RE­VENGE SERVED

Camp­bell beats Mendy but the rest is largely for­get­table, writes Tris Dixon from ring­side

Boxing News - - Action -

LUKE CAMP­BELL was able to turn the page on the Yvan Mendy chap­ter of his ca­reer af­ter de­liv­er­ing a dis­ci­plined per­for­mance to outscore the French­man.

Mendy, who de­feated Camp­bell via split de­ci­sion in De­cem­ber 2012, thought he de­served to win again. So did his team. But they were way off.

The Hull south­paw, a 2012 Olympic gold medal­list, won by scores of 116112 (Ni­co­las Es­nault), 118-111 (Vic­tor Lough­lin) and 119-109 (Crys­tal Wright) and he was clin­i­cal. He used tim­ing, space and dis­tance to frus­trate the visi­tor, who tried to close him down each round but was of­ten speared by firm jabs and a rapid-fire salvo be­fore Camp­bell piv­oted away to safety.

It was great work for Camp­bell, rack­ing up rounds un­der new trainer Shane Mcguigan while rec­ti­fy­ing a blem­ish on his record. He had to stay busy to keep the pow­er­ful Mendy at bay and he could not af­ford to let his con­cen­tra­tion crack. He did a bril­liant job of not giv­ing Mendy an ‘in,’ se­lect­ing his shots in­tel­li­gently, main­tain­ing a va­ri­ety that did not al­low Mendy to set him­self. While Camp­bell was out­landed in some of the rounds Mendy was just not re­fined enough, or good enough, to do what he wanted or needed to do.

His team le­git­i­mately seemed to feel he mer­ited vic­tory and so did the French TV an­a­lysts work­ing ring­side but that was an as­ton­ish­ing in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the fight be­cause, ul­ti­mately, his pres­sure counted for lit­tle. That said, the 119-109 score­line was par­tic­u­larly un­char­i­ta­ble for his en­deav­ours. It was a fi­nal elim­i­na­tor for Mikey Gar­cia’s WBC light­weight ti­tle and Ian John-lewis ref­er­eed.

When the worst fights of the year are short­listed, Lawrence Okolie’s win over Black­pool’s Matty Askin for the Bri­tish cruis­er­weight ti­tle will be near the top.

Their clash was widely an­tic­i­pated but fiz­zled in the damp Wem­b­ley night. It was messy, an ugly maul and Okolie – grab­bing hold of Askin to keep him en­cased in his ten­ta­cles – was docked three points for var­i­ous in­frac­tions, in­clud­ing ex­ces­sive clinch­ing and use of the head in rounds five, eight and 11.

Yet be­cause he smoth­ered Askin so much, Matty could not get any­thing go­ing and so, de­spite the de­duc­tions and de­spite not ‘rip­ping the cham­pion’s ti­tle away’, Hack­ney’s Okolie pre­vailed.

Scores were 114-112 for Ian John­lewis, 114-113 for Steve Gray and 116-110.

Askin will feel ag­grieved to have lost his belt, but no one will want to see this again. Nei­ther de­served to win and ref­eree Vic­tor Lough­lin had the un­en­vi­able task of be­ing closer to it than any­one. And he didn’t have the lux­ury of be­ing able to go for a walk, a snack or even to go to the toi­let. Nope, he was in it for the long haul. And boy, did it feel long. Askin tweeted that he would ap­peal the ver­dict to the Bri­tish Box­ing Board of Con­trol while Okolie ad­mit­ted, “I re­ally need to work on this in­side game. Win­ning is im­por­tant but oh my god, I hated watch­ing that.”

When the short-no­tice heavy­weight at­trac­tion be­tween Liver­pool gi­ant David Price and un­beaten Rus­sian puncher Sergey Kuzmin was an­nounced many fore­saw a vi­o­lent cli­max.

Price has been shown to be vul­ner­a­ble

un­der heavy fire, which Kuzmin was ex­pected to bring, while the English­man re­mains a threat with his vaunted power.

What we ac­tu­ally got was an al­ter­nate end­ing; no knock­outs or knock­downs with Price re­tir­ing af­ter four rounds cit­ing a bi­cep in­jury.

And while his tank seemed to be run­ning low he was more than in the fight and had en­joyed sev­eral pur­ple patches that had Kuzmin look­ing short on ideas and so­lu­tions.

Price held his guard tight and high to start with, alert to the dan­ger and quick to jump on any open­ings. He was look­ing for his right hand honey punch but as he grew more fa­tigued he sur­ren­dered his height and reach ad­van­tages and re­mained in­side more than he should have, hav­ing to work harder than he needed. Still, the visi­tor with the big rep­u­ta­tion never un­duly trou­bled Price de­spite the pop­u­lar Scouser ab­sorb­ing some big shots and be­ing marked over and un­der his left eye. He was with­drawn on his stool af­ter round four and the crowd booed, dis­sat­is­fied by not see­ing one of the two punch­ers laid out flat.

They might not have been so harsh had it taken place af­ter Askin-okolie be­cause it was in­trigu­ing and stir­ring while it lasted. Price said he would fight Kuzmin again once his in­jury has mended. Eye­brows were raised by Shakhram

Giyasov, and a 2016 Olympic sil­ver medal­list, in the show-opener af­ter the Uzbek prospect ru­ined fel­low un­beaten

Julio La­guna.

Giyasov did not throw a soft punch all night and there was no let up for the hap­less Nicaraguan left-han­der.

“He’s spite­ful, isn’t he?” whis­pered Ed­die Hearn in ad­mi­ra­tion.

Giyasov closed the show af­ter 38 sec­onds of the fourth.

He had just been warned to keep his shots up be­fore break­ing through with a right. Then he landed an­other. La­guna was ‘go­ing’ and Giyasov pounced to pro­duce an ex­cla­ma­tion mark knock­out that caused ref­eree Kieran Mccann to wave it off im­me­di­ately.

THE VER­DICT The un­der­card matches the damp and dreary weather.

Pho­tos: AC­TION IM­AGES/AN­DREW COULDRIDGE

EX­CEL­LENTLY DONE: Camp­bell at­tacks while Mendy stays in his shell

IN PAIN: Price winces as his bi­cep in­jury rules him out of the ght

WHAT A MESS: Okolie, eyes closed, clat­ters his right hand into Askin

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