News June 2013

Quigg and Smith impress whilst Rose labours. 'Rock and Croll' report


By @John_Evans79

Anthony Crolla may have stolen the show at Bolton Arena after producing a career best performance to outscore the heavily favoured Gavin Rees (a full report on that fight and Joe Gallagher’s thoughts on Crolla’s performance can be found here - ) but there were a number of other important fights on last night's card.

Scott Quigg looked impressively sharp as he halted Brazilian William Prado in three one sided rounds. New promoter Eddie Hearn will have been happy with what he saw and incredibly relieved that his new signing’s debut went a lot more smoothly than Ricky Burns’ did in May. Quigg, 26-0-1 (19), used a sharp, fast jab to break Prado up before dropping him with a straight right in the second round and finishing him with a right hook in the third.

The most impressive aspect of the 24 year old’s performance was that he seemed to be totally unaffected by the occasion. You would never have guessed that he had been out of the ring since stopping Rendall Munroe last November as, rather than allowing himself to get over anxious and over excited, Quigg put in his usual, ruthless performance.

It seems increasingly likely that Quigg will challenge Cuban Yoandris Salinas for the vacant ‘regular’ WBA super bantamweight title in September. Guillermo Rigondeaux apart, the top ten at 122lb are extremely well matched. With Nonito Donaire almost certain to make the move to featherweight Leo Santa Cruz is probably the main man in the division but, on this form, Quigg can quickly emerge as a genuine rival for the Mexican American puncher. I haven’t forgotten Carl Frampton but honestly, do you really want to read another paragraph about that potential match up?

Paul Smith breathed life into his career with an exciting sixth round stoppage of city rival and former victim Tony Dodson. Despite only having boxed four rounds in 19 months, Smith, now 33-3 (19), took surprisingly little time to find his groove. Much like gym mate Quigg, it was as if the 30 year old had never been away.

Dodson hadn’t made the 168lb limit since the pairs previous meeting in March 2010 but arrived in excellent condition and performed admirably, clambering off the canvas in the third round and taking the fight to Smith until he was spun around by a big right hand midway through the sixth. Referee Richie Davies jumped in before Smith could unload any more punches.

‘Smigga’ would love the opportunity to set the record straight with previous conquerors James DeGale and George Groves but will probably need something more than the British title to entice either to the bargaining table. Another all Liverpool clash with Rocky Fielding would be a rollicking night out at Liverpool’s Olympia and give Smith the opportunity to win the Lonsdale belt outright but Fielding is probably six months away from such a fight while Kenny Anderson would be the ideal opponent but is still taking time away from the ring. Maybe Brian Magee could be tempted back to domestic level for a real crossroads fight.

Brian Rose ground out a ten round decision over Bulgarian Alexey Ribchev. Former British light middleweight champion Rose, 24-1-1 (7), revealed that his movements had been restricted after aggravating a back injury in the third round but that can’t disguise the fact that this was an extremely disappointing night for the 28 year old.

Following a victorious but lacklustre performance last time out against Joachim Alcine, Rose badly needed an exciting performance to reignite some interest and excitement but was unable to add any drama to proceedings and fans were settling in for the long haul after just a couple of rounds.

Rose should be relieved that a proposed fight with Anthony Mundine in Australia fell through. Mundine has faded badly but would still be favoured to beat Rose – especially at home - and a low key defeat on the other side of the world to a fighter on the fringes of the world top 25 would be a hammer blow to the Blackpool man’s future title hopes. Following Hatton Promotions link up with BoxNation, a European title fight with Sergey Rabchenko now seems highly unlikely and it will be intriguing to see how Matchroom manoeuvre him. It is sink or swim time for Rose.

Full undercard report to follow.

British Boxing and the Colour Bar. Part Two


By @GaryMerseyBox

65 years ago, Dick Turpin defeated Vince Hawkins to become the British middleweight champion. “What’s special about that?” you may ask. In doing so, Turpin became the first, British born black champion of Great Britain and paved the way for some of British boxing’s most famous names.

