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Sam Sexton vs. Gary Cornish – Results

By Jeff Aranow: Sam Sexton (24-3, 9 KOs) pounded out a dull 12 round unanimous decision victory last Friday night in beating the 6’7” Scottish fighter Gary Cornish (24-2, 12 KOs) to win the vacant BBBofC British heavyweight title at the Meadowbank Sports Centre, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The judges’ scores were 116-113, 116-114 and 115-114. Boxing News 24 scored the fight 7 rounds to 5 for Sexton. Cornish, 30, got away with a lot of fouling during the 12 round fight. In many of the rounds, Cornish was hitting Sexton with rabbit punches. Cornish also kneed Sexton in the groin at one point in the fight.

It’s unclear why the referee didn’t stop the action to take a point away from Cornish, because it was blatant and impossible to miss. Cornish was fighting in front of his own boxing fans. The referee would have been booed had he taken a point away from Cornish for the knee to the groin, but he still should have taken action to protect Sexton.

This was a fight that was very slow with few punches landing, and a lot of clinching and head-butting. Sexton was a little bit busier, but not by much. There was very little to separate the two. They both fought poorly throughout. The only thing you can say is Sexton wasn’t quite as poor as Cornish.

Cornish gave it his best shot to try and become the first heavyweight from Scotland to win the British heavyweight title. He might have done it if he could have fought better in the 2nd half of the contest. Cornish fought better during the first 5 rounds, but then he faded and got sloppy inside the ring. With a good trainer, Cornish would have won this fight with ease. He didn’t use his height and reach against the shorter Sexton.

At times, Cornish showed elements of his game that would make him a decent heavyweight, but he just made too many mistakes. Most of all, Cornish didn’t attack Sexton the way he needed to for him to win. In the last 30 seconds of round 12, Cornish attacked Sexton all out, and got the better of him quite easily. Cornish needed to put in that kind of effort in the other rounds of the fight instead of waiting until the last moments of the fight.

Cornish did a poor job of using his 6’7” height to fight the 6’2” Sexton on the outside the way that taller fighters like Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder would have done. Cornish spent much of the fight at medium to close range, making it easy for Sexton to land his left hooks and right hands.

Sexton, 33, was hurt a couple of times in the contest. Cornish staggered Sexton in round 5 with a right hand to the head. In the 9th, Sexton returned the favor in hurting Cornish and causing his legs to turn to jelly briefly.

In round 10, Cornish kneed Sexton. Earlier in the round, Sexton had hurt Cornish with a left to the head that staggered him. It was a crazy round. Sexton twice turned his back to Cornish in the round. It was real amateur hour inside the ring with both fighters. They fought like amateurs for the most part.

“He was better than I thought he was,” said Sexton to IFL TV after the fight about Cornish. “I thought I fought down to his level. There were a few things I should have done that I didn’t do. I’ve been inactive for a while. I feel good. I’m back. I said it before, I can’t afford a loss at 33-years-old. I want to be on top. I thought I was quite ahead. I think the TV had it 4 rounds up. There was no way they could take that away from me. I know I had won it in the end. We’ll sit down in the gym, talk with the team and decide what to do,” said Sexton.

“Maybe down the line,” said Sexton when asked if he’d be interested in fighting unbeaten prospect Daniel Dubois next. If all the elements are there in the equation, we’ll see what happens, yeah. He’s a game fighter,” said Sexton in talking about Cornish. He’s still young. He can come back from it. If I had a couple of more fights before, then maybe I would have stopped him. He’s a big guy,” said Sexton.

It would be a bad idea for Sexton to face Dubois right now. That fight would have knocked written all over it for Sexton, but it would be him that would likely get knocked out and quickly. He’s not in the class of Dubois in this writer’s opinion. Sexton is better off fighting the likes of Cornish, Larry Olubamiwo and Tomas Mrazek.

Sexton looked sloppy and not nearly accurate or powerful enough to do the job on Cornish. There were number of times in the fight where Sexton got left hook happy, and he paid for it by getting hit by Cornish’s right hand. Sexton was staggered in the 4th when he made the mistake of throwing 2 left hooks in a row. The first left hook landed for Sexton, but when he tried a second one, he was nailed by a right hand from Cornish that staggered him backwards, causing him to clinch.

Overall, Sexton and Cornish showed how far away they both are from world class. This was a domestic level dustup between two guys are light years away from world class. Sexton has been in the ring with some decent level heavyweights like David Price, Dereck Chisora, and Martin Rogan, but he’d never shown himself capable of beating anyone remotely good. Price stopped Sexton in the 4th round on May 19, 2012. Sexton has won all 9 of his fights since then, but he’s backed way off from fighting fringe level world class fighters. Price was a ranked heavyweight at the time, but he’s no longer that type of fighter. Even at this point though, you would have to favor Price to stop Sexton if the two of them were to meet up.

Sexton landed the better shots in the fight, and he threw the better combinations. Cornish was frequently tying Sexton up when he could come in close and that kept him from being able to work on the inside. There were a high number of head-butts in the fight. It was fortunate that neither fighter was cut, because there was the potential there.

At the end of the fight, Cornish looked pretty well beaten. He had dark bruise under his left eye and a cut ear. For his part, Sexton wasn’t too marked up. He just looked very tired in the 12th. Sexton gassed out and gave the last round to Cornish. It was close, but Sexton got the narrow decision.

It would be interesting to see where Sexton goes from here. He’s not lost a lot from his game. He’s just not someone that has a lot of talent to work with.

Cornish hasn’t shown much improvement since his loss to Anthony Joshua. He still is very slow, and he paws with his jab. He doesn’t know how to sit down on his punches nearly well enough to take advantage of his huge size. This could have been a very easy win for Cornish if he had the right training.

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