East London, South Africa – Nkosinathi Joyi (21-0, 15 KO) dominated Mexican Raul Garcia (27-1-1, 16 KO) over twelve rounds to capture Garcia’s IBF strawweight title and hand him his first professional loss.
Joyi produced an outstanding performance as he controlled the fight from the outside with his southpaw jab that set up everything else in the South African’s arsenal. Joyi’s speed and power was too much for Garcia, who was rocked several times in the six rounds I caught.
This is the most meaningful fight in the division for a long time, with two of the top four sharing the ring, something unheard of in the 105 pound history. South Africa are known to produce some awful hometown robberies, but the wide scoring was deserved as Joyi won on scores of 119-109, 118-110 and 118-110. Joyi could be the best fighter in the division and he outclassed Garcia, who’s also a damn good fighter.
Dagenham, England – Matthew Hatton (39-4-2, 15 KO) put on his career-best performance as he comprehensively out-pointed Italian challenger Gianluca Branco (43-3-1, 22 KO) to capture the vacant European welterweight crown via unanimous decision, winning by scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113. The BTBC scored the fight 116-112 in favour of Hatton.
Hatton’s activity was too much for the aging Branco, who’s naturally a 140 pounder. Hatton seemed to ease off in the end, but Branco couldn’t capitalise as Hatton won a deserved victory in the end.
As for Hatton’s position in the welterweight division, he’s a long way away from the top 10, maybe even top 20, but his determination to get a title shot earns my respect straight away, even though I don’t rate him as a boxer.
Hatton deserves this victory for the effort he’s put in since he lost to Craig Watson, and to keep going in his older brother Ricky’s shadow. I actually want him to get a big payday against the big names he’s been linked with, I really think he deserves it.
In the co-feature, Sam Webb (16-1, 4 KO) rolled back to the amateur years to pull off a surprising result by putting on a stellar performance as he eked out a majority decision victory over Anthony Small (23-2, 16 KO) to win the British and Commonwealth light middleweight titles.
Small began the fight his usual self, showboating for no apparent reason, taunting his opponent while flicking out meaningless punches. Despite being cut in the fifth, Webb started to dominate proceedings by drawing Small into a brawl, which Small didn’t want.
Small gassed in the seventh, and after excellent corner work to close Webb’s cut, he picked up the pace to attempt to punish Small. Small wobbled all over the place in the ninth, but recovered to last the distance.
Webb won by scores of 117-113, 117-112 and 115-115. The BTBC scored it level at 114-114.
On the undercard, undefeated featherweight prospect Joe Murray (7-0, 3 KO) cruised to a points victory over veteran Yuri Voronin (27-11-2, 18 KO) over eight rounds. Overrated Yassine El Maachi (12-4, 5 KO) also won on points, but over six rounds against Bertrand Aloa (15-6, 1 KO).
Mexico City, Mexico – Lightweight contender Vicente Escobedo (22-2, 14 KO) fought for the first time since his split decision defeat to Michael Katsidis on the Mayweather-Marquez undercard with a third-round stoppage victory over Carlos Urias (43-24, 32 KO).
Helsinki, Finland – Heavyweight prospect Robert Helenius (12-0, 7 KO) improved his record with an uninspiring win over Gbenga Oloukun (17-4, 10 KO), who gave the Finn his toughest outing to date.
The fast-tracked Helenius won an eight-round unanimous decision via scores of 79-76, 78-75, 77-75. The BTBC had eyes on other things, but scored it 77-75.
Nice, France – Former junior middleweight contender Chrisophe Canclaux (41-3, 26 KO) got back to winning ways with a routine second-round knockout victory over inexperienced Janos Varga (6-2, 5 KO). Canclaux recently lost a WBO interim fight against Joachim Alcine, which dropped him down the pecking order at 154 pounds.