Andrew Selby is staring down the barrel of his career after being stopped in Mexico at the weekend. The Welshman is undoubtedly talented, but he never seemed entirely switched on even when winning, so dropping to 11-1 will not suit his mood any better. Selby boxed well early on. Looking one step ahead of Julio Cesar Martinez at times it appeared that if he could maintain a rhythm, then the fight could be well within his grasp.
As the pace quickened, and Martinez rushed in with greater frequency, it seemed Selby was suddenly ruffled. Fighting at such altitude (in a tiny ring) didn’t help matters. Neither did an accidental headbutt that opened a gash on Selby’s left eye. Was it just a minor aberration or a turning of the tide? We’d soon find out. In accordance with WBC rules, the Mexican had a point deducted despite it not being deliberate.
The finishing body blow that arrived in the fifth round eased all of the wind out of Selby’s sails, and he sank to his knees. Counted out by the referee, Selby, 30, should be boxing the ears off guys like Martinez. A victory would’ve slotted him into the mandatory position for a crack at WBC king Charlie Edwards. Martinez now takes that place.
England’s Edwards had seen off the “challenge” of Angel Moreno in the Copperbox just hours before Selby’s away defeat. An all-UK world title showdown would’ve been an appealing prospect.
Former WBO super-bantamweight ruler Jessie Magdaleno should be fighting more often. The Las Vegas native was last seen losing his title to Isaac Dogboe (who was confusingly reigning as the interim champion at the time) almost a year ago. Jessie had also been inactive for a year before that shock defeat. Dogboe has since lost the belt, to Emanuel Navarette. Magdaleno will surely fancy a shot at the winner when Dogboe vies to reclaim his belt from Navarette on May 11.
Magdaleno looked comfortable on Saturday night in Orange County, attacking the lean body of taller foe Rico Ramos. It wasn’t vintage stuff by any stretch of the imagination. At least Magdaleno is back and active again; let’s hope it doesn’t take until 2020 to see him out again.
While Magdaleno was going through the motions on the undercard, two Eastern European heavyweights duked it out on the ESPN main event.
No boxer called Bogdan can surely be any use. Rugged Romanian Bogdan Dinu had capitulated against Jarrell Miller in late 2018 but showed more resilience against Kubrat Pulev in this latest opportunity. Bulgarian Pulev decided to stand in between rounds. Amusingly, Dinu was forced by new trainer Eddie Mustafa Muhammad to follow suit and dispense with his own seating.
The cut Pulev suffered was pretty horrific – quite reminiscent of Vitali Klitschko’s laceration against Lennox Lewis. Pulev once lost to Wladimir Klitschko in a commendable effort where he really went for the win and put in on the champion. Paying the heaviest price and igniting the beast in “Dr Steelhammer”, Kubrat was starched in the fifth. Five years and seven wins later he’s primed for another (final?) run at heavyweight glory.
Notorious for hitting behind the head, Pulev was correctly deducted a point for excessive rabbit punching. Given the deduction, coupled with the cut, this was Dinu’s big chance to cause the upset. He folded under duress though and was stopped in the seventh. Perhaps he was too tired? Tell his trainer to stick him on a stool next time.
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