Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, will play host to the highly anticipated middleweight bout between WBA/IBO champion Gennady Golovkin (26-0-0, 23ko) and top-rated contender and former world title challenger Matthew Macklin (29-4-0, 20ko) on Saturday, June 29 in the beautiful, state of the art MGM Grand Theater.
“I’m excited to return to the United States and once again fight on HBO. Matthew Macklin is a skilled, strong fighter and I look forward to the challenge of defending my titles on June 29th,” said Golovkin (pictured above, left). “I have seen a few of his fights and am very conscious of how tough of a battle this is.”
Macklin said: “Golovkin hasn’t put a foot wrong yet as a pro. He’s destroyed pretty much everyone and, as a consequence, he’s probably the most hyped fighter in the sport right now. People have made him out to be this monster, but he bleeds red just like everyone else and, for the first time in his career, he’s going to be stepping into the ring against a big, strong, proper world-class middleweight.
“When you compare my last three opponents to Golovkin’s last three opponents, it’s clear who the proven entity is, going into this fight. I got robbed against Felix Sturm in Germany, it was nip-and-tuck between me and Sergio Martinez until I got caught in the eleventh, and last time out, I blew away Joachim Alcine inside a round, a former world champ who was coming off a career-best win.”
Tom Loeffler, Managing Director of K2 Promotions said: “Gennady is excited to return to the ring so quickly to defend his titles against a proven, top-rated middleweight in Matthew Macklin. Gennady was ringside for Macklin’s fight against Sergio Martinez last March and saw first-hand how dangerous he is, as he dropped Sergio in the seventh round.
“GGG has become one of the most talked-about fighters in boxing. This fight with Macklin will be a very hot ticket. We’re thankful to HBO for featuring Gennady again and also to the Foxwoods Resort Casino for hosting this event.”
Macklin’s promoter Lou DiBella added: “Golovkin-Macklin is one of the very best fights that can be made in the middleweight division and all of boxing. It figures to be a barnburner and we are thrilled that Matthew is getting another deserved opportunity at a world title.”
Known for his heavy hands and brutal knockouts, Golovkin has quickly become the most talked-about fighter in the sport. His 88% knockout ratio ranks highest among active world champions.
Irish middleweight contender Matthew “Mack the Knife” Macklin, is an intelligent boxer-puncher, who has shown that he is not afraid to engage or press the action when necessary. He is currently ranked number three by the WBC, 11 by the WBA, and 14 by the IBF.
Ricky Hatton believes Martin Murray will go down in British boxing history if he defeats Sergio Martinez on April 27. ‘The Hitman’ himself scored what most experts consider to be one of the greatest ever victories by a Brit when he forced Kostya Tszyu to retire after 11 hard fought rounds in 2005. But he feels Murray triumphing almost 7,000 away from home in Buenos Aires will surpass his own greatest achievement.
Alan Dawson – London
Come-backing middleweight Daniel Jacobs boosted his ledger to 24-1-0, 21ko on Saturday, December 1 as the 25-year-old slayed Chris Fitzpatrick in a crushing manner. Just 19 months ago, Jacobs could not even walk as he began a recovery from cancer surgery. Fast forward to this evening and the American – who fought at Madison Square Garden, New York – hounded Fitzpatrick, following his every step, using his legs but mostly his fists, pumping leather gloves into his opponent’s face with such force that Fitzpatrick refused to answer the bell to start the sixth round…
Official verdict: Jacobs wins via 5th Rd TKO.
“I’m satisfied… I let my hands go, you heard the oohs and aahs from this beautiful crowd,” said Jacobs to Showtime: World Championship Boxing after the announcement of his victory was made. “Next time, I want more rounds. I’m back as a contender. I think I’m back. Let’s go… Brooklyn in February. What do you think?”
Jacobs began the bout by backing Fitzpatrick up in the introductory round. The first kept his opponent at bay and, when he doubled and/or trebled the jab, it pushed Fitzpatrick onto the back-foot. In the second, the pair exchanged hooks. Jacobs was able to land his as his first-choice power shot while maintaining enough defensive awareness to evade Fitzpatrick’s attempt to catch Danny with a wide one.
In the third round, Jacobs cut Fitzpatrick up. Sensing trepidation in his opponent, Jacobs began a physical assault that was heavy on punch cumulation against the ropes. Jacobs’ power was telling… when Fitzpatrick employed a stubborn high guard, Jacobs simply split the arms by punching through them. Jacobs finished the round impressively, with 54 percent of his power punches landing on his opponent.
