Sunny Edwards retained his IBF flyweight title today in Sheffield, England, beating challenger Felix Alvarado by unanimous decision on scores of 115-113, 115-113, and 116-112.
Bad Left Hook’s unofficial card was slightly wider to Edwards at 117-111, but the judges’ cards were fair, and the right man won the fight.
Edwards (19-0, 4 KO) once again displayed his skills and slickness, often making Alvarado (38-3, 33 KO) look like he was stuck in motion trying to land shots as Sunny moved around, stuck in quick shots, and was gone before the Nicaraguan challenger and former 108 lb titlist was able to respond.
But Alvarado had his successes in the fight, too, at times simply out-working Edwards in rounds, where Alvarado came out aggressively, pressured as much as he could, and would get Edwards stuck on the ropes. Alvarado may have landed one out of every 15 shots thrown in those situations, but he was throwing a lot, and Edwards was not landing in return.
Mostly, though, Edwards was able to do his thing. He was better on the inside than Alvarado was on the outside, which probably made the official difference, because the rounds Edwards definitely won, he was not just moving and moving, then stopping and sticking, but moving, stopping, sticking, and then putting a bit more together with Alvarado unable to match the punch pace in close.
Edwards’ defensive ability and footwork also clearly frustrated Alvarado quite a bit, which is not the first good fighter to have real problems with that. Moruti Mthalane and Muhammad Waseem lost decisions to Edwards in much the same manner — they weren’t suddenly worse fighters than we thought, and neither is Alvarado, but Edwards is just very, very hard to win enough rounds against.
“Every time I’m fighting, I’m trying to test myself,” Edwards said after the fight. “Felix Alvarado is a phenomenal puncher, so if I can sit there and mix it with him — and I showed that I could, I showed that I could ride shots, take shots, and throw my my own shots back — I can do it against anyone. He was a very, very hard puncher in there, but I would not be denied.
“I want the big fights. (Julio Cesar) Martinez, he’s running scared. ‘Bam’ Rodriguez, you promised me the fight next, come and get it.”
Edwards vs Alvarado highlights
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- Shabaz Masoud TKO-12 Jack Bateson: A really good performance from Masoud (11-0, 4 KO), who picked up his third stoppage in his last four fights. We had him up 108-101 after 11 rounds, and it looked like he’d box his way to a clean, clear win, but he dropped Bateson (17-1, 4 KO) with just under two minutes left in the 12th and final round, and then finished it off at officially 2:00 of that round, laying on the pressure until referee Howard Foster stopped it. Bateson just found himself second-best in this one, gave a good effort, took a lot of good shots along the way, got picked off a fair bit, but was always trying to find his way back into it. That refusal to give up probably got him stopped in the end, as he could have held and avoided action instead, probably, but he was still trying to pull it from the fire. Masoud now has a guaranteed shot at the British 122 lb title, which is currently held by Liam Davies, but could go vacant soon if Davies beats Ionut Baluta for the European belt on Nov. 19.
- Hebert Conceicao PTS-6 Gideon Onyenani: If you’re expecting a fast-track for Brazilian middleweight Conceicao (3-01, 1 KO), who won an emphatic but somewhat fluky gold medal at Tokyo 2020, you may be disappointed. He’s 24, yes, but that also gives him years to follow the paths of countrymen Robson Conceicao and Esquiva Falcao, building up a record on easy fights that are baby steps up the ladder before leaping into a fight with a real contender or for a world title. It’s not the greatest crime in boxing, of course, but it also isn’t very entertaining to watch play out. Onyenani (4-2, 0 KO) gave this the best he had, but it was a shutout for Conceicao.
- Marcel Braithwaite SD-12 Thomas Essomba: This was a fight where a judge’s locked vantage point may have mattered far more than most. Watching a televised presentation, I thought Braithwaite (14-3, 0 KO) rather comfortably won it, taking eight or nine rounds. But it was not a clean fight, certainly wasn’t particularly entertaining, and if you had the right/wrong angle all night, getting to a 116-113 Essomba card might be understandable. The other judges had it 116-114 and 117-111 for Braithwaite, so scores were really varied here. Unfortunately for Braithwaite, he missed weight for this, so he will not get the order to fight for the British 115 lb title based on the win.
- Alin Florin PTS-8 Levi Kinsiona: Referee Howard Foster nicked this to Florin on a score of 77-76, which I think is the right call. Florin (17-3, 7 KO) is a Romanian based in Spain, and he came to the UK and handed Kinsiona (9-3, 1 KO) his third loss in 12 pro fights. I do hope Kinsiona never stops weighing in or coming to the ring like he’s a living legend of boxing.
- Ishmael Davis TKO-5 Dustin Ammann: Davis, 27, could have been given a knockdown at one point on a body shot that bent Ammann (7-8, 5 KO) over in the corner, but he didn’t go down, so it was a referee’s decision, and the rounded ended immediately after that, too. Still, Davis (10-0, 4 KO) got the job done, beating away on the German until Ammann’s corner threw the towel. Davis also ate some shots along the way and Ammann came to win, so it was a fun little scrap.
- Nicolie Campbell PTS-6 Frane Radnic: Easy win for Campbell, who at age 31 is now 10-1 (2 KO), while Radnic loses his 35th straight fight to go to 11-35 (10 KO, the other win was a DQ).