Week Seven of the “Daily News Golden Gloves Tournament” from Newburgh NY- Highlights and results
By: Daxx Khan – RingSide – March 24, 2017
On Wednesday night March 22nd, week seven of the “New York Daily News Golden Gloves” took place at upstate New York’s “Newburgh Free Academy”. Through the efforts of Leonard Lee, head of “Newburgh Hook Elite Boxing” and matchmaker Diana Rodriguez, it would be the first time a tournament bracket would be held at the location.
Throughout its ninety years of existence, “New York Daily News Golden Gloves” has given boxing fans their first glimpse at dozens of future world champions. Even the sports, all time “Pound for Pound” King, “Sugar” Ray Robinson began his journey winning the gloves. When you mention “East Coast Amateur Boxing Tournament’s”, nothing holds prestige in the hearts of fans and fighters like “New York Daily News Golden Gloves”.
In attendance to lend their support, were former world champions, Iran “The Blade” Barkley, Alicia “Slick” Ashley and “Downtown” Leona Brown”. Also in attendance, was former multi-time New York Daily News Golden Gloves winner and director Brian Adams.
Opening the event, would be a series of 165lb Female, Semi-Final Bouts.
Rachele Beckley out of the “Main Street Boxing Club”, used her combination punching to score a decision over hard hitting Leah Cooper of “Gold Folk Boxing”.
Krystal Dixon scored the first of two wins, for “Champs Boxing Club”, outpointing Marine Beauchamp of “Worldwide Boxing”.
114lb Male Novice semi-final bracket.
Gerardo Vazquez of “Rustams Boxing Club”, defeated Basel Baker of “John’s Gym”.
Matthew Sanchez of “Worldwide Boxing Club”, scored the only stoppage of the event, halting Joseph Roman in the second round.
132lb Male Novice semi-final bracket.
Ricardo Rodriguez scored the first of two wins for “Gleason’s Gym”, claiming a decision over Taqee McDaniel of “Eastern Queens Boxing”.
In a bout between two fighters, out of the same boxing club, Ronny Reyes defeated Musa Cham, both boxers represented “Morris Park Boxing”.
James Lluveres of “Champs Boxing Club”, scored the gyms second win of the event, winning a decision over James Belizaire of “Eye of the Tiger Boxing”.
Female 125lb Semi-Final
Andrea Tosto, scored the evenings second win for “Gleason’s Gym”, with a close decision over Samantha Mang of “Work Train Fight”.
In my opinion, the most complete fighter on card in terms of all-around boxing ability, was Trudy Li out of the “Sweatbox Boxing Club”. Over three rounds, En-route to winning a decision over Elise Seignolle out of “NYAC”, Li demonstrated ring generalship and an overall boxing IQ far beyond any other fighter of the night.
Male 201+ Open semi-finals.
Boris Zarate of “Freeport PAL” and Nicolas Rubens of “Starrett City Boxing Club”, provided the cards most action-packed bout. It was all about, landing power punches from the start. In the end, Boris Zarate was awarded a close decision, the contest could have gone in either direction, with no argument from observers.
The events final contest, took place between local Newburgh resident, Marquise Williams out of “Newburgh Hook Elite” and Matthew Tinker of “NYAC”. The judges scored it for Williams, who will have his hands full should he face Boris Zarate in the next round.
After a quality show and turnout from local fans, hopefully more events will take place for young fighters in and around the Newburgh Area. The efforts of Leonard Lee and team from “Newburgh Hook Elite Boxing”, in my opinion proved they are serious about bringing boxing to their local area on a regular basis.
There is already an event scheduled in April, when Lee and his team from “Newburgh Hook Elite”, take on a visiting team from “Ireland”. It will be billed as “USA vs. Ireland”, taking place as part of an ever growing “Put down the guns and pick up the gloves” campaign.
GOLOVKIN VS JACOBS FINAL THOUGHTS- A Quality fight that viewers KO’d!
By: Daxx Khan – March 20, 2017
On Saturday night, prior to Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs stepping into the ring, the outcome was already solidified in fans minds “Someone was getting knocked out and in sensational fashion”. The reasons on, who and why when asked, always returned the same responses. Those who chose GGG stated “Jacobs has been stopped before, Pirog stopped him, GGG has twice the power and skill. He was down against light punching Sergio Mora, no way he last twelve round against Golovkin”.
