By Gary Mushrow, ringside. [@Gary9690]
An action packed show in Manchester last night really delivered on its promise to bring value-for-money for everybody in attendance.
Liverpool’s Liam Smith became the first of the Smith boxing foursome of brothers to win a prestigious world title. The super welterweight title was won in spectacular fashion with a seventh round technical knockout victory over American John Thompson.
Newark’s Thompson seemed to take the first three rounds on activity alone, throwing a fast jab to try and offset Smith, who worked hard to step to his opponent and apply effective pressure with his feet.
‘Beefy’ was to turn up the heat in round 4, as a number of perfectly timed hooks caught his opponent off guard going backwards towards the ropes, something Thompson received a stern word for as he returned to his corner in between rounds.
Pitter-patter punches were the order of round five, as Thompson seemed to decided he was going to try and keep Smith occupied with fast combinations rather than deter him with power punches. This writer noted Smith was getting considerably closer in round six, with some undoubted success as the bell sounded to close the stanza which seemed to have Thompson a little glass-eyed and rocked to his boots in the final moments.
A sharp one-two at the beginning of round 7 meant the progress of round 6 was to continue for Smith, as he closed in on a tiring Thompson; never relenting, Thompson was unable to keep Smith off him. As he maneuvered Thompson towards the ropes once more, Smith landed the decisive blows in combination and Thompson was down and out for a long count.
“I can’t even tell you how it feels”, Smith said to the media afterwards, “I know the meaning of being a world champion now, because I haven’t had a minute to myself since I won. I’ll just sit back and digest the media’s comments over the next day or so.”
Pressed on who he wants now he is world champion, Smith said, “I’m champion now, so they can chase me. I saw Shane Mosley calling out [Cornelius] K9 Bundrage a few weeks back when he was champion, so hopefully fighters like that will start calling me out now.”
In the main event, Manchester’s Terry Flanagan retained his WBO lightweight world title with a dominant second round knockout of mandatory challenger Diego Magdaleno.
Magdaleno started at a quick pace, in a crouched stance, attempting to come up and through the guard of Flanagan as he threw punches. Flanagan quickly adjusted to this and started to time Magdaleno as he rose and catch him with shots.
Badly chosen soles on his boots seemed to be giving Magdaleno problems early, as he struggled to get to grips with the canvas and slipped twice in the opening round.
A right hook, left hand had Magdaleno down in the second, with the 28-year old jumping straight to his feet and imploring Flanagan in for more action. Flanagan all to willingly obliged, dropping his opponent again with a left uppercut followed by a left hand.
Magdaleno got up more gingerly this time, and Flanagan pounced – a flurry of concussive punches overwhelmed Magdaleno within seconds, literally punching the stumbling American around the ring. With that referee Terry O’Connor had seen enough and called a halt to the contest at 2.38 of the second round.
“I will never get the credit I deserve, it’s just one of those things”, Flanagan said afterwards, “Sky Sports had me rated number 5 in Britain, five? Really? I’m world champion. But yet they still think I’m not as good as Crolla, Mitchell, Burns and them. I don’t know, I’ll just keep fighting and knocking people out and let them make up their own mind.”
“I heard that Linares is pretty good. I don’t know much about him. But I’d be willing to fight him. I just fight who I’m told to. It doesn’t make any difference to me”, Flanagan finished.
Further down the card saw Lancashire’s Luke Blackledge defend his 168lb Commonwealth title with a twelve round unanimous decision against Lee Markham. A good scrap over the twelve rounds saw Blackledge in control of a close fight, with Markham unable to show enough power to hurt the champion at times.
Controversy sparked during the early rounds as Markham was forced by the referee to change his gloves after a split appeared in the thumb. The back-up gloves were not of the same type as the original gloves which caused Blackledge’s manager Steve Wood to complain with the BBBoC official Robert Smith as to the validity of the contest going ahead.
Rising light welterweight prospect Jack Catterall shut out Jarkko Putkonen over ten rounds to retain his WBO inter-continental title. Catterall never seemed to be able or want to get out of second gear against his opponent and that still proved to be enough, scoring perfect scorecards.
Jimmy Kelly picked up the WBO inter-continental super welterweight title with a unanimous points decision against Martin Fidel Rios in the swing bout, whilst Jack Flatley won over four against Lewis van Poetsch.
Ryan Burnett picked up the vacant WBO European against Robert Kanalas with a second round knock out, whilst Adrian Gonzalez won the vacant WBO Inter-Continental lightweight title with a fourth round technical knock out over Jon Kays.
Debutant Indian boxing sensation Vijender Singh kick-started his boxing journey with a third round knock out over Sonny Whiting in front of 20,000,000 viewers on Indian TV. After an entertaining first two rounds, Singh was told to get a move on by his corner team – and that he did.
Wiping Whiting out after a flurry of brutal shots which almost saw his opponent leave the ring through the middle ropes, Singh delivered to the delight of on-watching promoter Francis Warren.
Value-for-money in Manchester? 100%.