Boxing’s weekly round-up (WC. 29.09.12)
Whilst there weren’t any huge fights to get us going this week, we did have some good contests over the course of the week that were worth taking note of and that is what I will be discussing, focusing predominantly on the Lucian Bute, Marco Huck fights with some of the British boxing action being mixed in.
The Bute/Huck deal
Lucian Bute and Marco Huck were in action this weekend coming back after their worst bit of form of their careers (Bute was defeated for the first time ever last time out against Carl Froch, and Huck was winless in his last 2 fights for the first time in his career with a loss against Alexander Povetkin at Heavyweight and a draw against Ola Afolabi last time out.) Neither fighter were taking on spectacular opposition with Huck going against 42 year old former WBA champion Firat Arslan and Bute against 13 fight ‘novice’ Denis Grachev – and funnily enough both fights were extremely similar in the way they played out – both ending in debatable decisions and unimpressive performances.
Both fights were extremely close, and some of the scorecards were a joke (118-110 for Bute, 117-111 for Huck!) but the performances of either fighter were nothing to shout about as they both were against opposition truthfully, they should have stopped if not dominated. Bute was understandably a bit gunshy – his demoralising stoppage defeat against Froch could have broken many men and Bute may never recover from that, but Grachev wasn’t a huge puncher and can be hurt, but Bute fought scared for lengths of the fight and only really came out of his shell in the 12th. Truth be told, Bute needs to find form, courage or strength from somewhere or his rematch against Froch will be very similar to their first encounter.
Huck is a bit different for me, as he has more or less always been this brawling, un-technical lad that doesn’t mind taking a shot to land a shot. Usually that’s fine with everyone, he makes fun fights and make no doubt about it- this fight was another fan friendly one, but his 3 year reign as WBO cruiserweight champion could come to an end very soon if he doesn’t find some defence, as this isn’t the first time a decision has come around that Huck is thought to of been on the lucky side of – fights against Ola Afolabi and Denis Lebedev have also rankled with some fans.
Prizefighter – the light-middleweights was this year’s last Prizefighter and whilst being one of the better ones we’ve seen in a while, the format is running thin now and the series could be coming to an end. Whilst its brilliant lads that are usually unlucky and don’t get a spot to shine like Terry Carruther’s (13-14-6) are given a shot, the majority of the fights get sloppy and hard to score and it becomes anyone’s guess who has won a fight just watched, most fighters often able to go home and claim they were robbed.
The winner, Larry Ekundayo, only went pro this year and had only 5 fights going into the competition, but after beating favourite Craig McEwan in the first round (albeit contentiously) he went on and boxed well to win the competition, beating the aforementioned Carruthers in the final by stoppage to gain a £2000 bonus off Eddie Hearn. Most people are now touting him to go far, which puzzles me because whilst he looked decent and showed off some nice skills, he’s had 5 fights and is 30 years old, he may get an average pay day in a British title shot down at welterweight against Frankie Gavin so I hear, but I doubt he will actually be able to win that contest or any other title given the evidence seen on Saturday night.
Speaking of Frankie Gavin, finally he may be showing some of that promise that was shouted about when he turned pro back in 2009. Frankie has had various issues over the past few years with trainers, weight and whatnot but it seems he is finally on track now. Winning England’s first Gold Medal at the amateur World Championships, he was a big favourite to go all the way in the Beijing Olympics but weight problems stopped him from even entering.
Since going pro, he had looked decent against fighters such as Michael Lomax and Young Mutley, but stalled when going life and death and having a very tight fight against former pro footballer Curtis Woodhouse. This week however, he fought and beat former World Champion Junior Witter for the British title and looked quite good in doing it. It’s a rarity anybody every looks good against Witter with his awkward style and annoying habits in the ring, but Gavin looked okay and won comfortably against Witter who is now miles past his prime. Gavin can now push on and defend his British title, and perhaps go for the European before we can talk about World title honours. Witter desperately needs to retire, the writing was most definitely on the wall after his unimpressive Prizefighter appearance but now having his last hurrah in winning the British title at his age, it’s now time to hang them up for good.