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20 NOVEMBER 2018

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Cardiff Undercard: Crolla,Kelly And Cordina Victorious

By Steve Bateson: Anthony Crolla defeated Mexico’s Edson Ramirez via unanimous decision over ten lacklustre rounds.


Crolla, coming off the back of last October’s victory over Ricky Burns, worked well off his jab all night and looked the fighter in control despite the constant forward momentum of Ramirez. The Mexican was game and up for the fight but was unable to really impose himself on the bout for a sustained period of time, watching as the rounds ebbed away without managing to force a foothold in proceedings.


Crolla was cut over the right eye in round three from a clash of heads, which in turn allowed Ramirez to land a left hook to the body, his best punch of the fight to that point, but the cut did not faze the Manchester man nor throw him from his rhythm and he was able to slip back into the same pattern as the previous rounds.


The fight was moving by with very little to report and certainly the highlight reel will be shortlived. Crolla was never troubled by his opponent and there will be claims that he could and probably should have stepped up the pace and forced his opponent to fight at a level that he did not belong. Unfortunately the former world champion seemed content to stay at the same pace, remaining compact and uninspiring as he boxed his way to the decision. The crowd were not hyped in the slightest by anything they witnessed during this bout and for Crolla he will need much more about him to continue to compete at the upper echelons of the 135lbs division.


It may just have been a flat night and the calibre of opponent may have affected the performance however with talk of Crolla facing Luke Campbell later this year he will certainly need to display many more gears to push Campbell to his limits.


Scorecards read: 100-90 x2, 98-92


Josh Kelly produced yet another outstanding performance as he cantered to a ten round victory over Carlos Molina to win the WBA International Welterweight Title.


Kelly’s reflexes were on point throughout and he made the former 154lbs boss look like a shopworn veteran. Molina, urged on by pride and past glory, pressed forward throughout but found openings so difficult to come by whilst trying to second guess what angles the next Kelly attack might come from.


A quick fire left hook seemed to stun the Mexican as early as the first round and his head was constantly snapped back by the lightning quick jab that continuously pumps out from the waistline of the Sunderland fighter.


Molina tasted a modicum of success in round five with a left hook/right cross combo but Kelly merely nodded in acknowledgement before finishing the round with a combo of his own. Kelly was back about his business with the snapping jab in round six, using it set up a series of follow ups including a twisting left uppercut, a crunching right upper and then a hard overhand right that certainly drew a grimace from Molina toward the round’s end.


In round eight Kelly had Molina buzzed again as he drove Molina back to the ropes with a solid straight right hand. He followed up with a right uppercut and left hook that momentarily dipped the knees of the Mexican but Molina was able to weather the storm. Molina continued to walk forward for the remainder of the fight but Kelly was never troubled and was able to showboat his way through the final two rounds.


Molina is a former IBF Super Welterweight Champion and holds victories over the likes of Ishe Smith and Cory Spinks but he just could not find anything in his arsenal to pin Kelly down and implement a gameplan. Kelly’s movement was constant from bell to bell and even when he chose to retreat back to the ropes, inviting pressure, he was too slick and tricky to be caught by anything clean and damaging.


Josh Kelly (now 6-0 with 4 KO’s) is nothing short of an exceptional talent and it is clear he and his team have plans to fast track him toward stardom. The British 147lbs belt is likely to become vacant in the near future and Kelly may choose to compete for that in the coming months.


Scorecards: 98-92 x2 99-91


Joe Cordina captured his first professional title as he blasted out Hakim Ben Ali in three rounds to win the WBA International Lightweight Championship. Cordina was in spiteful mood as he outclassed the Belgian, who was a late replacement for Andy Townend, and dropped Ali three times in the third stanza on way to a routine victory.


Cordina worked well off his jab, targeting head and body early doors, before he started to pick up the pace from round two onward. Body work was sapping the fight from Ali and then a left hook high to the head in round three had him staggering into the ropes. Cordina poured it on and the Belgian took a knee for the first count before damaging body shots had him down a second time just moments later. The writing was on the wall for Ben Ali and it took just one more attack from Cordina to put his foe on the deck again, prompting the official to wave it off.


Cordina (7-0 with 6 KO’s) is a very skilled and slick operator, it is likely he will be contesting domestic honours by the year end. There is no reason for his progress to be stagnated.


Joshua Buatsi’s professional rise continued as he pummelled Bartlomiej Grafka over six one sided rounds. Grafka was tough but extremely limited and had absolutely no answers for what was coming his way from the talented Olympian. Buatsi (now 5-0 with 3 KO’s) has the skills to be a big star in the 175lbs division, he is more than ready for a step up now in his levels of competition.


Home fighter Morgan Jones was stopped on his feet by New Zealand’s Mose Auimatagi in an astonishing finish to their six round Middleweight contest. Jones, entering the bout undefeated, was dominant throughout and had dropped Auimatagi earlier but got caught by a huge hail mary from the South Pacific man, giving the referee no choice but to end the bout with just eight seconds left on the clock.

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