By Paul Mason (@PaulMason1986)
Last weekend saw a busy one for cards in the UK and Europe with Sky, ITV, Channel 5 and Boxnation all providing live broadcasts on their platforms. Here’s my review of the weekends action.
Eubank Sends A Message
Chris Eubank Junior sent a message to his World Boxing Super Series rivals in Stuttgart, with a crushing third round knockout victory over the previously unbeaten Turk, Avnii Yildirim. In a fight that many, including Boxing News, the trade magazine, felt that Eubank would triumph over the long route due to his percieved lack of power at Super Middle, Eubank was in control of his opponent from the opening bell.
Yildirim was down in the first, and it was a chilling left that put him down heavily in the third. The referee waved the fight off before Yildirim could even attempt to recover.
Eubank Jnr now moves on to a mouth-watering potential Semi Final clash against WBA Champion George Groves, providing he can come through against Jamie Cox at Wembley Arena this Saturday. That fight would do big business, and I would still make Groves a warm favourite due to his CV and skillset compared to Junior.
Crolla v Burns Return?
Good friendship was put to one side in Manchester, as Anthony “Million Dollar” Crolla outpointed Ricky Burns in the main event of the Matchroom card. Rather than looking at the end of the line for the loser of this one, a rematch now seems a decent option. The fight was subjective to score, as although Crolla looked to throw more shots in the opening half of the contest, a lot landed on the gloves and arms of Burns, who was accurate with his jab, but not busy enough. This is what I suspect cost the Coatbridge man in the end, I could only really make a case for a draw at best for the Scot, as he only could in his comments post-fight.
Burns got going in the latter stages, and I had it 7-5 in rounds to Crolla at the end. It was competitive enough, and close enough to warrant the two to do it all again. To be fair at this stage, it’s the only fight that makes financial sense. This is unless Eddie Hearn can somehow work with the promotor of WBO Lightweight Champion, Terry Flanagan, Frank Warren, and try to make an all Manchester World Title fight, which would be huge for the City. What Eddie Hearn needs to keep in perspective is although Crolla is the big draw and ticket seller, Flanagan is the Champion, and now an established one at that. Therefore Hearn would be wise to keep thinking of the reward, and give Flanagan the higher split of the purse as the Champion, to ensure a smooth negotiation. Weather a deal can be struck remains to be seen.
Other than that the options are limited. WBA Champion Jorge Linares has already beaten Crolla twice, the second time in convincing fashion, so it would be a hard sell more than anything. WBC Champion Mikey Garcia is currently being avoided by most, but is trying to lure Linares into a unification match, which has been ordered by the WBC, or Robert Easter Jnr, the IBF Champion. A rematch with Burns in Glasgow or Manchester would make financial sense, unless Crolla against Luke Campbell could be arranged. Campbell will hold a lofty World ranking following his gutsy effort in defeat against Linares a fortnight ago, and would give Crolla an opportunity to catapult himself back up the rankings.
It was again to prove a slippery operator that undid Sam Eggington on Saturday. Mohammed Mimoune came to Manchester on a hiding to nothing. Boasting an 18-2 record with only two knockouts on the slate, he wasn’t expected to cause Eggington too many problems. However the man from Toulouse skilfully diffused the Stourbridge man, and relieved him of his European Welterweight Title at the first defence in the process. Eggington was outhustled, just as he was at the hands of Penge’s Bradley Skeete when they met back in March 2016. It was a largely subdued performance from “The Savage” in Manchester, and will now force a trip back to the drawing board.
It’s likely that he will now regroup and move up to the Super Welterweight division, as his six foot plus frame has seemingly outgrown Welterweight. In my opinion, Eggington may have done too much too soon, and needs a break following a few gruelling contests in the last couple of years. Bear in mind that Sam is only 23 years of age, so he is a long way from potentially being at his peak. He has crammed a lot into his career in a short space of time. He has been British, Commonwealth and European Champion so far after making his debut in 2012 aged just 18, but has been in some tough fights, and I just feel Matchroom need to apply the brakes ahead of his next move.
He should come back refreshed at the higher weight, and I think he can come back even stronger.
Tyne and Wear’s Lewis Ritson gatecrashed the domestic Lightweight scene on the undercard in Manchester with a crushing seventh round stoppage win to rip the British Lightweight Title from Robbie Barrett. Barrett came into the contest off the back of a shock win over previous Champion Scott Cardle, but was never allowed to get going against the relentless Ritson. Ritson scored a knockdown in the second round and went on the attack looking for the finish. Two knockdowns in the sixth followed, and following a body assault in the seventh that dropped Barrett again, Barrett’s corner mercifully threw the towel in.
There are options aplenty for the likeable Ritson following the crushing win, including Commonwealth Champion Sean “Masher” Dodd, the aforementioned Cardle, and his mandatory, Joe Murray.
Ritson is certainly a boxer to keep an eye on.
Selby Edges Closer To World Honours
On a busy Saturday night of action, Andrew Selby took centre stage at the York Hall in his quest for World honours. The Barry man is now one step closer to a shot at the WBC Title after handily defeating Mexico’s Maximino Flores unanimously on the cards. Next up for Selby could potentially be Daigo Higa, providing the Japanese fighter and WBC Champion successfully defends his belt against Thomas Masson in Kokugikan on Sunday 22 October.
How easy either fight could be made is unclear, and Cyclone Promotions, Selby’s handlers, are likely to have to put their hand in their pockets to secure home advantage for their man.
A New British Heavyweight Champion Is Crowned
The packed weekend of action began in Edinburgh on Friday night, as MTK promotions held a card on Boxnation. Norwich’s Sam Sexton picked up the vacant British Heavyweight Title with a scrappy unanimous points win against home favourite Gary Cornish.
If I was Frank Warren, I would be giving Sexton whatever he wanted to get in the ring with Daniel Dubois. It’s a fight that Sextons trainer, Graham Everett has hinted that his charge would be up for. It makes financial sense for Sexton too, as there is currently a dearth of domestic Heavyweights for him to make money fighting. Dillian Whyte has moved on to World level, and Ian Lewison, the man he beat for the Title last year, is fighting 2016 Olympian, and debutant, Joe Joyce later this month. Dereck Chisora is also past the domestic scene, and is fighting for the European Title later this year. David Allen and Lenroy Thomas meet in a rematch for the Commonwealth Title on the Joshua v Pulev bill in Cardiff at the end of the month.
So Dubois makes the most sense at this stage in Sexton’s career to make his first defence against, and that’s a fight I’d love to see.