to slip some of the forward attacks from Cheema but saw himself on the end of a lot of heavy blows that was the difference for the judges at ringside.
Melvin’s journey to the semi-final against Cheema was a difficult one for himself personally as he was drawn against fellow stablemate Tion Gibbs (8-1, 0 KOs) who is most notably recognised as the brother of Cori Gibbs, BOXXER series Liverpool champion.
An interesting fight from the moment it was drawn earlier in the week, both fighters shared the same corner and were anticipating a meeting in the final. Both men fought hard, and it was hard to split the two before the final bell. Melvin took the victory via a split decision.
Before Charlton joined Cheema in the final, he stopped the experienced Shaun Cooper (13-4, 0 KOs) in the final round of their semi final meeting. Charlton was a handful in every fight he took part in on the night with his super aggressive style of fighting, living up to his nickname ‘The pint-sized powerhouse’.
Cooper was able to stay on the back foot at times and land long, looping shots over the top of the guard of Charlton who remained consistent on the front foot. A brutal body shot landed in the final round that saw Cooper drop to the canvas in agony and wanting no more.
The bookies favourite and Sky Sports Boxing regular Charlton defeated Nottingham based fighter Joe Underwood Hughes (7-1, 1 KOs) prior to his semi final appearance in a gruelling quarter final clash which could have gone either way.
Charlton remained on the front foot throughout all three rounds with Hughes doing a fantastic job to stay with his man following the onslaught.
Shaun Cooper, who formerly held the WBO Youth lightweight title, matched up against 22-year-old Brooklyn Tilley (3-1, 0 KOs) in the final quarter final of the evening in Coventry.
Tilley who was spurred on by his loyal fanbase struggled to convince the judges at ringside as Cooper had his hand raised and his name booked into the semi final with Charlton. The judges scored it 29-28 all in favour of a split decision victory for Cooper.
BOXXER Series returns to Sky Sports next month as the tournament hits Sheffield on May 21st, showcasing eight hungry cruiserweights waiting for their time to shine.
Final: Dylan Cheema (5-0, 1 KOs) def. Rylan Charlton (9-3-1, 4 KOs) – Unanimous decision 29-28, 29-28, 29-28 Cheema 3×3 lightweight.
Semi final one: Dylan Cheema (5-0, 1 KOs) def. Scott Melvin (5-1, 1 KOs) – Split decision 29-28 Melvin, 29-28 Cheema, 29-28 Cheema 3×3 lightweight.
Semi final two: Rylan Charlton (9-3-1, 4 KOs) def. Shaun Cooper (13-4, 0 KOs) – 3rd rnd KO, 3×3 lightweight
Quarter final one: Dylan Cheema (5-0, 1 KOs) def. Otis Lookman (1-1, 1 KOs) – 1st rnd TKO, 3×3 lightweight.
Quarter final two: Scott Melvin (5-1, 1 KOs) def. Tion Gibbs (8-1, 0 KOs) – Split decision 29-28 Melvin, 29-28 Gibbs, 29-28 Melvin 3×3 lightweight.
Quarter final three: Rylan Charlton (9-3-1, 4 KOs) def. Joe Underwood Hughes (7-1, 1 KOs) – Unanimous decision 29-28, 29-28, 29-28 Charlton 3×3 lightweight.
Quarter final four: Shaun Cooper (13-4, 0 KOs) def. Brooklyn Tilley (3-1, 0 KOs) – Unanimous decision 29-28, 29-28, 29-28 Cooper 3×3 lightweight.
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