On Saturday, the 13th of May, we saw two massive bills on subscription TV – BT Sport/Box Nation and Sky – as Frank Warren was in Leeds and Eddie Hearn in Birmingham. Both gave us huge talking points and evenings of boxing entertainment that were pretty spectacular.
In Leeds, Warren gave us a cruiserweight Bob Ajisafe in against Josef Obeslo and not Andrejs Pokumeiko as I thought, in a fight that Ajisafe won on points. Ajisafe was clear afterwards that he remains a light heavyweight fighter and wants a shot again at the British title as he is a championship fighter.
Kalam Leather, in against Youssef Al-Hamadi in a 4 rounder also got a win on points. Leeds native, Nicola Adams, did not need the judges in her fight and got a massive win by stopping Maryan Salazar in only her second professional contest. The future looks very assured for Adams now.
Super lightweight Tyrone Nurse, kept busy by beating Andy Keates 79-74 and there ought to be better contests in the future for him – Jack Caterall is in his sights next.
Josh Leather, got his win against Phillip Sutcliff Jr for the IBF intercontinental belt by stopping Sutcliff in the 6th. It was an important win for this Leather, and hell is not a place he shall be from now on in…
James “Jazza” Dickens lost his British super bantamweight title fight after the fight was stopped in the 9th round as Dickens was badly cut. Thomas Patrick Ward and I thought he might be tricky, he is now the British champion!
Finally, top of the bill in Leeds was Josh Warrington and up against the old warhorse from Spain, Kiko Martinez. Martinez was beaten by majority decision and the statement that Warrington made was that this might be the level at which things become sticky. He needed a massive win against Martinez and Martinez exposed a few things that need attention. He may have wanted the rounds but he needed the statement too.
Over in Birmingham…
The Midland title fight between two unbeaten fighters in Ryan Kelly and Adam Harper was, let me be clear, a fight I was spookily drawn towards. I have no idea why, but I am glad that I was – shown live on Facebook – because it was a belter. Kelly was the fancied man but Harper took the win on points and showed just how much area titles actually mean to fighters; Harper even called out Eddie Hearn afterwards.
Middleweight Olympian, Josh Kelly, was next up live and this time got on Sky as he got a 4th round stoppage against Jony Vina. It was highly impressive and we can look forward to what his trainer – Adam Booth – wants from him – a world title!
Super lightweight Frankie Gavin was back. Now I thought he had made weight – he hadn’t – though the fight went ahead anyway. It was, predictably, a lacklustre performance from Gavin ending with a 77-75 win against Renald Garrido who should never have caused a boxer of Gavin’s experience any trouble at all.
Having had the Leather twins in Leeds we now had the first of the Yafai brothers in Birmingham. Super bantamweight Sean Davis provided the opposition for Gamal Yafai, for the WBC international belt. Davies showed such great heart but was stopped impressively in the 7th for the first Yafai win of the evening.
Sam Eggington then devastated a game champion in Ceferino Rodriguez by knocking him spark out in the 11th. In what was a beautiful comment afterwards, Eggington said he was giving his belt to the guy he beat the last time, Pauli Malignaggi, as he had helped him so much recently. It was also the belt Malignaggi ought to have been fighting for before agreeing to take on Eggington so a very nice gesture there from the Savage.
The headliner was super flyweight, WBA champion, Khalid Yafai, defending against a very good and highly effective Suguru Muranaka. Yafai held onto that world belt but had a battle on his hands as Muranaka was very decent. Ultimately it was a fairly wide points win for the champ and he can now plan for bigger contests – like El Chocolitito – in the future.
Remember that, during the week, on Friday the 19th, in Glasgow, at the Crowne Plaza, MTK Global, have their next contest with 4 highly rated prospects on the bill. We have super middleweight Mohammad Babazadeh, cruiserweight Stephen Simmons, middleweight Marc Kerr, and super welterweight Paul Kean.
In Bolton, also on the Friday, we have 14 fights including super middleweight, Luke Blackledge, and the return of Haroon Khan whilst in Brentwood, we also have 9 fights scheduled.