Sports historian and author Gary Shaw remembers the fight and looks at the rise and fall of the colour-bar in British boxing.

Part Two

The Home Office had already recently banned Siki meeting Southampton’s Joe Beckett for the World Light-heavyweight title at the Royal Albert Hall. It seemed like a black, British-born, boxing champion of Great Britain was as far away as ever.

In the mid-1920s however, the first serious questioning of the colour bar was raised and it centred on a likeable, conscientious Mancunian named Len Johnson.

After turning pro in 1921, Johnson (born in Clayton in 1902 but whose father was from Sierra Leone) quickly established himself as one of the finest middleweights in the country; by 1926 he had already had over 50 fights and had met, and beat, some of Europe’s top boxers. Indeed, it was his two victories over Roland Todd in 1925, when Todd was British and European champion, that first brought him international renown. Todd himself said that he would meet Johnson for the title, yet the NSC would not allow it.

After traveling to Australia (where he won the Australian version of the British Empire title with no eyebrows raised to his eligibility for such an honour) Johnson returned to England where press and public calls for him to fight for the British title resurfaced. Again the NSC was unmoved.

So good where some of his performances that Johnson even managed to secure what was billed as a world title eliminator against California’s ‘Sunny’ Jim Williams (himself black) in Manchester in January 1929. Boxing noted the dilemma the sports ruling body in England would face if the Englishman were to actually win the world title; “in that event the BBB of C would look rather foolish.”

Equally as commendably, Johnson’s local newspaper also backed him, with The Manchester Evening Chronicle asking; “Why…should a man be debarred from attaining the highest honours at the game merely because he happens to be coloured?” Shortly after, Mancunian representatives of the Boxing Board travelled to London to show their support for Johnson’s title ambitions but, after again amazingly leaving the fighter in question outside in the corridor whilst negotiations with his backers took place inside, such gallant efforts were ignored.

Despite his victory over Williams a world title fight never materialised and Johnson retired in 1933 eventually working as a boxing booth owner – one of the most famous in the country - a bus and lorry driver. He also stood as a Communist candidate in six General Elections.

Calls for the ban to be lifted resurfaced in the early 1930s – and again they centred on the actions of a single black boxer. Born in Canada in 1900, Larry Gains’ uncle had been Canadian amateur heavyweight champion and his maternal grandfather had been a slave in Richmond, Virginia. Gains turned pro in England in 1923, moved to Cologne to live and fight there before returning home, just as the Nazi’s were coming to power, where he won the Canadian title himself. He returned to England, living in Leicester, in 1929, ironically the same the year the BBBC came into existence and adopted, without notice or amendment, the NSC colour bar ruling.

Although Gains won the British Empire title in June 1931 by knocking out Phil Scott inside two rounds – before over 35,000 at Leicester Tigers Athletic Ground – the Board’s own minutes (July 6 1931) and a brazenly honest press release of the same date stress that this did not change the current situation regarding domestic titles; “Gains will not be allowed to contest the British title due to ‘Regulation 31, Paragraph 4.”

They also alluded to the fact that Gains was born in Canada and therefore not eligible for the domestic crown, even though he was soon to residency in the UK. This was despite an Australian, George Cook, and a South African, Ben Foord, being allowed to contest the British title in the same period. Both of course, were white.

At the time of Gains’ victory over Scott in Leicester, Scott was the reigning British champion. He never fought again.

Such nonsensical events and the Board’s intransigence merely served to fuel the flames of boxing fan’s ire. In the 1930s letters to Boxing regularly, and routinely, criticised the ban and called for it to repealed.

In response to an inflammatory January 1934 letter to Boxing from a South African who claimed; “in no part of the British Empire is it deemed desirable to have a coloured champion from social and political considerations,” Harry Kurtz, described as a boxing fan from Bethnal Green, said; “I claim that any man with the most elementary understanding of sport should resist any suggestion of division by colour or creed.”

