On the tradition as it has been set, of providing decent contests and massive shocks, last weekend was a little quiet of the drama of late, but it still managed to provide plenty to talk about.
At the Wembley Arena on Saturday the 31st of October, Matchroom brought it big style – literally.
The world title eliminator between lightweight Lee Selby and George Kambosos Jr ended with a loss on points for Selby and in keeping with the recent spate of debates over score cards there were a few who did not think that Selby lost. It was a split decision loss that throws a bit of doubt on the man who was once dubbed the Welsh Mayweather’s career.
The EBU title at cruiserweight went to Tommy McCarthy over Bilal Laggoune in what was a massive win for the amiable Irishman of colour – the first to win such a title!
The WBO female world title scrap between Savannah Marshall and Hannah Rankin was quite simply a master class. Marshall was exceptional as a boxer and fought a perfect fight ending it the deserved winner with a 7th round stoppage. There was no shame in Rankin losing here and the two middleweights may be the only two middleweights in the female boxing ranks in the UK – but they are two of the best operators at their weight in the world. Many have talked about the lack of depth in women’s boxing and whilst that is hardly arguable, the fact is that if you wanted two decent middleweights at elite level and world level, who are we to argue when you get them?
The Commonwealth super bantamweight title went to Amy Timlin in a tight fight that was another split decision win, over Carly Skelly.
Then came the main event.
Oleksandr Usyk against Derreck “Del Boy” Chisora was always going to intrigue and the fact is that it asked the questions needing asking but did not deliver the definitive answers we all wanted. In the end Usyk got battered at the beginning, danced to the win through the middle rounds, nearly took Chisora out in the 7th and then managed to hold off a late flurry. Without a crowd Chisora may have lost his greatest advantage and hope of beating a class act like Usyk. Despite the classiness, the best boxer on the night was Savannah Marshall and not Usyk, but the best boxing brain may well have been the Ukrainian who changed and adapted to Chisora as the fight went on. Usyk has managed to deliver more options in amongst the heavyweight division and he is still the WBO mandatory and wants that fight next. It means that to fight Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua may have to give up that belt… Then who fights Usyk for it… See what he did there…
Over in the USA, meanwhile we got the knockdown of the year in Texas with the WBA and WBA super featherweight title fight between Gervonta Davis and Leo Santa Cruz ending with Davis knocking Cruz out in the 6th. It was a vicious uppercut from which hardly anyone would have survived. The WBA super lightweight title fight saw Mario Barrios also knocking out Ryan Karl, alsoin the 6th round to make it two world title fights, three belts and two knockouts in one night!
In the Bubble, Las Vegas, on the same night,the bantamweight sensation Naoya Inoue got back to what he does best and knocked out Jason Moloney in the 6th round for the WBA and IBF titles. Inoue looked like the lack of action over nearly a year mattered little in his win.
Also, on the bill super featherweight, Ewa Brodnicka got a points win over Mikaela Mayer.