Fitzpatrick looked most dangerous when he was closing the distance but all too often found himself in the spaces of the ring that were most dangerous for him… where Jacobs was most threatening; when Fitzpatrick was backed against the ropes and absorbing a torrent of shots. This happened throughout the first half of the contest.
And, in the fifth, Jacobs beat the Irish Ghost around the ring’s periphery with such an unrelenting pressure that the Cleveland fighter refused to get off his stool after five rounds, prompting the referee to reward Danny with a technical knockout triumph.
Alan Dawson – London
Chris Eubank Jr extended his undefeated run as a professional on Saturday, December 1 at the Odyssey Arena with a referee’s decision verdict over a tough Bradley Pryce. Eubank Jr showed good reflexes, decent defence and fast hands. The Brighton-born technical boxer emerged unblemished from the fight and will likely stay busy by fighting again next week, at the Bonus Arena in Hull.
Official verdict: Eubank Jr by referee’s decision (80-73).
“I’m the real deal,” Eubank Jr asserted to Channel 5. “Sure I can look for the knockout… the haymakers. But I want to learn and just get rounds under my belt.”
Chris Eubank Jr has not been mollycoddled as a professional. No. Since abandoning the headgear and fighting for pay, Eubank Jr went skipped four round fights and straight into six round tests. Against cage fighters. Against undefeated Scotsmen. Against durable journeymen and now, this weekend in Northern Ireland, against a domestic-level name with 33 victories recorded on his ledger.
In a similar fashion as to how he approached the aforementioned tasks, Eubank Jr – with Ronnie Davis in his corner – went about his business calmly in the opening stanza. The 23-year-old, easily one of Britain’s most famous prospects (undeniably because of his famous father, but also because of his skill-set), used his athleticism to deny Pryce passage to his flesh while pumping out single-fire artillery.
Eubank Jr double-jabbed well in the second round. He used canny movement in order to keep Pryce off of him and, in between motioning around the ring, landed a left glove on his chin. To vary his jabbing attack, Eubank Jr added uppercuts and straight rights, however, his two and three punch combinations were seldom used, despite their fast and ferocious success.
With the knowledge that he needed to up his output in order to win rounds, Pryce looked to slip the jab and counter in the third, however, Eubank Jr responded well and began to flurry with increased regularity. For the majority of the round, though, Eubank Jr’s pace slowed and thus allowed Pryce to bang his way into contention for points. If Pryce tied the third, he surely had a shout for the fourth as he staggered Eubank Jr with his punch of the night and wisely focused attention to his enemy’s body.
Eubank Jr reasserted his authority in round five and, in the sixth, had enough swag to showboat. In the seventh stanza, Eubank Jr posed in a variety of styles. With a left arm guarding his body he had clearly been inspired by Floyd Mayweather Jr’s defence system. And, in a slow-motion style stalk attack, he may have been watching a documentary where a shoulder-hunched tiger was ready to attack.
The boy clearly is a fine technician… especially for a fighter in just his eighth fight, yet there is still room for improvement when it comes to a: his power and b: his vulnerability in defending his body (he seemed to leak more shots to the midsection than he did the mush). His cockiness, while entertaining…maybe polarising… also got the better of him in the climactic round as, while he was goading and waving Pryce onto him, he ate a number of pounding punches.
“I saw progression,” said Chris Eubank Sr. “Absolutely! He is schooling them [sparring partners] in the gymnasium. He really is.”
The margin of the referee’s decision was generous to Eubank Jr but the actual result was just.
Alan Dawson – London
Martin Murray picked up the “interim” WBA middleweight world title on Saturday, November 24 and punctuated his status as a world-level operator with a dominant performance over unheralded opponent Jorge Navarro at the Manchester Arena. Having tied with Felix Sturm in Germany, Murray now wants to sign a contract to challenge Sergio Martinez in Argentina for the lineal championship.
Official verdict: Murray by way of 6th Rd TKO.
For the first minute in the opening round, Murray (25-0-1, 11ko) tentatively boxed on the back-foot, however, after an initial assessment of his largely unknown opponent, Murray began to fight with confidence, with aggression and also with power. The Englishman, frustrated by an inability to be matched with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in June due to Visa issues, took anger out on Venezuelan power puncher Navarro (12-0-1, 10ko) and caught the unbeaten Bolivar bruiser with a straight right, jellying his knees and winning a knockdown.
