The record books will show that on Saturday the 16th of March in Texas, Errol Spence Jr beat Mickey Garcia for the IBF welterweight title. Those who saw it will say that it was a masterclass – because it was, it was a shut out – because it was, and the beginning of Errol Spence Jr as the heir to the thrones of the likes of Pacquiao and Mayweather – this is yet to be seen. As Pacquaio entered the ring afterwards and they talked of the possibility of the old guard facing the new guard to pass on a baton, some got excited – I did not. This would be a mismatch, it may even be pitiful. Spence Jr is simply heavenly to watch, and the next chapter needs to challenge him further.
We also got, in Oldham, on the same evening, a decent nights boxing that did not includethe English bantamweight title fight between Marc Leach and a man well known to Scottish fight fans, Thomas Essomba as itwas off. Leachhad to contend with a points win over Khvicha Gigolashvili.There was also the second pro fight for Sebastian Eubank on the cards and he got a 4 round points win over Remigijus Ziasys.
In Nottingham the English title fight between Ekow Essuman and the enigmatic Tyrone Nurse ended with a majority decision win for Essuman. Whilst it could be argued that a majority loss does not a career end, it is hard now to know where Nurse goes. He was a bright prospect once, but what will happen next is anyone’s guess.
On the Sunday the 17th of March in Bracknell the IBO intercontinental female lightweight title fight between Lucy Wildheart and Anissa Benyoub ended with a split decision win for Wildheart. It’s never completely satisfactory to win by split or majority decision but it can mean a lot of things from the outside: Benyoub brought her a game, Wildheart under performed or it was just a very decent fight. With the growth of the women’s fight game, this increasingly looks the more likely.
Last night, live online thanks to IFL TV at the Emirates Arena, Glasgow on Friday the 22nd of May there was a full card on offer for fight fans and it was a decent watch.
It included super featherweight Nathanial Collins, win a 4 rounder win on points against Taka Bembere, whilst further super featherweight action saw Craig Morgan beat Jose Aguilar in a similar result over 4. Super bantamweight debutant Jack Turner was up against Stefan Nicolae and got a 4 round happy start to his career on points.
Super bantamweight Reece McFadden beat Stefan Sashev quite impressively with another 4 round points win whilstsuper lightweight Callen McAuley stopped Richard Samuels in the first round!
We also saw super middleweight David Brophy with a new trainer – who looked the same shape as his old trainer, and Billy Nelson is some shape BTW – in against Vladimir Belujsky who lost in 6 rounds to the Scot who was beginning to look back at his best.
The new super lightweight Lewis Benson returned to put 2018 behind him with a 6 round points win against Zoltan Szabo whilst super welterweight Michael McGurk got an 8 round points win against Evaldas Korsakas.
The disappointment of the night was that bantamweight Scott Allen was unable to defend his Celtic title against Iain Butcher, as Butcher failed to make weight. Allegedly Butcher had failed to make weight at least one of the weigh ins so why it was allowed to go on for so long seemed to be difficult to fathom.
Surprisingly, Butcher fought two weight categories above the division he was due to fight in and beat Carl McDonald in 6 rounds on points whilst Allen who had been offered the fight at the higher weight on short notice beforehand rightly turned down the offer. An opponent for Allen was not found and he had to sit and watch after a hard camp to defend his title.
The fight between Kieran Smith and late replacement Jan Balog was another decent performance form a Scottish fighter who should be going to the very top and Balog was forced to retire after 5 rounds.
This was a very decent night for the boxing purist and the numbers who turned up were impressive. As things progress clearly nights like this need to happen but the calibre of the opponents as things build will need to improve and get away from the flavour of Eastern European journey men who have flown in for a payday. At this stage that is a very harsh criticism and I am not making it but the journey we are on could be temporary if, in about a year’s time, this next generation of Scottish boxers are still facing the same type of opponent. I have faith, though, that the promoters and the new broadcasters will fight to make this simply not happen.