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Matthew Hatton loses, Dib in shock defeat and Abril wins close decision
By Niall Doran
Another weekend for the sweet science has been and gone for another week. From South Africa to the USA, some great action was enjoyed by fight fans.
Starting off last Friday in Connecticut where Australian Billy Dib put his IBF featherweight title on the line against relentless Russian Evgeny Gradovich. In a fight that Dib was expected win Gradovich defied all the odds by pulling out a shock upset split decision win. Dib was walked to the ring by his new promoter 50 Cent but it was clear from round 1 that Dib was out of sorts, possibly suffering from been weight drained. The early rounds were mostly Dib’s but as the fight wore on Gradovich’s work rate began to wear Billy down. Both fighters had points deducted in the 8th for holding. As the fight drew to a close it is hard to see how anyone could disagree with the decision to award Gradovich the fight (whom was trained by the very talented Robert Garcia for the fight). This loss will set back 50 Cent’s boxing promotional aspirations a bit temporarily as Dib was arguably his star asset.
Staying in America on Saturday night in Las Vegas Cuban Richard Abril was in action for the first time since his loss to Brandon Rios in April 2012. He successfully defended his WBA lightweight title with a points win over tough Ugandon Sharif Bogere but certainly didn’t have things all his own way. Bogere made the fight a rough and tough one in the early to mid rounds, causing a cut to Abril over his right eye in round 6. After this Abril seemed to wake up and began upping his work rate much more. He proceeded to get off decent combinations on Bogere in the second half of the fight which ultimately won him the unanimous decision.
In South Africa on Saturday night Matthew Hatton challenged South Afican native Chris Van Heerden for his IBO Welterweight title. In the end Hatton lost the fight by a wide margin on points to the classier Van Heerden, despite a late charge in the final rounds where he landed a couple of telling blows on the champion. I have always been a fan of the younger Hatton’s heart and determination but after this fight (his third failed bid for a world title) one can only wonder how much longer he will carry on his professional boxing career.