The Jacobs supporters stated “GGG looked beatable against Kell Brook, if a blown-up welterweight had success, Jacobs combination of power, size and age advantage will be too much for GGG. This is the perfect time to take advantage of a declining champion”.
Instead of a brutal KO win for either fighter, we were given a closely contested, high quality bout. One where both fighters used their minds and physical skillset. In doing so, it seems the majority, who didn’t witness the knockout they craved are disappointed.
Instead of GGG absorbing punches willingly, a strategy he has implored in past bouts, one that opens his opponent up for counter shots. The shots that when he lands, usually ends fights. He rolled with punches, used a high guard, made sure he didn’t risk over extending himself.
He did this because, he knew Jacobs was bigger, allowing him to absorb punches better than other opponents. He knew the longer reach of Jacobs, would make it difficult to get in close and work the body without paying a heavy price. Instead he chose to pick his shots, not become over anxious, risk being countered himself. He waited to deliver his power shots when he knew the target was in range.
As for Jacobs, he knew GGG was not Peter Quillin, trying to jump all over him, meant risk being countered. One is all a guy like GGG needs to end the night. A knockdown in round four, reminded him just how quick it could end. He knew GGG had issues with guys who move in the past, his reach and footwork was key.
The predictions and expectations prior to fight time were credible. Considering the history of each fighter, in terms of finishing opponents in dynamic fashion. We were not in the ring, we were not taking the punches and despite what was said during the buildup, both fighters also knew something else. They knew the counter points of those predictions.
It’s true, GGG looked slow against Brook. With Brook, having naturally faster hands and feet, GGG at any time in his career would have looked slower. The size difference was also exaggerated, Brook a very large welterweight, fought nine times as a junior middleweight and high as middleweight prior to the GGG bout. Also, GGG, had prepared for another opponent, Brook was a replacement opponent.
It’s also true, Daniel Jacobs was stopped by Dmitry Pirog. He was also winning, on all three scorecards when stoppage occurred. That was in 2010, this is 2017, a whole lifetime in boxing years. Since Jacobs, continuously raised his level of competition in each bout, stopping everyone in his path. A KO loss, doesn’t always mean a fighter has a suspect chin. If it did, Henry Armstrong, who lost his pro debut by stoppage, would have never went 180 more bouts, losing just one more by stoppage. Claiming world titles, in three divisions at the same time, when there were only eight divisions and one title in each.
Team Jacobs and team Golovkin took those into consideration going in. Each fighter knew what the public expected, a war with someone looking up towards the lights when it ended. The fact, each fighter did what was needed, to avoid that ending, without sacrificing their integrity inside the ring as a fighter. Is something only, the absolute elite are capable of.
If anyone who watched, cannot understand, more importantly appreciate what, Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs did Saturday night, regardless of who won is not a boxing fan. They are a “Fight Fan”, fight fans are good for business, they strip boxing of its integrity while keeping the sport in business. They do it simply because all they understand are knockouts and their rationalization on who should win comes from the internet. This continued trend will soon leave promoters and fighters with little choice, if money is to be made. Give the masses their basic entertainment, let them gorge in subpar quality. Just keep them happy, it’s not as if they know the difference nor do they care about quality.
There have been empires, who collapsed for those same reasons, instead of pleasing the social media trolls now for PPV buys, someone should Google how that ended. Since the UFC stealing boxings thunder daily isn’t enough.
LEMIEUX STOPS STEVENS COLD! Gamboa lowers his stock on HBO
By: Daxx Khan – March 12, 2017
Saturday night at the Turning Stone Casino, former IBF middleweight title holder David Lemieux took on former world title challenger Curtis Stevens in the headliner of an HBO broadcast. This was an important fight for both men, for Stevens it would decide if he stays a relevant name or becomes an “Opponent” caliber fighter. The career of Stevens has always been a rough road, whenever he has momentum, he falls short in that step-up fight which could bring his career to the next level. While Stevens gives it his all in every fight, when he loses, he loses big. In the case of Lemieux, he was dominated by Gennady Golovkin to such an extent, fans have almost forgotten he is a former world champion, capable of stepping in with just about anyone from 160-168lbs in boxing today.
