Saturday, 30 March 2013

Mike Alvarado v Brandon Rios II

Many say that rematches are rarely as good as the original bout though Mike "Mile High" Alvarado (34-1, 23) and Brandon Rios (31-1-1, 23) proved that rematches can be just as good as the the first bout as they re-ran one of 2012's fights of the year, this time with a distinctly different outcome as Mike Alvarado claimed the interim WBO Light Welterweight title.

The fight started well for Rios who appeared to claim the first 2 rounds with aggression and the fact that he managed to get Alvarado to trade in the early rounds. The most telling moment of the opening rounds was Rios staggering Alvarado with a jab though Rios couldn't put Alvarado down as he followed up his attack.

In round 3 we saw Alvarado coming back at his rival as he starting to box well and even appeared to hurt Rios with an amazing flurry late in the round that Rios did well to take and not go over. Alvarado continued to grow in to the bout following his success in round 3 and he seemed to level off the scores as he took round 4 to move to 38-38.

Round 5 was one of the bouts closest rounds though the key moment was a low blow by Rios who had been tagged hard just moments earlier. The low blow seemed to effect Alvarado early the following round as his pace and movement stopped and Rios appeared to take the round despite both men having their moments.

Alvarado reclaimed the initiative in round 7 as he used his movement and quicker hands to land flurries on Rios and move away as Rios seemed to start to slow down a little bit. Although again both men traded it just appeared that Rios' shots lacked the power they had earlier in the bout and even in the first bout between the two men. In all honesty if either man had the power to hurt the other it appeared that it was Alvarado who stunned Rios in round 8 as Rios again showed off his amazing chin.

By round 9 it seemed that Rios was slowing notably and certainly wasn't having the success he had had earlier in the bout. Rios' slowed tempo and extra movement by Alvarado allowed "Mile High" to claim another round as Rios' corner started to become a little worried at their man who was hurt again late in the round. Although he wasn't being beaten from pillar to post Rios was certainly struggling to enforce himself in the bout.

Alvarado continued to have continued success in round 10 as he looked to be pulling away from Rios but then in round 11 Rios fought back and appeared to rock Alvarado who's face was becoming a real mess. Alvarado's face only got worse the following round as his left eye became a mess as well as his right eye (which had been bleeding from the second round) despite this he managed to see out the final and in fact seemed to stun Rios twice late in the round despite the fact that Rios was the one needing the KO.

Although Alvarado's face was a bloody mess he had done enough to claim a decision and when the cards were read out (115-113-twice and 114-113-some how). After the score cards both men seemed to indicate that they were willing to engage in Alvarado v Rios III a bout that could be just as good as this one!

Gennady Golovkin v Nobuhiro Ishida

WBA and IBO Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (26-0, 23) once again showed why he is so highly spoken about in boxing circles as he stopped Japanese challenger Nobuhiro Ishida (24-9-2, 9) in chilling fashion.

The opening round was somewhat even as Ishida showed his bravery and even seemed to be willing to trade jabs at times with the champion. Although Ishida showed his bravery through the round he clearly lost it and in all honesty it was little a round that Golovkin fought in first gear.

Golovkin started to open up in round 2 as he hurt Ishida for the first time and started to land almost anything he wanted. There was hooks, jabs, straights and uppercuts all from the champion who managed to snap back the head of Ishida time and time again. Although Ishida had been hurt he was never really in any great trouble as he showed solid durability.

It appeared at the end of round 2 that Golovkin was going through the gears and it seemed that he went up a gear or two to start round 3. Although Ishida landed what looked like a monster right hand of his own Golovkin all but walked through it and landed a huge sweeping hook soon afterwards as he started to force Ishida on to the back foot. Sadly for Ishida fighting on the back foot did him few favours and he was forced to take a massive right hand that sent him through the bottom ropes and to canvas in eye catching fashion.

Hopefully for Golovkin he'll return to the ring in just a few months against a more notable opponent than Ishida though after this performance I can't imagine many wanting to get in the ring with him. For Ishida however this result likely ends his run of high profile bouts (which has seen him facing James Kirkland, Paul Williams, Dmitry Pirog and now Golvokin).

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Arthur Abraham v Robert Stieglitz II

In an early contender for shock of the year Robert Stieglitz (44-3, 25) stopped the teak tough Arthur Abraham (36-4, 28) and regained the WBO Super Middleweight title whilst also getting revenge over the man who beat him last year.

