I took a week or so to reflect properly on a couple of events that brought February slap bang into the middle of boxing as January had been so poor. Was the new Chinese New Year going to bring any lunar significance or was it likely to just herald more lunacy…
Well talking of that…
On Saturday the 10th February, ITV came back online and onscreen with a massive statement about their future relationship with boxing in the UK as they gave a platform for the Eubanks to banter, harry and cash in on their IBO world title fight for Junior. Like every weekend of boxing in 2017 it gave us plenty to debate.
Firstly – the David Price conundrum. Price was rebuilding. Price was back. Price was sent home to think again as Christian Hammer took the WBO European title by wearing him down and making him puff like he was facing Tony Thomson. The issue was, once again – does Price have the stamina? After his 4th early defeat, does he have the fight left in him too?
Now whatever David Price decides to do, I will still back him. He is an Olympian and former British heavyweight champion. Some people have done a lot less and called hero. The amount of nervous energy he lost on the way into the fight, was what seems to have done for him. If he can conquer that, perhaps with a s ports psychologist there is a possibility he shall return… a possibility…
Kid Galahad went up to featherweight and dominated Joseph Agbeko to make it who’s next? We all know that his kid wants… the Squiggler?
The IBF international strap belt went to John Ryder in the fight of the night as he beat Adam Etches over 10 rounds. This was a great spectacle and made it worth tuning in – or trying to tune in if you had Sky!
The word level fights between Andrew Selby and Aden Diale for the WBC International flyweight belt saw Selby demolish Diale over 10 rounds. It was as perfect a performance for the Welshman as you could hope and I reckon that promoters, managers and people shall start to find excuses not to put their world titles and world title holders up against him from now on in.
Finally, it WAS a mismatch. The skills and aptitude of Chris Eubank Jr saw him take the IBO super middleweight title from the Australian Renold Quinlan’s grasp. I thought it would be over long before it was – the 10th round – but this showed us that Junior needs refinement, to stop taking stupid risks and he needs another test against someone who can punish him for those risks – like BJ Saunders did. THEN we shall get to see if he is the guy his dad promises us he is…
In Belfast, highly popular, Scottish, super featherweight Ronnie “The Shark” Clark beat Rafael Castillo on points. The Shark will now be looking to get another British title fight, no doubt, and who would deny him that?
Last Friday, the 10th February and in Manchester in amongst the 10 fights super lightweight Reece MacMillan beat Fonz Alexander on points as would have been expected.
In Ohio eyes were on the odds on favourite Rau’shee Warren defending against his WBA bantamweight crown Zhanat Zhakiyanov. Ricky Hatton trained Zhakiyanov had to get up off the canvass twice to win by split decisions, giving Hatton his very first world champion. It was a highly emotional Hatton who celebrated Stateside, a place he is well acquainted with and one he possibly thought he would never visit with a successful world title bid again.
On the same bill, the other favourite, Robert Easter Jr managed to retain his unbeaten status as he got a perfunctory win on a wide points margin against Luis Cruz to retain the IBF lightweight crown.
Last weekend was a massive disappointment for Lenny Daws who came up short against a fantastically well drilled and highly impressive Anthony Yigit for the EBU super lightweight title in Carshalton. It was a unanimous decision and one with which it was hard to argue as the Swede provided us with a massively impressive performance that shall get him noticed and mentioned in bigger fights to come. His next fight though shall be a homecoming in Sweden, where the rules surrounding boxing are some of the most stringent.
In York Hall, the heavyweight division continues to spring surprises on us as Tom Little stopped Tom Dallas and Dominic Akinlade tasted defeat for the first time against Josh Sandland in only his second professional contest!
This week continues with tonight, Friday, the 17th of February, in Delaware, USA where there is yet another laughingly absurd fight as cruiserweight Roy Jones Jr gets in the ring with a bare-knuckle champion in the shape of Bobby Gunn. If Jones Jr thinks he is taking boxing to new levels, then he is both wrong and right. Boxing has always found itself in gutters but Jones Jr’s is gutter dwelling is looking increasingly desperate.
On Friday, we also, in Liverpool, have 5 fights including Mason Cartwright v Darryl Sharp. More of Darryl real soon…
Also on Friday and in Walsall there are 4 fights.