In the first round, Lemieux hurt Stevens early keeping him on the backfoot. In the second Lemieux slowed a bit, Stevens landed some hard shots of his own and seemed to hurt Lemieux to the body towards rounds end.
When back in the corners, Lemieux’s trainer Marc Ramsey stated “Relax and wait for the opening”, he did just that and stopped Curtis Stevens cold at 1:59 of the third round. It was the best KO of the last year without question in my opinion. They would take Curtis Stevens out of the ring by stretcher and to a local hospital.
In his post-fight interview, David Lemieux was polite, wished Stevens well and stated he would like to fight Billy Joe Saunders next if possible. Unlike Yuriorkis Gamboa, David Lemieux is without question still a relevant fighter in his division, in fact outside of Gennady Golovkin and Danny Jacobs he might be the best middleweight in boxing today.
The co-feature between former two division champion Yuriorkis Gamboa and rugged Nicaraguan Rene Alvarado had a similar scenario, at least for Gamboa. A once “Pound for Pound” prospect, Gamboa has looked ordinary at best since being stopped by Terence Crawford in 2014. The fact, he has faced B level opponents, struggling against one, Hylon Williams Jr in the same venue just over a year ago, has done nothing to help erase a growing “Over rated” stigma that has become attached since loss against Crawford.
It was questionable on how Gamboa, would perform even before the fight began, rehydrating 14lbs in 24 hours. He weighed officially 131lbs yet entered at 145lbs virtually a welterweight. His performance showed it, he looked mediocre, his pace was slow, he threw single punches and was dropped in the final round for an eight count. As for Rene Alvarado, he was fighting a welterweight and gave his best. In the end judges seen it 97-93 and 97-92 twice for Yuriorkis Gamboa who improved to 26-1 (17). In the loss, Rene Alvarado now stands at 24-8 (16).
In my opinion it’s safe to say Yuriorkis Gamboa is done as a top-rated fighter, he will continue to be in these type bouts, doing just enough to get by. Contrary to what the HBO announce team said he will not drop down in weight and be a threat to Vasyl Lomachenko.
In Undercard action-
Super Lightweight- Yves Ulysse Jr 12-0 (8) Zachary Ochoa 16-0 (7)
vacant NABF Junior super lightweight title
Featherweight- Diego De La Hoya 17-0 (9) def. Roberto Pucheta 10-10-1 (6) UD 8.
Super Middleweight- D’Mitrius Ballard 16-0 (12) def. Zoltan Sera 28-12(19) via TKO 4.
Light Heavyweight- Todd Unthank May 10-0-1 (4) draw. Quinton Rankin 12-3-2 (9) D6.
Lightweight- Damon Allen 11-0-1 (5) def. Adam Mate 24-11 (17) via TKO 2.
Super Welterweight- Alex Rincon 1-0 (1) def. Shaun Lee Henson 2-4 (2) via TKO 2.
Lemieux KO’s Stevens in three
By: Bill Calogero – Ringside – March 11, 2017
Verona, NY – David Lemieux stopped Curtis Stevens with a devastating left in the third round of their scheduled 12-round middleweight fight, which was the main event of a great card from the Turning Stone Resort & Casino, broadcast on HBO.
The fireworks between Lemieux and Stevens started when the bell rang to start the first round. Both fighters landed hard shots on each other. Stevens seemed to have the tighter defense during the first and second rounds and looked like he was banking on taking Lemieux into the later rounds.
David Lemieux had other plans. Although he let his hands go freely during the first and most of the second, he began the third choosing his shots more carefully. Lemieux positioned Stevens against the ropes, threw a right hand, which Stevens tried to counter but David’s crushing left hook got to its target first, sending Curtis crumbling to the canvas, out cold. Referee Charlie Fitch waved it off immediately as Stevens lay motionless.
Curtis Stevens regained consciousness as he was removed from the ring on a stretcher.
