Saturday, December 5, 2020

Saunders Decisions Murray In London


Undefeated WBO Super-Middleweight world champion Billy Joe Saunders scored a dominant twelve round unanimous decision over longtime contender and always “Game” Martin Murray on Friday night at the Wembley Arena in London, England. Saunders frequently used angles, his hand speed, and timing to manage distance between himself and Murray. Although Murray, who was making his fifth attempt at a world championship, was able to land occasionally throughout, the strategy implemented by the champion did not allow him to get into any sort of rhythm and Saunders was able to box his way to a one-sided unanimous decision victory to successfully defend his Super-Middleweight world championship for the second time. Official scores were 120-109 (On two scorecards) and 118-110 all in favor of Billy Joe Saunders . Billy Joe Saunders advances to 30-0, with 14 Knockouts. Martin Murray falls to 39-6-1, with 17 Knockouts.


Also on this card:


In what was billed as a WBA Lightweight  elimination bout, James Tennyson scored a dominant first round knockout over previously undefeated Josh O'Reilly. A barrage of punches with both hands sent O'Reilly down early in round one. O'Reilly got up on unsteady legs and seemed not to be warmed up as this fight began. Sensing he had his opponents in trouble Tennyson pressed forward and scored a second knockdown of O'Reilly with a short left hook. A follow-up barrage of punches following O'Reilly getting up for the second time forced a merciful stoppage of the fight at 2:14 of round one. James Tennyson advances to 28-3, with 24 Knockouts. Josh O'Reilly falls to 16-1, with 6 Knockouts.



In Women’s Bantamweight bout, Shannon Courtenay successfully rebounded from her loss to Rachel Ball earlier this year to score a seventh round knockout over a determined Dorota Norek. Norek immediately brought the fight to Courtenay with near reckless abandon throwing punches with both hands non-stop. While this pace continued for several rounds, Courtenay eventually started to land the harder more effective blows. Despite appearing bothered by an accidental clash of heads in round five, Courtenay continued to gradually take control of the fight and brought the bout to a sudden conclusion when she knocked Norek down with a flush right hook to the head. Although Norek was able to make it to her feet, she was out on her feet and the fight was promptly stopped. Official time of the stoppage was 1:35 of round seven. Shannon Courtenay advances to 6-1, with 3 Knockouts. Dorota Norek falls to 6-2, with 1 Knockout.



Undefeated Featherweight Donte Dixon remained unbeaten by scoring a six round decision over a very “Game” Angelo Dragone. Dixon’s greater activity and sharper punches allowed him to have the edge in this bout. A late barrage of punches from Dixon in the sixth and final round nearly forced Referee Robert Williams to stop the fight. It was Williams who scored the fight 58-56 in Dixon’s favor. Donte Dixon advances to 5-0, with 1 Knockout. Angelo Dragone falls to 5-2, with 0 Knockouts.



In the first of two Light-Heavyweight bouts on the card, undefeated Lewis Edmondson kicked off the evening by scoring a third round stoppage over John Telford. Edmondson dropped Telford in the first round and scored a second knockdown of Telford before the fight was stopped at 2:22 of round three.  Lewis Edmondson advances to 4-0, with 1 Knockout. John Telford falls to 11-3-1, with 2 Knockouts. This was followed later in the evening by undefeated former British Light-Heavyweight champion Lerrone Richards who scored a workmanlike eight round decision over veteran Timo Laine. Frankly, this bout resembled a sparring session as for eight rounds Richards consistently pressed forward and kept Laine defensive to such degree that he went lengthy periods throughout the fight not throwing a punch. As all non-title bouts in the United Kingdom are scored by the referee, Referee Robert Williams scored the bout a shut out 80-72 for Richards. Lerrone Richards advances to 14-0, with 3 Knockouts. Timo Laine falls to 28-15, with 12 Knockouts.


A scheduled ten round Super-Middleweight bout between undefeated Zach Parker and Cesar  Nunez was cancelled hours prior to the card due to Parker’s cutman testing positive for the COVID-19 virus resulting in the bout being cancelled in accordance with British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) guidelines. There is no word as of this writing as to when or if the fight will be rescheduled.


For Billy Joe Saunders, this title defense against Martin Murray was an audition of sorts as he will likely be in the running of potential opponents to face the winner of the December 19th clash between undefeated WBA world champion Callum Smith and current unified Middleweight world champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.” Although Saunders was in command from the opening bell in his title defense against Martin Murray and never allowed the veteran contender to work his way into the fight, if there are any would be critics of this performance it could be that as dominant as Saunders was, he failed to stop Murray.


One may feel that a stoppage win for the champion may have been able to provide him with the best argument as a potential opponent for Smith or Alvarez heading into 2021. Nevertheless, Saunders does have a style that will prove to be a difficult puzzle to solve for any fighter in and around the 168lb. Super-Middleweight division. The question, despite his status as an undefeated two-division world champion after previously holding a portion of the World Middleweight championship prior to the Super-Middleweight crown he currently holds, will be if his style and Boxing ability is such that he is viewed as a high risk/low reward option for many fighters who could provide lucrative paydays. While it would be difficult for Saunders to get those types of opportunities if he is indeed viewed as such an option and it could go as far as denying him the opportunity to unify the Super-Middleweight world championship, at the end of the day all a fighter can do is face whatever opposition that is placed before them and if they are able to emerge victorious over said opposition, that still remains the best possible argument a fighter could make even if stoppage wins and head-turning knockouts will receive the most attention.


“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”


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