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British Boxing 2020 Year in Review

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British boxing was as brutally handled as any other footfall industry in the UK in 2020 and remains a disaster for small-halls and amateur clubs. Disgracefully, boxing has been all but abandoned by a government that was somehow able to find millions for horse-racing and the wealthy elite who run it, but nothing for a sport which begins, almost always, in the streets of our local communities.

Nevertheless, elite boxing led the charge back to the ring. By mid-summer, Britain’s two top promoters Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren were back, albeit under a series of agreed controls as wide as they were strange, including the sight of covid-free cleaners cleaning a covid-free ring between contests undertaken by covid-free fighters. Such is the world we live in now.

It is telling, though, that this year’s British Fighter of the Year managed just 1-0 in 2020, while last year’s managed 0-0.  Despite a marked decline in contests, there were more than a few candidates in each category.

Though not the first.

British Fighter of the Year: Tyson Fury

Just another bum with a pair of gloves on. Time to go to work! – Tyson Fury.

It is testimony to the gravitational pull of the heavyweight division and the astonishing arc that is the Tyson Fury story that no other boxer can seriously be considered for the British Fighter of the Year spot. Tyson Fury has it all locked up.

It is two years now since Fury blinked himself tenderly from the canvas after Deontay Wilder detonated that money-maker on his chin in the twelfth found of their first fight. It is worth taking the time to review his gameplan for that fight: box, move, bamboozle, tie up, pop the decision out in rounds. Instead, he was savagely dropped twice and had to make-do with an ill-received draw in what seemed a clear win for the Brit.

Consider then, the change of mindset and manner that saw him box the February rematch with Wilder in the mode of cyborg.

Fury undertook a change of trainer – also ill-received – swapping out sentimental favourite Ben Davison for boxing royalty, “Sugar” Hill Steward, nephew of the late great Emanuel Steward. The expectation was that Sugar would polish a Rolls Royce already bereft of the need of detailed instruction and that Fury would either box his way to victory or fall afoul of the Wilder right hand.  Neither of these things happened.

“The best way to beat a bully,” Fury said of the contest, “is to take the fight right to them, bully the bully.”

Wilder, who had mentioned once more in the build-up to this fight his desire to end a life in the ring, probably qualifies as a bully and what Fury did to him certainly qualified as bullying. Physically much bigger, Fury launched himself across the ring at bell and spent most of the rest of the fight backing his man up, his lead toe discussing only the range at which he could land in response to Wilder’s own movement. It works now as a study guide for boxing’s most difficult tax: physically overmatching a massive punching heavyweight. By the time the towel was thrown, Wilder looked dragged over gravel.

Sadly, contracts and covid kept Fury out of the ring for the remainder of the year making him vulnerable to rust in what looks to be a massive 2021 for the Gypsy King. Nobody comes close to reaching him though, the clear British Fighter of the Year and very possibly the clear British fighter of the coming year.

British Fight of the Year: Sam Eggington Vs Ted Cheeseman

I give my heart and soul to this sport, I come through my problems. – Ted Cheeseman.

It is what it is.  That’s the way it goes. – Sam Eggington.

Some background:

Ted Cheesman, tough, limited, set out in 2019 to prove himself something more. He boxed, slipped and stabbed his way to what appeared a close decision win in a fascinating fight – but the judges favoured opponent Scott Fitzgerald. His heartbreak was clear in post-fight interviews as Cheesman labelled the decision “disgusting” believing himself robbed for a second consecutive fight. His heart seemed broken and his career in ruins as he claimed to have “given up boxing.”

Cheesman’s misery and frank claims of a conspiracy against him received a lot of play, however, and in the midst of the Covid-19 rampage across the United Kingdom, Cheesman became one of the first men to fight in televised boxing in this country. His August opponent was former British, Commonwealth and European welterweight champion Sam Eggington in a fight that drew considerably more attention from a fight-starved public than would otherwise have been the case.

Eggington, out of the West Midlands with a record of 28-6, was a fighter who did his best work in the pocket, facing front, and would have been more interested than most in which Cheeseman was going to materialise in the ring – the clever boxer who emerged from the ruins of the Fitzgerald fight or the more readily found workman. The answer, in the early going, was a blend. Cheeseman boxed well, not shy of the pocket nor the bodywork, engaging in a fascinating exchange of jabs. The first half of the fight was defined by the second round, in which Cheeseman sent Eggington reeling back with hard punches. His quick recovery was followed by his own snapping punches, but the round had gone.