A week later, Ebrahim Hassim wrote from South Africa House; “I am proud to say that here in the British Isles no man is judged by his colour, particularly in sport. The British cricketers did not lose their caste when they included men like the great Ranji, Duleep and Pataudi in the team…”

To the list the writer could well have added the names of the growing number of black world boxing champions; Tiger ‘Kid’ Flowers had recently been crowned world middleweight champion; Eligio Sardinias, who boxed as Kid Chocolate, had reigned as world featherweight champion; and Panama Al Brown, world bantamweight champ, had met Liverpool’s Nel Tarleton in a catchweight contest in front of almost 30,000 spectators at Anfield two summers previous with no hint of trouble whatsoever.

In the same issue of Boxing, a further letter from J Downs highlighted absurdness of the argument that black v white fights would cause repercussions around the globe; “If the stability of the Empire can be shaken because of black and white men meeting in boxing contests, then the sooner it collapses completely the better for all concerned.”

In November 1937 Deptford’s Tommy Martin was refused permission to meet Jock McAvoy for the title due to his colour. Reader Jack Miller asked; “Why not let all Britishers, no matter what their colour, have the same chance?’” McAvoy was open to the fight - but the Board refused.

A week later another letter; “The sooner this ridiculous regulation is removed from the rules of the Board the better.” Such outpourings moved Boxing’s editor to note; “This is only one of the many letters received from readers and is published as a good specimen of the general opinion.”

In August 1938 the Board refused to let Richie ‘Kid’ Tanner, born in British Guyana but based in Liverpool, to meet Phil Milligan on the grounds that the latter was, “not a fit opponent for the coloured boxer.” Milligan had just lost to Jackie Jurich – then the world’s no. 1 flyweight. Tanner eventually settled on Merseyside but he ‘only’ fought for the Empire title twice, never for the British.

Dixon went on to state that: “…our Board recognises [Joe] Louis, [John Henry] Lewis and [Henry] Armstrong as world title-holders, surely then it is an absurdity to bar the coloured boxers from our titles?” Opponents to the ban now couched their arguments in precisely these terms; that whilst world champions could be black, their British equivalents could not.

In addition, the British ruling would often be compared to the situation in America, a society that was undoubtedly racist. Boxing said: “Severe and sometimes lavish in our disapproval of American impositions on coloured citizens, we, while granting them almost an equality with ourselves, in practice…deny them awards of free merit, freely conceded in the United States.”

By 1941, with large numbers of colonial servicemen and women fighting for Britain in all corners of the world, criticisms of the ban were reaching a crescendo – but still the Board were unmoved, stating that they refused to talk about the issue during wartime.

“The ban on coloured, chocolate, or darker shades, is no more justifiable than would a similar ban on red-headed boxers,” wrote Boxing, but such trivial treatment of the issue would soon make way for darker, more worldly, arguments and the war did see the first significantly persuasive calls for the ban to be lifted. Such criticisms would ultimately prove to be the beginning of the end for the colour bar.

Having already noted that coloured boxers: “Lefty Flynn, Stafford Barton and Kid Chocolate are all members of the RAF, Boxing argued that: “Coloured boxers having ben conceded the privilege of fighting for the country…can only be denied by an admission of unwarrantable prejudice, the opportunity to fight in a ring for championship honours.”

Respected Liverpool sports’ journalist Stork wrote of the colour bar in 1941; “If we are not too proud to allow coloured sons of the Empire to fight for us on the real fields of battle, surely it is time we jettisoned the mid-Victorian idea that they aren’t good enough to fight in the canvas ring for British championships.”