Murray had ten seconds left on the ring clock in the first stanza and flurried relentlessly in a bid to win an early finish and an early bath, but Navarro survived the onslaught, recuperated during the minute break but was unable to box his way back into the fight in the second round. Murray patiently probed. The second chapter lacked the drama of the first, but Murray stuck to a disciplined approach and sought to take the wind out of his man’s sails before puncturing the hull with holes and drowning the vessel. His one-two was thrown well – and he landed numerous short-range right hands to the body before targeting the chin.
Despite carrying an impressive knockout ratio, Navarro’s attack was far too predictable and one-dimensional. He telegraphed too many of his shots and Murray was able to envision the shots the 27-year-old was ready to throw. Murray won all the rounds… he coasted through the third, cut Navarro’s skin open in the fourth and bamboozled his opponent with jabs, right crosses and fast combinations in the fifth. In truth, Murray could have had Navarro on his back with the fight finished earlier in the contest but was likely advised by his corner to ease off the accelerator and gain some rounds having been away from a professional prize ring since June.
Navarro was on his knees and receiving another eight count in the sixth round. Navarro appeared loathe to beat the count, looking over to his corner for assistance but was allowed to box on… just not for long. Murray preserved his undefeated streak, enhanced his global ranking and secured his technical knockout victory mere moments later when he ransacked the South American with body-bound flurrying, forcing Navarro’s corner to throw in the white towel.
“We knew he could punch… our plan was to ease our way in, get inside, break his heart,” said Murray to Primetime before commenting on whom he wants to challenge next. “I want to be in big world title fights. We’ve got some big fights to look forward to. As we showed in Germany, we’d fight anybody. I’d love to fight [Sergio Martinez] and I’d go to Argentina to beat him.”
On the undercard, rising bantamweight prospect Scott Quigg (25-0-1, 18ko) obtained contender status with his stoppage victory over Rendall Munroe. Quigg forced his counterpart to his on two occasions in the sixth round. The first, was a result of a left hook crack to the left side of Munroe’s ribs. The former world title challenger beat the count, but was felled moments later and, in obvious pain, was counted out by referee Terry O’Connor. With the victory, Quigg claimed the “interim” version of the WBA’s super bantamweight world title.
Alan Dawson – London
Chris Eubank Jr extended his undefeated professional streak to five as he easily dispatched of Terry Carruthers on Saturday, July 7 at the Hand Arena in Clevedon, Somerset. Eubank Jr excelled in all areas where it counted… ring movement, IQ, speed and his ability to throw combinations with precision. Carruthers, though, displayed good durability and did well to hear the final bell…
Official verdict: Eubank Jr wins referee’s decision.
With his trademark aesthetically-pleasing boxing style, Eubank Jr – a chip off the old block – uppercut to perfection, threw acute body shots that caused grimacing damage and jabbed well to the braincase and the body before returning to his stool composed and as if he was enjoying a sparring session as opposed to a six round task against a journeyman with a level win/loss record.
With a swift pace, fast fists and forward steps, Eubank Jr (5-0-0, 2ko) worked his punch combinations excellently in the second round and opened up a ghastly cut on Carruthers’ face. Not only was his flurrying on point, but his uppercut continued to prove a reliable and accurate weapon. Carruthers (11-12-6, 1ko), though, was by no means a punching bag and did manage to slip and duck under some of Eubank Jr’s shots, however, the sheer precision from his opponent meant he could not block all the work and found difficulty preventing punches coming through to his body.
“I’m shocked, stunned and amazed… Carruthers is tough, bleeding,” Chris Eubank Sr, sat ringside, said to Channel 5 midway through the fight. “Christopher has his work cut out. This is the best fight I’ve seen for a few months! I’d like to hear what Al Bernstein is saying! It’s magnificent.”
Such an appraisal may have looked favourably on Carruthers as, while he was a game fighter, he was a number of levels below Eubank Sr’s son and, like he had in the preceding rounds, he targeted Carruthers’ body in the fourth round, lost the jabbing battle and could not match his combination work.
Heading into the fifth, Eubank Jr still had the complexion of a fighter entering the first session… his mouth was closed and he was breathing easily – both signs that his condition was sterling. The same, perhaps, could not be said of Carruthers as the sheer volume of shots peppered around his abdomen and ribs took their toll and his energy levels were not as high as they were earlier in the bout.
Finishing the six rounder strong, Eubank Jr looked for the stoppage, landing big shots to the head and body but Carruthers too refused to slouch from action and landed his own heavy shots. Winning a referee’s decision and receiving a standing ovation, Eubank Jr will have only added to his fanbase as, like main attraction in Somerset; Tyson Fury, he excelled in one more city stop on his boxing tour of Britain.