This is what these men offer.  Not for them the four-piece laser-guided combinations of Naoya Inoue; not for them the spiteful physical dominance of Bud Crawford. They have neither the physical attributes nor the technical surety to produce either.  Instead, they offer competence; stoicism; commitment – and a tactical inflexibility that can lead, in combination with these other factors, to ring wars.

“Sam was coming in and rushing me, sometimes I had to hold my feet.”

Cheeseman did hold his feet in the second half of the fight, and it made for a great fight. The two exchanged hard punches, exhausting, stinging punches, not concussive punches, but hurtful misery-makers.

Eggington edged these rounds, building his own momentum, closing the distance between the two on the cards. Cheeseman’s thrilling rally in the tenth and eleventh before he was hurt in a torrid twelfth, saved his night and bought him a unanimous decision.

These men are not millionaires. They will never be millionaires; for all that, they take no fewer chances, and give no less to the sport of boxing.

British Breakthrough Fighter of the Year: Lyndon Arthur

F*** the bookies man, pardon my French. That’s what you get for having me low odds…high odds…whatever you call it. I’m not a gambling man. – Lyndon Arthur

The Transnational Boxing Rankings are updated weekly. If you like to watch them evolve you may have noticed a change to the 175lb rankings in the second week of December: Lyndon Arthur unexpectedly debuting at number 10.

Unexpected because he was matched in the first week of December against one of British boxing’s biggest names, Anthony Yarde. Yarde, who had far from disgraced himself in his 2019 loss to Sergey Kovalev, was regarded as a contender to the world title while Arthur was destined, at best, for Commonwealth honours. Well Arthur scooped up not only that Commonwealth title but also Yarde’s top ten ranking. In what doubled as the British shock of the year, Arthur made himself the only choice for British breakthrough in 2020.

Poised and mobile, Arthur took advantage of Yarde’s sparse pressure to consistently outscore him with the jab in the early going. By the second half of the fight, it was clear that Arthur was labouring with an injury, sustained in the warm up no less, rending him a one-handed fighter for what was the biggest challenge of his career. All his hopes concentrated into just his left-hand, Arthur assumed a jabbing grace few suspected him capable of. Dominated in the tenth, all but hung out to dry in the twelfth, Arthur had to survive desperate moments to make it, but he did make it, winning a split decision to make him a legitimate contender to the world title.

First though, the rematch, and although Yarde may once again be the choice of oddsmakers, they would do well to remember that it will be a two-fisted Arthur defending his Commonwealth title this time around.

British Prospect of the Year: Dennis McCann

I got a baby face, but I punch like a middleweight. – Dennis McCann.

Dennis “The Menace” McCann, now 8-0, bantamweight, seems as though he belongs in another era.  From the period, parochial nickname, to the absence of an amateur career, to the haircut that would look just fine on Billy Conn, McCann has the feel of a throwback.

Turning professional aged just eighteen, McCann spent three months fighting four-rounders then hopped straight up to six; he managed to get out twice in 2020, most recently over eight rounds, a fight in which he was forced to go the distance.

That was a matter of no small notice for those of us invested in his career. There has been some excitement surrounding his power.

“Nobody’s every hit me like that,” Brett Fidoe told McCann after their August fight, “you will be a world champion.”

Dennis

Dennis McCann

Fideo is a professional loser, not in a disparaging sense, but in the sense that the fighter took notice of his limitations early and set out to become a trial-horse for prospects in order that he might pay for new windows, school-clothes for his children, his wife’s anniversary present, earn extra money in excess of his regular income. This has seen the teak-tough Englishman cross path with numerous prospects including Andrew Selby, who got Fideo out of there on a TKO in the sixth.  McCann managed it in just two, by way of ten count.

Furthermore, he predicted that it would be done with a single bodypunch, and this despite the fact that in an extraordinary sixty-four losses Fideo had been stopped just once. McCann though, dipped into a feint and then fired a straight from his southpaw stance into the pit of Fideo’s stomach. This punch had that devastating delayed effect; Fideo took a moment and then sank.

So heralded is his power, McCann has reportedly had some issues getting fights; nevertheless, Frank Warren is beaming. Prince Naseem Hamed, too, has shown a joyful interest. This was the right time to hop on the McCann bandwagon.

