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The Past Week in Action 20 February 2018 -- Part I

By Eric Armit
21 Feb 2018

-George Groves beats Chris Eubank Jr to retain WBA title and earn his place in the WSBB final but shoulder injury puts that in doubt
-Ray Beltran wins the WBO lightweight title at the fourth attempt
-Danny Garcia halts Brandon Rios to stay in the welterweight mix
-David Benavidez retains WBC super middleweight title as he outclasses Ronald Gavril
-Devon Alexander and Victor Ortiz finish all even in clash of former champions
-Ryan Walsh retains British title in draw with Isaac Lowe
-Tommy Langford remains British middleweight champion by outpointing Jack Arnfield
-Caleb Plant puts himself in line for a shot at the IBF super middleweight title with victory over Rogelio Medina
-Vincent Feigenbutz gets controversial stoppage win over Ryno Liebenberg
-Austin Trout, Yordenis Ugas and Tony Harrison all win

15 February

Montreal, Canada: Super Welter: Mikael Zewski (30-1) W PTS 8 Jose de Jesus Macias (23-8-2). Welter: Bruno Bredicean (10-0) W KO 2 Cesar Chavez (32-13).
Zewski vs. Macias
Zewski gets win but has to fight hard to come out on top. The Canadian was bloodied from the first round as jabs from Macias marked up his right eye and broke the Canadian’s nose and it bled for the rest of the fight. Despite that Zewski built an early lead and nearly ended it in the fourth when he floored Macias with a right-left combination. The bell came to the rescue of the Mexican and he was rocked again in the sixth. The seventh and eighth were desperate rounds for Zewski as Macias found some extra strength and had Zewski under pressure all the way. The eighth was a great round as they traded punch after punch with Zewski spending a lot of time trapped on the ropes having to dig deep and fighting desperately to make it to the final bell. Scores 78-73 twice and 77-74 all for Zewski. The 29-year-old Trios-Riviers fighter, the Canadian No 4, was a top level amateur, a four-time Canadian champion with a 138-29 record and wins over Jack Culcay and top Cuban Carlos Banteur. He won his first 26 pro fights before losing to Konstantin Ponomarev in 2015. His career stalled then with just one fight in two years but this is his third win since returning in June 2017. Macias, 26, had won 5 of his last six fights but all of the opposition had been second grade at best.
Bredicean vs. Chavez
Unbeaten Bredicean takes less than four minutes to crush Mexican Chavez. Bredicean put Chavez over in the first and ended it just 49 seconds in the second. He pressed Chavez to the ropes and then landed a left to the body and a right cross which dumped Chavez in a heap. He tried to rise but fell back to the ropes and the referee signalled the fight was over. The Romanian-born 23-year-old Bredicean, one of two unbeaten brothers, has four wins by KO/TKO in matches against a decent level of opposituion. Chavez suffers his second loss in successive fights both being second round stoppages.

