The preliminary stages at the World championships get underway in Hamburg, writes John Dennen
The World championships kick off
DAY ONE – AUGUST 25
IRELAND’S Kurt Walker is a quality bantamweight but he came unstuck against Dominican Republic’s Leonel de Los Santos.
The Irishman had to pick himself up from a knockdown in the first round but he could not recover the deficit, losing on points for four of the five judges.
Luke Mccormack got the GB team off to a win, taking on China’s combative Gang Wang, who came up at him swinging busily. Luke engaged, answering in kind, catching him with flush shots to head and attacking the body with vicious hooks. Although one judge scored against Mccormack the other four had him winning all three rounds. Irish light-welter Sean Mccomb
was victorious on a split decision over Brazil’s Joedison De Jesus.
English light-flyweight Galal Yafai was drawn against Scottish rival Aqeel Ahmed. Yafai, a Rio Olympian and European silver medallist, came through, winning a unanimous points decision. Yafai’s teammate Ben Whittaker was also victorious, unanimously outscoring Kenya’s John Kyalo.
The USA had a great introduction to the tournament. Their bantamweight Duke Ragan
eliminated the Cuban at 56kgs, securing a split decision over Javier Ibanez. In the same division Scotland’s Lee Mcgregor was caught out and dropped by Vanuatu’s Boe Warawara. He bounced back to return the favour and make sure of a split decision. “Had a great scrap,” Mcgregor said. “Both us hitting the canvas in the same round. First time that’s ever happened to me and hope it’s the last.”
DAY TWO – AUGUST 26
GB BOXERS chalked up more wins on the second day of the World championships. At 69kgs Pat Mccormack won all three rounds for all five judges against Brazil’s Jhonathan De Oliveira. Mccormack dashed straight out to take the centre of the ring. He jabbed quickly, shot a fast right out before whipping his left hook across.
De Oliveira flailed at him, heaving his left hook to body. Mccormack fired a strong cross off back foot. In the third he stepped back smartly to let the Brazilian fall short. Pat arched his right over as De Oliveira came in cuffing at him with punches. Mccormack popped in a lead left hook as the Brazilian ran at him, starting here with a good win.
Promising British flyweight Niall Farrell outpointed Morocco’s Abdelali Daraa. Farrell was lively, stabbing down busy jabs. Daraa waited to slug in hooks but Farrell brought in long rights before covering up. Daraa pressed in hard but Farrell slung shots at him as he kept moving. Farrell continued to pepper him, winning for four of the five judges.
GB lightweight Calum French made sure of a unanimous decision victory against Mexico’s
Alberto Mora Garcia. He lined up southpaw lefts. But the Mexican still came at him over and again with his heavy backhand right. The Englishman weathered those hits. French used his lead right hook to move round Garcia. Calum kept popping shots in to make sure of the decision.
Irish super-heavyweight Dean Gardiner, in the tournament after Frazer Clarke pulled out with an injury, has to make the most of the opportunity. He beat Korea’s Hyeon Do Kim unanimously to win his first contest in Hamburg. One of the super-heavyweights to look out for in this competition, Azeri warhorse
Mahammadrasul Majidov began with a win over India, unanimously outscoring Kumar Satish.
‘BOTH OF US HIT THE CANVAS IN THE SAME ROUND’
America suffered a defeat when Dutch lightweight Enrico La Cruz eliminated Delante Johnson, taking a split decision. His US team-mate, welterweight Quinton Randall was victorious, beating Kenya’s Muzamiro Kakande by unanimous decision at 69kgs.
DAY THREE – AUGUST 27
LUKE MCCORMACK’S World championship came to an end in his second contest, when he came up against local man, and an Olympic medallist, Artem Harutyunyan.
Mccormack had better shape to his boxing but the German snagged him with a solid right in the first round, knocking him off balance. He backed that up with a stern left hook. As the bout progressed Luke recovered his composure. He moved round the German, slicing in a right uppercut and banging the same fist straight down. They traded fire in the centre of the ring. Mccormack bustled forward with hooks to the body. But the referee warned him hitting on the back of the head and as the contest slipped away from him, Luke furiously slugged it out with Harutyunyan. It was not to be, the German took a unanimous decision.
Light-flyweight Galal Yafai also lost to an Olympic medallist, Rio 2016 finalist Yurberjen Martinez. Yafai, a southpaw, countered the Colombian with his right and landed a firm left as Martinez swung for him. But Martinez is strong and relentless. His constant assault kept Yafai moving back. Yafai ducked a hook and began to double his back hand. But still the Colombian pressed forward.
With a storm of shots Martinez was getting through. He finished attack with a hard hook and although Yafai was not hurt he was given a count in second round. Galal waded in to retaliate but that left him open to more of the Colombian’s blows. Martinez’s work to the body was also effective. He finished with a right cross on the final bell, taking a unanimous decision.