Pedro Matos perhaps diminished enthusiasm for him a little bit in some quarters. After a healthy start punctuated by good bodywork, McCann lost his way a little in the middle rounds. Matos never did enough to win a round, but he certainly troubled his young opponent, whose gliding footwork sometimes glided him into trouble. This is where his lack of seasoning matters. McCann, fast and powerful though he is, is learning skills most fighters pick up in their second year as an amateur but against experienced professionals. Two parties must collude to produce a sporting banana skin, and McCann’s lack of amateur background may be of concern.

That depends upon how McCann performs in the gym and in forthcoming contests. Whether or not I have gone too soon in naming him here as the prospect to follow in 2021 will depend upon what this wide decision victory over Matos means to his handlers. He may be slowed down blessed upon the punches he was stung with in the fourth and fifth, or he may be pushed along, his strong finish in that fight confirmation of his engine.

Either way, he remains a fighter worth watching and The Sweet Science will be sure to report on any major moves in the coming year.

Here is to a better 2021 for boxing, and for the rest of us.

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The Sweet Science Rankings: Week of June 5th, 2023

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The Sweet Science Rankings: Week of June 5th, 2023

For the first time there are no changes in this week’s TSS Rankings. Two fighters ranked #1 in their weight class are in action this Saturday. Sunny Edwards, the top dog at 112 pounds, defends his belt against Chile’s Andres Campos at Wembley Arena in London. In a match with far more intrigue, Josh Taylor, the topmost fighter at 140, meets Teofimo Lopez at Madison Square Garden.

Pound-for-Pound

01 – Naoya Inoue

02 – Oleksandr Usyk

03 – Juan Francisco Estrada

04 – Dmitry Bivol

05 – Terence Crawford

06 – Errol Spence Jnr.

07 – Tyson Fury

08 – Saul Alvarez

09 – Artur Beterbiev

10 – Shakur Stevenson

105lbs

1            Knockout CP Freshmart (Thailand)

2            Petchmanee CP Freshmart (Thailand)

3            Oscar Collazo (USA)*

4            Ginjiro Shigeoka (Japan)

5            Wanheng Menayothin (Thailand)

6            Daniel Valladares (Mexico)

7            Yudai Shigeoka (Japan)

8            Melvin Jerusalem (Philippines)

9            Masataka Taniguchi (Japan)

10          Rene Mark Cuarto (Philippines)

108lbs

1            Kenshiro Teraji (Japan)

2            Jonathan Gonzalez (Puerto Rico)

3            Masamichi Yabuki (Japan)

4            Hekkie Budler (South Africa)

5            Sivenathi Nontshinga (South Africa)

6            Elwin Soto (Mexico)

7            Daniel Matellon (Cuba)

8            Reggie Suganob (Philippines)

9            Shokichi Iwata (Japan)

10          Esteban Bermudez (Mexico)

112lbs

1            Sunny Edwards (England)

2            Artem Dalakian (Ukraine)

3            Julio Cesar Martinez (Mexico)

4            Angel Ayala Lardizabal (Mexico)

5            David Jimenez (Costa Rica)

6            Jesse Rodriguez (USA)

7            Ricardo Sandoval (USA)

8            Felix Alvarado (Nicaragua)

9            Seigo Yuri Akui (Japan)

10          Cristofer Rosales (Nicaragua)

115lbs

1            Juan Francisco Estrada (Mexico)

2            Roman Gonzalez (Nicaragua)

3            Jesse Rodriguez (USA)

4            Kazuto Ioka (Japan)

5            Joshua Franco (USA)

6            Junto Nakatani (Japan)

7            Fernando Martinez (Argentina)

8            Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (Thailand)

9            Kosei Tanaka (Japan)

10          Andrew Moloney (Australia)

118lbs

1            Emmanuel Rodriguez (Puerto Rico)

2            Jason Moloney (Australia)

3            Nonito Donaire (Philippines)

4            Vincent Astrolabio (Philippines)

5            Gary Antonio Russell (USA)

6            Takuma Inoue (Japan)

7            Alexandro Santiago (Mexico)

8           Ryosuke Nishida (Japan)

9            Keita Kurihara (Japan)

10          Paul Butler (England)

122lbs

1            Stephen Fulton (USA)

2            Marlon Tapales (Philippines)

3            Luis Nery (Mexico)

4            Murodjon Akhmadaliev (Uzbekistan)

5            Ra’eese Aleem (USA)

6            Azat Hovhannisyan (Armenia)

7            Kevin Gonzalez (Mexico)

8            Takuma Inoue (Japan)

9            John Riel Casimero (Philippines)

10          Fillipus Nghitumbwa (Namibia)

 126lbs

1            Luis Alberto Lopez (Mexico)

2           Leigh Wood (England)

3            Brandon Figueroa (USA)

4            Rey Vargas (Mexico)

5            Mauricio Lara (Mexico)

6            Mark Magsayo (Philippines)

7            Josh Warrington (England)

8            Robeisy Ramirez (Cuba)

9            Reiya Abe (Japan)

10          Otabek Kholmatov (Uzbekistan)

 130lbs

1            Joe Cordina (Wales)

2            Oscar Valdez (Mexico)

3            Hector Garcia (Dominican Republic)

4            O’Shaquie Foster (USA)

5            Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (Tajikistan)