Three months later, the BBBoC were asked the question again, only this time it wasn’t just boxing fans or writers who were asking it – it was an altogether whole new class of outraged citizenship; The League of Coloured Peoples and The Coloured Peoples Welfare Association, both of whom had the ears, at least partially, of certain members of the National Governments. Again however, the Board’s reply was as abrupt and dismissive as it had always been. They told the two groups that they: “would not discuss the matter during wartime.”

“In entire sympathy,” with the grievances outlined by a questioner in the House of Commons, Secretary of State Herbert Morrison, entered the debate soon after but, although he conceded with the Board’s explanation of the ban; telling Parliament that, “spectacular fights between opponents of different colour,” should not be allowed (because the Board told him, incorrectly, they were unpopular), news from the fighting front soon eclipsed all other debate.

In February 1944, Boxing wrote that; “The colour-bar question…has reared its ugly head again.” It was reported that Jamaican middleweight, Stafford Barton, “a worthy contender for championship status,” before the war who had boxed professional in Britain since 1934, and who was a sergeant air-gunner in the RAF, had been posted as missing in action over Italy. Famed Daily Express boxing reporter, Frank Butler, wrote that, “The news emphasizes the disgraceful ruling of British boxing that a coloured citizen is not allowed to box for a title of the country for which he is prepared to fight and die.”

Barton’s aircraft was among 76 dispatched from Oudna and Djijeida in Tunisia to attack a ball bearing factory at Villar Perosa near Turin on the night of 24 November 1943. Extreme weather saw 17 fail to return and 28 crewmen, including Barton, are now buried in the Staglieno Commonwealth War Grave cemetery in Genova. None of the aircraft that flew on the mission found the target.

With the news that Lefty Flynn had been torpedoed while at sea with the Merchant Navy, Boxing noted what many had been saying since the conflict began; “A man’s colour does not prevent him from being called up to serve his King and Country, but it does prevent him from taking part in a contest for a British boxing title.” It seemed that calls for the ban to be lifted couldn’t be ignored, but there were a few final twists in the tale.

After a gap of five years the ABA championships resumed in 1944. A Royal Navy cook took the welterweight title in 1945 and, after adding the middleweight crown the following year, he promptly turned pro. As the rules stood however, Randy Turpin could never win the British title due to his colour.

Under the front page headline of; “LETS GET THIS THING PUT RIGHT,” in October 1946, Boxing loudly proclaimed the ban to be unfair, incomprehensible and beyond defending. “Here we have a youth who was a British champion…yet now that he has entered the professional ranks he cannot under the present ruling ever become a British champion, yet he can become an Empire champion or even a World champion if he advances sufficiently well in the game thus to qualify.

“Just think how ridiculous it would be for a Briton to become World champion and yet not even be British champion, even though he was born in Britain of British parents.

“We are sure the British boxing public have no desire to ban a coloured man from taking part in British championships,” they added, “the sooner it goes the better.”

Amazingly, the ban remained however, but the reference to the boxing public having no problem with black boxers becoming champions was proven in March 1947 when, following the Cliff Anderson v Tiger Al Phillips bout for the Empire featherweight title at the Royal Albert Hall, a mini riot followed the decision to award the contest to Phillips – who for many had been out jabbed, out fought and out worked by Anderson, a talented boxer born in Guyana. In the fourth round Phillips had been down three times for counts of nine but had somehow managed to hang on to hear the final bell only for the crowd to respond furiously when they saw his hand raised at the end of the 15 rounds.

Questions about the fight were raised in parliament. The Colonial Secretary, Arthur Creech Jones (who had met the Board to state his disapproval of the ban in June 1946) also got involved. He said: “I regard this colour bar as quite unjustified. I hope the Board may be persuaded to alter their practice.”

A championship belt, paid for by public subscription, was also presented to Anderson, who was pictured smiling with it on the front page of Boxing - who described the result as a travesty - barely a month later.

The following month, with high-level discussions regarding the ban and the effect it would have on the morale of Empire countries at the imminent 1948 Olympic games in London taking place between Creech Jones and various Colonial representatives, Boxing gleefully announced that it was to be lifted.

