David Avanesyan reminds us in time that to become a European champion, a real champion, you still have to be very good. Ron Lewis covers the entire Wembley Arena show from ringside
DAVID AVANESYAN reminds us in time that to become a European champion – a real champion – you still have to be very good.
The Russian, who trains in Newark, Nottinghamshire, has come to the SSE Arena in Wembley twice this year and has left the hopes of a British challenger in tatters. In February it was Josh Kelly who got off to a good start until Avanesyan overtook him in the middle rounds. This time, on Saturday (October 2), Liam Taylor barely got going.
Avanesyan, 33, is a serious test for any boxer. Incredibly strong and compact, he props himself up to bid his time and finish strong when needed. To Taylor, he wasted no punch and walked with him down from the opening bell.
At first Taylor tried to hold the Russian off with straight shots, but when that failed, he had to trade. That seemed pointless as Avanesyan landed short, sharp hooks and uppercuts that cut right through Taylor’s guard and swung his head back.
It was soon clear that Taylor was completely out of luck, with Avanesyan’s left hook looking particularly painful, but it was a right hook that dropped Taylor towards the end of the first round, the Lancashire boxer landing after the shot at the side of his head.
He started the second as if to box, but Avanesyan was right at him again and landed a big left hook and right uppercut that forced Taylor to mix it up again.
The best shots came from Avanesyan and no matter how hard he tried, Taylor couldn’t turn the tide and struggled to keep the Russian off him. The final salvo was a combination of left, right, left with Taylor falling back against the ropes, prompting Referee Mark Lyson to intervene at 2-18 of the second round. There were protests at the interruption, but Lyson’s intervention seemed well-timed.
The fight was lifted to the top of the bill after Chris Eubank Jr’s clash with Anatoli Muratov was called off after the German failed his medical foul. That was a hard blow to BOXXER, the promoters and Sky Sports, who had pushed hard at the start of their Next Generation after splitting with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing. Still, Sky Sports claimed they had their highest ratings for a Fight Night show in three years, so under the disappointment of a canceled main event, that will be a sign of encouragement.
The point about the real European title – that of the EBU – is worth mentioning. It’s a title that comes from the way other sports are organized, from national federations uniting, not that anyone decided to make a belt.
The rise of broadcasters in British boxing is on the one hand a great opportunity, but it could see a proliferation of titles on British shows as rival promoters take different paths for their boxers. Nobody wants to go back to the time when the world titles of the WBU, WBF and IBO filled many broadcasts.
It’s been nearly two years since Richard Riakporhe stepped into the ring and showed the ring rust as he took the time to warm up to his task before beating Krzysztof Twardowski, of Poland, on points.
The result was a pretty big win for Riakporhe, the former British cruiserweight champion, 79-72 on referee Coakley’s card, but it wasn’t until the final round, when Riakporhe dropped Twardowski with an overhand right, that Riakporhe really shined.
Overall, the Londoner was happy to push the jab out and Twardowski’s determination to hit, meaning he almost never started, seemed to make Riakporhe a little hesitant.
Germaine Brown beat a much-talked-about English middleweight title eliminator against Jamal Le Doux. Le Doux came forward all the time and put pressure on Brown but it was Brown who generally picked the better shots and although there were times when he held out and landed some big shots he never really looked overpowering Le Doux. Referee Lee Every scored 99-92, which looked about right, but didn’t really give Le Doux justice for the effort he put in.
Whatever criticism Referee Sean McAvoy gets for his interruption in the Mikael Lawal-Benoit Huber fight, he can rest assured that he did a good job. McAvoy jumped in to stop Huber, of Switzerland, midway through the third round of their cruiserweight fight after taking a massive right hand. As Huber protested long and hard, McAvoy Lawal stopped with a clear shot at him when he was defenseless.
Huber had a bad habit of dropping his hands every time he struck a blow. So halfway through the round, when Huber missed with an ambitious right, he was countered with an overhand bomb from Lawal.
The shot seemed to send Huber’s eyes into the back of his head and his hands fell to his sides, leaving him wide open for any possible follow-up from Lawal. Fortunately for Huber, McAvoy intervened at 1-36.
Middleweight Linus Udofia went through the gears nicely to stop Albanian Xhuljo Vrenozi in the third of their scheduled ten-rounder.
Udofia took his time against an opponent who switched sides and dived in from awkward angles. But he dropped Vrenozi with a brutal right uppercut in the third round, then mounted a coordinated attack, shaking Vrenozi several times, before throwing in the towel at 2:39.
Ebonie Jones came into the limelight on her professional debut, when her six-two was played against Lithuanian Vaida Masiokaite as the final fight before the main event.
The aggressive Jones, who brought in many fans from Portsmouth, claimed a 59-55 point decision on referee Coakley’s card, although it wasn’t the easiest night as she had been inactive for three years and gave away a lot of height and reach.
Joe Pigford is now undefeated in 18 fights when he stopped Ghanaian Isaac Aryee in the fifth round of their superwelterweight six. Aryee fell twice, in the second round from a good punch from the ropes, and then in the fifth when he took a knee after appearing to have suffered damage around his left eye from a hard right. That was the reason for his corner to ask referee Every to wave away at 1-27 of the round.
Handy flyweight prospect Harvey Horn also extended his unbeaten record with a 60-54 decision, on Coakley’s card, over Adam Yahaya, of Tanzania, over six rounds. Horn was too fast for Yahaya, bouncing in and out of range, catching him almost at will in the early stages, but Yahaya soon grew tired of that and backed off, inviting Horn to come forward, making it a more cautious fight.
Razor Ali went unbeaten when he took a 60-54 win over Stefan Nicolae at superbantamweight. McAvoy was the referee.
The verdict The event was hit by the lack of Eubank Jnr, but Avanesyan shows his class.