Stieglitz set off for the opening round like a man possessed and was unrelenting in his offensive work which forced Abraham to cover up from the opening bell. Although this was technically round 1 it appeared from the off to be round 13 and a continuation of their previous battle. where Abraham looked for counters, this time however Stieglitz wasn't allowing him the space or time to fire counters back.

The fast start from Stieglitz continued in to the second round and this forced Abraham to fire back which saw both men trading for a short burst of time as Abraham was force to fight back. It seemed as if Stieglitz was wanting to make a point to Abraham and that's exactly what he did as he just kept coming. It was from the relentless shots that Abraham seemed seriously hurt late in the round as his left eye swelled up into an ugly mess.

In round 3 we saw the pace of the fight drop somewhat. Stieglitz was still the fighter pressing the action but Abraham was starting to create some space and distance though was unfortunately not landing anything of note on the challenger. In fact what Abraham did land was the cause of a point deduction for rabbit punches as Stieglitz moved to a shocking 4 point lead after just 3 rounds.

After the third round Abraham's trainer Ulli Wegner refused to leave the ring and retired his fighter in the corner at the start of the 4th as Stieglitz shocked the boxing world and became the first man to stop Abraham.

It seems likely that Abraham will be out for quite some time due to the injury so whilst a rubber match is possible it's likely that Stieglitz will be looking for a new dance partner next time out. There is a strong possibility of it being British fighter George Groves.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Roberto Vasquez v John Mark Apolinario II

Less than a week since reports broke about the WBA possibly doing away with "Interim" titles, we saw a rematch between Panamanian Robert Vasquez (32-5-2, 22) and Filipino John Mark Apolinario (17-2-3, 4) for the WBA interim Bantamweight title. Rather surprisingly the title remained "vacant" as the two men fought to a draw, the second successive bout.

The two men, who fought for the first time just 4 months ago, drew when they first met in Argentina with neither man managing to get an upper hand for any stretch of time. This time however things looked different, things seemed to be flowing wonderfully for the Panamanian who had previously held titles at both Light Flyweight and Flyweight.

At the mid way point in the bout it was very easy to feel that Vasquez was in a clear lead. He wasn't beating the ever loving snot out of Apolinario but he was clearly winning more rounds than he was losing and he was at home with the fans getting well behind him. According to Argentinian television station "TYC Sports" Vasquez had bagged 5 of the first 6 rounds and was surely on his way to the title.

Vasquez continued to look a class better than his lesser known opponent in the second half of the fight as he showed his experience and seemed to sweep the second half of the fight to what appeared on paper to be a clear decision. Vasquez's domination of the bout had seen Argentinian TV score it 119-109 in his favour and seemingly saw him claiming the title by clear decision. The came the judges decision which rather oddly saw the bout much, much close than most scoring it 116-112 each way and 115-115 to leave us a majority draw.

Interestingly when the men first met it was viewed that Apolinario was robbed, this time however it seems that Vasquez was denied a clear victory in a shocking case of boxing karma.

Alberto Rossel v Walter Tello

Peruvian veteran Alberto Rossel (30-8-0-1, 13) retained his WBA "interim" Light Flyweight title as he claimed a decision over Panamanian Walter Tello (18-7, 7) in a very forgettable fight that would have helped neither man really make a name for themselves with international fans.

The bout started slowly with a round that could have gone either way as neither man really forced the action, Tello was the slightly more aggressive though he was caught by several counters whilst Rossel almost refused to open up in a fight. Sadly the opening round was a precursor to many similar rounds that saw very little clean action with neither man taking too many risks, though Rossel did seem to open up a bit in round 4.

The fight finally started to come alive, at least for a short time, in round 6 as Tello started to show off his defensively ability in an amusing round that saw Tello compared, by the commentator on ATV (the Peruvian channel airing the bout), to Floyd Mayweather Jr with his shoulder roll. Whilst defensively Tello was impressive during the round he didn't really make a claim to winning it due to a total lack off offense.

Tello's offensive issues were further demonstrated in round 8 as he over-committed to an attack and literally threw himself to the canvas. Surprisingly it was one of Tello's better rounds as he clearly decided to attack for once and managed some success. Interestingly Tello also claimed round 9 on my card as he again showed some aggressiveness and probably took round 10 to as the challenger finally looked like he fancied his chanced of upsetting the champion

Whilst many of the rounds were highlighted by just a few moments by one man or the other, the fight ended on a surprising high as both men gave the crowd a real grandstand finish tagging each other in the centre of the ring with neither relenting until the bell to finally give the the viewers something to remember. Sadly for myself it was too little too late to enjoy the actual bout, though it was enough to help Rossel retain his title in front of his home fans.