GB bantamweight Peter Mcgrail progressed with a wide unanimous decision over Nicaragua’s Angel
Jarquin. They both began busily with Jarquin switching stances to try to match the Liverpool southpaw. Peter was more mobile and began to land his one-two before the first round was out.
Mcgrail bobbed beneath an incoming attack and snagged Jarquin with a long left. The Briton jabbed to body. Angel switched back orthodox and scored with his back hand, keeping up a high intensity. Even though Jarquin clubbed him with right hook, Mcgrail’s class was clear. His left uppercut hit the body to set up a one-two to head.
In the last round Mcgrail drove him back with a straight left. Getting into his rhythm the Englishman got on the front foot, working the body to finish the salvo with a head shot.
The USA’S Duke Ragan came through his bout with Scotland’s Lee Mcgregor with a unanimous decision. Initially Mcgregor looked more ragged and Raglan began to catch him with fast straight punches. In the second Mcgregor landed his left-right and bounded back. But he stepped on to Raglan’s left hook and his right bounced off as the American trundled forward. Mcgregor cycled round him but still attacked in the third and looked disappointed to lose a unanimous decision.
Against Ireland’s Sean Mccomb, Cuba’s Andy Cruz boxed with his longs arms low and loose, interspersing his slick defensive manoeuvres with fast, effective bursts of aggression to win a unanimous decision. Indian middleweight Krishnan
Vikas looked to rough up Ben Whittaker, often charging in clumsily headfirst. The GB 75kgs used his height and reach advantage, cannoning a right uppercut off the onrushing Vikas, sending his cross to the body and harrying his foe with sharp combinations. Whittaker won a unanimous decision.
American 75kgs Troy Isley beat Egypt’s 2015 World championships bronze medallist Hosam Abdin by unanimous decision.
YURBEJEN MARTINEZ WAS STRONG AND RELENTLESS
DAY FOUR – AUGUST 28
PAT MCCORMACK delivered a masterclass for Greece’s
Alexandros Tsanikidis. The Greek’s jab tapped against Pat’s gloves. Mccormack fired off a left hook with a right behind it. Pat’s cross touched him. Tsanikidis cantered forward to sling a right hook but the Englishman judged the distance finely, confounding Alexandros. A fast jab snaked in, he smacked in a hard right uppercut and Tsanikidis was left frustrated. Mccormack won every round for all five judges, 30-26 for one such was his dominance.
Three of his GB team-mates suffered tough defeats in their bouts. At light-heavyweight
Thomas Hart battled with the host
nation’s Ibragim Bazuev.
The bout was thrown wide open when the German had a point deducted for pulling the Briton down. Hart drove in to seize the opportunity. But Bazuev managed to catch him with shots, a good one-two and a right uppercut flashed through. The two were level on two of the judges’ cards, but Bazuev had it on the other three.
At flyweight Niall Farrell took on Colombia’s Ceiber Avila Segura. The latter, a southpaw, came at him wielding a wide left hook. In the second round Farrell responded with long, straight shots. Segura kept at him and they answered one another shot for shot. But the Columbian held the centre of the ring, forcing Farrell back. Niall lined up right hands and got his gloves up to block shots. But Segura’s left still found its way through. Farrell rocked him with a right but Sergura answered in kind. The bout was close, 29-28 for all five judges but they were all unanimous in Segura’s favour.
After crossing paths in the European championships, Calum French rematched Ukraine’s Iurii
Shestak. Both lightweights are southpaws and they mirrored one another initially. French hooked his left over. He fired in a smart straight cross as Shestak attacked. The bout became scrappy but Shestak swept in hooks. His wide blows snagged French. But the Englishman boxed with him, scoring with his left to dart clear. But the Ukrainian remained busy and strong, slashing his left hook across.
Calum boxed well in the last round, even as Shestak’s hook clattered in. French landed his jab and cracked in a hard cross. He hefted his back hand uppercut into the Ukrainian’s body but his strong finish wasn’t enough to sway it. Shestak took a split decision. Korea’s Inkyu Kim put Ireland’s
Brendan Irvine out with a unanimous win. Dean Gardiner was also defeated, losing a split decision to Colombia’s Cristian Salcedo Codazzi. Joe Ward
continues to carry Ireland’s hopes, beating Georgia’s 81kgs Iago Kiziria unanimously. The USA’S Quinton Randall kept his run going, stopping Russia’s Sergei Sobylinskii.
CALUM FRENCH’S STRONG FINISH WASN’T ENOUGH TO SWAY IT FOR THE JUDGES AGAINST IURII SHESTAK
WARFARE: Belligerent Mccormack [right] attacks local man Harutyunyan
LOOPING SHOT: La Cruz [left] slams his right hand into Johnson
RIVALS: Ahmed [left] lands against Yafai but will go on to lose the decision
AGGRESSION: Segura [left] finds the mark with his heavy left against Farrell