Sergio Garcia had fought his entire career, including winning the European junior middleweight title, outside of boxing’s brighter spotlights at home in Spain.
Today, he went to London to face challenger Ted Cheeseman and thoroughly outclassed the home fighter, retaining his 154-pound belt on scores of 115-114, 119-109, and 119-109. The 115-114 card was just about as bad as any you’ll see in boxing, even considering that the judge did score for the correct winner. There’s really no way to have scored more than two rounds, at most, for Cheeseman.
BLH scored the fight 119-109 for Garcia.
Garcia (29-0, 13 KO) battered Cheeseman (15-1, 9 KO) pretty much throughout the bout. Both combatants looked to get off to a fast start, and the first two or three rounds were good action, punches coming from both sides, but Garcia getting the better of things.
As the rounds ticked by, Garcia began to beat Cheeseman up, bloodying his nose and swelling his face, as Cheeseman simply took more damage than he could dish out. Garcia fought well — both defensively and offensively — off the back foot, and Cheeseman struggled to find a way to close the distance.
Trailing badly, Cheeseman gave a big effort in the eighth round, but nothing much came of it, which left the challenger completely gassed for the rest of the fight. Still, Cheeseman kept throwing and trying all the way, never giving up on himself or the chance that he could land something big and turn the tide. It never happened, but he showed a lot of courage and toughness, perhaps to his own detriment.
For Garcia, this was something of a breakthrough performance, as it was the biggest, most widely-seen fight of his career by a good bit. He may not be a true world class fighter, but he’s certainly a force to be reckoned with at the European level, and a fighter of his caliber getting a world title shot would be far from the worst thing you’ll see in boxing. Garcia’s style and skill could make him a solid challenger for a young, still-developing titleholder like Jaime Munguia, for instance. That isn’t going to happen next or anything, as Munguia has a mandatory due, but it’s something to think about for down the line.
Craig Richards (14-1, 8 KO) had a huge showing, stopping Jake Ball (12-2, 9 KO) in the third round of what was expected to be a competitive light heavyweight bout. Ball was down in every round and just showed no punch resistance against Richards, who took full advantage. Ball was stopped on his feet, reeling from another Richards flurry.
Felix Cash (11-0, 7 KO) won the vacant Commonwealth middleweight title, knocking out Rasheed Abolaji (11-5-1, 6 KO) in 2:45.
Cruiserweight prospect Lawrence Okolie (11-0, 8 KO) did about as expected against a journeyman opponent, stopping Tamas Lodi (20-12-2, 17 KO) in three rounds. Okolie is now scheduled to return quickly on March 23, where he’ll face Wadi Camacho (21-7, 12 KO). That card will also feature the return of WBC flyweight titleholder Charlie Edwards, Lewis Ritson vs Andy Townend for the British lightweight title, and a vacant British light heavyweight title bout between Joshua Buatsi and Liam Conroy.