Last weekend we may have lost out on a world title headliner in Terri Harper but what we did get was a brilliant bill from Matchroom.
At the Manchester Arena on Saturday the 15th of May, Lerrone Richards took the vacant EBU crown against Giovanni de Carolis at super middleweight in a masterclass. Rather than be seriously challenged as I thought he might be, he showed just how good he is in a wide points win.
The EBU title was also on the line at cruiserweight between Tommy McCarthy and Alexander Jur. Jur was on the canvas on the 4th and out by the 6th in a fight that will allow McCarthy to go on and challenge Chris Billam-Smith in another tasty contest.
The shock of the night and the best story of the evening came in the same fight as super bantamweight Gamal Yafai lost on points to Jason Cunningham in his first defence of his EBU title which he won on the road in Italy. Cunningham dropped Yafai three times, leaving Yafai with too much to do in the latter rounds. Yafai did take much of the late action but it was too late. Cunningham’s story of never giving up, writ large across his chest, was the good news of the night. Yafai, clearly looking towards world honours at some point, needs to regroup.
Top of the bill was the return of light heavyweight Joshua Buatsi who viciously stopped Daniel Blenda Dos Santos in the 4th round. It was nasty, but Buatsi then showed real class when he was more concerned about his opponent than celebrating his win. It was a statement on any stage that cannot be ignored. Dos Santos may have been limited but he has two fists, a determination and backstory that tells you he is no pushover. Next up is America for the Olympian…
On the same evening in Carson, USA, super bantamweight Brandon Figueroa managed to beat Luis Nery to unify the WBC and WBA super titles. Figueroa went into this as the underdog whilst Nery was never anybody’s favourite fighter. Figueroa hammered him into submission in the 7th with Nery being counted out on the canvas. Next is another unification bout with Stephen Fulton on the 11th of September.
Oh, and it was somewhere in Germany that the regular WBA heavyweight title was fought over between Manuel/Mahmoud Charr and Chris Lovejoy. Marr won in the 2nd with a clearly unfit and unprepared Lovejoy stopped in the 2nd round – apparently the referee had to stop the fight to show Lovejoy how to punch! Nobody was or is laughing until Charr suggested he should be fighting Anthony Joshua or Tyson Fury next. It’s not his fault that the sanctioning bodies entertain things like this, but it is stupid. Simply stupid.