European Boxing Notebook
Compiled By: Oliver McManus
Welcome to the second edition of the European Boxing Notebook, covering all the events and news from the 6th-21st May and even include a bonus section about an Asian world title doubleheader;
Photo Credit: Hughie Fury Twitter Account
HUGHIE FURY CLAIMS BRITISH TITLE
Boxing returned to terrestrial television on the 12th May with Sam Sexton’s first defence of the British heavyweight title he earned by outpointing Gary Cornish in the latter stages of last year – Hughie Fury was the challenger in a contest that saw Sexton taking huge risks but the rewards, should it pay off, were exponential.
The fight started off rather cagey but it was clear to see Hughie Fury’s natural talent shining through. Before fight there was an incredible lack of respect for Sam Sexton not by the opposite corner but rather by a section of fans who seemed to assume he was the challenger based on solely on the fact that Hughie was the more recognisable fighter.
And it was clear to see that Sexton was not to be underrated as his staunch defensive boxing withstood early barrages from Fury before capitalising with an effective flurry of his own when his challenger attempt to shorten the distance between the two fighters.
Ultimately the power of Hughie Fury would prove to be Sexton’s undoing as he was eventually battered and worn down, succumbing to a fifth round stoppage. A career to be proud of for Sam but for Hughie his career has only just got started.
WARRINGTON WHITWASHES SINKING SELBY
Josh Warrington fighting in his home town of Leeds, his dream venue of Elland Road in front of a crowd of over 20,000 looked to become the city’s first ever world champion against embittered rival Lee Selby, from Wales.
The build-up had been spiteful with Selby’s father infamously claiming Warrington wasn’t “even a top five fighter in Leeds” a quote that was delivered in a typically staged manner but there was nothing staged about the performance on the night.
Out jabbing from the start, Warrington was clearly buoyed by the incredible support beckoned in the cauldron of Elland Road, and opened up a gaping gash on the above the left eye of Selby within the first quarter of the fight.
Ironically there was no looking back from that moment for Josh who maintained an educated pressure throughout the bout, cautious not to walk onto the ever-lingering threat of Selby’s counter-punches.
Played in by the Kaiser Chiefs and their iconic “I Predict a Riot” the song seemed almost foreshadow how this IBF Featherweight fight would unfold with Warrington exploding into life, pressuring his Welsh opponent who had struggled with the weight pre-fight.
The rounds that Leeds’ lion won were clear, decisive battering’s whereas Selby appeared to merely scrape the rounds he claimed and throughout the fight it was continually Warrington who managed to control his emotions and the ring.
A scintillating performance not just for Warrington but for the whole city of Leeds resulted in history being made as Leeds were bequeathed their first ever world champion – courtesy of a, controversially, split decision with everyone perplexed as to how Alan Davis scored it 115-113 in favour of Selby.
On the undercard Jack Catterall faced a late replacement opponent in Christopher Sebire as he looked to regain his WBO Inter-Continental Super Lightweight title. Predictably Catterall dominated and within the first round the overweight Sebire sunk to the floor, dislocating a shoulder in the process. Job done for Catterall but bigger, tougher tests are just around the corner.
Darren Tetley and Mason Cartwright clashed in what was a real “trade fight”, on paper the best scrap in Britain across the weekend and so it proved with Tetley and Cartwright throwing shots left, right and centre throughout the duration of this fight, scheduled for 10, rendering both fighters battered and bloodied but it was Cartwright who would fall victim to this bruising encounter, splitting a lip with blood smattered all over his face – a warrior who WOULD have continued had he been allowed, the doctor called it off with Cartwright bearing horrific superficial damage. A rematch would be incredible if not likely.
HEXICUTIONER ENDS TAGUCHI’S REIGN
Former minimum-weight world champion survived a late barrage from WBA and IBF junior flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi over in Japan as he became a multi-weight world champion and a hero back in his home country of South Africa.
The judges all scored the fight 114-113 for the former WBA and IBO Champion who, himself, was looking for redemption following a loss to Milan Melindo – the opponent who Taguchi defeated last time out.
Not necessarily an action packed fight, Budler controlled the fight from the beginning with higher work rate and sustained pressure, particularly taking charge of the first 6-7 rounds before tables flipped on The Hexicutioner with his 27-2-2 opponent really building momentum with the crowd getting behind him.
