Amir Khan’s jaunt into Jeddah was not the most conventional of moves. When there’s money swimming about, A-List pugilist celebrities are always happy to move in and accept. Bashing Billy Dib around for a reported $7million is excellent work if you can get it, so who can blame Amir for helping spearhead a Saudi Arabian boxing charge that has already pulled the WBSS to its shores?
When his original opponent suffered a car accident, former featherweight Dib was lured out of his Aussie retirement home. Offering just about as much resistance as he could manage, Billy was effectively outgunned. This fight wasn’t about him — it was about Khan. How sluggish would Khan look? Was his footwork all there? Has the Terence Crawford loss took too much out of him? None of those questions were truly answered. With rappers serenading a crowd frenzied with over-excitement, and some well-known names and faces scattered at ringside, it appeared that everyone had a great time.
Beating a faded version of Samuel Peter was unlikely to do too much for Hughie Fury’s credibility with the hardcore fraternity. That said, Peter was at least a former WBC heavyweight champion with a big punch, who had fought several decent names throughout his career, so having his scalp on the slate would not do too much damage.
That was dependent on Fury dealing swiftly and sharply with the blubbery form in front of him, which he didn’t. Starting reasonably quickly, Fury showed that even though his left hand is skilful, he doesn’t let go enough with the chopping right. Hughie is naturally a cautious fighter; as such, Hughie’s style allowed the “Nigerian Nightmare” to ease into the fight a little. The longer the contest progressed, the more it looked like a bad night at the office. When law-bending Peter eventually quit/retired/got stopped (something happened at the end) after suffering a “bad shoulder”, fans were left feeling completely underwhelmed — not good for Hughie.
Luckily for the Manchester man, at least another Brit was busy snatching headlines. Bantamweight Prince Patel has spent a career talking his way into boxing conversations, and social media searches through his brazen motormouth, rather than anything he has done in the ring. After being held to a draw in his fourth fight, the Blackburn native went quiet and decided to quit the UK and ply his trade on foreign shores – globe-trotting around boxing backwaters, picking up lesser titles.
Could it be that he has steadily improved in that time, away from the glare of domestic television? No. A week before his IBO clash against Michell Banquez, footage emerged from the Latvian gyms showing the level of opposition Patel has been beating to win his trinkets. Unfortunately for Patel, Banquez was made of much sterner stuff than those human ironing boards. Patel lost nearly every round to the relentless Venezuelan who marched forward, landing uppercuts and tagging the body all night. Looking listless, clueless and (harsh, I know) pretty talentless, it seems the Prince can’t back his mouth up at all. Credit to him for trying though.
A third fight will probably take place between Rob Brant and Ryota Murata after the latter ripped back his WBA “World” title in emphatic fashion in Osaka. Japan is a money-making spot for the right boxers; something promoter Bob Arum has clocked, hence his continued involvement with Murata after he lost his title to Brant in Las Vegas.
For those saying there is no need for a trilogy, given the nature of Murata’s blazing second-round stoppage upset, think about whether there was any clamour for this rematch in the first place following Brant’s 12-round domination when they first met.
Elsewhere on a packed Friday night, Jazza Dickens picked up a fringe strap for his troubles when beating Australia’s Nathaniel May over ten rounds. It was a good headline scrap that saw Dickens emerge with credit, and May slide back to the drawing board. Despite his impressive-looking record, May is not great. Dickens’ well-timed body shots and southpaw counters took their toll down the stretch and helped the Liverpudlian pull away.
Terry Flanagan and Martin Murray also enjoyed wins on the MTK card.