The European Weekend Roundup
[Editor’s Note: We at Maxboxing are pleased to welcome Anson Wainwright to our staff. We look forward to his brand of coverage and experience from years on the European beat.]
Kevin Mitchell vs. John Murray
Finally, the two best lightweights in Britain met in an eagerly awaited bout. It was the first time Mitchell has been in the ring since he lost to Michael Katsidis 14 months ago. Since then, he has had several personal problems. At the same time, Murray was cleaning up domestically and had moved on to European glory. When the action got underway, Mitchell showed no sign of ring rust as he mixed clever aggression with his silky skills throughout the first stanza. The second belonged to Murray, who closed the distance and forced Mitchell to stand and trade, as the fast-paced rounds passed with both men having their moments. By the middle rounds, Murray seemed to be the one who was likely to win, forcing Mitchell to work for the full three minutes. However, Mitchell started to find the mark more and a heavily marked-up Murray finally wilted toward the end of the seventh but, though shaken, he managed to see his way to the bell. As the eighth kicked off, Mitchell knew his time had come, mixing in left hooks and uppercuts, which he had successfully landed all night. Finally, he landed a left uppercut backing up that connected with an onrushing and game Murray, doubling the impact, sending him down. Though he rose and bravely tried to continue, it was all Mitchell when referee Richard James Davies rightly stopped the action at 1:46 of the eighth. Mitchell moved to 32-1 (24) while Murray dipped to 31-1 (18).
Ricky Burns vs. Nicky Cook
Scotland’s Ricky Burns, 32-2 (9), successfully made his third defence of his WBO super featherweight title under strange circumstances, halting former champion Cook at 1:33 of the first round. Cook, 30-3 (16), took a shot to the ribs as he was twisting away from a Burns body shot after just six seconds. Cook went down in agony but rose and tried to carry on but after going down twice more, his corner threw in the towel. Cook left the ring on a stretcher and it was later revealed that he had prolapsed a disc in his back.
Tony Bellew vs. Ovill McKenzie
These two light heavyweights met in February with Bellew winning an exciting eighth round stoppage in a contest that saw both met hit the canvas more than once, so the much anticipated rematch was also expected to provide fireworks. However, it proved anything but as Bellew, 16-0 (10), outboxed McKenzie, 18-11 (7), over 12 rather uneventful rounds, adding the vacant British title to his Commonwealth crown by scores of 119-110 and 118-111 twice.
Frankie Gavin vs. Curtis Woodhouse
For awhile now, Woodhouse has called out his Midlands rival, Frankie Gavin. He finally got his chance at Gavin and put up a very good show, running Britain’s one and only world amateur champion to a split decision by scores of 117-112, 116-113, 114-115. Despite securing the win, it was a disappointing performance by Gavin, who moved to 11-0 (8) while Woodhouse dropped to 15-3 (10).
Also in action, light middleweight Joe Selkirk, 7-0 (4), gave his home fans something to cheer about, stopping Terry Carruthers at 1:15 of the first. Ronnie Heffron moved to 6-0 (3), beating former British title challenger Barrie Jones over six rounds, 60-56. Commonwealth Games gold medalist Callum Johnson raised his record to 3-0 (1) with a four-round decision over Lee Duncan.
Lee Purdy vs. Craig Watson
In April, Purdy claimed the British title when he stopped Watson in the fifth round on the Amir Khan-Paul McCloskey bill. He repeated the win, scoring an identical fifth round stoppage at 2:00 of the round. It takes Purdy to 16-2-1 (9) while Watson drops to 20-5 (8).
Bob Ajisafe, 9-2 (3), stopped Darren Stubbs, 21-6 (8), at :37 of the third round on cuts to win the vacant English light heavyweight title.
Current Commonwealth champion Denton Vassell, 18-0 (9), won a workmanlike six-round decision over Italian-based Nicaraguan journeyman Ronny McField over six rounds in a non-title bout. Vassell holds a points win over Lee Purdy back in April 2010. A rematch for the British and Commonwealth titles seems likely in the near future.
Marco Huck vs. Hugo Garay
During fight week, Garay had tried to get under the champion’s skin and promised he’d take home Huck’s title. When it came time to back up those words, the Argentinean former WBA light heavyweight titlist wasn’t able to after touching down in the first. Though he managed to carry on and put up a spirited performance before hitting the canvas again in the tenth, referee Luis Pabon rescued him at 1:10 of the round. It was Huck’s seventh defence of his WBO cruiserweight crown, upping his impressive record to 33-1 (24).
Eduard Gutknecht, 22-1 (9), successfully defended his European light heavyweight title for the first time, turning back the challenge of Italian Lorenzo Di Giacomo, 41-5-1 (18), over 12 rounds by scores of 119-107 twice and 120-105. It was Di Giacomo’s third attempt at winning a European title; the previous two attempts were in the middleweight division.
In middleweight action, 23-year-old Dominik Britsch, 24-0 (9), beat Ryan Davis, 23-9-3 (9), to claim the vacant IBF Inter-Continental crown with a ninth round stoppage.
Highly touted Kubrat “The Cobra” Pulev 13-0 (6) won a pedestrian eight round decision over Maksym Pediura, 13-2-1 (11).
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