Cracking Night of Boxing in Bolton; Wins for Crolla and Smith!

By Ciaran McKinney: Fans were treated to a real spectacle of domestic level boxing tonight at the USN Bolton Arena, the card was not what most casual fans would consider to be ‘stacked’. However, to the die-hard fan of the local scene, it had everything on the menu, a highly anticipated, make or break rematch and the main event clash of styles, the possible culmination of a true underdog story. Every boxer delivered tonight from top to bottom.

Firstly a look at the match-up for the vacant British Super Middleweight title, which seen a rematch from the gruesome 2010 encounter between Paul Smith and Tony Dodson. The rematch offered a lot more in basically every aspect of the game bar that of bloodshed from the original.

From the outset, Smith and Dodson traded blows, but at a more controlled pace, both of these Liverpudlian warriors clearly knew that this fight was all or nothing but from the outset, it was clear there was only going to be one winner, as early as the second, Smith was in the ascendancy and had Dodson reeling with a number of clubbing blows, by the 3rd, he was on the ground, barely making the 10 count.

A bloodied and battered Dodson fought back valiantly, but the cunning and higher work-rate/accuracy of Smith seen the fight called to an end by the referee in the 6th round. Surely the end of the road for the brave Tony Dodson, but a career revival for the younger Paul Smith who will now seek to claim the Lonsdale belt for keeps in his next outing.

Now to the main event, which from start to finish was an absolute cracker, however the claims of the announcer that we had witnessed ‘the fight of the year’ may have been a tad over zealous. Gavin Rees came into the fight after a punishing defeat to the ‘The Problem’ Adrien Broner, yet was heavy favorite against local lad Anthony ‘Million Dolla’ Crolla.

The first few rounds were cagey at best, with the first 3 rounds looking to be close and a coin toss to call, however from the 4th round on, it appeared that there was only going to be one winner. Anthony Crolla, a man written off by many, set out and stuck to game plan, taking the fight to the former world champion from Wales, targeting the body with a tremendous amount of success. It could be argued that Rees was the busier of the two fighters, however, Crolla put on a defensive clinic. Showing that he has come on leaps and bound since he fell at the hands of Derry Matthews.

Rees may have sensed from the rapturous Manchester crowd that he needed a stoppage, yet his tactics were that of a man that seemed simply out of ideas and being completely shot. He tried to play possum on the ropes and catch the underdog with counter punches, with little to no success. In the end, it went to the score cards with the judges seeing it 115-113, 116-113 115-115. I felt this to be a fair reflection of the fight overall, with a judge clearly rewarding the spent Rees for punches thrown. However, it was ‘Million Dollar’ who came out on top of the score cards and is seemingly set up to tackle Ricky Burns in the near future. With both men under the Matchroom banner and the stewardship of Eddie Hearn, this fight is most certainly a possibility. In the post fight analysis, Burns certainly wasn’t overly enthused about the prospect.

Overall, big wins for Paul Smith and Anthony Crolla will take the spotlight, but the man who really deserves the plaudits is none other than Joe Gallagher, who has really performed a miracle in resurrecting the victorious duos’ careers. Hats off to him as the tactics were spot on and adequately performed by his fighters.

This is my first article, i hope you’ve found it somewhat enjoyable, and hopefully I’ll be given the platform to write some more.


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