I was lucky to get DAZN Boxing (and football now too) at the knockdown price of £1.99 for a while, as an early European adopter.
Then it moved to £7.99 per month and people howled. I could understand it but I also couldn’t; this is not an occasional boxing Pay Per View deal, this is continuous.
It may lack the razzmatazz of a Las Vegas fight night, but it doesn’t lack for talent and it shows them well. It doesn’t go all out on the frills.
Why? Because their cards are so much more frequent.
And they don’t just provide us with tasty teamups, there are matches you might not have been expecting, fighters you’d only heard about, Italian jaunts, people you learn to love.
It’s about the fights, not the spectacle.
I’m doing some boxing purist nonsense here, I’m hardly that. And yet DAZN does feel like the fights are the thing, rather than the spectacle.
That may be because in Eddie Hearn they have a great frontman who advocates with passion and loves the game and making the fights. He’s knowledgeable and he can do the deal.
That’s a remarkably good resource for this boxing platform to have.
And they did this on Saturday night, mixed it up, headlining with a female fight, throwing younger fighters in, battling for belts and a heavyweight who is causing waves.
Of course this was supposed to be a big headliner toothed, the Dillian Whyte v Otto Wallin fight would have added brilliance.
But the O2 in London looked full, the crowd were loud, it was time…
Khoumari v Castenada
This was for the WBC Silver Super Featherweight Title. Yep, add some more words, could you, that always makes belts sound important.
Khoumari is the local favourite, Castaneda is from the US and brings 11 knockouts to the ring, so the Brit has to be cagey.
And in round 1, it was. But by 4 they were trading, Khoumari got through with a check left hook, but Castaneda fired back with a quick 1-2 and some good work to the body.
There was good head work from Khoumari and when he leant in and hit a right hook flush on the jaw, it looked like things were setting up for domination.
He hit a sweet counter left hook in the 5th too, but it caught fire a little in the middle of the round and I couldn’t help thinking that this phone box fighting favoured Castaneda.
Suddenly Khoumari looked to have lost some of his pep and pop, he was avoiding rather than leading.
And things got worse for him in the 8th, Castaneda still has his pep and the speed of the left hook which crashed into the temple like a whipcrack.
Khoumari held onto the ropes and survived, getting time, his opponent patiently awaiting the moment.
It didn’t come. They were trading till the end and Khoumari found some strength too with good shot selection and accuracy.
It was tight, the judges went with 95-95, 97-94 and 96-94; a majority decision for Castaneda.
Khoumari of course upset, but he showed his talent tonight and he’ll want to ensure he doesn’t fight the other fella’s fight next time.
Fisher v Terrero
Not much to tell her, Johnny Fisher is 3-0 with 3 knockouts and a Romford lad so the crowd are keen. He’s a raw talent but there’s plenty there and he certainly showed it.
Terrero came out strongly, almost as if this was he main chance. Fisher meanwhile composed himself and moved around well, hitting the jabs, finding a big right hand too.
Then Fisher caught him with a well-timed 1-2 and it didn’t seem as if we’d need all 6 rounds.
Well, in the 2nd Terrero caught him with a flurry including a right to the temple and an uppercut, which saw him fall after a slight delay for the body to process it; it almost looked like a slip.
And when back up, he just had no idea where to turn to find safety and was down again from the volume of punches, then a third time as Fisher went to work, picking his shots well; the towel came in before the ref stopped it.
Johnny Fisher, one to watch.
Richards v Matyja
Another strap on the line, this time the WBA lightweight title.
Richards is a coming man, the only dissent is about his sometimes laidback attitude and reticence to let his punches go.
As they are both over 6ft, he’ll have to work harder to make his work count.
First stanza, Richards working well within himself using the jab, but by the third his Polish opponent got though with a couple of tentative shots. I’m beginning to think Craig Richards needs a rocket.
It took until the 6th, but Richards uncorked an uppercut which put Matyja on rubber leg street, holding onto his opponent’s waistband.
The British fighter jumped on him, was a little woolly but got another shot in and Matyja just stopped.
Richards needed no more invitation, he hammered in another left hook and ref John Latham had seen enough.
Some were concerned that the stoppage was too quick, but looking back at that final punch, Matyja offered nothing and it was a peach of a shot.
We wanted Craig Richards to let his hands go; did he ever.
Ellie Scotney v Eva Cantos
This was a boxing fan’s delight. Ellie Scotney has been waiting to get back into the ring, her Italian opponent has boxed a lot recently.
