By: Ste Rowen
Martin Murray earned a 12-round decision over Roberto Garcia to win the WBC ‘Silver’ strap in a disappointing bout that made fans wonder if it’s time for both fighters to call it a day.
Murray, now 37-4-1 (17KOs) had previously held and defended the ‘Silver’ belt in 2014, but each fighter was taking a cautious approach to the early stages of this matchup, with both fighting from the distance, looking to get up on the cards in the first few rounds. Garcia, somewhat harshly, was deducted a point early on for punching below the belt towards the end of the 2nd round, which no doubt dented the native Mexican’s morale as well as his scorecard.
Roberto sensed he wasn’t in for an easy night with the referee and looked to dominate the middle of the ring, and the pressure seemed to be showing at the end of the 3rd as Murray began to allow punches to slip through his high guard.
Martin, trained by former British junior middleweight champion Jamie Moore, was lacking the kind of enterprise that saw him earn a ‘dangerous contender’ status from 2011-2015. There seemed to be a lack of power when the St Helen’s fighter landed.
Into the 6th, Murray continued to fight off the back foot, now timing his counters off with a little more quality than in the earlier rounds. With 1:15 left of the round, both fighters received a warning for leaning in with the head. The bout was in danger of being overshadowed by dirty antics.
Expectations were pretty low heading into tonight, Garcia, 41-3 (24KOs) was a late replacement after all, so in that respect it didn’t disappoint, but in every other way it did let the O2 crowd down. Rounds 7, 8, 9 were carbon copies of one another, until the final seconds of the 9th when, for some reason, the referee called break, Garcia continued fighting, and the referee eventually took a point away from the defending WBC ‘Silver’ champ. Despite entering into the championship rounds, neither fighter seemed to change tact. Garcia fought on the front foot, Murray was on the counter, and the bout remained awkward to judge.
If you’re reading this without watching the fight, just watch the 10th and final round, to sum up tonight’s events.
Close, difficult and disappointing.
After post-fight in-ring arguments between the two fighter’s trainers subsided, the scorecards were returned as, 116-111, 118-109, 118-108 all to Martin Murray, the new WBC ‘Silver’ middleweight champion.
‘I’ve been around a long time and I knew what was needed to win.’ Murray said.
And to agree, yet again, to fight WBO champ Saunders?
‘For me, to do that again. You can’t trust the man. I do this for my family. I’m a fighting man. If there was an insurance policy in place I’d do it again.’
If it’s not Saunders next for Martin Murray, and if he truly wants a 2nd shot at unified champion Gennady Golovkin via the WBC route, then logic dictates he should realistically target the likes of Jason Quigley, Kamil Szeremeta or Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan next.
Daniel Dubois vs. Tom Little
Dubois impressed in a 5th round stoppage of worthy challenger Tom Little, to become the new English heavyweight champion.
There was a bit of needle heading into tonight’s only heavyweight fight, but whether the pre-fight antics from Little affected Daniel or not, ‘Dangerous’ Dubois dispatched his latest foe in the same vicious style, if slightly delayed, that got rid of his previous 7 opponents.
In a scheduled 10-rounder, Dubois forced Little onto the back foot immediately and though the punches weren’t as clean as he would’ve hoped, it was obvious the unbeaten fighter was up on the cards early on.
Into the 2nd and the man who was stopped in 4 rounds by former Olympian, Filip Hrgovic five months ago, Little, was here to spoil and survive. With 30 seconds left of round 2, Dubois landed a barrage of punches, that kept Tom humble, but they were unable to get rid of the bookie’s outsider.
Round 3 saw more of the same domination from Dubois however, with less than a minute into round 4 ‘Dynamite’ landed a wonderful left hook to the body that dropped Little, but only temporarily. Tom rose, and though the body shot looked as if it had setup the finisher, he survived into the 5th.
It proved too far for the game challenger though, as in the 5th round, Dubois displayed the killer instinct that’s built up his big reputation. Daniel landed unanswered combinations of heavy head and body shots that forced the referee to step in and called an end to the fight.
Now 8-0 (8KOs), ‘Dynamite’ Dubois will not doubt be targeting both, British champion, Hughie Fury and Commonwealth champion, Joe Joyce. Not to forget fellow Queensberry Promotions stablemate, the unbeaten, Nathan Gorman, who two weeks ago dispatched of Sean Turner in three rounds.
Anthony Yarde vs. Dariusz Sek
Light heavyweight Anthony Yarde moved to 16-0 (15KOs) as he stopped 27-3-3, Dariusz Sek in 7 rounds to defend his WBO European and Inter-Continental straps.
Sek may have had the height advantage heading into the fight but with 50 seconds left of round 1, Yarde sent Dariusz sprawling to the canvas, but not hard enough to stop the eastern European surviving into the 2nd.
The Pol had previously never been stopped in 33 bouts, that included 3 losses and 3 draws, but ‘The Beast’ was putting that record to the test early on. Even as Sek looked to gain the middle ground Yarde came out the superior fighter, landing the cleaner punches in a more economical and effective way. Southpaw, Sek was more vigilante heading into rounds 3 &4 but he wasn’t able to keep Yarde off him anywhere near long enough to have a hope of stealing some rounds.
Rounds 5 and 6 saw Anthony remain dominant, looking to finish off Dariusz, though, despite the Brit seemingly teeing off on his opponent with ease, the Pol clearly had the chin to withstand the storm coming his way.
Anthony has only been taken the distance once as a pro, a 4-round bout with Stanislavs Makarenko in Yarde’s 2nd bout and he showed he was in no mood to go the scheduled distance for a 2nd time. In the 7th round Yarde, laid off heavy handed left and right hooks to the head and body forcing referee, Steve Gray to step in and call an end to the fight.
When asked who’s next, 26 year old Yarde was as succinct as a fighter can be,
‘Anybody. I’m not a promoter, I’m not a manager. My job is to fight. He’s (Sek) never been floored before, I floored him, I stopped him.’
There’s a lot of talent domestically for Anthony to eye up, with the likes of British & Commonwealth champion Callum Johnson, Frank Buglioni and Joshua Buatsi being possible fights in the near future.
Paul Kamanga vs. Ohara Davies
Fighting for the WBC ‘International’ super lightweight title, now 18-1 (14KOs), Ohara Davies knocked out Paul Kamanga in two rounds.
Neither fighter established themselves in the 1st round. Both choosing to tentatively fight from a distance, but then, after more of the same for 2:30 minutes of round 2, Davies landed a crushing right hand to the temple of Kamanga, which sent the DR Congo native face down onto the canvas and signalled the premature end of the bout.