Ireland’s Katie Taylor continued her impeccable transition from Olympic hero to professional champion with an impressive fifth round stoppage over the durable Monica Gentili. I could wax lyrical all day about Taylor’s skills, I don’t think there are enough superlatives to do her justice, and it really isn’t going to be long until she is contesting the biggest titles in women’s boxing. Her left hook to the body is a thing of beauty and she brutalised Gentili with combinations from the opening bell. Gentili marched forwards and showed her toughness but a left hook in the fifth scrambled her senses and the following siege put her on the deck. She rose but was clearly dazed and the referee had seen enough. Taylor, a five time world amateur champion, has had 3 professional fights but there are no doubts she is already prepared to challenge for world honours.
Sam Eggington secured a career-best victory over the faded but legendary Paulie Malignaggi with an eighth round stoppage. Eggington looked at least a weight division heavier than his opponent and used his size advantage from the outset, walking his opponent down and scoring with stiff, crunching right hands. There were brief glimpses of the old "Magic Man" especially in round 6 when at least a dozen punch combination seemed to stun Eggington in almost disbelief, a warning for hanging his chin in the air which is something he cannot do against a heavier handed foe, but the skills and reaction times are far from what they once were. Eggington received a stern lecture from his corner during the interval and renewed his front-foot tactic at the start of the seventh, reddening Malignaggi’s face with more heavy right hands. The end came in the eighth when Eggington sank a brutal left hook to the body of Paulie, who collapsed in agony and could not answer the ten count. Malignaggi, at 36 years old, has given us some tremendous memories but his best days are far behind him, the former world champion is one of the best commentators in the business and fight fans would love him to take up that mantle full time, leaving behind a sure-fire hall of fame career. Eggington, who continues to improve, is an all action fighter and should be contesting a European Title in May on the undercard of Kal Yafai’s homecoming defense.
Ohara Davies destroyed Derry Matthews in 3 rounds to retain his WBC Silver Super Lightweight Championship. A bitter rivalry was ignited on Twitter between the two fighters but it seemed only in words were they evenly matched. Davies’ superior handspeed was clearly bothering Matthews from the outset as he peppered the veteran Liverpudlian with jabs and hard right hands. It was in the third round that Davies stunned Matthews with a right hand/uppercut combination and forced him to take a knee. Matthews resumed but was felled once again by a body and head barrage, the end was clearly in sight. Referee, Victor Loughlin allowed Matthews one final chance but Davies was relentless with his assault and forced the official to intervene with less than ten seconds left on the clock. Davies (now 15-0 with 12 KO’s) will now move onto bigger and better things, who wouldn’t like to see him fight Josh Taylor or Robbie Davies Jnr? However, the career of Derry Matthews appears to be over after his post-fight comments. Matthews has been a tremendous ambassador for the sport and we wish him all the best in his retirement.
Dave Allen secured his second win in just a week as he steamrollered through David Howe in two rounds. Allen (now 11-2-1) nailed his opponent with an overhand right to the temple and a glancing left hand that left Howe unable to answer the referee’s count. Allen’s rejuvenation continues and he will be hoping to move into British title contention later in the year.
IBF Featherweight Champion, Lee Selby returned to in-ring action, after nearly a year’s hiatus, whilst securing a ninth round stoppage victory over Spain’s Adoni Gago. Selby dropped his overmatched opponent in the first round, a well-timed left hand to the top of the head, and outclassed him throughout the bout before the referee stepped in as Selby landed a big left hook and body combo, the only question mark could be over how long it took to dispose of Gago. Selby is a technically gifted fighter and he used this bout as an exercise in releasing frustration after his dream Las Vegas debut was derailed at the eleventh hour last month. He punished Gago to body and head as the rounds wore on, showcasing his excellent combination work, whilst taking his time to excel his movement and footwork. Selby is looking to secure a showdown with one of Abner Mares, Carl Frampton or WBA kingpin, Leo Santa Cruz but he must first wait to see who the IBF rule as his mandatory challenger. His promotional deal with Matchroom ends after this bout so it will be interesting to see the direction of the Welshman’s career from here on out, it is safe to say he won’t have many easier bouts than this.
Bermondsey’s Ted Cheeseman extended his unbeaten ledger (8-0) by inflicting a career first defeat on Jack Sellars, via referee decision. Sellars was game and tough but Cheeseman’s impressive variety of punching and heavier hands proved the difference. Cheeseman dropped his opponent with a devastating right hand in the second round, a punch that would have put paid to many lesser-willed foes, but Sellars proved his heart by getting back to his feet and pushing Cheeseman all the way to the final bell. Cheeseman certainly looks ready to contest title fights and will have one eye on the English Championship bout between Matthew Ryan and Rick Skelton later this month