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Denis Lebedev v James Toney: Toney looks awful as Lebedev takes UD win

By Gari Jones: In a totally one sided fight Denis Lebedev (W23, L1,D0, KO17) dominated James Toney (W73, L7, D0, D3, KO44) from start to finish to claim the interim World Boxing Association (WBA) Cruiserweight Title. While Lebedev looks to the future and a possible rematch with WBO Cruiserweight Champion Marco Huck, Toney has to look at this performance and realize that he simply doesn’t have it anymore.

As the judges’ scorecards were being read out to the crowd, Toney couldn’t even get off his stool due to the exhaustion and punishment he took tonight.

The saying goes that the last thing a fighter loses is his punch well tonight that was evident. Toney didn’t throw one telling shot for the whole twelve rounds; he didn’t even win a round. Two judges scored the fight 120 -108 and one scored it 120-107. Toney was so flatfooted for most of the fight that when trying to counter or land with the big right, he was so off balance that when he did throw it he nearly threw himself to the floor.

From as early as round three it was evident to all, Toney shouldn’t have been in the ring with someone who was ten years younger than him, in great shape and eager to win the fight. Toney did try to use the jab for the first three rounds, but it was Lebedev whose jabs that were doing the most damage. A nice right hand from Denis caught Toney in the first, Lebedev continued to pressure in the second and it looked like Toney may have strained his left leg as he stumbled a bit trying to defend from Lebedev’s attacks.


Lebedev continued to dominate the rounds and Toney was struggling just to keep Denis in his sights, Lebedev utilised Toney’s poor footwork by jabbing to the face and moving to the left of Toney lead arm, keeping him off centre balance. The tactics worked well as Lebedev landed some big lefts to Toney’s head, some glancing and some really shaking the big man up

The punishment was taking its toll as Lebedev had Toney wobbling and gasping for breath from Round 7 onward, some great body shots followed as Denis becoming more confident started to mix things up a bit. By the end of round 8 Toney should’ve been pulled from the fight AS nothing was coming back from him except a tapping jab that looked to have as much power in it as a pat on the back.

Denis really could’ve ended this fight anytime he wanted to, a quick sustained attack would’ve forced the referee to step in and end the fight. From round 9 onwards Toney wasn’t even looking to win just to survive, weaving his head, taking steps back trying to slow the fight down a bit. How this fight made it to the final bell I do not know as Tony couldn’t hardly stand up he was so exhausted, Denis had him on the ropes and was just hitting him at his own will. By the end of the final bell I was relieved, this is not the Toney I grew up watching IT WAS REALLY PAINFUL TO WATCH AT TIMES.

Throughout the fight I had Denis winning all twelve rounds; I hope that Toney now calls it a day I really don’t want to see this great fighter go out the way Ali did against Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick.

In a professional career spanning two (2) decades twenty three (23) of his forty three (43) years of age, eighty five (85) professional fights, many Domestic, International and World Title Honours, James Toney has had a successful career. The James Toney of old would’ve schooled Lebedev in the art of boxing. I give great credit to Toney he showed he still got a great chin, can deploy the duck and weave tactic making himself hard to hit and how at his age he managed to make weight for this fight (considering in his last fight against Damon Reed he weighed in at 257lbs) is a testament to his respect for the sport. Please retire for your health sake Toney.


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