There was some excellent action in British rings over the weekend.
Friday night saw a Queensberry Promotions international super-bantamweight contest between Romanian Ionut Baluta and Briton Brad Foster. The aggressive Baluta (15-3, 3 KO’s) forced the pace throughout and although Foster (14-2-2, 5 KO’s) boxed well he was unable to prevail with scores returned in favour of the Spanish based eastern European 98-94, 97-93, 97-93.
We saw the fight a lot closer with most rounds difficult to score, a question of whether you liked the calmness and ring generalship of Foster compared to Baluta’s advancing aggression, but we accepted the man who made the fight was rightly declared the victor.
On a deep card with good victories for female puncher Raven Chapman, debuting Sean Noakes, Michael Burke Jr and Andrew Cain the night showcased some of the best talent emerging from the UK.
Liverpool’s Andrew Cain (10-0, 9 KO’s) is on an upward trajectory at super-bantamweight. It only took him 2:02 of the opening round to land a double left hook right uppercut combination to halt usually tough Mexican Luis Moreno. Cain is reputedly looking at opportunities for titles at either super-bantam or the lighter bantamweight division, able to fluctuate between the two. On this form, in which he was punch perfect, the future looks bright.
Undefeated Maidstone, Kent bantamweight Dennis ‘The Menace’ McCann (10-0, 6 KO’s) was in attendance and a fight between him and Cain would be a mouthwatering prospect.
There were also good wins for Joshua and Charles Frankham in front of a passionate family following.
Saturday night at the London O2 Arena saw an excellent all British affair between world ranked light-heavyweights Joshua Buatsi and Craig Richards. The undefeated Buatsi (16-0, 13 KO’s) won a hard fought twelve round unanimous decision 116-112, 115-113, 115-113 in one of the fights of the year to date.
Richards (17-3-1, 10 KO’s), hot off a world title loss to Dmitry Bivol, put in another excellent performance but just fell short on the scorecards. The Undisputed scored it 116-112 in favour of Buatsi.
The 29 year old Buatsi now takes pole position for a world title shot at 175lbs (12st,7lbs) being highly ranked by all governing bodies. With the depth of British contenders at the weight there are also lucrative domestic contests with Anthony Yarde, Callum’s Johnson or Smith and Lyndon Arthur amongst others. His Matchroom Boxing promotional company will be looking to seal a world title fight next.
Much will depend on the route that current unified champion Dmitry Bivol takes after his recent defeat of former pound-for-pound king Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and the imminent contest between Artur Beterbiev and Joe Smith Jr. The 175lb division is one of the hottest in the world currently, bringing back memories of the glory days of the early 1980’s.