Watkins vs Okolie: We look back at the NXTGEN cards featuring Conor Benn, Josh Kelly and Joshua Buatsi

Wednesday night sees the sixth NXTGEN show, live on Sky Sports, so here’s a look back at the fantastic five so far. Luke Watkins and Lawrence Okolie are not the first to be fighting for a domestic title on the show. We’ve seen some sensational stoppages, and some of our future stars have propelled themselves to a higher platform…

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When: Friday, March 17, 2017
Where: York Hall, Bethnal Green
Top of the bill: Reece Bellotti v Dai Davies

The dawn of a new era saw some of the stars of the future step into the Sky Sports limelight at the home of British boxing, York Hall.

Watch Reece Bellotti knock out Dai Davies in three rounds in the opening show

Reece Bellotti was the headline act, stopping Dai Davies in two rounds, while the Spider, Craig Richards, span his way to Southern Area success – the super-middleweight strap the only belt up for grabs in eight fights. Jake Ball and Danny Dignum both produced early KO wins.

All eyes were on Isaac Chamberlain, who boxed for the first time following his sensational dislocated shoulder success over Wadi Camacho. ‘Chambo’s’ Brixton fans made plenty of noise and the cruiserweight eventually toppled the 6ft 8½in Imantas Davidaitis in three.


When: Friday, June 23, 2017
Where: Walker Activity Dome, Newcastle
Top of the bill: Josh Kelly v Tom Whitfield

Josh Kelly might be from Sunderland but forget the football rivalry, this Friday night special saw the north east’s newest star shine. It was his third fight since turning pro after Rio 2016, but this was his first up there, and he needed just 89 seconds to dismiss poor Tom Whitfield with a six-hook finish.

Watch the six-hook finish that's now synonymous with Josh Kelly

It turned out to be local hope Bradley Saunders‘ 14th and final fight, a first-round win. Stuey Hall bounced back from losing to old rival Lee Haskins, while Middlesbrough’s Simon Vallily edged out Blaise Mendouo.

The Geordies opened their arms to two of Liverpool’s big names, Anthony Fowler being taken the distance over four in his second pro bout and Natasha Jonas, who returned to the ring as a mum and in style, with a first-round debut win.

London #2

When: Friday, September 1, 2017
Where: York Hall, Bethnal Green
Top of the bill: Joshua Buatsi v Baptiste Castegnaro

London was calling again, with Joshua Buatsi, Lawrence Okolie and Conor Benn the headline acts on a buzzing Bethnal Green night.

Buatsi was the last fight of the night, a first-round stoppage of Baptiste Castegnaro, while close friend Okolie took a points win, and their Rio Olympics team-mate Joe Cordina needed less than a round to stop Jamie Speight.

Watch Conor Benn's third KO win in a row, against Kane Baker.

The shortened Big Ben chimes saw Benn breeze in and blast out Kane Baker in ominous style, Jake Ball bounced back from his shock loss to JJ Metcalfe in November, while Ted Cheeseman was given a push in the right direction as opponent Francesco Lezzi was disqualified for shoving the ref.

London #3

When: Friday, October 13, 2017
Where: York Hall
Top of the bill: Reece Bellotti v Jason Cunningham

Another first came at York Hall, with the maiden major title on the JD NXTGEN bill, the Commonwealth featherweight belt.

Watch Reece Bellotti take the Commonwealth crown from Jason Cunningham

Champion Jason Cunningham had won the strap in the same venue six months ago but his first defence ended in six rounds of a blistering onslaught from Reece Bellotti – who will defend it on Wednesday night.

Isaac Chamberlain had growing rival Lawrence Okolie watching on as he won again to set up a ‘British Beef’ battle. Ted Cheeseman and Natasha Jonas made it back-to-back wins in NXTGEN, while Harlem Eubank secured his second straight win, under the watchful gaze of cousin Chris Jr.


When: Sunday, February 25, 2018
Where: Victoria Warehouse Hotel
Top of the bill: Lewis Ritson v Joe Murray

The Sunday show saw Manchester celebrate a footballing double with United beating Chelsea and City lifting the Carabao Cup, and one of their fighters tried to complete a local hat-trick.

Watch Lewis Ritson cope with Joe Murray's chaotic opening in Manchester

Joe Murray was attempting to follow in brother Joe’s footsteps and snatch the British lightweight title from Lewis Ritson, but a fired up and frenetic start saw the challenger fall.

Joe Gallagher did not have far to travel but was busier than ever, with Hosea Burton, Marcus Morrison, Sam Hyde and NXTGEN hat-trick hero, Natasha Jonas, all winning.

Watch Luke Watkins vs Lawrence Okolie, as well as Reece Bellotti, Daniyar Yeleussinov, Ted Cheeseman and Felix Cash, on JD NXTGEN, from York Hall, on June 6, live on Sky Sports Action.

Sourse: skysports.com

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