6            Roger Gutierrez (Venezuela)

7            Lamont Roach (USA)

8            Eduardo Ramirez (Mexico)

9            Kenichi Ogawa (Japan)

10          Robson Conceicao (Brazil)

135lbs

1            Devin Haney (USA)

2            Gervonta Davis (USA)

3            Vasily Lomachenko (Ukraine)

4            Isaac Cruz (Mexico)

5            William Zepeda Segura (Mexico)

6            Frank Martin (USA)

7            George Kambosos Jnr (Australia)

8            Shakur Stevenson (USA)

9            Raymond Muratalla (USA)

10          Keyshawn Davis (USA)

140lbs

1            Josh Taylor (Scotland)

2            Regis Prograis (USA)

3            Jose Ramirez (USA)

4            Jose Zepeda (USA)

5            Jack Catterall (England)

6            Subriel Matias (Puerto Rico)

7            Arnold Barboza Jr. (USA)

8            Gary Antuanne Russell (USA)

9            Zhankosh Turarov (Kazakhstan)

10          Shohjahon Ergashev (Uzbekistan)

 147lbs

1            Errol Spence (USA)

2            Terence Crawford (USA)

3            Yordenis Ugas (Cuba)

4            Vergil Ortiz Jr. (USA)

5            Jaron Ennis (USA)

6            Eimantas Stanionis (Lithuania)

7            David Avanesyan (Russia)

8            Cody Crowley (Canada)

9            Roiman Villa (Columbia)

10          Alexis Rocha (USA)

 154lbs

1            Jermell Charlo (USA)

2           Tim Tszyu (Australia)

3            Brian Castano (Argentina)

4            Brian Mendoza (USA)

5            Liam Smith (England)

6            Jesus Alejandro Ramos (USA)

7            Sebastian Fundora (USA)

8            Michel Soro (Ivory Coast)

9            Erickson Lubin (USA)

10          Magomed Kurbanov (Russia)

 160lbs

1            Gennady Golovkin (Kazakhstan)

2            Jaime Munguia (Mexico)

3            Carlos Adames (Dominican Republic)

4            Janibek Alimkhanuly (Kazakhstan)

5            Liam Smith (England)

6            Erislandy Lara (USA)

7            Sergiy Derevyanchenko (Ukraine)

8            Felix Cash (England)

9            Esquiva Falcao (Brazil)

10          Chris Eubank Jnr. (Poland)

168lbs

1            Canelo Alvarez (Mexico)

2            David Benavidez (USA)

3            Caleb Plant (USA)

4            Christian Mbilli (France)

5            David Morrell (Cuba)

6            John Ryder (England)

7            Pavel Silyagin (Russia)

8            Vladimir Shishkin (Russia)

9            Carlos Gongora (Ecuador)

10          Demetrius Andrade (USA)

175lbs

1            Dmitry Bivol (Russia)

2            Artur Beterbiev (Canada)

3            Joshua Buatsi (England)

4            Callum Smith (England)

5            Joe Smith Jr. (USA)

6            Gilberto Ramirez (Mexico)

7            Anthony Yarde (England)

8           Dan Azeez (England)

9            Craig Richards (England)

10          Michael Eifert (Germany)

200lbs

1            Jai Opetaia (Australia)

2            Mairis Breidis (Latvia)

3            Chris Billam-Smith (England)

4            Richard Riakporhe (England)

5            Aleksei Papin (Russia)

6            Badou Jack (Sweden)

7            Arsen Goulamirian (France)

8            Lawrence Okolie (England)

9            Yuniel Dorticos (Cuba)

10          Mateusz Masternak (Poland)

Unlimited

1            Tyson Fury (England)

2            Oleksandr Usyk (Ukraine)

3            Zhilei Zhang (China)

4            Deontay Wilder (USA)

5            Anthony Joshua (England)

6            Andy Ruiz (USA)

7            Filip Hrgovic (Croatia)

8            Joe Joyce (England)

9            Dillian Whyte (England)

10          Frank Sanchez (Cuba)

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The Follies of Gervonta Davis: They Gave Him the Key to the City and Now He’s in the Slammer

