Featherweights Mauricio Lara and former IBF Featherweight world champion Josh Warrington fought to a two round technical draw on Saturday night at Headingley Stadium in Leeds, England. A rematch of a ninth round stoppage from February of this year that was won by Lara, the rematch began with Lara and Warrington being willing to engage. In the second round Lara was cut over the left eye due to an accidental clash of heads. The resulting deep gash was examined by a ringside physician before round three could begin and it was determined that the gash was too deep to allow Lara to continue. As the bout had not progressed beyond four completed rounds, the bout was ruled a technical draw under the rules. Mauricio Lara advances to 23-2-2, with 16 Knockouts. Josh Warrington advances to 30-1-1, with 7 Knockouts.
Also on this card:
Undefeated Undisputed Women’s Lightweight world champion Katie Taylor scored a ten round unanimous decision over former IBF Featherweight world champion Jennifer Han. A very tactical bout throughout, Taylor generally got her punches off first, but did have trouble for a period of time landing cleaning on an elusive Han. In round eight, Taylor was credited with a knockdown after she landed a right hand, left hook combination to the head of the challenger, but it appeared those punches landed as Han had lost her footing. The question of the knockdown notwithstanding, the champion’s greater activity and ring generalship ultimately led her to win the fight by winning all ten rounds on all three official scorecards as the three judges scored the bout 100-89 in Taylor’s favor. Katie Taylor advances to 19-0, with 6 Knockouts. Jennifer Han falls to 18-4-1, with 1 Knockout.
Undefeated Welterweight contender Conor Benn scored a ten round unanimous decision over Adrian Granados. A fight that was originally scheduled for late July, but was postponed due to Benn testing positive for the COVID-19 virus, saw Benn show no adverse effects from his bout with the virus as he systematically stalked Granados over the course of ten rounds. Benn’s harder punches and Granados’ unwillingness to engage for the majority of the bout made it a simple fight to describe as Benn boxed his way to a convincing unanimous decision victory. Conor Benn advances to 19-0, with 12 Knockouts. Adrian Granados falls to 21-9-3, with 15 Knockouts.
Maxi Hughes scored a dominant twelve round unanimous decision over IBO Lightweight world champion Jovanni Straffon to win the championship. From the opening bell, Hughes used angles and timing to get under the long-armed Straffon and outwork the champion. In round five Hughes landed a flush left hook to the jaw that had Straffon badly hurt, but miraculously, he managed to stay on his feat, despite the affects of a brutal barrage of punches. Hughes continued to land the left hook throughout and continued to make the champion miss on his way to a unanimous decision victory. Official scores were 120-107 (On two scorecards), and 119-109 in favor of Hughes. Maxi Hughes advances to 24-5-2, with 5 Knockouts. Jovanni Straffon falls to 24-4-1, with 17 Knockouts.
Women’s Bantamweight Ebanie Bridges scored a hard-fought eight round decision over Mailys Gangloff. A fight that saw several heated exchanges of punches between the two fighters, the bout was very competitive all the way through to its conclusion. Despite suffering an apparent injury to her right hand over the course of the fight, Bridges’ greater aggression and generally harder punches were enough to earn a close decision victory. As all non-title bouts that are fought in the United Kingdom and Ireland that do not have an impact on regional or world rankings are scored solely by the referee officiating a bout, Referee Steve Gray scored the fight 77-76 in favor of Bridges. Ebanie Bridges advances to 7-1, with 3 Knockouts. Mailys Gangloff falls to 5-3, with 2 Knockouts.
Unbeaten Jr. Featherweight Ivan Hopey Price scored an impressive second round stoppage of Zahid Hussain. Price nearly ended the fight right at the bell to end the first round when he dropped Hussain with a short, but flush right hook to the head that sent Hussain down and badly hurt. Hussain was able to get up on unsteady legs and seemed to not know where he was. In the second round, Price pressed forward and following a second knockdown from a barrage of punches, it was a follow up that convinced Referee Howard Foster to stop the fight at 2:33 of round two. Ivan Hopey Price advances to 5-0, with 2 Knockouts. Zahid Hussain falls to 16-2, with 2 Knockouts.
Undefeated Jr. Featherweight Jack Bateson overcame a knockdown in round two to score a hard-fought six round decision over Felix Garcia. Bateson seemed to be in control until he was dropped with a right hand in the closing seconds of the second round by Garcia. Garcia tried to put the pressure on in round three, but eventually Bateson was able to find his rhythm and scored the decision victory. Referee Mark Lyson scored the bout 58-56 in his favor. Jack Bateson advances to 14-0, with 3 Knockouts. Felix Garcia falls to 7-3-1, with 3 Knockouts.
Unbeaten Jr. Middleweight Brandon Stansfield scored a workmanlike four round decision over MJ Hall. From the start Stansfield kept Hall on the defensive and mixed his shots up well to the body and head. Referee Steve Gray scored the bout 40-36 in favor of Stansfield. Brandon Stansfield advances to 2-0, with 0 Knockouts MJ Hall falls to 2-63-2, with 0 Knockouts/
Light-Heavyweight Mali Wright began the evening by successfully making his professional debut with a second round stoppage of Antony Woolery. Wright quickly found a home for his right hand on Woolery and frequently landed it over the course of the two rounds while mixing in some effective body shots. At the conclusion of the second round Woolery’s corner seeing their fighter taking mostly one way punishment stopped the fight. Mali Wright advances to 1-0, with 1 Knockout. Antony Woolery falls to 2-7, with 0 Knockouts.
This card, which was promoted by promoter Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing had a highly enthusiastic crowd of over 20,000 spectators on hand at Headingley Stadium. The first such mass gathering on this scale since the circumstances of the ongoing global COVID-19 epidemic began. Those in attendance were there to support their hometown favorite Josh Warrington, who was looking for vengeance after suffering his first career loss and having previously relinquished his world championship prior to that setback. What was unfortunately an inclusive ending in the main event will inevitably lead to a third encounter between the two as the reality is much was not resolved on this evening in Leeds, England.
The atmosphere that this nine-bout card was staged is something that cannot be ignored. Hopefully, it is an encouraging sign that a return to normalcy is closer than it might appear even as we remain in the midst of an ongoing global crisis. Boxing certainly benefits more when there is an enthusiastic crowd on hand to witness the battles in the ring. Outside of the inclusive outcome in the main event of this card, the night of Boxing should be viewed as an overall success.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
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