February 16

Reno, NV, USA: Light Ray Beltran (35-7-1,1ND) W PTS 12 Paulus Moses (40-4,1ND). Welter: Egidijus Kavaliauskas (19-0) W TKO 6 David Avanesyan (23-3-1).Welter: Alex Besputin (9-0) W RTD 5 Wesley Tucker (14-2). Feather: Shakur Stevenson (5-0) W PTS 8 Juan Tapia (8-2).Super Feather: Robinson Conceicao (6-0) W PTS 6 Ignacio Olguin (11-5). Heavy: Bryant Jennings (22-2) W TKO 3 Akhor Muralimov (16-4).
Beltran vs. Moses
Beltran finally gets to wear a title belt as he stages a strong finish to outscore Namibian veteran Moses for a victory that could have wider consequences for ability to continue to stay and fight in the US. The first round was a slow one but Beltran did the better work scoring with some rights to pocket the round. Both had some success in the second with Moses landing good rights and a sharp combination. But Beltran was coming forward and landing punches of his own in a close round. That set a pattern for the next two rounds. A punch from Moses opened a cut over the right eye of Beltran in the third as they traded on equal terms with Moses scoring with jabs and uppercuts but Beltran coming back strongly with left hook to the chin. The scoring indicated it was a hard fight to score with two judges having them level at 38-38 and the third putting Beltran ahead 39-37. They only round on which they all agreed was the first. The fifth swung one way and then the other. Early it was Beltran pinning Moses to the ropes and banging to the body only for Moses to almost drop Beltran with a right. Moses took the sixth with a sustained attack and had the better of the early action in the seventh but Beltran fought back to edge the round and outworked Moses in the eighth. After eight Beltran held a slight lead at 77-75 on all three cards and Moses was also cut but over his left eye. From there the body work of Beltran took effect and the fight ran his way. Moses landed some good shots in the ninth but Beltran was outworking him. By the tenth both fighters were tiring but Beltran continued to work on the body taking the tenth and eleventh and with both fighters bleeding from their respective cuts Beltran had more left in the tank and took the last. Scores 117-111 twice and 116-112 all for Beltran. The strong finish made the difference as Beltran won all four of the late round on two cards and three of them on the third. The 36-year-old Mexican wins the WBO title at the fourth attempt. He drew with Ricky Burns for the title in 2013, lost on points to Terrence Crawford in 2011 and beat Takahiro Ao in 2015 only to test positive for a banned substance. He is living in Phoenix under a visa that expires in about two years but this win might get him classified as an elite athlete which could get him a green card. The 39-year-old Moses, a former holder of the secondary WBA title, was looking to become the oldest fighter to win the lightweight title but he faded under the constant pressure from Beltran.
Kavaliauskas vs. Avanesyan
Kavaliauskas marches on. The hard punching Lithuanian beats and breaks down Avanesyan for a sixth round stoppage. The Lithuanian used a dominating jab, left hooks and hard rights to control the early action before increasing his punch output in the third and rocking Avanesyan with a left hook. Avanesyan switched to southpaw and got some relief and landed a few rights as Kavaliauskas adjusted. Kavaliauskas landed heavily in the fourth and fifth and a huge right in the sixth stunned Avanesyan and as Kavaliauskas unloaded more punishment the referee stopped the fight. The 29-year-old “Mean Machine” retains the NABF title and makes it 16 wins by KO/TKO and now he is looking to get a title shot. He is rated WBO 4/WBC 11. Russian Avanesyan, 29, a former interim WBA champion was upgraded to secondary champion but lost the title to Lamont Peterson in February last year. This is his first inside the distance loss.
Besputin vs. Tucker
With guys such as Stevenson and Conceicao in the same team Besputin is flying a little under the radar but watch out for him as the Russian southpaw is a class act. Fellow southpaw Tucker had good amateur credentials and his only loss had been on points against unbeaten Enver Halili but he was never in the fight here. Besputin dominated every round punishing Tucker to head and body. Tucker hardly managed to launch any attacks of his own and after five one-sided rounds his corner pulled him out of the fight. The 26-year-Besputin was European Youth and Seniors champion and unbeaten in WSB fights. He already has wins over Briedis Prescott and the 20-0 Juan Ruiz. Keep your eyes on him. Tucker competed at the National Golden Gloves, US Championships and the PAL Tournament but was outclassed on the night.
Stevenson vs. Tapia
Future star Stevenson gets in eight rounds for the first time as he outpoints Tapia. Southpaw Stevenson won every round and showcased his outstanding skills. He scored throughout the fight with fast flurries to head and body but did not seem to be loading up on his punches and never really had Tapia in any trouble. Tapia was neither quick or clever enough to really pose a threat and Stevenson boxed his way to victory after eight valuable rounds of work. You learn nothing from putting away sub standard opposition. There will be sterner tests for the 20-year-old former amateur starlet but he is on his way to the top. Scores 80-72 from all three judges. Texan Tapia did his job by going eight rounds.