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One surmises that Baltimore City Circuit Court judge Althea Handy has a lot of guts. When the 65-year-old jurist rescinded her decision to allow Gervonta “Tank” Davis to serve his 90-day sentence at the home of his trainer Calvin Ford and remanded him to the jailhouse, that undoubtedly didn’t sit well with some of the poobahs in Maryland’s largest city. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that Davis was presented with a key to the city and a parade was held in his honor.

Davis appeared before Judge Handy on May 5. He had already pleaded guilty to each of four counts stemming from a hit-and-run accident that happened shortly before 2 a.m. on the morning of Nov. 5, 2020. After running a red light, Davis crashed his Lamborghini into another vehicle before crashing into the fence of a 7-eleven. The four occupants of the other vehicle, including a pregnant woman, required medical attention. Gervonta and his two passengers fled the scene in another car.

The four charges to which he pled guilty, eschewing a jury trial, included driving on a revoked license. Had Judge Handy thrown the book at him, she could have packed him off to prison for a term of four years and two months. Instead, she sentenced him to 90 days home detention, three years’ probation, and 200 hours of community service.

Davis owns a home in tony Broward County in South Florida. If it had been his decision, that’s where he would have served his 90 days. But Handy had visions of the boxer lounging by the pool and wouldn’t allow it. She insisted that he serve out his sentence in his native Baltimore.

Althea Handy

Althea Handy (2002 photo)

It was agreed that Davis would be confined to the home of his longtime coach Calvin Ford for the duration of his sentence. The head trainer at the Upton Boxing Center in impoverished West Baltimore and the inspiration for the Dennis “Cutty” Wise character in the HBO series “The Wire,” Coach Calvin, as he is called, has been a father figure to Gervonta Davis and countless other boys. Gervonta was living with his grandmother after bouncing around between foster homes when he wandered into Upton at the age of seven. The boxer credits his coach with instilling within him the discipline needed to stay off the streets.

There was one small problem. Calvin Ford’s home had only one bedroom. It was far too small for the boxer and his entourage.

Davis needed to find a new crash pad. Being the resourceful type, he moved his tack to Baltimore’s luxurious Four Seasons Hotel before plunking down a reported $3.4 million on a 5,000-square-foot high-rise penthouse. When informed that the boxer had taken it upon himself to recalibrate his “punishment,” Judge Handy said, “not on my watch” or words to this effect, and had the boxer hauled off to the slammer.

Gervonta Davis was boxing’s youngest American-born world champion when he won his first title in 2017. On July 24, 2019, three days before his homecoming fight with Ricardo Nunez – his fifth 130-pound world title defense – he was presented the keys to the city by then mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young in a ceremony at City Hall. “Welcome Home….We’re so proud of you!”, read the proclamation. Later that year, on Oct. 26, the boxer was feted with a parade in his old neighborhood.

In his most recent bout, a non-title affair contested at the catch-weight of 136 pounds, Davis stopped Ryan Garcia in the seventh round to advance his record to 29-0. The fight played out before an SRO crowd of 20,000-plus at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. In his four fights prior to that, Davis drew capacity or near-capacity crowds to NBA arenas in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, and Washington, DC. When it comes to putting asses in seats, no other American boxer can match him.

—-

Davis turned pro under Floyd Mayweather Jr’s “Money Team” banner. As recounted in a previous story, Mayweather’s influence was pervasive. Gervonta came to mimicking Floyd’s lifestyle, reflected in what normal people would see as reckless spending, manifested in bling and in his growing collection of rare and expensive automobiles. The parallels are striking and to that list we can now add one more. When Gervonta emerges from his current abode he will have spent almost exactly as many days behind bars as his former promoter. Mayweather was sentenced to 90 days for domestic battery in 2012 and with time off for good behavior was out of jail in two months.

When Davis gets out, will his boxing tools be as sharp as ever? Based on Mayweather’s experience, his fans have nothing to worry about.

During Mayweather’s incarceration, his lawyer and personal physician submitted a document to the court in hopes of securing an early release. “Jail food and water,” it said, “didn’t meet Mayweather’s dietary needs and lack of exercise space in a cramped cell of fewer than 98 square feet threatened his health and fitness.”

