Eric Armit on Matchroom Boxing’s rst foray into Italy
A GOOD night for British boxing saw both Joe Hughes and Martin J. Ward score victories over respected Italian opposition on away turf at the Teatro Obi Hall.
Hughes was viewed as a very beatable opponent by Torino’s Andrea Scarpa, but the Malmesbury man came out with a split decision that should have been unanimous in lifting the vacant European super-lightweight title.
Hughes forced the fight from the start, despite Scarpa having edges in height and reach. A feature of the bout was the way that Hughes was the one with the quickest and most accurate jab – a punch that had Scarpa’s head rocking throughout the contest. Hughes also got the better of the exchanges on the inside, where he did some serious work with left hooks.
Scarpa had some success when he did manage to get on the front foot and connect with combinations to the head. However, for the most part it was Hughes coming forward, outscoring and outworking a hesitant Scarpa, who seemed to lack the fire he had shown in stopping John Wayne Hibbert in London in June 2016.
With his corner and the crowd screaming at him, Scarpa tried to turn things his way over the later rounds, but Hughes was never troubled and looked a clear winner – though, strangely, not in the eyes of judge Predrag Aleksic, who tallied 116-112 for Scarpa. Francisco Alloza Rosa (118-111) and Robert Verwijs (116-112) posted more accurate scorecards in Hughes’ favour. Tellingly, there were no complaints at all from the Italian corner over the verdict. Robin Dolpierre officiated.
Ward made it a British double with a split decision win against Correzzola’s experienced Devis Boschiero in a super-featherweight 12-rounder. This was a fight where the excellent skills of Ward and the relentless aggression of Boschiero produced an interesting and entertaining contest.
An ex-british, Commonwealth and European titlist, Ward had significant height and reach advantages over Boschiero, but the Italian battler kept driving forward and scoring in close with hooks from both hands. Ward made great use of his jab and landed stinging counters, but also took the fight to Boschiero, which led to plenty of feisty exchanges.
Boschiero pressed ahead from the start, but Ward used his jab and some quick movement to blunt many of the veteran’s attacks. Nevertheless, Boschiero just kept coming. He had a good second round as he hustled Ward back. The Brentwood-based boxer landed some crisp left hooks to the body in the fourth, only for Boschiero to put in a big effort in the sixth. A great left uppercut almost dislodged Boschiero’s mouthguard in the seventh, and again Ward effectively targeted the midsection.
Ward continued to outpunch Boschiero to build a lead, but the former WBC title challenger stormed back over the last three rounds. Ward needed the cushion he had established, as he was deducted a point in the 11th for forcing Boschiero to the canvas with his elbow.
The final scores read 117-111 (Victor Loughlin) and 115-113 (Mr Aleksic) to Ward, against Mr Rosa’s 115-113 card in favour of Boschiero. Massimo Barrovecchio refereed.
The lone British loser on the show was Romford’s Tony Conquest, who was stopped in seven rounds (set for 12) at cruiserweight by unbeaten local southpaw Fabio Turchi. After two fairly even sessions, Turchi began to take over with his heavier power. A left hook almost put Conquest down in the fourth, and the Italian continued to pile on the pressure in the fifth and sixth. Conquest showed no sign of fading out, but the end came in the seventh.
Former Commonwealth king Conquest landed a hard right to the head, only for Turchi to counter with an even harder left hook. The punch had Conquest backing away and resulted in him going down to one knee. It seemed that the blow caused a problem with Conquest’s left eye. As he went down, it was borderline whether another left from Turchi connected just before or just after Conquest’s left knee touched the floor. Referee Rosa started the count, before the towel came in from Conquest’s corner.
THE VERDICT Hughes and Ward are victorious, but Conquest can’t complete a memorable British hat-trick.
EUROPEAN KING: Super-lightweight Hughes is one of the victorious Britons in Florence