In what seems to be just the latest in a long line of questionable decisions this year, Shinny Bayaar managed to keep his British flyweight title but only came out of the fight with a draw against undefeated prospect Ashley Sexton. The official scores were 116-112 in favor of Bayaar, 116-112 in favor of Sexton and 114-114. Bad Left Hook scored the bout 116-112 in favor of Bayaar, in a fight where Bayaar quite clearly won at least seven of the rounds.
For the first few rounds, there was a bit of feeling out. Sexton tried to box Bayaar from the outside, and would occasionally have success, but Bayaar would fire off combinations that landed to much greater effect than the punches thrown by Sexton.
After a few rounds, Bayaar really figured out Sexton, who really just had no head movement and a number of other blatantly obvious defensive flaws. While Bayaar throws wide, looping punches, he was still able to time Sexton's attempts to land, and almost every time he would counter Sexton with a big hook. Through eight rounds, Bayaar was quite clearly in control, and was a 50-1 favorite by the odds after starting the fight a 3-1 underdog.
With Sexton hopelessly down on the cards after eight, something finally clicked. Sexton started to swarm and really dig his way inside, smothering Bayaar. In the middle of the ninth, a clash of heads opened a huge cut on Bayaar, and from that point on Sexton dominated and Bayaar lost his composure. From that point forward, an obviously exhausted Sexton just kept throwing punch after punch, and while Bayaar still landed his fair share of counterpunches, Sexton's sheer volume took the late rounds.
While Sexton was more impressive late in the fight, there's no way he won more than one of the first eight rounds. To say that he won four of those rounds, as evidenced on Dave Parris's abhorrent scorecard, is just absurd. I realize one guy is an undefeated prospect and the other isn't, but you need more than just rose colored goggles to score that many rounds for Sexton. The only two explanations are incompetence or corruption. And to top it off, Parris will be refereeing tomorrow night's fight between Michael Katsidis and Kevin Mitchell, which makes me wonder whether he'll be able to referee in an unbiased manner.
In the end, Bayaar was able to keep his belt, and Sexton was able to keep an undefeated record. While Sexton's talent is obvious, so too is the fact that he has a LOT to learn defensively. Frank Maloney would do well to pair him up with a top trainer to teach him the finer points (or even the general points) of head movement, blocking punches and the like. After the fight, the two fighters and promoters seemed to agree to a rematch. The first fight was a good one, so I don't think anyone would complain about seeing a second.