Conceicao vs. Olguin
Olympic gold medal winner Conceicao has to go the distance for victory. The Brazilian is by nature an aggressive if at times uncontrolled fighter and he made a fast start here putting Olguin down in the first. Olguin survived but had a torrid time in the second before getting into the fight to a degree in the third and fourth. He was almost blown away again in the fifth as Conceicao landed hard to head and body and he shook Olguin in the last. Scores 60-52 twice and 60-54 all for the 29-year-old Conceicao. The Brazilian beat Vasyl Lomachenko at the 2011 World Championships-OK it was only for a short while. The scores were 20-19 for Conceicao but after a review the result was changed to 19-18 for Lomachenko. Olguin’s five wins were all by KO/TKO but his six opponents had only mustered three wins between them.
Jennings vs. Muralimov
Jennings continues his latest campaign with easy win over crude and vastly overweight Muralimov. Jennings boxed cautiously early in the first as Muralimov threw himself forward swinging it wildly. Once he settled Jennings dug a left hook to the body of Muralimov and then put him on the floor with a right to the head. Muralimov was up at seven and Jennings took him to the ropes and landed a sequence of head and body punches with Muralimov sliding the floor, Again he was up at seven and the bell went as the referee reached the count of eight. The ringside physician examined Muralimov in the interval but the fight continued. Jennings stepped up the pace in the second landing hard jabs and right to head and body with Muralimov continuing to come forward throwing wild punches. Two rights to the head put Muralimov down at the end of the round/ He beat the count with the bell going before Jennings could throw another punch. Muralimov survived another physician’s inspection. Jennings just covered up at the start of the third letting Muralimov throw some wide swings but then Jennings landed two hard rights to the head and Muralimov went over. He made it to his feet but when the fight resumed a hook to the body and two head punches sent Muralimov down and the massacre was over. Wins over Artur Szpilka and Mike Perez got Jennings a shot at Wlad Klitschko in April 2015 for the IBF, WBA and WBO title and he managed to last the distance. In April he was halted in seven rounds by Luis Ortiz for the interim WBA title and was then inactive until returning with a couple of low level wins last year. The 33-year-old from Philadelphia is rated WBO 10/WBA 12 so still very much in the heavyweight mix. Uzbek Muralimov is under 6’0” but weighed almost 260lbs. He has no real technique but at least he gave it a try and kept getting up,
Saint-Nazaire, France: Welter: Jordy Weiss (19-0) W PTS 10 Aitor Nieto (21-5-1). Super Welter: David Papot (21-0) W PTS 10 Romain Garofalo (14-2).
Weiss vs. Nieto
Weiss wins the vacant European Union title with unanimous verdict over Spaniard Nieto. Both settled behind their jab early with Nieto having the better of the exchanges in the first but Weiss just doing enough to take the next three rounds. After four the local fighter was in front 39-37 on all cards. From the fifth although the rounds were close it was again the French fighter who just had the edge with his greater accuracy but Nieto scored well with counters. Weiss bossed the infighting and was quicker to the punch having an impressive fifth round applying lots of pressure but was rocked by a right in the eighth as he was leaving too many gaps in his defence. After eight rounds Weiss was up 78-74 on two cards and 79-73 on the third. Weiss battled hard to take the ninth as his corner instructed him to tighten his defence but the fight swung the Spaniard’s way again as he had a strong tenth. Weiss was in his first twelve round fight, in fact he had never gone past eight rounds, but he paced the contests well although having to fight hard over the last two rounds as Nieto staged a strong finish. Scores 118-112, 117-111 and 116-113 all for Weiss who was a clear winner but the scores did not reflect just how competitive this fight was. The 24-year-old “Gypsy” Weiss is quick but lacks real power. He will probably look to defend his new title and then go for a shot at the EBU title against either Kerman Lejarraga or Bradley Skeete who are lined up to contest the vacant European title.
Papot vs. Garofalo
No problems here for southpaw Papot as he retains the French title with wide unanimous decision over No 4 Garofalo. He had too much skill, speed and accuracy for the challenger. Papot breezed through the first two rounds and a stoppage win was a possibility. That changed in the third when a clash of heads saw Papot cut over his right eye. For a few rounds Papot was much more cautious but then he was back in his stride and scoring well to the body. Garofalo kept rolling forward with a leaky defence and very little success as Papot was able to slot home shots from both hands. Over the last two rounds Papot’s trainer, former French champion Stephane Cazeaux, ordered him to go to war and he went toe-to-toe with Garofalo in an entertaining finish. Scores 98-92 twice and 99-91 for Papot. The former two-time French amateur champion Papot, 26, was 86-15-1 before turning pro and has made good progress. He is looking to make another national title defence and then go for the EBU or EU title. Garofalo was way out of his depth here. He had faced only mediocre opposition and never been past six rounds.
