The pre­lim­i­nary stages at the World cham­pi­onships get un­der­way in Ham­burg, writes John Den­nen

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The World cham­pi­onships kick off


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.”


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.


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.


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.



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.


WAR­FARE: Bel­liger­ent Mccor­mack [right] at­tacks lo­cal man Haru­tyun­yan

LOOP­ING SHOT: La Cruz [left] slams his right hand into John­son

Photos: AIBA

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

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