April 4th – Edner Cherry edged Omar Douglas at super featherweight, a result marred by Kevin Morgan’s 98-92 verdict.
Ron McNair’s 80-72 for Frank De Alba against Ryan Kielczweski on the undercard was even worse.
April 8th – Phil Edwards missed a third round body shot knockdown scored by Jack Catterall against Martin Gethin.
The mismatch ended shortly thereafter, so thankfully it didn’t alter the outcome.
This was a night of controversy in Manchester, with the majority of it surrounding the Liam Smith-Liam Williams clash.
It started at the weigh-in, with multiple sources, including Frank Warren himself, stating that WBO supervisor John Handelaar and others informed Liam Smith that he had one hour to shed the approx. two lbs. he was over when he’d initially missed the weight.
Whether he would have been able to do this is up for debate, but what is ludicrous is that it came to light shortly afterwards that the rules actually allow for two hours, by which point Smith had rehydrated and could no longer make a realistic attempt.
I’d like to know what in the hell someone like Handelaar is there for if not to have a knowledge of such a basic rule and make it clear to all parties involved?!
Only in boxing.
Then, in the fight itself, Williams was dominating, with Smith coming on in spurts, until a severe cut was opened up in the 9th round, which caused Williams’ trainer Gary Lockett to call a halt to the bout at round’s end.
The question is: what caused the cut?
In full view of ref Terry O’Connor, Smith blatantly connected with a deliberate headbutt to Williams’ eye. Honestly, there was a case to be made for a disqualification.
On replay, the eye appeared to have begun bleeding moments before the butt (how any initial damage was caused remains unclear), but was surely worsened to its grotesque state by it.
O’Connor acted as if no head clash had happened and when the fight was stopped it was simply ruled a tko win for Smith, essentially earned with his head rather than his fists.
We’ll never know what would have happened had O’Connor or the doctor stopped the fight between rounds rather than Lockett, but my best guess is that the result would have been the same.
Lastly, Steve Gray Marcus McDonnell & Don Trella were all primed to screw Williams anyway, all scoring what should have been a commanding lead as 86-85.
The cherries on top were the cards of Mikael Hook (120-108) & Zoltan Enyedi (118-110) in the nominal main event, which gave no credit to away boxer Petr Petrov’s decent challenge of 135lb. titlist Terry Flanagan.
In Maryland, USA, Oleksandr Usyk laboured to defeat Michael Hunter, only fully getting to grips with the challenger late, battering him in the final round to such an extent that it was very poor refereeing from Billy Clancy that allowed things to reach the final bell.
Salt in the wounds was provided by the matching 117-110 card of Dave Braslow, Lynne Carter and Jamie Garayua.
In the main event, Kenny Chevalier should have saved brave Jason Sosa in the 8th round from the punishment he was absorbing at the hands of Vasyl Lomachenko.
Thankfully, Sosa’s corner pulled him out after nine.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission are, as usual, making a show of themselves, this time through the comments of executive director Bob Bennett, practically falling over himself to green-light the Mayweather-McGregor fiasco: a U-turn from previous reticence on this issue, by the way…
48 year old James Toney, out of the ring for the best part of two years and winless since 2013, will be fighting soon (billed as his retirement bout) against heavyweight journeyman Mike Sheppard on May 13th in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Shame on everyone involved in this dangerous farce, especially the Michigan commission who are licensing it.
April 15th – Ricky Burns was completely outclassed by Julius Indongo in their 140lb. unification clash.
So Jose Roberto Torres’ 116-112 card was baffling — where did he find four rounds to give home boxer Burns?
April 22nd – Martin Murray edged a highly competitive bout against Gabriel Rosado by majority decision, however the 119-109 score of Leszek Jankowiak almost caused a post-fight melee to break out.
Horrible stuff and it will surely stand out as one of the year’s worst cards.