Budapest, Hungary: Cruiser: Imre Szello (20-0) W PTS 10 Denis Grachev (16-6-1).Super Middle; Shefat Isufi (26-3-2) W PTS 10 Rafael Sosa Pintos (56-154).Super Welter: Ferenc Berki (11-0) W PTS 10 Laszlo Fazekas (39-30-1,1ND).Super Middle: Renato Egedi (12-1-2) W RTD 5 Mark Krammerstodter (3-1-1).Middle: Balazs Bacskai (5-0) W TKO 6 Meshack Mwankemwa (17-5-2).
Szello vs. Grachev
Szello gets a measure of revenge for Hungary as he takes the points on all three cards against Grachev. After a slow first round the action really started in the second with some furious exchanges. Szello just had the edge but in the fourth a clash of heads saw Szello cut over his left eye and Grachev was deducted a point for the butt. Szello had Grachev in deep trouble in the fifth and only the ropes prevented a knock down but Grachev was fighting hard and making this a very close contest. The Russian had a strong ninth and they both fought hard in the last with Szello just edging it. Scores 96-93 twice and a strange 100-89 all for Szello. The 34-year-old “Imo” is now rated WBO 5/IBF 10(9) but he is a more realistic No 17 with the EBU. He was one of Hungary’s most successful amateurs and represented his country at the 2008 Olympics and the 2007 World championships as well as winning gold at the European Union Championships. The revenge angle was that Grachev beat former undefeated WBO cruiser champion Zsolt Erdei late in the Hungarian’s career preventing Erdei from entering the elite list of world champions who retired undefeated. After beating Erdei in 2013 Grachev suffered four losses in a row in big fights. He then walked away for two years but had won three fights since returning.
Isufi vs. Sosa
Isufi had big physical advantages over Sosa who boxed at welter in many of his early fights. Isufi was able to work on the outside forcing Sosa back with a ramrod jab and dropping in overhand rights. Sosa came to life briefly in the third and fourth launching some quick attacks but he just did not have the power to hurt Isufi. In the sixth a left hook to the ribs dropped Sosa to his knees. He was in pain but arose at six and jabbed and clinched his way to the bell. In the seventh the Uruguayan veteran decided to stand and trade and there were some good exchanges but later in the round a right to the head forced Sosa to go down on one knee. Sosa this time decided to punch his way out of trouble but had to absorb some heavy rights to the head. Sosa was just looking to survive in the eighth and ninth and finished the tenth with a barrage of powder puff punches and a little jig. Scores 100-87 twice and 99-88 for Isufi as he makes a successful defence of his WBO Inter-Continental title. The 28-year-old German-based Serb is heavy handed but slow and methodical. Sosa, 37, has taken his survival skills to Germany, Australia, Mexico, Ghana, Canada, Britain and now Hungary and usually goes the distance.
Berki vs. Fazekas
Youth triumphs as Berki wins the Hungarian title with majority decision victory over champion Fazekas. This was a close, tough contest with plenty of furious exchanges. Berki went in front early as he worked the body well and was more accurate but Fazekas was competitive all the way. After eight rounds it was level and Berki produced the stronger finish to get the majority decision and the title. Scores 98-92 (which looked way out) and 96-94 for Berki and 95-95. The 22-year-old winner is a former Hungarian Youth champion. “Bulldog” Fazekas, 28, gets plenty of short notice overseas fights. He is 1-10 in fights in the United Kingdom but this is only his second loss at home.
Egedi vs. Krammerstodter
Southpaw Egedi wins this contest between relative novices and the vacant Hungarian crown. This one was also very close over the first four rounds. Egedi broke through in the fifth flooring Krammerstodter with a series of punches. Krammerstodter made it to his feet and survived the round but his corner pulled him out of the fight before the start of the sixth. The 23-year-oldm Egedi is now 9-0-2 in his last 11 fights. This was too big a step up for prelim fighter Krammerstodter
Bacskai vs. Mwankemwa
Bacskai is probably the only Hungarian in recent years to match or even better the achievements of Szello. Bacskai was given some good rounds of work by Tanzanian Mwankemwa but gradually got on top from the fourth round. He handed out steady punishment over the fifth with Mwankemwa often pinned to the ropes and after a knockdown in the sixth the fight was stopped. It is a pity that the 30-year-old “Benji” did not turn pro sooner. He was Hungarian champion eight times in a row and won gold medals at the World Youth, European Youth, European Union and European Senior Championships competed at three World Championships and the 2016 Olympics. “Smart Boy” Mwankemwa does OK at home but here suffers his fourth loss on the road.

