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Last weekend – seems an age ago – was a cracking one with no fewer than 3 venues worldwide bristling with action for aficionados of the sweet science. In Cardiff, the massive fight for the WBO lightweight title between Terry Flanagan and the first openly gay and active boxer in Orlando Cruz ended in the 8th as Flanagan retained his title and stopped Cruz. Flanagan was well worth the win and now can look forward to some form of unification fight that brings some decent financial return with it.
The WBO European super welterweight title went to Liam Williams as expected as he beat Gabor Gorbics. Williams would have had a certain Nick Blackwell in his corner had not stupidity intervened and forced Blackwell into another brain operation – we do though, wish him well in his current unconscious state.
The British middleweight title was settled between Tommy Langford and Sam Sheedy with Langford getting the nod. The nod also went to home fighter Craig Evans for the WBO European lightweight title as he won the 3rd fight with Thomas Stalker. Like the previous 2 draws this was blood, guts and glory stuff and we can very much look forward to future events with both fighters who gave plenty of bang for their buck.
Completing the star named bill was super bantamweight Kid Galahad who came through unscathed against Reynaldo Mora.
On the same night, a Matchroom bill in Wembley saw champion Andrea Scarpa lose to Ohara Davies for the WBC silver super lightweight belt. Much was, and still is, expected of Davies. On this evidence he still has a lot to prove. It was a measured win on the cards – 120 – 108 on ALL 3 – but we did not get the dominant performance we expected. Scarpa hid for 12 rounds but like comments after Monaco and the European debut of Luis Ortiz, we could forgive the frustration but better boxers would have dealt with their opponents in a much better fashion. Davies needed to make a statement in this fight and what he did was fluff his lines a little.
Martin J Ward beat Scotland’s Ronnie The Shark Clark for the British super featherweight title on points. Clark showed some guts in staying the distance but the reality was that Ward just had far too much for him. Despite sending Ward to the canvass it was simply too much of an ask for the Scottish super featherweight and when the cards came in, they were 116-112, 115-113 and 114-113 in Ward’s favour.
Ben Hall faced and lost to the legendary Carson Jones for the WBC international silver super welterweight belt. I did wonder if it could be the fight of the night or a total chess game but it was ended by a fighter that had too much ring general ship to lose. Jones was great and those that said Hall was being thrown in against such an experienced guy far too soon were proven ABSOLUTELY right; Hall was out of his league. Jones got a 6th round stoppage and has been named as a significant figure once again in his division; Hall though may be offered a rematch.
Jake Ball and JJ McDonagh squared off for the vacant WBA International light heavyweight title and with youth on his side it was Hall for me, but McDonagh clearly wasn’t listening as he devastated Ball with a brutal 1st round knockout.
Flyweight Charlie Edwards had more than enough to see off Georgi Georgiav as he stopped him in the 3rd after a couple of massive body shots. Another world title tilt in 2017?
Finally, in London we got THE fight of the night when lightweight Katie Taylor made an unbelievable debut against Karina Kopinska and stopped her in the 3rd. this was an immense boxing lesson that proved beyond ANY doubt that women’s boxing is here to stay. It was exciting, it was highly skilled and it was exactly what you need for the top of a bill. Taylor is back out on the 10th and this legend of the amateur women’s game is going in to prove she can make headway in the pros and make a career in it.
Stealing anyone’s thunder on the night though was a highly impressive Martin Gethin, who blew away John Wayne Hibbert for the IBF intercontinental title at the same weight! It was a highly impressive 4th round stoppage and now Gethin – even with 8 losses on his record – can look forward to a relatively well paid 2017.
Over in the USA and in Las Vegas Vasyl Lomachenko was up against Nicholas Walters for the WBO super-featherweight title. Lomachenko was simply way out there and Walters choked on his stool after the 7th. He was in the fight but Lomachenko is proving fight after fight, there aint nobody to touch him. Greater things and bigger paydays beckon.