Over the last week plenty of column inches have been dedicated in boxing forums and articles to the future of British boxing, given what happened last weekend. From a dominant country with great prospects, we have seen many falter and the shocks have come with crowds – Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua and without them – Dillian Whyte and Alexander Povetkin. They have come abroad – Lopez v Lomachenko too so it could be argued that we are in a highly competitive golden time for boxing with true competition, real 50/50 fights and an age where the fights we want to see, happen.
Unless of course you have one of two tags – golden prospect or former world champion.
Last weekend one of the brightest fighters of many a generation stepped in the ring having given up his belt and walked out of it, on his way to hospital, looking like he had just given away a whole load more.
It was a weekend of shocking headlines and controversy.
We begin abroad in the USA on Saturday the 13th of February at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas where the light heavyweight title action is between Joe Smith Jr and Maxim Vlasov for the WBO title was postponed late on because Vlasov tested positive for COVID-19. A new date shall follow.
In California, on the same night that the Smith/Vlasov fight was due the IBF super featherweight action between Joseph Diaz and Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov ended in amajoritydraw. One judge had it for Diaz whilst the other two scored it even. Diaz had come in over the weight so he would not have taken the title back home anyway… He lost it on the scales.
Also, on the bill the WBO super welterweight champion, Patrick Teixeira lost his crown to Brian Castano on points. The Argentinian, favourite going into the fight, though he was the challenger and not the champion, dominated and won comfortably in what was the only one of three scheduled world title fights that actually provided a result!
Not to be outdone in terms of headlines, at the Wembley Arena, British boxing returned and brought with it a whole heap of trouble.
Featherweight Ivan Price got his decent performance and win against Daniel Mendoza to kick us off.
The British featherweight title between Leigh Wood and Reece Mould ended with Wood sailing off with the Lonsdale belt after stopping Mould in the 9th round.
Super featherweight Zelfa Barrett then saw Kiko Martinez get mugged off by the judges in their IBF intercontinental title fight. I had Martinez winning in what was quite a tough fight. In Boxing News British Boxing Board of Control’s Robert Smith puts up a compelling case for the judges but, the score cards were criminal. There were 6 fights that night, 3 needed judges to score them, only one hit the headlines.
Or it would have done…
If there was not more to come to knock it off the front pages…
The front and the back pages and our breath was held when former IBF world champion, Josh Warrington was knocked off his perch by teak tough Mexican Mauricio Lara. With Can Xu suggesting he still wants to fight him, all might not be lost for Warrington but make no mistake, this was a clunker. Warrington was stopped in the 9th, could have been stopped in the 4th – had Lara been in that type of trouble, the likelihood is that it would have been stopped – and ended up with a broken jaw, a shoulder injury and has since displayed the type of dignity in defeat that should see him refresh, reset and regain his number one status.
Finally, last night, Friday the 19th of February in Doncaster the Commonwealth lightweight title fight between Sean McComb and Gavin Gwynne saw Gwynne beat the Belfast based McComb as he was stopped in the 7th round thus losing his unbeaten record.