Monday, March 30, 2009

British Scene Weekend Recap

Ricky Burns was in action this weekend, defending his Commonweath super-featherweight title against Michael Gomez, while Tony Quigley and Tony Dodson engaged in a classic super-middleweight encounter for the British Title.

Dave Oakes and Matt Chudley bring you all the action.

Friday March 27

Burns Retains Title

By Dave Oakes

Ricky Burns retained his Commonwealth super-featherweight title on Friday night with an impressive 7th round stoppage of Michael Gomez.

Burns started the fight quickly, keeping the aggressive Gomez off balance by working behind a solid jab. At the end of the first round you sensed that this was going to be a long hard night for Gomez. The Mancunian seemed to be taking every punch on the chin with his defence non-existent and his head offering a stationary target for the fired up Burns.

The second and third rounds were the same as the first with Gomez trying bravely to back Burns into a corner but not having the foot speed to do so. Burns was taking full advantage of the challenger’s slow march forward and was landing left hooks and straight rights at will. When Gomez did get close enough to trade punches, Burns would hit him with a quick combination before holding and smothering the challenger’s work.

The fourth round provided Gomez’s only success of the night when he landed a big uppercut that had Burns clinging on for a few seconds to clear his head. The rest of the round was scrappy as Burns seemed to abandon his jab and was content to just stifle Gomez by constantly holding him.

Burns started the fifth in the same manner as he ended the fourth with more holding than punching. The round was halfway through when the referee had seen enough and deducted a point from Burns for excessive holding. This seemed to re-ignite the fire in Burns, who finished the round strongly, crashing punch after punch against the tiring Gomez.

The sixth round was one-sided as Burns completely took control of the fight, with Gomez offering very little in response to the champion’s quick and accurate combinations.

Gomez’s corner tried to fire their fading fighter up in the corner when really they should've been thinking about pulling him out. He was allowed out for the seventh round but with less than a minute gone he was backed onto the ropes and caught with a huge right hook that shook him badly. The follow up barrage of hooks had him sinking to the canvas just as the referee jumped in to save him from further punishment.

For Gomez, the end is now in sight. After the fight he stated that he wanted to have a couple of easy four round fights to take his record to 40-10 before bowing out. He can retire knowing he’s provided the fans with some of the most entertaining domestic fights of the past decade and can look at his Lonsdale belt with pride.

The ever improving Burns will now be looking towards a fight with Kevin Mitchell, Nicky Cook or maybe even the new European champion, Sergey Gulyakevich. On this form, he'd make those three potential fights very interesting.

e-mail Dave Oakes

Saturday March 28

Quigley Stops Dodson in Thriller

By Matt Chudley

Tony Quigley may have left his stool for the 12th round behind on the cards but the final momentum swing of the back and forth tussle during the 11th round left him with every confidence that he could see off the challenge of local rival Tony Dodson. He did just that during a dramatic final stanza that saw him crowned the new British super-middleweight champion, in a fight that will undoubtedly receive strong consideration for British fight of the year, if it doesn’t at least take that honour.

Dodson, the elder Liverpudlian got out of the gate slowly, and after being cut twice, once on the bridge of the nose and once over the left eye, was put down by a by a huge right hook in the second round. Quigley poured on the pressure but the unsteady Dodson did well to keep his upper body moving and avoid more punishment.

Quigley came out for the third in measured pursuit, but the direction of the fight changed halfway through the round. Pressed up in his own corner Dodson turned his man landing a left uppercut and followed up with a left hook. The punches clearly affected Quigley and Dodson took over the role of aggressor stalking Quigley around the ring and looking to work to the body and head and out landing his opponent for the rest of the round.

Using his superior size and strength, Dodson maintained his upper hand through the next few rounds and into the second half of the fight, but his face was showing the effects of the battle. With some swelling now accompanying the two cuts, the ring doctor was forced to have a quick look during the 7th. Dodson, who had expended an enormous amount of energy in taking charge of the fight, was now slowly become less efficient in his attack, smothering much of his own work and also striking a lot of air.

With Dodson tiring, Quigley started to come alive again in the ninth, although he was shaken by a big left hook at the end of the round.

Suffering under the pace he’d set, Dodson’s work was determined but ragged in the tenth, while Quigley, who was growing in confidence landed the more eye catching stuff.

The younger fighter started the penultimate round purposely and sensing his opponent was tiring, he seized his chance in piling on the pressure. Dodson’s brave effort was now starting to unravel, and Quigley's assault, punctuated by a right hand and a a big left, forced him to hold on for the final minute of the round.

Implored by his corner to go all out for the stoppage, Quigley came out guns blazing in the twelfth. He put Dodson down early with an overhand right, and with his follow-up attack, sent his game opponent down yet again, this time with a let hook. Dodson climbed off the canvas, but quickly found himself down once more, this time from a slip. He courageously rose but was unable to intelligently defend himself, and referee Victor Loughlin compassionately called a halt to the proceedings, crowning Quigley the new champion.

On the undercard...

Debuting Heavy David Price looked a much needed addition to the division, showing a good body attack and the ability to end a fight with one punch. Having started patiently Price came to life in the 3rd. After Price's mouthpiece fell out, the referee shouted stop boxing, only to have Ingleby catch the distracted Price with a massive right hand sucker punch. Though hurt, this fired up the nice guy from Liverpool who proceeded to blast Ingleby out in that same round with a huge right hand.

All of 6’8, with a solid jab and good amateur pedigree, he will be a useful sparring partner for his promoter David Haye in preparation for the fight with Wladimir Klitschko.

Also on the show was Merseyside fighter John Watson, who survived a final round onslaught from Martin Gethin to win their exciting 10 round British lightweight eliminator.

Derry Mathews will have to think long and hard about his chosen career path. He was controversially counted out having claimed to have not heard the count, but has now lost three of his last 4 having previously been ranked by the IBF and WBO at featherweight.

e-mail Matt Chudley