After much anticipation British boxing returned last Friday night, with Frank Warren’s Queensbury Promotions putting on a show at BT Studios in Stratford. The first fight on the card was up and coming undefeated lightweight, Mark Chamberlain who was clearly not phased by the current situation.
“Obviously it was weird, but it didn’t really affect me. It was quiet in there but I don’t let things distract me, I just take things as they come. It felt a little bit like sparring in some ways but in a gym, there would be a lot more people. On Friday night it was just my team, his team and the people working for BT, you don’t have the crowd going wild when you connect with a punch. So yeah, the atmosphere was a little different but it didn’t affect me. I knew it was the first fight back, but I don’t let things like that bother me. I just blocked it out and carried on as normal. I hope a performance like that has boosted me up and now they will want me on TV a lot more. Everyone wants to see stoppages, they want the excitement, blood and everything.”
Not only was this a big moment for British boxing, but also for Chamberlain himself, with it signifying the first time he has fought on live television despite being signed to Queensbury since his debut in 2018.
“We got the call about the fight and obviously it was behind closed doors, so it would be a bit pointless if it wasn’t on TV. I think I should have been on TV a little bit earlier, but I’m in no position to run my mouth and say what I want. In a way, I’ve just got to do what I’m told. I’m not going to turn down fights whether it's on TV or not, the more exposure I get the better. They gave me the opportunity to do six rounds.”
His opponent on the night was 5’ 6” Stu Greener, with many predicting that this may be a stern test. However, it was clear from the outset that Chamberlain was a level above his opponent, using his reach advantage effectively and showing he can put real power behind his shots.
“They picked me, Stu Greener, because he’s game, his nicknames the baby Canelo and he is supposed to come forward. He wasn’t an idiot, I know he’s a journeyman but he just beat someone who was 7-0, who was a good prospect. I was hoping that I could have got a few rounds in, and I was expecting to do a few rounds at least. I caught him with a good shot when he was coming forward and it was the perfect time to finish him off.
The ref did the right thing because he could have ended up knocked out cold. The plan was to jab and throw an uppercut when he came in but from the first bell, he came in and threw a right hand which caught me on the side of the head. I ended up throwing a lot more than him and that was it, he was on his knees.”
The Hampshire born fighter arguably put on the performance of the night, stopping Greener in just fifty three seconds. This kind of stoppage and performance has since given him some much-deserved attention.
“My phone hasn’t stopped ringing, I’ve had more messages for sponsorships and interviews than ever before. I’ve got so many unread messages on Instagram that I need to get through, from strangers that I’ve never heard of! I guess a performance like that will start to get me recognised and I deserve that. I’ve been boxing since I was 6 years old and this is all I’ve dreamed of. As David Haye said, it was a punch perfect display with pinpoint punches and so on. I picked my shots and didn’t rush in, my footwork was great and I went to the body when the time was right. Every punch connected and there was nothing wasted.”
It is hard for any fighter to look too far into the future, with the current global situation everchanging, with Mark hopefully getting out again before the end of the current year. After such a quick finish, he is undoubtedly fresh and ready to go whenever the call is made.
“It’s hard to say from my point of view, obviously I’m contracted for five fights a year, I’m not sure if I’ll get them. They are talking about me fighting again in September, which would be an eight-rounder. After that, before you know it will be Christmas and the beginning of 2021, so if I can get three fights in that’ll be a bonus.”
Sometimes it is hard to matchmake for talented prospects, with promoters not wanting to put them in challenging fights too early. For Chamberlain though, he feels as though he needs an opponent who can give him the rounds, and subsequently help his development.
“For me, getting rounds in is everything, I can’t keep blowing people away because I won't be learning anything. I’m learning every round that goes by but if they can be stopped early, then why hang around. At this level experience is everything, I’m only twenty one and get loads of years ahead of me.”
Mark Chamberlain showed on Friday night that he definitely is a prospect to look out for in the coming months and years. He has natural ability, accompanied by skill and maturity for his age and with a few more emphatic performances, he could definitely be seen as one of the country’s most exciting young lightweights.