I feel like, last weekend, I saw the punch quicker than Dominic Breazeale but what we did have time to reflect upon in Brooklyn on Saturday the 18th of May was Deontay Wilder defending his WBC heavyweight title with one devastating punch in the 1st round.
Has it opened up the heavyweight division and more importantly the negotiations with Joshua?
With reported pay per view figures as poor as 850,000 for a fight that was billed between two American giants this may focus attention quite firmly on things – this was worse than the Ortiz fight… worse than the Stiverne rematch…
It gives Anthony Joshua a message, real focus to what Tyson Fury achieved and just whets the appetite a little more. Next up Mr Joshua MBE and over to you big guy…
On the undercard Gary Russell Jr managed to stop the game and highly experienced Kiko Martinez for the WBC featherweight title on cuts in the 4th defence of his title. The finish came in round 5 after the doctor was clear that Martinez should not continue.
But the major joy for the night was to be had in the SSE Hydro, Glasgow where the World Boxing Super Series Semi Finals arrived. The bantamweight sensation and pound for pound best puncher in the world (?) Naoya Inoue took out previously undefeated Emmanuel Rodriguez for the IBF and WBA belts in just 2 rounds. This was brutal and unbelievable. Has anyone got what it takes to beat him? Increasingly we are struggling to think of anyone who could even take him the distance; I fear for Nonito Donaire!
Bantamweight Paul Butler who was the reserve fighter for the Inoue fight managed a successful scrap against Salvador Hernandez Sanchez with a 6th round stoppage, super middleweight, Zach Parker stopped Steven Crambert in the 4th, lightweight Chantelle Cameron got a 2nd round stoppage against Vaida Masiokaite whilst super bantamweight Lee McGregormanaged a 6 round points win up against Brett Fidoe.
Super featherweight Martin Joseph Ward got a 6 round points win also, against Antonio Rodriguez, whilst super bantamweight Reece McFadden managed the same result – a points win – over a shorter distance – 4 rounds against Georgi Georgiev. Super middleweight John Docherty took out Wilmer Gonzalez in the first round and super middleweight Tommy Philbin didn’t get to fight as there was too much going on and he was the “floater”.
It leaves us with the top of the bill and Scotland’s latest world champion, Josh Taylor. He was up against a tough and durable Ivan Baranchyk for the IBF and WBC silver super lightweight titles for the first 5 rounds. Once he had dropped Baranchyk in the 6th, the confidence grew and he dominated Baranchyk for the rest of the fight. It was far from a shut out and far from a dominant performance, it was a great fight for purists and Taylor showed he deserves to be here and deserves to be a champion. The final comes next and the boy from Prestonpans has more than a chance of winning the whole damn thing…
On the same night, Frank Warren was in Stevenage with super welterweight Harley Benn getting beat on points by Lee Hallett. Now this was a shock but anyone, ANYONE who thinks journeymen are just there to be pushed around and pushed over should note that Mr Benn is away to think again because he was poor and deservedly lost.
Light heavyweight Willy Hutchinson made no such errors and stopped Ondrej Budera in the 3rd round whilst Boy Jones also lost, this time on majority decision to Shaun Cooper for the WBO Youth title.
The heavyweight fight between Joe Joyce and Alexander Ustinov ended with Joyce stopping Ustinov in the 3rd round and all credit to Joyce – he can only fight what stands in front of him.
The super bantamweight title fight between Brad Foster and Ashley Lane for the British and Commonwealth titles lit up the night with a very late stoppage for Foster who was in front before he stopped Lane thus uniting the two titles.
Finally, it was a master class from Billy Joe Saunders as he beat Shefat Isufi for the WBO crown and is now a two weight world champion. Saunders was incredibly good and needs the types of fights that tests that – unfortunately for him the likes of GGG and Canelo seem to be running scared, and no wonder.
In Belfast lightweight James Tennyson beat Brayan Mairena whilst last night, Friday the 24th of May in Glasgow Kynoch Boxing had super welterweight Marc Kerr beat the busy journeyman William Warburton, heavyweight Jay McFarlane stopped Shaun Duffy in 1 round and the WBC international silver super flyweight title went to Ross Murray against John Chuna on points.