The official time of the knockout was 1:59 of the third round. David Lemieux improves to 37-3 (33 KOs) and Curtis Stevens drops to 29-6 (21 KOs).
In the co-main event, Yuriorkis Gamboa won a ten-round unanimous decision over Rene Alvarado in a less than action-packed fight. Gamboa showed glimpses of excitement in the ring, letting his hands go, but for the most part, he fought a cautious fight against an opponent he should have had his foot firmly on the gas pedal.
Alvarado caught Yuriorkis with a shot that put him down in the final round, but it was a flash-knock-down and did not seem to be hurt Gamboa at all. In the end, two of the three judges scored the fight 97-92 and the third saw it 97-93 giving Gamboa the win. Yuriorkis Gamboa improves to 26-1 (17 KOs) and Rene Alvarado drops to 24-8 (16 KOs).
In undercard action:
Yves Ulysse won via a TKO when Zachary Ochoa’s corner stopped the fight at the end of the 7th round of their Super Lightweight contest. Ulysse improves to 13-0 (9 KOs) and Zachary Ochoa loses for the first time, dropping to 10-1 (7 KOs). Keep an eye on Yves Ulysse.
Diego De La Hoya won an eight-round decision over Roberto Pucheta to improve to 17-0 (9 KOs) in a Jr. Featherweight match-up. De La Hoya needs to step up his competetion, but then again, it looks like his team are well aware of his short-comings. In my opinion, a fighter at 16 or 17 and 0 should have taken care of Pucheta prior to the final bell. De La Hoya has a long way to go.
D’Mitrius Ballard stopped Zoltan Sera at 1:16 of the 4th round in their Super Middleweight bout to improve to 16-0 (12 KOs). Zoltan Sera drops to 26-12 (17 KOs).
Alex Rincon made his pro debut a successful one by stopping Shaun Lee Henson with a body shot at 52 seconds of the second round in their middleweight fight. Rincon is now 1-0 (1 KO) and Henson drops to 3-3 (2 KOs).
Damon Allen Jr. improved to 11-0-1 (5 KOs) by stopping Adam Mate at 1:05 of the second round of their lightweight fight. Mate drops to 24-11 (17 KOs).
Todd Unthank-May and Quinton Rankin fought to a split DRAW decision in their light-heavyweight contest. Unthank-May is now 10-0-1 (4 KOs) and Rankin 12-3-2 (9 KOs).
Another great night of boxing at the Turning Stone.
Boxing Loses a Legend -Hall of Fame Trainer and Manager Lou Duva passes at age 94
By: Daxx Khan – March 9, 2017
It was with deep sorrow to hear another one of boxing’s greats, Hall of Famer Lou Duva passed away March 8th at age 94. Starting in 1963, after Joey Giardiello his first champion defeated Dick Tiger for the middleweight title, Duva worked almost four decades, guiding not only some of the modern eras but boxings all-time greats.
As a trainer, Lou worked with world champions and title challengers, Pernell Whitaker, Evander Holyfield, Mark Breland, Vinny Pazienza, Meldrick Taylor, Jose Luis Lopez, Michael Moorer, Alex Arthur, Tyrell Biggs and Andrew Golota. As a Manager, Duva guided Johnny Bumphus, Rocky Lockridge, Shaun George and multi-division title holder Zab Judah towards success.
He was more than one of boxing’s most successful trainers and managers, he was one of its larger than life figures. I believe Lou Duva, might be the only manager and trainer whose own memorable moments, equal that of his fighters.
Who could ever forget the time, Lou went at it with Roger Mayweather after his win over Vinny Pazienza? The referee might have turned a blind eye to Mayweather hitting Pazienza late, that didn’t mean Lou was letting it go. It might have temporarily cost him his manager’s license and $750 dollars but he put boxing on notice. “Lou Duva doesn’t take guff from anyone”.
It wasn’t just his fighter’s opponents, promoters, trainers and referees were also confronted if they crossed Duva or his fighters. When Mike Tyson stopped Lou’s fighter Tyrell Biggs, Tysons promoter Don King mocked Biggs and Duva from ringside. His comments infuriated Lou, he went after King, looking to dish out his own punishment, security guards would stop him just feet before King was in reach.
