Gritty Cutler notches title with impressive win over Egbunike

Hometown star Lee Cutler won a hard-fought decision to earn the English super-welterweight title against London’s game Kingsley Egbunike.

Cutler won their spirited 10-rounder by scores of a too close 96-95 with two other cards marked 97-93, much to the delight of his fans at the Bournemouth International Centre.

Egbunike flicked out fast jabs and started to mark Cutler’s face in the early going of the fight. Cutler, hands high, was looking to close the gap and fire to the body. Cutler clearly held the power of the two. He steadied Egbunike with a jab in the first, seemed to shake him with a right in the second and managed to pin Egbunike in the corner and score with some heavy shots.

Egbunike found a rhythm in the third, boxing well behind a slick jab and mixing it up with overhand rights and he started the fourth brilliantly, seemingly unable to miss the Bournemouth star. But Cutler thumped in several right hands and closed off Egbunike’s exit points with left hooks to the body as he came right back into the fight.

In the fifth, Cutler’s strength began to tell. Egbunike spent much of the session with his back to the ropes with Cutler thudding home some big blows, including a solid right hand on the bell.

Cutler’s fans had plenty to roar about in the sixth as Cutler’s confidence levels started to soar. The Bournemouth man slammed home several right hands to send the sweat flying off Egbunike’s head.

There was an increasing look of desperation with Egbunike’s work. He had not been able to keep Cutler off him for sustained periods and Cutler was bulling him to the ropes and firing away – and there was no sign of Cutler slowing. 

Cutler, having his first fight with Josh Pritchard in the corner having had his first camp in the McGuigan Gym, shrugged off a right hand early in the eighth, but Egbunike enjoyed his best round since the third. Still, Cutler dominated the ninth to the extent that Egbunike did well to survive the ninth, with Cutler landing volleys of shots. There was drama in the 10th with two-way action and Cutler cut buy the left eye as both swung blows trying to end the fight. It was a good, hard-fought battle and the Bournemouth fans were thrilled by both the spectacle and the outcome. Cutler is now 14-1 (7 KOs) while Egbunike drops to 8-3-1 with one stoppage.

Bantamweight prospect Fran Hennessy, daughter of promoter Mick, improved to 2-0 (one stoppage) with a comprehensive six-round win over stubborn Argentine Lucrecia Arrieta, who is now 6-6. 

Hennessy, who took a decision by 59-55, was flashy in spots, throwing triple jabs, chucking in an Ali shuffle, and timing Arrieta with lead right hands.

Hennessy’s face was reddening as the fight wore on but the hopeful from Seven Oaks, with former pro Bradley Skeete in her corner, was slick and too skilled. Arrieta was down from a slip-push in the fifth and the same combination moments after as it got untidy.

Arrieta was even down a third time, seemingly from fatigue as much as anything else, before the session ended. 

Hennessy dominated the sixth and brave Arrieta might have been stopped by a more compassionate referee or corner.

Portsmouth welterweight Michael McKinson won a clear 10-rounder in the show-opener, taking a wide decision over Ghanaian Musah Lawson. McKinson is now 26-1 with four stoppages and he has won four since his lone loss, to Vergil Ortiz in the US in 2022. This was Lawson’s first loss in 11. The margins were wide, 100-90 (twice) and 99-91.