John Riel Casimero v Luis Alberto Rios

Filipino road warrior John Riel Casimero (18-2, 10) managed to retain his IBF Light Flyweight title by winning on the road once again as he out pointed Panamanian Luis Alberto Rios (18-2-1, 13) in a genuinely forgettable fight.

The fight started with the typical feeling out round that Rios taking a number of jabs from the more skillful looking Casimero who appeared to be the quicker and more intelligent fighter. Sadly however the feeling out round seemed to repeat it's self round after round as neither man really managed to open with more than the odd power shot here and there. Sadly the bout seemed to see both men posing and seeking counter opportunities rather than forcing the pace an this lead to a number of dull and uneventful rounds.

Although Casimero was by far the better boxer the better blows in a number of the later rounds came from the challenger who started to land his power shots, though rarely managed to land more than a single one here and there as the bout continued to be dominated by jabs. Sadly for Rios however he had given up too many rounds by the time he had started to land his bigger shots for them to really count on the judges cards.

Despite myself, and TYC Sports, seeing the bout as being relatively close (due to the fact both men did very little in a number of rounds) the official scoring had Casimero as a very clear winner winning by very wide margins with cards that suggested it was a dominating performance when really it wasn't.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Timothy Bradley v Ruslan Provodnikov

American Timothy Bradley (30-0-0-1, 12) made the first successful defense of his WBO Welterweight title as he outpointed the brave Russian challenger Ruslan Provodnikov (22-2, 15) in a bout that really had it all.

The fight started at a genuinely hectic pace as the two men stood next to each other and wailed away relentlessly at each other. For Provodnikov this served well as he appeared to hurt Bradley several times and even sent the champion to the canvas on one occasion, though referee Pat Russell called it a slip. The first 2 rounds could both be contenders for round of the year as Provodnikov rocked Bradley repeatedly with the champion firing back and showing his heart.

In round 3 Bradley finally started to show his skills as he boxed and moved against a very tired looking Provodnikov who only threw a handful of punches in the round after having thrown (and landed) a ridiculous number of power shots in the previous round. The challenger was visibly breathing through his mouth and Bradley was targeting the body to try and keep Provodnikov from having a second win.

After clearly winning round 3 Bradley continued to box through many of the middle rounds as he started to fight his way into the bout and take the lead with his superior boxing, speed and foot movement. In fact it was probably Bradley's movement more than anything else that allowed him to establish himself in the bout as Provodnikov struggled to land on when the champion was on his his toes and landing his jab.

Whilst Bradley boxed well through many of the middle rounds he did get dragged into a real war in round 6 that saw both men hurt and both men tagging the other repeatedly with everything they had. This was by far the best rest round in the middle portion of the fight for Provodnikov who appeared to really shake Bradley late on. In fact after the round Bradley's trainer threatened to pull his man out if he got hurt like that again.

The warning from Bradley's trainer seemed to settle Bradley's boxing down again as the champion showed his boxing and bagged the following round clearly as both men seemed to take a breather. Despite round 7 being a much quieter round than the previous one Provodnikov's face was starting to look a mess and Bradley started to target it opening up a nasty cut on the challengers eyebrow in round 9 that looked like it could threaten  an early finish to the bout.

With his face starting to mark up and the blood seeping from his eye, Provodnikov was forced to show that he deserved to be in the bout and that's exactly what he did in the final 3 rounds as he tagged Bradley hard to end the 10th then and started the 11th fast.

The final round saw Provodnikov having arguably his best round since the 6th as he set out with the intention of stopping Bradley and he seriously rocked him several times before forcing Bradley to a knee late in the round. Bradley took his chance to collect himself and survived to the bell before celebrating what appeared to be a hard fought but relatively clear victory.

Surprisingly the score cards were closer than many had imagined with Bradley claiming scores of 114-113 (twice) and 115-112 to take a unanimous decision and retain his title in one of the more memorable bouts of the year.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Merlito Sabillo v Luis De La Rosa

Unheralded Filipino Merlito Sabillo (21-0, 10) made a statement this past weekend to the Minimumweight division as he traveled to Colombia and defeated Colombian Luis De La Rosa (21-2-1, 12) in eye catching fashion to claim the WBO interim Minimumweight title.