Ultimately it would prove too little, too late as Budler’s early onslaught of pressure saw him the deserved winner of the IBF and WBA Light Flyweight titles.
9 and 0 IBF minimum-weight world champion Hiroto Kyoguchi was making the second defence of his title at, regular territory, Ota-City Gymnasium against a fellow undefeated boxer in the form of Vince Paras – a nineteen year old Filipino competing in his first 12 rounder and his first fight on foreign soil.
A serious threat, Paras proved to be much less of a walkover than many expected with a thunderous left hook to the temple sending Kyoguchi down in the third round but the champion did well to recover and control the tempo of the fight with a cautious jab.
All three judges scored it 117-110, 117-110, 117-110.
TAYLOR TACKLE’S POSTOL
Cyclone Promotion’s announced the next fight for their golden boy Josh Taylor who will take on Viktor Postol, former challenger to Terrence Crawford, on June 23rd. The event will take place in Edinburgh as Taylor seeks to extend his professional record to 13 and 0 against one of the world’s best super lightweight’s.
A former world champion himself, Postol claimed the belt by knocking out Lucas Martin Matthysse in the 10th round back in October 2015 and has an impressive CV with names such as Yvan Mendy, Karen Tevosyan and Jamshidbek Najmiddinov joining Matthysse on the list of Postol’s conquered opponents.
At 34 years of age Postol will be determined to prove he’s still capable of packing a punch at the top level of world boxing against an opponent seven years his younger.
The contest serves as a final eliminator for the WBC title but with the kingpin of that division, Kiryl Relikh, entering the, as yet to be announced, 2018/19 Super Lightweight World Boxing Super Series, there’s every possibility that that may yet prove to be Josh Taylor’s next move in entering the tournament alongside the likes of Regis Prograis, Eduard Troyanosky, Anthony Yigit and Ivan Baranchyk.
EDDIE HEARN’S BILLION POUND DEAL
Eddie Hearn and DAZN announced the largest broadcasting deal in boxing when they inked an eight year, $1billion contract that would see Matchroom Boxing USA put on 16 shows a year over in the States with 12 “big” shows and 4 “monster” cards being provided to subscribers of, Perform Group’s, DAZN.
The streaming service has already been available in Germany, Japan and Canada with whom there are pre-existential agreements with Eddie Hearn to show a variety of Matchroom Cards. The announcement is expected to impact on UK cards with additional spending power being granted to Hearn across the board.
BEEFY LOOKS FOR WBO SHOT
Following on from Jaime Munguia’s sensational stoppage victory against Sadam Ali, Liverpool’s Liam Smith has been mandated as the next contender for the WBO Super Welterweight belt. Smith was the original challenger to Ali on May 12th before an allergic reaction two weeks out from the night lead to his withdrawal.
But the performance from Munguia enhanced the vocal belief that Smith would have been too much to handle for Cotto’s conqueror and attention now turns to a far more exciting clash with the Mexican belt holder who enhanced his record to 29 and 0.
Smith, of course, previously held the WBO belt before putting it all on the line in a brave effort against Canelo Alvarez – since then he’s claimed two victories over bitter rival Liam Williams and has catapulted himself to the mandatory position in the WBO rankings as he looks to re-establish his name at the top of the world scene.
The fight is believed to be taking place on either the 21st or 28th of July.
Joe Joyce, who captured the Commonwealth Heavyweight belt, is scheduled to make the first defence of his title on June 15th at York Hall with the card featuring a plethora of Hayemaker Ringstar talent including Ruqsana Begum and Kody Davis.
The choice of opponents are seemingly slim with the Commonwealth Boxing Council’s official list of contenders either already signed up to fights or unlikely to accept the bout. Couple that with the fact the CBC told us exclusively that they’ve yet to receive an application for a title defence, the ultimate scenario looks as though Joyce will end up fighting a journeyman… we wait and see.
THE LAST WORD
The last word for this week can go to Harvey Horn, I asked him how he’d feel if he looked back on his career and there were three losses on his record from three excellent fights as opposed to guarding his unbeaten record throughout;
“Of course, I would definitely feel better because if I protected it and didn’t take those chances then I’d feel like I cheated myself and I cheated my talent, I wouldn’t feel like I’d explored everything I can do in the boxing game and I think if it took them losses to experience it all then so be it but obviously I’d love to keep my 0 but I’ll take those chances.”