Given the current political situation in the UK a week may be a lot longer than a long time in politics, in boxing it is quite a distance too. Last weekend was a monster bill in the 02, London when Matchroom proved they were king of the undercards with some unbelievable action.
We saw lightweight James Tennyson blast Atif Shafiq with a left hook in the second round for the WBA international belt. We also got super featherweight Martin Joseph Ward stop Josue Bendana in the fifth round whilst Daniele Bastieri could also not get past the fifth round against super middleweight Savannah Marshall. Marshall and a world title shot next? Absolutely!
Things were set up nicely and then they got tasty and controversial.
The lightweight British and Commonwealth title action between the two Welsh fighters, Joe Cordina and Gavin Gwynne, went to Cordina. Both fell foul of the judges, getting a point each deducted and Cordina battled far too much but got the win his effort deserved on points. It was a sign of things to come.
The WBA international light heavyweight contest between Joshua Buatsi and Ryan Ford, was one where Ford hit the floor and unintentionally, Buatsi hit Ford when he was down. It was for a WBA title and they have no instant replay so the knockout stands. The controversy continued.
Hughie Fury, in his debut Matchroom show against Alexander Povetkin did what he has done and has failed to do so often – turn up and fight. Povetkin won and won well enough at the age of 40 to be back in a mix for another tilt at a title? We again hear that Hughie is so young, but he has had more professional fights than Luke Campbell – should we not be seeing more? Can you remember Tyson Fury telling us that Hughie was going to beat Mike Tyson’s record and become the youngest ever world champion? Is he, like so many decorated amateurs, good at the three round dash and not so good at the twelve round marathon?
Then came the WBC flyweight title defence for Charlie Edwards against Julio Cesar Martinez Aguilar. The story of Edwards, his mum and why he won the belt is long in the memory. The story of the fight, remarkably, may last longer. Edwards got caught, took a knee, Aguilar planted his feet and hit Edwards whilst he was down. Edwards did not get up, the referee called it off, Edwards lost his belt… Oh no he didn’t… The WBC President, Mauricio Sulieman, like a panto villain have got instant replay and declared it a no contest afterwards – right afterwards – sparking a VAR debate! Who saw that coming?
Top of the bill was the monster scrap between Vasily Lomachenko and Luke Campbell for the WBC, WBA Super and WBO titles. I expected it finished in six. It lasted twelve.
Campbell went down once and Lomachenko got hurt during the fight. For me, Lomachenko showed just how good he was, but so did Campbell. Lomachenko, for me, showed just what happens if you hurt him, so did Campbell. For me, Lomachenko did more than enough in a fight which is above his weight category to add to his collection of world title belts at a weight category he has no business fighting. Lomachenko looks odds on to win the fourth and final belt and be the undisputed tiny guy in the giant’s world. Campbell will relish picking those belts up once Lomachenko is finished with them; and so he will.
Over in Minneapolis the WBA super welterweight contest between Erislandy Lara and Ramon Alvarez continued the farcical nature of the night as Alvarez came in overweight, lost the title fight on the scales and then was knocked out in the second round.
Over in Victoria, Australia former world title holder Jeff Horn was also knocked out against Michael Zerafa for the WBA Oceania title in a massive shock. Let us not forget that Horn fought Manny Pacquiao and beat him… where to now?
Last night and in Leeds in amongst 11 fights, the featherweight scrap between Jack Bateson and Khvicha Gigolashvili ended with a win for Bateson on points