Matthew Marsh Defeats Esham Pickering
By Nate Anderson: In a punching display that reminded me of a prime Ricky Hatton, super bantamweight Matthew Marsh (10-1, 1 KOs) out-slugged champion Esham Pickering (22-7, 13 KOs), defeating him over 10 toughly competitive rounds to win a 10-round unanimous decision on Friday night at the York Hall, Bethnal Green, in London. Marsh, a fighter with only average power, looked powerful enough to cause Pickering huge problems in the fight, keeping under a constant rain of huge hooks and right hands to the head, and preventing Pickering from getting his high volume offense in gear.
A lot of the times, Marsh looked like a carbon copy of Hatton, only better, as he was able to land beautiful combinations to the body without getting hit with left hooks like Hatton normally does as he charges in to throw his wild hooks. Marsh out-worked Pickering in two of the first three rounds, looking as if he was taking out all the stops in order to capture Pickerings’ BBBofC British super bantamweight title.
Pickering, 31, took over the fight in rounds 4 to 6, badly out-working Marsh, hitting him with a constant flow of jabs and short combinations. Marsh began looking tired, not able to keep up with the tremendous pace that was being set by Pickering. Every once in awhile, Marsh would gather his strength and make a huge attack for 10-20 seconds, landing some big shots to the head during this time, and looking nothing like a fighter with only one meager knockout on his record. Perhaps Marsh was saving up his power all this time, waiting for this fight. Whatever the case, he looked every bit as powerful as Ricky Hatton as he tattooed Pickering with good shots. Pickering was cut under his right eye in the 5th round, which looked as if it had occurred from a punch and not a head butt. The cut wasn’t bad, though, and didn’t affect Pickering in the slightest as he kept coming forward as always, looking strong.
In the 7th round, Marsh came back with some powerful shots, winging beautiful hooks to the midsection and head, one after another as he drove Pickering to the ropes. The crowd, clearly favoring Marsh for the entire fight, got into it, screaming loudly, giving Marsh encouragement. This is all he needed, as with the fans behind him, Marsh seemed to take his fight game into another gear, hitting Pickering with some tremendous shots. Clearly not thinking about boxing at all, Marsh was putting everything he had into each hook, and giving Pickering fits in the process.
In the 8th and 9th, both fighters took turns battering each other, the fight seeming to seesaw one way, then back another way. It was Marsh, however, who would finish the round strong, driving Picking to the ropes where he battered him with huge shots almost without stop.
In the 10th round, Marsh staggered Pickering early on with a huge right hand, then proceeded to tag him with a rain of shots in the final two minutes of the round while trying valiantly to take him out. Though he was unable to finish Pickering off, he put an exclamation point on his victory, leaving no question in the minds of the boxing fans who the winner was in the fight. In the end, Pickering couldn’t handle the powerful combinations, the energy and the compact shots from Marsh, who fought perhaps the perfect fight of his short career.