Carpe Diem boxing show provides plenty of excitement at the 02 Arena
By Peter Wells
Whether it’s in the gameplan or not, giving up early rounds rarely ends well on the judges’ cards. Scott Quigg almost paid the ultimate price last night at the 02 Arena as he managed to claw his way back from an early deficit to earn a majority draw, thus keeping his WBA ‘World’ Super Bantamweight title.
While it is a genuine world title, everyone in boxing knows and accepts that the “real” WBA champion is the special Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux who was upgraded to ‘Super’ champion after shocking pound-for-pound star Nonito Donaire with a sublime boxing exhibition.
From the 8th round onwards Quigg turned up the ante, forcing Salinas to fight toe-to-toe. The visibly tired Cuban seldom punched and refused to move, ultimately throwing away his world title bid, although credit must go to Quigg for jumping on Salinas’ fatigue so effectively.
Salinas won the first 4 rounds at a canter, jabbing at the inactive Bury fighter, expending little energy while doing so. In rounds 5-7 many stanza’s could have gone either way as Quigg upped the tempo while Salinas carried on about his business, but began to open up far more. I gave 2 rounds to Salinas and 1 to Quigg.
Then came the onslaught and like the first 4 rounds there was no question who the winner of the final 5 rounds was. Quigg slammed in body shots before firing upstairs, infrequently catching the elusive Cuban cleanly but outworking his challenger.
The result of a majority draw – 114-114 (twice) & 115-113 Quigg – was not treated by boos, most people at ringside seeing it as a close fight and agreeing to some extent that a draw was a fair result. Both fighters displayed just how good they could be in periods but in one of the toughest divisions in boxing they will both need improvements. Salinas and Quigg remain unbeaten as they move to 20-0-2(13) and 26-0-2(19) respectively.
On a packed card Kevin Mitchell pushed himself up the IBF rankings with an impressive 6th round stoppage of the brave but limited Marco Lopez.
Mitchell outworked Lopez from the very beginning of the contest and slammed in left hooks to the body to discourage the visitor. Lopez went down in the 4th but the Mexican warrior continued to fight back, having a great start to the 5th round before Mitchell re-took command of the contest.
In the 6th under a barrage of shots the referee rightly stepped in to save Lopez from further punishment. The development to world level still continues for Mitchell while a clash with Derry Matthews in December will be a cracker but one Mitchell should win. Mitchell jumps to 35-2(25) while Lopez drops to 23-3(14).
Lee Selby won the British Featherweight title outright as he outpointed Ryan Walsh in the Norfolk man’s first defeat. Walsh boxed well and had early success but Selby came through to dominate the contest albeit the scorecards of 118-110, 118-112 and 117-111 were wider than many people saw it.
Walsh can take heart from the contest and like Joe Murray a few weeks earlier will no doubt come back stronger, and more opportunities on the domestic scene will arise. Selby meanwhile will now be looking to move on to the European scene, although a move up to Super Featherweight where Liam Walsh, Joe Murray and Stephen Smith await would intrigue the fans with some potential cracking contests. Walsh falls to 16-1-1(8) while Selby moves to 17-1(6).
Earlier on the card Tony Conquest bounced back from two early knockdowns to defeat Wadi Camacho on points in a thrilling Cruiserweight encounter. Conquest is now in line to fight John Lewis Dickinson for the British title.
Conquest showed incredible heart to survive the early onslaught before managing to box his way to victory. Camacho will be hugely disappointed with throwing away such a great chance at an early stoppage and drops to 10-2(6) while Conquest moves to 12-1(5).
The two Olympic Gold medallists won in stunning fashion as Luke Campbell moves to 2-0(2) with his second first round stoppage victory. The speed and timing of his punches proved too much for Neil Hepper who falls to 5-3(0). Then to end the show Heavyweight sensation Anthony Joshua began his journey with a one round destruction of Emanuele Leo who dropped to 8-1(3). Joshua showed great intelligence working off the jab and hurt the iron chinned Leo several times before he sent the Italian to the canvas before the bell.
So the voyage begins for Campbell and Joshua, there is a long way to go but instinct says they both could go far. The world awaits.
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