English lightweight champion, Lewis Sylvester, has quietly moved towards the top of the British 135lb division.
Eager to maintain the momentum created by his hard earned title winning decision victory over Adam Cope in July, Sylvester (13-0, 4 KO’s) got right back in the gym and stopped Jimmy First inside a round on Saturday night.
42 year old First (14-3, 5 KO’s) is a former area champion and one of the most popular fighters on the circuit. Don’t be distracted by Halifax man’s age. He is a respected and ambitious opponent who had never been stopped before Saturday night.
The fight was barely a minute old when Sylvester made First pay for missing with a wide left hook, with a sharp right hand that put ‘Jimmy The Fist’ over heavily. He never recovered and Sylvester scored two further knockdowns before the fight was stopped after just over two minutes.
“After all my years in boxing I can arguably say that Lewis is one of the most naturally gifted fighters I’ve worked with,” Sylvester’s trainer and manager, Stefy Bull, told BoxingScene. “He’s so dedicated. He travels from Hull to work with me daily as well as holding a plasterer’s job. He lives the life and he’s a real hard worker.
“When I tell everyone that Lewis has got the potential to be at least a British champion, he’s got almost everything in abundance but the one thing he hasn’t got is experience. He’s only 25 now and he only had about 23 amateur fights and he only lost one of those. He’s got all the potential but none of the experience.
“Saturday was his third straight ten round fight on the bounce. His fight before [when he beat Cope for the belt] was on a big stage on a Matchroom card in a fantastic, tight contest but he deserved to get his hand raised. Back to the small halls and Jimmy First. Jimmy is a very well respected fighter. he’s a former champion and had only lost two fights himself.”
Sylvester is from Hull, a city which has a rich modern history in the 135lb division. Olympic gold medallist and world title challenger, Luke Campbell, and fan favourite, Tommy Coyle, both built loyal fanbases in the city and there is every indication that Sylvester might just be next lightweight off the production line.
Bull feels that his man is almost ready to enter an exciting domestic title mix that includes the likes of current champion, Gavin Gwynne – who boxes for the European belt in December and the big punching duo of Mark Chamberlain and Sam Noakes. Whether that shot comes next or at some point in 2024 remains to be seen but the immediate goal is to keep Sylvester moving forwards.
“I sat down with Lewis afterwards and said this weekend would open the floodgates because it was a fantastic win. He’ll shoot up on Boxrec when it gets updated because Jimmy’s highly ranked and it was a first round stoppage,” Bull said.
“Lewis is really sharp. Jimmy came out and they set a fast pace. Jimmy started pressing and it was a straight right hand counter and Lewis saw the opportunity.
“It was a fantastic performance against a credible opponent and he might just be on the verge of British title after that.
“Matchroom have got options on Lewis but they let me put this one on. It’d be nice to get him on a Matchroom card in the new Year. I think Matchrrom are back in Sheffield in February so it’d be perfect to be getting Lewis into a good fight up there.”
Bull promoted Saturday’s show and another of his fighters was in title action. Central Area super lightweight champion, Jimmy-Joe Flint (13-1-2, 3 KO’s), is rarely in a dull fight and engaged in another toe-to-toe battle on Saturday, sharing ten hell for leather rounds with Adam Sircar and emerging with a draw to retain his title.
“It were a small hall classic. Anybody who loves boxing, please watch this fight. They got dropped, they both got wobbled later on and they left everything in the ring. It was a fantastic fight,” Bull said before dropping in a tantalising idea for Flint’s future.
“I will put it on again but do you know a great fight that I’m going to try and make? I’m going to tout him to Matchroom for Campbell Hatton [who beat Jamie Sampson via disqualification in Liverpool on Saturday].
“Jimmy Joe had a draw early on his career with Lee Connelly and now coming off this draw, they might think it’s the perfect chance. He’s Central Area champion, let’s see.
“If anybody get’s chance, watch Jimmy Joe against Adam Sircar, though. From round one to round ten it was a barnstormer.”