Monday, October 19, 2009

British Scene Weekend Recap: Booth Stops Hunter

Matt Chudley recaps this past Friday's British super-bantamweight title match-up between Jason Booth and Michael Hunter.

Jason Booth successfully defended his British super-bantamweight title for the 2nd time with an impressive one sided 5th round stoppage of Michael Hunter at the Seaburn Centre in Sunderland on Friday. It was a career best win for the slick Nottingham fighter, who also holds the Commonwealth bantamweight title.

Booth bobbed and weaved, as he looked capitalize on openings afford to him by Hunter who came out looking to use his size and strength and set a fast pace. The 5’4 man from Nottingham was able to time the 5’7 southpaw on several occasions with short left hooks in the first and really started to settle into his rhythm in the second.

With Booth quickly moving in and out of range and accurately countering, the challenger decided to set his feet to gain more purchase on his punches, but succeeded only in making himself even more of a stationary target as his poor timing and accuracy failed to improve. Having been out of the ring for 10 months, and without meaningful activity since losing in a bid for the IBF title to Steve Molitor in 2006, Hunter's rust was very evident.

By the third round it was now Booth who was the aggressor, pushing Hunter back as the former European champion fighter seemed out of ideas and was getting peppered by the smaller man.

After a dominant 4th from Booth who seemed to be picking his shots at will, Hunter’s corner sensed the fight was getting completely away, and gave their man a stern talking to, advising him to go out and give it his all. He responded by coming out with real intent for the 5th, but the fight slipped back into the same pattern with Hunter unable to pin the slick champion down. He was then forced to hold on, after Booth punished his body, before picking him apart for the remainder of the frame.

After the round, having failed to change the one-sided course of the fight, a dejected Hunter was retired by his corner without argument. Having looked out of sorts all night, he may very well need to give strong consideration to retirement from the sport.

Following the win, rumors of a big all Nottingham showdown with friend Rendall Munroe were quieted by promoter Frank Maloney and the two fighters. With a lack of domestic competition at 122lbs and the European and Commonwealth avenues blocked by Munroe, Booth will probably look to the 118lb division for his next opponent.

The obvious option is a rubber match with Ian Napa, should the Londoner regain his Lonsdale belt against Gary Davies next week. Booth could also be in the mix to take on European 118lb champion, Malik Bouziane.

On the undercard...

Tony Jeffries was given by far the toughest outing of his young career by Belarussian light-heavyweight champion Artem Solomko. Jeffries won every round on referee Andrew Wright's card in a scrappy contest but never came close to stopping Solomko, as he was extended the distance for the first time as a pro.

In his first fight under the Maloney banner, David Price looked unimpressive against Liridon Memishi who retired after two rounds due to a hand injury. Price seemed unable to press home his physical advantages and though in control, never looked like inflicting serious punishment on the German novice.

Also turning out for Maloney for the first time, much hyped super-middleweight prospect George Groves looked impressive in stopping an extremely negative Tadas Jonkus. With Jonkus (4-4) purely looking to survive, Groves forced the stoppage from referee Gary Williams in the 4th round after pinning the Lithuanian in the corner and firing in a barrage of unanswered punches.

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