Manchester: High Stakes

By Ted Spoon on July 18, 2015
Manchester: High Stakes
It was widely believed that Frampton was the better puncher than Quigg. (Reuters)

There have been some poor cards this year. Tonight was not one of them. Inside of Manchester’s raucous Phones 4U arena we got as per advertised…

Britain is guilty of indulging when it comes to support for our warriors. A bit of patriotism is expected, deserved even, but praise must try to stay within touching distance of progress. Already we have aired hour-long features on a couple of our 2012 Olympians who have yet to claim the British title while great ghosts still keep an ear out for that hall of fame induction. This bias can not only be ugly but misinforming. A simple check of the odds will confirm you’re not witnessing anything you’ll remember in a week. There have been some poor cards this year. Tonight was not one of them. Inside of Manchester’s raucous Phones 4U arena we got as per advertised.

Quigg Demolishes Martinez

After a typically slow start Scott Quigg (31-0-2, 23 KOs) demolished Kiko Martinez (32-6-0, 24 KOs) at 1:04 of the second round, retaining his WBA super-bantamweight title. It was a wonderful statement, no less because of the opener in which Kiko backed up his opponent and reddened that forehead. Back to his corner a tough night appeared to loom, but Quigg came out for the next round with that basic yet, as Kiko would soon find out, unforgiving style. A right uppercut made the Spaniard dip at the knees. The sight made the naturally wide-eyed fighter open them wider still who then went into a frenzy. A right toppled Martinez.

Referee Terry O’Conner was given a confident nod as Kiko got his legs under him but Quigg had turned killer, fists simultaneously trying to destroy opponent and all that copy about him being a paper champion. It wasn’t an artistic finish, winging away with both arms, but they battered the shorter man into a fractured shell. A clean right finally got through and its effect was instant. When Kiko got up at “nine” he was there only in spirit.

It was widely believed that Ireland’s Carl Frampton was the puncher out of the two. Tonight showed we may need a rethink. One could say this came after two beatings from Carl though the time it took points more at the substance behind the workmanlike scrapper from Bury who, as Eddie Hearn underlined by playing the part of composer, has quite a following.

Draw Denies Crolla

The fairy tale ending wasn’t crushed. It just didn’t come off. Anthony Crolla (29-4-3, 11 KOs) was the unfortunate recipient of a split draw after bidding to take the WBA lightweight title off Colombia’s Darleys Perez (32-1-1, 20 KOs). Two point deductions for low blows seemed to give him a distinct advantage in a close fight but he now faces another crossroads. Bitter disappoint for sure. I would advise to recall his time in hospital.

A selfless act to prevent his neighbor getting robbed ended with a cracked skull and broken ankle when one of the culprits attacked with a concrete slab. January’s title shot was no more but there was a much more crucial battle to regain health. Recover he did though, enough to restart his boxing career, or rather pick up where he left off. Assuredly, for a man who went through what he did, Crolla fought markedly well.

It was quite a pretty fight with good attention to defense, punch selection and movement by each fighter. After a lukewarm opener a right hand landed on Perez whose legs did a gig as did the audience who jumped up. It actually came directly after a chant; the power of support there to behold. Perez concerned himself with boxing on the backfoot, jabbing to the body and popping the right. Crolla shot his right to the body, fired a jab and maintained a nice high guard throughout. There were rounds where he was outthought which would then be righted with a more assertive approach. Both fought in bursts that suggested they knew it was going the full twelve. In the final two rounds Crolla kept the activity up and then surely, with hometown advantage, was a few moments from having his hand raised, which he did, but up went Perez’s as well.

Boxing owes it to Anthony to get that rematch.

Eggington Batters Foot

The man they call “The Savage,” Sam Eggington (16-2, 9 KOs) continued this impressive recent form with an eighth round technical decision over Glenn Foot (15-1, 6 KOs), adding the British welterweight strap to the Commonwealth.

I first got a look at Sam during one of our “Prizefighter” tournaments in which a bunch of guys of limited or unknown talent go through a gauntlet of three-rounders for a cash prize. A recipe for sketchy decisions, Johnny Coyle dubiously got the nod over Sam but that style of lurching over his opponent while hailing down short punches caught my eye. Evidently it caught Matchroom’s and now this young lad who expected to just tick along is on the hunt with oodles of time to improve – At 21 he’s a baby. 

As Foot entered the ring he vigorously thumped his mitts together and wasn’t keen on touching gloves. The man with only six KOs to his otherwise unblemished record clearly wanted a psychological advantage to go with a possible one in skill, but Sam just gave him that unfazed leer which echoes the way he fights. Foot won the first round with a few sharp rights as Eggington had a look. He didn’t do much else. Birmingham’s new hope gradually bossed the action, though not with the short-range drumming I first saw but with patience, counters and a well-timed jab. These blows are not fast but heavy. At 5’11” he could easily find himself at light-middle but right now he is an ominous 147 lbs. obstacle with power, stability and an ever-improving boxing brain. 

It soon became clear that Foot’s punches bounced off Sam while the latter’s not only moved his opponent but made greater noise on impact, that deeper thud which rattles bone. As he began to dominate the tactical battle he dispensed with uppercuts and body hooks; one made Glenn sag. He did well to get through round seven and even better to get through the next. Blood was coming from his left eye which forced the ringside doctor to call it. As it was caused by a head butt it went to the scorecards which were heavily in favor of a man who could turn into a real beast with the right teacher.

                                                                      * * *

As I watched Quigg roar to his growing fanbase I got the memo that Carl Frampton had been floored twice en route to a unanimous but not so impressive decision. This new stateside chapter may go onto yield fruit for the Irishman but it is the fight with his Mancunian rival that will not hush until they collide, not after tonight. Carl may still be the marginal favorite but Scott’s performance just made this domestic super-fight harder to call. Let’s hope it doesn’t make it harder than it already is to get a couple of signatures.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Scott Quigg vs. Kiko Martinez

Darleys Perez vs Anthony Crolla full fight 18.07.2015

Sam Eggington vs Glenn Foot - Full Fight | Boxing | 18 July 2015

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  1. The Tache 10:16am, 07/19/2015

    I think after last night’s fights the odds will have tightened if and when Quigg and Frampton meet. Although Quigg’s blowout of Martinez is a better result, I was impressed with Frampton’s composure after suffering a horrendous 1st round on his American debut, not to mention the repeated low blows.
    The plot thickens nicely.

  2. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 05:27am, 07/19/2015

    Wide eyed frenzy….you got that right…..the finishing onslaught was pure MMA.

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