By: Oliver McManus
A busy week of boxing in Europe with no less than 21 cards staged across the continent; Belarus, Switzerland, Ukraine, France, Italy, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Finland and Russia all hosted events.
The big talking points came in London with Frank Warren’s five fight offering – down from eight after JJ Metcalf vs Jack Flatley and Micky Burke vs Dan Booth were cancelled due to positive COVID-19 tests whilst Dennis McCann was unable to find an opponent following Pedro Matos’ withdrawal.
Liam Williams topped the bill in defence of his British middleweight title with mandatory challenger Andrew Robinson in the opposing corner. Robinson, 36, had been installed as the mandatory for some time and this was his first fight in just over a year. Williams, defending his title for the second time, was a clear class and showed just why he’s chasing world titles with a brutal stoppage inside of 80 seconds.
Robinson was cautious and that was to his detriment as Williams’ fast hands peppered the guard and had Robinson looking sheepish from the off. In truth, he looked disinterested and moved lethargically: an easy game for Williams who punched and butchered the body of his challenger. A clash of heads drew blood from both men but it made no difference to the outcome.
Robinson was overmatched, and for Williams, it must surely be a world title fight next.
Nathan Gorman returned to the ring with a sluggish, indifferent victory over Richard Lartey. Expectations were that the two men would go toe-to-toe for ten rounds in a real firefight: those predictions were solidified when Gorman hit the scales at 273lbs. Gorman can be forgiven for not being in peak condition having struggled outside of the ring. This win, in which Lartey offered nothing, can hopefully be used as a catalyst to better things for the very likable Nantwich boxer.
At super middleweight, Willy Hutchinson demonstrated his exceptional speed and power in stopping Jose Miguel Fandino inside one round to go 13-0. The Scottish star was convincing on the scales and emphatic on the night with a spiteful salvo halting his Spanish opponent. Now that we know the youngster can make weight he should look to tackle a domestic challenge and I think Lennox Clarke would be an ideal opponent. Clarke ran, British champion, Lerrone Richards close last year and the match-up would be a good test for both men…. just don’t tell him that.
Mark Chamberlain boxed well over eight rounds to out-man former WBO Youth champion Shaun Cooper over eight rounds. Chamberlain dropped his man twice – in the fourth and seventh – to add the sheen to a good night of work. 80-69 on Ian John Lewis’ card.
There was a sole upset on the night with Luke Jones coming out of the blocks with real fervent enthusiasm to stop Muheeb Fazeldin (previously 13-0-1) in two rounds. Jones hassled and hurried Fazeldin who simply couldn’t settle. I wasn’t too surprised that Jones won. I remember him running James Beech Jr. close over ten rounds last December (Beech later challenged for the British title) and Fazledin had been out of the ring for an absolute age.
The big news outside of the UK came from Magdeburg, Germany with Robin Krasniqi taking the interim WBA light heavyweight world title and the full IBO honours. Krasniqi, who has been around for ages despite being 33, made a quiet return to the ring in August before taking on Dominic Boesel on Saturday night. Boesel, himself 30, had been out of the ring since stopping Sven Fornling in November for those two titles.
Krasniqi, who debuted in 2005, bossed his way through the ring at GETEC Arena and showed the class that has seen him hold the European title and challenge for two world titles before. He had Boesel wobbling and, indeed, the younger man hit the canvas in the third but, referee Oliver Brien incorrectly ruled it a slip. Boesel couldn’t recover and Krasniqi followed up with some hammering right hands to put the contest beyond all doubt in the third.
The undercard saw Peter Kadiru, promising as a junior and now 10-0 as a pro, winning the German heavyweight title courtesy of some wide scoring against Roman Gorst. The 6-1 Gorst, was eight years older than Kadiru and did force the youngster into some deep thinking. Kadiru ultimately did enough, but he’ll have to look sharper if he’s going to be a threat in the division.