Monday, June 15, 2009

British Scene Weekend Recap

There were two shows featuring title contests this weekend in British rings.

On Friday, Ajose Olusegun put his 140lb Commonwealth crown on the line, as well as going for the vacant British title against Nigel Wright. The following night, Scott Lawton had a chance to claim the British 135lb title against John Murray, after Murray failed to make weight the previous afternoon.

Matt Chudley and Dave Oakes have the recaps.

Check out our previews of the show: Olusegun vs Wright & Murray vs Lawton

Friday June 12

Olusegun Tops Wright Again

By Matt Chudley

In an unexpected rematch with Nigel Wright at the Liverpool Olympia, Ajose Olusegun successfully defended his Commonwealth title and claimed the British title this past Friday

In their previous encounter, Wright had surprised Olusegun early but faded down the stretch to lose 116-113 on all three cards. This time, after being afforded the opportunity on only two weeks notice due to a pullout by Barry Morrison, a more apprehensive Wright failed to let his hands go and was outworked and outclassed by the London based Nigerian.

While both southpaws tried to establish their jab early, the few attacking flurries were contributed by Olusegun, who despite being unable to find a home for his favoured and rather wild overhand left hand, clearly had the better of the first few rounds.

With things going Olusegun’s way in the 4th, he dropped his hands and mocked Wright’s reflexes, but went back to work in raising the pace of the contest the following round.

Finally, in the second half of the 6th round, with the gulf in speed and reflexes not allowing him to counter-punch effectively Wright began to show some signs of life by coming forward and letting his hands go and pushed Olugsegun back with persistent 1-2s. Wright’s sense of urgency though was only fleeting as he went back into his shell for the next few rounds, and when he chose to again come forward in the 10th, was picked off by his crafty opponent.

With his corner urging him on, Wright managed to land a few decent punches over the last couple of rounds but it wasn’t nearly enough. The final scores were 117-111, 117-112 and 116-113 all for Olusegun.

Now a British citizen and Lonsdale belt holder, Olusgeun may find himself in line to fight the winner of the July 3rd European title match-up between Paul McCloskey and Soulymane M'Baye. Still unable to sell tickets and stylistically an unattractive proposition, Olusegun will undoubtedly have to force someone’s hand when it comes to a World title fight, but he might not be far from a final eliminator given his previous high standing.

On the under-card…

In the pick of the under-card action, 7-0 local fighter Steve Williams bettered the 18-4-2 Polish welterweight champion Slawomir Ziemlewicz over 8 fast paced and exciting rounds.

Rising 154lb prospect Grzegoz Proska faired much better than his countryman, posting a career best win in 3 rounds over 17-4-1 former British title challenger Jaime Coyle.

Former Commonwealth featherweight Champion Paul Truscott kept busy ahead of his rematch with John Simpson with a routine 60-54 win over Russian Andrey Kostin.

Debuting former amateur star Carl Frampton put down the overmatched 0-1 Hungarian Sandor Szinavel 3 times before the end came at 2:03 into the 2nd round.

e-mail Matt Chudley

Saturday June 13

Murray Wins But Loses Title

By Dave Oakes

The weigh in for a fight is usually the calm before the storm but it was the complete opposite for John Murray this weekend. Having arrived barely minutes before the cut off point for weighing in, Murray quickly jumped on the scales only to find out that he was two ounces over the lightweight limit.

The officials gave Murray just five minutes to lose the weight but it made no difference as a sweating Murray weighed exactly the same second time around. Murray and his team complained bitterly that they weren’t given enough time to shed the extra weight but rules are rules and they only had themselves to blame for turning up late to the weigh in, if they’d turned up an hour earlier, they would’ve had enough time to lose the extra weight easily.

Murray was stripped of the title but the fight went ahead with Lawton still capable of winning the now vacant title if he could defeat Murray. Unfortunately for Lawton, it became evident within the first minute that he didn’t stand a chance of winning, as a pumped up Murray flew out at the bell.

Murray is always a fast starter and an aggressive front foot fighter but even by his own standards this was a ferocious start to a fight. He was trying to take Lawton’s head off with every punch, throwing wild hooks non-stop. Lawton was getting caught with some big shots but wasn’t hurt until there was twenty seconds of the round remaining when Murray caught him with a right hook that made Lawton’s legs dip. Murray followed up with a barrage of punches and eventually sent Lawton sprawling to the canvas with what was more of a shove than a punch.

Lawton got to his feet unsteadily and looked relieved when the bell sounded before Murray could get the chance to finish proceedings. Lawton has always been a courageous fighter and he showed that yet again in this fight, he could’ve easily reverted into safety mode for the rest of the fight but he came out fighting in the second round.

Murray was still fighting at a phenomenal pace in the second but Lawton was countering him well and landed two powerful uppercuts that stopped Murray in his tracks. Despite having a much better round, Lawton still lost the round due to Murray’s work-rate and heavier punching.

Murray slowed the pace slightly in the third and fourth rounds but was still dominating the fight with the more accurate and heavier looking punches. Lawton was beginning to feel the pace towards the end of the fourth, which was immediately picked up upon by Murray.

Round five was the beginning of the end as Murray started to look for the body attack to break down an already tiring Lawton. A huge left hook under the ribs had Lawton in serious trouble towards the end of the round but he clung on bravely to see the round out.

Murray, sensing the end was in sight, started the sixth round as fast as he’d started the first. He was pushing Lawton back and was bullying him against the ropes. He had Lawton in trouble yet again with a left hook to the body and followed it up with another two vicious body shots, one of which was a right hook that nearly folded Lawton in half, the following punches rocked Lawton’s head back leaving the referee with no alternative other than stopping the fight.

Murray is now unbeaten in 27 fights and is starting to fulfil the potential he showed in the early stage of his career. A potential fight against Jon Thaxton may have been ruined by him losing his title on the scales but he could still challenge European champion Anthony Mezaache in his next fight in September. His promoter, Mick Hennessy, remained optimistic that the Thaxton fight could still happen and also revealed he’s been in discussions with Juan Diaz about a possible fight towards the end of the year.

e-mail Dave Oakes