Rome, Italy: Light Heavy: Orial Kolaj (19-5) W PTS 12 Mustafa Chadlioui (11-3-2). Kolaj wins the vacant EU title with unanimous decision over Chadlioui but the fight was a close one. Chadlioui is a tough aggressive fighter and that was how he started here. He was storming forward throwing punches. Kolaj took a couple of rounds to settle with Chadlioui continuing to roll forward punching and there plenty of fierce exchanges in the third. Kolaj was able to score well in the fourth and fifth but Chadlioui staggered Kolaj in the sixth. Chadlioui surged again in the seventh and the eighth and ninth were close rounds which could have been scored either way but Chadlioui probably just had the edge. The tenth saw both fighters rapidly tiring with Kolaj’s more measured and accurate punching just giving him the advantage as Chadlioui’s work rate dropped. The last round started with a clash of heads and then Chadlioui shook Kolaj before the two exhausted fighters got tangled and both went down. Many rounds were close in an entertaining contest and that was reflected in the scoring with Kolaj coming out ahead 116-112 on two cards and 115-114 on the third. The 34-year-old Italian-based Albanian “Eagle” extends his winning run to 14. Moroccan-born Spanish champion Chadlioui was 7-1-1 in his last 9 fights and he and his fans felt he had won this one but the judges did not agree.

