Dave Oakes takes a look at this past weekend's British boxing action.
Every so often a fight takes place that reminds you why you love boxing so much. Such a fight happened on Saturday night when Jason Booth eked out a split decision points victory over Jamie Arthur.
The fight wasn’t a Gatti-Ward type war, nor was it a demonstration of mind-boggling skills. What it was was an honest battle between two well respected pro’s who gave everything they’d got to try and claim the British and Commonwealth titles they were fighting for.
The bout had been hastily arranged barely three weeks previous, saving a card that was supposed to be headlined by Sam Webb, who withdrew due to injury. Both combatants deserve enormous respect for the effort they put in at such short notice.
Arthur started the brighter, controlling the fight with well thought-out boxing, something he’d promised to do beforehand. The usually classy Booth looked out of sorts, he was late arriving at the arena, and that, combined with the short notice training camp, led to an uncharacteristic lack of sharpness.
The tide began to turn in the fifth, Booth censed the fight was slipping away from him and responded by gritting his teeth and standing toe to toe with Arthur, whose composed style of the opening rounds was becoming progressively more ragged as the fight wore on.
The remainder of the fight was hard fought, albeit slightly untidy at times. It was hardly surprising that both fighters picked up cuts, their heads were clashing frequently. One sensed that it was Booth who was edging the majority of the rounds; he was landing the classier shots and was edging Arthur on work-rate as well.
The pair shared a warm embrace at the final bell, a sign of their mutual respect for each others tenacity and willpower. One of the judges had it in favour of Arthur (115-114), whilst the other two favoured Booth (115-113 and 117-112).
There’s already talk of a rematch, which is a fight that seems to make sense for all parties, although Booth looks to be in line for a tilt at the European title next.
David Price kept his unbeaten record intact after stopping a hideously overweight Osborne Machimana in three one-sided rounds.
Machimana was expected to provide Price with a sterner test than what he’d had so far in his career. Unfortunately it became apparent at the weigh-in that Machimana was clearly in no shape to complete the scheduled ten rounds and was only here for a payday.
The sight of Machimana wobbling around the ring was both disgusting and hilarious. There must be sterner regulations put in place to prevent boxers fighting when they’re clearly not in shape to do so. I class it as bringing the sport into disrepute and believe the BBBof C should take a closer look these supposed 'athletes' physical condition. Although I did enjoy one fan’s brutal shout of ‘go on Pricey, harpoon the whale’ – not nice, but undeniably funny.
Another unbeaten heavyweight prospect, Tom Dallas, had an easy night. He stopped Werner Kreiskott inside the opening round after a number of hurtful body shots left the German Journeyman in a crumpled heap.
Martin Power got back to winning ways by stopping late substitute Francis Croes in the fifth round of a scheduled six.
Erick Ochieng outpointed the awkward Lee Noble over six rounds. Ochieng worked patiently behind his jab and made easy work of Noble, who was in survival mode from the opening bell. The referee scored the bout 60-54.
Karl Place moved to 12-0 (7 KO’s), after an easy points win over Danny Dontchev. Place is a decent prospect but needs to start increasing the level of opponent if he’s to progress over the next twelve months.
Richard Turba produced a surprising second round knockout of pre-fight favourite Leon Williams. Williams is always slightly wild in his approach work and came a cropper when Turba landed a well timed right that sent him crashing.