Two weeks ago, on Saturday the 23rd of March it was a night of major talking points and comment and fantastic action, thanks to great fighters and at least one who chewed down on more than we could swallow.
Before we get there, from Bilbao the EBU welterweight action between Kerman Lejarraga and David Avanesyan ended with a 9th round stoppage win, unexpectedly for Avanesyan. This was a massive win for him and catapults him once again into thespotlight. It was apparently a very coherent and composed performance and others at welterweight have been put, very firmly, on notice… Could Josh Kelly have found his opponent for his American debut on the Anthony Joshua undercard?
On the same night and over in Pennsylvania there was a light heavyweight WBC title fight between the man who was the last in the ring with light heavy king, Adonis Stevenson, before he ended up in a coma; Oleksandr Gvozdyk was up against Doudou Ngumbu in his first defence. The fightsaw the champion prove thathis previous experience had done nothing to dull his fighting prowess. It was a 5th round TKO that makes the light heavyweight division more interesting, given that others may be coming up in weight to face him pretty soon…
At home in Liverpool that Matchroom bill that looked very, very tasty, clearly put one fighter’s taste buds on fire… Before we get our teeth into that (I shall stop now…) super bantamweight Paul Butler returned with a win against Fadhili Majiha in 6 rounds on points, whilst cruiserweight Craig Glover faced Vaclav Pejsar and was stopped in the second round – very much against expectations.
The headline of the night was the heavyweight clash between David Price and Kash Ali. This was a huge fight for Ali and for Price, another fight where Price could show what he was made of and what future he had in the ring. Price was well in command when Ali bit him 4 times.
Ali had his purse suspended, his licence suspended, and before, during and afterwards apparently got a large amount of allegedly racist abuse from fight fans which is disgraceful. So too, was his behaviour in the ring. Both need condemned and in equal measure. Ali deserves a ban for a period of time and the culprits responsible for unacceptable abuse, in any age, should similarly be found and disciplined.
We also had the Commonwealth title action at super lightweight between Phillip Bowes and Tom Farrell.It went to the score cards and Bowes took the win in a decent fight that set things up nicely for the rest of the night…
The biggest smile in UK boxing from lightweight Natasha Jonas returned with a points win over Feriche Mashauri. It was a very good performance and whilst that Katie Taylor fight may now be a wee bit off – progress was made and seen.
The biggest grudge match of the evening between super welterweights Anthony Fowler and fellow former Team GB pal Scott Fitzgerald was all it promised to be and a little bit more. Fitzgerald shaded it on points – a split decision – and Fowler was good enough to eat humble pie afterwards, but it was an absolute classy war whilst they were in between the ropes.
The British and European title fight between Joe Hughes and Robbie Davies Jr went on points to Davies and it was yet another cracking fight. Hughes’ left jab must be like concrete, but Davies had enough to demolish that and anything else coming his way.
The top of the bill was the super welterweight clash between friends, colleagues and former sparring partners, Liam Smith and Sam Eggington. Smith dominated and stopped Eggington in the 5th round –it could have been stopped earlier but Eggington is such a massively brave lad. Eggington will continue and probably at his level which is way below where Smith is – lead to lots of comments about mismatches but more of that type of observation later on…
Later in that week on Friday the 5th of April, ESPN brought WBO European title action in Dubai… At featherweight David Oliver Joyce took on Stephen Tiffney, the Scot and Joyce managed to stop Tiffney in the 7th round. Joyce showed that he belonged at this level and at this length of fight – he had never been beyond 6 rounds before. The future for the former Olympian looks brighter and the future of boxing in Dubai looks equally good.
Last week we had little of note internationally but quite a lot domestically and on the smaller hall circuit where on Saturday 6th April in Paisley Kynoch Boxing came back with a full bill including lightweight Gary Ducie beatingAntonio Horvatio on points over 4 rounds, light heavyweight Piotr Gora beating Lewis Van Poetsch also on points and also over 4 rounds. Then we had bantamweight lightweight Ahmed Ibrahim beat Jamie Quin on points over 6 rounds, Sean McKiddie beat Naheem Chaudhry with a 4 rounds points win, heavyweight Jay McFarlane got a 6 round points win against Kent Kauppinen and finally super featherweight Monty Ogilvie beat Taka Bembere over 4.
Finally, last night, Friday the 12th of April in Bellshill there were fights for middleweight Paul Allison who beat Casey Blair on points over 4 rounds, flyweight Neil McCubbin stopped debutant Blesse d’Sitole in the first round whilst the lightweight contest between Regiu Clackin and Michael Mooney ended in the first round with a stoppage win for Mooney. The cruiserweight clash between David Jamieson and Taha Mirhosseini ended in the third round for Jamieson.
But the big news and most attention was in Los Angeles where The Big Ask became the Impossible Conundrum as Anthony Crolla lost in a 4th round knockout to Vasiliy Lomachenko for the WBA super and WBO lightweight titles. Crolla deserved his shot for the glory, the money and as he was the mandatory. He has had quite a battering on social media for taking the world title fight that will secure his family’s future. Some people need to get a grip – of course Lomachenko is a special fighter. Of course, he looks the best pound for pound fighter on the planet. Does that mean nobody should take him on – no. Does that mean his ability should scare away anyone else from taking him on – no. Should the keyboard warriors shut up? YES!!!
And on that note I am away to write the next keyboard column for Talking Baws… all about Amir Khan and Terence Crawford…