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For all the right reasons, last Saturday sent seismic waves around the heavyweight division and threatens to sort it all out within the first 4 months of 2017. Ironically the best fight of the day and night, by a massive distance was the grudge match between two fighters who shall not even be in any of them. Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora served up a split decision cracker that MUST go to a rematch; it simply MUST. I had Chisora by a round but I cannot disagree with the judges as it was that close – close enough to settle nothing…
The UK got itself another world champion too as Luis Concepcion failed on the scales and then failed in the ring against Kal Yafai and the Birmingham fighter became the WBA super-flyweight champion. It was a master class from Yafai and bigger paydays can be expected but this undefeated little guy made a massive point on Saturday night.
The other grudge match for the night was another brilliant fight that saw former world titlist Frank Buglioni stop Hosea Burton for the British light-heavyweight belt in the final round. Burton was ahead at the time but it just shows NOTHING can be taken for granted in boxing. It was the equal to the tear up between Whyte and Chisora if not better and both can be put up for fight of the year as they were just THAT good.
Callum Smith defended his British super-middleweight belt against Luke Blackledge with ease as he stopped Blackledge in the 10th of a scheduled 12 rounds. It was good to see Smith get in some rounds as previous opponents couldn’t quite get past the first or first few rounds with him. It will serve him well for his next contests which should be for world honours as he is first in line for the winner of DeGale/Jack.
The mouth-watering return of a bigger and more effective Scott Quigg saw off Jose Cayetano for the WBA international featherweight crown. His 9th round knockout of Cayetano was a big statement and now he can get negotiating for world level titles at his new weight; maybe even one in Belfast in 2017?
Luis Ortiz managed to stop the very game and highly durable Dave Allen in the 7th though Allen proved to be tricky and is likely to be a good opponent for people in 2017. Allen’s level is probably below World and likely to stall at European. I think, though he deserves, after this and his showing against Dillian Whyte to be in big fights for the foreseeable future.
Welterweight Connor Benn blew away Steven Backhouse in the very first round and may have learnt nothing apart from what it feels like to get an early shower.
The headliners provided us with 2 great spectacles. Anthony Joshua did what he does best and made light work of Eric Molina to retain his IBF heavyweight title in the 3rd round as Katie Taylor beat Viviane Obenauf at lightweight on points.
The announcement of Anthony Joshua/Wladimir Klitschko for April 2017 was perhaps the big news of the night but Taylor proved again she is likely to tear things up in the women’s game over the next 12/24 months.
The wonderful thing about world championship boxing in Australia/New Zealand is it is on in our mornings so Saturday morning as I was working away on my previews the WBO heavyweight fight between Joseph Parker and the rotund Andy Ruiz Jr was happening. If we had the King of the heavyweight ring in London, the heavyweight fight of the year between Whyte and Chisora, this was a damp squib. Parker won a narrow points victory but Mexico’s challenger, Ruiz Jr, did have cause to complain. On the evidence of the morning fight though, nobody fighting at this weight in the UK should fear Parker or Ruiz Jr.
In Los Angeles, Jermall Charlo stopped Julian Williams in the 5th round for the IBF light-middleweight title whilst Jesus Cuellar lost by split decision to Abner Mares for the WBA featherweight belt.
In Omaha, Terence Crawford showed his class as he blew away John Molina Jr for the WBC/WBO light-welterweight crowns in an 8th round stoppage. Crawford was imperious and now we can talk in hushed tones as I think we might have the next Mayweather/Pacquiao in our midst – even with a jail sentence to complete now.