Monday, July 20, 2009

British Scene: Cleverly Stops McIntosh

It was a very busy weekend in British boxing, and while most of the attention was focused on Amir Khan's winning effort, the most impressive performance by a British fighter may just have been the one put forth by Nathan Cleverly at the York Hall.

Photos © Justin McKie

Matt Chudley has the recap.

Check out Dave Oakes' round by round coverage of the Khan vs Kotelnik show.

Saturday, July 18

Cleverly Stops McIntosh; Thaxton Upset by Glover

By Matt Chudley

Nathan Cleverly impressively added the British Light-heavyweight title to his Commonwealth belt in crushing the game but overmatched Danny McIntosh over seven rounds at the York Hall on Saturday. The older and physically stronger McIntosh was successful in goading and baiting the highly skilled Welshman into a scrappy brawl with his posturing but Cleverly's ever improving power and accuracy proved too much for the tough Norwich fighter.

Aware of McIntosh’s strength and athleticism and also his technical deficiencies, Cleverly targeted his opponent’s midsection from the start. After being warned for straying a little too low in the opening round, the strategy paid dividends in the 2nd, when a crisp left hook to the body immobilized McIntosh, who was then dropped by a follow-up right hand.

Still winded, McIntosh touched down again moments later after being caught with another right hand while backing away with his hands down and chin exposed. In act of bravado, he flipped back up onto his feet, but his continued attempts at machismo left Cleverly intent on proving his own mettle and unwilling to accept that McIntosh might be the grittier fighter.

McIntosh was down from another right in the 3rd but still appeared relatively clear headed and beckoned the younger fighter in again. Fighting his opponents fight and now exchanging verbal jibes in the clinch, Cleverly was now visibly tiring but still producing the better work.

Facing an insurmountable deficit on the cards, McIntosh began to fight with his hands down by his waist in an attempt to draw Cleverly in and catch him with a big punch. It was a gamble worth taking, but one that didn't pay off as Cleverly landed a right hand behind the ear that sent McIntosh down again in the 7th. On this occasion, McIntosh was slow and hesitant to rise, and referee Howard Foster took a long look at the man from East Anglia before letting the bout continue. Cleverly was quick to pounce with a flurry of unanswered punches, giving Foster little choice but to jump in and stop the fight.

Next on the agenda for Cleverly while he looks to get in line for a European title fight or World title eliminator is likely to be a rematch with crowd pleaser Tony Oakey or possibly a dual title defense against former Olympian Courtney Fry. Damien Francis is another possibility if he returns to the 175lb division.

On the under-card...

In a big upset, Jonathan Thaxton was narrowly out-pointed by bricklayer Tom Glover. Referee Ken Curtis, the sole arbiter for the 8 round contest, called it 77-76 for Glover with the difference being a point deduction against Thaxton in the 7th round for persistent holding.

Enjoying a 5 pound weight advantage, Glover used his size to full advantage as he managed to out-muscle the somewhat lackluster Thaxton in overcoming the former European lightweight champion's more polished skills. The underdog from Maldon gave early warning it would be a tough night for his more renowned opponent by landing a number of clean shots in the second round.

With the win, Glover improved his record to 9-5, and after previous upsets over the 22-1 Nadeem Siddique and the 14-2 Chas Symonds, has now earned himself an English welterweight title challenge against Adnan Amar in October. Having lost to a welterweight, it remains uncertain as to whether Thaxton will be given the opportunity to fight for the vacant British lightweight title against John Murray later this year.

Also in action, an out of shape Tyson Fury punished a woeful and fleshy Aleksandrs Selezens (3-6) for three rounds before Selezens corner threw in the towel to stop the one sided contest. With the win, Fury extends his perfect record to 7-0 with all victories coming early.

After letting himself go, Fury will now have to prepare for the toughest test of his career so far in September when he takes on John McDermott for the English Heavyweight title.

e-mail Matt Chudley