Managua, Nicaragua: Super Feather: Ramiro Blanco (17-2-3) W KO 3 Moises Olivas (12-10). Blanco was a heavy favourite in this clash of local fighters and won without trouble. Olivas was under pressure from the start but fought well enough to get through the first two rounds before he was put down and out on the third. The 22-year-old Blanco went unbeaten in his first 17 fights but has stuttered recently and was 2-2 in his last four fights. The Managua security guard has 10 wins by KO/TKO. Fifth loss by KO/TKO for Olivas.

London, England: Heavy: Joe Joyce (2-0) W KO 1 Rudolf Jozic (4-2).
Joyce wins but in a poor excuse for a fight. The Olympic silver medallist used a strong jab to put poor Jozic on the retreat. The Croatian novice never really took a forward step and only stopped his retreat to throw an occasional punch. Joyce had been missing with overhand rights but just before the bell he connected with a right that landed behind the left ear of Jozic who went down and was counted. After his win over Ian Lewison in his first fight this was a retrograde step for Joyce. It is amazing that the TV Company accepted this mismatch as a main event and it brought back memories of how the abysmal early opposition of Olympic gold medal winner Audrey Harrison ended the BBC’s interest in boxing. Joyce is too good to waste his time in fights like this.

Buenos Aires, Argentina: Super Welter: Diego Ramirez (14-1) W PTS 10 Martin Bulacio (7-2). Not a great fight but Ramirez gets the unanimous decision and extends his unbeaten run. The rounds were close but the fight never really caught fire. Bulacio was given a standing count in the fifth. A punch from Ramirez knocked out his mouthguard and Bulacio’s glove briefly touched the canvas. He lost his mouthguard too often and was deducted a point in the eighth as he continued to spit it out. Ramirez breezed through the last dropping his hands and showboating and once again Bulacio’s mouthguard flew out but not from a punch. Scores 97-92, 96-93 and 95-93 so the standing count and the point deduction were the difference. The 23-year-old “Vulture”, the Argentinian No 4 welter, has won 12 on the bounce. After losing his first pro fight Bulacio had won seven in a row but against inferior opposition and had not been past four rounds before.