In September 1947, with no reference to the long and persistent opposition to the ban, no tumult and no fanfare, the Board simply removed the reference to ‘white parents’.

Nine months later, on a rainy, Monday night in Birmingham, Dick Turpin made British sporting and social history. Boxing, and British society, would never be the same again.


Joe Gallagher breaks down Crolla's victory over Rees


By @John_Evans79

Before his fight with Gavin Rees, Anthony Crolla claimed that fighting the former WBA light welterweight champion was “as big as it gets”. Last night’s majority decision victory (115-113, 115-115, 116-113) over the Welshman ensures that the 26 year old Mancunian should be set for some even bigger nights in the future.

Rees entered the bout as a huge favourite. Deceptively skilful and awkward,the two defeats on his record (now 37-3-1(18))had come in world title fights to Andriy Kotelnik and the brilliant Adrien Broner. In the weeks before the fight, most onlookers (this one included) saw the jab as being Crolla’s most likely - possibly only - route to victory. Whilst we were talking about the fight, Joe Gallagher and Crolla, now 26-4-1(9), were locked away in their Bolton gym perfecting the left hook and devising a gameplan which actually disposed of what is usually his most effective weapon.

“Everyone says that Crolla’s best asset is his jab but that’s the one thing I had to take away from him last night,” an elated Gallagher told Livefight the morning after the night before. “We knew that Gavin Rees likes to feed off a jab. We watched his fight with John Watson where he loves to bring his overhand right hand over a lazy jab and we watched a few fights where people had success with a left hook. It was a huge gamble to take away one of Anthony’s best assets and try and bring something else but it paid dividends.”

Crolla may have spent around an hour in the ring last night but the outcome was the result of years of hard work. Upon joining Gallagher’s Gym, Crolla was seen as a nice, talented boxer but maybe one lacking the ability to reach the top. Gallagher undertook the rebuilding process and– despite seeing his man pick up the British lightweight title and English title belts at lightweight and super featherweight - last night saw the culmination of his efforts. His heart and courage have never been doubted but last night Crolla supplemented those assets with a twelve round greatest hits package.

“A couple of times this week I’ve said to Anthony that I wanted him to watch himself and believe in himself,” Gallagher says. “I wanted him to watch the Michael Brodie win, the Andy Morris win, the John Watson win and the Kieran Farrell win. I needed a bit of Anthony Crolla from each of those fights. The Brodie fight shows you not to be bullied, the Morris fight showed that you may be well behind but your time will come. The Watson fight showed him about picking the right shots at the right times and the Farrell fight showed him to have the belief, not be bullied and that at times he’d have to match the kid, go with him and spin off the ropes. He did that and in that fight last night there were four Anthony Crolla’s that all came into a perfect moment.”

Inevitably, post fight talk centred around a possible assault on Ricky Burns’ WBO lightweight title. Burns needs to deal with Ray Beltran in September and, as Shaun Brown reported for Livefight last week, there have been discussions regarding a possible American debut against Terence Crawford. Nonetheless, during fight week Hearn bought up the possibility of the winner of Crolla and Rees meeting Burns and, if he keeps to his word and offers the Crolla camp the fight, the impression is that he won’t have to wait too long for a reply.

“There may not have been a world title attached to that fight last night but for me that was Anthony Crolla’s world title fight. I said that to him last night. He told me that he’d have to go to hell and back to win that fight and after round ten I told him ‘you’re in hell now. You’ll never have a better chance of getting a win against a world class opponent’ and he went out and got those final two rounds.

“Ricky Burns is a great fighter and I have a lot of respect for him. Not only that but he’s a nice lad. At the press conference this week, Eddie Hearn told us that if Crolla won, there’d be a great chance he could fight Ricky Burns. I’d taken it that if beating Anthony Crolla was good enough to get Gavin Rees a shot at Ricky Burns then it’d be the same for us.