The most famous or perhaps infamous public moment, involving Duva came on July 11th 1996, that was the night Andrew Golota and Riddick Bowe met for the first time. When Golota was disqualified for low blows, a mini-riot ensued. The commotion caused his defibrillator to go off, he was taken from the ring on a stretcher, in what could be best described as a “Micky Goldmill” moment. It was a real life Rocky 3 situation.
Those were just a few of many, Lou Duva moments. Was he a bit extreme? At times, yes, no debating that fact, one thing was for certain though. If you were with Lou Duva, he had your back, even if it meant taking on all comers.
While he was a larger than life figure, he was also that guy we seen a little of ourselves in, Duva had that “Fella from the Neighborhood” persona we could relate to. The fact we seen him down, yet refuse to stay down on multiple occasions, made him all the more likable. Even during his worst moments.
In his 94 years, Lou Duva lived a long full life. During his years in the sport, we watched Lou call it as he seen it. There were many times, when Lou should have thought things through before reacting. Yet he was the type guy who, always did what he felt was right “Now” and always with the best interest of his fighters. Whatever consequences might follow, could be dealt with later. That’s what separated him from everyone else in the business. It’s what made Lou Duva one of boxings greats.
In an era, where people seem more worried about “Consequences” then what’s right, we could use a few dozen more, Lou Duva types in boxing today. If anything, just to point fingers when the “Powers that be” fail at doing their job. Let’s hope now, he can sit with other past greats of the sport, look down and say “They are doing it right”. He did his part in helping lay the foundation, it’s up to the new generation to capitalize and do him proud.
World Boxing Entertainment – David Haye Gets KO’d
By: Johnston Brown – March 5, 2017
On Saturday night at the o2 Arena in London, Greenwich we were treated to an entertaining night of action. Ohara Davies set the tone nicely when he entered the ring against Derry Matthews to The Undertakers theme music. Not that his performance was anything WWE like but the main event of the evening not only lived up to the wrestling entertainment value but it gave us even more.
For some reason this fight caught the imagination of the British public from the moment Tony Bellew called out David Haye, after knocking out BJ Flores in his first defence of the WBC Cruiserweight title. With Haye the number one contender for the WBO Heavyweight crown at the time, I did not think he would accept. But I should have known better when it comes to David ‘my little toe’ Haye as he jumped at the chance to fight the smaller guy.
The week long build up to the fight was painful to watch and listen to but credit where credit is due, Sky Sports, Eddie Hearn, David Haye and Tony Bellew sold the fight out in minutes.
On the Wednesday before the fight the press leaked that David Haye had been spotted in Munich with a suspected Achilles tendon injury. Haye rubbished the rumours stating that he was fully fit and the fight would still go ahead.
In the first round Bellew connected with the better shots and slipped some wild Haye punches that threw him off balance. In rounds two and three Haye used his jab and tried to throw some big right hands that Bellew took and avoided well. But Haye had his best round in the fourth when he landed a hurtful right-left combination.
Into the fifth and it seemed like Bellew was starting to open up as Haye continued to land his jab to the body and looked dangerous with Bellew on the ropes.
Then in the sixth round the drama unfolded, as Haye seemed to slip after a Bellew right hand. You could see that he was having problems with what looked like his knee? Bellew jumped on Haye for the knock out and eventually he put the 36 year down but he rose to his feet and survived the Evertonian’s onslaught.
Shane McGuigan advised Haye to stay on the ropes for round seven and try to counter the inevitable Bellew pressure. The round ended completely one sided as left and rights continued to connect throughout with hardly any punches coming back from Haye.
With Haye unable to stand up straight and walking around like he’s had far too many cocktails at his Miami training camp, the scouser looked for the defining blow in round eight. Haye had his hands down by his side while the cruiserweight tried to capitalise but he looked slow and tiered probably due to the extra weight he was carrying.
The ninth was surprisingly easier for the Londoner as Bellew threw little more than a jab as he seemed to reserve his energy for the last two rounds. The most eventful moment of the round was a cheap shot to the crown jewels of Tony Bellew.
