Martin Murray acquired a meaningful rankings boost to accompany the meaningless “WBC silver” belt in a foul filled scrap at the O2 on Saturday night against Roberto Garica. Looking to engineer a 5th world title shot, Murray (11st 5lbs) engaged straight away and was forced to contend with low blows, rabbit punches and reckless use of the head throughout the fight. Garcia (11st 5lbs) was deducted a point in the 2nd round for a low blow and another in the 6th for a punching the back of the head. In between lectures from the referee, breaks and wrestling, Murray landed some effective left hooks to the body but was unable to build up a rhythm or maintain sustained pressure. After 12 gruelling rounds Murray emerged a deserved victor with scores of 116-111, 118-109, 118-108, two falls and a submission. His reward might be a rematch with Golovkin, which seems unfair somehow.
Anthony Yarde (12st 6lbs) made hard work of stopping Darius “The Fighter” Sek (12st 6lbs) in seven rounds in the chief support bout. Yarde dropped his Polish southpaw opponent with a glancing left hook in the first and a short fight looked on the cards. However, Sek was made of stern stuff and always threw back just enough to stop the referee from looking too closely at Yarde’s repeated assaults. As the fight progressed the Yarde offensives became more prolonged and the replies became fewer so the fight was sensibly halted in the 7th to save Sek from his own bravery. It is surely time for Yarde to take on a more risky challenge. He sells a fair few tickets and that might start to diminish if he is not properly challenged soon.
“Dynamite” Daniel Dubois did take on a riskier fight than previously in the shape of Tom “not so” Little for the English heavyweight strap. Little (17st 12lbs) had promised to take Dubois (16st 12lbs) into deep water for the first time and, while that never really materialised, it was good to see Dubois tested by someone who was willing to throw back with intent. Dubois eventually found a way through in the 4th and floored Little with a big left hook to the body. Little did well to rise and continue but was eventually stopped on his feet under a barrage of punches in the following round. Hopefully the Gorman fight happens sooner rather than later for Dubois. If not next, then maybe after Gorman has also been in with Little and see how that goes? Either way, let’s not forget that Dubois is still only 20 and there’s no rush, but equally, he’s past fighting knockovers now as a solid win against a decent opponent in Little illustrates.
Earlier in the evening, Umar “Top Boxer” Sadiq (12st 4lbs) took care of Kamil El Tamini (12st 4lbs) with dominant performance culminating in a left hook to the body in the 3rd of a scheduled six, that put El Tamini down for the count. Two question marks against Sadiq are does he maybe lack a bit of power and is “Top Boxer” the worst nickname ever, or actually a brilliant piece of reverse psychology because anybody who hears it will remember it?
Ohara Davies continued on his road to redemption with a new hairstyle (blond) and a new attitude (not being a complete arse). Davies (9st 13lbs) knocked out DRC’s Paul Kamanga (9st 13lbs) with a cracking right hook in the 2nd round, causing much delight in his corner as they’d been working on the shot in the gym
James Branch won on his pro debut and Archie Sharp also picked up a win. Leon Woodstock could lie in wait for Sharp.
There were entertaining fights and some good action but the crowd for was disappointing for a venue like the O2. To be expected to an extent, with the main event falling apart at relatively late notice but I can’t help but feel this card would have been better off at the Copperbox.