Words: Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
Photos: Esther Lin/Showtime
Wildcard Boxing Club middleweight Peter Quillin, an emerging 28-year-old contender from Grand Rapids by way of Brooklyn, overcame former 154lb world champion Winky Wright on Saturday, June 2 at Home Depot Center in Carson, California. Wright relied on lead shots and defence, while Quillin bombarded the experienced 40-year-old southpaw with bruising power shots.
Official verdict: Quillin by way of unanimous decision (98-91, 98-91, 97-92).
“I prepared for a 21-year-old Winky Wright and at times he fought like that,” Quillin (27-0-0, 20ko) said, noting Wright’s early (but overall limited) success). “You can see from my face that I didn’t take a lot of punishment tonight.”
Quillin had a more positive approach to the fight in round one but in the second and third rounds, the veteran Wright (51-6-1, 25ko) was able to take on the role of ring general, making a point of occupying the positions of the ring that he wanted to whilst jabbing effectively and employing a decent defence. These signs, of course, showed the contest was being fought on his terms, despite the 12-year age gap between he and Kid Chocolate.
There will, no doubt, be dissimilarities on scorecards due to the two fighters relying on completely different fistic material. After three rounds of boxing, Quillin had landed just two jabs – a paltry amount, especially compared to Wright’s far greater success rate of one landed for every five thrown. Quillin, though, owned Winky when it came to firing shots with bigger bullets.
Any competitiveness Wright hoped to sought disintegrated prior to the midway stage as Quillin, by round five, had established a good fluidity to his style. There was finer action from Wright who had begun to put punches together but Quillin stood up to anything Winky threw and this proved decisive. Quillin was never in discomfort when it came to taking a punch from Wright whereas Kid Chocolate’s shots had a strong pop and even put Winky on his seat in the session’s final minute with a right hand over a low left that shook up Winky’s core before buckling his legs completely.
Quillin’s power was audible in the sixth as his shots thudded into Wright’s frame and could be heard inside the Home Depot Center despite a noticeably loud Californian crowd. Wright responded well, checking Quillin’s chin at the beginning of the seventh but, Winky never being a heavy hitter, struggled to make Peter think twice about throwing as often as he was and Quillin insisted with a more pressing style.
Quillin inflicted a shellacking onto Wright in the eighth round, roughing his opponent up and bloodying his nose. An uppercut initiated the physical abuse as Winky was once again rattled and there was no let-up from what followed. Wright kept a guard high and, for the rest of the round, kept his arms there without following a single shot as Quillin went on a rampage with cross shots, straights and wide hooks.
Overall, it was another win for Quillin but the manner in which Wright is now expected to slip into retirement, having interrupted a three-year hiatus to box Kid Chocolate, one can’t help but think Winky was served up to provide the middleweight with a sweet win on his way to a title shot at 160lbs.
Words: Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Photos: Esther Lin/Showtime
Like the main event cruiserweight match-up between Antonio Tarver and Lateef Kayode, Peter Quillin‘s bout with Winky Wright (51-5-0, 25ko) pits youth and enthusiasm against age and experience. Wright, like Tarver, has never incurred a knockout defeat but he has a young buck in front of him on June 2 at the Home Depot Center in Carson that is hunting for his head. For Winky, though, that’s exactly what he says he has been looking for in an opponent…
“I’m prepared for anything,” said Quillin (26-0-0, 20ko), who weighed in at 159.6lbs, during the build-up to fight night. “I’m prepared to fight King Kong if I have to. That’s what I’ve been training to do. I make sure that I have to endure every struggle while I’m in camp so I can see the glory when I step in the ring.”
Despite Wright’s 37 month inactivity, the fact he is a known survivor adds intrigue to his clash with Quillin as Peter is on a knockout run having scalped Martin Desjardins, Dennis Sharpe, Jesse Brinkley, Jason LeHoullier and Craig McEwan all ahead of schedule.
“I haven’t been the distance in over two years now,” Kid Chocolate commented. “My last five fights have been stoppages [in] six rounds or less. Boxing is all about the challenges. And that’s why Winky Wright and I took this fight. I never really said I was going to knock him out. Pluto is a place that he’s never been. Now if he happens to see stars then that’s not my problem.”
Despite Wright’s ring absence, he never seriously ballooned up in weight, only putting on 15lbs more than his heaviest fighting weight (170lbs versus Bernard Hopkins in 2007): “I’m not going to say I stayed in boxing shape,” he said. “I wasn’t fat, but I wasn’t in boxing shape. I may have weighed 185.”