“We beat the world number six, no matter what anyone says, we beat the world number six in The Ring magazine and Boxing News. I don’t think anyone in British boxing would begrudge Anthony a chance at the world title.”

Golovkin silences doubters; Destroys Macklin in three rounds


By @Livefight

Matthew Macklin became the 24th mouse dropped into the Golovkin snake tank last night in Connecticut.

The brave Brit offered to step up where no other man would, in offering to take on the middleweight dangerman. Macklin mused that Golovkin lacked the required experience to hang out with him - and that he would end the hype.

Unfortunately in just a couple of exchanges, Macklin saw that there was certainly no 'hype' surround Golovkin, and that this guy was the real deal.

The casual manner with which Golovkin went about terrifying and then dismantling Macklin sent out a stern message to all within and around the 160lb division.

Macklin's demise came during the third round in the shape of rock-hard body shot, delivered perfectly on the floating rib, felling the Brit like a proverbial sack of spuds.

There was no getting up from that. Macklin admitted afterwards that he was in such turmoil that his mind didn't register the count until he heard the word "Five".

Golovkin takes his perfect record to 27 wins, whilst Macklin can still come again he slips to 29-5.

Tyson Fury - In my mind I'm the greatest ever


By @Livefight

Tyson Fury touches on the David Haye heavyweight fight negotiations and his twitter rant against Lennox Lewis.

"If you don't believe in yourself, you shall never become a world champion - and I'm the best on the planet." said Fury "David Haye is a pumped up cruiserweight."

Livefight talks to Matthew Macklin about Golovkin fight


By @shaun_brown

To many, Gennady Golovkin is a runaway train that doesn’t look like being stopped. Matthew Macklin is a boxing vehicle that may have had a couple of crashes along the way but still looks like he’s just stepped out the showroom.

When the two collide tonight for the WBA and IBO middleweight titles at the Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut, a demolition derby is expected. The fresher model from Kazakhstan is expected to have too much in every department but the Anglo-Irishman, who spoke to Livefight during his training camp for the fight is ready to drive to hell and back.

“I know what I’m going to get in this fight and to become a world champion I’ll do whatever I have to. I’m very confident I’ll win this fight. I’m not a gym fighter, I perform better when I’m up against the best. That’s what I need and that’s what I’ve got in Golovkin.”

Macklin's name is already wrapped up in the cliché of ‘third time lucky’ for this challenge after controversy against Felix Sturm and falling short against Sergio Martinez. And as he later admitted after that fight, the 30 year old carried into it injuries that prevented him from securing an unexpected win. Now with arguably his best camp behind him and nothing to hinder him, we may see the very best that Matthew Macklin can offer against the highly regarded Golovkin.

Macklin, a former European middleweight champion, sees the strengths that we all see in ‘GGG’ but he also sees the weaknesses that he believes can help him remove the monkey from his back.

“In Golovkin I see a very good fighter but I see a fighter who gets hit easily. He’s heavy handed, knows how to impose his will and has a good sense of distance. But so far he’s been hit by light middleweights and average middleweights. With me he’s entering waters that he’s never been in before.”

Despite acknowledging Golovkin’s outstanding amateur career of 345-5, Macklin quickly turned back to whetting his appetite of wanting to meet his man head on.

“His instinct is to come forward and believe me he won’t have to look too far to find me. People shouldn’t look too closely at my fight with Sergio Martinez. That was a different version of me that night. That was not the real me and I still gave him a good fight. I’m going to be firing on all cylinders against Golovkin.”

Tonight will be the first sizeable test that Golovkin has faced. You can only beat what is put in front of you but wins over Lajuan Simon, Grzegorz Proksa, Gabriel Rosado and Nobuhiro Ishida still leaves fans asking what will happen against someone of Macklin’s calibre. And the other query is why is Macklin taking on one of the most dangerous assignments in boxing after one fight in nine months which was a one round blow-out of Joachim Alcine?