Not to worry. Floyd had some of his best moments after he was set free, although it may be worth noting that he stopped knocking people out.

Floyd was 35 years old when he regained his freedom. Gervonta Davis will be 28. There’s no reason to think that he won’t be as good as ever, but that’s assuming that he keeps his nose clean. He doesn’t need any more of these kinds of distractions.

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Claressa Shields Defeats Maricela Cornejo in Detroit

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In front of a Detroit crowd familiar with boxing legends, Claressa Shields demonstrated her place among the legends with a start-to-finish win over number one contender Maricela Cornejo to retain her middleweight world championship on Saturday.

“Maricela is just super tough. She was just in shape and knew how to get away from shots,” said Shields

More than 10,000 fans entered Little Caesars Arena and witnessed the fight.

Despite last-minute changes in opposition, Shields (14-0, 2 KOs) accepted always strong Cornejo (16-6, 6 KOs) and proved that former Detroit boxing legends such as Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis and Tommy Hearns need to move over.

The champion wasted little time in opening-up with looping overhand rights that barely missed the mark. Cornejo was careful to avoid the bombs. Though few punches landed it was clear that Shields was on the attack.

Cornejo was scheduled to fight another foe and had been preparing in Las Vegas with famed trainer Ismael Salas. She was fully prepared to face anyone, but Shields is not anyone. Her defense was on point but the speed ratio of Shields punches is almost impossible to practice.

Still, Cornejo did enough by connecting with a strong right cross that kept Shields from overwhelming her.

“Just stay smart and not get hit with her big right hand,” said Shields about her battle plan against Cornejo who replaced Hanna Gabriels who failed a PED test.

Though Cornejo had two inches height advantage, Shields had faced others that were taller before such as Christina Hammer and Savannah Marshall. Shields adjusted well.

“Height don’t matter, power don’t matter,” Shields said. “It’s all about skills and wills and I always have more.”

Over the years Shields has carefully added more ammunition to her offensive arsenal and fighting a taller opponent with power has become second nature. Shields kept a perfect distance at all times and made it difficult for Cornejo to time her attacks with a big right cross.

Cornejo jabbed her way trying to close the distance, but Shields agility and reflexes kept the taller fighter from her goal. Shields snapped Cornejo’s head back numerous times during the fight, but the Mexican-American fighter from the state of Washington has always shown to have one of the best chins in women’s boxing. No one has ever knocked her down.

Shields came close, especially in the seventh round. Cornejo opened the frame with a strong right lead that seemed to awaken the gates. Shields unleashed the blinding combinations that have bewildered every foe she’s ever faced since childhood. The speed and fury of the blows forced Cornejo to hold and maneuver out of range. She survived the onslaught but if it had been a three-minute round the fight might have been over. Instead, after the two-minute round expired, Cornejo had survived.

Shields had expended a lot of energy attempting the knockout. It takes a lot of to fire off dozens of blows with blinding speed and accuracy. Most of the eighth round was fought by both at a much slower tempo, until the last 20 seconds when Shields and Cornejo opened up the guns.

After saving energy in the prior round, Shields stunned Cornejo with a strong one-two that snapped the head of the challenger. Shields kept on the attack but in measured tones. Though she won every round it was evident that Cornejo was looking for one big counter shot that could turn the momentum.

It did not happen. Shields kept control of the fight until the very end. After 10 rounds both hugged each other in respect and the judges gave their verdict 100-89, 100-90 twice for Shields who keeps the middleweight world championship.

“I felt great. I won every round like I knew I could,” said Shields. “I tried for the KO, but Maricela was tough, had a strong right hand.”

For Shields it was her sixth defense of the middleweight championship.

“I thought I looked really, really good,” said a very content Shields. “Thank you for coming out.”

Other Bouts

Local fighter Ardreal Holmes (14-0) defeated Haiti’s Wendy Toussaint (14-2) by technical split decision after the fight was stopped early due to a bad cut following a clash of heads in the super welterweight match.

Toussaint was the aggressor through most of the fight but when a savage cut opened up above his forehead the referee stopped the fight though the ringside physician had given approval to continue.

The fight was stopped at 1:54 of the eighth round and Holmes won 76-75, 77-74, 74-77. The Detroit crowd booed the decision loudly.

A middleweight contest saw Michigan’s Joseph Hicks (7-0, 5 KOs) use his height and reach to dominate Atlanta’s Antonio Todd (14-8) from the outside. All three judges scored it 80-72 for Hicks.

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