News May 2019

Quigg retains title, Crolla and Fielding move on


By @John_Evans79

The undercard to the fantastic Carl Froch – George Groves fight was the subject of much discussion from the moment the decision was made to make the event pay-per-view.

The word ‘stacked’ was bandied about during almost every conversation and long lists of impressive names were dropped. Maybe the current celebrity obsessed climate we live in means that casual fans are attracted by a series of virtual guest appearances by famous faces but real boxing fans are attracted by real fights and there was a paucity of genuine match ups on the bill.

If you are stacking something, things need to be evenly balanced. If the stack is weighted too far in one direction, the whole structure will collapse. Luckily, last nights main event was worth the £14.95 fee alone.

Hopefully, the success of the main event will hammer home the point that boxing fans will come out in force for all British match ups. Quigg-Frampton, ‘The Middleweights’, Fury-Price, Brook-Khan……all of these fights have the potential to rival Froch – Groves for drama and excitement. The promoters in this country could do the entire sport a service by providing the fans with the match-ups that make sense rather than serving their own interests.

Anyway, on to the fights.

Scott Quigg, 27-0-2 (20 KO’s), finally got his longed for victory in a WBA title fight as he knocked out Argentine challenger Diego Silva in the second round of their super bantamweight fight.

This was a homecoming performance from Quigg and following the tough struggle with Cuban stylist Yoandris Salinas in October [MD12], he will have relished the opportunity of defending his title against a vulnerable fighter who was willing to exchange leather.

Silva was knocked out by Fernando Montiel back in 2009 and 25 year old Quigg found the route to success almost as quickly. A pair of uppercuts floored Silva and although he clambered to his feet, a hard right hand finished matters seconds later.

I will not waste any more words writing about the potential Carl Frampton fight. Everybody wants to see it and the promoters need to put differences aside and make it. If that can’t happen then the winner of the Kiko Martinez and Jeffrey Mathebula IBF title fight would be an attractive match up. Leo Santa Cruz seems to be the eventual big name– and big money – target.

Stephen Smith, 18-1 (11 KO’s), will now face David Saucedo for the WBC silver title after stopping the horribly awkward Sergio Medina in eight messy rounds. Should he beat Saucedo, ‘Swifty’ would be in line for a shot at the full title.

Smith, 28, will have been extremely frustrated by the course the fight took. At times, the Argentine’s balance was so poor that the technically correct Smith’s punches were missing badly. As Medina grew tired, heads came together more often (it seems Medina resorts to this when he begins to struggle. His fight with Saucedo in August was marred by similar infractions) and Smith finished marked up around both eyes. Medina also managed to loose a tooth. It wasn’t pretty.

Smith will simply be ecstatic to have put months of legal disputes behind him and enter 2014 with a clear target in mind. The better the calibre of fighter he faces, the better Stephen Smith will perform.

After a slow start, Anthony Crolla, 27-4-1 (10 KO’s), steadily upped the pace of his fight with late substitute and former European super featherweight champion Stephen Foster Jnr, now 31-5-1 (18 KO’s), wearing the late substitute down until the Salford fighter decided to retire at the end of the sixth round.

Having prepared to fight the rangy Martin Gethin for the British title, Crolla sensibly took no risks with the more compact Foster Jnr. Once he found his range, the 27 year old from Moston mixed a sharp jab with some solid body shots before stepping back out of range and resetting himself.

Crolla is being linked with a fight with former gym mate John Murray, who returned from a two year hiatus on Dave Coldwell’s show on Friday night. Murray is a former British and European champion and performed well on the big stage despite being stopped in eleven rounds of a WBA lightweight title fight with an overweight Brandon Rios.

Styles make fights as they say and – from a fans point of view – it would be a tremendous spectacle. Considering Crolla had his heart set on reclaiming the British lightweight title and has talked about fighting WBO lightweight champion Ricky Burns, at the moment, a fight with Murray would need to be financially attractive or act as some kind of elimination bout for it to appeal to the popular Mancunian.

Rocky Fielding, 17-0 (10 KO’s), produced the performance of his career to destroy the usually tough Luke Blackledge, 14-2-2 (5 KO's),inside a round.

Blackledge has been embroiled in a dispute with British super middleweight champion Paul Smith over a proposed show down and, having been helping Carl Froch prepare for his fantastic fight with George Groves, jumped at a late notice offer to take on Commonwealth belt holder Fielding.

Fielding simply took him apart. The Liverpudlian couldn’t miss with left hooks and uppercuts and the end came from a hard left hook as Fielding spun away from the ropes.

Fielding has won both Commonwealth title fights within a round and has emerged as a viable contender for Smith’s British title. Smith against Fielding at the Liverpool Olympia would produce some atmosphere.

Andy Lee, 31-2 (22 KO’s), knocked out Hungarian Ferenc Hafner in the second round. Whether he will be pleased with the performance is another matter.

Lee took five or six flush shots from his smaller, limited opponent. He walked through them and had success with a sharp southpaw left, flooring Hafner once in the first round and twice in the second but he may have been in serious trouble with more of a puncher. Of course, Lee knew what he was up against and will have felt able to take more risks than usual but had he been fully focused, the much smaller Hafner wouldn’t have gotten near him.

Hafner does however earn my ‘Best Hungarian Opponent of 2013’ award. He came and had a go which is far more than I can say of many of his countrymen who have performed in the small halls of the UK this year.

Hopefully Lee and Matthew Macklin can finalise plans for a meeting in early 2014.

Former IBF bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell, 22-2-1 (10 KO’s), stopped Bernard Inom in the seventh round of their eight round fight. McDonnell had a six inch reach advantage over his brave but severely outgunned opponent but gave that away by fighting in a crouch. Eventually, McDonnell found his range and the punches to halt Inom.

The fight kept McDonnell, 27, busy whilst his promotional situation is finally sorted out. Rather than wasting his prime fighting in solicitor’s offices and courtrooms, McDonnell needs to capitalise on his status as a former champion and get back in the ring.

Scott Cardle, 13-0 (2 KO’s), started the evening with a six round decision over Krzysztof Szot. The Polish lightweight has been beaten by Tyrone Nurse and Chad Gaynor recently and Cardle followed their lead by dictating every minute of every round.

Cardle, 24, finds himself in a tricky position. The British lightweight scene is packed with good fighters and ‘Scotty’ needs to get himself in the mix. A proposed fight with John Simpson was nixed when Simpson got a late notice call to fight Tommy Coyle earlier this month. Hopefully a similar test can be arranged for early in 2014.

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