In round ten Shane McGuigan taped up the Londoners ankle not that it helped as he continued to stumble around the ring. Bellews reserved energy helped him sustain the pressure a little more then the previous round but he was unable to end the fight. Haye landed a dangerous left hand that reminded the scouser that he can still win with one leg.
Into the eleventh round Haye attempted to hit Bellew with a left jab but ended up on the floor. Soon after getting back to his feet Bellew finally connected with a shot to the top of the head that sent Haye through the ropes. He valiantly beat the count and got back to his feet but his corner had seen enough and threw in the towel. Tony Bellew wins with an 11th round TKO.
This has to be one of the biggest upsets in British Boxing history and surely ends David Haye’s career. Even if he does make a return for the rematch, I’m sure the £4m he made from the £7m pot will go a long way to soothing his massive ego.
A lot of the press and social media have portrayed this fight as a massive Heavyweight match up and a lot of the British fans have bought into it. I on the other hand have to disagree.
David Haye will get plaudits for managing to fight on with only one leg but I can’t help but be sceptical of his injury. It was his little toe for the Klitschko fight, his shoulder for the fight that never happened against Tyson Fury and now the Achilles tendon? Yes it may have been as it seemed but for me he’s like the little boy that cried wolf.
Tony Bellew should now concentrate on defending his WBC cruiserweight title before he’s stripped. Instead of even thinking about fighting anyone like Deontay Wilder, not that I think the heavyweight isn’t beatable but his big right hand would flatten Bellew.
I just want to make an honourable mention to Derry Mathews who announced his retirement after his loss to Ohara Davies. He really has been a great servant to British boxing and I wish him all the best for the future.
On the undercards
Cruiserweight Jake Bonallie (1-0) bt Craig Glover (2-1-0) on Pts
Super Welterweight Ted Cheeseman (8-0) bt Jack Sellars (5-1-1) on Pts
Heavyweight Dave Allen (11-2-1) bt David Howe (12-5-0) by KO in Rd 2
Featherweight Lee Selby (24-1-0) bt Andoni Gago (16-3-2) by TKO in Rd 9
WBC Silver Super Lightweight Ohara Davies (15-0) bt Derry Mathews (38-12-2) by TKO in Rd 2
Welterweight Sam Eggington (20-3-0) bt Paulie Malignaggi (38-8-0) by KO in Rd 9
My two penny’s worth
By: Johnston Brown – March 3, 2017
I have been a boxing fan since the early nineties and was lucky enough to have witnessed some epic battles. Most notably the two Chris Eubank vs Neil Benn fights. In fact it was the first encounter between these two on November 18, 1990 that sticks in the memory the most. My late brother was so excited about the fight and the possibility of Eubank losing his ‘O’ that he filled me in with all the details beforehand. It was a week before my eighth Birthday so I remember trying to retain as much info as I possibly could. As I watched the fight, I remember going through all the emotions that you can only get when watching boxing while my brother and I cheered on Benn to beat the cocky but classy Eubank. When Benn was stopped in the ninth round I remember having that awful gut wrenching feeling of disappointment. Like the one I had, when I saw England lose their World Cup Semi-Final to Germany on penalties in the summer of that year. It didn’t matter that Benn lost because the fight was great entertainment and the public demanded a rematch albeit three years later. I learned as an eight year old that you can lose in sport and still come away a hero, like Benn and England in 1990.
Somewhere along the line boxing has lost the losing hero. A guy that loses today loses more than just a fight; he loses his creditability and is deemed a failure. He can no longer be considered better than the other guy who is undefeated. Therefore the modern fighter does not want to put their undefeated records on the line so they fight weaker opposition.
The trouble is a lot of the younger generation are buying into it which causes confusion. I feel sorry for the young fan that is watching boxing, as I did all those years ago and never experiencing or understanding defeat. If you think of all the Mayweather fans that grew up watching him through their childhood and into adulthood, they will think he is the best fighter that ever lived because he remained undefeated. Irrespective of whom he fought towards the back end of his career and how carefully he cherry picked his opponents. He is the sweet science in their eyes and nothing will change that.
