Sunday, December 13, 2015

Anthony Joshua Knocks Out Dillian Whyte In 7th To Win Heavyweight Brawl

By Peter Silkov

Last night at London’s O2 Arena, Anthony Joshua took another step closer to a possible all British showdown with Tyson Fury for the World heavyweight title, with a brutal dispatching of Dillian Whyte. It was a rough, exciting, and bad tempered fight between the two undefeated prospects, whose much-voiced dislike for each other in the build up to this fight was clearly not for show. In essence, it was just what people used to expect from heavyweight boxing, two big men who don’t particularly like each other, trying to knock each other out.
Joshua started fast, as he tried to dismiss Whyte with the speed that he has dispatched in his previous 13 professional opponents. It looked as if Whyte would do well to last the first round, as he came under a explosive onslaught that had him rocking on his heels for most of the opening round. Yet, Whyte showed that he has a good chin and big heart, and kept his feet, while trying to fight back with a resilience that Joshua had not yet encountered during his fledgling professional career. The 1st round ended in chaos when Joshua landed a punch straight after the bell, and Whyte retaliated with several punches of his own, even going so far as to punch over the referee at Joshua.  The ring was then invaded by several very large men, who broke up the fighters, and dragged each man back to his own corner. 

At this point, Joshua seemed to think that he had Whyte beaten, but he was in for a surprise in the 2nd round.  Showing excellent recuperative powers, Whyte seemed to have recovered his composure from the start of the 2nd round and as Joshua came in on the attack, Whyte shook him up with some heavy punches of his own.  It was the first time in his professional career that Joshua has been caught cleanly and hurt, and he seemed troubled for the rest of the round. In the 3rd, Joshua took back control of the fight, but with an air of caution now, as he knew that Whyte was still dangerous with his own punches.  Rounds 4 to 7 saw both men looking to land big punches, with Whyte showing some good boxing skills as he jabbed and countered at the marauding Joshua, who came forward with his heavy jabs, and was always looking to land a finishing punch. The main difference between both fighters was clearly Joshua’s extra strength and punching power, which is beyond doubt at this stage, truly world class.

Photo: Daily Mail
As the fight went into the 7th round, there was the suspicion that Joshua might be tiring, as his punches no longer seemed to carry the weight that they had in the earlier rounds. However, midway through the round, Joshua landed a huge right hand to Whyte’s left temple, which had the effect of making Whyte’s leg’s turn to jelly.  Sensing blood, Joshua unleashed a two-fisted barrage that had a groggy Whyte staggering into the ropes. At this point, Joshua landed a vicious uppercut that sent Whyte toppling down onto his back, with his left arm draped over the ropes. With victory, came the vacant British Heavyweight title to add to the Commonwealth championship, which Joshua already held. It was a brutal and stunning finish by Joshua, who by coming through this test showed that there is indeed substance to the hype that surrounds him. He certainly is powerful and exciting, and has now shown that he can take a decent punch and come back from not having things all his own way.  However, this match also revealed that Joshua is by no means the finished article yet, and could do with quite a bit more experience before he takes on Tyson Fury, or even Deontay Wilder. Joshua needs at least two or three more fights like this one in order to develop to the stage where he will be ready to challenge for the world title.

There are rumours that Joshua will fight Derek Chisora next, and that is probably an ideal match up for Joshua at this point in his career. With Joshua on the rise, and Tyson Fury the reigning World heavyweight champion, and both Dereck Chisora and David Haye on the come back trail, the British heavyweight scene is really alive right now, with the prospect of several all British showdowns. As for the beaten Dillian Whyte, if he can get past the physical and mental blows of his defeat to Joshua, then he can still feature in some interesting fights in the future. After his performance on Saturday night, no one would begrudge him a second chance at Joshua. 

The undercard at London’s O2 Arena featured several outstanding fights, and a number of upsets.

The lightweight division saw two of Britain’s top lightweight hopes come up short, as both Kevin Mitchell and Luke Campbell came up short against their respective opponents. While Campbell is young enough to come back from his defeat, it looks as if Mitchells dream of becoming a world champion may finally be over.

In what was billed as being for the Interim WBA world lightweight title, Mitchell was facing a largely unknown Venezuelan, Ismael Barroso, who had fought just 20 fights in a 10-year career, but was unbeaten, with 17 of his 18 victories coming via knockouts. At first glance, Barroso looked closer to 40 than his advertised 32 years of age, with the kind of face that betrays a hard life. As soon as the fight began, it became clear that Mitchell was in for a tough night, as Barroso was revealed as being a very slick and competent boxer, rather than a gung-ho puncher simply looking to land the big punch. Both men fought cautiously in the 1st round, weighing each other up, but by the 2nd, Barroso had edged ahead with an accurate and heavy, southpaw jab.  By the 3rd round, Mitchell already seemed to be wary of his opponent’s power, and was looking to counter on the retreat, while Barroso continued to come menacingly forwards, showing fast hands, and a slashing southpaw jab.

Getty Images
The 4th round saw Mitchell hit the deck momentarily as he tried to avoid a big right hand from Barroso, and seemed to have tripped over his opponent’s feet. Although Mitchell was given a count, it didn’t seem to be a genuine knockdown. Yet, it would prove to be a portent of what was to come in the next round.

