In the final of the Boxxer Series cruiserweight competition in Manchester, Ellis Zorro defeats Ricky Reeves

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Boxxer Series
Source: Skysports

Boxxer Series: Ellis Zorro won the £40,000 cash prize and the sought path to additional opportunities on televised stages on the biggest night of his career, defeating Ricky Reeves in the final of the Boxxer Series cruiserweight event in Manchester.

The 29-year-old was too slick, too smart, and too seasoned for his cruiserweight opponents, resisting the desire to try for knockouts and instead relying on his trusted jab and IQ to win.

That was the story of a final in which he gave Reeves few openings while challenging his opponent to step up in the knowledge of his own counter-punching prowess, finishing the job as the most gifted technician in the field.

Zorro revealed that he planned to use a large portion of his prize money to pay for speech therapy for his autistic daughter on a night of compelling individual stories synonymous with the Boxxer Series events, from Reeves’ background as a secondary school teacher to Jack Fay’s journey back from homelessness.

In each of his three fights, Zorro remained unflappable, despite other competitors calling him out before of the draw in mid-week.

“That was the plan, my coach Martin telling me to keep my composure and that’s what I did, I landed heavy shots and out-worked my opponents and now I’m 40 bags up,” said Zorro.

“For me it was a round at a time, all these other guys were calling me out and they didn’t even get matched with me. It was a waste of time and waste of energy.

“I understand why they were doing it, but I’ve showed that nobody here was on my level.

“I want to start fighting for titles, English or British, I know Deion Jumah and Mikael Lawal are meant to be fighting for British, I’ll take the win. But I’m just happy to be on Sky and this platform going forward.”

Zorro used his ring expertise to out-box the powerful Jamie Smith in a dominant performance in which he frequently landed his jab while controlling the speed of the bout from start to end.

He had extended his professional record to 12-0 in the night’s first quarter-final, out-boxing Liverpudlian Jay Farrell to set the tone early after being booed by his opponents earlier in the week.

Reeves, who is the head of Year 10 at Parkwood Academy in Sheffield, delivered one of the night’s most surprising moments and most spectacular comebacks when he sprang into life in the third round of their semi-final, knocking out Sheldon McDonald despite appearing to be behind on the judge’s cards.

He had to dig deep earlier in the event when he won a majority decision over law graduate Anees Taj after downing his opponent with a devastating uppercut in the closing second of the first round. Taj fought back valiantly in the final two rounds, but he was unable to overcome the knockdown.

“I feel like I’ve won. It’s mixed emotions,” said beaten finalist Reeves, who admitted he had to be back at work on Monday morning.

“I’d have loved to have won it, but this is a good fighter, it was a tough fight. I’ve had four amateur fights, two professional fights, I’ve come here against some good guys, I’ve got a knockdown, a knockout.

“To win some good money for my family and be on a big platform were my goals, I feel like I’ve crossed them off so I’m super proud of myself.”

The second quarter-final delivered on the promise of a high-octane night as Smith survived a first-round onslaught from Fay to make his power count and secure the stoppage.

McDonald then defied his lack of experience with a dominant performance to advance to the semi-finals with a unanimous decision victory over Ryan Cotterell, knocking down the 22-year-old within 45 seconds of the first bell before nailing his distancing and displaying impressive boxing IQ to control the rest of the fight.

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