Last weekend saw some terrific action in the boxing ring beginning with Saturday the 16th of June where action in the US, Newcastle and Paisley brought controversy, talking points and surprises!
In Frisco the IBF welterweight action between Errol Spence Jr and Carlos Ocampo, ended with Ocampo losing his unbeaten record after being stopped by an imperious Spence Jr in the 1st round. There is nothing more emphatic than that! On the co-feature, this week’s buzz phrase, the super bantamweight title fight between Daniel Roman and Moises Flores ended with Roman scoring a unanimous points win. Roman was by far the better and one judge scored it a shut-out. Flores disappointed in and out the ring as he failed to make weight for the fight.
Meanwhile, in Newcastle Matchroom delivered a massive fight night.
Super lightweight Glenn Foot took on Sam Omidi, and got a 4 round points win that was entertaining and tough. The son of Coatbridge, lightweight Ricky Burns, still chasing a rematch with Anthony Crolla got in the ring in his 50th fight to face Ivan Njegik and stopped him after 4 rounds, Njegik choosing to retire. Burns says there is more in his tank and it looked it…
It got tasty when the English cruiserweight title fight between Arfan Iqbal and Simon Vallily went to the score cards and the judges were unable to split them with it ending in a draw. A rematch would be worth it.
The WBA continental super flyweight battle between Charlie Edwards and Anthony Nelson ended in the 3rd round with Edwards standing over his opponent with his arms crossed – made the referee cross as he was being seen as disrespectful but it was another emphatic statement from the night.
The WBC international fight between Gavin McDonnell and Stuart Hall was one for purists as these two battled like their careers depended upon winning – and they did. McDonnell did enough to win whilst Hall may be contemplating retirement as he was ground down and beaten but showed enough to suggest he might not be out the fight game all together.
The co-features of the evening were what the north east needed – clear and impressive statements of intent. The Commonwealth and WBA international title fight between Josh Kelly and Kris George was a real test for “Pretty Boy” and over 7 rounds Kelly got pushed and made to work hard. It showed him he might not always have things his own way and you know what, seems like he quite liked that. Eddie Hearn is now talking taking him to the States to build his brand and value – sounds like the right move as he has global star stamped all over him.
We then got what we came for. The lightweight British title fight between Lewis Ritson and Paul Hyland JR lasted less than a round. Ritson has now won the British title outright, from his first 7th round stoppage to winning the belt outright in 4 fights but less than 12 rounds! You cannot underestimate the trajectory upon which Ritson is now on. This was incredible and the European belt before announcing himself on a world stage seems to be next, but it will be hard to stop being so incredibly excited about him.
Last weekend we saw the demons of Tyson Fury fall off his shoulders as he stepped through the ring. Fury’s demons were public, what Ritson went through were private. They were more than the equal of what Fury faced and getting to the ring has been a triumph and a trial for the humble and amiable Geordie. What is next is his just rewards as the battles he has already faced and beaten are far more daunting than anything he faces next.
Meanwhile in Paisley MTK brought some great action of their own with one of my favourite fighters to watch, super welterweight Craig Kelly against Lewis Van Poetsch with Kelly taking his 10th professional win. Super lightweight Calvin McCord also got the win against the highly experienced Kristian Laight whilst super lightweight Dean Sutherland stopped Victor Edagha on his debut!
Super welterweight John Thain returned against Chris Jenkinson and got the points win over four rounds. Bantamweight Iain Butcher got his fight and got a 6 rounder and points win against Brett Fidoe. Flyweight Ross Murray also got his fight for the night and also got a 6 rounds points win against Steven Maguire.
The shock of the night came when lightweight Thomas Dickson lost to Jamie Quinn on points over 4 and this was definitely NOT in the script. Super featherweight Monty Ogilvie though, managed a 6 round points win against Joe Ducker.
We also saw super bantamweight Ukashir Farooq manage a stoppage in the 2nd round of Jose Hernandez as he waits for Josh Wale to come out and play for the British title whilst the Scottish cruiserweight title saw Jay MacFarlane take it as he beat Ratu Latianara, on points.
The two main events saw the WBC silver female title go to Hannah Rankin in a points decision against Sakka Turunen whilst Craig MacIntyre and Welshman Henry Janes fought to a draw for the Celtic super lightweight title. Not what MacIntyre expected but a decent time to get a warning that things will not always go your own way for the young man.
Last night we were in Detroit for the feast of female boxing at middleweight as the vacant IBF and WBA titles went to Claressa Shields who beat Hanna Gabriels on points after being knocked down whilst the co-feature saw the WBC and WBO titles go to Christina Hammer after she beat Tori Nelson also on points. Unifications are next… surely…