Is Ashley Theophane worth the hype?
By Dominic Sauboorah
Along with Amir Khan another up and coming light-welterweight fighter is beginning to prosper which has been proven after his convincing win over experienced domestic fighter Lenny Daws (22-2-2) for the British light-welterweight championship. Ashley Theophane (31-4-1) is clearly one for the future, but is it too soon to hype him up to be a world class boxer? After Theophane’s somewhat mediocre display against the extremely inexperienced Ben Murphy (8-5-1) I feel pretty inclined to disagree that he’s worth the hype.
From the opening round there was that sense of animosity growing inside of Murphy. The expression on his face was one of anger and determination and this was made apparent as he came storming out from his corner and bullied Theophane along the ropes. Pushing and grabbing by Murphy made it clear that he wanted to rough the younger man up and cause a massive upset. For the first five rounds Murphy did this successfully. He never allowed the defending champion to get his punches off, smothering his work and landing clean body punches on the inside. Theophane seemed somewhat baffled that he wasn’t able to dominate a fighter who lacked the experience that he has. Luckily the last four rounds proved crucial for the British Champion. Ben Murphy, despite his gutsy and audacious effort, had run out of gas. There was nothing left in the tank apart from a few laboured swings in which he could muster to state to the judges that he was still in the fight… but it simply wasn’t good enough. Theophane picked him off from range, wore Murphy down, resulting in the referee stepping in and stopping the fight. A good call from the referee who stopped Ben Murphy from being seriously hurt.
The expression after from Theophane spoke volumes as he collapsed to the canvas aware that he won by the skin of his teeth. The British champion had won but clearly from his expression must’ve been thinking “what was that about?” I know I was.
Ashley Theophane is obviously gaining great experience by training in America and in the future he could easily be the next great British fighter, however this is most likely the only reason as to why he’s been hyped up. Many fighters have come to the presumption that if you go to America and make a name for yourself there then you automatically put yourself on the world stage of boxing. Really? David Haye has proven to many globally that he was a world class fighter yet he never fought in America. Trained there for sure, but he was already known around the world without the need to go Stateside. Another example could be Kell Brook, who has catapulted himself amongst the top ten ranked welterweights in the world and he hasn’t fought in America either.
Ashley Theophane could be the next great boxer to come out of Britain. To say that he could be competing for a world title soon though, after a lacklustre performance against a boxer with a height disadvantage and a generally unappealing record, is a massive overstatement. He’s dominating the domestic scene and one day could catapult himself to a world title shot, but now just simply isn’t the right time.