And now 2020 is slipping away from us like a distant relative at a family party we knew we should never have invited. It has been a tough year and 2021 already does not look as if it is going to be much better. The end of 2020, in a boxing sense has, however, been a treat and a real Christmas cracker. If the pandemic has brought us anything it has been drama.
December did not deviate from that pattern.
Last weekend it was the final 2020 offering from Matchroom, and the record shall show that on Saturday the 12th of December in the Wembley Arena on PPV with around 1,000 fans present in the venue, there was plenty to talk about afterwards!
Middleweight Kieron Conway took an emphatic points win against Macauley McGowan in a contest that was all action in the ring after being all mouth at the weigh in. McGowan hit the deck during the fight giving Conway an unassailable lead and 2021 should be very good to the exciting prospect.
Albanian welterweight Florian Marku, resplendent with his ethnic cap on, did not do so well against Jamie Stewart with the referee. Marku is marked out as a future star and he was in against a guy with only 2 professional fights. The draw, scored by the referee, left Marku totally disgusted and having watched the fight, I have to say, he was well in command and the referee got it wrong. It included a knockdown so Stewart must have caught the eye with some stunning work I missed…
Another weekend and more controversy over scoring – who would have thought…
Super bantamweight Qais Ashfaq made no mistake in beating Ashley Lane on points with a fourth round stoppage which puts to rest the blip he had against Marc Leach last time out. This was a good comeback fight, but the next stage should be bigger and better to rebuild himself to the point of getting the opportunities he really should be ready to take.
Cruiserweight Laurence Okolie did what he had to do and took the WBO international belt as he blasted late replacement Nikodem Jezewski out in the first round. This could have been awkward but Okolie wasmore than equal to the task, showing that he is at a level where a world title should be next.
Then came the big boys. Heavyweight sensation the Congolese Airdrieonian, Martin Bakole was patient and skilled in taking apart Sergey Kuzmin for the WBC international belt. Bakole, since his loss to Michael Hunter, has built slowly and is now a name being mentioned alongside the second tier of the heavyweights. Riches should be his next and his coach, the highly colourful, Billy Nelson shall be rubbing his hands over what comes next – not to make the cash but to prove to people that his boast that Bakole could be world champion is not fantasy but soon shall be reality.
Then came another in the next level of heavyweights with Hughie Fury back in against Mariusz Wach. Furyhad to contend with a bad cut as he had a shut out against Wach. Fury, still a relatively young man, showed guile and skill in equal measure, a performance that had maturity in depth and should make his claim to the next level easy to make. Given that another young heavyweight, Daniel Dubois, has suffered a first defeat, if he wanted a template as to how to get back into the game, learning from Hughie Fury would be no bad study. Fury has not done it in a fashion that suggests he has a smooth pathway, but it has been highly effective, though bumpy.
And then we had Kubrat Pulev looking to be amazing to take all four belts – WBA, WBO, IBF, IBO – against Anthony Joshua. Joshua knocked out Pulev in the ninth round. He had put Pulev down in the third and then, not taken him out afterwards. Some people had Pulev pulling back before Joshua just destroyed him in the ninth.
It depends though, how you like your boxing.
For me, this fight showed that Joshua fights to an opponent. When he fought both Takam and Ruiz Jr the first time, both late replacements, he was flummoxed. He did not have the training in place to beat them. Against Pulev he boxed to Pulev and took him apart. It was not the dominance that Fury showed against Wilder, but it ended in the same way with the same result. We all hope for Fury/Joshua in 2021. Apparently only egos can scupper it – no chance of that happening – is there?
On Wednesday the 16th December in Parramatta, New South Wales, Tim Tszyu destroyed Bonya Morgan for the IBF Australasian and WBO Global belts in the first round! It looks like the apple has not fallen far from the tree and Tszyu is targeting world honours as swiftly as possible.
Then on Thursday the 17th of December over in Lombardia, Italy as Luca Rigoldi lost his crown to Gamal Yafai who is now the EBU champion on points.
Finally, last night, Friday the 18th of December inRedditch, Hennessey Sports and Channel Five gave us a great British light heavyweight title scrap between Shakan Pitters and Craig “Spider” Richards which was ended by Richards in the ninth round. This was a treat and gave us another bit of an upset as Pitters was heavily favoured.
We also had last night in Florida, Gennady Golovkin take apart Kamil Szeremeta to defend his IBF title for the 21st time; he also retained the IBO belt. The stoppage came in the seventh. What we are all asking – OK, maybe just me – GGG has won, if Alvarez loses with there be a third GGG/Alvarez fight?
Supporting we had the WBA female super featherweight contest involving Hyun Mi Choi and Calista Silgado with Mi Choi winning on points – Silgado had failed to make weight so only Mi Choi could take the belt home. Super middleweight John Ryder also won on points against Mike Guy.
And so, it all comes to an end in 2020 – not a bit of it – look out for Fast Forward for the last fights of 2020 to come. For me it will be see you in 2021, however. Thanks for reading and taking the time and let’s hope for fans in boxing next year, the fights we dreamt up happen and all being as it ought to be for us after hell in a twelve month period!
All the best for you and yours from all of us at Talking Baws! We shall be back next year, talking mair!!!