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There were seismic events last weekend in the world of boxing as full cards appeared in Glasgow and in London. The Glasgow cards went the way you would hope and MGM Scotland were hoping too as their home based fighters ALL managed points victories over distances to ensure decent progression for their stable of fighters.
That meant wins for super featherweight Michael Roberts, bantamweight Jamie Wilson, flyweight Ross Murray, super featherweight Thomas Dickson, lightweight Steven Beattie, and cruiserweight Ratu Lamanara making a successful debut. The action didn’t stop there as we also had wins for welterweight Gary Murray and finally light heavyweight Tommy Philbin. Decent number of rounds under the belts for each of the pro fighters.
Whilst Glasgow was getting its taste of decent boxing the headline action in London was at the 02, courtesy of Mr Eddie Hearn; and boy was this explosive. The simple sessions saw middleweight Anthony Ogogu return to the ring and beat Franc Radnic by stopping him in the 1st round. Ogogu is easing himself back into things well and should be looking to take things up a gear soon.
Super flyweight Khalid Yafai had an impressive win against Jozsef Aitai by stopping him in the 1st round and Yafai is more than ready to take on his next challenge – rumoured to be for the IBF title. Super lightweight Connor Benn made very light work of Lukas Radic. I am extremely interested to see where Benn goes next.
Heavyweight Dillian Whyte got the stoppage against Ivica Baurin in the 6th round and did so by being patient and showing his skills. It puts Whyte’s name very much in the mix for future great fights at the level just below the worlds.
It led to the British middleweight title fight between Chris Eubank Jr and Tom Doran that saw a clinical performance from Eubank set up the Gennady Golovkin questions beautifully; expect the deal done within days. The fight with Doran was all over by the 4th and the gulf in class between Junior and the rest of British boxing in this weight division.
The WBC silver super lightweight fight between John Wayne Hibbert and Andre Scarpa went to Scarpa in the shock of the evening. Hibbert needs to regroup and do so soon and whilst the cut he sustained over his left eye may take some time to heal, the disappointment he felt at losing should be fed daily so he manages to avoid feeling like that again.
The IBF heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and Dominic Breazeale which was the headline fight was a great 7 rounds for Joshua. The fans wanted an early evening but this was exactly what Joshua needed. He needed to be challenged and Breazeale takes a massive amount of credit for staying with him, trading blows and taking the punishment coming towards him. This was no Charles Martin and we learned that Joshua has flaws but also the skill to deal with those flaws. Next up shall probably be his mandatory against Joseph Parker; that takes him up another level too.
I said this would be the fight of the night and it looks like it could be the fight of the year. The WBA international super middleweight title eliminator between Martin Murray and George Groves went to score cards but Groves was, after a furious 12th round, a worthy winner – all 3 cards were 118 – 110 in his favour. Murray traded, caused Groves problems and showed what an amazing boxer and fighter he truly is. Groves was just too good on the night and this should lead to another world title shot for him. It was a mutually respectful fight as both had great things to say about each other before and after the fight; two great fighters and these are two guys I am now increasingly looking forward to following.
Across and in the USA, Keith Thurman got a narrow points win over Shawn Porter for the WBA welterweight title. It was a very entertaining fight and it begs the constant question – what next?