The fight started fast as both men came out with bad intentions and it was Sabillo who got an early upper hand inflicting a cut on to De La Rosa in the opening round. Although many fighters go in to their shell when cut it seemed to merely spur on De La Rosa who fought like a wounded animal intent on taking out his attacker.

With De La Rosa cut and Sabillo going toe-to-toe with his opponent the fight quickly erupted in to a war as both men took turns in firing bombs at the other. Neither man willing to back down though neither man quite able to get an upper hand against an opponent who was wanting to claim a portion of the world title. The action was relentless as both men tried their hardest to rock the other and take them out of their game plan though neither man could manage it in the opening half of the bout.

After the back and forth action of the first 7 rounds Sabillo finally got a clear upper hand as he felled De La Rosa in round 8. Although De La Rosa rose to his feet he was back down soon afterwards as Sabillo took advantage of his woozy opponent and forced the stoppage just seconds later.

Although the Colombian fighter had lost the crowd gave both men a show of hands as the local mayor also welcomed Sabillo to return to the area to fight another Colombian fighter later this year. Looking at this it would appear that Sabillo has made a new set of fans as boxing for once treat the away fighter with the dignity and respect they deserved.

Although the full version of the WBO Minimumweight title is held by Mexican Moises Fuentes, rumours are rife that Sabillo will be upgraded to the full champion in the coming months as Fuentes, who was a huge guy at Minimumweight, simply cannot make the 105lb limit. Fuentes, who drew recently with Donnie Nietes (who like Sabillo is a Filipino fighter and part of the ALA Gym) is expected to chase a rematch with Nietes if he can even manage to make 108lbs again, if not he could well move to 112lbs later this year.

Juan Carlos Salgado v Argenis Mendez II

Dominican fighter Argenis Mendez (21-2, 11) claimed not only the biggest victory of his career so far but also the IBF Super Featherweight title this past weekend as he stunning stopped Mexican Juan Carlos Salgado (26-2-1-1, 16).

Mendez, who had lost controversially to Salgado when the fighters first met back in September 2011 had promised a knock out and delivered as he made his point from the opening bell. Although Salgado is generally seen as durable and Mendez isn't seen as a huge puncher the Dominican was firing with bad intentions and dropped Salgado in the opening round before finishing him off in the fourth.

Salgado had managed to pull himself from the canvas after the first knock down and managed to fight back valiantly in rounds 2 and 3 though with Mendez knowing just how much he could hurt Salgado the Mexican had little real chance other than to avoid the big shots coming his way. Sadly for Salgado he couldn't avoid them all and a vicious shot left him flat on the canvas as Mendez claimed his first world title.

Although Salgado's technical limitations were shown up thanks to the numerous counter shots of the talented Mendez it's likely he'll be back in the title mix soon enough with the Super Featherweight division not being that packed with talent. Sadly the depth at the the division os likely to decrease with Mendez hinting he may move to 135lbs next time out and seemed to be chasing a bout with Yuriorkis Gamboa at Lightweight (despite the face Gamboa himself has never fought at Lightweight).

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Tavoris Cloud v Bernard Hopkins

The legendary Bernard Hopkins (53-6-2-1, 32) made history once again as he claimed the IBF Light Heavyweight title thanks to a clear decision win over the much younger Tavoris Cloud (24-1, 19) who suffered his first professional loss.

The 48 year old Hopkins did what he has made a career out of and controlled the pace and distance of the fight excellently by using his movement to stop Cloud from setting his feet and throwing flurries. Although Hopkins was some 17 years older than the defending champion he looked the more energetic as well as the more technically solid.

Whilst Hopkins often made Cloud look silly and took advantage of the champions lack of finesse, Cloud was dangerous himself and did appear on at least 1 occasion to hurt Hopkins to the body. Sadly for Cloud however his work was so limited due to Hopkin's excellent movement that he really failed to force the action as he should of done. In fact what little success Cloud did have came after he suffered a nasty cut on his eye that threatened to see Hopkins scoring his first stoppage in the better part of a decade.

It's been a whilst since Hopkins "executed" an opponent mentally, like he did to Kelly Pavlik though this was pretty close and I honestly think that Cloud will be a forgotten fighter, a lot like Pavlik is now a days. Cloud was made to question himself, he was made to look clueless at times and he was bullied up close by the veteran who showed his ability to control fighters once again.

