Monday, October 26, 2009

British Scene Weekend Recap: Rhodes Stops Moore, Napa and Bayaar Win, Rushton Injured

Dave Oakes recaps this past Friday night's Sky show.

Photo © Chris Royle

Ryan Rhodes became European champion on Friday night after stopping Jamie Moore in the seventh round of a classic domestic fight. Rhodes was a massive underdog going into the fight but out-toughed the usually teak tough Moore to claim the win of his career.

Moore started the fight well, repeatedly catching Rhodes with hooks to head and body in the opening round.

Moore continued the onslaught in the second round, he was beating Rhodes to the punch and was landing some hurtful body punches, a couple of which seemed to have an effect on Rhodes. The Sheffield man responded well to the heavy shots he was taking, firing back with his punches that made Moore think before he charged in.

Rhodes was expected to make full use of the ring whilst countering the aggressive Moore; instead he seemed intent on standing his ground and taking on Moore at his own game. This didn’t seem like the brightest of ideas, especially after the third round in which Moore teed off on him from start to finish with powerful combinations to head and body.

At the start of the fourth, it looked like it was a case of when could Moore get the stoppage, not if he could get the stoppage. There mustn’t have been many people in attendance who could have foreseen what was to happen.

Yet again Moore was the aggressor, he was seemingly far too big and strong for Rhodes to cope with. Rhodes was battling bravely and was having his own successes at times but Moore was landing some telling blows, in particular a left hook that rattled Rhodes’ jaw and visibly hurt the challenger. It was Rhodes though who landed the best punch of the round; he landed a vicious hook under the ribs bang on the bell that had Moore wincing and gasping for air as he made his way back to the corner.

The fifth round saw Rhodes getting dropped to the canvas, but it was a clear low blow that put him there. Despite the roars from the back of the arena, the referee correctly ruled it as a low blow and gave Rhodes the adequate time to recover. The round itself was very close, Moore was still pressing forward but Rhodes was increasingly upping his work rate and was now matching Moore punch for punch.

The sixth round was the first clear round that Rhodes won, you could make a case for him in another couple of rounds but this was the round in which he really made his mark. He was catching Moore repeatedly with spiteful body shots and was starting to boss the usually rock solid Salford champion around. To his credit Moore was still trying to force the pace but he was clearly tiring from his efforts in the earlier rounds, the number of heavy whacks to the body he was receiving didn’t help him to much either.

Moore tried to re-establish his superiority in the seventh but soon found himself on the canvas after a well timed counter right hook by Rhodes had him in all kinds of trouble. He managed to beat the count but he looked unsteady on his legs. He then, in typical Jamie Moore fashion, decided to go toe-to-toe with Rhodes rather than clinch and buy himself some time to recover. Amazingly he seemed to have turned the tide midway through the round and was once again hurting Rhodes to head and body.

Just when it looked as if Moore had weathered the storm and was beginning to break Rhodes heart, he inexplicably dropped his hands and was caught with a monstrous overhand right that sent him staggering backwards towards the ropes. Rhodes jumped on Moore straight away and unleashed a non-stop two fisted salvo that left the referee with no alternative but to stop the fight.

It was a remarkable end to a remarkable fight. A lot of credit has to be given to Rhodes, who at 32, showed he still has the appetite to dig deep and come through adversity to win. He’s had a career of many highs and lows but this has got to rank as the most impressive win of it.

It’s hard to believe that Moore will be able to rebuild from the defeat, he’ll still be able to compete at European level at either light-middleweight or middleweight but hopes of a world title shot now seem to have gone forever. It’s a shame that his world title dream has fallen apart after so many years of hard work and after spending the past three or four years begging to be given the opportunity he deserved.

Bizarrely, despite the fight being billed as a world title eliminator, it now seems that Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr has jumped ahead of Rhodes in the rankings and will fight Sergio Martinez sometime next year. Rhodes will have to be patient, let’s hope he doesn’t have to be as patient as Moore was made to be.

On the undercard...

Ian Napa recaptured the British bantamweight title after a close points decision over Gary Davies. A pumped up and emotional Davies started the fight at a furious pace, possibly letting the occasion get the better of him. His work rate was enough to secure him the first two rounds and make the next four close but it was the silky skills of Napa that dominated the fight from there on in.

Davies tried his hardest but was being beaten to the punch on the inside and at range. He had to survive some problematic moments late on in the fight as Napa unleashed two powerful uppercuts and numerous left hooks that had him rocking and rolling but he courageously hung on to hear the final bell.

Two of the judges had the fight in Napa’s favour (115-114 and 116-112) whilst the third judge scored it as a draw (114-114). I scored the fight 116-112; I felt that Napa’s work was the cleaner in the rounds that were close.

Shinny Bayaar produced the performance of his career to capture the British flyweight title after beating Stoke’s Chris Edwards on a split decision. Edwards, who was making the second defence of his title, never seemed to get going. He was unusually negative throughout the fight and only had himself to blame when the scores were announced.

The likable Bayaar was the aggressor for most of the fight, and despite not being able to hurt Edwards or get complete control over him, I felt he was the clear winner. Two of the judges scored it in Bayaar’s favour (117-112 and 115-113) whilst the third had Edwards winning 115-113.

David Price, the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist, won his third fight in the pro ranks after an uninspiring points decision over Yavor Marinchev. Price controlled the fight from start to finish but looked far from the potential world beater he’s being touted as.

Doncaster’s Jason Rushton was rushed to hospital after collapsing in the dressing room shortly after his fight against Brian Rose. Rushton was stopped in the tenth round after a hard fought fight but seemed to be fine initially.

He was induced into a controlled coma after scans revealed a small tear to brain tissue. His condition was described as being stable on Sunday and initial signs are good.

Everyone here at The Boxing Bulletin would like to wish Jason a speedy and full recovery.

e-mail Dave Oakes