The month of April just keeps producing for boxing fans.
Today at the Olympia in London, Stephen Smith (12-0, 6 KO) defeated John Simpson (22-8, 9 KO) for the second time, this time claiming the British featherweight title, in a seesaw battle over 12 action-packed rounds. Official scores were 115-114, 118-112 and 114-114 for Smith, giving the 25-year-old Liverpudlian a majority decision victory. Bad Left Hook scored it 115-114 for Smith, meaning after a September split decision win for Smith that I scored a draw, my two-fight score between these two is 229-228 for Smith. It doesn't get any closer.
For the record, the 118-112 scorecard from Terry O'Connor was hideous. It probably wasn't as bad as the time when serving as referee and the sole judge for the first Fury-McDermott fight, O'Connor gave a very close fight to Fury with a 98-92 score, which outraged just about everyone.
But let's not focus so much on O'Connor, though he deserves the criticism. The fight was as good as their first, with more ebb and flow. Smith started furiously out of the gate with a huge first round, hurting Simpson and forcing him to survive the opening three minutes. After four, I had Smith up 39-37, but Simpson was clawing his way back into things, and after eight rounds I had Simpson ahead 77-75, as he took control of the pace of the fight, luring the wild Smith into brawls and landing cleaner, harder blows regularly.
But Smith found a second wind, and came back into the fight. I gave him the 9th through 11th rounds, then scored the closing frame even at 10-10. The fight broke down into stages, and Smith showed a lot of desire by coming back to win this fight after seeming to run out of gas in the middle rounds. He turned the heat back up and did just enough to get by another stern challenge from Simpson.
In the night's co-feature, heavyweight prospect David Price improved to 10-0 (8 KO) with a first round stoppage of Raphael Butler (35-9, 29 KO). The finish came on a perfect right hand from Price, and the towering 6'8", 27-year-old from Liverpool now marches on toward a June 11 fight with John McDermott.