Big time boxing returned to Leeds arena in April. The headline act, as always, was the super popular Josh Warrington, defending his WBC international featherweight title.
Warrington beat the ultra-tough, tricky Tokyo based Hisashi Amagasa over 12 rounds in front of a rabid crowd, picking up scores of 118-111, 117-111, and, ludicrously, 120-107.
Warrington did win the fight, starting an ending the contest very well, but Amagasa appeared, from ringside at least, to drag himself back into the fight during the middle section. Amagasa flung unorthodox shots with his long arms and his right uppercut landed on more than a few occasions. It has to be said however, Warrington, particularly in the last couple of rounds, landed some hellacious shots on the visitor and Amagasa was clearly wobbled at times.
Warrington was vocal in the aftermath as he feels he is ready for Barry’s IBF champion Lee Selby. The man dubbed the ‘Welsh Mayweather’ would be an extremely hard fight, but the opportunity to stage a world title fight at Elland Road between the pair may be too attractive, financially, for promoter Eddie Hearn to pass up.
The rest of the card had some intriguing fights. The fight of the night was the 12 round war of attrition between Stuey Hall and Rodrigo Guerrero at bantamweight. Guerrero was a former IBF super flyweight champion and after a slow start, showed his championship class with a non-stop display of punching. Hall, however, looked much larger, a natural bantamweight, and few of Guerrero’s shots seemed to worry the Darlington man. Hall smartly boxed off the back foot, but occasionally allowed himself to get dragged into a brawl on the inside or to simply let Guerrero tee off on him. Many ringsiders expected the fight to be adjudged a draw, but three scores of 117-111 allowed Hall to press for another world title shot.
The card was huge, lasting over five hours. Of local interest was another victory for classy Bradford welterweight Darren Tetley, who outclassed Casey Blair over 6, referee Howard Foster judging the contest 60-54. Lots of talk along the press row was concerning the progression of Tetley to English title level, and the consensus seemed to be he is more than ready. Tetley has a vocal number of followers in the crowd for a fight on relatively early, and as he steps up the level of opposition, it looks as if he can make an impact on the wider consciousness of Bradford and West Yorkshire.
Doncaster’s Reece Mould also made his debut at super featherweight, flooring Phil Hervey twice in the first round before the referee called it off.
From further afield, London’s Issac Chamberlain and Nottingham’s Russ Henshaw engaged in a wild slugfest between two undefeated cruiserweights. Henshaw was dropped in the first, but wore Chamberlain down, resulting in the Londoner being docked a point for persistent holding. Chamberlain looked to be worn out, but managed a second wind, and in the 6th and final round, began unloading on Henshaw. With the referee attempting to jump in, the towel also came sailing in from Henshaw’s corner.