Wright, who scaled in at 159lbs during Friday, June 1′s weigh-in, added: “[The old Winky from 2004 is] still here. I have a great opponent that will bring it out of me. I didn’t pick a bum, I picked a kid that is undefeated, hungry and wants to prove to the world he’s great. He’s tough and that’s what I’m looking for.”
Wright is unfazed at the prospect of Quillin having home support as the fighter has made the West Coast his adopted home. Winky commented that he is comfortable having taken the “Marvin Hagler” route to the top by taking on guys in their own yards.
“Maybe a lot of people didn’t have to take the route that I had to take to get where I got to, but I think taking that route made me a better and stronger fighter. It made me a tougher fighter because I knew that I could win no matter where I was.” The only question that remains is if the former undisputed ruler of 154lb boxing is still better and stronger at 40-years-old with a three year layoff behind him…
On The Beak – Admin
Gary Shaw Productions, Sturm Box Promotion, Grange Old School Boxing and UFA Sports are happy to announce a world title unification bout featuring IBF middleweight champion Daniel Geale (27-1-0, 15ko) and ‘Super’ WBA world champ, Felix Sturm (37-2-2, 16ko). The 12-round 160-pound main event will take place in Germany on September 1 at a location to be announced, with television network SAT1 broadcasting the event to millions around the world.
“This event is what boxing is all about,” said Promoter Gary Shaw. “When you get two world champions agreeing to fight each other with no hesitation, you know the fans are going to be witnessing an unbelievable bout.
“Both guys are hungry to keep their titles and they’re going to leave everything in the ring. Words can’t describe how excited I am about this event. Geale and Sturm are true warriors who are going to ‘bring it’ come fight night. It’s going to be an incredible night of boxing. The true winners will be the fans.
“In Daniel’s last fight a new Australian superstar emerged,” Shaw continued. “Daniel’s superiority is confirmation that he is on the verge of pound-for-pound status. With the expert guidance of Garrie Fransisco and Bill Treacy managing Daniel’s career, along with Graham Shaw steering his corner, Geale has the right team to take him to middleweight supremacy. It’s an honour to be promoting such a great fighter with a great team.”
After a dominating performance against mandatory challenger, Osumanu Adama (20-3-0, 15ko), Geale will look to extend on a six-fight winning streak. He has fought all but one of his bouts in his native Australia. In his lone start outside his homeland, Geale traveled to Germany and captured the IBF middleweight title against Sebastian Sylvester (34-5-1, 16ko). Geale wants to make a statement in this bout as he fights in Germany for a second time.
“I’m truly thankful to be fighting in this unification bout with Felix Sturm,” Geale said. “My promoter Gary Shaw has promised me the biggest fights and he’s kept his word. Fighting in Germany is a very difficult task, but I was successful there once before when I captured my first world title against Sebastian Sylvester. My goal will be to beat Sturm in his homeland, and bring his title back to Australia once again. I’m fighting for my country and all the kids I train at the Grange Old School Boxing gym.
“I also want to thank my managers Garrie Fransisco and Billy Treacy who, in conjunction with my trainer Graham Shaw, have all worked hard to get me to the top. Right now I’m in the best shape of my life and Graham has seen the improvements in my ability to make adjustments in the ring. I’m fully prepared to give the fans an exciting fight when I step in the ring with Sturm.”
Sturm, who is coming off an impressive ninth-round knockout victory against then-once-beaten challenger Sebastian Zbik (30-2, 10ko), is undefeated in his last 14 bouts. He’s best known in America for his fight with Oscar De La Hoya, in which many fans believe he won clearly, but instead lost on a close unanimous decision. With 14 title defenses, Sturm is considered one of the best pure boxers in the sport, and will seek to add another world title belt to his collection.
“Fighting in my native land of Germany is incredible and I can’t wait to show the German fans, once again, what I’m made of,” stated Sturm. “Daniel Geale is a worthy opponent, but he’s never been in the ring with a fighter like me. I fight for the people of Germany and I’m not going to let them down! I will be victorious on September 1.”
Alan Dawson – London
British middleweight phenom Billy Joe Saunders, 22, enhanced his already respectable reputation as a multi-dimensional boxer by overseeing Bradley Pryce in each and every round of their 12 round Commonwealth title tussle at York Hall, Bethnal Green in East London on Friday, June 1. Pryce had no answer for Saunders’ jab, was bedazzled by the Londoner’s exquisite technique and could barely see out of his left eye by the end of the fight.
