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Boxing Insider European Notebook: Whyte Noise and Spanish Success

By: Oliver McManus

Boxing Insider’s European Notebook has returned thanks to subdued demand and should be greeted with an appropriately subtle fanfare and confetti shower.

The price of silence

The rumbling story from the middle of last week came via Thomas Hauser and Boxing Social as they broke the news of a reported failed drugs test from Dillian Whyte in the build up to his contest against Oscar Rivas. Since then statements have been released from the respective parties and the British Boxing Board of Control have provided little clarification save for the elements that are already public knowledge – namely that Whyte had been ‘cleared to fight’. Quite why Whyte had to get clearance remains, officially, murky but and the legally imposed silence doesn’t breed confidence; it’s not illegal to protest your innocence on a factual basis.

More frustrating from this story is the criticism that Hauser has faced amid accusations, mainly on social media, that he has an agenda. The American is notoriously forensic in his research and has followed his duty as a journalist to report facts without bias – he did not embellish the story or cast aside the room for doubt nor Dillian Whyte’s perspective and simply explained that SOMETHING had happened, as is his right.

Sandor Martin claims European glory

Barcelona’s Sandor Martin secured the European Super Lightweight title, only recently vacated by Britain’s Robbie Davies Jr, on Saturday. His contest against Andrea Scarpa dipped under the radar and was hastily arranged – Martin’s team won purse bids for the mandated contest between him and Davies before the Champion vacated. Scarpa stepped in, having last fought in April, but failed to emerge for the start of the tenth round having been outclassed. Martin, now 35-2, boasts a wealth of experience far beyond his 25 years of age having turned professional eight years ago. It is likely that Martin will be granted a voluntary defence and, EU Champion, Joe Hughes might fit the bill, at some point down the line, having recently withdrawn from a contest against Lewis Ritson due to injury.

Browne vs Little cancelled

The weekend just gone was supposed to pit, former world champion, Lucas Browne against, former English title challenger, Tom Little in one of the more bizarre shows of recent memory. Browne had fought under the Kynoch banner before – when he narrowly beat Kamil Sokolowski – and is no stranger to fighting on British soil. Little found himself coming off the back of three straight losses – to Filip Hrgovic, Daniel Dubois and David Price – whereas Browne was seeking to bounce off of his loss to Dave Allen. Alas the intriguing contest failed to materialise after an alleged financial shortage – principal sponsor ‘Rich Energy’ have been bundled into controversy as of late following their withdrawal of sponsorship from Team Haas in F1.

Catterall’s new challenge

The WBO’s lightweight mandatory challenger Jack Catterall (24-0) faces a new challenge on his quest to become world champion. Having targeted a bout with Maurice Hooker, who defeated Terry Flanagan to become champion, for the best part of a year, he’ll now have to face Jose Ramirez. Ramirez defeated Hooker on Saturday to unify the WBO and WBC world titles with a dominant display where Hooker couldn’t capitalise on his awkward style – the sixth round finish was brought about by a beautiful series of shots against the ropes. Of course the change in champion does not mean a change in Catterall’s situation who remains mandatory challenger having worked his way their on merit; he has been a WBO champion of some sort (European or Inter-Continental) since 2014.

British results round-up

There were four shows taking place in Britain at the weekend – two in Lancashire, one in Nottinghamshire and one in the West Midlands. BCB Boxing were promoting in Dudley on Sunday and it was Ijaz Ahmed who topped the bill in a six rounder against Pablo Narvaez, a frequent visiter on UK soil: Ahmed won by 58 points to 56. The six fight card also saw Midlands Area featherweight champion James Beech Jnr (9-0) shake off the dust against Jake Pollard – who possessed a directly opposite record of 0-9 in a comfortable four round fight.

Nottingham’s Britannia Hotel saw Carl Greaves promote a five fight card that saw victories for Fonz Alexander (with the famed journeyman securing a seventh career win), Benn Norman and Liam Dring (both debuting) as well as Brad Daws and Ellis Machin. Machin took the headlines by producing a mini statement against Colin Goldhawk with the heavyweight stopping his opponent in the third round after, referee, Shaun Messer had seen enough. Goldhawk was backing up on the ropes with Machin applying the pressure to record his second stoppage and go 3-0-1.

Kieran Farrell had a five bout promotion in Bury on Friday night which saw George Brennan record his second victory of 2019 – 40-36 over Joe Beeden – whilst just 13 miles away Steve Wood was putting on his own show in Eccles. Ben Capps, freshly relocated from Australia, got stuck in – as he always does – against Taka Bembere who arrived on late notice: Capps won 60-54. Glossop’s Adam Hague beat Michael Mooney by the same scoreline whilst Dan Booth, Liam Gaynor and Jack Booth all recorded points victories over four rounds.

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