By Matt Bevan (@MBevs68)
The latest Leeds bill was one that promised a test for Josh Warrington in front of a baying home crowd, but instead it was an encounter that is best left forgotten about, as Warrington cruised to a shutout victory on all three scorecards to retain his Commonwealth featherweight title and his WBC trinket.
However, Warrington can’t be held accountable for that as he can only beat what is served up for him. If Joel Brunker was a meal in a restaurant you would send him back judging on last night’s performance. He looked like he needed a sleep to recover from jetlag rather than get in the ring for a fight.
He was sluggish and after being billed as a genuine test of Warrington’s world level credentials, we’re now left with the same questions surrounding “The Leeds Warrior” as we had before. Brunker was a huge let-down and going on last night’s performance, any half decent featherweight with a brain would beat him.
Martin Murray’s first title fight at super-middleweight turned into a joke, as his opponent, Jose Miguel Torres, was disgraceful. I hope the promoter’s withheld some of his purse, because his performance was ridiculous.
You feel for Murray, who wanted an actual fight and a yardstick at the weight, but Torres, who went down seven times, before referee Howard Foster put us out of our misery in the fifth, spent more time on his knees than actually putting up any sort of contest. The only positive from this, is at least Murray is an active fighter and got a ranking with the WBA.
Tony Bellew promised a “vicious knockout”, which we didn’t get, but he did get a stoppage, after five, and rounds in the bank with a southpaw, as he pursues Yoan Pablo Hernandez, the IBF cruiserweight champion. The Liverpool “Bomber” is a polarising figure and his opponent on the night, Arturs Kulikauskis was a tough nut to crack.
When Bellew returns to Liverpool, with regular trainer Dave Coldwell back in his corner and a bit of a fear factor going into a fight, I imagine we’ll see “The Bomber” back to his best.
The card was made reasonably respectable by two enjoyable English title fights. First up was Andy Townend, who defended his super-featherweight title against Lee Glover, stopping him in the seventh with a tremendous body shot.
Townend looks like he could be an entertaining man to add to these bills, whilst Glover deserves credit for hanging on when he looked gone in the fourth. The best performance though was Isaac Lowe, who stopped Jamie Speight in nine to claim the Featherweight strap, once held by Warrington.
Lowe, supported by his cousin Tyson Fury at ringside, was very impressive and did a number on a highly respected fighter on the domestic scene in Speight. He is one to keep an eye out for in the future.
Kal Yafai and Jason Cunningham prepared for their clash next month for the British super-flyweight belt with victories. Yafai needed a round to dispatch Aron Juarez, whilst Cunningham went the six round distance with Marlon Prado.
Cunningham goes into the Yafai fight with height and reach advantages, as he comes down from bantamweight where he holds the Commonwealth title, and is a genuinely nice guy, but I fear the Birmingham man will be too good for him. It could be a demolition job, as Yafai looks to reach world title level quickly. It’s about time they let him off the leash.
Finally, what’s the deal with Stuart Hall? Is the former IBF bantamweight champion signed with Matchroom, as there hasn’t been an announcement? Either way he picked up his second points victory in successive months over Arnoldo Solano.
Matchroom have plans for the North East and are desperate to unleash Bradley Saunders up there. If Hall is on board then they have another name to try and market up there and take over Newcastle as they have done.
Other winners on the night were Luke Keeler, Darren Tetley and Arfan Iqbal on points, whilst Hamed Ghaz and Reece Cartwright both earned early nights with stoppage victories.