Last Saturday became a weekend of true debate as the clash of the boxing behemoth promoters provided the major talking points of the week as two massively popular fighters gave us the answer to the real $50 Million question we all really wanted to know and that was – were Frampton and Khan still in the mix?
Firstly, in Belfast Queensberry Promotions provided us with an undercard that was better than the lack of headlines suggested. Middleweight Conrad Cummings found himself on the wrong end of a decision as he lost to Luke Keeler in the WBO European belt which tried to put a bit of a dampener on things for the Belfast crowd, but they were having none of that and partied like it was a homecoming!
The bantamweight fight between world record holder, for knocking out a guy in a world title fight quicker than anyone else had done, Zolani Tete was forced to go the distance against Omar Andres Narvaez to defend his WBO title but still continues to impress nonetheless; unification with Ryan Burnett next in Belfast?
Then came what has been described as a masterclass in parts. Carl Frampton beat the second most famous Filipino fighter and now the second most popular man in Belfast in the highly respectful and respectable Nonito Donaire for the interim WBO featherweight belt. Frampton was imperious and utterly fantastic throughout with the skillset displayed that we all adore and look forward to seeing again and again – perhaps winning the WBO title properly and scooping up the rest of the belts? Who knows but his time is limited, and he knows he is at the tail end of a tremendous career.
Meanwhile, in Liverpool Matchroom’s own bantamweight sensation, Qais Ashfaq got a 4 round points win against Ricky Starkey whilst cruiserweight Craig Glover stopped Edinburgh’s own Ratu Latianara in the 1st round
Connor Benn returned at welterweight and smashed Chris Truman by stopping him in the 4th round whilst super welterweight Anthony Fowler got his own stoppage, in the 2nd round, against Ryan Toms. Not to be outdone, super welterweight Sam Eggington weighed in with a 2nd round stoppage of Achilles Szabo whilst super featherweight Natasha Jonas also got a stoppage which catapulted her right into the world title mix with a 7th round ending of Taoussy L’Hadji which was talked about for most of the night until the next big battle.
If the love in between Carl Frampton and Nonito Donaire managed to repair any tarnished image issues for boxing then the whole of the lead up, fight and aftermath of the Commonwealth lightweight title fight between Sean “Masher” Dodd and Tommy Coyle showed it is more than skin deep. Coyle stopped Dodd in the 6th round but it was a masterclass of styles showing the public what they want to see – incredibly and fantastically brilliant show of boxing skill and determination.
Finally, Amir Khan was back at welterweight against Phil LeGreco and took him out in 40 seconds. This shows nothing to us the boxing fans apart from desire. He needs more rounds and a bigger and better fight if he is going to win belts and take out the man who came in the ring taunt him – Kell Brook. It’s a fight everyone wants to see but I have my doubts we ever will…
In Ayr our friends at BIBA brought some great action and you can see some great photographs of the action via their Facebook page. What happened was welterweight Sammy Hill who was due to be in against Prince Ofutso for the PBC international belt, found that due to visa issues Prince Ofotsu was unable to make the event and Maksims Jegorovs stepped in at short notice; Hill stopped him in the 2nd round. Middleweight George McIlroy was in against Godwin Cudjoe for the PBC international title and won the belt by stopping him in the very first round. Super lightweight Nathan Beattie then beat Dinars Skripkins on points. In an increasingly frustrating time for BIBA recently it seems that call offs have become commonplace as Nathan Beattie’s original opponent was injured in the week leading to the event, with Skripkins steps in at short notice. Super flyweight Dillon Zammit beat Dmitrijs Paramonjka by stopping him in the second round on his debut. Heavyweight Lee Kellet went in against promoter and first time heavyweight Lee McAllister and lost! Kellett’s original opponent pulled out due to injury two days before the event. Finally welterweight Leon Roberts lost on a narrow points margin against Marty Keyes.
And yes I know there were a few fights in America but I do think a couple of the guys fighting over there have had more than enough publicity… Jermell Charlo though, looks the real deal…