Chelli dethrones Cullen to claim British and Commonwealth titles

Zak Chelli (14-2-1, 7KOs) won his rematch with Jack Cullen (22-4-1, 10KOs) at the M&S Bank Arena and claimed the British and Commonwealth super-middleweight titles over 12 rounds. 

The pair met 1,245 days after their original encounter in August 2020, but the fight failed to catch fire, serving as the chief-support to Natasha Jonas’s IBF welterweight title defence against Mikaela Mayer.

The opening frame was a muted affair, with both willing to exchange jabs and feel each other out; nerves and tension evident in both boxers.

The second began in a similar fashion, with both willing to swap jabs until Chelli detonated a long right hand. Chelli began to box more confidently, searching for more openings, which Cullen was not willing to hand to him, and he was able to negate a lunging jab late in the round.

Round three saw Cullen tie up Chelli, who neglected his jab and who was looking to rush Cullen. Cullen was able to land a number of body shots throughout the session as Chelli became one-dimensional.

Both loosened up in the fourth. Cullen landed the mode telling blows early on but Chelli attempted to re-establish his jab, opening a small nick on Cullen's right eye.

Chelli had a strong fifth round, making Cullen overreach and countering the champion, tagging Cullen with a right hook, which caused Cullen to hold briefly before recovering quickly.

Cullen continued to fall shot with shots in the sixth, and Chelli closed the distance with his feet and peppered Cullen with a variety of short, sharp shots before manoeuvring away. Cullen’s only success was when he was able to tie up Chelli and work on the inside ineffectively.

The seventh was uneventful until Chelli sank a beautiful right-left hook combination to the body in the last minute of the round, with Cullen unable to react.

Chelli allowed Cullen to take the lead in the next, loading up on his jab, and ultimately making Cullen pay with sharp, short shots and using good footwork to avoid Cullen's efforts.

In the ninth frame, Cullen sensed that Chelli was starting to tire and move away from throwing single shots to throwing twos and threes at close range. Chelli would, for the most part, negate the efforts and counter, but Cullen was starting to impose himself more.

A quiet 11th, with nothing of note landed by either man, was followed by a scrappy 12th and final round, with Cullen finally able to establish his jab at long last. A right hand from Cullen to the pit of the stomach would stop Chelli in his tracks, but the challenger, Chelli, would not be deterred from fighting back. Ultimately, nothing more of note would be landed by either man in a scrappy title affair.