Denton Vassell Gets Past Bethuel Ushona to Keep Commonwealth Belt

Denton Vassell didn't get the prettiest win, but he got a win against Namibia's Bethuel Ushona today in Wigan, retaining his Commonwealth welterweight title and keeping his perfect professional record.

Vassell (17-0, 9 KO) won on unanimous scores of 118-111, 117-112 and 117-113. Bad Left Hook scored the fight a 114-114 draw. Without going into it, you can basically just assume that Ushona (23-1, 8 KO) could not have won this fight today, because he's got very little power and obviously wasn't going to get any close rounds from the three judges. That's just what it is. Not a robbery, just questionable hometown-style scoring.

But it's not terrible that Vassell won, and I think in some ways he showed real promise with the struggle today. He was fighting a frustrating, slick opponent, but the young man never showed open frustration, never tried to do too much. Had he done that, Ushona would have made him look really bad just with his quickness and cleverness. Vassell fought within himself and stuck to the plan, trying to target the body and slow down the quicker, more elusive fighter, and knew early on, I'm sure, that Ushona wasn't going to hurt him with his punches, so he was willing to take a few to get inside, where Ushona was uncomfortable.

Vassell, though, right now looks like he'll really run into trouble when he takes that next step forward. I think in time and with the proper maturing, he can be a significant domestic welterweight, and probably succeed at European level, with an outside shot at winding up a world stage player. He's a good athlete, seems to have a solid head on his shoulders, and has strong backing from Hatton Promotions. One big thing we need to see is how he handles a puncher. If Ushona had any power, this fight could have looked very different if Vassell left himself open the way he was willing to do today. Maybe he wouldn't be that much of a cowboy, but maybe he would.

As for Ushona, it was a fine showing, and he's a nice addition to the UK welterweight landscape. He could be a tough out for just about anyone domestically at 147.

In the co-feature, cruiserweight Matty Askin stayed unbeaten with a sixth round stoppage of Neil Dawson. Askin (10-0, 6 KO) had wobbled Dawson (9-1, 3 KO) a few times by the time of the stoppage, which came after a thudding right hand and a charge into Dawson the ropes, forcing the referee to jump in. Dawson was game, but didn't have the power to keep pace throughout the fight.

We'll continue on this evening with more live coverage. MORE!

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