“It was my idea to fight Golovkin,” he revealed.

“I put it to [promoters] Lou DiBella and Brian Peters because I wanted to fight someone with this much hype around them. Daniel Geale flat out refused to fight me. ‘We know Geale won’t fight you’ is what HBO told me. Now [Darren] Barker is fighting him in a very winnable fight. And at the time all the other guys were out fighting or not interested.

“I want to fight Golovkin, it’s that simple. Maybe it was destiny because I always knew our paths would cross even going back to the amateur days. I’ve known all about him since the 2000 World Junior Championships in Budapest. He won Gold at the weight below me. But the thing is, everyone goes on about his amateur days but not mine. I’ve got the pedigree too. No-one really delves into my amateur days,” he questioned.

Even though this interview took place over the phone, it was easy to detect Macklin’s excitement for this fight and what he is willing to endure to finally land that world title.

“I feel good, I feel sharp and touch wood, please god I will win that world title. I thought I beat Felix Sturm but I know that the cream always rises to the top.”




Sillakh continues comeback with quick KO


By Michael J Jones

Cruiserweight contender Ismayl Sillakh continued his rehabilitation last night with a crushing first-round knock-out of Mexican journeyman Alvaro Enriquez. The contest at Quiet Cannon, Montebello, was all over inside two minutes.

Far-taller at 6’1”, Sillakh, now 20-1 (16), started quickly and soon had his opponent in full retreat. The inevitable end came at the 1:58 mark as the mismatched 31-year-old saw his record drop to 12-12-2. The loss means Enriquez has now been halted in three of his last five fights.

Former amateur star Sillakh holds victories over Daniel Judah and Yordanis Despaigne but saw his unbeaten record ruined a year ago when suffering a loss to tough Denis Grachev.

Sillakh, a Ukrainian who is based in California, was miles ahead in that bout before suddenly crumbling in the eighth in a bout for the NABF light-heavyweight title. This was his third straight win on his comeback but far bigger tests lie ahead.

Tall puncher Sillakh is 28-years-old and is trained by Shadeed Suluki in Simi Valley, California. After three nothing bouts, Ismayl needs to step up again.

Toney scores dubious victory, tries attacking fan


By Michael J Jones

Toney and Lemos weigh-in

Former three-division world champion James “Lights Out” Toney officially won his comeback fight last night at the Sky Ute Casino, Ignacio. The sluggish 44-year-old was lucky to pick up the victory though as unsung Kenny Lemos pushed him all the way before losing a contentious points verdict.

After a closely-contested bout in which the taller and heavier underdog scored most of the scoring blows, the eight-rounder was initially announced as a win for Lemos before all hell broke loose. Upon hearing he had lost the contest, an angry Toney attempted to storm from the ring before the decision was controversially changed to a victory to him moments later.

The unconvincing winner then tried engaging in a scuffle with a taunting fan (who called him a “bum”) before Toney’s trainer wrestled with his fighter to convince him to stay within the confines of the ropes.

It was a career-best performance from Denver’s Lemos who had never fought anywhere near this level before. Kenny dips to 12-8-2 (8) but can feel hard done by in a fight where he deserved at least a draw; especially with the bout being his home territory of Colorado.

In his post fight interview, Toney once again optimistically called out the Klitschko brothers, claiming the dual champions are ducking him.

Toney’s reflexes are shot and he is clearly fighting from memory. The “Lights Out” of a few years ago would have toyed with the likes of Lemos. Now nearing his 45th birthday, Toney raises his record to 75-8-3 (45) and is an accident waiting to happen. If he’s struggling with a club-level fighter like Lemos, any serious contender would take him apart.

The only thing the former middleweight champion has is his chin having never been stopped in 86 bouts but by his last few showings it's only a matter of time before his 'chin-seal' breaks.

At the previous day’s weigh-in Toney scaled 243lbs while Lemos was 292lbs.

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