By Johnston Brown – BillyCBoxing
It was a busy night of boxing in England with fight cards in the Leicester Arena, Leicester and the Echo Arena, Liverpool. Two middleweights headlined both nights with undefeated Tommy Langford (18-1, 6KOs) in Leicester and local fan favorite Martin Murray (35-4-1, 16KOs) in Liverpool.
Starting with the WBO middleweight eliminator in Leicester, Avtandil Khurtsidze (33-2-2, 22KOs) ended all hopes of an all British middleweight title fight when he flattened the Brummie with a big left hand in fifth round. This wasn’t the first time that the Georgian had caused an upset, he stopped another undefeated fighter Antoine Douglas (21-1-1, 15KOs) last year to win the WBO International title.
The 37 year old labeled the ‘Mini Mike Tyson’ due to his size and dangerous punching power has been in fine form all week on social media and he took that happy-go-lucky attitude into the ring with him on Saturday night.
From the first round Khurtsidze was loading up looking for the early knockout while laughing off Langfords shots and taunting the British fighter. The 27 year old then started to find his range and took the next three rounds but he did look susceptible to one big punch.
In the end it was a big left hook that caught Langford flush on the head to send him down to the canvas. His 5’4″ opponent continued his mickey taking antics by joining in with the referees count. Credit to Langford though as he managed to rise to his feet but was in no fit state to continue.
In an interview after the fight Frank Warren announced that Billy Joe Saunders (24-0, 12KOs) will fight Khurtsidze on July 8 in London. The WBO middleweight champion responded by saying, “Khurtsidze is made to order for me and he’s just another ‘Danny Devito’. I’ll retire if I lose to him”.
On the undercards;
Darryll Williams (15-0, 6KOs) won the English super middleweight title in a terrific dust up against Jahmaine Smyle (14-5-2, 6KOs)
19 year old heavyweight Daniel Dubois (2-0, 2KOs) finished Blaise Mendouo (3-2, 0KOs) with a brutal knockout combination.
Light heavyweight prospect Anthony Yarde (10-0, 9KOs) continued his impressive start in the pro’s with another knockout victory against Darren Snow (5-13-1, 0KOs)
Super featherweight Leon ‘The King’ Woodstock (9-0, 5KOs) produced solid performance with a TKO win against Paul Holt (6-4, 2KOs)
Super lightweight Tyrone Nurse (34-2-2, 7KOs) retained his British title with a split decision draw against Joe Hughes (15-2-1, 6KOs)
120 miles North West of Leicester, Martin Murray kept alive his hopes of another world title shot with a majority decision victory over Gabriel Rosado (23-11, 13KOs). The American started the brighter winning three of the first four rounds but the St Helens man took the next six.
The 31 year old from Philadelphia needed a knock down to close the gap on a tiring Murray and almost did with a hurtful punch in the eleventh. Rosado won the twelfth but it wasn’t enough to win the vacant WBA intercontinental middleweight title.
The three judges caused a stir with their vastly different margins of 116-112 and 119-109, while the third had it 114-114 a draw. I do wonder what some of these judges watch sometimes as I had it 115-113 to Murray.
Tempers flared after the decision was announced when a furious Rosado shouted abuse towards the commentary team and promoter Eddie Hearn. Murray got involved but it was nothing more then ‘handbags’. I can see why Rosado was unhappy with one of the judges but I think the right man won at the end of the night.
On the undercards in Liverpool Sean Dodd (13-2-1, 2KOs) defeated Lee Appleyard (10-3, 10KOs) by UD in the lightweight division.
Super middleweight Rocky Fielding (24-1, 13KOs) continues his winning streak with a split decision victory over John Ryder (24-4, 12KOs) to win the vacant British title.