Jake Best had said before his fight on July 23rd that to fight at York Hall was an, “honour and privilege”.
The Assassin boxing fighter had his first four professional fights on the south-coast, where he is based, and he brought noisy support with him to the famous venue in London’s East-End. Best’s opponent for the scheduled four rounder, at super middleweight, was Aleksandar Chukaleyski who had travelled a little farther than Best, from Sofia, in Bulgaria. While Best was a York Hall newcomer, Chukaleyski had competed there three times previously, losing all three, twice by knockout.
Employing a wide, low stance, Best was the aggressor in the first round, pawing his jab into Chukaleyski’s line of vision then trying to whip right hands around the more upright guard of the Bulgarian. Although he did get caught on the way in a little, Jake seemed unperturbed by it. Both fighters were willing to take a shot to give one, but Best clearly landed more in the opener.
The second began slowly, as both men looked for openings, Best took the centre of the ring, and when he did lunge in initially Chukaleyski closed the gap, stifling the blows, suffocating his work. However Best upped his work rate, and a big left hook sent Aleksandar back a few steps, which encouraged the home fighter and his vociferous fans.
Widening his guard Best came forward fast, but Chukaleyski unleashed a combination that landed and disoriented him, sending him briefly into the ropes, facing out of the ring. The referee stepped in to protect the Bournemouth man, but signalled to the Board official ringside that there was no knockdown to be counted. The bell sounded and both men returned to their corners.
The third saw both combatants up their game, and they exchanged in patches, during which Best landed more and cleaner shots. By this point Chukaleyski had dropped his guard, too, and Jake was trying to box his way in, sensibly, rather than charging in carefree. It felt like a clear round for Best.
Both men looked like they thought they could get a stoppage in the fourth, displaying this by unloading heavier shots than the previous three rounds. Having dropped his hands to his side, “Bionic” Best’s supporters implored him to lift them, which he did, clean above his head! Despite it being a close round, this was Jake’s standout, showing confidence and good movement, as well as mixing his shot selection up to greater effect. Both men made the final bell, and it went to the referee’s card.
The referee scored the fight completely in favour of Best, 40-36, but it was an entertaining and competitive bout. Chukaleyski had not come to lie down. A delighted Best said afterwards that he’s planning a few more fights this year, possibly even one in Boston on the same evening as the Mayweather versus McGregor duel.