1. Josh Taylor is an excellent fighter. That was hardly uncommon knowledge beforehand, but Taylor’s stock continues to rise after he stopped unbeaten American Ryan Martin on a dramatic night of action in the World Boxing Super Series.
I expected more from Martin -who is fast and has skills- but he visibly wilted on his biggest stage. Veteran trainer Abel Sanchez begged his man to let the hands go and even threatened to pull him out. Like his namesake Charles, who froze against Anthony Joshua, Ryan Martin was unable to get anything off.
Referee Victor Loughlin was too quick to jump in and stop the fight. Rugby tackling Martin to the ground, instead of taking a step back and administering a calm count, was wrong in my opinion. Martin was not going to win the fight. He hadn’t even won a round, but the stoppage was hasty. It’s the trend of these type of stoppages that is more worrying because it happens when there’s a lot more on the line (Froch-Groves I anybody?).
Regardless of this, Taylor’s talent is undoubted, and along with the likes of Regis Prograis and Ivan Baranchyk, he will fancy his chances of taking home the trophy.
2. Ryan Burnett’s WBSS campaign is over after the Belfast man suffered what appeared to be a hip or back injury in his quarter-final fight with Nonito Donaire. It was surprising that the commentary team did not pick up on Burnett’s apparent distress in between the third and fourth rounds. Clearly, the injury had occurred, to some extent, by that point.
Seeing Ryan hobble around the ring was reminiscent of Nicky Cook many years ago, who fought with a similar injury against Alex Arthur. The tournament exit has also robbed us of possible future fights with the likes of Zolani Tete and Naoya Inoue, which is a shame.
3. Britain’s angriest boxer, Daryl Williams, needs little invitation to motor forward and rumble in the trenches. An injury to the left arm of unbeaten Derby middleweight Zach Parker around the fifth round only served to further encourage Williams inside. Turning southpaw, Parker struggled to keep the marauding British co-challenger at bay. Experienced corner man Errol Johnson constantly encouraged Zach to remain active despite his man’s physical concerns.
Bizarrely, Williams was denied his big win by some spurious judging as one-armed Parker won a split decision. Scottish judge Victor Loughlin’s 117-112 scorecard was particularly surprising.
4. Rumours were rife in the previous week’s build-up that Nonito Donaire would not make the weight and was on the verge of withdrawing from the Burnett clash. Paul Butler was ready to fill the spot, with Karim Guerfi also on standby as a dance partner if Burnett decided he would no longer wish to participate.
As it turns out, the rumours were unfounded, and Donaire and Burnett boxed as scheduled. Butler still fought on the undercard, against France’s former world title challenger Yoan Boyeaux. Both men whipped in heavy shots to head and body, and neither was significantly hurt at any point, despite some red faces at the 10-round conclusion. Butler took the decision and breathed a little more life into his career.
5. Streaming live through Facebook and on two YouTube channels was a hit for the WBSS organisers. The streams were clear and consistent, the chat boxes on YouTube vibrant and a lot of positive feedback could be found on Twitter. This is hardly a “for the fans”, altruistic gesture though. It’s more necessity than choice, and I’m sure if they had a UK broadcaster willing to put some cash up or at least get on board (like ITV last season) then that’s where the fights would be televised.
I’m no expert on broadcasting business models, but it appears that a reluctance to strike deals for individual fights and shows is the sticking point. The Sauerlands and their backers would rather cement a deal for the entire tournament, in an agreement similar to the one DAZN have in the States and beyond. No deal means no complaints from the fight fans watching it for free over here – but a strange situation nonetheless.