Saturday evening at the Copper Box Arena, United Kingdom Eddie Hearn and Matchroom boxing presented a “Female World title” double header with upcoming welterweight Conor “The Destroyer” Benn taking on veteran Samuel Vargas in the main event.
It was a short but night for Benn as it took just ninety seconds to dispatch the rugged veteran Vargas, Just nine months ago Vargas stepped in against another upcoming welterweight sensation Vergil Ortiz Jr.
While a one sided affair in favor of Ortiz it took seven rounds for him to dispatch Vargas, the fact Benn did it so quickly speaks loudly on his potential. The last and only time a fighter was able to dispatch Vargas in under seven rounds was six years ago against current unified WBC/IBF welterweight titlist Errol Spence Jr.
With the win Conor Benn improved to 18-0 (12) while Samuel Vargas drops to 31-7-2 (14). The combined record of Conor Benn’s last four opponents is 103-20-5 (38). I think its time boxing pundits to talk less about “Conor Benn son of Nigel Benn” and more about “Conor Benn Genuine Prospect”.
In the co-feature WBO female middleweight champion Savannah “Silent Assassin” Marshall dispatched multi-time former world title challenger Maria Lindberg in three rounds. While Lindberg was a replacement for former female WBO Super Middleweight champion Femke Hermans, who withdrew due to a team member she was in contact with test positive for Covid 19. The fact she had never been stopped before in her career speaks on the power and composure of Marshall.
With the win Savannah Marshall improved to 10-0 (8) while Maria Lindberg now stands at 19-7-2 (10). In her post fight interview Marshall was asked about a potential matchup against three division champion Claressa Shields who Marshall holds a win over as an amateur. In response Marshall stated “Shields doesn’t want to fight me she is too busy calling out Katie Taylor who fights four divisions lower than Shields does, if we fight I’ll knock her out and she knows it”.
It’ s unquestionably the biggest money fight in female boxing right now, if Shields who has been facing smaller opponents and has only 2 stoppage wins in her career and hints at moving to MMA full time continues avoiding the challenge. There will be serious and legitimate questions on her willingness to face the best available and hurt the current momentum of female boxings acceptance in main stream sports.
When bantamweights Ukashir Farooq and Alexander Espinoza stepped in to vie for the “WBC International Silver title” held by Espinoza, fans were treated to a surprisingly action packed affair. The two fighters gave a solid display of boxing ability trading momentum throughout. It would be the slightly harder punches and higher work rate of Ukashir Farooq that would gain him a unanimous decision by scores of 97-95, 97-94 and 97-93.
With the win Ukashir Farooq now the new “WBC International Silver title” holder improved to 15-1 (6) while Alexander Espinoza drops to 20-3-2 (8).
A fight which had people shaking their heads wondering “HOW CAN THIS BE FOR A WORLD TITLE” considering neither has had ten fights to date nor faced an opponent other than Rachael Ball even the staunchest of boxing fans could recognize by name. Was the vacant female WBA Bantamweight title contest between Shannon Courtenay and Ebanie Bridges. The lead up to this was promoted entirely off each of the ladies appearances as both look more like models than fighters.
Yet despite appearance’s notable and quality opponents on eithers resume, it was an action packed fight from start to finish. The momentum traded often, a headbutt would swell the eye of Bridges to the point she could not see. While Bridges possessed noticeably more power behind her shots, Courtenay brought her game to the next level targeting the eye of Bridges with her jabs which continued to increase the swelling.
In the ninth Courtenay let loose a barrage of shots so furious, referee Michael Alexander considered halting the contest until a last second hook from Bridges stopped her momentum as the bell sounded.
The ladies left nothing behind in the tenth and final round, they fought nonstop until the final bell exceeding expectations and sending a message of “Don’t base expectations off appearances”. The official scores read 98-92 twice and 97-94 in favor of Shannon Courtenay who is now the WBA female bantamweight world champion.
With the newly won title Shannon Courtenay improved to 7-1 (3) while Ebanie Bridges now stands at 5-1 (2). On a side note while the right fighter won the scorecards of Grzegorz Molenda and Luigi Boscarelli were disgraceful placing a dismal cloud over the efforts of both ladies.
In Undercard contest.
Light Heavyweight- John Hedges improved to 2-0 with a four round unanimous decision over Stanko Jermelic 0-6.
Heavyweight Nick Campbell 1-0 (1) the former rugby player won his pro debut with a second round stoppage over Petr Frohlich 2-31-1 (1).