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My thoughts: Boxnation card from Cardiff Saturday 16th of July

This past weekend we saw the return of UK domestic action on Boxnation with a good looking card from Cardiff. On the card we saw various faces from talented prospects Alex Hughes and Joe Pigford.Three fighters with an exciting 12 to 18 months ahead of them in Bradley Skeete, Jamie Conlon and Tommy Langford. The main 3 fights on the card were Terry Flanagan facing Mzonke Fana contesting the WBO lightweight world title. Pound for Pound ranked Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux facing Liverpool’s Jazza Dickens in a super bantamweight contest for the WBA super world title. The main event was Wales’s Liam Williams defending his British and Commonwealth Light middleweight titles against Wembley’s Gary Corcoran.

As we summed up on fight night in our reporting the under card fighters did what was expected of and got the wins on their records. The main talking points from the undercard was the knockout Victory for super flyweight Jamie Conlon which was a cracking finish from the Irishman who will have his eyes on various silverware whether it will be domestic, continental or globally. Frank warren announced that Bradley Skeete is in line for a title shot at Welterweight and I can only assume that Frank is in negotiations with Top Rank with the potential of fighting WBO champion Jessie Vargas. I only assume this with Warren’s preference of the WBO organisation and Bradley’s high ranking within the WBO system. Warren also announced that Middleweight Tommy Langford is now mandatory for Chris Eubank JR’s British title and that purse bids are due in the next couple of weeks we are led to believe.

As I mentioned the main three fights of the night were Terry Flanagan v Mzonke Fana, Guillermo Rigondeaux v Jazza Dickens & Liam Williams v Gary Corcoran.

Firstly Terry Flanagan defended his WBO lightweight crown against Mzonke Fana and scored a points victory by unanimous decision. The fight was supposed and tipped by many to be an early night for Terry considering Fana being 42 years old and seemingly passed his best that Terry should have his man out of there in 4-6 rounds. However it was far from the case. The Challenger from the outset used his fidgety movement in and out of range to upset the rhythm of Flanagan in finding his range and asserting pressure on the smaller man. However Terry was smart to realise in the opening round the best method to cope with this was to let Fana come forward and catch him coming in. This was evident when Terry countered Fana with solid back hand counters mainly with the right hand although a cracking left counter rocked Fana with 45 seconds to go or so. The Challenger had his successes in the second round with over hand rights which again seemed to upset the challangers rhythm if nothing else. However Terry upped the tempo to re-assert his authority. The third round again Terry maintained a high tempo with successful left uppercuts and right hand body shots in an attempt to slow down the veteran.  The fourth round was the breakthrough round for terry who scored a knock down with a strong left hook to the head which sent Fana down for an 8 count who recouped his bearings. The fourth round was where a clash of heads opened up a very nasty looking cut under the right eye of Flanagan which briefly caused him to panic slightly. The fifth and sixth rounds were in my opinion very close and a case for either man to claim them with terry’s high work rate but lack of success with falling short and miss timing his range. Fana was very successful with combination punches to head and body and was continuing to frustrate the champion. The final rounds (7 onwards) were Terry blowing off some steam and frustration that focused more on the uppercuts and backing his man up and unleashing some big blows and at times the challenger looked ready to bowl over in the onslaught. The twelfth round terry scored a second knockdown with a flurry of punches but Fana rose to hear the final bell. Terry Flanagan has a few options on the table his promoter frank warren his targeting an unification bout against Dejan Zlaticanin for the WBC world title but Bob Arum revealed that talks are underway with a possible match up with Vasyl Lomachenko. Arum stated “I talked to Frank and we’re discussing early next year in Lomachenko’s ninth or tenth fight, sending him over to England to fight Terry Flanagan for the WBO lightweight title. That will be interesting. Frank is excited about that.”

Then we saw Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux take on Jazza Dickens which has been highly anticipated by the boxing community within the UK. Mainly just to see a talent such as Rigondeaux.  The fight ended in the second round with Dickens’s corner pulling him out due to receiving a broken jaw from a powerful left hand from Rigo. A shot which reverberated around the arena it was that loud on impact you instantly knew that damage was caused. Frank Warren is seemingly open into working with Rigondeaux and Roc nation into featuring more frequently on Frank Warren promoted events which from a UK perspective is only brilliant news to see such a talented fighter.

The main event saw Liam Williams defeat gutsy challenger Gary Corcoran in defence of his British and commonwealth light middleweight titles. Pre-fight there was a lot of harsh feeling on eachother from both of them on social media which added more flavour into the pan and on paper was a touch call to make on whom would be successful.  The First round was a successful round for the champion who was using his jab to good effect to set up his range to deliver the over hand right which got huge support from the home crowd. This despite a cut on the bridge of the nose from a very early head clash which would become a frequent event in the action. The second round again Williams delivered the jab to excellent effect to frequently land combinations and looked very comfortable . The third saw the challenger start well with a beautiful uppercut which drew blood from Williams and Gary settling down and getting into the fight. Round four saw a horrible head clash which caused an horrific cut to Corcoran which needed the doctors attention but was declared fine to continue. The fifth was a solid round for Corcoran with the establishment of his jab in the round and the frequency of right uppercuts landed on the champion Williams. The champion in the sixth reasserted his jab to a degree and was throwing combinations targeting the cut eye of the challenger and continued this plan into the seventh before Corcoran upped his tempo to land his own telling shots.

The eighth saw the challenger deducted a point away from excessive pushing down on Williams although Williams was easy lean over to cause this action and can understand the frustration of the challenger.  At one point there was a sniff of a 10-8 round in favour of the champion after a powerful left and flurry staggered the challenger onto the ropes but the bell came at the right time. Corcoran frequently seemed at odds with the referee with Williams ducking in, and the Welshman added to his visitor’s troubles with an accurate right hand that set the blood flowing from the left eye once again. Corcoran took two more shots before the bell and trudged forward again at the start of 10. Sensing he had an advantage on the scorecards, Williams was content to select shots from range and smother Corcoran up close to pinch that session. That left Corcoran looking for a stoppage but as he lunged in halfway through the penultimate round, he was felled by a thundering right-hook counter. The visitor wasn’t going anywhere quietly and leapt to his feet for more but after slipping to the canvas again, rose to take one more crashing blow that brought in the referee.

This Card in my opinion was a brilliant card for fight fans and I applaud frank warren in generating a good atmosphere which the fighters seemed to buzz off. More cards of this quality the better in my opinion which are held in key regions for his fighters. The fact that Liam Williams was the local fighter in wales seemed to reflect on the buzz and excitement of the crowd and this is what should be happening more often with frank warren fighters. Hold cards in the areas, towns and cities where the headline acts are based and the ticket sales will increase thus leading to a top atmosphere . I will be interested to see if a secnario

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