February 17

Manchester, England: Super Middle: George Groves (28-3) W PTS 12 Chris Eubank Jr (26-2). Feather: Ryan Walsh (22-2-2) DREW 12 Isaac Lowe (14-1-2). Middle: Tommy Langford (20-1) W PTS 12 Jack Arnfield (25-3). Super Middle: Zach Parker (15-0) W TKO 2 Adasat Rodriguez (16-7-2).
Groves vs. Eubank
Groves gets deserved unanimous decision over Eubank in tough contest to retain his WBA title. He should now go forward to the WBSS super middle final but a dislocated shoulder suffered in the last round may rule him out.
Round 1
Groves goes straight to work with his jab. Eubank is mainly looking to counter but Groves is getting through with the jab and a couple of overhand rights to take the round.
Score 10-9 Groves
Round 2
Once again it Groves doing the scoring with his jab and he lands a sharp left hook. Eubank piles into Groves late in the round and traps him on the ropes but Groves escapes and has done enough early to take the round.
Score 10-9 Groves 20-18
Round 3
Much closer round. Eubank comes to life as he traps Groves on the ropes and throws punches. Some are wild but some land. Groves sticks to the jab and despite another fierce attack from Eubank at the end of the round Groves just shades it. Eubank is cut over his right eye in a clash of heads and it looks a bad cut.
Score 10-9 Groves 30-27
Round 4
Eubanks round. Groves has stopped using his jab and is instead waiting for Eubank to lead and then counter and it is not working. Eubank launches a couple of leaping attacks and although he is again wild he is the one doing the scoring.
Score 10-9 Eubank 39-37
Official scores: 39-37 twice for Groves and 38-38
Round 5
A closer round. Groves uses his jab more but Eubank is jumping in taking Groves to the ropes and working inside. There is now a stream of blood down the right side of Eubank’s face but it is not getting into his eye and he lands a good left hook and just does enough to take this one.
Score 10-9 Eubank 48-47
Round 6
A better round for Groves. He is using the jab well countering the charging Eubank and smothering Eubank’s work on the ropes, The referee warns both men over rough stuff. Groves round.
Score 10-9 Groves 58-56
Round 7
Groves boxes cleverly here. Eubank has some success when he can trap Groves in a corner but Groves manages to stay centre ring most of the time scoring with the jab and right counters, A frustrated Eubank misses with one of his lunges and almost goes out through the ropes and then motions for Groves to stand and fight.
Score 10-9 Groves 68-65
Round 8
Groves is not looking to trade. He is staying centre ring and scoring with jabs and quick rights and outboxing Eubank. Late in the round Eubank scores with a big left but Groves fires back with a right of his own and a left hook in the first really fierce exchange of what is a tactical contest.
Score 10-9 Groves 78-74
Official scores: 78-74 twice and 77-75 for Groves
Round 9
A better round for Eubank as he is sustaining his attacks instead of just fighting in short bursts. He is making it difficult for Groves to find the space to work his jab. Eubank lands a strong uppercut and Grove a hard right but Eubank takes the round. The cut over his right eye is bleeding heavily and is now affecting his vision.
Score 10-9 Eubank 87-84
Round 10
Eubank starts the round by scoring with a left hook but then it is all Groves. He is accurate with his punches finding the target often with his jab and counters with Eubank becoming wilder with his attacks it is Grove who is getting the better of the exchanges in one of his best rounds in the fight. It is surprising that there has been no inspection of Eubank’s cut as it is a bad one and continues to bleed.
Score 10-9 Groves 97-93
Round 11
Groves takes this one. Eubank is launching desperate attacks but looks tired and is just swinging and hoping. Groves is much more disciplined and accurate and makes Eubank pay when he misses with his punches.
Score 10-9 Groves 107-102
Round 12
A dramatic last round sees Eubank come out firing. Groves is on the retreat countering when he can. Just a minute into the round Groves suddenly shakes his left arm and it subsequently is revealed the he had dislocated his shoulder. Eubank attacks and attacks with Groves constantly against the ropes bobbing and weaving and scoring with rights when he can but it is all Eubank pumping arms looking for the stoppage but Groves guts it out to the bell and victory.
Score 10-9 Eubank 116-112
Official scores: 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113 all for Grove
It will be a real pity if the injury does rule out Groves fighting in the final. He fought a clever tactical battle here in what was an intriguing clash of styles but there was not enough sustained action for it to be a thrill-a minute affair. If the injury does prevent him going to the final there will still be plenty of good fights for him. Eubank coped well with a bad cut and deserves credit for that. He made too slow a start and just did not force the fight as hard as he needed to offset the superior skills of Groves. If Groves is ruled out Eubank will contest the final and is ca[able of winging there.
Walsh vs. Lowe
Walsh retains the British title as he claws back Lowe’s early lead to get a deserved draw. No time for studying here as these two got down to business immediately. Lowe impressed early with his hand speed and movement landing his jab and getting out and countering Walsh with rights when Walsh came forward. Walsh was waiting too long to let his punches go and occasionally switched to southpaw. Over the first three rounds Lowe was simply too fast for the champion. Walsh had a better fourth when Lowe stopped using his jab and stood and traded more but Lowe was back to moving and jabbing in he fifth and probably just had the edge. If there was a concern for Lowe it was that he was not hurting Walsh and was using up a pile of energy with a long way to go in the fight. It was jab and move for Lowe in the sixth and seventh but his work was not as sharp and Walsh was continuing to hunt him down and land one or two heavy punches. The relentless pressure from Walsh started to tell in the eighth and ninth. Lowe was spending much of the round with his back to the ropes with Walsh getting home some strong punches. He shook Lowe with a couple of rights in the ninth as he made inroads into the lead Lowe had built. Lowe worked hard in the tenth and the eleventh. He was not as quick as early in the fight but he was standing with Walsh and landing lots of short light punches. With Walsh picking his punches and more accurate it was a case of whether you went for the larger quantity but lighter punches of Lowe or the rarer but harder shots from Walsh. The strength of Walsh saw him take the last as he hammered away with body punches to save his title. Scores 116-114 Walsh, 115-114 Lowe and 115-115. Walsh was making the fourth defence of the British title. He is rated WBC 9/WBO 12 with his only losses being against Lee Selby and a split decision against Denis Ceylan. Former undefeated Commonwealth champion Lowe, 24, fought a technical draw with Ceylan in March last year and came close to the British title here. This was a great little contest between two contrasting styles and a classic British title fight which would make a great return.
Langford vs. Arnfield
Langford gets unanimous decision and retains his title in another highly competitive British Championship contest .Langford just came out on top in a battle of jabs early and he took the second landing a hard straight right and a crisp left hook to the body but both rounds were close. Langford was going to the body in the third but the punches that gave Arnfield the round were a couple of full on right crosses. In a close fourth it was a crunching right from Langford that stood out as they exchanged some quality punches. Arnfield had a good fifth coming inside for a change and scoring with hooks to the body from both hands but Langford bounced back to pocket the sixth as he continued to dig to the body and match Arnfield jab for jab. He built on that with a higher work rate in the seventh and some impressive combinations in the eighth banging to the body then switching to the head with jarring hooks. The ninth and tenth could have been scored either way. Both boxers began to tire but the pace never slackened. Langford continued to go to the body with short punches with Arnfield relying on his strong jab, straight rights and left hooks with both being rocked on occasion. Langford took the eleventh. He was getting his punches off first either drawing Arnfield’s jab and stepping inside or jumping in quickly and letting fly with hooks and getting out again. Arnfield probably did enough to win the last but it was not enough. Scores 116-113 twice and 117-113 for Langford. He is getting back on track after a crushing loss to Avtandil Khurtsidze for the interim WBO title in April last year. He is down at 12 with the WBO but with Arnfield being rated IBF 7(8)/WBA 9/WBC 15 he should now figure in all four ratings but with the Gennady Golovkin vs. Saul Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders vs. Martin Murray fights still to come no one is going anywhere until very late in the year. Arnfield had scored good wins over John Ryder and Brian Rose and he will soon be back in contention.
Parker vs. Rodriguez
Parker sweeps aside Rodriguez inside two rounds. Parker made good use of his longer reach and quicker hands to get his jab working and score with some hooks to the body. Rodriguez finished the round well getting home with a couple of jabs and a nice right. Rodriguez was trying to crowd Parker in the second but Parker showed fast footwork and slotted home jabs. Rodriguez continued to shadow Parker trying to pin him against the ropes but suddenly a short left hook sent Rodriguez staggering back and down. He was up at five and when the action restarted Parker landed a series of head punches that had Rodriguez reeling and going down with the referee waiving over the prone Spaniard to stop the fight. The 23-year-old Parker moves to 11 wins by KO/TKO. He is now part of the Sauerland stable so in good hands. He showed again here he has impressive power. Former Spanish light heavy champion Rodriguez had won 4 of his last 5 fights.

Click here for Part II.

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