Friday, May 20, 2022

Metcalf Defeats Lejarraga In Bilbao, Spain


Jr. Middleweight contender James Metcalf scored an impressive ten round unanimous decision over fellow contender Kerman Lejarraga on Friday night at the Bilbao Arena in Bilbao, Spain. Despite the crowd being heavily in favor of the local favorite Lejarraga, Metcalf used an effective strategy with an emphasis on lateral movement and counter punching to tactically out box the power punching Lejarraga over the course of the ten round contest. Metcalf appeared to score a knockdown of Lejarraga in round three with a short right hand to the head, but it was ruled that the punch landed on the back of the head of Lejarraga.


Although Lejarraga tried in spots to turn the ebb and flow in his favor and did land hard punches on Metcalf periodically, it was Metcalf who remained disciplined and was not baited into a toe to toe battle. Metcalf’s combination punching, and ring generalship ultimately were enough to earn the convincing unanimous decision, despite being in his opponent’s home territory.  Official scores were: 97-94, 96-94, and 96-95 James Metcalf advances to 23-2, with 14 Knockouts. Kerman Lejarraga falls to 34-3, with 26 Knockouts.


Also on this card:


In a battle for the vacant European Flyweight championship Jairo Noriega scored a twelve round unanimous decision over multi-time European title challenger Angel Moreno. From the opening bell, Noriega’s hand speed, combination punching, and punching power were simply too much for Moreno to combat. Late in the first round a hard and short right hook to the jaw dropped Moreno, but it was not ruled a knockdown. In round five a left hook to the head did drop Moreno. Despite being tactically outgunned and appearing as though he was on the verge of being stopped the “Game” Moreno hung in there and never stopped trying to turn the fight in his favor in what was his fourth attempt to win the European Flyweight championship. Official scores were:116-110, and 118-109 (On two scorecards) in favor of Noriega. Jairo Noriega advances to 12-0, with 3 Knockouts. Angel Moreno falls to 21-5-3, with 6 Knockouts.


Undefeated Welterweight Jon Miguez scored a sixth round knockout of James Moorcroft. A competitive bout, Miguez’ harder punches dictated the combat though Moorcroft did attempt to fight fire with fire in spots throughout. The effects of the punishment dished out by Miguez to the body and head of Moorcroft gradually took a toll. In round six, a left hook to the body crumbled Moorcroft to the canvas. Moorcroft struggled to get to his feet, but did manage to beat the count. Despite this, his refusal to turn and face the referee when questioned if he was okay to continue resulted in the bout being stopped.  Official time of the stoppage was 1:21 of round six. Jon Miguez advances to 17-0, with 8 Knockouts. James Moorcroft falls to 16-2, with 5 Knockouts.


Undefeated Bantamweight Fran Mendoza pounded out an eight round unanimous decision over Alexander Mejia. An entertaining bout from the outset, Mendoza consistently forced the action and landed several thudding hooks to Mejia’s head. Despite taking punishment that would likely drop most fighters, Mejia hung in there and even landed some solid shots of his own in some heated exchanges in the latter rounds. Official scores were: 80-72, (On two scorecards) and 78-74 in favor of Mendoza. Fran Mendoza advances to 14-0, with 7 Knockouts. Alexander Mejia falls to 18-3, with 7 Knockouts.


In a clash of unbeaten Women’s Lightweights Rhiannon Dixon scored a six round unanimous decision over previously undefeated Mahjouba Oubtil. Dixon found a home for her right hand as she frequently landed it to the head of Oubtil throughout the bout. In round three it was a right hand that knocked Oubtil to the canvas. In a strange move, Dixon was deducted a point moments later by the referee for leading with her head, but she was the one wounded by an accidental head clash that opened a cut in her hairline. Despite the cut and the deduction, Dixon continued to press the action and in round six, would score her second knockdown of Outbil to secure the victory. Official scores were: 60-52, 58-53, and 57-54 in favor of Dixon Rhiannon Dixon advances to 5-0, with 0 Knockouts. Mahjouba Oubtil falls to 4-1, with 1 Knockout.


Jr. Welterweight Saul Luna began the evening by scoring a six round decision over previously undefeated Rikar Urrutia. An interesting clash of styles occurred in this fight as Urrutia stalked Luna for the majority of the bout, but Luna’s slick counter punching cleaver elusiveness and harder punches were enough for him to earn the decision victory. Official scores were: 58-56, (On two scorecards) and 57-57 (Even). Saul Luna advances to 7-2, with 1 Knockout. Rikar Urrutia falls to 5-1, with 0 Knockouts.  


With the Boxing world still abuzz over Dmitry Bivol’s twelve round unanimous decision over superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez several weeks ago, a victory that some called an upset due primarily to Alvarez’ standing within the sport, despite Bivol being the unbeaten WBA Light-Heavyweight world champion and the naturally bigger man going into the fight, some were also surprised that Bivol was able to get the decision victory over Alvarez in Las Vegas considering that Alvarez is viewed as the biggest star in the sport and a hot ticket seller in the United States, particularly whenever he competes in Las Vegas. Nevertheless, Bivol simply did what he needed to do, and even with a crowd firmly against him, was able to get the job done.


Though on a smaller scale in terms of mainstream attention, James Metcalf followed a similar approach against Kerman Lejarraga from the standpoint of having to go into hostile territory and seemingly taking the crowd influence out of the equation with his tactical Boxing performance. While some may also consider this victory an upset seeing as Lejarraga was seemingly on the verge of a potential world championship opportunity later this year, Metcalf should be given credit for sticking to his fight plan and making it work for him no matter what the circumstances were. Although one of the appeals of the sport of Boxing is to see fighters go toe to toe, there is something to be said when a fighter produces a performance like that one Metcalf was able to put forth in this fight. The type of performance that could well revitalize a career.


“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”


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