After the fight Hopkins and Andre Ward shared a few words though it's highly known that the two share huge respect for each other so it's likely they were doing little more than giving each other props. Whilst many consider Ward to be "this generations" Hopkins it's fair to say that the original Hopkins still refuses to go away and the way he's been fighting in recent years there is every chance he could still be a champion come his 50th birthday.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Richar Abril v Sharif Bogere

Cuban Richar Abril (18-3-1, 8), who had previously been the WBA Lightweight champion made the first defense of the full version of the title as he out pointed the previous unbeaten Ugandan born Sharif Bogere (23-1, 15) in a messy yet entertaining bout that was marred by the awful officiating of Russell Mora who again raised more eye brows than anything else.

the bout started well for Bogere who started fast and launched himself at Abril in the early rounds. It wasn't pretty but Bogere's reckless style and aggression was certainly causing the defending champion real issues. Not only were Bogere's punches reckless and wild but he was also leading with his head and giving Abril 3 targets to avoid.

It was with the head that Bogere, who was dirty through out the fight, scored his most notable success  as an accidental clash of heads opened up a cut over Abril's eye. Somehow the referee, Russell Mora seemed to avoid the leading with the head and instead repeatedly warned Abril for effectively protecting himself from Bogere's head.

Whilst Abril started to fight back well in the middle rounds and started to bag himself rounds he was always at risk of the head from Bogere. Sadly it was whilst looking after himself that Abril was deducted a point by Russell Mora who had taken it uAbril had been waned the deduction was genuinely unwarranted due to the style of Bogere who was charging forward almost like a rhino.

 Thankfully Abril took the point deduction as a hint to get fighting and from then on he looked a class above Bogere as he landed counters on an onrushing and tiring opponent. The Ugandan showed heart and grit yet lacked the finesse in his attacks to really trouble Abril who had started landing combinations on to his challenger.

Unfortunately for the challenger his hopes were further dashed as he not only started to be tagged but was starting to get warned by Mora who was starting to realise that Bogere was the man causing the dirty action with his head. Eventually those infractions of Bogere got a well deserved point deduction in the final round as Abril managed to hold on, despite being bloodied to take a wide and comfortable decision.

Although Abril certainly wasn't at his best here, he showed some of the skills that would make Adrien Broner genuinely struggle with him. Bogere however showed that a size difference could play a big part in a fight as he struggled to get close to the champion and when he did he was smothered excellently.

Pungluang Sor Singyu v Paulus Ambunda

In arguably the fight of the weekend Thai Pungluang Sor Singyu (43-2, 28) was dethroned by unbeaten Namibian Paulus Ambunda (20-0, 10) in a fantastic 12 round bout that again showed the problem with the boxing media as a whole. Not only was the fight only shown to a few hundred people but the wider boxing public through out Europe and America were unable to see the fight live.

The fight, a war almost from the opening bell saw both men trying to prove themselves against a genuinely formidable adversary. It seemed like any time either fighter landed their own bomb they were only seconds away from taking one in return as both fighters fought 12 very competitive rounds that neither fighter really gained the upper hand in for long.

The bout, cheered on by all those in the attendance was genuinely something special and with both the teak tough Thai Sor Singyu and the unbeaten Namibian. Whilst Ambunda seemed to clearly claim the 2nd, he seemed to be clearly the loser in the 5th as both men seemed to take it in terms to win rounds clearly with competitive rounds to each man inter-spacing the clearer rounds.

Sadly for the champion, fighting on foreign for just the third time, he was to lose a close and narrow decision, the second time he has done so, aw Ambunda just got the nod on the cards in front of his rapturous fans who had bee cheering every time he had landed. Hopefully a rematch is contested as Sor Singyu is never in a poor fight, though I tend to think that Ambunda will be lured out of Namibia by the highest bidder for the WBO title. He's decent but was lucky he was at home here as he'd had lost the decision outside of his home land and he'll likely know he needs to cash in.

For Sor Singyu he has a real problem, he's a nightmare for anyone at 118 and, I don't know if he'll get another title chance. He's tough as old boots and not going to give anyone an easy night. A shame that such a talented fighter will end up all but forgotten by the boxing world.

Donnie Nietes v Moises Fuentes

Filipino Donnie Nietes (31-1-4, 17) successfully defended his WBO Light Flyweight title against Mexican Moises Fuentes (16-1-1, 8) thanks to a majority draw earlier today in what may well have been his toughest fight in years.

Nietes, one of the forgotten men in the lower weights claimed the title almost 18 months ago when he defeated Mexican Ramon Garcia Hirales by a decision and despite the lengthy reign he had only previously defended the belt once. Against Fuentes, Nietes was facing a genuinely difficult to beat fighter who had retired Ivan Calderon less than a year ago and had defeated the highly regarded Raul "Rayito" Gacria to gain the WBO Minimumweight title (not at stake here).

