Brook vs Bizier
Kell Brook annihilated IBF mandatory challenger Kevin Bizier inside two brutal rounds in Matchroom Boxing’s headliner. And that’s no exaggeration. Bizier lived up to his tough, resilient reputation, but a big heart and sturdy chin alone weren’t enough to put a scratch on BB’s No.1 Welterweight Brook, who needed seconds to decrypt Bizier’s predictable style.
Brook buckled the knees of Bizier courtesy of an uppercut in the opening minute, blasted his man at range until the bell, and began doing serious damage in the 2nd round. Brook dropped Bizier following a thudding combination, and then sent his overmatched foe down for a second time. Bizier could have perhaps beaten the count, but the referee decided he’d seen enough violence already. I couldn’t have agreed more, and Bizier made no attempt to protest.
With Brook vs Bizier out the way, we can all look forward to bigger fights for ‘Special K’ in the near future. Man, I’m getting tired of repeating that. Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn confirmed his lofty plans for Brook post fight, even it means Brook travelling stateside to meet the division’s biggest names. Let’s make it happen, Eddie!
Campbell vs Sykes
Luke Campbell may have suffered his first defeat against European-level contender Yvan Mendy last December, but certainly proved he is untouchable on the British scene. Campbell needed just five minutes to wipe out Gary Sykes, knocking him down with a left hook-counter early in the 2nd round, and then unleashing a furious unanswered assault en route to a stoppage victory.
Campbell was expected to take this guy out in dramatic fashion, sure, but still managed to make a statement by doing so in such methodical, merciless fashion. Campbell, who picked up the Commonwealth Lightweight title in the process, now jumps to 13 wins, 1 loss, 11 knockouts, while Sykes reduces to 28 wins, 5 losses, 6 knockouts.
Eubank Jr vs Blackwell
Nick Blackwell didn’t have enough in his utility belt to trump the marauding Chris Eubank Jr in their British Middleweight title bout, but won newfound followers based on resilience alone. With Blackwell being rushed to hospital and induced into a coma post fight, we of course now know that his toughness was perhaps his worst enemy. The fight, which had become dangerously unbalanced in terms of punishment delivery, was initially stopped after a grotesque swelling appeared over Blackwell’s right eye in the 10th round.
Blackwell was competitive for the first two-three rounds, taking the fight to Eubank and finding good success with the jab. But Eubank was the more physically domineering fighter, and gradually began to take over the fight, pounding away at Blackwell with clean punches. The referee, Victor Loughlin, has since received significant backlash from observers, but personally I don’t blame him, or anyone else involved in the Eubank Jr vs Blackwell tragic ending. It’s about time we all started appreciating the thankless role of boxing’s referees.
Eubank Jr now stands at 22 wins, 1 loss, 17 knockouts, while Blackwell reduces to 19 wins, 4 losses, 1 draw, 8 knockouts. The staff at Boxing Base send our thoughts out to Blackwell, and wish him a fast, full recovery.
Ward vs Barrera
Too fast, too smart, too darn good. That was pretty much the story in Andre Ward’s return matchup at Light Heavyweight against unbeaten Sullivan Barrera. It wasn’t that Barrera was unworthy of his place in the ring with ‘SOG’, or anything of the sort. Barrera gave it his all, applying himself in every round. But being good isn’t nearly enough to beat an elite fighter like Ward.
The former Pound-for-Pound star looked comfortable from the outset, knocking down Barrera in the 3rd round, and soundly outboxing his foe en route to a Unanimous Decision. Barrera tried his luck by pressing the action in places, but found himself paying the price by falling prey to counter traps.
If we’re treated to mega showdown Ward vs Kovalev at the tail-end of 2016, that should be a hell of a fight. Keeping a bull-headed, economical destroyer like Kovalev at bay would be no easy task. It’s an extremely risky fight for both men, but the reward couldn’t be greater. If Ward is looking for a legacy-completing bout, this is it.
Ward now extends his unbeaten streak to 29 wins, 15 knockouts, while Barrera falls to 17 wins, 1 loss, 12 knockouts. Catch HBO’s Ward vs Barrera Boxing Highlights here.
More March Big Fight Roundups
- Heavyweights Review: Browne vs Chagaev & Ortiz vs Thompson
- Welterweight Division Shaker: Vargas vs Ali
Other Notable Fights:
Flanagan vs Mathews
There was never any question over the victor of Terry Flanagan’s WBO Lightweight title defense against Derry Mathews. Flanagan was the superior boxer, and for the most part, didn’t allow Mathews to close the distance and do damage. But you have to respect Mathew’s effort. A big outsider, Mathews did his best to keep Flanagan uncomfortable. And, if you ask me, that pressure was the reason Flanagan resorted to using some dirty tactics we’re not used to seeing, such as a forearm incident which caused Flanagan to lose a point in the 8th round.
Flanagan now stands at 30 wins, no losses, 12 knockouts, and Mathews 38 wins, 10 losses, 2 draws, 20 knockouts.
Yamanaka vs Solis
Shinsuke Yamanaka earned a conclusive Unanimous Decision win over challenger Liborio Solis, but had to endure a very shaky 3rd round. Yamanaka, who remains unbeaten after defending his WBC Bantamweight title for the 10th time, managed to knock down Solis in the 2nd and 9th rounds, but also found himself tasting canvas twice in the 3rd.
Yamanaka now extends to 25 wins, no losses, 17 knockouts, while Solis reduces to 23 wins, 4 losses, 1 draw, 10 knockouts.
Budler vs Rojas
Hekkie Budler had been the Strawweight division’s top dog for some time before meeting unheralded Byron Rojas. It’s unlikely Budler, who came up short via scores of 115-113 thrice, had been expecting such a hard night’s work, but Top 10-outsider Rojas came with the right game plan. Rojas ended Budler’s 12-fight winning streak which dated back to 2011, surprising a lot of observers, and leaving the ring as the new WBA champion.
The fight was close, with Rojas having to survive a late surge from Budler, but Rojas deserved to get the nod owed largely to his greater work rate. Budler will be back, I’m sure. For now, it’s nice to see a good shakeup on the 105-pound scene. Rojas climbs to 17 wins, 2 defeats, 3 draws, 8 knockouts, while Budler drops to 29 wins, 2 defeats, 9 knockouts.
What are your thoughts on Brook vs Bizier, Ward vs Barrera, Eubank Jr vs Blackwell, plus the rest of March’s big fights? Let us know in the comments!