On the domestic front, an increasingly active MTK outfit ran their latest competitive show. Ryan Walsh sent his Cromer faithful home buzzing after retaining the British featherweight title on a split decision over Lewis Paulin. This fight marked the sixth defence for Walsh, who is a quality operator at British level. Scottish southpaw Paulin -who was awarded a 115-113 nod from one judge, overruled by a 115-114 and 117-111 in the champion’s favour- emerged with plenty of credit for his performance.
The opinion was divided on whether Ohara Davies had done enough to defeat slippery veteran, Miguel Vazquez. One thing that united supporters and doubters alike was the fact that Davies looked lethargic and largely unimpressive. The scoring referee totalled 97-94 to Davies which drew ire from a vocal stateside contingent, unimpressed by the referee’s instalment as sole arbiter. They have a point, especially in a 10-round contest. The referee’s discretion used to settle British title fights until fairly recently (well about 15 years now – time flies), and it is probably best to look at applying that same ruling to non-title contests of any reasonable standing.
The best of the rest saw Danny Egbunike gradually take over as the rounds progressed in his 10-rounder with Martin McDonagh. Neither man feared the end of an unbeaten record, which is refreshing to see. Danny got a deserved 97-93 nod.
Anthony Yigit took home a 78-75 success over Turkey’s Siar Ozgul. Ozgul isn’t entirely up to Yigit’s level, but he isn’t afraid to take on a challenge. As for Yigit, the Swedish former European champion is fast, skilful and showed against Ivan Baranchyk (in their WBSS encounter) that he is tough enough to mix it up at the top level.
Over in Italy, former British title challenger Paul Hyland Jnr was desperately trying to wrestle the European title away from Francesco Patera. Unfortunately for the Belfast man, it was not to be on this occasion. Hyland entered at a brisk pace, pushing the champion on the back foot with energy and purpose. Patera took his time, set his sights on the visitor’s body, and took control. Dropped four times in total, a bloodied Hyland cut a despondent figure as he was counted out in the sixth round.
Matchroom Italy promoted the show alongside Italian stalwarts Opi Since 82. Opi’s Twitter nailed it when they described the Belgian’s display: “Patera’s speed and bodywork were outstanding: what a brilliant performance in his first fight in Italy!” Commentating for Sky Sports, Adam Smith and Darren Barker were rightly scathing of the standard of lacklustre welterweight Dario Morello on the undercard. The question is, would they speak with as much candour about a UK prospect who was putting in such an abject performance on a Saturday Fight Night undercard?