Last weekend, Saturday the 12th of October in Chicago the heavyweight debut of Aleksandr Usyk ended in the 7th round as he danced and pranced his way to a win. Chazz Witherspoon managed to be who they wanted him to be and gave Usyk someone to hit and run around. Does it tell us much about what kind of presence he is going to be on the heavyweight stage? A little. He is smaller than most therefore more mobile. Does he fall if you hit him as heavyweight s will – possibly – can he bang with the best? Probably. Will he win a title – we shall have to wait and see. The likelihood is that after mid 2020 the tiles shall fragment, and we shall have a much more interesting time of it thereafter so Usyk, an exceptional boxer, will be in with a little more than a shout.
Also, on the bill the light heavyweight WBA title fight between Dmitry Bivol and Lenin Castillo ended with a Bivol points win that cemented his reputation as a light heavyweight giant as he won every round and had Castillo down in the 6th. Finally, from Chicago we had the female WBC/WBA super lightweight unification battle between Jessica McCaskill and Erica Anabella Farias with McCaskill winning and immediately calling out Katie Taylor for a rematch. Her points win against Farias might give her the confidence to do that and the female business is looking far less like a one or two horse race just now but winning a title against a fighter like Farias is a decent result, but not enough to make her the global attraction to beat Taylor.
It was also the evening when a young boxer, Patrick Day received injuries which led 4 days later to him losing his life. Boxing is indeed a cruel sport. All of our condolences go to young Patrick’s family in what was an appalling loss.
Domestically, in Leeds Queensberry provided some very decent homegrown fights with featherweight Reece Mould dropping Bayardo Ramos in the second round on the way to a points win, middleweight Mark Heffron getting a first round TKO win against Rui Manuel Pavanito after Pavanito sustained a cut and Troy Williamson stopping late replacement Ben Douglas in the 7th round.
The Commonwealth light middleweight title contest between Lyndon Arthur and Emanuel Anim was a tasty affair as Anim came to win that belt but left without it as Arthur got the win and a decent few rounds under his belt.
The other Commonwealth belt, at cruiserweight, saw Englishman Zelfa Barrett take out the plucky and defiant Scot Jordan McCorry in the 9th round after some unbelievably vicious body shots that McCorry rode out. McCorry will be back, I am sure as a great addition to any bill, but Barrett may finally be putting his shark nightmare behind him!
The headline IBF featherweight title scrap between Josh Warrington and Sofiane Takoucht was over quickly. Warrington was just far too good and stopped Takoucht in the 3nd round. Big unification fights are ahead for the loveable Leeds man and in his present form, I cannot see anyone beating him at his weight.
The weekend ended in Belfast where the vacant BUI Celtic title at lightweight went to Joe Fitzpatrick who scored his 10th win against Iago Barros when Barros retired in the 4th round.
Last night, Friday, the 18th of October in Wolverhampton the WBO European title fight at bantamweight involving Kyle Williams ended in a split decision loss for Williams as Ionut Baluta, who was unable to win the title as he was above the weight, got a split decision win despite having a point deducted for constantly spitting out his shield, he had Williamson down in the first and a cut above his right eyebrow obviously hindered Williamson form the 6th round onwards.
In Philadelphia, the light heavyweight unification scrap between Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Artur Berbetiev for the WBC and IBF ended with Berbetiev stopping Gvozdyk in the 10th round.