In the 5th round, after stalking a retreating Mitchell for much of the round, Barroso suddenly sent Mitchell flying to the canvas with a single right hand. Although he beat the count, Mitchell was visibly shaken, and the Venezuelan suddenly went into a higher gear, driving Mitchell into a corner, where he bombarded him with a shower of punches. Mitchell bravely tried to fight his way out of the corner, but was battered back into the ropes, at which point the referee jumped in and stopped the fight, just as Mitchell was falling once more to the canvas.        

It was a brutal defeat for Mitchell, who had been hoping to win this fight and then challenge newly crowned WBA world champion Anthony Crolla.Instead it will be the hungry and dangerous Barroso who will go on to meet Crolla. Something that Crolla himself may well not be relishing.

With such an active domestic scene in the lightweight division there are still some interesting and possibly lucrative fights out there for Kevin Mitchell, but this will be a hard defeat for him to return from.

While Mitchell was experiencing perhaps a career ending defeat, Luke Campbell suffered the first defeat of his still relatively young professional career. Campbell was clearly out-pointed and in many ways, exposed by Frenchman Yvan Mendy. After making a good start with his smooth boxing style, and edging out a lead over the first 4 rounds, Campbell was floored in the 5th and from then on, Mendy held the edge in the fight.  Mendy was landing the stronger shots and dictating the fight, while Campbell tried to control things with his boxing, but was unable to make an impression against a fighter who seemed both physically stronger, and who also had the better defence. This defeat showed that Campbell is still some way from being ready for a world title shot. At this stage of his career, defeat could well be the best thing that could have happened to Campbell if he can learn from it and use it to come back a better fighter.

In a middleweight clash that was an eliminator for the right to fight for WBA world middleweight title sometime in the near future, Chris Eubank Jr. engaged in a free- swinging thriller with Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan. Both men went for broke from the start, in what was another clash, which had bad blood between both boxers. Eubank Jr. threw caution to the win as he tried to score an early knockout over O’Sullivan and came under some heavy fire himself in the process. The early rounds saw some breathtaking exchanges, with Eubank Jr.’s extra hand speed and variety of punch giving him the edge, but his disdain for defence often making it look like he was walking a tightrope between triumph, and disaster. In the 4th and 5th rounds, Eubank Jr. landed such a deluge of punches upon O’Sullivan that it seemed that the Irishman would fall under the weight of such savage attacks. O’Sullivan took the blows, including some full-blooded uppercuts that seemed to have come up from the floor, and kept fighting back. Such punishment takes its toll of even the most durable of men however, and by the 6th round, it was clear that O’Sullivan was drained by the punches he had taken, as he started focusing mainly on defence, rather than attacks of his own.

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The 7th saw Eubank Jr. picking his punches and using his boxing skills more, in-between landing some heavy pot-shots upon O’Sullivan, whose own attacks had by now dwindled away to nothing. It still was a shock for some when O’Sullivan’s corner pulled him out after the end of the 7th round, and there was some loud and disappointing booing from some of the crowd. Yet, it was a wise decision to pull O’Sullivan out when they did as they obviously knew that he had little left in the tank, and that the only outcome if he had stayed in the fight was a prolonged beating or a knockout defeat.

It was an impressive performance from Eubank Jr., who showed by being the first man to stop O’Sullivan,that he may well have the talent to come out from the shadow of his famous Father. At times, Eubank Jr. shows flashes of the kind of talent that could make him an even better fighter than his Father. Eubank Jr. is an exciting fighter who if he can put all his talent together, looks certain to be a dangerous proposition for anyone at 160-pounds, including  Gennady Golovkin.

Photo: Kevin Quigley

Other results on the bill included.

Photo: Kevin Quigley
At Cruiserweight, Tony Bellew (25-2-1) out-pointed Mateusz Masternak (36-3) over 12 rounds, in a hard-hitting match, that featured some exciting exchanges between the two men. The win gave Bellew the European Cruiserweight title, and the hope of a world title shot sometime next year.

Former welterweight and light-welterweight world champion Paulie Malignaggi (34-7) out-pointed  (20-2-1) in an entertaining 12 rounds. While Paulie showed some nice boxing moves, he was also at times laboured, and struggled through the latter rounds. The victory gave Malignaggi the European Union welterweight title, but also underlined the fact that Paulie no longer has the speed and skills to operate at the highest level.

Photo: Skysports

Photo: Skysports
At heavyweight, Dereck Chicora (23-5) stopped the overmatched Jakov Gospic (16-13) in the 3rd round.  Chisora seems to be marking time until he gets a big fight chance, probably against Anthony Joshua early next year.

Promoter Eddie Hearn had delivered an entertaining bill of boxing. What a shame that it was confined to SKY Box Office, rather than being available to a wider audience.  The fact that this bill was on Sky box Office leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, for all those who want to see boxing made available to the wider public. Many people as possible should be able to see the action and excitement that the sport can produce at it’s best, but those days of free public broadcasting are largely gone. Hopefully, this trend of double price gouging does not continue, since many already pay for Sky, then have to pay to watch the matches.

Copyright © 2015 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes

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1 comment:

  1. OT: I like watching Manny Pacquiao again and again. I like especially Manny Pacquiao's amazing hand speed on the Double End Bag. It's so awesome!!