The fight was action packed as both men gave their all. The action saw Nietes suffering several cuts around his face as both men were tagged hard in a very competitive and difficult to score that neither man really managed to get an upper hard in. Neites started the better winning the opening round, though Fuentes fought back wonderfully with a determined body attack that really made Nietes pay for standing in the pocket. Sadly for Nietes in round 6 he suffered 2 notable cuts, one from a clash of heads and the other from a punch as he then had to battle through the blood as well as the body attack.

By round 10 it was genuinely anybodies fight as the early lead of Fuentes was worn away and sadly neither fighter could do enough in the final rounds to force a clear result as the judges score cards showed the close nature of the bout with 2 judges viewing the bout as a 114-114 draw whilst the dissenting judge gave it to Nietes by a score of 115-113.

With the action of the bout it's fair to say that not only did both fighters keep face, but that a rematch would be equally as interesting and with the result both fighters know they can compete at world level. Saying that however no one would be disappointed in a rematch.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Billy Dib v Evgeny Gradovich

In a minor upset American based Russian Evgeny Gradovich (16-0, 8) claimed the IBF Featherweight title decisioning the more experienced Australian Billy Dib (35-2-0-1, 21 ) in a messy yet engaging battle that really saw the "Mexican Russian" showing what he's about.

The opening round saw the champion start well as he moved well and landed a number of solid shots whilst making the challenger look silly, reckless and a bit out of his depth and he continued that in the second round as Gradovich applied rather ineffective pressure on to the champion.

Although the first two rounds were easy to score in favour of Dib the fight started to change in the third round as Gradovich's pressure started to have noticeable effect on the flashier champion. Dib better boxing skills were being negated by the bloody mindedness of Gradovich who just refused to back off and appeared to have started to get his engine going. Although the third was close and could have conceivably gone either way it was the turning point in the fight and Gradovich started to get real traction in the 4th as he repeatedly forced Dib on to the ropes and grew in confidence.

As Gradovich's confidence started to bloom so did his success with more and more of his shots landing cleanly on Dib who was almost dropped early in the 5th round, as the momentum swung completely in favour of Gradovich. Not only was Gradovich now coming into his own but Dib appeared to be both mentally welting and physically breaking down as his ear and nose started to bleed.

Although the challenger was really coming in to the bout the champion did manage to have some success through out the 6th round although Gradovich seemed to do enough at the end to just claim it. The following round again saw Dib having some moments of success but simply not enough of them to claim the round with Gradovich relentlessly marching towards him and trying to unload against a fighter who was spending more time trying to establish a safe distance than actually fighting.

Although the first 7 rounds were messy with copious amounts of clinching things got silly afterwards with both men being deducted a point for holding in round 8 as the fight went from a bit messy to a full on grapplefest that wrestling fans would have been proud of. Dib continually held on to Gradovich when the men were close effectively stopping the Russian from hitting him though doing little work himself as the bout really broke down with several awful rounds. Whilst Gradovich wasn't able to land much of note the fact he was simply trying to force the fight was enough for me to award him the rounds against Dib who was intent on spoiling.

Although the holding and hugging continued on a round by round basis until the final bell both rounds 11 and 12 were eye catching with 11 seeing both men rocked whilst 12 saw Dibs face becoming a claret mask as a cut around his eye worsened and dripped across his face. It was obvious from the facial damage of the two men that Dib had been hit numerous times and whilst Gradovich was marked up himself he didn't have the war scars of Dib at the final bell.

To many onlookers it seemed as if Gradovich, who had forced the bout through out was a clear winner. In fact when the bell went to end the bout Gradovich climbed the corner to celebrate whilst Dib had a very muted and short celebration before looking sorry for himself. It was clear that Dib didn't believe he had won whilst Gradovich had obviously though he'd done enough to claim the belt. Thankfully 2 of the judges agreed as Gradovich took a split decision and the world title.

Dib, sung in by American rap-star 50 Cent was fighting in America for the first time since losing in a WBO Super Bantamweight title bout to Steve Luevano back in 2008. The show was supposed to re-introduce him to America yet what it actually did was introduce the wider boxing world to the potentially exciting to watch Gradovich. Rather wonderfully it relieves the dirty and awful to Dib of the world title and likely any more undeserved limelight.