But there is hope in 2017! We have already been treated to two cracking unification fights this year with another one this Saturday night between Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia and Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman. Then we have Golovkin vs Jacobs at the end of the month and Joshua vs Klitchsko in April. Plus, Brook vs Spence and Khan vs Pacquiao coming up before the summer. That would be six super fights within only five months which is completely unheard of in modern day boxing.
Maybe the retirement of Mayweather has improved the sport and opened a new chapter in boxing. I hope that in 8 years’ time from now I can get my son as excited about a big fight as I my brother did in 1990.
In memory of my late brother Jason Brown: 08/10/1974 – 25/11/2015 RIP
Results From England
By: Johnston Brown – February 25, 2017
Gavin McDonnell vs Rey Vargas
On Saturday night at the Ice Arena in Hull, Gavin McDonnell who was trying to make British Boxing history when he challenged Rey Vargas for the vacant WBC Super-Bantamweight title. Gavin in his first World title fight was hoping to join twin brother and WBA Bantamweight champion Jamie as a World champion, which would make them the first British twins to achieve such a remarkable feat.
In his way was a young Mexican fighter that had only ever fought away from home twice, on both occasions in California. So on a cold and dreary night in the Ice Arena in Hull, England maybe Gavin McDonnell could upset the odds by taking Vargas out of his comfort zone.
Gavin is a pressure fighter that shows pure grit in every fight and has an incredible gas tank but it was the classy Vargas that started the better. As expected Gavin tried to take the fight to the 26 year old Mexican but his clever movement and slick combinations made it difficult for the Yorkshireman to get in close and upset the Vargas rhythm.
The first half of the fight was dominated by Vargas who slipped out of trouble with his quick footwork and landed heavy blows continuously to the head and body using his hand speed. Although McDonnell stood his ground better in rounds two and three with some good punches he could not stop Vargas from taking a substantial lead in the opening rounds.
In the fifth round of the fight McDonnell upped the pressure and tried to get inside and ruff up Vargas. But frustration and over eagerness started to creep in, as he grabbed Vargas by the back of the head and pushed him down to the canvas. Fortunately for McDonnell the referee was in a lenient mood and instead gave Vargas a warning for a low blow.
Vargas threw a terrific uppercut in the seventh which bloodied McDonnell’s nose and was probably the most one sided round by the Mexican. McDonnell struck back in the eighth but by this point he needed a small miracle.
McDonnell’s seconds called for one last push when they told him he needed the knock out if he was to win the title. It definitely made a difference as he fought the closing stages of the fight like his life depended on it. The looping right hand connected a few times on Vargas’s chin to the delight of the home fans but none of them put Vargas in any significant danger.
So it went to the judges scorecards which read 114-114, 117-111, 116-112 in favour of the excellent Vargas. I think the crowd must have effected Ian John-Lewis decision to score the fight a draw, as Vargas was the deserved victor.
I also scored the fight 116-112 and was very impressed with Rey Vargas. To travel overseas and take on an undefeated fighter on his home turf and perform the way he did shows real character. I’m disappointed for Gavin McDonnell who is a great guy that wears his heart on his sleeve but just came up short against a better fighter.
Also on the card was Luke Campbell who looked in good shape and produced wonderful knockout with a left hand uppercut. Campbell now goes 16-1 and is now eyeing a rematch with Yvan Mendy in an attempt to avenge the only defeat on his record. Tommy Coyle who is always great to watch won by a third round knockout against Rakeem Noble in an eventful fight from start to finish and goes 23-4
Jay Harris vs Thomas Essomba – York Hall
On Friday night, Jay Harris made it a perfect 10 as he won the Commonwealth flyweight title by beating Thomas Essomba at York Hall in Bethnal Green.
The Swansea campaigner took a unanimous points decision to end the reign of the former African Games gold medallist. It took Harris’s unbeaten record as a professional into double figures, but it was the manner of his victory that was most impressive against Essomba.
The Cameroonian who now lives in Sunderland had world-title aspirations last year and was seen as a dangerous customer who could trouble the best.
But Harris boxed superbly throughout, showing durability and enough class to impress the judges. It was never easy and Essomba did unleash a number of stinging punches, but Harris replied with every shot and there was no doubt about the winner of a fight of serious quality. The scores were 117-112, 116-113, 115-114 in the Welsh fighter’s favour.