But Scotney showed no ring rust as she claimed the centre of the ring and used the jab to control the first round.
That continued in the 2nd, composure, great movement and a nice left hook, by the time Cantos started to try some shots, Scotney wasn’t there.
Her movement was so special, although it was clear that her jab wasn’t connecting as regularly.
As Cantos had flipped a switch a little and was moving better, Scotney tried to get cuter by drawing her onto punches.
Her torso was taking some leather but Cantos tended to jump in and out for attacks.
There was less energy from Scotney in the 5th, her opponent did better, letting her hands go in the next round.
But Scotney just moved through the gears in the 7th, the movement was back, the shot selection was quality and she peppered the head and body.
And then Scotney pushed Cantos around in the 8th, it was a bit of a tear up.
Scotney won, unfortunately we couldn’t hear the results. But one thing was clear, Cantos came to fight, but Ellie Scotney won it clearly.
Alen Babic v Alan Molina
‘The Savage’ Babic is building up a following. I’m one of them.
The Croatian heavyweight who is loved here by so many has real promise and a spite which will serve him well as he’s smaller than some, more a Cruiserweight or, in new money, a Bridgerweight.
Alan Molina outweighed him by 3 stone and was there to provide a step up, he’s had a belt round his waist and been a contender twice.
But he had 7 losses to place against his 28 wins. And he didn’t look happy even when the ref was telling them their instructions.
Molina’s night got worse immediately as he was filled by a clubbing overhand right within the first 10 seconds.
Once on his feet, Babic was a little wild in trying to finish it, but realised he was smothering his own work and pulled back patiently.
That wasn’t the end of Molina though. We’ve seen Heavyweight capitulation before, but he unpacked two big right hands. Babic took them as if they were insect bites and kept coming forward.
That saps the spirit. But not with Mr M, he tried again and actually made Babic take notice with 2 more big shots, that may have been the first time that’s happened to ‘The Savage’.
And to virtually thumb his nose at his opponent, Molina got the jab working in the 2nd.
Babic just decided to go back to work, unleashed a barrage and Molina stepped away, complaining to the ref about a punch to back of the head.
A clear sign of discomfort.
And he was felled a little later, was counted, took a left to the temple and was back on the mat.
This time it really did look like his spirit had gone. He tried to make it messy but Babic by now was placing his punches well.
Then Molina slipped. I thought he did. The ref seemed to aswell, he didn’t count for a couple of beats and then seemed to change his mind.
And it was all over. Ref waved it off.
Babic didn’t get what he wanted. According to The Mail, he said at the pre-fight press conference that Molina ‘takes the fu*King zero off my record’ and ‘beats the sh*t out of me’.
And Babic is right, he does need to get through some mild peril to show himself and others what he can do.
His opponent tonight tried. He didn’t just fold like an origami class. And Babic shipped some punches. His attention was piqued. And so, I suspect, was ours.
Cameron v Mcgee
The main event. Champ v champ. For the WBC, IBF and Ring Mag belts. Unifying titles always adds a frisson.
Not that this fight needed it. ‘Merciless’ Mary McGee’s record is 27 wins, 3 losses with 15 KOs, Chantelle Cameron a perfect 14-0 with 8 ending before the end.
And from the beginning, they both engaged, with neither showing much head movement.
But the next round saw a cagey feeling out with periods of battling, Cameron throwing her opponent down at the end and getting a ticking off from the ref.
The stunning movement from Cameron started in round 3, McGee not being able to hit what wasn’t there.
In and out movement from Cameron worked so well and when McGee decided to go looking for her, Chantelle muscled her onto the ropes and didn’t crowd her work.
In fact in that 4th round and the 5th, Cameron continued her offensive evasion, even sending McGee off balance when a straight right landed.
A moment in the 7th was so indicative of Cameron’s work, a quick 1-2 and then wheeling away and inviting McGee to miss. When she tried to crowd her she got caught.
In the 9th McGee started with a plan to mix it up and get inside, Cameron looking a bit flat footed, but by the middle of the round, she seemed to be unsure what plan to follow and that let Cameron off the hook.
Fading down the stretch, Cameron did enough in the early rounds to win by unanimous decision. And what work it was, pretty stunning stuff.
Did The Card Lack Anything?
Nope. There could have been a sense of anguish over the loss of the main event.
But DAZN just carried on, sure with the card they had secured. They were right to.
This was a night of boxing thrills. And boxing.