It’s been an odd week with pantomimicry in a Saudi dessert, 55 year old men wanting to fight, finding their bodies won’t let them and people beating up their girlfriend’s brother – what sort of madness is left in the world of boxing?
But before we start looking at the world level headlines and an exceptional card in the 02 form last week with the final of the World Boxing Super Series, let’s go to Oldham. This is where thehonours between lightweights Jamie Quinn and Qasim Hussein went to Quinn on points – who is fighting tonight! For the casual fan, they will have no idea how significant this was, for the purist, I hope to catch it on YouTube… Super featherweight Michael Gomez Jr also beat Dean Jones on points over 4 rounds on the same card.
Elsewhere, Saturday the 26th of October was athumping night of boxing and weirdest back story of them all must go to the fight in Reno, Nevada where the WBO featherweight title showdown was between Shakur Stevenson and Joet Gonzalez. Gonzalezwas well beaten on points but the bizarre story is that Stevenson is dating Gonzalez’s sister, meaning he beat her bro up in a ring for a title. It was a wide margin and Stevenson has British sights set for Josh Warrington whilst Gonzalez needs to go and take care of business rather than continue feuds.
At the 02, London meanwhile,with Matchroom, we had a great fight at super bantamweight where Shannon Courtenay took on Melinda Habran and had to dig deep. Courtenay needs challenges and we saw Habran come out like a raging bull, take round one, Courtenay draw round two and then take the last two rounds to win by one point. It was a brilliant fight over only 4 rounds and Courtenay will have learnt huge amounts in a fight that should have been with a better opponent, over more rounds but what a spectacle it was!
Super welterweight Abass Baraou took on John O’Donnell for the WBC international title stopping O’Donnell in the 6th round whilst devastating welterweight Connor Benn stopped the tough and hardy Steve Jamoye for the WBA continental belt in the 4th round. With his dad in the audience, Benn looked the business and 2020 should be the breakout on a world stage year for him.
European champion Yves Ngabu felt the heat from Lawrence Okolie who took a little bit of time to wear down the champion before taking the win by stoppage in the 7th round.
Lightweights Lee Selby and Ricky Burns did battle in an amazing match up that never really caught fire, but it was a contest that split people – including the judges. Burns was very upset afterwards and thought he had taken the decision. What is next for him is difficult to fathom though many want him to retire. For Selby it’s the launch pad.
Heavyweights Derrick Chisora and David Price supported the main event admirably but the towel being thrown in in the 4th round was not what the audience wanted – they booed with gusto, but anyone who wants to support a safe sport were grateful that the corner took the decision. Chisora could be a world title contender in mid to late 2020 if the politics gets tough whilst Price, like Burns above may need to hang up them gloves…
Finally, the World Boxing Super Series super lightweight final for the Muhammad Ali trophy between Josh Taylor and Reigis Prograis was all that it should be. Crafty, skilful, a Scottish winner, exciting, purist’s delight, casual fan’s joyous occasion and respectful people who fight for a living.
What an event.
What a result.
Josh Taylor, what a champion.
Prograis, haste ye back!