You take a week off and one of the biggest things to happen to Scottish boxing… happens…
Serendipity and nationalism, who knew!?
Before we get to the seismic shift, let’s hit the more mundane and cast our eyes to two weekends ago on Saturday the 22nd of May in Coventry and what transpired live on Channel Five. Super lightweight Stephen McKenna shook off the ring rust and shook off Damian Haus in an impressive first round stoppage for McKenna. Then super welterweight Michael Hennessy Jr went in against Paul Cummings and got the points win after claiming his recent lost made him more spiteful. The son of the promoter, Hennessy Sr. certainly seems to have grown beyond a shadow or two with a decent performance. Light heavyweight Shakan Pitters then stopped Jermaine Springer in the 5th round to keep himself active and his name in profile.
The top of the bill was middleweight Sam Eggington in a WBC silver title fight against Carlos Molina. Eggington, has been retired by pundits more often than Frank Sinatra announced comeback tours, but slowly, with the right guidance and better performances, his name has grown in stature. A veteran fighter by his mid-twenties, Eggington fights like a Brummie Ricky Burns and defies the odds in a similar manner. For me, Eggington is more than a throwback fighter, he is the epitome of never giving up, the cliché of a warrior and the best crowd pleaser who is humble and hopeful rather than greedy and spoilt. Eggington dominated Molina, showed new skills and has demonstrated that he belongs at a level where world title opportunities come now and again; hopefully he shall grab one when it comes his way.
And then we headed to Las Vegas.
Super lightweight, pride of Scotland, pound for pound star, Josh Taylor beat Jose Carlos Ramirez for all four belts – WBA, WBA, WBC and IBF. Taylor thinks he was in a fight that he dominated, the judges felt it was close, he dropped Ramirez twice and that would suggest that had he not managed that feat then he would have lost or drawn the fight, given the scorecards. Taylor was convincing and despite a rally by Ramirez, Taylor put enough in to win convincingly. The scorecards were far from a disgrace and believable, but they were too close for comfort. Next a super fight against Jack Catterall in Edinburgh, outdoors, with crowds or a super fight against the likes of Terence Crawford? Given recent British fighter’s record against elite level boxers, that makes us nervous, but Taylor is truly special. Truly special.
The WBC silver fight between Jose Zepeda and Hank Lundy at the same weight on the same bill went to Zepeda in a 10 round fight that did not live up to its hype but managed to show that Zepeda still has the skills.
On Wednesday the 26th of May in Sydney, Australia, Justis Huni, Australia’s Gold Medal hope for the Tokyo Olympics took a 10 round decision against Christian Ndzie Tsoye for the Australian title. He now has a date with the former rugby player who beat Lucas Browne in the next month for an IBF title… it may be an unorthodox path towards a hoped for gold medal – but the proof of the pudding seems to be palatable enough…
Then on Friday the 28th of May back again inthe Sheffield car park, heavyweight Kash Ali took the IBF European belt by stopping Tomas Salek in only the third round! There was a warning in that for all the other domestic heavyweights.
Then came last weekend and on Saturday the 29th of May in Las Vegas, Chantelle Cameron made her first defence of her WBC super lightweight belt against Melissa Hernandez and did so in some style. If this was a test at a high level, Cameron showed she was well above it. Cameron overwhelmed Hernandez and stopped her in the 5th round.
Devin Haney and Jorge Linares contested the WBC lightweight crown, and it was Haney who proved the better of the two as perhaps age and too many big tough occasions caught up with Linares? No matter the why, Haney showed his class in another tough contest for Linares and came through a worthy winner. Jason Quigley, at middleweight also managed a win against Shane Mosley Jr. Although a majority decision, it does give his name a mention stateside which could lead to a bigger contest next time round…
On the same evening and in Carson, USA, we saw the WBC bantamweight title in in the ring between Nordine Oubaali and Nonito Donaire. Donaire took the belt in an epic battle which demonstrated that age truly is just a number.
Then last night, on Friday the 4th of June back in the Sheffield car park, super welterweight Bradley Skeete was back in a 9 fight card, where he stopped Dale Arrowsmith in a decent performance that maybe shows there are still decent fights to come from him. The weekly diet in the Sheffield car park is a brilliant addition to the cards being shown on TV and live. They have really lit things up and the production values are highly impressive. It’s a subscription service and for the fans who crave action as much as headlines, well worth the monthly fee.
Finally, in Saint Petersburg, last night, Fedor Chudinov took on Ryno Liebenberg for the WBA Gold super middleweight title and won a unanimous decision to retain his belt in what was, by all accounts, an all out war.