Official verdict: Saunders wins UD (120-109, 120-108, 120-109).
“I got it all perfect, the game-plan was unbelievable,” said Saunders (14-0-0, 9ko) to Box Nation in speech as controlled as his boxing. “I knew Pryce was strong, he was compact and kept coming [but] I outboxed him.”
Aesthetically-pleasing southpaw Saunders got off to a technically-dominant start as he peppered Pryce (33-11,0, 18ko) with portside jabs whilst keeping himself out of harm’s way. Showing speed of foot, he was able to back away from Pryce’s shots while also employing a loose Philly-guard posture. A combination-puncher, Saunders’ speed of hand was far superior to Pryce who, judging from the first stanza alone, was completely out-classed.
Like the first, Saunders bossed the tempo and style of the fight in round two. He controlled the space and was comfortable with anything Pryce attempted to offer. Whether it was orthodox jabs he was able to see coming, or more forceful straight lefts, Saunders proved a frustrating target as he made himself – particularly his head – small. Pryce was a single-fire fighter who operated behind the jab and seldom anything else as he just couldn’t put his punches together. This was a contrast to Saunders, who not only jabbed, but one-two’d and even put as many as three and four shots together in any one move.
There may have been an element of surprise over Saunders’ approach as the North Londoner was controlled, rather than gunning to send his opponent to sleep in the first round (like he had done in his most recent outings against Tony Hill and Tommy Tolan), but Saunders and his corner will have been preparing for what was their first encounter scheduled for 12 rounds and had only once before been past six (a ten round points win over Gary Boulden when Saunders collected his first professional prize – the Southern Area middleweight belt).
The tactics were inspired. Saunders’ defence baffled Pryce and his offence was just as spectacular as he jabbed, double-jabbed and treble-jabbed, busting up Pryce’s eye which had begun to swell so grotesquely that, by the end of the fourth round, it was fast closing and threatened to impair vision. Saunders’ technical skillset was underlined further by his ability to lead with the uppercut.
Pryce gained enough confidence in the fifth round to throw a lot of shots… he backed Saunders onto the ropes and went to work, especially with uppercuts and straights, however, Saunders blocked the uppercuts with the gloves while it was rare that a straight would penetrate his peek-a-boo.
The swollen eye became target practice for Saunders in the second half of the bout. While Saunders’ elusiveness was diluted after 18 minutes of boxing, his accuracy remained on point, if not further enhanced, notably on the right side, as Pryce leaked considerable southpaw shots as his left eye was virtually sealed by the end of play in the seventh.
While Saunders’ jabbing ability will be rightly lauded, the fighter himself expressed regret post-fight that he did not incorporate his left hand more into his repertoire: “I won every round, I was comfortable. I didn’t use my left hand often enough but that’s 12 round experience. I know I can bring it in more next time. Because my jab worked so well, I switched off with the left.”
Saunders’ authority was further stamped in the championship rounds. Pryce’s corner attempted to motivate their man by reminding Bradley he wouldn’t want to look in the mirror in the morning, see his eye, know he lost and to go out there and come back to the corner with a winning score. That, though, proved an impossibility as Saunders simply out-techniqued his first challenger for his Commonwealth title throughout what had largely been a tactical battle.
In round 11, the referee paused the fight to ask Pryce how many fingers he was holding up. It was a question to test his vision, one he passed whether by knowledge or guesswork and, when fisticuffs resumed, Saunders went after the eye with a further flurry of jabs. In the final round, Saunders showed sheer quality by striking Pryce with three-punch combos that included southpaw jabs, straights and left hooks and took the final ten score even though Pryce will have wanted to at least land one meaningful power shot but, such was Saunders’ talent, Bradley couldn’t even light the fuse let alone launch a bomb.
With the classy victory, there will be much clamour to see Saunders matched even tougher, against a plethora of strong middleweight contenders from Britain and Ireland including current European champion Kerry Hope, former world title challengers Darren Barker, Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray or even Andy Lee, John Ryder or Craig McEwan.
Said Saunders: “Nobody is going to be taking this title off me any time soon. Ryder, Macklin, Murray… I’m coming after them [but] I want the British belt next.”
Francis Warren of Queensberry Promotions added: “I think he’s ready for any of those guys. The guidance he’s getting around Jimmy [Tibbs] and Mark [Tibbs]… the sky is the limit for this guy.
“He looked like a world class operator.”